Jay Reding.com

The Spoiled Suburban Brat Bailout Bill

John Wixted documents his support for raising the minimum wage, an issue that probably cost the Republicans the Senate. (Thanks to strong support in places like Montana.)

At best, raising the minimum wage will have absolutely no economic consequences. It will be a nice sop to America’s teenagers, who make the largest demographic group within minimum wage earners. All those people who flip your hamburgers and salt your fries deserve a nice healthy raise, don’t they? I mean granted, most of them worry about getting that shiny new Playstation 3 rather than getting their next meal, but still, don’t we deserve to recognize the fact that they remembered to put low-fat French dressing on our McSalad?

Sure, raising the minimum wage won’t do anything to reduce poverty and will ensure that single mothers and minority workers have fewer job opportunities than do the Spoiled Brat demographic, but that’s all unimportant.

What is important is that Americans do something — or at least feel like they’re doing something, even if that something is to ensure that the most vulnerable members of our society lose out to the most irritating. It’s not like we couldn’t do something that would effect only those who truly need it, like raising the Earned Income Tax Credit which subsidizes responsible working habits among the poor rather than the shiftless McBrat saving up to buy an iPod so he can talk about how much emo music he has on MySpace. Nope, we gotta go for the quick fix here.

It’s quite likely that we’ll see a significant increase in the minimum wage in the next session of Congress. That’s welcome news for America’s teenagers, but not so much for the working poor. After all, in politics, a big and visible change like raising the minimum wage often destroys the political inertia that would push for truly effective remedies like fixing the EITC and subsidizing positive societal behaviors. It’s far easier to give into the “easy” solution than fix the the problem, and our political class is hardly known for either their brains or their courage.

42 responses to “The Spoiled Suburban Brat Bailout Bill”

  1. Nicq MacDonald says:

    Agreed. The EITC (promoted by Satan… err… Bill Clinton, at that) is a much better solution than raising the minimum wage, though not the one I’d prefer…

  2. Mark says:

    This goes right along with your thesis last year about the “myth of the working poor”, and it’s the reason Republicans will continue to lose elections in the ongoing era of increasing wage disparity. Since your party’s base has a vested financial interest in growing the underclass, it only makes sense that party mouthpieces like yourself want to pretend that low-wage workers are a non-existent myth in society today. Nonetheless, it’s an assinine strategy to winning elections and your heartlessness is finally starting to catch up with you. Keep on telling the low-wage store clerks and waitresses that they don’t deserve a minimum-wage increase and you shall continue to push Middle American values voters to the (D) column.

    As for most minimum wage jobs being filled by teenagers, clearly they deserve to be earning the minimum wage rate of nine years ago ad infinitum since the cost of college, gas, and car insurance has went down so much in the past nine years. Thanks largely to “no new tax” pledges by Republican Governors across the country, college tuition rates have skyrocketed even faster than their pre Y2K rate and the average student is graduating college with a crushing level of debt not felt by previous generations. A higher minimum wage isn’t a solution to this problem, but anything that can bolster college savings rates is not a bad thing. But then again, Jay Reding already has his private college degree. Why on Earth would he care in the next generation of kids can get theirs when it’s so much easier to hold them at $5.15 an hour and refer to them as “spoiled suburban brats”?

  3. Erica says:

    It will be a nice sop to America’s teenagers, who make the largest demographic group within minimum wage earners.

    But, hey, you know. Republicans aren’t about class warfare. Nope, not at all!

  4. Jay Reding says:

    Since your party’s base has a vested financial interest in growing the underclass, it only makes sense that party mouthpieces like yourself want to pretend that low-wage workers are a non-existent myth in society today.

    Except nobody is saying anything like that. What I’m saying is that increasing the minimum wage doesn’t help those people, while raising the EITC does. And the facts support that position.

    As for most minimum wage jobs being filled by teenagers, clearly they deserve to be earning the minimum wage rate of nine years ago ad infinitum since the cost of college, gas, and car insurance has went down so much in the past nine years. Thanks largely to “no new tax” pledges by Republican Governors across the country, college tuition rates have skyrocketed even faster than their pre Y2K rate and the average student is graduating college with a crushing level of debt not felt by previous generations. A higher minimum wage isn’t a solution to this problem, but anything that can bolster college savings rates is not a bad thing. But then again, Jay Reding already has his private college degree. Why on Earth would he care in the next generation of kids can get theirs when it’s so much easier to hold them at $5.15 an hour and refer to them as “spoiled suburban brats”?

    Except that very, very, very few people pay for college by working at McDonalds. Most do what I did, and most everyone else does, take out loans. The idea that raising the minimum wage by even $2/hour will make the difference between going to college and not doesn’t even remotely make sense.

    Typical of a Mark argument though — find a nice big strawman, blame Republicans for creating it, then bash the crap out of it with abandon…

    But, hey, you know. Republicans aren’t about class warfare. Nope, not at all!

    That qualifies as the dumbest thing I’ve heard all day. Since when are teenagers a class?

  5. Erica says:

    That qualifies as the dumbest thing I’ve heard all day. Since when are teenagers a class?

    Are you just a dumbass or what? Go back to the fucking post you just wrote and count all the times you reference things like PlayStation 3’s and “shiftless McBrat” and “iPods” and other indicators of wealth, contrast them with all the times you say “poor”, and then come back here and tell me with a straight face that you weren’t invoking class warfare.

    Please, by all means. I could use the laugh. Your post is absolutely dripping with a surprising contempt for the idle rich, and now you’re denying it? Look, we can all read, Jay.

  6. Jay Reding says:

    Are you just a dumbass or what?

    Someone’s cruising for a banning…

    Go back to the fucking post you just wrote and count all the times you reference things like PlayStation 3’s and “shiftless McBrat” and “iPods” and other indicators of wealth, contrast them with all the times you say “poor”, and then come back here and tell me with a straight face that you weren’t invoking class warfare.

