“Why not dictate that every employee earn several hundred thousand dollars a year?” asks Hunter Baker in this week’s Acton Commentary, “We could end every social problem with nothing more than political will.”

During a recent visit to Twitter, I happened across a post from a noted Christian academic. He had composed the kind of pithy remark which is tailor-made to launch a hundred admiring retweets. Paraphrasing slightly, it was something like this: “Conservatives, don’t talk to me about family values if you doesn’t endorse a minimum wage increase.” I am sure that he thought it was a pretty high-powered zinger.

The problem is that there is no necessary connection between family values and increasing the minimum wage. First off, there is a vigorous, unsettled debate over the effectiveness of the minimum wage. Economists differ substantially over whether it helps poor people, hurts them by reducing entry level job opportunities, or exerts little effect. It would be entirely possible for a proponent of family values to rationally conclude that the minimum wage is counterproductive and to therefore take the position the aforementioned prominent Christian academic presented as completely at odds with a “family values” perspective. This academic failed to take account of the fact that arguments about the minimum wage are not like arguments about something like gravity. There are respectable and even compassionate arguments on both sides.

The full text of his essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

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  • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

    The hyperbolic response given by Hunter Baker is designed to silence any consideration of an in-between amount for minimum wage between the $100,000 per year and the current minimum wage. Does that sound like someone who is listening to the concerns of full-time workers who earn minimum wage?

    In addition, when both ma and pa have to spend inordinate number of hours and energy at work because the pay is low, the result is that they spend less time with the kids and each other. That makes both minimum wage and the number of hours worked family values issues.

    Finally, what does the connection between raising minimum wage and employment opportunities say about our economic system and direction? The connection between minimum wage and employment rate varies from country to country because the other variables involved vary from country to country. The conservative citing of the connection here is meant to prohibit questions. The conservative citing of the connection here is meant to say that we can’t afford to raise the minimum wage or others will be hurt–can’t tell then if this is extortion or blackmail or both. The conservative citing of the connection here asks the poor, do you want employment with your poverty? Remember, it isn’t just minimum wage workers who are a cost to a business, others include tech people, management, business people and accountants, salespeople, executives, and, if it is a public company, shareholders who are also a cost to a business. So why do conservatives scapegoat the minimum wage worker when citing the correlation between raises and employment rates?

    • Marc Vander Maas

      …can’t tell then if this is extortion or blackmail or both.

      Or it could simply be noting that oftentimes, well-intentioned actions via governmental dictates have very real unintended consequences. That’s an option too.

      • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

        There are always side effects to whatever actions are taken which points to the necessity that one must always be listening to the facts on the ground, especially to the ground where the most vulnerable live. However, the questions of what is being deliberately done by those with wealth and power and who is holding them in check or accountable are most pertinent here because of the current direction wealth disparity and a dysfunctional government that serves special interests first along with a very dangerous national debt.

        If we say the market holds people in check, remember that the market runs on the premise of one dollar- one vote. Then we eventually have to face the fact that we are letting the fox guard the chicken house.

        • Marc Vander Maas

          There are always side effects to whatever actions are taken which points to the necessity that one must always be listening to the facts on the ground, especially to the ground where the most vulnerable live.

          Which is, of course, precisely what Hunter Baker was attempting to do, albeit from a perspective that you disagree with, which resulted in you launching another broadside against “conservatives” in your typically – dare I say it – hyperbolic fashion.

          It might be nice if, just for once, you responded by saying something like “You know, Marc, perhaps it’s not helpful to the tenor of a discussion to insinuate that those who disagree with me are interested in extorting from or blackmailing the poor and underprivileged. That was over the line. I’ll try to be more irenic in tone from now on, in the interests of promoting a cool-headed and rational discussion.” That would be really swell.

    • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com/ Roger D. McKinney

      What are ma and pa doing working at minimum wage jobs? Those jobs are entry level for people without work experience or skills. Anyone with a few years of experience and/or training can rise above minimum wage jobs. If not, they’re either lazy or mentally handicapped.

      Economics has proven that the only way to raise wages in a sustainable way is to improve worker productivity through better tools and on the job training.

      • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

        Roger,

        moms and dads are working minimum jobs because, all too often, they are the only ones available. Besides, you conditional statement lacks proof especially when there are a number of different jobs that produce poverty wages (see http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11156).

        In addition, doesn’t making blanket statements about what economics has proven need some citations? And isn’t true that while worker productivity has improved over the past couple of decades, wages have stagnated. In fact, hasn’t the increase in tools led to a problem with technological unemployment?

        • http://www.acton.org/ John Couretas

          Where are your citations for these assertions?

          And isn’t true that while worker productivity has improved over the past
          couple of decades, wages have stagnated. In fact, hasn’t the increase
          in tools led to a problem with technological unemployment?

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            John,

            I will use a source I am not fond of for the existence of such unemployment:

            http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2011/11/technological-unemployment

            In addition, I will use another not fond of source for income stagnation. Note that they are comparing the incomes of the upper 10% vs the rest.

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiswoodhill/2013/03/28/the-mystery-of-income-inequality-broken-down-to-one-simple-chart/

            In terms of productivity and wages in the US, you can check the column charts in

            http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2002/06/art4full.pdf

            The issue I was raising with Roger is that upward mobility is not always there in sufficient numbers. And that is true when you outsource manufacturing, tech, and service sector jobs to other countries and you base your economy more and more on the financial sector and the products it produces. And I don’t if Roger is aware of the median age of a fast food worker, for example. That age is around 28 with many such workers having some college experience.

            My feeling is that some speak about these issues without having listened to those who are living on poverty wages.

          • http://www.acton.org/ John Couretas

            What do you make of this?

            The Case for Worrying About Inequality is Still Overstated. By Scott Winship

            http://www.economics21.org/commentary/case-worrying-about-inequality-still-overstated

            The Inequality Patrol thinks it is obvious that, say, median income growth would have been higher in the absence of rising inequality. But Lane Kenworthy, another straight-shooting liberal, finds that across industrialized countries, the impact of rising inequality on median household incomes has been small and possibly nonexistent. For that matter, median household income growth was slower in the 1970s than it was in the 1980s and 1990s (and maybe than in the 2000s—much depends on how Medicaid and Medicare are valued as income). This is relevant because the top one percent did not begin pulling away from everyone else until the late 1970s. It is worth repeating: the slowdown in median income growth (and income growth at the bottom) predates the rise in the top one percent’s income share.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            John,

            This alone doesn’t tell us whether income disparity is not a problem. Realize that for some companies, they get benefits from the gov’t by underpaying employees which requires these same employees to apply to federal and state programs. Thus, such companies are allowing our tax-funded programs to help pay their employees. This allows shareholders and owners to keep more for themselves. Now, is such factored in by the CBO? And should we be content with this process because after tax income showed less disparity than before tax income? And note what those percentages are based on because 1% more wealth for someone living in poverty is far less than 1% more wealth gained by those who are in the upper 10%.

            Don’t we want to ask two things of our system? The first being that people who are working full-time can support themselves. The second being that after taxes are collected and distributed, the system is self-sustaining. And who is better at addressing these issues, a group of elites who act in their own self-interest and who have consolidated wealth and thus centralized power or all stakeholders involved using a democratic process?

          • http://www.acton.org/ John Couretas

            How widespread is this? Why do government elites allow such practices?

            Realize that for some companies, they get benefits from the gov’t by
            underpaying employees which requires these same employees to apply to
            federal and state programs.

        • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com/ Roger D. McKinney

          So you want to punish entry level workers because the state has crushed the market to the point it cannot create jobs? That makes a lot of sense. The answer to the lack of jobs is find out what the state is doing to prevent job creation. The usual suspects are high taxes and regulations.

          Of course there are a number of jobs that pay entry level wages. Every industry has entry level jobs. So? Common sense doesn’t require links. Besides, I can’t teach you a whole semester of micro econ in a blog. Take a class.

          Again, good economists look at the long run. There never has been and never will be a one to one correlation between productivity and wages measured every month, or even every decade. A lot of the problem is the faulty way that government agencies measure productivity. But in the long run, economists have found no way to raise wages other than through productivity. And it has been through productivity increases that wages are so high today in the US compare to other nations and compared to other periods in the US.

          Technological unemployment is a short term issue. In the long run new technology only increases employment and wages. It’s basic econ 101 if you would just read a text book.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Roger,

            Why is raising the minimum wage punishing entry level workers? And who said the state has crushed the market when it keeps deregulating or fails to enforce regulations? It seems that for you, the gov’t is the scapegoat. And it isn’t that the gov’t is without fault, but it isn’t because it has crushed the market. Rather, it is because it has allowed the private sector elites to maximize profits with impunity regardless of their methods.

            The links I provided for John shows that increased productivity has not led to wage increases. Technological unemployment, which has been around for a while and has significantly affected the manufacturing, agricultural, and service sectors indicate that this unemployment can have lasting effects. Compare, for example, how technology has cut the number of workers in each sector over time. And consider that the new jobs are not keeping pace. Thus the links do trump your common sense.

            But the key point here is that companies are profiting by paying poverty wages to certain workers and relying on the tax-funded programs to make up the difference for what employees need to live. I will provide the same link for you that I just provided for John to support that assertion (see http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11156). This allows the businesses that do this to keep more profits for the owners/shareholders. That is how our system is working. Private sector elites buy our elected officials to maintain, not crush, the market.

          • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com/ Roger D. McKinney

            Raising the min above the market rate for entry level work increases unemployment among the poor and young. That’s basic economics.

