Gleanings and observations.4:20 PM, Apr 27, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Every liberal knows that poverty breeds crime, although data are unable to show such a correlation, much less causation. This understanding of what is called the root cause of crime was best expressed in one of those Woody Allen flashbacks in which his father is defending the family maid against his mother’s charges that she is a thief, “Of course she steals, she’s poor,” a truism and in this case a call to ignore the maid’s appropriation of the property of a family struggling to remain above the poverty line.
So when six men worked through two nights to drill into safe-deposit boxes in London, each putting in some 20 hours of hard labor, we can only conclude they were reacting to the lack of honest work at decent wages. And, even if such work were available, the minimum wage of about £7 per hour, or about $10, would have given each of them about $200, hardly a living wage with which to support a family in the coming week, unless more opportunities to appropriate other people’s property presented themselves. And grueling work it was -- drilling, throwing up all that dust because the work place was unregulated by the UK equivalent of OSHA, working night shifts and on a holiday Sunday to haul away tens of millions of pounds worth of cash and jewelry. Even if the haul came to only £30 million, the low estimate, or $50 million, each worker would net hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour, far above both the statutory minimum and what the average guy on the shop floor makes. Now no sensible policy wonk would propose that the minimum wage be raised to that level. But surely something well in excess of the current minimum, or even the $10 per hour that Walmart, McDonald’s and other firms are offering to some of their workers, is warranted if we are to prevent other members of the poor from being tempted into lives of crime.
Mar 30, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 28 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
"Why Are So Many Seattle Restaurants Closing Lately?” asks a recent Seattle magazine headline. The Scrapbook is no restaurateur, let alone knowledgeable about the local economy, but we’ll guess it has something to do with the fact that Seattle’s new $15 minimum wage starts phasing in on April 1. However, the first rule of liberals confronting the laws of basic economics is deny, deny, deny.
Feb 16, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 22 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
A poignant notice from the website of Borderland Books, an independent bookstore in San Francisco’s Mission District:
At the beginning of 2014, the future of the business looked, if not rosy, at least stable and very positive. We were not in debt, sales were meeting expenses and even allowing a small profit, and, perhaps most importantly, the staff and procedures at both the bookstore and the cafe were well established and working smoothly.
Nov 10, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 09 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
It turns out Elizabeth Warren, favorite senator of the left, is not only a self-described Cherokee without evidence of Cherokee ancestry, but a self-described consumer -finance expert without evidence of any financial savvy. Joining two of her favorite themes, women’s oppression and the cruel inadequacy of the minimum wage, she wrote this in a “tweetstorm” she cohosted the other day with fellow Democratic senator Kirsten Gillibrand: “2/3 of minimum wage workers are women, but the minimum wage no longer keeps a mom & her baby out of poverty.”
5:47 PM, Oct 6, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
A Nevada man complained to Vice President Joe Biden that it's hard for small businesses to operate these days:
"It's real hard for the small businesses," said the Nevada man. "It's not so easy."
He added, "Right now it's very hard for a small business to make it--and everybody."
"Yeah," said Biden, seemingly in agreement.
"It is very hard," the man said.
The vice president is in Las Vegas, Nevada today.
2:09 PM, Apr 3, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In the midst of the Obama administration's latest push to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released an analysis showing the the percentage of hourly workers earning at or below the minimum wage is down to 4.3 percent, or 3.3 million workers.
Mar 17, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 26 • By FRED BARNES
President Obama talks, talks, talks about jobs. The first 20 minutes of his State of the Union address in January was all about jobs. Immigration reform would “create jobs for everybody,” he said. His energy policy “is creating jobs.” Obama said he’s assigned Vice President Biden to make sure training programs match workers with “good jobs that need to be filled right now.” Last week he described his new budget as “a road map for creating jobs.”
1:08 PM, Mar 2, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Despite the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the White House is focused on making the argument for raising the minimum wage. In just a few minutes, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest will be joined on the phone with Governor Malloy of Connecticut, Governor Chafee of Rhode Island, and Governor Shumlin of Vermont to make that case.
Conservatives and the unemployed.Mar 3, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 24 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Millions of Americans, glutted with benefits that until now have seemed likely to be renewed and renewed again, have suddenly become devoid of ambition, shed the work ethic, and taken to the couch and the TV remote. Or found a back pain or emotional problem that entitles them to the even higher benefits designed to ameliorate the plight of truly disabled workers.
8:18 AM, Jan 29, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
President Obama called for a minimum wage hike in his State of the Union Address, but to hear Washington state Democrats tell it, wages aren't the main concern: The real problem is the modern American workplace itself. The minimum wage in Washington state is already $9.32 an hour, more than two dollars an hour higher than the current federal minimum wage.
There are better ways to help workers than the minimum wage.Dec 23, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 15 • By IKE BRANNON
There is a vintage Corvette parked on the street nearby, a 1977 canary yellow model in perfect condition. The NADA Blue Book says it’s worth around $15,000.
The car is someone’s toy: I know that because it hasn’t been moved for an entire year. I’ve seen the owner visit it a couple of times to rev the engine and give it a sponge bath, but it’s been in the exact same spot since last Christmas.
Long-term unemployment is a serious problem. Liberals don’t have an answer. Conservatives can do better.Dec 16, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 14 • By MICHAEL R. STRAIN
Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee wrote a letter on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican and Ways and Means chairman, urging him to devote some committee time to extending federal unemployment benefits. At issue is the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, enacted in 2008 to offer qualifying unemployed workers benefits above and beyond what are available during normal economic times.
7:28 AM, Sep 20, 2013 • By VICTORINO MATUS
If you couldn't tell from all the red banners this was a far-left rally, you could probably tell by the smell. It was an earthy group consisting of various age groups and even more various hair dyes. They seem to like denim. And I think I've figured out how they managed to give their blue jeans that unwashed look.