June 18, 2004


Kerry calls for $7 an hour minimum wage (UPI, 6/18/04)

U.S. presidential hopeful John Kerry said Friday the minimum wage should be increased to $7 an hour as part of an economic plan announced this week.

The junior senator from Massachusetts and likely Democratic Party nominee for president said the increase from the current $5.15 an hour to $7 an hour by 2007 would mean raises for some 7.4 million workers.

NPR just played a clip in which the Senator accidentally refuted the Democrats entire health care coverage argument. He asked a young woman--who apparently earns minimum wage--if she had health coverage:


Does that worry you?


Have you been sick & needed coverage?


So you have the Bush Plan: Pray you don't get sick.

The point--which he, of course, missed--is that young people don't really need health coverage, just a catastrophic plan is adequate and then they could pay for the few things they do need out of pocket. Or, even better, put them in Health Savings Accounts and all those years when they're young and healthy and don't consume much medical care would allow them to build up a huge amount of savings for when they do need it, money they could borrow against over the course of their lives for other pressing needs.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 18, 2004 4:23 PM

I wish that something like an HSA had been available the last few decades. Looking back, all those insurance premiums I've paid are so much wasted money, subsidizing hypocondriacs who run to the doctor for placebos for their every ache and sniffle.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 18, 2004 6:35 PM

Actually, she is earning the minimum wage Kerry is proposing.

Someone should look to France, with a minimum wage in excess of $8/hour and report what the young adult unemployment rate is.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at June 18, 2004 7:51 PM

That'd work as long as she isn't interested in having any babies. Or are you proposing to count that as a catastrophe?

To me the real message in Kerry's proposal, as Jeff notes, is that she's already where Kerry says he'll lift her by 2007.

Out here, I doubt anybody is being offered as little as $7 (with state-mandated health coverage if you work 19 hours a week or more).

An overheated economy beats a minimum wage any day.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 18, 2004 8:33 PM

Raising the minimum wage is a Dem staple. This could be seen as Kerry feeling the need to satisfy his base which, at this stage of the campaign, isn't good news for him.

Posted by: AWW at June 18, 2004 10:24 PM

Typical of the Democrats to believe they can repeal the law of supply and demand.

BTW--last time I heard, the young adult unemployment rate in France was around 25%, and it was put down to the high minimum wage making inexperienced, low-qualified workers unemployable.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at June 19, 2004 9:18 AM

Jeff --

It's not a law, it's a social construct.

Posted by: Uncle Bill at June 19, 2004 10:44 AM