Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Democratic presidential candidate whose popularity is surging, is being told he’s not what he says he is. First the Washington Post reports that Vermont socialists don’t consider the self-proclaimed socialist Sanders one of their own. Given the size and influence of the Vermont socialists, it’s a dismissal Sanders can probably live with. In fact, being disowned by International Socialist Organization’s Burlington wing would probably serve Sanders well with the general public.
But another mainstream media organ, this time Forbes, is taking aim at what it sees as economic confusion in Sanders’ support for the $15 minimum wage. On his Senate site, Sanders admits a national $15 minimum wage would be disruptive, but that with a well-designed phase-in process, “businesses will be able to absorb the cost increases through modest increases in prices and productivity.” At Forbes Tim Worstall argues that both those increases are also an admission — on Sanders’ own page — that the minimum wage increase will cost jobs. The presumption that an increase in prices will spur a decrease in goods purchased (and therefore also in jobs to produce them) is debatable. But it’s very difficult to find economists who argue that an increase in productivity parallels an increase in jobs.