Saturday, April 30, 2016

Interview: The Rabid Puppies And Vox Day Bite the Hugo Awards

Interview: The Rabid Puppies And Vox Day Bite the Hugo Awards

By Louise Mensch

April 27, 2016

Tell me about the Hugo Awards. Are the Sad Puppies still sad?

The Sad Puppies are, to all intents and purposes, irrelevant. They have been replaced by the Rabid Puppies, mostly thanks to the egregiously obnoxious behavior of the SJWs in science fiction at the 2015 Hugo Awards ceremony. That converted most of the Sad Puppies to Rabid Puppies, which is why the Rabid Puppies accounted for 62 shortlist nominations of the 80 we recommended this year. The SF-SJWs said they were sending a message last year, and the message we heard was “bring more Puppies”. So we did.

Gamergate was coined by Adam Baldwin to describe SJW oppression – now liberals are trying to use it as a term of abuse. What is your view?

#GamerGate strikes fear into the heart of liberals and SJWs because it represents a turning point in 30 years of cultural war that has been nothing but one long retreat by the right in the face of continuous societal convergence.
Ironically, it was not the US Marines, or the church leadership, or the NFL that was willing to stand up and fight back against SJW attacks, it was the gamers. I am proud of my fellow #GamerGaters, and as my co-host of #GGinParis, Milo Yiannopoulos, has said, the cultural right should be looking at #GamerGate, learning from it, and applying its lessons.

Absolutely nothing that the left says about #GamerGate is true. Just today, some SJW journalist was trying to rhetorically tie #GamerGate to the suicide of a female firefighter. Not everyone who takes the time to look into the actual events leading up to #GamerGate ends up joining #GamerGate, but they do quickly learn that the mainstream media has been relentlessly lying about us. But the Left always lies relentlessly about its most effective opponents; that’s how they play divide-and-conquer.

The Media’s Hit Job on #Gamergate

By William Hicks

April 27, 2016

If you learned about Gamergate supporters from outlets like the Washington Post, the Guardian, or even Wikipedia, you would think them nothing more than a group of woman-hating, foaming-at-the-mouth psychopaths who want nothing more than to restrict gaming to a male-only hobby and fill the inboxes of all women game developers with rape threats.
Here, instead, is a sampling of how various news outlets have described Gamergate:

1. Fortune’s “Gamergate Guide”Exacerbated by a Twitter hashtag and the safety of anonymity on the Internet, the movement escalated into a groundswell of hard-core gamers threatening and intimidating female video game developers and writers over fear that the increasing number of female players will change what it means to be a “gamer.” First of all, the vast majority of Gamergaters don’t care how many female video game players exist in proportion to men.

The “gamer” identity comment refers to a backlash against a series of articles saying
gamers are dead.
These articles (here’s a list of them all) published by gaming journalists at various outlets essentially accused gamers of being misogynistic young men who lacked social interactions and understanding of the outside world. So of course there was backlash after large parts of the gaming media showed just how much contempt they have for their own audience.
2. This Guardian article

The most notorious recent example is Gamergate. Both Reddit and Twitter were epicenters of this phenomenon, where the ire of mostly male gamers was directed at a handful of female journalists whose only offense was to express their opinions in public.

Let’s look at the issues important to Gamergate. The big ones have nothing to do with female gaming journalists expressing their opinions. For instance when The Fine Young Capitalists’ initiative to sponsor women to make video games got shut down by feminist activists, the outcry had nothing to do with opinions and more to do with the hypocrisy of opposing a plan to support women because the organization is run by men.

3. The Washington Post’s “Only Guide to Gamergate You Ever Need to Read” Whatever Gamergate may have started as, it is now an Internet culture war. On one side are independent game-makers and critics, many of them women, who advocate for greater inclusion in gaming. On the other side of the equation are a motley alliance of vitriolic naysayers: misogynists, anti-feminists, trolls, people convinced they’re being manipulated by a left-leaning and/or corrupt press, and traditionalists who just don’t want their games to change. Calling yourself “the only guide you ever need to read” seems to imply objectivity. Apparently this is the only guide you need to read if you’re already convinced everything is a misogynist conspiracy and love getting your opinions validated. In reality, Gamergate has always had women, minority members, and even political liberals involved. Early on, the #NotYourShield hashtag was created to highlight women and minorities who consider themselves “gamers” and generally sympathetic to Gamergate.

