Tuesday, October 9, 2018

[NJFAC] a bouquet to Sanders' effectiveness in raising some wages

(and a critique of the notion that the market determines wages, even in giant firms.-j)

"...Sanders was lectured by the Heritage Foundation: 'wages are contingent on the additional value that a given worker contributes to the company,' and the bill would (tell me if you've heard this one before) Hurt The Very People It Was Trying To Help. Here's a Cato Institute libertarian writing in USA Today:

However much Sanders insists otherwise, in competitive industries, workers' pay and benefits tend to match the value of the work they're doing. Firms cannot "underpay," or else they risk losing employees to other businesses, while "overpaying" would be financial suicide. …Of course, Sanders is right that wages at major corporations do not always guarantee a decent standard of living, particularly for part-time workers, those with many children, or high rent. But shareholders and customers of companies should not be responsible for every factor of their workers' lives. Companies pay people for the work they do, and it is unrealistic to expect them to pay people based on the number of children they have, where they live or their medical bills. … My research estimates a program of liberalization in land use planning and zoning laws, child-care regulations, cost-inflating food programs, fuel standards and car dealership laws, tariffs on clothing and footwear and occupational licensing, could directly save poor households anywhere between $830 and $3,500 per year....

I think one of the reasons liberals have failed politically is that they think of politics as "designing the optimal policy" and have no clue how to actually build the political power that allows you to pass and implement the optimal policy. Bernie Sanders does know a thing or two about building political power—that's why he managed to be the "Amendment King" in the House of Representatives, passing more roll call votes in a Republican Congress than any other member despite being a radical democratic socialist. Sanders' bill was criticized as a stunt. But that shouldn't be a criticism, and we on the left need to try more stunts...."
June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition

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