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Discussion: (205 comments)

  1. Robert puharic

    Well the real problem the right faces was outlined the other day by none other than AEI. They published a Goldman Sachs study confirming that middle class wages have been stagnant for 30 years, and are projected to remain so for the next 4 decades unless something changes.

    What are we seeing from the right to change this situation that can threaten America’s future?

    Nothing.

    1. Seattle Sam

      I wouldn’t call trying to prevent government actions that make it more expensive to hire people “nothing”.

      1. Robert puharic

        The real question is, what is the role of govt in protecting social stability? Unless conservatives can show there are no problems with economic inequality, the question they raise is specious. It’s demonstrably true that large degrees of inequality threaten a nation.

        Make it more expensive to hire people? The right has LOTS of mythologies about the way economics works, such as “Bankers can self regulate”. Any ideology having THAT as a core belief should question ALL its conclusions.

        The benefit of being a scientist is it makes you ask for data. Where’s the data that reproducibly shows raising the minimum wage costs jobs? The last time the MW was raised, unemployment went DOWN.

        Quite frankly, EVERY argument I see from the right targets middle class and lower income wage earners, to the benefit of a plutocratic elite. This is not a diatribe. It’s a request to conservatives to defend their position with evidence instead of ideology

      2. I guess the question still is: If you support min wage, do you also support politically-determined wages for all workers in all industries? Why or why not?

        1. Robert puharic

          Raising the MW indirectly affects all wages. Casey Mulligan of the U of Chicago actually suggested DROPPING the MW since a higher wage makes middle class workers ‘feel bad’ they’re losing ground against lower paid workers. That’s a race to the bottom

          As Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics showed recently, owners of capital are now pretty much unrestricted in their ability to set both their own income and the wages of workers in the economy.

          Piketty has shown that what he calls the ‘beta’…the ratio of income growth to productivity…is greater than 1 for high income owners of capital. They’re taking more out of economy than the economy is growing. The only way they can do this is by decreasing the wages of middle class wage earners.

          Again, conservatives have been unable to tell us why this is a good thing or how it leads to social stability.

        2. Seattle Sam

          Since he’s unable or unwilling to answer the direct question you asked, let me take a stab at it.

          Most of those who support a minimum wage know quite well that determining wages politically is economically disastrous. Yet they still must satisfy their need to appear munificent. Thus they target something that has high symbolism, but where the victims are relatively small in number, unorganized politically and won’t really understand why they got priced out of a job anyway. Inconsistency is the least of their concerns. As you pointed out last month it doesn’t seem to bother the NY Times that it has taken totally opposite points of view on the subject.

        3. Robert

          Raising the MW indirectly affects all wages.

          It’s impossible to tell what you mean by such a vague statement, but if there’s any effect on other wages it would be to reduce them.

          You asked about supply and demand in one comment, so I’ll assume you understand its meaning, including when the commodity being discussed is labor.

          If you arbitrarily raise the price of unskilled labor, without somehow increasing the value of the production of that labor, then you will see a decrease in the amount of unskilled labor demanded.

          There’s no other possible outcome, unless employers manage to reduce the value of total compensation to adjust for the higher cash wage, which leaves unskilled workers no better off, as they may lose paid vacation, sick days, free meals, employee discounts, company paid uniforms, etc., etc.

          The problem is that it may be hard to see exactly *where* that reduced demand shows up. It may not be in the industries most directly affected by the min wage increase, but it must happen somewhere. There is no free lunch, nor is there a free wage increase.

          1. Robert puharic

            If there’s no free lunch why did Wall Street get a TARP free lunch after costing 10 trillion in equity in 2007?

            And the ‘free lunch’ is paid for by reducing the astronomical levels of income going to elites, that threaten the long term stability of the US.

            The Goldman Sachs analysis Pethokoukis had here which he deleted, predicted wage stagnation for the middle class would continue to stagnate for 40 more years

            Isn’t that great for America!

        4. Robert

          If there’s no free lunch why did Wall Street get a TARP free lunch after costing 10 trillion in equity in 2007?

          You will have to ask those government thugs who took money out of all our pockets to provide that bailout. It sure wasn’t my idea, and I don’t know anyone who thought it was a good idea at the time, except politicos and their lackeys who wanted to assure their worried voter bases that they were “doing something”.

          You have to understand that excessive risk taking on the part of Wall St. firms was possible because of the assumption that the taxpayers would bail them out if necessary. A pretty good assumption, as it turned out.

          And the ‘free lunch’ is paid for by reducing the astronomical levels of income going to elites, that threaten the long term stability of the US.

          More nonsense. You have no idea how much anyone should be paid. A private business can pay their employees whatever they wish. If I’m a part owner, (stockholder) I can certainly complain, vote my shares, or sell them if I believe executive salaries threaten the future of the company. Otherwise, it’s none of my business, or yours. And you can bet their competitors will take full advantage if any company doesn’t make wise spending choices.

          The Goldman Sachs analysis Pethokoukis had here which he deleted, predicted wage stagnation for the middle class would continue to stagnate for 40 more years.

          Ya, likely story. If it’s a Goldman Sachs analysis why don’t you find it and post a link here?

          Isn’t that great for America!

          Who knows? Nobody but you has seen it.

          1. Robert puharic

            Well, Ron, that’s a convenient dodging of the question. We allowed bankers to self regulate, as conservatives promised they could. 450 billion later, and 8 million lost jobs, we found out these self regulating experts had no CLUE about what they were doing, except they made BILLIONS. John Thane and John Paulson, 2 guys, made 6.6 billion as the economy collapsed

            What value did they create? Jonas Salk cured polio. He made 0 and saved hundreds of millions of lives. 2 guys sold billions in securities as the economy collapsed

            Where’s the productivity so promised by conservatives…linked to wealth?

            I agree moral hazard was a prime element of the Wall Street failure. Yet conservatives like Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and others say we CAN’T break up the banks because that’s socialist regulation. So we have a condition where TBTF STILL exists.

            I have no idea how much people should be paid?

            Go ahead. Compare Jonas Salk to John Paulson. Tell me who was more productive. Tell me who made more money

            Then see why your argument fails.

        5. But in any case, you didn’t address my comment.

        6. Robert

          Well, Ron, that’s a convenient dodging of the question.

          Not at all, even though this seems to be a new subject. What happened to the min wage discussion? Do you now admit you’re wrong about it?

          The question about TARP can’t be answered except to say that it was wrong. It was a political solution by government actors, not an economic one, and it wasn’t free, it came out of taxpayer’s pockets.

          We allowed bankers to self regulate, as conservatives promised they could.

          That’s a complete strawman. Nobody has suggested that banks could regulate themselves. No business can regulate itself, but will be regulated by the market if political busybodies who think they know best stay out of the way.

          Who is we? And who are these conservatives you keep throwing up as a monolithic group?

          450 billion later, and 8 million lost jobs, we found out these self regulating experts had no CLUE about what they were doing, except they made BILLIONS.

          So why did you call it a free lunch? It obviously wasn’t free.

          John Thane and John Paulson, 2 guys, made 6.6 billion as the economy collapsed.

          How much should they have made?

          What value did they create?

          They obviously created 6.6 billion in value to someone. Do you think they stole money that wasn’t theirs?

          Jonas Salk cured polio. He made 0 and saved hundreds of millions of lives. 2 guys sold billions in securities as the economy collapsed.

          Obviously someone valued those securities at more than 6.6 billion if they bought them. What is the dollar value of those hundreds of millions of lives? If you want to compare economic value, you will need that number, and you will need to indicate to whom they have that dollar value. I don’t think you or I are qualified.

          Where’s the productivity so promised by conservatives…linked to wealth?

          Who are these conservatives who you think are forever promising things? Do you mean productivity in the economic sense, or production?

          I agree moral hazard was a prime element of the Wall Street failure. Yet conservatives like Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and others say we CAN’T break up the banks because that’s socialist regulation. So we have a condition where TBTF STILL exists.

          The problem isn’t the size of banks, it’s the TBTF notion held by political actors with their hands in taxpayers’ pockets that’s the problem.. That should be the focus of your anger. If banks assumed more of the risk of failure they would act more cautiously. Incentives matter.

          A private company risking private money is not something to worry about. We can assume that everyone involved understands what they are doing, and the risks involved. If not, they should limit their financial activities to things they understand.

          Businesses fail and die all the time. The resources they hold are then released to be picked up by others who hope to make better use of them.

          When government gets involved and a company is bailed out with taxpayer money, there’s a lot to worry about.

          I have no idea how much people should be paid?

          That’s right.

          You have no idea how much Salk’s contribution was worth, or how much you think he should have been paid.and you have no idea how much Paulson contributed, except that he exchanged several $billion in value with others.

          Keep in mind that this is an economic discussion on an economics blog, not an attempt to measure relative sainthood.

          Go ahead. Compare Jonas Salk to John Paulson. Tell me who was more productive. Tell me who made more money.

          All value is subjective. You are asking for a subjective valuation. Do you really want to know who I like better? There is no possible objective measure of comparable value. You have no idea what either one “should be paid”. You only think one contributed more than the other, but you can’t measure that difference.

          Then see why your argument fails.

          It doesn’t.

          We can discuss the relative value of Jonas Salk and Louis Pasteur if you wish, but it won’t be an economic discussion.

        7. morganovich

          robert-

          how easy it must be to argue when one simply makes up facts and ignores reality over and over.

          “We allowed bankers to self regulate”

          you have to be kidding.

          you think banking was self regulated? not even close. it is MASSIVELY regulated. it’s probably the most regulated industry in the US.

          and it did not work, because the regulation were foolish and created all manner of terrible, perverse, incentives and forced banks to make loans (at prime rates) to deeply sub-prime borrowers. those were government programs, not bankers.

          seriously, where do you get this utter nonsense?

          you sure can tell it like it ain’t.

          1. Robert puharic

            Really?

            What regulations were in place regarding the credit rating agencies for the major banking houses?

            Care to tell us?

        8. morganovich

          ““If there’s no free lunch why did Wall Street get a TARP free lunch after costing 10 trillion in equity in 2007?””

          my god.

          seriously, do you just make this stuff up?

          tarp was paid back, with interest. take out freddie and fannie (those horrific governmental hybrids) and the government and taxpayer MADE MONEY on TARP.

          so, the government forces banks to make bad loans at prices that cannot support them, then they force event he health banks to take out loans and pay interest in them, and you want to blame the bankers?

          you may have the worst command of the facts around these issues i have ever seen.

          1. Robert puharic

            Although, because of the volume of correspondence I’ve pretty much bowed out here, I have to, as usual, correct the conservative mythology, ala Animal House, that ALL IS WELL!

            TARP was paid back? Well, how fortunate. That the supply side economic blowout cost us 8 million jobs, 10 trillion in equity AND laid the moral hazard groundwork for the next banking crisis?

            Ignored by the right. That’s exactly my point. As long as elites do fine, the right can’t conceive of ANY harm to the economy from unregulated elites plying their trade. TRILLIONS lost. MILLIONS unemployed. Another TBTF banking crisis in the future and Kevin Bacon steps forward to tell us all is well because rich have recovered.

            And, regardless of how the right incessantly blames dark people for all our problems (you should see discussions on GUN CONTROL!), it was NOT lazy shiftless black people getting mortgages. I’ve run the numbers several times in this discussion for conservatives. The money isn’t there

            The money was in Wall Street with their promise, aided and abetted by conservatives, that they could self regulate. They knew, because they were rich, and the rich are perfect, how to valuate securities such as credit default swaps.

            No, Virginia, it was not black people that blew up the economy. It was rich, white, bankers.

        9. morganovich

          “What regulations were in place regarding the credit rating agencies for the major banking houses?”

          wow. you are so severely deluded it’s difficult to know where to start.

          first off, there are THOUSANDS of pages of regulations about what instruments need to be rated, what firms need to be rated, and how capital, reserves, risk, etc are to be determined. they even mandate who has to pay for it.

          if you do not know this, then you really have no business trying to have a discussion about finance.

          and this is just a sprinkle on the sundae of regulations for banks and asset managers that pages of which run into the millions. it would take you months just to read the basel accords.

          also note:

          you are not even correct in defining your terms.

          ratings agencies are NOT banks. you claimed bankers were allowed to “self regulate” then try to shift the debate to rating agencies (not bankers) while ignoring the fact that it was predominantly regulation (CRA, community rating, blackmail over banking licenses to push subprime but prevent proper pricing, and the ludicrous government support of freddy and fannie that turned them into cronies running amok with the treasury checkbook)

          so, you have now show us that you have no grasp on the facts, make them up as you go, then obfuscate by trying to (either because you are disingenuous or incapable of rigorous thought) move the goalposts.

          none of that will get anyone to take you seriously.

        10. morganovich

          no robert, it was not bankers that blew up the economy, it was rich, white, politicians who thought they knew best and wanted to redistribute wealth because they believed in cargo cult thinking and had no regard for markets.

          it was precisely the policies you champion that caused the bubble and the blow up. “hey, if we give poor people houses, voila! they’re middle class!” pure cargo cult and with predictable results.

          flood money at loans that are federally required to be made and mispriced and it can only have one result.

          you ought to bow out, you are making a fool of yourself.

          you seem incapable of basic logical thought and totally unfamiliar with the facts of the situation, yet you appeal to “data” which you never provide (and when you do, like that wealth page, it’s easily debunked crap).

          honestly, you are my new platonic form of “low inforamtion voter”.

          you have no idea what you are talking about, no desire to become informed, lack the ability to think critically, and yet you bellow absurdities as though you are some sort of informed expert.

          it would be incredibly humorous except for the fact that you are allowed to vote. that makes it tragic. fools like you will go right back and create the next crisis by failing to learn from the last one. you seem not just willing, but anxious to do all the things that made the last mess.

      3. It’s demonstrably true that large degrees of inequality threaten a nation.

        Formerly great cities, but now the most violent, bankrupt hellholes in the USA(Detroit, Flint, Baltimore, New Orleans, Camden, etc..) are all run by corrupt Democrat machines.
        It’s demonstrably true that large degree of liberalism threaten a nation.

        The benefit of being a scientist is it makes you ask for data.

        Then you should start asking for the data regarding what’s driving the inequality you’re so worried about.

        1. Che is dead

          “It’s demonstrably true that large degree of liberalism threaten a nation.”

          Bulls eye.