4. Gawker’s Explainer of Gamergate for Non-Geeks Even regarded generously, Gamergate isn’t much more than a tone-deaf rabble of angry obsessives with a misguided understanding of journalistic ethics. But there are a lot of reasons not to regard the movement generously.
This is a great explanation coming from a tone-deaf website most noted for its celebrity stalker feature and the fact that it’s about to go belly up for publishing a sex tape.

5. The Wikipedia Article on GamergateThe Gamergate controversy centers on the harassment campaign conducted primarily
through the use of the
Twitterhashtag #GamerGate,
revolving around issues of sexism and
progressivism in
video game culture.
Gamergate is used as a blanket term for the controversy, the harassment campaign and actions of those participating in it,
and the loosely organized movement that emerged from the hashtag.
The Wikipedia page on Gamergate has been a huge source of contention for the movement. Wikipedia actively banned some editors
from editing the page and to this day it remains emphatically anti-Gamergate, in a departure from the site’s usual aim for

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What economic lessons can we learn about the $15 minimum wage law from an '$8 per pound minimum beef price law'? - AEI | Carpe Diem Blog » AEIdeas

What economic lessons can we learn about the $15 minimum wage law from an '$8 per pound minimum beef price law'? - AEI | Carpe Diem Blog » AEIdeas

