God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: God Hates Inequality

posted by gp_intern

On Tuesday, following the Senate vote for cloture on minimum wage legislation, Jim Wallis joined Sen. Edward Kennedy, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Tom Harkin, and religious leaders in a press conference. This post is adapted from his remarks. The final vote on a minimum wage increase in the Senate is expected today.

+ Download mp3 audio of Jim’s statement

This is a good vote, but as Sen. Kennedy already said, it’s only the beginning –we’ve got a long way to go.

It’s a political fact now that faith communities across the board, very widely, are in favor of increasing the minimum wage. Why is that? What’s the theological foundation behind that? We don’t just do politics; we do politics because of our faith.

I just returned from Davos, and the World Economic Forum, and even at Davos they’re dealing with this issue. I was asked to address a group called, “Should we despair of our disparities?” I cited the Hebrew prophets and how they always seemed to speak up when the gaps in society grew too large. When the gulf widened and injustice deepened, the prophets rose up to thunder the judgment and justice of God. Their words reveal that God hates inequality. That’s our theological foundation – God hates inequality.

What does the Bible have to say about the minimum wage?

The prophet Isaiah said: “my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain…” (65:22-23).

James, who was the sibling of Jesus, and probably knew what his brother thought about things pretty well, said: “Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord.”

Six states passed referenda on a minimum wage in November. I want to commend the Let Justice Roll Campaign, an initiative of the National Council of Churches, and we were happy to work with them. We found that Americans agree with this. Americans think that if you work hard and full time, you shouldn’t be poor. But 9.2 million American families are. Somebody in all those households works hard, full time, and yet they’re all raising their kids in poverty. That’s wrong. It’s against our theology and it’s un-American.

What is at risk here is a genuine opportunity society. It’s a “fraud,” I would say, when the average CEO of a Standard & Poor’s 500 company made $13.5 million in total compensation in 2005, while a minimum wage worker made $10,700. Thirty years ago CEOs made 30 times what their average workers made. Japan and Germany are still at about that ratio. Now in America its 400 to 1 – which means the average worker has to work a whole year to make what their boss makes in one day. This is wrong; it’s an injustice; it’s a theological issue.

The House has acted, now the Senate has decided to act. And when the minimum wage passes, we must then take the next step needed to guarantee that work works in America and provides a family success and security. Those who work responsibly should have a living family income with a combination of a family’s earnings, and supports for transportation, health care, nutrition, child care, education, housing. Tax policies should reward work and family stability. Ownership and job creation is critical. Work has to work in America. It doesn’t right now.

The minimum wage is simply the down payment on social justice. We’ve made the down payment, now it’s time to do the rest of the work.

+ Watch YouTube video of the entire press conference (Jim speaks from 7:50 to 12:06)



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kevin s.

posted February 1, 2007 at 3:20 pm


There is no Isaiah 58:22-3. Near as I can tell, he is referring to Isaiah 65:22, and only a small snippet thereof. Regardless, his line is clearly taken out of context, as the scripture is referring to God’s chosen people, contrasting God’s curses for disobedience, per Deuteronomy. At any rate, I still have yet to see any of the substantive arguments against raising the minimum wage addressed on this board. Wallis creates a false choice between raising the minimum wage and working in vain. Conservatives do not oppose minimum wage hikes because they do not care about the poor. Rather, they oppose minimum wage hikes because statistics show that they do more harm than good to the very people they are trying to help.Regardless of your view on this issue, to ignore this fact is fundamentally dishonest.



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Wolverine

posted February 1, 2007 at 3:30 pm


Once again: The majority of minimum-wage workers are not single parents supporting kids. The minimum wage earner is much more likely to be a teenager from a middle-class family. Most poor families do not suffer from low wages alone, but also from a shortage of steady work. God may hate inequalities, but I doubt he’s all that worked up over middle-class teenagers earning less than $7.00 bucks an hour at part-time jobs. He’s at least as likely to be upset over the difficulty that unskilled workers have finding steady, full-time work, a problem that is aggravated by an overly high minimum wage. The more I think about it, the Christian left more and more resembles the fundamentalist church of my unhappy youth. Their ideas of “theology” were very similar: read a scripture passage that appears relevant, then go with the first thing that pops into your head — under no conditions should you spend more than two minutes wondering what’s really going on. This allows you to use scripture to justify your preconceived notions without the risks involved in serious thought. Wolverine Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 3:53 pm


“Conservatives do not oppose minimum wage hikes because they do not care about the poor. Rather, they oppose minimum wage hikes because statistics show that they do more harm than good to the very people they are trying to help.” This flatly is false, Kevin — this is the same straw man business groups trot out every time there’s talk about the minimum wage being raised, and in truth there is essentially no effect. Not only that, but I read a story recently that mentioned that workers along the Idaho/Washington state border were flocking to Washington because it had a higher minimum wage, and ironically business was booming there.



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wayne

posted February 1, 2007 at 4:14 pm


Rick thank you for bringing a little reality to this. Even Henry Ford knew that it was good business to make a car everyone could afford and then pay his workers enough to buy one. If minimum wage were to just keep up with inflation it should be closer to ten dollars per hour based on it taking over six of todays dollars to equal one 1964 green back. And by the way many men and women with children work for the minimum, not just teens who live at home with mom and dad. Kevin should know this from his own experience I believe. Talking about “majorities” here is just a smoke screen. The accusation of the misuse of scripture seems to deny the underlying reality of these very verses expressing the heart of God toward economic justice and wisdom, regardless of whether you take a stricter dispensational view as Kevin seems to. Why any businessman would be against more people being able to afford their products and services is beyond me.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 4:16 pm


“God may hate inequalities, but I doubt he’s all that worked up over middle-class teenagers earning less than 7 bucks an hour at part-time jobs. He’s at least as likely to be upset over the difficulty that unskilled workers have finding steady, full-time work, a problem that is aggravated by an overly high minimum wage.” An overly high minimum wage? Well, even $7 per hour at 30 hours a week (remember that most minimum-wage jobs are only part-time) nets only $210 a week before taxes and only about $50 there. On that you have to buy food and pay rent plus child-care and transportation. So you’re talking about trying to do all that on less than $600 take-home a month. My own church is, and should be, heavily involved with the poor in the neighborhood where it’s located — some years ago the deacons put themselves through an exercise to experience as to how to try to raise a family on such an income. But it recognizes that also has a responsibility to speak out for justice, whether it means getting the poor better jobs or preparing the poor for such. It’s not an “either/or”; it’s a “both/and.”



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 4:22 pm


“The majority of minimum-wage workers are not single parents supporting kids. The minimum wage earner is much more likely to be a teenager from a middle-class family.” Outright false, Wolverine — over two-thirds of minimum-wage workers indeed are adults who are feeding families. I can tell you where to get the statistics. Besides, many “service” jobs, at least around where I live, in suburban areas pay more than the minimum wage — because many of the teenagers actually make more money doing other things.



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Michael K.

posted February 1, 2007 at 4:39 pm


Jim Wallis wrote: “What does the Bible have to say about the minimum wage?” I don’t care what the Bible says about the minimum wage. The Bible was written by people who had much less understanding about many important things than I do now.



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Sacred Frenzy

posted February 1, 2007 at 5:05 pm


Jim Wallis has taken God’s words as recorded by the prophet Isaiah out of context, and used them to support his own position on minimum wage. While the passage does mention “not toil[ing] in vain,” the context is the New Jerusalem, not the United States. Thus, Wallis seems to pick and choose passages from Scripture that support his view of politics, ripping them from their immediate context, and then shamelessly using them to give the impression that God is on his side in the question over whether or not the Congress of the United States should raise the minimum wage. This is an excellent example of very bad hermeneutics.



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kevin s.

posted February 1, 2007 at 5:53 pm


My mother worked for unions, and never earned the minimum wage. If business continues to boom in spite of (or even because of) minimum wages increases, then why would business leaders oppose it?Why not raise the minimum wage to $50,000 per year?



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Daniel

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:11 pm


Jim, The temptation of a prophet is to speak with too much fire and passion. I hope the lack of empathy in this essay is something of a momentary lapse. There are several problems here. First, I support the minimum wage and I think we can establish winning universal and Christian arguments for it. I agree with your’position,’ but it is all too much like the mirror image of James Dobson. For example, when jesus tells the parable of the workers in the field hired at different times with different wages, he has the farmer (who represents God) tell the lower paid workers not to fret about what they are paid because they received what they agreed was fair. Now, I believe that parable is confined in its meaning and that this is not a statement on economic policy in a 21st century capitalist state, but is it hard to see how the Bible hardly gives a mandate for a minimum wage law? Given passages like this one, passages in Proverbs about the industrious being rewarded on earth, to say “God Hates Inequality” has even less authority than “God Hates Homosexuality.” What ground are we giving up in order to assert our convictions? Should we become the Religious Left? Are we a competing monologue or are we the ones looking for genuine dialogue, empathy, compassion, cooperation – even when our counterparts are unwilling? As you say of Micah, how can we have security unless we are willing to first give it to them? As Kevin notes above, the conservative position on the minimum wage is a supply-sider position. Adam Smith’s invisible hand is supported by Proverbs and conservatives think we short-circuit the natural economic darwninism that God intended when we go around protecting people from punishment by taking away rewards from others. For them we are inverting moral justice. And we must engage this argument on rational AND theological grounds. yes, the Sermon on the Mount and the book of James will overcome Proverbs. But the Democrats made an exception in this bill for American Samoa. Why? Because their tuna industry can’t sustain higher wages and they will lose to international cmopetition. So, we even concede the practical argument they are fielding. It’s going to take a great deal more than claiming we know what God wants to convince people this is a moral issue.You’re the main man with the intelligence, heart, spiritual gift, and podium to move this issue. I hope you will do so with an even hand.



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kevin s.

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:13 pm


“Outright false, Wolverine” Wolverine said that a minimum wage earner is more likely to be a teenager living with their parents thatn a single parent. This is empirically true, not patently false. 41% of minimum wage earners live with their parents. 20% are dual earners with no kids. 24% are single earners with no kids. If we are to understand what Isaiah was talking about when he spoke to minimum wage increases, then we should at least honest about what it entails.



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cs

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:14 pm


The quote from James does not match the argument Wallis is trying to shoehorn it into. As quoted here, “The wages of the laborers…which you have kept back by FRAUD…” Does paying the minimum wage meet any definition of fraud? Also, there is a parable in Mt. 20 about a landowner hiring laborers, and paying them in an apparently unfair manner (same pay for different time worked). When complaints were made, his response was “is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things?” In other words, he had a right to pay whatever he wanted, as long as it met the agreements made with the laborers. There is no cogent Biblical argument to be made for or against raising the minimum wage. The arguments can be made on other grounds. To use “theology” to advance one’s political ideals is inherently suspicious. Please refer to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”



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Daniel

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:14 pm


I know and have known minimum wage workers who are on their own. It is almost impossible to make it. Anyone read or seen the documentary based on Nickeled and Dimed?



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Daniel

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:21 pm


cs, Theological arguments are for other Christians, political arguments for all of us. Jim is sort of operating in both worlds. But, in truth, the quoting of verses that address issues of labor and wages is really just normative, it’s the way things must be done to clash over this legislation. The real theological argument being made is the same as always – the Sermon on the Mount and the Golden Rule guides us to believe that people working hard and living in economic Hell is morally wrong regardless of what we could probably drum up in Levitical law or with the parable of the field laborers. That’s important – Christian ethics has it’s place within the Christian community.



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Michael K.

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:27 pm


The minimum wage should be raised in the US. I would raise it to a place higher than Congress has — probably significantly higher. Raising it would not prevent the US from lowering it in the future. So, if, after raising it, there would be reason to believe that lowering it would, overall, be for the best, then the US could lower it again. However, what the Bible says about the minimum wage is irrelevant to what I think the minimum wage should be in the US now. The people who wrote the Bible did not have a particularly good understanding of current conditions in the US. Moreover, they had a less good understanding of ethics than I do. For instance, the authors hadn’t read Kant, Mill, Rawls or Sen. And I don’t think they had read Aristotle. Moreover, my track-record on making ethical judgments is better than many authors of the Bible. For instance, don t some of the authors advocate the stoning of women for committing adultery?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:30 pm


“If business continues to boom in spite of (or even because of) minimum wage increases, then why would business leaders oppose it?” Simple — management would make less off the top. Folks going into business know to pay their people as little as they can, and as mentioned by another poster Henry Ford turned that strategy on its head.



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:31 pm


wolverine and kevin, tell someone earning minimum wage in my town of baltimore that most people making minimum wage are teenagers living with their middle class parents and they’ll shrug their shoulders and say “so what?” can we really just fall back on the percent of teenagers in the workplace as a reason to not give a much-needed boost to minimum wage workers who put in probably a harder day’s work than most of the rest of us? whether conservatives or liberals for that matter hate the poor or love them is also completely irrelevent. i second daniel’s reccomendation on Nickled and Dimed, especially those of you who think the system as it currently exists is not hurting poor people. not to mention the fact that the minimum wage is legally intended to be connected to the cost of living. while cost of living has risen, the minimum wage has not. IT IS NOT DOING WHAT IT WAS CREATED TO DO! this is reason enough to raise it.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:33 pm


“Wolverine said that a minimum wage earner is more likely to be a teenager living with their parents thatn a single parent. This is empirically true, not patently false. 41% of minimum wage earners live with their parents. 20% are dual earners with no kids. 24% are single earners with no kids.” No, it isn’t “empirically true” — how many of those minimum-wage earners actually are adults over 21? Bet the majority are, and that’s one reason they’re still at home. Then, what kind of jobs do they do and where are they located?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:37 pm


“Also, there is a parable in Mt. 20 about a landowner hiring laborers, and paying them in an apparently unfair manner (same pay for different time worked). When complaints were made, his response was ‘is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things?” In other words, he had a right to pay whatever he wanted, as long as it met the agreements made with the laborers.’” That doesn’t apply to this discussion because Jesus is talking about eternal reward, not work down here. The point He’s trying to make is that people who have been “saved” 20 or 30 years are no more “worthy” than folks who come in just “under the wire,” so to speak.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:42 pm


“For instance, don t some of the authors advocate the stoning of women for committing adultery?” As such, no. For openers, under Mosaic Law both the offending man and woman were to be stoned, and for capital crimes there had to be at least two witnesses (wherever Jesus says “wherever two or three are gathered,” he’s using legal language). Jesus let the woman “caught in the act” go because the original accusation was invalid based on technicalities.



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kevin s.

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:44 pm


“can we really just fall back on the percent of teenagers in the workplace as a reason to not give a much-needed boost to minimum wage workers who put in probably a harder day’s work than most of the rest of us? ” Yes, because I would argue that this mitigaes against the need to increase the minimum wage. The reasons teenagers are willing to work for $5.15 an hour is because they’re, well, teenagers…Rick mentions that business owners oppose minimum wage because it takes money from the top. This is true. Since those same business people do not want to lose money off the top, they find other places to cut. If they didn’t, then we would be justified in raising the minimum wage to $30 an hour. The truth is that a 40% increase in the wage of one set of earners is going to have an impact on the rate at which those earners are hired. It can’t not have that impact, unless you believe money grows on trees. “No, it isn’t “empirically true” — how many of those minimum-wage earners actually are adults over 21? ” The majority are under 24, though I can’t find data for ages 22-24. However, if we are trying to benefit the “least of these” in accordance with scripture, why are we targetting 23 year olds who have a place to live?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:48 pm


“However, if we are trying to benefit the ‘least of these’ in accordance with scripture, why are we targetting 23 year olds who have a place to live?” Because they don’t want to be sponging off Mom and Dad forever, and that would be no different than the “welfare system” people on the right decry.



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:48 pm


once again kevin ctrl-v’s part of my comment, critiques it, and ignores the rest. so, i’ll ask again, kevin – what about the 59% of minimum wage earners (by your uncited numbers) who don’t live with their parents?



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:50 pm


“Since those same business people do not want to lose money off the top, they find other places to cut. If they didn’t, then we would be justified in raising the minimum wage to $30 an hour.” so, corporate greed is your reason for opposing a minimum wage increase. got it.



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HASH(0x12beec6c)

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:53 pm


Michael K, The people who wrote the Bible did not have a particularly good understanding of current conditions in the US. Moreover, they had a less good understanding of ethics than I do. For instance, the authors hadn’t read Kant, Mill, Rawls or Sen. And I don’t think they had read Aristotle. People making minimum wage have likely not read these people. Should we exclude their voices? Or does that violate their utilitarian “ability to make important choices?” Look, Pride is the central Christian sin – all others are derivative. Doesn’t matter to you, right? Especially if you’ve read Nietzsche! You’re the Ubermensch, ja? Here’s a rational argument for it. Pride is the elevation of Ego and it is the Ego that prevents us from tapping into the unity of the universe, the connection which is our natural ethical state. Given your comment you’ll want to know that someone else said it and I read it – if it’s just my idea it has no merit, right? I know you’ve read Sam Harris and he makes this argument pretty succinctly. Aldous Huxley and Vedanta Hindu scriptures do it far better, as does Jiddu Krishnamurti, Huston Smith, Marcus Borg, CG Jung, Joseph Campbell, and Marshall Rosenberg. Yet it’s not their saying it that makes it fact. The fact that you’re acting like a prick does.



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John B.

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:55 pm


I agree whole heartedly with the comment by Rick Nowlin. The fallacies contained in the arguments of Wallis and others are too numerous to refute here. A minimum wage increase will only serve to assure that businesses hire less of the types of people-poor, minority, undereducated-that propents of the law pretend to want to help. Read more about this on my blog @ butcherandbutler.blogspot.com (no ‘www.’ required) under ‘Church Sponsored Socialism’ and ‘Minimum wage hurts workers’



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jesse

posted February 1, 2007 at 6:55 pm


Another fact left unaddressed by those who support raising the minimum wage increase is that a very large proportion of minimum wage earners work at restaurants or bars, where they also receive tips for their services.I would also add that no one stays at a minimum wage job for very long.As for Wallis’s theology with all of this…has the term “liberal fundamentalism” ever been used to describe it? I propose introducing it into the modern lexicon. I agree with Wolverine that there are very strong similarities between the more conservative fundamentalism despised by Sojo and the kind of exegesis done by Wallis here. There’s no nuance. No humility.



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HASH(0x12bf1ab4)

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:02 pm


“Because they don’t want to be sponging off Mom and Dad forever, and that would be no different than the “welfare system” people on the right decry.” Only 1 percent of minimum wage earners continue to earn that wage after three years. And living with your parents is different from a welfare system, though I agree that conservatives decry such behavior.” so, i’ll ask again, kevin – what about the 59% of minimum wage earners (by your uncited numbers) who don’t live with their parents?” I am opposed to a system that reduces the overall pool of jobs available to those people (and impacts the quality and quantity of low paying jobs in general) while disproportinately extending a benefit to those who do not need it.



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cs

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:11 pm


Rick, The Mt. 20 parable “doesn’t apply to this discussion” because of its context, but the Isaiah passage and the James “fraud” reference do? Boy, talk about cherrypicking your verses to support your position. (BTW, I am well aware of the context and meaning of the passage. Unlike our host, I am also aware of the definition of “fraud.” This ain’t it.)



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:16 pm


“I would also add that no one stays at a minimum wage job for very long.” jesse, this is a ridiculous statement that you haven’t backed up with any facts. it’s just not true. for many people, minimum wage jobs are not springboards to bigger and better things. they are life. and you have brought up the restaurants thing in the past and been shown that it is not true. argue on the facts, not what you wish or think might be true.



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cs

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:16 pm


Wonder what context Isaiah 65:20 (no infant death, long lives) and 65:25 (wolf & lamb feed together) places his citation? Kinda hard to miss the eschatological implications and place it into 21st century America… you know, since context disqualifies Mt. 20.



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wayne

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:20 pm


We instituted a minimum wage because we could see it was necessary. When I worked as a teen it was $1.35 per hour. I worked in a resturant and made tips. Still if the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation that $1.35 would be closer to $10.00 today than $7.00 and workers in resturants would still make tips. If Kevin’s question has any merit, (why not raise it to 50k per year?) then he must answer why not raise it to $10.00? just to be fair and not facetious. Your spoofing is not just insincere it make any misquote or mis use of scripture on J’s part pale in comparison. This increase is in fact just a “down payment” as it does not go far enough. Many of those “teens” who live with their parents don’t do so because they can’t afford to live elsewhere but because their parents can’t afford for them to do so. They also work for minimum wage. The point of the parable of the workers is in part that the amount agreed to was a recognised minimum that each man needed to make per day if they were to survive. That is why each recieved the same. It was not just a bargain between one employer and his workers but part of a much larger social contract that everyone in that society understood and abided by. It was , in fact a minimum wage. CS you are more guilty of “misusing” scripture that those you accuse of the same.



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Michael K.

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:23 pm


Anonymous wrote: “People making minimum wage have likely not read these people. Should we exclude their voices? Or does that violate their utilitarian ‘ability to make important choices?’” Obviously their voices shouldn’t be excluded. I didn’t mean to suggest that they should be excluded. In fact, there judgments should be among the most important in terms of what the US should do as far as the minimum wage is concerned. But my point is that any Bible birth that is relevant to the issue of wages is irrelevant to whether the US should raise the minimum wage now. The people who wrote the Bible didn’t have a good idea of the current situation in the US. They didn’t even know that the North American continent existed. And their track-record on ethics isn’t that great. Moreover, people today are capable of coming up with good ideas on what the minimum wage should be. They can have a petty good idea of the likely consequences of raising the minimum wage. However, maybe that the authors of the Bible hadn’t read the thinkers that I mentioned shouldn’t be important in terms of whether I should take seriously what the authors of the Bible wrote about the minimum wage. A lot of people who have read some of those thinkers have some bad ideas about ethics. However, in terms of making good decisions, it probably helps to have read the thinkers I ve mentioned. Also, what do you mean by “their utilitarian ‘ability to make important choices?’” It is problematic to call one’s ability to make important choices “utilitarian.” As “utilitarian” is often used to refer to the idea that one should always act so as to maximize net happiness, pleasure or preference satisfaction.Look, Pride is the central Christian sin – all others are derivative. Doesn’t matter to you, right? No Especially if you’ve read Nietzsche! You’re the Ubermensch, ja? It has nothing to do with my having read Nietzsche.Here’s a rational argument for it. Pride is the elevation of Ego and it is the Ego that prevents us from tapping into the unity of the universe, the connection which is our natural ethical state. Given your comment you’ll want to know that someone else said it and I read it – if it’s just my idea it has no merit, right? Are you saying that pride is worse than murdering millions of innocent people? I know you’ve read Sam Harris and he makes this argument pretty succinctly. I’ve never read anything by Sam Harris.



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Michael K.

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:24 pm


I wrote: “But my point is that any Bible birth…” I meant Bible verse…



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:41 pm


“Boy, talk about cherrypicking your verses to support your position.” I never commented on any other passage of Scripture in this discussion. Don’t put words in my mouth.



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wayne

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:47 pm


Michael The Bible is one of those books “smart” people should read and pay attention to, if only because it is part of the same genre of literature you seem to feel so good about having read. Also, having read all those peoples works we don’t seem to have such a great ethical track record ourselves. Your arguement about the relevance of scripture is very suspect to say the least. We all build on the past. You seem to think the recent past is the only one that is relevant. How dumb!



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Wolverine

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:47 pm


Wayne, Sorry, but if you read the parable of the workers in the field, the landowner plainly bases his assertion that his behaviour is “fair” on the fact that they had agreed to the wage beforehand. The fact that a “penny” or a “denarius” was a standard wage at the time does not make this any less of an agreement. Finally, the owner asserts that it’s his money he’s paying out, and on that basis he is allowed to be generous with those who came later. He does not argue that any lower wage would be insufficient. As I was saying: just go with the first thought that pops into your head. Don’t ask what’s really going on, and don’t pay attention to details… Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:52 pm


Rick Nowlin: You say you had a source that proved I was wrong about who received the minimum wage. Would you mind telling us what that source is? Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:53 pm


John B. — I think you misunderstood my position. I stated a fact that people in business generally want to keep labor costs down and you took that to mean that I oppose raising the minimum wage, when in fact I suggested nothing of the sort. (If anything, having been a “minimum-wager” for most of my life except the last 10 years, I would support it.) If Wallis has gone over the top with his rhetoric, his heart is in the right place. We all know that we live today in a society where CEO’s, often regardless of performance, make these ridiculous salaries, bonuses and (most outrageously) “golden parachutes” when they are let go for poor results. Does that tie directly to an increase in the minimum wage? Not necessarily. But one thing almost never discussed is Wall Street’s involvement in the calculus. Do you know the real reason that health insurance and prescription drugs cost so much? I’ve already given away the answer — so that they can keep their stock prices up.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 7:56 pm


“You say you had a source that proved I was wrong about who received the minimum wage. Would you mind telling us what that source is?” Media Matters for America, which is reviled by the ideological right for refuting conservative disinformation. http://www.mediamatters.org



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wayne

posted February 1, 2007 at 8:01 pm


Wolverine The reason that it was fair isn’t just that it was agreed to by these workers. Everyone in that society agreed to what was a “fair” wage. The employer had the right to short those who worked less and he could have rewarded the others more, based on the social contract. He chose to give each man what he needed. The point is Jesus is using a minumum wage as a basis for this story. It is something every hearer at that time would have understood. This ancient, irrelevant text Michael was refering to seems to have a better basis for ethical/social reasoning than any of the anti minmum wagers on this blog.



