Sat, 14 May 2016

Minimum Wage, Maximum Rant

It's absurd to say that a minimum wage doesn't cause unemployment. ABSURD. Do you, does anyone, buy the same amount of something when the price goes up? Oh, maybe you ignore a price increase of a percent or two. What do you do when the price doubles? When it goes from $7.25 to $15? For damn sure you are going to buy less of it.

OR you'll find some other way to deal with it. Maybe you'll fire that black person, and hire a white person (because you're a racist who thinks that way). Maybe you'll simply reduce workplace amenities, like a frequently-cleaned bathroom? Maybe you'll replace the low-productivity workers with the higher-productivity workers who have re-entered the workforce to get the higher pay? Maybe you'll just charge your customers more? Of course, if your customers are all minimum-wage earners, they're kinda screwed, but that's not YOUR fault as the employer, is it?

Or maybe you'll replace workers by machines, now that the machines are relatively less expensive. Oh, wait, you already did that. Look at the McDonald's machine that fills the french-fry baskets automatically. Look at the McDonald's soda dispensing machine. Those jobs used to be done by people.

See? It's pointless you present you with all this information, because you will reject it. You already know that the minimum wage CANNOT cause unemployment because the unemployment is so small that it gets lost in the churn of jobs. The unemployment is detectable because of secondary effects, though. Look at teen black unemployment: 2X that of whites. Look at teen Aboriginal unemployment: 3X that of whites (official government statistics).

Let me ask you: how many drops of pee do I need to put into a cup of water before you will refuse to drink it? If I put one drop in, and mixed it, do you think you could detect that drop (I'll tell you before you go looking because this is what I do all day: no, you cannot)? Does the water become drinkable simply because you cannot detect the pee in it?

How many people need to become permanently unemployable simply because you cannot detect the unemployment? Just as you wouldn't drink the cup of water with a single drop, I refuse to tolerate a minimum wage because of just one person who cannot find a job because of the minimum wage.

I'm sure you're a nice guy Jon, you mean well, you have the best of intentions. But the people who created the minimum wage did so to reduce black employment. This would reduce the resources available to blacks to reproduce, and would help to purify the white race.

No, seriously.

So what has changed since then? Has the minimum wage turned around from a way to hurt black people to a way to help all workers (including blacks)? How, exactly, did this happen? Any explanation at all?

Citations on request, I don't need to bother to look up things you aren't going to read because you know they're wrong even though they've been peer-reviewed or are official government statistics.

Go ask any economist what would happen if the minimum wage was raised to $100/hour. Every one of them will tell you that it would be a disaster and would cause massive unemployment. So why does a $15/hour minimum wage not cause a minimal amount of unemployment? What changes? Is there some quantum effect which nobody has discovered yet even after 80 years of a minimum wage?

I will tell you what happens: the unemployment is small enough to be undetectable. That is because the minimum wage is not a market phenomenon. It is something that is created by people who do not wish to be blamed for creating unemployment. They will refuse to set a minimum wage that they think will cause unemployment. I happen to think that they're wrong about a $15, but just as people in crowds can do crazy things, so can politicians in crowds do crazy things.

We'll see. The trouble is that you won't learn. You didn't learn when Haiti got accidentally included in a US federal minimum wage back in the 1930's. It doubled the wages there, and destroyed the lace industry. Have you bought any Haitian lace lately? No, you have not. Have you learned not to have any minimum wage at all? No, you have not. Have you learned not to double the minimum wage? No, you have not.

Doubling the minimum wage is experimenting on human subjects. No university ethics committee would approve that experiment. That you support it says something bad about your ethics.

Posted [23:37] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Wed, 31 Dec 2014

Less Desirable Workers

Yay! The minimum wage is going up in many states! Now employers won't have to pay a premium to get desirable workers, and they can dismiss the undesirable workers at no cost to themselves!

You see, every worker is desirable to one extent to another. Some workers are more productive, some are simply more fun to work with, some are attractive, some are tall, some are male, some are white, etc. (I happen to be all six of these, natch.) Other workers not so much. When you put a floor on the lowest wage, the less desirable workers have no way to compete with the more desirable workers. So if the minimum wage is set low enough, hey, no problem, the less desirable workers can just charge less, and they'll still have a job. But when you raise it high enough that you have all these workers competing for the same wage, which ones are you going to choose? You're not stupid, you're going to choose the more desirable workers.

Being one of the more desirable workers, of course, I don't care if you raise the minimum wage. Go ahead! I don't care! Because I'm selfish!

But if you care about the less desirable workers, then you will be upset about having ANY minimum wage law. Justice demands that it be abolished.

Posted [16:56] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Tue, 26 Apr 2011

Health Care Consumers

People are bringing up the point that people simply don't shop for health care. That we're not consumers. Usually that people are non-economists, like some ER doc who thinks that he had to study for 8 years to become a doc, but that economists are just people with opinions. Or like Paul Krugman, who gave up any claim to be an economist years ago.

To these people, I say: just *try* to be a consumer. Presume that somebody actually could act as a consumer, and go buy their health care. An honest seeker after the truth will quickly realize that so few people pay for their own health care that prices aren't available. Go into a doctor's office and say "I'd like a 20 minute visit with the doc -- how much will that cost?" and the staff will be flabbergasted. Chances are very good that they won't know what to tell you. This could make the point that people who consume health care aren't consumers (although it's hard to state that relationship without using the "C" word). I think, instead, that it makes the point that people are consumers, but they're not purchasers.

Posted [10:57] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , , ] [digg this]

Thu, 24 Mar 2011


War?? Again?? By a Nobel Prize Winner?? I'm simply aghast. Yes, there are problems in the world, but they're not our responsibility to fix. Not when we're broke, going broker, and have a slim chance of not being broke for the next twenty years. What ARE these idiots thinking???