        2. Robert puharic

          Rush talking points aren’t an argument. The safest cities are ALSO run by Democrats. Pittsburgh, Boston, etc. And 7 of the 10 most violent states are southern, In fact, the most religious states…all southern…have a host of social pathologies such as higher poverty, low income, high rates of teen pregnancy, etc. Hell hole states all seem to be conservative.

          And I pointed out the inequality was explained by Piketty’s recent study.

        3. chuck martel

          The economics, good, bad or indifferent, of a minimum wage don’t have anything to do with the question, which is, “Does the government have the right to interfere with voluntary contracts?” Those that believe in freedom will say, “No”, those that are happy to allow their lives to be structured by professional politicians and bureaucrats will say, “Yes!”.

        4. Robert puharic

          Chuck Martel asks about the role of govt in private contracts. Conservatives still don’t get it. We’ve had 3 decades of wage stagnation for the middle class, with Goldman Sachs saying 4 more decades of stagnation

          Where’s the proof that these ‘private contracts’ are not coerced? Where’s the freedom there? An entire LIFETIME of wage stagnation for 3 generations and conservatives STILL don’t see the problem?

          Why should the middle class sign up for a contract that reduces them to a feudal state?

        5. chuck martel

          “A lifetime of wage stagnation for 3 generations”

          Where is it carved in marble that wages are supposed to increase infinitely? And what does “wage stagnation” have to do with the minimum wage? How does increasing the minimum wage alleviate wage stagnation? Gasoline prices have increased 141% since 1989 in current dollars. Does that mean wages should have gone up a similar percentage? If you believe in a minimum wage, then what you’re advocating is price-fixing, which hasn’t had a very good record of success. Venezuela comes immediately to mind.

        6. Rush talking points aren’t an argument.

          LOL. Boom, there it is. Every liberal trots out Rush, Fox News, Sarah Palin, etc. within a couple of exchanges. Every liberal thinks this is a unique and clever zinger.

          The safest cities are ALSO run by Democrats. Pittsburgh, Boston, etc.

          Even if that were true, it wouldn’t explain why the most dangerous all have Democrats at the helm, or why formerly great cities like Detroit voted GOP while they were thriving. Not everybody dies from a bubonic plague outbreak, usually the ones heaped in squalor go first. Same goes for the modern plague known as liberalism.

          But according to FBI stats, the tally is much more nuanced. The overall picture shows the more conservative, the safer. Gilbert, Az, for example, is named one of the top cities for conservatives to live: http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2013/11/gilbert_republicans_conservatives_top_city.php

          There are exceptions, of course, where white liberal hipsters congregate. Fremont, for example:

          http://lawstreetmedia.com/crime-in-america-top-10-safest-cities-over-200000/

          Both cities you mentioned, by the way, have much higher murder rates than the safest cities, according to FBI data.

          And 7 of the 10 most violent states are southern, In fact, the most religious states…all southern…have a host of social pathologies such as higher poverty, low income, high rates of teen pregnancy, etc. Hell hole states all seem to be conservative.

          I see what you did there. When you expand to statewide you have much more diverse populations that hide liberal pathologies. Tennesse, for example, is a violent state because of the big cities like Nashville and Memphis that vote for Democrats.

          And I pointed out the inequality was explained by Piketty’s recent study.

          Did Piketty have anything to say about unmarried mothers, illegal immigrants, and high school dropouts? If not, then you haven’t even begun to scratch the surface.

        7. Robert

          Chuck Martel asks about the role of govt in private contracts. Conservatives still don’t get it. We’ve had 3 decades of wage stagnation for the middle class, with Goldman Sachs saying 4 more decades of stagnation.

          Robert still doesn’t get it. He refuses to support his assertions with actual references (read *link*), refers to undefined groups, and STILL doesn’t address the actual question he was asked. “Does government have a right to interfere in private contracts?”

          Hint: the answer is no. If there is any legitimate role of government, it is to protect rights and enforce contracts. Therefore it is not the role of government to forbid people to work unless they can produce a minimum amount of value.

          Where’s the proof that these ‘private contracts’ are not coerced?

          What a nonsense question. Are you seriously suggesting that anyone is forced to accept employment under conditions at a wage to which they don’t agree? Robert still doesn’t get it. The default assumption is that voluntary contracts are just that. It is necessary to demonstrate otherwise, which would be YOUR job if you wish to imply coercion.

          Where’s the freedom there?

          Obviously there’s no freedom in slavery. Is that what you’re implying? That workers are being forced to work at low wages against their will?

          An entire LIFETIME of wage stagnation for 3 generations and conservatives STILL don’t see the problem?

          Who are these “conservatives”? And who are these poor souls for whom there’s no hope of ever making a higher wage in their entire lives? Please define your terms and be specific. Unless, that is, you realize that actual facts would undermine your appeal to emotion.

          Why should the middle class sign up for a contract that reduces them to a feudal state?

          Well, classes don’t sign up for anything – individuals do. But in any case, who or what is this middle class?

          1. Robert puharic

            It certainly IS the role of govt to prevent monopolies, oligopolies and plutocracies…at least democratic govt. What we see on the right is a high comfort level for a high concentration of power in elites.

            Yeah people are often coerced. Where there are no labor unions, as the right has guaranteed, there is no worker protection. You’re a woman who is harassed and you have no regulations banning harassment, what do you do? We have 3 people for every open job in this economy.

            The right pretends the market protect workers. The fact is, it doesn’t. I just gave an example. The right ignores this, because evidence isn’t part of the conservative mindset.

            Union jobs pay on average 20% more than non union jobs. The right is unhappy with this because of the mythology that the US is a meritocracy. That is provably false since we have the lowest social mobility of any western country except Italy (Conservatives, of course, are unaware of this.)

            http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21595437-america-no-less-socially-mobile-it-was-generation-ago-mobility-measured

            But it’s the job of liberals to educate conservatives.

        8. Robert puharic

          Paul handwaves away the fact most violent states, and states with the highest levels of social pathologies (poverty, lack of education, etc.) are southern. Since both southern AND northern states have cities run by Democrats it’s obviously not cities that are the problem. 80% of American live in urban environments.

          Unless he can find away to explain why New Orleans is the murder capital of the US and it’s in a southern state, he has a problem. Boston is safer than NO. Both are run by Democrats.

        9. Paul handwaves away the fact most violent states, and states with the highest levels of social pathologies (poverty, lack of education, etc.) are southern.

          Haha. I guess Science Guy isn’t interested in looking under the microscope. You just want to cloud the picture because the news is not good when you start looking at, you know, the “data” you claim is all you care about.

          Since both southern AND northern states have cities run by Democrats it’s obviously not cities that are the problem.

          Correct, it’s liberalism that is the problem. When it infects vulnerable populations, destruction ensues.

          Unless he can find away to explain why New Orleans is the murder capital of the US and it’s in a southern state, he has a problem.

          Uh, why is that my problem? Who cares if it’s in a southern state. Obama took 80.3% of the vote in corrupt, dangerous, and liberal New Orleans in 2012. http://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2012/11/07/orleans-80-percent-obama

          Unless you can explain why New Orleans, among other Democrat strongholds, is perennial murder capitol candidate and votes overwhelmingly for the jackass party, you have a problem.

          Boston is safer than NO. Both are run by Democrats.

          So what? Scottsdale is safer than both. And it’s run by conservatives.

          1. Robert puharic

            New Orleans is more violent than any northern city except Detroit. New Orleans is more conservative than Boston. In fact, states with conservative populations are more violent than liberal states.

        10. New Orleans is more violent than any northern city except Detroit.

          Both overwhelmingly liberal. So, that doesn’t help you at all.

          New Orleans is more conservative than Boston.

          Heh. And Obama is more conservative(maybe) than Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. So what? Both cities are Democrat strongholds and both more dangerous cities than cities that vote conservative. But wait, let’s check that pesky “data” you’re pretending to be all fired up about. Obama won 60.65% of the vote in Boston in 2012 compared to 80.3% of the vote in New Orleans. Not that it matters to my overall point, but you’re flat out laughably wrong that New Orleans is conservative.

          In fact, states with conservative populations are more violent than liberal states.

          Already covered this a few times now, Science Dude. Mixed in those conservative populations are millions of dysfunctional Democrats who commit a staggering amount of violence. Repeating your discredited talking point doesn’t make it any less invalid.

          1. Robert puharic

            The right loves circular arguments. NO is liberal and therefore violent. It’s violent and therefore liberal. Boston is liberal. It’s one of the safest cities in the nation. NY City is liberal. It has its lowest murder rate in 50 years. Chicago is liberal. Its murder rate is 1/3 that of NO.

            But NO is liberal because its violent

            Or something

        11. Haha, keep dancing, Science Dude. All you’ve done yet again is point out how the most violent enclaves are overwhelmingly liberal. On this we agree! The fact that some are more violent than others is interesting, but doesn’t refute the premise. Point to a city that is overwhelmingly conservative but competes with Detroit, New Orleans, Camden, etc in violent crime rates, illiteracy, illegitimacy, etc.

          Oh, and NYC crime is already starting to rise again under the new Marxist mayor. Come back a yr from now and how about we analyze the new data you keep pretending is all you care about.

          1. Robert puharic

            Both northern and southern states have cities run by Dems. If ALL cities are liberal then it’s CONSERVATIVES in cities that are violent, not liberals. The south is conservative. Since BOTH southern and northern cities have liberals, but southern states are more violent, it’s the conservatives who are violent.

        12. It certainly IS the role of govt to prevent monopolies, oligopolies and plutocracies…at least democratic govt.

          Look. You can’t just say “Oh, yes it is too!”, and expect to be taken seriously.

          I don’t plan to wander through every disagreement you might have with reality in this manner, as it’s obvious you have no idea what you are talking about, and don’t have any reasonable arguments on these subjects except to refer to “the right” and mutter “oh yes it is” or “no is isn’t”.

          If you want to discuss min wage or some economic issue, then answer the questions that have been posed to you before skipping on to unrelated topics.

          What we see on the right is a high comfort level for a high concentration of power in elites.

          Senseless drivel.

          Yeah people are often coerced. Where there are no labor unions, as the right has guaranteed, there is no worker protection. You’re a woman who is harassed and you have no regulations banning harassment, what do you do? We have 3 people for every open job in this economy.

          I’m sure you believe that’s all true.

          The right pretends the market protect workers. The fact is, it doesn’t. I just gave an example. The right ignores this, because evidence isn’t part of the conservative mindset.

          More senseless drivel. Try to find an actual argument to support your position on the minimum wage.

          Union jobs pay on average 20% more than non union jobs. The right is unhappy with this because of the mythology that the US is a meritocracy. That is provably false since we have the lowest social mobility of any western country except Italy (Conservatives, of course, are unaware of this.)

          More senseless drivel and a non sequitur.

          http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21595437-america-no-less-socially-mobile-it-was-generation-ago-mobility-measured

          Well! A link at last, but what does it support? Not your position, it turns out.

          But it’s the job of liberals to educate conservatives.

          LOL You’re funny.

          Even if that were true, you’re not in any position to attempt it, as your understanding of basic economics is so poor, and because you seem unable to form a cogent argument containing complete thoughts and true premises.

        13. Both northern and southern states have cities run by Dems. If ALL cities are liberal then it’s CONSERVATIVES in cities that are violent, not liberals.
          Wow, what a spectacular fail at deductive reasoning. Better turn in your Science Dude credentials. All cities are not liberal, dipshit. But the shitty ones are. I’ve already pointed out several cities run by conservatives that are safe.

          The south is conservative. Since BOTH southern and northern cities have liberals, but southern states are more violent, it’s the conservatives who are violent.

          LOL. So much for your proclaimed devotion to data. You liberals all are alike. Explain to me again how violent, welfare ridden New Orleans is conservative considering Obama took 80% of the vote there in 2012. I could point out more southern cities where the margins are similiar and also violent shit holes. You can’t explain that, so you’ll keep playing this idiotic game that convinces nobody.

      4. Seattle Sam

        Someone who believes that demand curves are not downward sloping is in a poor position to suggest that others should question question their assumptions.

        1. Robert puharic

          Are the wealthy in such great demand and such geniuses that their income was justifiably tripled in the last 3 decades? Is the middle class in such low demand and so worthless that our wages have stagnated in the last 3 decades?

          Or is this an externality? A failure of the market?

        2. Robert

          Are the wealthy in such great demand and such geniuses that their income was justifiably tripled in the last 3 decades? Is the middle class in such low demand and so worthless that our wages have stagnated in the last 3 decades?

          To answer that, you need only ask yourself whether they were paid by an employer based on a voluntary agreement. If so, then the answer must be yes – someone values those folks three times as much as they did 3 decades ago, and pays them accordingly. Do you somehow know better than an employer and employee what the correct wage should be – as you think you do with the wages of unskilled workers?

        3. Robert puharic

          Ron, owners of capital aren’t employed. They employ. And their income has tripled in the last 30 years while middle class wages have been stagnant. There’s no argument, other than a blind religious faith in the fairness of the American economic system, to say this is healthy.

          Moreover, we HAVE an example of a tremendously wealthy but UNPRODUCTIVE class…the financial sector. between 1997 and 2007 the share of corporate profits of the financial sector as a percentage of corporate profits went from 20% to 40%. The GDP collapsed. The financial sector required a bailout and we lost 8 million jobs

          But they got record bonuses in 2007. Prove they’re more productive.

        4. Robert

          ‎Ron, owners of capital aren’t employed.

          LOL Where do you get this nonsense? Can you support that sweeping statement? How about a reference?

          You’re truly amazing. (that’s not a good thing)

          They employ. And their income has tripled in the last 30 years while middle class wages have been stagnant.

          Actually business owners employ and capitalists supply capital. They may be the same person or group of people. It’s OK, I know that’s a tough distinction to understand.

          Anyone can become an owner of capital by merely consuming less than they produce. The difference is savings and investment.

          As for return to capital tripling, you understand, don’t you that capital includes automation, and labor and time saving equipment that increase productivity. The owner of that capital deserves a return for the increased productivity.

          Those who wish to be owners take risks by investing it in ideas they hope will be profitable eventually, and must wait until they actually successfully provide a good or service to customers who are willing and able to buy in quantities and at prices that return a profit to the owner, only after all expenses and inputs are paid, including labor. Otherwise the owner is SOL.