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Daniel

posted February 1, 2007 at 8:04 pm


Michael, That anonymous post critiquing your “well-read” claim was me – my name didn’t populate the ‘Name’ field automatically. My bad. You said, “However, in terms of making good decisions, it probably helps to have read the thinkers I ve mentioned.” Kant didn’t read the other people you mentioned. Does that mean he couldn’t make as good decisions as you can? Although I do agree that the Bible records very heinous actions as charged by God, like the slaughter of innocent children at Jericho. I do not believe in that god. Your into Western philosophy and they were steeped in Jewish philosophy. Their view didn’t change until around the time right before Jesus lived. The Jewish view of humans during the Old Testament was that humans didn’t have a body, mind, soul, psyche, etc – when we died we were dead or we went bodily to Sheol, a place of shadows and decay. The Greeks introduced the idea of the mind-body dualism and the existence of a spirit; thus the idea of resurrection and life after death became possible. Reading the Old Testament like a modern newspaper or textbook would be a grave error. Anyone that wants to legislate from it has a serious problem importing it into the modern Western world. Are you saying that pride is worse than murdering millions of innocent people? No, the Christian idea is that murder is one of the zillion evil things we can do to one another because we are being Prideful (Pridefulness leads us to murder, among other things). The best development I’ve seen of this notion, religious or secular, is found in CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity in the chapter on Pride. I’ve never read anything by Sam Harris. Sorry, I assumed youi had because you are very concerned about religious talk and discrimination in the public forum. The End of Faith would appeal to you right away. Sam has the first ten pages available on his website: http://www.samharris.org/site/book_end_of_faith/



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Michael K.

posted February 1, 2007 at 8:10 pm


Kant didn’t read the other people you mentioned. Does that mean he couldn’t make as good decisions as you can? Kant had read Aristotle. He hadn’t read the others. I think it would have helped him make better decisions if he had. Maybe he would have learned that lying sometimes is good, for instance, if the Gestapo comes to your house and asks whether there are any Jewish people in the house. But obviously I don’t know sure that reading those other authors would have helped Kant.



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nad2

posted February 1, 2007 at 8:23 pm


the heart of the matter for me and I would also guess for Wallis is: Do you think God is concerned with inequality, economic or otherwise? if your answer to this is ‘no,’ then i think we are worshipping two different Gods. i am very tolerent of people’s views concerning every other point of theology & i think it is a very big tent under which we all worship; but to read the prophets and jesus and the apostles and to come away with any other sense than the god of judaism and christianity is deeply concerned about inequality i must say is a distortion. If you think the free market is going to do anything about economic inequality, you are delusional. If you think there is any way other than public mandate through government action to cure economic inequality in our own country and the horrible economic inequality worldwide, you underestimate the overwhelmingly selfish human condition. Why do you think Jesus said it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom? And no, I don t think I am taking that one out of context. There is an undeniable growing disparity between rich and poor in this country (so much so the President acknowledged it yesterday). If you think the bible has nothing to say on this you are doing more than simply selectively reading it through some darkly $green$ tinted glasses, you are full drunk of the kool-aid the capitalistic culture has been putting in your cup and your loyalty lies elsewhere than with the man upon whom the spirit descended to bring good news to the poor. We have been spoon-fed that American-style capitalism is God s gift to humanity & anything that impinges upon it is red communism sure to drive us into economic destitution. THAT is the false choice. Every time someone wants to help the little man out, you cry out for the rich man because it is the rich man who creates the opportunities for the poor man and anything that disadvantages the rich man will disadvantage the poor man , so hey, let s support tax cuts for the rich to spur the economy and let s oppose raising the minimum wage because it would dampen the economy. Horse-pucky, an economy of equal opportunity and dignified pay and lifestyle for everyone has not been achieved because the rich man is so greedy that he can t give up an inch, and the masses have been siren-sung by him into thinking not being rich is their own fault and everyone deserves what they get & if they work a little harder they too can step on people one day. The golden rule is working swimmingly, unfortunately it is the wrong golden rule he who has the gold makes the rules. This is the way it has always been and now you decry those who want to change it. We cannot measure the economy from the top down, and our priorities must be aligned the opposite way. When the Greatest Country Ever to Exist is one where all a person who works a 40 hour week is guaranteed is $10,700 while the top 1% of the country have more $ than they will ever be able to spend, it is an abomination in the eyes of God, and so is a world run amuck with poverty and preventable disease. I will support the prophetic voices seeking to do something about this. If this means giving up many of my comforts and me paying higher taxes so be it. Religion has always either legitimated the status quo of the domination system or spoken out fervently against it. which is yours?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 8:43 pm


As I see it, it’s not so much inequality itself that God is concerned about but the way the rich are able to hamstring the poor in the process. The post-slavery sharecropping system that existed in the South was a great example of the kind of economic exploitation that is clearly condemned in Scripture. I was reading a couple of nights ago this reference, which I don’t remember right now: “They … sell the needy for a pair of sandals.” But the next verse goes: “Father and son use the same girl and thus profane [God's] holy name” — suggesting that economic exploitation is as bad as sexual.



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cs

posted February 1, 2007 at 9:24 pm


Inequality is the crux of the issue. However, using cherrypicked verses to back up political ideology is disingenious. Rick, if I wrongly put words in your mouth, I apologize for doing so. In the context of this post, I criticized the usage of our host. You indicated a parable I mentioned was not applicable. I responded that it is at least as applicable as the original verses, and I stand by this.



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James

posted February 1, 2007 at 9:31 pm


These concerns are but one footstep in the Christian path. Neither to the left or the right but straight and narrow. Brothers, it is true that God hates inequality. It is true that Jesus commanded us to care for the disadvantaged. It is also true that He said that, “the poor will always be with us.”Our concern for the material poor is something easy to confront. Men are fixers. The idea that we’ll fix poverty by making everyone equal has been tried and is illogical until men agree on the definition of poverty (and that is only step one). The sad fact is that we can’t expect Christian Justice in an unbelieving world. This opposition to the minimum wage is a Christian issue. Not just because it addresses poverty but because it addresses avarice, greed, and pride as well. We shouldn’t have to pass laws to make people do the right thing. I personally believe that folks should be able to make a living wage for their efforts. I do not think, by itself, that it is a Christian issue. A shop owner should not be forced to pay more than he/she wishes. It is up to them. If no one will work for them then they will stunt their business growth and fail.It isn’t the small shop owner we are talking about. It is megabusiness. Megafarms, megashops, worldwide franchises, centralized everything. Outsourcing everything. These folks have lobby power and USE IT. Same goes for National Health. Conservatives are so bought into the system that they always trot out the same old thing that minimum wage hikes actually hurt the people it is supposed to help. This is not a fact. Nowhere can kevin S. or anyone else substantiate that claim. It is the same lie as the welfare cadillac stories. okay. I’m done. In Christ



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Wolverine

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:01 pm


Wayne wrote: The reason that it was fair isn’t just that it was agreed to by these workers. Everyone in that society agreed to what was a “fair” wage. Wow, ancient Rome sounds like a paradise, what with all the factions of society able to reach a broad consensus about things like what constituted a fair wage. I can’t see how anyone would have anything against such an enlightened and progressive society. Wolverine



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jerry

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:08 pm


wallis is again pandering to his political pals. and his references from the bible are strange at best. and do not support anything about minimum wage. what is he thinking??? and theological fundamentals, whaaaaat? he can’t write a column without first putting his face up. then tries to find some passage to back up his premise. bible and minimum wage? where. and if God hates inequality why didn’t he make us all equal? clones. where does it say that God hates inequality? this guy continues to work to elevate his political position for some reason. fun to watch but not very constructive. Jim excels in religion. his economic and social views are mostly unfounded opinions. all his statements regarding income, education, housing etc. are without substance. the ramblings of a wannabe expert witness. beginning to sound a lot like jesse jackson.



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kevin s.

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:14 pm


“If Kevin’s question has any merit, (why not raise it to 50k per year?) then he must answer why not raise it to $10.00? just to be fair and not facetious. Your spoofing is not just insincere it make any misquote or mis use of scripture on J’s part pale in comparison.” I’m trying to decipher what you just said. I think you are saying that I was insincere to ask why we don’t raise it to $50,000 per year. Well, the answer, and obviously you recognize this, is that it would hinder the ability of businesses to hire new employees. So, my question is, why wouldn’t the same economic principle apply to a $10 an hour minimum wage? How could it not?”It isn’t the small shop owner we are talking about.” Sure it is. The majority of minimum wage payers are small businesses, many of which are not profitable. Therefore, raising the minimum wage does not necessarily come from corporate profits.”This is not a fact. Nowhere can kevin S. or anyone else substantiate that claim. ” Nonsense. After a raise in the minimum wage in 1990, this is precisely what happened. Wages escalated ahead of economic growth, and unemployment increased. In 1991, another increase, another jump in unemployment. Given that these results are predicted by a classic supply and demand model, we should hardly be surprised. I have yet to see anyone contend with the negative consequences of raising the minimum wage. If there are none, then we can safely raise the wage to $50,000 per year.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:16 pm


“I responded that it is at least as applicable as the original verses, and I stand by this.” No, it isn’t, because that isn’t how Jesus taught — just one point at a time. Saying He’s simply talking about work represents taking His words out of the context in which he shared them.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:20 pm


“After a raise in the minimum wage in 1990, this is precisely what happened. Wages escalated ahead of economic growth, and unemployment increased. In 1991, another increase, another jump in unemployment. Given that these results are predicted by a classic supply and demand model, we should hardly be surprised.” Except for one thing: All this took place during a time of national recession where many of the “rules” didn’t apply, no small thanks to Reaganomics. Many of the people who became unemployed at the time were not so much “minimum-wagers” but professionals whose managerial jobs were shed. That is at least part of the reason Bill Clinton became president.



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Wolverine

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:23 pm


Just followed your links, Rick, and was eventually led to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank with heavy union support. In my estimation EPI is about as credible as Heritage is in yours. So let’s call that a wash. Now, let’s look at some data compiled by the right-wing partisan nutcases at the US Census: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/histpov/hstpov25.html What you will find is that among poor persons 16 and over (i.e: eligible to work) the majority will not see their income increased by the minimum wage: only 2.9 million worked full-time 6.4 million worked part-time or seasonally Over 16 million did not work at all. Now, to be fair, some of those 16 million are teenagers and we don’t want them working full-time. But I doubt that all of them are teens. If poor adults found steady, full-time work, even at crappy pay, they would be a lot closer to being out of poverty. Most of these poor adults, meanwhile, are not helped by minimum wage increases. For that to happen they would need jobs. Wolverine



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:29 pm


kevin, most studies have shown that when there was an increase in one state’s minimum wage and not in a neighboring state’s minimum wage, the state with the minimum wage hike did not experience a significant rise in unemployment. in your national examples, there are too many other variables involved to come to the conclusion that you do. what’s more telling are the figures that jim cites of relative ceo salaries. now, if this hurts working people, you conservatives should be against outrageous ceo salaries, right?



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:30 pm


wolverine, yes, there are people who don’t have jobs. and there are people who are not getting paid enough in the minimum wage jobs they have. both are problems. what’s your point?



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Anonymous

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:36 pm


“Card and Krueger compared unemployment and wages in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In that comparison they focused on the fast food industry (the leading employers of low wage earners and an industry that enforces the minimum wage). The Comparison of New Jersey and Pennsylvania indicated, “employment actually expanded in New Jersey relative to Pennsylvania, where the minimum wage was constant” (Card and Krueger 1995, p. 66). In additional studies that they conducted using data from other states Card and Krueger actually found a positive correlation between a higher minimum wage and employment.” -Card, D. E. & Krueger, A.B.(1995). Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage. Princeton: Princeton University Press.



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Wolverine

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:38 pm


Now here’s the thing we have to keep straight about “poverty” in the US. I’m not saying poverty is good, but it’s not always as dire as the word might suggest: Forty-six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person. The typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher. The source is Heritage, but I’ve never seen anyone try to debunk these numbers. Wolverine



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:38 pm


“If poor adults found steady, full-time work, even at crappy pay, they would be a lot closer to being out of poverty.” this statement describes perfectly the myth that is “compassionate conservativism”. blame the poor for their predicament.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:42 pm


“If poor adults found steady, full-time work, even at crappy pay, they would be a lot closer to being out of poverty.” See my comment about actual pay rates above. Full-time work, especially with health insurance in many cases, is VERY hard to find.



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:43 pm


wolverine, what’s the point of those “facts”? most of us aren’t poor, so “screw ‘em”? irrelevant apologetics to defend a greed-centered philosophy. by the way, you do realize that they’re selling DVD players and color TVs now for like 20 bucks, right?



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nad2

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:43 pm


ok free marketeers, do you favor doing away with the 5.15 minimum wage? c’mon kevin, really, what’s the difference in a $1.50 minimum wage & $50,000? do you not see some measures of value outside the pure ‘free-market’ economic way of valuing things? theirs are typical unsubstantiated scare tactics (the economy will implode!) and false choices used to resist everything that helps people on the bottom end of the totem pole out. ok, so let’s just do away with all government intrusion into the market that is costing us all these jobs for poor people – ok, we’ll take away child labor laws, osha safety regulations, overtime, SEC financial disclosures, discrimination laws, truth in lending laws,…all these things that have allegedly (or at least were decried as such before they were passed) caused a loss in jobs and a strain on the economy – that is, after all, the most important thing. we people of faith will just keep our mouths shut & let the invisible hand do its thing.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:45 pm


“The source is Heritage, but I’ve never seen anyone try to debunk these numbers.” But here’s the problem: Where are such jobs located? Poverty is seen primarily as a problem in the cities, where the poor generally do not own their homes — in rural America, on the other hand, that’s another matter.



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HASH(0x12d3a198)

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:45 pm


No Mingus, I don’t place the blame on the poor. At least not all of it. I also blame poor public schools that do not teach basic skills, leaving graduates at a disadvantage in the economy. I blame teachers unions, which have made it difficult to run good schools on a tight budget. I blame an out-of-control immigration policy, which has flooded the job market with unskilled workers. And I blame politicians who sell the minimum wage as a panacea. Wolverine



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butch

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:47 pm


“Rick thank you for bringing a little reality to this. Even Henry Ford knew that it was good business to make a car everyone could afford and then pay his workers enough to buy one.” The biggest piece of this is the car everyone could afford. If we buy a big gas-guzzler that can’t be ultimately passed down to the lowest on the economic ladder we create great waste, not just the gas wasted. This waste is very expensive to our whole economic condition. In about 1960 I noticed on travelogues that none of the vehicles were made in the US because they were not efficient modes of transportation, we still don t make vehicles that have a market in large parts of the world. One exception was the SUV, which found a big market, for a short time, in Arab countries where inequitable distribution of the revenue from oil went to the few. I don t when I tried to contact the big 3 to express my concern and found no way to get through to ANYONE, now we have the big 3 in financial trouble and there is still no way to talk directly to anyone, check their web sites. We can continue on this wasteful path to our ultimate demise. Some would say buy American, I say stop until they talk to us.



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:47 pm


nobody’s selling the minimum wage as a panacea, although you henny-penny conservatives love to shout that.



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HASH(0x118acedc)

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:49 pm


Nad, I don’t recall saying we should do away with the minimum wage. I am simply saying that the energy that Sojourners is spending on minimum wage increases might be put to better use. I think minimum wages should be left to the states. Let them experiment and adjust as needed for local conditions.



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:49 pm


right, wolverine, i forgot about the key to “compassionate conservatism” -not only is it the poor’s fault, it’s also the liberals’ fault.



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Wolverine

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:50 pm


Anonymous at 5:54 is me. Wolverine



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:51 pm


if you don’t want to do away with the minimum wage, then it follows that you should support increasing it with the increasing cost of living, as was the original intent. you can’t have it both ways.



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Wolverine

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:51 pm


Mingus wrote: right, wolverine, i forgot about the key to “compassionate conservatism” -not only is it the poor’s fault, it’s also the liberals’ fault. You’re getting warmer. Actually, it’s mostly the liberals fault. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:53 pm


“You’re getting warmer. Actually, it’s mostly the liberals fault.” Excuse me, but how is suburbanization the liberals’ fault?



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Wolverine

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:55 pm


No, I think it’s still a bit too high at $5.15. And minimum raise increases are something that should be done by the legislature, not automatically. Otherwise, if we find ourselves in a Carter-like stagflation economy (high unemployment, high inflation) we could be raising the minimum wage and killing jobs at a time when jobs are already scarce. Not good. Wolverine



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:57 pm


wolverine, do you have ANY idea what it’s like to live on $5.15 an hour? have you even done the math? have you ever talked to someone who supports kids with TWO full-time jobs at $5.15 an hour? why aren’t “compassionate conservatives” as rabid about corporate greed as they are about a figgin’ 2 dollar minimum wage increase?



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Wolverine

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:58 pm


Rick, Short answer: overly strict zoning regulations killed multi-use construction, forced businesses and designers into standardized, cookie-cutter patterns, led to current situation where every town looks like every other town except for climate and the colors of the local sports teams. Course, that wasn’t what we were talking about, but since you asked… Wolverine



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:58 pm


make “figgin” = “friggin”



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nad2

posted February 1, 2007 at 10:59 pm


ok, so wolverine is on the record for saying a person working a 40 hour work week being guaranteed $10,700 pre-tax a year is ‘a bit too high’ for his taste. let’s do the limbo here, how low would you go? can anyone go lower?



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nad2

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:01 pm


if you favor lowering the minimum wage, perhaps we do need to turn back the child labor laws so the kids can pitch in to keep the lights on in the camper shell of the 1960 family truck/home.



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HASH(0x12e8a844)

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:02 pm


mingus asked: why aren’t “compassionate conservatives” as rabid about corporate greed as they are about a figgin’ 2 dollar minimum wage increase? Fair question. Short answer: we don’t view the economy as automatically a zero-sum game. Bill Gates has a gazillion dollars. But that, by itself, doesn’t make me or anyone else any poorer. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:04 pm


“Course, that wasn’t what we were talking about, but since you asked…” And you totally missed the point. What happened was that, especially in urban areas, after WWII folks with the means to do so escaped the cities and took their financial wherewithal and other resources with them, leaving cities relative islands of poverty — that suburbanites look down on. The ‘burbs of my city are among the “reddest” in the entire state.



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:04 pm


wolverine, that’s quite a rosy (and naive) view of economics…



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:05 pm


and the key words in your statement are “by itself”



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mingus

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:07 pm


what a waste of time this discussion is…



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butch

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:08 pm


“People making minimum wage have likely not read these people” This also points out a huge inequality, access to fast internet. Many countries have wide band for many people. The lack of wide band interferes with business development and puts us behind any place in the world that does have fast access and keeps many areas out of the loop. The city of Scottsburg In wanted to get wireless for the city, they went to the various providers and were told it wasn t good economics and would not bring wide band to Scottsburg. Frustrated the city attempted to get it on their own and the various big business interest tried to block it. It finally went to the Republican state legislature which were about block it also when the whole thing got publicity then and only then did they allow to Scottsburg to get it on their own.



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butch

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:12 pm


“Otherwise, if we find ourselves in a Carter-like stagflation economy (high unemployment, high inflation) we could be raising the minimum wage and killing jobs at a time when jobs are already scarce.” This started under Nixon, got worse under Ford and got out of hand during Carters adminstration. Interesting how history is lost when one is trying to promote a particular point of view.



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HASH(0x12e8ffd4)

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:13 pm


Rick, What city are we talking about. If memory serves, you are from Boston. The most conservative section of Massachusetts is, well, not all that conservative. At any rate, I still don’t see what that has to do with raising the minimum wage. At least I’ll admit it when I go on a tangent. Wolverine



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nad2

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:15 pm


a waste of time, but not a waste of as much time now that sojo has this handy little yellow ‘refresh’ thing to pop up to tell you when a new post has come. thanks sojo! i have a feeling i am late to the show on this, it happened on my home computer a month ago, but is only now showing up on my work computer. hey, a late thank you is better than no thank you i suppose.



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HASH(0x12e919d0)

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:18 pm


Butch, Actually, it started under Nixon, stabilized (a bit) under Ford, then blew up under Carter. Then was solved (albeit with some pain) under Reagan. The real story was the death of Keynesian macroeconomics and the Philips curve (which presumed a tradeoff between unemployment and inflation) and the discovery of monetarism, which emphasized a slow, predictable increas in the money supply tied to productivity growth, in order to rein in inflation and improve the climate for investors, increasing long-term employment. Anyone here ever study economics? You really should try it. Explains a lot of stuff. Wolverine



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butch

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:27 pm


Wolv, my point was the original post called it Carter like which was way to simple minded. It did appear to improve under Ford and was the problem of monetary policy and NOT Carter’s fault. He never had a chance to fix it in his 4 years but did set in motions changes that led to improvement under Reagan and Reagan did nothing to send us back to the forces that led to the problem. One big piece was our increased waste of gas, which we have not escaped to this date under Rep or Dem administrations, but we have not escaped the influence of oil lobbyist.



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Wolverine

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:30 pm


Butch, Fair enough. Not that he’s my favorite President, but Carter got dealt a really bad hand. Wolverine



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Carl Copas

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:38 pm


Wolverine: “Anyone here ever study economics? You really should try it. Explains a lot of stuff.” Yes, I’ve studied economics. And I’ve studied the Bible. My reading of the Bible suggests that to have large numbers of working poor in a society this wealthy is a heinous moral crime.



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fasternu426

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:41 pm


As a small business owner I already cannot afford to hire anyone. To hire someone at 7.00 per hour is to actually pay them 7.00 plus rent them from the government for another 4.00 or so per hour. A 7.00 per hour employee costs me 11.00 per hour after matching social security, medicare, etc… People hire illegals here in Texas to skirt paying taxes and pay them less than what the market demands thereby depressing the wages. I take a risk many of you do not by running a business. I will pay a wage that is fair and reasonable for the market I am in and to ensure good reliable employees. Government extortion to buy votes is deplorable and not biblical. For those that like to quote scripture out of context, 2 Corinthians 8:9 “…for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” Does that mean Jim needs to give up everything he has to be like Jesus?



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Doug

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:41 pm


I have been reading these posts for some time now but are just now getting in as most of these responses seem to be more noise than reason, not that I may be much better, but at least it may provide some new perspective. I am the housing director for a rural non-profit in Oklahoma. We service the some of the poorest counties in a state that is not overly wealthy to begin with. The applicants for our programs must make no more than 80% of the local median income to qualify, which means that I interview hundreds of people that would meet the definition of poor. However, I rarely meet anyone making the minimum wage. Part of it is that the local unemployment rate is less than 3.5% so that even the fast food places start their workers at $6.50/hour. Here is the marketplace at work exactly as described by Adam Smith. The prevailing minimum wage is effectively $6.50/hour no matter what the government want to say it is. Again, of the hundreds of applicants I have interviewed, not one has been a single parent making only the minimum wage even though we live in an area which is statistically one of the poorest areas in the United States. IMHO the whole minimum wage argument is a giant red herring for politicians of both stripes. The best solution for us in our little part of rural America is education but then once most of the young with any drive and ambition receive that education, they leave for Dallas or other large cities leaving too often those who do not have the drive and ambition for more than a $10.00/hour job. I find it increasingly difficult to find much sympathy for the majority of our applicants who want a hand-out rather than the hand-up that we are trying to provide.



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fasternu426

posted February 1, 2007 at 11:48 pm


We live in a country where “poor people” are fat, have two cars, have satellite TV, an Ipod, an X-box, etc… most poverty (most, not all) is a result of poor choices and undisciplined spending habits.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 12:03 am


“What city are we talking about. If memory serves, you are from Boston. The most conservative section of Massachusetts is, well, not all that conservative.” I’ve actually never been to New England. I live in Pittsburgh.



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butch

posted February 2, 2007 at 12:08 am


fasternu426 | 02.01.07 – 6:46 pm | # You are not poor and don’t know how the other half lives, and I’m not defending min wage with that statement. I to was in business, when I retired I had 60 employees, not a big business but not real small either. I faced the same type of market forces that I had no control of but I believe it is to simple minded to just look at the issue from that point of view. I agree that much of our (all of us) collective choices have led to the spot we are in. This is all to complex for slogans. Wolv, I listened to an interview with Carter where he went over programs he put into effect but since he was not re-elected we cannot know if they would have been good or bad. Feed in stag-flation and Iran and Carter never had a chance. I do suggest what Carter has done since leaving office may give insight into what he may have done with another 4 years, all speculation. I have more serious quarrels with nearly every president than I do Carter, especially in hindsight.



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Herminio Hernandez

posted February 2, 2007 at 12:10 am


Where does the goverment get the idea that they can tell a PRIVATE owner that he HAS to pay some HIS employees x amount of dollars? Its his business! Last time I checked we are not socialist country.



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ana

posted February 2, 2007 at 12:12 am


fasternu426 If you are interested I’ll tell you about a program I started with my employees that showed a positive effect and cost little. esther_opal@yahoo.com



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JD

posted February 2, 2007 at 12:15 am


Jim Wallis is very adept at taking Scripture out of context and misusing it. He earns no credibility with me. As has been said, Scripture text taken out of context is a pretext.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 2, 2007 at 12:17 am


Doug, What would the hand-up (as opposed to hand-out) be?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 12:20 am


“Where does the goverment get the idea that they can tell a PRIVATE owner that he HAS to pay some HIS employees x amount of dollars? Its his business! Last time I checked we are not socialist country.” Well, England is more of a socalist country and has no minimum wage — and the unemployment rate is a bit higher if I remember correctly.



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fasternu426

posted February 2, 2007 at 12:26 am


butch “you are not poor and don’t know how the other half lives” And you know my history? I was raised in a trailer house by an alcoholic father in East Texas and am well versed in poverty. Most of the “poor people” I know and have known can afford cigarettes but not milk. The cable bill gets paid, but junior doesn’t have decent clothes.



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butch

posted February 2, 2007 at 12:42 am


how old are you?



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fasternu426

posted February 2, 2007 at 12:49 am


Does it matter? Old enough to have kids in college. Does my age disqualify me from knowing about poverty? Does my father and mother growing up as share croppers picking cotton in East Texas disqualify me from knowing about poverty?



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Rev. Peter M. Calabrese, CRSP

posted February 2, 2007 at 12:55 am


I am more convinced by the arguments against rasing the minimum wage butI would be willing to take the risk that it could help or hinder the economy if conceding to raising it would be enough dialogue with teh Christian Left that they would throw their weight behind banning abortion or even parental consent laws and a ban on partial birth abortion since these are hideous abominations



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Anonymous

posted February 2, 2007 at 12:56 am


Small business owners who can’t afford to pay their employees a living wage (minimum wage is $5.15 an hour, people – try living on that for a couple of months) should not be in business. Sounds harsh, but owning a business is NOT a right. Being paid a living wage for working a full-time job IS a right.



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anonymous

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:04 am


As far as I can tell the hard working Wolverine and Kevin are earning their honest wage attacking the poor all day on the internet. They have been posting regularly since 10 in the morning. Of course they are against this miserly raise in the minimum wage out of concern for the poor so they selflessly peck away on their little keyboards hoping to stop the evil Congressmen and Senators from carrying out their loathesome plans of attacking the poorest workers by raising their wages. Thanks for your ever heroic efforts.



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Carl Copas

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:18 am


Indeed. In fact, to heck with the 13th amendment outlawing slavery. Why should we pay people anything at all? “Where does the goverment get the idea that they can tell a PRIVATE owner that he HAS to pay some HIS employees x amount of dollars? Its his business! Last time I checked we are not socialist country.”