Posted [08:23] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , , ] [digg this]

Sat, 05 Mar 2011


Damn immigrants! They should go back to Bakersfield, where they came from!

Posted [16:03] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , ] [digg this]

Thu, 09 Dec 2010

Legal vs illegal prostitution

Okay, this kinda of crap makes me angry, just angry. Go read the article. Do you see what's wrong with it? I see no distinction between legal prostitution and illegal prostitution. Now let's look at the difference between legal and illegal drugs. The first you can buy in any store (everybody sells aspirin), in controlled doses with brand names and labels. The police aren't involved, violence isn't involved, it's all up front and everybody knows what they're getting into when they start selling legal drugs.

So by the principles expressed in this article, because illegal drugs are risky, then, too, are legal drugs. Defending legal drugs clearly says nothing about illegal drugs, and yet the article does not distinguish between legal and illegal prostitution. The two situations are very similar in that the illegality is the CAUSE of the problems that make people want it to be illegal! Circular cause and effect! The solution causes the problem. You see this kind of reasoning everywhere. "Oh, oh, poor people don't earn enough money, so we will help them by forcing a minimum wage." and yet that destroys the employment of anyone whose productivity does not justify paying them the minimum wage.

This is NOT to justify any of the horrible activities described in the article. They ARE horrible, and they ARE horrors. But I suggest that all of them are caused by the illegality of prositution, and I encourage anyone worried by the article to examine the operation of legal prostitution.

Posted [00:00] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , ] [digg this]

Sun, 05 Dec 2010

About Terrorism

The best thing we can do about terrorism is: nothing. It's not that terrorists don't create harm. It's that terrorism is not about the harm; it's about the fear. We kill, each month, more people in automobiles than were killed by terrorists on 9/11. But that's not the correct comparison to make, because the tactics employed by the terrorists cannot be reproduced. Nobody will sit still for a hijacking ever again. Thus, the real comparison is against the number of airplane passengers killed. We kill, each month, TEN TIMES more people in automobiles than the number of airplane passengers killed by terrorists on 9/11.

The terrorists are hacking our brains. Being a hacker myself, this is intolerable to me. Being a security professional, this is intolerable to me. They are trying to set up a situation where there is a very very very low risk of very bad harm. They do not have the ability to create actual harm. They can only create a harm that is terrifying (and I cheerfully admit that I cannot sleep when I imagine myself on Flight 93, knowing that I have to defeat the terrorists on the airplane or die).

The terrible aspect, when multiplied by the tiny risk, cannot be comprehended by the human brain. Such a small number, when multiplied by a large number, becomes unity. Thus, people overreact, even though the risk of death by being killed by a violent airplane passenger is equal to the risk of dying on the road in the next 9 days. As I write this, between now and Christmas, three weeks away, fully twiceas many people will be killed by automobiles as have everbeen killed by violent airplane passengers.

The solution to this problem is to not be scared. Not all of us arescared. We need those of us who are not scared to struggle against those who are. We need our political leaders to be strong enough to ignore terrorism. There is nothing they can do to stop it, so what they should do is nothing.

Terrorism is an evil hack, nothing more. It's a trick. We need to ignore it.

Posted [00:00] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , ] [digg this]

Fri, 03 Dec 2010

Forgiving the TSA

I could forgive them groping me if they would just acknowledge that nobody will ever succeed in hijacking an airplane, and allow anything which cannot harm the whole airplane itself. Enough with keeping bladed weapons off airplanes, including those hellish nail clippers. You couldn't even commit suicide with one, much less harm anyone else.

I could forgive them worrying about bombs on airplane if they would just acknowledge that the threat to sports stadiums, subway stations, or heck, busy security lines, are just as bad if not worse than airplanes.

I could forgive them worrying about terrorism if the terrorists could actually cause us more harm than we are harming ourselves. We kill 10X as many people EVERY MONTH on the highways as they killed airplane passengers on 9/11.

No, I can't forgive them.

Posted [00:00] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , , , ] [digg this]

Mon, 29 Nov 2010


There are two kinds of poverty: relative poverty and absolute poverty. One could define the latter as lacking certain qualities of life; for example access to a minimum of 1600 calories per day, shelter to keep you warm and dry, and clean clothing appropriate for your climate and culture. There are many people who are absolutely poor. It's possible to abolish that kind of poverty. It is not possible to abolish relative poverty. Some people will always have much much more than other people; we call these latter "poor", often without distinguishing them from the absolutely poor.

Posted [00:00] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Tue, 14 Sep 2010

The Unanswerable Question

Sigh. From time to time, leftists get up on their high horse, and think that they can come up with a single objection to freedom which completely smashes all arguments. Today's version of that objection may be found on elementropy, where it goes:

another question unanswerable by neoliberal economists: Who is our economy for?

I'm thinking that the author is not open to new light, but let me venture to answer today's unanswerable question: An economy is for people who trade goods and services with other people. Consequently, any interference with trade goes against the best interests of the economy. Government regulation of trade counts as interference.

Now, readers of that blog may think I'm INSANE. That's okay. 240 years ago, nobody thought a country could exist if it didn't choose a religion for its countrymen. A country without an established religion?? INSANE! Of course, we now know better (although there are some fundamentalist religionists who still disagree). In time, we will be able to convince people that freedom of trade is a civil right along with freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and yes, freedom of religion.

Not that I expect this one posting to change anybody's mind. It takes many drops to turn a wheel, singly none, singly none.

Posted [00:00] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [Tags , ] [digg this]