    Except for the fact that even middle-class teenagers can afford those things. Teenagers are A) usually lacking in significant responsibility and B) possessing in lots of disposable income — in most cases, all of their income is disposable.

    If you want to make the argument that we should be subsidizing those groups over people who actually require jobs to survive, go ahead. It’s still an incredibly stupid argument to make. There’s no class argument being made here, it’s an argument from demographics. There’s no reasonable societal benefit to be gained from subsidizing the demographic group that least needs the help of society.

    Please, by all means. I could use the laugh. Your post is absolutely dripping with a surprising contempt for the idle rich, and now you’re denying it? Look, we can all read, Jay.

    You can’t, evidently. Teenagers are idle and rich comparatively to everyone else, but that usually tends to be fleeting. Then again, some of them never grow up… those people are usually referred to as “Democrats.”

  7. zzx375 says:

    I don’t see Jay invoking “class warfare”, only offering his perspective that raising the minimum wage (throwing in with Greg Mankiw) isn’t as effective an anti-poverty measure as the EITC. BTW, the older CBO report Mankiw cites shows that “four-fifths of all minimum wage workers are not poor”. But then several of the studies (digging down into the referenced links) having opposing conclusions – who’s on target?

    At the end of the day is the question: What’s is the most effective public policy anti-poverty program? On second thought, that should read ‘programs’. Early intervention programs like Headstart could be classified as ‘anti-poverty’and are needed (especially Headstart!). EITC is an effective anti-poverty program and is needed.

    The heartlessness comes when the ‘poor’ are treated as study statistics rather than people and unfortunately government programs are designed to treat a particular demographic which de-emphasizes any one-on-one relationship building. When was the last time folks here volunteered their time to work at their local homeless shelter?

    The historical, political view on ‘raising the mimimum wage’ is Democrats – yes, Republicans – no.

  8. Mark says:

    “only offering his perspective that raising the minimum wage (throwing in with Greg Mankiw) isn’t as effective an anti-poverty measure as the EITC.”

    Considering that Gregory Mankiw wants to reclassify fast food employment as manufacturing jobs, you’re not exactly raising the stock of Jay’s argument by invoking Mankiw’s name.

    “There’s no reasonable societal benefit to be gained from subsidizing the demographic group that least needs the help of society.”

    Glad to hear you’ve seen the light on the need for an inheritance tax. Goodness knows that nobody with as much resentment towards shiftless children of privilege could favor rewarding these same malcontents with a tax-free inheritance, right?

  9. Erica says:

    Except for the fact that even middle-class teenagers can afford those things.

    Middle-class vs. poor is still class warfare, and you’re still invoking it. We can read, Jay.

    No surprise, of course, that it takes a conservative to make the argument that paying the poor more money won’t help their situation, where the situation of “poor” is defined as “not having enough money.” Your argument is prima facie ridiculous, as well as your back-pedalling contention that you’re not invoking the spectre of class warfare – which you claim to detest – in a post entitled “The Spoiled Suburban Brat Bailout Bill”.

    Even if it winds up expanding the disposable income of teens, how doesn’t that help the poor? The poor are the ones staffing the stores the teens spend at; they’re the staff of the restaurants teens eat at. It’s absolutely ridiculous for you to be against this, Jay, when you’ve supported Bush’s tax cuts for the rich and middle-class in the past. Of course, once a Democrat has the same idea, it has to be considered anathema at jayreding.com. Like Seth always says, your partisanship is showing. Showing? It’s all you ever had in the first place.

    Seriously, what’s the deal? They’re going to take away your Young Republicans letter jacket if you’re seen on the internet agreeing with a leeeebrul?

  10. Seth says:

    ok, first of all, you need to read your own statistics. It says half are teenagers or young adults under the age of 24. Your buddies at Heritage can spin things all they want, but at no point do they show a majority of people making minimum are teenagers at home–indeed, given the statistics you’ve posted, a majority could easily be single mothers aged 20-22. Also, because they focus on minimum wage or lower, they are completely unable to talk about who would benefit from a raise to a certain level. To do that, you’d need to know who is making a wage at or below the level at which one is proposing a raise.

    A person working a full-time job in the richest country in the history of the world should not be allowed to live at or below the poverty level. You can try to sound like you are on the side of workers, but as long as you are against that statement, you’re just spewing more of Bill O’Reilley’s junk.

  11. Erica says:

    As an aside, the spoiled teenagers are the ones who don’t have jobs. Trust me, I met some spoiled kids at Gustavus – daddy gets them a BMW when they graduate kind of spoiled. Those kids didn’t have jobs. Those kids didn’t spend a year earning barely enough to eat while they tried to get into graduate school or get a job, those kids had a job when they graduated because of daddy’s connections.

    I spent the year after graduation cleaning houses, waiting tables, and working at the front desk of a hotel. I had 2 jobs at once, because 1 job at a time wasn’t enough to pay the bills. It was a good experience, because it made me realize how lucky I am. I have an education that got me into grad school, I speak English fluently, and I have a support network of family and friends. Most of the people I met during that time didn’t have those things. Maybe you have to get a lecture from an old Russian man (in Russian!) who works 12 hours a day 6 days a week about how this job is crap, and how lucky you are that you just have to study a little harder and you’ll be set…and then realize that he’s stuck forever at that job, and he’s lucky if he gets paid overtime. I know who works these jobs, because I worked with them. I know how much they get paid, because I got paid that same amount. Immigrants, ex-soldiers, the uneducated or poorly educated, single moms, etc. I encountered one teenager waiting tables, but she quit when school started. Your little fantasy land where the low paying jobs are all held by teenagers doesn’t exist. The low paying jobs are held by people with nowhere else to go, with no options, with no way of protesting or improving their situation. Teenagers can’t work during the day shift or the night shift because they have school. Think about it, and the next time you go to a McDonalds at noon open your eyes and see who is working.

