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Thanks, but I'll pass

Every now and then, I poke around the left wing of the blogosphere just to keep a modicum of awareness of what's going on over there. It's occasionally educational and entertaining, but mostly a waste of time. Every now and then, though, I find something that really encapsulates precisely why I don't hang my hat there on a regular basis.

One such blogger (whom I will not name) linked approvingly to a poll (behind members-only access, I'm afraid) that listed what people think would be on the agenda if the Democrats got control of Congress -- and, largely, would go along with. The list of items, of which this blogger (who styles himself a champion of the Democratic party):

  1. Increasing the minimum wage
  2. Pass legislation to provide healthcare insurance to those who do not have it
  3. Allow Americans to buy prescription drugs imported from other countries
  4. Set a time-table for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq
  5. Conduct major investigations of the Bush administration

I actually think that's a fair list of the Democrats' top priorities. And they all seemed oriented towards being nice and helping people and making things right. So, why do I have a problem with every single one of them?


1) Increasing the minimum wage.

Nice thought, but bad idea. What is so bad about the current minimum wage? Yes, I know, you can't support a family on it and it's barely subsistence wages, but that is all based on some rather awkward presumptions. First of all, how many people actually get just the minimum wage, and stay at that pay rate for an entire year? Second, how many of them are the sole support of their family? Third, where are these minimum wage jobs? Every time I see a "help wanted" sign up at Wal-Mart or McDonalds (the ones most cited for underpaying workers), they're offering starting pay rates substantially above the minimum wage.

A while ago, for that stunt show "30 Days," the stars landed jobs at minimum wage and tried to live a month on that. The behind-the-scenes stuff I heard said that they really had to work at it; one of them had to bargain DOWN their employer, who was offering them more money, and they also discounted any sort of public assistance.

The one explanation I've seen for raising the minimum wage that actually seems to make sense is that some unions have written into their contracts that their pay will be based on some multiple of the minimum wage. If that goes up, so does their pay.

2) Pass legislation to provide healthcare insurance to those who do not have it.

Again, nice thought, but utterly impractical.

I'm a single guy, with a mediocre job. My employer offers me health insurance, and I take it. I pay about 33 bucks a week for it. (Rounded down.) It's not a great plan, but I have enough health issues that it's indispensible.

But if the government is going to provide me with health insurance, why should I sign up for it through my employer? I could use that extra $1,700 a year.

Also, "insurance" is all about risk-sharing and cost-shifting and pooling. It's about exchanging X dollars for Y services. If we're going to reduce X, how can we reasonably demand that Y be maintained, or even increased? Are we going to enslave doctors and other medical professionals and dictate what they will be paid for their services and skills? And I don't buy the nonsense that the savings will come out of the middlemen -- the insurance companies and the like. As much as I resent them generally, and mine specifically, they provide essential services in coordinating and expediting care-giving. There is most likely a LOT of fat, waste, fraud, and outright theft in there, but I have very little faith that all the savings (or even a good portion of them) will come out of those abuses.

3) Allow Americans to buy prescription drugs imported from other countries.

This one is another feel-good idea that I have to oppose on purely ethical grounds. It's dishonest.

A lot of drugs are cheaper in other countries, yes. And it would be nice if we could simply buy them there and not have to pay the prices that we have here.

But those prices are artificially low, set by the government. The governments of those countries (and let's face it, we're mainly talking about Canada here) tells the drug manufacturers just what they can charge for certain drugs, and enforces that by law. So the drug makers, in order to remain part of the overall Canadian market, sell those drugs at (or sometimes below) cost.

Here's the catch, though. If pharmacies start selling those "loss leaders" wholesale in the United States, the cost of doing business in Canada will skyrocket for those drug companies. They'll start cutting back on the supply of those drugs to cut their losses. And if that doesn't work, or the government insist they meet the demand, they might just up and quit making the drug entirely -- or even quit doing businss in Canada altogether.

But on a principled matter, buying drugs from Canada is dishonest. Many of the drugs are manufactured in the United States, then shipped to Canada. To bring them back is essentially, "drug-laundering" -- it's taking American medicine, "washing" it through the Canadian price-control system, then bringing them back into the United States in direct competition with those never sent north. It's a perverse incentive -- instead of being more expensive to route them through a foreign country (which usually involves hefty transportation charges, duties, taxes, and the like), it's suddenly cheaper. Those added costs do NOT affect the bottom line.

I would have more respect for those who talk about "importing drugs" would simply be honest about it and propose setting price controls on drugs here, instead of laundering them through Canada's system.

4) Set a time-table for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

I've said this far too many times before. One does not measure accomplishments by time, but by achievements. Setting arbitrary deadlines simply tells the other side that in order to win, they don't need to beat us, but simply last until a certain date arrives. We saw just how badly that philosophy works in the educational system with "social promotions," where students just had to show up occasionally to be moved up a grade just so they could stay with their peers.

5) Conduct major investigations of the Bush administration.

Interesting idea. I guess since Halloween is so close, it's a good time to bring up witch hunts.

Oh, I'm sure there are some things in the Bush administration that could stand investigating. No administration -- especially one heading into its sixth year -- is free of scandals waiting to be exposed. But let's take a look at just two cases where the Democrats were howling for resignations, indictments, special prosecutors, and frog-marches:

  • The Valerie Plame Affair. It seemed that nearly everyone on the Left was ready to rejoice at the inevitable fall of Karl Rove, the evil mastermind who ruthlessly outed a CIA agent just to politically punish her husband. But as more and more facts came out, the actual substance fizzled and faded away. The primary leaker was not Rove, but an Iraq war opponent, Richard Armitage. Plame was not, apparently, covered by the existing laws. And in the end, the only indictment was of "Scooter" Libby, for the remarkable offense of lying about telling the truth about a liar (Joe Wilson). Libby told two different versions of how he said something true, and got nailed for it.
  • The Mark Foley Affair. The guy was a serious scumbag, and we're all better for his having been exposed and driven out of office. But it appears less and less likely that any actual crimes were committed. Nonetheless, we have calls for investigations into "who know what and when" and cries for mass resignations in disgrace.

THESE are the people who should be in charge of investigating the Bush administration? And not just investigations, but "major investigations?" I'd like to see just a little more evidence before doing something so major. The old saying says "where there's smoke, there's fire," but so far all that smoke has been from their smoke and mirrors, and I'm getting tired of them blowing that smoke up my ass.

Michael Graham, a Boston talk show host (fired from his DC gig for irritating the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a serious boon on his resume for me), wrote a column yesterday for the Boston Herald that serves as an excellent companion piece to what I said above. He says that he "is ready to vote Democrat early and, in keeping with tradition, often." All he asks is a good answer to one simple question.

And that question is NOT addressed in the points I kicked around above.


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Comments (89)

Well Jay, let's take the fi... (Below threshold)
steak111111:

Well Jay, let's take the first one for starters....

If the minimum wage ccould be increased, then inflation would continue at a more escalated pace and rich people like (pick one) would have even greater assets so that this "poster" has the fuel to complain again about the "rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer".

Besides, they WANT interest rates to go back to 20% but they never say why....

Mr. Tea,You write ... (Below threshold)
Herman:

Mr. Tea,

You write about the "current" minimum wage, as if this wage is in some sort of period of fluctuation. But the truth of the matter is, the minimum wage has not been raised in a decade!!!

So conservatives:

If you're never willing to raise the minimum wage, if you're willing to permit the minimum wage to degrade into a substandard pittance through year after year after year of being ravaged by the effects of inflation, you clearly do not believe that there should be any minimum wage at all.

WHY DON'T YOU JUST HAVE THE GUTS TO COME OUT AND ADMIT IT???

Six-hundred-plus academic economists, including five Nobel Laureates in Economics, have recently recommended a raise in the minimum wage. Do you conservatives believe you understand the effects of such an increase better than these economic experts do? DO YOU????

Herman, when I first heard ... (Below threshold)

Herman, when I first heard about the minimum wage, it was $3.35. It ain't that now, and people want to change it, so "current" is the valid term.

