Common Sense Shown by a Republican? Conservative Millionaire on a Mission to Raise the Minimum Wage

ron_unzLet me go ahead and get this out of the way — no, this is not satire.  Lately it seems more often than not that disclaimer needs to be used when discussing conservative politics or politicians.

But the headline is real.  Conservative millionaire Ron Unz, a former Republican California gubernatorial candidate, is actively pushing for the State of California to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour.

And the best part is the reason why: To stop corporate welfare for many large corporations that pay their workers such low wages that many of them are forced to rely on government programs to survive.

This is something that pretty much anyone with any kind of common sense or logic has been saying for years.

While most Republicans adamantly oppose any mention of a raise to our minimum wage (with many actually claiming that the minimum wage kills jobs), Unz displays something that eludes most conservatives — intelligence.

Our welfare programs — the same welfare programs Republicans consistently blame for many of our nation’s problems — are filled with millions of working Americans.  Meaning that, even though they have gainful employment, they’re paid such low wages that they’re simply unable to afford to survive without some form of help from the government.

If many of these Americans were actually paid a decent wage, a great deal of them wouldn’t require any kind of government assistance at all.  Raising our minimum wage would greatly help this situation.

But of course, like with most things Republicans believe in, their ideologies on these issues are completely contradictory.  On one hand they bash welfare programs and the “lazy moochers” who abuse the government — while opposing a hike to our minimum wage that would help millions of Americans get off welfare.

The fact is, if Republicans had their way we wouldn’t even have a minimum wage.  See, their “plan” for job creation seems to be cutting the hourly rate of one job into two, which then creates two jobs.  Sure, both jobs pay lousy and most people couldn’t survive on something like $4 an hour, but hey — they just doubled jobs numbers!

Much like how Republicans oppose contraceptives and sex education while being against abortion (even though most abortions happen after unplanned pregnancies which often happen due to poor sex education or lack of access to contraceptives), their stances on welfare and our minimum wage are complete contradictions of one another.  They are, in fact, exacerbating one issue with another.

Hopefully in the near future, more conservatives like Mr. Unz will come forward and interject a little dose of common sense into a political party that desperately needs it.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Occasionally, you’ll find a republican who understands math.

    • Penis

      >math

      You mean econ?

      • I’d settle if they learned arithmetic. That way they could figure out that $12/hr x 40 hrs x 52 weeks = $24,960 / year as opposed to $15,600 under the current minimum wage.

        Higher salaries = greater consumer spending and less government assistance.

      • Jim Bean

        Higher salaries = higher prices = consumers spending less. (When connecting the dots, you skipped over one.)

      • I’d say you skipped several dots. By your logic, if we cut the salaries of Wall Street bankers, of doctors, lawyers etc, then prices should come down. By this logic, all we need to do to lower prices and raise consumer spending is cut everyone’s salary in half.

        But we are only talking about minimum wage earners here and your logic assumes that companies paying minimum wage are actually manufacturing anything.

      • Pat

        I’m with you, The PhotogsBlog. Jim is probably an employer underpaying all of his employees, just like a lot of them are/have been doing for years.

      • The myth of “trickle down” economics runs strong in the GOP.

      • Pat

        Oh yes, and what a myth it is!!! Wish more of the voting public could figure this out instead of following all of the “myths” the GOP wants, and needs them to believe.

      • CJ

        Huh? Higher prices does not equal less spending. Maybe the problem is logic and not math.

      • Brian Frang

        Ok, lets lay some myths to rest: A) Prices DO go up, but barely, about a penny per dollar that the minimum wage is increased. B) The poor and middle class spend much more money on American goods, not being able to afford the expensive imports that the wealthy buy. C) The poor don’t hoard money like the rich do. That’s part of (a very small part of) why they’re not rich. Which means more money=more spending. This is because each of those people making more money is spending that money, increasing profits, and keeping the prices low, wages high, and employment in high demand (busier stores mean more people WORKING in those busy stores)

  • Pat

    I am sure that the very reasonable Mr. Unz will soon be shut down unanimously by the Republicans who will hear nothing of raising the minimun wage to $10.00, much less his idea of $12.00. Good luck Mr. Unz, we need more common sense ideas like yours among the GOP.