            The Federal Register of only new regulations has averaged 70,000 pages a year since 1970, and the past few years has gone over 100,000 pages. Where do you see any deregulation?

            Your links prove nothing but that a lot of people on the internet are ignorant of economics. I don’t provide links because the points I make are so widely taught that they’re in every economic textbook. Anyone who has taken a class in economics knows them. The textbooks provide plenty of footnotes and analysis.

            What you call tech unemployment economics calls productivity increases. The US today produces far more in manufacturing than it ever has, but with fewer workers. That’s how economies grow. There is no other way. In the short run a few people lose their jobs, but in the long run productivity growth enriches people by reducing prices. Richer people consume more of things they couldn’t consume before, such as healthcare, education and entertainment.

            They’re not paying poverty wages. They’re paying a good wage for the skills and knowledge the workers offer. To pay them more would be charity, not exchange. If you want to help min wage workers, send them a check. If the workers want to earn more, they need to get more experience and training.

            As for the profits of companies paying min wage, they are average, usually around 5% of sales.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Roger,
            It isn’t basic economics, it is our current economics. It is the choice that those with power influence have adopted.

            In addition, listing the number of pages in the Federal Register implies nothing. One can see deregulation or the lack of enforcing regulations in gov’t’s response to the actions and behaviors of corporations and financial institutions. And one can see the lack of regulations by comparing how other countries respond to the actions and behaviors of their corporations and financial institutions and with what happens here.

            Yes, so tech unemployment increases productivity. And for our economics to grow, we are sacrificing what? Now tell me how that coincides with your earlier statements asserting that the only way to increase wages is to increase productivity?

            Also, when one talks with full-time workers who need assistance to survive, then such workers are being paid poverty wages. We should also ask how many of the Rich still strive to pay less taxes knowing that assistance to their full-time workers depends on taxes they pay. But the personal financial suffering of the working poor shouldn’t matter to them because their sacrifice allows the Rich to consume more things. However, that also means that as more people are displaced by technological unemployment or outsourcing to other countries while others are being paid poverty wages, there are fewer and fewer consumers.

            Finally, to call paying those who are working poor more than the minimum wage or what they earn now charity shows a devaluing of those workers regardless of the skills or lack of skills they have. You are assuming that there is a glut of jobs available to the more highly skilled. In addition, you still haven’t addressed two issues. One, we should have a system that pays full-time workers a living wage so that they do not have to rely on gov’t assistance to survive. For when that happens, not only do such workers suffer, the tax payer is being asked to subsidize their wage so that owners/share holders can keep more profit. And second, we need a system that is self-sustaining. The current system is not. Those who can pay more taxes want to pay less while enjoying vast amounts of gov’t assistance themselves. That leaves us with a calamitous decision of either continuing to assist people so they can survive or trying to solve our national debt problem. In either case, we see that some are thriving via the suffering, and dare I say exploitation, of others.

            Perhaps the Scripture of the month on my blog might be of some interest to you:

            He who oppresses the poor to make much for himself or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty–Proverbs 22:16

          • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com/ Roger D. McKinney

            No, Curt. It is basic economics. Economics describes the reality of how human being interact in the marketplace. But like your idol, Marx, you choose to denounce an entire field of knowledge because it proves your theories wrong.

            Seriously, take an intro class to economics and learn about the real world.

            Yes, the pages of the Federal Register tell everything. Regulation of the economy has increased at a frenetic pace. It’s simply not true that the government isn’t enforcing the regulations. The recent crisis was in many ways as perfect storm of too many regulations conflicting with each other.

            No one has oppressed the poor in the way your Marxism has. Over 60 million people starved to death in the USSR and China because of it. More are starving in N. Korea and many are on the verge of starvation in Cuba.

            You quote scripture, yet you follow the teachings of a raving lunatic atheist who hated Christ and everything he stood for. He was so lazy he let one of his children starve to death rather than work while he spunged off his capitalist buddy.

            The rest of your post is typical Marxist ranting and not worthy of a response. You live in a fantasy world created by an envious, resentful lunatic atheist.

  • JRDF

    Absolutely wrong on all accounts.

    Our Experience with minimum wage:
    Minimum wage is a racists’ tool of discrimination. After the civil war, black laborers & entrepreneurs, by offering labor at a lower wage, were able to compete against
    white businesses. One of the main Jim Crow laws was the minimum wage law to protect these white businesses. The minimum wage law made it so that the black entrepreneur could no longer afford labor costs, thus white racists were protected from the black competition.
    In South Africa the pro-apartheid folks admitted that their national policy was the use of minimum wage laws to block, discriminate and exclude blacks from the labor force.

    Minimum wage is a protectionist tool of labor unions. During the 1930’s or 40’s, southern black entrepreneurial construction workers, charging lower wages, were out competing northern labor unions for government contracts. So in a corrupt move to protect the labor unions, the FDR government passed a national minimum wage law on government contracts. The black entrepreneurs and laborers lost their jobs and their businesses, because they could no longer afford the national mandated wages. (Today the labor unions are one of the biggest road blocks to immigration reform because they don’t want competition from migrant workers, who are willing to work for lower wages. Migrant workers (who send money to their families in Latin America) can take a lower wage, below the US minimum wage, because the cost-of-living in Latin America is not inflated by mandated minimum wages, as it is in the US.)

    We know from experience that minimum wage laws discriminate against and exclude the poor. World War II allowed the economy to boom and the minimum wage was not raised so that by the late 1950’s the black unemployment rate was lower than that of white folks. Since then, the national minimum wage has been continually increased and the black unemployment rates has continually sky-rocketed in response to minimum wage increases.

    Any middle-class business person knows that labor costs and wages are
    his/her biggest expense, so mandated increases in wages put the middle-class business person out of business because they can no longer afford
    to hire folks and the would-be employee goes on the unemployment line
    —– and voila we now have our Wal-Mart economy — only the rich
    can afford labor costs.

    So blinded by your leftist utopia fanatsy, you are actually protecting the very people you wish to punish! And they are laughing in your face, because they understand how minimum wage protects them … i.e. minimum wage excludes/eliminates up-coming competition; leaving the rich with a monopoly on labor.

    Let’s get into the real world.
    NATIONAL Minimum (living) wage means that a poor black entrepreneur in rural Duplin County NC has to pay an employee a wage that would allow that employee to live in New York City! And folks wonder why our rural communities are so impoverished and sparsely populated, why there is such a brain-drain of children out off rural communities — there is no prospect of attracting businesses other than Wal-mart type employers.

    A poor black entrepreneur in
    rural Duplin County NC, who only has 2 hands and 24 hours a day, and would like to hire the at-risk youth of his community, but can neither grow his business by hiring employees, nor help the youth of his community with on-the-job training and basic human dignity; because the poor black business man would be required to pay a NATIONAL Minimum Wage, commensurate with living in New York City.

    National Living wage means the rich white suburban teenager, living at home, must be paid a salary that would support a family of four; even-though both his parent make over $100k each.

    So please spare me your superficial leftist poverty-pimp fantasies!

    If you want a moral minimum wage then it needs to be couched in the Catholic social teaching of subsidiarity — where communities, counties (but no higher than a state) set their own local minimum wage — so that communities can meet their responsibility for the dignity of their local citizens with employment, as well as have control of their local cost of living.

    (Unfortunately, too many of our catholic clergy are also poverty pimps, ignoring the subsidiarity teaching of the church & Blessed Pope John Paul II & Pope Benedict XVI)

    Unfortuantely, it would take too long for me to dig up specific references but one should search on-line for “Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Milton Friedmann and Minimum wage”. They have looked at and published data and documented the crushing/exclusionary results on our poor due to government minimum wage policies.

  • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com/ Roger D. McKinney

    There is no confusion or disagreement about minimum wage in economics. Econ has proven beyond reasonable doubt that a minimum above the market wage does nothing but cause unemployment. Some poor economists are confused because the state has kept the minimum very close to the market wage for 60 years, so when they do simple regressions on the data they see no effect. But econ states clearly that the minimum must be above the market wage to have an effect and it rarely has.

    Baker is completely right. The left is unbearably stingy and mean. If a minimum wage above the market wage has no bad effects, it should be $100,000 per year.

  • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com/ Roger D. McKinney

    Your points contradict everything the Church Scholars of the 17th and 18th centuries wrote about these issues. And they contradict everything the Bible says about property and wages.

    On natural law grounds, as well as on the grounds of sound theology, the Scholars of Salamanca insisted that minimum wage laws hurt the poor more than they help because they create unemployment. And they violate the principles of the just price. Just price theory said that prices are determined in a free market, without coercion or fraud, even wages. Any wage freely agreed upon is a just wage. Of course, most Catholic teaching on wages since the 18th century have contradicted those wise men.

  • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

    Richard,
    But what is the perspective of the economists you are citing here? And under what conditions does raising minimum wage laws adversely affect unemployment rates. And should we question the system in which raising minimum wage increases unemployment? Again, by uncritically holding that cause&effect over the heads of minimum wage workers, aren’t we asking them, do you want employment with your poverty? And why is it that we target the income of minimum wage earners only when discussing employment rates?

    • JRDF

      You Wrote: “But what is the perspective of the economists you are citing here?”

      Perspective has nothing to do with it. One either has facts, and data or does not. Both of these men (Thomas Sowell & Walter Williams) have investigated the national, international, socioeconomic, racial, historic, etc. facts & data, and have published papers & books on their findings. Sowell started out as a professed Marxist, but when he investigated the facts, he realized that leftists do not examine the facts. That facts & data do not support the leftist ideology. He found that the leftist intellectuals stand by their theories, no matter what facts & data show. As Sowell found out during his early career at HUD. Why don’t you check out their books, papers, etc., before you assume that they are merely mindless ideologues; as your question implies? (You can find many papers & videos on-line just google their names.) For these two economists, they have examined this issue CRITICALLY!
      Why should we trust your uncritical perspective; over their life long study of the data?

