There's little debate among academic economists about the effect of minimum wages. University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark has examined more than 100 major academic studies on the minimum wage. He reports that 85 percent of the studies "find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers." A 1976 American Economic Association survey found that 90 percent of its members agreed that increasing the minimum wage raises unemployment among young and unskilled workers. A 1990 survey reported in the American Economic Review (1992) found that 80 percent of economists agreed with the statement that increases in the minimum wage cause unemployment among the youth and low-skilled. If you're searching for a consensus in a field of study, most of the time you can examine the field's introductory and intermediate college textbooks.
Economics textbooks that mention the minimum wage say that it increases unemployment for the least skilled worker. The only significant debate about the minimum wage is the magnitude of its effect. Some studies argue that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage will cause a 1 percent increase in unemployment, whereas others predict a higher increase.
In his State of the Union address on Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared a "war on poverty." Today, with roughly the same number of people below the poverty level as in 1964 and with many addicted to government "benefits," robbing them of a work ethic, it is clear that the poor have mostly lost the war.
In 1964, the poverty rate was about 19 percent. Census data from 2010 indicates that 15.1 percent are in poverty within a much larger population.
Here's a question that I've asked in the past that needs to be revisited. Unless one wishes to obfuscate, it has a simple yes or no answer. If one group of people prefers strong government control and management of people's lives while another group prefers liberty and desires to be left alone, should they be required to enter into conflict with one another and risk bloodshed and loss of life in order to impose their preferences on the other group? Yes or no. My answer is no; they should be able to peaceably part company and go their separate ways.
The problem our nation faces is very much like a marriage in which one partner has an established pattern of ignoring and breaking the marital vows. Moreover, the offending partner has no intention to mend his ways. Of course, the marriage can remain intact while one party tries to impose his will on the other and engages in the deviousness of one-upsmanship and retaliation. Rather than domination or submission by one party, or domestic violence, a more peaceable alternative is separation.
In his classic novel "1984," George Orwell warned about the evils of a totalitarian state dominated by a single ruling party with total power over its inhabitants. Oceania, his fictional superstate, is under complete surveillance by the authorities. The character known as "Big Brother" reminds everyone he is constantly monitoring the citizens of Oceania, mainly by "telescreen."
At the end of 2013, the federal government may not yet have telescreens, which in Orwell's imagination had the ability to eavesdrop on people's conversations and broadcast propaganda, but it does have the nonfiction equivalent -- data collection, drones and other technological invasions of privacy. Our government does have the National Security Agency.
Instead of always taking incoming fire, how about Republicans start sending some back? It's great that they stopped HillaryCare, but if they had actually fixed health care by forcing health insurance plans to be sold in a competitive free market, there would have been no opportunity for shyster Democrats to foist Obamacare on us.
It's fantastic that we caught the Boston Marathon bombers, but why don't Republicans fix an immigration system that brings foreign terrorists and mass murderers to our country? Let the Democrats explain why we couldn't make room for a Danish surgeon because we needed another Chechnyan terrorist.
Pope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation, levied charges against free market capitalism, denying that "economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world" and concluding that "this opinion ... has never been confirmed by the facts." He went on to label unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny." Let's look at the pope's tragic vision.
First, I acknowledge that capitalism fails miserably when compared with heaven or a utopia. Any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison. However, mankind must make choices among alternative economic systems that actually exist on earth. For the common man, capitalism is superior to any system yet devised to deal with his everyday needs and desires.
I'm interrupting my series on Common Core State Standards for public schools to join the appeal to Iran and North Korea for the release of American hostages like imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini and missionary Kenneth Bae. And I'm also calling upon President Obama and Congress to step up their action, stand for religious freedom and fight for the release of these godly men, whose crimes were nothing more than exercising their faith.
For those who haven't followed the news on these men of the cloth, pastor Abedini was sentenced to eight years by an Iranian court last January for starting house churches in the 2000s, an era in which they weren't even regarded as a threat to Iran's security.
Whenever liberals are in a tight spot, they adopt the scorched-earth policy of argumentation. With no answer, they start demanding that you define words: What do you mean "liberal"? What do you mean "democracy"? What do you mean "patriotism"?
They retreat from argument, burning the English language as they go.
Advocates of Common Core State Standards love to point out how 45 states and the District of Columbia have voluntarily adopted this new national public school regimen. What they're not telling you, however, is how federal and state funds were used to muscle its adoption or how expert reviews and efficacy shortfalls have prompted political and educational action in at least 17 of those states to restrict or reverse the tides of CCSS rollout, according to a brand-new report in The Huffington Post.
