Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Last Call For A Minimum Of Logic

New Hampshire Republican Congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia dismissed raising the minimum wage as a "wedge issue" by President Barack Obama's administration that actually wouldn't help people and instead is just a "petty, short-sighted type of little issue."

Garcia, considered a rising star among conservative Republicans, made the comments Monday evening during an interview with Chris Ryan on his Pints and Politics show on WKXL in Concord, New Hampshire. The comments were flagged by the opposition-research shop American Bridge. 
"I voted against increasing the state minimum wage when I was in the legislature," Garcia said. "It seems to be sort of a petty — not punitive is the wrong word — but kind of just a petty, short-sighted type of little issue that the President's administration decided to champion for a time to then use as a wedge issue." 
Garcia goes on to say that a minimum wage increase would be slight for the recipients but would be "catastrophic" for the job market. She also calls a hike "trite." 
"Every employer I've talked to says —about deals with the minimum wage says 'look I will literally be laying people off.' Now I ask you, is giving someone a dollar, $1.15 increase helpful or better for them than actually not losing that job to begin with?" Garcia continued. "So what you're doing is you're forcing people to choose between laying people off completely and losing their job or having a somewhat trite and meaningless wage —excuse me raise, and your wage that doesn't do in fact do anything to make your life more affordable, allow for the cost of living, help you heat your home, fill your car, and all these other —afford your healthcare— and all these things we're dealing with. So yeah, I'm opposed to raising it."

There's three problems with Garcia's argument: First, in a country where corporations continue to earn record profits, they have the money to invest back into labor costs. Her assumption that a raise in the minimum wage would have to immediately be compensated by firing people doesn't make fiscal sense.

Second, when multiple businesses increase wages for their lowest-paid employees, these employees have more money to spend into the local economy and all indications are that this is exactly what happens when there's a minimum wage hike.  More money in the economy means growth, and growth means there's more business coming in to pay for these wage increases.   Garcia doesn't make basic economic sense either.  Imagine that.

Finally, her argument doesn't hold water from an empirical standpoint either.  Washington State had up until recently the highest minimum wage in the country at $9.32 an hour.  If Garcia's correct, then Washington State's unemployment rate should be well above the national average.

It's not.  August 2014 it was 5.8%, below the country's 6.1% national average.  Meanwhile, states that had the federal minimum wage at $7.25 an hour like Kentucky and North Carolina have higher than average unemployment, NC at 6.5% and KY at 7.4%.  If raising the minimum wage is bad for the economy, then Washington State should have the worst unemployment in America.

It doesn't.  The argument is silly.

But so is the Republican Party.

These Victims Are Professionals

GQ's interview with George Zimmerman and his family simply isn't as awful as you probably think it would be.  Instead it's much, much worse, as if the Bluths from Arrested Development met the Duck Dynasty clan on the set of The Sporanos. Writer Amanda Robb visited the "most hated family in America":

It was Grace, the little sister, who first grasped how all their lives were about to change. "We need to get guns!" she screamed when she saw the first news report pop up on her phone. The brief story didn't even have George's name—the shooter was still publicly unidentified—but that was no comfort. It was only a matter of time. 
The Zimmermans already owned a lot of guns—at least ten altogether, between Grace and her fiancĂ©, her two brothers, and her parents. Still, Grace bought herself a new Taurus pistol. 
They had good reason to believe they might be in danger. Soon after Reuters published George's name on March 7, 2012, the New Black Panthers put out a $10,000 bounty for his "citizen's arrest." #Justice4Trayvon became a popular hashtag, and violent threats came in a flood. "All I can and will say I pray to God that your son geroge [sic]and Robert both choke on a sick dick and the mother and father both choke off a dick," someone posted on Bob and Gladys's website. "[I]t's not over we will have the last lol."
The family decided they could no longer stay put. George and Shellie holed up with a friend who was a federal air marshal, so they were reasonably safe. But for years, George's name had been on the deed to the house where his parents lived. Someone would find them. Bob worried about the large window that faced the street at the front of the house. "That's my mother-in-law's room," he said. Gladys's mother: 87 years old, Alzheimer's-afflicted. "I could just see somebody shooting into the bedroom or throwing a Molotov cocktail or something." 
Robert, who bears a strong resemblance to George, was seen as particularly vulnerable. At the time of the shooting, he was living in suburban Washington, D.C., and in March, shortly after his thirty-first birthday, he got a call from a special agent at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, who told him, Robert recalls, that "credible yet nonspecific" intelligence had identified him as a "target": "Anyone who wants to harm him will make no distinction between you because of the physical similarity. You need to go, and you need to go now." He left, joining the family on the run in Florida.