    I’m going to agree with ZZ. Programs like Headstart are indeed anti-poverty programs. Not only does good nutrition and education early on help break the cycle of poverty, but free childcare goes a hell of a long way towards improving the lives of single mothers.

  12. Eracus says:

    My, what a marvelous display of emotional intelligence! And I will just bet you not one single person here owns a business and has had to fire an employee because the Democrats just raised the minimum wage. Again! See, the business just didn’t get an arbitrary raise in revenue, just the hourly employees did, which now means the business can no longer afford to pay them all. So, the last to be hired is usually the first to be fired…. So, sorry! But, you know, anything to help the little guy….

    Now, really. Why is the minimum wage so low in the first place?? Don’t we Democrats really care about the little guy? At $5.15/hr, that future Rhodes scholar saxophonist may be already making almost 9% above the Federal poverty guidelines just twisting softcones at the Dairy Queen, but what if his girlfriend is pregnant? Now they’re a family, right? And even Ted Kennedy’s extra $2.10/hr isn’t going to help them one little bit, because now this new family of the little guy is going to be a whopping 9% BELOW the Federal poverty guideline — and still earning a minimum wage at the Dairy Queen!! That is so unfair. Because as SETH so effusively points out above, “A person working a full-time job in the richest country in the history of the world should not be allowed to live at or below the poverty level.” Right on, dude!! Right on!!

    So now we need a minimum wage of at least $7.98/hr just to match the poverty guideline. But remember, since we Democrats care so much about the little guy, that’s now a taxable income, so we need to add back in the 15% the State takes out in taxes for a just barely breakeven total of $9.17/hr. But wait!! Now the little guy’s family is expecting again! It’s a family of 4 now, and you can bet your last bottom dollar Mom and Dad are all about votin’ Democrat, dawg, yessirree!! And the Federal poverty guideline for this little guy’s family of 4 is $20,000/yr., so now we need a minimum wage (remember, accounting for taxes due) of $11.05/hr. just to make sure nobody, and we mean nobody, ever has to live at or below the poverty level in the richest country in the history of the world.

    Oh, hey!! Good news!! There’s gonna be twins!! So now, the little guy has a family of 5!! Isn’t that wonderful?? And we can’t have him working at the Dairy Queen and living below the poverty level now, can we?? So now we need a minimum wage of $12.93/hr., again taking taxes into account. And remember, this is just the MINIMUM wage, because the Democrats care so much about the little guy. But oh, wait……..

    Ted Kennedy’s only proposing a lousy $2.10 minimum wage increase? What a piker!! Doesn’t he care about the little guy?? Why not raise the minimum wage to $14/hr?? That’s fair, isn’t it? That way everybody can have a family of 5 and never live below the poverty line, right? And if they have another baby, we can just raise the minimum wage again, can’t we?? In fact, since all these minimum wage increases are so arbitrary anyway, why don’t we just raise the minimum wage to, oh, say, the U.S. median income of about $45,000 a year? I mean really, why dink around??

    If we Democrats really care about the little guy, why are we just pitching him a few pennies anyway?? Aren’t we serious? Why don’t we start throwing around some REAL money, y’know, so nobody has to live at or below the poverty level in the richest country in the history of the world.

    Seems to me that about $25/hr. should do it for the minimum wage. Then we can start talking about single-payer healthcare benefits, retirement benefits, educational benefits, childcare benefits, food and nutritional benefits (what, you don’t care about what the little guy has for dinner??) and don’t forget about all the tax relief we’re going to need for the little guy after taxing that minimum wage at 28%. Because if we’re going to raise taxes on the middle-class and restore the capital gains tax, as well as increase the tax on dividends to take more money from the investor-class, we’re really going to have to think of a better way to help the little guy and his family keep all the money they earned at the Dairy Queen…….assuming there’s still a Dairy Queen that can afford to pay the minimum wage, that is…

  13. […] One theme that appears frequently on this site is the notion that policies have consequences and what distinguishes serious thinkers from less serious ones is that the serious thinkers consider the implications of the policies they choose to pursue. The “living wage” is an example of just such a thing — those who tend to champion that policy tend not to consider how such a thing works in the real world. For instance, take this statement from one comment recently posted here: A person working a full-time job in the richest country in the history of the world should not be allowed to live at or below the poverty level. You can try to sound like you are on the side of workers, but as long as you are against that statement, you’re just spewing more of Bill O’Reilley’s junk. […]

  14. Jay Reding says:

    I spent the year after graduation cleaning houses, waiting tables, and working at the front desk of a hotel. I had 2 jobs at once, because 1 job at a time wasn’t enough to pay the bills. It was a good experience, because it made me realize how lucky I am

    I worked in a coffeeshop for a few months to pay the bills when I was looking for work. You’re quite right, it sucks beyond comprehension, and had I not had some other income to rely upon, I would have probably ended up working at least 2 jobs at the time. It does remind one of how fortunate they are not to be in that sort of job.

    Your little fantasy land where the low paying jobs are all held by teenagers doesn’t exist. The low paying jobs are held by people with nowhere else to go, with no options, with no way of protesting or improving their situation. Teenagers can’t work during the day shift or the night shift because they have school. Think about it, and the next time you go to a McDonalds at noon open your eyes and see who is working.

    Again, the statistics tell the truth, not sob stories. Most people who work at minimum wage jobs are teenagers. Are they all teenagers in school? At least where I’ve lived, almost all of them are people who either didn’t get any kind of post-secondary degree or dropped out of high school.

    The reality is that most poverty isn’t a result of bad luck, it’s the result of very poor personal choices. Someone who graduates high school, never uses drugs, and doesn’t have kids out of wedlock is virtually certain not to end up below the poverty line. If everyone did those three things, we’d see poverty rates go down by over 60%.