          Workers, who wish only to be employed, on the other hand, aren’t willing to take those risks, or wait for successful sales, and want a return on their production every payday, whether or not there is any profit for the owner. The premium for delayed consumption and risk is the profit, and is necessarily greater than the guaranteed, safe periodic payment to employees for their production, or there would be no reason for anyone to risk it. Everyone would choose the immediate reward of being an employee.

          There’s no argument, other than a blind religious faith in the fairness of the American economic system, to say this is healthy.

          You have provided no evidence that income inequality is unhealthy. You have made that claim, but you haven’t provided any evidence. Envy doesn’t rise to the level of a problem.

          Moreover, we HAVE an example of a tremendously wealthy but UNPRODUCTIVE class…the financial sector.

          Unproductive? What dummies are paying these financial people for nothing? Are they getting no value back?

          Unless you are accusing someone of outright theft, we must assume that people are paid for some value received by their employer or customer. Just because you don’t understand what it is, doesn’t make it less valuable.

          between 1997 and 2007 the share of corporate profits of the financial sector as a percentage of corporate profits went from 20% to 40%.

          So what?

          But they got record bonuses in 2007. Prove they’re more productive.

          No, they got bonuses because they met the conditions in their employment agreements for getting bonuses. You and I don’t know what was in those agreements, so we don’t know why they got bonuses. You are just making things up and assuming things not in evidence.

          I don’t need to prove anything. Your ignorance isn’t my problem.

      5. givemefreedom

        “This is not a diatribe.”

        Well, it really sounded like a diatribe, sure smelled like a diatribe, and definitely looked like a diatribe. So you know my feelings about whether it is a diatribe. I’ll leave everyone else to make their own decision about whether this was a diatribe.

        On second thought, maybe it was a rant.

        You are a scientist so you say, then answer Dr. Perry’s question like a scientist, with facts and logic. No Rant or Diatribe please.

        1. Robert puharic

          I cited the Goldman Sachs report issued by AEI. They’re the ones saying middle class incomes haven’t grown in 30 years and are not going to grow in the next 40.

          Why do conservatives think that’s a good thing? Ever hear of ‘supply and demand’?

      6. Robert puharic

        The real problem is…

        No, the real problem is that by attributing ideas, positions, and arguments to “the right” or “conservatives”, or any other undefined group, you have conveniently avoided addressing the issues themselves.

        You have mentioned a study without actually citing it, as if you expect others to search for evidence supporting your statements. How about a link?

        You spout generalities about things like “economic inequality”, “middle class”, “threatens America’s future”, etc., without defining or explaining those terms, all the while tying them together with non sequiturs and strawmen. How about presenting an actual argument, and supporting it?

        Try something like: “I believe the min wage should be raised because…”

        If you wish to be taken seriously, you will have to do much better than this, or it will continue to appear that you are just making appeals to emotion and class envy.

        As a start, you might consider addressing Dr. Perry’s question: “If you support min wage, do you also support politically-determined wages for all workers in all industries? Why or why not?”

        In other words, if you believe the correct amount to pay unskilled workers can be determined by the state, do you also believe the state can determine the correct amount for all workers?

        Looking forward to your answer.

        1. Robert puharic

          Go yell at AEI. They deleted the report which they published here:

          http://www.aei-ideas.org/2014/02/goldman-sachs-takes-sides-in-the-great-stagnation-debate/

          See the reference to Goldman Sachs and stagnation in the URL? I’ve emailed Pethoukis to ask him why it was deleted.

          If you need a primer on things like inequality, middle class, etc. perhaps you should seek that elsewhere. I’ve noticed that conservatives rely on liberals to educate them. I’m not surprised that’s the case here.

      7. Robert

        Go yell at AEI. They deleted the report which they published here:

        You don’t get it. It’s not my job to complain about your supporting links not working, or chase down your material for you. Put up or shut up.

        http://www.aei-ideas.org/2014/02/goldman-sachs-takes-sides-in-the-great-stagnation-debate/

        See the reference to Goldman Sachs and stagnation in the URL? I’ve emailed Pethoukis to ask him why it was deleted.

        Good for you. Meanwhile, you can’t use it for support.

        If you need a primer on things like inequality, middle class, etc. perhaps you should seek that elsewhere. I’ve noticed that conservatives rely on liberals to educate them. I’m not surprised that’s the case here.

        What I need, if we are to discuss these topics, is for you to define the terms you are using. There is no agreed on, standard definition for the term “middle class”, for example, so YOU need to define what it means to YOU if you plan to use it. Why is this so difficult for you?

      8. Darryl B

        Ron H.
        You have provided some great, cogent, logically sound responses. I wish that I could elaborate that which I know to be true as well as you do (and several others on here as well). I also see that it’s hard to employ logic against an ideology so you may be wasting your breath with Robert. But it IS entertaining nonetheless.

        1. Why, thank you Daryl. It’s good to hear that someone has enjoyed this thread, and that I’m not just stringing words together to no effect – an easy thing to conclude when responding to an impenetrable wall of willful ignorance and nonsense like Robert.

          If anything I’ve ever written has caused someone to feel more comfortable with natural rights, liberty, free markets, capitalism, very limited or no government, or Austrian economics, Then it’s well worth while.

          I would encourage you to write comments here or on other blogs you enjoy for the practice, and to sharpen your writing skills if you feel they’re rusty. Blogs are a very informal format, and the exchange of ideas and views is entertaining and enlightening. I learn something almost every day.

        2. Today, for instance, I learned that the People’s Ignorant Leftist Party (PILP) has a new poster child who goes by the name Robert puharic

    2. Che is dead

      Are we talking wages net of benefits? Because compensation is more and more taking the form of benefits, like health care.

      1. Robert puharic

        Of which the US has the highest cost in the world. And, again, conservatives have done NOTHING to mitigate costs OR do what every single advanced nation in the world has successfully accomplished.

        And no, it’s not communist to build on an argument first noted by Goldman Sachs that we have a problem. GS isn’t famous for beret wearing.

      2. Of which the US has the highest cost in the world.

        Another non sequitur! You just don’t get it.

        1. Robert puharic

          Ron, don’t yell at me. Yell at Feldstein. He’s the one making the argument that wages and compensation are identical. They’re not.

        2. Robert puharic

          The right says compensation increases even though wages don’t. They say the radical run up in healthcare costs, unequaled ANYWHERE in the world, and paid for by middle class wage earners, should be proof WAGES increase

          Wages didn’t increase.

          You just don’t get it.

    3. First, where is this AEI link that you’re talking about. I searched the site and couldn’t find it.

      Second, what will the minimum wage do, even if this was true? It won’t increase productivity, which is the only way for wages to increase; otherwise, all you get is stagflation.

      Unless conservatives can show there are no problems with economic inequality, the question they raise is specious

      This is a remarkably ignorant statement. As the burden is on you to show how your preferred government intervention (which replaces consumer preferences with politicians’ and bureaucrats’ preferences) will actually protect “social stability”. If you are arguing for the use of the police state to force specific economic transactions, the burden is on you to prove the use of that force is necessary. As free citizens, we don’t have to justify our actions to government officials.

      “Bankers can self regulate”.

      People who assert that this is what’s being said are either political hacks lying through their teeth or completely ignorant of what’s being said. In free markets, consumers regulate producers. Consumers can choose among competing banks to save or buy loans from or refrain all together from using banks. In government regulated systems, the preferences of consumers are replaced, by force of the police state, with the preferences of politicians and bureaucrats.

      EVERY argument I see from the right targets middle class and lower income wage earners, to the benefit of a plutocratic elite

      Of course, this is complete nonsense, as an arbitrary price floor on wages hurts low wage workers.

      1. Robert puharic

        If wages are linked to productivity, why are the incomes of the wealthiest increases FASTER than productivity while middle class wages are STAGNATING? I though wages were linked to supply and demand. Where’s the proof the wealthiest are 300% more in demand than they were 30. So right away we have a market failure

        And if you think 7 decades of inequality is nothing to be worried about, perhaps the example of Somalia will change your mind. The use of force is necessary because, as history shows, at SOME point it WILL be necessary. Either economic force today or military force as in Somalia.

        Consumers don’t regulate producers if producers have an oligopoly or monopoly. And if wages are stagnant for decades, demand will change to reflect that, impoverishing society.

        Govt exists to balance rights. Tom Perkins and other plutocrats think our society should be organized on 1 dollar, 1 vote. Thus the buying of our economy by the Koch Bros and other plutocrats. And thus 3 decades of wage stagnation

        Again, the right fails to tell us why decade after decade of wage stagnation, while the 1% TRIPLED their income, is either reflective of a market, or is a good thing. By definition, if the market fails the middle class, there’s no reason why this market model should be SUPPORTED by the middle class

      2. morganovich

        “If wages are linked to productivity, why are the incomes of the wealthiest increases FASTER than productivity while middle class wages are STAGNATING”

        1. they aren’t. repeating this trope over and over will not make it true.

        2. wages need not be linked to productivity. if you are a ditch digger and i, you boss, buy a backhow for you to use, this makes you more productive, but that productivity comes mostly from MY capital, not your labor, so why are you entitled to the surplus i created?

        “And if you think 7 decades of inequality is nothing to be worried about, perhaps the example of Somalia will change your mind. The use of force is necessary because, as history shows, at SOME point it WILL be necessary. Either economic force today or military force as in Somalia.”

        pure, unmitigated, rattle headed nonsense.

        somalia is a basic failure to protect rights, not an issue of inequality.

        “Consumers don’t regulate producers if producers have an oligopoly or monopoly. And if wages are stagnant for decades, demand will change to reflect that, impoverishing society.”

        again, wages have NOT been stagnant for decades. please stop repeating this absurd lie.

        name any producer in the us currently enjoying a monopoly and using it to gouge on price (other than the government).

        we live in an age where one guy can, far more esily than ever before, reach many.

        thus, sergey brin gets very rich. but what you leave out is that he can ONLY do so by making lots of people better off. many, many people use google, gmail, android, etc. they are all better off for so doing (or whay would they do it?)

        this is what you do not seem to understand about capitalism.

        google is not some lord extracting rents from serf tenants.

        they need to attract and satisfy customers. to do this, they must offer them a proposition they value more than the price.

        thus, sergei can ONLY get rich by making people better off.

        you seem to be suffering from some severe delusions about both economic reality and how capitalism works.

        1. morganovich

          “why are the incomes of the wealthiest increases FASTER than productivity”

          whose productivity and how are you measuring that?

          for a guy who claims to like data, you never seem to provide any, just outlandish claims. your comments read like some sort of neo-communist babble laced with falsehoods and made up claims.

          if your productivity gains are predicated on using MY capital, then i am going to take some of them.

          this is just and right.

          why would i (or anyone) spend money on capital investments that yield no return?

          you do not seem to have even a basic grasp on how a business works.

      3. why are the incomes of the wealthiest increases FASTER than productivity

        The wealthiest people are the most productive. You would expect the wealthiest people’s incomes to increase faster than average productivity.

        Where’s the proof the wealthiest are 300% more in demand than they were

        They get paid more. The realities of the market place are real and harsh. People who add more value get paid more. In a free market, the proof that someone adds more value is that they get paid more.

        The primary problem with people like you is your very outsized sense of worth. You think you should earn more than you do; however, when you enter the real world and find out just how little you’re actually worth (which is actually a tremendous amount by the way, you just think otherwise because others are much better adding value than you), you get all bent out of shape.

        Imagine this scenario: an mean, ugly man is upset because he can’t convince a woman to sleep with him, but he sees and his charming, handsome neighbor come home with a different woman every night. This is “inequality”, according to you, and the fix should be to force women to sleep with the mean, ugly man, and prevent women from sleeping with the charming handsome man. Would you ever make a policy recommendation using the police state to forcibly make women sleep with the mean, ugly man? If not, why not? How is this different from using the police state from taking from the more productive and giving to the less productive?

        So right away we have a market failure

        False.

        And if you think 7 decades of inequality is nothing to be worried about, perhaps the example of Somalia will change your mind.

        Your claim is that the primary driver behind Somalia is income inequality? You can’t be serious, are you? The primary driver behind Somalia being the basket case it is is the lack of the rule of law.

        Consumers don’t regulate producers if producers have an oligopoly or monopoly.

        Which markets are run by monopolies and oligopolies? The first ones that come to mind, telecommunications, are government granted monopolies. I can’t think of a single monopoly that emerged in a free market. If you can, I’d appreciate the example.

        Govt exists to balance rights.

        wrong. The US government exists to protect rights that people all ready have.

        Lastly, there is no wage stagnation. The wage stagnation debate centers on household incomes. However, households size has declined, meaning income per capita has been increasing. The “wages have stagnated” argument is based on a lack of understanding of statistics. Statistics, as with all branches of mathematics, is a subtle subject full of all sorts of weird, counter intuitive results. In particular, it’s possible for the median wage to stay the same and even decrease, even as everyone’s wage increases. This is due to the reality that the group of earners in 1980 is not the same group as today.

        1. Additionally, the focus on wages is a red herring. If you focus on total compensation, i.e., all benefits and wages, then it becomes incredibly clear that economic stagnation is a myth. Another easy way to see what a myth your assertion is is simply to look at consumption. The poorest Americans consume more today than the middle class did in the 1970’s, whereas the middle class today consume much as the wealthiest Americans did in the 1970’s.

          In other words, your assertion that economics stagnation has set in in the US is a faith based myth, rather than an empirically defensible hypothesis.

        2. Robert puharic

          Ken says the driving force in inequality in Somalia is the lac of law. That is, the lack of regulation.

          Yeah. Go figure.

          The most productive are the most wealthy? More mythology from the right. Prove it. Between 1997 and 2007, the financial sector DOUBLED its profits as a share of GDP. We went into the deepest recession in 80 years

          Wall Street made record profits. As Paul Volcker pointed out, GDP growth went NEGATIVE

          Again and again the right keeps showing they live on mythology

        3. Jon Murphy

          Law does not equal regulation.

          1. Robert puharic

            And yet often it does. Strange how that works

        4. the lac of law. That is, the lack of regulation.

          This is incredibly false. The rule of law is the cultural invention, unique to the west, that people and their property are theirs and not subject to the arbitrary whims of those who happen to have a bigger gun, also known as the king and his entourage the aristocracy.

