A couple of years ago, when Congress was debating raising the national minimum wage, quite a few detractors of the plan (myself included) said that the move — couched as a boon to the people on the lowest rungs of the job ladder — would end up eventually hurting them far more than it would help them.
Naturally, us pessimistic doom-and-gloomers and knee-jerk naysayers and tools of the corporate masters and poor-haters and oppressors were all shouted down, and the minimum raise was raised to something closer to a “living wage.”
And now that the economy has taken a bit of a hit, in an astonishing coincidence that so many of us predicted by only the craziest of flukes, a hefty chunk of the people at the bottom rungs — workers ages 16 to 24 — are unemployed at the highest level in decades.
Why, it’s almost as if employers simply don’t think that these workers are worth the minimum wage rate, and are taking advantage of the economic slowdown (more people looking for work) to be a bit more selective and hire people with more skills and more of a proven work record.
But that can’t be. That would mean that the liberals and progressives and social engineers and the ones that really care about people were wrong, and that simply can’t happen.
So there must be some other explanation. Something that exonerates all those right-thinking people who ratcheted up the minimum wage and finds someone else to blame — maybe those stupid teabaggers, or the RAAAAACISTS, or the obstructionist Republicans, or maybe the JOOOOOS, or the creationists, or the Birthers, or George W. Bush and the Neocons…
But we all know whose fingerprints are all over those unemployment figures, don’t we?
As Jim Hoft noted, there is a remarkable overlap between “young people who voted for Obama” and “young people who can’t find a job.” As so many like to say, “elections have consequences.”
One wonders how many of them will connect the dots between the policies they voted for, and the policies that are currently screwing them over.
My cynical prediction: some, but not enough to cause a sea change.