Tag: minimum wage

Rick Berman: Thank You for Voting


How would you feel being labeled “Dr. Evil” in USA Today, which is then repeated across national media including a 60 Minutes interview? When you fight against drinking and driving laws, smoking regulations, tanning bed restrictions, motorcycle helmet laws, minimum wage increases and of course unions, you can be called many things and for the most part none of them kind. Meet Rick Berman, a lobbyist public affairs advocate whose successful firm Berman and Company most recently worked for the Trump Campaign (after working for Ted Cruz during the primary). If you haven’t seen the 2006 movie Thank You For Smoking (trailer below) you missed one of Hollywood’s better films detailing (in a humorous and entertaining way) free speech, individual choice, and libertarian philosophy. It’s been said the movie, based on Christopher Buckley’s book of the same name, portrays Rick Berman who has testified before numerous committees of various state legislatures, the Senate and the House of Representatives. In this interview we discuss the issues Rick’s firm works on to “change the debate,” his role in the 2016 election, and the media hits he’s taken (and welcomes) including four straight nights of being attacked on Rachel Maddow’s program to which he responded by flying up on his own dime and defending himself on live television.

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They recently installed self-serve kiosks in my local McDonalds, where I dine far more often than I probably should.   So far, I’ve eaten there four times since the machines were installed and I haven’t noticed a reduction in staff, merely a mighty improvement in service. Before the machines, the ordering process was an unholy mess. Nobody […]

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In the inaugural episode of OppCast, hosts John Hart and Ellen Carmichael break down how the current state of American society led to the crazy political year of 2016. Plus: Opportunity Lives contributor Patrick Brennan joins to discuss an innovative fix to the controversial minimum wage increase.

OppCast is a weekly podcast from Opportunity News Media that cracks through the surface of political commentary to reveal the people and passions behind the headlines. Amidst all the negativity in today’s media, we strive to focus on the positive stories in American politics: the doers, the reformers, the people who are making an impact both in Washington DC and your own community.

#FightFor15, Meet Your Robot Replacements


The push to increase the minimum wage is mostly a phenomenon among Democrats, with labor and other affiliated groups loudly pushing the Twitter hashtag #FightFor15, or a minimum wage of $15. Democratic governors and mayors, who have mostly failed their constituencies, have been eager to sign legislation greatly hiking the minimum wage, much to the delight of their union overlords at SEIU and the AFL-CIO.

Would Subsidizing Jobs Be More Conservative than the Minimum Wage?


shutterstock_126940808One of the problems of working is that I often I miss interesting posts and comments on Ricochet. One of them was @katebraestrup’s Free Money! No Strings Attached from April which discussed the guaranteed basic income as an alternative to the welfare state. I’ve been thinking about welfare reform — specifically, about the new pushes for minimum wage — but wonder if there isn’t an approach that might be more in-keeping with conservative views. Mind you, everything that follows I’ve phrased in relative terms; I’m offering what I hope is a least-worst alternative, not an ideal one. So, let’s begin with what I regard as the inherent dishonesty of the minimum wage:

  1. It presupposes that any occupation, if plied for eight hours a day (why not six or ten) provides social value equal to a living wage.
  2. Since the costs of the minimum wage are generally passed onto consumers, it represents a hidden tax on those buying goods and services from companies hire minimum wage employees.
  3. Companies subject to minimum wage requirements often compete with foreign competitors who are, of course, not subject to our laws. This makes the minimum wage an internal tariff on domestic labor.
  4. The minimum wage also acts as a tariff on labor as compared to automation. Thus, apart from the supply/demand effects (higher price lowers demand, i.e., jobs), an increase in the minimum wage increases the incentive to automate jobs.
  5. It provides an incentive to hirer illegal immigrants.

But real and harmful as these effects are on workers and consumers, this overlooks the harm minimum wage laws cause employers. First, the laws imply that employers are too tight-fisted to treat their employees fairly without government intervention. Second, it imposes all the burdens of implementing a minimum wage on the employer (whether to raise prices, whose job to eliminate, cajoling supervisors and middle managers to stay on without a raise to help absorb the wage increase, etc.).

So, instead of setting a wage floor, what if we subsidize job creation? To keep numbers very simple, if the employer pays $12.50 an hour ($500 a week), he or she receives a tax credit of $10 an hour. Cost-wise, this is a comparable to Kate’s suggestion of paying $20,000/year to everyone, except: (a) Nobody gets paid without working and (b) The work has to produce a value of at least $2.50 an hour plus the employer’s overhead and ROI.

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It seems people don’t respond well to having their options reduced. Imagine that. But CEO Bob Merritt tells investors that “customers and staff spoke very loudly,” and that “a lot of them voted with their feet.” Customer research apparently showed that nearly 60 percent of patrons disliked the tipless model, which increased menu prices by 12 to 15 […]

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Should a Policy’s Racist History Matter?


shutterstock_54864934It’s funny. Left-wing opponents of school choice frequently carp about the fact that some segregationists thought school vouchers would be a swell way to avoid sending their kids to school with blacks, as though that’s a reason to oppose them today, even though research shows that school vouchers foster racial integration and their primary beneficiaries tend to be black and brown kids.

If so, why isn’t the extremely racist history of the minimum wage also relevant?