  • Brian Frang

    And cue the Teabaggers screaming “RINO” at the top of their lungs. Like they do every time one of their more moderate party members shows signs of intelligence.

  • Elaine Steskal

    Why can’t these dufus Tea Bag idiots understand, if you raise the minimum wage people will not qualify for food stamps or government assistance. My nieces boyfriend was yammering about ACA saying he didn’t want to pay for 12 million people’s insurance, I told him YOU ALREADY DO! through Medicaid. through people who refuse to buy health ins or because they don’t make enough money. Conservatives have every excuse in the book, most are stupid excuses and reasoning!

    • Aanna1123

      Refuse to buy insurance? You’ve got to be kidding me? When the insurance companies are in politicians pockets, how can ANYONE afford insurance on minimum wage? Maybe you can rethink your verbiage so as not to piss hard working people off! At least with the PPACA, insurance companies are now being held accountable and folks can afford to pay for their own. Anyway, Good for Mr. Uza! We do need more of him.

      • Mathematicaster

        Because they can’t afford to. Read all of the words before you rant.

      • Chris

        “because they do not make enough money” means EXACTLY that. /SMH

      • Elaine Steskal

        Because if people can make a decent wage, even 10-12.00 an hour, and not 8.00, they will at least be able to pay a portion towards their own insurance and be subsidized for the rest. Yes, Mr Uza is right. Yes Ins companies need to be held accountable.

    • cynthia curran

      Actually, I agree with you but they are so pro business that they think the business will cut hours or workers, some will and some will not with a higher minimum wage. Tea party folks complain about illegal immigrants the adult group most likely taking minimum wage jobs are illegal immigrants since they pay so little. In fact a hike to 12 will get more of the native born interested in working at McDonalds and also employers have to pay money they are more likely to hire a high school graduate than someone who came from another country with 8th grade or less..

  • TheSilentMajority

    Sh*t I $12 was my starting pay…after got my college degree. That still wasn’t enough to live on in Hawaii. And that was in 2002!

  • Dusty2

    OMG! A republican conservative with intelligence AND the balls to speak up! Now I’m really scared!

  • Dusty2

    It is pathetic that we even need to talk about raising the ridiculous minimum wage that we have. No one in their right mind can possibly think that a family can survive on minimum wage. The current minimum wage is so far below poverty level that it actually pays to not work and live off the dole. If a business cannot survive paying their employees a decent wage then they SHOULD be forced out of business. Walmart, McDonald’s, Burger King and all the other fast food companies do quite well in Washington state and our minimum wage is well above the $12.00 mark and they don’t charge any more here than anywhere else. A few companies like Boston markets and others left the state but others took their place and we don’t even miss them.

    • Suzie

      I just read that Washington’s minimum wage is $9.19 per hour, not $12.00 plus. Where did you hear that it is that high? Isn’t minimum wage determined by a federal law? If so, how can Washington employees get paid that much, and where we live the minimum wage is $7.25???

      • Chris

        States can over ride the federal min wage with a higher one. Many do.

      • Dusty2

        Suzie, the base state wide wage is $9.09 several communities are raising that because a statewide flat rate is not good for those in populated areas who have much higher cost of living. The city of Seatac is now $15.00 an hour and the city of Seattle is also considering the $15.00 minimum.

      • cynthia curran

        This doesn’t work either. In fact many teens were unemployed in the 1970’s with more factory jobs. Factory will never employed as many people because of automation and robots even China and Germany employ less people in manufacturing than 20 years ago. China peak in manufacturing employment in 1996 even if the jobs went overseas there is more automation and robots.The high tariff and bring the factory jobs back doesn’t deal with automation and robots which are replacing lower skilled jobs anyway. The best hope is for manufacturing to developed more cheaper automation and 3 d printing where someone can make products on their own and be self-employed, bringing back artisans like before the industrial revolution.

    • Penis

      It’s not about the actual wage, it’s about the fact that if you make the business have to pay more for workers (if you make something more expensive), fewer businesses will be able to buy it (not as many people can buy the expensive thing).

