New York Times
Read these paragraphs and see if you can figure out who wrote them:
The Federal minimum wage has been frozen at $3.35 an hour for six years. In some states, it now compares unfavorably even with welfare benefits available without working. It’s no wonder then that Edward Kennedy, the new chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, is being pressed by organized labor to battle for an increase.
No wonder, but still a mistake. Anyone working in America surely deserves a better living standard than can be managed on $3.35 an hour. But there’s a virtual consensus among economists that the minimum wage is an idea whose time has passed. Raising the minimum wage by a substantial amount would price working poor people out of the job market. A far better way to help them would be to subsidize their wages or - better yet - help them acquire the skills needed to earn more on their own.
An increase in the minimum wage to, say, $4.35 would restore the purchasing power of bottom-tier wages. It would also permit a minimum-wage breadwinner to earn almost enough to keep a family of three above the official poverty line. There are catches, however. It would increase employers’ incentives to evade the law, expanding the underground economy. More important, it would increase unemployment: Raise the legal minimum price of labor above the productivity of the least skilled workers and fewer will be hired.
The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable - and fundamentally flawed. It’s time to put this hoary debate behind us, and find a better way to improve the lives of people who work very hard for very little.
Guess? Guess? Hmm? Give up? All right then, the individual who wrote this was…
Yes, there does appear to be a media bias. I see it all the time, just like you probably do. Part of the reason Fox News does as well as it does is because he simply presents a different media bias than what it’s watchers see elsewhere. They’ve presented something new, and are being rewarded for it.
However, many people don’t believe in media bias. They just don’t think it exists. Well, let’s take a quick lesson in media bias, and some of the reasons for it. For the record, I am the publisher of The Albany Journal, what was once a weekly newspaper in Albany, Georgia but is now an online news website. I’m not telling you this to try and make it out like my vast newspaper experience gives me some insight (I only bought the paper last October after all), but so some stories later on will make some sense.
When talking about media bias, there are some things that happen. I’m guilty of it as much as the next newspaper editor/publisher/news director. Some stories cross my desk, and my natural reaction is to not devote space to them. Even if they don’t cross my desk, I sometimes read articles on other sites and think “I wouldn’t run that”. Sometimes, it’s well founded. An eatery half way across the state that says it is going to start making their own bread just isn’t news for Albany.
Sometimes though, my subconscious makes the decision for me. For example, a story about how laws regarding junk food in schools may be helping reduce childhood obesity. Now, this as an AP story, and I don’t get to run AP stories, but this is a case of one I would probably not have run. Consciously, I would probably argue to myself that I just don’t think my readers would find it interesting, but is that really the reason?
I remember watching Superman II and hearing the line “Kneel before Zod”. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s kind of the vibe I got from David Brooks in his uber creepy column earlier this week. By now, there are about a thousand different posts regarding Brooks’ column, but we here at United Liberty are just too awesome to not put our own thoughts on it.
Now, to be fair, much of the point of Brooks’ column is lamenting what he perceives as a lack of powerful monuments to our “Dear Leaders”. However, along the way, he also does the best job of boot-licking politicians I’ve seen that wasn’t intended as satire.
These days many Americans seem incapable of thinking about these paradoxes. Those “Question Authority” bumper stickers no longer symbolize an attempt to distinguish just and unjust authority. They symbolize an attitude of opposing authority.
The old adversary culture of the intellectuals has turned into a mass adversarial cynicism. The common assumption is that elites are always hiding something. Public servants are in it for themselves. Those people at the top are nowhere near as smart or as wonderful as pure and all-knowing Me.
You end up with movements like Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Parties that try to dispense with authority altogether. They reject hierarchies and leaders because they don’t believe in the concepts. The whole world should be like the Internet — a disbursed semianarchy in which authority is suspect and each individual is king.
I moved to Washington, DC two years ago for graduate school — apparently, as a freshly-credentialed MPP entering the job market, my timing was impeccable. But I can’t say I’m really happy about what it means more broadly for the direction in which the country is heading.
Catherine Rampell at the New York Times Economix blog reports (emphasis mine):
In every state, a majority of residents think the economy is getting worse. In the nation’s capital, however, a full 60 percent of people think the economy is getting better.
Reader’s Digest version: the Bush-Obama spending binge has spurred more growth in Washington, DC than anywhere else in the country. That’s because new federal agencies with new missions (or new missions at existing agencies) need new personnel. But beyond a simple expansion of the government itself came an expansion of the special interest class, eager to get its mitts on new waves of federal spending.
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with millions unemployed across the country and new levels of uncertainty abounding, this doesn’t bode well for friends of the free market.
What can we do about it? Get involved.
“…some Tea Party-backed candidates and other Republicans have taken positions that many voters consider extreme, like shutting down the government to get their way, privatizing Social Security and Medicare and ending unemployment insurance.” - NY Times
Extremism is probably the buzzword today in politics. By arguing against extremism from your opponent, you paint yourself as the defender of what is just and right. However, the thing to keep in mind is that extremism today is mainstream thought tomorrow.
For example, the idea of “medical marijuana” was extreme for many, many years. Today it’s becoming more and more common. Even more people are coming out in favor of legalization where as a decade ago it was an “extremist” view. The idea of legalizing any drug was a sign of being soft on crime and criminals. Today, it’s soccer moms and even police officers who are taking that stance, not just libertarian whack jobs.