meat1Here’s a quick economic quiz about the labor market, with important implications for the $15 an hour minimum wage hysteria that is sweeping the country:
True or False? Unskilled employees compete against employers in the labor market for higher wages.
Answer: False
Economic lesson: Despite what we hear from labor unions and the “Fight for $15” crowd, employees compete not against employers for higher wages, butagainst other employees. And it’s also the case that employers compete against other employers for the best employees. It’s like that in every market: buyers (employers) always compete against other buyers (employers), and sellers (employees) always compete against other sellers (employees).
For example, if you’re in the market to buy a home, you’re competing against other home buyers, not against home sellers, to get the best (lowest) price. And the home sellers are competing against other sellers to get the best (highest) price. As a result, the more buyers competing for a fixed number of available homes, the higher the home sales prices; and the more home sellers competing for a fixed number of buyers, the lower the home sales prices,ceteris paribus.
Economic implications of a $15 an hour minimum wage for the labor market: Unskilled workers compete against other workers – especially skilled workers — for a limited number of available jobs at a given point in time. If the minimum wage is increased from $7.25 or $10 to $15 an hour, that will give skilled workers an advantage over unskilled workers, and will take away from unskilled workers the one advantage they currently have to compete against skilled workers – the ability to offer to work for a significantly lower wage than what skilled workers can command. And to the extent that we remove the wage advantage for unskilled workers, we reduce their ability to compete against skilled workers, and reduce employment opportunities for those unskilled workers.
Here’s an example: Suppose that an employer can hire two unskilled workers at $7.25 an hour for a total cost of $14.50 an hour and provide them with on-the-job training, or hire one skilled worker for $20 an hour, provide no training, and get the same hourly output as two unskilled workers. Given that choice, the employer hires two unskilled workers and saves $5.50 an hour in labor costs. Now suppose that the minimum wage goes to $15 an hour, which would require the employer to pay $30 an hour for two unskilled workers. In that case, the employer would switch to hiring one skilled worker at $20 an hour over two unskilled workers, and save $10 an hour in labor costs. Result of a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour? Demand for skilled workers goes up, demand for unskilled workers goes down, and employment opportunities for unskilled workers are reduced.
Economist Walter E. Williams has used the following example to illustrate the competition described above between unskilled and skilled workers by looking at the market for different qualities of beef (see examples herehere, andhere). Suppose that hamburger sells for $4 per pound and sirloin steak sells for $8 per pound. Hamburger is a much lower quality variety of beef compared to sirloin steak, but can attract a significant number of buyers who choose hamburger over the higher quality option for the 50% savings in price. Likewise, many employers may choose lower quality, unskilled workers over higher skilled employees for the significant savings in labor costs.
But now suppose the government imposes a “$8 per pound minimum beef price law.” In that case, most shoppers who buy beef will then purchase more sirloin steak and less hamburger because the lower quality meat has lost it main weapon to successfully compete against higher quality sirloin steak – a significantly lower price that compensates for the lower quality. Result? Hamburger sales will suffer due to the “minimum beef price law” and sirloin steak sales will increase. Just like in the labor market, a $15 an hour minimum wage will remove the most effective weapon that unskilled workers currently have to compete against skilled workers – the ability to work for a lower wage. Result? Employment opportunities for unskilled and limited-experience workers will contract, while employment opportunities for skilled workers will increase.
Bottom Line: Much of the economic confusion about the $15 an hour minimum wage hysteria can be traced to the mistaken assumption that unskilled workers are competing against their employers to get higher and higher wages. That’s absolutely not the case. The economic reality is that unskilled workers compete against other workers to get higher wages, especially skilled workers, and ultimately against investments in labor-saving technologies and automation. If you understand and agree that a “minimum beef price law” would disadvantage hamburger sales and enhance sirloin steak sales, then you should also understand and agree that a $15 an hour minimum wage law would disadvantage unskilled workers and deny many of them the valuable opportunity to get an entry-level job and gain the skills, training, and experience that will put them on the path to a better and more prosperous economic future. At $15 an hour, many unskilled workers simply won’t be able to effectively compete against skilled workers and against automation, and we’ve therefore handicapped America’s most vulnerable workers by taking away from them the most effective strategy they have – the ability to offer to work for a competitive wage that is consistent with their lack of skills.
Update 3: From Walter Williams:
The steak example applies to any mandated minimum price. In the case of minimum wage laws, a mandated minimum lowers the cost of – hence encourages – the indulgence of racial preference in the labor market.
Some might object to the validity of my example by saying that people are not the same things as cuts of meat. That is true – just as steel balls are not the same as people. However, although steels balls and people are different, both obey the law of gravity. The independent influence of gravity on a steel ball’s acceleration is 32 feet per second and its influence on a person is exactly the same. Similarly, quantities demanded for cuts of meat are influenced by the law of demand, and so are quantities demanded of a person’s labor service.
Update 2: Related quote from Milton Friedman:
The minimum wage law is most properly described as a law saying that employers must discriminate against people who have low skills. That’s what the law says. The law says that here’s a man who has a skill that would justify a wage of $5 or $6 per hour (adjusted for today), but you may not employ him, it’s illegal, because if you employ him you must pay him $9 per hour. So what’s the result?  To employ him at $9 per hour is to engage in charity. There’s nothing wrong with charity. But most employers are not in the position to engage in that kind of charity. Thus, the consequences of minimum wage laws have been almost wholly bad. We have increased unemployment and increased poverty.
Update 1: In the related video below (“The Cruelty of the $15 Minimum Wage“), Don Boudreaux reminds us that “Taking away from workers an important bargaining chip, namely the ability to offer to work at a wage less than the minimum, is the cruelest thing you can do for a lot of these workers.