      Businesses “buy” your labor. If you suddenly cost more to buy, businesses can’t afford as many workers, and jobs are eaten up.

      This also makes it harder for teens to get jobs. Teens generally have no skills compared to adults who have many skills. If an employer HAS to choose between a teen with no skills and an adult with skills, they’ll pick the adult. Eventually what will happen is that the teens with no skills will become adults with no skills. Then the adults who had skills will retire or be unable to work eventually.

      Finally what you’re left with is an entire generation with no skills at all, and no reason for employers to hire them. You take away the hope for the younger generation by giving it to the old.

      • Dusty2

        That theory has as many holes as Swiss cheese and I find it hard to believe people are still buying it. If you look back you will find that each time they raised the minimum wage they used this same old line yet each time it was raised the unemployment numbers actually went down and there was no appreciable increase in prices. The simple fact that all that money going to the rich does nothing for the economy because the lions share of their money is either horded or spent on expensive imported goods. Where higher wages for the middle and lower classes results in almost 100% of that money going back into the economy which creates more jobs and a better standard of living for all but the filthy rich who don’t need it and won’t spend it anyway. The rich do nothing to increase the standard of living for anyone and do nothing for American jobs.

      • Brian Frang

        I was going to correct all the errors in your theory, but Dusty2 covered all the points nicely. Just as a followup, though, goods go up by less than a penny per dollar of minimum wage increase, and history has shown that more money in the hands of the poor creates more spending, which creates more jobs. As far as making it harder for teens to get jobs, it’s nearly impossible, right now. If you want to bring back low wage jobs for teenagers, first you have to bring back all the higher wage manufacturing and support jobs that have been shipped overseas. The teenager argument doesn’t hold water anymore, because most minimum wage earners are in their late 20s.

      • cynthia curran

        Most of those jobs are not done by teens but adults now. Two you have the cost of labor fallacy. The state that pays most jobs at 7.25 per hr has over an 8 percent unemployment while Washington state at 9 per hr is only 7 percent unemployment.

  • RayandFannie Esparza

    Won’t find too many backers on the GOP side

  • Penis

    Make labor more expensive! Yay!

    Wait, where did all of the jobs go?

    • Chris

      Too bad for you, increasing the minimum wage increases the buying power of the people, hence creating demand for more workers.

      • strayaway

        I’m ok with states raising the minimum wage. More Republicans need to understand that higher wages will result in lower welfare costs as several posters here have already pointed out. Less welfare aid means fewer government workers and smaller government. Higher minimum wage levels would also make it less attractive for cheating employers to hire cheaper foreign labor in the US.

        Republicans should also appreciate that higher wages will be a huge boost to the US robotization industry. Also, the would be Party of family values should appreciate that small family operated businesses would be able to gain certain advantages if they keep their own books.

        The biggest problem I foresee is that businesses will have a strong motive to send jobs abroad faced with higher wages at home. The federal government must get out of agreements making it more profitable to send jobs abroad for higher minimum wages to work.

    • Dusty2

      First all of the jobs have already gone and second that old refrain has been proven wrong many times. But then if you buy into that lame thinking then you are part of the problem and facts and figures won’t convince you you are wrong.

  • Matthew Reece

    Without government interference, jobs cannot pay people who are working to stay alive less than what they need to stay alive, as people would not work at such jobs.

    • Brian Frang

      Then why do so many people work jobs that don’t pay them enough to stay alive, NOW? Why do I know people who have three jobs that pay them $5 an hour apiece, even though it’s illegal, because they’d rather half-starve than completely starve? if people wouldn’t be willing to work jobs that pay them less than what they need to survive, then why is 80% of Wal-Mart’s workforce below the poverty level? Run the numbers, it’s real simple, there’s ALWAYS someone willing to work for less. Abolish the minimum wage and it would not be long before $0.25 an hour is common because no one offers any jobs for a higher wage. And SOMEONE’S going to be desperate enough to take it, so it WILL become the norm. The only thing stopping that from happening right now is the minimum wage.