Ideas like privatizing social security sound extreme because the propaganda machine has done a good job of painting it that way. However, as more and more people enter into social security with fewer and fewer people contributing to it, the Ponzi scheme will inevitably fail. What happens then? Well, for one, the system will need serious revision at least. That could mean privatization, or it could mean scrapping the system. Either way, something is going to have to happen and whatever it is will be something that the New York Times says is “extreme”.
Extremism is in the eye of the beholder, at least when it comes to American politics. The idea of government getting out of people’s daily lives doesn’t sound extreme, since that’s kind of what the United States is all about. However, when you argue against seat belt laws, or against the Department of Homeland Security, you get labeled as “extremist”. People forget that we lived just fine without this stuff.
You may have heard about that Greece will be receiving $146 billion from the International Monetary Fund and European countries to help bring the country back to financial solvency, provided the country make cuts in spending and increase taxes.
The cuts in spending and new taxes have led to mass riots and protests, including a strike by government workers, who have been hit with cuts in pension and pay due to the agreement with the IMF (overly generous government benefits are a problem that we’ll eventually have here in the United States).
American Taxpayers have endured much since the fall of 2008, from endless bailouts to private sector companies (financial institutions and automakers) that now know they are “too big, too fail” and can run to the federal government for a bailout, the passage of ObamaCare, plans to pass cap-and-trade and budget deficits as far as the eye can see. It has seemed like an endless assault.
It’s bad enough that our tax dollars are being used so irresponsibly, but what many taxpayers may not know is that they are on the hook to bailout Greece.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) explains:
G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors asked the United States, the IMF’s largest contributor, for a whopping $108 billion to rescue bankers around the world and the Obama Administration quickly obliged.
The New York Times reported Sunday that the White House was considering a value added tax to trim the budget deficit (God forbid the propose real spending cuts):
One way to reach that 3 percent goal, by the calculations of Mr. Obama’s economic team: a 5 percent value-added tax, which would generate enough revenue to simultaneously permit the reduction in corporate tax rates Republicans favor.
Robert Gibbs, President Barack Obama’s press secretary, has denied this. This denial was repeated on Morning Joe by Austan Goolsbee, a White House economic advisor, who gave Mark Halperin a “non-denial” denial:
Look, we are not, the report — and I’m not sure where it came from cause it’s not anything I saw — was that they were contemplating a VAT, that is not true. We have stood up this bipartisan fiscal commission, which as I understand it is considering a whole bunch of things.
What does Barack Obama say about the possibility of a value added tax? You think he is sticking by the public claims that his spokesman and advisor gave? Nope. In fact, he is awfully fond of a VAT:
When asked if he could see a potential VAT in this nation, the president said: “I know that there’s been a lot of talk around town lately about the value-added tax. That is something that has worked for some countries. It’s something that would be novel for the United States.”
Barack Obama got a little touchy over a question from The New York Times during a recent interview:
President Obama was so concerned that he may have mishandled a question from New York Times reporters about whether he was a socialist, that he called the paper to clarify his position. The president initially answered the question aboard Air Force One saying, “Let’s take a look at the budget, the answer would be no.”
The president explained he wanted a return to the tax rates of the 1990s by giving a tax-cut to 95 percent of workers. But the president may have felt that was too dismissive, and called the Times from the Oval Office explaining: “It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question… it wasn’t under me that we started buying a bunch of shares of banks. it wasn’t on my watch.”
With the White House upping United States’ involvement Syrian civil war and tensions increasing with North Korea, a new poll from The New York Times and CBS News shows that Americans are opposed to further miltary against the two countries:
Americans are exhibiting an isolationist streak, with majorities across party lines decidedly opposed to American intervention in North Korea or Syria, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
Sixty-two percent of the public say the United States has no responsibility to do something about the fighting in Syria between government forces and antigovernment groups, while just one-quarter disagree. Likewise, 56 percent say North Korea is a threat that can be contained for now without military action, just 15 percent say the situation requires immediate American action and 21 percent say the North is not a threat at all.
Washington, for it’s part, isn’t listening. Members of Congress are increasing beating the drums of war, pushing for more direct funding and arms for rebels in Syria in response to reports that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against his own people.
Louis Michael Seidman is a constitutional law professor who doesn’t think we need to listen to the Constitution. At least, that’s the case he laid out late last week in the New York Times when he said:
AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.
Consider, for example, the assertion by the Senate minority leader last week that the House could not take up a plan by Senate Democrats to extend tax cuts on households making $250,000 or less because the Constitution requires that revenue measures originate in the lower chamber. Why should anyone care? Why should a lame-duck House, 27 members of which were defeated for re-election, have a stranglehold on our economy? Why does a grotesquely malapportioned Senate get to decide the nation’s fate?
First, I have to assume that Seidman knows exactly why revenue bills have to originate in the House. Now, that serves less of a purpose now that voters choose senators directly, rather than the state legislatures, but it did serve a purpose.
Now, Seidman makes reference to “archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions” of the Constitution, yet makes little effort to actually identify these provisions with one exception. That’s right, boys and girls, he does as all who oppose ideas like constitutionality do, and that’s point to slavery.