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fasternu426

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:19 am


“Being paid a living wage for working a full-time job IS a right.” No it isn’t. What constitution are you reading? Is it right after abortion being a free speech issue? The market should decide. Every cost incured to me is passed on to the consumer. Increases in wages result in increases in the production cost of a good or service. Small businesses are the backbone of this country. Eventually the “poor” will have to pay more for their goods too negating a pay raise. What good is a 1.50 raise when a gallon of milk will go from 3.75 to 4.50? Bread from 1.25 to 1.45?To have the government enforce someone else’s idea of charity is not biblical.



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Doug

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:22 am


It would be assistance at obtaining low interest loans, free credit counseling to clear up problems often caused by predatory lending practices, assistance in building their own homes. All too often the applicants are the victims of their own poor choices. Most are willing to admit that part of their circumstances are of their own doing and are willing to work with us to correct those past decisions. Those are the good ones, the fun ones that make this job worth it, but all to often, they are unwilling to exert themselves or follow through and sadly, we get a little jaded about trying to help those who don’t want to help themselves. As a Catholic with a social justice leaning I fully believe that we are called to help the least among us, the “preferential option for the poor”. But also as a libertarian, I often find that governmentally imposed solutions often do more harm than good



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fasternu426

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:28 am


“Why should we pay people anything at all?” If you treat your employees harshly and pay them nothing, they will walk out on you and go work where they are treated properly. As a Christian, it is MY duty and obligation as a follower of Christ to treat anyone in my employment as Christ would. A proper wage comissurate with the skill level of the job is appropriate. This is nothing but a political ploy for votes by playing the class warfare game that the left is famous for. I give from the heart, not because of government, but because someone paid a price from me that I cannot afford.



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butch

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:28 am


fasternu426 Get your feelings off your sleeve, you’re right I jumped to a conclusion and should not have, in fact I don’t like it in others and seldom do it myself. You and I came up in a time when there were many jobs that did pay good wages, not that everyone got them. And it was easier, I offer that it would be much harder for you to come from your background and become a business owner now.



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fasternu426

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:38 am


“Get your feelings off your sleeve” As a conservative, I didn’t think I had any feelings :) (Heeeee…heee) My business has only been in operation for a couple of years. It IS possible to start a business in this country today. I am proving it. Business ownership is never easy, in good times or bad. Unemployment is very low today. The current climate for business is not as bleak as some make it out to be. Regardless, I have a father in heaven who backs my play. Some day my employees will have as much pay and benefits as I can afford for them, but not as a result of some vote pandering legislation.



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Ben Leet

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:50 am


The Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America web page has important facts on poverty. See the summary. Also check then the Comparison with Foreign Countries summary. Among 19 developed nations U.S.A. is last in childhood poverty, overall poverty, health care coverage, life expectancy, mortality at birth, least days of vacation, greatest gap in inequality, and now about half the poor (43%) live with income of half the poverty threshold. In 1970 the poverty threshold was 48% of median household income, now it is 29%, meaning in 1970 one had to double one’s income to go from poverty to median, and today one must triple income to reach median. This records shows how badly our economy has been structured, how it has served only a minority at the top, while most families have been in recession since 2001, and median family income since 1973 has gone up only 15% while productivity for each worker has gone up 80%. Families are also working about 3 months more each year since 1973. So All Those Great Facts. Let’s advocate for some radical change.



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fasternu426

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:52 am


“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.” Mark Twain



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fasternu426

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:57 am


“The total number of people on the federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour is many fewer than most people imagine: as of 2005, under 1.9 million workers. Sixty percent work only part-time, and a majority (53 percent) are under the age of 25–most of them students or weekend workers. Within this disproportionately large pool of youth “minimum wagers,” two-thirds come from families with at least one other family member earning income. Four-fifths belong to families above the poverty line. In fact, the average income of the family of a young individual earning minimum wage is just over $64,000.” Fraudulent Compassion By Michael Novak, Bryan Prior Posted: Monday, December 18, 2006 http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.25327,filter.all/pub_detail.asp



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butch

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:59 am


If you take a 100,000 or a 1mm people from similar circumstances then you can make fairly accurate predictions about the outcome with some doing better and some doing worse but the middle will be the same. You are at one end with will and optimism so you should succeed. I started 3 businesses from scratch and I can tell you that you jumped the 1st big hurtle, 1st year, now comes the second the 3rd year. After 5 yrs you will benefit sort of the full measure, not that more and better growth can come but finishing that 3rd year is tougher than you may think. Good luck!



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fasternu426

posted February 2, 2007 at 2:03 am


Not luck, brother, prayer! Lots of prayer! :) God does his best work on me when I get out of the way and let him…. Also, surrounding myself with Christian businessmen is a true blessing. Role models are very important, regardless of your age! One fella I do business with is younger than me but still a great role model as to how I will conduct business. Maybe I can be half as good as the people God has put into my life and into my business, I will make it.



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Kris Weinschenker

posted February 2, 2007 at 3:09 am


If God really hates inequality, He must REALLY hate the American judicial system.



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butch

posted February 2, 2007 at 3:14 am


Kris I’ve asked before, what is your connection to the legal system?



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butch

posted February 2, 2007 at 3:19 am


Kris are you familiar with the Federal Jury Verdict Reporter?



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fasternu426

posted February 2, 2007 at 3:31 am


The first two words of the title clinched it for me: God Hates….. The only two passages I could find that say “God Hates” are: Deuteronomy 12:31 You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods. Deuteronomy 16:21-22 21 Do not set up any wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build to the LORD your God, 22 and do not erect a sacred stone, for these the LORD your God hates. I don’t think he was talking about the minimum wage.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 4:51 am


“The only two passages I could find that say “God Hates” are:…” You must not be looking hard enough. I found the following from Isaiah 61:8 that might be appropriate for this thread: “For I, the LORD, love justice;I hate robbery and iniquity.In my faithfulness I will reward themand make an everlasting covenant with them.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 2, 2007 at 5:58 am


http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/02/01/cia.leak.ap/index.html is a CNN report about the trial of Scooter Libby. If he is found guilty, should he be sentenced to prison, and why (or why not)?



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DavidD

posted February 2, 2007 at 6:44 am


Please add my opinion to others who say that “God hates inequality” is contrived. I’d have no problem with anyone arguing from the Bible or otherwise that God wants to help the poor just as God wants to help everyone. I’d even claim that God wants to end poverty, but I wouldn’t be dogmatic about that. As a liberal I don’t think God is responsible for everything as traditionalists do, so I can’t argue that God created and maintains inequalities in talents and materials. Still I don’t sense Him wanting to so overwhelm nature and culture so that everyone is equal. What does that have to do with love? He is Helper, not Equalizer.



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Ex Pat R

posted February 2, 2007 at 7:06 am


Given the heat and light being generated here some empiricism might help. The UK did not have a minimum wage prior to 1997. All the dire predictions about hurting the poor, increased unemployment and so forth that conservative commentators here are making were made then by British conservative commentators. In fact the employment rate increased and unemployed total and rate both fell. Indeed the UK is a net importer of labor. The UK economy entered it’s longest period of uninterrupted growth in history, avoiding the post 9/11 mini recession that America suffered and vastly outstripping the Eurozone. Inflation has been stable and interest rates low by historic norms. So successful has the MW been that the conservative party dropped its opposition to it within three years of its introduction. Two points – the level is currently set at about $10-11 dollars, and the UK economy is more similar to the US economy than any other western nation – if you exclude Mexico (closer in terms of deregulation, post-industrialisation and so forth), so these lessons are probably pretty generalisable. I wouldn’t claim that all conservatives are heartless bastards who want to grind the faces of the poor, as some here wish to parody Jim Wallis as saying. But that doesn’t mean that their judgements are necessarily correct, and in this instance the “it only hurts those it’s supposed to help” argument is demonstrable nonsense.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 2, 2007 at 7:54 am


fasternu426 : I’d broaden your reading beyond AEI. The Xbox’ers & ipod’ers poor probably live at home. Many poor I know, drive 20 miles to the suburbs to get non-minimum jobs. Lot of them inherit small houses from their parents or live in apartment at half the suburban rents. Wolverine, I guess you do not shop at thrift stores. Right one, you can get rich hand-me-downs at 1-10% of their fashionable hay day prices if you go regularly. Never paid more than $15 for a TV or VCR. High turn-over in minimum wage jobs I suppose is deductable? What about people who go from minimum wage job to another. Without footnotes, your chart was incomprehensible. Rick: Not sure how no minimum wage works in England, but it sure helps to know there is universal health care & more affordable higher education.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 2, 2007 at 8:12 am


Wolverine: I probably agree with you about zoning laws though a lot of people work out of their homes now, like myself, often below minimum wage. Thanks X pat



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butch

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:21 am


“If he is found guilty, should he be sentenced to prison, and why (or why not)?” The leaders always set the tone so people like soldiers, etc put in the line of fire by others should be treated gently. I know this will upset conservatives.



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Fred Mann

posted February 2, 2007 at 10:38 am


Simple question: If raising the minimum wage is such a good idea, then why are we being so stingy with it? Why not raise it to $200 an hour? Then we’d all be well off. Obviously, this wouldn’t work, and the destruction wrought by a $200 minimum wage differs from a $7.15 wage only in degree. One or all of the following negative effects MUST result from a raise in the minimum wage: 1. Increased unemployment for the lowest-skilled and/or least productive workers. 2. Price inflation to compensate for higher wage payouts. 3. The complete elimination of certain types of jobs. This includes jobs which will never be created in the first place due to the restriction. If you think you have an argument for minimum wage (i.e. that it won’t have the opposite of the stated effect), bring your ideas to the mises.org blog. It’s the largest economics research site on the web. A caveat — if the minimum wage is still far below the going market rate, you will see little or none of the above effects (because no one will be effected by the wage — imagine if the govt. said the minimum wage must be one cent) . This little statistical trick is often used by minimum wage supporters to show that raising the minimum wage really doesn’t have any negative effects. Be wary of that type of claim. As for low-paying jobs, personally, I don’t know how I would have gotten where I am without my first few stepping-stone jobs. I’m not very rich, but I’m certainly not poor. I started out with no money and no car … A final note … If God hates inequality, why did He make us all so different?



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Test Jim and his ilk

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:17 pm


Any section-eight housing in Ted Kennedy’s gated and filthy rich neighborhood?Any affordable housing “projects” near Mr. Edwards’ “new” mansion? Money that Edwards didn’t earn but “won.” Jim Wallis and his ultra rich Democrat-liberal buddies have only hurt struggling business owners on their quest to make America a godless-communist country.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:41 pm


“Any section-eight housing in Ted Kennedy’s gated and filthy rich neighborhood? Any affordable housing ‘projects’ near Mr. Edwards’ ‘new’ mansion? Money that Edwards didn’t earn but ‘won.’” Are there any in yours? At least those boys are working to make sure that people can have even a ghost of a chance to make it. You can’t say the same for the ultra-right. “Jim Wallis and his ultra rich Democrat-liberal buddies have only hurt struggling business owners on their quest to make America a godless-communist country.” Grover Norquist strikes again!!!!



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:42 pm


Ex Pat R — Thanks for the update; I thus stand corrected.



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Philip H. Jos

posted February 2, 2007 at 1:50 pm


Regarding “God Hates Inequality” I thought Progressive Christians like Jim Wallis were offering an alternative to the arrogance and intolerance of the Christian Right. We should speak and act on our religious beliefs instead of pretending that we know God’s mind and feelings. Words matter. Reminding people of Jesus’s life and teachings regarding the poor is one thing, pretending that we know what God HATES is quite another. No wonder so many of my secular friends tend to view Christian activism of any kind as dangerous.



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Wolverine

posted February 2, 2007 at 2:27 pm


Rick, Don’t know how I got the idead you were from Boston. I stand corrected. Wolverine



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Daniel

posted February 2, 2007 at 2:33 pm


Far above, Kevin S said: Nonsense. After a raise in the minimum wage in 1990, this is precisely what happened. Wages escalated ahead of economic growth, and unemployment increased. In 1991, another increase, another jump in unemployment. Given that these results are predicted by a classic supply and demand model, we should hardly be surprised. I have yet to see anyone contend with the negative consequences of raising the minimum wage. If there are none, then we can safely raise the wage to $50,000 per year. I believe the important phrase in this statement is “ahead of economic growth.” This is an accurate argument, and nails one of the reasons economic policy can’t be only demand-side. A better, though less applicable argument, would be that the posthumous victory of the Kennedy demand-side tax cuts crushed the economy because supply did not expand to match it – creating significant inflation and recession with a major dip in corporate profits. However, in this case the minimum wage had not been raised in 10 years and was at its lowest point, in real terms, in 50 years. Compounded, the US economy has grown roughly 40% since the last time wages were raised. The hike in the minimum wage was 40%. In the long run, the effect on economic stability should be nil, though in the short run there will of course be friction in the form of a temporary unemployment rise and margin pressure. But in the end the slack capacity in the economy should sustain productivity growth. But there is a far more important issue about the economics of supply and demand here. While real wages at the low end are at their lowest point in 50 years, executive wages are at their highest point in the history of the world. The incredible growth we’ve experienced has moved many people from upper middle class to upper class and from middle to upper middle class – but it has also shifted those in the lower classes into destitution, lower middle class to lower class, etc. Admittedly, “class” is a moving target and, over time, nearly all boats are rising to some extent. But stratification is more than a moral issue here – I’m not selling egalitarian utopia – it’s an economic structure issue. The economy ic driven by both supply and demand. The supply side is, in fact, beefed up hen the rich get richer in relative terms. However, empirical evidence overwhellmingly shows that when the poor get poorer in relative terms, the demand side cannot sustain the capacity increases from extra supply. Too mush supply and not enough demand results in deflation – the problem that plagued the Bush administration for the first three years. It simply does not work in the long run. Reagan benefitted from secular trends, such as real estate appreciation and capital market innovation in the form of securitization, and he made decent investments in expanding America’s business resources, as did Clinton. But the ultimate effect of supply side economics for ten years is deflation and social stratification bordering on social darwinism. Above the moral issue here, we’ve got to consider how corporate profits will handle it when people can’t buy products. Mature companies in particular predicate their growth stories on getting consumers to trade up to luxury items – if consumers are pinched they trade down to private label generics instead. It would be irresponsible for a Keynesian system to ignore these disparities for a long time. Competitiveness is important, and it requires us to balance the ability of businesses to operate with the ability of workers to buy their output. There are winners and losers in this system. Wal-Mart, for example, will make out like gangbusters on a minimum wage increase because it’s shoppers are mostly in the loer income brackets. On the other hand, a few more of their suppliers may move to China. The important thing for policy is striking the balance, not letting capital create a Marxist powder keg or a 100% planned economy.



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Daniel

posted February 2, 2007 at 2:42 pm


Barack Obama relates something Warren Buffett told him – the ultra rich pay low, low taxes because much of their money is invested and dividends and capital gains are taxed right now at 15%. Buffett expressed his moral outrage that his receptionist pays more taxes than he does both in $ terms and as a % of income. That’s WRONG.



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jesse

posted February 2, 2007 at 2:49 pm


If God hates inequality, why did He make us all so different? –This is a good point. Wallis seems to make the false assumption that income inequality comes through oppression. However, there are other contributors to inequality: 1) some people work harder than others and some are lazier than others; 2) some are more talented, skilled, or intelligent than others and can make wise investments or create products or services that are in demand; 3) some people are just luckier than others.I’d like to see any verse Wallis can use to support the proposition that “God hates inequality.” I don’t know of any verse in the Bible that suggests that it is a sin to be rich (its implication) or that workers should be paid a high wage. Does anyone know of any? When the Bible talks about the rich being sinful it is always because they achieved their wealth through oppression and injustice. Earning wealth through hard work and ingenuity is not a sin. Any just economy will have inequality.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 3:25 pm


“When the Bible talks about the rich being sinful it is always because they achieved their wealth through oppression and injustice. Earning wealth through hard work and ingenuity is not a sin.” True, absolutely, and I don’t think Wallis would disagree. But under Reagan I saw the wealthy and powerful jimmying the political system to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else, and Wallis justly rails against that. Furthermore, the “religious right” benefited from marginalization of the poor, the “dark” and gays, and that simply divides the church. On the way to work today I was thinking that, if the whole Gospel were to be preached in the way our LORD meant, few Christians would live in the suburbs.



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kevin s.

posted February 2, 2007 at 3:28 pm


“However, in this case the minimum wage had not been raised in 10 years and was at its lowest point, in real terms, in 50 years. Compounded, the US economy has grown roughly 40% since the last time wages were raised. The hike in the minimum wage was 40%. In the long run, the effect on economic stability should be nil, ” Well, I think the effect on everything will largely be nil. This will do very little for the poor, and won’t really effect businesses (which is why there hasn’t been too much of a battle over this). However, the proposal by some on this board is for a $10 an hour minimum wage, or 100%, which would have a much more dramatic effect. “Wal-Mart, for example, will make out like gangbusters on a minimum wage increase because it’s shoppers are mostly in the loer income brackets. ” Interesting theory. It will be interesting to look at their profits over the next 12 months. Moreover, I think they will benefit from the fact that their smaller competitors are more likely to pay the minimum wage. Someone above said that if you can’t pay the wages, you shouldn’t be in business. I’m sure Walmart will agree.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 3:36 pm


“Interesting theory. It will be interesting to look at their profits over the next 12 months. Moreover, I think they will benefit from the fact that their smaller competitors are more likely to pay the minimum wage. Someone above said that if you can’t pay the wages, you shouldn’t be in business. I’m sure Walmart will agree.” Except for one thing, which is why I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart: It does everything it can legally, if not morally, to drive labor costs down. It has actually been class-action sued for forcing workers to work off the clock as well as fought organized labor with everthing it has, closing a store in Canada rather than recognize a union. Interestingly, its stock prices have gone down of late, probably because of these practices.



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Steve T.

posted February 2, 2007 at 3:39 pm


Of course the church is in favor of the minimum wage hike, thats all the more money they can con away from the poor bastards who are too stupid to hang on to themselves. Instead of poor people buying their children clothing, food or shelter the church insists they give them 40% of all thier earnings. Thats nearly half of the very little they make to begin with!!! So is the church in favor of a hike in minimum wage? You bet your sweet ass they are.



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Ex Pat R

posted February 2, 2007 at 4:19 pm


Fred Mann’s comment is an obvious straw man. No one is suggesting a $200 minimum wage, for one simple reason, minimum wage legislation exists to make work “work” so that the poor are not ruthlessly exploited and so that work is a more attractive option (has more utility) than living on benefits – indeed what it tends to do is reduce the need for benefits for the very low paid. To argue that there is no difference between this and setting a minimum wage rate that equates to the hourly wage of the hyper-rich is either not thought through or disingenuous. What God very clearly dislikes is injutice and oppression of the poor, rampant inequality to the extent that large numbers of people are effectively excluded from society would seem to count as this. In the sense of our worth to him, he did create us equal. The debate is whether this describes America (or Britain, or Europe, or China) or not.



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Daniel

posted February 2, 2007 at 4:19 pm


jesse, 1 John 3:17 and 2 Thessalonians 3:10 give support to the liberal and conservative viewpoints, respectively. On a personal level, I agree with John Wesley we should earn as much as we can, be good stewards of that wealth while we have it, and give away all we can. But what happens when we apply this to policymaking?The major problem with the conservative idea you expressed is that it does not address inherited poverty and wealth. Children do not all start from zero the opportunities available to them are largely predetermined by the sins and luck of the father. To accept this as moral is to deny the value of personal responsibility; moral justice cannot mean visiting on the son the sins of the father.The invisible hand of the market works like natural laws – gravity, for example. When someone stands on shaky ground, slips, and starts to slide off a cliff heroic people don’t stand there watching them slowly slip and slide to their death while talking about luck and extolling the value of being industrious enough to stand on solid ground. Rather, the heroic jump down and do our best to save them even at some risk to ourselves, giving up some of our own security. We work against gravity for the benefit of our fellow human, even if their own stupidity caused them to be in a risky situation; working against market forces that batter and kill our fellow human beings ought to be the same. Should we account for whether people work and behave morally? Of course. Can we stand to punish children just for having been born into a certain family? Of course not. We the People must decide when and how to intervene and offer shelter from the crushing gales of the marketplace. We need some minimum level of opportunity offered to all children and some safety net for all adults, even the ones who wash out all on their own, and we need to balance it with the need to reward people for taking those opportunities and making something of them. We need balance and an even hand, protecting people without smothering them. That is what minimum wages are about.



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Ex Pat R

posted February 2, 2007 at 4:22 pm


Daniel great post – said what I believe far more eleoquently than I can.



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Daniel

posted February 2, 2007 at 4:24 pm


kevin s, Well, I think the effect on everything will largely be nil. This will do very little for the poor, and won’t really effect businesses…. Exactly. But in the long run we want a rising tide to float all boats and this is a good way of ensuring that will happen, given that supply and competitiveness problems are also addressed.



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Daniel

posted February 2, 2007 at 4:25 pm


Ex Pat R, Wow, thank you! I figure most people just skip the longer posts…. ;-)



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jerry

posted February 2, 2007 at 4:25 pm


the issue here is wallis’ premise. all you bored commentaters are just hashing over very old arguments. blowing your knowledge or lack therof. why do you let wallis get away with his ego centered column unchallenged. do you agree with his premise? why? why not? he should back up his biblical grounds for minimum wage. wallis is pure politics. God’s politics? whaaaaat?



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Ex Pat R

posted February 2, 2007 at 4:26 pm


Rick – nay bother – not sure about the comparative unemployment rates I have a sense that they are similar, but measurement of these things is pretty arcane so I am not sure that there is a simple comparison. In comparison with most industrial economies, both US and UK have low unemployment rates. You might want to consider the astronomical costs of healthcare for employers in the US as a bigger disincentive to employment than a minimum wage. I think this will be the domestic US issue in the next few years



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Daniel

posted February 2, 2007 at 4:34 pm


jerry, I agree that this post is a lower quality one as far as Jim’s stuff goes, but it’s hadrly devoid of meaning. Jim is presupposing that we understand the poor to be the beaten Jew on the side of the road and ourselves the passing Samaritan. Thankfully, we know just exactly what to do in a situation like that; we don’t worry about how the Jew came to be beaten, we treat his wounds and pay for a few night’s stay in a room at the inn. Minimum wages are one ingredient in mixing a soothing salve for the wounds of poverty.



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butch

posted February 2, 2007 at 5:27 pm


“–This is a good point. Wallis seems to make the false assumption that income inequality comes through oppression. However, there are other contributors to inequality:” Wallis rails at created, manipulated or systemic inequality not hard work, talent or luck.



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Wolverine

posted February 2, 2007 at 5:52 pm


Steve T wrote: Of course the church is in favor of the minimum wage hike, thats all the more money they can con away from the poor bastards who are too stupid to hang on to themselves. Instead of poor people buying their children clothing, food or shelter the church insists they give them 40% of all thier earnings. Thats nearly half of the very little they make to begin with!!! So is the church in favor of a hike in minimum wage? You bet your sweet ass they are. What church is there that demands 40 percent? Any church I’ve ever seen would consider itself lucky to get 10 percent. Daniel wrote: The invisible hand of the market works like natural laws – gravity, for example. When someone stands on shaky ground, slips, and starts to slide off a cliff heroic people don’t stand there watching them slowly slip and slide to their death while talking about luck and extolling the value of being industrious enough to stand on solid ground. Rather, the heroic jump down and do our best to save them even at some risk to ourselves, giving up some of our own security. I agree wholeheartedly, but the question is, what’s the best way to help? How do we pull the falling back up as quickly and safely as possible? I’ve said in other parts of this blog that I think the conservative church should be more generous than it is, but on the whole private charity is better than government mandates. You say it yourself — the heroes are the ones who takes the risks themselves, not those who order others to provide help that is likely to be halfhearted. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 5:53 pm


You might want to consider the astronomical costs of healthcare for employers in the US as a bigger disincentive to employment than a minimum wage. I think this will be the domestic US issue in the next few years. I’m ahead of you on that one. I’m convinced health insurance costs so much today because the good folks on Wall Street want to keep companies’ stock prices up, which I addressed in a previous post. Same for prescription drugs.



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Wolverine

posted February 2, 2007 at 6:01 pm


Butch wrote: Wallis rails at created, manipulated or systemic inequality not hard work, talent or luck. Could’ve fooled me. His “solution” to poverty in this case is the equivalent of a shotgun. The minimum wage increase affects all employers, honest and dishonest alike. His argument is clearly based on the assumption inequality is fraud. He makes no attempt to distnguish among possible causes of inequality. Look, I’m not without sympathy for egalitarianism, but the fact that someone makes more money than me doesn’t mean I’ve been oppressed. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 6:01 pm


The major problem with the conservative idea you expressed is that it does not address inherited poverty and wealth. Children do not all start from zero the opportunities available to them are largely predetermined by the sins and luck of the father. This is precisely why Jefferson instituted the estate tax — or “death tax,” as the ultra-right and ultra-rich that hate it call it. Jefferson didn’t want to see an American aristocracy like Europe’s because he felt it acted as though it were entitled to special privileges and somehow “above the law” and that having an inordinate amount of wealth would foster that attitude.



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butch

posted February 2, 2007 at 6:06 pm


I’m ahead of you on that one. I’m convinced health insurance costs so much today because the good folks on Wall Street want to keep companies’ stock prices up, which I addressed in a previous post. Same for prescription drugs. Rick Nowlin | 02.02.07 – 12:58 pm |This is the proper role of the stock market and private companies. When their private interest effects everyone’s interest in a significant way then government needs to look for equality (balance).



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HASH(0x12fe5c78)

posted February 2, 2007 at 6:09 pm


Rick, I can’t speak for all the conservative movement, but I doubt I’m alone in saying that Jefferson was easily the most overrated of all the founders. His ideals were admirable. His actions weren’t always thought through very well. The problem with the estate tax for me isn’t the purpose but the timing: families and family-owned businesses can be hit with a big tax bill right at the time they are dealing with the death of a leader or loved one. This isn’t necessarily a huge deal if the death is expected and more or less planned for, but if it’s unexpected (45 year-old VP, father, and main breadwinner dies of sudden heart attack) this is a very nasty double whammy. If you want to kick the wealthy, that’s understandable, but the estate tax has a particular tendency to kick people when they’re down. And that’s why I would like to see it repealed. Wolverine



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chuck

posted February 2, 2007 at 6:29 pm


“God must love poor people seeing as how he made so many of them.” Abraham Lincoln.