Teenage unemployment in cities

New research that examines New York’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) finds that participation in the program positively impacts student academic outcomes. As the authors state in the introduction, youth employment has many benefits:
“Prior research suggests that adolescent employment improves net worth and financial well-being as an adult. An emerging body of research indicates that summer employment programs also lead to decreases in violence and crime. Work experience may also benefit youth, and high school students specifically, by fostering various non-cognitive skills, such as positive work habits, time management, perseverance, and self-confidence.” (My bold)This is hardly surprising news to anyone who had a summer job when they were young. An additional benefit from youth employment not mentioned by the authors is that the low-skill, low-paying jobs held by young people also provide them with information about what they don’t want to do when they grow up. Working in a fast food restaurant or at the counter of a store in the local mall helps a young person appreciate how hard it is to earn a dollar and provides a tangible reason to gain more skills in order to increase one’s productivity and earn a higher wage.
Unfortunately, many young people today are not obtaining these benefits. The chart below depicts the national teenage unemployment rate and labor force participation rate (LFP) from 2005 to 2015 using year-over-year August data from the BLS.national teen unemp, LFP
During the Great Recession teenage employment fell drastically, as indicated by the simultaneous increase in the unemployment rate and decline in the LFP rate from 2007 to 2009. From its peak in 2010, the unemployment rate for 16 to 19 year olds declined slowly until 2012. This decline in the unemployment rate coincided with a decline in the LFP rate and thus the latter was partly responsible for the former’s decline. More recently, the labor force participation rate has flattened out while the unemployment rate has continued to decline, which means that more teenagers are finding jobs. But the teenagers who are employed are part of a much smaller labor pool than 10 years ago – nationally, only 33.7% of 16 to 19 year olds were in the labor force in August 2015, a sharp decline from 44% in 2005.
Full-time teenage employment is unique in that it has a relatively high opportunity cost – attending school full time. Out of the teenagers who work at least some portion of the year, most only work during the summer when school is not in session. Some teenagers also work during the school year, but this subset of teenage workers is smaller than the set who are employed during the summer months. Thus a decline in the LFP rate for teenagers may be a good thing if the teenagers who are exiting the labor force are doing so to concentrate on developing their human capital.
Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case. From 2005 to 2013 the enrollment rate of 16 and 17 year olds actually declined slightly from 95.1% to 93.7%.  The enrollment rate for 18 and 19 year olds stayed relatively constant – 67.6% in 2005 and 67.1% in 2013, with some mild fluctuations in between. These enrollment numbers coupled with the large decline in the teenage LFP rate do not support the story that a large number of working teenagers are exiting the labor force in order to attend school full time. Of course, they do not undermine the story that an increasing amount of teenagers who are both in the labor force and attending school at the same time are choosing to exit the labor force in order to focus on school. But if that is the primary reason, why is it happening now?
Examining national data is useful for identifying broad trends in teenage unemployment, but it conceals substantial intra-national differences. For this reason I examined teenage employment in 10 large U.S. cities (political cities, not MSAs) using employment status data from the 5-year American Community Survey (ACS Table S2301. 2012 was the latest data available for all ten cities).
The first figure below depicts the age 16 – 19 LFP rate for the period 2010 – 2012. As shown in the diagram there are substantial differences across cities.
City teenage LFP
For example, in New York (dark blue) only 23% of the 16 – 19 population was in the labor force in 2012 – down from 25% in 2010 – while in Denver 43.5% of the 16 – 19 population was in the labor force. Nearly every city experienced a decline over this time period, with only Atlanta (red line) experiencing a slight increase. Five cities were below the August 2012 national rate of 34% – Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco, and New York.
Also, in contrast to the improving unemployment rate at the national level from 2010 – 12 shown in figure 1, the unemployment rate in each of these cities increased during that period. Figure 3 below depicts the unemployment rate for each of the 10 cities.
City teenage unemp rate
In August 2012 the national unemployment rate for 16 – 19 year olds was 24.3%, a rate that was exceeded by all 10 cities analyzed here. Atlanta had the highest unemployment rate in 2012 at 48%. Atlanta’s high unemployment rate and relatively low LFP rate reveals how few Atlanta teens were employed during this period and how difficult it was for those who wanted a job to find one.
The unemployment rate may increase because employment declines or more unemployed people enter the labor force, which would increase the labor force participation rate. Figures 2 and 3 together indicate that the unemployment rate increased in each of these cities due to a decline in employment, not increased labor force participation.
The preceding figures are evidence that the teenage employment situation in these major cities is getting worse both over time and relative to other areas in the country. To the extent that teenage employment benefits young people, fewer and fewer of them are receiving these benefits. From the linked article:
“The substantial drop in teen employment prospects has had a devastating effect on the nation’s youngest teens (16-17), males, blacks, low income youth, and inner city, minority males,” wrote Andrew Sum in a report on teen summer employment for the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. “Those youth who need work experience the most get it the least, another example of the upside down world of labor markets in the past decade.”
Unfortunately, in many cities the response to this situation will only exacerbate the problem. Seattle and Los Angeles have already approved local $15 minimum wages, and a similar law in the state of New York that applies only to fast food franchises was recently approved by the state’s wage board. While many people still question the effect of a minimum wage on overall employment, there is substantial empirical evidence that arelatively high minimum wage has a negative effect on employment for the least skilled workers, which includes inner-city teenagers who often attend mediocre schools. Thus it is hard to believe that any of the seemingly well-intentioned increases in the minimum wage that are occurring around the country will have a positive effect on the urban teenage employment situation presented here. A better response would be to eliminate the minimum wage so that in the short run low-skilled workers are able to offer their labor at a price that is commensurate to its value. In the long run worker productivity must be increased which involves K-12 school reform.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

FDR's policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate | UCLA

FDR's policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate | UCLA

Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

"Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump," said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. "We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies."

