That former gubernatorial shoo-in Rob McKenna is a crappy lawyer is no secret. But writing on his blog (yes, McKenna is now a lowly blogger like me!), McKenna seems intent on proving that he’s also a really crappy economist:
As the House debated a $12 minimum wage, Rep. Matt Manweller (R-13), who is also a political science professor at Central Washington University, had apparently heard enough of tortured economic arguments from the other side.
His speech held the House in rapt attention – no mean feat. Of course, the bill passed anyway, on a party-line 51-47 vote, but Manweller’s speech is truly worth your time.
And McKenna is right: Manweller’s speech is truly worth your time… if you want some insight into the sort of bullshit Trickle Down orthodoxy that would have guided McKenna’s economic agenda had he won the governor’s mansion. But if you’re interested in learning how the economy really works, not so much.
Insisting that when wages go up, employment necessarily goes down, Manweller is “baffled” he tells us, that there are so many people who simply do not understand “the law of demand,” angrily denouncing the $12 minimum wage as “the most anti-science bill” ever! Which would be a powerful condemnation indeed, if “the law of demand” was, you know, an actual law. But of course, it’s not. Physics is a natural science, and the law of gravity is an undeniable natural law. But Adam Smith was a moral philosopher, and supply and demand, at best, is just a broad generalization. To insist, as Manweller does, that the labor market would behave in the exact same way as the market for carbon, or health care, or private jets, is just plain stupid. (As is that oft repeated straw man that asks if $12 is so good, why not $50?)
For all his apoplectic eye-rolling, Manweller isn’t actually a bad speaker, exuding an authoritative air grounded in a profound sense of passion, commitment, and total delusion. But the last gubernatorial candidate to follow Manweller’s advice on the minimum wage, didn’t do too well. So publicly fawning over “The Nutty Professor” speaks as poorly of McKenna’s political acumen as does of his economic.