Many on the left may celebrate the results in these cases, but it is increasingly difficult for them to deny the basic fact that election fraud exists. In fact, Heritage’s voter fraud database catalogues over 400 examples of individuals convicted of numerous offenses, from impersonation fraud at the polls, to duplicate voting, to schemes to buy votes and steal elections.
Some recent additions to the database include:
Ruth Robinson, the former mayor of Martin, Kentucky, was sentenced to 90 months’ imprisonment on a variety of charges that included vote buying, identity theft, and fraud.
With specific regard to the election charges, Robinson and co-conspirators James “Red” Robinson and James Steven Robinson threatened and intimidated residents of Martin in the run-up to the 2012 election, in which Robinson was seeking re-election.
The cabal targeted residents living in public housing or in properties Robinson owned, threatening them with eviction if they did not sign absentee ballots the Robinsons had already filled out. Robinson also targeted disabled residents, and offered to buy the votes of others. James “Red” Robinson was sentenced to 40 months in prison, and his son James Steven Robinson received a total of 31 months’ imprisonment.
Guadalupe Rivera and Graciela Sanchez illegally “assisted” absentee voters in Rivera’s 2013 re-election bid for city commissioner. Rivera won the election by 16 votes, but the result was invalidated after a judge determined that 30 absentee ballots had been submitted illegally.
Rivera pleaded guilty to one count of providing illegal assistance to a voter and was sentenced to one year of probation and a $500 fine. Sanchez also pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts of violating Texas’ election code and was sentenced to two years’ probation.
Erin Venessa Leeper registered and voted in a 2015 school board election. As a convicted felon, however, she was ineligible to do so, and pleaded guilty to perjury last May. She was ordered to pay a $750 fine, plus $240 in court costs, and was sentenced to a suspended five-year prison term and two years of probation.
Robert Monroe pleaded no contest to 13 counts of voter fraud, making him the worst duplicate voter in state history, according to Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf.
The judge in the case rejected Monroe’s claim that he was insane at the time, concluding that Monroe’s mental state did not prevent him “from appreciating the wrongfulness of his votes or from conforming his actions to election laws.”
Monroe will serve up to a year in jail, in addition to a suspended three-year prison sentence, five years’ probation, 300 hours of community service, and a $5,000 fine.
As the old adage goes, we are entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts. These cases—along with the hundreds of other convictions Heritage has documented—are the inconvenient facts many on the left choose simply to ignore. Reasonable Americans should not follow their lead.
Elections—our most direct means of political participation—should be fair and untainted by fraudsters. Every time a vote is cast illegally, it nullifies a legitimate vote and undermines the entire system by eroding public trust in our political institutions. It is imperative that this not be allowed to happen.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Voter Fraud Is Real. Here Are 4 More Cases.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Do you hear that? It might be the growing sounds of pocketbooks snapping shut and the chickens coming home..... - AEI | Carpe Diem Blog » AEIdeas
Do you hear that? It might be the growing sounds of pocketbooks snapping shut and the chickens coming home.....
George Mason University economist Walter E. Williams has said many times over many years that “Nothing opens the closed minds of college administrators better than the sounds of pocketbooks snapping shut,” see examples here, here and here. And now thanks to rise of “campus crybullies,” who have largely been tolerated, if not actually enabled, by spineless and feckless college administrators on many campuses with safe spaces and trigger warning policies, we’re starting to hear that snapping sound become louder and more frequent than ever before.
Scott MacConnell cherishes the memory of his years at Amherst College, where he discovered his future métier as a theatrical designer. But protests on campus over cultural and racial sensitivities last year soured his feelings. Now Mr. MacConnell, who graduated in 1960, is expressing his discontent through his wallet. In June, he cut the college out of his will. “As an alumnus of the college, I feel that I have been lied to, patronized and basically dismissed as an old, white bigot who is insensitive to the needs and feelings of the current college community,” Mr. MacConnell, 77, wrote in a letter to the college’s alumni fund in December, when he first warned that he was reducing his support to the college to a token $5....
And alumni might also want to consider the extent to which their donations to their alma maters are helping fuel the “higher education bubble” illustrated in the chart above. There is no other consumer good or service whose price has increased over the last 20 years that even comes close to the soaring cost of college tuition and college textbooks, which have both tripled in price and increased by 200% since 1996. In contrast, overall consumer prices (based on the CPI for all items) have increased only 55% over that same period, which means that college tuition and college textbooks have increased in real terms by about 94% (see formula here) since 1996.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Four Years at a Liberal Arts College Turned Me into a Conservative
Like everyone who cons themselves into attending a liberal arts college, I was captivated by the idea of changing the world by immersing myself in a diverse pool of academic thought, theory, and action. Boy, was I wrong! After my four-year stint at university, I was transformed from a plucky, young, free-thinking free spirit into a cranky, old, get-off-my-lawn conservative.
It all started with a quiet disdain for political correctness, a seed that grew—through the miracle of college—into a giant beanstalk. I quickly learned that, at liberal arts school, the general aim of each class was to identify something problematic, discuss it, and then refuse to do anything about it. We were expected to offer solutions, of course, but the only acceptable answers were noncommittal and intersectional. Any attempt to get to the actual root of a problem was generally seen as problematic too, and a politically correct policing was instituted to hinder any real solutions of important issues. Most group discussions devolved into us asking one another how to ask questions about something problematic without being problematic.
After a childhood and adolescence of being the only black kid in class, I never would have considered myself an enemy of political correctness. I was rather indignant about exposing cultural insensitivities until I was inundated with college classes that seemed dedicated to manifesting real and imagined enemies from every available shadow. So I began to check out and (much to my surprise) quietly echo the conservative sentiments against oversensitivity that I had once dismissed as bigotry.
After I became annoyed with political correctness, I started seeing it everywhere and gradually became convinced there was a conspiracy going on to brainwash me and my peers. Most of the guest speakers at my liberal arts school were leftist journalists, leftist activists, or leftist professors from other leftists schools. In my experience, the other slots were reserved for different types of sex workers: I attended a film lecture given by a very skilled paraplegic porn star who showed us some of her work and an art performance given by a woman who masturbated behind a curtain.
Once the initial thrill from exposure wore off, the lack of intellectual diversity was suffocating. I traveled further down a path of disillusionment and began to sympathize with those crazy conservatives who were always complaining about liberal media bias on FOX.
I needed some way to cope with all this. So I chose weed. I was typically high before, during, and after all of my classes. My best friend was the campus dealer, so I spent countless nights smoking spliffs on his dorm room floor and watching his clients stumble in and out.
