In the very best scams, popular ideals of the public are used to coerce the target into taking an action they would otherwise never do. Modern politics, especially as used by the Obama Administration, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and several Democrat stronghold States (like New York), and specifically on the subject of minimum wage use the same principles.
The first objective of a scam is to identify what the mark is looking for. In this case its easy. People want something for nothing. Quick gains with no apparent consequences. It’s part of the reason Lotto is so popular. Increases of minimum wage fits the bill nicely. It actually only affects about 3% of the working population – even less of the total population. But it fits into the mantra of income equality, and appeals to the poorest of voters.
The second objective is to catch the attention of the mark. Between the constant declaration of the woes of income equality from the White House, and the headline grabbing declaration from Sen. Elizabeth Warren for a national $15/hr minimum wage, attention was easy. Counting on the fact that the news media would promote the controversial statements, and that the mass of voters have been trained to only read headlines and 30 second soundbites, the call for a $15/hr minimum wage has circulated on social media almost non-stop for over a year. The desire for free money, in the form of a wage increase without commensurate increase in productivity or qualifications, has drowned out all mentions of economic infeasibility and consequences (such as loss of government aid, increased taxes, and loss of jobs).
Third on the list is the draw the mark in. To this end politicians in California and New York, as well as in Seattle, where Democrats hold strong sway over public opinion, have rushed legislation through the system to enact limited minimum wage increases. In New York, as an example, the unjustified increase in wages is targeted to only fast food workers. This is done for several reasons.
By limiting the increase to this group, support from several large unions is gained (and in New York politics unions are critical for Democrats). In addition, jealousy combined with the desire for “free money” adds to the swell of those also seeking the increase. This places pressure on additional unions to join the fray. It also builds in a default scapegoat for any problems or negative repercussions. Any opposition is the source of all problems (from the view of those seeking the “free money”).
Lastly, the mark is taken. The masses, ignorant of consequences of an increased minimum wage that have gone unspoken by supporters and ignored by opponents as their arguments are too long for the headline focused majority, willfully lend their support to those offering the “consequence free money.” This takes the form of donations, votes, and positive word of mouth. Is it any wonder that Sen. Bernie Sanders advocates for the $15/hr minimum wage (though he is unwilling to pay his campaign staff this amount) and is surging in Democrat polls for the nomination?
In a successful scam, the mark (voters in this case) are felt either unaware they have been taken, or unaware of the consequences of being taken – at least until it is far too late. In this case, after donation have been made (and politicians are hoping after votes cast) the public is left with the following:
The trade off to get all these predictable consequences (and likely even more), is that politicians will continue to be elected to the offices they hold. The poor, as a whole will not be helped. The selected poor may suffer directly and indirectly. The middle class may well get tax hikes. The unemployed will remain unemployed. Businesses may suffer. In essence, a small sliver of the small percentage of jobs will benefit. And people wonder why the politicians touting the increase in minimum wage won’t answer the question, ‘and what happens after the increase takes place?’ But once the elections are over, and the low information voters have done their part of the scam and been used, when the repercussions hit, it will be too late. The politicians will have won and all others will suffer. How generous of them.