Nick asked if former Governor Mike Huckabee understood the cure for wage stagnation. I had a chance to ask him what he would do as President to address wage stagnation at a meet and greet event at a Pizza Ranch in Altoona, IA.
Huckabee told me:
One of the best ways to do it is to bring stabilization to the dollar. When a dollar represents a real dollar that is a realistic way to gauge wage growth, but when it is fluctuating and a dollar is worth a dollar this week and eighty cents next week and fifty cents next week and a dollar and a quarter next week there is no way that a person who is working for a wage can keep up. Part of the answer is still going back to the fair tax, but there is another issue that I believe is important. We don’t need to let Democrats suck us into discussion of the minimum wage as if the best thing we can do for working people is to get them to the minimum of something.
I’ve asked people when they have said “I am for the minimum wage” – “Are you really? That is the best you got? What is the minimum wage you want to propose? Oh, ten dollars, can you live off of ten dollars an hour?”
And nobody says they can do it. So I say, “If that isn’t going to let you live, let’s talk about a maximum wage, what would it take to get you to the wage you would like to earn? What do you think would be a good wage for you?”
And if they say, “I’d like to earn thirty dollars, forty dollars an hour.” All right let’s take a look at the jobs that pay thirty and forty dollars-an-hour. A nurse, truck driver, a welder – some of those pay sixty, seventy dollars an hour. HVAC technician, that’s the kind of money they make.
Rather than say let’s let the government arbitrarily put you in a ten dollars an hour job that may mean you lose that job because your employer may not be able to pay for it. Let’s get you to the place where you are earning thirty, forty, fifty dollars an hour. Get the training, that’s what we need to be focused on.
I asked specifically what he would do to address monetary policy, what would he do to reign in the Fed:
Well for one thing, most of what the Fed does is not necessarily helpful because it is creating an artificial economy that only helps the people who are vested in the stock market by holding down interest rates which means the people who are living off savings are being decimated – a lot of elderly people. People who have the freedom and the liberty and resources to invest in the stock market they are doing great. I don’t blame them, I am not even thinking we ought to rob from what they’ve done or raise their taxes. They are just living under the best economy they’ve been able to find.
But when you want to do quantitative easing what you actually end up doing is creating an artificial bubble that does not reflect the genuine impact of the economy and what it is doing to people who are working. And if you add that to the policies that we put on trade and immigration you have pushed working people and wage earners right off the face of the map into outsourcing. Now you have people who can’t find decent, good jobs at the same time we can’t even build America anymore.