Most of these clients are now working in New York finance or DC politics, which is what made me realize I'm a fan of limited government. The stupidest stoners I know are all on a fast track to becoming the future diplomats of the world, and I do not trust these goofs to make important decisions on our behalf. Their power must be constrained.
The only thing more pervasive than weed and irresponsible future leaders on a liberal arts college campus are useless majors. I'm not being judgmental, either—I have a degree in film and media studies and political science, which I chose mostly because they are subjects I like talking about. Many of my peers also chose to spend their scholarships and student loans on creative combinations of topics better learned on YouTube.
By the time graduation approached, none of us had developed any actual job skills, but we could sure as shit talk around important subjects. As such, the most we were prepared to do was spend more cash on grad school or go WWOOFing till we died. This led me to take a stance against providing free college education for all. No. Just, no. Let Europe have it. I only support the idea if those educations go toward protecting us against international hackers or figuring out sustainable agriculture. I'd only support giving a free education to a smart kid to get a degree in whatever the exact opposite of my degree is. Until the residual of the Bernie Sanders movement works through that loophole, I'm out.
I took on lots of debt attending college, but I never learned anything about how to manage it. I didn't learn about taxes either, but I was lucky enough to get a job right before my student loan payments kicked into gear. I accepted a corporate gig with a salary that felt exorbitant and immediately began plotting when I could move out of my parent's house. But everything changed when I got my first paycheck, and to my admittedly ignorant shock, I realized a helluva lot more money was missing than I anticipated.
"Income tax" seems like an abstract alien concept when you're not making any money, but it becomes much more real when cash has magically disappeared from your paycheck. I couldn't believe my peers and I had spent so much time shaming conservatives for wanting lower taxes. After making an income, the tax I paid on it was suddenly all I cared about. And stopping government waste seems way more important to me now than funding government programs.
A past version of myself would've called this prioritization problematically selfish. The current, cheerfully cynical version of me that college created knows I can spend my money much more wisely than any of the politically correct stoners with questionable degrees who are running the show in DC.
Monday, August 15, 2016
Donald Trump Voter Fraud Warning: He’s Right & Media Are Wrong to Dismiss It | National Review
Arlen Specter, who served Pennsylvania for 30 years in the Senate, first as a Republican and then as a Democrat, strongly opposed voter fraud during his career. He openly scoffed at liberal claims that there is no voter fraud. “They don’t see what they don’t want to see,” he told me before this death in 2011. “I’m from Philadelphia. It’s been a way of life here.” He said that even though he was a Democrat he stood by his 2007 vote in favor of requiring photo ID in all federal elections.
Specter, as a former district attorney of Philadelphia, had personal knowledge of voter fraud. I reported in 2012 at NRO:
Specter was appalled at the activities of the far-left group ACORN, after it was discovered they were submitting hundreds of thousands of fake voter registrations around the country. As ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he unsuccessfully urged that a hearing be held on the ACORN scandal. He was shot down by, among others, New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, who claimed, “Fraud is not systematic, and it doesn’t occur very much.”The way to avoid disputed elections and political turmoil is to make sure as few problems as possible happen while votes are being cast. It’s almost impossible to detect fraud after secret ballots are thrown into a common pool. Sending properly trained election monitors — both governmental and private — where appropriate is one safeguard. Another is having prosecutors issue a warning right before Election Day that fraudsters will be prosecuted — a threat that the Obama administration has been singularly uninterested in. Giving federal grants to states to help them pay to upgrade and standardize their voting machines would also be a good step.
Even after he switched parties in 2009, Specter still voted with a majority of the Senate to end all federal funding of ACORN. . . . “Every vote stolen cancels out that of someone else and attacks the heart of our democracy,” he told me. “That shouldn’t be a partisan issue but just one of basic integrity.”
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Addressing The Problem™ | Brad R. Torgersen
The Problem™ — according to those who’ve made it their business to fight The Problem™:
SF/F publishing is dominated by demographic W. Demographics X, Y, and Z are underrepresented. This is obviously because demographic W is prejudiced, and therefore excluding X, Y, and Z. Therefore demographic W is on the hot seat for making SF/F into a W-only club. So, what can obligatorily concerned, properly progressive members of W do to be more inclusive and celebratory of X, Y, Z, and also A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, and the ever-fabulous Q?
The chief problem with typical analysis of The Problem™ is that it fails to ask a very important question: wence the readership? Editors and authors are not birthed whole-cloth from the dust of the earth. They always begin as readers first. I repeat: editors and authors always begin as readers first. There is no author, nor editor, in the business of Science Fiction & Fantasy literature, who did not start out as a reader. Usually, in childhood and/or adolescence. 99.999% of all professionals began life (in the field) as avid fans of some sort, whether they were laser-focused on a specific author, or a specific sub-genre, or omnivorous cosmopolitans who imbibed everything the field had to offer. Thus, to understand a dearth (or surfeit?) of any demographic, within SF/F publishing, you have to go all the way back to the beginning.
Which kids are reading, and what, and why?
Thus, how many kids from underrepresented demographics, grew up in households where fiction reading was a common and encouraged form of entertainment? And out of that number, how many gravitated to SF/F explicitly?
Because it is entertainment we’re talking about, and where entertainment is concerned, De Gustibus can be an iron law.
The progressive conceit is that kids from underrepresented demographics don’t read SF/F because these children never “see” themselves enough — not in the characters, nor the stories, nor the ranks of authors and professionals. This argument always strikes me as particularly strange — for Science Fiction & Fantasy — since a great heap of SF/F (past, and present) has concerned itself with crawling around inside the heads of people and creatures who are decidedly different from the creators, as well as the audience. No sector of entertainment literature has devoted more time to examining Difference (note the caps) than SF/F. And even if you take the postmodernist deconstructionist approach (“All fiction is simply allegory for the sake of present-tense social and political commentary!”) you still find that SF/F has gone out of its way to explore the lives and thoughts of the marginalized, the alien, and the outcast.
In other words, this is a field that bends over backwards to put Difference front-and-center.
So, what else might be going on? Besides a subtle or unconscious plot on the part of demographic W, to exclude or marginalize the other letters of the alphabet? Especially when publishing is an enterprise that does not require any prospective professional participant to wear his (or her, or their) demographics on his (or her, or their) sleeve?
1) Kids are busy doing other things. This has been especially true since the invention of the television. The number of explicitly youth-focused, youth-oriented passtimes has exploded over the past 70 years. If it’s not music, it’s video games. If it’s not video games, it’s sports. If it’s not sports, it’s texting and chatting. If it’s not texting and chatting, it’s movies and series. And so on, and so forth. In any representative population sample of pre-teens and teens, you’re liable to lose 65% (or more) of that collective attention span, to entertainment that does not involve reading prose on a page.