      A recent paper (http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/destroying-household-jobs.html), Sowell discusses how this drive to increase the NATIONAL minimum wage, will cause domestic workers to lose their jobs / businesses. How many upper middle-class folks (NOT the top “1%”) hire domestic workers to come clean their houses? How many will have to fire their domestic workers because they can no longer afford the mandated minimum wage? Who is being hurt? The domestic worker that may be making a nice comfortable income (via this private business) by cleaning 5-6 houses per week. Or does cleaning houses automatically place them in a class we should pity? [Cause & Effect]

      • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

        JRDF,
        And in a free country that invites innovation, there is no reason to question or criticize such established authorities as Sowell and Williams and the perspective they have?

        • Adam__Baum

          Fine, then we should question Robert Reich, Paul Krugman and the rest of minimum wage shills.

        • JRDF

          A free & innovative country invites evidence, data, facts, truth, or it will fall to the tyranny of relativism. It is fine to question, but in the end one has to embrace the truth. So again Sowell & Williams have documented the data and facts, nationally, internationally, ethnically, etc. Where is your evidence that they are wrong? Where is your proof, data that minimum wage actually helps the poor? Just because you wish for it to help is not evidence. Either minimum wage helps or hurts, just as either the earth is flat or round.

          As Adam_Baum has pointed out Robert Reich, Paul Krugman, etc are the “established authorities” as America seems to embrace their superficial analysis. Sowell & Williams are the ones questioning/critiziing these leftist “authorities”. If Sowell & Williams were such “authorities”, why have you not heard of them before?

    • JRDF

      You wrote:
      “Again, by uncritically holding that cause&effect over the heads of
      minimum wage workers, aren’t we asking them, do you want employment with your poverty?”

      Here is the problem with your mind set: 1) you are obsessed with the
      “1%”, who love minimum wage laws because only they can afford the
      increased labor costs, thus they have a monopoly on the labor market and the wealth disparity will necessarily increase. How many minimum wage workers do the “1%” hire? NONE! [Cause & Effect]
      2) This obsession, prevents you from looking at the folks minimum wage hurts, a) the middle-class entrepreneur who has a very small margin to be able to hire folks [from their community]. b) the (young) folks in the community, who would just like to get experience / on-the-job training / apprentice on their road to a better paying job. [Cause & Effect]

      The “why not simply set a minimum wage close to $50,000 a year?” is NOT hyperbole! It is a serious question that YOU need to critically consider. Let me rephrase the question: “What minimum wage
      rate would NOT drive middle-class entrepreneurs out of business?”
      $20K, 25K, 30K, 40K,… [Cause & Effect] I love how omnipotent you minimum wage proponents are, because you obviously know exactly what each and every middle-class business person makes & how much they can and cannot spend on hiring.

      —- There HAS been much critical investigation, data collection
      & analysis, and evidence to prove the cause & effect — you just
      refuse to look at it. No we are not asking folks “do you want
      employment with your poverty”?

      We are asking you pro-minimum wage folks —– why don’t you let young folks gain experience, confidence, dignity on their way to their next better paying job? —- why do you insist on letting the “1%” have a monopoly on the labor market? — why do you insist that mom’s & dad’s forfeit their dignity by being “enslaved” in minimum wage jobs, that should have never been used to support families? — why do you promote a system that traps mom’s & dad’s in undignified minimum wage jobs?

      The difference is that we have faith that these people are diligent enough & smart enough to work their way out of poverty, (just like everyone did before the entitlement generation.)
      You on the other hand do not see their dignity as smart resourceful humans, all you see is the poverty, you impose on them. You have dehumanized them into mere pitiable objects in need of your benevolent intervention.

      Please define poverty. More specifically, who in “poverty”, morally deserves government assistance? …the slothful poor? .. the addicted poor? …the materialistic poor? “Poor” is too abstract a term to throw around carelessly, without critical consideration.

      Why do you hate the black community? The poor black Heat & Air guy from rural Stokes County NC wishes to hire the at-risk black youth of his community to give them direction & dignity, but you insist
      that he pay a national living wage that would support a family of four living in New York City; which means you insist that the at-risk youth stay on the street with no direction or dignity in his life. (This is the story of the destruction of the black community.) [Documented Cause & Effect]

      And what about the young aspiring employee, who offers their services for free for 2 months, so that they can prove themselves, gain experience, skill, knowledge and get their foot in the door. Such bravery, courage, drive and commitment are no longer allowed in your system.

      The answer is Subsidiarity: let counties set their own minimum wage so that they can better regulate their local cost of living. Why do you insist that poor black entrepreneurs pay a salary that would enable their employees to live in New York City? Again, what rate of minimum wage would not put the poor black entrepreneur out of business?

      Once you have “lifted the poor from poverty in to wealth”, will
      you turn your hate against them? If the Black entrepreneur works 130-hour weeks and becomes a wealthy success, will you turn your hate against him? … will you stoke less industrious folks’ envy & anger against him?

      The Cause & Effect of how mandated NATIONAL minimum wage traps whole communities in Poverty (like any other over-reaching welfare program) HAS been documented. Please provide evidence of the Cause & Effect of how Mandated NATIONAL Minimum wage has lifted folks out of poverty!

      Or Should I say: By uncritically acknowledging the cause&effect of mandated NATIONAL minimum wage aren’t we asking them, do you want UNemployment and no hope with your poverty?

      • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

        JRDF,
        Is that really the problem? Or is the problem that too many people are working full-time and are still earning poverty wages?

        As for point #2, I very much understand that too because my one friend who owns his own business belongs to the middle class. He is a franchise owner and because of what and how his company charges him for various items, he sometimes has to regard his own company as a threat. And if I somewhat generalize from his position to other franchise owners, the burden of treating employees fairly in franchises, including pay, is put solely on solely on the franchise owner with no help from the company. And the fact that the company is public also impedes on his ability to treat his employees fairly in terms of pay.In the meantime, the company squeezes him for all of the profit they can because the company is reporting to the shareholders. BTW, that is his view as both a business owner and someone who studied business.

        Now, my friend’s experience doesn’t help me understand middle class non-franchise owners. However, why is it that the conservatives I discuss this issue with do not include the workers’ view, especially how they have to live? So you say why not make the minimum pay $50,000 per year as if $50,000 per year is the minimum for a living wage? That question is sometimes asked to silence the call for a middle ground.

        And, btw, many of the people I marched with, on Dec 5th, when I was involved in protests for increasing the minimum wage were Black. In fact, the first march consisted of workers and a few sympathizers and the overwhelming majority of the demonstrators were Black. Are you implying that those Blacks who demonstrated are self-hating? That is a real neat way to frame the issue but, again, it tells us to look at the issue from the employer’s perspective only.

        Likewise, who is saying that we should rob young people from the dignity of working? It isn’t the people I was demonstrating with, the overwhelming majority of who were also young.

        See, your Cause&Effect takes place under a certain set of variables that have specific values. The Cause&Effect can behave differently by adjusting the value of those variables.

        There is nothing wrong with mandating National minimum wage that would count as trapping whole communities in poverty unless the minimum wage is set too low. That is what the workers are telling us now.And those who hate these wormers and potential workers are those who don’t take seriously what the workers are saying to us about how their low wages trap them in poverty. And, a poverty wage is defined by the government and perhaps you would like to live with those who live on poverty wages to see why it is classified as a poverty wage. In addition, we could have a national minimum wage policy that adjusts the minimum wage based on regional cost of living standards. Of course, in an economic climate of maximizing profits, such a policy would also have side effects.

        Finally, again, we must look at our system critically rather than assume that it is a part of natural law. We have a system where we have full-time workers who must survive on government assistance to live. That means that the tax-payer is subsidizing the pay of employees for some companies. At the same time, we have a very serious national debt problem partly due to the combination of having people on government assistance and companies and corporations who do all they can to avoid paying the taxes which would help alleviate our debt problem. In other words, our system is not self-sustaining. So we must ask ourselves whether we need to change our current system.

        • JRDF

          You wrote: “Or is the problem that too many people are working full-time and are still earning poverty wages?” How much should a full-time shelf-stocker make? How much should a burger-flipper make? How much should a medical doctor make? Why do you assume that “full-time” should equal affluence? You materialistically equate wage with dignity. Minimum wage means entry-level low skilled worker (i.e. an apprentice). You seem to prefer our Black Americans to remain low-skilled. You support — increase their wage but tell them to “stay in your place” as a low-skilled worker. ——————

          You wrote: “Are you implying that those Blacks who demonstrated are self-hating?”

          No, I am saying that they have been trapped by the policies you promote. And have been seduced by your form of materialism; the idolatry of wages. Skills are the path to a wealthy dignity, as the wealthy-poor understand.

          Hmmm…. The people you demonstrate with are in your echo-chamber — of course they are going to have the same narrow vision you have. If they didn’t, then they wouldn’t be demonstrating along with you. So don’t say “I demonstrated with …”, then claim open-mindedness. Your admission of such extreme activity documents your devotion to your close-minded ideology. Why? — because you and the other demonstrators have received only one side of the story. You have only heard the side of the fascists, etc. And the fascists have a vested interest in demonizing anyone that opposes their grasp on power and their corporatist under-writers. (Fascism defined as collusion between government & corporatists to monopolize the economy.)

