Tuesday, July 23, 2019

we need to talk about Bernie Sanders

Not that Bernie Sanders has a chance in hell of winning the Democrat nomination for president, but he made the news recently for being proven a hypocrite for not paying his campaign staffers—who unionized and are salaried at $36,000 a year, with platinum-level insurance—the $15 per hour that he's been agitating for.

Here's Styx on Sanders's hypocrisy:

There's a good lesson in economics—and in why socialism doesn't work—to be found here.

Here's Tyler O'Neil:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is quite the hypocrite. The 2016 Democratic presidential runner-up and 2020 contender has long championed increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and chided companies like Disney and McDonald's for not paying their employees that much. Last week, news broke that Sanders' presidential campaign is not paying staffers a salary equivalent to $15 per hour. Field organizers said they make $36,000 per year working 60 hours per week, an average of $13 per hour.

Sanders responded in a way that proves critics of the minimum wage 100 percent correct.

Using government force to increase the minimum wage creates a great deal of economic disruption, making life harder for the workers such a law is intended to help. Forcing companies to pay a higher wage leads employers to seek out less expensive automation, fire increasingly expensive workers, or cut the hours employees can work. Sanders opted for the third choice.

I saw the argument that, because the campaign staffers are on a salary, it's actually more to their benefit to work 40 hours a week for $36,000/year than to work 60 hours/week for the same salary. Very true. But as Styx points out, you're still seeing a sort of stultification, here: the staffers could have been motivated to go above and beyond, in terms of their effort, but there's obviously no desire to do so. Lack of motivation, lack of a work ethic, is a typical side effect of command economies. As O'Neil writes:

The fact that Sanders staffers actually left the campaign over even this pay is quite revealing. Apparently, the socialist's campaign staff don't believe in the cause enough to accept the standard struggles of a campaign employee. Bernie Sanders was a source of hope and belief in 2016. Now he's "the man": a millionaire with power in the Democratic Party whose oppressed workers need to unionize in order to get "fair" wages. This may be a worse knock against his campaign than the hypocrisy of him paying less than $15 per hour.

"Don't believe in the cause enough" = lack of motivation.

It was probably a mistake to allow the staffers to unionize, but Bernie, being a committed socialist, probably couldn't see a way around that problem.

Then again, how committed a socialist is Sanders, really, with his three huge properties?


John Mac said...

Well, I was a salaried employee for most of my working life. And in regards to the working 60 hours per week, that sounds like a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires overtime compensation. Certain high level management types are exempt from the FLSA provisions that require overtime pay but should be given compensatory time off.

Just further support for the premise that Sanders and his ilk are full of shit and his policies have repeatedly been proven unworkable. Nice that he gets to see it up close and personal, not that it will create any self-awareness...

Kevin Kim said...

All good points. I ought to be surprised that no one is legally pursuing this violation of labor standards, but in the end, it's not really surprising to watch the left get away with something major like this. A Republican's feet would have been held to the fire.