    The question that policymakers have to ask is: how do we target those people who really are in that situation because they’re down on their luck, and how do we get the rest to turn their lives around? Raising the minimum wage by $2/hour won’t help someone who can’t work because they’re disabled, nor will it make it easier for someone to lift themselves out of poverty. It’s a Band-Aid, designed to comfort the elites and make them feel like they’re doing something. It isn’t a real solution, and this country deserves real solutions, not soundbite politics.

  15. Eracus says:

    Oh, for crying out loud. I’ve been collecting a paycheck since I was 15. Nobody ever gave me anything and I never needed a loan. I put myself through 10 years of college and grad school and never missed a day of work without permission. Now I sign my own paycheck and I’d be hard-put to hire either one of you two softies. Crikey!! Waiting tables in a coffee shop….clerking in a hotel……Oh, please. You guys don’t know what real work is anymore than you know what the “living wage” a.k.a., the “minimum wage,” is all about.

    It is nothing more and nothing less than a big, fat, juicy bone tossed out to organized labor (the Marxist-Leninist faction of the Democratic Party) to help improve their position in contract negotiations. If either of you had ever done any real work, either as a laborer or as an employer, you’d know that’s exactly what it is and that it ultimately increases payroll taxes and unemployment, which, as designed, assures the Democratic Party of a perpetual campaign issue in every next election. This has only been going on since, oh, about 1938. Where have you been??

    Or do you really think Ted Kennedy gives a damn about a teenager who can’t vote?

  16. Erica says:

    At least where I’ve lived, almost all of them are people who either didn’t get any kind of post-secondary degree or dropped out of high school.

    Then they’re not exactly “spoiled suburban brats”, are they? In fact they’re exactly the sort of people who need the help.

    If everyone did those three things, we’d see poverty rates go down by over 60%.

    Well, great. Of course, supporting educational professionals, funding drug rehab/prevention programs, and expanding access to contraception are the top three initiatives opposed by conservatives. So what, exactly, is the conservative plan for poverty? And why couldn’t you make it work anytime in the past 12 years?

  17. Mark says:

    Eracus:

    “And I will just bet you not one single person here owns a business and has had to fire an employee because the Democrats just raised the minimum wage. Again! See, the business just didn’t get an arbitrary raise in revenue, just the hourly employees did, which now means the business can no longer afford to pay them all. So, the last to be hired is usually the first to be fired…. So, sorry! But, you know, anything to help the little guy….”

    That’s a wonderful Chicken Little tale that conservatives dust off every time there’s discussion about a paltry increase in the minimum wage. You guys have the talking points down pat, but you pathologically fail to back it up with the allegedly abundant examples of displaced minimum wage workers. I wonder why….

    As long as minimum wage increases are modest (as opposed to your typically mindless strawman about a $14 an hour minimum wage increase), the effects will be negligible….just as they have been negligible at every previous point where the minimum wage has went up. Low-wage jobs as a share of the overall economy have progressively INCREASED, not decreased, at every stage of the past 70 years since the minimum wage has been a staple of the American economy. The idea that it kills jobs is not, nor even has been, backed up with more than rhetoric by robotic free-market ideologues like yourself.

    It’s this level of discourse that is pushing the voting public so fiercely against people like you. At the same time as you disparage every government program in existence that offers a helping hand to the poor and working class, you also smugly ridicule any attempts to give them a raise based on their labors. Tell the average non-Kool Aid drinking American that Red Lake Native Americans are being held down by a dependency culture and you may seem like a man of principle. Tell the same person that Red Lake Native Americans working at the Bemidji McDonald’s should be stuck at the same wage level that they were nine years ago and you just seem like a monstrous, gluttonous pig.

  18. Mark says:

    “Most people who work at minimum wage jobs are teenagers. Are they all teenagers in school? At least where I’ve lived, almost all of them are people who either didn’t get any kind of post-secondary degree or dropped out of high school.”

    Wait a minute. I thought they were all spoiled rich kids. Which is it? I guess it’s that much easier to sell a line of BS if you caricature minimum-wage recipients as Porsche-driving trust fund babies from North Oaks. Nice to see Erica called your bluff and forced you to twist in the wind with a brand new set of justifications for why minimum-wage workers should continue to earn $5.15 an hour for the rest of human history.

  19. Eracus says:

    “That’s a wonderful Chicken Little tale that conservatives dust off every time there’s discussion about a paltry increase in the minimum wage.”

    Bullshit. And you employ exactly how many employees, Mark? And the effects on your business of a 40% arbitrary, legislated increase in wages is exactly how negligible to your bottom line? And if it’s so negligible, then why not an 80% increase in wages? I mean, if it’s so negligible, then 2 x neglible = still negligible, right? What an idiot.

    Your problem, Mark, is you think you’re purdy smart, all book-learned and McEducated and all, but you can’t think yourself around a street corner. You haven’t the brainpower to master your own emotions, so you’re just another sucker and a slave to whatever convenient palliative is proposed to assuage your programmed liberal guilt and shame.

    For example, don’t you think the fact that “low-wage jobs as a share of the overall economy have progressively INCREASED, not decreased, at every stage of the past 70 years since the minimum wage has been a staple of the American economy” might have something to do with the fact the U.S. population has more than doubled over the past 70 years?? Doh! And further, no matter how much you increase the minimum wage, wouldn’t it still be the minimum wage? What “problem,” exactly then, do you solve by increasing it? The laws of supply and demand, Mark, do not simply desist because you want to feel better about your unearned wealth. It’s axiomatic. If labor costs more, there will be less demand for labor.

    And as has become so completely obvious, Mark, you know absolutely nothing about Red Lake. For instance, why would anyone from Red Lake work at the Bemidji McDonald’s?? Why would they work in Bemidji at all? They get a government check every two weeks whether they work or not, so why would any typical Red Lake native take the trouble to drive 40-50 miles a day just to work for the white man?? If they need more money, they just go down to the Federal, State, or County welfare agency, where it’s free. Work?? On the rez?? Who are you kidding? Even the employees at the casinos are mainly white, Mark. Guess who’s playin’ the slots….