          Why don’t you ask yourself, why folks with no corporate interests oppose such a simple applause gaining argument as “increase the minimum wage”? We could easily get more love from the masses
          and shine our (false) compassion crowns, if we would just embrace such a superficial self-serving argument.

          By the way, I wonder how the black folks you demonstrate with would feel if they found out that you are supporting a racist policy (mandated minimum wage), originating in Jim Crow South, War-time North, and Apartheid South Africa. (See my other posts in this discussion)

          ————

          You Wrote: “Likewise, who is saying that we should rob young people from the dignity of working?”

          The FACTS and DATA are saying that you ARE robbing young people of their dignity of working: Entering the job market at an entry level
          position; to gain entry level skills that are needed to gain the next level job in their career. (see my other posts here on the history of minimum wage laws and its affect on youth of the black community.)

          ————

          You wrote: “And, a poverty wage is defined by the government and perhaps you would like to live with those who live on poverty wages to see why it is classified as a poverty wage.”
          —- This “point” is asinine.

          1) I guess you would refuse cancer treatment from a doctor if he himself did not have cancer?

          2) But since liberals are so obsessed with identity politics; then answer both these questions: What piece of fried chicken
          is the most honored? And Why?

          ————–

          You wrote: “That is a real neat way to frame the issue but, again, it
          tells us to look at the issue from the employer’s perspective only.”

          Absolutely not! It tells us to look at the issue from the employee’s
          perspective of needing to become employed, gaining skills (& dignity), and advancing in a career (the same field or different field.)
          No employers = No employee.

          ————
          Three things are required for gaining affluence: Skill, Savings, and Labor — the 3-legged stool of personal wealth – each is needed and each provides support for the other. But you deny poor people all three. Skill: Mom & dad cannot gain skills past burger-flipping; youth cannot even get an entry-level job/ skills because the jobs are all taken by mom’s & dad’s. Savings: You constantly increase the cost of living everytime you increase the minimum wage, so poor people (moms, dads & youth) gain neither savings (nor time) to invest in their skills via education. Labor: As has been documented extensively and agreed upon by over 90% of economist — minimum wage increases cause people to lose their jobs. Further, most poor people have a strong work ethic, but they only have 24 hrs & 2 hands — If they wish to have their own business (a local non-franchised) restaurant to compete against the national chains, they cannot afford the cooks, waiter/waitresses because of your NATIONAL minimum
          wage.
          [One supposes that you espouse – “buy locally”, yet you insist, with nationally mandated minimum wages, that there be no local entrepreneurs /businesses, as only the national & international corporatists (ex. Wal-mart or your friend’s franchise chain) can afford the cost of labor you insist upon.]

          ——————–

          You Wrote: “So you say why not make the minimum pay $50,000 per year as if $50,000 per year is the minimum for a living wage? That question is sometimes asked to silence the call for a middle ground.”

          Actually my question had plenty of middle ground from $20K, etc…. And no, it is not to silence anyone, it is to get people, like you, to critical think about specifics.

          Let’s try this another way: at what minimum wage level $10K, $20K, $30K, etc. would employees be fired because their middle-class employer can no longer afford them? If you can’t answer this simple question then your “compassion” for the poor employee is juvenile and superficial.

          ————-

          You seem to think that flipping burgers is a good enough career for Black Americans.

          Your solution is “tactical” and short-lived, not strategic. Increase the national minimum wage for burger flippers so that they can stay in that job and remain a low-skilled worker. The increased national minimum wage necessarily increases the cost of living, and so the minimum wage person hasn’t advanced at all. The increased cost of living, traps them in the same relative level of poverty, as they were before the national minimum wage was increased. So they are trapped at minimum wage skill-level, with no time for their family, no time for their own education, no time for improving themselves. And the middle-class entrepreneur who could have hired them is out of business and also on the unemployment line. And your corporate masters have gained even more of a monopoly, because they are the
          only ones that can afford to fill the market void left by the middle-class entrepreneur.

          If you want to help the poor folks then work on decreasing the cost of living — open the pipe-line to decrease cost of energy, stop subsidizing ethanol & sugar so that the cost of basic foods are decreased, etc., do not increase the national minimum wage which necessarily increase the cost of everything, and allow local minimum wages so that upcoming businesses can compete against the
          corporatist — competition means decreased prices & decreased cost of living, monopolies mean increased prices & increased cost of
          living.

          ————————–

          Prove this statement wrong: Corporatists love mandated increases in
          minimum wages, as it runs up-coming entrepreneurs out of the labor market. Leaving the corporatist the only ones that can afford the more expensive labor market & have a monopoly on the market of a given service / good.

          ——————

          You Wrote: “There is nothing wrong with mandating National minimum wage that would count as trapping whole communities in poverty unless the minimum wage is set too low.” ????????

          ———————–
          You Wrote: “In other words, our system is not self-sustaining. So we must ask ourselves whether we need to change our current system.”

          Indeed, since the mid-1960’s, our system has been dominated by increasing mandated national minimum wages until corporatists, politicians, & bureaucrats (i.e. fascists) have a monopoly on every aspect of our lives. And you want to increase their monopoly.
          Yes, we need to change our system, away from the growing fascism you promote. Try Subsidiarity — “society needs to meet human needs where they actually exist; creating expensive and ineffective bureaucracies fails to see the deepest needs of the human heart.”

          You look at today’s problems and are aghast because for some reason you assume they just all of a sudden materialized from thin air. You essentially want to look at the issues in the middle of the problem, you care not to look at how the relentless decades march of increasing the national minimum wage has been responsible for many of these problems. So you propose one temporary band-aid after another. Insanity, doing the same thing & expecting different results.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            JRDF,

            Do you hear the disdain you have for those who are working some jobs? You write How much should a full-time shelf-stocker make? How much should a burger-flipper make? . And then you misrepresent me by asking why I believe full-time should equal affluence? You ask that as if there are no middle grounds between poverty and riches.

            The real question is why should someone who is working full-time be paid poverty wages? Should you require some people, based on their labor to work 2 full-time jobs to lift themselves out of poverty? And what if such people have families, should the hours they are required to work remove them from their families? And btw, when wages are not sufficient for work that abides by the law, aren’t you encouraging, or even making it necessary, for people to rely on illegal employment when you insist on paying them poverty wages?

            The real anger in your note comes in defense of those who own. You are defending their right to keep as much as they can for themselves despite the hardships it causes on those whose labor brings these owners wealth.

            And then some conservatives have a two-sided message. They say to the unemployed to get a job while to the employed they say that your job is not important enough to remove you from poverty. Do you see the problem? Some conservatives need people to look down on whether it is the unemployed or those whose skill not worthy of any respect.

            In addition, how many who are unemployed have skills but there are no openings for those skills and so they take what is available? How many fast food workers work where they do because of the lack of job openings? How many college graduates are underemployed because of the lack of opportunities?

            You have much anger and hatred in your note here and it is pointed at those who work at what you would consider to be menial jobs. And while you judge them by their current employment position, for each person you see you haven’t a clue as to their skill set or their circumstance. And btw, the same goes with your assumption about better positions being opened for those who currently have entry level jobs–you know, those jobs for which you have no respect because you believe that people working such jobs should live in poverty.

            And the point about poverty wages being defined by the gov’t is asinine is simply a rejection of objective data. Yes, poverty wages are objectively defined. But there is also a subjective part. And that subjective allows you to understand poverty. Currently you think you know what poverty is. Neither of us do and I use to support myself on a minimum wage job a few decades ago. Do you want to understand poverty? Then become poor and live with those who are poor. And that isn’t my advice alone, that advice comes from a former Cal Berkley economics professor who, when we first came face to face with the poor, realized that he had nothing to offer them, nothing to say.

            You frame things from the employer’s perspective assuming that monetary gain and materialism is the only motivation that moves people to improve themselves. So you rely on a system that makes the same assumptions and that plays a role in the education of people. It isn’t that monetary and military gain can play a role, it is that that role is not a solo role and can be for either good or bad. Such plays a bad role when we learn to think that people only have extrinsic value especially when that extrinsic value is dependent on those who control the market. Then dignity becomes bound tightly with extrinsic value and such people are highly offended at the thought that those with less would be considered their equals. And that is where you are now. You are offended at the thought that people with menial jobs are not living in poverty.

    • JRDF

      You wrote: “And why is it that we target the income of minimum wage earners only when discussing employment rates?”

      Your question indicates your lack of understanding of the most fundamental questions regarding minimum wage policies: those questions are — Does the Government have the right to confiscate a citizen’s (employer’s) private property (money) and give it to another citizen (employee); despite any private contract made between employer & employee? And before you say the employer will take advantage of the employee — such a statement is an arrogant disregard for the dignity of the employee — you arrogantly assume that the employee is, unlike you, an idiot in need of YOUR benevolent protection.

      Your question is unmistakably an anti-private property statement. 1) Just like those that see money paid in taxes as originally the property of the collective, to be redistributed by the government; your statement assumes that the money not yet earned by the employee is already his. It is not his income until he has earned it. So, we are not targeting his property, as your errant statement suggests.

      Your question implies (and minimum wage policy assumes) that the employee has a claim to the employers property BEFORE he has earned it (and BEFORE he has even been hired).

      2) Why do you want to target “maximum” wage earners? It would seem that you wish to confiscate all wages (the private property of all employers) and redistribute the “wages” equally; whether medical doctors or Wal-mart shelf-stockers. That is definitely the way to get people to strive to better themselves, their dignity, and aspire to their full potential, …. by having the government mandate a maximum wage scale.