      • Matthew Reece

        People currently work at jobs that cannot support them because government interference in the economy makes it feasible to do so.

      • Brian Frang

        Then how is it the Great Depression happened in the first place, establishing a NEED for the New Deal, which brought all of those “oh so terrible” government interferences in to play? Why did unions get formed in the first place? Oh, right, it’s because they were being forced to work long hours for wages that couldn’t support them and didn’t have a choice because there were no other options. Laissez faire capitalism, the so-called “free market” has ONE inevitable conclusion. A plutarchy. One guy, with ALL the wealth, and ALL the control. The more you strip away those programs and labor laws, as we’ve been doing over the last 30 years, the more we become what we are today, and where we are today is a pretty good indication of where we’ll be headed. The top 1% of wage earners control 40% of the GDP. The top 10% control 80%, and the top 20% control 93% of the wealth. Let me put that in perspective, for you. The City of Los Angeles contains roughly 1% of the population, and the state of California, about 12%, but for the sake of argument, let’s say 10%. So, if we were to move all the top 10% in to California, and the top 1% in to L.A., that means L.A. ALONE, in this example, would control 40% of the wealth, and California a total of 80%, leaving the other 49 states to share the remaining 20%. The next ten percent we’ll split between New York and Ohio (another approximately 10%, with about 4 percent in Ohio, and 6% in New York… Roughly. There’s about 31 million people between the two states). Those two states control another 13% of the wealth, leaving the OTHER 47 states to share only 7% of the wealth between them. THAT is the state of our current system, and a DIRECT result of lightening those same labor laws and safety nets you’re saying are bad. Getting RID of those regulations would only make things worse, not better.

      • Matthew Reece

        The Great Depression was caused and exacerbated by lingering debts from World War I, Federal Reserve policies of the 1920s, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930, and the abandonment of bimetallism in 1873.

        Free market capitalism was not the problem, as it was not the system in use. The system was crony corporatism, much like today. Corporations are a legal fiction created by the state to shield executives from liability, and would not exist in a free market.

      • Ruud Barbier

        I doubt that companies will start paying their workers more when SNAP disappears, because of that. Matthew, you are prety ignorant to think that. Walmart, MacDonalds etc, they dont care about any other thing than profit for their stockholders.
        The only reason that we don’t have these huge government support systems in Europe is BECAUSE of reasonable minimum wages. We don’t need SNAP and that DOES make us (our community) a great deal richer than you (your community).
        And OK, our richest people are not as rich as your richest people, but both, our rich people AND your rich people, have more than enough to live comfortable lifes.
        Now you will probably call me a communist or a socialist, but then I can only recommend you to read in an encyclopedia what those terms mean.

      • Matthew Reece

        People cannot work for less than what will keep them alive. A safety net provides additional income, allowing people to work at a job that pays less and still survive. Without a safety net, companies would pay more because they would have no choice.

        I will not call you a socialist or a communist. I will, however, call you a statist.

      • Ruud Barbier

        What do you see as the solution?

        Should companies start paying their workers more in order to get rid of safety nets?

        Or shoud we start eliminating the safety net, in the hope that the companies will follow?

      • Matthew Reece

        Either could work. The companies would follow in the latter case because they would have no choice. Workers cannot work over the long term for wages that will not keep them alive, and companies cannot function without living workers.

        Of course, another aspect of the problem is that people are paid in unsound money. I would like to see either a return to a precious metal-backed dollar or a more earnest move forward into cryptocurrencies, preferably both.

      • Ruud Barbier

        I think the problem in your case is, that you have to make sure(!) that the companies will follow paying more – at the same moment! – when cuts in social systems are made.
        You cannot just take peoples money away, and hope employers will follow, in a couple of months or so … They are already at the bottom!

        It’s also naive to think that companies, all of a sudden, will act empathically (maybe a couple of minor companies, but not the big ones) and start raising their wages, because their workers don’t get SNAP or whatever it is they get. That takes time and all this time it is the worker that suffers.

        The only way you can do this is to force employers to raise wages, in order to abolish Gouvernment subsidising.

        Remember, the social systems are there BECAUSE companies don’t pay enough, not the other way round, so …how will you ever expect them to raise wages voluntarilly?