But did you miss the part where I mentioned how HARD it is to get a job that only pays minimum wage, and won't go up over a whole year?

I mentioned that Halloween seems to be an appropriate time for witch hunts. Apparently the scarecrows are also making you reach for straw men.

I'm undecided about whether or not there should be a minimum wage. I just don't think that raising it right now is a good idea.

As far as economists' views... there's an old saying that if you have two economists, you have three opinions. And I'd put more weight in their opinion if they were millionaires, and had proof that they understood our economic system enough to benefit from it personally.

J.

I fail to see the weight an... (Below threshold)
epador:

I fail to see the weight an argument from the liberal/socialistic side gains from using the "nobel Laureate" tag on its side of the argument.

Six-hundred-plus a... (Below threshold)
Six-hundred-plus academic economists, including five Nobel Laureates in Economics, have recently recommended a raise in the minimum wage.

Yes and how many of those academic economists have ever run a major corporation? How many just pull their "academic" salary every year and probably have never been anything more than some consultant at a business?

Jay- you can get into the p... (Below threshold)

Jay- you can get into the poll if you watch the free commercial first, but there are not internals available to see the breakdown of the respondents.

Hey Herman,Minimum... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

Hey Herman,

Minimum wage is for young, uneducated, unskilled people. Then again as Jay says, it's hard to find one since the market dictates a higher wage.

You must be one of those "Living Wage" advocates who want to force businesses to support people who choose not to better themselves through finishing school or learning a skill. How pathetic. Why don't you invite all the lazy leeches over to live with you and you can pay them a "Living Wage" to do nothing.

Redistribution of income. Take from the hard working and give to the lazy asses. Oops, I meant masses.

It's amazing the libs never advocate redistribution of wealth, that way they get to keep what daddy gave them.

Err....last time I checked ... (Below threshold)

Err....last time I checked many states have minimum wages that are huge when compared to the federal minimum wage. Take California, for example. It's been a long time since I've worked at a job where I've been affected by the minimum wage (as in just a few dollars more), but I believe it was somewhere in the 5.00-7.00 region.

Raising the fed minimum wage will cause wages to rise nationwide (eg. someone who earns 2 dollars above the minimum wage now earns only 1 dollar above the minimum wage, is now effectively earning less in the whole scheme of things-I forget the real term- so is going to attempt to bargain upwards), and let us hope if that happens another spiraling inflationary period won't start (example of the huge inflation during the 60's-70's, of which I'm glad I didn't live through)

You don't just give free money to someone it has to "come" from somewhere, business have to pay out the extra money, so they'll probably charge more for their goods or services (depending on the elasticity of their goods or services, one of the reasons why taxing goods like cigarettes and gasoline just passes the burden on to the consumer, not the supplier).

Steve of Norway beat me to ... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Steve of Norway beat me to it!! Drat! But I gotta comment on Herman's "Six-hundred-plus academic economists..."

"academic economists"??? hmmm...so the Monday morning quarterbacks of the economic world got together over tea and crumpets and figured this all out, eh? Impressive.

Steve asked how many of them ever ran a major corporation?? I wonder how many of them ever had a REAL JOB???

It's amazing the libs never... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

It's amazing the libs never advocate redistribution of wealth, that way they get to keep what daddy gave them.

Posted by: Jeff

This makes NO sense. Liberals generally support the Estate Tax.

Steak is puzzled that the p... (Below threshold)
Ric Locke:

Steak is puzzled that the proggs want interest rates at 20%. He(?) is probably young, so doesn't remember the biggest leftie triumph. No, not ending the Viet Nam war, but it was contemporary.

When I started college in 1966 one of the people I knew had just been hired by a major corporation, to start after he finished the i-dotting and t-crossing for graduation. The faculty of the department, and everybody who knew about it, were all agog. The guy had been offered the biggest starting salary history -- $11,000 a year! "That's more than I make," the PhD who was his advisor complained.

The senior tech at the lab where I worked had two cars, two kids (one in college), and a paid-for house. He made $6,500 per year. That was typical. The few that made $20K and above were justly regarded as plutocrats.

And nobody, but nobody, worried too much about income taxes. Most people were in minimal "brackets" where what they paid was nominal.

The vast inflation of the late Sixties and the Seventies pushed everybody up in dollar amounts without affecting their relative purchasing power, except to the extent that it effectively wiped out any debts incurred before. But it also pushed everybody into the plutocrat tax brackets. An average worker these days is paying income tax at rates only corporate presidents and rock stars encountered then, and a high-paid engineering graduate nowadays is flirting with the Alternative Minimum Tax. It doubled or tripled tax collections without anybody in Congress having to admit to a "tax increase".

The proggs want to do that again. Nobody making minimum wage makes a living; they can't and never will. That's because they don't contribut a living's worth to the economy, and the economy will semi-automatically adjust to see to it that they don't get more than they're worth. That's how it works. The way it does that is by inflation -- and another round of massive inflation can now do what the Nixon/Carter years did, push everybody up to even more plutocratic tax brackets, because we have the AMT and the AMT isn't indexed.

What the proggs really want is to double or triple the Government's share of the economy, so they'll have more cash for social experiments. They can't really sell that level of tax increases, so they have to do it indirectly if at all, and increasing the minimum wage is the first shot at doing that.

Simple when you understand it.

Regards,
Ric

muirgeo, did you miss my re... (Below threshold)

muirgeo, did you miss my recent piece showing how Ted Kennedy has weaseled out of taxes at every opportunity, including the Estate Tax when his mother died?

Also in the Bay State, how would John Kerry's finances be affected? He got his money the old-fashioned way -- he married it. Then he traded up to a richer wife.

J.

2) Pass legislation to prov... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

2) Pass legislation to provide healthcare insurance to those who do not have it.

Again, nice thought, but utterly impractical.

I'm a single guy, with a mediocre job. My employer offers me health insurance, and I take it. I pay about 33 bucks a week for it. (Rounded down.) It's not a great plan, but I have enough health issues that it's indispensible.

Jay Tea

You don't pay $33 bucks a week for your health insurance. You AND your employer pay about $100+ a week and thats with $25 buck a visit co-pays;

https://www.ehealthinsurance.com/ehi/quote?carrier=kaiser&allid=Goo22290&sid=KAISER-all+states

If we had a single payer system that combination would drop to $50 or $60/ week either giving you a raise or more profit for your employer. Also you wouldn't be as fearful of losing your job AND your health insurance at the same time, one of the number one reasons for Americans going bankrupt. We are the ONLY developed nation with out health care and basically we pay 2 X as much as other countries and don't cover $60 million people.

Universal health care via a single payer system is a no brainer. Rolling all the current programs (medicare, medicaid, the VA system ect) into it would cover a good portion of the cost. Dropping SSI rates to about 4% and getting rid of the limit would pay for the rest and employers would actually save money on this.

The only thing stopping it is ignorance and rigid ideology.

muirgeo, did you miss my re... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

muirgeo, did you miss my recent piece showing how Ted Kennedy has weaseled out of taxes at every opportunity, including the Estate Tax when his mother died?

Posted by: Jay Tea

No but that's a shame. If it was up to me almost every deduction would be gone and the rates could drop a little. Also any mone donated to political causes or campaigns would be taxed at 100% and that would go to funding public elections.

But notice how a completely controlled republican government did NOTHING about deductions and simplifying the tax code. Many wealthy people benefit from its complexities and the Republicans don't want to hurt their wealthy donors. It's all about power, control, greed and money for these people and nothing about patriotism or government of the people, by the people and for the people...

And you and many other smart Americans buy into their crap ad thus are co-conspirators to selling out our country.

I am always amazed that peo... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

I am always amazed that people think they can make economics go away with legislation. Raising the minimum wage is a win-win for the democrats. They make sure to keep high levels of unemployment benefits, welfare and the like, so when they raise the minimum wage and put more college kids out of work then who cares? It just keeps the downtrodden beholding to the Dems. It's the same philosophy employed in France and the rest of Europe. I can't wait for the 10% unemployment and return to stagflation.