      Your question reveals that you do not understand that:
      The above minimum wage salaries are freely entered contracts between two free citizens.

      While mandated minimum wage policies impose (i.e. a tyrannical dictate) a contract between two citizens. (see Obamacare’s “Health Insurance” mandate for an example of the later.)

      • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

        JRDF,
        I understand wage policies. They are not neutral and they carry out an agenda. The question is do you have an idea what agenda that is for all stakeholders involved?

        Second, your statement questioning the gov’t’s right to interfere with “agreements” made between an employer and employee overlooks some facts. There are many ways the gov’t assumes such a right. It does so to eliminate child labor, unsafe working conditions, as well as other abuses of workers including hours worked, the right to have breaks and so on. That distinguishes America from countries that allow sweatshop labor conditions to exist. And note how many corporations favor sending manufacturing to those countries that allow sweatshop labor conditions. Again, here, we must point to the agenda of those who would treat labor as such.

        Third, my statement isn’t necessarily anti-private property. It is a statement about maintaining a balance, that the employer, along with owning a business, has responsibilities and accountability to how they treat their employees. If what I wrote was necessarily anti-private property, wouldn’t I say that the state should make all of the decisions? But I didn’t. I just said that along with owning property, and businesses, and let’s not forget that employees are not property, comes responsibilities for how owners treat stakeholders. After all, these stakeholders are people and, for the most part, citizens of the country and the gov’t has an interest in protecting them from abuse.

        Finally, raising the minimum wage = tyranny? Actually, isn’t the tyranny you are looking for in businesses that pay employees poverty wages when they can get away with it?

        • Adam__Baum

          “I understand wage policies.”

          If you did, you would not confuse minimum wage laws with third world “sweatshops”.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Adam,
            On the other hand, if you understood my note, you would have realized that I didn’t confuse minimum wage laws with third world sweatshops. However, they are on the same continuum, that is in terms of pay only, and depending on the cost of living, the difference between them can become less significant.

            And, understanding wage policies should not keep us from understanding the system enough to be critical of it. And we should be able to understand wage policies from multiple viewpoints including the viewpoint of the worker.

          • Adam__Baum

            You did confuse it, sorry you don’t understand how.

        • JRDF

          You wrote: “Second, your statement questioning the gov’t’s right to interfere with “agreements” made between an employer and employee overlooks some facts. There are many ways the gov’t assumes such a right. It does so to eliminate child labor, unsafe working conditions, as well as other abuses of workers including hours worked, the right to have breaks and so on. That distinguishes America from countries that allow sweatshop labor conditions to
          exist.”

          This is proof of an earlier statement : That you believe prosperity is granted by the government.

          Why would a government that imposes itself on it’s corporatist supporters; hesitate to impose itself on the common man?

          Question: Should the federal government assume such rights, as you list? … Why not State or local, who better understands the local businesses? Who has a vested interest in making sure they
          are not sued for unsafe working conditions?

          You fail to understand that free-market subsidiarity punishes the abusive local employer and rewards the caring local employer. A caring local employer will put money & effort into their employee’s dignity & happiness, this will result in a better product or service and more customers.
          The caring local employer will always out compete the greedy employer for the best employees, and will have a better, more prosperous business because of that. An “abusive” greedy employer will always have employee issues, resulting in a poor product and less customers and eventually go out of business. With subsidiarity the community has more direct action for the caring employer and
          against the “greedy” employer.

          Question: So I guess black folks are such uncaring parents that they would rent their children out to sweat shops? Child labor laws should be abolished — they assume that parents are innately evil and will allow their children to be abused. It is another usurpation of parenting by the federal government. I submit that America is past the days of child sweatshops. Would you or any parent allow their child be abused in a sweatshop?

  • teapartydoc

    Any “Christian” found bargaining over political defense of traditional moral values in exchange for questionable economic demands is not what he claims to be. He has found some other religion, and is practicing that.

    • Adam__Baum

      Statists are really no different than those that encouraged the the Israelites fleeing the Pharaoh’s lash to worship a golden calf.

  • teapartydoc

    It’s obvious that you are completely satisfied with people being unemployed because of increases in minimum wage and want things to get even worse. Despicable.

    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

      teapartydoc,
      Despite the difference between executive pay and entry-level pay and long with shareholder demands, it seems appropriate to you to only blame an increase in the minimum wage for subsequent increases in unemployment? Let’s take your position a different direction. Perhaps if we eliminate the minimum wage all together, we could possibly increase employment rates. I say possibly because decreasing the minimum wage would require more and more people to work 1 to 3 additional jobs just to survive. Again, executive pay and shareholder dividends along with high pay for other positions have no effect on employment rates?

      • Adam__Baum

        I have never understood the left’s obsession with executive salaries. I am far more insulted by a “singer” whose dance routine looks like it was lifted from a bordello making 50M a year, than I am by a CEO who runs a 100M/year, 3000 employee, multilocational concern making 5M.

      • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com/ Roger D. McKinney

        You’re right. Executive pay and shareholder dividends have no effect on employment rates. For once you got something right, but I doubt you know why.

        On the other hand, if you think they do have something to do with employment then you’re living in the medieval economics of the uneducated in which one person can earn more only at the expense of others.

  • ABoleynGirl

    “…it is not too much to ask to insist upon a more rigorous consideration of the problems large government actions entail.”
    Thank you!

  • Mwangi

    It is interesting to read this article even as i think of the African economic situation. Indeed every country although has a minimum wage, this is applicable only to the less than 20% of the fortunate (or is it unfortunate) citizens under formal employment. Every time I think of the concept being discussed here, I am amazed by the wide gap the exists between the developed and developing but mostly the undeveloped nations. To talk of a fixed minimum wage is to assume that the national or county governments will be capable of enforcing the laws to ensure that every worker gets the legally decided minimum wage. This is further to assume that the government has capacity to force the poor workers not to enter into work contractual (written or assumed) agreements with the employers for any amount of money other than the minimum. This will prove a tough call given the levels of poverty in some of the Africa states and the pathetic nature of economic environment that forces citizens to accept anything that comes by to avoid total starvation.
    As far as I am concerned it will take some economic years for such a concept to fully apply to Africa population

  • Adam__Baum
  • Marc Vander Maas

    Apologies for not responding more quickly; I’ve been out of town and didn’t have a chance to write.

    I’m not sure why you spend so much time dwelling on the fact that conservatives tend not to support increases in the minimum wage. I also have no idea why you think that simply restating what you’ve been saying all along justifies your continued insinuation that conservatives are somehow engaged in “blackmail” or “exploitation” when you know that a third, simpler explanation is much more likely: that conservatives believe that increasing the minimum wage is counterproductive and is more likely to harm those it is intended to help, like many well-intentioned programs and policies. Again, it’d be nice for you not to hide behind a wall of words, but rather to just say “Yeah, I overstated things. Sorry.”

    Finally, I believe that the real crux of our disagreement has to do the belief held by many, but not all, conservatives, that individual liberty is the only liberty.

    Well, that’s a good jumping off point for a discussion then. Here’s an assignment: Help me to understand what you mean when you talk about “collective liberty.” Pretend I’m a high school student and you’re explaining it to me for the first time. What does it mean? How does it relate to individual liberty? How does one exercise a “collective right”?

    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

      Marc,

      No need to apologize. The important thing is that you have safe travels which can’t be take for granted with the weather the way it is.

      Why would I call the conservative statements that say to those living on minimum wage, “if your wages increased, some of you lose jobs?” Let ask this, what does that sound like to those who are living on minimum wage, especially to minorities because this warning has been said more loudly to them? And this is especially true when nobody says that if give executives multi-million dollar raises, fewer people will have jobs, or that if we raise payments to stockholders, fewer people will have jobs, or that if we say to anybody else, that fewer people will have jobs if they get raises. Rather, the only people whose jobs are threatened with raises are those who work minimum wage.

      No, I am not overstating things. Rather, while many conservative voices I hear defend executive pay, increased stockholder dividends, and increased pay for others, they adamantly oppose mandating an increase in the minimum wage and they give ominous warning should we do so. But, increasing minimum wage can negatively affect employment rates and prices if all of the others keep behaving the way they are by grabbing for as much as they can for themselves. In addition, we could point to other factors such as in the fast food industry, food speculation is driving up food prices. I don’t see any of these factors being addressed by conservatives, they seem to target only those on minimum wage andI I would be more than happy to be wrong here.

      Also, the key difference I noted regarding individual liberty lends itself quite naturally into our discussion. For anytime there is talk of government intervention into the market, the reflexive cry is that liberty is being sacrificed. Liberty for whom though? Liberty for those who are in control. That is individual liberty particularly for the rich though it could include others who owned businesses.

      Group or social liberty, otherwise called democracy, is the freedom of a group or society to determine how they will live. And this threatens individual liberty simply when society democratically determines how individuals can treat other individuals because individuals might disagree with what the majority in society demand. The elimination of discrimination in the Jim Crow laws is a historical example. Was the individual liberty of a store owner infringed on when the law changed so that he/she was required to serve Black customers or forbidden to provide separate services? Certainly it was. But it was decision which was democratically made by society. It was democratic not just because of the legal procedures that were followed in changing the law, it was democratic in terms of expressing the desires of the majority of people who were shocked and deeply ashamed that Blacks were treated the way they were.

