“Keep calm and fight for the middle class” announced the whimsical non-sequitur on the Colorado Senate Democrats’ Facebook page at the end of the 2015 legislative session. Unfortunately for Colorado’s middle class families, the reality of the Democrats’ agenda was not middle-class friendly. Here are just a few examples:
Minimum wage hike. This does not benefit the middle class, as people relying on the minimum wage jobs for their livelihood technically are not part of the middle class, as the full time salary would equate to something less than $20,000 per year. People who earn the minimum wage often are part-time workers, or young adults experiencing the workforce for the first time. Perhaps Democrats are counting union salaries, which are indexed to the minimum wage.
One could argue that increasing the minimum wage actually hurts the middle class, as many small business owners are members of the middle class. An arbitrary forced increase in their payroll expense with no connection to the worker’s skills or productivity would harm small businesses.
Capping private student loan interest. This sounds so nice, but capping private loan interest rates at two percent above the federal student loan interest rate would achieve nothing except reduce the amount of funding sources for college students. State Senator Nancy Todd, a career teacher, may not understand the fundamental business calculation that banks must make when lending money: is this person going to pay the loan back, and if they do not, what is the recourse?
Unsecured loans given to those with essentially no assets and no job skills are inherently risky. If lenders cannot earn a return that is commensurate with the risk undertaken in making these loans, it simply does not make sense to offer that product (and they won’t lend the money). In fact, banks have one-by-one quietly exited the student loan market. So, how does this help middle class families looking for alternative college funding sources?
Expensive energy for rural Colorado. Democrats had the opportunity to roll back the unpopular renewable energy mandate for rural Colorado electric co-ops, but killed the measure in a 3-2 party line vote in committee. Colorado Democrats are forcing higher prices on a family’s less flexible expense: their electric bill.
Construction defects reform…not gonna happen (again). Once again, the plaintiffs’ bar proved more powerful than middle class citizens in Colorado towns and their mayors, as Democrat special interests blocked reform of the state’s construction defects law that allows trial lawyers to prey on builders. Ever wonder why there are few newly-built condos in Denver and why would-be buyers are forced into rapidly-escalating leases? Look no further than Colorado Democrats who are unwilling to roll back this unreasonable and expensive law that restricts the supply of affordable multi-family housing for purchase in our cities.
We could go on with more examples, but this is a blog, not a novel. More and more, Democratic lawmakers and their surrogates sound like Rocky Mountain versions of Baghdad Bob, announcing and repeating the most obvious departures from reality imaginable. The notion that they are fighting for the middle class has to be one of the biggest whoppers of them all.