Drinking Their Own Ink

Sometime ago I started talking about the problem with the publishers being that they were drinking their own ink.  I.e. they make up stuff, put it on paper, and then piously believe it, as though it were a fact.

They tell themselves the bestsellers – you know, the ones they actually give publicity and support to and to whom they pay high advances – support their houses, and next thing you know, they’re believing it, and getting rid of midlisters left and right and becoming puzzled when the bottom line doesn’t improve.  That’s because – duh – what they’re doing is roughly the equivalent of a steak restaurant deciding they make most of their money on the desserts and the appetizers, which are, of course, the highest priced in relation to cost on the menu.  Therefore, they’re now going to serve only appetizers and desserts…

The problem goes way deeper than publishers, though – we have a whole slew of people drinking their own ink, starting with our own government.  (Possibly because our government, our churches, our arts, our media, all draw for leadership from a pool of people who know each other, run in the same circles and were taught the same “truths” by the same mentors.)

Take that amazing froth of wishful thinking called the State of the Union address – did any thought go into what the speech writers wrote?  No?  I think not.

There is for instance the wonderful idea that we can’t get out of this hole by cutting expenditures.  REALLY?  REALLY?  So, let me see, if my family is spending 2000 a month, while making 1500, cutting expenditures is not the way to go.  We shouldn’t examine our food budget, cut back on entertainment or perhaps move to a smaller place.  No way no how, because cutting is not how you get out of a financial hole.  No, golly-me.  We’re supposed to get a student loan and take a course in something the government assures us will pay off.  AND we’re supposed to go out to eat more.  And move to a bigger place.  And buy a newer car.  And then we’ll be…

What?  I don’t know.  And neither do these people, because they’ve never balanced a checkbook.

The Aristos don’t have to balance anything.  There’s always someone willing to finance them while using them as stalking horses.  After all they talk so purty, and they say all the right things – the things that will allow those using them to get a greater grasp on power over the lives of everyone else.

Or take the minimum wage nonsense.  What kind of insane idiot, with the crisis of unemployment we have would want to RAISE minimum wage?  I mean, both the man reading these words off the teleprompter and the idiots who wrote them for him to read have presumably enough intelligence to stand upright and speak at the same time.  So it shouldn’t be possible for them to NOT understand that a wage is something paid in exchange for a service.  It is therefore tied to the value of that service.  The idea of legislating it at ALL is insane, and leads to people who can’t afford to pay it hiring illegals or simply not growing their business past the one man stage – because, children, economics is a science.  You can’t simply legislate wages, any more than you can legislate rain.  BUT on top of that the idea of in a recession wanting to tie the minimum wage to the cost of living is so astonishingly stupid that–  That I run out of words.

But the Aristos don’t know that.  The Aristos never had a minimum wage job, and they never had to climb out of it by acquiring skills that made them worth more.  The ARISTOS were born with the right connections, and mouthed the right platitudes, and lo and behold, the money tree was shaken into their lap.  This means they have clue zero where money comes from, and they think that the only reason everyone DOESN’T make a bazillion dollars an hour is that private employers are greedy and need the government to beat them into generosity.

What that kind of inanity – there is a reason wage and price controls only bring poverty and collapse everywhere they’re tried – will do to the economy is anybody’s guess, but I can tell you what it will do to my kids’ generation: it will eat their future.

I was talking to my son the other day and he said “Everyone in my generation has flat given up.  The height of our ambition is to someday have a job that actually allows us to live independently.  There’s no grand dreams for us.”  It was the saddest thing I’d ever heard, and even this modest ambition was just made more difficult.

But the Aristos don’t know that.  Their own children’s nests are feathered with the spoils of their parents’ career.  They have no idea what they’re doing to normal people out there.

And the Aristos are different.  They drink their own ink in a different way. They think that we are heading into a future without jobs because our automation and tech is getting that cool.

Of course, those of you who like me were semi conscious (teens) during the Carter years remember the exact same thing from then.  It was all “We can’t solve unemployment, because we’re that much more efficient that in the future there are no jobs.”  Then came Reagan.

But the Aristos don’t remember this, because part of the requirement of being a courtier is to convince themselves Carter was wonderful.  And that the current unemployment is due to our precipitous ascent to Earthly paradise.

This is why they’re not worried about debt.  See, any day now, the robots will learn to spin straw into gold…  Or so the Aristos believe.

And in this future where we all lie under the trees, they want to thin human population, so they’re not worried about people not reproducing.  And everyone who remains, will live off the benevolence of the state.

No, seriously – the latest place I read this was a centrist economist, who was repeating this utter nonsense without irony.  Yep, unemployment will be high forever because our machines are that efficient.

I bet you – gold, because money doesn’t count, one ounce – that if we pull out of this tail spin, in twenty years anyone reading this bullhockey will split his sides laughing “their technology was so advanced they thought, that they didn’t have enough jobs to go around, they thought.”

But the Aristos believe the ink they spill as though it were gospel.  Because it’s written, and it sounds good, and in their sheltered, soft lives, being able to speak well and write well is THE most prized ability.  It shapes reality.  Well, it shapes reality as far as they are concerned, because they say these things and money falls on their lap, and praise is heaped on their heads.

And worse, now, when the best jobs that can be got are on paper 29 hours, (because to be 40 would incur the massive expense of Obama care and take the employer under)  but in fact require you to work 60, with unpaid overtime because “well, you must finish the project” they’re going to look at the ink on paper and say “Wow, most people are working under thirty hours, but productivity is up.  It really is the end of jobs.”

Because the Aristos are like children, who believe their own fairytales and they, unlike the rest of us never held a job that was much shorter on paper than in reality.

In fact, we should pity the Aristos.  Like some Eastern royalty, they live isolated and never see outside their palaces.

This is fine, while the palace endures.  But their own actions are fast bringing the palaces down.  They don’t understand economics.  And the main thing they don’t understand is that other countries have been allowed to do very stupid things, because the US was there to rescue them.

We don’t have a US to rescue us.

What can’t go on won’t.  The Aristos are on a course to meet the mud at speed.

Holla, ye pamper’d jades of Asia! What, can ye draw but twenty miles a-day?

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers, and as always thank you Glenn for the link.  And if you’re new here, consider hitting the links on the books on the sidebar and/or pre-ordering A Few Good Men from Amazon.  (And yes, to those who invited me to guest blog — or who wish to — that WILL resume tomorrow.  The health thing is finally settling down.)

*The Mad Genius Club Post is up.*

451 responses to “Drinking Their Own Ink

  1. scott2harrison

    Can we fill in the mudhole with gravel? It hurts more when they meet it at speed.

  2. Rope. lamp post, Aristo, some assembly required. Is it going to come to that? I must learn to knit so i can watch from the front row. Sadly it will spell the destruction of everything i hold dear.

  3. Happy caffeinating.

    I’m reminded of that poem “What happens to a dream deferred? . . . or does it explode?”

    Or as my grandmother said once, trying to cheer my folks up, “Remember, it’s always darkest before the storm.” (Then she couldn’t understand why they started laughing.)

  4. Sarah wrote: “Their own children’s nests are feathered with the spoils of their parents’ career. They have no idea what they’re doing to normal people out there.

    Sentence 1 (which I agree with) sort of contradicts sentence 2. I suspect the “Aristos” know exactly what they’re doing. They’re winning at everyone else’s expense.

    Sometimes I wonder if I should push my children to try and become “Aristos”. Nice cushy government jobs without having to work. Sounds great!

    • See the part about believing their own press: a generation back, maybe, but the ones born to this are unlikely to have ever thought about the causes or the consequences.

      When was the last time, buying toilet paper, that you contemplated its affects on the economies of the southeastern US, and the pine plantations there – or the long-term planning that goes into farming tress? Well, this crowd is Odd, you yourself may have actually done that. But most people, I guarantee you, think no further than “that one doesn’t fit in the holder, that recycled one is too thin and scratchy, and that one’s on sale.” Similarly, we “rednecks, republicans, hillbillies, flyover states, poor people, immigrants, working class and middle class” are only vague stereotypes in their worlds.

      • No doubt some or many are clueless (drinking their own ink). But how about folks like Rahm who state “never let a crisis go to waste”? Seems like he and those like him know exactly what they’re doing.

        • Except that they think if it all goes to hell it ends in a communist state. This is mind bogglingly insane. Yes, it has happened in the past — when the USSR stood by to lend the guns. Right now? They’re nuts. They never revised the assumptions of their youth. And they’re drinking their own ink.

          • They may think that, but I think they just don’t believe a collapse will happen in their lifetime. The Bill R. essay you linked to talks about 20+ years without pushing from conservatives. That’d be my guess too. If that’s also Rahm’s guess, he’s somewhere around 55 I think, so 20+ years is enough if he doesn’t care too much what happens to his kids and he seems ruthless enough that I believe he probably doesn’t care.

            Though I suppose if I go with””Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence”, your explanation is better. On the other hand, when contemplating the workings of positions of power, malice is often the better explanation.

  5. Wayne Blackburn

    Regarding cutting expenditures:One of our wonderful President’s favorite saying lately is, “We can’t cut our way to prosperity”.

    I have news for you, Mr. President: THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE PROSPEROUS!!!

    By the way: I literally had to stop watching last night. I was getting chest pains. Fortunately, about that time, my son called for me to come pick him up from the school, where he had been taking Yearbook photos of a basketball game. Thanks for saving me, Sean!

    • The very reason I didn’t watch the State of the Union address. I was already hyperventilating when it started so I turned it off.

      • I had serious stomach upset this past week, so I saw no reason to watch the State of the Union. Reading about it afterwards has been plenty disturbing enough. (If I want to hear fantasy I can listen to Prattchet.)

        • I commented to the Oyster Wife last night: “How sad is it that to find out what the President said, the only way I can bear it is to wait for Steve Green to get drunk and blog about it?”

          • How do you think I do it? And I MUST win the lottery or become a bestseller, to buy that man a new liver when it croaks.

            • And if, alas, we fail to do so in time (Obamacare and all that), I pre-emptively nominate him for Sainthood. St. Green of Martini.

              After all, it’s a miracle he’s lasted through so many of these things, suffering for our sake.

              • We condemn Performance Enhancing Drugs in athletes but we haven’t condemned non-performance beliefs in politicians. I think they would do better on crack.

                • No no no! I want them doing less, not more! The more they get done, the more they’ll intrude in things that are none of their business.

                  • exactly. A wise person once told me, “the purpose of the constitution is *not* to ‘get things done.’ It is to *keep* the politicians from doing things”. Hence the checks and balances and restrictions. If the founders wanted a government that ‘got things done’ they would have kept the monarchy.

                    • Yep. Thus a minarchist dictatorship would be the most effective and freest system – the problem is there is no way to keep it that way. So I’ll gladly take a minarchist republic, if I can ever get it.

                    • If you guys carry on like this, I WILL seize power and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. You have been warned.

                    • What is the difference between a minarchist republic and a constitutional republic?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      All “constitutional” means is that the powers/structure/limits of the government are written down in a document. If there are extremely few limits to the power of the government written down, then it can be a constitutional republic but not a minarchist republic.

                    • Minarchist dictatorship?

                      Good luck finding a real-world Havelock Vetinari.

                    • You might always find one Vetinari. Even, perhaps, two or three. Problem is sooner or later, and probably sooner, you’d run out and the power ends up in the hands of the incompetent.

                    • Old Russkiya Proverb:
                      Best form of government is good Tsar.
                      Worst form of government is bad Tsar.
                      Problem is, more bad Tsars than good ones.

                    • “If you guys carry on like this, I WILL seize power and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. You have been warned.”

                      Not even force the vigilantes to stop enforcing their own self-devised laws?

                    • Um… I’ll first abolish all laws that aren’t in the constitution. Then I’ll get the feds’ big snout out of state, individual and local affairs.
                      Then I’ll rule by Laissez Faire, Laissez Passer.
                      Let me see — federal employees other than the army and those necessary to run it, will be me, the cleaning lady and — could I have a secretary to write the letters saying “It’s not any of my business, solve it yourselves”?

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      I’m sure you could get plenty of volunteers for that last function.

                    • Self-solving problem.

                      At least, if they try to go all Sharia or similar BS on my family… I believe the phrase is “double-tap to the chest, one to the head”? (My brother’s the one that played with SEALs, not me.)

                    • “The advantage of a monarchy — perhaps its sole advantage — is that you occasionally get a reluctant monarch”.

                      Walter Slovotsky (paraphrase, from memory)

                    • oooh, good quote. I think that one’s going on a stickynote :) thanks!

                    • If you guys carry on like this, I WILL seize power and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. You have been warned.

                      Need some help? I can do nothing with the best of them. I’m also available for the “seize power” part, too.

                    • Rob Crawford (hi, old friend) mentioned Walter Slovotsky above … I miss Joel.

                    • I never met Joel — outside of being a reader for (gulp!) 25 years — but I miss him, too. We need him now more than ever.

                    • er… I don’t think I know a Joel? At least not in connection with that quote?

                    • Joel Rosenberg, author of the fantasy series that Rob was quoting from.

                    • ooohhh, I see it now. the quote nesting can get a little wonky sometimes, particularly in long threads – couldn’t quite tell who was talking to who there for a bit. Thanks :)

            • I’d donate to buy Stephen Green a new liver. His commentary made the last round of debates bearable.

      • I didn’t watch or listen because life is too short to waste time on President Barry lying to the gullible. I doubt that we can convince even one member of his actual audience of how profoundly stupid his ideas are, so I see no reason to bother with him at all.

      • There was basketball last night. And I needed to review De Tocqueville. And my forensics teacher used to say that if you can’t say your piece in 30 minutes, it’s not worth saying.

    • The idea that “We can’t cut our way to prosperity”.is implicit in the Keynsian stimulus belief.

      The problem is that such stimulus is that it is like taking steroids: you have to keep upping the dosage to maintain the illusory benefits and eventually you haven’t any balls.

      • Or as I’ve said, “The problem with kicking the can down the road is eventually you run out of road.”

      • To be absolutely fair– it might work if it were done correctly, and you cut to nothing when things are going good.
        Kind of like communism, though– the theory cannot function in a society with actual people.

    • I didn’t watch the state of the disunion last night — I spent the evening writing another chapter in my new novel. Much more productive use of my time. Reading about it this morning was depressing enough. Biggest problem I have with reading about it is that no one has a really GOOD synopsis of what the president (lower case intentional) said.

      • Good, short synopsis:

        The President said:
        1) We need better background checks (re: gun control), then followed up with your basic “guns are bad, really bad!” South Park-type argument.
        2) He pointed out that too many people are working 40 hours a week or more and are still too poor to raise a family. This is economically true. However, the follow up about raising the minimum wage didn’t really go with that — you can raise the minimum wage all you want, but employers don’t have any more money to pay so people will be getting fewer hours (or the employees will get their hours cut and be expected to do the same work, just as Sarah said).

        So there were two sensible things — needing better background checks is not a controversial position, though it’s possible the President doesn’t realize the efficacy of the current ones, and it is an undeniable fact that way too many people are working hard yet are still under the poverty line — countered by some other stuff that was emotionally-based. This to my mind weakens both of those sensible points.

        All of the rest was self-congratulatory fluff. (And I’m a centrist Indy/Dem, so keep that in mind.)

        • “He pointed out that too many people are working 40 hours a week or more and are still too poor to raise a family.”

          The real chuckle being that President Momjeans owns the legislation that will result in that family being raised on 29 hours a week …

          • Yes, exactly.

            And none of the background checks will stop crimes being committed with guns. CRIMINALS don’t submit to background checks.

            • Yeah, helping to set up a situation, then saying, “Oh, that situation is terrible! What is wrong with our society?” does seem to be short-sighted, at best.

              • Barb,
                I have said this before. I think you’re a nice woman and tend to think other people are too. I don’t think it’s short-sighted. I think it’s intentional. When things are terrible, the government promises to fix it, and grabs more power.

                • Most of the time, I tend to agree with you that our current governmental system is so broken that the few things it gets right are accidental.

                  And you’re probably right that I want to believe our government officials aren’t being willfully terrible — even though it’s apparent that some of them, well, either are incredibly moronic or are playing from a playbook that doesn’t seem to benefit most of the rest of us.

            • BTW, Sarah, one of the big chuckles I got last night over the Dorner coverage was when someone said that Dorner “didn’t behave well” while on the run. And then followed up by saying that all of Dorner’s friends and family members had said, “Oh, no, I know nothing of this at all!”

              The reason I chuckled is because of the belief that anyone — _anyone_ — would think they’d say, “Oh, yes, I helped him plan the whole thing and am glad he’s been doing what he’s doing” rather than the cursory denials. Because really, we’re all truthful in such situations . . . right? 0:-)

              (This tends to go along, at least in my fevered imagination, with the belief that criminals will tamely submit to background checks.)

          • It has already kick in. A commom phrase arround here is 49 and 30 — keep the full time employees under 49 and the hours under 30.

        • As for background checks, he and Biden are overtly lying about the current state of the law, and the efficacy of their proposals to address any real crime.

          • Most people don’t have any idea of what the background checks are. Some states are much better than others and most gun show operators are stringent (the ones that aren’t tend to go out of business very quickly).

            But as I said, he wasn’t completely off the reservation there and there was some truth to it. (Not as much as he wanted people to believe, maybe.)

            I agree that the proposals Biden has so far come up with do not impress me.

            • Barb — I spent 26 years in the Air Force, with a Top Secret+ security clearance. I even spent a year working in DC at the CIA imagery interpretation center there. I KNOW what a background check is. When I was in Washington, DC, I asked to see my FBI file. It was 4″ thick.

              One of the guys I worked with several times requested a concealed carry permit for where he lived in rural Vermont. He was denied because he had “an unfavorable background check”. He sued. The reason Vermont turned him down was because he had “an extensive FBI file”. Well, duh! They didn’t ask WHY he had an extensive FBI file, they just assumed that because he had one, he was a poor security risk. This is bureaucracy at its progressive best.

              • Light, rather than heat, provided by John Lott:

                The truth on background checks
                [SNIP]
                On sales without a check, even the 40 percent figure that President Obama and others use is off. It’s obtained by rounding up of a 36 percent statistic that comes from the only study on this issue.

                And that (small) study covered a 1991-94 period, most of which came before the Brady Act took effect on Feb. 28 1994, and for the first time required that all federally-licensed dealers perform checks.

                There’s more: The researchers gave this number for all transactions, including family inheritances and gifts, not just “sales.” Count only guns that were bought, traded, borrowed, rented, issued as a job requirement or won through raffles, and 85 percent went through federally licensed gun dealers; just 15 percent would’ve been transferred without a background check.

                (By the way, that survey also found that all gun-show sales went through federally licensed dealers. If Schumer et al. really trust the study, they should stop raging about the “gun show loophole.”)

                Bottom line: It’s hard to believe that the percentage of sales without background checks is above single digits today.

                On to Schumer’s second falsehood — the claim that checks have stopped 1.7 million prohibited sales. In fact, these were only “initial denials,” not people prevented from buying guns.

                The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives dropped over 94 percent of those “initial denials” after preliminary reviews. Further review cleared at least a fifth of the other 6 percent.

                Truth is, these government databases are rife with flaws. Remember the five times that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy missed flights because his name was on the anti-terror “no fly” list? By Sen. Schumer’s method of counting, that means the “no fly” list stopped five flights by terrorists.
                [MORE: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/the_truth_on_background_checks_yFIJxIUtvYbuJiVhSDdxxL ]

                • Actually I woudl guess that the current percentage of guns obtained without a background check is considerably higher, and only going to continue to rise as peoples fears of gun control and gun confiscation, and distrust of the government skyrocket. People don’t want their name to appear on any government lists, so they will obtain any guns they can through private sales, and/or black market (not yet a big thing, since the government hasn’t yet outlawed private sales, when they do expect private sales to actually go up, not down).

                • Lott nails it pretty much (except FBI handles NICS not ATF). US Attorney’s prosecute only a tiny fraction of all of those real denials by the way (as each legitimate denial is also a criminal act – lying on the Form 4473).

              • Eh — apropos nothing — when I moved from Portugal, my file with their er… services was several folders long… :-P (I had a friend who saw it.) I imagine someone heaved a sigh of relief.

              • I suspect that the background checks vary pretty solidly depending on how important your clearance is– in theory, my brother and I both had the same clearance.

                Mine took about a year and a half, and as far as we can tell nobody ever even talked to anyone we knew. My brother’s took about six months, and they actually came and interviewed folks at the school– teachers and classmates– my parents, the guy my brother had worked for, etc.
                I was in the aviation version of the same job as my brother, and I was the one on a “secret” base! (I found it via the Rand McNally’s atlas when I was driving out, the secret part was just because it’s a huge bombing range for testing stuff.)

                • I held a TS plus in and out of the Navy– Each time they did a background check, someone would go talk to my dad. Since he doesn’t think women should be in the military, they got an earful. lol

          • Background checks for gun purchases? Is that like ID for liquor purchases, legal status checks for day labor and financial records for home loans? Won’t such background check requirements place an undue burden on minorities? Racists!

            • That is what Fast and Furious was all about, the racist, prejudiced gun store owners were denying those undocumented pharmaceutical manufacterers employees of HISPANIC heritage. Holder and Obama were just attempting to level the playing field.

        • I’m not an economist, Barb, but the problem with people working 40 hours a week and still living in poverty is partly caused by Ben Bernecke printing money with nothing to back it up (inflation), partly caused by over-regulation of EVERYTHING, and partly caused by a dumbed-down education system that leaves 1/3 of the US population without the skills needed to work for more than minimum wage. ALL of those problems can be laid at the feet of the “Progressives” in government. They made it, they need to fix it. They won’t, because they won’t recognize that there’s a problem, and they certainly as ^$^&%&$ don’t have the common sense to “fix” it without causing more harm.

  6. There is so much pain out there, sometimes I wonder about our culture’s despondency, that which is driving us toward cultural suicide. After dealing last night and today with someone who in the name of tolerance said the most horribly intolerant things, and having to tell a friend yesterday (the day before? I’m losing time) that I don’t want to hear his suicide intentions any more, I feel so selfish for not wanting them in my life any longer. But I can’t put up with people like them, who have given up and refuse to even look for hope. Because that is the only way we can defeat the Aristos, to have once tasted Freedom, and to never lose sight of it. Even though the US as it once was is seemingly in the death throes, I cannot and will not believe that there are not those who will arise from the ashes with freedom in their hearts. We know what it looks like, now. We’ve tried it, and it was good. There’s nothing stopping us from rebuilding it, we just have to work through the pain, and never lie down in the mud and give up. We can’t afford to become wounded animals, lashing out at anyone near enough to harm.

    • The simplest way to end the rule of the elite is to withdraw from them. They have no ability to support themselves. They are ALL parasites, and they’re killing the host. If all the red COUNTIES stopped doing business with ANY blue county, and only worked with one another, the blues would die in about a year. The freedom-loving red counties would continue to prosper, because they believe in such trivial things as individual freedom, free-market commerce, and limited government. The truth is, there are more of us than there are of them, we’re just less organized and more spread out. The Internet is slowly ending the isolation of distant areas, and there is a greater chance for cohesion among us. The blue model is dying. We should let it.

      • How big a risk do you think there is there that the prosperity of some will draw enough of the idiots from the failing that they will change the dynamics by voting according to their blue worldview?

        • In North Carolina we have what we call half backs. The have moved half way back to New York from Florida and settled in the mountain or along the shore. They start by complaining that they don’t have the services and stores to which they were accustomed. Then they complain when the shopping malls are developed, the office buildings go up, the taxes go up and the traffic comes to a stand still. You can’t make them happy.

          I gather a number of western states have had trouble with relocated Californians.

          • Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, and so forth– Oregon and Washington are really CA-lite now. Nevada is on its way because of Las Vegas.

          • It’s not just the Californians. When the US had a mini-oil boom in the 1970′s, a lot of folks moved up from Dallas and Houston to Denver. They changed the political scene within five years from staunch conservative to squishy semi-conservative, to outright liberal. Californians have since moved in and made it worse. That’s why, when we moved back to Colorado when I retired, we chose Colorado Springs, which hadn’t been invaded so completely.

    • What do you think of the proposal to change electoral college voting to be represenative of each congressional district, instead of each state? So chicago, LA, NYC, SF, Austin, and Denver would only hold their single vote?

      • It sounds good, I would have to study both a congressional district map, and the current electoral map, but off the top of my, just by looking at the composition of congress (which admittedly sucks, but is a much lower degree of suckage than the composition of the executive branch) it looks like a good idea.

        • Off the top of my head, ARGH!

        • First, I think it is a treatment rather than a cure. The problem is the electorate.

          Second, it would greatly reduce the benefits of electoral fraud, preventing precincts in Philadelphia (for example) which enjoy voter turnout of 115% without long lines at the polls) from delivering an entire state.

          Third, it would probably exacerbate polarization.

          Fourth, it would have … interesting … effects on gerrymandering.

          • I’d like a Congressional Amendment added: the boundaries of an electoral district MUST be the smallest possible area with definable borders that can be created to serve the proportioning of the population. That would end gerrymandering FOREVER.

      • LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!!!

        Hm, that may be a little too restrained for my feelings on breaking up power bases a bit more, but this group is pretty smart on average– I think they’ll be able to figure out how much I like the idea of something besides the cities having a say in national politics outside of the House.

      • There is a site called GovTrack.us that is supposed to help you in finding out who your U.S. Congress senators and representatives are. As far as I can tell this would mean that NYC would hold around 10 votes of the 435 votes — the districts are so crowded that I could not get a clear count on my computer.

  7. It was worse and it has been going on longer. We had wage and price controls put in place under Nixon in hopes it would counter spiraling inflation. The effects of OPEC’s realization that it had control and the subsequent oil embargo of 1973 wrecked havoc. Ford tried to Whip Inflation Now, but failed. Carter came in and tried re-inventing the fire side chat. He wore sweaters and told us we all needed to tighten our belts, put quilts up on our windows and accept that the future was going to be smaller.

    The Spouse and I, rather newly married, attended a bat-Mitzvah in Philadelphia during this time. (The youngest daughter of what you would call Aristo family.) All the older folks spent their time talking about how it was the end of good times, and how the future was none to bright. I recall sitting there between the older and the wide eyed younger and watching their faces. I thought, well you sure are making us glad about the world you are handing over!

    I know that was supposed to be an adolescent phase already grown out of, but no, this was at new level — I was seeing the elders as leeches. So nothing’s new.

    I really don’t know how to communicate this, but the Aristos and their children are suffering. It is not opening their eyes. Instead they are trying even harder to force their perceptions on the world. Loss of faith is a frightening thing, and many simply refuse to give it up even when their world is falling in flames around them.

    Yesterday, I am told, a Euro type European History teacher dissembled in front of her class at the local University … and the Chinese History class was treated to a discussion of gun control for their entire session … and the kids weren’t having it. The ivory tower is cracking.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      Eh.. So far, the Aristos only FEEL like they are suffering, because the money is not falling into their laps fast enough. Therefore, they think they need to do more of what they did before, in order to bring back the money flow.

      What they don’t realize is that their modus operandi is equivalent to shoveling dirt and rocks into the pond behind a beaver dam, so that the water level rises and pushes over the dam, and they don’t see that what they are really doing is blocking the creek, so that the water will flow somewhere else. Whereas, if they would muck out the debris in the gullies leading into the stream (taxes too high, over-regulation), the water would flow better and they would get better results.

      • Yeah, it confuses them. You are right that what they want to do is more of what they have always done.

        Still, they really are feeling it. Their children are not finding jobs, and those that do find that it takes longer. Firm cannot guarantee a placement or referral just because mummy or daddy works there. Even for those students who got good grades the job market is tough and getting tougher. (My family has two diseases, law and medicine. The Daughter has been advised that a law degree is not a good bet, and we here are conversant on some of what is happening to medicine.) It is getting that bad.

        Meanwhile, the universities are limiting hours and cutting back on hiring. They have taken the hits on the endowments and contributions. Nor has the government has not automatically exempted them from all of the new work related mandates. And some are facing the unions attempting to organize their work staff.

        • My family has two diseases, Engineering and Medicine, and even with overperforming kids, it’s not looking good.

        • I don’t think I would recommend medicine to anyone right now. It’s become a soul-killer world, where you will know what needs to be done, but the bureaucrats won’t let you do it. It’ll be better in 10 years when they won’t teach you what you should do anymore, and then they will forget and it’ll be less painful.
          Do I sound cynical? I just got a new computer system at the hospital, mandated for reimbursement for the Obamacare fiasco which adds nothing to patient care, but takes more of my time to make the bean-counters happy. Come work with me one day if you want to see all the pathology of the medical system.

          • I am also a doc. I would recommend medicine but you have to know what you’re getting into. It’s still very rewarding when you’re taking direct care of patients.

            Though I really, really dislike EPIC…

            • If medical practice is really your ambition, right now I would recommend veterinary medicine. A career that is in demand, while there is no real shortage of vets, GOOD ones are very hard to find. Without the government telling you how you can and can’t treat your patients (well, less so than human medicine, they keep taking the most effective drugs off the market, to study, or won’t approve them for treatment of certian problems, so while a vet can still prescribe an unapproved drug, they can be technically liable if it doesn’t cure the problem) and there is going to be plenty of opportunity for off the books work (especially trauma treatment) with Obamacare kicking in.

              • Problem for vets right now is that new(er) vets aren’t making enough money in their practices (either solo or as associates in established practices) to service their very high dollar student loans.

                That’s coming to medicine itself in a few years. Tuition where I teach is about $80K a year. Do the math, and the average doc starting in practice is stressed, particularly if they’re trying to do primary care.

                • I should have thought of that, I knew it was true for vet-techs, but didn’t think about the much higher cost of education for veterinarians. I know several people who studied to be vet-techs, of those only one is actually working as one, and she has a husband to help support her. The others have all told me that the first few years, breaking in the pay is just not enough, so they work at other higher paying jobs (in at least one case this includes cleaning houses, so pay for vet-techs is obviously quite low).

                  Most of the vets I know have been in business for quite a few years, or are simply ones I wouldn’t trust to not screw up euthanizing a terminal animal. (Which in actuality accurately describes a number of older vets)

            • Funny, EPIC is the system I was talking about…

  8. I think you are too kind by half. Calling them Aristos seems to bring to mind genteel images of lace cuffs and ruffled shirts and powdered wigs and all that. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Their ink is our blood. They are beasts. Monsters. Their mouths are filled with our blood. It’s long past time we put a metaphorical stake in their allegorical hearts.

    I apologize if this is a repeat in this venue, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately. A politician once said to me that the world is run by those who show up. I find that fallacious in one principle way: it presupposes that the world SHOULD be run — by anybody.

    M

    • A politician once said to me that the world is run by those who show up. I find that fallacious in one principle way: it presupposes that the world SHOULD be run — by anybody.

      You may be right, but for good or ill — most likely ill, if those who do not think it should be run simply stay home, it will be run by those who show up. Therefore those who do not think it should be run by anyone have to show up and prevent this.

      • Can’t disagree. It’s why I believe “OH, HELL no!” should be a dispositive response to government importunings and “He needed killin’, Judge” an affirmative defense when it comes to importunate politicians.

        M

        • He needed killin’ is a defense in some cases in Texas.

          • One of those happened while I lived in Georgia and the entire county had an alibi. Even the G. Bureau of Investigation didn’t poke too far under the rock.

            • A congresscritter (long since retired, and probably dead now) attempted to make a move on a boy I went to school with, at a theater in DC, when the boy was 13 or 14. He chose the wrong boy, the boy (a friend of mine) punched him out, kicked him in the groin, and when he went down proceeded to put the boots to him. I’m not sure how much damage he did, but the congresscritter spent a couple days in the hospital over it. The boys parents didn’t want him having to go through all the publicity, so they didn’t press charges, and the congresscritter certainly wasn’t pressing assault charges, so it was just generally pretended to have never happened.

    • Mark,
      The thing is that they are Aristos. The president is Marie Antoinette playing in his little Trianon. The problem is he has our country confused with that fantasy farm.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        Chris Muir portrays him as one of the French Kings Louis (I don’t know history well enough to say which one).

        • Yes, Louis XIV “L’Etat C’Est Moi” I think that’s giving him way too much credit for competency, and when I get a chance, I shall photoshop him as Marie Antoinette. “Let them eat Stimulus” I shall use that to illustrate “We are His Trianon” coming soon.

    • The image the word Aristos brought to my mind was from Catherine Asaro’s Skolian Empire books. They’re empaths (of a sort) who get pleasure from the pain of telepaths.

      On Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 10:21 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

      > ** > Mark Alger commented: “I think you are too kind by half. Calling them > Aristos seems to bring to mind genteel images of lace cuffs and ruffled > shirts and powdered wigs and all that. Nothing could be farther from the > truth. Their ink is our blood. They are beasts. Monsters. Their” >

    • Think “aristos” as in phrases like “A bas les aristos!”, and “A la lanterne les aristos!”

      • Please translate those phrases for the non-French speakers among us.

        • I believe the translation is along the lines of “to hell with the aristos” and “hang the aristos from the lanterns” (or burn them). If I wanted to fully translate, I’d paste the phrases into google translate, but that’s close enough to get the gist for me.

        • Down with the aristos and Aristos to the lamppost.
          I’ll point out that while I don’t like the French Revolution (how much I don’t like it will be obvious in the next Earth Revolution book Through Fire) I’m just.about.that.mad.

      • Yes, darling. You get me completely.

  9. “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” H. L. Mencken

    There are reasons the Founders created a Republic. Just as there are reasons Texas and Arizona are now a favored destination for California business. Refer back to yesterday’s discussion of the sourcing of social damage reports and keep in mind that they are panicked and blind to the true strengths of this nation.

    • BTW: Rule Of Thumb about such things as the presidential oration last night — if he doesn’t care about what he’s saying, there is no reason I should.

    • The problems that Arizona, Texas, and all the other states luring California businesses to their states will come when the employees who relocate with those businesses start voting for the same nanny state crap that ruined California. Liberals don’t learn from their mistakes, they simply keep on trying the same things expecting different results.

  10. A very nice essay and thank you from a new reader of your blog.

    You use ‘aristo’ but I like the Russian word for this, ‘nomenklatura’. It says properly that these are people of a new class who find themselves in charge not because of heredity (though over time that changes, of course, as the nomenklatura take care of their own), ability (hah) or money, but because of the connections.

    Look at our ‘aristos’: they got to where they got in life because of connections. The editors of the big papers, the professors in the liberal arts universities, the trust fund leaders, the corporatists — all of them might or might not have had money or family to help them out, but they all sure did have the necessary connections. It’s much more a patron-client relationship than an aristocracy though the trappings and the pleasures are much the same over time; you look after those below you and you look for help from the ones above you.

    Now that the nomenklatura are connected and ‘made’, they have to stay that way, hence the numbing conformity in thought, speech and action. That’s why Journolist was so useful and possible; the journalists involved WANTED the conformity; they wanted to know in advance what they were supposed to say. Do it that way, say and do what you are supposed to say and do, and you stay connected. Why does a middle-aged Hollywood actress decide to babble about oil-shale fracking or Islamophobia? Because she has to stay connected, that’s why. Goddesses forbid that she’d state an admiration for Sarah Palin; she’d never work in that town again.

    An aristocrat may never have had a minimum-wage job. A made person in the nomenklatura might well have had one while working through college or as a first job (which they don’t appreciate). The latter wants to make sure she or he NEVER goes back to such a job, and would prefer strongly never even to THINK about those days (unless it’s a useful tale to advance the agenda). Conformity and discomfort combine; add the proper dash of ideology and you have one explanation why the nomenklatura refuse to think through the basic economics of what happens when you raise the minimum wage.

    There is another useful Russian word here: the apparatchik, the functionary, the tool of the nomenklatura, who is granted some or a few of the privileges in turn for very, very loyal service. If you look at how the Obama campaign worked last year, you clearly saw the patron-client, nomenklatura-apparatchik system at work.

    That’s where we’re headed.

  11. Stop fighting, let them have what they want. Then let it burn.

    • Mark,
      I have friends who say “let it burn” — they’re ALL childless. I’ve lived through the burning and the aftermath before. I’m still NOT sure there’s a recovery.

      • One is never SURE there’s a recovery; one MAKES SURE there’s a recovery.

        Despair remains the greatest sin.

      • There is a rant I’ve been incubating about the “let it burn” and “let the fighting begin” crowds. Do they have ANY idea what they’re asking for?!

        I really should write it up, but…

        • They might think that since they are dying anyway, (chronic medical conditions), killing the parasites might be a good thing.

        • Yes, actually.

          And some of us have looked around and seen the wisdom in Azrael’s line from _Dogma_:

          “Human, have you ever been to Hell? I’d rather not exist than endure that experience a second longer; and if I have to drag down everyone else with me, then *SO* *BE* *IT*!”

        • Got a simple, aphoristic response to that: “YOU won’t survive the deluge.” (With the implication that one should stop working to bring it about.)
          M

      • Sarah,

        The other day in the comments you linked to Whittle’s essay (http://pjmedia.com/vodkapundit/2013/01/28/a-message-to-americas-youth-from-an-american-youth/) in which he writes that we should hasten the inevitable collapse. Isn’t that pretty much the same as “let it burn”? What has Obama and his ilk said or done that makes you think they will allow a gentle collapse rather than burning the country to the ground on the way out?

        • Yes. And when I did, I pointed out that I was of a divided mind about it. Bill R. has ALMOST convinced me, but d*mn it, it’s hard to watch the destruction of everything I love, with no guarantee or a return.

          • I find Whittle’s take encouraging, actually. Hopeful, even. Perhaps it’s something to be thought of as a turning TOWARD rather than AWAY. Not 100% convinced, but willing to explore the notions of it.

            M

            • He sounds very hopeful indeed. However, if we take a look at history, how many groups that started a revolution, no matter what their intentions, were on top when everything finally shook out? Usually, the original group is the first to get killed after their victory celebration turns into the practical struggle. For control.

              Look at south america and france. At south africa. At Zimbabwe, at Liberia, at rhodhesia, at the Bolsheviks, the green revolution in iran, at egypt, at Venezuela, argentina… the most useless and ignorant cry is “but we’re smarter! This time we’ll get it right!” Thinking that you can. Control history is just as blind when you do it as when the leftists do it.

              • And yet, sometimes, the revolution is still needed.

                • Ah, yes. Something that can’t go on, won’t. But when do you draw the line, and say, It’s no longer worth trying to fix this from within?

                  I’m not ready yet, to start shooting my neighbors… not ready yet to try to survive in a warzone. I would rather try to keep the society, civilization, and culture together. Among other reason, because lack of regular access to modern medicine will kill half my heart, and I’m not ready to bury him just for some ideals.

                  I ignore the young with nothing to lose who talk of revolution, but when the old men start to pick up their guns, and the mothers start to gather… I can see which way the wind is blowing. I don’t have to like it at all, and I can insist on trying to keep my world the way it is, but I’m not blind.

      • Amen.

        Besides the simple fact that I have kids– like @$@@%@$# I’m going to roll over and die!

      • No– there are those of us who will be caught in the burning– I have a chronic medical condition that will not survive what you propose Mark.

  12. We could beat them if need be. Look at a map of how each county in the country voted. Blues are in isolated enclaves along the coasts or in isolated urban areas. They are isolated from those who produce the food and fuel for them. They are entirely dependent on trucks to deliver said food and fuel via major highways going into their areas.
    A trucking strike against them would bring them to their knees. If somebody happed to sabotage power substations too……..
    You say that the poor in the cities would suffer too? Of course but they vote with the aristos believing they should be given a nice lifestyle just for being alive. Both need a heavy dose of reality that would come from such actions.

    • When what’s-his-name went apeshit in the Basin a couple days ago, I told everyone who was going on about his “manifesto” and how this was going to lead to some sort of change in the LAPD: “Call me when he starts bombing grocery-store supply warehouses — the Revolution starts when the average American has missed three meals in a row, *and* *not* *one* *second* *sooner*.”

      I am, as usual, being proven right. He’s dead — and nothing’s changed. Next!

  13. The minimum wage is a price control. If you control the maximum price (the sort of control we’re used to thinking about), you depress supply. Correspondingly, if you control the minimum price (as in a minimum wage), you depress demand. No one should be surprised by this. Anyone who is should not be allowed to cross the street unescorted.

  14. I prefer to lay a blanket under the apple tree and then lie on it. When you lay on it, I stop enjoying your wonderful writing.

  15. Rip Westmoreland

    The term Aristos makes more sense if you replace it with the NPR listeners. Smarter than the rest, correct thinking and very pleased with themselves. NPR enforces the thinking and creates the warm bubble of superiority.

    • I grew up listening to NPR– the Spokane station was mostly music, low-key “interesting stories” (with little or nothing to do with US politics).

      Try “NPR True Believers.”

    • For those who listen (or used to listen) to NPR — at what point, historically, did it start its full-fledged transformation into National Proletariat Radio? Or was it always that way, but they were better at hiding it back then?

      • It was (here in NC) during the Clinton Administration, although I would be hard put to say precisely when. They were still reasonably fair in their coverage during the Hillarycare debate, less so once the GOP took the Congress in ’94 … and the Invasion of Iraq during the Bush Administration essentially flushed it’s nonpartisan credibility completely.

      • Depends on the area. NPR in my folks’ area has a few more of the national “news” shows than when I was a kid, but is still mostly music.

        In Seattle, NPR is so sucky and has been for so long that there’s a non-profit classical music station. King.org, Classical King FM!

        • NPR has stations that play music? Not that I like classical, but that would be a refreshing change from the “news” shows that are so far left that they make Al Gore look right-wing. Most conservative talk radio at least calls itself that, and admits to being opinion shows, not masquerading as unbiased news coverage.

          • I can remember the rare weekend that my mom actually got to spend inside, in the kitchen, with whoever was willing to help– usually we were preparing for a holiday or big ranch picnic– we’d always have NPR on. There’d be nothing but music until about five, when stuff like “Prairie Home Companion” and “All Things Considered” came on.

            Now, not so much, but still more classical than I’ve heard over in Seattle.

            Really strikes me as funny, since I was recently informed by a New Yorker that country folks wouldn’t know what classical was if they weren’t forced to subsidize it with NPR….

            • I would be happy to live that New Yorker’s stereotype. But apparantly he doesn’t realize that most country folk go to public schools, where classical is taught to a greater extent than all other genres combined?

              I can get Spokane FM stations here, if staticcy. So I’m sure I could get the Spokane NPR if driving, but I grew up on the coast, and you know how NPR stations there are. Combine that with the fact our local NPR station (if it is still on the air, they were talking about discontinueing it last I heard, due to a total lack of listeners) being MORE left-wing than those on the coast, and when I hear the words, “National Public–” I hit the scan button. :)

          • If you like jazz and blues, I wholeheartedly recommend the music programs at a regional NPR station, WEMU at 89.1 fm in SE Michigan, or online at http://www.wemu.org. I feel very fortunate to have them on my car radio, when the music is playing. The weekday morning program hosted by Linda Yohn is excellent, as is the afternoon program hosted by Micheal Jewitt. And the evening jazz hosted by Evelyn Hawkins is also very good. Their Saturday and Sunday afternoon lineups are also terrific. I use dar.fm to record several of their programs and then listen to them on my phone during the week. I can then just skip through the NPR news and get back to the music.

        • there’s a non-profit classical music station

          Yeah, we have one of those here in NC, out of Raleigh.

          I miss the cowboy poet laureate, but his few appearances were not worth the rest of Morning Edition. I think the last Public Radio show I listened to with any regularity was a folk/blue grass show hosted by an local old timer which was broadcast out of the Roanoke VA station. And I gave it up over a decade ago.

          • We have a for-profit classical music station in Anchorage, AK: 98.1, KLEF. It streams on-line if you miss good music!

      • I’d also say the early 1990s.

  16. great essay. last line needs an edit. Should be “What can’t go on, won’t”.

  17. Automation will free us from “jobs”.
    But, we will still need all those immigrants to do the “jobs” that American’s won’t do, such as working in the ag-fields, fixing cars, building/repairing houses (can’t wait for that robotic electrician, or plumber, or roofer).
    Oh, and robotic Nannies – which just might be an improvement over the robotic parents that will hire them.

  18. Great chart demonstrates:
    “Don’t Believe in the 21st Century Luddite Fear of Robots”
    http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/02/dont-buy-into-the-21st-century-luddite-fear-of-robots/

  19. Machine Design, one of the better magazines about industrial automation explains that raising the Minimum Wage is especially good for … the automation industry. And the result of replacing low-skilled labor with automation (robots) is unsurprisingly more unemployment. Great post, Sarah, even though Francis Schaeffer wrote about this stuff 20 years ago.

    • I suppose that’s the way I see things. I do fear automation, but I think it would not be that big a threat if humans weren’t being priced out of the equation.

  20. You masochistic souls that are still brave enough (or sick enough) to watch Dear Leader Barack are better than me. I can’t even stomach to look at the poseur anymore. I mean that – I see Benevolent Barack’s face, I turn off or change channel. Never thought I would live to see the day I would get to the point of having such disdain for the leader of the free world, I would absolutely tune him out. And I have run out of patience trying to reason with the inane, the mooches, the self-serving, the imposters.

    But I glad there are still people out there who can so they can relay back the egregious lies and false promises. Somebody has to keep tabs so they don’t rewrite history when we collapse from within.

  21. UrsusMaritimus

    If the President were even remotely serious rather than purely political, He could try a thought exercise. Does he acknowledge any adverse effects of raising the minimum wage? If so, His call for an increase without trying to explain why the benefit outweighs the harm is just noise and should be ignored. If not, why stop at $9/hr? Why not $100/hr or $1000?

  22. Well put. I was talking to one of my kids today on the way to school. Last night was a frustrating one doing homework for a project in school. One in which the students were randomly assigned partners. My kid wants a good grade, so is forced to complete the entire assignment, since the partner won’t lift a finger.

    On the ride in this morning, I pointed out that we live in a declining civilization, so expect more of the same. Our society has chosen to reward the slothful and punish the productive. We passed some cows on our commute. They are a great picture of a major portion of our society.

    Devoid of any curiosity, they stand around, waiting for the farmer to toss them their daily rations. Then they stand in their own filth, chew the meal they did nothing to produce, and think…nothing. No sense of wonderment that the farmer can (and does) bring them a bale every few days. No sense of appreciation for his efforts.

    And there stands Uncle Sam, at the door of the barn, handing out the bales. Never checking the inventory, but with blind faith that would shame the most devout monk, believing that he can always reach in and grab another bale.

    Excellent post, Hoyt.

  23. I am an NPR listener, therefore feel free to ignore the rest of this.

    Why should there be a minimum wage? (And why it is too low)

    Because we’re human beings, not economic meeples.

    Labor is not a perfectly flexible resource.

    In a world where employers have more market power than workers, the revocation a minimum wage, the results would be beyond ugly.

    Markets, like people, are not perfect things. And the pure strain of libertarian economics fail when it comes to markets in the real world, just as pure communism and socialism fail when meeting the real world of human behavior.

    Can the minimum wage be too high? Yes. If it is so high that it causes a real wage/price spiral or seriously reduces job growth.

    Is it too high right now? Absolutely not.

    And I’m sorry, I don’t want a world where Burger King employees get $3 per hour, because employers can pay that little and still attract employees because there are people that desperate to take that job at that wage.

    • getting $3 an hour might not be the best thing ever, yeah, but do you really think it’s better than not getting hired at all because the employer can’t afford to pay you $10 an hour? I’d rather have $10, but if it’s $3 or nothing, I’ll take the $3.

      • So there shouldn’t be a bottom to what employers can pay an employee? Ever?

        “Road to Serfdom” indeed.

        • Gordon Richens

          No more than there should be a bottom to what a person is allowed to accept for their labor.

        • THERE ISN’T a bottom. This is why you end up with unpaid internships. Or have you been asleep the last ten years.

          WAKE UP. YOU CAN’T LEGISLATE ECONOMICS.

          • Unpaid internships are the favored starting point for the nomenklatura. It provides the young wannabe with an entry point that the unwashed can’t obtain, and it provides the nomenklatura with a screening tool to ensure proper entry into the system.

            The working class kid can’t afford an unpaid internship. But the kid of an NPR listener can.

            • Except right now, the internships are lasting forever. And of course, you’re right. And kids are FIGHTING over unpaid internships.

              The lack of contact with reality is making me ill.

              BTW, you’re wrong about the days of the Jungle and all that. First Upton Sinclair was full of you know what. I’m sure you know that. Second, as “bad” as those times were, few people got stuck.

              I’m all for abolishing traps like the company store on credit and that sort of thing, but I think ANY tampering with the economy at ANY level should be done very carefully and with the results watched, ready to undo it if needed.

              • Upton Sinclair: I know, I know, but I had to give Paul a point of reference that he would recognize :-)

                Kids really do fight for the unpaid internships. It’s sad. I run a medical research laboratory at a university, and one of my several rules is this: NO UNPAID POSITIONS. None. Nada. If I want you in my lab, I pay you (minimum wage for summer undergrads, everyone else gets more). The reason is simple: if you are an unpaid intern, you might decide to work less hard. You might decide, heck, it’s a sunny day, I’m off with a ‘cold’ and headed for the beach. But if I’m paying you, you show up and do your job, no excuses.

                • Yes. Older son did a paid internship in a lab — he’s worth it too. Younger son is chomping to do one, but I’ve cautioned him that it’s immoral to work for nothing. (Hey, Heinlein said so.)

              • Well I dunno. I worked in the packing houses in the very early 60s. The pay was better but working conditions were not much of a step up from Sinclair Lewis. I was glad to have the job. When it was over I joined the Navy and became a nuke. Interesting life. And it is not over yet.

                • Wrong Sinclair. My point stands.

                • I might add that I saw things. Like black tagged meat (barely good enough for the dumpster) being hosed off and put into the food stream.

                  I still eat meat I buy at the grocers. But I never tell those stories at the dinner tale.

                  • I bought some chicken the other day that lasted one day in the fridge and was already spoiled. It is very sad and disgusting–

                  • Yes, but that’s WITH regulation. Some level of that will always happen. I have friends who give their stories on similar stuff, and hey, I worked in the kitchen of a restaurant for a summer. Let’s say the phrase “Fell on wax paper” strikes fear in my heart. (It was also obvious you could bribe inspectors.)

                    BUT if you read the actual book, everyone — EVERYONE — in the nineteenth century would have died of poisoning.

                    I think it’s better to regulate nothing and observe Caveat Emptor.

            • Not necessarily true, Steve. I did a 12-week unpaid internship as a copy-editor for a sports Website. I did this not because I could afford to do it, but because I needed to show prospective employers, who don’t understand whatsoever what a freelance writer and editor does (especially the editing, as for the uninitiated it looks like an editor isn’t doing anything at all unless you see the “before” and “after” of the manuscript in question), that I was committed to helping a site for fifteen hours per week. This showed that I learned a new “house style” and it may — I repeat, _may_ — help me in my current job search.

              I’ve been looking, by the way, for nearly four years. (The last job I had was well under my ability as it was as a data entry operator, and as I have carpal tunnel syndrome my hand functionality went way down due to doing that job, too. A lose-lose situation.)

              And what I’m running into is that employers don’t understand that a freelancer doesn’t get referrals unless she’s good at what she’s doing. And I wouldn’t be improving my amount of business without some positive word of mouth, either . . . anyway, it takes more work, not less, to be a freelancer and you have fewer things to fall back on when you’re ill (as I am right now).

              So that’s why I took a 12-week unpaid internship, even though I was flat broke then and am flat broke now, and am decidedly *not* young.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                Then you’re a very rare exception. The primary occupants of unpaid internships are young people still living with their parents, who don’t really need the money they should be getting paid.

                • They may still be at home with their parents, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be developing some independence. And as to don’t need the money? Many have student loans. They all have personal expenses. They could be saving up a nest egg so if and when they do finally find a job they have something with which to start.

                  • Student loans? I have family that works at the Dept. of Licensing, they get tons of ID verification requests from collection places, wanting to collect on unpaid student loans. Many of these are for people old enough they are retired and drawing social security. Those who pay back student loans are simply those who have been taught responsibility (usually by their parents) unpaid internships may SHOW responsibility, they do very little to teach it, however.

                    • You may have forgotten, tucked in the Affordable Care Act the government completed the take over of student loans and they have given themselves the power of the IRS to collect.

                    • Man am I glad we passed it, I keep finding out more and more of what is in it. By the way, WHAT IN THE HECK DO STUDENT LOANS HAVE TO DO WITH HEALTH CARE?!!

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Nothing. Of the Amendments I would like to see, one of them is a requirement that every clause in a Bill have proof that it is directly related to the central thesis of the Bill, or it must be removed, with censure and possible prison time for Congresscritters who allow anything to pass that fails this test.

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    I’m not certain, but I think you misunderstood what I meant. I’m talking about most of them being the children of parents who have already paid all that and are still willing to support them while they do their time so they get it on their resume.

                • I’d like to think I am, Wayne — a very rare exception — but in this particular area I think there are more fully adult people having to take unpaid internships in order to either upgrade or verify skills than not.

                  I also know that, in this area (SE Wisconsin/Northern IL), there were over 450 _qualified_ applicants (myself being one) for one of the few writing and editing jobs out there. I got a very nice letter from this particular company that said my writing samples were excellent and that I had the right background for them — but with the high amount of applicants, they were fortunate to find someone with all of the experience they wanted plus some. And of course they hired that person.

                  In my case, I looked at it this way — there’s _one_ growth sector right now when it comes to writing or editing, and that’s with sports Websites. They definitely need qualified editors there. There are more problems in those articles than in most other articles with grammar, punctuation, syntax and even stats — the last being particularly puzzling to a sports fan — and my hope was that by doing the internship I’d be able to perhaps find work at a different sports Website down the line.

                  I still hope for that, though I don’t think it’s my absolute best skill set.

                  But yes, I did this as a conscious, well thought out decision. And in this area, I’m far from alone.

                  • Writing these days is a secondary skill mostly. Learn a primary skill and then write about it. It also helps to develop an audience. Open a blog. Write every day. BTW I’m a paid writer. And my editors want to pay me more (next budget). Why? I generate traffic. And today those things are measured.

                    A career in electronics developed my primary skills. I got decent at writing by blogging every day and watching the comments. And the traffic meter.

      • Ah. You are more succinct than I am. You might add “If ifs and an’s were pots and pans, we’d all be eating dinner.” Because, honestly, SHOULDN’T we all be wealthy beyond dreams without working? Shouldn’t I have a billion sitting around, so I can hire someone to cook and clean and I can just feed your voracious appetite for stories all day?
        Of course, if everyone makes a billion, then mortgage will be half a trillion,and…

    • What you see in a paycheck is far from the entire cost to an employer to hire an employee. You know all those mandated benefits, and all those matching payment for the various kinds of withholding — those are part of the employer’s cost. And if the company offers extra benefits that part of the cost as well. Unless the employee provides the employer a value greater than that which is spent to employ them it would be foolishness to hire that person. It ultimately lead to a collapse of the business.

      How about raising the prices of products so you can pay more? Ever heard the phrase, “What the market will bear”? People are only willing to pay so much for a Burger King Burger. (And, if prices do go up what will stop people from lobbying for a rise in minimum wage — it will spiral.) If a business doesn’t sell enough to cover its costs it will collapse.

      Or pay the investors less on their investment. What is to stop the investor from moving his money to where it will provide more. One of the largest segments of investors are pension funds. Do you think people will like the prospect of living on less when they retire? The fund managers will move the money — or the people will pull out and it will collapse.

      Think about what happened to Hostess. There are limits on what business can do.

      • The minimum wage, in real dollars has fallen in the last 40 years. Is that why our economy is booming?

        And isn’t there a limit to the idea of whatever the market will bear? If someone of relatively low skills cannot earn a living because of wages, is it a case of “…and the weak died on the way”?

        • Paul, on the off-chance you are here to comment seriously –

          No one advocates a return to the days of wage slavery, sweatshops, and The Jungle. What many point out is that raising the minimum wage in a time of high unemployment hurts marginal workers who will be displayed as employers (who are faced with keeping the business open) cut workers.

          If we are to accept the notion of a ‘limit to whatever the market will bear’, will you then accept the notion of marginal displacement? That is to say, is it better to have a job at $7 an hour then to be unemployed because the minimum wage was raised to $9 an hour?

          • Steve, if there are no minimum wage laws and these regulations you all decry here are repealed, wage slavery is inevitable, in my view.

            And there are people impoverished enough in this country that will take that horrible deal.

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Perhaps you should define your notion of “wage slavery”, because I doubt you think it means the same as a lot of us here.

              • Yes, because to me the term ‘wage slavery’ is an oxymoron. If you are getting paid, and aren’t forcibly kept from quitting, it’s not slavery.

                • “Wage slavery” might be deemed to occur when people hold minimum wage jobs with high benefits, e.g., health insurance & pension so that they cannot afford to quit for a more remunerative job lest they lose their benefits package.

                  Thus, rather than raising minimum wages nationwide “wage slavery” is better avoided by ending employer-provided health insurance and pensions.

                  • BTW do you remember why the benefit package came about? In the 1980s some of the companies couldn’t get good workers without offering more than wages– and company health benefits were born. Not every worker had these benefits btw. It was a negotiated package.

                    • I thought it was a WWII thing. FDR set wage controls so companies wouldn’t poach each other’s workers during the war so they got around it by offering benefits.

                    • Could be– however it didn’t become such a big deal for us until the 1980s. The 1970s recession wiped out a lot of people so a lot DIDN’T happen during those years. Gas prices went up (sounds like now), food prices went up, and some people didn’t get money for working (or got a lower wage). I know that I worked for food then. really, as a typesetter which is a skilled job.

                    • I’m pretty sure that they were around before that– price controls sometime around World War II.

                      Probably became a big deal in the eighties, though.

                    • It was BIG deal– I started my first job in 1979, actually it might have been 1978 cause I first worked Saturdays only. Anyway, I started to hear about benefit packages for skilled workers around 82 (more or less). I can’t pinpoint because part of that time I was not in the US. In 1994 when I left the Navy, I was offered a job with (not going to mention the company) and they were offering housing allowance, medical benefits, and extra sick/vacation times. It was only for their skilled workers (of course, most of these companies had skilled workers) who were working outside the US.

                      I was kind of surprised in 1996 when I realized that most people expected benefit packages by then. (I was back in Las Vegas). So that is my personal experience with it. The 1980s though– you knew you had arrived when someone offered you benefits.

                      As for FDR and the other stuff– I can’t deny or affirm if it was part of the work package. I haven’t been that interested in FDR and his policies– except as to realize when I run into one that it hurts by abilities to earn.

                    • It wasn’t the 1980s. It was the 1940s with wage and price controls.

                    • If I remember properly Simon, although I was starting out, that in the 1980s the wage restrictions were lifting– (Pres. Reagan)– Just my experience– I did live in a very small town in Utah and the economy there was very depressed even in the 80s when everyone else was doing well.

                    • Try Nixon. Under the Nixon Wage and Price controls benefit packages were not frozen. From Nixon Imposes Wage and Price Controls at The Econ Review:

                      August 15, 1971. In a move widely applauded by the public and a fair number of (but by no means all) economists, President Nixon imposed wage and price controls. The 90 day freeze was unprecedented in peacetime, but such drastic measures were thought necessary. Inflation had been raging, exceeding 6% briefly in 1970 and persisting above 4% in 1971. By the prevailing historical standards, such inflation rates were thought to be completely intolerable.

                      The 90 day freeze turned into nearly 1,000 days of measures known as Phases One, Two, Three, and Four. The initial attempt to dampen inflation by calming inflationary expectations was a monumental failure.

                      In 1971, the U.S. was also in the process of leaving the gold standard, which was intended to allow the value of the U.S. dollar to fall. Compounding the situation were such events as Fed Chairman Arthur Burns and the Committee on Interest and Dividends (part of the controls apparatus) strenuously opposing banks attempting to raise the U.S. prime rate from 6% to 6.25% in February 1973. Inflation rates were below 4% at the start of 1973, but reached 9% by the start of 1974, which would have made the real prime rate a negative 3%. At the same time, interest rates were going up in foreign countries, putting enormous pressure on the dollar.

                      The wage and price controls were mostly dismantled by April, 1974. By that time, the U.S. inflation rate had reached double digits.

                      While there were skeptics in August, 1971, there were a great many who thought “temporary” wage and price controls could cure inflation. By 1974, this notion was thoroughly discredited, and attention gradually turned toward a monetary approach to inflation. In a complete reversal, the policy to curb inflation in now thought to be an increase in interest rates rather than an attempt to hold them down.

                      Apparently we didn’t really learn the lesson.

                    • Wage and price controls NEVER work. Because you can’t legislate economics. Oh, you can — but you’re just guaranteeing the law won’t be obeyed. I don’t know WHY this is so hard for people to get. When the choice is between survival and following the law, people will choose survival. And economics are a matter of survival.

                      I don’t remember what the Portuguese unemployment rate was in the mid to late seventies. I’m fairly sure it was made up, anyway, like ours is now. HOWEVER what I remember is that almost everyone was unemployed. Almost everyone was starting to prosper, too, because a healthy black market had emerged and people were making money under the table (and usually collecting assistance, natch.) Because at the time Portugal was trying… wages and price controls. Which means you could buy practically everything under the table (including bread. The bakers’ union had negotiated going in at nine, which meant bakeries had no fresh bread to sell to those heading to work at six am… so, some neighbors started baking bread, and you’d knock at their door and… It was cheaper than “official” bread, it was fresh, and it was often larger. Well… And someone was making a pile of money under the table.)

                    • Apparently– I was a pre-teen at the time so I don’t remember the specifics. I do know that I was hungry a lot of the time during 1971-1974 and it had to do with not having the money to buy food. We used to raise food (garden and chickens), but there is a limit to it if you don’t have friends to trade food with– at least imho. And it is a LOT of work.

                    • As an aside, which our hostess may wish to touch on — you hit on the key feature here: trade. when we came to the island trying to feed ourselves off the sea and the garden was close to starving, and that was with a lot of experience and and quite a lot of basic equipment, and the knowhow to use it. Three years on, we are near drowning in food: yes local experience has helped, but it’s really about trade between us others. Part of that is just the nature of a small community making it possible, and possible without formalizing it – so it remains un-taxable. That and the fact that our protein is all ‘free’ for the work of it. And yes, it’s a lot of hard work. But our weekly shop comes to under $100, and often under $50, and most of that is for toiletries, cleaning products, and the very cheap basics like rice or flour. We spend more on gasoline than groceries.

                    • oh yes. It’s harder to do it when I have clue zero how to actually GROW anything (in CO. I could grow things in Portugal and NC.) and we’re in the city and can’t have chickens in our non-existent yard.
                      BUT I’m seeing a lot of adds on Craigslist (barter and white elephant sale thing) for trading chicken eggs for vegetables and preserves.

                • I suppose the old “company store” thing could be considered wage slavery, without any mind-folding.

                  Thing is, that’s illegal these days.

            • So we have to contort and corrupt the entire economy because of your imaginary fears?

              You haven’t made an argument, you have expressed a bias completely absent of any factual basis.

            • Hmm. Two items of historical fact to add to your thoughts. I believe In the period following the black death, wages (and conditions) for farm labour improved to a level not seen again until the late 19th century. So scarcity does command good wages. If a lack of wage control generates jobs… If there are lots of employers, people will gravitate to those who pay and treat employees best. A minimum wage is only worth having when the number of job seekers exceeds the number of jobs. Here in rural Australia, wetback jobs are paid considerably more than minimum wage, because the social safety net is sufficient for even those stuck out there to have a choice of not working. In the cities – with lots of attractions for many people, and higher living costs, what jobs there are, tend to be minimum wage and stay that way. In South Africa, apartheid era, wages for domestic servants and farm labor were generally very low (more supply than demand), but this was not universally true — someone did look at it and found there was a small upper segment, and a slightly larger middle segment, with the bulk earning in cash and kind about as little as they felt they could live on rather than go back to the tribal land. Payment was inevitably cash, food (usually maize meal, a weekly meat ration (meat was quite cheap) and in some cases vegetables too) and rudimentary – but better than traditional – housing. Not a good situation, although one that varied a lot between employers. Along came the end of apartheid, and a (for the place and time) substantial minimum wage… and massive loss of employment. And then the ‘new normal’ – these wages were minimum wage + nothing. The food and accommodation mostly stopped, or – under protest from the workers – were deducted from their wages. Inflation caught up with the wages, and there are new minimum wage declarations from time to time. You can forget a raise. The GINI co-efficient is now worse than than under apartheid (no I am NOT defending it), and unemployment worse. Go to South Africa today, and the wealthy (black and white) still have lots of servants and farms have about 1/3 of what they used to, but still a lot. Many middle class folk have someone a few hours a week, whereas that was a full-time live in servant. And almost all those jobs are minimum wage + 0.

              The answer, logically is to make a situation where there are more employers than employees. Now that’s a tricky one in today’s climate.

            • “wage slavery “
              Translation: I hate that my work is only worth what someone else will pay for it and I think that grimacing really hard will change the laws of economics to suit me.

            • We already have wage slavery. We have a second class of “undocumented workers” who get paid under the table, no bennies from the company, no SS, and if they get uppity, they get reported to the INS and deported.

        • Paul, you write “if someone of relatively low skills cannot earn a living because of wages …” and it seems to me like you are indeed the perfect NPR listener.
          Do you not realize that if the person of low skills cannot do work of value greater than the minimum wage, he will have no job at all? And little chance of gaining useful experience?
          One of the problems our young people have today is the inability to gain useful skills by getting a low paying job that might gain them experience. Part of the problem is the difficulty in finding work that regulation allows to someone under 18 but the other problem is that minimum wage regulation means that there is work that isn’t worth paying for.
          But this seems to go over your head.

          • It might be useful to provide, for the benefit of NPR listeners, a working definition of “useful skills” for most minimum wage jobs.

            Those skills generally entail:
            Showing up when scheduled and remaining at the place of employment until the scheduled end of work.

            Showing up for work in suitable attire for the type of work required, as well as paying at least minimal attention to personal hygiene.

            Interacting with fellow employees in a pleasant and non-hostile manner.

            Interacting with customers in a pleasant and non-hostile manner (although, in fairness, doing this will generally earn above minimum wage.)

            That pretty much covers it. I invite others to a) add any appropriate requirements b) challenge any of the requirements I have listed.

            • Speaking minimal English. Years ago, while attending a conference in Boulder, we went to EVERY fast food place trying to get breakfast. The catch is we had to do drive through. We couldn’t find a single person who could speak enough English to understand two standard breakfast orders AND an additional milk. One of them kept adding milks. When we were up to sixteen, we drove away.

              • I had the same problem in California when we went there for an Amateur radio conference. They finally called the manager when I started on a tantrum about how come I was in the US and was expected to speak Spanish. My hubby was trying to shush me, but I was hungry — I finally got my breakfast. I could have ordered in pidgin Spanish, but that wasn’t the point.

                • The manager was the only one who was truly bi-lingual. (It was one of those fast food places– they all blur in my mind after awhile.)

                • Try Othello Washington some time, whenever going through there I used to stop at the A&W, because it was the only fast food restaurant in town with English speaking employees. Now they have hired Spanish-only speakers also. So if I want something to eat when going through there I have to stop at the gas station. There at least I can pick what I want off the shelf and set it on the counter, and read the cash register display for my total.

                • The idiots didn’t understand Portuguese either. I understand Spanish, but no Spanish speaker can make that leap. GAH.

                  • I have never understood that! I figured it might be an accent thing: there are sotaques in Brasil that come out sounding a lot like Spanish, but there is no corresponding accent or dialect from Spanish to Portuguese. But if you with your weird continental talk (I kid, I kid… kinda) have the same issue, it must be something else.

                    • It is because Portuguese is a more phonetically complex language from Spanish, with a ton of tones, seperation between long and short vowells, and a genrally sing-song and nasal pronunciations that don’t appear in Spanish. The Spanish speakers can’t distinguish the sounds and soon gets lost among the phonemes they have in common with with Spanish that are in the wrong place. My gut feel is that Spanish is too-orderly a language in some ways, and this causes a fail; the preconception as to what should come next gets in the way of the way of hearing what actually was said.

                      Me personally, though, I think Portuguese has a certain something to make it hard to hear. Itallian to me just sounds llike really excited people talking too fast, but I can’t get one out of 20 words in Portuguese.

                  • not entirely true Sarah. Perhaps native spanish speakers cannot grasp Portugese but those of us who learned Spanish in school and learned it reasonably well can communicate with Portugese speakers. With a little work and some sign language you can even manage Italians

                • I just don’t get it. I felt GUILTY when I was in a foreign country and couldn’t speak more than a handful of words.

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    I told my wife last night: If I go to a foreign country and don’t speak the language, I expect to stay in the tourist-specific areas, where they are prepared to deal with that.

                    • When I was stationed in Japan, I made sure to learn basic polite phrases, basic manner understanding, had my little phrase book– not phonetic, but written out with an English translation under it if I really needed more complex ideas exchanged, and I regularly gave thanks that all the kids were excited as could be to talk to a “normal sized” American. (I felt like an ogre, but I didn’t tower over them.)

                      I still melt at the thought of the morning I happened to walk past a flock of maybe kindergarden sized kids, and offered a big smile and “ohayo gozaimus!” (sp) Instantly, I got about fifty huge grins and a very long chain of “goooood mor-ning!”s.

                      I’m still embarrassed about the times that my Japanese fell short, or I simply couldn’t understand someone’s accent when they were speaking English as a huge favor to the stupid foreigner, not that they gave the least hint that they thought of me that way.

                      The idea of moving somewhere, and expecting THEM to adjust to ME?

                      Uh… I think that’d be a sin against charity.

                    • My attitude to Australia, precisely. I came here, they accepted me, I fit in as best I can to their ways

                    • The idea of moving somewhere, and expecting THEM to adjust to ME?

                      Not that I agree with them, but it makes a sort of sense if you start from the premise that the American Southwest was stolen from Mexico. From such perspective, speaking English is undue deference to the conquistadors.

                    • *makes a very rude gesture at that bit of myth-making*

                      Sure, same way Spain was stolen from the Muslims…..

                    • Wayne — that’s exactly what I did. I still felt guilty. What if I had to explain or report something more complicated than my not-even-pidgin level of the local language could explain?

                      (And I still swear that, despite what the phrase books say, “uscita” is Italian for “more to see” and not “exit”. We’d follow the signs, but they just led us to more and more amazing things…)

                  • Exactly– Plus I learned enough so that I could order food in that country– Panama, Japan, and Germany.

                  • The older son is — now! — learning Portuguese. It’s easier for us to practice when he’s running errands with me (I press gang the kids into going to the grocery store and the hardware store with me, because I find shopping unutterably boring — yes, yes, it is unnatural. Deal) BUT I confine it to the car, because I feel rude if we’re speaking it in public, even if all I’m doing is quizzing him on the colors.

                    • I like to listen to an audiobook on my MP3 player while doing the groceries. For whatever reason I find Larry Correia or Lois Bujold seems to make the frozen food aisle less enervating.

                  • Six or seven years ago, we went to Prague for a week. And I couldn’t retain a word of Czech, not even “Thank you”, for some reason. But I found everyone I encountered friendly to me nonetheless, even if we didn’t have any language in common.

                    The Dutch speak better English than the average person here in the US by the way.

                    • “The Dutch speak better English than the average person here in the US by the way.”

                      Yes, but do they speak better American?

                    • As someone with a Dutch host-sister-in-law, no.

                      Actually the Dutch and all the Scandinavian countries spoke pretty decent English — from the exchange students I hung out with — so did the Japanese. The Latin countries in general ranged from bad to horrible. They also tended not to socialize with English Speakers and hang together in language groups. Portuguese hung with Portuguese, those failing Brazilians, those failing anyone speaking Spanish.

                      Me? I was the traitor, as always… Unless you consider my language group to be English, of course.

                    • Depends on which state you compare them to …

                    • I listened to some “Turkish for Travelers” MP3s, and all that stuck with me are “merhaba” (“hello”) and “ikki birra daha, lutfen” (“two more beers, please”).

              • Speaking minimal English qualifies you for above minimum wage pay, these days. Using honorifics, such as “Sir” and Ma’am” probably gets a significant bonus.

                BTW – is it worth noting that most fast-food chains commonly pay an above minimum wage? At least, that was the reporting in the 90s on NPR out of Chapel Hill, where employers were having to accustom themselves to a labor market in which an employee could inform the manager on Thursday that she was going to the beach for the weekend and, if they didn’t excuse her she would quit and get hired across the way next Monday morning.

              • For those who don’t speak minimal English, there are always jobs available in telephone customer service/help.

            • Follow directions more often then not without spectacularly disastrous failures or daily re-training. The less supervision you need, the more you’ll get paid because they know you don’t need a babysitter– and the more likely you are to move up to more important jobs. (Including, sometimes, babysitter.)

              • One of the bizarre things — bizarre to me — at the retail job I worked was the number of people who showed up, worked a day or two, and disappeared never to be heard of again and NEVER collecting the money due to them. That last was mind-boggling.

                • Laziness the X Games.

                • Maybe they stole enough to afford not getting their wages? Or maybe it was a scam of some sort.

                • Theft. Hubby worked for years as a store manager and the biggest theft problem was employees – either giving free stuff to customers or filching from the till. According to him, anyone in retail supervisor positions will tell you straight off that employee theft outdoes customer theft by orders of magnitude.

                  When he ran a convenience store, he figured he was doing well if the monthly audit came in less than $500 short. With some employees (who got dismissed as soon as he figured out which ones they were) he had $1500 or more short on monthly audits. He’d put up with unreliable workers who didn’t steal because it cost his company less.

                  • It’s well known in the security industry (one of my industries) that, on the average, for every external theft you catch (ie customer or sneak thief) four internal thefts have gone unnoticed. Not an encouraging number.

        • The minimum wage — that which is assigned to the worker — is only part of the cost to the employer. As I mentioned all the mandated benefits, all the matching withholding are part of the cost. And that has gone up.

          It doesn’t really matter what you would like, or what will happen to people who have low level of skills, the fact is that there is a limit that anyone is willing to pay for a burger.

          Like I said, check out the history of the shut down of Hostess. Hostess had two basic lines, the breads and the treats. The deliverer’s union refused to change their contracts, which insisted that separate trucks be run for the two different product lines. Because one union would not come to terms with the shrinking business the whole thing was shut down. Everyone is out of work.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            Another thing with Hostess: How much of their financial trouble was caused by the Left in general and this administration in particular? All the producers of foods like their snack lines have been demonized for years, with a serious ratcheting up from Michelle Obama.

        • It is a case of good reasons to acquire valuable skills.

          To the degree the economy is surviving, it is because of increased productivity per unit of labor, typically as a consequence of employers investing in machinery to leverage labor hours (e.g., Burger King has baskets that automatically time the fries so that nobody has to stand over the fryer, eliminating jobs) or eliminate labor entirely (e.g., Burger King went from having soda machines that dispensed the soda into the cup held by an employee to machines that dispensed a pre-measured amount of soda into a cup placed there by an employee and then to having customers fill their own @#! cups because the cost of having employees to do it exceeded the sales lost by allowing customers free refills.)

          Perhaps our NPR listener would rather we return to using scribes to make document copies rather than have lost all those jobs to machines? Of course, scribe used to be a highly skilled profession.

          • My favorite example is a place called Big Foot Java– you drive up, order your coffee, and they’ve applied both technology and the McDonald’s Method (standard, standard, standard!) so that most times your mocha is ready before they’ve finished running your credit card. Push-button brewer, don’t have to hold the milk steamer, etc.

        • The first minimum wage law was passed in 1938. If minimum wage worked as a solution to the poverty problem don’t you think we would have seen some indication of it by now?

          • Actually, the first Minimum Wage law was a sort of racist Jim Crow affair sought by the Unions and passed by Democrats. Black workers were typically paid less than white workers because they weren’t “worth” higher wages (their opinion, not mine). As a result though, if you could hire a black man to do the same job cheaper, you would, depriving more expensive white workers employment. But with a law forcing employers to pay what they would have to pay whites to do the work, they would hire whites, rather than blacks.

            • This does not change the point — unless you wish to argue that the purpose for passing a given law is the thing that makes the difference. No the consequences of the law matters.

              For example we placed requirements upon welfare recipients that if there is a man in the house he should support his family. (Why should the public underwrite a man unwilling to be responsible for his own family?) But, this meant the if man was unable to find work, the man was under pressure to leave the house – to abandon his family – so that they could receive assistance. This was certainly not the purpose of the law, but it was the effect.

              Whatever the reason for the initial passing of minimum wage, and the race issues were not the only one — it forced younger workers out of jobs as well, why should it now suddenly be the cause of the end of poverty and not once again a cause for discrimination in the workplace?

              (BTW: you are aware that black workers could move to other areas where they would be offered wages legal under the new minimum wage for jobs that whites had held for more — like the mines? Something that was being done in an attempt to bust unions.)

              In the seventy five years we have had them national minimum wage laws did not ended poverty.

    • “In a world where employers have more market power than workers…”

      That world died about 80 years ago. Right now the problem is both are under the boot heel of government.

      ” If it is so high that it causes a real wage/price spiral or seriously reduces job growth.”

      Love the “seriously reduces”. How much is “seriously”? Is that measured in conjunction with regulations or independently of their growth-stifling effects? What about the effects of unregulated immigration?

      And what makes you think it’s your place to decide?

    • Forget the libertarian economics – try macro economics 101. You NPR types still don’t get it. It your imagined sophistication, your logic has wrought $16,500,000,000,000 in debt, the first of two debt downgrades, the lowest labor force participation rates on measurable record, QE123 and artificial inflation controls damaging both the consumer and the investor. Do you understand the word imminent, as in failure? Let’s remember the purpose of pure economics – maximizing aggregate wealth.

      Wage controls and price controls have never worked and will never work, and paying a higher wage doesn’t make any better guarantee of better level of service anyway. You honestly think you’re going to get a 42% increase in production and service by raising the minimum wage from $7.00 an hour to $10 an hour? Pipe dream, pal. If not, then all you have accomplished is lowering the aggregate standard of living.

      The best case to be made would be the elimination of minimum wage in its entirety and let the simple law of supply and demand dictate the prevailing wage, unless you can demonstrate to me we still have slave labor.

    • The minimum wage rate is $7.25 and we have 8% unemployment. What theory says that legislating a minimum rate of $9.00 will reduce unemployment? All it will does is: 1) increase the demand for labor of illegal immigrants or other “black market” laborers; and 2) increase the rate of substitution of technology for labor. Next time you go to a McDonald’s, just look at how high tech it is. Technology doesn’t call in sick, doesn’t have to be trained, doesn’t demand vacations or overtime pay, and the employer isn’t required by law to pay into Medicare and Social Security for every person the employer does not have to employ.

      Finally, if the minimum wage rate is increased, it will reduce overall societal wealth. It’s another in a long list of failed liberal ideas the appeal to people based purely on emotion but are economically irrational.

    • Lamp of Diogenes

      Paul,

      You didn’t need to identify yourself as an NPR listener; your “grasp” of economics did that for you.

      “Why should there be a minimum wage? (And why is it too low)
      Because we’re human beings, not economic meeples.”

      Is there a coherent thought buried in there, somewhere, or did you just come here to vomit emotive liberal talking points????? The fast that I am “a human being” means exactly diddly squat to the universe, the laws of market economics, or MOST other human beings. My labor is worth what it is worth. If I choose not to improve my skills, remaining at a level occupied by most “minimum wage” jobs – why do you or anyone else owe me a living??

      Have you noticed which cohort of our society has the HIGHEST unemployment rates? Teenagers and young adults (particularly black teenagers and young adults) – the very people who USED to find and take “minimum wage” jobs. Since the minimum wage is now so high, there are fewer and fewer “minimum wage” jobs available. Gotta start somewhere, ducky – I had “minimum wage” jobs in my youth. Used them to gather skills, recommendations, experience and a burning desire to find something better. Paying a burger flipper at Burger King $7.50 an hour STILL won’t make him/her economically self-sufficient – but what it will do is make Burger King uneconomic, eventually. Do YOU want to pay $10 for a Whopper??

      “Markets, like people, are not perfect things. And the pure strain of libertarian economics fail when it comes to markets in the real world, just as pure communism and socialism fail when meeting the real world of human behavior.”

      And, tell me, exactly where and when was this “pure strain of libertarian economics” that you refer to practiced??????? Not here, that’s for damn sure.

      Tell you what, spare us your emotional, economically-ignorant ramblings, and we’ll pretend to believe you’re a “nice guy,” rather than the statist/fascist you so clearly are. Buh-bye.

    • William O. B'Livion

      Yup. You’re an NPR listener alright.

      Won’t bother responding in detail, you’ll just skip it and go back to listening to that slow, patient voice delivering the aural soma.

      • I’m listening to NPR right now. So be satisfied in that.

        • The cost of something is what someone will pay for it. No more, no less. If the price is too high, no-one will buy, and if it is too low, no-one will sell. If you had God-like powers of fore-sight you could mandate prices and wages and direct an economy. But then if you had God-like powers of fore-sight you would know already that I was going to call you names, and you would not have read this far.

          The immediate result of raises in the minimum wage is the reduction in jobs available to low-experienced, low skilled, and/or young people. This is because when you, as an employer, have to pay a higher wage you cannot hire as many workers, so you need to get the best workers for the money you generate by employing them. You can’t afford to hire too many workers who can’t, figuratively, find their butts with both hands and a fistfull off bumwad without six month’s training. Further, training is expensive, and young workers often don’t work out – which ties up money that could have given you better result elsewhere.
          The secondary result is that these low skilled/ etc (which tend to be young, and/or minority, and/or poorly educated) job seekers have to do something. A surprising number start working under the table for below minimum wage, without insurance, UI, or recourses if the boss decides to take advantage of them. Which puts them right into that unregulated workforce that you say is unjust, without any guarantees that you feel they should have.
          In view of this, you might ask why you are so devoted to a policy that gives you an outcome, for a vulnerable population, that is more economically and socially devastating, and for that matter more universal, than poll taxes or segregated lunch counters ever were?

          I don’t care what you intend or feel should be, I only ask about actual outcome, since we are talking about real people, real lives, and generations of aspirations flushed here. Real misery. Real pain. What you intend ain’t in it.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            IMO Paul Weimer’s problem is that he thinks perfection is possible and the government can create perfection. [Sad Smile]

            • No. It’s ink drinking. “If we say it should be this way, it WILL be this way.” Like people who think laws change reality.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                What’s the difference from what I said?

              • Well Drak has it right: progressives, socialists and fascists (but I repeat myself) do indeed believe in perfection. That comes from Marx, Leviathan, etc. Humankind can be made perfect and it is the job of the true believer to make it happen. They explicitly reject the notion that humans are fallen, ala Genesis, and can never be perfected.

                You also have it right: the true believer indeed believes that if they say it should be a certain way, then it will be that way. When it doesn’t work out the way they thought then it is the fault of wreckers, saboteurs, and stupid people who nefariously or otherwise interfered.

                This is why the true believer sees the public as uneducated sheeple, who have been lied to and thus misled by sinister reactionary forces. They can’t credit that ordinary people would listen to them and decide, “these folks are crazy.”

                That’s why Paul made it a point to note that he listened to NPR — he’s part of the nomenklatura (or at least an apparatchik) and not a sheeple.

                • Humankind can be made perfect and it is the job of the true believer to make it happen. They explicitly reject the notion that humans are fallen, ala Genesis, and can never be perfected.

                  I don’t even think it’s so much about how “good” or “perfectible” human beings are. Self improvement is certainly possible. (Forced improvement by someone else? Err …)

                  But you aren’t going to get to any sort of paradise by systematically violating the free will of other people. In a hypothetical society of angels, having some of them stand over the others with guns to prevent them from freely associating, for their own good of course, would be even *more* absurd.

                • William O. B'Livion

                  Perfection of a kind.

                • “When it doesn’t work out the way they thought then it is the fault of wreckers, saboteurs, and stupid people who nefariously or otherwise interfered.”

                  Hence, the gulag

        • Good. I’m glad you’re listening to government approved news, on the government owned station. Because obviously if you had an original thought, the shock would send you into cardiac arrest. And I wouldn’t want your death on my conscience.

          I, too, listened to NPR at one time. While living in Minnesota. Once I began thinking for myself, and reading people like Bastiat, von Mises, Hayek, and Friedman, I realized what evil NPR was spreading.

          If you don’t recognize the names, thank your local NPR station. If you do, go and read. Educate yourself. Consider this your life-line to rise out of the lake of suckage.

          • I used to listen to NPR. They used to play classical music in the afternoons. And they carried the Metropolitan Opera. I truly enjoyed it when Tony Randel was part of the intermission discussion. Sigh

            • Car Talk on NPR is worth listening to (those guys are FUNNY). And You Bet Your Garden. Apart from that… Meh.

              • I enjoy a couple of their syndicated music programs: Thistle & Shamrock most notably. I used to listen to Afropop Worldwide and Schickele Mix [http://www.schickele.com/mix/] as well. I don’t know whether any area NPR affiliates still carry the former and the latter has completed its mission (although there is no reason not to rerun the episodes; they are a marvelous course in music.)

                I liked Prairie Home Companion until Keillor’s political nonsense simply put me off him completely.

    • Listen — you’re thinking from “should” — “no one should make less than x”

      That’s nice dear. But that’s the language of desire. Most of us outgrow it by the end of kindergarten. It’s “I wish”. I do wish we had a nice pretty world where food was pre-ready and it rained soup. It makes you feel very good to think that, doesn’t it? “Nobody should” and you feel very virtuous at empathizing with the poor unfortunates working minimum wage, of which I would bet cash money you know not one, nor have ever.

      In a perfect world, in which desires rule, no one should make less than a billion trillion dollars. (Why stop at nine?)

      But this is not a perfect world. Let me give you a short lesson in economics, which apparently NPR neglects: bosses aren’t evil moustache twirling villains. They produce something, for which they use two kinds of resources: labor and materials. They then price the product a little higher (or a lot higher, as high as the market will bear) than the cost of those materials and labor. They do this, not because they’re “greedy” but because, if they didn’t, why bother? They could stay home and sleep late. They are in fact in business to make money, which I know shocks you — but there it is. This is how those lovely things, from ipods to chicken wings actually get on the shelves. Because someone wanted to make money. (Your boy Marx never got that, but then he never worked for a living.)

      Now, you’re thinking “but if they pay $3 they can pay $9″

      Sure they can. And that burger will now cost $10. Which means fewer people can buy it, and also, incidentally, the cost of living goes up, so minimum wage must go up.

      But actually, more likely, that burger will now be served by a machine (that part is easy.) And/or by an illegal immigrant. Because the company knows what the traffic can bear — and in food, the margin of profit is already tiny. And then liberals will wail that there are more people desperate to take low-paying jobs. AND THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY.

      For your edification — in a free society, people who stay stuck at minimum wage have something severely WRONG with them. Also for your edification times are bad because of your kind of thinking. Also, for your edification, having a teen who would like a job, he’d take $3 an hour at Burger King and without benefits in a flash, because that would allow him to get gas, which would mean some freedom from our purse. And it would also give him a work experience.

      Twenty eight years ago I worked for something less than three dollars an hour. It put groceries on the table, and it didn’t materially hurt me. As soon as I could I moved up, because it’s a job, not an indenture.

      It is, btw, the height of hypocrisy, to raise the minimum wage and yet condone the sort of unpaid internships kids are forced into these days to create a work history because no one can afford to hire someone without one for a “minimum wage job.”

      And this is why we don’t listen to NPR listeners, and why you should stop drinking your own ink. Ask yourself, if $9 an hour is great, why not one billion? And if you say that’s silly — why isn’t $9 silly? Do you in your ivory tower think everyone’s labor is worth $9 an hour? It would probably shock you that, as a self employed contractor, I work for rather less. PFUI.

      • I don’t think raining soup is the paradise you want to portray, think of the stink the next sunny day, after it rained soup.

      • The irony is that the acronym NPR is often derided in other circles I frequent as “Nice Polite Republicans”

        • I rather think the irony is that you frequent circles so far Left that they think of NPR as Center-Right, and apparently you largely concur.

          • I suppose a different spin on it could be that in order to qualify as “polite,” a Republican would have to be both fiscally and socially liberal while favoring government intervention and opposing the military.

            That is, a Democrat.

          • I emphatically agree. Weimer may claim to be a moderate (I haven’t read the entire thread), but I’ve known lots of self-described “moderates” who have nothing but hatred and contempt for people like Reagan and Friedman but lots of respect and praise for left-wing tyrants and terrorists.

        • So?

          I can listen to the Portland talk radio rant about how Obama is a member of the far right, and I have a former friend who thinks that he’s “right wing” because he believes Obama is just slightly to the right of center, rather than a flaming right winger. He’s a former friend because, after about six years, he finally figured out that when I say I’m a conservative, I actually mean it.

          As amusing as it is to hear left-wingers agreeing with the more hysterical on the right about Obama being a few steps from Hitler, I sure wouldn’t brag about it or mistake it for a rational description of NPR’s location on the political spectrum.

    • “Because we’re human beings, not economic meeples. ”

      Umso, human beings are not SUBJECT to economics, then, eh?

      OF COURSE!!! How could we all have missed it!!! Because human beings are people, not homo economicus, neither are we subject to the laws of PHYSICS, nor THERMODYNAMICS, nor MECHANICS, nor QUANTUM MECHANICS either, I suppose?
      Thanks for clearing that up, genius!!!
      /sarcasm off

      • It’s probably luke-warm “social justice” mangling.

        The theology is, people aren’t objects so you shouldn’t toss out the ones who can’t work.
        The mangling– and the reason that I, a Catholic, snarl at the mention of “social justice” when the original theology is just fine– is that they shift from individual duties to the gov’t forcing stuff that sounds like it might make things better. (Which, of course, totally ignores the much larger amount of teaching about how humans aren’t gov’t cogs, either.)

        • This is why I don’t engage the statists in debate anymore. You can’t have a conversation about the proper distance between Church and State with a person whose Church IS the State.

    • Others have already addressed most of this, but I’m wearing heavy shoes today so I feel free to wade in.

      Paul, nobody here particularly cares what you listen to, and the fact you open with that statement suggests a prejudgment on your part, a bias, if you will.

      But as you think it significant, I will ask why you feel entitled to expropriate by force underwriting for your chosen form of entertainment? You don’t want a world where Burger King employees get the market value of their productivity (funny you assume it is only worth $3/hr — is that what you pay your employees?) and I do not want a world in which Rush Limbaugh’s listeners are forced by law to financially support All Things Considered (or vice-versa, for that matter.)

    • Thank you for providing such a sterling example of why NPR listeners get such a bad reputation among people who know how life actually works.

      “Pure communism and socialism fail when meeting the real world of human behavior” – this is in fact a feature. Consider that in order to “fairly” allocate resources, someone must decide who gets what. This immediately introduces perverse incentives where it’s worth coopting or coercing the decider to favor oneself over others. And that’s without the issue that one man’s paradise is another’s hell on earth.

      At least the libertarian economics recognize the direction of incentives and try to work with them.

      In every place where there has been massive exploitation of a labor force, there has also been some combination of heavy state controls, corruption, legislative capture, and the existence of effective monopoly powers. Without those controls, good things happen. Employers can and will pay employers more than the norm for a position because that reduces turnover and – for the employer – turnover and replacement costs. Make it uneconomic for an employer to pay more and you get a race to the bottom instead (Payroll taxes and immigration laws that aren’t enforced, anyone?).

      That $3 an hour at Burger King is good money to a teenager on his first job. It’s freedom from the parental purse strings. Few – very few – people stay on minimum wage. They improve. And the Burger Kings of the world pay the price of training them to deal with the real world.

    • “Because we’re human beings, not economic meeples. ”

      I missed this line earlier.

      I am human! and I will not be oppressed by economics!
      Way to go, that’s telling them. The tenets of economics offends you, so you just deny that your behavior and that of others should be constrained by the evil ideology … reality.

      • I am human! and I will not be oppressed by economics!

        Thanks for the reminder: I am being oppressed by gravity and demand that those laws be adjusted to reduce strain on my knees! If the President and Congress do not act to pass laws limiting the pull of gravity at Earth’s surface to 25 ft/s/s it can only be because they are indifferent to the suffering of millions of aging Americans! In addition to alleviating much unnecessary pain, such a reduction would also provide relief to the many Americans who are now considered overweight! Such a law would immediately reduce the weight of a 250 lb American to a comfortable 195 lbs.

    • YOU are perfectly free to hire anyone you please at as high a wage as you please.

      That you have not done so already shows that you regard them as economic meeples even more than those who are willing to hire them for lower wages than you approve of.

  24. Would Tamburlaine waste them all!

  25. Sarah, I love reading your blog. Everyday I look forward to reading it. To me, you are a voice saying “2+2=4″ when it seems as though everyone else is saying “That’s racist, bigoted, discriminatory. Why shouldn’t 2+2=3 or 5?” All of the lying that goes on sometimes makes me wonder if I am going crazy and your blog is an island of sanity in a sea of media madness. Thank you for writing and especially for your positive, optimistic outlook which helps counter my own tendency to “We are all so screwed” thinking.

  26. Paul, you seem to imply that once someone snags a Burger King job, they’ve attained their career goal. Surprisingly, most folks, if left to their own devices, are self-motivated enough and perfectly capable of acquiring and honing job skills, value, thereby meriting more pay, without an artificial boost by Uncle Sugar. My first job in my youth was for fifty cents an hour. Perhaps if I’d been paid $10.00 per hour I’d still be there – slinging hay bales instead of engineering.

    • My first job was raking sand traps at a golf course at whatever the minimum wage was then (really low). I’m in medicine today. Good thing I had a little ambition, though I’m sure those sand traps are still there.

      • My first job was as retail clerk. Yes, I had a Masters in Modern Languages. No, I couldn’t walk into a job because my degree was from a foreign university, I had no work history in this country, and I had — have (G) — an accent you could cut with a knife. We were newly wed and had just rented a luxurious 700 sq feet (which in retrospect we didn’t need but which left us without money for groceries.) At any rate, I wanted to establish a work history. So, I got a retail job. It paid for groceries AND furnished our first house (from garage sales, mostly.) After a year I saw an add for an international secretary, and by then I’d learned how to present professionally in the US (would you believe in Portugal business dress for a woman is closer to prom attire here?) I got that job. I left it due to a VERY difficult pregnancy. After that pregnancy I chose not to let strangers raise my kid, and therefore I started working on a writing career.

        I think per hour I make about $3 — probably. I’ve never bothered to count it. However, it’s indoors, I’m warm, and I don’t have to deal with people who want me to sell them a magnet that sticks to wood. (I wish I were joking.) And besides, I enjoy writing… when I’m not cursing it.