          The most productive are the most wealthy? More mythology from the right. Prove it.

          This the definition. If I voluntarily trade $10 for product X from producer A and I voluntarily trade $15 for product Y from producer B, then by definition product Y is more valuable. If producer B can produce Y at the same rate that producer A can produce product X, then by definition producer B is more productive, adding more value than producer A.

          Between 1997 and 2007, the financial sector DOUBLED its profits as a share of GDP. We went into the deepest recession in 80 years

          Don’t you think it’s strange that the best example you can come up with is a sector that is heavily controlled by the government? I also think it’s sad that you think that such a monumental failure of a government run market is evidence for more government.

          This is what’s known as a logic fail.

          1. Robert puharic

            Well law is subject to manipulation by elites. In fact some elites, like Tom Perkins, have suggested law be based on 1 dollar, 1 vote. The right isn’t shy about its view of law and wealth.

            You say the rich are more productive BY DEFINITION. Al Capone was rich. Idi Amin was rich. Paris Hilton is rich.

            Although you may call this a reductionist argument, it certainly points to a problem with your mythology

            The fact is Wall Street doubled its profits in the 10 years between 1997 and 2006. As Paul Volcker pointed out, our economy collapsed

            Wall Street financiers got enormously rich. The GDP SHRANK. Thus your mythology is simply wrong.

        5. Jon Murphy

          And yet often it does.

          No. legislation = regulation. Law does not equal legislation. They are two fundamentally separate concepts.

        6. You say the rich are more productive BY DEFINITION.

          Of course, this is not what I said. I said high incomes in a free market (why do you dishonestly leave out this very important qualifier?), by definition, means you are adding more value. Al Capone got rich by selling people a product they wanted, as well as manipulating the legal regulation people like you put in place. Idi Imin got rich by using the police state to steal wealth. Paris Hilton is rich because her parents added an enormous amount of value to people’s lives and they have the right to dispense that wealth as they see fit, regardless of what your thieving mind would want. Additionally, Paris Hilton provided enormous value to many people in the form of entertainment. In other words, Idi Amin’s wealth was aquired only a little like Al Capone’s and nothing like Paris Hilton’s.

          1. Robert puharic

            Robert Solow a few weeks ago wrote an article in the “New Republic’ showing why a ‘free market’ in a modern industrial state is impossible. There are too many variables, and most companies try to take themselves OUT of the ‘free market’ by product differentiation, selling value added rather than commodity products

            Liberals recognize this complexity of the market. Conservatives don’t. Conservatives are fundamentalist in religion and fundamentalist in economics.

            And far be it from me to argue against your worship of wealth by using Idi Amin, who destroyed the market, as a marker of success. Or Paris Hilton who successfully inherited wealth!

        7. And lastly, you have yet to say what any of this has to do with the minimum wage.

        8. Robert Solow a few weeks ago wrote an article in the “New Republic’ showing why a ‘free market’ in a modern industrial state is impossible.

          This is odd. The other day, I went to the grocery store, without anybody forcing me to, and the grocery store wasn’t forced open by anyone, to peacefully and cooperatively trade my money for food.

          companies try to take themselves OUT of the ‘free market’ by product differentiation

          This doesn’t even make sense. A BMW M3 is different from a Kia Sephia, but they are still in the car market. Many don’t find the BMW M3 worth the money and buy Kia Sephia’s. Others do. Don’t kid yourself, though, the BMW had taken “themselves OUT” of the car market.

          Liberals recognize this complexity of the market.

          Of course, this is the lie of the century. The complexity of the market is such that central planning makes markets work less efficiently, thus make people’s lives worse off. Central market planning, i.e., substituting consumer preferences with planners’ preferences, is about ignoring the complexities of consumer demands. This is why liberals think instituting a minimum wage will increase wages. Liberals think that markets are simple and that there is absolutely no way business owners and employers could do anything other than increase labor costs.

          And far be it from me to argue against your worship of wealth by using Idi Amin… as a marker of success.

          I quite literally said the exact opposite.

          Or Paris Hilton who successfully inherited wealth!

          Which I mentioned. Why do you deny she created wealth by entertaining hundreds of millions of people?

          1. Robert puharic

            Ken doesn’t read too well. A BMW is different than a Kia. If cars were in a ‘free’ market, car makers would be price takers. BMW wouldn’t be able to charge a premium for its product since that would bankrupt it.

            The right characterizes anyone who wants a responsibly regulated market as a Marxist. Adam Smith recognized that, if a market was unregulated, businessmen would, in his words, ‘conspire against the public interest’ to fix prices, etc. Which is what we had in the 19th century

            Guess we all know what a commie Smith was. But the right invents all kinds of myths to legitimize unregulated power by financial elites, no matter how often that policy fails

            And if you’re so desperate that proof the rich are successful is that someone who INHERITED wealth is, by definition, successful, well, the right does have its circular arguments. She leveraged her enormous wealth. Rich people do that.What would she be if she was born in Newark?

            Your argument begs the question.

        9. A BMW is different than a Kia.

          I said exactly this. This in no way changes the fact that they both are in the car market. The substitution effect is real and has complex and long ranging interactions. In fact, the market in which these companies are includes ALL transportation precisely because of transportation effects.

          If cars were in a ‘free’ market, car makers would be price takers.

          This doesn’t even make sense.

          The right characterizes anyone who wants a responsibly regulated market as a Marxist.

          I have yet to hear you talk about any sort of “reponsibl[e] regulat[ion]” for any market. The minimum wage certainly isn’t.

          Adam Smith recognized that, if a market was unregulated, businessmen would, in his words, ‘conspire against the public interest’

          He also understood that in free markets, this is pretty much impossible. Competitors recognize clearly that they can easily beat any colluding set of competitors by simply lowering prices a little bit. This siphons off customers from the colluding set of businessmen who are then forced to lower prices or increase quality or both.

          Businessmen, in fact, collude with government regulators against the public interest, which is why we have billionaire bankers amidst a collapsed mortgage market. The cigarette market is another great example. Because of the cigarette settlement, cigarette companies colluded with politicians to raise the price to entry into that market prohibitive.

          She leveraged her enormous wealth.

          So? Americans, all of them, inherited trillions of dollars worth of wealth that we inherited. You, nor I, invented English, electricity, the computer, built our huge highway system, and so forth. But each of us leverage that wealth to make even more wealth. All Americans, by simply being in this country, live better than 99% of all humans that have ever existed because of our inheritance. If humans didn’t inherit things and knowledge from one generation to the next, we’d still be living on the savannas running down our prey, hoping not to be eaten by another predator.

          Rich people do that.

          Because as we all know, Bill Gates inherited Windows, right? Tell me, from whom did Conrad Hilton inherit all his hotels? The vast majority of rich people are more rich (since all Americans are incredibly wealthy) for the same reason that Bill Gates and Conrad Hilton are (were in Conrads case, since he’s now dead), they created it.

          While in your mythologized world the only reason rich people are rich is because they inherited it, then it is your argument that is circular. Rich people are rich because they inherited it, who inherited from their parents, who inherited from their parents and so forth.

          1. Robert puharic

            Where do we have a ‘free market’? Only in labor. In most industries, in fact in over half, we have just a few large companies dominating the market. And we have 3 people for each available job. As Thomas Piketty points out, capital owner’s income has been rising faster than productivity for decades. That is unsustainable except by decreasing the wages of the middle class, which is what we see.

            Corporate America is sitting on more money than at any time in history. Worker’s wages are at the lowest percentage of GDP than at any time in history.

            Tell me where the market is there. AND if that’s the market then why should the middle class support an economic system that reduces their wages for decades.

        10. morganovich

          “Robert Solow a few weeks ago wrote an article in the “New Republic’ showing why a ‘free market’ in a modern industrial state is impossible. There are too many variables, and most companies try to take themselves OUT of the ‘free market’ by product differentiation, selling value added rather than commodity products”

          this is the stupidest thing you have said yet, and that’s really saying somehting.

          a free market does NOT imply that all products are commodities. that’s the most insane definition i have ever heard.

          if there are 20 restaurants in your town, each with a different menu, you still have a free market for restaurants. you pick the one that best lines up with your taste preferences and cost/benefit values.

          if there are none that suit you and others feel likewise, then there is incentive for someone to open a restaurant that would and win you as a customer.

          by your logic, there can be no free market in movies unless all movies are the same.

          seriously, do you even stop to think about this stuff before you mindlessly regurgitate it?

        11. There are too many variables, and most companies try to take themselves OUT of the ‘free market’ by product differentiation, selling value added rather than commodity products

          You are partly right. Companies do try to take themselves out of the free market to avoid competition. They do that by enlisting the force of government in the form of regulations that disadvantage competitors or limit consumer choices.

          1. Robert puharic

            AND by enacting legislation that breaks up labor unions, guts environmental protection laws, worker health and safety laws, etc. A few weeks ago, the Tea Party governor of Maine suggested we repeal child labor laws.

            19th century, here we come

            Not all regulation is bad, regardless of what conservative fundamentalism says. Again, why should a middle class support an economic system that does not increase wages for the middle class?

            Conservatives assume that income distribution in the US is fair and provides an incentive to work.

            They’re wrong.

        12. Where do we have a ‘free market’? Only in labor.

          Ha! I laugh in your face. The entire point of Mark’s post is that the labor market is most assuredly not a free market. If you can’t freely negotiate a price for labor with whomever you want, at whatever level you mutually agree on, without government intervention, then by definition, you do not have a free market.

          Since government routinely interferes with whom you can hire and dictates many of the terms, regardless of what employees and employers want, the labor market is most certainly not a free market.

          1. Robert puharic

            So you’re saying the free market has failures and it’s necessary for govt to step in?

            Yes. That’s the basis of much of the disagreement between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives have worked diligently to eviscerate any power on the part of middle class Americans to have any control over wages. Which is why they’ve been stagnant for 30 years while the right told us it’s because the rich are ‘more productive’ and ‘successful’.

            Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

        13. morganovich

          “NEWSFLASH! Most workers are NOT supervisory!”

          wow, you really are this stupid, aren’t you?

          most workers are not in production either.

          manufacturing is 12.5% of GDP.

          most people work in services or in newer industries based around knowledge where the biggest productivity gains have come.

          you do not even know what the terms you are using mean, yet you bluster about others inability to think?

          wow.

          loud, stupid, and ignorant is no way to go through life son…

        14. So you’re saying the free market has failures and it’s necessary for govt to step in?

          No. I’m saying there are arrogant fools like you who think that this is the case.

          The first bad assumption that you make is that the market fails if people don’t make what you think they should make. The reason that is bad is that you assume that you have better knowledge than the people actually involved in the trade, which is certainly false.

          The second bad assumption you make is that government actually has the legal/constitutional authority to “step in”. It doesn’t, BTW. The federal government has only 17 powers enumerated in the constitution in Article 1, Section 8. And the tenth amendment makes it crystal clear that those are the only powers it has.

          The third bad assumption that you make is that a government official can actually “step in” and make things better. We literally have thousands of years of evidence of arrogant politicians thinking they know better and “step in” and make things worse. The minimum wage is an excellent example of making low wage workers’ live worse off by pricing them out of the market and making it harder to find work and increase hours after (if ever) they find work.

          1. Robert puharic

            For 3 decades elites have trammeled on the middle class with stagnant wages while their incomes increased 300%

            If that’s not a market failure, what is? And why should the middle class continue to support a system that provides NO social mobility and only makes the rich richer

            The right can’t answer. Another epic fail

        15. For 3 decades elites have trammeled on the middle class with stagnant wages

          Why do you continue to tell this lie after I’ve all ready proven to you this is not the case? If you have to lie to try to make your case, then you have a lousy case.

          Also, even if it was true, why are you so upset that others are getting richer? Are you really so envious and covetous that you cannot understand just how wealthy you actually are? You do know that people don’t get rich by making others poor, in a free market, don’t you? Bill Gates in fact became filthy rich by enriching billions of other people’s lives.

          If that’s not a market failure, what is?

          A market failure has a specific meaning. Why don’t you take the time to educate yourself on the meaning of that term? Just because some people make trades you don’t like is most definitely not evidence of a market failure. It merely means other people have different preferences and priorities than you do. Why do you arrogantly assume that your is the one true way and all other ways are failures?

          a system that provides NO social mobility

          This is incredibly false, as the US has the same level of social mobility it has always had: a pretty good level.

          only makes the rich richer

          The economic system in the US makes everyone richer. As I’ve pointed out to you, those who are said to live in poverty in the US today in 2014, actually live better material lives than the middle class did in 1970.

          I also noticed that you failed again to address any specific point I made. You simply emoted and badly spewing verifiably and obviously wrong statements.

        16. A few weeks ago, the Tea Party governor of Maine suggested we repeal child labor laws.

          That sounds like an excellent idea. Do you see any problem with that?

      4. Jon Murphy

        Can we drop this whole “wages aren’t keeping up with productivity” meme? It’s demonstrably untrue.

        And can we drop this “people are better off with less income inequality” meme? That, also, Demonstrably untrue

        Like I said, lots of talking points, no real analysis.

        1. Robert puharic

          http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116361/17-charts-about-inequality-obama-should-read

          Check the chart on productivity vs real wages

          Also check the chart entitled “IT ISN’T JUST WAGES, DIFFERENCES IN CAPITAL INCOME HAVE SKYROCKETED OVER THE LAST DECADE”

          If Feldstein is right..how does one account for the ENORMOUS increase in elite income over the last 30 years? Far ABOVE inflation. It’s not like rich people are 300% more valuable than they were 30 years ago.

          Feldstein peforms a bit of sleight of hand that confuses conservatives. He talks TOTAL COMPENSATION while most normal economists talk WAGES. Total compensation includes skyrocketing healthcare costs. The US has the most expensive healthcare costs in the world. Conservatives have, of course, done nothing about this because, as Feldstein’s figures show, the middle class pays for these, so the fact their wages are stagnant is irrelevant.

        2. Jon Murphy

          So, you don’t know how math works? Because that is all I am getting from your comment.

          1. Robert puharic

            You said my claim that WAGES weren’t increasing with inflation was untrue.

            As proof you cited a reference regarding TOTAL COMPENSATION.

            If you’re gonna move the goalposts, please get the permission of the NFL, OK?

            There’s a difference between WAGES and TOTAL COMPENSATION. That’s where the math is. You confused yourself.