      When we take an all-or-nothing approach to individual liberty, we head toward tyranny. It is obvious how that if we forbid any individual liberty that we will live in tyranny. But what if the only liberty we recognize is individual liberty? First, you can’t have any resemblance of democracy because binding decisions made using democratic processes can threaten individual liberty. So you must have the right people with enough control who will protect the right of the individual to do what they please–this relieved Madison’s fear of every person getting the right to vote. Second, only the financial, not necessarily moral, elite will emerge above the rest when individual liberty is absolute and with their exceptional wealth comes increased power because power often follows wealth.

      Obviously, our society does not presently take an all-or-nothing approach to individual liberty. We have laws and regulations that control how we can treat each other. But in our business sphere, the move toward absolutizing individual liberty is getting stronger allowing businesses more leeway regardless of how their actions affect certain groups of stakeholders. Here, we might want to remember Proverbs 22:16, which says:

      He who oppresses the poor to make much for himself or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty

      • Marc Vander Maas

        Why would I call the conservative statements that say to those living on minimum wage, “if your wages increased, some of you lose jobs?” Let ask this… Rather, the only people whose jobs are threatened with raises are those who work minimum wage.

        Curt, do you agree that many conservatives genuinely hold the position that raising the minimum wage causes negative employment effects that fall primarily on minimum wage earners? And really, a yes or no answer should suffice here.

        • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

          Marc,
          Yes according to the conservatives whose opinions on this subject I have had exposure to.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            Thanks for the direct answer. So – if conservatives genuinely believe that raising the minimum wage will be detrimental to those it is claimed to help, your position is that they should not publicly state that position because minimum wage earners might misinterpret such a view as either extortion or a threat?

          • Marc Vander Maas

            I’d also point you here just in case it slipped by you: http://blog.acton.org/archives/64191-family-values-minimum-wage.html#comment-1192476825

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Marc,
            I did reply to that post but I don’t see the response. For a reader’s digest version, there are multiple definitions of democracy with one being self-rule. Self-rule is a state of being for a group just as individual liberty is for a person. Both require certain kinds of structures to facilitate them. The more that individual liberty is counted as the only liberty, the more democracy flies out the window. In contrast, there is more than one democratic structure that can support the self-rule of a society but all support this group or societal self-rule.

  • Marc Vander Maas

    I’m going to start an independent thread here to discuss the Individual vs. Collective Liberty topic…

    Group or social liberty, otherwise called democracy, is the freedom of a group or society to determine how they will live. And this threatens individual liberty simply when society democratically determines how individuals can treat other individuals because individuals might disagree with what the majority in society demand.

    I think you’re comparing apples and oranges here. Individual liberty is a state of being. You have liberty not because it is granted to you by some earthly authority, but by virtue of the fact that you are human, you are created in the image of God, and you have been endowed by your Creator (to borrow the language of the Declaration) with those rights.They are a part of you, intrinsic to who you are. In my experience, this is the primary reason that Conservatives place a heavy emphasis on individual rights.

    Democracy, on the other hand, is a system of government, not a state of being. It can be chosen by a group of people to be the governing system that provides the structure within which they exercise their rights, but to say that democracy and individual liberty are essentially the same type of thing is in error. One is a state of being; the other is a structure within which individuals can pursue the benefits of their state of being.

    When we take an all-or-nothing approach to individual liberty, we head toward tyranny.

    I think it’s more accurate to say that an all-or-nothing approach to individual liberty will lead to either anarchy or tyranny.

    It is obvious how that if we forbid any individual liberty that we will live in tyranny.

    Agreed.

    But what if the only liberty we recognize is individual liberty? First, you can’t have any resemblance of democracy because binding decisions made using democratic processes can threaten individual liberty.

    Well that’s simply not true, unless you believe that individual liberty implies pure license to to whatever you want, whenever you want, with no regard for the future or the good order of society. Which of course, it doesn’t. As Lord Acton put it: “Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right to do what we ought.” A deep respect for individual liberty carries with it respect for the rule of law, which is required in order to allow individuals to fully exercise those liberties, and to reap the benefits of doing so.

    So conservatives recognize the necessity of having order in society through government. Conservatives recognize that while individual rights are paramount, they are not absolute, and that the government does have legitimate coercive power in society through the law. But because individual liberty is of paramount importance, conservatives recognize that the legitimate coercive power of the government must be limited, lest it continually expand and eventually snuff out the rights of the individual.

    The reality is that the collective that you speak of when you refer to “collective rights” is actually a collection of individuals, each of whom has individual rights, and many of whom will not agree with the judgement of the majority on any given issue. That’s why it is vital that – out of respect for those minorities – we take care to limit the activities of government, which are by nature coercive, only to those areas required to maintain the good order of society, in order to allow individuals the fullest and freest expression of their God-given rights. Collective actions, where they are warranted, should be carried out by groups of like-minded individuals who have chosen to freely associate with one another in pursuit of common goals. To the greatest extent possible, collective action should not be coerced by the power of law and government.

    In sum, I’m not convinced that there is such a thing as “collective liberty” that in any way compares to individual liberty.

    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

      Marc,
      Just as individual liberty is a state of being for an individual, democracy can be a state of being for a group since Democracy has more than one meaning and even when it refers to specific forms of government, there are multiple forms of democratic governments, the end result is to insure the self rule of a group of people in contrast to being ruled over by someone else. And just as you need certain forms of government to insure individual liberty, you need certain forms of government to insure democracy.

      And when you say that individual liberty implies pure license, I agree and that is the point. BTW, the definition you are providing for liberty is based in a religion or ideology, it is not the dictionary definition and that is the problem here. You are using individual liberty in one way while those outside your ideological group, such as the financial sector, are using it another way and you both cry individual liberty when it is infringed on by any democratic process. Also, what we need to distinguish is this, where on the continuum toward absolute individual liberty is the current conservative definition of individual liberty. And this distinction is rather difficult because we first have to note that we have moral conservatives, religious conservatives, social conservatives, and economic conservatives. And since none of these groups are monoliths, we see that we are going to see a splattering on the continuum to absolute individual liberty.

      BTW, anarchists recognize the need for having order in society and anarchist societies can be very highly organized. The differences between the kind of societies conservatives want vs the kind that anarchists want can be found in both the participant and procedures used in the decision making process.

      Finally, when I say collective rights, I am saying how the people in the community decides it will exist together, is isn’t the mere accumulation of individual rights even though individual rights are important. And for as long as gov’t expresses the desires of the community, we have self-rule regardless of the actual form of the government. At this present time, we have the necessary democratic mechanisms to have self-rule, but those whom we have elected are not representing the people as a whole, they are representing special interests that have the power to buy our elected officials and insulate them from public opinion.

      So what I gather from what you just wrote is that there is continuity between us with regard to order, that we need to keep the welfare of others in mind when making decisions, that we need certain values and morals in common. While some of the differences we have are stated above.

      • Marc Vander Maas

        Just as individual liberty is a state of being for an individual, democracy can be a state of being for a group since Democracy has more than one meaning and even when it refers to specific forms of government, there are multiple forms of democratic governments, the end result is to insure the self rule of a group of people in contrast to being ruled over by someone else.

        I’m going to be honest here and simply acknowledge that beyond “democracy can be a state of being for a group,” I have no idea what you’re trying to say. I don’t know why anything that comes after that point in the sentence would be considered an argument in favor of your assertion.

        And just as you need certain forms of government to insure individual liberty,

        Yes…

        you need certain forms of government to insure democracy.

        No. Democracy is a form of government. What form of government do you envision to protect the democratic form of government? Do you need a government for the government?

        Let’s look it up. Here’s Merriam Webster’s definition of democracy: “a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting.” Here’s Wikipedia’s: “Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally…” Here’s dictionary.com’s: “government by the people; a form of government…” And of course, this could go on and on…

        Individual liberty, at least in the conception of the American founding, is something that you have been endowed with by your creator. It is intrinsic to who you are. It is not granted to you by government; it is your possession by right from the very start. (The same cannot be said of democracy.)

        Obviously, this idea was heavily influenced by the Christian view that all human beings are image bearers of the Almighty, and it is because of that fact that you have intrinsic value, rights, and responsibilities – not because of your net worth, not because of your job, not because of your talents or abilities, etc.

        Once we establish the importance of individual liberty, we then move on to the question of how individuals can live together in society in a manner that most fully respects the rights of the individual while still providing the basic order that is required for individuals to be secure in their rights. As Jefferson put it in the Declaration: “…to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” and that the people creating the government build it “…in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” In other words – free people choose and build a system of government in order to secure their individual liberties. In the American context, the American people, through their representatives at the Constitutional convention, created a democratic republican form of government in order that they would be secure in their property and their rights, and able to exercise their liberties to the greatest extent possible consistent with an orderly society.

        All that to say that, no, democracy and individual liberty simply aren’t comparable in the way you’re trying to compare them. They certainly work well together, but they aren’t the same thing by any stretch of the imagination.

        when you say that individual liberty implies pure license, I agree and that is the point.

        Not only did I not say that, I argued the exact opposite. You said that if the only liberty we recognize is individual liberty, we can’t have democracy because it would infringe on liberty. I responded:

        Well that’s simply not true, unless you believe that individual liberty implies pure license to to whatever you want, whenever you want, with no regard for the future or the good order of society. Which of course, it doesn’t.

        You might re-read what I wrote about the rule of law and the necessity of government and so forth to get an idea of what I think about liberty versus license.

        BTW, the definition you are providing for liberty is based in a religion or ideology, it is not the dictionary definition and that is the problem here.

