Saturday, July 2, 2011

Why white people should love the minimum wage laws

Please excuse me while I bet the crap out of this dead some help from the Wall Street Journal.  This is from an unsigned editorial that ran a few days ago:

Perhaps you've already noticed around the neighborhood, but this is a rotten summer for young Americans to find a job. The Department of Labor reported last week that a smaller share of 16-19 year-olds are working than at anytime since records began to be kept in 1948.

We've had stimulus packages, bold new initiatives, bailouts, TARP's, and an increase in government spending that would be the envy of every corporatist/fascist since Mussolini.  How in the heck can we have the lowest level of teen employment since 1948? 

Only 24% of teens, one in four, have jobs, compared to 42% as recently as the summer of 2001. The nearby chart chronicles the teen employment percentage over time, including the notable plunge in the last decade.

So instead of learning valuable job skills—getting out of bed before noon, showing up on time, being courteous to customers, operating a cash register or fork lift—millions of kids will spend the summer playing computer games or hanging out.

The lousy economic recovery explains much of this decline in teens working, and some is due to increases in teen summer school enrollment. Some is also cultural: Many parents don't put the same demands on teens as they once did to get out and work.

I respectfully disagree with The Wall Street Guys on this one.  I've been getting in about 65 hours a week since the first week of June.  Mrs. Sepulchre easily logs in the same number.  The Aggie, our offspring, has been putting in 70.  Yes, 70. 
Every summer, I get a cycle of calls from parents that I know, and they're always wondering if I've got a spot for their Jason, Jeremy, Justin, or Josh. 
If things go as planned, Dr. Ralph's youngest kid might be coming to work with us this summer. 
While there might be some parents who don't want their delicate little snowflakes to be stunted by premature labor, I've not met many.  There's something else going on in these unemployment numbers.  Back to the Wall Street Journal:

...But Congress has also contributed by passing one of the most ill-timed minimum wage increases in history. One of the first acts of the gone-but-not-forgotten Nancy Pelosi ascendancy was to raise the minimum wage in stages to $7.25 an hour in 2009 from $5.15 in 2007. Even liberals ought to understand that raising the cost of hiring the young and unskilled while employers are slashing payrolls is loopy economics.

Yeah.  Well.  Their battle-cry is "It's not fair !" or "Corporate greed !!" or "Would you want to work for $5.15 an hour?"
But it is indeed loopy economics. 

Or maybe not. The Center for American Progress, often called the think tank for the Obama White House, recently recommended another increase to $8.25 an hour. Though the U.S. unemployment rate is 9.1%, the thinkers assert that a rising wage would "stimulate economic growth to the tune of 50,000 new jobs." So if the government orders employers to pay more to hire workers when they're already not hiring, they'll somehow hire more workers. By this logic, if we raised the minimum wage to $25 an hour we'd have full employment.

Think about that for a moment.  Enjoy it.  Roll that sentence around in your mouth like a fine wine. The ironically named "Center For American Progress" is going to increase the sales of something by raising the price. 

Back on planet Earth, the minimum wage increase has coincided with the plunge in the percentage of working teens. Before the most recent wage hikes, roughly seven million teens were working. Now there are closer to five million with a job and paycheck.

So why in the hell would anyone in his right mind continue to defend these arbitrary minimum wages?  Could it be that The Sepulchre Family has benefitted at the expense of some of the unemployed?  Is The Aggie racking up overtime because she's gotten some advantages over those who are less skilled because they didn't get onto the employment ladder at an earlier age? 

Black teens have had the worst of it, with their unemployment rate rising to 41.6% in April from 29% in 2007, faster than almost any other group. A 2010 study by economists William Even of Miami University of Ohio and David Macpherson of Trinity University found that as a result of the $2.10 increase in minimum wage, "teen employment dropped by 6.9 percent. . . . For the teen population with less than 12 years of education completed, teen employment dropped by 12.4 percent." For teens priced out of the labor market, their wage fell to zero.

Whew.  Thank God my family is white, and can avoid the burden of government regulatory help of this kind. Perhaps if the Center For American Progress can get the minimum wage raised to $10.00 an hour, black teen unemployment will hit 75%, guaranteeing better employment opportunities for white folks like us. 
(Seriously, for more info on the racist origins of the minimum wage laws, go here.) 

The great tragedy is that even discussing the role of the minimum wage in teen unemployment seems to be a political taboo. The other day we saw ABC's George Stephanopoulos baiting Michele Bachmann on the minimum wage, as if refusing to raise it would be some epic political gaffe. Ms. Bachmann didn't back down from saying that the minimum wage has contributed to unemployment, though she didn't explain why.

The great tragedy is that even discussing the role of the minimum wage in teen unemployment seems to be a political taboo.