        3. Jon Murphy

          You’re right. There is.

          Total Compensation is the whole picture. Wages are one small portion.

          I focus on the big picture. I do not like to make sweeping statements about a single section. It would be like saying a forest is dying because one tree is.

          To make such a claim would make one look foolish.

          However, the math thing is because you don;t seem to realize that nothing can equal more than 100%

        4. morganovich

          “Check the chart on productivity vs real wages”

          read the footnote dufus.

          the hourly wage is for production, non supervisory workers.

          productivity is for the whole economy.

          it’s pure apples and oranges.

          so, you take out managers, knowledge workers, and the whole service sector and then use just the sector that is most susceptible to foreign competition (manufacturing) and then try to compare it to the whole economy?

          you clearly do not have the slightest idea how to handle data or compare series.

          the links you are citing are the economics equivalent of phlogiston.

          the apples and oranges nature of most of those graphs is obvious to anyone with even rudimentary critical thinking abilities.

          you are talking some serious tripe here robby.

          1. Robert puharic

            NEWSFLASH! Most workers are NOT supervisory!

            I’ve seen this comment before. It never fails to amaze me how few critical thinking skills conservatives have.

            Which is WHY they ARE conservative.

        5. morganovich

          oh, and for the record, most of us here are decidedly NOT conservative.

          in fact, most of us are less so that you are as you hold a great many statist views, whereas most of us do not.

          your comments are like a straw man wrapped in a lie inside a logical fallacy.

          with so much muddled absurdity in your head, it’s a wonder you can dress yourself.

          you can, right?

      5. Robert puharic

        By the way the reason you can’t find the reference is it’s been deleted for some reason by AEI

        http://www.aei-ideas.org/2014/02/goldman-sachs-takes-sides-in-the-great-stagnation-debate/

        See the reference to Goldman Sachs? Now the article is gone.

      6. Jon Murphy

        So, you’re saying we should just take your word for it? You haven’t been right about anything here today. Why should we trust you now?

        1. Robert puharic

          You said I’m right it was deleted. Then you said I’m not right. Check the title of the URL. Even you can read.

        2. Jon Murphy

          All I see is a broken link and your insistence that “yeah, guys, it totally was there!”

          1. Robert puharic

            No, what you see is a URL containing a reference to Goldman Sachs and wage stagnation that was removed by AEI.

            Perhaps you right wingers should query AEI why they removed a link embarrassing conservative economics

        3. Jon Murphy

          What’s to say you didn’t type it to say that?

          It ain’t that hard.

          For example:

          http://www.nytimes.com/obama-says-he-hates-poor-people

          It may have been removed. It may not have been. I don’t know. But what I do know is your amazing inability to get the facts right or talk intelligently about anything or repeat anything that isn’t a discredited talking point doesn’t give me much reason to believe you.

      7. Robert

        If wages are linked to productivity, why are the incomes of the wealthiest increases FASTER than productivity while middle class wages are STAGNATING?

        It should be clear from that, that the highest wage earners are responsible for more of the productivity gains than that poor stagnant middle class.

        If you increase your productivity by 100% and I increase mine not at all, overall productivity would increase by 50%, and you could expect your pay to increase by something close to 100%, while I shouldn’t expect any increase at all. It’s just simple math. No need to stamp your foot and shake your fist at those unfair capitalist pigs.

        Incidentally, you may be confusing wealth and income. Did you mean to write that the incomes if high earners are increasing faster? You wrote “the wealthiest”, but those aren’t necessarily the same thing.

        I though wages were linked to supply and demand.

        They are.

        Where’s the proof the wealthiest are 300% more in demand than they were 30 [years ago?]. So right away we have a market failure.

        You previously wrote about incomes “tripling” which is 200% more, not 300% more. Numbers are important when making strong claims.

        In any case, the proof is in the pudding, as they say. The fact that someone *willingly* pays the “wealthiest” 200% more, means they are valued at 200% more. Just like you and me, employers seldom pay more than they have to for anything, but they WILL pay for what they value.

        And if you think 7 decades of inequality is nothing to be worried about, perhaps the example of Somalia will change your mind.

        Another non sequitur! You must have an endless supply of them! I have a sneaking suspicion you know almost nothing about Somalia.

        The use of force is necessary because, as history shows, at SOME point it WILL be necessary.

        LOL And here we have the ultimate circular argument.

        Either economic force today or military force as in Somalia.

        It’s economic forces you’ve been complaining about – including supply and demand. you must mean political force now or military force as in Somalia.

        Consumers don’t regulate producers if producers have an oligopoly or monopoly.

        There has never been an actual natural monopoly, with the one exception of the De Beers company. If you understood economics and markets you would know why a monopoly isn’t possible. Only government can create a true monopoly. Think USPS. Think any government supplied service.

        And if wages are stagnant for decades, demand will change to reflect that, impoverishing society.

        You must believe that “aggregate demand” drives economic growth, but it doesn’t. It should be obvious by now that 5 years and trillions of dollars of ‘stimulus” haven’t caused the economic engine to roar back to life. An economy needs real fuel in the form of savings and investment leading to production to run correctly. Starter fluid only appears to help for a short time.

        Govt exists to balance protect rights.

        Again, the right** fails to tell us** why decade after decade of wage stagnation, while the 1% TRIPLED their income, is either reflective of a market, or is a good thing.

        **undefined groups

        It’s nobody’s job to tell you anything, nor are you owed an explanation, but I’ll do it anyway. (no, I’m not “The Right”)

        In a relatively free market, those who provide great value are rewarded with high income and/or wealth, because they create things that others value highly. Those others, consumers, willingly or even eagerly trade their own production for something they value more.

        The more value exchanged, the greater the reward. You seem to be ignoring that side of the exchange. this is a *feature* of markets, not a failure.

        To suggest that high earners shouldn’t be paid so much, is to say they shouldn’t create so much value for others. A ridiculous notion.

        By definition, if the market fails the middle class, there’s no reason why this market model should be SUPPORTED by the middle class

        The market doesn’t fail the “middle class”, the government fails the middle class by interfering with the production of wealth by those who have demonstrated their ability to create great vaslue for others.

        Learn some economics.

        1. Robert puharic

          Between 1997 and 2006, financial sector profits doubled as a percentage of all corporate profits.

          Our economy collapsed. So tell me how these self regulating masters of the universe were productive. Where were they 200% more productive in 10 years? The objective evidence, as Paul Volcker pointed out, was that they invented new and unvalued means of transferring wealth, skimming wealth off the top and adding NOTHING to our economy

          They were productive liar creators. Proof of that is they destroyed our economy. We lost 8 million jobs

          What type of proof do you need they WEREN’T productive?

          And the wealthiest 1% TRIPLED their incomes in 30 years. Wall Street DOUBLED its profits in 10 years. But the middle class had NO wage growth in the last 30 years.

          Somalia? The right creates a myth that an uregulated market is a free market. Even Adam Smith knew THAT was a lie. and the 19th century proved him right. With no regulation, monopolies were everywhere.

          In a ‘free’ market, businessmen conspire against the interests of the public. Adam Smith knew that. The 19th century proved that. And the gutting of labor unions creating a weak middle class has given us an enormous concentration of wealth in the richest, while leading to 30 years of wage stagnation for the middle class

        2. Jon Murphy

          So much stupid in one post.

    4. Jon Murphy

      Well, this whole conversation reads as a list of loony lefty talking points and not much real analysis.

      1. Well, this whole conversation reads as a list of loony lefty talking points and not much real analysis.

        Boy! I’ll say. Where’s the data? Robert suggests that as scientists, we should be skeptical and ask for data. If we had data, we might have something to discuss.

      2. Robert puharic
      3. Jon Murphy

        Like I said, lots of talking points, no real analysis.

        1. Robert puharic

          What you call talking points most people call evidence and data.

          Which is exactly my point about conservatives

        2. Jon Murphy

          You’re not providing any analysis. You’re not addressing any of the points raised by us. All your doing is saying “See! Other people are talking about the same thing!”

          Like I’ve said, lots of talking points, no analysis.

          If you got something, give it. But constantly repeating yourself like a broken record isn’t helping your case.

    5. morganovich

      “They published a Goldman Sachs study confirming that middle class wages have been stagnant for 30 years, and are projected to remain so for the next 4 decades unless something changes.”

      complete nonsense.

      you are just making up “facts” that are wildly untrue.

      sorry rob, but there is simply no way to take you seriously on this.

      the government cannot “protect” social stability by wealth redistribution.

      all it can do it make us all worse off.

      we see this very clearly when comparing the us to the eu.

      the poor in the eu are no better off than the american poor. the only difference is that we have a much stronger middle and upper class.

      the methods you champion are the road to medicrity and poverty.

      there is not a shred of evidence that they work as you clim.

      you jusrt assume all your premises and make outlandish statements like “t’s demonstrably true that large degrees of inequality threaten a nation.”.

      then, you attempt to wrap yourself in :science” while demonstrating that you do not have the slightest idea how economics works.

      to study variables in science, one must first isolate them.

      your argument that “the last time min wage rose, unemployment went down is the height of psuedoscienticic incomprehension.

      it’s the literal exivalane of saying, my car was rolling down a hill, i pressed the brakes, it kept rolling, therefore, the brakes make you move forwards.

      you are ignoring the other key factors.

      the evidence that higher min wages is widespread and solid.

      http://www.nber.org/papers/w12663.pdf

      there are HUNDREDS of studies that show it.

      there’s your data.

      there is a significant body of “labor economics” that has attempted to foist fraudulent studies upon us (like card krueger) by slanting the study (and faking data) to miss the obvious effects and then ignore the comparisons.

      the CK study is trivial to debunk.

      sorry, but you are just flat out making up data and demonstrating staggering economic illiteracy and a complete lack of familiarity with this body of science.

      “As Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics showed recently, owners of capital are now pretty much unrestricted in their ability to set both their own income and the wages of workers in the economy.”

      this is so laughably wrong it’s hard to even know where to start. seriously, where are you getting this stuff?

      so, an owner of capital gets to determine his own returns on it? seriously, what color is the sky on your world? i allocate capital and start companies for a living. that is, most emphatically, NOT how it works.

      it’s like some absurdist fairy tale.

      wages are set based on what i can pay, what people will take, and what other options exist. seriously, have you ever tried to hire skilled people? you should. you’ll rapidly find out just how false your claims are.

      you repeatedly duck mark’s questions and assume your own conclusions which are based on made up data and bad assumptive premises.

      for a society to be stable, you need rights, not a kleptocratic demos that abrogates them so that you don;t “feel bad” about my being richer than you are.

      those are the despicable politics of envy and the economics of stagnation and poverty.

      there’s a reason the EU is so poor relative to the us. (and they are, most eu countries would be the poorest state in the us)

      they have not succeeded in making their poor better off than ours.

      they have only succeeded in making their middle and upper classes worse off.

      1. Robert puharic

        Unfortunately, AEI deleted the study I referred to, but I posted the URL above. And it’s ABSOLUTELY the role of govt to redistribute income IF the mechanism of income distribution NOW is inefficient or threatens social stability.

        Somehow conservatives think declining middle class incomes don’t threaten a nation. I beg to differ. History is full of examples.

        Where’s the proof we have a more stable middle class? Our social intergenerational mobility is the WORST in the western world.

        Only someone unversed in history would argue economics has no effect on national stability. In fact it does

        http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/25193796?uid=3739808&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21103657879213
        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/21/business/economy/tolerance-for-income-gap-may-be-ebbing-economic-scene.html

        The recent CBO paper which was self admittedly CONSERVATIVE found a rise in the MW would increase wages of almost 17 million and take 1 million out of poverty. It would cost about 500K jobs but that’s the most right skewed objective

        Want to increase employment, like the right is always saying?

        Increase wages. US wages as a percentage of GDP are the worst in US history as the above reference with 5 charts proves. Yet the right insists the middle class can continue to spend with NO increase in wages

        How? How does the middle class increase demand with no wage increase?

        The right can’t answer.

      2. Jon Murphy

        Only someone unversed in history would argue economics has no effect on national stability. In fact it does

        The two things you cite show the opposite of that.

        Like I said: lots of talking points, no real analysis.

        1. Robert puharic

          The Jstor article says inequality decreases participation in the political process by all but elites. Sorry Jon. You got it wrong. Read the abstract

        2. Jon Murphy

          I did read the abstract. Does not support your position.

          Sorry, boy. Learn to read.

          1. Robert puharic

            Let me QUOTE from the abstract:

            The analysis demonstrates that higher levels of income inequality powerfully depress political interest, the frequency of political discussion, and participation in elections among all but the most affluent citizens, providing compelling evidence that greater economic inequality yields greater political inequality.

            What part of that did you run through a right wing filter to make it say the opposite of economic inequality leads to greater political inequality?

        3. Jon Murphy

          it still doesn’t support your statement: “Only someone unversed in history would argue economics has no effect on national stability.”

      3. Somehow conservatives think declining middle class incomes don’t threaten a nation.

        False.

        I beg to differ. History is full of examples.

        Correct about that. When the middle class is squeezed out and the poor increase in numbers, as is happening in places like California, NYC, Detroit,Venezuela, etc., the left grows stronger. You should be happy about that.

        1. Robert puharic

          The right impoverishes the middle class, forcing more of us into poverty. Then they’re amazed the poor get angry.

          The fact is the middle class is several paychecks from being poor. We’re NOT a few paychecks from being rich. We have FAR more in common with the poor than the rich

          And when conservative policies, like those practiced when Wall Street blew out the economy, put 8 million taxpayers out of work, the right has a problem

          Tell those 8 million why they should be glad the rich got richer, as they lost their HEALTH INSURANCE and their houses.

  2. Che is dead

    ” … does low-skilled labor just happen to be the one good or service in the entire world for which a government-mandated 25-percent rise in the price that its buyers must pay for it will not diminish buyers’ willingness to buy it?” — Don Boudreaux

    What about a government-manipulated 25-percent increase in supply? What would that do to the price of any good or service? Is the price of low-skilled labor the only thing that isn’t affected by a massive increase in supply? Let’s see if Thomas Sowell can explain how the labor markets respond to mass low-skilled immigration – both illegal and legal:

    In the real world, employers compete for workers, just as they compete for customers for their output. And workers go where there is more demand for them, as expressed by what employers offer to pay.