    So please, spare us the crocodile tears. You don’t give a damn about Red Lake Native Americans, or even the poor and working class for that matter. It just makes you feel better to feel sorry for them, while excusing the bigotry of your own low expectations. You’d just rather throw them someone else’s money to keep them in their place, far away from you, your family, and your neighborhood, of course, than ever to do anything to actually help them. That’s someone else’s problem, right?

    I may be some monstrous, gluttonous pig to you, Mark, but you need me to solve your problems because you can’t solve them yourself. I’ve been poor. I’ve even been working class. And yet, yesterday I hired two new people. How many people did you hire, Mark? Or are you just another mindless State employee who can’t think his way around a street corner? You get your cost-of-living raise every year, right?? Full medical benefits too, I bet. And who pays for all that, Mark??

    Monstrous, gluttonous pigs like me, Mark. WE pay for all that. We create the jobs. We create the revenues and provide the cashflow. We even create the tax dollars that pay your salary. And what exactly do you create, Mark?? What is it you actually DO to help the poor and working class you pretend to care so much about? I mean, besides leaving a $1 tip or tossing a few coins in a cup and thanking your lucky stars you’re not as bad off as they are, and it’s not your problem….

  20. Mark says:

    “And you employ exactly how many employees, Mark?”

    Given the ever-increasing number of freebies, gimmes, and giveaways being showered upon business at every level in this country, the answer to your question is infinite….and growing.

    “And if it’s so negligible, then why not an 80% increase in wages? I mean, if it’s so negligible, then 2 x neglible = still negligible, right?”

    You silly, silly man. An increase of the minimum wage to $7.50 an hour would still be less than the minimum wage average throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, adjusted for inflation. There’s clearly a point of diminishing returns where your theory of mass layoffs would kick in due to an overly generous minimum wage rate, but there has been ZERO evidence that we’ve ever been there and it’s doubtful we’ll get there by raising the current minimum wage to $7.50 an hour. Any business forced to lay off workers because of a minimum wage at that level was about to go bankrupt anyway.

    “For example, don’t you think the fact that “low-wage jobs as a share of the overall economy have progressively INCREASED, not decreased, at every stage of the past 70 years since the minimum wage has been a staple of the American economy” might have something to do with the fact the U.S. population has more than doubled over the past 70 years??”

    The operative words being “as a share of the overall economy”….meaning percentage-wise, not just actual numbers. It’s not complicated. I was hoping even a Republican brain could muddle through the logic, but I guess I give you too much credit.

    “If labor costs more, there will be less demand for labor.”

    So am I to assume that your endgame is for labor costs to go down so there will presumably be more demand for it? I’m sure that somehow constitutes compassion in your twisted worldview. And again, show me all the former minimum wage workers displaced after the 1997 minimum wage increase. Where are they all?

    “For instance, why would anyone from Red Lake work at the Bemidji McDonald’s?? Why would they work in Bemidji at all?”

    I’ve been to fast-food places in Bemidji and have seen Native Americans working there. I realize there aren’t many (or possibly any) commuting from Red Lake every day, but there are still Native Americans in Beltrami County who do not live on the reservation, no? It sure seems as though your poor troubled heart would get some serious relief if you moved to a county that didn’t have an Indian reservation. The fact that there are some poor people getting the government handouts that you feel entitled to as a businessman clearly eats away at you all day, every day.

    And again, let’s hear your solutions for the conditions at Red Lake and other Indian Reservations, which I agree are unacceptable.

    “Monstrous, gluttonous pigs like me, Mark. WE pay for all that. We create the jobs. We create the revenues and provide the cashflow.”

    Sure you do. Even as you write off your new Hummers, your three-martini lunches and get lucrative packages of freebies and tax abatements every time you announce you’re gonna hire a new mailroom clerk. Basically, we’re both feeding from the public trough with our respective career choices. At least I can admit to it. Some of us are too busy congratulating themselves about hiring new people and expanding the ranks of the working poor (considering you want the minimum wage to go DOWN it has to be assumed you’re a poverty pimp), then you are further bloating the ranks of the underclass and government-dependent since someone has to subsidize the income of the working poor whose ranks you contribute to…..while simultaneously sucking on the teat of JOBZ and local handouts.

    If I live in a fool’s paradise as you claim, then I guess we’re neighbors.

  21. Eracus says:

    Then it is true, Mark. You are nothing but a State employee. You contribute nothing to the local economy but your ignorant and misinformed opinion. You just whine and complain while you absorb the benefit of someone else’s labor and productivity. That figures. Got a retirement plan too, dontcha? Matching funds I bet…

    As a businessman, Mark, I receive exactly nothing from my government. Not State or Federal, not even County. Indeed, I am required to PAY these governments for the privilege of operating a business here, especially the State of Minnesota. Please identify the lucrative packages of freebies and tax abatements I am supposedly entitled to, if you can, and I will fire my accountants and hire you. I mean it. If you can do better, you get the job.

    I am not Best Buy. I am not Medtronics. Those corporations cut their deals with the tax and spenders in the DFL, and if you recall, blighted and seized property by eminent domain wiping out entire neighborhoods for pennies on the dollar, all in the name of economic “progress,” that is, increasing tax revenues for local governments and the State. So much for the little guy, eh?

    Again, you know absolutely nothing about Red Lake. If you saw a Native American working in a Bemidji fast food joint, you saw the only one during the only week he bothered to show up. So please, name that fast food joint, Mark. I know every owner with a franchise up here (and I’ve eaten in them all, sorry to say), so tell me, which fast food joint was it where you were served by a Native American? In the past 3 years, there has been only one, so you better answer correctly or we will conclude you are a complete fraud and are just making stuff up again. I’ll even settle if you can name the one family restaurant that employs the Native American waitress from Arizona.

