Thursday, October 07, 2010

Alaska Senate Candidate Joe Miller Being Misrepresented On His Position On Minimum Wage; Opposes Its Federalization Rather Than Its Existence

Once again, the misrepresentation of Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller continues apace. This time, detractors and the media alike are hinting that he opposes the idea of a minimum wage.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, Miller merely opposes the Federalization of the minimum wage. He has no objections to states setting their own minimum wage laws. According to ADN Alaska Politics, the issue came up when Miller sat down with Jonathan Karl of ABC News and Mike Allen, the chief political correspondent for Politico.com. In response to the question “Should the federal government be requiring a minimum wage?”, here's what Miller said:

“That is clearly up to the states. We believe — in fact the state of Alaska has a minimum wage which is higher than the federal level because our state leaders have made that determination. The minimum level, again should be the state’s decision...There should not be, that is not within the scope of the powers that are given to the federal government. And again, let me make it clear, this is not just a simple checklist this is, let’s think of this pragmatically as well — even if you disagree with the constitutional approach which I think is the No. 1 thing that we ought to be following — it still makes far more sense to have those kinds of decisions made at the level closest to the people where there is more accountability, less inefficiency, where there is more understanding of where the people ought to be and what the state role of government is. We’ve said this many times, if you like big government, move to Massachusetts.”

Maybe not necessarily less inefficiency, but certainly more accountability. It is easier and less expensive to change an onerous local or state law than it is to change a Federal law. But clearly, Joe Miller's objection is NOT to the concept of the minimum wage, but to its Federalization. The majority of us who support Joe Miller do not hate government; we simply think the Federal government has grown too intrusive, invasive, and oppressive. And with a $13 trillion national debt, it's too damned expensive. We believe that states are limited sovereign entities in their own right, and not mere appendages of the Federal government.

Michael Gottesman, a Georgetown University constitutional and labor law professor, defends the Federalization of the minimum wage, saying “One [effect] is avoiding a ‘race to the bottom’ in which states that allow substandard wages attract industry away from states that have a higher minimum wage. Another, frequently cited by the Court, is that higher wages increases purchasing power of employees and thus increases the volume of goods sold in interstate commerce.” But what Gottesman ignores is the fact that a state losing industry because of high wages could counter that effect by offering industry lower taxes or less bureaucracy as an inducement to stay.

Gottesman also fails to note that by permitting outsourcing of industry outside the United States, we've already been engaged in a race to the bottom for years.

You can read a transcript of the entire interview at ABC News. This is the same interview in which Joe Miller said that Sarah Palin was one of the good names for President, any of them better than Obama. This triggered a temporary spat between Miller and Todd Palin which was quickly resolved.

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