    Farmers may wish for more farm workers, just as any of us may wish for anything we would like to have. But that is wholly different from thinking that some third party should define what we desire as a “need,” much less expect government policy to meet that “need.” — Thomas Sowell

    “In agriculture, the farmers would obviously prefer to get workers who get low pay rather than workers they have to pay a higher wage. And as long as there are an unlimited supply of farm workers coming in from Mexico, they will never have to raise the wages very much. They say Americans won’t do these jobs. These are jobs Americans have done for generations, if not centuries. And it’s a time when millions of Americans are out of work, and are looking for any kind of work.” — Thomas Sowell

    So, it seems that wages for native-born Americans would naturally rise in a competitive labor market environment, absent some deliberate manipulation of supply. Go figure.

  3. Jon Murphy

    Minimum wage is a type of policy I like to say is full of “empty calories.”

    It doesn’t accomplish its goal of reducing poverty. At best, it maintains the status quo (a worker who is unemployed at $8/hr will still be unemployed at $10/hr).

    It exacerbates income inequality, either by laying people off/reducing hours worked, or by leaving the super poor even further behind.

    Its negative effects occur to a marginalized group and are often invisible to the naked eye, thus making it look (to the untrained observer) as it has no effect.

    BUT it’s a vote getter.

    Why do I call it empty calories? Because it makes you feel good without actually doing anything.

    1. Robert puharic

      The recent CBO paper begs to differ. Raising the MW would take 1 million out of poverty. And what exacerbates inequality is the fact the 1% took 95% of all income growth in the last 3 years. It’s not the poor taking all the money. It’s the rich

    2. Jon Murphy

      While causing 500,000 to lose their jobs.

      And, judging by your comment, you don’t understand how income inequality is calculated or how income works.

      They say ignorance is bliss. Judging by the thinely veiled anger you post under, I’d say that statement is wrong.

      1. Robert puharic

        If conservatives understood economics they wouldn’t have caused the deepest recession in 80 years.

      2. mesa econoguy

        Yes, but what about when the monkeymen came and stole all the moon money?

        1. Robert puharic

          I was unaware AEI let the klan post. Calling a black man a ‘monkey’ is patently racist. The right seems to be becoming more and more racist.

        2. mesa econoguy

          I thought you knew about the monkeymen of Zorg.

          Never mind then.

      3. mesa econoguy

        Are you aware that moon money is coveted by the moneymen, from planet Zorg?

      4. Jon Murphy

        If conservatives understood economics they wouldn’t have caused the deepest recession in 80 years.

        Wow…so much stupid in one sentence.

        So, based on your comments here, you have no clue what you’re talking about?

        1. mesa econoguy

          I’m not sure Jon, I think new Larry is demonstrating exceptional fluency in economic ignorance and jibberish.

        2. Robert puharic

          Credit default swaps increased by 20,000% between 1997 and 2006. They blew up the economy. The right controlled BOTH houses of congress AND the presidency 2003 2006 and the house and presidency 2001 2006

          Facts have a liberal bias

        3. mesa econoguy

          Incorrect.

          Government interference in the housing market causing a real estate bubble which caused massive asset inflation, including securitized MBS, which quickly fell in value once the bubble burst, making many banks and financial institutions insolvent, after they were incentivized by government rating agencies to hold these assets on their books.

          CDSs were a secondary factor, and did not cause Lehman or Bear Stearns to fail.

          Government housing policy and market interference goes back over 100 years, but was mostly leftist-driven from the 1990s.

          Your history is false.

          1. Robert puharic

            Yeah I’ve seen the Gospel According to Wall Street. It’s not the lazy black people getting mortgages. It’s the rich white people on Wall Street. And this is why

            In the last 50 years, home ownership as a percentage of all households, has been steady at 65% +/-3%. There’s simply not enough money in that marginal change to blow out a 14 trillion dollar economy.

            What DID do it was Wall Street’s promise we’d deregulate them and they would self regulate because they were the experts. They were rich and the right promised us then, as they do today (Greg Mankiw) that the rich are genetically superior, and would never do anything to harm their companies or our nation.

            In 1997, the credit default swap market was 320 billion. 10 years later in 2006 it was 62 TRILLION. A 20,000% increase, MUCH MUCH MUCH greater than the marginal change in the housing market.

            And so these experts, who told us they could self regulate, sold 62 trillion in default swaps. The GDP of the ENTIRE PLANET is 62 trillion.

            So when default swaps went south, because the self regulating geniuses on Wall Street found out they COULDN’T self regulate THEY blew up the economy.

            At least that’s what the math shows. that’s what the facts show. That’s what the evidence shows.

            But the story about lazy black people and mortgages and Barney Frank is a right wing talk show favorite

          2. mesa econoguy

            Except everything you just stated (not sure why you’re injecting your racial projection, but go ahead) is incorrect.

            There was no deregulation. Regulation increased.

            The leftist (and some “rightist”) drive to increase homeownership was the root cause of the meltdown, and many of the architechts of that catastrophe are still on place (e.g. Gov. Cuomo).

            The only institution to directly fail because of CDS was AIG.

            Bear and Lehman both failed because their liquidity dried up when their MBS and reserve capital evaporated.

            You are an immensely ignorant person.

          3. Robert puharic

            Your claim is mathematically inept. No surprise for an apologist for Wall Street failures, who still wants to blame blacks.

            The largest failure in American history was Lehman Bros. That was 7X AIG. And Lehman Bros was heavily involved in default swaps as well as other securities.

            The fact is they, like most weak banks were deregulated and therefore were free to value their own assets. The right told us they could do this because the market was self correcting…which, we know, is a myth.

            When Lehman went belly up, credit markets froze leading to the need to bail out Wall Street

            BUT going back to your claim it was mortgages, prove it.

            As I pointed out, mortgages were never, in the past half century, more than a few percent above or below 65% of all households. That’s a MARGINAL change.

            Lehman’s failure, due to security valuation failure, was 600 billion. The rich failed. Not the poor

          4. mesa econoguy

            Your claim is wrong, inaccurate, and incomplete.

            I’m not going down that rabbit hole with an ignorant amateur like you.

            This thread is about minimum wage, and you’re getting slaughtered.

          5. Robert puharic

            As I say, if you knew anything about economics, right wing supply side mythology wouldn’t have caused the deepest recession in 80 years.

            I’m getting slaughtered? So did 8 million taxpayers when they lost their jobs due to Wall Street right wing deregulation

          6. mesa econoguy

            The premises of your comments are entirely false or inaccurate.

            http://cafehayek.com/2011/10/horwitz-on-the-financial-crisis-and-recession.html

            Do you also falsify your scientific results?

          7. Robert puharic

            Ah yes the great god Hayek. The guy only right wingers pay attention to because they’re fundamentalists and think simply. Let’s look at what’s said.

            The right claims banks weren’t deregulated.

            OK…where where the regulations on the rating agencies? The ratings agencies were supposed to value securities. The ratings agencies were paid by the banking houses because rating agencies had been deregulated. Kind of like setting up your own police force and courts to tell everyone how honest you are.

            And the fed? Uh, run by far right Alan Greenspan, a fanatic about deregulation, who LED the charge to tell us that Wall Street could regulate itself. No surprise there.

            The fed, of course, is not subject to govt intervention. It’s an independent agency owned by regional banks.

            Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Minor players. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission found that 6.2% of all GSE loans were in default in 2008 vs 28.3% for non GSE’s

            And, as I pointed out, lazy black mortgage holders weren’t the problem. They did not sell 62 TRILLION worth of default swaps. 62 trillion

            Didn’t it occur to those self regulating wonderful and honest Wall Street bankers that there were problems with those numbers?

          8. mesa econoguy

            This is fun.

            Let’s examine just one of your toxic misconceptions –

            OK…where where [sic.] the regulations on the rating agencies?

            Why, they were right here:

            https://www.sec.gov/about/offices/ocr.shtml

            In order to become a ratings agency, one must register with the government. Government then certifies agencies to perform credit ratings, and conducts examinations to ensure compliance with government guidelines.

            So government failed there.

            But again, let’s remember that your head is up your ass, and that this is a thread about minimum wage.

      5. The right seems to be becoming more and more racist.

        And there’s the race card. Robert’s just another paint-by-numbers liberal.

        1. mesa econoguy

          This is immensely entertaining – a rabid, economically clueless leftist (redundant)

          1. Robert puharic

            Calling a black man a ‘monkey’ is racist. I realize the right thinks they’re clever by having all kinds of code words but you’re not.

          2. mesa econoguy

            LarryG, is that you?

            If you are in fact a scientist (I do not believe this for a second), then this country, and science in general is in a shitload of trouble.

          3. Robert puharic

            Only a racist would deny calling a black man ‘monkey’ is racist

            http://www.authentichistory.com/diversity/african/3-coon/6-monkey/

          4. mesa econoguy

            Again, your racial projection is astonishing.

            Perhaps you should seek help.

            Second thought, I don’t think you’re treatable, for whatever leftist dementia you possess.

          5. Robert puharic

            Calling a black man ‘monkey’ is racist. It’s no surprise conservatives deny this since they use the term so often

            http://www.authentichistory.com/diversity/african/3-coon/6-monkey/

          6. mesa econoguy

            You are an exceptionally disturbed person.

            I do think you need help, but again, I’m not sure any is available for your problem.

          7. Robert puharic

            I notice you didn’t deal with the reference I provided. You just DEFINE blacks as inferior, giving you the right to call them monkeys, then say, because you say it’s not racist, it’s not.

          8. mesa econoguy

            I think you may have accidentally (? ) eaten some meth.

        2. Robert puharic

          Yeah calling a black man a ‘monkey’ isn’t racist.

          http://www.authentichistory.com/diversity/african/3-coon/6-monkey/
          http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=porch%20monkey&defid=4856510

          the right has racist code words for blacks. But they keep getting busted.

      6. Flog that race card! Beat it senseless! You’ve lost every argument on this thread, so you’ll have to take solace in your imagined moral superiority.

        1. Robert puharic

          I’ve lost every argument? And we know that’s true because you said it.

          Golly. The sun rises in the morning, too. Another revelation.

      7. I’ve lost every argument? And we know that’s true because you said it.

        No, you’ve lost every argument because it’s pretty obvious to everyone.

        Golly. The sun rises in the morning, too. Another revelation.

        Just as surely as you’ve lost every argument. Thanks for admitting it.

      8. I was unaware AEI let the klan post.

        Democrats can post here as much as they like. It’s called free speech.

  4. The Unknown One

    I’m personally ambivalent about raising the minimum wage, but your question is really a non-question:

    “How can it be logically consistent for you to support politically-determined minimum wages for unskilled workers but not support politically-determined wages for all workers in all industries?”

    Being that the minimum wage *is* a minimum wage for “all industries,” anyone who supports a minimum wage for unskilled workers is also supporting a politically-determined wage for workers in all industries. There are even some semi-skilled and skilled workers who make minimum wage (think: interns and some health care positions) so it’s not like the minimum wage doesn’t also apply to them.

    1. Jon Murphy

      Being that the minimum wage *is* a minimum wage for “all industries,” anyone who supports a minimum wage for unskilled workers is also supporting a politically-determined wage for workers in all industries.

      Effectively, it is not. It only affects a handful of industries, and few workers.

      What he is asking is this: If all McDonalds workers must earn $10.10, should all Raytheon workers earn $30? All Google workers earn $60? etc etc.

      1. The Unknown One

        Under the proposal, Raytheon workers must make at least $10.10/hour – which they already do. Also, if McDonald’s wanted to raise the wages of their employees to $30/hour, they are free to do so. It’s a blanket law which applies to all employers. There is no need to further differentiate them.

    2. Unknown

      Being that the minimum wage *is* a minimum wage for “all industries,” anyone who supports a minimum wage for unskilled workers is also supporting a politically-determined wage for workers in all industries.

      Umm…No. The min wage is a min for all *workers*, not all industries. There is no one working at Microsoft or Google for min wage, so a politically determined min wage is meaningless for those two companies.

      The minimum wage is politically determined to be the lowest wage at which any worker can accept employment. If they are unskilled, and the value of their production is lower than that min wage, they will remain unemployed. Period. That is the harm done by minimum wage. It increases unemployment.

      The question you are struggling with is this: “If the wage for unskilled, entry level workers can be determined by a political process, can ALL wages at all levels and for all skills be determined by that same political process? Can the correct wages for petroleum engineers be determined by government?

      I’ll give you the answer – it’s NO. Government can’t determine the correct wage for any worker – the market does that. So why does anyone believe government can determine the correct wage for unskilled workers?

      1. The Unknown One

        “There is no one working at Microsoft or Google for min wage…”

        You don’t know that. Both companies hire janitors, cooks in their company kitchens and a whole lot of other support staff. Not to mention interns. Some of those people probably make minimum wage, or at least close to it.

        And even then, it’s still a meaningless question. For example, the government sets safety standards for all automobiles. What someone like you might say, “That is de-facto making it more difficult for small cars to meet the standard, because small cars are inherently less safe than larger ones. Why do proponents of automobile safety standards not advocate higher standards for large cars than they do for smaller ones?”

        The question is a ridiculous one because it is a single standard for all automobiles. If some cars can meet the standard more easily than others, then so be it. And if some skill categories can meet the wage standard better than other ones, then so be it. There’s no more reason to differentiate between different classes of jobs to meet the minimum wage any more than there’s a reason to differentiate between different sizes of automobiles to meet the safety standards.

        1. Umknown

          OMG! You just created a strawman and destroyed it right before our very eyes., Nice work.

          What were we talking about? Oh yeah – minimum wage.

          You cleverly threw up that strawman to avoid answering my question. I’ll try it again:

          *paste*

          “If the wage for unskilled, entry level workers can be determined by a political process, can ALL wages at all levels and for all skills be determined by that same political process?”

          I won’t mention Microsoft or Google again so as to not get you distracted.

          1. The Unknown One

            You haven’t read my replies at all, have you. No, you obviously haven’t.

          2. Unknown

            You haven’t read my replies at all, have you. No, you obviously haven’t.

            Actually I have, but you can’t sidestep the question that easily. If you don’t want to answer it, at least say so.

    3. “Being that the minimum wage *is* a minimum wage for “all industries,” anyone who supports a minimum wage for unskilled workers is also supporting a politically-determined wage for workers in all industries.”

      You’re doing a little bit of verbal gymnastics with your statement. Your comment about “politically-determined wage for workers in all industries” has nothing to do with Dr. Perry’s original question.

      He was talking about “a politically-determined wage for ALL workers in all industries.” He is asking, how come the government is not determining the wages for ALL employees and ALL occupations, including business owners, accountants, nurses, web developers, civil engineers, attorneys, etc.

      1. The Unknown One

        I did respond to that: It’s a blanket minimum standard for all wage earners. It applies to doctors as much as it does to janitors. That doctors might more easily meet the standard because they happen to earn more than the minimum wage anyway is trivial. Any time you set a standard for something, there are always going to be some people or classes covered by that standard who can meet it more easily than others. So what?

        Here’s another analogy: Grades in school. Should we set different grading curves for the boys vs. the girls, or for the whites vs. the blacks? No. That does not mean we should eliminate grading curves altogether – which is what you’re suggesting should happen. *Some* minimal standard is desirable. If some groups of students can more easily meet the standard than others, then so be it.

        1. “It’s a blanket minimum standard for all wage earners. It applies to doctors as much as it does to janitors. That doctors might more easily meet the standard because they happen to earn more than the minimum wage anyway is trivial.”

          Actually you did not respond to Dr. Perry’s question. Nobody disagrees with you that minimum wage applies to doctors and they easily meet the standard, but that has nothing to do with Dr. Perry’s question.

          To rephrase his question to apply to your example, why is the government not setting a SPECIFIC wage for doctors?

          “Here’s another analogy: Grades in school. Should we set different grading curves for the boys vs. the girls, or for the whites vs. the blacks? No. That does not mean we should eliminate grading curves altogether – which is what you’re suggesting should happen. *Some* minimal standard is desirable. If some groups of students can more easily meet the standard than others, then so be it.”

          I never explicitly suggested that “grade curves” or minimum wage should be eliminated. Where did I say that?

          Besides, this grading curve analogy doesn’t fit the minimum wage discussion. All a grading curve does is score each student’s academic performance versus their peers. If you scored the minimum possible points on an exam, graded on a curve or graded on your absolute score alone, you’ll still get an F. But in the minimum wage situation, if you make the lowest possible hourly income, you are affected by the minimum wage set by the government.

          1. The Unknown One

            “Actually you did not respond to Dr. Perry’s question. Nobody disagrees with you that minimum wage applies to doctors and they easily meet the standard, but that has nothing to do with Dr. Perry’s question. ”

            Yes I did, I responded to it very specifically – and my response was that it was a ridiculous question. The whole question is a straw man.

            “To rephrase his question to apply to your example, why is the government not setting a SPECIFIC wage for doctors? ”

            That’s like asking, “Why is the government not setting a SPECIFIC wage for cooks?”

            Guess what? Some cooks already make more than the minimum wage, especially at high-end restaurants. The reason the government does not set specific minimum wages for specific occupations is because it gets ridiculous to define each occupation and job title, and people who advocate minimum wages know that. I mean, nobody expects the government to institute a “minimum wage for cooks who work at restaurants where the average customer order is $20 or more in cities where the cost of living is at or below the national average,” and onother “minimum wage for cooks who work at restaurants where the average customer order is less than $20 in cities where the cost of living is at or below the national average,” and so on for a million other job classifications.

            “I never explicitly suggested that “grade curves” or minimum wage should be eliminated. Where did I say that?”

            Then why are you arguing with me? What is different about the current proposed minimum wage hike compared to others? And I repeat: I’m ambivalent about it myself, but I do not think it’ll be the disaster some make it out to be. For example …

            Highest Minimum-Wage State Washington Beats U.S. Job Growth

            “Besides, this grading curve analogy doesn’t fit the minimum wage discussion.”

            Yes it does. Even the minimum score for an “F” (and nothing else) could be placed on a curve for different kinds of students, if a teacher so desired. But it would be wrong to do so. And likewise, it would be wrong to have different minimum wages for different kinds of jobs. If black students have a harder time meeting the minimum passing score of 60% than white students, then too bad, they should be held to the standard anyway. And if janitors have a harder time meeting the minimum wage of [whatever] then too bad, they should be held to the standard anyway.

          2. Unknown

            That’s like asking, “Why is the government not setting a SPECIFIC wage for cooks?”

            Exactly.

            Guess what? Some cooks already make more than the minimum wage, especially at high-end restaurants. The reason the government does not set specific minimum wages for specific occupations is because it gets ridiculous to define each occupation and job title, and people who advocate minimum wages know that. I mean, nobody expects the government to institute a “minimum wage for cooks who work at restaurants where the average customer order is $20 or more in cities where the cost of living is at or below the national average,” and onother “minimum wage for cooks who work at restaurants where the average customer order is less than $20 in cities where the cost of living is at or below the national average,” and so on for a million other job classifications.

            You’re absolutely right. But despite your valid objections to setting a specific minimum wage for all other occupations, you believe the government should nonetheless set one for unskilled labor?

            That’s the only occupation actually affected by the minimum wage, and those are the folks who most desperately need to work and learn better skills so they can be paid more, but they are forbidden to work at all unless they can produce more than the minimum wage.

            The correct answer is that government CANNOT determine the correct wage for unskilled labor, nor for any other occupation, as you correctly pointed out. therefore government shouldn’t set a minimum wage at all. It hurts the very people – unskilled workers – that it professes to help.

          3. Unknown

            Yes I did, I responded to it very specifically – and my response was that it was a ridiculous question.

            You made that responce because you didn’t – and don’t – understand the question. Or at least you pretend not to understand it.

            The whole question is a straw man.

            You don’t know what a strawman fallacy is, do you?

          4. “That’s like asking, “Why is the government not setting a SPECIFIC wage for cooks?”

            Guess what? Some cooks already make more than the minimum wage, especially at high-end restaurants. The reason the government does not set specific minimum wages for specific occupations is because it gets ridiculous to define each occupation and job title..”

            Good, you’re a step closer to understanding the logic behind Dr. Perry’s question. To piggy back off your point, Dr. Perry was essentially saying that the government cannot do a good job of determining wages at any level, meaning that they are not qualified to determine wages at the lowest level (minimum wage).

            “Then why are you arguing with me?”

            Because you misinterpreted Dr. Perry’s point, hence leading to a flawed argument.

            Besides, you dodged my question. When did I say that we get rid of minimum wage and where did i say that I should get rid of grading curves? The answer is that I did not. Don’t put words in other people’s mouths.

            “Yes it does. Even the minimum score for an “F” (and nothing else) could be placed on a curve for different kinds of students”

            Your grade curve example still doesn’t make sense. You’re equating minimum passing score to minimum wage. These concepts aren’t very comparable.

            A better analogy is minimum overall score (which is 0) and minimum overall wage (which is $10.10). These are the lowest number you can earn if you’re in a class or in the workforce.

            Minimum passing score is more analogous to poverty threshold. This is the lowest level that you must pass to not be “fail” or be in poverty.

  5. Benjamin Cole

    When they are 12 millionn Americans receiving “disability” payments through SSDI or the VA, and 1.6 million Americans working at the minimum wage…why is the topic always the minimim wage?

    1. The # of Americans on some kind of disability has increased by around 23% since your boyfriend took office. Or as you like to say, “on his watch.”
      You were singing his praises just a day ago, yet you have some obsessive compulsive desire to bring up off-topic disaster of SSDI and the VA on every thread.

  6. Che is dead

    Educating leftists is extremely tiresome. In fact, just reading the attempts posted here requires more effort than it’s worth. Fortunately, there’s a video:

    Prof. Don Boudreaux: The Real “Truth About the Economy:” Have Wages Stagnated?

    Try to follow along “Robert puharic”.

    1. Robert puharic

      The right does alot of handwaving in support of its mythologies. Someone here cited a paper by Martin Feldstein at NBER, making the claim that compensation for workers has increased. This hides 2 points

      First WAGES have not increase. Compensation includes NON monetary income, such as benefits. The US has the highest cost healthcare in the world, a fact the right has done nothing about since this consumes disposable income, not discretionary income. And the middle class has less discretionary income than elites. A fact the right revels in since it thinks being middle class is a failure.

      Second, the income of the 1% has TRIPLED in the last 30 years. Conservatives have been unable to find any productivity related reason for this. There’s certainly no OBJECTIVE evidence to support it. Wall Street doubled its profits 1997 2006 and the economy collapsed while GDP growth went NEGATIVE

      Conservatives fall back on lots of handwaving. No wonder. IF they understood economics, we wouldn’t have had 30 years of middle class wage stagnation and the right wouldnt have given us the deepest recession in 80 years

      1. Che is dead

        Did you mis-click on your way to the Daily Worker?

      2. One thing we’ve learned here tonight is that Robert sure likes the term “hand waving.”

        1. Harold Saxon

          Without knowing what it is.

      3. Jon Murphy

        I love how “looking at the whole picture” is handwaving.

        I further love his argument against it: “we can’t look at total compensation because it doesn’t show what I want it to show!”

        Look, wages used to be all of compensation. But workers wanted more benefits, and that must come at the expense of wages. Furthermore, mandatory benefits cut into wages more. Quite frankly, you’d have to be some kind of idiot to think you can increase benefits with no cost to wages. You want wages to rise faster? Get rid of mandatory benefits. That’s just simple math.

        All that said, I want to address something about the 2008 Recession:

        Calling 2008 the worst recession since the Great Depression, while technically true, is actually kind of misleading.

        Looking at US Industrial Production, the peak-to-trough decline in the 2008 recession was 14.6%. That’s actually mild for downturns that last as long as that one did (the only problem is we hadn’t seen a downturn of that legnth since 1946). In fact, it was the legnth that made the recession so bad. At the same point in time, 2008 was no more severe than the 74-75 recession.

        Anyway, 2008 14.6% decline. Let’s compare that to the Great Depression.

        During the Great Depression, there were three recessions: 29-33, 37-38, 44-46. All three of them were significantly more severe than 2008 (48.1%, 25.0%, 28.9%, respectively).

        The point of all this is to say that comparisons to the Great Depression really are not warranted and to use language such as “worst since the Great Depression” gives too much credit to 2008 (or trivializes the Great Depression, depending on your POV).

        Of course, that is not to take anything away from 2008. It was a bad recession. But let’s keep context when discussing things so as to avoid being carried away by hyperbole.

      4. juandos

        Hey robert, you’re a most entertaining fellow…

        Thanks for the laughs dude…

        1. mesa econoguy

          I really like him.

          He’s full-on batshit loony. And he broadcasts it.

          That’s highly entertaining.

          Now I can’t figure out if that’s the result of chemical stimuli, or mental warping, or both….

  7. mesa econoguy

    It’s like Larry G on speedball…

    1. juandos

      It’s like Larry G on speedball“…

      Oh damn! ROFLMAO!!

      Thanks for that vision!

  8. John Clark

    Hello all,

    Please let me quickly introduce myself. My name is John Clark. I am a self-styled Progressive.

    Having said that, I must deeply apologize for Robert Puharic. His comments are, unfortunately, representative of a small but vocal faction of the left-wing.

    I beg you, please do not let his ignorance color us all. You may not believe me, and frankly you have no reason to trust me, but not all leftists are as ignorant as Robert is making us seem.

    Most of us are aware of the wages/productivity fallacy he is pushing is, in fact, irrelevant.

    Most of us agree minimum wage is a poor action.

    Most of us agree the harmful effects of minimum wage far, far, far outweigh the good.

    Most of us agree that income inequality is not a big deal when economic opportunity is available (like it is in much of the 1st World).

    Unfortunately, Robert is perpetuating the “ignorant leftist” stereotype you guys are so used to. I beg you, please do not judge all of us by his actions. Just as I do not judge AEI by Rush Limbaugh (in fact, Dr. Perry here ranks very highly by me. I find his posts to be, for the most part, fair and pointed).

    You have no reason to believe me, I know. But I ask nonetheless.

    Thank you,

    John

    1. Jon Murphy

      A voice of reason lost in the storm.

    2. Seattle Sam

      The problem is not so much the loons on the left, but rather ordinary people who subscribe to the notion that the value of something ought not to be determined transactionally by individual decision, but by consensus among groups of very wise people who will determine and impose what is “right and fair”. Putting aside the morality of that process, it imposes costs to the economy that eventually grow to be debilitating. Hence, Doctor Perry’s question. While the effect of a minimum wage may be minor, the effects of determining all prices politically would not be. How, and on what basis, would you draw the line?

      1. John Clark

        I think you are correct, Seattle Sam, when you say “The problem is…ordinary people who subscribe to the notion that the value of something ought not to be determined transactionally by individual decision, but by consensus among groups of very wise people who will determine and impose what is ‘right and fair’.”

        I know many members of the “Loud Left”, as I like to call them, like to deny it, but Fredreich Hayek is right when he talks about the knowledge problem.

        Progressivism used to mean something. It used to be about protecting people’s rights. Once, we stood shoulder-to-shoulder with libertarians, fighting to end discrimination and enhance freedom.

        Unfortunately, three radical swings to extremeism has destroyed this once great alliance: Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and now Obama. Although they like to wave the title, neither of those three are truly Progressives. They were/are dictators who used threats, intimidation, and brute force to cram their agenda down people’s throats. That is not true Progressiveness. Furthermore, all three of those men committed war crimes and should be on trial in the International Court!

        Forgive me, I got a little distracted. My point is, Seattle Sam, is that most progressives, true progressives, believe individual action is the best, that government should just make sure all individuals are equal before the law.

        What this Robert fellow is spouting is the tired old extreme-left agenda. It’s the same nonsense that’s been repeated for centuries (seriously, you can find it in Ancient Greek politics).

        I have spent my whole life trying to keep the Democratic Party from sliding down this extremeist path, but to no avail. The loud will always trump the correct, I fear.

        Libertarians and progressives have more in common than you might think. Should we ally together, we could make a formidable 3rd party.

        1. givemefreedom

          Yes John, clear thinking, smart, logical people can find alot of common ground. Political labels are not what makes us similar, ideas are.

          If you strive for freedom and are tolerant of other people’s desire to do what they want as long as they are not harming other people’s rights, then you are libertarian.

          As I like to say, we are all libertarians, just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.

