Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Studies In Hypocrisy

Study 1: Cutting $50 Billion from programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and student loan subsidies while allowing yourself a $3,100 raise.

Study 2: Justifying a cost-of-living increase when you make $165,200 a year while denying one to those making $5.15 an hour.

33 comments:

BA said...

If Democrats had any morals then they would be able to gain seats in Congress and actually pass some legislation advancing their liberal agenda. But as long as they are baby-killing gay-loving wackos the poor will continue to struggle.

Marc said...

Wow. Want some fries with that hyperbole?

tigerfoxbear said...

Cry me a river. I started working at the age of 14 and made less than $5.00 an hour. But guess what, I kept working, went to school and now make $5.50 an hour. This is America, land of the free, home of the brave. Not land of the crybabies and handouts. That is Canada.

Marc said...

You also were born into the lap of luxury. You never were in need of the basic necessities, had a relatively stable family, went to a good school, had a good support system and a whole hell of a lot of opportunity.

tigerfoxbear said...

What is your point? I'm not positive, but i dont think that working door to door selling candy is something only the eliete can do. But then again, I did wash disheds at Kenny Rogers Roasters, and at Prestwich Farms, and at Nacho-Fast. I forgot how those were reserved for me.

BA said...

Yeah dude, I remember how we (Bohn, Jared, and I) always made you and your girlfriend BB wash the dishes at Nacho Fast, while Bohn blared Killing in the Name Of, and Jared and I played hackey sack. You were oppressed.

Marc said...

My point is simply that your opportunities in life prevent your situation from being a fair comparison. A lot of people do not have many options other than to work at minimum wage jobs and whatever incremental raises they may get at these jobs don't keep pace with the cost-of-living.

Your posts fail to rebut my original point - That it is hypocritical of Congress to give themselves a raise at a time when 1) they are cutting support to the neediest among us and 2)they refuse to give "cost of living" wage increases to those that need it much more than they do.

tigerfoxbear said...

I wasn't trying to say that it's not hypocritical, what I was trying to say was, and I quote, "Cry me a river".

Marc said...

If you can't beat 'em... join 'em:
"You told me you loved me
Why did you leave me, all alone (All alone)
Now you tell me you need me
When you call me, on the phone(When you call me on the phone)
Girl I refuse, you must have me confused
With some other guy (I'm not like them baby)
Your bridges were burned, and now it's your turn (It's your turn)
To cry, cry me a river (Go on and just)
Cry me a river-er (Go on and just)
Cry me a river (Baby go on and just)
Cry me a river-er, yea yea"

Gargantus said...

i actually figured out a way the poor can get an education... just go to the classes, it's not like they won't let most people just sit in there. Learn and rise from the poorness you were forced into.

Marc said...

Or learn to mooch off your dad... that actually seems like the more effective option.

woo said...

Good post bohn, politicians are hypocrits, we all know that. But raising the minimum wage will decrease the number of jobs, putting people who previously earned that wage, out of a job altogether, and onto state welfare. Education is their way out, NOT government enforced minimum wage raises. P.S. Democrats=Socialists.

Marc said...

Not necessarily so. That is an assumption that some conservative economists make... but there is considerable evidence that demand for low-wage workers is inelastic and the job supply would therefore not decrease. When New Jersey and California raised their minimum wage around 15 years ago there was no job loss. Similar statistics are available for the 1990-91 federal minimum wage.

I wouldn't disagree that education is the ultimate answer... but minimum wage increases are a necessary evil. I think they should be imposed cautiously, but as inflation devalues the dollar overtime, we need to ensure a basement on what workers can be paid, otherwise we are encouraging exploitation.

woo said...

Conservative economists recognize the fact that increased costs for a business have to come from somewhere. Either they will hire less laborers, or increase prices, because they don't want their profits to be reduced. TANSTAAFL.

Marc said...

That is an assumption... it's far from fact. Economics is a tricky business because it works through models that sometimes do not translate into real world experience. There have been numerous studies that show that the job losses that some assumed would take place from a minimum wage hike did NOT end up taking place. There were no job losses following the minimum wage hikes I mentioned earlier. Here's a reference to those studies.

woo said...

Marc, I am not an economist, I know that you will find an equal number of studies saying the opposite of what you are saying. I speak from my own point of view. If I was forced to pay people more due to a governmental initiative, what would I do? Take a hit for the "team"? No, I would find a way to recoup that cost, either by hiring less (probably) or raising the price of my good or service. You may be different, but judging from how you love to pay your taxes, you are probably with me... unless you have changed, which is possible as well. What percentage of people earning the minimum wage are the sole income earners for their family? What percentage are well to do teenagers? Who's it gonna help more? If not making enough money is not enough for someone to realize they need to do something different or get a different job, then I don't know what is. And if they can't? What is stopping them? Deal with those issues, don't raise the minimum wage. Then again, I am not one of the small percentage of people who doesn't have enough money, and can't quit my current job to get another... so what do I know?

bigidy said...