2) Kids get their SF/F in other forms. This is a huge blind spot for that sector of SF/F literature that considers itself “true fandom” and which regards all other forms of SF/F — outside of literature — to be subsidiary or subervient. Since the late 1970s, the amount of televised and silver screen SF/F has increased dramatically, thanks to the birth of the Star Wars franchise; as proof-of-concept that spec-fictional content was a massive money-maker. Since then, studios cannot not churn out enough SF/F. Look at the big list of Top 25 all-time silver screen earners, and at least 22 of them are explicitly SF/F in some form. Throw in Japanese animation, and modern story-driven video games, and you’re staring at the greatest part of your average english-language teen’s spec-fictional diet. Movies, TV, anime, and games. That’s it. (S)he may not feel the need to seek out books or other forms of spec-fictional prose, simply because there is a universe of (often spectacular and enjoyable) spec-fictional content readily available — long before (s)he has to crack open a book.
3) Kids who are reading, may only be reading what is popular, or familiar. This is one of the great resentments among almost all spec-fictional scribblers: it’s not fair that movie or TV tie-in books, or the latest J.K. Rowling novel, soak up a vast (disproportionately vast?) number of reader dollars — which may or may not trickle down to the rest of us toiling in the salt mines. Scratch an author or editor taking aim at The Problem™ and you will almost always discover someone who is equally unhappy with the fact that Harry Potter or some other magical Fantasy doorstop series are co-occupying the Amazon bestseller rankings, versus this month’s latest “confrontational” pan-African indigenous perspectives gender-queer anthology — from AngryWymyn Press. (Click to donate to their patreon!)
4) Speaking of which, can we please (finally!) admit that what interests and fascinates your typical Intersectional Oppression Studies undergrad — at Oregon Coast University — is not necessarily what interests a majority of reading teens and pre-teens? No, not even the teens and pre-teens from marginalized demographics. Because not every X nor Y nor Z (nor even every Q) teen or pre-teen spends his/her/their time gazing endlessly at his/her/their navel. Thus, if the number of spec-fictional authors coming into the field from an Intersectional Oppression Studies background is large, the number of readers this pool might be directly speaking to, is pretty damned small. And no, scolding isn’t a great way to gin up audience enthusiasm. You can whip a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Especially the young, who will smell a moral sermon a mile away, and immediately run in the opposite direction.
Of course, that’s just the first layer of the cake.
Then, assuming a sufficiently large number of marginalized entry-level SF/F pros can be slapped together, how do we know which markets this body is submitting to? What kind of books or stories? Unless we’re dealing with a university or subsidy press (click to donate to the patreon!!) said publisher has to be in the business to do business. This means keeping at least one eye on the marketplace. And the marketplace is notoriously immune to being guilt-tripped into coughing up its dollars for an entertainment product being proffered like a kelp shake from a Whole Foods organic health bar. “Because it’s good for you!” may not necessarily be a winning sales pitch. In fact, it’s usually a horrible sales pitch. Calling the audience names, when they won’t follow the carrot or the stick, is also a horrible sales pitch. The audience wants to have a good time. Period. Non-subsidy prose publishing has to be accountable to this fact. Thus the endless tug-o-war between art and commerce. Between what is deemed “worthy” by the cognoscenti, and what is actually worthwhile to the consumer public.
Okay, so, we’ve tunneled through reader and author origins, the matter of ideology versus economy, and at last come to the ugly worm at the bottom of the Tequila bottle: are SF/F’s editors actually racist? Sexist? Homophobic? Transphobic? Yadda yadda?
Consider the fact that the total number of spec-fictional editors and publishers are self-styled progressives and liberals — by a gargantuan, wide margin — and it’s a head-scratcher. These are the people who go out of their way to broadcast to the universe that they are on The Right Side of History. They will spare no expense supporting the monthly flavor of Disenfranchised Artist. They are extremely proud to be left-wing, and they will haughtily declare their allegiance to progressive economic and political ideas.
And this is the body of people who are scheming — intentionally, or unintentionally — to keep the Other (note the caps) out of SF/F?
This is a field given over almost entirely to the progressive “side” of the ideological landscape. Thus when progressives attack the field for margnializing or excluding X, Y, or Z demographics, it’s a bit like watching a man pick up a hammer and smash his own thumb — because the thumb had it coming.
The market always wins | Brad R. Torgersen
The Ghostbusters reboot failed, not because America hates women, but because America looked at this movie and said, “Two-point-five stars; maybe three at most, if we’re in a good mood.”
The audience doesn’t care about progressive eat-your-ideological-veggies politics. The audience doesn’t care about the demographics of the actors. The audience just wants to have a good time.
Likewise, you cannot command consumers to shun a thing, if that thing has already won them over. Remember Chick-Fil-A? Bunch of Social Justice Zealots (SJZs) commanded us all to “punish” Chick-Fil-A for (insert progressive political reason here) and the response — by Americans — was to give Chick-Fil-A a record week in profits. Any way you slice it, the SJZ plan wholly and utterly backfired. Because Chick-Fil-A chicken is delicious. People have known this for years. It’s why Chick-Fil-A has exploded nationally. Check out any Chick-Fil-A franchise at lunch or dinner, and you will typically see stacks of cars lined up around the lot, sometimes more than once, with a huge crowd at the registers inside. The anti-Chick-Fil-A “punishment” maneuver merely caused those ordinarily packed lines to go out the driveway, down the street, and around the block. Because the consumers said “F*** you, you can’t make us hate good food.” The consumers are still saying it, too.
So, please, let’s pause for a moment; to consider the boots-on-ground reality. Wagging your finger at people is never, ever a winning marketing strategy. Wagging your finger at the crowds is liable to have the crowds showing you a collective finger of their own — and it ‘aint the index finger. Because people like what they like, and they don’t like what they don’t like. De gustibus. You want to freight your product with all kinds of social justice ornamentation? Fine. Just be aware of the fact that you’re putting a stone around that product’s neck. Don’t be shocked when it sinks to the bottom, never to rise. It’s not the audience’s fault. It’s your fault for thinking the audience wanted or needed you to shove your politics up their collective ass.
Again, the crowds just want to have fun. I repeat: they want to have fun. Can you bring the fun? Can you make something that gets spontaneous laughter or applause, without it turning into an imitation of a Politburo session, where grown men collapse because they dare not get caught being the first one to put his hands back into his pockets? Maybe you think the Politburo sessions are an instruction manual, versus a cautionary tale?
Maybe you need to reconsider.