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butch

posted February 2, 2007 at 6:30 pm


Look, I’m not without sympathy for egalitarianism, but the fact that someone makes more money than me doesn’t mean I’ve been oppressed. Wolverine There is a difference between ultra rich and chronically poor, the unlucky child of a drugie drunk father and crack whore mother needs a way out which doesn t exactly address the min wage but we need to get government involved in solutions. The minimum wage is going to happen so why don t we talk about why people are poor.Sorry, but I believe the health of a society rest squarely on the bottom.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 6:43 pm


The problem with the estate tax for me isn’t the purpose but the timing: families and family-owned businesses can be hit with a big tax bill right at the time they are dealing with the death of a leader or loved one. This isn’t necessarily a huge deal if the death is expected and more or less planned for, but if it’s unexpected (45 year-old VP, father, and main breadwinner dies of sudden heart attack) this is a very nasty double whammy. The trouble with that argument is that it’s rarely the case. By design the estate tax hits only about 1, maybe 2, percent and few family businesses are affected.



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Carl Copas

posted February 2, 2007 at 6:44 pm


Can someone defend, Biblically, the presence of large numbers of working poor in the wealthiest nation in global history? Or was the prophet Amos just a gasbag?



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butch

posted February 2, 2007 at 6:54 pm


My business was entry level no skill jobs, almost everyone started a minimum wage. Most were not worth that, but I had to pay them that until I could lift their skills or get rid of them. The main problem I found was what I came to call lacking social skills. Back to my drug infested home that they came from, now we have to teach them out of that problem. I feel the religious right said “we’ll teach values” at home you (school) teach reading, etc. Finally I was stuck with this employee lacking in most social skills.The answer is for society to teach all of lifes skills.



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Insight

posted February 2, 2007 at 7:08 pm


Insight Returns!!! I agree with Daniel that the quality of Jim’s posts have been in decline. I think this is because of a few reasons: 1. He’s now a celebrity among the poitical elite in Washington (especially dems who are running for president). 2. There is little more for him to say (negative) about President Bush. The demonizing, Antichrist rants are getting boring and redundant. 3. Because he is now a celebrity (appearing on news channels and speaking, traveling incessantly), he does not have the TIME to spend crafting quality, depthful and timely posts. 4. He avoids theological responsibility in by doing “him-eneutics”, or should I say “Jim-eneutics”. The “God Hates” motif and the decontextualizing, proof-texting is injurious to sound biblical criticism. To be so bold as to say “What does the bible have to say about…” is evangelical conservative language to the core, and utterly irresponsible. This language sounds like those Jim has criticized/demonized in the past. As a minister Jim knows better, but the power of sensationalism is beginning to drive the SJ mission and message. Such behavior likes to hear its own voice, and this addictive. To Jim: Slow down, take a chill pill, and stop letting others tell you that nothing can happen without you or SJ input or participation. Otherwise, you and SJ are fast becoming another PAC in the political machine of Washington.gooday.



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Wolverine

posted February 2, 2007 at 7:25 pm


I’m sorry, I just don’t see what the fuss is about. What kind of poverty is it when, more often than not, the “poor” have central air conditioning, cable TV, a car, and more than adequate food. I’ll admit God is mysterious, I don’t pretend to speak for him, and I don’t think that American society is even close to perfect. But I have to say I’d be really, really surprised if he was all that upset over our failure to raise the minimum wage. Wolverine



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jesse

posted February 2, 2007 at 7:30 pm


Daniel, I agree with what you say about inherited wealth or poverty. I would say it is covered in my point #3…some people are just luckier than others. But what to do about it? I think the solutions are more ones of doing all we can to maximize opportunity. By improving education and having economic policies that foster growth, for example.Equality or inequality, however, is solely about outcome rather than opportunity. And I believe Wallis is fundamentally wrong in desiring equal outcomes for reasons #1 and 2 I give above.Plus, on a more practical level, I just believe redistributionist policies are harmful to the poor in the long-term. Many on the left rant against inequality because they are caught in zero-sum thinking, but that’s not how economics works.I’d like to say this again: any just economy will have inequality. God does not hate inequality.



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Insight

posted February 2, 2007 at 7:39 pm


Wolv: It depends on how you view it. In the world of Christianity, the church should be the first responders to the issue of poverty. Being in a democracy, however, causes the church to take a more “relaxed” view toward poverty (i.e., let the state handle it). So much work can (and at times should) be done through cooperative interaction with instutitions and government. What SJ misses is that while Jim rails on CEOs who make enormous salaries relative to their workers below, Jim fails to “call out” the same behavior in the church. Thus, SJ and Jim continue to avoid the hard work of getting the “beam out of our own eye” (greed in the church) and only focuses on gov’t programs and its responsibility to the poor. The heremeneutical manuvering and “prooftexting” that Jim employs through quoting scripture only clouds and diminishes the “Christian” identity of SJ. Thus, it appears that Jim and SJ are adopting scripture (co-opting scripture), in decontextualized forms to promote political and social arguments.For a Christian blog, Jim should equally address the problems in the church–by identifying its charlatans: TD Jakes, Creflow Dollar, Joel Osteen, Paul/Jan Crouch–the list is endless. These are church leaders to are contributing to financial and spiritual poverty. But if Jim and SJ did that, they would be castigated and have to do real theological critique–which takes considerably more effort than “shoot from the hip”, political theology (?) that has invaded Washington. Plus, it doesn’t make for good press and the pay is pretty bad.SJ is beginning to sound just like Washingtonian politics to me, which uses scripture out of context to bolster an agenda. Kinda like the scriptural abuse that was used to get us into Iraq.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 7:57 pm


Plus, on a more practical level, I just believe redistributionist policies are harmful to the poor in the long-term. Many on the left rant against inequality because they are caught in zero-sum thinking, but that’s not how economics works. Tell that to ancient Israel, which did practice some redistributionism with the sabbatarian rules governing economics (see the Year of Jubilee at the end of Leviticus). When you have too much money/power for too long you start to forget God — and that’s precisely what happened there. Now, originally, everybody had enough to live on, and God put those rules in ahead of time so that in case things got out of balance no clan would be left destitute.



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Monte Asbury

posted February 2, 2007 at 8:10 pm


When Jesus, announcing his mission at Nazareth, says he has come to “preach the good news to the poor,” he is not offering the poor equality. He’s predicting his work will be poor-preferential. Here’s my take on it, from last Sunday’s sermon: http://masbury.wordpress.com/2007/01/30/not-equality-my-sermon-for-january-28-2007/#more-363



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cs

posted February 2, 2007 at 8:16 pm


Rick, I obviously disagree with you about the fact that Mt. 20 is applicable. Your later citation of a Messianic passage from Isaiah doesn’t help you refute using Mt. 20. Nevertheless, can we at least agree that Wallis’ use of a “Fraud” passage from James is unquestionably poor hermeneutics?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 8:21 pm


In the world of Christianity, the church should be the first responders to the issue of poverty. But what does that mean? Helping people in immediate crisis or addressing evil structures? I would say both, but conservatives focus on the former; liberals, the latter. What SJ misses is that while Jim rails on CEOs who make enormous salaries relative to their workers below, Jim fails to “call out” the same behavior in the church. That may not be Jim’s call as an individual Christian nor Sojourners’ as a ministry (see Romans 12), though I’m sure he would support that personally. There are others who do that very well on both a sociological and theological level. I have a particular interest in racial reconciliation, but that doesn’t mean that all will and other believers have to rely on my expertise. On the other hand, I have supported people who have gone overseas as missionaries but I knew 20 years ago that God didn’t call me to that.



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nad2

posted February 2, 2007 at 8:21 pm


thank you Rick for bringing relevent scriptural discussion to the table rather than just talking market economics from your own point of view. the year of jubilee is both highly relevent to the discussion of wealth inequality and extremely challenging to anyone trying to reconcile our system with the truly radical nature of biblical principles.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 8:29 pm


I obviously disagree with you about the fact that Mt. 20 is applicable. Your later citation of a Messianic passage from Isaiah doesn’t help you refute using Mt. 20. I stand by my comments. As I said, Jesus’ parables, as was the custom in that day, focus on only one point — in this case, spiritual reward. In its immediate context it had nothing to do with work down here, and your saying that it does won’t change the parable’s “original intent.” Nevertheless, can we at least agree that Wallis’ use of a “fraud” passage from James is unquestionably poor hermeneutics? I’m not sure I can agree with you on that. I’ve read that passage in its context, and I believe it does apply.



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Insight

posted February 2, 2007 at 8:51 pm


Rick: I appreciate your comments. However, Jim loses credibility when he comes in the name of Christ. 1. Jesus is not preoccupied with Rome and its care for the poor. 2. I think that declaring that “it’s not Jim’s calling” to address these issues is a poor excuse. Judgment begins at the house of the Lord. If he is going to be “biblical” then he should at the very least begin to address financial abuse in the church; charity begins at home. Many of those same CEOs that Jim rails about are churchgoing people. Remeber Ken Lay???? 3. If Jim’s “call” is to address the poverty issue via the political dialogue, then he shouldn’t front the Christian label. When he does, then he obligates himself and his organization to at least abide by scriptural principles. 4. Jim can perform the same mission with passion and purpose, but the “God” label requires much of him because he has been given much. Otherwise, he’s just another politician holding a bible every now and then…



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jesse

posted February 2, 2007 at 8:58 pm


Rick, Tell that to ancient Israel, which did practice some redistributionism with the sabbatarian rules governing economics (see the Year of Jubilee at the end of Leviticus). When you have too much money/power for too long you start to forget God — and that’s precisely what happened there. –First, Israel was a theocracy and, obviously, the same rules do not apply to what we expect out of our modern government. Second, the Year of Jubilee was about freeing from debts, not forcibly taking money from the rich to give to the poor. The difference is clear.The interesting thing is that if you want to bring the Bible into play in regards to a “just tax scheme”, you will find it supportive of a flat tax. That’s what tithing is, at least.



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Insight

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:04 pm


Rick: It’s also an issue of Jim’s visibility when it comes to transforming the church and its greedy celeb pastors. TD Jakes recently wrote a column talking about specific “calling” relative to political activity. Jakes was vague and took the neutral position about politics as his “calling”. But when you study Jakes and his propensity for commercialism, by default, his apolitical position is by default, a “political” position. Silence about an issues can be endorsement. When parishioners follow this kind of “stance” is it any wonder why there are still starving people who attend our glorious edifices? In the world of Christianity, it seems that when the Church is content to have the poor among us, then it is no wonder why the State is also. Jim and SJ can use their voice to start a movement of reformation about greed in the church.



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Wolverine

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:09 pm


Insight, I appreciate your post and agree with a lot of what you say. While I question the value of a lot of government-run wealth redistribution, greed is an ugly thing and it should be confronted, especially within the confines of the church. I would love to see Sojourners take on the subject of “prosperity gospel” preachers, even though there are some aspects of this story that would be embarassing to my preferred political party. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:09 pm


First, Israel was a theocracy and, obviously, the same rules do not apply to what we expect out of our modern government. Second, the Year of Jubilee was about freeing from debts, not forcibly taking money from the rich to give to the poor. The difference is clear. The principles, however, are similar. They are not binding on secular governments, as you said, but part of the problem with poverty is that the poor do indeed have “unpayable debts,” so to speak. Anyway, that is no excuse for economic oppression, which comes in many guises.



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Insight

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:23 pm


Wolv: Thanks. To take on the mega-greed church phenom is a huge task, because it forces leaders of Christian blogs (like SJ) to take inventory about their own propensity for a camera and a microphone. I like Jim, but am extremely worried that he is consumed by his own visibilty. Sometimes leaders of movements become too big, and become enamored with thinking they should always be out front, leading the way. Jim and SJ increasingly exchange sound theology for political activism. They are not the same, and my reasons for posting here are to remind them of this. You see, everything sounds so very different on Sunday morning when members of SJ and readers here are in church. The disconnect is the problem. What disconnect? The original messenger (Jesus) and the methods that are employed in american democratic(?), capitalist societies. to be continued.



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Carl Copas

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:34 pm


Can someone defend, Biblically, the presence of large numbers of working poor in the wealthiest nation in global history? Or was the prophet Amos just a gasbag?



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Ex Pat R

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:45 pm


Rick – going way back – I think you are largely right on big pharma and healthcare costs – see this article for how this fits into a broader view http://www.cmwf.org/usr_doc/davis_senatecommitteetestimony_654.pdf When this translates to something like 30 per cent of Americans not seeking required medical treatment because of fear of the cost (the equivalent in the dreadful socialist UK system is 2 per cent) you see the real point about how this inequality really is making the poor suffer. The Institute of Medicine estimates that inequity of access to healthcare (particularly uninsured populations) costs around 18,000 unnecessary deaths every year. http://www.iom.edu/?id=19175I agree with you on the unpayable debts point, some of which of course is transgenerational so the children of the poor are stuffed before they begin – a point Daniel made well earlier in this thread



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Ex Pat R

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:51 pm


Carl erm- no and no?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 2, 2007 at 9:58 pm


Insight: The greed in the church comes from the greed in the world, and these people would not be on the air if someone didn’t want that message. That calls for more spiritual transformation and a rejection of the policies of this world system, which apparently too many people on this thread still subscribe to. Now, my own pastor, who has preached against social injustice the way Wallis does, even occasionally using the same texts, has also complained about, in his words, “pimping the Gospel.” In fact, he’s been on the local Christian TV station numerous times, and I trust that he’s delivered that message. (We have a lot of poor people in our congregation, which has had to triple up on Sunday services, but we don’t think it’s in our best interests to build a new worship center right now.) But the big problem is not so much greed but lack of accountability. In the book “The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience,” Ron Sider argues against the concept of “independent churches” and writes that all churches and parachurch organizations should be part of a larger body. The trouble is that we Americans are way too individualistic for that to happen, at least immediately. That leads to the issue on this thread: Who is accountable to the poor, especially the working poor (of which I was once one)? And who will serve them, and why?



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fasternu426

posted February 2, 2007 at 10:28 pm


“Who is accountable to the poor” I am. You are. If we have the ability to help, help, not extort. As a business owner I do what I can live with both spiriually and secularly. My relationship with Christ dictates my actions. I pay what I can and I do what I can. The government is responsible for creating an environment where business can occur, not run it into the ground. Jesus was not a politician and twisting his words to make political points is irrisponsible (from either side).”God Hates…..” Sounds like That Phelps guy: http://www.godhatesfags.com/main/index.html



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fasternu426

posted February 2, 2007 at 11:07 pm


Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers move above the minimum wage within one year, and the median raise for those workers is over 10 percent. For full-time minimum wage workers, the median first-year raise is almost 14 percent. Entry-level jobs are not lifelong dead-end jobs. This whole thing is for political purposes (of a party that aborts babies as a plank in its platform) and tacking God’s name to it is deplorable!



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Wolverine

posted February 2, 2007 at 11:28 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote: That leads to the issue on this thread: Who is accountable to the poor, especially the working poor (of which I was once one)? The answer to your first question is: nobody. No really, the church is not accountable to the poor. The church is accountable to God. And who will serve them, and why? The answer to your second question is, the church should serve the poor; one of the standards that God will use is whether or not we adequately cared for the poor, and I’ll admit that I’m not sure we’ve met his standard there. But that’s not the only criteria we’ll be judged by, because, believe it or not, the gospel is about more than material poverty. Some believe in a social gospel, and others believe in a spiritual gospel. I believe in both. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 3, 2007 at 3:36 am


If we have the ability to help, help, not extort. As a business owner I do what I can live with both spiriually and secularly. My relationship with Christ dictates my actions. I pay what I can and I do what I can. The government is responsible for creating an environment where business can occur, not run it into the ground. Jesus was not a politician and twisting his words to make political points is irresponsible (from either side). OK. That being said, as a businessperson would you support relaxation of work rules that, for example, made things safer for your workers just because they cost you money? This is not a hypothetical — this actually began happening after Reagan was elected and business groups spent tons of money so that would happen.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 3, 2007 at 3:42 am


[O]ne of the standards that God will use is whether or not we adequately cared for the poor, and I’ll admit that I’m not sure we’ve met his standard there. That begs another question: What does it mean to care for the poor? There is of course the old saw, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” But evangelical activist John Perkins added a corollary: “But not if I don’t have access to the pond.” That’s the sticking point in this whole discussion, and you can add such controversies as affirmative action to that. But that’s not the only criteria we’ll be judged by, because, believe it or not, the gospel is about more than material poverty. Well, it’s certainly up there based on the sheer number of Biblical references, far more than sex, for example.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 3, 2007 at 3:57 am


I think that declaring that “it’s not Jim’s calling” to address these issues is a poor excuse. Judgment begins at the house of the Lord. If he is going to be “biblical” then he should at the very least begin to address financial abuse in the church; charity begins at home. Many of those same CEOs that Jim rails about are churchgoing people. Remeber Ken Lay???? Do I ever — however, Jim did actually write an op-ed on that if I remember correctly, and he also covered that in “God’s Politics.” But what you may not understand is that the well-known financial abuses that have gone on have always actually been confined to a minority of ministries and churches (although because they’re on TV many people know about them). Most people don’t attend megachurches. If Jim’s “call” is to address the poverty issue via the political dialogue, then he shouldn’t front the Christian label. When he does, then he obligates himself and his organization to at least abide by scriptural principles. The problem with that statement is that many of the Biblical prophets, specifically Isaiah, Micah and Amos, do exactly what you say he shouldn’t — I’ve read the latter two books throroughly myself and my pastor took over a year to preach through the entire book of Isaiah. So there are indeed political implications to the Gospel, whether you want to believe it or not. Jim can perform the same mission with passion and purpose, but the “God” label requires much of him because he has been given much. As if he doesn’t know that! He was disinvited to the Clinton and Bush White Houses because he dared criticize them on political responses to poverty. (That said, I questioned whether his delivering a “Democratic” radio address months ago was wise.)



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jesse

posted February 3, 2007 at 4:26 am


That’s the sticking point in this whole discussion, and you can add such controversies as affirmative action to that. –And I’m sure you know, for the most part, that the poor do not benefit from affirmative action. It’s the middle and upper classes who do.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 3, 2007 at 5:03 am


Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers move above the minimum wage within one year, and the median raise for those workers is over 10 percent. For full-time minimum wage workers, the median first-year raise is almost 14 percent. Entry-level jobs are not lifelong dead-end jobs. This whole thing is for political purposes (of a party that aborts babies as a plank in its platform) and tacking God’s name to it is deplorable! fasternu426 You miss the point, which is the starting point Jesse: No economy on god’s green earth wiil made egual-notrons. Emphasis on earned position smells of social darwinism. A lot of rich did not earn it. Look at Gandhi’s seven social sins again. Insight: Not sure where you are coming from, but a lot sounds like hearsay. Some does not. I finally read the article & found it useful. Wolv: Desire for egalitarianism is a cannard. We just want a fighting chance. Saying the poor will not be helped much just makes me mad. $2/hr increase is $80/week. No small potatoes, perhaps not as much as your tithing. Remember the parable of the poor man, whose got the cast offs from the rich man’s table. The later was sent to hell & god would not let the poor man, now in heaven, to give water to the cries of the rich man for some water. Dave: I think Protestantism lost something in losing purgatory for the “unpaid debts.” Interestingly, priests, I read, often had the longest stays for their sins of omission, having so many opportunities for it. My republican preacher brother is the last person I would turn to for help. Donald: thanks for expanding my understanding of economics. Whoever brought up “unpayable debts”, I thank you. When the poor are degraded enough, they will make it a violent political issue. Yes, some will have cable. That is a consumer culture issue. Only god knows enough to judge anyone. The country I grew up in, talking down at the poor was unacceptable. It seems a pastime here.



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Bill B.

posted February 3, 2007 at 9:39 am


Unlike the “conservative right” would like to make people think, the true sin of Sodom had nothing to do with sexual sin. God came to Abraham beforehand and declared that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah LONG BEFORE the incident when the people demanded to have sex with angels of the Lord in the final destruction of those cities! Let’s just look at what Ezekiel had to say about the REAL sins that doomed Sodom and Gomorah and compare them with the United States of America today!: Exekiel 16:44-50: “‘Everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb about you: “Like mother, like daughter.”You are a true daughter of your mother, who despised her husband and her children; and you are a true sister of your sisters, who despised their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. Your older sister was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom. You not only walked in their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they. As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.”‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.Has there EVER been a nation on the face of the earth that could be described as overfed and unconcerned MORE than the United States of America??? And, is there any doubt in ANYBODYS mind that our nation is any MORE UNCONCERNED today with the needs of the poor and needy and that the gap between the rich and poor is growing wider.I just heard on the news not more than three hours ago that Exxon-Mobil set a new, all time high record earnigs profit of $39 Billion dollars NET profits!!!! And yet more than 30 million children go to bed hungry each night in America! God bless Sodom and Gomarrah!



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Fred Mann

posted February 3, 2007 at 10:56 am


“What kind of poverty is it when, more often than not, the “poor” have central air conditioning, cable TV, a car, and more than adequate food.” This is a good point. For many years I delivered pizza to the very rich and the very poor. Whenever I delivered to people living in “poverty” in section 8 housing, I was always jealous of the size of their TVs and the newness of their cars. But I never considered myself poor, and I never asked for a handout. But I digress… As long as poverty is defined in relative terms, it will literally ALWAYS exist. In the future, you will be considered impoverished if you only have two space cars and have to work three hours a week to pay the bills. And of course, this will give the government the “right” to reach into your wallet for the sake of the poor — and of course keep a big chunk of the money for themselves along the way. Folks, the main cause of all of our economic woes is big government — with it’s minimum and maximum prices, regulations/licenses (really designed to funnel money and/or commerce to favored groups), and its “loving” welfare policies which always seem to have the opposite effect and never seem to solve the problem(s). Again, I invite everyone to read up on these topics at http://www.mises.org . Good intentions are not enough. You have to understand economic laws. And when you do, you will not advocate minimum wages or maximum profits.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 3, 2007 at 5:37 pm


And I’m sure you know, for the most part, that the poor do not benefit from affirmative action. It’s the middle and upper classes who do. That may be true, because of the connections needed. On the other hand, the civil rights movement was started not by the poor but by the middle class.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 3, 2007 at 5:43 pm


Fred — I’ve lived in Section 8 housing and I didn’t even own a car for many years. I don’t have a big-screen TV and never wanted one. (What you probably saw was a rental or they made their money illegally. But that’s another issue entirely.) I’m sorry, but you have to have some regulations in commerce, otherwise more political power will flow to the rich (even the Bible suggests this).



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kevin s.

posted February 3, 2007 at 6:02 pm


I agree that you have to have some regulations placed upon commerce. Only the most fervent libertarians believe otherwise. I just don’t agree that the minimum wage is one of the necessary regulations. Someone asked how we could defend the large number of working poor in this country from a biblical perspective. I cannot. We are a sinful and fallen nation. I cannot justify the ubiquitous nature of pornography in this country either. The question, then, given our fallen nature, is what we ask government to do. Should we ask government to ban pornography, in the interests of Biblical values?Perhaps, but then we have to deal with whether we run afoul of the first amendment. The same protection that (ostensibly) allows the dissemination of pornography also guarantees the right to pray. The question here is whether we can eliminate the class of the working poor, and whether government can somehow make that happen. For me, I would rather have a system that allows private companies to innovate, so that our “working poor” have a higher standard of living than they do in most countries. Further, I want a system in place that allows the working poor to work their way out of poverty. I believe we have a system that does that, for the most part. So I do not concede the false choice between embracing liberal political values and disregarding Amos.



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Wolverine

posted February 3, 2007 at 8:16 pm


Kevin S. wrote: The question, then, given our fallen nature, is what we ask government to do. Building on Kevin’s very intelligent post, I’d like to ask you all to consider another approach. It took me a little while, but I think I know where Rick Nowlin was going with his questions about suburbia — the reality of class distinctions, and the divisions, including geography, among classes. Poverty in the U.S. is not the same as it is in other countries. In most of the world poverty means material deprivation: you don’t have a roof over your head or a fresh change of clothes or you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. In the US poverty is more a matter of isolation from opportunities. I’m not one of those naive types who believes we have achieved a classless society. What we don’t have in this country — thank God — are castes. Where you are born does not determine your destiny. But it sure does influence it. It is possible to rise out of familial poverty (and fall out of inherited wealth) but it’s never been easy. Now there’s economic factors and those should never be overlooked, but there’s also social factors. Getting the good job often is more than simply a matter of having the right skills, it also helps to have social contacts. Now it would be interesting to see the church serve more of a mediating function between classes. This will mean challenging the wealthier members (and congregations) to be more open and less class conscious. This may also mean challenging less wealthy members (and congregations) to be less resentful. What if, rather than caterwauling about how the government isn’t doing enough, or griping about how the government is doing too much and screwing things up in the process, the church did something on its own initiative? What if churches went out of their way to be a place where those from humble backgrounds could go and rub elbows and maybe even make friends with the professionals and business owners? Now for this to work, I think there will need to be some ground rules: This isn’t about politics or class envy, this is simply a matter of the church being the body of Christ. Nobody is presumed guilty based on wealth or on the lack of same. We’re all banging our heads because we’re focusing entirely on politics. Now politics matters and I think Christians have a lot to contribute there. But we put both God and the church in an awfully tiny box when everything has to be done through government. Instead of arguing about what the government ought to do, maybe we should see what the church can do. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 3, 2007 at 8:49 pm


What if, rather than caterwauling about how the government isn’t doing enough, or griping about how the government is doing too much and screwing things up in the process, the church did something on its own initiative? What if churches went out of their way to be a place where those from humble backgrounds could go and rub elbows and maybe even make friends with the professionals and business owners? That’s just what my conservative evangelical church has been doing for not quite two decades now, which is why I feel somewhat qualified to address this. It was a formerly all-white (and in past decades, quite racist) congregation but one that decided to minister to the now-inner-city neighborhood where it’s located. However, to do so effectively the professionals and mercantile class have to be willing to make a commitment to the inner city. In my neck of the woods few suburban churches, and especially the large independent mega-churches, are accessible by public transportation. On the URL below you can find a sidebar I wrote a few months ago on my church. http://www.urbanonramps.com/files/prism_kinoshita_heaven.pdf



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 3, 2007 at 8:51 pm


Let’s try this again: http://www.urbanonramps.com/files/ prism_kinoshita_heaven.pdf



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wayne

posted February 3, 2007 at 9:34 pm


Wolverine In order for the church to do anything of what you are proposing it will have to focus on changing the values of its congregation. A group of people that are afraid of the poor, and of where they live, will not do anything effective in changing the culture of poverty. If all the members of the church are buying their houses and picking their childrens schools based on where they think it is safe or where all the look and think like them, they will not introduce many poor people to professionals or businessmen. All they will do is provide soup kitchens on weekends and donate to local charities, not that that would be a bad thing. Mother Theresa said “It is one thing to give to the poor, it is another to befriend them”. Friends help friends. I have never had a friend I was afraid of. I live where my friends live and I share in their success and in their troubles. When they hurt, I hurt. When they succeed I am elated. If I have to say something critical to my friend, I do so to his face. I never lump my friends into catagories or stereo type them. I have no problem introducing my friends to anyone, regardless of what they do. The fact that they may make unwise choices or have some wrong headedness about them usually makes them lovable, even if it frustrates me. I defend my friends and try to help others understand them. I generally take my friends part and he knows I will protect his back. My friends treat me in the same manner. If I am just being a stupid white boy, or worse, they let me know it, but we are still friends. Now that is Utopian!