The biggest problem with healthcare in the US is that it costs too much. The people who are willing to pay for health insurance generally have health insurance. Increasing the size of the insurance pool will cover those that now have no coverage, which will increase the cost (overall). It really is just another money redistribution scheme: socialism light? I have to admit that it would make me feel better knowing that poor people can have their tonsils out without selling their daughters, and really, isn't that what it's all about? We need to have programs and taxes so we don't have to feel bad about poor folk?

4) Set a time-table for wit... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

4) Set a time-table for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

I've said this far too many times before. One does not measure accomplishments by time, but by achievements...

Jay Tea


13,000 dead or seriously wounded American soldiers (not counting PTSD) ,millions of innocent Iraqis living in hell (if their not dead or maimed), $500,000,000,000 spent, a civil war and a breeding ground for terrorism while homeland needs go unmet.

So Jay what of our achievement???

Raise the minimum wage for ... (Below threshold)
bill:

Raise the minimum wage for Halloween, that way we will be sure who the joke is for. Why not make the new minimum $100 an hour, surly this is a living wage. The whole concept of a minimum wage is a bad Democrat party socialist joke.

I too am looking for the answer to the question raised by Michael Graham -- Hello, anybody out there?

Jay it's good you snoop aro... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

Jay it's good you snoop around lefty sites. I think its important to have an open mind.

I challenge conservatives here to listen to the Thom Hartmann radio show. If you are conservative and call in you will go to the front of the line. His a brilliant progressive thinker. He has conservatives (the ones willing to) come on his show and they have great civil debates.

Liberals aren't communist or socialists. We are great Americans who have helped make this nation great and we want to make it even better.

http://www.thomhartmann.com/

In the last several years i... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

In the last several years in 5 of 6 states that raised the minimum wage the economies grew significantly and inflation was unremarkable. It's a myth that moderate raises in the minimum wage kills the economy.

What happens is that as the minimum wage goes up ALL that extra money earned by these people living on the edge goes right back into the local economy and stimulates it. Currently with no increases in 20+ years all the extra money goes to the super rich and they invest it in shops in China.

Again...600 economists...AND the facts...

Rush has sooo brainwashed you people you all spew the same familiar reality challenged baloney.

As for the medical/health c... (Below threshold)
epador:

As for the medical/health care issues, I'll weigh in having practiced as a solo entrepreneur for two decades, military for one, and now as a salaried public clinic physician.

Executive Summary: Managed and Socialized Health Care BAD if imposed universally on our society/country. Fear those who champion it.

A majority of the physicians and CEOs of community-based clinics like the one I work in seem to share chronic BDS. Yet there is a significant minority that do not. Most of these folks have had a professional life outside the salaried world. Their strong commitment to serving their community and country by serving the uninsured and under-insured, is not contaminated with socialistic-driven ideology. Most keep their views to themselves, as the "movement" is strongly run by those who flaunt their BDS and socialist views. You know the type: they've now developed an established bureaucracy (after starting as valiant revolutionaries against "the man" or "the system") and jealously guard their 6 figure salaries against anyone with contrary views. Yet by continuing their isolation and power-protectionism, they've become the enemy they once challenged.

But I digress.

There are big disparities in the availability and actual delivered services in health care that can be heart-wrenching. I have seen a young, married mother die from breast cancer that was recognized early, but not treated because the available local health facilities qualified to manage the problem would not offer free care to the uninsured woman without resources to pay cash up front. Delays in getting her elsewhere or qualified for Medicaid were fatal. Proponents of Universal Health Care or Socialized Medicine use such cases as examples to promote their cause.

It is easy to take such events as a rallying call to provide socialized medicine. But I believe its quite obvious from those countries, both rich and poor, who have adopted such an approach, that in our huge, diverse and vibrant society, a single, governmentally administered or created health care system would drive health care availability, quality and economics into the ground as the process would become wedded to myopic ideals, well as bureaucratic self-interest and inertia. I believe even MORE mothers would fail to receive care in a timely manner under such a system. Look north or east to see florid examples.

Wait a minute, we don't need to look beyond our boarders to see what problems Medicare and Medicaid suffer - imagine these problems translated to our entire health care system.

The VA system is a another good example. Great care is available, but only to those with either the time or the drive to maneuver through the system. Physicians who may be committed to a great vision, and personally sacrifice to try to meet this vision, still find themselves shoulder to shoulder with those who at least appear to only be interested in maintaining their government job and pension and will see the "required" patient load while carefully managing their time card. Even those committed to providing care find limitations in staff, funding and infrastructure frustrating their efforts: care availability and provider productivity suffer at choke points in the system of care. As their is no competition within the system, there is no drive for specialists to keep their referral doctors happy. They even gripe and refuse referrals that don't meet their standards (usually because they have limited resources) nor drive for the primary care providers to keep their patients wanting to come back to them (the drive is to have enough visits per hour to satisfy the bean counters in finance). The "free" availability of medications is a major drain on the financial resources of the system, causing severe rationing and formulary restrictions. In what seems a rather comical though probably financially sound decision, our great country offers our proud veterans one pill a month to treat erectile dysfunction. You can cut it in half and get two doses if the lower dosage works for you. Whoopee! Aren't we paying back our folks who take the physical and emotional shrapnel dished out against our forces well? Wouldn't you all enjoy such a system forced on all of us with no alternative?

You can not legislate nor regulate ethics, mission and vision successfully (our Congress repeatedly provides more than adequate demonstration of this). Ethics, mission and vision tend to suffer both at extremes of capitalism and socialism.

I believe the disparities in our system are served better by providing grants for communities to be administered by local boards (significantly increased by Presidential Initiatives in the past 6 years and projected into the next decade in contrast to Clintonian luke-warm support, Reagan's lack of support, and in contrast to a startling lack of Congressional funding) to serve those who have needs not met by the current free-market system, than by imposing such funding for care on the entire system.

One last comment: illegal immigrants are a significant part of our community, and denying them any form of health care is cutting off our nose to spite our face. Public Health is served by immunizations, TB identification and treatment, and STD identification and treatment provided to the community of illegals that space share in our homes and businesses. Preventive outpatient care reduces free care imposed upon our emergency rooms and hospitals. As long as these folks are here (I'd be happy to support LEGAL immigration increases and ILLEGALs being deported pronto), for our own self-interest it pays to keep them healthy pro-actively. Driving them out of clinics by requiring them to prove citizenship could drive epidemics or bankrupt small (and large) hospitals through their ER's.

muirgeo: "Liberals aren'... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

muirgeo: "Liberals aren't communist or socialists"

Of course you meant "not ALL Liberals are communists or socialists"."

Which I would agree with.

Sadly, many who are NOT communists wind up being "useful idiots" for those who are!

Which are you?

Jay;I only have a ... (Below threshold)
Semanticleo:

Jay;

I only have a problem with the order.

Impeachment should come first, and I don't mean just Bush. However the obstruction of justice will continue unless the table is cleared of the obstructinists. Making every Pentagon cafeteria menu 'classified', and claiming Executive Privilege with abandon needs to make way for open government and transparency.

Every sonofabitch who traded (regardless of party affilitation) their floorvote for some fianancial advantage must suffer a similar fate.

They should be sentenced to house arrest and confined to Section 8 housing while being forced to use public transportation to their mimimum wage jobs for from 2-10 years. Of course, that's after all their assets have been disgorged to a trust fund designed to help Iraq military dependents with medical costs and college tuition. Since they so love money, the best punishment is to take it away from them.

muirgeo,In the med... (Below threshold)
Imhotep:

muirgeo,

In the medical utopia of Canada, with universal health care; the average wait time for treatment of bladder cancer (which is very common and aggressive) is 92 days.

That wait time is allowing the cancer to spread and thus creates poor outcomes for those Canadians suffering from bladder cancer. The survival rates in Canada for bladder cancer are decreasing, which is unforgivable in an 'advanced' society.


(statistics from the AUA Times, abstract presented at AUA meeting, Atlanta, GA May, 2006)

The Buddha once said that t... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

The Buddha once said that the cause of poverty was the maldistrubution of wealth. So, it's time to raise the minimum wage to about 10 bucks an hour. It will force non-innovative corporations to pack up and leave or give their worthless management less money. But the multiplier effect will be huge giving people on the lower end more disposable income which in turn will help to create more small businesses as the demand for goods and services grows.

The root cause of terrorism is politics. People who feel offended, abused, or injured by the policies of the major powers but have no armies with which to defend themselves often resort to terror. It's the only weapon available to the weak.

When you find yourself the target of terrorist tactics, you can't kill your way out of it. That's because, if left unchanged, the same policies that produced the terrorists will keep on producing them. As a matter of fact, the more terrorists you kill, the more you create, especially in cultures where revenge is an important ingredient.

POVERTY, HEALTHCARE & HOMELESSNESS ARE MORAL ISSUES
Just ask any republican.........Jay tea has the answers too.

Foolish Americans

did you miss my re... (Below threshold)
jpe:
did you miss my recent piece showing how Ted Kennedy has weaseled out of taxes at every opportunity, including the Estate Tax when his mother died?

I don't see how obeying the tax code constitutes "weaseling out of taxes."

1. Set minimum wage at 5 mi... (Below threshold)
David:

1. Set minimum wage at 5 million an hour, one hour of work and we are all set for life.
2. Have the government in charge of all medicine and pay doctors the minimum wage. One patient and they are set for life.
3. Destroy all the drug companies, they are all leeches anyway. Go to natural healing. If you die you lose. None of your money goes to your kids, they need to do the hour of work.
4. Cut and run and beg the terrorists to be nicer each time they hit us. Maybe they would like us better if we crawled to they on our knees. Or we can consider terroistf acts as work and give them their 5 million dollars.
5. Let's just make up a bunch of stuff and hange everyone we don't like. Particularly people who smell funny even if they agree with us.

Is this about right?

I believe the disp... (Below threshold)
jpe:
I believe the disparities in our system are served better by providing grants for communities to be administered by local boards

Clearly, what the healthcare system needs is greater overhead. I mean, I can't believe I never realized that before your comment.

Perhaps a more practical id... (Below threshold)
groucho:

Perhaps a more practical idea is to look at these kinds of stories from the Canandian system and, if true, figure out a better way to run things, combine the best of both to provide a more universal system that avoiids this type of outcome. A case that requires aggressive action would be triaged appropriately, while someone demanding an MRI for a minor back strain would go to thend of the line.

The idea of "legislation to provide healthcare" kind of sticks in my craw, but I think there's a workable single-payer system out there somewhere. The key to coming up with one is to give equal weight to all the parties involved in such a plan, kind of the opposite of what happened with the Medicare Drug plan, which was largely written by big Pharm. Those who see single payer health care as some communist threat need to remove their head from that dark place and let the sun shine on it a bit.

Disentangling US from the Iraq debacle and formulating a strong, intrelligent foreign policy shpuild be the top priority, followed closely by health care reform.

I think that

"I'm undecided about whethe... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"I'm undecided about whether or not there should be a minimum wage." -- Jay Tea

Yeah, right.

You'd love to go back to those glory days of capitalism, the 1880s, when unions were scarce and robber barons were paying workers pennies per hour.

"I just don't think that raising it [the minimum wage] right now is a good idea." -- Jay Tea

Well, Mr. Tea, exactly what criteria do you in all your economic expertise use in choosing when is the right time for an increase in the minimum wage??? GOT AN ANSWER, DUDE?? WELL????

"But did you miss the part where I mentioned how HARD it is to get a job that only pays minimum wage..." -- Jay Tea

This website, http://www.epinet.org/issuebriefs/227/ib227.pdf , indicates that 5.6 MILLION Americans would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage, while less, while the "estate tax reduction would primarily benefit 8,200 very wealthy estates."

So which of these two, minimum wage increase or estate tax reduction, do the conservatives support?? Why estate tax reduction, of course!!! It's the Jesus thing to do, to support tax cuts for the exceedingly wealthy while denying the poor an increase in the minimum wage, right, conservatives??? "Compassionate Conservatism" in action!!!

So, naturally, the Republican-controlled Congress has passed several pay raises for itself since the last time the minimum wage was increased for the poor. Your god would heartily approve!!!

Oh, and Justrand, you seem ... (Below threshold)
Herman:

Oh, and Justrand, you seem to be of the bizarre opinion that some people have real jobs, and some people have unreal jobs. Could you please provide a single example of someone having an unreal job?

jpe, I cited 3 tax issues o... (Below threshold)

jpe, I cited 3 tax issues on Ted Kennedy. One was paying the minimum, instead of the alternate, higher state income tax rate. The second was a property tax scam that could have cost him his Senate seat, and instead just cost him a hefty fine. The third was having his mother declared a resident of Florida, after she had not left Massachusetts in over a dozen years.

(See here for details.

J.

civil behavior: "People ... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

civil behavior: "People who feel offended, abused, or injured by the policies of the major powers but have no armies with which to defend themselves often resort to terror."

Yup!

Some of the "policies" that the IslamoFascitsts find particularly ABUSIVE:
- Freedom of religion
- Freedom for women to go outside without their burkas
- for that matter...Freedom to EDUCATE women
- Freedom to draw an image of Mohhamed
- Freedom to criticize Islam in any fashion
- Freedom to....

Well, you get the picture. The terrorists responsible for roughtly 100% of the terror in the world right now are Muslims who are ABUSED by the notion of FREEDOM!!!

I just done feel like appeasing 'em. They can stop being "abused" by the notion of FREEDOM...or they can die. Fairly simple choice, IMO.

Herman: "Could you pleas... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Herman: "Could you please provide a single example of someone having an unreal job?"

Sure...Ward Churchill.

I have lots of others...but you only asked for one.

I really don't think they n... (Below threshold)

I really don't think they need a minimum wage, as you can read here.

If you are trying to raise a family on minimum wage, you're a moron. I've worked 3 jobs before, I currently have 2 (although the second is to help my wife at her work). I have a baby on the way, a nice house, a couple of cars. This is what I want. This is what I am willing to work for. If I didn't want these things, I could take a job that was less demanding, less hours, ect. but I am willing to work, better myself, learn more and move up in my job, but I have to earn my pay raises, not have them handed to me. That's the way it should be.

I will not work for less than a certain amount. To make enough to live, I have to stay educated, learn new skills, take more schooling. It is no one's responsibility but mine to provide for myself and my family.

If minimum wage goes up, the cost of living across the board goes up, which in the end has solved nothing.

If you're dumb-ass is working for minimum wage, that's your own fault.

Herman, leave that poor str... (Below threshold)

Herman, leave that poor straw man alone. I'm going to have to report you to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Mannequins.

I looked at the study, and I STILL don't know 1) how many people actually make minimum wage, and B) how many of them actually STAY at that pay rate for a whole year.

Find those numbers, and you might have a case.

J.

I'll name a few for you Her... (Below threshold)
steak111111:

I'll name a few for you Herman...

1) Talking heads on TV that spew Liberal talking points (what a waste of airtime).
2) ANYone who doesn't ACTUALLY produce something of value or provide a NEEDED service (and I don't mean 99% of the ambulance chasers).
3) Jobs for ILLEGAL aliens (not the work, the work itself is productive).
4) CREATED government jobs at all levels of government which do NOTHING except to employ a friend, minority, or anyone else for their groups' vote.
5) Jesse Jackson's "job" of intimidating, blackmailing, and suppression of minorities.

I'm sure others will be adding to this list but I'm amazed that you cannot figure this stuff out for yourself....

Funny, Jay, how none of the... (Below threshold)

Funny, Jay, how none of the comments here - particularly from those on the left - have addressed Michael Graham's question.

"I only have one, small question first. Should be easy.

What are you (sorry, make that "we") Democrats going to do about Iraq and the Islamists?

See, I'm a one-issue voter, and my one issue is defeating the Islamist threat facing Western civilization. Given that it involves the survival of our culture and the principles of our Constitution, I think it's kind of a big deal."

Here is the stated Dem Plan... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Here is the stated Dem Plan (via Pelosi)

"Day One: Put new rules in place to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation."

Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Time remaining until 100 hours: Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step.

Cut the interest rate on student loans in half.

Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.

Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds -- "I hope with a veto-proof majority," she added in an Associated Press interview Thursday.

All the days after that: "Pay as you go," meaning no increasing the deficit, whether the issue is middle class tax relief, health care or some other priority. To do that, she said, Bush-era tax cuts would have to be rolled back for those above "a certain level." She mentioned annual incomes of $250,000 or $300,000 a year and higher, and said tax rates for those individuals might revert to those of the Clinton era. "

Now I'm not sure about all of it but I am 100% behind enacting the 9/11 commision and Student Loans..and negotiating with Pharma like the V.A. does
and I support "pay as you go"
Yeah there is the old "tax and spend" in here but I prefer that to our current don't tax and spend more..

Can anyone name the Republican agenda?

Herman:I don't belie... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

Herman:
I don't believe we need a government enforced minimum wage. I admit it, but I'm more of a Libertarian than a conservative so I guess that doesn't count.

Jay,The primary ob... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

Jay,

The primary observation I will disagree with is (2) on the health insurance issue. I say that because you are looking thru the issue darkly from the wrong end.

Lets say the Dims are able to fulfill their promise and they pass UHC. The rules, the rates, the process all gets defined. You are sitting there making your portion of the payments under your employers current plan. Do you really think that you will have that plan after the govt's plan is triggered? I hope you don't believe that.

Here is what is going to happen to YOU. The minute that the contract between your employer and the health insurance company expires YOU will be transitioned to the government plan. YOU will have NO recourse. Your employer will drop any semblance of health care provisioning as quick as possible. For providing health care is a drain on profits, drain on resources and will reduce their risk to running the business.

There are major corporations; Ford, GM, Exxon, Verizon; that are actually desiring that some form of UHC is passed. These companies will immediately transition all retirees and current employees to the govt plan. I know this because I work for one of these companies and the CEO has state publically that health care provisioning is the function on the govt not corporations.

So you have defined your desires and how it should be. But you forgot there is a whole other side of the equation that has a vested interest in seeing UHC happen.

And for the record I am against UHC which I will explain in my next post.

This post is for Herman, ci... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

This post is for Herman, civil behavior, muirgeo.

Gentlemen you cannot escape economics regardless of what it is. Healcare included. So let me tell you what's going to happen.

First in order to have UHC the Dims will have to make it illegal to have a voluntary alternative system. If they don't when things get bad people will bail and they can't afford to have that happen. That is almost like telegraphing in advance that the whole UHC system is headed for disaster before it gets off the ground. If UHC is going to be so great why not make it voluntary and permit people to opt in or out as they see fit?

You seriously have to answer that question first -- will UHC be voluntary?

But let's move on. The usual mantra that drives UHC is oh the poor wretches and costs are out of control. Ask any Pol and I can guarantee that those two items top the list when it spews out of their mouth. So lets follow the cronology shall we?:

[] Adding the wretches is easy you givem the med card and off they go. Yea!

[] Ah but here comes the hard part, cost containment. In the begining portions might seem easy. Reduction in duplicate systems, etc. But over time this gets harder and harder to do.

[] At some point the constraints reach a point where further involvement by the govt is required.

-- They cut back on what they pay doctors for services.
-- They might be so bold as to limit what doctors can earn or even convert doctors to government grade employees.

[] Wholly dependent on the timeline, but rationing will ensue. Which will mean:

-- Voluntary procedures for enhancing health or wellness will disappear. (Think Pelosi without a face lift. Ugh.)
-- Those procedures not lifethreathing but preventable will be delayed till they are.
-- Those resources for the life threatening procedures will be rationed defined by some bureaucrat with the patient out of the picture.

(And if you don't believe this, you better read the horror story that is Canada.)

[] The employment picture gets distorted. Why would someone spend 8-12 years of productive life becoming a doctor and not make any more than a master plumber? They won't. But you can bet your bottom dollar that at some point the govt in the name of cost containment will cap salaries. Then the doctor pool will start to dry up. Shortages will ensue.

[] As resources dry up but demand increases in desperation the govt will spiral cost increases onto the insured. Eventually private sector innovation also dries up as the sole payer the government is only willing to pay $X for anything. The system stagnates into a morass of year 2000 technology.

So in the end you have a system that is in collapse. And this type of collapse is evident where ever single pay systems are tried. Canada has people waiting for years for procedures and some eventually die from them. France rations care so badly that elderly die every year from the simple lack of enough doctors to see them. Russia has the lowest birth rate and highest death rate of any industrial country. Their health care system is stuck in 1970.

And here is the final irony, your dream of UHC for all will not be that at all. For the folks that can afford it, they will go to some other country unfettered by a UHC and have the procedure done there. (Kinda like how Canadians will come to the US right now to have a procedure done that they can't get in Canada.) And so at that point it isn't so universal is it. Or are the three of you going to advocate arresting people who return having had such procedures done elsewhere? (And if you are, then truly YOU are Communists.)

You guys better think long an hard of what you desire. You may get it and regret it later.

Having the dubious pleasure... (Below threshold)
Andrew Paterson:

Having the dubious pleasure of working within the British NHS, any American deluded enough to want to copy our system clearly has no idea what they're talking about. We're about to start a program in order to get our 'waiting time' down to 18 weeks from referral from your doctor to treatment. This program will costs billions of pounds and will most likely fail due to that, even with huge restructuring. As another poster said, you can ignore economics but economics won't ignore you. If you opt for a 'free at the point of delivery' universal health care system, without the advantage of price controlling supply, you have to ration. The effect of this will be waiting lists in the US, and a massive lowering of overall healthcare. To an eglitarian that won't matter, to anybody with their head screwed on it should.

See "Iraq for sale" at a ve... (Below threshold)
Semanticleo:

See "Iraq for sale" at a venue near you.

Updat: Ken Starr hired by Blackwater Oct 28.

http://iraqforsale.bravenewtheaters.com/screening/show/8188-riverside

Herman, here's another vote... (Below threshold)
moon6:

Herman, here's another vote for no minimum wage at all. The government should not be in the business of telling one private party what he has to pay another private party.

Just to see how stupid minimum wage legislation is -- why don't we just make the minimum $200/hour? Then everybody could be rich, right?

Moonie;In other wo... (Below threshold)
Semanticleo:

Moonie;

In other words, "I've got mine, so screw you"

Here's the catch, though... (Below threshold)
JGrams:

Here's the catch, though. If pharmacies start selling those "loss leaders" wholesale in the United States, the cost of doing business in Canada will skyrocket for those drug companies. They'll start cutting back on the supply of those drugs to cut their losses. And if that doesn't work, or the government insist they meet the demand, they might just up and quit making the drug entirely -- or even quit doing businss in Canada altogether.

In that case, sounds like a great idea. Why should Americans subsidize the price controls in other countries? How do we benefit? Since Americans pick up the slack, these other countries are spared the consequences of their poor decisions. That's not right. People deserve to feel the natural consequences of their actions. It's part of the learning process, and I wouldn't, as a matter of principle, want to stand in the way of that.

muirgeo : Didn't the last s... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

muirgeo : Didn't the last survey indicate that the Overall richest party, and the most rich members in congress were the democrats? Throwing around that they always help the rich is throwing mud at the democrats who are always squirming to get you head out of their a**.

