Apparently, increasing the minimum wage was not important for American workers during the first five years of Obama's presidency—least of all his first two years, when Democrats controlled Congress and could have passed anything. (And did!)
No. The minimum wage did not become a pressing concern until an election year in which the public's hatred of Obamacare is expected to be the central issue.
As The New York Times explained, Democrats see the minimum wage as an issue that "will place Republican candidates in a difficult position," and also as a tool "to enlarge the electorate in a nonpresidential election, when turnout among minorities and youths typically drops off."
(Unlike Republicans, Democrats consider it important to win elections.)
To most people, it seems as if the Democrats are giving workers something for nothing. But there are always tradeoffs. No serious economist denies that increasing the minimum wage will cost jobs. If it's not worth paying someone $10 an hour to do something, the job will be eliminated—or it simply won't be created.
The minimum wage is the perfect Democratic issue. It will screw the very people it claims to help, while making Democrats look like saviors of the working class, either by getting them a higher wage or providing them with generous government benefits when they lose their jobs because of the mandatory wage hike.
Since the late 1960s, the Democrats have been dumping about a million low-skilled immigrants on the country every year, driving down wages, especially at the lower end of the spectrum.
According to Harvard economist George Borjas, our immigration policies have reduced American wages by $402 billion a year—while increasing profits for employers by $437 billion a year. (That's minus what they have to pay to the government in taxes to support their out-of-work former employees. Of course, we're all forced to share that tax burden.)
Or, as the White House puts it on its website promoting an increase in the minimum wage, "Today, the real value of the minimum wage has fallen by nearly one-third since its peak in 1968."
Why were wages so high until 1968? Because that's when Teddy Kennedy's 1965 Immigration Act kicked in, bringing in about a million immigrants a year, almost 90 percent of them unskilled workers from the Third World.
Our immigration policies massively redistribute wealth from the poorest Americans to the richest. It's a basic law of economics that when the supply goes up, the price goes down. More workers means the price of their labor plummets.
Having artificially created a glut of low-wage workers, now Democrats want to artificially raise their wages.
It's win-win-win-win-win for Democrats.
Democrats show how much they love the poor by importing a million more of them to America each year. But then they prevent the last batch of poor immigrants from getting decent, well-paying jobs by bringing in another million poor people the next year.
You want a higher minimum wage? Turn off the spigot of low-wage workers pouring in to the U.S. and it will rise on its own through the iron law of supply and demand.
In response to the Democrats' minimum wage proposal, Republicans should introduce a bill ending both legal and illegal immigration until the minimum wage rises naturally to $14 an hour.
Australia has a $15 minimum wage for adults—more than twice the U.S. minimum wage. Meanwhile, their official unemployment rate is lower than ours: 6 percent compared to 6.6 percent in the U.S.—and that's with a lousy $7.25 minimum wage.
Sound good? Try immigrating there. Australia has some of the most restrictive immigration policies in the world. Their approach to immigration is to admit only people who will be good for Australia. (Weird!) Applicants are evaluated on a point system that gives preference to youth, English proficiency, education and skill level.
Similarly, New Zealand will soon have an official minimum wage of $14.25 for adults. Even our Democrats aren't proposing that! New Zealand's minimum wage hit $10.10—the Democrats' current proposal for us—back in 2006. Their unemployment rate is also 6 percent—up from several years of 4 percent unemployment a few years ago.
Instead of training the citizenry to look at the government as our paternal benefactor, distributing minimum wage laws and unemployment benefits in important election years, why don't Republicans put an end to the artificial glut of low-wage, low-skilled workers being imposed on the country by our immigration laws?
Republicans could guarantee a $14 minimum wage simply by closing the pipeline of more than 1 million poor immigrants coming in every year.
Businessmen will gripe, but maybe the GOP could explain to their Chamber of Commerce friends that they will help them by slashing oppressive regulations, reining in government bureaucracies, passing tort reform, etc. They will cut taxes and the welfare state will shrink, as Americans go to work.
But if the plutocrats insist on admitting another 30 million Democratic voters in order to get ever-cheaper labor, then, soon, Republicans won't be in a position to help them at all.
Her most recent book is Never Trust a Liberal Over Three-Especially a Republican.