        I think I’ve been pretty clear about what I believe liberty to be. I think my conception of liberty is pretty standard in the world of conservatism. I find it hard to believe that you would have difficulty understanding what I’m saying, but if you want to have an argument with a dictionary, feel free. That being said:

        Liberty: the state or condition of people who are able to act and speak freely; the power to do or choose what you want to; a political right.

        There’s Merriam Webster’s definition of Liberty. In large part, that’s what I’m talking about, with the additional understanding that in order for liberty to be secure, it must be tempered with individual morality and a respect for the rights of others.

        Finally, when I say collective rights, I am saying how the people in the community decides it will exist together, is isn’t the mere accumulation of individual rights even though individual rights are important. And for as long as gov’t expresses the desires of the community, we have self-rule regardless of the actual form of the government.

        Again: in the American conception of things, the people of the community decide on a form of government which is put in place to provide the structure within which they can exercise their individual rights as freely as possible. Individual rights remain paramount, because, of course, we are all individuals with our own hopes, goals, dreams, beliefs, and so on. We are not the borg. The whole purpose of the American founding was to establish a national government that was strong enough to maintain basic order and carry out certain necessary functions of government, but was weak enough – limited enough – so as to not simply trample the individual rights of citizens and the states. This necessarily involves some trade offs, and there will always be a tension between individual liberty and the government’s desire to do… whatever. But individual liberty remains paramount. And it should, at least from a political perspective.

        And keep in mind that the best way to engage in collective action is to do it with other like-minded individuals who haven’t been coerced to be part of your group. That’s why private collective action will always be better.

        That’s enough for now. I could go on, but it’s five o’clock and I have a family.

        • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

          Marc,

          it is very simply what I am trying to say. democracy is not just a form of government, it is also a state. Note the thesaurus terms for democracy:

          1. self-government which is the same as self-rule

          2. government by the people

          3. republic

          Note the definitions

          1. A system of government

          2. a state governed in such a way

          3. the practice or principles of social equality

          All of these point to group or societal liberty, that is that group or society decides how it will function as a group and how its members will live with each other. And in deciding that through direct or representative voting, it is obvious that unless there are no disagreements, how the society wants to function will infringe on individual liberties.

          In addition, the form of government does not imply self-rule especially when the democratic processes rely on representatives voting on behalf of the people. There is such a thing as a failed democracy and that occurs when the representatives don’t represent the people who elected them and even vote against their best interests because they are voting to represent special interests or themselves.

          Also, you failed to mention the whole story of a government being weak enough to not trample individual rights. Actually, the government was created to be strong enough to protect the individual rights of a certain group–those with wealth against the rest of the population. Note Madison’s argument below regarding the length of a senator’s term:

          The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa, or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge of the wants or feelings of the day laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when we approximate to the states and kingdoms of Europe; when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade and manufactures, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of your government? In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of the landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be jsut, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.

          It isn’t the government whom Madison sees as a threat, it is the majority of the people. It is one of the reasons why he opposed the opening of elections to all classes of people in England. In fact, there is nothing in the original Constitution regarding the qualifications of legitimate voters. Wasn’t that to allow the states to set their own qualifications and many of them used land ownership to determine who could vote?

          • Marc Vander Maas

            Yeah, yeah. I know you think it’s shocking that the founders saw democracy as something to be avoided. I tend to think they were very wise in their approach to governance. But if you want to pretend you’re a better political theorist than the founders, be my guest.

            All of these point to group or societal liberty, that is that group or society decides how it will function as a group and how its members will live with each other. And in deciding that through direct or representative voting, it is obvious that unless there are no disagreements, how the society wants to function will infringe on individual liberties.

            Actually, all of those describe a system of government, a way of maintaining the liberty of the society, or more specifically, the liberty of the individual members of the society. And yes, the decision making function of the society at large will no doubt infringe on individual liberties. Basically every action of a legislature infringes on liberty somewhere, because when a legislature acts, it creates law, which is coercive. WHICH IS WHY THE POWER OF THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO BE LIMITED. That’s the point.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Were they wise or just protecting themselves from what could be the rightful claims of others. You can call it government but in reality they were limiting the power of the majority from them minority of the opulent. They were limiting societal liberty for the sake of their own wealth more than liberty.

            And those methods of government, again, create a state of being for a group or society. And that is what those methods of government point to. They are not as important as what they are designed to accomplish. Again, democracy can be seen as one of several methods but it can also describe a state of being for a group or society. That state of being is whether the group or society has self-rule or is under that control of elites. So you have a two-way infringement going on here. You have democracy infringing on individual liberty, or wealth if you take Madison’s perspective, and you have individual liberty infringing on group or societal liberty. The latter can either be called tyranny or can lead up to it.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            I think it’s obvious from what I’ve written about three times in a row now that I think they were wise. This is tiresome, Curt.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Marc,
            I agree that this is tiresome because all you have said was that they were wise but not saying why. In addition, there are distinct views for the “limitation” on government. What Madison’s text indicates was that he was look to limit the power of the majority. However, the majority is not identical to gov’t and it is gov’t’s power you claim is being limited here. To distinguish the majority from gov’t is to almost imply that gov’t is an alien being, which is often the conservative view.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            They were wise to avoid the tyranny of the majority. They were wise to ensure that citizens would be secure in their possessions. They were wise to ensure the rights of political minorities. Pretty basic stuff from civics class, Curt.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Marc,
            So they protect the tyranny of the wealthy instead? The all-or-nothing approach to individual liberty leads to tyranny. This is why Martin Luther King Jr stated that as communism forgets that life is individual, so capitalism forgets that life is social. Thus he suggested that we synthesize the best of both systems.

            As for protection of their property, let me ask this question. Did Madison earn all of his wealth even when he depended on the work of slaves?

          • Marc Vander Maas

            So they protect the tyranny of the wealthy instead?

            Nope. Prevented the tyranny of the majority. Not particularly interested in playing around in your leftist fantasyland.

            The all-or-nothing approach to individual liberty leads to tyranny.

            Good thing that I’m not advocating that, then.

            This is why Martin Luther King Jr stated that as communism forgets that life is individual, so capitalism forgets that life is social. Thus he suggested that we synthesize the best of both systems.

            Engaging in a market is social behavior by nature. It requires people to interact. So there’s that.

            As for protection of their property, let me ask this question. Did Madison earn all of his wealth even when he depended on the work of slaves?

            I am shocked to learn that the American founders were imperfect men who did not totally live out the principles that they enshrined in the founding documents. SHOCKED, I TELL YOU.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Marc,

            The question we need to ask ourselves is whether the interpretation that they were trying to limit gov’t when they were actually expanding gov’t and, here, making a part of gov’t immune to the desires of the population is eisogesis rather than exogesis. These two terms describe how we interpret the Bible. Where as the latter talks about reading out of a text, the former talks about reading into a text.

            What I will write next is summarized from the Constitutional debates and Federalist #10 and I can provide documentation and support later. What Madison opposed was not the tyranny of the majority in general, but innovation and factions. Factions, to him, believed in using paper money, eliminating debts, or the equal distribution of land. We should remember here that Madison’s wealth depended on slaves and inheritance and we should note that the republic which Madison proposed protected the country from such factions should they be in the minority because of the majority rule that the republic provided. And it was designed to limit the effects of a faction should it become a majority. But Madison’s major concern here was, again, not a general tyranny of the majority as it was limiting what certain groups that challenged Madison’s class and the status quo.

            From the Constitutional debates, we not only see Madison’s concern for protecting the position of the landed interest but Pinckney’s observation/declaration that the landed interest is not only the ruling class of the day but should be the class on which all other classes be forever dependent.

            The short of it is that the Constitution, which was written in response to one rebellion and general discontent, was written to form a government strong enough to maintain the new status quo and that status quo revolved around protecting the current ruling class from less enlightened future leaders who would challenge the position of Madison’s class and that of the other Constitutional writers.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            Uh huh. Right.

  • http://rdmckinney.blogspot.com/ Roger D. McKinney

    How would you know what economics does? Your posts demonstrate that you haven’t even bothered to crack an intro book on the subject. The arrogance of dismissing entire fields of knowledge without even gaining an introductory knowledge of them is astounding! Of course, that’s what Marx did. Economists destroyed all of his arguments before the ink was dry on his books, so he prohibited his followers from ever learning the subject.

    You’re simply ignorant of the history of the crisis and the regulations. There is no evidence that the SEC or any of the other dozen agencies failed to enforce regulations. You’re just making that up.

    No police force or regulatory agency can prevent crime. You demand the impossible. All they can do is enforce the law after the crimes have been committed. Glass-Steagle applied only to commercial banks, not the investment banks in which the crisis began, like Lehman and Bear-Sterns. Socialists constantly bring up Glass-Steagle, which only advertises their ignorance of the regulations and banking.

    There is no lack of regulations of derivatives. Again, that shows total and utter ignorance of the regs and laws. Few industries are as highly regulated. Just try to start a company that buys and sells derivatives and you’ll quickly see how regulated they are. Anyway, derivatives have been around for 500 years. You need to explain why they only recently caused a crisis.

    You claim not to follow the lunatic atheist Marx, but then every chance you regurgitate his principles. So tell me one principle of Marx that you disagree with.

    Of course you don’t support the Marxists who have murdered so many people, but you promote the principles upon which they created their societies and continue to starve people with.

    No one is underpaying wages. That’s more nonsense from the lunatic atheist. You claim to be a Christian, and since you have no intention of ever learning even a tiny bit of economics, I thought maybe you would be interested in real Christian theology. Church scholars studied the issue of just prices and wages for over a thousand years. Their writings on the subject are the wisest that have ever been written. If you devoted the rest of your life to the task you could never read all that they wrote.