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 3, 2007 at 10:50 pm


Now that is Utopian! No — that’s what God intended. And I know from experience that what you said is absolutely, totally correct; my church did exactly what you said needs to happen. You see, it’s one thing to say, “If they change…” It’s something else to ask, “How do we need to change so that they are motivated to change?” We who are wealthier need to understand, “But for the grace of God…”



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 3, 2007 at 10:51 pm

Rick Nowlin

posted February 3, 2007 at 10:52 pm

Fred Mann

posted February 3, 2007 at 11:32 pm


“I’m sorry, but you have to have some regulations in commerce, otherwise more political power will flow to the rich.” That’s a strange thing to say, considering that’s where all the political power is already!! Regulations help to concentrate power. In fact I would say that’s what almost all of them were DESIGNED to do (why do you think lobbyists are so interested in the legislators, and vice versa?). But rather than talk all day about regulations in general, why don’t you pick your favorite regulation, and I’ll show you why it is ultimately harmful.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 4, 2007 at 1:55 am


That’s a strange thing to say, considering that’s where all the political power is already!! Regulations help to concentrate power. In fact I would say that’s what almost all of them were DESIGNED to do (why do you think lobbyists are so interested in the legislators, and vice versa?). Remember when a lot of these regulations came about — during the New Deal, at a time when conservatism was seen as out of touch with reality. And in fact, in this country’s history political power has tended to concentrate in private (not public) hands, just as we see today. Modern conservatism, buttressed by think tanks and right-wing media and funded by wealthy conservatives, has always targeted the New Deal precisely because they resent what government has done for the less well-off. It’s a reason it wanted Bill Clinton destroyed BAMN.



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Glenna Jones-Kachtik

posted February 4, 2007 at 2:22 am


Some of you have commented on different interpretations of biblical verse. Some of you have presented liberal and conservative viewpoints. Some seem to think that only teens and 1st job holders work for minimum wage and that $5.15 @ hour is just jim dandy. I would submit this to you all to think about: I think that maybe there are more of thses minimum wage earners than you think and that they are not all teens. Let’s create a fictional scenario from my city – San Antonio TX. Here, there are often 2 people in the family who are working minimum wage jobs. They are poor. They have not had much education – they are Hispanic, African American and Caucasian – and for some reason they did not finish school or just got a GED. San Antonio subsists on service industry jobs. The majority of these poor are American Citizens and they have anywhere between 0 & 5 children. Let’s say that both parties bring home (take home) about 175.00 a week – so from that it is about $350.00. (7.25 @30-31 hours a week – most of them will not get 32 because then they would be considered full time and be eligible for benefits). From that, they must pay for rent, for groceries & clothing, along with payments for other items such as day care.They have no insurance so, they use the ER or perhaps they are lucky enough to qualify for CareLink or CHIPS. Supposing one of the children gets sick and one of the parents has to stay home – they do not make $175.00 that week. Just when and with what money do they have a chance to improve themselves? How could they afford to go to school to get a better job? They are trapped in a cycle of poverty. Some of them do value an education and they want their children to succeed just like you want yours to succeed. My point is that it is all too easy for some of you to set back and say that these people are just not trying, when the reality is that they are trying to do the best that they can with what they are given. Don’t look at this problem as abstract! These are real people not just stastics. There is an inequallity issue here that transcends the biblical perspective – each of you is free to intrepret God’s word as you see fit and you can make stastics fit any theory you wish. But these are real people in the end and if you don’t know any of them, then perhaps you should try to meet some. GJKBear in SATX.



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kevin s.

posted February 4, 2007 at 2:26 am


“has always targeted the New Deal precisely because they resent what government has done for the less well-off. ” No. Conservatives have always targetted the new deal because the don’t believe it helps to “less well-off”, or anybody else for that matter (creation of the SEC aside).You continue to impute motives into conservative ideology, which adds nothing to the discussion other than to reveal that you have no interest in understanding the conservative perspective.



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Fred Mann

posted February 4, 2007 at 3:17 am


Wages are like any other price for any other good or service. If you raise the price of something, you will have less demand for that thing. This is inescapable. No legislation can change this fact. Employers hire people because they expect to earn a profit (or at least not lose money) by doing so. If you raise the minimum wage, you have done nothing to change the productivity of the employee. So, if someone is only capable of producing $6 worth of product per hour and the minimum wage is raised to $7, they must be fired. There is no way around this. But again, there is a caveat. If the minimum wage is still far below the going market rate, you will see little or none of the above effects. This tends to occur in cities where the general money supply is greater. In this scenario, ALL prices are higher. Thus, a higher minimum wage will have less of an effect in cities because almost everyone in the city is already working for that rate or higher. This type of thing is offered (incorrectly) as statistical proof that the minimum wage does no harm. It would be nice if we could legislate an end to poverty, but we can’t. As always, attempts to do so have the opposite effect. The minimum wage takes low-skilled workers and low paying jobs off the market. All of this would-be production is sacrificed. And of course, production is the source of wealth and the key to ending poverty.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 4, 2007 at 5:15 am


Conservatives have always targeted the new deal because the don’t believe it helps to “less well-off”, or anybody else for that matter (creation of the SEC aside). Kevin, that’s a bald-faced lie, and some conservatives will even tell you that. You continue to impute motives into conservative ideology, which adds nothing to the discussion other than to reveal that you have no interest in understanding the conservative perspective. If you know any history about the conservative movement, something I doubt you do based on what you have said, you would see that my statements are true. Besides, I see the results of conservatism on a daily basis, at my job. It has been my experience that most conservatives believe that their movement grew naturally. Nothing could be further from the truth — in fact, it was started by a bunch of Northeastern intellectual Cold Warriors back in the mid-1950s who founded media, think tanks and student organizations (among others) which are and were heavily funded by a bunch of rich guys, one of which lives in my city. And this kind of “New Right” ideology is particularly noxious toward those who think differently — have you ever wondered why most African-Americans vote Democratic? Because they can’t stand the modern right, which of course dominates the GOP.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 4, 2007 at 5:18 am


And of course, production is the source of wealth and the key to ending poverty. Not today, it isn’t. Because over the past quarter-century much, if not most, wealth has been built on speculation (the stock market, housing etc.) that has nothing to do with production, and in fact that’s where the focus has been.



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Ex Pat R

posted February 4, 2007 at 7:27 am


“So, if someone is only capable of producing $6 worth of product per hour and the minimum wage is raised to $7, they must be fired” Yes, but this is specious because if they were producing $6 of product per hour they would be fired at a $5.15 minimum wage. The point is what is being cut into is the profits of business owners. A business owner will need a larger margin than that to employ – typically they will be uncomfortable with wages being above 60% of turnover. The reality is that jobs that creat $6 worth of value per hour in the US economy don’t really exist. “Thus, a higher minimum wage will have less of an effect in cities because almost everyone in the city is already working for that rate or higher” So what you seem to be seeing is either it has no effect or it will have a negative one. The trouble with this is that most studies show completely the reverse. See for example the MIT press on the UK experience, the Dube Naidu and Reich work on San Fransisco restaurants and the latest work by the Economic Policy Institute that shows that 15 million will benefit from the raise in the US (scarcely negligible) and 80% of them will be over 20 (scuppering the ‘only teenagers will benefit” accusation). This may be why over 650 economists, including five Nobel Prize winners and six past presidents of the American Economics Association, recently signed a statement stating that federal and state minimum wage increases can significantly improve the lives of low-income workers and their families, without the adverse effects that critics have claimed



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Wolverine

posted February 4, 2007 at 4:58 pm


The economic nonsense from minimum wage enthusiasts cntinues… Glenda Jones-Kachtik wrote: I think that maybe there are more of thses minimum wage earners than you think and that they are not all teens. Let’s create a fictional scenario from my city – San Antonio TX. Tell you what Glenda — you do all you can to help fictional couples, while the rest of us discuss real couples, who are more likely to benefit from having more steady work available than they are to benefit from a minimum wage hike. Ex Pat R wrote: …if they were producing $6 of product per hour they would be fired at a $5.15 minimum wage. Uh, no, they probably wouldn’t, because the business owner would still be making a profit, albeit a modest one, from having them around. Rick Nowlin wrote: If you know any history about the conservative movement, something I doubt you do based on what you have said, you would see that my statements are true. This from the guy who forgot about the Calilfornia Civil Rights Initiative? Who thought that Archie Bunker (the creation of People for the American Way founder Norman Lear) was a fair representation of conservative attitudes? Rick, you’re a good guy and a smart one and for the most part you’re a very effective advocate for your point of view. I thought the magazine article you posted above was very interesting. But you are not an expert on conservative thought. I don’t know how else to put it: most of what you know is wrong. Kevin’s right: the vast majority of conservatives question the value of most of the New Deal not out of hostility to the poor but out of genuine doubts about the long-term value of the programs themselves. There are maybe a handful of conservatives who would say otherwise, and lots of them, like Pat Buchanan, are at best marginal. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 4, 2007 at 6:47 pm


But you are not an expert on conservative thought. I don’t know how else to put it: most of what you know is wrong. Wolverine — I hate to tell you this, but you and Kevin are extremely deceived when it comes to being “in the trenches”; as I said in a previous post, I have to deal with the effects of conservatism on a daily basis. I don’t think it’s any accident that all conservative policies, with absolutely no exception, benefit either conservatives themselves or the wealthy and powerful who back them. In fact, my pastor just got done preaching about that about an hour ago.



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Wolverine

posted February 4, 2007 at 7:05 pm


Rick, Okay, fine, you’re an expert. You and your pastor. I bow to your superior knowledge. Now Mr. Expert, would you mind elaborating what those effects of conservative policies are that you have to deal with? Please give specifics. And if you don’t mind, no seventies sit-com characters. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 4, 2007 at 8:01 pm


Now Mr. Expert, would you mind elaborating what those effects of conservative policies are that you have to deal with? My livelihood (I’m in the media) is deeply affected, primarily because right-wing operatives have tried to de-legitimize us since the days of Watergate. They eventually set up their own media because “they won’t tell you what we will.” (But we know that often what they tell you is just plain false.) The guy who publishes our right-wing competition also finances a lot of these think tanks I was talking about; the Heritage Foundation was founded with seed money it got from one of his foundations. Then, it also affects my fellowship in the Body of Christ. I’ve been making the same arguments for the past 20 years or so that you’ve been reading on this blog, yet many Christians of the more conservative variety thought I was crazy. In fact, after the Supreme Court ruled for Bush against Gore in 2000, I was talking to a then-fellow basketball player and Bush supporter who was exultant. I told him, “I voted for Gore.” He looked at me puzzled and said, “You must know something I don’t know.”



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Wolverine

posted February 4, 2007 at 8:25 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote: It has been my experience that most conservatives believe that their movement grew naturally. Nothing could be further from the truth — in fact, it was started by a bunch of Northeastern intellectual Cold Warriors back in the mid-1950s who founded media, think tanks and student organizations (among others) which are and were heavily funded by a bunch of rich guys, one of which lives in my city. And all this time I thought our movement was founded by Darth Vader. Shows you what I know. Any political movement needs funding, and those funds will tend to come from wealthy backers. George Soros has boatloads of money and backs leftist causes. Bill Gates leans left as well. All of which proves nothing except that money is not an infallible predictor of political leanings. The intellectual founders of the modern right were men like Bill Buckley and Russell Kirk, but these men would probably tell you their inspiration came from much earlier thinkers like Edmund Burke. And this kind of “New Right” ideology is particularly noxious toward those who think differently — have you ever wondered why most African-Americans vote Democratic? Because they can’t stand the modern right, which of course dominates the GOP. Did you ever wonder how the civil rights laws got passed? Conservative leaders like Everett Dirksen were crucial to the coalition, especially since the old Southern Democrats were vehemently opposed at the time. These Southern Democrats are often referred to as “conservative”, and that’s not totally unfair, but many of these racists still managed to support the New Deal back in the day. I think a case can be made that “populist” is just as good a word to describe their ideology at the time. Republicans in the Senate voted 27-6 in favor of the 1964 Civil Rights law. In the House Republicans were in favor 138-34. Anyway, the rift with black Americans began when Barry Goldwater opposed civil rights laws, a major break with GOP history at the time. Goldwater argued that federal civil rights laws violated the principle of federalism, a defensible position in theory but in practice just a terrible misjudgment on his part. Most conservatives since then have accepted the basic premise of civil-rights legislation, focusing their criticism on excesses (like race quotas, which weren’t part of the original deal) but the damage was done: everything conservatives said was viewed through the prism of perceived hostility to fundamental civil rights, the predictable consequence of our blunder in ’64. Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted February 4, 2007 at 8:31 pm


Rick, So basically, the awful, devastating consequences of conservatism are: there are people out there who disagree with you. I mean, there’s a paper out there with a different worldview from your own! In your own hometown even! And once somebody made a wisecrack at a basketball court! Oh the horror! Oh the humanity! Wolverine



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Cads

posted February 4, 2007 at 8:36 pm


Why not just change the name of our country to The Socialist Republic of the United States, pay everyone the same thing regardless of skill levels or economic contributions, and watch our country go down the tube? Maybe it’s because capitalism and free markets work, while government-imposed price regulation doesn’t.



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Wolverine

posted February 4, 2007 at 8:48 pm


Rick, My last post was a little heavy on the sarcasm, so I’m going to backtrack just a little bit. Rick, I honestly think you’re a decent, intelligent person. I just want that on the record. I’ve learned a few things over the years: nearly everyone disagress with me about something. That isn’t because either of us is stupid or malevolent, but because none of us is infallible or omniscient. When people disagree there’s almost always a reason, and it frequently is something other than animosity. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 4, 2007 at 9:23 pm


Any political movement needs funding, and those funds will tend to come from wealthy backers. George Soros has boatloads of money and backs leftist causes. Bill Gates leans left as well. All of which proves nothing except that money is not an infallible predictor of political leanings. You miss the point. “Liberals” learned how the conservatives had been operating all those years and thus decided to get in on the action by doing some of the same things. Gates’ and Soros’ actions only go back a few years, while we’re talking even before I was born for the right. Anyway, conservatives riduculed Soros for spending much of his money in a losing fight to get GWB out of office in 2004 but didn’t think he might be considering the long term. Did you ever wonder how the civil rights laws got passed? Conservative leaders like Everett Dirksen were crucial to the coalition, especially since the old Southern Democrats were vehemently opposed at the time. And those “conservatives” would be considered liberals today. The right at that point had yet to take over the Republican Party; that began in earnest with Ronald Reagan — who, incidentally, was no fan even of Martin Luther King Jr. These Southern Democrats are often referred to as “conservative”, and that’s not totally unfair, but many of these racists still managed to support the New Deal back in the day. I think a case can be made that “populist” is just as good a word to describe their ideology at the time. The truth be told, FDR cut deals with Southern politicians so that he could push his “New Deal” through, but most of its provisions didn’t apply to black citizens in the South. Anyway, the rift with black Americans began when Barry Goldwater opposed civil rights laws, a major break with GOP history at the time. Goldwater argued that federal civil rights laws violated the principle of federalism, a defensible position in theory but in practice just a terrible misjudgment on his part. But on the other hand, that’s how, when and why the GOP began making inroads in the South. Strom Thurmond, who as you remember ran for president on the “Dixiecrat” platform in 1948 (remember Trent Lott?), was the first to switch parties because of Goldwater and others would soon follow, especially when Reagan was elected. I can’t forget that a Ku Klux Klansman endorsed Reagan in 1980 (though he publicly rejected the endorsement). I mean, there’s a paper out there with a different worldview from your own! In your own hometown even! And once somebody made a wisecrack at a basketball court! Yes, I caught the sarcasm. But the issue is not that I disagree with their worldview; they are 1) what they believe and teach is often factually wrong, no matter what anyone says; and 2) if I challenge them they get all huffy or (at best) confused, as though “How can you believe that?” There’s a saying which I subscribe to: “You have a right to your opinion but not to your own facts.”



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 4, 2007 at 10:20 pm


Wolverine: Why do conservatives love to deny class? To get to the best private colleges, at least, money, or being an alumnus family, counts. The college matters beginning with the best reputation ones have the best internship connections & acceptance, for one. So-called socialist Europe has higher social mobility, almost double for at least two decades now if one believes NYT; & discounting higher population growth in US, the growth rate is not much behind, if one believes the Economist. The former Southern Republicans are now Southern Democratics & vis versa.



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Wolverine

posted February 4, 2007 at 10:22 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote (on conservative Republicans): And those “conservatives” would be considered liberals today. The right at that point had yet to take over the Republican Party; that began in earnest with Ronald Reagan — who, incidentally, was no fan even of Martin Luther King Jr. Actually the takeover of the Republican party by the right began with Goldwater and came to it’s completion with Reagan in 1980. As far as who would be considered “conservative” today, I can’t give an authoritative ruling on the whole caucus, but I do think Everett Dirksen would probably qualify. He wouldn’t be an ultraconservative, but my guess is he’d fit in reasonably well. Dirksen was a Vietnam War “hawk” and tended to vote conservative on economic issues. The quote often attributed to him about government spending — “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money” — was probably inaccurate, but he said similar things and never disowned it. He also referred to the civil rights bill as an idea whose time has come. Dirksen worked hard to craft language that addressed some of Goldwater’s concerns while leaving the core of the bill intact, allowing other conservatives to go on board. This guy was the minority leader of the Senate at the time. One does not get to such a position if one only represents a fringe group in one’s party. So while I can’t guarantee it, he almost certainly had company. We all wish there were more conservatives in Dirksen’s mold back in 1964, but one did not have to be a bigot to be a conservative, not then, not now. That’s just a fact. Ignore it at your peril. Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted February 4, 2007 at 10:27 pm


Rick Nowlin also wrote: The truth be told, FDR cut deals with Southern politicians so that he could push his “New Deal” through, but most of its provisions didn’t apply to black citizens in the South. The New Deal sure did apply to southern whites though, and none of those “conservative” southern Democrats ever objected. One large chunk of the New Deal, the Tennessee Valley Authority, was exclusively for the benefit of the south. And I don’t recall any mass movement among southern conservatives to turn down Social Security checks. Wolverine Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 4, 2007 at 10:45 pm


As far as who would be considered “conservative” today, I can’t give an authoritative ruling on the whole caucus, but I do think Everett Dirksen would probably qualify. He wouldn’t be an ultraconservative, but my guess is he’d fit in reasonably well. Your guess is wrong. Today’s conservatives (perhaps at least until recently) have always demanded allegiance to its entire agenda; if you deviate from it from just one jot they lambaste you. He also referred to the civil rights bill as an idea whose time has come. Dirksen worked hard to craft language that addressed some of Goldwater’s concerns while leaving the core of the bill intact, allowing other conservatives to go on board. It obviously still wasn’t enough to keep the Southerners from complaining about “sovereignty.” That’s why he wouldn’t be considered a true conservative. This guy was the minority leader of the Senate at the time. One does not get to such a position if one only represents a fringe group in one’s party. So while I can’t guarantee it, he almost certainly had company. Oh, most Republicans, especially in the Northeast and Midwest, at the time would have supported the bill. But just try to get that same bill passed even five years ago; it would have been dead in the water. The “fringe” actually became mainstream in the 1980s.



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jesse

posted February 4, 2007 at 10:53 pm


Your guess is wrong. Today’s conservatives (perhaps at least until recently) have always demanded allegiance to its entire agenda; if you deviate from it from just one jot they lambaste you. –Riiiiggghht. Look at the diversity of speakers at this past RNC convention. Some socially liberal, some socially conservative. Some economic moderates, even (Pataki, McCain, Schwarzenneger).Did you see one prolife keynote speaker at the DNC convention? Did you notice at all how the left treated Lieberman? Rick, it seems like you spend a lot of time demonizing conservatives in your posts. I question just how fruitful a conversation this really is. I keep hearing charges of bigotry, social darwinism, etc. based on broad negative generalizations. It’s really not that fun or productive to defend against these charges.Can’t we agree that not all liberals and conservatives have evil motives behind their policy positions?



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Ex Pat R

posted February 4, 2007 at 10:58 pm


“The economic nonsense from minimum wage enthusiasts cntinues…(sic) …if they were producing $6 of product per hour they would be fired at a $5.15 minimum wage. Uh, no, they probably wouldn’t, because the business owner would still be making a profit, albeit a modest one, from having them around.” Er – Wolverine did you know that businesses have other expenses as well as wages? They are called things like stock, plant, capital repayment, stock dividends and so forth. So they wouldn’t be making a profit at that sort of differential. A figure of 60% turnover on wage costs is a typical benchmark. This means that at $5.15 productivity per hour would have to be at around $8.50 to start to be viable. In fact, it will often be higher than that to justify greater profits. The issue is one of how the profits should be shared. All the evidence produced in the last few years shows that properly introduced, as the UK did, there is no negative on employment. This might be why 650 economists including 5 Nobel prize winners wrote in support of minimum age schemes. If you wish to start insulting people, it might be an idea to check your facts before you start making yourself look at little silly.



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Ex Pat R

posted February 4, 2007 at 11:01 pm


Jesse – I for one am happy to agree that not all conservatives have evil intentions -as I stated earlier. People sometimes make honest mistakes. The conservative arguments against minimum wage are contradicted by a huge and growing collection of evidence from the last 5 years. There comes a point though, where not to admit mistakes in the light of the evidence is, if not evil, then certainly an example of sinful pride.



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HASH(0x1167e7ec)

posted February 4, 2007 at 11:07 pm


–Riiiiggghht. Look at the diversity of speakers at this past RNC convention. Some socially liberal, some socially conservative. Some economic moderates, even (Pataki, McCain, Schwarzenneger). And I’d be willing to bet that the conservatives complained to high heaven about that. I know for a fact they sure did in 1996. Did you see one prolife keynote speaker at the DNC convention? Did you notice at all how the left treated Lieberman? “Pro-lifers” have always spoken at Democratic conventions — Chicago Mayor Daley, former Sen. John Breaux and the like. The late Bob Casey Sr. (whom I voted for twice and now regret doing so) gets all the ink for being snubbed in ’92 and ’96, but he wanted to so without endorsing Bill Clinton, whom he personally hated (and that’s the real reason he was barred). And as for Lieberman, the left can’t stand him because of his stance on the Iraq war. That’s it.



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Wolverine

posted February 4, 2007 at 11:20 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote: Your guess is wrong. Today’s conservatives (perhaps at least until recently) have always demanded allegiance to its entire agenda; if you deviate from it from just one jot they lambaste you. Let’s see: Most conservatives want to abolish the minimum wage, I merely think it shouldn’t be raised. I’m still awaiting my lambasting from Kevin S, Jesse, and the rest of the gang. I’m beginning to think they’ve forgotten me. I wish they’d just lambaste me and get it over with. The tension is killing me. Look, if you check out National Review, you’ll find that one of their most influential writers, John Podhoretz, is a huge supporter of Rudy Giuliani for President. Rudy Giuliani supports gun control, abortion rights and gay marriage. But clearly he is not getting lambasted, and for that part, neither is Podhoretz. Everett Dirksen would fit in nicely with the modern GOP. He was a hawk on defense matters, and opposed the growth of government. He wasn’t arch, but he was basically a conservative. For this, he was punished by being made minority leader. Deal with it. Now if you don’t mind, I’ve got a football game to watch. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 4, 2007 at 11:54 pm


[I]t seems like you spend a lot of time demonizing conservatives in your posts. I question just how fruitful a conversation this really is. I keep hearing charges of bigotry, social darwinism, etc. based on broad negative generalizations. It’s really not that fun or productive to defend against these charges.I’m sorry that you feel so put-upon. But the reality is that modern conservatism promotes policies I believe to be fundamentally immoral and unjust and that many of its promoters have complete contempt and disregard for people who dare disagree with them, in many cases even refusing to listen to them. In other words, both the policies and the way they’re defended and carried out have always deeply offended me as a Christian seeking God’s “shalom,” and God help me if I don’t confront people about it. Look, if you check out National Review, you’ll find that one of their most influential writers, John Podhoretz, is a huge supporter of Rudy Giuliani for President. Rudy Giuliani supports gun control, abortion rights and gay marriage. But clearly he is not getting lambasted, and for that part, neither is Podhoretz. Have you forgotten about something: the 2006 election? It was essentially a refendum on Reagan-style conservatism, but that has been lost on a lot of folks on the right. Some of your more realistic conservatives have finally woken up to the fact that that kind of demonization of the “left” was getting old. The fact that we’re even having this conversation — on an overtly Christian blog at that — speaks volumes.



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jesse

posted February 5, 2007 at 1:01 am


“Pro-lifers” have always spoken at Democratic conventions — Chicago Mayor Daley, former Sen. John Breaux and the like. –Keynote speaker? I don’t think so.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 5, 2007 at 1:40 am


Jesse — Not the point. The key is that speakers by definition endorse the presidential nominee, and Casey wasn’t willing to do that.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 5, 2007 at 2:06 am


There comes a point though, where not to admit mistakes in the light of the evidence is, if not evil, then certainly an example of sinful pride. Which is exactly the point I’m trying to make. That’s why we’re still in Iraq.