But wait, who am I kidding? Of course you won’t reconsider. SJZs never, ever reconsider. Smug self-righteousness is a hell of a drug. Once a person is hooked, (s)he loses all perspective, and becomes both myopic and deaf. That’s SJZism in a nutshell: myopic, and deaf.
But don’t say nobody warned you. The next time your movie or book — tricked out with all the latest virtue-signalling baubles — tanks. You spent too much time focusing on the wrapping paper, without paying enough attention to what’s inside. It’s the product itself that counts. Just like content of character counts. Remember who said that? I do. It was good advice.
Race -- End Racism by Ending Race | National Review
A World without Racism
Racism is not a problem in the United States Marine Corps. There is no distinction between black or white Marines — or any color in between. Drill instructors, NCOs, and commanding officers alike teach their men that there are no races in the Marines — to the Corps, whether you are light green or dark green is irrelevant. We are all green, and that is all that matters. For many decades, Marines of all different shades have fought, bled, and died beside each other. Promotion is based on performance scores, not on race. Discipline is based on individual action, not on race. Marines identify as Marines, not as a race.
If more Americans discarded the divisive labels that are thrust upon us every day by government policy, progressive ideology, and popular culture, we would have a much more united, less factionalized, less racist society.
One of the first things I remember being taught in life is that skin color does not matter. Discrimination, segregation, and hatred are wrong. Separate is not equal. I took this nugget of truth to heart and I have tried to live my life in a manner that confirms that ideal. Race is an artificial human social construction, a construction which has been a powerful force in conquest, enslavement, segregation, apartheid, murder, and genocide. Race is a negative force; it is a way for people to justify division and separation between groups of people.
Unfortunately, our nation has changed from the United States I knew in my youth to the country that we live in today. While I concede that my perspective has changed from that of a child to that of an adult, I believe that our country — while never having fully succeeded in discarding racism in the past — has regressed in the last decade. It’s true that the evil, government-sanctioned horror that was chattel slavery and Jim Crow are long gone. Public schools have been integrated for more than four decades. In theory all U.S. citizens are equal under the law. In 2008, we elected a black president.
Yet despite these signs of progress, today we are mired in a backward-trending divisive ideology of self-segregation, fruitless categorization, and tribalism. I watched in profound sadness and disappointment in the winter of 2014 when, in the midst of the terrible self-destructive riots in Ferguson, Mo., President Obama, the man with the perhaps greatest opportunity to lead our country into reconciliation and unity since Reconstruction, instead further divided our country. I was listening, waiting to be led to a new America, and he left me disappointed and Ferguson burning. The end state of the progressive ideology that celebrates and reinforces race as an important distinction in employment, crime, education, and politics is a society that is further split into warring factions. It is rolling back the spirit of E Pluribus Unum. Instead of uniting the country as one, it seeks to divide us based on the color of our skin. Our young people are assaulted by a racial ideology that tears us apart. Divisive jokes, slurs, nicknames, and categorization confront our youth every day. Rap songs, social media, and popular culture all reinforce that divide instead of minimizing it. But instead of finding ways to move past these troubles, progressive ideology seeks to normalize racial slurs rather than eliminate them. SHARE ARTICLE ON FACEBOOKSHARE TWEET ARTICLETWEETI have experienced racism in my life. Things have been assumed about me because of my appearance. I have been called slurs. I have gotten in fights. I, too, have been categorized against my will. I am one of the millions of Americans who does not fit into the convoluted categories and divisions that government policy and racial ideology try to force us into. I refuse to be categorized based on my skin color or ancestry by anyone — but especially by the government. In order to exercise your constitutional right to buy a firearm in the United States you must fill out the ATF 4473 form from which a background check is conducted. Buyers are required by our government to categorize themselves by answering two questions: Question 10A on ethnicity requires you to check “Hispanic or Latino” or “Not Hispanic or Latino”; Question 10B requires a buyer to define himself by choosing at least one of: American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or White.
Archaic classification systems are non-scientific, flawed, divisive, and pointless. How should a person answer whose parents and ancestors were Arabs born in Egypt? What about white people born in New Zealand? Are they not Pacific Islanders? Is it not insane that Lebanese, Pashtun, Bengali, Tamil, Turkish, Cambodian, Indonesian, and, of course, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Americans are all classified by our government as “Asian”?
One of the most insulting incarnations of racism today is the idea of race-based voting. Whenever politicians and media predict the outcome of the “Black vote” or the “Latino vote,” I cringe. How is it not racist for someone to assume — or even expect — an individual to vote based on the color of his or her skin? What is more racist than to ascribe a person’s political views to her physical appearance? Should not a person vote his conscience? Should not experience, philosophy, religion, economic status, residency, education, occupation, and morality have far more to do with an individual’s political perspective than his or her pigmentation? Expecting someone to think, behave, or vote a certain way based on skin color is as racist as segregation. And yet many who dare dissent from the politics they are expected to hold based on skin color are often called traitors or Uncle Toms. I am a conservative American who hates racism. I am in fact actively anti-racist: I want to live my life in a way so that my tiny corner of the universe is positively improved by practicing anti-racism. What is the end state of divisive racial ideology? It is unending division. For progressives, is there ever a point where Asian Americans, African Americans, European Americans, Hispanic Americans (another socially constructed category — arbitrarily divided from Native Americans) can just be Americans? Not that I’m aware of. Progressive ideology seems to want to divide us — permanently. Alternatively, the admittedly far-off and idealistic goal for American society from a conservative perspective is color blindness. If race shouldn’t matter in how we judge individuals, let’s treat it like it doesn’t matter. Let’s remove race as a criterion for consideration. Conservatives should work toward a society where nothing is influenced or decided based on the color of a person’s skin. A truly uniting policy would be to move beyond these feudal bonds of socially constructed imprisonment. Let us cast off any stereotypes, assumptions, benefits, grievances, or impairments based on the amount of melanin in a person’s hide.
Encouragingly, there is a precedent for this idea in American history — when disparate groups of English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Welsh, and Scottish colonists became, simply, American. Later, the Poles and Italians became Americans. The Irish — once thought to be too different to ever truly assimilate into our culture — became Americans. During the First World War many Americans of Germans descent made tangible changes in their customs and culture to become, simply, Americans. I am not advocating that you forget your heritage or ancestry. As free men and women, by all means celebrate your ancestry and heritage as you please, but remember that we are an American Nation, and that “American” is our nationality — something far more important and unifying than the artificial and destructive concept of race. So let me join with President Roosevelt and Governor Jindal in calling for an end to hyphenated Americans. Let us drop our tribal divisions and embrace our shared heritage and nationality. Let us unite as Americans. Let us remember that separate is not equal. I hope that, as Americans, we will move toward a color-blind, post-race, and post-racist society. That is the only way to end racism.
