Rep. Paul Ryan, the establishment’s great Wisconsin hope for the House Speakership, describes himself as a free-market, small government advocate.
But in 2013, he touted federal legislation which tried to create a national board to fix workers’ wages.
Down to the penny. For ever. Even though new technology could do the job.
“The dairy farmers in western Wisconsin are having a hard time finding anyone to help them produce their products, which are mostly cheese,” Ryan told National Journal in July 2013. “You raise wages too much in certain industries, then you’ll get rid of those industries, and we’ll just have to import,” complained Ryan, the champion of the free-market.
The fix, he decided, was for the government to let farmers and agriculture companies import guest-workers at federally-approved salaries.
“That’s something we’re going to negotiate [In Washington]. Most other countries have a visa system that is wired to feed their economy [with workers],” he said.
When Ryan spoke, eight pro-business Senators had already introduced their “comprehensive immigration reform” bill.
The Senate bill offered farm companies 337,000 multi-year visas for agricultural workers over five years, and set the salary for dairy guest-workers at $11.37 an hour.
Not $11.00 or $12.00, but exactly $11.37.
The dairy workers’ salary would rise, step-by-step, year-by-year, according to a federal formula.
For ever. And ever. Amen, said the agricultural companies.
Without the free-market having any impact salaries even one cent in either direction.
“This is Soviet-style economic planning… One of the most breathtaking examples of central planing the government has ever proposed,” responded Mark Krikorian, the director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
That bill proved so unpopular that not even all the president’s lobbyists and allies could get it over the wall of public protest. The bill’s chief GOP backers were badly hurt — Majority Leader Eric Cantor was ejected by his constituents, and Sen. Marco Rubio’s polls rating tanked so far that not even establishment media cheerleading has helped push them back up.
Meanwhile, when Ryan wasn’t looking at farms in his district, the free-market solved the cow-milking problem.
A Dutch company began building cow-milking robots in the United States, and selling them to farmers in his district.
The robots work 24-7-365, which frees farmers — and their kids — from the endless task of milking cows two or three times a day. That high-tech fix will help keep the family farm alive because it allows young people to replace their fathers without giving up their social lives and their children’s’ needs in favor of yet another round of cow milking — or a new Ryan-approved, Soviet-style wage-control regime.