In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.

"President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services," said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. "So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies."

Using data collected in 1929 by the Conference Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Cole and Ohanian were able to establish average wages and prices across a range of industries just prior to the Depression. By adjusting for annual increases in productivity, they were able to use the 1929 benchmark to figure out what prices and wages would have been during every year of the Depression had Roosevelt's policies not gone into effect. They then compared those figures with actual prices and wages as reflected in the Conference Board data.

In the three years following the implementation of Roosevelt's policies, wages in 11 key industries averaged 25 percent higher than they otherwise would have done, the economists calculate. But unemployment was also 25 percent higher than it should have been, given gains in productivity.

Meanwhile, prices across 19 industries averaged 23 percent above where they should have been, given the state of the economy. With goods and services that much harder for consumers to afford, demand stalled and the gross national product floundered at 27 percent below where it otherwise might have been.

"High wages and high prices in an economic slump run contrary to everything we know about market forces in economic downturns," Ohanian said. "As we've seen in the past several years, salaries and prices fall when unemployment is high. By artificially inflating both, the New Deal policies short-circuited the market's self-correcting forces."

The policies were contained in the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which exempted industries from antitrust prosecution if they agreed to enter into collective bargaining agreements that significantly raised wages. Because protection from antitrust prosecution all but ensured higher prices for goods and services, a wide range of industries took the bait, Cole and Ohanian found. By 1934 more than 500 industries, which accounted for nearly 80 percent of private, non-agricultural employment, had entered into the collective bargaining agreements called for under NIRA.

Cole and Ohanian calculate that NIRA and its aftermath account for 60 percent of the weak recovery. Without the policies, they contend that the Depression would have ended in 1936 instead of the year when they believe the slump actually ended: 1943.

Roosevelt's role in lifting the nation out of the Great Depression has been so revered that Time magazine readers cited it in 1999 when naming him the 20th century's second-most influential figure.

"This is exciting and valuable research," said Robert E. Lucas Jr., the 1995 Nobel Laureate in economics, and the John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. "The prevention and cure of depressions is a central mission of macroeconomics, and if we can't understand what happened in the 1930s, how can we be sure it won't happen again?"

NIRA's role in prolonging the Depression has not been more closely scrutinized because the Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional within two years of its passage.

"Historians have assumed that the policies didn't have an impact because they were too short-lived, but the proof is in the pudding," Ohanian said. "We show that they really did artificially inflate wages and prices."

Even after being deemed unconstitutional, Roosevelt's anti-competition policies persisted — albeit under a different guise, the scholars found. Ohanian and Cole painstakingly documented the extent to which the Roosevelt administration looked the other way as industries once protected by NIRA continued to engage in price-fixing practices for four more years.

The number of antitrust cases brought by the Department of Justice fell from an average of 12.5 cases per year during the 1920s to an average of 6.5 cases per year from 1935 to 1938, the scholars found. Collusion had become so widespread that one Department of Interior official complained of receiving identical bids from a protected industry (steel) on 257 different occasions between mid-1935 and mid-1936. The bids were not only identical but also 50 percent higher than foreign steel prices. Without competition, wholesale prices remained inflated, averaging 14 percent higher than they would have been without the troublesome practices, the UCLA economists calculate.

NIRA's labor provisions, meanwhile, were strengthened in the National Relations Act, signed into law in 1935. As union membership doubled, so did labor's bargaining power, rising from 14 million strike days in 1936 to about 28 million in 1937. By 1939 wages in protected industries remained 24 percent to 33 percent above where they should have been, based on 1929 figures, Cole and Ohanian calculate. Unemployment persisted. By 1939 the U.S. unemployment rate was 17.2 percent, down somewhat from its 1933 peak of 24.9 percent but still remarkably high. By comparison, in May 2003, the unemployment rate of 6.1 percent was the highest in nine years.

Recovery came only after the Department of Justice dramatically stepped up enforcement of antitrust cases nearly four-fold and organized labor suffered a string of setbacks, the economists found.

"The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes," Cole said. "Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened."