Frequent commenter (and friend of the blog) Greg G had an excellent response the other day in response to a comment on a Carpe Diem blog post. I encourage you to read the original comment, but here I post below Greg’s response (with his kind permission):
Since you asked for input, I would like to say that was the best written explanation of the Sanders phenomenon that I have seen. Also, it was a refreshing change of pace from the echo chamber this comments section can sometimes be. I am seen by some here as a dangerous leftist.
As you might expect on a libertarian economics blog, most people here are going to tell you you’ve got the economics wrong. Even me.
I think it’s telling and alarming that Sanders leads with minimum wage as an issue. I owned and operated a small retail store for 33 years. I sold part of it and liquidated part of it 8 years ago when I retired. My former employees are so nostalgic for their old jobs they still insist on getting together about three times a year. I always paid well above minimum wage but a doubling of it would have quickly put me out of business.
When I hired entry level sales clerks the majority of the applicants who scheduled an interview never showed up. Most of those who did were hopeless as potentially useful employees. We always found good people but we usually had to look hard.
Those applicants who couldn’t have added any value for me often found jobs somewhere else. If they were able to earn 65% of what it takes for them to live on then that’s a lot better than them earning zero percent which is the real alternative.
I support a taxpayer funded social safety net. I do not think making it illegal for businesses to hire people at low wages will do anything but make things worse for the people you think it will help.
Bernie is good at diagnosing some of the economic problems the country. That doesn’t mean he’s got good ideas on how to fix them. I saw him get a very sympathetic interview from Bill Mahar. Mahar asked him why Vermont had such a spectacular failure at implementing Obamacare. Bernie flatly refused to discuss it, saying it wasn’t relevant. It is relevant. He ought to be able to understand what’s going on on an issue he cares so much about in his own tiny state.
I’m also skeptical that more “free” college at taxpayer’s expense will lower costs for anyone other than the lucky ones (often high income) who will have their tuitions paid.