The Zimmermans believe to this day that they will never be free, that they are hunted by millions of angry liberals, and they are all completely paranoid and armed to the teeth and ready to shoot to kill in order to defend themselves.

Before I leave, we Skype with the rest of the family, minus George, who are all at home in Florida. The connection is choppy. Bob, Gladys, and Grace are in the kitchen, and all three of them look tired. Both of the family's lawsuits—their best hope at financial salvation—are going nowhere fast. A federal magistrate bounced the case against Roseanne Barr back to a state court. And a circuit-court judge just tossed out George's case against NBC. 
But that's not what they want to talk about today. They want me to understand that the world is aligned against them and that what sustains them is their closeness as a family. George texts all the time. He even called recently. He wanted to know the name of a recent pop song, one with a chorus that goes la la la. 
Bob tells me that George's big fear right now is that he'll be charged with federal civil rights violations for the Martin shooting. 
"He's worried," Bob says, "that if FBI agents come and kick in his door, he's probably gonna shoot a few of them."

The interview is comically awful, because the Zimmermans are awful people. The Zimmermans have family codes for situations.  They fear pretty much 90% of America is trying to kill George and that they'll have to spend decades living like a bored family full of former mobsters in exile.  Most of all they want you to know they have guns.  Lots and lots of guns.

Oh, and George is still being a "concerned citizen" out there in Florida.  But the family of course fears he's a little jumpy on the trigger.

Trayvon Martin could not be reached for comment.

Cash Rules Everything Around Them

The annual list of Forbes's 400 richest Americans is out, and you'll be glad to know that President Obama's evil communist socialist anti-colonialist views and his massively overregulated uncertain business climate ended up making these Masters of the Universe about $270 billion last year.

Thanks to a buoyant stock market, the richest people in the U.S. just keep getting richer. That has made it harder than ever to join the ranks of the 400 wealthiest Americans. The price of entry to The Forbes 400 this year is $1.55 billion, the highest it’s been since Forbes started tracking American wealth in 1982. Last year it took $1.3 billion to score a spot. Because the bar is so high, 113 U.S. billionaires didn’t make the cut

Bill gates, still #1 at $81 billion.  Rich enough to every single person in America 200 bucks and still have $16 billion or so left over.

All together the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a staggering $2.29 trillion, up $270 billion from a year ago. That’s about the same as the gross domestic product of Brazil, a country of 200 million people. The average net worth of list members is $5.7 billion, $700 million more than last year and a record high. An impressive 303 of the 400 saw the value of their fortunes rise compared to a year ago. Only 36 people from last year’s list had lower net worths this year. Twenty-six people fell off the list; another six people died, including businessman and Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer.

And of course, Obama's making it so very hard to join this list.  Obamacare is destroying the medical industry, you know.

There are 27 newcomers to the Forbes 400, including Elizabeth Holmes the youngest woman on the list, and the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. Just 30 years old, the Stanford University dropout has built blood testing company Theranos into a firm that venture capitalists have valued at $9 billion. She owns 50% of it.

So hard out here for a pimp.  We should probably cut Social Security just in case.


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