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Ex Pat R

posted February 5, 2007 at 2:27 am


Rick right on bro’ couldn’t agree more



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Wolverine

posted February 5, 2007 at 3:06 am


Ex Pat R wrote: did you know that businesses have other expenses as well as wages? They are called things like stock, plant, capital repayment, stock dividends and so forth. So they wouldn’t be making a profit at that sort of differential. Since you didn’t speciy what all the other costs might have been the first time I assumed your productivity figures accounted for all that. It’s not exactly sporting to beat me up for not guessing at costs you didn’t specify. But no bother: you still can’t explain to me how an artificial wage hike improves this worker’s chances of getting and holding on to a job. Wolverine



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jesse

posted February 5, 2007 at 3:09 am


Jesse — Not the point. The key is that speakers by definition endorse the presidential nominee, and Casey wasn’t willing to do that. –I didn’t even bring up Casey. I brought up the fact that the Dems have not had a prolife keynote speaker in at least the last 4 conventions.



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Wolverine

posted February 5, 2007 at 3:17 am


Rick Nowlin wrote: Have you forgotten about something: the 2006 election? It was essentially a refendum on Reagan-style conservatism, but that has been lost on a lot of folks on the right. Some of your more realistic conservatives have finally woken up to the fact that that kind of demonization of the “left” was getting old. The fact that we’re even having this conversation — on an overtly Christian blog at that — speaks volumes. Two observations: 1. Real smooth segue there. I thought we were talking about the supposed lock-step discipline that the conservative movement imposes on its members. But clearly the willingness of conservatives to accept Rudy Giuliani as a Presidential candidate puts a hole in that. So rather than admit that there are exceptions, Conservatism Expert Extraordinare Nowlin changes the subject. 2. Who’s been demonizing here? funded by a bunch of rich white guys all conservative policies, with absolutely no exception, benefit either conservatives themselves or the wealthy and powerful who back them if you deviate from it from just one jot they lambaste you fundamentally immoral and unjust many of its promoters have complete contempt and disregard for people who dare disagree with them Somewhere in the midst of this, I smell the manure-covered hand of Howard Zinn. Wolverine



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Ex Pat R

posted February 5, 2007 at 4:01 am


Wolverine ah diddums -The economic nonsense from minimum wage enthusiasts cntinues…(sic)emanated from you I believe. Bonjour monsieur kettle je m’appelle pot et vous etes noise



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 5, 2007 at 4:03 am


Real smooth segue there. I thought we were talking about the supposed lock-step discipline that the conservative movement imposes on its members. But clearly the willingness of conservatives to accept Rudy Giuliani as a Presidential candidate puts a hole in that. So rather than admit that there are exceptions, Conservatism Expert Extraordinare Nowlin changes the subject. That would not have happened even two years ago, and you have GWB to blame for that — the calculus changed with Iraq and Katrina, and the K Street corruption scandals, all of whose political “victims” were Republicans and most conservatives, didn’t help. Of course, the right became so incredibly arrogant (see Tom DeLay) they thought they wouldn’t have to answer to anyone, least of all the voters. Now, you’ve taken statements of mine and suggested that I am somehow “demonizing” the right. But I have actually read or heard their own words, people like DeLay, Richard Viguerie, Grover Norquist, D. James Kennedy, Marvin Olasky, Newt Gingrich … the list goes on, and they are the ones doing the demonizing. This of course doesn’t include right-wing talk radio, which I literally consider the voice of Satan (because all it ever does is tear people down, not build up). They actually get off on destroying people, and I as a Christian don’t want to be identified with that. And that’s why I don’t hold back when I talk about what they do and how they do it, and I would do so to their face if I had the opportunity (and in fact a few years ago I did send a letter to Olasky). In fact, when I was in college a right-wing student activist with a radio program did a Bill O’Reilly on me (and I totally expected him to do so) — I was a columnist for the campus newspaper, and I think he feared me. So, frankly, your complaints about what I’m saying have no merit whatsoever. Because the idolatry of modern conservatism has caused a great deal of damage, including and possibly especially to the Gospel, it is up to its apologists to take a good look at it and change course.



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Fred Mann

posted February 5, 2007 at 4:25 am


Me: And of course, production is the source of wealth and the key to ending poverty. Rick: Not today, it isn’t. Because over the past quarter-century much, if not most, wealth has been built on speculation (the stock market, housing etc.) that has nothing to do with production, and in fact that’s where the focus has been. That is incorrect. What you’re talking about is not an increase in the total wealth of the country. What you are describing is simply a shifting of dollars from one sector to another. Wealth **IS** measured in the abundance of goods and services. And, when we are talking about groups of people, (i.e. the citizens of the United States, or “the poor”, etc.) their wealth can only be increased by the production of more goods and services and/or the creation of new efficiencies (i.e. new technology, automation, etc.). It’s strange that you would even attempt to deny this. To put it another way … would the country be richer if people produced things or if they did not? (To recap from above: ” minimum wage takes low-skilled workers and low paying jobs off the market [NECESSARILY and BY DEFINITION, I might add]. All of this would-be production is sacrificed.”) I also noticed you won’t engage me in a systematic discussion of this topic (you pretty much skipped over my case against the minimum wage). Do you think you’ve found an exception to the law of supply and demand? Is human nature altered by legislation? If you believe so, feel free to provide the evidence.



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Fred Mann

posted February 5, 2007 at 4:26 am


A general note to all — It seems most/all of you are stuck in the false liberal/conservative left/right debate. The government has grown larger EVERY YEAR for decades. The buget has increased EVERY YEAR for 32 years and counting. This has occurred under “liberal” and “conservative” administrations. The debates should always be about freedom vs. tyranny, peace vs. war, truth vs. lies, etc. SNAP OUT OF THE “TEAM” MENTALITY. The government doesn’t love you and you’re not in their club, no matter who is in the white house.



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Wolverine

posted February 5, 2007 at 5:01 am


Ex Pat R: Oh wow, French. I’m like, in awe of your ability to use Babelfish. Rick, Don’t hold back, man. Tell me what you really think. Wolverine



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Ex Pat R

posted February 5, 2007 at 6:28 am


Wolverine er- no – franglais actually, and I have no idea what a babelfish is yet alone how you use one. More surprising is that you appear not to understand what that meant and how it applied to your decision to start whinging once you got called on getting your facts wrong. I think you’re out of your depth here old son, time to stop digging.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 5, 2007 at 6:42 am


Fred Mann: Read Donald’s first long passage, he partly refutes your argument. Supply & demand also has a 3rd dimension, which is economic growth. I’d say you also forgot we are more in a global economy now than before. So Wal-Mart & other mass merchandizers makes a lot of money off Chinese production & all Americans have a lot more goods. The question is how long the jobs will be here. Productivity goes up here though wages have not. Manufacturing here stays about the same though specializes, while jobs numbers decline. Many that stay, management tries to decrease wages through threats of moving though manufacturing takes more skills now. Most of minimum wage increases will be in poorer states, when have higher number of low paid workers. With more income they can buy more & their state’s economy should eventually increase & maybe overcome any possible initial slow down in hiring, or lose. We will see. The Senate will probably try to help the small businessmen involved, if the Republicans can control their penchant to indulge big business.



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Fred Mann

posted February 5, 2007 at 6:53 am


Ex Pat R writes: “This may be why over 650 economists, including five Nobel Prize winners and six past presidents of the American Economics Association, recently signed a statement stating that federal and state minimum wage increases can significantly improve the lives of low-income workers and their families, without the adverse effects that critics have claimed ” I’m sure I could find many more experts who disagree with that. So what? Concensus does not equal truth. And there is certainly no consensus among “experts” regarding minimum wage anyway. Your statement that “most studies show completely the reverse” is ridiculous. Where did you come across this little gem anyway? Has there been a study of all the studies that I don’t know about? How do we know that all studies were considered? This sounds like something made up. Either way, this is irrelevant. As I said above, if the going wage rate is significantly above the minimum wage, then there will be little negative effect. Of course there will be little to no benefit either. Or, if the proposed increase is very small, then the negative effects will be very small as well. Any study which shows that raising the minimum wage causes no harm is almost certainly operating under one of these two conditions. Either that, or they are making a mistake in their measurements. Of course, what these studies CAN’T measure is the jobs that are never created in the first place due to the minimum wage! Therefore, any statistical study of the impact of minimum wage is flawed from the get go. The idea that we can provide *SIGNIFICANT* benefits by raising the minimum wage without incurring *SIGNIFICANT* costs is literally impossible. This is not an opinion. No statistics or studies can ever show that raising the price of something (i.e. labor) does not negatively impact the quantity of that thing demanded. Never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever.Just a side note — Nobel-prize winning economists were in charge of Long Term Capital Management — the greatest single financial debacle in modern finance. Also, the most prominent economist of his time declared in 1927 that the economy was now so well managed that “We will not have any more crashes in our time.” – John Maynard Keynes. A number of his well-known “expert” colleagues agreed (like Irving Fisher) — declaring permanent and unfaltering expansion right up to the last few days before the crash. Also, the Nobel prize in economics is sponsored by the Bank of Sweden (unlike the other Nobel prizes). It is notorious for granting the prize to pro-statist “economists” (as opposed to true free-marketers). Do you have to ask why? Getting a Nobel prize in Economics is like getting a Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush (see George “slam dunk” Tenet for more details).



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Fred Mann

posted February 5, 2007 at 7:01 am


Joel, I don’t see any Donald posting here, and I didn’t see your post before I posted my comment. So … please read my last post, and if you still disagee with me, feel free to direct me to the argument you are referring to.



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wayne

posted February 5, 2007 at 8:39 am


Much of the economics theory that has been posted is very interesting but it reminds me of a conversation I once had with a CPA. I was asking him for some guidance with our accounting and the subject of depreciation came up. The CPA said “there are two theories about whether a 501c3 should use depreciation”. My immediate question was “There are theories about Depreciation?” It still baffles me, which to some of you may not be a surprise at all. The point is perhaps you are over thinking this. Minimum wage has been around for a fairly long time. We do not seem to have been hurt by it. It should have been indexed in some way to account for inflation. It wasn’t. $7 plus dollars per hour doesn’t make up the gap between what it was and what it would need to be to stay even. Why not do at least that as a starter? I doubt it will ruin us. It has to help a lot of people. Small business are probably going to get a tax break to help ease the pain. I may have to pay more for my Big Mac.



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Fred Mann

posted February 5, 2007 at 9:34 am


“Minimum wage has been around for a fairly long time. We do not seem to have been hurt by it.” And how do you come to this conclusion? What would you expect the damage wrought by a minimum wage to look like? Would you know it if you saw it? (’cause you CAN see it) I highly recommend Frederic Bastiat’s famous essay “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen” as a good primer on general economic fallacies. It was written 150 years ago, but the same mistakes are made over and over again right up to this day — even right here on this blog. Here’s a link: http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 5, 2007 at 12:48 pm


The government doesn’t love you and you’re not in their club, no matter who is in the white house. Sorry, Fred, but the “size of government” is a fallacious argument primarily because governments, like it or not, comprise people; regarding government as a “faceless” entity fosters the resentment that grew on the political right that I’ve been decrying. In fact, the reason we have government in the first place is because people cannot and will not do whatever is right by their “neighbors,” and the idea that people will do good without government is, frankly, theological heresy. This is not to say that government should be the “end of life” because governments at times can be corrupt. But in the United States we have a an unusual situation where much of the real political power is in private hands — business groups, lobbyists, (over the last quarter-century) churches, to give examples that all want a piece of the pie — that in practice are accountable to no one and usually seek only their own narrow interests. That was the heart of the K Street scandal, which ended DeLay’s political career and possibly fatally compromised the conservative movement itself (but it was only a matter of time before that happened).



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 5, 2007 at 12:59 pm


What you’re talking about is not an increase in the total wealth of the country. What you are describing is simply a shifting of dollars from one sector to another. Wealth **IS** measured in the abundance of goods and services. And, when we are talking about groups of people, (i.e. the citizens of the United States, or “the poor”, etc.) their wealth can only be increased by the production of more goods and services and/or the creation of new efficiencies (i.e. new technology, automation, etc.). It’s strange that you would even attempt to deny this. Because the concept has been shown to be obsolete. Over the last couple of decades production actually has gone up but real wages have gone down in large part because of such things as “outsourcing” — that of course is saying that the “big man” is still getting his but the little people aren’t. Do you think you’ve found an exception to the law of supply and demand? Is human nature altered by legislation? If you believe so, feel free to provide the evidence. As far as I’m concerned, there’s something more important than “supply and demand” — it’s called “justice.” I am on a personal boycott of Wal-Mart because of things it does to cut costs which I consider immoral; I don’t mind paying a few more cents so that I don’t have to participate in that.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 5, 2007 at 1:01 pm


Don’t hold back, man. Tell me what you really think. With apologies to Toyota, “You (boing) asked for it, you got it…”



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jesse

posted February 5, 2007 at 1:52 pm


Over the last couple of decades production actually has gone up but real wages have gone down in large part because of such things as “outsourcing” — that of course is saying that the “big man” is still getting his but the little people aren’t. –Do you mean to say that real median income has declined over the last 20 years? I would like to see the source on that.



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Wolverine

posted February 5, 2007 at 2:32 pm


Jesse, Here’s some information from federal Bureau of Labor Statistics that I found on wages, all corrected for inflation: http://www.bls.gov/web/echistrynaics.pdf But there’s something fishy about it: in spite of what Rick Nowlin says, it semmes to be saying that wages have been going up over the last five years. Plus it isn’t in Franglais. So it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted February 5, 2007 at 2:49 pm


As far as quality of life goes, over the long haul the key really is productivity. It’s easy to be distracted by all the Wall Street mumbo-jumbo. You have all these lawyers and investors running around making gazillion dollar deals and it’s easy to assume that this is where the action is. I won’t pretend it doesn’t matter, but most of what happens on Wall Street is a reaction to what’s going on in the rest of the country. In the end what determines a company’s value is: it’s ability to deliver products and services and sell them at a profit. Microsoft is making money because it’s selling software. Ford is dying because it can’t sell cars. All the wizardry on Wall Street can’t change any of that. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 5, 2007 at 3:07 pm


But there’s something fishy about it: in spite of what Rick Nowlin says, it semmes to be saying that wages have been going up over the last five years. Depends on what industry — certainly not high-wage, union-intensive occupations. And besides, other costs (housing, utilities etc.) haven’t gone down.



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Wolverine

posted February 5, 2007 at 3:34 pm


Rick, Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news: I went back and checked, and it turns out I had the wrong report. I thought those figures were corrected for inflation and they weren’t. Here’s the inflation adjusted numbers: http://www.bls.gov/web/ecconstnaics.pdf The bad news: You’re still wrong. Wages over the last five years have been increasing relative to cost of living, by something like five percent. And that includes blue-collar workers. There was a tick downward, across the board in early ’06. It appears to have affected all workers, not just blue-collar workers but white-colar as well. I suspect that was mainly due to energy costs, which jumped at about that time if memory serves. But the trend is reversed and the trend line for 2006 is back upwards. Read ‘em and weep. Wolverine



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John E. Hill

posted February 5, 2007 at 3:54 pm


“As Kevin notes above, the conservative position on the minimum wage is a supply-sider position. Adam Smith’s invisible hand is supported by Proverbs.” Careful what you say about Adam Smith, Daniel. Smith wrote in favor of capitalism with justice, about wealth widely dispersed to the entire nation, about the dangers of anyone being grossly more wealthy than others. The individualistic capitalism practiced in the US today goes against the moral capitalism Smith advocated. John Hill



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Ex Pat R

posted February 5, 2007 at 4:28 pm


So Fred basically what you are saying is what actually happens is irrelevant because you’ve got a theory which shows that it can’t be true. At this point I think discourse fails. The point about science is that we build models to explain the world. We then observe the world to test the model and see if we can disprove it. If we find a large body of evidence that contradicts the model we reject it. The large amount of evidence from the UK amongst others is why I’ve rejected the anti-miniimum wage as many economists far better than you or I have. As it happens I used to believe all these arguments before studying the effects, the increased costs do not seems to have a major effect on prices. Why, because producers take a cut in profits rather than raising prices – effectively they have big enough margins to do this – and what is happening is a redistribution of wealth from the top to the bottom of the income scale. Additional funds at the bottom of the income scale seem to stimulate more growth than additional funds at the bottom. Not surprising perhaps because of declining marginal utiltiy, lower paid are going to make more use of smaller amounts of money.John E Hillyou are absolutely right about Adam Smith and this is something that is often forgotten.



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Ex Pat R

posted February 5, 2007 at 4:32 pm


Fred”something completely made up” And God said let there be Google Whereas you haven’t cited a single source or even real example. Sheeesh



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 5, 2007 at 6:32 pm


The bad news: You’re still wrong. Wages over the last five years have been increasing relative to cost of living, by something like five percent. And that includes blue-collar workers. You ignore my very pertinent questions: 1) Which industries? (Not all are making money, you know.) 2) In what parts of the country are they located? (That makes a difference, too.)



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Wolverine

posted February 5, 2007 at 7:46 pm


Rick, Are you paying attention to what you’ve been writing? Here’s the money quote: Over the last couple of decades production actually has gone up but real wages have gone down in large part because of such things as “outsourcing” — that of course is saying that the “big man” is still getting his but the little people aren’t. Now if you get fine enough, there are almost certainly groups that have swallowed pay cuts — unionized autoworkers come to mind. But there are other workers — non-unionized autoworkers, for instance (really!) are doing quite well. On the whole wages are going up. But I don’t see you saying anything about certain industries or certain sections of the country in this posting. You say real wages are going down — period. It wasn’t until after I started presenting BLS figures that you added the stuff about what industries and what regions. It’s really a very weaselly thing for you to write one thing and then, when confronted with evidence to the contrary, to go around saying that you meant something else. Admit it: you said that wages were going down. You didn’t add any conditions about industries or regions. What you wrote, and I’m 99 percent sure what you meant, was that wages, on average, were going down across the country. Earlier today I made a mistake by citing the wrong statistics on wages. When I realized my mistake, I owned up to the error and substituted the right figures. You need to start owning up to your mistakes. Until you can, spare us all the prophetic poses and warnings about how we conservatives need to get right with God. It won’t impress me until you get right with the facts. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 5, 2007 at 8:11 pm


Admit it: you said that wages were going down. You didn’t add any conditions about industries or regions. What you wrote, and I’m 99 percent sure what you meant, was that wages, on average, were going down across the country. Where I live, wages as a whole are going down when factored for inflation, and that is a fact not borne out by any statistics you may come up with. Manufacturing is all but dead here; most of the high-paying jobs are health-related, and you need advanced degrees to get those kind of jobs. Anyway, that’s the kind of statistic that supporters of Reaganomics loved to tout as evidence that things were going well; my city, on the other hand, was devastated. And the same could be said for most of the “rust belt” as well. I say this time: Go city-by-city, county-by-county, region-by-region and state-by-state to get the real story. Taking things in aggregate the way you do tells you absolutely nothing, because people where I live don’t particularly care what happens in, say, North Carolina.



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Wolverine

posted February 5, 2007 at 8:45 pm


Rick, You stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that that what you wrote was wrong, but just for amusement I will address one of your claims, specifically: Taking things in aggregate the way you do tells you absolutely nothing, because people where I live don’t particularly care what happens in, say, North Carolina. I’ll bet they do, and here’s why: Michigan right now is losing jobs every which way. It is also losing people — people who are moving out of Michigan to the states where jobs are available, like North Carolina. Of course people in struggling areas care about what’s happening in the rest of the country — it’s one country after all. And if the economy in your state or city is dead and the local authorities are unwilling to take the steps (lower taxes, cut red tape) needed to fix it, then leaving for someplace where work is available may be your best move. Wolverine



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Fred Mann

posted February 6, 2007 at 12:07 am


Ex Pat R: “And God said let there be Google” How about YOU provide a link since you seem to be aware of this study? (i.e. a study showing that almost all studies agree that min wage is harmless) When you do, I’ll debunk it/them for you. “Whereas you haven’t cited a single source or even real example.” Here is a link to hundreds of studies: http://www.house.gov/jec/cost-gov/regs/minimum/50years.htm Those studies are almost all more than 15 years old. Here’s a newer one that looks at Santa Fe’s hike to $8.50 showing exactly the results I predicted: http://www.research.uky.edu/odyssey/winter07/minimum_wage.html The study’s author says: “My research showed that Santa Fe s labor market lost 540 jobs because of the wage hike, almost all of them among less-educated adults, says Yelowitz. Although minimum wages are intended to help poor workers, this was, unfortunately, not the case in Santa Fe.Uh oh Ex Pat! And there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) more where that came from. One that I didn’t find immediately on Google concerns the shrimp packing industry in the 1960′s (maybe I got the type of seafood wrong?). This industry was marginally profitable. When the new minimum wage hike was introduced, a large company shut down the very next day, firing (of course) ALL of its employees. This was one of the better examples of perfect correlation. The minimum wage is just so great. But again, we don’t need any studies to prove that supply and demand is always in effect. It describes the human condition — it is not a theory (pay particular attention to that). Or, to put it another way, the study about the universality of supply and demand has been done by every person alive, and has been shown to apply without exception. I’m busy now, so I can’t type more, but Ex Pat, please answer the question I first posed. That is, if the minimum wage does no harm, then why not raise it to $20, $50, or $100 per hour? Seriously, answer that question!!



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Fred Mann

posted February 6, 2007 at 12:10 am


should have read “(pay particular attention to that, *RICK*)” more later.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 6, 2007 at 12:25 am


And if the economy in your state or city is dead and the local authorities are unwilling to take the steps (lower taxes, cut red tape) needed to fix it, then leaving for someplace where work is available may be your best move. Here, that’s not the issue. People like what’s new and what’s cheap, which is why, even though we have a strong, skilled workforce here that doesn’t translate into jobs. If taxes go up, it’s because the base had deteriorated. Lowering taxes only comprimises the infrastructure and does absolutely nothing to bring prosperity. (And I don’t care what the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal says.) Now, the steel industry went belly-up in the 1980s in large part because of subsidized foreign imports, and nothing of that kind of earning power has replaced it. Today we’re known for health care and education, but generally you have to have a college degree — often an advanced degree or two — even to make it there. And with the cost of such education going through the roof, I think about three times that when I graduated a decade ago, you have a Catch-22. To take this back to where we started, I fail to understand why artifically depressing wages, which is essentially what Reaganomics did by putting people out of work (concessions and mergers), can eventually lead to prosperity. The “bigger people” made out like gangbusters, but at the end of Bush I’s presidency I used to see a bunch of white-collar workers out of work and using food stamps. It’s how Clinton got into office.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 6, 2007 at 12:27 am


Or, to put it another way, the study about the universality of supply and demand has been done by every person alive, and has been shown to apply without exception. And that is part of the problem, because people want to protect their class status in the process. Some “situations” are more desirable than others, and the people “on top” want to make sure they stay there.



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Wolverine

posted February 6, 2007 at 1:09 am


Rick, Rick, Rick… First of all, Reaganomics didn’t put people out of work by artificially deflating wages. It brought an end to stagflation by refusing to artificially inflate the economy. I suppose you’re too young to remember the Carter years when we had 13.5 percent inflation and 7 percent unemployment. At the end of Reagan’s term unemployment was lower than it ever was in the Carter administration, and inflation was no longer tearing up savings and wages. To be fair, a lot of that was due to federal monetary policy, which was not under Carter’s direct control. But a lot of it was due to Reagan’s tax cuts and deregulation. You also wrote: And I don’t care what the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal says. I would strongly urge you to read the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, for it is a source of much enlightenment. But of course, you think you know everything. Wolverine



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HASH(0x116b2008)

posted February 6, 2007 at 1:44 am


First of all, Reaganomics didn’t put people out of work by artificially deflating wages. It brought an end to stagflation by refusing to artificially inflate the economy. I suppose you’re too young to remember the Carter years when we had 13.5 percent inflation and 7 percent unemployment. Hardly — I had just started college. Anyway, it had the effect of doing just that, with the shift from a manufacturing economy toward on based on service and speculation. One of our major employers actually went into the tank some years back because it took a bath in the real estate market and got away from its core business. But a lot of it was due to Reagan’s tax cuts and deregulation. I don’t think so — because taxes went up every year under Reagan except 1981 and ’85, but that’s never discussed because the tax burden actually shifted. I would strongly urge you to read the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, for it is a source of much enlightenment. I actually used to until I learned that it was just a bunch of right-wing propaganda masquerading as enlightenment. It will even lie to make a point — I know this specifically because one totally inaccurate editorial with some outright false information had to do with a situation surrounding my mom’s job back in the mid-1990s.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 6, 2007 at 1:48 am


BTW, that last post was mine.



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Wolverine

posted February 6, 2007 at 4:01 am


Rick, You say the WSJ editorial page lied about your mom’s job in the mid-nineties? Would you care to elaborate? Wolverine



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 6, 2007 at 6:59 am


Fred Mann: My mistake. It is Daniel not Donald.



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Fred Mann

posted February 6, 2007 at 7:40 am


Joel, if you don’t mind, please summarize the argument which you think refutes my position, because I can’t seem to find it. I posted another response to Ex Pat at 7:12PM. Maybe that answers some of your questions? Also, see if you can answer the question I pose at the end of that post. With respect to the global economy, raising the minimum wage in the US will only make foreign labor more attractive (i.e. increase outsourcing). Also you write , “Most of minimum wage increases will be in poorer states, when have higher number of low paid workers. With more income they can buy more & their state’s economy should eventually increase … ” This makes no sense at all. Minimum wage doesn’t create “more income” or more anything. It outlaws jobs, by definition, and thus leads to LESS production and a weaker economy. (Or, it can also lead to higher prices to some degree).