        The remark about the moneyvalue is a different discussion and not one I will take here.

      • Matthew Reece

        Using government to force employers to raise wages will lead to some combination of job losses, lack of job creation, more expensive products, less hours for workers, and less benefits.

        The social systems are there to allow corporations to get away with paying workers so little (and to trap the poor in a permanent underclass that votes for statists to continue the handouts). Don’t you think the 1% would bribe the politicians to get rid of welfare programs if they didn’t help the 1%?

        The corporations won’t raise wages because they want to; they will do it because they have to. Corporations need living workers, which means they must keep them alive if no one else will.

      • Ruud Barbier

        Exactly! The problem is that they only keep them alive and not a penny more! The poor will be treated as underclass, no matter what.

        Your 1% don’t NEED goodies to do right. They have more than enough already. And if they can bribe politicians, I have a serious grunch against those politicians! In that case the politicians are the cause by giving in to company greed!!

        Corporations don’t need living workers, Corporations need happy workers!

        Your views, about what people need and companies should be allowed to, are so antique that it hurts.

      • Matthew Reece

        They will always bribe politicians, unless there are no politicians to bribe. The politicians are the cause, as they grant the legal fictions that shield the 1% from liability, competition, and criticism. This truth necessitates some form of anarchism.

      • Ruud Barbier

        Job loss will only be temporarely, as all research shows that higer wages will increase spending -> raising demand -> growing economy -> increase of jobs.

        Another problem is rightly the 1%. Do you think it is fair that, with your current system, 95% of income growth went to this 1% (a clear proof that fx. trickle down DOES NOT work), and what do you suggest one could do about that?

        In this discussion i assume that the purchasing power of money remains as is. As I said, that is a completely
        different topic.

      • Matthew Reece

        The research unavoidably commits the broken window fallacy, as it cannot count jobs that were not created, goods that were not manufactured, or companies that never started because the higher minimum wage diverts capital away from such ventures.

        The 1% are so disproportionately wealthy because they receive massive government subsidies, have the legal fiction called a corporation to shield them from liability, have regulations to stifle smaller competitors, and have the state court system to make decisions in their favor. Without a government all of this goes away, so the 1% would be less wealthy, and those who get into the 1% would have to get there by serving others, not by getting government handouts.

        Prices have risen 475% since 1971, when any semblance of the gold standard was ended. Also note that raising the minimum wage significantly enough to increase pay for a large percentage of workers will decrease purchasing power, as goods and services must become more expensive to allow companies to afford to pay higher wages. Therefore, the assumption that purchasing power of money remains “as is” is false.

      • Ruud Barbier

        #1 It is the right wing that created most of the benefits for the 1%.
        #2 If wages and prices do not increase evenly you make people poorer, wages have hardly risen since 1971. Isn’t that the coorporations to blame for? Why did they not follow the same pricedevelopment in their workers payment?
        #3 Why do the 1% keep and stockpile their money instead of let it float back into society?
        #4 What is their against higher taxes for the richest to compensate for their abuse of subsidies.

      • Matthew Reece

        #1 I am not disputing this.
        #2 They didn’t have to. They use regulations to corner the markets in their respective industries, which keeps out entrepreneurs who could pay higher wages. They also don’t have to pay as much because government subsidies to poor workers help keep them alive, meaning the corporations don’t have to pay them as much. Another problem is Big Labor, which has turned unionization into yet another protection racket. Proper unions based on voluntary association could have helped keep wages higher and done more to fight for workers rather than for union bosses. Then there are protectionist trade policies, which leave people with less money in their pockets because the goods they have to buy are more expensive. Of course, there is also currency manipulation by central banks, which some of the 1% ride for a living rather than doing something productive that could employ other people for good wages. And to quote Milton Friedman, inflation is taxation without legislation. It makes the 99% poorer because they get the money after it is devalued while many of the 1% get to spend it ahead of the velocity of money. The 1% have thoroughly rigged the game, and only state power allows for this sort of rigging.
        #3 To the extent that this happens, which is not much if we are counting economic activity properly, it is because they think it will be worth more later than it is now, and they can afford not to spend it.
        #4 Why use more government when we can use less government by simply ending the subsidies and letting the market correct itself?