I think you are over-simplifying the economic impact of a minimum wage increase. I think there are a lot of ways to cut costs and absorb wage hikes other than laying off employees. Many business owners find other ways to spread the costs out and choose to absorb a portion of these costs themselves, and I don't think that’s necessarily wrong. Low wage workers shouldn’t be the only ones absorbing inflationary costs. Congressmen obviously think it right to push off their inflationary costs onto taxpayers. They've raised their own wages $60,000 over the past 15 years.
The point you miss is that economically there is a real debate as to the real effects of minimum wage increases. Unfortunately, the past two federal minimum wage increases in 1990-91 and 1997 do not bolster your argument that these hikes have a detrimental effect on job growth.

I think there is a moral element to this argument as well. It's more than just a question of education. As long as there is a minimum wage, there will be people who find themselves having to work for it. As a country we learned difficult lessons about worker exploitation at the turn of the 19th century. These dark moments of our nation's history are what ushered in the minimum wage, anti-trust laws and other worker protections. There are several million people who earn the federal minimum wage in this country and 75% of them are 20 or over. Many of these depend on this wage for their livelihood. I think having a basement on wages is incredibly important. It’s hard to argue that these laws have hurt this country.

Marc said...

Apparently I didn't sign in right...

tigerfoxbear said...

Woo 2 Marc 0. What they should do is lower the minimum wage to $4.50 an hour, make the employers pay the difference into a fund and then use it to fund schools systems, mentoring programs, and after school sports.

Marc said...

Right. I mean $4.50 goes a long ways you know. Who cares if people can't afford adequate housing, food or medical care. That crap is so overrated anyway.

woo said...

Anyone who is only making that much, qualifies easily for your other socialist programs... subsidized rent, food stamps, and medicaid. Get rid of those, and I am all for increasing minimum wage. The point is to give people a crutch, not a hydraulic hospital bed. Are you proposing that minimum wage be raised so high that every person who works 40 hours a week at minimum wage can't qualify for any welfare programs? If so, I am all for it, employers can easily make that wage increase with all the lowered tax costs of administering those programs. Then, everyone but the disabled will work, and have no excuse. P.S. I think my next bloggery will be political... cause look at how awesome it is!

Marc said...

Again you assume too much Woo. First of all I object to the tone of your post... labeling the programs "socialist" rather than "social" programs dredges up negative connotations, even if unintended. Your politics here surprise me. First of all I'd like you to show me how many of those relying on the minimum wage actually do qualify for the government programs you mention and secondly, how many of them make use of them. The "crutch" label is often an easy way of making oneself feel better about not helping the downtrodden and can belie a lack of understanding about the situations others are in (e.g. to simply write off affirmative action admissions programs as a "crutch" ignores hundreds of years of oppression that is not easily erased in forty years). Your allusions to these programs and a minimum wage somehow being akin to a "hydraulic hospital bed" only serve make one question whether you really understand poverty. Your post is really nothing but conjecture. Are you really implying that everyone but the disabled is somehow not working or has "no excuse"? Even taking the wild assumptions you appear to be making as true, I think your argument fails. I don't think someone trying to support oneself and anyone dependent on him or her would be making ends meet even with the social programs you mention. Even subsidized housing in the DC area costs more than $750 a month and Medicaid is woefully insufficient to provide for medical needs. Your post negatively dismisses the current programs without putting anything substantive forward at all. Are you really suggesting that there should be no minimum wage? Do you really take issue with Government ensuring that there is no caste system in America? That our inner cities don't resemble pockets of the 3rd World?

tigerfoxbear said...

Marc, once again you are correct, when you said "how many of those relying on the minimum wage actually do qualify for the government programs you mention" you hit the nail on the head. I know of at least 3 people in my office, who make WELL ($3.00 +)above the minimum wage, who qualify for government aid, and are taking full advantage. Well, I guess that I do know some kids who work minimum wage jobs and are also using other government aid, so both of you are right.

woo said...

I don't understand poverty, you are correct. Since I need to go to school, I will answer your questions briefly:
Yes, move out of DC if the cost of living is too high, yes, yes, and our inner cities DO resemble 3rd world countries, after how many years of social programs and minimum wages?
P.S. I am right because my I.Q. score was higher than yours. Sorry, I.Q. tests don't lie...