Yeah, thanks to our public school system, which does a great job of teaching victimology but a lousy job of teaching cause and effect, if you discuss anything about repealing minimum wage laws in public, you're painted as an evil, uncaring, slave-driver. 
And the people who arbitrarily increase these wages above the market level are painted as heroic champions of the people.  Go figure. 

What she or another candidate should do is stop playing defense and ask why Mr. Stephanopoulos doesn't seem to mind a black teen jobless rate of 41.6%. Someone truly brave would come out for a teenage sub-minimum wage of, say, $4 an hour. In certain circumstances employers can now pay teens a minimum of $4.25, but only for 90 days. This makes employers reluctant to hire at all. Make the case on moral grounds that a mandated wage that is too high blocks the young and unskilled from grabbing a place on the economic ladder.

Teenagers who work part-time while attending school generally make more money and have more successful careers as adults than kids who never work. As a 2006 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago put it: "The drop in teen labor force participation may also have implications for future productivity growth. In general, labor market experience tends to raise subsequent earnings."

The U.S. has long had a labor market flexible enough that when the economy grows, the jobless rate falls smartly. This time has been different, and the great danger is that Obamanomics has moved the U.S. to a permanently higher jobless rate as in so much of Europe. For America's teenagers this summer, that reality is already here.

But not at my house.  My kid is doing great, pulling in overtime pay with both hands and a shovel.

Her employer could take a risk and spread the wealth by hiring some of those black kids in the neighborhood where she works, but why bother?  Why take the risk on a new hire at a high rate when you can hire an experienced white girl who has been doing the job for two years already?

It's because of the minimum wage, one of the few Federal programs that has worked exactly as intended.  It guarantees full employment for whites at the expense of others.  I keep expecting it to show up on on the "Stuff White People Like" website. So thank you, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat Party.  Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

On Families And Nations And The Difference Between The Two

"The idea that the nation is one big family that must pull together translates in practice to the idea that the politicians are our parents and we are dysfunctional children who can't be trusted to spend our own money or make our own decisions."   - Harry Browne

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

You can't always get what you want, but you get what you need

This ultra-wholesome missive from Jim Messina, campaign manager of Obama For America, showed up in my inbox the other day:
Whited --

June 30th at 11:59 p.m. is the first big deadline of this campaign. At that moment, we'll close the books on this financial quarter and begin preparing our fundraising report to the Federal Election Commission, the press, and the public.
Our opponents are chasing Washington lobbyists and special-interest PACs for big checks ahead of the deadline. To them, and to most of the pundits, campaigns are all about how many millions of dollars each candidate can raise.
We disagree. Of course we have a budget and financial goals. But we believe that the true strength of our campaign is the number of everyday people owning a piece of it.
So we refuse money from Washington lobbyists and special-interest PACs. And rather than setting a goal of millions of dollars, we're setting a goal of 450,000 people owning a piece of this campaign by the June 30th deadline.
This report will serve as the definitive record of who was there to build this campaign from the very start, and you should be part of it. Please donate $5 or whatever you can afford and help us hit our goal.
Ok, all you retirees getting by on $8.00 per day, stop sending your money to Jimmy Swaggart.  Obama is trying to restrict his donations to only the most grassroots, non-connected, Washington outsiders possible.  Any widows with mites (Google it), please send them to Barack. 
A lot of people out there are wondering whether this campaign can inspire the kind of grassroots support that has been the foundation of our success. A lot of people out there are already saying we can't.

So we've got something to prove.
What happens between now and Thursday will shape the story of how the 2012 race began.
Help write that story with a donation of $5 or more here. 
Who the hell are these people who keep saying that Barack can't raise money?  Do they not read the newspapers or have access to the internet? 
And you gotta love the "we're only wanting $5.00 business.  It makes him sound like he's selling Girl Scout Cookies. 

And now for something completely different.  Remember, the Democrats are the party of the people, the party of the working class, the party that is protecting you from the fat cats and the lobbyists.  This is from The New York Holy Times:
President Obama’s $35,800-a-plate fund-raising dinner was the talk of Wall Street last week.

Held at Daniel, the Michelin three-star restaurant of Daniel Boulud on the Upper East Side, the event was seen as a test of the president’s popularity among the deep-pocketed financiers he has often vilified but has long relied on to finance his campaign. The tables were filled with moneymen like Marc Lasry, the billionaire founder of the hedge fund Avenue Capital; Robert Wolf, the chief executive of UBS Group Americas; and Mark T. Gallogly, a co-founder of Centerbridge Partners.
I'm sure those guys are flukes.  Hey, if flying fish are jumping into Obama's boat, it's hard to blame the guy.  But wait....
Mr. Obama’s dinner last week raised $2.3 million, outpacing an original projection of $1.5 million. And the Democratic National Committee raised $10.5 million in May, surpassing the Republican National Committee, which raised $6.2 million. The second quarter, which ends on Thursday, will give another glimpse of how the early fund-raising is shaping up.