      • Ruud Barbier

        In my eyes you are defending the outdated, non-gouvernmental, mentality from the 1920’s GOP. You don’t take in account that the times have changed and the conservative vision of the relation between job growth, wagelevel and workforce is not the same as when those ideas originated.
        That does not only make you extremely conservative but also narrow sighted, reactionary and egoistic. It is this: “As-long-as-we-can-take-what-we-can-it-is-allright” mentality that will drag your country down in the end.
        For me from now on, you are a stupid man and, as a principle, I don’t discuss with stupid people.
        Have a good life.

      • Matthew Reece

        I am an anarchist, not a conservative. Your insults are admissions of your own stupidity and incapability of rational argument.

      • Matthew Reece

        If you don’t want to talk about the purchasing power of money, then you are not serious about finding a solution to the problem of income inequality. It does not matter how high the minimum wage goes if that amount of money fails to buy anything.

  • Matthew Reece

    In 1964, the minimum wage was 5 silver quarters per hour. Today, their melt value would be about $20, give or take based on fluctuations in the price of silver. The minimum wage is not the problem; the problem is the money. Those who really want to solve the problem of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer need to advocate for an end to central banking and a return to sound money.

    • Brian Frang

      There are two major problems with that theory. The first is supply: There just simply isn’t enough precious metal out there to be used as money, anymore, and what IS available would be much better suited to be used as highly conductive materials for electronics. Not having enough precious metals to cover the number of people was a major driving force behind prolonging the Great Depression, since adhering to the gold standard prevented the government from bailing the people out. Which leads to the second problem: Paper money allows for a much greater control of inflation, because the government can artificially limit what is out there. The big problem, here, is that people think the government is just going to print money, that’s not how it works. Raising the minimum wage forces a shift in who controls the spending power, but it doesn’t change the amount of money in the system, which is what keeps prices stable.

      • Matthew Reece

        Sound money would not have to take the form of precious metals. It could be something resembling Bitcoin, but without the volatility.

        Inflation is properly defined as an expansion of the supply of money, not an increase of prices. The increase of prices generally follows an expansion of monetary supply, but to absolutely conflate the two is a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

        The problem with gold in the Great Depression had to do with bonds from World War I which were redeemable in gold. If Wilson had kept the US out of the war, and if bimetallism had not been abandoned in 1873, there may not have been a problem. As for there not being enough, precious metals are divisible down to very small amounts (in theory, down to the level of the inverse of Avogadro’s number), so there only needs to be a tiny amount in circulation for it to work.

        Unfortunately, with quantitative easing, the Federal Reserve is just going to print money.

        Raising the minimum wage forces a shift in who controls the spending power, toward those who get to keep their jobs and away from those who lose their jobs because their labor has a market value below the newly raised minimum wage.

  • tom

    This is the same party that supposedly represents Christian values while at the same time adamantly opposing help for those in need so they can give more to those in greed.

  • IHateBothParties

    It’s hilarious how the article reads “with many actually claiming that the minimum wage kills jobs” before going on to deem that claim “unintelligent.”

    Really? Raising the minimum wage will ALWAYS eliminate jobs. ALWAYS. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. That’s Econ 101. I personally support raising the min wage, but to pretend that people aren’t going to lose their jobs because of it is embarrassingly ill-informed. Try actually taking an econ class.

    • Brian Frang

      Try taking something PAST Econ 101. Raising the minimum wage tends to INCREASE the number of jobs on the market, because when the lower classes have more spending power, they buy more, necessitating the need for more workers on ALL levels of employment.

  • truth finder

    That is great and all, but his REAL bottom-line is to get businesses to only hire Americans. He isn’t any better than the rest of them, he just uses a different tactic that hides the truth.

  • FD Brian

    At least raising the minimum wage directly helps people who WORK. Many of these people wouldn’t be in minimum wage jobs if rich people hadn’t moved virtually all manufacturing jobs overseas, a move that sacrificed many for the benefit of a few.