Providing socialized medicine to all in America will sure save money. No one can see a doctor for months and most will die. The only cost that will go up is burial cost.
I'll bet the dimwits on here fought the prescription drug plan to. Now the seniors that will tell the truth will tell you it's the best thing to come along in years. Sure it's expensive for the taxpayers, but not near as expensive as the hospital bills of the past. Don't take your med's because you can't afford them, end up in the ER, and then admitted for a few days, leave the hospital with a 30 day prescription of meds. Lack of a $50 prescription just cost the taxpayers $10,000 +. Happened every day, I delivered a lot of sick people to the ER that wouldn't have needed the ambulance, the ER, or admission if they had their prescribed med's.

Jgrams, you don't know the ... (Below threshold)
Andrew Paterson:

Jgrams, you don't know the half of it. The high prices of drugs in the US basically fund the R&D for new drugs, which the rest of the world then enjoy. From my British standpoint, the high US drug costs are a godsend, but then I don't have to pay them.

Just a note to jpe:<p... (Below threshold)
epador:

Just a note to jpe:

Where studied, communities with FQHC care with increased grants show overall decreased spending for free (bad debt) health care that eclipses the money spent on the grants several times over. So these grants DECREASE the overhead for healthcare, not increase them.

[As if this thread might so... (Below threshold)
epador:

[As if this thread might somehow represent the interest of the electorate]

Note the largest volume of comments/interest is regarding minimum wage and healthcare. Barely a peep about war, and for gosh sakes, JT, if you don't read what the "enemy" has to say, you aren't doing wholistic reconnaissance and intel! Like taking out the garbage, its a dirty job, but someone has to do it. ;-)

Dems have never been 'stay ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Dems have never been 'stay the course'..They are offering the American people 'a new direction with a strategy for victory in Iraq that includes a phased redeployment of our troops to better fight the war on terror." according to Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Stacie Paxton...no further questions.

See "Iraq for sale" at a ve... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

See "Iraq for sale" at a venue near you.

Updat: Ken Starr hired by Blackwater Oct 28.

http://iraqforsale.bravenewtheaters.com/screening/show/8188-riverside

Posted by: Semanticleo


Seen it...own it. Incredible...sad....infuriating. Should be required viewing. No two ways about it our country and democracy is for sale by the Republicans to the Multinational corporations. THAT'S the NUMBER 1 problem for our democracy. Not terrorism, not gay marriage or illegal immigration. And the people supporting this wayward party actually think they are the patriots. Actually I think they ARE patriots just like me and you but they are so ill-informed, ignorant, closed minded, prejudiced and brainwashed they think they are doing the right thing.

Herman, here's another vote... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

Herman, here's another vote for no minimum wage at all. The government should not be in the business of telling one private party what he has to pay another private party.

Just to see how stupid minimum wage legislation is -- why don't we just make the minimum $200/hour? Then everybody could be rich, right?

Posted by: moon6


We ARE the government. WE decide the rules for business since business CAN NOT EXIST without government....is that too deep for you.

Providing socialized medici... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

Providing socialized medicine to all in America will sure save money. No one can see a doctor for months and most will die. The only cost that will go up is burial cost.

Posted by: Scrapiron


You say stuff like this like its factual. It's not. You've made it up or are parroting what you heard from an uniformed talking head.

We are the only developed country without National Health Care.
We pay twice as much as many of these other countries and have worse outcomes.

The key is to make it a single payer system where all the government does is pay the bills but healthcare workers have to compete for your business.

You're nothing but knee jerk Scrap....you really don't care about the truth and honest discussions.

First of all, as nogo poste... (Below threshold)
Brian:

First of all, as nogo posted, these issues are not the Democrats' plan. But I'll play along.

1) Increasing the minimum wage.
Nice thought, but bad idea.

You gave no explanation at all for your "bad idea" opinion. Why is it a bad idea?

As noted by others, in states (including many red states) that have a higher minimum wage than the federal one, the economies are strong, wages are up, unemployment is unrelated. So what exactly makes it a bad idea?

In total, 22 states and the District of Columbia have enacted minimum wages greater than the federally mandated level. This year alone eight states have raised their minimum wage. Fifty-eight percent of the national population now lives in states that have, or are about to have, minimum wages higher than the federal level

It sounds like those who think about these kinds of things don't think it's a bad idea.

2) Pass legislation to provide healthcare insurance to those who do not have it.
Again, nice thought, but utterly impractical.

The leading plan for this is to extend Medicaid to everybody under 25. It would be an option, not a requirement, for those who do not have employer insurance. What's impractical about that?

3) Allow Americans to buy prescription drugs imported from other countries.
This one is another feel-good idea that I have to oppose on purely ethical grounds. It's dishonest.

Dishonest? Huh? Lots of governments have laws governing prices in their own countries. How is it dishonest to legally walk into another country and legally purchase a legal product? If it were practical, Europeans would gladly purchase their gasoline in the US, with its lower government-imposed taxes, and ship it back. Hawaiians would purchase goods on the mainland. Americans would purchase electronics in Japan. There's nothing "dishonest" about that.

If the drug companies were hurt by that, they would need to take that up with the Canadian government, and work to either change the price controls or pull out of the market. The market works it out. Isn't that what conservatives and libertarians are supposed to believe?

be honest about it and propose setting price controls on drugs here

We do have price controls on drugs here. They force the price to be higher than the market would demand. What kind of a cockamamie law is it to forbid negotiations with drug companies over price?

4) Set a time-table for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
I've said this far too many times before. One does not measure accomplishments by time, but by achievements.

There are no serious proposals from the left to say "we'll be out on June 1; have a nice day". All proposals involve setting a timeline for achieving specific goals and withdrawal. Bush was against timelines, before he was for them.

5) Conduct major investigations of the Bush administration.
Interesting idea. I guess since Halloween is so close, it's a good time to bring up witch hunts.

What you call "witch hunts" the Constitution calls oversight.

An examination of committees' own reports found that the House Government Reform Committee held just 37 hearings described as ''oversight" or investigative in nature during the last Congress, down from 135 such hearings held by its predecessor

...

panels that once aggressively scrutinized the workings of the government are now restricting themselves largely to subjects that advance a particular goal or a cause favored by the GOP leadership

...

Representative Joe Barton, a Texas Republican... acknowledged that ''Republicans in general have not emphasized oversight in the way that Mr. Dingell did."


Muirgeo, of course business... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Muirgeo, of course business can occur without the government. It's called the black market and it in some ways is a purer form of commerce than that which occurs under many of the more onerous regulations/ subsidies, etc. that business operates under today. And those regulations and subsidies have come from BOTH sides of the aisle.

Yes and how many of thos... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Yes and how many of those academic economists have ever run a major corporation? How many just pull their "academic" salary every year and probably have never been anything more than some consultant at a business?

Right, because in the question of whether to enact a higher wage, we should rely more on the thoughts of those who would have to pay it, rather than 22 state economies, 5 Nobel prize winners, and 600 economists who have spent their entire professional lives studying the effects of wage increases on economies throughout modern history.

Heh, next you'll be suggesting that we ask oil company executives what action we should take on global warming! Oh, wait...

Herman or any of the others... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Herman or any of the others adovacting minimum wage..

I'd like to hear a reasoned response to the following:

Why shouldn't the minimum wage be $100/hr ? Or should it ?

_Mike_, your question will ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

_Mike_, your question will be answered when you answer this one:

Bush says lower taxes are better. Why shouldn't the tax rate be 0%? Or should it?

For all the lofty rhetoric ... (Below threshold)

For all the lofty rhetoric and hefty academic credentials being tossed around, no one can answer my two fundamental questions about the minimum wage:

1) How many people are hired at minimum wage jobs?

2) How many of those people work an entire year at that job without a raise?

Those are the people who would be most directly affected by a raise in the minimum wage, but nobody seems to have the slightest clue how many there are.

J.

Jay, as of 2004, acording ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay, as of 2004, acording to the US Dept of Labor half million American workers were receiving the minimum federal wage of $5.15 an hour another million half workers, less than the minimum wage.

no one can answer my two... (Below threshold)
Brian:

no one can answer my two fundamental questions about the minimum wage:

Really, Jay, your Googling skills are faltering.

