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Finding the Right Balance

Fifteen or Fifty or Zero?

Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell just stumbled into a truth. Raising minimum wages could be disastrous. Depending on the rate. While “Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and a host of other well-intentioned liberals want to hike the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour,” she calls the proposal “badly misguided.” And






Greece Surprised!

Shocking Consequences

Five years into (the latest phase of) the Greek debt crisis, a former bureaucrat who was unable to withdraw her money from an ATM when the government declared a bank holiday had this to say: “How can something like this happen without prior warning?” It’s always a surprise — to






D. Stockman

The Fed Feeds a Scam

Real and effective “anti-establishment” ideas come from unexpected places. That is, they are unexpected if you read only the dominant media and its insider sources, or follow politics only during the quadrennial presidential farce. Quite a few news junkies would be surprised at David Stockman’s critique of current Federal Reserve






Eggs

Prophecy Failed

In the first week of June we were told to expect egg shortages. The avian flu had infected millions of hens: egg production would plummet. This was news, reported as “Egg Rationing in America Has Officially Begun.” The Washington Post cited a few signs in Texan retail groceries warning customers






Unemployment Chimp

Chimps, Chumps, and the Minimum Wage

It’s time to talk minimum wage laws again! Confession: I tend to understand some issues on the level of logic — of, even, common sense. A prohibition (which is what a minimum wage law is, forbidding payment at a rate below the “minimum”) doesn’t spur productivity, and it’s from increased






ILLUSTRATION_neutrality

Non-neutral Net Neutrality

Worried about its costs, Netflix has asked millions of customers to support so-called “net neutrality” policies to curtail the freedom of action of broadband companies like Comcast. Netflix, a huge suck of bandwidth, doesn’t want to have to make deals with ISPs like Comcast to deliver service to its customers.






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Robert Reich, Mythed Up

onsumer sovereignty is the idea that in markets consumers call the shots. In capitalism, most mass production is indeed for the masses, and the masses have a big say in what gets done. All profits and wages of successful businesses come from consumers. But don’t take this too far. Consumers






Common Sense

Unsustainable Pseudo-thinking

One of the fashionable thought-killing words offered by the cliché-recycling movement is “sustainable.” In the common tongue, as spoken by many, many environmentalists, this term implies that we will run out of all our stuff pretty soon unless everybody on the planet (except maybe Al Gore) is put on a






Land Un-Grab?

When I took up the Cliven Bundy story, just before Bundy spewed his racist farragoes, I concentrated not on him, but on the broader issue: too much federal government ownership of real property in “the tiny state of Nevada” and elsewhere. Since then an expert has weighed in on my






Bigots Hate Competition

Apparently, economics is hard. But some things are pretty straightforward. For example, both parties to a trade gain: it’s called “mutual benefit through exchange.” Another basic principle? Employers hire labor expecting productivity. Businesses don’t hire workers who can’t produce enough to more than cover their wages — and managers fire






The Zero Effect

The idea of hiking the legal minimum wage just doesn’t go away, alas. The usual thought experiment those with common sense use to elicit a modicum of sagacity in the minimum wage advocates’ addled synapses runs like this: You say you want a higher minimum wage, say $9 per hour.






Protesting Gravity

The continuing, ramped-up protests of low wages at low-end service jobs, like McDonalds and (to some extent) Walmart, put many of us in a bind. On the one hand, a decent person wants others to be happy in their work, and paid well. On the other, a wise person wants






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