          1. John Clark

            Perhaps, gmf (if I may use the nickname some have bestowed upon you), you are correct when you say that we are all libertarians, but some haven’t realized it yet. I haven’t gone quite that far. I think you would see we’d differ on some key issues: police (and judicial) control, emergency services, road construction, national parks, for example.

            However, many of these issues are kind of trivial. They can be tackled once we have removed the extremists from power, the big government mongers on both sides of the aisle.

          2. John Clark

            I think you would see we’d differ on some key issues: police (and judicial) control, emergency services, road construction, national parks, for example.

            Libertarians differ on the (limited) role of government, including the issues you mentioned.

    3. John Clark

      Thanks for your comment. It is, as Jon says, a voice of reason lost in the storm.

      I don’t believe any regular commentators here take Robert seriously. I sure don’t. He is indeed the poster child for the “ignorant leftist” stereotype.

      1. Robert puharic

        John, you don’t speak for me. You speak for yourself. You want to apologize to conservatives for being progressive?

        Have at it.

      2. John Clark

        Yes, I thought it was quite clear that I do not speak for you. In case you didn’t realize it, I denounced your posts. That rather emphatically means I do not speak for you.

        And I did not apologize for being progressive. I am who I am and I never will apologize for that.

        If you carefully read what I said, I apologized for the poor show you are putting on, not for being progressive. I apologized for the lunatic fringe of the progressive movement, the side that believes in the dictatorial control you advocate. I apologized for the tired, old, discredited talking points you keep using.

        Look, all you are doing here is reinforcing a negative stereotype as an ignorant, ranting leftist. You’re the Rush Limbaugh of the left right now: spewing nonsense talking points based on cherry-picked data, incredibly poor logic, and misquoting data sources.

        I am doing my best to combat this stereotype. Conservatives and libertarians are not our enemies. They are our friends and neighbors. We must rise above partisan bickering to solve national problems using our knowledge and understanding of the world. Individual problems are best left to the individuals. That is what the progressive party was founded upon. But the nonsense you are shouting about is tired and has been used for justification for atrocities from Nero to Hitler, from Mao to Chavez. While you may think such policies, with their bloody legacy, are “progressive,” I, and many more lift-wingers, refuse to sign on.

        These Loud Leftists, like Robert here, are just as conservative as any GOP extremist. Most of us do not believe ostracizing people, either through the flaming rhetoric Robert uses or through political maneuvering, is an acceptable method.

        I am sure this will fall upon deaf ears (though not for lack of want, but just because it has been buried under many, many comments), but I ask you please not to judge all of us on the left by the standard he sets. He does not truly represent the left-wing any more than the Westboro Baptist Church represents every Christian.

        If you want to take some target practice at knocking over the strawmen he constructs, then please have at it. But if you’d truly like to converse with someone on the left about some of the issues raised here (I also sometimes post at Cafe Hayek), then I’d be happy to share my thoughts with you.

        1. Givemefreedom

          John,

          Quite a refreshing attitude for someone who has been, as you say, a long time democrat. I have some bad news for you (or maybe you won’t see it as bad news given your views), but I think you are more libertarian than liberal. And i mean that as a compliment :)

          While reading your posts it struck me that perhaps libertarians have been looking at the dilemna of how do we format a government in the wrong way. We currently are looking for some leader who is a republican, who can carry the majority of the fiscally conservative members and perhaps reach out to members of the democratics that would be sympathetic to libertarian thought. But perhaps the answer lies in someone like you. A long time liberal who can see the merit in libertarian thought and who can deliver a larger group of like thinking dems. Just like it took a republican to visit communist China,perhaps it takes a democrat to lead the libertarians to power.

          Just my ramblings:)

        2. Darryl B

          Very well said!

  9. Harold Saxon

    We go almost a month without any crazy, wackjob loony lefties showing up, and then this Rob fellow comes.

    Well, I guess everything has to move toward the average, eh?

    1. mesa econoguy

      Well Harold, we haven’t heard from the village idiot Larry G. for a while, and this Robert chap seems a bit more entertaining, though I do think Larry G. knew more about the OECD.

      1. Mesa,

        Shhhh. Don’t jinx it!

    2. Robert puharic

      Yeah, it’s called ‘epistemic closure’, AKA the right wing echo chamber.

    3. Harold Saxon

      Actually, it’s called the Law of Large Numbers.

  10. The Unknown One

    “The correct answer is that government CANNOT determine the correct wage for unskilled labor, nor for any other occupation, as you correctly pointed out. therefore government shouldn’t set a minimum wage at all. It hurts the very people – unskilled workers – that it professes to help.”

    That’s like saying “a teacher CANNOT determine the correct grade for black people, nor for any other people, so a teacher shoudn’t set a minimum grade at all. It hurts the very people – black people – that it professes to help.”

    *rolls eyes*

    1. givemefreedom

      Absolutely incorrect analogy. The teacher’s job is to determine the correct grade for all the students in the class.

      And a teacher should absolutely not set a minimum grade for the class. The minimum is 0. Explain why there has to be a minimum grade?

      Using you classroom example, min. wage is like the government saying that all students in the clase get a minimum grade of 50%. So no students will ever fail. Do you think that this will encourage greater effort and more learning in the classroom? Particularly among the students at the bottom of the class? If the bottom students knew from the beginning of the class year that they would get a passing grade regardless of the work they did then many of them would do very little work and would learn next to nothing.

      Rolls eyes indeed!

    2. Unknown

      That’s like saying “a teacher CANNOT determine the correct grade for black people, nor for any other people, so a teacher shoudn’t set a minimum grade at all. It hurts the very people – black people – that it professes to help.

      No it’s not like saying that at all. I’m not sure how you keep missing this.

      First of all, teachers aren’t at all like government, unless you think it’s government’s job to present us all with useeful employment and then pay us according to how well we perform, and black people aren’t a good analog for unskilled workers.

      Then, teachers don’t grade people, they grade people’s performance. Everyone in class has more or less the same job, so skin color is irrelevant, and It’s not clear why you keep using it to differentiate students.

      You made the argument yourself that government shouldn’t set wages for every worker, but it IS a teachers job to assign grades to each student’s performance. Your analogy fails.

      Like the teacher setting minimum standards for the students, the government can set minimum standards for employers, including what wages they pay.

      Minimum wage is a minimum standard for workers, not employers. If a worker can’t earn min wage they aren’t allowed to work. An employer can choose to pay a wage of zero.

      They can also set minimum standards for auto safety, and a whole lot of other minimum standards, if they so desire.

      The government can and does set all manner of standards. The question is whether it should do so by mandating the minimum value of a worker’s production in order for them to accept employment. You haven’t explained how someone in government can determine how much an unskilled worker must produce when only the worker and an employer can agree on an acceptable wage.

      Please think carefully before you respond again.

  11. The Unknown One

    “Absolutely incorrect analogy. The teacher’s job is to determine the correct grade for all the students in the class.”

    Fail. Like the teacher setting minimum standards for the students, the government can set minimum standards for employers, including what wages they pay. They can also set minimum standards for auto safety, and a whole lot of other minimum standards, if they so desire.

    “And a teacher should absolutely not set a minimum grade for the class. The minimum is 0. Explain why there has to be a minimum grade?”

    Sorry, I should have said a minimum passing grade, but I was paraphrasing Ron H. as directly as possible, so my statement ended up being just like his, with certain words substituted for others. I thought that was obvious.

    “Using you classroom example, min. wage is like the government saying that all students in the clase get a minimum grade of 50%. So no students will ever fail. Do you think that this will encourage greater effort and more learning in the classroom? Particularly among the students at the bottom of the class? If the bottom students knew from the beginning of the class year that they would get a passing grade regardless of the work they did then many of them would do very little work and would learn next to nothing.”

    You’re supporting MY point now. I’m not advocating lowering grade standards, I was sarcastically paraphrasing Ron H to point out how ridiculous his assertion was. Notice I wrote *rolls eyes* afterward. And just like I’m not advocating lowering grade standards, I’m also not advocating lowering wage standards.

    1. givemefreedom

      “Fail. Like the teacher setting minimum standards for the students, the government can set minimum standards for employers, including what wages they pay. They can also set minimum standards for auto safety, and a whole lot of other minimum standards, if they so desire.”

      Nobody is arguing here that the government cannot set min. wage, it is obvious that they can, and do. The argument is, now pay close attention so you get this right, that they “should not” set a min. wage. To argue that just because the government can set a min. wage then they should set one is one of the stupidest things ever writen on this blog. Fail indeed.

      “Sorry, I should have said a minimum passing grade, but I was paraphrasing Ron H. as directly as possible, so my statement ended up being just like his, with certain words substituted for others. I thought that was obvious.”

      If you are replying to a previous poster, make it clearer and reply in the thread that the poster made the comment.

      Your analogy is still bad. Min. passing grade is nothing like a min. wage. The bottom students do not get the min. passing grade. The bottom wage earners do get the min. wage. Fail yet again.

      “You’re supporting MY point now. I’m not advocating lowering grade standards, I was sarcastically paraphrasing Ron H to point out how ridiculous his assertion was. Notice I wrote *rolls eyes* afterward. And just like I’m not advocating lowering grade standards, I’m also not advocating lowering wage standards.”

      Who said anything about lowering grade standards? You said that min wage is like the teacher setting min. grades. I said that was a bad analogy. Min wage in a classroom setting is like the government setting a min. grade for the students in the class. I used 50% as an example of a government mandate min. wage that would lower the performance of the whole class, in particular the bottom students. So what the hell are you talking about?

      Third Fail…..you are out.

  12. The Unknown One

    “To argue that just because the government can set a min. wage then they should set one is one of the stupidest things ever writen on this blog. Fail indeed.”

    “Should” the government set minimum auto safety standards? Yes, they should. One might argue that even these aren’t necessary, and that autos might be safe simply due to consumer demand, but there is no guarantee of that — some cars might still be very unsafe without the rules (likely, smaller and less expensive cars). So, the government setting a minimum standard ensures that *all* cars meet some reasonable measure of safety. It’s simply a guarantee of some minimal standard. Same goes with the minimum wage. Society has determined that autos should meet some minimal safety standard, and they’ve also determined that employers should pay their employees some minimal standard.

    “You said that min wage is like the teacher setting min. grades.”

    No, as I said I was referring to a minimum passing grade. You seem to have missed my mockery of Ron’s stance.

    If you believe there should be no minimum wage, you should also believe there should be no minimum passing grades in a class. If you believe the minimum wage should be $0, you should also believe the minimum passing score in a classroom should be 0%. Everybody gets promoted to the next grade next year, no matter how bad they did. Minimum standards should be abolished altogether.

    Ya right. *rolls eyes again*

    1. givemefreedom

      You obviously did not take Ron’s advise about thinking carefully before responding as well. And if you are replying to a particular post, then reply in the same thread! Or is that something you don”t get either?

      ““Should” the government set minimum auto safety standards? Yes, they should……..blah blah……… Society has determined that autos should meet some minimal safety standard, and they’ve also determined that employers should pay their employees some minimal standard.”

      So now the analogy is that min. wage is like auto safety standards? And of course the government should set those both because society has determined it? Who is society? And why, if as you say society determined it, why are the standards that society determined and government enforces the correct ones?

      You have just rephrased your original completely stupid argument that the government should set min wage because they can set it.

      “No, as I said I was referring to a minimum passing grade. You seem to have missed my mockery of Ron’s stance.”

      You really have no idea what is going on here, do you?

      “If you believe there should be no minimum wage, you should also believe there should be no minimum passing grades in a class. If you believe the minimum wage should be $0, you should also believe the minimum passing score in a classroom should be 0%. Everybody gets promoted to the next grade next year, no matter how bad they did. Minimum standards should be abolished altogether.”

      Wow you are dense. As I already explained to you min wage is not at all like a minimum passing grade. If you are to use this stupid classroom analogy, then min wage is like a minimum grade that all students in the class get. THERE ARE NO WAGES PAID BELOW MIN. WAGE! so it follows that for your stupid classroom analogy to be even remotely appropriate to the min wage argument, then the min. grade is the grade below which NO STUDENT GETS A LOWER GRADE THAN!

      A passing grade is not like a min wage, how do you not see that? If the government was to say that the min. passing wage is 10.10, but employers are free to pay whatever wage that they and the employee have agreed to, then how is that a min. wage?

      wow, just shut up.

      1. The Unknown One

        “You obviously did not take Ron’s advise about thinking carefully before responding as well. And if you are replying to a particular post, then reply in the same thread! Or is that something you don”t get either?”

        The software would not let me reply to that sub-thread anymore. Otherwise I would have quoted right beneath him.

        “So now the analogy is that min. wage is like auto safety standards?”

        I had already brought up that analogy before and was using it again.

        Look, if you’re not going to follow the thread I’m responding to, then don’t waste both of our time making me explain to you that which I’ve already written to someone else.

        “You have just rephrased your original completely stupid argument that the government should set min wage because they can set it”

        You’re not comprehending. Let me repeat:

        “Society has determined that autos should meet some minimal safety standard, and they’ve also determined that employers should pay their employees some minimal standard.”

        The “should” is society’s decision. In an elected government such as ours, the government responds to the desires of those who elect them. You can be pretty sure the majority of Americans think a minimum wage is a good idea. That is, they think the government “should” set a minimum wage. That is all that matters.

        1. Givemefreedom

          Look, there is no fixing stupid so i don’t know why I am wasting my time with you. You have given absolutely no valid argument supporting min wage. That the government can set a min wage is not a valid argument for min wage. That the government sets standards in other areas is not a valid argument for min wage. That the majority of people think government should set a minimum wage is not a valid argument for min wage. That “society” has determined that there should be a minimum wage is not a valid argument for min wage. You did not post one valid argument in support of min wage.

          As for you not following the thread because the software would not allow, the funny thing is that a couple of other posters posted underneath Ron, and they posted after you supposedly were stopped by the software.

          Like I said before, if you want to be taken seriously on this blog then you must post clear, logical statements or arguments about the topic being discussed. You did not even come close to doing that wrt min wage so you can’t be taken seriously.

  13. Robert puharic

    Incidentally, AEI has reposted the earlier study I referenced from Goldman Sachs. It’s been modified to say that income growth for the bottom 99% may increase over the coming decades.

    http://www.aei-ideas.org/2014/03/great-stagnation-why-goldman-sachs-thinks-the-next-four-decades-will-show-significantly-faster-household-income-growth/

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