Progressives originally designed the minimum wage to keep racial minorities out of work. As Princeton Professor Thomas C. Leonard, author of Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics and American Economics in the Progressive Era, detailed in the LA Times, progressives in the early 20th century proposed the minimum wage as a solution to the supposed problem of “race suicide,” the idea that immigrants and racial minorities were working for cheap wages, thereby undercutting the wages of American-born whites, who in turn had fewer children rather than lower their standard of living. (You hear echoes of this in the modern alt-right’s complaints about “white genocide.”) In the long run, these eugenics-enamored progressives feared that “inferior races” would “outbreed and displace their white Anglo-Saxon betters.”

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Will California force many of its citizens to emigrate to Texas or Florida? California just passed a $15.00 per hour minimum wage law. Afaik, California is only really prosperous along the coast, while the state’s interior is much poorer. So I expect many people will be laid off as the new minimum wage will make […]

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The Good and Bad of the Minimum Wage: A Super-Short Analysis


minimumwageThis exchange between AEI economist Michael Strain (from a recent podcast Q&A) and me pretty well summarizes the pros and cons of the minimum wage:

STRAIN: If your goal is to put more money in the pockets of the bottom half, let’s say, of households by income, then the minimum wage is a reasonable policy. And you see people saying, look, you raise the minimum wage and it will put billions and billions and billions of dollars into the pockets of workers and it will help millions of households, and that’s a good thing. And, yes, there will be job loss but, say, for example, we take the minimum wage to $10 an hour [for] the federal minimum, several hundred thousand people will likely lose their jobs, but a whole lot of people will see an increase in their incomes and that’s a trade-off worth making. But, implicit in that argument is that the goal of raising the minimum wage is to help the bottom half of households by incomes.

If instead your goal is to help the working poor, then the minimum wage is a much less defensible policy, both because the costs to workers of raising the minimum wages will be borne disproportionately by lower skilled, lower income workers. And because there are such better tools to help the working poor than the minimum wage (such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or other wage subisdy).

California’s Minimum Wage Increase Hurts Those It Claims to Help


shutterstock_143842423On March 31 the California Senate sent on to Governor Jerry Brown a bill that makes it against the law for anyone who cannot produce more than $10.50 per hour to be employed in the State of California beginning next January 1. This figure will be raised gradually over the next five years until it reaches $15 per hour by January 1, 2022. The bill passed the Senate 26-12, and had earlier passed the House on a vote of 48-26.

One might ask why a state would want to exclude its low-skilled workers from participating in the labor market. Why would a state where the unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds is 20.5 percent, and where labor force participation for this age group has declined from 36 percent to 28 percent since 2008, want to exclude those cannot produce $15 per hour in their first job from acquiring labor market skills?

Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, Democrat from Los Angeles said during the floor debate: “This is an argument about economic justice. Justice is not something that can be negotiated or compromised.” What is the economic justice when you can get a first job if you have enough talent or background to produce $15 an hour, but I can’t because I attended an urban Los Angeles school that did not provide me with the skills to accomplish that?

The Real Science Deniers



Its professors and students lovingly refer to the field of economics as “the dismal science.” The pervasive cynical humor of economists aside, economics is very much a science, complete with experiments and theories. It is a science in the same way that say something like climatology is science, albeit far less difficult. With that established, comments made by President Obama about economics while at a “climate change” conference in Paris struck me with brutal irony like a bolt of oblivious lightning from our Commander-in-Chief:

This is a classic market failure. If you open up an Econ 101 textbook it’ll say the market is very good about determining prices and allocating capital towards its most productive use, except there’s certain externalities…

Addressing the Minimum Wage Conundrum: A Proposal

a katz / Shutterstock.com

a katz / Shutterstock.com

The minimum wage has been a prominent issue of late, with the Left arguing for significant increases thereof and the Right pointing to the likely catastrophic consequences of such an increase. Even absent a potential increase, economic difficulties still arguably exist at the low-income margin.

Why Muslims Can’t Assimilate in Europe


Minimum wage laws, payroll taxes, and regulations raise the cost of hiring to the point that unskilled workers cannot find employment. The least experienced, least educated, and most discriminated against are left with few prospects. In the United States, those most affected are African American teenagers; in Europe it’s young Muslims.

Denied legal means of earning a living, some turn to criminal means. Denied constructive outlets for their energies, some turn to gangs and violence to bolster their self-images. Adolescent Swedes, Germans, and Frenchmen whose parents emigrated from the Middle East may have little knowledge of Islam but understand that it inspires fear in the countrymen who look down on them.

Raising the Federal Minimum Wage Would Be Detrimental


The federal minimum wage has been a topic of growing conversation among liberals, including President Barack Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders, whose support for increasing the federal minimum wage can only be seen as economically naive. As an intern who will soon be looking for a job, I must think of the consequences for my fellow teenagers should the federal minimum wage be dramatically increased like Obama and other liberal left politicians are proposing.

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I can’t make up this [redacted for CoC] even if I tried to. And to think that this [redacted for CoC], whose campaign might possibly raise $2billion, can’t even pay interns who work like dogs, $7/hour, much less the $15 that she wants to raise the minimum wage to, the same $15/hour she wants to raise it […]

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