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Fred Mann

posted February 6, 2007 at 7:49 am


Rick writes: “As far as I’m concerned, there’s something more important than “supply and demand” — it’s called “justice.” ” This is kind of like saying, “there is something more important than gravity, and that’s the feeling of weightlessness … so I think I am going to push my friends off of that cliff so they can experience the joy of weightlessness.” Not the best analogy, but hopefully you get the point. “Supply and demand” is not a mechanism used by some people to stay “on top”. It is simply a law which describes, among other things, the UNIVERSAL preference for cheaper goods over more expensive goods — all other things being equal. This of course applies to the supply and demand of labor. Now, “cheaper” and “expensive” usually refer to money prices, but they may also refer to “psychic profit”, which is why you are willing to pay more by shopping anywhere but Wal-Mart. But employers don’t hire people for psychic profit (charity), and wishing won’t make it so. ” I am on a personal boycott of Wal-Mart because of things it does to cut costs which I consider immoral…” Isn’t it somewhat interesting that Wal-Mart lobbied for an increase in the minimum wage? Hmmmm. I wonder what could be going on there? Could it be that the minimum wage is ALSO a coercive tool that businesses and unions use to eliminate their competition and funnel more money to themselves? Couldn’t be. Go back to sleep. In case my point isn’t clear to you yet … THE MINIMUM WAGE HURTS THE VERY PEOPLE IT PURPORTS TO HELP!!!! (see the Santa Fe study I linked to above at 7:12PM). Good intentions aren’t enough. In fact, they pave a certain road …



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 6, 2007 at 7:51 am


Fred Mann: Obviously the initial harm will depend on the local economy. If it is use to unpaying people, it will have to adjust. Labor already did by going elsewhere if they could. Your example of a factory shutting down on day one of a new Minimum wage says more about the managemment’s attitude & industry perhaps.Wolverine: Increased artificial wage increase will help decrease turnover as X-pat try to get you to admit. But then the employer may not care if it is low skill, yet his productivity will continue to fluctuate. A higher wage could attract more workers, besides retain them. More wages would help all the local business the worker could patronize. The economy could diversify (with local government help if need be), since there is a lowest number the first employer must have to survive while adjusting. On your wage averaging, did it include the job loses or low hiring while companies maximized profits in part due to unease in investment due to the wars. Explain to me how overpaid executives help the economy. I’ve read it was harmed foreign investment.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 6, 2007 at 7:54 am


Wolverine: what are all those negatives I see on the labor costs on your chart?



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Fred Mann

posted February 6, 2007 at 8:22 am


Joel writes: “Your example of a factory shutting down on day one of a new Minimum wage says more about the managemment’s attitude & industry perhaps. ” No. As I said, the industry was marginally profitable (i.e. barely profitable before the minimum wage increase). The minimum wage made it unprofitable. Why is this hard to understand?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 6, 2007 at 1:50 pm


You say the WSJ editorial page lied about your mom’s job in the mid-nineties? Yep — at the time my mom was a teacher in a suburban school district that wanted to privatize one of its schools basically to get rid of the teacher union. The Journal editorial, which supported that, said only that the union “declared that illegal” (when in fact the Public School Code at that time was clear about that) and also had five other specific errors in it — I wish I could remember them all. It also misstated or totally ignored the background which led to the situation, a large part of which was white flight. Now, if the WSJ editorial page is willing to lie about that, what else is it lying about? This is unfortunately endemic in conservative media across the board, and for that reason (since I’m myself in the media) I no longer subscribe to any of them.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 6, 2007 at 2:10 pm


This is kind of like saying, “there is something more important than gravity, and that’s the feeling of weightlessness … so I think I am going to push my friends off of that cliff so they can experience the joy of weightlessness.” Not the best analogy, but hopefully you get the point. “Supply and demand” is not a mechanism used by some people to stay “on top”. It is simply a law which describes, among other things, the UNIVERSAL preference for cheaper goods over more expensive goods — all other things being equal. Thing is, people will pay more in order to enhance their social status, so there are limits to that law. It’s why property values are higher in suburbs than in center cities (and, consequently, also why tax rates are lower). Thus, it does not follow that cities lowering their tax rates will bring people back, as many conservatives believe (and has been suggested on this blog). Isn’t it somewhat interesting that Wal-Mart lobbied for an increase in the minimum wage? Hmmmm. I wonder what could be going on there? Could it be that the minimum wage is ALSO a coercive tool that businesses and unions use to eliminate their competition and funnel more money to themselves? Except that Wal-Mart, as I have stated before, is staunchly anti-union; only in the last couple of years has organized labor made any inroads there. Besides, it doesn’t need to raise wages to put other stores out of business; at one time I was covering a story about a fight over a proposed Wal-Mart that folks nearby towns were fighting for that reason, and some folks even had organized an ad hoc group for that purpose.



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Wolverine

posted February 6, 2007 at 2:29 pm


Rick, Okay, you’ve piqued my curiosity. Would you happen to have a link to the editorial in question? Wolverine Joel, I honestly have no idea what you are talking about with regard to “negatives”, except perhaps the drops in compensation that occurred in early ’06. But those are temporary blips and, as I explained before, I believe they were the result of a sudden increase in energy costs. In the latter half of 06 wages began rising again. Even with the drop in early ’06, if you compare the figures for the fourth quarter of 2006 with the figures for the first quarter of 2001, the long-term trend for nearly all segments, blue collar, white collar, construction, manufacturing — what have you — is positive. Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted February 6, 2007 at 2:35 pm


Rick, Thing is, people will pay more in order to enhance their social status, so there are limits to that law. It’s why property values are higher in suburbs than in center cities (and, consequently, also why tax rates are lower). Thus, it does not follow that cities lowering their tax rates will bring people back, as many conservatives believe (and has been suggested on this blog) Yes Rick, and usually they get better products or services for the extra cash. That’s why luxury cars cost more than “basic transportation” As far as property values go, those are generally attached to better services, lower crime rates, and better public schools. Say what you will about the rich, they didn’t get there by being stupid. They get value for their money. Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted February 6, 2007 at 3:49 pm


Joel wrote: Increased artificial wage increase will help decrease turnover as X-pat try to get you to admit. But then the employer may not care if it is low skill, yet his productivity will continue to fluctuate. A higher wage could attract more workers, besides retain them. More wages would help all the local business the worker could patronize. The economy could diversify (with local government help if need be), since there is a lowest number the first employer must have to survive while adjusting. Joel, There are two big problems with your argument: Higher wages help other businesses Maybe. It helps if the wages are earned through higher productivity. Otherwise what you have is something that the monetarists used to call “money illusion”. An artifical across-the-board pay raise, not connected to improved productivity, doesn’t increase living standards, it just means more money is chasing the same goods, which is a good definition of inflation. Higher wages attracting more workers Again, maybe. The question is: are you sure this really is what you want? Lemme explain. There’s a theory that looks at low wage jobs less in terms of straight supply and demand lines and more in terms of finding compatible employers and employees — you might call it the eharmony theory. In this case it’s possible that a higher minimum wage will draw more applicants out of the woodwork. A larger labor pool means more prospective matches, and possibly increased employment. The kicker is, though, that what’s happening is that workers are being replaced by new workers who were in a position where they could afford to hold out for a higher wage. The most likely candidate: you guessed it, teenagers from middle class families. Compounding matters is that, by making entry-level work artificially attractive, you increase the likelihood that the business owner will fill the position by chatting with his buddy at the country club whose kid is looking for something to do over the summer. At a higher wage he’s more likely to figure he’s doing his buddy a favor. At the lower wage, he’s more likely to just hang a “help wanted” sign on the front door, which is preferable if you’re really interested in breaking up “the old boy’s club”. So you have Biff McPrepster taking work away from the poor individual who just wants to work and have a chance to get job experience that he can use to move to something better. That’s really helpful. Wolverine



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 6, 2007 at 5:27 pm


Wolverine: Read Daniel, the productivity is already there in a lot of industries. You insist on ignoring 80%, or whatever, increase in the last 2 decades. Wages have not gone up half that much.Again you ignore the fact, a lot of the business are not going any where unless the owner is. Nor are a lot of the workers. In a high turnover industry, decreasing turnover or helping the stuck workers is a social good. The Republicans could help decrease the small owners’ taxes instead of the semi-monopolopies ceos’.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 6, 2007 at 5:45 pm


woverine: These are businessmen. Let them increase some unnoticeable prices, etc. Their suppliers will not suddenly going to increase theirs. Let them buy the run up stocks if they are franchises.Teenagers are not all middle class & they age. Not all populations have endless supply.



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Wolverine

posted February 6, 2007 at 6:02 pm


Joel: I’ve read the book of Daniel, and I don’t see anything relevant to the minimum wage, unless maybe there’s some deeper meaning in the story of the writing on the wall? (Your wages have been weighed in the balances and found wanting?) Or maybe there’s an earlier posting by a guy named Daniel on this thread, but there’s over 250 postings now. Could you be more specific? Turnover is not always a bad thing, especially in low-wage jobs. A lot of that is due to workers finding better opportunities. My best-case scenario for the minimum wage is it’s really low but hardly anyone works at it for more than a few months, at least not full-time. I’m not sure what you mean by “unnoticeable” prices. You mean prices on things that hardly anyone buys? How does that increase revenue if nobody buys that item to begin with? As for populations aging, yes, teenagers grow up. Guess what, little kids tend to develop into teenagers. It’s the circle of life, man. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 6, 2007 at 8:00 pm


Okay, you’ve piqued my curiosity. Would you happen to have a link to the editorial in question? I do not. But it was called the “Turner Initiative,” if that helps, and maybe you can find it yourself. I wrote my own analysis about in back in 1998. As far as property values go, those are generally attached to better services, lower crime rates, and better public schools. It doesn’t work like that. Any parent knows that the “quality” (read: reputation) of a school, neighborhood et al is inversely proportional to the number of “undesirable” adults in that area. This particular district was when I was growing up one of the finest systems in the metro area; today it’s one of the worst. It’s not that the “system” suddenly changed, just that people decided they were “too good” for it.



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Fred Mann

posted February 6, 2007 at 11:10 pm


Rick writes: “Thing is, people will pay more in order to enhance their social status, so there are limits to that law [of supply and demand].” No again. People purchase things in order to satisfy certain needs. One of those needs is social acceptance, which explains why people pay a lot of money for a nice looking car, instead of buying a used car that works perfectly well as transportation. This is not a limitation of supply and demand. You just don’t understand the basic premise. “Demand” is just that — it refers to the wants of people. Anyway, what does this have to do with minimum wage? Then you write, Wal-mart “… doesn’t need to raise wages to put other stores out of business …” Of course it doesn’t NEED to. It’s just another tool at their disposal. Why do think they’re lobbying for it?With regards to minimum wage, I posted a nice reply to Ex Pat at 7:12PM yesterday. Care to respond to it? Care to answer the question at the end?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 6, 2007 at 11:34 pm


Fred: …if the minimum wage does no harm, then why not raise it to $20, $50, or $100 per hour? Seriously, answer that question!! Red herring. For openers, no one else is asking for or even proposing that because it’s ridiculous — and in fact Kevin made the same argument early in this thread. Besides, as I said early on, companies, especially today, want to cut labor costs wherever they can. (FWIW, my own prorated wage is about $20.) Why do think they’re lobbying for it? Frankly, I don’t really believe this — where did you hear this? Wal-Mart’s biggest victims are the mom-and-pop stores, not other discount chains a la Target.



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Fred Mann

posted February 7, 2007 at 12:43 am


Me: “…if the minimum wage does no harm, then why not raise it to $20, $50, or $100 per hour? Seriously, answer that question!!” Rick: “Red herring. For openers, no one else is asking for or even proposing that because it’s ridiculous — and in fact Kevin made the same argument early in this thread. Besides, as I said early on, companies, especially today, want to cut labor costs wherever they can.” First of all, businesses have ALWAYS wanted to cut labor costs (and all other costs). Why would you write “especially today”? But, more importantly, my hypothetical question is not a red herring. The question is not whether or not anyone is proposing a $20,$50, or $100 an hour raise (they aren’t), but *WHY* is no one proposing it!! Answer: because the amount of jobs lost is in direct proportion to the height of the minimum wage. I have shown this exhaustively — linking to hundreds of empirical studies and explaining the case using only axiomatic statements. Yet all you do is evade. You are either incapable of understanding simple arguments, or you are invincibly ignorant. I know you’ve spent 20-plus years espousing the incorrect view, so you are not likely to change due to pride. But I can only beg you to not act on your false beliefs. You’re killin’ us!! Rick:”Frankly, I don’t really believe this — where did you hear this?” “Wal-Mart calls for minimum wage hike” Washington Post – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/25/AR2005102501724.html One of many many many mainstream articles on this.



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wayne

posted February 7, 2007 at 2:44 am


Fred No one is killing anyone, and guess what minimum wage is not hurting us either. I read the essay by Bastiat. All I can say is cuuute! But if that is an example of the “Proof” you cite, well… The fact is, (not the facts for the last five years or ten or what ever…) the minimum wage has been here for a long time. The idea has been around even longer and has been implemented by almost every culture, everywhere on some level. People always had an idea of what the “minumum” was. Just one reason you are wrong is that the idea of this minimum has been here forever. Keep the minimum wage and index it in some coherent way to inflation. It is not rocket science, and by the way, Bastiat is no rocket scientist.



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wayne

posted February 7, 2007 at 3:28 am


My last post was way late into this discussion and I hadn’t kept abreast of what you all were talking about. Ironically I had to go to work which by the way I get paid way less than minimum for. Fred I think you are linking two things wages and productivity and I am not sure if every one else is, I know I am not. If productivity goes to low for the wage to support it then jobs will move. If that happens there will be economic hardship for many. Those who stay employed will make what they make, minimum or no. The economy will adjust, the work force will adjust. You cannot control these things. You can modify and help some but these things happen. What we pay someone, or say as a society is the minimum that is fair for an employer to pay is another matter. Wal Mart is what it is. Minimum wage will not change them. The consumer might if they decided to pay what was fair, meaning going to the mom and pop store that is probably a little more expensive. That is what I do. The idea of minimum works both ways,the free market can also.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 7, 2007 at 4:01 am


Why would you write “especially today”? Since Reagan came into office, and especially since the air traffic controllers’ strike, big business made it a point to squeeze labor. For example, the major local grocery store chain, which I would later work for, back in 1983 was able to extract $2 per hour concessions from its top workers (that’s a complicated story) and that drove another national chain, which I also worked for, out of business. But then it got greedy, demanding more concessions and eventually forcing a strike — which it lost because the customers boycotted. After reading the story, I stand corrected on Wal-Mart. But I don’t see it as a strategy to put folks out of business; as the story iteslf said, the average Wal-Mart worker makes close to $10 an hour (though I’m sure a siginificant number makes less). Here in Pennsylvania we’re raising our minimun to over $6 and later to over $7. But here’s the thing: A number of the fast-food places in the ‘burbs around here are offering starting wages of $9 — because they can’t get workers. The kids are doing other things (or don’t want to work weekends), the adults already have good jobs and not too many seniors live up there. (Which is why I have a hard time with the idea that most of the people working for the mininum are teenagers or college students.)



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Fred Mann

posted February 7, 2007 at 4:28 am


Wayne, I’m not sure what to make of your last post. Is it a change of heart? While you were typing that, I was typing a response to your last posts. I’ll just go ahead and post it even if you have already changed your mind. Here is what I had to say with regards to your previous arguments: “… if that is an example of the “Proof” you cite, well…” I never said it was proof of anything. I merely said it illustrates a number of examples of economic fallacies. Unfortunately, it failed to convince you to consider the UNSEEN consequences of the minimum wage. In this case, you don’t seem to realize that minimum wage OUTLAWS JOBS that pay below a certain amount. That’s what it is designed to do. You can’t argue that. Yet, jobs that never come into existence in the first place are a PERFECT example of “That Which is Unseen”. This cannot possibly be measured by any study – so they are ALL flawed if they purport to show that no harm is done. But since everyone insists on seeing studies, I posted a link to hundreds of them showing the negative effects of the minimum wage. (again, posted at 7:12PM yesterday). I also included a link to a study in Santa Fe which showed that the least educated and lowest-skilled people lost their jobs, as I predicted. This is what the minimum wage does!! Now on to part two of your argument … You said, “Just one reason you are wrong is that the idea of this minimum has been here forever ” and, “We do not seem to have been hurt by it.” This is a logically flawed argument UNLESS you assume that I said that the minimum wage would destroy society or something. But I never said anything like that. The minimum wage is simply one of the many anchors that the state has tied to the neck of the economy. It certainly DOES cause harm, and is one of the reasons that unemployment is as high as it is. MILLIONS of people are unemployed in this country … mostly low-skilled and less-educated people. And thanks to minimum wage supporters, they will stay unemployed, even though they WANT to work. We can cruise along indefinitely with millions of unemployed people. That doesn’t mean that there is no harm!!And now I’ll challenge you to answer the question that everyone else has avoided/evaded. “…if the minimum wage does no harm, then why not raise it to $20, $50, or $100 per hour? Seriously, answer that question!!”



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 7, 2007 at 4:42 am


I know you’ve spent 20-plus years espousing the incorrect view, so you are not likely to change due to pride. But I can only beg you to not act on your false beliefs. The sheer arrogance you display in that statement, which in my experience is all too typical, is precisely why I have precious little respect for conservative ideology. And the right understands this, otherwise it wouldn’t have spent billions on its propaganda mills over the past half-century to promote its own half-truths, distortions and outright lies. Trouble is that they often live in an echo chamber and don’t consider that other folks might be right. Well, I’m sick of being denigrated, so is Jim Wallis and others as well. I am putting you on notice: DO NOT go around insulting people who don’t agree with you — you may need them someday.



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Fred Mann

posted February 7, 2007 at 4:50 am


Rick, I would agree that there have been more spectacular and newsworthy examples of the relationship between employers and employees since the advent of union legislation, but that doesn’t change the fact that businesses have ALWAYS sought to minimize costs wherever possible; including labor. It is part of the relentless pursuit of increased efficiency. If you don’t like the fact that employers want to maximize profit, that’s fine, but that’s really another topic. This has nothing to do with minimum wage. As for Wal-Mart … if they already pay their employees well above the minimum wage, then a minimum wage can only serve to hurt its less efficient competitiors. Since Wal-Mart is extremely efficient (you gotta give ‘em that), their costs are generally lower than the mom and pops’ costs. So, since the mom and pops’ have higher non-labor costs than Wal-Mart (i.e. they pay more for a hammer for resale than Wal-Mart, due to less purchase volume), they can not afford to pay their employees as much. So, when the minimum wage is instituted, it is often the final nail in the coffin of the mom and pop store. So, this kicks yet another leg out from under Wal-Mart’s competition. So, Wal Mart is all for an increase in the minimum wage. As for wages in your area being higher … Wages in a given locality are partly determined by the local money supply. Large citys often have the highest supplies of money, and so the price of everything is higher (including wages). This is a somewhat complicated story, but suffice it to say, the MARKET wage rate varies from locality to locality. Thus, minimum wage laws will have different impacts in different localities (ranging from none to severe — of course depending on the height of the wage raise). So if the going market wage in your area is $9 per hour, that just means that you are in a relatively wealthy area. But that still does not mean that the minimum wage does no harm. Just as some individuals are not impacted by the minimum wage, entire communities can also be left largely unharmed by the minimum wage. The only condition is that the minimum wage is not higher than the lowest wages as set by the market in that area.



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Fred Mann

posted February 7, 2007 at 5:05 am


“The sheer arrogance you display in that statement …” You’re right, and I’m sorry about that. It’s just very frustrating to see people fervently pursuing ideas that lead directly to so much hardship for so many people. Without all of these “welfare” programs, the state could never hope to collect enough tax revenue to fight its wars and line the pockets of the defense contractors (all of whom have major ties to nearly everyone in the highest levels of the administration. Coincidence?). Of course, how could one argue against these programs? They are called “welfare” programs after all. And who doesn’t want welfare? …. just pointing out the trickery that the govt. has with words. Instead of calling it minimum wage, why don’t we call it “a cap on job growth”, or “maximum jobs”? And by the way, I’m not a conservative. If my views coincide with that of a particular “side” or “team”, it is purely coincidental.



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Fred Mann

posted February 7, 2007 at 5:23 am


Maybe not “maximum jobs”.



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Fred Mann

posted February 7, 2007 at 11:43 am


Another note – The very idea that an agreement upon a wage between two parties can be made illegal is perverse. Both parties agreed to the wage because both parties felt that they would benefit from the arrangement. The agreement harms no one. Yet this is illegal!! Why is freedom such a hard sell in a country that claims to love freedom?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 7, 2007 at 12:57 pm


Since Wal-Mart is extremely efficient (you gotta give ‘em that), their costs are generally lower than the mom and pops’ costs. Efficiency or costs have nothing to do with it as far as the mom-and-pop stores — they don’t have that many employees to begin with, nor are they supposed to. In fact, I did a story several years ago about one such store that closed; he could beat their prices, no problem. It’s the sheer number of goods the big boys sell that does them in. It’s just very frustrating to see people fervently pursuing ideas that lead directly to so much hardship for so many people. Sarcasm noted — and that’s the very thing I was talking about. And it’s the very excuse the “economic elite” used for opposing FDR back in the 1930s. Sorry, but we’ve seen these before and we’re not buying it.



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wayne

posted February 7, 2007 at 3:51 pm


Fred No one gets to know what might have happened. You can surmise about jobs that do not get created. I could surmise about what the society would be like if there were jobs that paid $1.35 per hour. There are so many “unseen” possibilities that could happen. You cannot espouse an econimic idea based on this and be logical. I think you are dreaming of something you feel you have lost. Perhaps it was never there in the first place. As a commisioned sales man I always made what I wanted to make. Sometimes “I had a good month in one day” Then again there could be days and days where I made nothing. Ther are all sorts of jobs that pay the way you want. Most small contractors live in this manner. Their income is totally up to them and how much they want to work or how much they want to work for. The idea of the minimum has always been for the protection of the least and as a floor that would keep their wages from going below what is necessary. If that becomes 20.00 or 200.00 per hour in the future I will vote for that. So does that deal with you hypothetical? It isn’t about taking the freedom from people it is about insuring the freedom of the worker. Jobs get lost, Wal Marts come and go. I can remember when K-Mart was the big thing. They had all sorts of bad habits and the way they handled their employees was wrong in my opinion. Today they are not doing well. Why? I am sure there are economic reasons for it. I don’t know if they would be the bottom line though. Perhaps the bottom line reason for K-Marts fall would be Hubris and nothing to do with their marketing plan or business management. As Rick said people have had all sorts of reasons to oppose mandates from Gov. I have had more than a few myself. In the end if we could count on each other to do the right thing we wouldn’t need Gov and I am sure we would all flourish. That being true it isn’t a very good basis for political or economic thinking.



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Fred Mann

posted February 8, 2007 at 12:04 am


Before moving on to these other topics, I can’t help but notice that NOBODY has answered this question: …if the minimum wage does no harm, then why not raise it to $20, $50, or $100 per hour?Rick said it was irrelevant because nobody is proposing that. But then I asked, “**WHY** is nobody proposing a $20 per hour minimum wage?” I was met with silence. This is really the heart of the matter. Yet all of the minimum wage supporters refuse to answer this question.



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wayne

posted February 8, 2007 at 4:13 am


Fred I will take the chance that you will come back to this archive. I did answer the 100.00 question. If that is what it took I would vote for it. If we do not raise it now, and then wait long enough, it could conceivably go that high I suppose. Bastiat is a old old guy but his ideas are still around. I was raised under them in my youth. My father took it a step farther and didn’t think a public police force was a proper function of Govt. Bast. would have disagreed with him. Your economic points, some of which I can follow, sound like those of any other die hard fan of any philosophy or politcal stance. If the world were perfect they would work. Facism, communism, Capitalism, and yes, even libertarianism. The problem is that we need protection on some levels and that probably has to come from Gov’t. The minimum wage as an idea has been around forever. It is a necessary idea. My point on raising it is just that it has been let alone for too long. I am puzzeled by your “millions” of people out of work. I suppose you are referring to people who no longer are looking for a job. Am I right? Fred how can I argue about something you cannot prove. If they do not show up on any data base where did they go? I know of too many undocumented workers who get jobs that are above minimum wage to say there are no jobs for these possibly imaginary people. I personally know of gov’t buildings that were built by undocumented workers even though it was expressly forbidden. The Gov’t realized that the contractor could not find enough workers for the job and relented on that prohibition. The wages paid were certainly above the average for construction and the contractor did do his best to find citizens for the job. I know of this first hand, it is not a story I made up or heard of, it is not an idea from an 18th century economist. The minimum wage is just a good check on man’s inherant abillity to do wrong. To function as such it needs to at least have an inflationary index to it. I have worked in many fields. Usually I was in control of how much I got paid. If you apply your theory to commisioned salesmen or independant contractors it probably works. If you take it to McDonalds it probably doesn’t, unless we are in a period of high employment. Either we have high employment with a minimum wage or we have high unemployment with a minimum wage. The evidence says we have high employment. The average wages are above the currently proposed increase, according to posted references here. You cannot take on this argument by saying if we didn’t have the minimum things would be even better. Your position is untenable.



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Fred Mann

posted February 8, 2007 at 5:14 am


“I did answer the 100.00 question. If that is what it took I would vote for it. If we do not raise it now, and then wait long enough, it could conceivably go that high I suppose.” Obviously, I wasn’t talking about a $100 minimum wage sometime in the distant future when inflation has caused all prices to skyrocket. I’m talking about raising the minimum wage to $100 now. Would you support raising the minimum wage to $100 right now? If not, why not? I just want to clear this up before going any further.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 8, 2007 at 8:54 am


Fred Mann: I support a $100/hr minimum wage, if you can make the moon gold.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 8, 2007 at 9:01 am


Fred Mann: Your theory of contract has been used for centuries to enslave people into unequal arrangements. Go enslave yourself.



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Fred Mann

posted February 8, 2007 at 9:06 am


Joel, If two people willingly enter into an agreement because they both believe they will benefit, how is this enslavement? Please explain in detail?



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 8, 2007 at 9:08 am


Wolverine: Use the find function under edit to find Daniel I referred to. Go to a Mississippi or West Virginia or Nevada McDonalds & give a big tip to the toothless lady working full time & whose children’s main chance in life is to join the military, so your children do not have to volunteer.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 8, 2007 at 9:16 am


Fred Mann: If you have to ask, … you do not know. People without options, are not going to tell you that you are taking advantage of them. or are smart enough to assume you already know. Many cultures look down on competitive exploitation; many exploited people have been beaten down enough to not say anything while you try to fool yourself.



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Fred Mann

posted February 8, 2007 at 9:22 am


So I guess we’re back to my original question. If minimum wage is helpful and doesn’t put people out of work, why not raise it to $100? Don’t you want people to live well? Or do you just want them to scrape by on a few dollars per hour? If the minimum wage is not harmful, then it seems very cruel indeed not to raise it to $100 per hour.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 8, 2007 at 9:57 am


Fred Mann: Show the way, bro. You just want the government to take your side by doing nothing so you can ask the samw qustion & your presumed make belief in harm answer so you can feel noble. So it will harm some businesses. It is the government of all the people, not just for businessmen. When people can grow their own food, is the only time they can come to an employer on an equal footing in your laisez faire wonderland. You’d probably be working for yourself. To answer your dumb question: because $100/hr wage will only work for a few people in an unequal system. It may work if everyone got $100/hr. Even economists have to live in a real world. Extremes in any arguments is a clue of a weak argument or cowardly bait & switch.