In August, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma and Utah withdrew from the assessment groups designing tests for the CCSS. And in September, Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order restricting Florida's involvement with the CCSS national assessments because of concerns over federal overreach of the program. Congress.org reported, "Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah are all currently considering full withdrawal with other fiscally conservative states sure to follow."
On a break from pretending to believe they live in a country bristling with violent white racists, the Non-Fox Media have been trying to debunk stories about the "Knockout Game," in which young black males approach random strangers and try to knock them out with one punch.
The left's leading line of defense against the Knockout Game is to argue that young black males have always been violent, so, hey, this is nothing new.
In a March 2008 column, I criticized pundits' concerns about whether America was ready for Barack Obama, suggesting that the more important issue was whether black people could afford Obama. I proposed that we look at it in the context of a historical tidbit.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson, after signing a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization, broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. He encountered open racist taunts and slurs from fans, opposing team players and even some members of his own team. Despite that, his batting average was nearly .300 in his first year. He led the National League in stolen bases and won the first Rookie of the Year award. There's no sense of justice that requires a player be as good as Robinson in order to have a chance in the major leagues, but the hard fact of the matter is that as the first black player, he had to be.
In Part 1 of my series on the Common Core State Standards being infused into 45 state public school systems, I revealed how the feds spent $350 million of taxpayer money, giving grants and waivers to muscle states and local school districts to accept the standards. And that was after 2009, when feds awarded, in the Department of Education's words, "governors approximately $48.6 billion ... in exchange for a commitment to advance essential education reforms ... including: college- and career-ready standards (aka CCSS)."
In Part 2, I showed how the feds are injecting their progressive agenda into curricula taught to U.S. kids in elementary, middle and high schools via their educative minions posted in academic arenas and among CCSS curricula creators.
"If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace." -- John Lennon
"Black Friday" was a metaphor beyond the merchants' bottom line. Headlines on last Friday's Drudge Report reflect a culture that is being trampled by the greed and me-only attitude of a growing number of us:
Back in September, The New York Times promoted Bill de Blasio's mayoral candidacy with an editorial titled, "Don't Fear the Squeegee Man." The editorial informed readers that crime wouldn't get worse under de Blasio because "policing is far better than it used to be, thanks to innovations by Mayor David Dinkins." (Emphasis added -- the Times was not being sarcastic.)
Under the policing "innovations" of Mayor Dinkins, the annual murder rate in New York City rose to an all-time high of 2,245 in Dinkins' first year in office. After four years of hard work, the murder rate had dropped by about 10 percent, to a merely astronomical 1,995 per year.
After months of the feds doing everything they could to distance themselves from the origin and launch of the controversial Common Core State Standards, more and more of Washington's tentacles are surfacing through public rage, implementation revelations and the White House's own foot-in-mouth disease.
After Education Secretary Arne Duncan cast bigoted blame on "white suburban moms" for nationwide resistance to CCSS — an oops from which he still is reeling in public humiliation and maternal fury — White House spokesman Jay Carney dodged Duncan bullets by claiming ignorance to his statements. But then Carney buried the White House in federal ownership of CCSS by saying, "I can just tell you that the secretary of education and everybody on the president's team dedicated to this effort is focused on making sure that we do everything we can, working with states and others."
My parents voted for Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election. I had not yet developed a political worldview, but as a freshman at American University in Washington, D.C., I stayed up late to watch the election returns slowly trickle in before going to bed at 2 a.m. with the outcome still undecided.
The following year I was hired as a copyboy at NBC News, delivering wire service "copy" to news reporters in the network's Washington bureau. White House correspondent Sander Vanocur invited me to accompany him to observe the swearing-in of Adlai Stevenson as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
I'm with Alec Baldwin on punching aggressive paparazzi photographers. I'm with him against the word police. I'm with him on the stalker. I'm with him on using an electronic device on a plane before takeoff. I'm with him on Kim Basinger playing visitation games with their daughter.
What are conservatives doing demanding Baldwin's head for calling some pestilential paparazzi a "c*ck-s*cking little f*g." It is perfectly obvious Baldwin was just cursing the guy out with whatever bad words popped into his head, not engaging in "homophobia" against an actual gay person.
Last week, I explained what the Common Core State Standards are and how, despite the federal government's saying it's staying out of the classroom standards business, there is much evidence to show that the feds are intricately linked to them.
The first way I demonstrated that was by pointing out that the feds have spent $350 million of taxpayer money, funding and giving grants and waivers to muscle and bribe states and local school districts to accept CCSS. And all of that was done without a single act of Congress, meaning the federal government — including the White House — dumped protocol again to dodge accountability.