    But those same Godly, wise scholars of the Bible and defenders of the poor who would put you to shame in their zeal for helping the poor, all concluded that minimum wages hurt the poor far more than they help. Also, they defined a just wage as the market determined wage for a given skill. So you can regurgitate the atheist Marx all you want. Wise and Godly men determined that the lunatic atheist was wrong and dishonest in his definition of wages.

    The only thing making our system unsustainable is the stupid ideas you dredge up from Marx, whose ideas have been proven wrong thousands of times for 150 years, lately in the socialist countries of southern Europe where people face starvation because they followed the lunatic.

    Don’t claim you don’t follow Marx unless you can name one of his principles you disagree with, because everything you post came straight from his syphilis destroyed brain.

  • http://www.acton.org/ John Couretas

    1. Just 2.8% of American workers earn at or below the minimum wage.

    The U.S. Department of Labor says 1.6 million people make the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Another 2 million earn below that rate, such as restaurant servers who make tips in addition to a lower base hourly wage which, according to U.S. News and World Report, “in many cases actually puts them significantly above the minimum wage in reality, if not officially.” That means in a nation of 317 million people, just 3.6 million (1.1%) make at or below the minimum wage. As a share of the U.S. workforce, just 2.8% of people working make minimum wage.

    2. Half of all minimum wage workers are 16 to 24 years old.

    According to the Department of Labor, “minimum wage workers tend to be young,” and “about half of those paid the Federal minimum wage or less” are below age 25. Many of these are students working while in school or teenagers with part-time or summer jobs. That means half of the people most affected by a minimum wage hike are among those least likely to show up at the polls to vote, especially in a midterm election year. Indeed, minimum wage workers who are 16 and 17 years old are not even legally eligible to vote.

    3. Labor workers already make well above the minimum wage.

    Democrats and unions hoping labor workers will be energized by a minimum wage bump will be sad to know that laborers in every single sector of what the government calls “production and nonsupervisory employees”—like manufacturing, construction, mining, retail, transportation, etc.—already earn well above the minimum wage. In fact, in November 2013, the government reported that the average hourly labor wage across all industries was $20.31—a figure nearly three times the federal minimum wage. And as the unions themselves boast, a union member’s annual salary is already $10,400 higher than a non-union worker.

    Source: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/01/05/7-Minimum-Wage-Facts-That-Have-Democrats-Worried

  • Marc Vander Maas

    Well, first of all, what’s the difference between the management job, or the engineering job, or the executive job and the minimum wage job?

    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

      There is more than one difference. Still, the plight of the minimum wage worker should be everybody’s concern and the more toward the top one is, the greater the need to be conscious of how what one demands affects those below them (see http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/2013/12/jacoby-ellsbury-and-fast-food-workers.html)

      • Marc Vander Maas

        Try and hone in on what the most important difference is. Not interested in reading a whole essay. Just want to have a conversation.

        • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

          Conversations about complex subjects can be involved. But there is also a rather simple principle here, the more that those at the top grab for themselves, the less there is for others. And that is true regardless of whether you are at the top of your profession or field as it is when you are in the middle. The question becomes, what protection is there for those at the bottom from those at the top who grab everything they can? For there is one thing we have to realize, that in many cases, those at the bottom are producing the actual wealth for everyone else.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            Curt, if you want to have a discussion, let’s discuss. If you want to pontificate and filibuster, do it at your own blog. Now, seriously – tell me what might be the difference between a management or an engineering job and a minimum wage job at the same company. Simple question.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Marc,
            I am neither pontificating nor fillerbustering. But when one of my answers is not as straight forward as you want or jumps ahead, you struggle. The question I asked already recognizes differences between those with management or engineering jobs vs those with minimum wage jobs. That is assumed in my question. The hierarchical relationship between management and engineering jobs vs minimum wage jobs, and you can add competition for people filling the higher positions, is assumed in my question. My question still remains. What protection is there for those at the bottom when those above grab everything they can?

          • Marc Vander Maas

            Curt, I’m not struggling. I’m asking a simple question. You yourself admitted a few comments back that giving a direct answer to a simple question “takes a lot out of me.” I have my theory as to why that’s the case, but I’ll leave that aside for the moment.

            You recall a while back when you were suspended as a commenter on this blog? It wasn’t because we were afraid of your bold truth telling or something like that. It was because you simply refused to engage in a straightforward discussion, even when you were given clear instructions to do so or risk being temporarily banned. That gets very tiresome. If you want to have a discussion, let’s have a discussion. If you want to pontificate, do it at your own blog.

  • Pingback: The Seen and Unseen Effects of the Minimum Wage | Acton PowerBlog()

  • anarchobuddy

    This is one of the reasons I don’t like Twitter. 140 characters is not always enough to create something that is both a high-powered zinger and is backed by a rational understanding of economics.

    As well, it makes me think of what an economist wrote in my Facebook feed, addressed to the Pope. It was something to the effect of, “Let’s make a deal: you quit saying ignorant things about economics and I won’t say ignorant things about theology.”

  • Peter’s Legacy

    Many conservative churches take the lead at their local level in acts of charity. For that, I admire them. And, as well, do many progressive churches. As does ours. There are more than fifty other churches in our city. Ours does more than any of the others. Doesn’t make us superior. Doesn’t make them bad. It’s just what we do. My disgust with modern American conservative so-called Christian economic ethics is that it is so horribly callous and judgmental. I’ve read so much from conservative Christian economics and every single one is an attack on the ‘evil liberals’. Every effort at the national level to improve the lives of economically struggling citizens is cast as tyranny whose end will be greater poverty, rampant immorality and destruction of the American economy. Every alternative proposed by the conservatives involves casting the ‘moochers’ into the deep end to learn to swim with the sharks. If there was a conservative position on economics in which the proponents took personal responsibility for its success, I would be impressed. As yet, there have been only Pharisees loading heavy burdens while they, themselves, will not lift a finger.

    • http://www.acton.org/ John Couretas

      I am relieved to see, ma’am, that your comments are free of the callous judgmentalism so typical of conservatives. Except for those last couple lines. Would you consider posting comments under your real name as a first step in your campaign for personal responsibility?

  • Marc Vander Maas

    Curt, the fact that you have been allowed to post on this blog on a regular basis – often, daily – for at least the past year, and the fact that I and others here have been willing to engage with you in spite of your constant recitation of boring leftist talking points at every opportunity should stand as evidence of my/our patience. Your continual evasiveness in discussion, your apparent disdain for those who disagree with you (you can’t tell if conservatives are engaged in “extortion or blackmail or both” against the poor, for instance), your unwillingness to acknowledge the – ahem – unseemly history of your ideological cousins and your constant repetition of the same old arguments with nary an acknowledgement that said arguments have been responded to time and time again pretty much solidifies your status as a troll.

    A note: in the context of our discussion here, answering my simple question with another question, no matter how concise, is neither clever nor evidence of deep thought and intelligence. It comes across as massively evasive and annoying.

    Now let me make something clear to you. On your blog, which I really don’t feel like linking, you have started a roundup of your comments that, for whatever reason, are blocked from posting on various conservative blogs. Your comment on the first of these posts was that “IMO, [the conservative blogs] have blocked my comments because they don’t want their readers reading my criticisms of their conservatism.” If that were the case, you would have been banned from posting here long ago. Heck, if that were the case, we’d just reject comments from anyone who disagreed with us. Which we don’t do. So at least in the case of the PowerBlog, let’s just drop that notion now for the sake of basic honesty, OK? Your previous suspension, and whatever may come in the future have nothing to do with your position on the ideological spectrum and everything to do with your inability to engage in a straightforward conversation. My attempts to ask simple, direct questions – both now and in December – were nothing more than an attempt to see if it was possible to have a simple discussion with you that could move beyond back and forth squabbling. I think at this point, the answer is pretty clear that that’s not going to happen. And as I’ve said before, it has simply gotten tiresome.

    You have no God-given right to post at this blog. We are not required to supply you with an endless forum that you can use to call into question our basic decency and intelligence on a near daily basis. We’ve been very tolerant of you for a very long time, but our patience is not unlimited. That’s all there is to it. At some point, we have the right to part ways and let you rant on your own dime, using your own bandwidth. I’m sure you will continue to do so, and I expect that you will continue to experience the same levels of success on your blog as you have in the past. I wish you well.

    • Marc Vander Maas

      Saw this and couldn’t help but think of Curt (my emphasis):

      One other point that I find really interesting and important about Haidt’s work is his findings on the ability of different groups to empathize across these ideological divides. So in his book (p. 287) Haidt reports on the following experiment: after determining whether someone is liberal or conservative, he then has each person answer the standard battery of questions as if he were the opposite ideology. So, he would ask a liberal to answer the questions as if he were a “typical conservative” and vice-versa. What he finds is quite striking: “The results were clear and consistent. Moderates and conservatives were most accurate in their predictions, whether they were pretending to be liberals or conservatives. Liberals were the least accurate, especially those who describe themselves as ‘very liberal.’ The biggest errors in the whole study came when liberals answered the Care and Fairness questions while pretending to be conservatives.” In other words, moderates and conservatives can understand the liberal worldview and liberals are unable to relate to the conservative worldview, especially when it comes to questions of care and fairness.

      In short, Haidt’s research suggests that many liberals really do believe that conservatives are heartless bastards–or as a friend of mine once remarked, “Conservatives think that liberals are good people with bad ideas, whereas liberals think conservatives are bad people”–and very liberal people think that especially strongly. Haidt suggests that there is some truth to this.