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Democrats Support Minimum Wage As a Way To Get Elected In Midterm Elections

1:55 am in Uncategorized by BrandonJ

Minimum wage will be a major issue the Democrats hope will give them victory in this year’s election as a recent New York Times article shows. They hope to remove any doubts within the minds of voters due to their botched attempt at a successful Obamacare rollout by emphasizing this pressing issue.

Democrat Donkey

Political expediency leads to Democratic support for a new minimum wage.

Throughout the U.S., the issue has drawn numerous protests by fast food workers, for instance, and even is one platform Socialist Alternative member and recently sworn-in Seattle City Council member, Kshama Sawant, campaigned upon. The difference, however, between Sawant and the Democrats is that the former focused on the $15 per hour increase, while Democrats are cautious and prefer it to be lower at around $10.10 per hour.

Democrats hope to get candidates to focus on the issue, while Republicans still talk about Obamacare ahead of the midterm elections. In the piece, there is clear indication this is the preferable option for Democratic victory in Congress:

‘The more Republicans obsess on repealing the Affordable Care Act and the more we focus on rebuilding the middle class with a minimum-wage increase, the more voters will support our candidates,’ said Representative Steve Israel of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

In Nov. of last year, Gallup poll found 76 percent of Americans would support a minimum wage increase to $9 per hour, while 69 percent would do the same with the addition of it being inflation-proof.  At the same time, another Gallup poll found 50 percent of small-business owners disapprove of raising to the minimum wage and 60 percent state it would harm small-business.

The gamble taken upon the Democrats is not lost upon them and they acknowledge it will hurt some, while helping others. Indeed, the NYT article mentions some Democrats hadn’t made a decision yet due to their environment:

But in a sign that some moderate Democrats are uneasy about inflaming their local business communities, the imperiled Democratic Senate incumbents in Alaska and Arkansas, Mark Begich and Mark Pryor, have yet to embrace the ballot measures.

It must be noted the Obama administration and the rest of the Democrats prefer raising the minimum wage to $10.10, which seems to be their ideal level. Obama had previously mentioned he would raise it a meager $9 per hour, which doesn’t help considering the rhetoric coming out from numerous activists groups pushing for a much higher minimum wage.

Yet, the issue doesn’t seem to be one focused on the well-being of Americans. The entire NYT article focused upon how well the issue would work for the Democrats, rather than how well it will work for Americans. Gone are the days where Franklin Delano Roosevelt once remarked to a crowd at Madison Square Garden before the 1936 election:

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

The “business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering” group are all on the side of the Democrats, along with the Republicans, understanding that this will not place much of a dent in their profits. If it’s to calm the growing restlessness among the populace, then they will accept it.

If one Democratic politician made such a claim they welcome the hatred of the “enemies of peace,” then they would be crucified and excommunicated immediately. The reality is the rhetoric of any capitalist politician is one of accepting the status quo and fixing things through extremely slow and small methods.

We can easily understand what Obama thinks of the “enemies of peace,” considering he spoke at a Wall Street Journal CEO dinner last November. In fact, the entire speech is worth reading to contrast with Roosevelt’s attitude, but one of the most telling parts was this:

I mean, in most countries, you’ve got — you know, people call me a socialist sometimes, but, no, you’ve got to me real socialists. You’ll have a sense of what a — what a socialist is. (Laughter.) You know, the — I mean, I’m talking about lowering the corporate tax rate. My health care reform is based on the private marketplace. Stock market’s looking pretty good last time I checked, and, you know, it is true that I’m concerned about growing inequality in our system, but nobody questions the efficacy of market economies in terms of producing wealth and innovation and keeping us competitive.

We can investigate why the sudden attitude toward minimum wage increase has appeared with Karl Marx once remarking in The Communist Manifesto:

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Mark J. Perry and Wal-Mart: Why They Shouldn’t Get a Nobel Peace Prize

12:14 am in Uncategorized by BrandonJ

Black Friday, Chicago

Once again, we return to the issue of errors in economics — home of incredibly insight arguments and utterly inane contributions. For the latter category, Professor Mark J. Perry takes today’s award for his contribution of stating Wal-Mart should be given the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for improving the lives of millions of low-income consumers globally.

I’ll let that sink in.

It seems awfully difficult to grasp Wal-Mart has improved millions of lives, let alone getting the Nobel Peace Prize . It is as if Perry didn’t stop and ponder what he was writing, though he is deluded enough to believe a corporation, a metaphor for our country in terms of inequality, should be given a prize for peace. I am too afraid to even read other pieces by him if he strongly believes in such an idea.

Perry flat-out ignores most of an op-ed by Princeton University Professor Rebekah Peeples Massengill in the Washington Post, which he cites. For instance, he wrote:

Any neutral observer who looks at the significant economic benefits generated by Wal-Mart in terms of everyday low retail prices for groceries, prescription drugs, clothing, and household items that generate billions of dollars in cost savings for low-income Americans, along with millions of job opportunities in cities across America for low-income Americans with above-market compensation and significant advancement opportunities, could only come to one conclusion: Wal-Mart is truly great for low-income Americans.

With anyone in economics, readers should be extremely suspicious of a neo-classical or neo-liberal believer since they build up their case not by facts, but by rhetoric. In the Economics Anti-Textbook, economists Rod Hills and Tonny Myatt discuss the problem of rhetoric in economics:

Of course, in engaging in this gentle art of persuasion, economists use the full range of rhetorical devices. They use analogies (or metaphors), thought experiments, natural experiments, historical precedents and appeal to authority. Moreover [economist Deirdre] McCloskey argues that the official methodology — predictive power and hypothesis testing — is also rhetorical. Such tests are ornamental, designed to give an argument more authority.

Economist Robert Heilboner, also cited in the book, references McCloskey’s work, which talks about rhetoric and economics, and gives his input over it:

What McCloskey wants economists to understand is that the language of formalism and mathematics is still a language, and therefore inescapably ‘rhetorical.’ Moreover, it is a dangerous language in that it conceals the elements of judgment and moral valuations that are an intrinsic part of economics.

This comes back to two concepts — positive economics and normative economics. The former refers to ideas with facts related to them, while the latter refers to how the world ought to be. This must be noted as Perry uses rhetoric to display his version of positive economics, despite rhetoric having root in normative economics.

Yet, why does Perry ignore Massengill when she offers statistical evidence of who really shops at Wal-Mart? She wrote:

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