Wow.  A whole lot of people have given the Dems five dollars (or more in some cases).

Here's Mick and Keef and The Stones.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rod Blagovich - a symptom, not a disease

Rod Blagovich, former Illinois governor, was convicted of trying to sell the former senate seat of The Teleprompter Jesus to the highest bidder.  There was plenty of other stuff involved, but that was my favorite of the indictments. 

He's the 4th Illinois governor (see: Otto Kerner, Dan Walker, and George Ryan) to be sent down the river in about 35 years

So why do people want to keep giving more money and power and responsibility to politicians? 

It costs far, far more to win the election than the job pays.  In return for their contributions, most supporters of a candidate are going to be wanting far more than they've contributed. 

What results are we expecting?  Who are these angels that we apparently believe are going to flap down into these roles and govern honestly after spending millions to get a job that pays in thousands? 

The only solution to this problem, IMAO, is based on libertarian principles:

1) Institute a Flat Tax, with no exceptions for saving the environment, employing more people, growing wheat for ethanol, or saving the whales.  Anyone granting a tax break to a constituent can be assumed to be corrupt, and gets to go live with the Illinois governors. 

2) Shrink the size of government to the size of an infant dachshund.  They're going to spend about two billion on the next presidential election campaign.  Why?  Because it's worth it. 
If the government were to be involved in roads, infrastructure, the court system, defending the borders, and nothing else, (see: U.S. Constitution) the opportunities for graft would shrink exponentially.
Any politician wanting to get the government involved in activities in which government sucks (education, energy, housing, literacy, nutrition, changing the weather, etc.) can be assumed to be corrupt, and gets to go live with the Illinois governors.   

3) There is no #3. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Michele Bachmann - Corporate Welfare Queen

From the L.A. Times:

Reporting from Washington— Rep. Michele Bachmann has been propelled into the 2012 presidential contest in part by her insistent calls to reduce federal spending, a pitch in tune with the big-government antipathy gripping many conservatives.

But the Minnesota Republican and her family have benefited personally from government aid, an examination of her record and finances shows. A counseling clinic run by her husband has received nearly $30,000 from the state of Minnesota in the last five years, money that in part came from the federal government. A family farm in Wisconsin, in which the congresswoman is a partner, received nearly $260,000 in federal farm subsidies.

And she has sought to keep federal money flowing to her constituents. After publicly criticizing the Obama administration's stimulus program, Bachmann requested stimulus funds to support projects in her district. Although she has been a fierce critic of earmarks — calling them "part of the root problem with Washington's spending addiction" — the congresswoman nonetheless argued recently that transportation projects should not be considered congressional pork.

Next time you get one of those chain emails about the black lady with 8 kids in the supermarket paying for steaks and lobster with her food stamps, remember Michele Bachmann.  Send this link back to all the recipients.  Here are some details:
Yet despite her broadsides against "socialized medicine," Bachmann's husband, Marcus, applied for public funds for his counseling clinic, Bachmann & Associates. Since 2006, he has received nearly $30,000, according to Minnesota state records. The bulk of the money — $24,041 — came in the form of grants from the state Department of Human Services to train staff how to deal with clients suffering from chemical dependency and mental illness. That program was financed in part by the federal government.

Michele Bachmann lists the Lake Elmo, Minn.-based clinic — which aims to provide "quality Christian counseling in a sensitive, loving environment," according to its website — as one of her assets on her financial disclosure forms.

Another of Bachmann's assets — a family farm owned by her late father-in-law, Paul Bachmann — received nearly $260,000 in federal money between 1995 and 2008, largely from corn and dairy subsidies, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research organization that scrutinizes such subsidies. Paul Bachmann died in May 2009, but the congresswoman retains a partnership in the farm.

Bachmann said in December that the subsidies went to her in-laws and she never received "one penny" from the farm, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. However, in financial disclosure forms, she reported receiving between $32,503 and $105,000 in income from the farm, at minimum, between 2006 and 2009.

Publicly, Bachmann has objected strongly to federal farm payments.

When she voted against the 2008 farm bill, a $307-billion package that would govern federal agriculture policy for five years, Bachmann declared that it was "loaded with unbelievably outrageous pork and subsidies for agricultural business and ethanol growers." She was one of two nays cast by Minnesota's eight-member delegation.

Well, good for her on that one.  If the government is going to throw your money at Michele Bachmann, she'd be a fool not to take it. 
But isn't it sorta sickening to see how much of your money the government gives to just one millionaire?  And then to realize this particular millionaire is just one recipient among several million others who get a big payout from Uncle Sam? 


The pic of the Welfare Queen came from here.  The Corporatism poster came from here.  Looks like Dan McCall's fine work, but I'm not sure.