L'Etat, c'est Ro
By David Henderson
Louis XIV, pictured above, the king of France from 1643 to 1715, famously said, “L’Etat, c’est Moi.” Thus the title of this post.
Ro Khanna, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives, was recently asked what his plan was for the small businesses that might be hurt by the Democrats’ (and some Republicans’) proposal to raise the minimum wage from its current $7.25 an hour to $15.00 an hour by 2025.
The interviewer asked:
I’m wondering what is your plan for smaller businesses? How does this, in your view, affect mom-and-pop businesses who are just struggling to keep their doors open, keep workers on the payroll right now?
Well they shouldn’t be doing it by paying people low wages. We don’t want low-wage businesses.
What does Mr. Khanna mean by “we?” Many small businesses want to pay what he would regard as low wages. Many workers would like to work at those low wages if the alternative is higher wage rates but fewer hours, being worked harder, getting fewer benefits, or, in the limit getting zero hours. Many customers would like to buy goods and services produced by businesses paying wages less than $15 an hour.
But none of these people count, in his view.
His “we” means “he” or, more inclusively, people like him who are willing to ignore the desires of those three groups.
Thus the title of this post.