If the minimum wage were increased nationally to $7.25: o 14.9 million workers would receive a raise, o 80% of those affected are adults age 20 or over, and o 7.3 million children would see their parents income rise.
A boost in the minimum wage would benefit about 15 million people, according to the Economic Policy Institute

But your questions are red herrings. The issue isn't the number of people making exactly the 1997 minimum wage. As an extreme example, someone who was hired 9 years ago at $5.20 and has since gotten a raise to $5.30 would not be counted in either of your questions.

Bush says lower ta... (Below threshold)
Bush says lower taxes are better. Why shouldn't the tax rate be 0%? Or should it?

Posted by: Brian at October 28, 2006 04:33 PM

Yes, it should. That's why you'd get a national sales tax and the ridiculous *personal* income tax nightmares (and their ever growing code books) would vanish.

That isn't a rate of 0. Tha... (Below threshold)
Brian:

That isn't a rate of 0. That's just substituting one tax for another.

Brian"There is a gro... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

Brian
"There is a growing view among economists that the minimum wage offers substantial benefits to low-wage workers without negative effect. Although there are still dissenters, the best recent research has shown that the job loss reported in earlier analyses does not, in fact, occur when the minimum wage is increased."

Unadulterated BS. Any non-market imposed price has direct consequences. To raise the price of a real good (and labor behaves in a real fashion) above the level set by the market will result in no-takers, that is, some people who would have had jobs now don't.

"An analysis of the Massachusetts minimum wage increase in 2000 and 2001 found that employment in two of the sectors (leisure and hospitality and other services) with a high percentage of minimum wage workers grew more rapidly following the 2000-01 increase than other sectors in Massachusetts as well as growing faster than the national average for those sectors (McLynch 2004, 22)."

It's very convenient that they chose recession years of 2000 and 2001 to note that the incomes rose more rapidly thereafter. This statement is most likely true after any recession. And yes, the "Bush" recession started in August 2000. It appears that the well researched data yielded results that conveniently matched the objectives of the Economic Policy Institute.

Steve, Brian, you're gettin... (Below threshold)

Steve, Brian, you're getting closer, but your numbers still don't answer what I was asking. I know a lot of people make minimum wage. I know that raising it will boost the wages of a lot of people. But my questions remain:

1) Of those who make minimum wage, how many make that and do NOT get raises within a year of hiring?

2) What percentage of those who will get raises from hiking the minimum actually MAKE the minimum, and don't receive a contractually-guaranteed multiple of the minimum?

It is my suspicion that the number of people who make minimum wage, and don't get raises after hiring, is relatively small. And the more statistics you cite, the more I believe it because those numbers never seem to be reported.

It's not that complicated a question: how many people are currently "stuck" at making minimum wage? I have no problems believing that the NUMBER of people making it remains fairly constant, but that doesn't take into account the turnover in the work force, as people enter into it (taking the entry-level jobs that pay minimum), progress up the pay ranks, and eventually leave it.

J.

I think this list of 5 prov... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

I think this list of 5 provided by the self-identified Democrat is very close to what the Dims want. Quick comments in bold...

1. Increasing the minimum wage
Our econony is the strongest in the world right now, having shaken off hits that would have collapsed pretty much any other. So naturally the Dimocrats want to FIX it!!

2. Pass legislation to provide healthcare insurance to those who do not have it
With Canada, Britain and France as examples of this "idea", I think this one collapses under its own weight...kinda like those three "health care" systems

3. Allow Americans to buy prescription drugs imported from other countries
Perfect!! American pharmaceutical companies are far and away the most successful, in curative powers, providers of new medical treatments in the world. Why? Because they are [gasp] allowed to make a profit!! Let's encourage off-shore rip offs of their discoveries. And let's encourage import of untested drugs based on them!

4. Set a time-table for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq
John F. Kennedy, inaugural address 1/21/64: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

5. Conduct major investigations of the Bush administration
in the dictionary under "Witch Hunt" it says "see Conyers". Yup.

The Dims want to "fix" what isn't BROKEN! Emulate those who envy US! And try to secure "Peace in Our Time" in the manner of Neville Chamberlain!!

Vote Republican...there's a LOT at stake!!!

It's very convenient tha... (Below threshold)
Brian:

It's very convenient that they chose recession years of 2000 and 2001 to note that the incomes rose more rapidly thereafter.

It didn't say incomes rose. It said job growth increased.

OK, how about a study in the booming '90s, then? Take your pick.

A turning point in the debate came in the 1990s as states such as New Jersey began boosting their mandated wages above the federal level.

Unadulterated BS. Any non-market imposed price has direct consequences. ... some people who would have had jobs now don't.

In 1995, Princeton economists David Card and Alan Krueger published research on unemployment trends among fast-food restaurants in New Jersey and neighboring Pennsylvania. They found that the number of jobs rose in New Jersey compared with Pennsylvania, even though New Jersey had a higher minimum wage.

The study, while not perfect, ``provided evidence that went against the common view,'' Solow says. ``It changed the way many economists look at minimum wage.''


Let's encourage off-shor... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Let's encourage off-shore rip offs of their discoveries. And let's encourage import of untested drugs based on them!

Hey genius, it would be the actual American-made drugs, not untested ripoffs.

I doubt anyone who reads th... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

I doubt anyone who reads this blog works for the minimum wage, yet I'd bet over 90% did at one time in their life.

The last time I worked for the minimum wage was back in 1978 as a teenager. I worked hard and received a raise. I finished high school, went to college, while working, all the time at higher than the minimum wage. As my skills increased, my VALUE to the employer increased and so have my wages.

For those who sit on their asses, drop out of school, the minimum wage is too good, but the libs want to take care of these "victims".

They are victims alright, victims of liberal ideology and the nanny state.

Get educated, get a job and the minimum wage becomes a non-issue.

It is the worker making $10... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

It is the worker making $10 an hour or less that buys things. They do not have 401's or even savings accounts. They spend everything they make.
It is clear no one here depends on a good paying($14-$20 an hour) "factory" job to support their family but many Americans do. When a company like Ford shuts down a plant those workers scramble for any job even min. wage during transition.

I am simply stunned by the lack of compassion expressed on this board. No one is immune to sudden changes..Everyone needs... deserves assistence in the aftermath of this change....
.."Get educated"?...Well here in Colorado tuition has gone up 20% in four years(private schools higher)..cost of Federal Loans doubled in the past year and a half..jobs the average student takes while they are going to school has stayed the same.

Jay Tea,Why don't ... (Below threshold)
Herman:

Jay Tea,

Why don't you get off your lazy behind and find the answers to your own questions by yourself, rather than expect others to do it for you?

Because, Herman, as the sid... (Below threshold)

Because, Herman, as the side that wants to change things, the onus is on you to prove your point. "Change" should NEVER be the default. If you can't argue WHY something should be changed and answer reasonable questions about them, then you don't DESERVE to win your argument.

J.

Brian, okay, I'll bite:<br... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

Brian, okay, I'll bite:
"Some economists say the 1997 increase had no impact on job growth."

``We saw no ripple effect at all in the unemployment rate,'' Stiglitz says. ``Unemployment just continued to go down.'' The minimum wage increase, he said, ``was totally swamped by other factors going on in the economy.''

In other words the loss in jobs due to the increase in minimum wage was offset by the otherwise fast growing economy.

I stand corrected in my earlier post. I wrote "incomes" instead of "job growth". The idea is the same, however. Job growths would be higher when coming out of a recession. The question is, would they be higher still without the wage hike? I think so.

Brian: "Hey genius, it w... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Brian: "Hey genius, it would be the actual American-made drugs, not untested ripoffs."

Brian...thx for the compliment!!

After you finish watching (for the 23rd time) your Chinese rip-off version of "The Hulk"...and cursing at the grainy nature of it...you might consider that many of the drugs ripped-off overseas for production do NOT come close to American standards!!

Cheers!

