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March 1, 2021

The Democrats’ plan to put a $15 minimum wage hike into a COVID-19 stimulus bill as part of a budget reconciliation measure so it only needs 51 votes has come to a halt, thanks to an unexpected roadblock: the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that it can’t be included in a budget reconciliation bill because it’s not a budget item, it’s a major legislative change, and those are subject to filibusters.

Naturally, Democrats are denying the obvious truth and refusing to remove the item from the bill. They’re urging party members to vote for it anyway and simply ignore the Parliamentarian. They don’t need no stinkin’ rules! Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that critics should be happy that “progressives” aren’t demanding a minimum wage of $24 or $25 an hour.

I’m glad to hear she’s making my point for me. I’ve long said that if you’re going to completely ignore market forces, disconnect the cost of labor from what it’s worth, pull an arbitrary minimum wage out of thin air, and pretend that it has no negative effects (according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, a $15 minimum wage would destroy 1.4 million jobs), then why not make it $150 an hour so that everyone can get rich? As long as we’re living in Economic Fantasyland, we might as well all have mansions.

I expect the Democrats’ next move will be to try to stack the office of Senate Parliamentarian, so there are three of them, and the two new ones who don’t know or care about the rules can outvote the one who does.

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