    And oh — the solution for the conditions at Red Lake and other Indian Reservations? For starters, how about just enforcing the U.S. Constitution? Both the State and the County are in violation. Red Lake is a Federal treaty obligation. The State and County have no more business operating welfare agencies on the reservation than they do opening embassies in Cairo. The citizens of Beltrami County pay a County tax, a State tax, and a Federal tax to fund Federal, State, and County welfare agencies on Red Lake. Yet they have no authority to investigate, account for, or enforce the laws governing the distribution of those funds. All of which is by design, of course, of the Minnesota DFL. The indians get their “soveriegnty” and the DFL gets their votes. Nevermind the law.

  22. Erica says:

    If you saw a Native American working in a Bemidji fast food joint, you saw the only one during the only week he bothered to show up.

    Ah, right. Racism. That’s what it basically boils down to for Republicans, right?

  23. Mark says:

    “Got a retirement plan too, dontcha?”

    Yes I do. I know that conflicts with your sense of justice where all old people are left to their own devices and a can of dog food, but I make no apologies for having what you fail to offer your own employees.

    “As a businessman, Mark, I receive exactly nothing from my government. Not State or Federal, not even County.”

    Damn, you must really suck.

    “Please identify the lucrative packages of freebies and tax abatements I am supposedly entitled to, if you can, and I will fire my accountants and hire you. I mean it. If you can do better, you get the job.”

    I’m not an accountant, but you’re clearly not getting the bang for your Chamber of Commerce buck if you’re not cashing in on all the freebies. When I was a journalist in southwestern Minnesota covering city council meetings, rarely did a week go by that one of the local employers (and we’re talking small companies for the most part) failed to cash in on some loophole of JOBZ or some tax abatement plan that foisted the cost of their marginal expansion on the taxpayers. I realize that’s the price of “progress” in today’s economy, but spare me the suggestion that business owners in America today are any less wards of the state than I am at my government job.

    “I am not Best Buy. I am not Medtronics. Those corporations cut their deals with the tax and spenders in the DFL,”

    Cut their deals with the DFL? With a Republican Governor and, up until now, a Republican State House? I guess the invisible fist of the DFL somehow manages to govern Minnesota even when Republicans “officially” are in control of two-thirds of state government. And who knew these mega-corporations that give massive contributions to the Republicans annually are secretly conspiring with the DFL. Maybe it was the CEO of Best Buy who personally set your ice house ablaze.

    “And oh — the solution for the conditions at Red Lake and other Indian Reservations? For starters, how about just enforcing the U.S. Constitution? Both the State and the County are in violation. Red Lake is a Federal treaty obligation. The State and County have no more business operating welfare agencies on the reservation than they do opening embassies in Cairo. The citizens of Beltrami County pay a County tax, a State tax, and a Federal tax to fund Federal, State, and County welfare agencies on Red Lake. Yet they have no authority to investigate, account for, or enforce the laws governing the distribution of those funds. All of which is by design, of course, of the Minnesota DFL. The indians get their “soveriegnty” and the DFL gets their votes. Nevermind the law.”

    So basically your solution is to do absolutely nothing and hope for the best. And whatever crime occurs as a consequence of an impoverished underclass foisted in one fell swoop into a jobless rural economy can simply be blamed on vindictive DFL legbreakers avenging your alignment with the Republican Party. Nice strategy, but if it ever comes to fruition, I don’t think I’ll be visiting Beltrami County to weigh its successes.

  24. Eracus says:

    “Ah, right. Racism. That’s what it basically boils down to for Republicans, right?”

    No, Erica. It’s just a fact, nothing more. And as Mark has demonstrated by completely dodging the question, it is not in dispute because it happens to be true. The fast food joint was Taco John’s, by the way, and your comment above does nothing but reflect your own prejudice and bigotry and surprises no one.

    As for you, Mark, I guess being an ex-journalist turned State employee makes you a certified expert on small business law in the State of Minnesota, huh? I guess after all this time as a private employer, I just don’t know as much as you do. What did you do? Sleep at a Holiday Inn?

    The fact is you’re just a fraud. You never identify a single “freebie or tax abatement” I am legally entitled to — you just present your credentials as having attended a few city council meetings in some undisclosed location where you claim some unidentified “local employers never failed to cash in on some loophole of JOBZ or some tax abatement plan that foisted the cost of their marginal expansion onto the taxpayers.”

    What you are suggesting is a crime, Mark, and should be reported to the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Revenue by any citizen or journalist who heard any such thing. Or are you making stuff up again? To the extent you have ANY idea what you are talking about, please explain specifically the ways and means by which I or any other small business owner in Minnesota is or could be legally receiving taxpayer funds for salary, healthcare, and retirement benefits just as EVERY State employee does. Please get back to us on this; we could really use the help.

    On the other hand, if you are merely suggesting that local DFL contributors routinely engage in bribery and kickback schemes typically involving unnecessary and unfunded development projects sponsored by the local DFL township, city, or their chieftains in tribal governments (like the 10 police cars for Red Lake, the Bemidji indian resource center, and now the Bemidji events center), I know exactly what you are talking about. It’s just plain corrupt, but who’s going to investigate it? Mike Hatch?? Pffftttt!! Not a chance.

    And just because the governor is a Republican and the GOP held a temporary majority in the House does not mean that the Republicans were ever “in control of 2/3 of the state government.” If that were even remotely true, Mark, there would never have been a government shut-down or a higher tax on cigarettes to, oh, you know, help the little guy.

    You don’t seriously believe what you are saying, do you? Are you really this ignorant? Or are you just this naive? The Best Buy deal, for instance, was transacted by the City of Minneapolis and the City of Richfield. Are you seriously suggesting that these are both GOP-controlled local governments?? Can you possibly be any more misinformed??