Marc said...

I see these as being two seperate issues. The fact that social programs exist to help the poor does not seem to me to be an argument against raising the minimum wage from time to time. It's a red herring. The real question at issue is at what point does a low wage become exploitation? The current minimum wage is $4.37 in 1997 dollars. Give it another 10 years and it'll be at or under $3.00. Had the minimum wage not been raised since 1968, it would be $1.60 right now. If it were, you can bet some corporations would likely employee people at that wage, which in the American economy is akin to sweat shop labor and would be morally reprehensible.

The reiterate:
1)It is hypocritical of Congress to cut programs for the needy when giving themselves a raise.
2)It is hypocritical of Congress to give themselves a cost of living raise when they deny one to those making the current minimum wage.

Implied in my 2nd point is my support of raising the current minimum wage. I think a moderate increase every 10 years assuming a 3% rate of inflation is balanced approach.

Marc said...

It's a catch-22 Woo. Relocating requires a significant amount of money. Are you suggesting you would like to phase out these social programs? How would you justify that?

tigerfoxbear said...

Marc, you are ignoring me and my comments much like you accuse our congressmen of ignoring the poor. This agression will not stand!

Marc said...

My responses have been somewhat staggered... I was writing one response while you were posting another. Did not mean to ignore. I think I addressed part of your by stating that see these as two separate issues.

As for people using social programs, whenever there are entitlements, there will always be abuse. That is no reason to abandon them altogether, but instead a motivation to tailor them so as to prevent as much abuse as possible while helping as many that are in need as possible.

If you know people who have been helped by these programs, then good. I know many LDS couples who took advantage of subsidized housing for a time. Is that a bad thing? Now many of them are older and their tax dollars help fund subsidized housing for others.

I myself have never been on welfare or used Medicaid or food stamps, but I have taken advantage of Government educational grants and subsidized loans. I think these programs are essential. I was extremely disappointed to see the House reduce funding for these programs... which made seeing their raise like salt in a wound.

I do think Woo has brought up issues which need to be considered when legislating on these matters. What bothers me are the sweeping terms he uses and the a priori assumptions he seems to have regarding these programs.

I volunteer in downtown DC at a Legal Aid clinic every couple of weeks and I work with people who rely on these programs. These aren't otherwise well off college students or "swindlers" or "lazy" people... these are people who are caught in a cycle of poverty that can be almost impossible to get out of. Many of them work two jobs and still have trouble supporting their family on their wages. Education is great and vocational and other training sorely needed, but none of this should come at the expense of helping them maintain a minimum standard of living.

BA said...

So Marc, clear something up for me... I've known you for a while and there is nothing you love more than an intellectual debate... the part I'm confused about is whether you enjoy dissent. I think you dismiss some of Woo's and Sloyd's (not really sloyd's) valid arguments as being simplistic or having a "negative connotation" unfairly. Just because Woo uses a word (socialist) that has a negative connotation to him doesn't change the fundamental idea of what his argument is about (especially because there are tons of proud socialists out there, it's not like the N word or something).

Furthermore, if Woo would've taken time to more clearly (more PCly) articulate what he meant by crutch or hydraulic hospital bed, would it have changed the fundamental idea of his argument? I know you're big on euphamisms but I don't think the "negative words" alter the valid argument that he is making.

I'm not trying to argue that Woo's argument is correct but I am wondering whether you enjoy the debate or if you want to convince him that he is wrong or is it both? I'm also not saying that you didn't refute his fundamental allegations, I just think that attacking his negative words doesn't attack the validity of the idea.

I reserve the right to erase this comment after Bohn destroys it.

Marc said...

You unfairly portray me. Woo's initial posts raised strong issues... many of his later posts seemed more reactionary. I struggled to find the real point to many of them. I tried to rebut his initial posts about minimum wage and he responds by making weak allusions to social programs with strong inferences that the only people who deserve any help are the disabled? He's the one ignoring the valid issues and responses I've raised. As for Tigerfoxbear, I don't think I've been unfair in my responses to him. I responded sarcastically to a sarcastic post he made... but that's fair game isn't it?

Gargantus said...

bohn, the problem with your arguments is they take too long to explain. Woo makes the point in a single paragraph while your rebutle takes 4.

ps. you might be mooching off me in a couple years.

Marc said...

Mooching off you... that would fulfill a life-long dream.

Gargantus said...

well, i'll talk it over with Kip, see if we can't come up with some way to fulfill that dream of yours.