    • My first job. Other than working in my Dad’s grocery store (shades of Dobie Gillis) was working for free sorting tubes at a vacuum tube store that was total chaos (OA3s should not be lumped in with the 1B3s – look it up to find out why). After I got the store organized they let me work at the counter (I was 13). There TV repair men met me – one took a liking to me and hired me for the summer. I went from nothing to above minimum wage. Why? Well I knew how to solder and fix things. I was also good with the heavy lifting. I was a strapping 6ft+ even at 13. Very tall for those days. Now my sons (6′ 3″, 6’3″, and 6’4″) tower over me. And the daughter at 5′ 11 1/2″ is no shorty either.

      • My husband programmed computers for free at Radio Shack at about 15 — for the chance to do it. Back then he couldn’t afford a computer, so…

        And older kid — who grew up as fast as you and was over six feet at 13 — “rented out” for food to friends who needed yard work of the carrying concrete blocks variety.

        Was he exploited? I don’t know. They paid him $20 a day plus food, and considering what he ate back them…

        The point is these were free arrangements entered on by free people and none of the government’s business.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        A store that was almost exclusively vacuum tubes? Wow. I remember a store having a tube tester when I was young, but I can’t even remember what store it was. Either a hardware store or a department store (may have been Sears), but no large scale department for the things.

  27. + infinity +1

  28. Heinlein had right with respect to writing a few errors
    into his works for his editors to correct:
    ‘After they pee in the soup, they like the taste better.’
    MSM writers and editors need to correct the flaws in reality before presenting the results to their readers.

    • I’ve designed several owner-built homes and discovered early on that the building inspectors loved a few obvious errors. Once they’ve red-penciled a few, the plans fly through the permitting process.

  29. Oligarchy – the rule of a self-selected set of families – seems the default setting for our species. Not only is history packed with it, but even the “progressive” regimes of the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China rapidly devolved back to oligarchy. The ‘nomenclatura’ of the USSR were well known for taking care of their own, so second-generation party officials were quite common by 1990. It is even more evident in China where about 90% of the middle grade political/military/industrial leadership are the children of the current upper leadership.

    There have always been those who would overturn our egalitarian experiment by emplacing the “right people” in the important institutions. Our unique infatuation with “what can you do now?” and “what are you capable of doing later?” as opposed to “who is your father?” has created the richest, freest, most powerful nation in human history and we shall have to endeavor to keep it that way.

    BTW, as a real live 7th generation Hungarian aristocrat, I must express my dismay at the low standards this new set of self-selected aristos have. My father fled to America and took minimum-wage jobs (2 or 3 at once), probably due to the fact that experienced horse cavalrymen were not great demand in the 1950’s. He pointed out that 96% of his peers (literally) had fallen in battle against the Red Army and many of the survivors were holding down the same jobs in the USA that he was. In my few years of soldiering (about 27), I saw few fellows that might qualify as aristocrats by modern standards, although more than a few of my compatriots were 2nd and 3rd-genration Army men. Evidently our newly-anointed ruling class is not a class of warriors – something they might later regret.

    Father also pointed out that when the Reds took over, it was amazing to note how many former champions of egalitarian socialism took on exactly the same airs that the worst examples of the “ancien regime” had displayed – and then ruled with an iron hand. Scratch a socialist, find a budding aristocrat.

    For the record, the whole “marry the right people for XX generations” oligarchic strategy has not worked so well – see World War One for details.

    P.S. Catch “Currents of the Future” my internet radio Science Fiction talk show at 1700 MST on Tuesdays and Thursdays on http://www.cosmicbroadcasting.com, where I struggle to be amusing.

  30. You and I both love this one – I know, because you introduced me to it – but it plays in my mind so frequently, lately. (Chris de Burgh’s “Revolution”)

  31. There is no minimum wage for entrepreneurs. They may have to accept a total loss and that is why any attempt to make a fixed wage is due to failure. You are assuming that the minimum wage will always and all situations be paid by large multi-national corporations but you are wrong. They can always go overseas leaving the small businessman who can offer competitive services at a competitive price at a huge disadvantage. He will close shop, hire part-timers or if ruthless and dishonest hire illegals. Large corporations especially agri-business have the same choices. If you think there is no connection between the fact that the President has no problem with illegal immigration and has no problem with the minimum wage you are not thinking. Its because he doesn’t expect his supporters to pay the minimum wage and they don’t expect to pay it either. They have a ready supply to supposedly take the jobs Americans won’t do.

    You can’t live on minimum wage but very few people if they demonstrate any ability to show up to work will stay on it very long. The real tragedy is that now mid-level work is not providing a standard of living and education is succeeding at providing only debt. When NPR and the President addresses those issues we might start to listen. Especially if they start playing decent music again.

    • Actually $7.25/hour at 40 hours a week, translates to $15,080/year. While you can’t live at comfort level most of us expect, you can live on that, in considerably more comfort than a majority of the world population lives. Of course if we had a free market without government regulations strangling the economy, those with ambition wouldn’t have to live on so little. As is, more and more people are living at or below minimum wage levels, or going on the Dole, because the full time jobs paying minimum wage or higher simply aren’t there.

  32. “What kind of insane idiot, with the crisis of unemployment we have would want to RAISE minimum wage?”

    Someone who is granting favors to the unions. Raising the minimum wage makes it much less likely that a business will higher low wage workers who could displace some of the overpaid union workers. Unions have been, for decades, the biggest supporters of raising the minimum wage. Unions also have been, for decades, big supporters of Democratic Party politicians.

    • The minimum wage originated as a tool by Northern unions to counter job losses to the Southern states where lower costs of living made workers willing to accept smaller paychecks. It also allowed employers more freedom to adjust to rapidly changing market conditions rather than negotiate revised work rules with the unions.

      And yes, non-union workers eliminated the vigorish skimmed by the unions and used to buy politicians. There is a fascinating study of how unions work in Philadephia to control the labor market appearing at National Review Online; part one is at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/340272/goon-city-jillian-kay-melchior

      • Oh, let’s not neglect the racism factor: there were also blacks moving to Northern states and taking white jobs.

        There’s no doubt about it: it was openly declared in Congress that pro-union and such like bills were implemented to keep the blacks poor.

        • On that point, it has been well documented that union employment practices (seniority preferences, primarily) work to discriminate against African-American workers.

          In similar vein, laws such as Davis-Bacon act to suppress opportunities for “minority” contractors and drive up the cost of projects. Had the president truly desire his “stimulus” spending speed economic recovery he could have waived Davis-Bacon requirements.

        • Another aspect of minimum wage laws is to increase discrimination against lower-class workers. The manager at the mall clothing store is probably more willing to pay $7.25 an hour for an upper middle-class 17-year old with social skills and manner typical of her caste than for a 21-year old mother of two who doesn’t come supplied with cute friends eager to hang with her. Even if the latter candidate may be a much harder worker and less likely to quit because she wants to go to the beach on a weekend she’s scheduled to work.

    • I understand there are union contracts that have their hourly wages tied to the minimum wage. Raise the minimum wage, some unions get raises.

  33. Pingback: Drinking Their Own Ink | Sarah Hoyt – the Conservative Top 10

  34. You use the term “Aristos”‘but a better one would be Good Men.

  35. “But the Aristos don’t know that. Their own children’s nests are feathered with the spoils of their parents’ career.”

    Witness that while the president has admitted that his own children do not deserve affirmative action, nevertheless his Justice Department is weighing in on the side of a university’s AA program that is explicitly targetting at getting RICH black kids.

    • In fairness, it should be acknowledged that a growing body of evidence demonstrates that Affirmative Actioin actually harms its “beneficiaries” by putting them into faster track academic settings than they are prepared for, causing discouragement, failure and drop-out amongst those who should have done well had they matriculated at a school better suited to them.

      OCTOBER 15, 2012
      AFFIRMATIVE ACTION & THE PROBLEM OF “MISMATCH”: Excellent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor about the problems caused by academic “mismatch” that results from race-based affirmative action in university admissions. The bottom line according to Sander and Taylor (both of whom confess to formerly supporting affirmative action):

      From Instapundit [ http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/154065/ ]:

      There is now increasing evidence that students who receive large preferences of any kind—whether based on race, athletic ability, alumni connections or other considerations—experience some clear negative effects: Students end up with poor grades (usually in the bottom fifth of their class), lower graduation rates, extremely high attrition rates from science and engineering majors, substantial self-segregation on campus, lower self-esteem and far greater difficulty passing licensing tests (such as bar exams for lawyers).

      Posted by Elizabeth Price Foley at 12:07 am

      • That the children would actually be the victims of it does not change that it also vicitimizes those who are excluded to provide their place

        • Feature, not a bug. Helps breed resentment and racial resentment on all sides.

          Whether or not it is intentional I offer no opinion.

  36. Hmm. Interesting. Australia has high minimum wages -$17.50 an hour, IIRC and quite a lot of other social support. As a working author I am lucky if I earn $3.50 an hour, and there are no other benefits at all. Publishers will tell you they’re just about running a charity by publishing my books. I did some rough calculations and less the costs of materials and transport that ‘charity’ turned over $2 500 000 dollars. Of that my share has come to about $180 000. As most of the rest comes down office or retail space, and wages, and profit, which I am willing to believe is not much, what I would like suggest is that a lack of a minimum wage 1)does not equal prosperity – the publishing industry is in dire shit, at least in part because what should be spent on getting the best primary product and marketing it and supporting it properly is wasted on middlemen who add little or no value. 2) Someone is always willing to screw the weakest pooch – in this case the authors, and they’re necessarily using that extra to grow their business or employ more authors. They screw them to maintain that middleman group in the style to which they are accustomed – which is a long way up, for much less work or skill than suppliers. 3)Turning to Australia, a high minimum wage doesn’t make finding employees for lousy jobs easy (seriously)(a nice job indoors not too physical – you have 3-30 good applicants for every job at the minimum wage, a dirty hard job – farm labor- fencing say, or tagging dosing and docking, you have to pay around $22-25 per hour to the few good employees you can find, and they’re always looking) or make anything that takes minimum wage work (a bundle of fire-wood for example) expensive, and there is a lot of automation.

    In short: the outcomes are not simple push-pull. Yes, raising the minimum wage will reduce jobs available to point. Yes it will push up some prices. In an easy illegal immigrant country wetback labor will benefit at the expense of legal labor. And the employers will want a pound of flesh from legal labor. But it will change the source and price and consumption of products as well as the way business is done more than you realize. And no, it won’t help authors or many other skilled producers. If anything they could use help disintermediating themselves. – which would hurt a lot of the middle-man middle class. I could live with that.

    • oops -”and they’re necessarily using that extra to grow their business or employ more authors” should be ” and they’re NOT necessarily using that extra to grow their business or employ more authors”

      • No. They’re using it to pay the darlings, mostly. But again, Dave, they had a near monopoly till very recently, in a HIGHLY specialized field. And it made them stupid, like anything that has an ecosystem with no competition.

        LABOR in general is not in that case. OZ might or might not be working (I haven’t looked closely.) Or it might be working for now. But raising the minimum wage now here will only create an attractive nuisance (like an open swimming pool) to bring in more illegal immigrants. Which, given the way they’re hastening amnesty and voting rights to these largely illiterate blocks, might be a feature, not a bug.

    • Dave,

      You can’t have a minimum wage in a country with open borders (OZ doesn’t have that.) Here,it’s not work that Americans aren’t willing to do, it’s work that Americans don’t get to do, because of deductions and stuff…

      And I’m sorry, but writing is a special case. Most of us who default to it are driven, anyway, and the employers know it. And that IS changing as indie comes online and we have other alternatives. It was a near monopoly situation, which most minimum wage work isn’t.

      It is the near-monopoly and the crazy idea they got that they could make people buy anything that has publishing in the sh*t. It’s — drinking their own ink.

      NO ONE — NO ONE — has a life ambition to work at Burger King or to sell retail. Some might have to say sell books (poor b*ggers, the way that’s going.)

      • Actually, more than that up until 2008 even with the open borders the US had a much lower unemployment rate than Oz. Oz effectively decided that the combination of low inflation and unemployment around 6-8% was a viable trade-off for having a minimum wage people could live on, and figured that with good economic management overall, unemployment would gradually decline. Plus, Oz has been consistently keeping the minimum wage more or less in line with inflation – something the USA has not done. The result is that Australian employers budget knowing that the inflation rate will affect minimum wage. USA employers can’t do that. They have no way to predict what could happen, so instead of a gradual increase the rate tends to stay put for long periods of time then take a sharp jump – which hurts employers a heck of a lot more.

        .

        • According to the US Federal gummint, there has been no inflation worth mentioning, so there is no reason to take inflation into consideration in setting the minimum wage.

          • They lie with every tooth in their mouths. Today I bought a cheese I haven’t bought in about a year (it’s a rare treat thing? When I’m feeling down?) it’s thirty percent more expensive and about twenty percent smaller.

      • One anthropologist, studying waiters in a fast-food place, discovered that they did not define themselves as their jobs, unlike the many people who would answer “writer” or “lawyer” or “computer programmer.” It was not a life defining things even for those long after adolscence.

      • I think you’re missing two points here Sarah. 1)You’re assuming that all people have ambition. That people have dreams of being… authors, astronauts, Engineers, MD’s, zoologists etc. and that this what they define themselves as… which would be a pretty good thing and much to be encouraged. But actually, that’s you, Dan, your children, me, Barbs, my kids etc. It’s a small and shrinking subset that we ought to try and grow. But really these days most people define themselves as a financial position and how that is displayed. If your president wanted to impress me – a very unlikely event – he’d start by cutting his wife’s wardrobe budget (which is a petty example, but if humbleness and frugality at the top, leading by example would a thing that would inspire me. Probably not his voters though)
        2) I used authors as an example, but there are lots of others. Companies – or at least their CEO’s and senior management, are essentially self serving. They support their shareholders because they must, and they do this… by not affecting their personal comfort and income one iota more than they have to. There are at least a hundred thousand US companies – and they’re no different anywhere else, and in publishing too, that could downsize their premises or move somewhere cheaper, and pay senior management less – or find others who would do as good a job for less than the senior management. Yet the story repeats: They’ll fire research chemists, engineers, skilled technicians – or editors that actually edit, before that happens. Lower wages for ordinary workers simply translates into a little bit for shareholders and lot for us. It doesn’t change the employment capacity a lot, because not actually where most of the money is going. NY publishing is a great eg, (because we know it). They don’t need to be in NY, and most of the senior editors never edit. They go to meetings. You could lose both the premises, and the senior management, and do a better job. You can’t lose your midlist authors and make a long-term success. But the turkeys are not going to vote for Christmas – instead they sacrifice the non-voting authors.

        If you’re going to change this sort of corporate strategy you need carrot and stick that adjusts to the circumstance of the company. Making Joe Startup-living-on-Ramen in the rust belt, pay the same for an office cleaner as Ms Editor Spawn in a plush NY Office is faintly ridiculous. But the present set-up merely forces Joe to go out of business in a dirty office, while not affecting the other at all.

        A real effective solution is more than just a minimum wage. Laissaiz faire with the current cozy crony capitalism doesn’t seem to work either. We actually need something that forces a real re-evaluation of the value of work. Personally I see that as making it more accessible to end users with minimum middlemen.

        • Dave, a truly free market and crony capitalism are utterly incompatible. If you have a true laissaiz faire system, there is no governmental influence to peddle. Ergo, no crony capitalism, and if a company makes the kinds of stupid decisions you describe, they will ultimately go out of business. The Invisible Hand is an amazing thing, were it only unshackled.

          • I would agree with you there. Unfortunately big business (not ordinary business much) has a very tight grip on gummint. I’d have the two with nothing to do with each other, except with SMALL government (but much people supported – with local militia, who also do fire and rescue) slapping companies who began to behave like governments into small bits too.

            • With small government they would have less chance to get a grip.

              I don’t think you have any idea how TIGHTLY regulated the US is — I suspect we’re more so than the EEC and that’s saying a lot. We’re certainly more tightly enforced, when it’s someone the gov-varmint don’t like.

              I know the myth abroad is that the US is this wooly wilderness, but take two things into account — those of us in the middle class already pay around 55% in taxes — it’s just distributed, state, federal, city, sales… Second, we have veritably labyrinthine regulations and the federal government simply SHOULDN’T be intruding at ANY level.