  25. Erica says:

    No, Erica. It’s just a fact, nothing more.

    Well, I never heard of a racist who didn’t think his views were “facts”, too. What do you think you’ve just proved?

    The fast food joint was Taco John’s, by the way

    Fascinating. Love their tacos. Relevance?

  26. Eracus says:

    And with regard to Red Lake and the other indian reservations, “So basically your solution is to do absolutely nothing and hope for the best.”

    No, what I said was, “For starters, how about just enforcing the U.S. Constitution?”

    Both the State of Minnesota and Beltrami County, Mark, are prohibited by Federal law from engaging individually and unilaterally with a signatory to an American treaty, which in this case, is what the Bureau of Indian Affairs is for. The DFL, however, has cut its own deal with the “sovereign nation of Red Lake” bypassing the Federal institutions, including the United States Supreme Court, not to mention Minnesota’s own state constitution.

    You might be interested to know that there is no such thing as the “sovereign nation of Red Lake.” The United States of America does not and has never recognized the concept of a “nation within a nation,” and indeed, fought the Civil War to put to the sword its adherents from Texas to the southern Atlantic seaboard. The Federal Government even owns the reservation land, which it holds in trust for the Ojibwe, having already taken it from the Sioux.

    The Minnesota DFL, however, knows how to buy a state election and keep its fundraising coffers full. You got a problem down there in the cities with methamphetamine, right? We got a problem up here with the casinos. How do you think the drug money is laundered, Mark? And just what are the Cripps doin’ up here anyway?? Could it be that neither the State nor the Federal government have any law enforcement capacity on the rez? And just who do you think would be responsible for that in the State of Minnesota, Mark? Mike Hatch, of course, the guy you voted for Governor.

    What “crime occurs as a consequence of an impoverished underclass foisted in one fell swoop into a jobless rural economy” has already happened and is already very well along in Beltrami County, Mark, in case you haven’t heard. But sadly, us law-abiding small business owners and concerned citizens can’t even hold our own elected officials accountable for those very consequences that are already well at hand. That’s now and has been entirely up to the voters on the Red Lake indian reservation, Mark, which seemingly always turn out a nearly unanimous vote for each and every DFL candidate. Not exactly Democratic now, is it? They don’t pay any taxes, they have no residency requirement, there is not even an identification requirement. But they can vote in a statewide election? You and I can’t even do that, Mark.

    Meanwhile, we got Red Lake school shootings, Red Lake missing children, Red Lake meth labs, Red Lake homes burglarized, Red Lake murders outside the casinos, and Red Lake shootings in the liquor store parking lots, not to mention outside the bars. The very same thing is going on down in Cass Lake. You just don’t hear about it because who is going to report it?? The DFL-owned Bemidji Pioneer? The DFL-owned Minneapolis StarTribune? The DFL-owned Minnesota Public Broadcasting System?? Hell, no. If they did that, Mike Hatch would have to do something, now, wouldn’t he? And then there’d be all that investigative reporting and who knows what kind of unsolved mysteries all that snooping around would uncover up on the rez?

    Let me ask you to try and think for a moment. Seriously.

    Why did the State, County, and tribal police shut down all the roads, the Bemidji airport, the bus service, and every other means of transportation into and out of Red Lake after young Mr. Weise shot 17 people at the high school before killing himself? I mean, even the ambulances? Bemidji is the regional medical center; it’s got the chopper and the ER. Why’d it take so long to med-evac those kids?

    It’s because Weise shot the POLICE, that’s why. Their kids, anyway. And what do you suppose the purpose of the Red Lake police is up on the rez, Mark? Why, even a 16-year-old boy knows the answer to that…..and you can bet your sweet bippie Mike Hatch does too.

    What the DFL and the tribal council did was isolate all the families, journalists and yes, even law enforcement officials, the FBI, etc., to limit and restrict everybody who was interviewed citing the “Red Lake sovereignty” canard. Hatch and Jourdain completely controlled the story from beginning to end by turning it into a confrontation with the Federal government over whose jurisdiction it was to investigate the crime.

    That’s why it took so long to report it and why every news organization from CBS to MPR to WCCO to the Minneapolis StarTribune had exactly the same account and we never once heard what the FBI really had to say. Nobody even knew who the AIC was. He was in, he was out, he was gone. Poof!! And nowhere, Mark, and I mean absolutely nowhere, is there ever any mention of methamphetamine and the shootings’ connection to the Red Lake tribal police.

    Instead, the story died, and thereafter the DFL candidates Sailer, Skoe, and Moe sponsored legislation to issue a check for $523,000 in “emergency aid” to the Red Lake tribal council, and later, another $1 million “settlement” to the victims’ families. What, exactly, was the Minnesota taxpayer liable for in the mass murder and suicide that took place within the “sovereign nation of Red Lake?” And what court found us guilty, and guilty of exactly what??

    And now, a year later, you see 10 new Red Lake police cars, right? And each one free of charge, courtesy of the Beltrami County taxpayer and the Minnesota DFL. Seriously. What’s all this smell like to you, Mark??

    Welcome to the real world, Mark. Don’t be so naive. In Beltrami County, the 2006 election was bought by the DFL, your party, for 11 dead Red Lake indians, 7 wounded Red Lake children, $1.5 million, and 10 new cars.

    “Helping Sailer were margins of 612-20 in Red Lake Agency, 336-15 in Ponemah, 485-17 in Redby and 286-13 in Little Rock.”

    All to help the little guy, of course.

  27. zzx375 says:

    You folks in Minnesota really love one another :-)

    And, regardless of what Greg Mankiw wants to reclassify, the older CBO study still shows “four-fifths of all minimum wage workers are not poor”. The studies cited (dig into the links) show support for both sides. It wasn’t his study, he just pointed it out.