Saturday, August 13, 2016
Hillary is Wrong on Wages
MYTH: Henry Ford paid his workers double the market rate so they could afford the products that they were paid to make. This is why we need a "living wage."
REALITY: Henry Ford paid these “efficiency wages” to lower the rate of turnover, absenteeism and the associated costs to the firm from either. The competitive free-market is why he raised his wages.
Henry Ford—who had paid his employees a competitive $2.25-2.50, struggled to maintain a satisfied workforce. Ford revolutionized manufacturing with the assembly-line production process, and in a period from 1908-1914, the composition of his workforce changed. The relative speed Ford could produce cars due to standardizing of parts and the specialization of his labor force, reduced the need and costs of skilled craftsman in the production process.
The change in skill level demanded for labor increased greatly the labor supply, and surprisingly, the turnover rates as well. For every 100 positions open, Ford had to hire 370 workers just to keep them filled. Absenteeism had reached 10% a day, further adding to production losses. One would think that with such high demand for these jobs, along with competitive market wages, it would satisfy the requirements to retain and elicit effort from his workforce, but this just wasn’t the case.
Implicit in these high turnover and absenteeism rates are losses incurred by Ford Motor Company. Search costs are those incurred by firms for finding a suitable employee to hire. Moreover, advertising, screening applications and interview processes take time and cost money. Even in low-skilled occupations, almost 22 person-hours are required to fill a vacancy. Even after an employee is hired, general or specific training is often needed before workers are able to produce commensurate with their pay, this training also makes them valuable to competition and their loss more costly to their employer.
By 1914, Henry Ford instituted a 5 dollar a day wage, available only to employees that had been with the company for at least six months. At the same time, only those job applicants that have been living at least six months in the Detroit area would be considered for employment. In the period of March 1913 to March 1914, the quit rate at Ford decreased by 87% and discharges decreased by 90%. Similarly, the absentee rate dropped by 75% from October 1913 to October 1914. Though, this wage increase perhaps didn’t help Ford maximize profits, it did raise morale, effort and productivity.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
The Minimum-Wage Stealth Tax on the Poor | Hoover Institution
Imagine an antipoverty program with the following elements: a value-added tax in which the effective rate increases as family income declines. The tax revenue is distributed to families regardless of their income. Families below twice the poverty level get only one-third of the revenue, with only half of this amount going to families with children.
Most Americans wouldn’t cheer this program, nor would most political leaders champion it. Yet that is what happens when Congress raises the minimum wage.
In a peer-reviewed study, “How Effective Is the Minimum Wage at Supporting the Poor?” (forthcoming in the Journal of Political Economy), I analyzed who won and who lost after Congress raised the minimum wage in 1996 to $5.15 from $4.25, a raise that occurred in phases over the period 1996-97. That would be comparable to raising the current minimum wage of $7.25 to nearly $8.80. The results show the failure of minimum-wage hikes as an antipoverty policy.
To be sure, companies on their own—such as Wal-Mart last week—do raise the wages of their lowest-paid workers, typically when it is necessary to retain a stable, productive workforce. But this isn’t the same as a government-mandated, economy wide raise. Still, most Americans favor such mandated increases because they believe it helps poor workers support their families.
One problem is that only about 5% of families have children and are supported by low-wage earnings; another is that higher minimum wages cause some workers to lose their jobs. Advocates of a higher minimum wage argue that the number of workers who gain far exceeds those who lose. Whatever the credibility of this calculus, there is yet another problem: If someone’s income is arbitrarily increased thanks to a legislatively mandated wage increase, someone else must pay for it.
Since economic evidence indicates that higher minimum wages don’t significantly affect employers’ profit rates, advocates instead say that employers will pass on these increased labor costs by raising the prices of their goods and services—and that “society,” or more affluent consumers, will pay these costs.
But will low-income families earn more from an increase in the minimum wage than they will pay as consumers of the now higher-priced goods? My research strongly suggests that they won’t.
The first step in understanding why they won’t is to recognize that minimum-wage workers are typically not in low-income families; instead they are dispersed evenly among families rich, middle-class and poor. About one in five families in the bottom fifth of the income distribution had a minimum-wage worker affected by the 1996 increase, the same share as for families in the top fifth.
Virtually as much of the additional earnings of minimum-wage workers went to the highest-income families as to the lowest. Moreover, only about $1 in $5 of the addition went to families with children supported by low-wage earnings. As many economists already have noted, raising the minimum wage is at best a scattershot approach to raising the income of poor families.
The second step is to consider who actually bears the burden of higher labor costs that are passed on through higher prices of goods and services.
My analysis, using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, showed that the 1996 minimum-wage hike raised prices on a broad variety of goods and services. Food purchased outside of the home bore the largest share of the increased consumption costs, accounting for 21% with an average price increase of slightly less than of 2%; the next highest shares were around 10% for such commodities as retail services, groceries and household personal services.
Overall, the extra costs attributable to higher prices equaled 0.63% of the nondurable goods purchased by the poorest fifth of families and 0.52% of the goods purchased by the top fifth—with the percentage falling as the income level rose.
The higher prices, in other words, resembled a regressive value-added, or sales, tax, with rates rising the lower a family’s income. This is sharply contrary to normal tax policy. A typical state sales tax has a uniform rate—but with necessities such as food excluded, and this exclusion (which exists as well in countries with a value-added tax) is adopted expressly to lower the effective tax rate on consumption by people with lower incomes.
My analysis concludes that more poor families were losers than winners from the 1996 hike in the minimum wage. Nearly one in five low-income families benefited, but all low-income families paid for the increase through higher prices.
Consider a McDonald’s restaurant, often cited as ground zero in minimum wage debates. To cover costs of a mandated increase in the earnings of McDonald’s lowest-paid workers, customers pay more for the company’s food. The distributional question becomes: Which group comes from the least well-off families: McDonald’s customers or its lowest-paid workers? Economy-wide evidence shows that the customers disproportionately come from low-income families.
Dinner, Disrupted - The New York Times
I am all in favor of San Francisco’s $13 per hour minimum wage (which rises to $15 by 2018), plus mandatory paid sick leave, parental leave and employer health care contributions. But labor costs at restaurants are inching past 50 percent of total expenditures, an indicator of poor fiscal health. Commercial rents have also gone bananas. Add the ever-rising cost of frisée and pastured quail eggs and it’s no wonder that many restaurants are experimenting with that unique form of sadism known as “small plate sharing,” which amounts to offering a big group of hungry people something tiny to divvy up. Even nontrendy joints now ask $30 for a proper entree — a price point, according to Mr. Patterson, that encourages even affluent customers to discover the joys of home cooking.
