Back when Democrats were the party of the working man, they would have welcomed news that low-wage workers were in a position to demand higher pay.
Whether under President Donald Trump or in today’s tight labor market, the left’s transformation into the party of large corporations and the professional-managerial class is evident from its discomfort with low-wage workers being able to raise their earnings.
Before COVID, the Trump administration proved we could combine rapid economic growth with reduced immigration — creating a tight labor market in which workers, especially those in the lowest-paying jobs, were able to increase their real (inflation-adjusted) pay for the first time in generations.
The immigrant population continued to grow under Trump, of course, but much slower than under his predecessor. We estimate that the total foreign-born population (legal and illegal) grew by an average of 42,000 a month under Trump before COVID, compared with 76,000 a month during President Barack Obama’s second term.
That slower immigration had tangible results: In late 2019, after 40 years of stagnant or falling real wages, the bottom 10th of workers saw their earnings jump 7% from the year before while full-time workers without a high-school degree got a hefty 9% raise — both far above the low inflation at the time.
. . .