2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton turned in another mass-market political performance of saying a lot and committing to nothing during her nuanced response to the movement for increasing the national minimum wage to $15:

“I think part of the reason that the Congress and very strong Democratic supporters of increasing the minimum wage are trying to debate and determine what’s the national floor is because there are different economic environments. And what you can do in L.A. or in New York may not work in other places.”

But, she supports “the local efforts that are going on…”

(Laughing) That was Hillary Code for “Don’t expect to see a national policy proposal for 15 bucks an hour to come from my desk anytime soon.”

I think there are two things left to do in this post.

First—I’ll frame the current minumum wage problem by reminding you that a minimum wage earner can’t afford to rent an apartment virtually anywhere in America without either going broke, hooking up with a roommate, finding a benefactor or discovering a kind host.

Second—regardless of whether or not the activist-supported number is valid—I extended the logic of the $15 minimum wage proposal to demonstrate that Secretary Clinton has no interest whatsoever in helping everyday families build wealth.

Using data from My Apartment Map, I pulled together a quick and dirty chart which summarizes the difference between the cost of a one-bedroom apartment and the monthly pay of workers earning the proposed $15 per hour at 40 hours per week. I then mapped the results for each state in the US, thus the red and green shaded circles Click the image below to see the entire map:

ability to afford one bedroom apartment by state while with $15 an hour minimum wage
Click image to view full map

The chart tells a clear story—in the overwhelming majority of states, lives would change if the hypothetical $15 an hour pay became a real thing.

The large, opaque red spots in states like New York and Hawaii on the map mean that $15 per hour workers would effectively exist to pay rent, while the mostly green spots in states like Arizona and Georgia mean the same wage earners would be able to easily afford rent, plus have money left pay for other expenses.

We all know by now&Secretary Clinton included—that a higher wage translates to more spending, or more loot for shopkeepers to invest in expansion.

But here’s a benefit to a higher wage that no one talks about: the ability to keep more money in savings accounts.

Savings would not only end personal poverty, but the improved wealth would also strengthen communities and allow wage earners to do crazy things like use their new money to back the political candidates of their choice.

Which means the meek would get a shot at inheriting the land once more.

And I’m not certain that Clinton’s oligarch backers are big fans of that kind of power…

song currently stuck in my head: “don’t turn your love (tee’s ‘o’ mix) ” – park ave.


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