THIS is all fine at the handful of places that are full and profitable every night — State Bird Provisions, Lazy Bear — but, according to Gwyneth Borden of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, an alarming number are not. The bigger tech companies worsen the problem by scooping up culinary talent to run lavish free food programs that, as Ms. Borden said, offer workers “all-day bacon and lobster rolls and tacos.” This kills the incentive for employees to spend a penny in restaurants, especially at lunch. (Ms. Borden also told me that she can’t count the number of times she has heard an Uber or Lyft driver confess to being a former chef.)
Constant traffic jams and great restaurants in less congested cities like Oakland discourage suburbanites who used to cross the Bay Bridge for date night in San Francisco. Besides, as Mr. Patterson says, the city clears out on holiday weekends. “They all go to Tahoe,” he said. “You want to get a reservation somewhere? Just book a table during Burning Man.”
Monday, August 08, 2016
Thoughts from the ammo line | Power Line
The article referenced
About 15 years ago, when the “Driving While Black” meme was just finding purchase in the public mind, ultra-liberal Twin Cities columnist Nick Coleman, son of a Democrat pol, no friend to Power Line, was invited to go on a ride-along with the police. I knew Nick personally, not as a close friend, but more than an acquaintance. I’m sure that Nick badly wanted to support the notion that the cops were engaging in racial profiling. But Nick was honest enough to make several very telling observations that I remember to this day.
Here are several observations to the best of my recollection. One: that with tinted windows and the cover of darkness, he failed to guess the race of the occupants in cars the majority of the time. It can’t be profiling if you can’t even SEE the occupants of the car.
Two: Nick noticed that after midnight the vast majority of people who were out and about were not white people. Now, it’s theoretically possible that such people are coming from Bible study or even getting off swing shift, but long sad experience has taught cops that most people roaming about very late at night are looking for trouble in some form. Drugs, “dates” with ladies named “Krystal,” weaving home from a bar, whatever.
Three: that a large percentage of black people stopped for speeding, running stoplights and other clear dangers became abusive to the officers, accusing them of “profiling.” They were not polite; they were not cooperative. And often they were also drunk and combative. Nick found the officers very patient and not looking for escalation. Yes, it certainly could have been, in part, because he was a witness.
He came away not willing to dismiss the notion of “Driving While Black” completely, but with a whole lot of questions about its validity. He called ’em as he saw ’em. You know, like an actual journalist.
You add in the wild disparity in criminal activity by race, and the slight disparities in arrests and stops for suspicious behavior become even more understandable. Yet from the President on down, we see tremendous pressure on officers of the law to make sure that stops are noted by race and do not vary by one whit from that race’s percentage of the population. Never mind the difference between criminal behavior in young black males and, say, white women of late, late middle age.
In fact, it has made me rethink an incident I referred to in a previous column that happened on a Texas highway. Unlike every other driver in the great state of Texas, I had not been speeding. Scout’s honor. There was absolutely nobody behind me for a thousand yards. Flashing lights from nowhere. And the patrolman said I had failed to signal a lane change. I eventually just got a warning and the admonition to drive “the friendly Texas way,” but I wonder now if they didn’t need a “white” stop to balance out too many minority ones?
Are you a firm believer that the police unfairly target minorities? You can trust the great Heather Mac Donald, magnificent researcher and definitive writer on the subject, but she is pretty conservative. Mr. Coleman is not. Or look for yourself. Ask for a ride-along and see if you change your mind.
The article referenced
Sunday, August 07, 2016
3 Ways to Talk About Conservatism With a Liberal
...a place to help you talk to the people in your life (think neighbors, co-workers, family, friends) about conservative issues.
Trust me, it’s possible.
While I will explore a wide variety of relevant topics in the weeks to come, I’d like to start with something basic and broad: the term “conservative.”
If you look at The Heritage Foundation’s definition, you find that conservatism is five pillars: free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.
So, there’s your answer, right? Just memorize and repeat when someone wants to know why you are conservative.
There is no faster way to kill a conversation than to categorize your perspective like it’s a to-do list.
When talking about any issue, you have to connect with the other person’s interests. And that starts by being a good listener.
If you find your colleague doesn’t give much insight into her ideology, ask questions. Find out what makes her tick by starting a conversation about her day at work or what’s going on in the news. It’s amazing how much you learn when you ask a question and then … stop talking.
Once you gain insight into what issues someone cares about, the real work begins. You now have a blueprint for how to approach the conversation in a way that resonates with him or her, not you.
For example, if you find that your colleague talks about how expensive it is to run her side business, the free enterprise pillar is a good area to explore. Now, you’re off to the races.
Here are a few strategies that work well:
1. Common Ground
Don’t underestimate the power of establishing common ground. Doing so makes you seem reasonable and can go a long way in diffusing any tension or unwillingness to hear you out. If you’re in agreement with someone on the goal, like his business succeeding, he is more likely to stick around and listen to your solution.
Don’t underestimate the power of relatable examples, which can help people visualize your point. Often, the conservative principles we talk about can seem very abstract. Examples put issues into context, especially when you can illustrate a point using a reference from their daily lives. For instance, if you want to promote free enterprise, talk about all the regulations their business currently faces and how there would be significantly fewer if free enterprise was more valued by our lawmakers.
Finally, you have to use the right words. Don’t even think about using the term “free enterprise.” Instead, steal a page from the liberals’ playbook: use emotion to push an agenda. Own words like “fair” or “choice,” and statements like “you know better than a bureaucrat in D.C.” Using emotional language will set you up for success.
Before you think that attempting a conversation is hopeless because “you don’t know how liberal my co-workers are,” keep in mind that people will listen if you talk about issues that matter to them. If done well, it’s possible they won’t recognize that you are approaching the conversation from a conservative perspective.
Take millennials. You may think it’s hopeless to talk to that generation about free enterprise since so many view themselves as socialists. But when millennials are starting more businesses than the baby-boomer generation there’s reason to question their dedication to socialism (Do they really know what socialism is?) and an opportunity to use their entrepreneurism as a gateway to talking about free enterprise.
So, talk to a liberal today. Employ the strategies we just discussed and see if you can have a meaningful conversation about conservatism on her terms. Identify her interests, choose one of the five pillars that align with her interests, and use examples.
No pressure, but you may be the only conservative that tries to challenge her world view. And if we are going to preserve the American dream, it’s going to take all of us doing our part by first talking to the people we know.