    “Even as you write off your new Hummers, your three-martini lunches…”

    According to the tax code, the Hummer as a business vehicle is a legal expense. Are you suggesting a group or make of vehcile or vehicles should be excluded? Why not remove that part of the code that enables the Hummer expensing (and whack the farmers that piece of code was targeted at when written) or do you not care for farmers?

  28. Seth says:

    So I think so far we’ve figured out that Jay doesn’t know the definition of ‘teenager’ and is thoroughly confused as to what a spoiled brat is (insert joke here about how most spoiled brats are confused in this respect); and that Eracus is quite possibly clinically insane. Go team.

  29. Eracus says:

    …and Seth is 34-years-old, still lives at home with his parents, and when he’s not pretending to be Garrison Keillor he’s on air guitar jammin’ with Peter Frampton.

    Rock on, dude!

  30. Seth says:

    And we are all proud of you for getting through an entire comment without using a single doulbe question mark, asking lame rhetorical questions, or thinking the DFL is engaged in a vast consipiracy to murder your siblings. You’re really progressing nicely.

  31. Will says:

    Eracus wrote (to Mark):
    “You are nothing but a State employee.”

    Yeah, what a dishonorable scumbag he must be for working in public service.

  32. Eracus says:

    ANYBODY can be a State employee, Will, and for many, there is no requirement to actually do any work. Meanwhile, even a crow performs a “public service,” by eating the roadkill.

    Do either of you have anything of substance to offer? Or are you just here to rescue poor Mark? Why don’t you go study up on Red Lake? You might learn something, if you’re capable.

  33. Seth says:

    Oops! You regressed to three stupid rhetorical questions in that one. It looks like we still have more work to do than I thought.

  34. Eracus says:

    I see, nothing substantial at all. As usual.

    You realize, of course, Seth, that it has been so thoroughly demonstrated on this blog that you have absolutely no intellectual capacity whatsoever, that you lack entirely the capacity for critical thought, such that your sarcasm never even rises to the level of humor. Each attempt is more pitiful, displaying only the failure of your public education and the effect of bad parenting.

    Now go blow your nose.

  35. Erica says:

    Seth, don’t antagonize the poor man. His conspiracy theories are a lot more amusing than his playground name-calling. (He’s just not very good at the latter.)

    Let’s see if we can get him to argue that the DFL is actually a secret arm of the Illuminati, in league with the Rosicrucians.

  36. Mark says:

    Oh, and Eracus, I don’t live in the Twin Cities or even in Minnesota anymore. I seem to recall mentioning that to you before, but you must have been preoccupied with your paranoid conspiracy theories about the DFL the day I wrote that.

  37. Seth says:

    Ok, now that you can write without double question marks and annoying rhetorical questions, we’ll teach you some more advanced skills. For example, if you are going to write:

    “Seth is 34-years-old, still lives at home with his parents, and when he’s not pretending to be Garrison Keillor he’s on air guitar jammin’ with Peter Frampton.

    Rock on, dude!”

    Then you look a little silly saying someone has no intellectual capacity and whining about comments not being substantial. You look even more silly if you insult me, my parents and the people involved in the 13 years of my public education in the process–as if that were somehow indicative of a coherent thought process.

    Seriously, it never ends with you people. Hypocrites down to the last person.

  38. Eracus says:

    It’s quite revealing how childish each of you become whenever you are confronted with a set of facts and a rational argument that produces a conclusion you never before considered. What it demonstrates is that none of you really have any factual basis for what you believe, and no foundation whatsoever from which to defend your beliefs, let alone attempt a persuasive argument to advance the discussion. You are incapable, because you live in a fairy tale, like Alice in Wonderland, where nothing at all need ever make sense so long as you feel good about yourselves, and are never required to examine who you really are or what you really represent.

    That is why Will is reduced to semantics, Erica is reduced to screaming “Racist!” Seth is reduced to snarking, and Mark, having claimed all along to know everything there is to know about Minnesota politics, Red Lake, and Beltrami County, just runs away and reports he doesn’t live here anymore.

    You’re all for the little guy, but you hate the Wal-Mart where he shops. None of you have ever met a payroll, but you’re all experts in business management and tax law. The reality, meanwhile, is that each of you is just a throbbing mass of entangled contradictions you’ve never bothered to sort out — because you are either unaware of or uninterested in anything or anyone that does not support or share your own personal fantasy, and you completely lack the ability to examine and think critically about what it is you actually believe and why you actually believe it. You just know what you know because that’s all you know, and, since in your fantasy world you’re smarter than everybody else, you don’t need to learn anything else. You’re never wrong; everybody else always is. How convenient.

    It’s your circular reasoning maintaining your cycle of ignorance that explains why you can never defend yourselves logically, with reason and fact, to build a series of agreements to support your own conclusions. Because you don’t really know what you believe, or why you believe it, the only avenue left open to you in response to a different point of view is name-calling, infantile sarcasm, and abject, headlong retreat — all of which are the petty remains of an exhausted and defeated mind. But instead, as would the Red Queen, you consider yourselves “tolerant.”

    First the verdict, THEN the trial!!

  39. Mark says:

    Eracus, please cite the posting and date where I claimed “to know everything there is to know about Red Lake and Beltrami County”. Perhaps when you’re searching for a quote that doesn’t exist, you’ll find one that actually does….such as me telling you I don’t live in Minnesota anymore at least two months ago.

  40. Eracus says:

    Who cares?

  41. Mark says:

    “Who cares?”

    Judging from your feeble attempt at a gotcha moment against me in the post before this one, it sure seems like you care.

  42. Seth says:

    I have a new theory that Eracus is someone who really doesn’t care about politics at all but just likes seeing people continue to take time to point out he’s not smart. I have to believe it’s an act. The guy that says I live at home and then calls me out for ‘snarking’ has to be joking. I therefore have a new policy of not reading or resonding to anything he writes.