Ron Unz is Silly

The notion of individuals and businesses carrying their own weight seems just as alien to the sort of present-day Republicans whose perspectives are welcome within the confines of the elite media. For example, a long New York Times column by Prof. Gregory Mankiw, a former top economic advisor to President George W. Bush, suggested that it was unfair and morally wrong to expect businesses to cover the costs of their own employees since the responsibility was obviously that of our society as a whole. Whereas Hillary Clinton famously declared that “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child,” the sort of thinkers who will probably be advising her Republican opponent in 2016 are suggesting that “It Takes an Entire Country to Run a Business” (or at least to pay the business’s employees). Back when I was younger, I think this notion was called “Communism,” but these days it’s considered Mainstream Republicanism.


Meanwhile, some of the more mainstream conservative critics of a minimum wage hike are certainly living up to their “Fox-tard” reputation. For example, National Review’s Jim Geraghty just ran a column ridiculing the impact of a $10.10 minimum wage by pointing out that only 1.1% of American workers earn the current minimum wage of $7.25. He argued that since such a tiny number of workers likely to benefit from the proposed change, Obama and the Democrats were merely engaging in populist demagoguery on the issue, and his absurdly innumerate reasoning was Tweeted out to a vast audience of fellow “Fox-tards,” probably numbering a million or more. As it happens, almost 31% of American wage-earners would get a raise under a $10.10 minimum wage, and 31% is considerably larger than 1.1% but statistics do tend to confuse some people.

The careless words or careless thinking of Republicans do sometimes get them into trouble, especially if they follow certain ideas to their logical conclusions.

After all, it is totally obvious that every argument currently advanced against the idea of raising the minimum wage is an equally strong argument for lowering it, but individuals who take that position quickly regret doing so. Just a few days ago, the media reported that a wealthy Republican financier running for governor of Illinois had told an audience that his state needed to cut its minimum wage to regain economic competitiveness, and that “pro-poverty” suggestion seems likely to swamp his candidacy, notwithstanding his desperate retraction and even his newfound support for a federal $10 minimum wage.

– from “Rightwingers for Higher Wages”

Dear Ron,

Really? You want to be taken seriously by conservatives and this is what you write in defense of your minimum wage proposal? You should be ashamed of yourself, but then you are a guy who proudly links to all sorts of nasty kooks and crazies without any shame whatsoever.

Be that as it may, I was particularly amused to see you’ve picked up the cudgel once again for the minimum wage — yes, I’m quite sure it has given you “new found respect” among all sorts of liberals who would otherwise be hostile to your views since you recognize the truth of biological human differences. But the reason all of us proud “Fox-tards” think you are nuts (although truth be told, I only occasionally watch television news, and I think Greg Gutfeld is the best thing on Fox), is that you always seem to avoid the best arguments against the minimum wage — now why would that be? As you know, basic supply and demand suggests that when you artificially raise the price of something, you’ll force consumers of that good (in this case low-wage labor) to use less of it. Now, given an inelastic demand (i.e. a vertical, or almost vertical demand curve), this effect could be small. And obviously you like to highlight all the economists who find this to be true (or you make arguments that mirror these economists analyses) and ignore all the analysts/economists who disagree.

Furthermore, you twist the argument folks like Mankiw are making with respect to the Earned Income Tax Credit. A worker is either worth $X to a business or he isn’t (with respect to the bottom line) — a business is not a social service agency, or a government agency, etc. We can of course, tax businesses separate and apart from taxes on the general population; but why those taxes should fall on business owners and not the general population is not clear with respect to a minimum wage (which is just a special kind of tax on business owners who employ low-wage labor). There is no special reason that those business owners should be forced to pay to help a low-wage worker raise his family at the same time they are forced to help a low-wage teenager make extra money for a new iPod. But a minimum wage makes no distinctions between the two while putting a special burden on a class of business owners who are being singled out simply because they provide a service that doesn’t require much in the way of skilled labor. If we all like that service, and at the same time want to help low-wage workers who have to support families, why shouldn’t we all pitch in — that’s Mankiw’s argument.

Finally, I’ve gone over Jim Geraghty’s numbers multiple times and you are a jerk for calling him innumerate, especially when he linked to his sources and you fail to provide a link to yours (or your reasoning). Presumably, you define “wage-earner” differently than “worker”, which is fine; but again, Jim linked to his source so it would be honorable of you to link to yours (e.g. this source suggests that only 5.2% of “workers paid hourly rates” would be impacted by a raise in the minimum wage, unless you are also assuming that there is some sort of cascade effect from raising the minimum wage — but again, you don’t explain your assumptions, you just throw out snark).

I’m quite sure you’ll ignore this tiny blog from an anonymous writer, but I hope the folks who do stumble across my piece and were inclined to take Unz seriously, will stop it right away!


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