Blacks with college experience more likely to say they faced discrimination | Pew Research Center
A majority of black Americans say that at some point in their lives they’ve experienced discrimination or were treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity, but blacks who have attended college are more likely than those without any college experience to say so, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
About eight-in-ten blacks with at least some college experience (81%) say they’ve faced discrimination or been treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity, compared with 59% of blacks who have never attended college.
These differences also extend to more specific incidents of racial discrimination. For example, blacks who have attended college are more likely than those who have not to say they have been met with suspicion or that someone has questioned their intelligence. Some 55% of blacks with at least some college education say that in the past 12 months someone has acted as if they were suspicious of them because of their race or ethnicity, while a similar share (52%) say people have treated them as if they weren’t smart. Among blacks with a high school diploma or less, those shares are lower, 38% and 37% respectively.
And when asked whether their race or ethnicity has made it harder, easier or hasn’t made much of a difference in getting ahead in life, about half (49%) of blacks with some college experience say their race has made it harder for them to be successful, compared with 29% of those with a high school education or less.
It may seem counterintuitive that blacks who have attended college are more likely to say they have encountered discrimination given that education is highly correlated with greater economic and social well-being. But Michael Sean Funk, a clinical assistant professor of administration, leadership and technology at New York University, said one possible explanation is that people who attend college might become more exposed – through classes or organizations – to conversations about racism and discrimination and, therefore, blacks who have attended college might have a greater awareness of these issues.
Other research suggests that college itself could be an isolating time for some black students that might give rise to perceptions of discrimination. For example, some studies have found that blacks attending majority-white institutions are more likely than those enrolled at historically black colleges or universities to report feelings of race-related stress or lower levels of faculty support. In late 2015, a slew of college protests centered on racial discrimination and lack of diversity on college campuses.
William A. Darity Jr., a professor of public policy at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, noted that blacks with higher levels of educational attainment are often more likely than those with less education to work in predominately white workplaces and therefore may have more opportunities to encounter racial prejudices or develop work-related stresses associated with being one of few racial minorities on the job.
Darity also said that higher levels of education do not necessarily yield the same outcomes for blacks as for whites, and that a college education, while valuable, does not close black-white disparities in income or employment.
Analysis of Washington Post police-shootings data reveals surprising result – nearly 2x more whites than blacks shot by police | Watts Up With That?
Analysis of Washington Post police-shootings data reveals surprising result – nearly 2x more whites than blacks shot by police | Watts Up With That?
By race and ethnicity, there were 494 whites, 258 blacks, 172 Hispanics, 15 Asians, 14 American Indians or Alaskan natives, 9 “other” races, and 28 deaths with the race not specified. Which leads to the question … is there a racial imbalance? And in particular, are African-American people being killed at an excessive rate?
By race and ethnicity, there were 494 whites, 258 blacks, 172 Hispanics, 15 Asians, 14 American Indians or Alaskan natives, 9 “other” races, and 28 deaths with the race not specified. Which leads to the question … is there a racial imbalance? And in particular, are African-American people being killed at an excessive rate?
Friday, August 05, 2016
The Racial State: The Costs of Discrimination
Perhaps nothing reduced the costs of discrimination more effectively than the Federal Housing Administration created by FDR’s New Deal. The FHA’s explicitly racist policy proscribed blacks from moving into white neighborhoods by barring suburban subdivision developers from qualifying for federally subsidized construction loans unless developers excluded blacks from the community (Rothstein). This not only reduced the costs to the developers for discriminating, it actually made it profitable. The FHA went further by proscribing blacks from receiving bank mortgages in suburban subdivisions that were privately financed without federal construction loan guarantees, and refused to to insure mortgages for black families in all white neighborhoods and black neighborhoods—a policy known as “redlining.” The inability to obtain a mortgage and restrictions on the available supply of housing meant that blacks were either forced into renting apartments for higher rates than their white counterparts, or bought homes on installment plans. Missing a payment on a non-amortized installment plan means the loss of a home with no accumulated equity (Rothstein).
Tuesday, August 02, 2016
Monday, August 01, 2016
The Crucible: Redux (or College Campuses Lack Due Process for the Accused) — Lone Conservative
The problems don’t end with the falsely accused, though, or even their families. Real victims find themselves at the end of the gun, as well. Though these practices are surely designed to help women, the opposite ends up becoming true. Recently, a Stanford student was charged with sexual assault, and convicted. This case serves as a bright line standard. The man was found on top of the victim, who was unconscious. Regardless of alcohol, drugs, family history, or any other mitigating or aggravating circumstance, this is a clear case. Unfortunately (though this is only my opinion), there has not been enough outrage over such a despicable act. It seems that this is a direct consequence of campus feminists calling everything from rape, to an unwanted hand hold, sexual assault.
The “1 in 4” statistic has been paraded around by everyone, from the President to Tumblr blogs the world over. The problem – it’s a complete fabrication. In her book Who Stole Feminism, Christina Hoff Sommers delves into the study which created the numbers. She found that:
The one-in-four statistic was derived from a survey of 3,000 college women in 1982. Researchers used three questions to determine if respondents had been raped: Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn't want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs? Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn't want to because a man threatened or used some degree of physical force... to make you? And, have you had sexual acts...when you didn't want to because a man threatened to use some degree of physical force... to make you?
The questions used to complete this survey are incredibly vague, which allow for leagues of interpretation and personal spin to be put onto them. It is an an impossibly poor practice of the scientific method. These numbers were derived by the CDC, which on the surface gives them a certain authoritative credence. The FBI, however, reports a vastly different set of numbers. Even with a (needed) expansion of the term, campuses are nowhere near 1 in 4. Troy University in Alabama, for example, reported one rape. Its student population that year was over twenty-two thousand. Never has it been more true that “There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.”
Due process does not just exist as an idea to attain, though. It is put into action hundreds of thousands of times each day. I work as an intern for a district judge in my county, who often presides over juvenile cases. I recently had a chance to witness due process in action regarding a campus sexual assault case. A young man was charged with first degree rape by the accuser, which in my state means there was forced intercourse, against the will of the victim, through means of intimidation or duress. In other words, the person has to be shown to have had non-consensual sex, and the victim must have been in fear of imminent harm or danger: a textbook case of back-alley rape, for example. The accused was not a student on the same campus as the alleged victim, so the college could not handle it internally. The parents of the young woman pressed charges, and it went to a bench trial before the judge. Over the course of over five hours, I listened to both sides examine and cross-examine witnesses, including the accused himself. As would be expected, the stories of the accused and the accuser did not quite match up; as the adages goes, “there’s your side, there’s my side, and there’s the truth.” The judge came to the same conclusion I had throughout the course of the testimonies: that the defendant, beyond a reasonable doubt, did have sex with the accuser without her consent. In fact, she verbally said no. Nevertheless, the facts of the case trend toward a story less reminiscent of a predator roaming the streets, and more toward a young man who got caught up in sexual desire, and made a mistake. This distinction – between a violent, premeditated rape, and a rash, consequential mistake – is something that has been lost in our culture of demonizing every offender the same way. At the end of the day, the accused was found not guilty of the charge, but was found guilty of a lesser, more appropriate charge.