Not able to comment on an o... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Not able to comment on an ongoing basis on this thread but coming in late I can see there are still people wandering in the wilderness and continue to believe that what this government is doing is all for the common good. Heck. my own brothers and sisters, all of us highly educated, world travelled and caring about our children and grandchildren still think the cure for this nation's ills will be found in the way we are presently being governed, myself excluded.

Both sides are crooked and corrupt. It just so happens that one side has a practiced, well refined organizational structure built on malicious intent that far outstrips the oraganizational ability of the other.

Don't look for your government to provide anything. Nothing. The rich have what they want. All the power and all the money. It's loaded up in the top 5%.

Read and educate yourselves. This democracy is old news. Look to your new authoritarians and remember a day when your life meant something more than a bottom line.

Foolish Americans........

And thank you Brian for your erudite commentary......facts can be damnable obstacles when presented with such grace. Your scholarly argument is a pleasure to read amongst the immutable rhetoric of the right.

civil behavior: "Fool... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

civil behavior: "Foolish Americans........"

Thanks for excluding yourself...saves me the trouble!

civil behavior:If ... (Below threshold)

civil behavior:

If the rich and their corporations are as powerful as you say, then how did people like Sam Walton and Michael Dell come from nowhere, and steal the customers so effectively from established corporations?

Keep in mind how both these guys started out ... Sam with one store in Rogers, AR; Michael in his college dorm room.

OTOH, many Americans have been inhibited from emulating such success on even a small scale, because they have bought the biggest lie ever told by politicians ... far bigger than any "lie" the moonbats have tried to pin on the current President:

All you have to do ... is get "a" job. We'll make sure your future is taken care of from there.

That lie gave millions a false sense of security, that led them away from taking control of their own financial security by "thinking like businessmen" themselves.

Instead of planning for contingencies and the future, striving to maintain and increase the market value of their work, and continually look for that "better offer", too many thought that simply having a job was all they needed to worry about -- after all, they could trust a big corporation, or their union, or the government, to do the right thing.

Thanks to that lie, they indentured themselves to one business ... and whenever the owners of that business screwed up, or whenever the competition performed better, or whenever technology rendered that business obsolete, or whenever worker productivity decreased ... they suffered right along with it.

If these people had been introduced to reality early on, instead of idealism, they would have the means to smooth out the economic and career bumps already ... and the minimum wage would be even less of an issue.

But that would require people to accept responsibility for their own lives ... which is anathema to those who, in their idealism, think that life (paricularly, their own) should be No-Fault, unless one's pockets are beyond a certain depth.

**********

As for the comments on universal health care, consider the following:

1> Are you satisfied with our public-education system? If not, then how do you think that a public-healthcare system will ever avoid the same or similar shortcomings as seen in education?

2> It is ironic that the most vocal supporters of abortion-on-demand ... who say they don't want the government to dictate what goes on in their bodies ... are among the most vocal supporters for a healthcare system where that same government has total control of not just funding, but the actual delivery of healthcare ... in effect, subordinating the care and maintenance of one's health to the government.

you might consider that ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

you might consider that many of the drugs ripped-off overseas for production do NOT come close to American standards!!

Well, I don't really care about those drugs, since those aren't relevant to this conversation. Perhaps you should read again the comment that you ignorantly interpreted as a compliment, and perhaps then you will understand the discussion that the adults are having.

Jay, please elaborate on yo... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Jay, please elaborate on your questions, and explain why they are relevant. Why does being stuck at exactly the minimum wage matter? Why is it important to know that someone got a raise above $5.15 if you don't care whether that raise was to $7.50 or $5.20?

If you can't argue WHY something should be changed and answer reasonable questions about them, then you don't DESERVE to win your argument.

As indicated earlier, raising the wage would benefit a wide range of earners, not just those earning exactly $5.15. Your questions, while perhaps interesting, do not negate that point.

In other words the loss ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

In other words the loss in jobs due to the increase in minimum wage was offset by the otherwise fast growing economy.

Nothing in what you cited indicated that there was any "loss in jobs". You just made that part up.

Job growths would be higher when coming out of a recession.

Well, I gave you recession-era studies and boom-era studies. You hand-waved both away. That doesn't leave anything left for me to comment on.

The minimum wage sho... (Below threshold)
Ric:


The minimum wage shouldn't even exist, much less be raised. It is a socialist construct with no place in a federal republic. I would vote to abolish it in a heartbeat.

The six hundred plus academic economists and five others from the Nobel crowd are nothing but socialists and marxists who have never run a business. That's why they are academics living off the public dole. Pull the plug on their tenure and let them face real competition for their employment. Give them ten years living like that, then ... I might give them the time of day.

Don't be fooled by the top ... (Below threshold)
Ric:

Don't be fooled by the top five on the public list.

The libs will also be coming after our guns again. On the Pelosi list, I would bet guns to be in the top three.

Get the guns, the rest of the agenda is cake to implement.

Brian, it's simple. You see... (Below threshold)

Brian, it's simple. You seem to see the minimum wage as a static thing, where workers are trapped at making that and no more. I see it as a floor, the lowest possible starting point.

Nearly all the time the minimum wage is brought up, those advocating its change extrapolate that wage into an annual income. I believe, and it's based on personal observations, that very, very few workers actually fit that -- that they get a job that pays minimum wage and stay at that pay scale for an entire year so their income matches that projected amount. As I said, even the local McDonald's and Wal-Mart start their workers at least a couple of bucks above minimum wage. Furhter, nearly every employer evaluates new hires after a probationary period (90 days seems standard), and those that are retained are usually given a raise of some sort. So any argument based on the annual income of someone who makes minimum wage all year is based on a largely false assumption.

So, who would benefit by a raise in the minimum wage? Mostly, it would be union members whose pay is based on multiples of the minimum wage or "prevailing wages." And who would suffer? The companies that currently pay their workers at a rate between the existing minimum wage and the new wage. They will have to give across-the-board raises to all their workers who fall in that gap. And at that point, they will probably have to cut back on the number of people they employ who fit that category.

So, in order for some people to feel good and be able to say that they did the right thing, and others to artificially improve their own lot by changing the basis for their own compensations, a bunch of people at the lower end of the wage scales -- those least likely to be able to handle it -- will take it in the shorts. Sorry, I just don't think that's a fair tradeoff.

J.

Brian: "perhaps then you... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Brian: "perhaps then you will understand the discussion that the adults are having"

Sorry, boyo, your bleats do not rise to the level of "adult conversation".

As for the "compliment"...oops, I forgot, Leftists do not believe sarcasm can ever be applied to them. Do you understand acronyms? FOAD.

Sorry, boyo, your bleats... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Sorry, boyo, your bleats do not rise to the level of "adult conversation".

My bleats were at least relevant bleats, addressing the salient point of the discussion. Your irrelevant response simply indicated that you didn't understand the exchange in any basic way.

Leftists do not believe sarcasm can ever be applied to them.

Ha! You did a pretty good job of missing the sarcasm yourself, buddy.

I believe, and it's base... (Below threshold)
Brian:

I believe, and it's based on personal observations, that very, very few workers actually fit that -- that they get a job that pays minimum wage and stay at that pay scale for an entire year

While you may be right, and it may be inaccurate to project out an annual income that may not exist, that's a minor point. It doesn't matter if you stay at $5.15 for a year or get upped to $5.90 after six months. You would still benefit from a minimum wage increase to $7.20.

So, who would benefit by a raise in the minimum wage?

15 million people making under $7.20.

And at that point, they will probably have to cut back on the number of people they employ who fit that category.

There have been a number of studies and real-world observations (many posted in this thread) that do not support the statement that minimum wage increases lead to increases in unemployment.

In the spirit of the anounc... (Below threshold)
moseby:

In the spirit of the anouncement that the US population has passed 300 million, I propose that the minimum wage be lowered and that UHC be removed from anyone's agenda. This would cause many millions to starve, and many millions more will die from health related issues. The population would dip back down below 300 million and I'd feel less crowded and more comfortable.

Are you really that afraid ... (Below threshold)

Are you really that afraid to say my name, Jaytea?




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