              I still think minimum wage is an issue, though I wouldn’t object to supplementary “handout” to bring someone making less to “x” income (though we have that, at many levels. I probably have qualified for food stamps twice in my life — we just were too proud to apply. Same for subsidies for utilities, etc. And, contrary to the Obamacare myth, our poor people didn’t go without medical care — it was more the middle class that refused to apply or didn’t know how to. And still doesn’t. But that’s something else.) I object to minimum wage because it distorts the economy. It’s like legislating rain, LITERALLY. Just because every country does it — just about — doesn’t mean it’s not bloody stupid. You’re just forcing trade under the table or to illegal channels. You can’t REALLY mandate what people pay. People won’t. Particularly for a business (agricultural, often in the US) where survival is at stake.

              What we have is a highly regulated environment, full of barriers to entry. And what these statists are doing is exacerbating those. I’d like to think it’s NOT on purpose, but I’m not that young anymore.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                The regulations in this country are not merely labyrinthine, in many cases, they are contradictory. I can’t present any examples offhand, but I have seen them, where complying with one regulation forces you to violate another.

                • I’ve seen real examples of that. A friend of mine used to work environmental compliance for local RTD district, and he often would receive contradictory mandates from EPA and local Fire Dept. Explicitly contradictory. And each would tell him that they’d shut the operation down if not obeyed.

                  • Applicable is a conversation I had with a guy who was opening a pub. The Fire Dept. insisted the bathrooms use latex paint as it did not produce dangerous fumes in event of a fire. The Health Dept. insisted he use oil-based paint in the bathroom so that it could be cleaned thoroughly.

                    I leave it to you how he could satisfy and get use permits from each branch, and what public interest is served.

                    N.B., I may have swapped the requirements in memory, The conflict remains.

                  • A family friend in northern California was threatened with having his home seized over pine needles. See, the fire marshal insisted that all the debris be cleared from within something like 50 or 100 feet of the house (they live on a large wooded property). The Forest Service, on the other hand, insisted that they put all that ground cover back and never remove it, because they were in an “old growth” area and it had to be left as is. I’m not sure how he got out of that one, but it makes me glad I left.

                    • ‘s’easy.
                      “Warden, I want to report a theft. A truckload of Mexicans came out here and stole all of the pine needles around our house! No, I can’t describe them — all I saw was the barrel of the gun they held on us.”

                • We were trying to renovate a building into a medical office. There was a tiny bathroom (I had to sit in the sink to close the door). Health department told me I had to have a door on it, fire rated that opened out for easy access. Fire marshal told me it had to open in so not to block the hall. Inspector said it couldn’t be a pocket door because it needed fire rating, and I couldn’t remove the bathroom because it was in the submitted plans. Any idea where I could put the *@*! door?!?

            • When Dan worked for a large corporation, I noted that the internal mechanics of those are not so much like normal business, but more like communist governments. They work by decree and top-down.

              They too are drinking their own ink. And they too are run by Aristos. And they too can’t go on.

              Many of them — I said not just publishing — have traded any attempt to serve the public and make money that way for climbing into government pockets and trying to make money that way. GE of course, and Government Motors, and…

              • The way to move up in the corporate world is to agree with everything and pretend anything in reality doesn’t exist. It is a great breeding ground for Obama voters. It is the contradiction in pro-market thinking. If the big guns have had it what do you get in promoting the pistols.

        • No, I don’t think I’m missing that people often don’t have an ambition. which is why we shouldn’t make the bottom of the wrung too easy. Sorry, I HAVE FRIENDS LIKE THAT. Give them just enough to live on (poorly) and they’ll never try, even after they have the skills.

          The current crony capitalism system is rotten to the core — that IS why they want to raise the minimum wage. it makes it harder for small companies to compete with the big guys. It makes it harder for young people to compete with the older.

          Other than that, not much.

        • Actually RES is right — the main reason for a national minimum wage is to keep from the type of relocation you propose. They can talk around it.

          BTW most of the editors/publishing houses I know hire illegals for all the maintenance/manual labor… both in the offices and at home. Yes, these are the enlightened people who want minimum wages raised, but who pay their employees so little they can’t live without going on social support. (Which most illegal immigrants are.)

          • no wonder we adore them so.

            • You should hear their baffled response when I say I can’t afford a cleaner. It goes something like this “But I have this little woman who comes two hours a day and cleans and does laundry, and we only pay $200 a month” — That is, they pay under the table because… laws are for the little people.

              I couldn’t. I have to sleep at night.

              • Just because you have some strange compulsion to live a life of integrity is no reason to impose your insane, superstition-based morality on others! You need to learn to do as President Clinton and Hillary did and “compartmentalize things.”

                Besides, as Rand’s bureaucratic personification of evil advised: we don’t want you able to abide by our laws, we want to have some leverage over you.

                It is called “prosecutorial discretion.” Instapundit provided an explanation this morning:

                PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION: It’s not just who you prosecute, it’s also who you don’t:
                In one meeting, Swallow reportedly told donors on hand that they were in a “high-risk” industry, and that customers who have second thoughts can demand refunds and make complaints to regulators if they aren’t satisfied.

                “We understand this business, and we have these things come across our desk all the time,” one of the men recalls Swallow saying during his pitch. “If it’s somebody we’re not familiar with, we’re just going to treat it normally and prosecute it like we normally would,” the business owner said, describing Swallow’s comments. “But if you donate to the campaign, you’re going to lunch with Shurtleff. He’s going to know you. He’s going to know what you’re doing. And when we get complaints coming across our desk, we’ll take that into consideration.”

                So there you are.

                Posted at 10:42 am by Glenn Reynolds
                http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/163355/

          • Wayne Blackburn

            And Unions hire people and pay them substandard wages to go and protest labor (de)regulations for them, instead of paying their own members.

          • Actually? Actually??????

            Hmphh.

    • dirty hard job – farm labor- fencing say, or tagging dosing and docking

      Those are all skilled labor, though I know that it’s usually called “unskilled.” Maybe…shoveling dirt?

      Plus, “dollar” isn’t a constant; a dollar’s worth of rent in Seattle spends much different from the same dollar in, oh, Spokane– and those have the same state laws and taxes!

      • Yes — I have a friend barely surviving in Col Springs on what another friend supports a family on in KS. It’s DIFFERENT. A national minimum wage in the US is madness.

        • *blink* I didn’t even bother watching the State of the Union last night – don’t tell me he actually proposed that?

          • Wayne Blackburn

            Well, I won’t tell you; it sounds like you already read it. ;-)

            • *sigh* I suppose I should know better by now. There’s a part of me that’s desperately thinking “even he has to know better than to think that’ll work”, but it’s getting shouted down. The economies of different states – heck, even of different areas within a *single* state, especially a big one – are such that there is no one size fits all solution like a “national minimum wage”.

              • Apparently my earlier remark was insufficiently clear:

                there is no one size fits all solution like a “national minimum wage”

                It ALL depends on what problem you are trying to solve. The national minimum wage was conceived as a solution to the problem of wage competition from lower cost regions.

                It also reduces competition from less skilled labor, making it less cost effective for employers to leverage lower skilled labor with greater value added equipment (for example, a fry basket using fuzzy logic and sensors to replace the trained fry-cook.)

                • right. If it’s wage competition he’s trying to “fix” (the mindset that thinks competition is a thing that needs fixing is beyond me, but I suppose that’s unions for you) a federally mandated nationwide minimum wage will likely do the trick. That whole “stimulate the economy and create jobs” part, though – well, if that man actually thinks that increasing how much it costs an employer to hire an employee will result in *more* hiring, he’s going to wind up disappointed (and blaming it on Bush, no doubt.)

                • Not to mention lower-waged races.

          • Yep, our economy is stagnant because the evil Republicans won’t pass even more of my patented economy-destroying measures.

          • Give the man credit, he’s adjusted his sights. According to Tim Stanley in London’s Telegraph:

            The State of the Union repeated a lot of the same themes of the past few years. That’s because a lot of Obama’s promises remain unfulfilled and are still reliant on slipping them through a hostile Congress. Take his signature pledge to raise the minimum wage to $9, which he insisted will stimulate the economy and create jobs. Back in 2008, Obama said he’s raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011. Likewise, we got a retread on cutting the deficit, slashing unemployment, investing in education etc. Some achievement, some disappointment but always an air of “promises, promises.” The one that will be most sceptically investigated was his insistence that “nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime.” Perhaps. But that claim seems tough to justify considering all the new spending that he proposed and his argument that “We can’t just cut our way to prosperity.” Obama wants America to tackle the deficit with a mix of “spending cuts and revenue” – “revenue” being a Washington word for “Your tax dollars.” [And while the minimum wage increase wouldn’t add to the federal budget, it sure will to those of employers.]
            http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/100202622/obamas-bipartisan-state-of-the-union-paints-republicans-as-anti-science-job-hating-neanderthals/

            • My apologies; I ought have put this phrase in boldface:
              Back in 2008, Obama said he’s raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011.

            • Of course nothing he’s suggesting will increase the deficit by a single dime. It will take several bajillion dimes to cover the increase.

      • Very true – although my son learned to do the tagging and tailing and injecting job in about 3 days hard work – to get really good would take six months. Fencing I would say about the same, but the key here is they’re really hard, physical work, often in the rain or blazing heat. You don’t see fat farm labor here. To become an all round generally good at any farm task guy, able to make judgement calls and do all the jobs is going to take 3-4 years – same as a decent degree (unless you grew up into it in which case you got a lot of earlier experience and teaching). But here you CAN get by – quite well if you’re a dole bludger with kids, without doing that hard work. So to get workers they already have to pay more than the minimum wage.

        And very true that the value of a dollar varies with place – To be fair some does cancel out -rents are much less, fuel and groceries much more.

        • Not markedly, Dave. For instance my city is probably 20% lower than the nearest city. And the next state is lower both food and housing (groceries tend to be cheaper in rural states.)
          So why aren’t we living there? Can’t as long as Dan is rooted to a job. If we find a way to go virtual… well…

        • Oh yes, the calculus of it is enough to drive me nuts just in figuring out where my family should rent! (We always end up going for the shortest drive with the lowest rent, since there’s never enough time to really gather enough information and those are the two thins we can’t cut….)

          Going back to the point, the more folks that figure out they can “get by” without working, the more will, and the more the folks who are already paying for the support will be taxed and have to pay additionally to fill the jobs they’re taxed to price out of the market….. I don’t think I typed that very clearly, but I THINK it can be turned around a couple of times and understood.

  37. Pingback: Drinking Their Own Ink « A Moral Outrage

  38. Pingback: Links for 2-13-2013 | Karl Heubaum

  39. Completely unrelated: I dropped you an email a few days ago, Sarah, and wasn’t sure if it went through. Did you get it?

  40. Whenever I hear the Administration claiming their stimulus spending saved the economy from melting down I am reminded of an old joke which I can frustratingly only vaguely recall.

    A man is set out in the woods by his friends and instructed to take two sticks and clap them together “to keep the wolves away.”

    On proclaiming that “there aren’t any wolves in these woods!” he is advised: “See – It works!”

    I can’t recall whether I am commingling two jokes or the wrong beasts or what. The nagging feeling of an almost there joke is almost as irritating as this president’s speeches.

  41. From Thursday’s Wall Street Journal:

    The $9 Minimum Wage That Already Exists
    The Earned Income Tax Credit alleviates poverty without costing low-income workers their jobs.
    By MICHAEL SALTSMAN
    On Tuesday night, President Obama used his State of the Union address to call for a 24% increase in the federal minimum wage, to $9 an hour from its current $7.25. He left out an important detail: For many low-wage employees, single parents in particular, the minimum wage is already above $9 an hour.

    That is because of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which boosts wages for workers at the bottom of the pay scale without putting their jobs or incomes at risk—which is one consequence of hiking the minimum wage. If Mr. Obama is dead set on using the government to boost wages, the EITC is the place to start, as the evidence suggests that minimum wage increases have no appreciable impact on poverty.

    The EITC was created in 1975 by President Ford as a small wage supplement for low-income families. Subsequent presidents of both parties (including President Obama in 2009) have expanded the tax credit, and 24 states even offer a credit of their own as a percentage of the federal credit.

    Republicans have supported this tax credit because eligibility is based on working and earning income. Democrats hail the EITC because it’s refundable, meaning that a low-wage family without any tax liability nevertheless can file a tax return and get a check from the government. In a state such as New York, a single parent raising two children on the minimum wage would see their annual wage of $15,080 jump to $21,886 with the EITC, for an effective hourly wage of $10.52.

    Compared with the EITC, government-mandated minimum wage increases have major flaws. One is targeting: According to the Census Bureau, 60% of people living below the poverty line didn’t work last year. They don’t need a raise; they need a job, period. And among those who do work and earn the minimum wage, researchers at Cornell and American University have found that the vast majority live in households above the poverty line.

    This partially explains why numerous studies have found no relationship between a higher minimum wage and lower poverty rates—because, unlike the EITC, the benefits generally aren’t accruing to those in poverty.
    [MORE: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324616604578302153328738108.html#printMode ]

    This may be behind paywall, but my experience has been that if you [SEARCHENGINE] for a key phrase it is common to find the entire article.

    • Quoted: Compared with the EITC, government-mandated minimum wage increases have major flaws. One is targeting: According to the Census Bureau, 60% of people living below the poverty line didn’t work last year. They don’t need a raise; they need a job, period. And among those who do work and earn the minimum wage, researchers at Cornell and American University have found that the vast majority live in households above the poverty line.

      Exactly, a raise in minimum wage does absolutely nothing for those who have no wage.

      Well, no, it does less than nothing, because, as has been observed, it just made the jobless more expensive to hire.

  42. I find it deliciously ironic: The Aristos want Robots to take over all the Menial Labor jobs (because Human Slaves have this annoying habit of starting Uprisings…); but the Businesses which could have researched, developed, and built those Robots thirty years ago by now are forced to pay 60 cents of every dollar they make to People Who Do No Work For Them (Union Pensions Funds), and thus do not have the money required for the R&D, factory updates, and such required to build them….

  43. I don’t know if this was mentioned – but some union wages are calculated as a multiple of the minimum wage.Raising the minimum wage is not about helping the minimum wage guys.

  44. Courtesy of Myra Adams at PJM’s Tatler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xEYFFiEnUjQ

    There should probably a line in there about “drinking the Kool-Aid”, don’cha think?

  45. One silly bit of nitpickery, but I feel the need to add my two cents (getting to be worth less in real currency by the second, that..)

    “This means they have clue zero where money comes from,”

    Having taught, trained, and tutored in one capacity or the other for a dozen years now, I can only *wish* they had clue zero. Someone who is utterly ignorant of the facts can be informed, in some form or fashion of said facts.

    Someone who is *willfully* ignorant, or who believes with fanatic fervor in such a fantasy (i.e. “distribution of wealth,” “let’s spend out way out of debt”) is incapable of being informed. Such a person will resist the destruction of that fantasy world vigorously. It is only when the cold cruel hand of reality touches them, nay, pounds the knowledge into their tiny skulls that they may, possibly, admit that their ideas might have been partially, just a tiny bit mistaken.

    This isn’t clue zero, in my opinion. This is the negative numbers, and racing farther down by the hour.

  46. Wolves in Vulture Feathers

    They sit so high above.
    The better to see things, my dear.
    They make sure their nests are comfortable.
    The better to represent you, my dear.

    They do not listen to your pleas.
    The better to remain impartial, my dear.
    They do not worry about current conditions.
    The better to pave the future, my dear.

    They do not think of consequences.
    The better to keep an open mind, my dear.
    They do not think of the cost.
    For it will get paid, my dear.

    They smile so wide.
    The better to assure you, my dear.
    They speak pretty words.
    The better to calm you, my dear.

    They tell you to work harder.
    It is better for everyone, my dear.
    They circle high above you weary head.
    The better to watch you follow, my dear.

    By Tam

  47. Pingback: IMAO » Blog Archive » Aptly Describing the Stupidity of the Minimum Wage