To be clear, I do not mean to gloss over the fact that the accused violated the woman’s right to her body. I am also not one to pretend this case is at all the same as someone being violently attacked and taken against their will. There is a very clear difference, and to suggest otherwise is a total insult to those who really can be called rape survivors. It is a sad case, undoubtedly. Two people had parts of their lives taken because of a mistake the defendant made. More importantly, however, this case also shows exactly how important, indeed vital, the system of due process is to justice. It would not be justice had the defendant been acquitted entirely because the charge was too great for the crime. Nor would it be justice for a young man to have his entire life ruined due to a non-violent mistake.
This is the reason so many of these campus tribunals fail. They fail to allow for the truth be found out, and opt, instead, for emotions to dictate the day. Some would claim that all accounts of rape, or sexual assault, must be believed. That would be a dangerous world, at best. The fact is, everyone must be considered innocent until found guilty. To be fair, no accusation of rape should ever be taken lightly. That would be an equal disservice. It’s crazy, though, to think that no one would ever lie about something so serious. We must stop conflating cat calls with sexual assault, and stop dismantling the lives of the innocent in the interest of making sure no guilty person ever goes free. Oberlin sophomore, Emily Lloyd, said that, “So many women get their lives totally ruined by being assaulted and not saying anything, so if one guy gets his life ruined, maybe it balances out.”
Asche Schow is a prolific contributor to the Washington Examiner. A high rate of her recent articles have dealt with the myth of rape culture, false assault accusations, and the lack of due process on campuses. In one article, she wrote about yet another case of due process being denied to the accused. Yet, in a turn of undeniable karma to campus feminists, and of incredible injustice to everyone else, this same lack of due process recently claimed the college career of a young woman. The young woman in question was drinking, as was the accuser. It was the male, though, who felt as though he’d been taken advantage of, and filed the complaint. According to the young man, the next day he felt regretful, and as though he had been taken advantage of by the young woman. Without any sort of due process, the woman was expelled for sexual assault. Yet again, sans due process, a student was booted from school for what amounted to a drunken mistake.
As C.W.E Bigsby wrote in his analysis of The Crucible, “John Proctor’s flaw is his failure, until the last moment, to distinguish guilt from responsibility; America’s is to believe that it is at the same time both guilty and without flaw.” The modern American collegiate culture has fostered a generation who operate only in the court of public opinion, and no longer recognize the necessity of due process and a fair trial.In Salem, twenty people were put to death, only because they were accused. There was no proof, there was no benefit of the doubt, and there was no due process. We are seeing similar occurrences, today, when people are accused of sexual assault. The public deems them guilty, and they are metaphorically killed. Due process must be brought to college campuses, if justice is really what we want.
At no point would I, nor have I, suggested that those who are guilty should not be punished. Rather, only the guilty should be punished. We are so consumed with making sure every woman is protected, that we fail to appreciate the damage false accusations can do to everyone. If it’s a witch hunt we want, though, don’t change anything. I’ll meet you out back with the torches and a pitchfork. Though, we may find ourselves hunting different monsters.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Seattle's Minimum Wage Hike Didn't Help Low-wage Workers | Foundation for Economic Education
However, as Adam Ozimek of Moody’s Analytics noted, “Simply showing that Seattle added jobs after the minimum wage hike does not disprove job losses.” In order to understand the true effect of the minimum wage increase, it is important to estimate how Seattle’s labor market and low-wage workers would have fared if the $11 minimum wage had never been enacted in the first place.
Fortunately, a team of researchers from the University of Washington were tasked with doing just that, and have recently released their initial findings on the short-run effects of Seattle’s minimum wage increase. To do this, the researchers used statistical models based on historic trends in Seattle’s labor market to predict what would have happened to it had the minimum wage never been raised.
They also compared Seattle to nearby regions in Washington, which had similar levels and trends in the economic outcomes being studied, but did not raise their minimum wages. Using both these methods, the authors were able to estimate the short-run impact of raising Seattle’s minimum wage.
Their results aren’t as rosy as some minimum wage proponents might have hoped, and they largely paint a picture of the minimum wage as an ineffective tool at increasing the earnings of workers. They found that the minimum wage had increased wages, as expected, but also that their “best estimates find that the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance appears to have lowered employment rates of low-wage workers.”
When the costs and benefits of the minimum wage were taken into account, the authors wrote that “the effects of disemployment appear to be roughly offsetting the gain in hourly wage rates, leaving the earnings for the average low-wage worker unchanged,” and that “Seattle’s low wage workers would have experienced almost equally positive trends if the minimum wage had not increased.”
Their final verdict was that: “The major conclusion one should draw from this analysis is that the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance worked as intended by raising the hourly wage rate of low-wage workers, yet the unintended, negative side effects on hours and employment muted the impact on labor earnings.”
That’s a very disappointing result for those who were under the impression that the minimum wage could actually be used as an effective tool to increase the earning of low-income working people, especially the #Fightfor15 crowd.
That’s not the only bad news regarding Seattle’s minimum wage. The authors additionally note that the “negative unintended consequences…[are] concerning and need to be followed closely in future years because the long-run effects are likely to be greater as businesses and workers have more time to adapt to the ordinance.”
Indeed, research published in 2015 by economists Jonathon Meer of Texas A&M University and Jeremy West of MIT found that the long-run disemployment effects of minimum wage increases were considerably larger than the much smaller short-run effects. In all likelihood, Seattle has not fully experienced the negative consequences resulting from its decision to raise the minimum wage.
The University of Washington study authors caution that these findings are not generalizable to other cities or regions, because “Seattle’s strong economy may make it capable of absorbing higher wages for low-wage workers, and this capacity may not be present in other regions.” Thus, it’s quite likely that other cities following Seattle’s lead would experience even worse outcomes than Seattle’s less-than-stellar results.
In sum, Seattle does not prove the efficacy of raising the minimum wage as a way of helping low-income working people increase their incomes. And unlike many cities, Seattle was well situated, economically, to handle a large minimum wage increase, and the consequences were still mediocre, leaving the average low-wage worker virtually no better off.
It is unlikely that other cities would fare better, and they would likely fare worse. If the Seattle experience thus far shows us anything, it is that government mandated minimum wages aren’t serious solutions to the problem of poverty.