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Fred Mann

posted February 8, 2007 at 10:21 am


“So it will harm some businesses.” It will simply force them to fire people. Or in the case of the shrimp packing business, it causes the entire business to shut down. Do you think the results from the Santa Fe study I cited above are invalid. It shows that the least educated and least skilled workers were put out of a job by the hike to $8.50 . Now they earn $0 per hour. Is that a result that you like? Or do you just deny it? “To answer your dumb question: because $100/hr wage will only work for a few people in an unequal system. It may work if everyone got $100/hr. Even economists have to live in a real world. Extremes in any arguments is a clue of a weak argument or cowardly bait & switch.” No. It simply illustrates that at some point, unemployment would reach 100%. Of course, it is a hypothetical and would never really happen. So, let me put the question another way. How do you determine what the minimum wage should be? Please provide a detailed description of the factors you would employ in making this determination, and, most importantly, why.



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wayne

posted February 8, 2007 at 3:12 pm


Fred I am going to go at this again. Obviously none of us think your question is fair or honest. It is more than a little frustrating that you do. I did answer it though, just not in the way you wanted. Perhaps this last question would be better but I answered that one a long time ago too. I suggested that we index it to the mid sixties. That would make it around $10.00 today adjusted for inflation. But the truth is I am not for what I believe is referred to as a “livable wage” I said that there needs to be a floor something you cannot go lower than as a protective measure. Fred do you really believe that all negotiations are done by equals? Do you think that the poor approach work based on the idea of equality? People come with “hat in hand” and without the minimum they will work like slaves. There is no utopia where the employer treats all his employees fairly. What is agreed to need not be correct or fair or just. The fact that market conditions may dictate a lower wage does not make it right. Are you not only libertarian but also a follower of Ayn Rand? If that is true just say so. You need to identify all of these “unemployed millions” that the minimum wage has created. I will tell you again that I find it incredibly hard, (impossible) to think you honestly believe that they exist.



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wayne

posted February 8, 2007 at 5:45 pm


Fred I will make it even more simple. If one drink is good perhaps two might be bad, 100 would certainly not be good. Keeping the minimum wage at an inflation adjusted level can be good. The fact that making it $100.00 per hour might be bad does not change that or belie it. Nothing in this negates Bastiat who, as you know but others might not, lived at the same time as Marx and was refuting Communism in large part. Even your old mentor believed that Gov’t had to protect people.



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Scott T

posted February 8, 2007 at 6:41 pm


Without jumping directly into your argument about the worth of the minimum wage, I would like to address Wallis’ supposed scriptural justification. The world’s best argument against Christianity is our differences of scripture interpretation. The vast majority of misinterpretations stem directly from using (abusing) scripture out of immediate context and the broader context of the whole of scripture… as Wallis did here. We should interpret scripture by scripture but it is fairly apparent that he instead went mining for verses or ideas that he wanted to justify something he had already decided to believe (eisogesis). Probably the most directly relevant scripture to this particular topic is Matthew 20. It not only states that a worker should only be paid what he and the employer agree to but also that it is evil to try to bully or force the property owner into doing anything more. Finally, nowhere in the NT are Christians commanded or even allowed to use government as a means of accomplishing what God gave us to do as individuals and churches. Every command to generosity is in that specific context… giving of what we have and specifically NOT trying to give out of the treasury of others. As for those who would try to use the OT as a justification… just remember the can of worms you are opening. OT Israel was a theocracy that outlawed many things that we agree aren’t the business of our gov’t. Would Wallis’ or other liberal Christians agree to outlawing homosexuality based on the OT? How about making it a capital crime? As a biblical fundamentalist, I disagree vehemently with homosexuality morally. However, that same starting point informs me that I have no basis to use state power to restrict moral choices that do not harm others directly. God’s church operates from inside out, not outside in. Unfortunately, liberals of all stripes think they are somehow entitled to subject others to their moral convictions concerning the poor. Scripture however would have YOU sell everything that YOU own… not confiscate the property of others.



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Julie

posted February 8, 2007 at 7:39 pm


In essence, what Scott T is saying is that Christians should not use the power of the state to force unredeemed people to behave in redeemed ways. While I am sure liberals would agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly, they are not consistent in how they apply it. In their eyes, it’s okay to force a private business owner to pay his employees more than he can reasonably afford (many restaurant owners cannot afford to pay more than minimum wage because of the incredibly high overhead), but it’s wrong to prohibit a woman from destroying her unborn child. There is not one verse in the New Testament authorizing the civil/secular government to force businesses or individuals to be kind to the poor. The following verse from 2 Corinthians indicates a desire for some level of equality among Christians, but this is clearly within the community of believers and not mandated for society as a whole through government force:For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written, The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little (2 Corinthians 8:12-15). The very word “gift” implies that coercive force is not to be used to ensure equality.For those who insist that raising the minimum wage does not hurt the poor, try tellig that to restaurant workers who have been let go in Colorado Springs after the recent minimum wage hike in Colorado. Currently, my out-of-work husband is trying to find a job in a restaurant but it may be more difficult now that restaurants are cutting back or even closing their doors because their costs have risen (“Owners Cut Jobs as Wages Increase,” Colorado Springs Gazette, 12/31/06).



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Scott T

posted February 8, 2007 at 8:18 pm


The title of Wallis’ article sticks out too. His whole premise/assumption is wrong if he has any respect for scripture at all. There is ample evidence from the Bible that God blesses some with more material wealth, ability, providential blessings (many call it “luck”), etc. than others for purposes known only to Him.There is nothing inherently unjust much less immoral about government allowing one person to have more than another. Since it is immoral for someone with much to not be generous with those who have little… Aren’t liberals again inconsistent about the idea that gov’t shouldn’t involve itself in personal morality? In fact, isn’t it immoral for gov’t to get into the business of stealing by proxy from the rich to give to the poor? Believe me, I believe the rich should help the poor. I believe that business owners should not only pay their employees what they must, they should attempt to reward them generously when the company is successful. But those are two-sided propositions. Charity should go to the able only to the point of helping them up. Employers should reward employees when the company succeeds… not when the employee endeavors to do the minimum acceptable to draw a paycheck. If the minimum wage is just- every liberal here needs to send me $50. You ask “Why, you didn’t do anything for me?” Yes but I want it and think its fair. “Why only the liberals and why $50?” you ask. “Why not?” My demands are no more nor less arbitrary than the liberal demand that employers pay $7.50, $10.50, or $100.50 an hour to employees with no expectation that they’ll be any more productive. They might even become less productive due to the lesson being taught- that work value/quantity is not directly linked to wage levels.



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Ron Goodwyne

posted February 8, 2007 at 8:52 pm


So in your opinion God thinks more unemployment on the low end is a good thing. Apparently God has no more understanding of economics than you do. There is a world of difference between the assertion that God likes equity and claiming that God wants the state to dictate wages. This is what you get when you interpret scripture with an agenda instead of letting scripture determine your agenda.



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Scott T

posted February 8, 2007 at 10:02 pm


Ron, Were you responding to me or Wallis? If me… HUH? If Wallis… Amen!



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Neil

posted February 9, 2007 at 2:39 am


I care about the poor as much as you, and perhaps more. I just like to give my money to help them, not yours or someone else’s. I appreciate your passion, but that was poor exegesis on your part. Claiming that God is for a minimum wage increase is a rather serious claim. Exactly what rate would God have you set? $10 per hour? Why not $20? How about $100?



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Fred Mann

posted February 9, 2007 at 7:57 am


Wayne writes that the minimum wage should be “around $10″ …. “But the truth is I am not for what I believe is referred to as a “livable wage” I said that there needs to be a floor something you cannot go lower than as a protective measure. ” First of all, living wage advocates generally throw around figures in the neighborhood of $10, so you are advocating a living wage. But presumably you thought it was something else. So the question is, yet again, WHY did you choose this level? Why not go with a living wage? This all seems very arbitrary. You must sense that there is something wrong with higher minimum wages, but you dare not say what it is … “Fred do you really believe that all negotiations are done by equals? Do you think that the poor approach work based on the idea of equality?” I not really sure what you mean here. Are you saying we’re all somehow equal (or that we should be)? The idea that people are “equal”, and that there shouldn’t be an “income gap” (for example) is ridiculous. People all have different talents. Some are good at a lot of different things, and some are not. Everyone has different levels of motivation, different levels of intelligence, and hence different degrees of money earning ability. Thus we can expect a HUGE income gap. This is simply a representation of the diversity of the human race. For example, some people, like Frank Sinatra or Jimi Hendrix have extremely unique and popular talents. They literally can’t help but be showered with money as their talents are very very rare (in fact they have a monopoly) and very in demand (there’s that nasty supply and demand again). On the other end of the spectrum you have people who are severely mentally and/or physically handicapped. These people are barely capable of earning anything because they are unable to do most jobs, and the ones they can do, they may not be able to do very well. These people, if they are able to work at all, can only be expected to be paid a low wage. And there is literally everything inbetween. The people on the lowest end of the scale certainly depend on charity to meet some or all of their daily expenses. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t or shouldn’t be allowed to work at all. Furthermore, minimum wage is nothing like charity. What the minimum wage does is draw an arbitrary line in the sand and says “those of you who are at or below this skill level are no longer allowed to work even if you want to.” This is literally what the minimum wage does. How is that a good thing? “…without the minimum they will work like slaves.” With this, you are implying that workers will have the same jobs, but will finally get higher pay. But the minimum wage is not a raise for a lot of people. It is simply a pink slip.( Did you look at any of the studies I linked to? It sure doesn’t seem like it.) But if it IS a raise (i.e. if they keep their job), then we can say with certainty that the employee who keeps his job is WORTH the higher amount to his employer. Otherwise, he would have been fired. This also cannot be argued. But if this is the case, then we know that the employee could have gotten this raise by … well … asking for a raise!! In this scenario, the employee gets his wage AND nobody has to get fired in order to make that happen. “Are you not only libertarian but also a follower of Ayn Rand?” I have never intentionally read anything by Rand. A few paragraphs here and there cited in other works. I am not a “follower” of Bastiat either. He just wrote a good essay on a basic topic. That’s all.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 9, 2007 at 3:22 pm


Probably the most directly relevant scripture to this particular topic is Matthew 20. It not only states that a worker should only be paid what he and the employer agree to but also that it is evil to try to bully or force the property owner into doing anything more. As I said earlier in this thread, Matthew 20 as Jesus taught it has absolutely nothing to do with work — it’s about eternal rewards. Its real message is that there is no “hierarchy” in heaven as such just because some folks have been at it longer.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 9, 2007 at 3:32 pm


There is nothing inherently unjust much less immoral about government allowing one person to have more than another. Since it is immoral for someone with much to not be generous with those who have little… But there’s also the reality that the rich often jimmy the system to benefit themselves at the expense of the poor, which Isaiah, Amos and Micah write about. The Scripture clearly condemns economic exploitation as well, which based on this discussion conservatives apparently don’t want to address. If there is a problem with Wallis’ article, it’s that it links specific solutions to the Scripture rather than general guidelines, i. e. if you are a disciple of Christ you will do this, that and the other rather than leaving the actual actions to individual consciences informed by the Holy Spirit and authorities in the local church.



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Ron Goodwyne

posted February 9, 2007 at 8:57 pm


Scott, my apologies. I was responding to Wallis. When there are this many comments it’s hard to read them all. My mistake.



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Ron Goodwyne

posted February 9, 2007 at 9:15 pm


But there’s also the reality that the rich often jimmy the system to benefit themselves at the expense of the poor, which Isaiah, Amos and Micah write about. The Scripture clearly condemns economic exploitation as well, which based on this discussion conservatives apparently don’t want to address. There are those at all points of the economic spectrum Who will take advantage of anyone they can. That has absolutely no bearing on a minimum wage or this debate. It is, in fact, a straw man. The fact is, employees are not being exploited anywhere in this country. An unemployment rate below 5% is effectively no unemployment since a large majority of those listed are not looking for employment, are retired, etc. That means that employers MUST compete for competent employees. That is a fact of economics. Exploiting employees is a sure fire way to go rapidly out of business. Anyone in this country with a lick of ambition has the absolute capability to rise in the economic system and no employer has the capability to stop him. In truth virtually no one is trying to “make a living” off minimum wage. That too is a straw man. The overwhelming majority of minimum wage employees are entry level employees with little to no work experience. They do not support themselves, much less anyone else. They are mostly kids in high school or college working for spending money. The few who are attempting to support a family on minimum wage virtually always have themselves to blame because they’ve made extremely poor choices to get where they are. And even those people can pull themselves up as they develop a work ethic and a skill set. Arbitrarily setting a minimum wage irrespective of actual value has one realistic impact. It makes those at the bottom who are trying to build those skills even less employable because they simply cannot produce the value required to justify their increased pay. So they end up unemployable. You can’t legislate away the reality of economics. All attempt to control wages or prices will inevitably result in shortagea of goods and services, employees or jobs. There is no getting around it. That is a simply law of economics.



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Ron Goodwyne

posted February 9, 2007 at 9:17 pm


I will never learn that haloscan sucks. Spend 10 minutes composing a post and haloscan simply eats it! I hate haloscan.



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Ron Goodwyne

posted February 9, 2007 at 9:18 pm


or not



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Fred Mann

posted February 9, 2007 at 11:38 pm


“An unemployment rate below 5% is effectively no unemployment since a large majority of those listed are not looking for employment, are retired, etc.” Minor point, but the official unemployment figures measure the percentage of people who ARE looking for work but can’t find it. If you are not looking, are too old, or too young, you are not part of the calculation at all. Rougly 1/3 of America falls into that category. Of course, ALL of the government’s statistics are heavily “adjusted” to make the picture look as rosy as possible. Especially inflation. And if inflation is way off (and it is –search “the core rate”, or “shadow government statistics”), that means that GDP figures and such are greatly inflated. But that’s another topic …



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 10, 2007 at 5:00 am


The fact is, employees are not being exploited anywhere in this country. An unemployment rate below 5% is effectively no unemployment since a large majority of those listed are not looking for employment, are retired, etc. That means that employers MUST compete for competent employees. That is a fact of economics. Exploiting employees is a sure fire way to go rapidly out of business. You most have forgotten about Wal-Mart being taken to court for forcing workers to work off the clock. (I don’t remember how that ended up.) Anyone in this country with a lick of ambition has the absolute capability to rise in the economic system and no employer has the capability to stop him. Dream on. First, you have to have some decent education, which isn’t available to everyone. Then, which is even more crucial, you have to have some contacts to that people can tell you where the work is; 80 percent of jobs aren’t even advertised and the one that are in the paper are so specialized that they have a hard time filling them (which is why they’re in the paper to begin with). The rest of your post comprises so much baloney I won’t even try to refute it — it collapses under its own weight.



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Julie

posted February 10, 2007 at 9:04 pm


Interestingly, not too long ago beliefnet posted a news item about a book, written by a liberal no less, which concludes that conservatives are more generous than liberals (“Philanthropy Expert: Conservatives Are More Generous,” by Frank Brieaddy). The book was written by Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks and is entitled “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism.” Ironic how liberals are the ones demanding laws to help the poor but conservatives are the ones actually helping them.



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anon

posted February 10, 2007 at 9:04 pm


just checking



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Julie

posted February 10, 2007 at 9:19 pm


I just came across the following quote and thought it was pertinent to this discussion:You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.



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Julie

posted February 10, 2007 at 9:42 pm


This was yesterday’s Sojourner’s Verse: “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”- Isaiah 41:17-18 Notice that it does not say, “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, the government will provide it by stealing it from other people’s wells.” It says, “I, the Lord, will answer them…”I think a major problem with Wallis and others like him is that they want people to look to the government to meet their needs instead of trusting God to do so. But the Bible consistently teaches that God is our Source and our Provider.



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Fred Mann

posted February 10, 2007 at 11:53 pm


“You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.” I agree. The only exception regards those who became rich using the confiscatory powers of the government (this includes the politicians AND the contractors who live off the government’s kickbacks … I mean contracts). Feel free to take their wealth. But those who earned their money by providing goods and services that are in high demand MUST be allowed to keep every penny. It is the height of foolishness to provide a disincentive for the best and brightest among us to produce.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 11, 2007 at 4:35 am


I think a major problem with Wallis and others like him is that they want people to look to the government to meet their needs instead of trusting God to do so. That’s not at all what Wallis is saying. But on the other hand, administering justice and restraining evil are legitimate aims of government and should not be abridged just because some “rich” folks are offended. Consider these passages from James 2: 5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong? … 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. Now, this being said, if (in this case) a fellow believer is being screwed by his employer or otherwise being mistreated thanks to unjust laws, is it thus not your duty to help change those laws if at all possible? Or, even more to the point, what if you were the person being hosed?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 11, 2007 at 1:12 pm


Interestingly, not too long ago beliefnet posted a news item about a book, written by a liberal no less, which concludes that conservatives are more generous than liberals (“Philanthropy Expert: Conservatives Are More Generous,” by Frank Brieaddy). The book was written by Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks and is entitled “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism.” Ironic how liberals are the ones demanding laws to help the poor but conservatives are the ones actually helping them. Well, conservatives were nowhere to be found during the civil rights movement, which did more than anything to help the poor than any “conservative” initiatives.



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Wayne

posted February 11, 2007 at 1:19 pm


Fred, How many of our big corp do not have government contracts? Is it only the small businesses you support? Many of them also have government contracts so is it just Government you resent? Taxes are just one way we support the pooer among us. I drive on roads that I cannot afford to build so I am one of those poor who are supported by the Government. Do you resent the support you get? If you love someone you will not resent helping them. In our society I am glad we recognize the need to support the pooer among us. Just one of the ways we do this is the minimum wage, but even if we didn’t have a law regarding it there would still be the idea of what is the minimal wage a person should get for their work. You want to peg it at whatever you and the worker agree to. I would peg it at what is fair, which is why I wouldn’t raise it to $200.00 per hour. What you, Julie and Ron see3m to miss in these verses and many, many others is the fact that God says He will take the money of the rich if they do not care for the poor. He says He will take much more than their money. In Matt 25 Jesus says He will take their eternity, I guess that would qualify as the ultimate in confiscatory taxation. If you resent the fact of taxes, not just the amount or the way they are spent, you do not have a problem with economics, you have a problem with God. Fred, you cannot serve both God and Money.



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Fred Mann

posted February 12, 2007 at 2:24 am


I can’t really get into a discussion on the proper role of government without typing hundreds of pages. I was merely pointing out that government and contractors work behind closed doors to figure out ways to funnel the maximum amount of money into their respective pockets. Then they sell it to you (successfully apparently) as being in your best interests. Of course, they have to give you SOMETHING to sustain the illusion. But you get pennies on the dollar, and you love it. Maybe you do not believe in the Constitution. But if you do, I suggest you familiarize yourself as to why the government is (was) so severly limited. Why did James Madison, author of the bill of rights, oppose spending the people’s money on “objects of benevolence”. Forced charity doesn’t work for the same reasons that minimum wage doesn’t work. I outlined the case against minimum wage above, and it’s like I never said anything at all. I showed studies and, more importantly, made the case using axiomatic statements. No one even attempted to refute these. You just say that the minimum wage should be “fair”, but don’t provide any details as to how you determine what “fair” is. You also don’t say why “fair” should be the standard, as opposed to a “living wage”. You seem to have no concern for the people that will be forced out of a job because of the “fair” wage. I’ll just say one more time … THE MINIMUM WAGE DOES NOT DO WHAT IT PURPORTS TO DO.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 12, 2007 at 3:25 am


Forced charity doesn’t work for the same reasons that minimum wage doesn’t work. This was never about “forced charity” — it’s about ECONOMIC JUSTICE!!! It’s about doing right by the poor so that they don’t NEED charity!!! But how can they get justice when people with the means hoard all the resources and then try to justify that Biblically (and do you think for a second that God will overlook that)? No conservative to my recollection has EVER addressed this issue.



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Fred Mann

posted February 12, 2007 at 4:40 am


Who doesn’t want justice and/or fairness? All I’m saying is that the minimum wage has the opposite effect of what the supporters claim. In fact, the adverse consequences are borne almost exclusively by the poorest among us.Hence it is economic INjustice.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 12, 2007 at 1:29 pm


Who doesn’t want justice and/or fairness? All I’m saying is that the minimum wage has the opposite effect of what the supporters claim. In fact, the adverse consequences are borne almost exclusively by the poorest among us.Hence it is economic INjustice. Garbage — and, deep down, you know that. You cannot help the poor by taking away opportunity, even for higher wages, and to say that you can is complete self-deception.



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Julie

posted February 12, 2007 at 7:27 pm


“But on the other hand, administering justice and restraining evil are legitimate aims of government and should not be abridged just because some ‘rich’ folks are offended.” First of all, you don’t have to be rich to see that it’s immoral to use the power of the state to force businesses or individuals to pay their employees more than they can reasonably afford to pay. This is true especially in the restaurant business, where the overhead is so high that it takes about six months to a year for a new restaurant to even begin making a profit. A friend of mine opened a restaurant nearly a year ago, and for the first six months the place wasn’t even breaking even. How is it “just” to force her to raise her employees’ salaries in such conditions? Will justice be served if she is forced to close her restaurant because she can’t afford the recent minimum wage increase in her state? Will justice be served if some of her workers must be let go because she can’t afford to keep them on?Second, I doubt that everyone who is opposed to this use of government coercion is wealthy. I certainly am not; in fact, I have chosen to work for a nonprofit organization, earning considerably less than I could in the same field working for a secular company. There was a time in my life when I was destitute and homeless, yet I never applied for government assistance because I don’t believe in helping myself at taxpayers’ expense. Believe it or not, even the indigent can see the injustice in stealing from the rich to help the poor.”Now, this being said, if (in this case) a fellow believer is being screwed by his employer or otherwise being mistreated thanks to unjust laws, is it thus not your duty to help change those laws if at all possible? Or, even more to the point, what if you were the person being hosed?”The passage from James 2 says nothing about using the power of the state to help the poor; it is clearly exhorting voluntary almsgiving. It also says nothing about changing the laws of the Roman Empire in order to force employers to pay their workers a certain wage.



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Julie

posted February 12, 2007 at 7:29 pm


“What you, Julie and Ron see3m to miss in these verses and many, many others is the fact that God says He will take the money of the rich if they do not care for the poor.”



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Julie

posted February 12, 2007 at 7:44 pm


“What you, Julie and Ron see3m to miss in these verses and many, many others is the fact that God says He will take the money of the rich if they do not care for the poor.” I don’t think either of us were denying that the rich should care for the poor; we are saying that it’s wrong for the government to force the wealthy to help the poor. It should be voluntary. When Jesus saw that the rich young man was too attached to his wealth, he didn’t go to the Roman authorities and demand that his taxes be raised; he told the man to sell his possessions and give to the poor himself.By the way, Wayne, if really do want to help the poor, you are free to do so yourself; you don’t need the government to do it for you via taxation. Wouldn’t you prefer to give to the charities or causes that you deem worthy of your contribution? Or is it too easy to just let the government do it? After all, we all know how wisely the government spends on our behalf.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 12, 2007 at 8:32 pm


First of all, you don’t have to be rich to see that it’s immoral to use the power of the state to force businesses or individuals to pay their employees more than they can reasonably afford to pay. This is true especially in the restaurant business, where the overhead is so high that it takes about six months to a year for a new restaurant to even begin making a profit. A friend of mine opened a restaurant nearly a year ago, and for the first six months the place wasn’t even breaking even. How is it “just” to force her to raise her employees’ salaries in such conditions? First of all, as you know (or should), most restaurants already are exempt from the normal minimum-wage laws because workers make much of their money from tips, so you’re using a bad example. Second, it often does take a while (and quite a bit of financial investment) to run a restaurant, especially one that also has live music. The problem is that, since the past generation or so, people expect to make an immediate return on their investment. If a such a place fails, it’s almost always due to either mismanagement or lack of clientele and has absolutely nothing to do with how much the workers are “forced” to be paid. (I learned this from a former jazz club owner who attends my church.) When Jesus saw that the rich young man was too attached to his wealth, he didn’t go to the Roman authorities and demand that his taxes be raised; he told the man to sell his possessions and give to the poor himself. This comment is, frankly, silly and irrelevant because you’re completely confusing the issue. For openers, we’re not talking about charity cases as much as opportunity for people to better themselves, and often (but not always) the government has to be involved — because many of the barriers that the poor face actually are political or financial in nature. When Ronald Reagan became president and started cutting funding for programs that actually helped the poor (such as financial aid for post-secondary education and job training) he did so, I suspect, for ideological reasons because the vast majority of those beneficiaries won’t vote conservative. This is one strong reason why it’s a political issue.



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Fred Mann

posted February 12, 2007 at 9:14 pm


“Garbage — and, deep down, you know that. You cannot help the poor by taking away opportunity, even for higher wages, and to say that you can is complete self-deception.” How about you attempt to refute my argument and/or the studies I linked to? All you’re doing is making raw assertions and sloganeering. I say the minimum wage harms the poor and I make a crystal clear case using logic and empirical studies. You simply reply “but we have to help people with the minimum wage”. You are boggling my mind!! I was going to give up a while ago, but I’m curious to know what it would take to change your mind. Is it even possible? For what it’s worth, I used to believe in the minimum wage until I saw the case against it. I am not a “conservative” – whatever that means these days. I have never voted for a Republican. I have nothing to gain personally from abolishing the minimum wage. I’m not an employer. But I feel compelled to stop harmful ideas.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 12, 2007 at 10:44 pm


How about you attempt to refute my argument and/or the studies I linked to? All you’re doing is making raw assertions and sloganeering. I say the minimum wage harms the poor and I make a crystal clear case using logic and empirical studies. I’ll bet anything that your “studies” come, directly or indirectly, from business groups or right-wing activist groups that have a vested interest in keeping the poor poor. This has been done for the past 30 or so years, and they have no validity whatsoever.



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Julie

posted February 12, 2007 at 10:49 pm


“When Ronald Reagan became president and started cutting funding for programs that actually helped the poor (such as financial aid for post-secondary education and job training) he did so, I suspect, for ideological reasons because the vast majority of those beneficiaries won’t vote conservative. This is one strong reason why it’s a political issue.” Ironically, however, when Reagan cut tax rates, charitable giving greatly increased. I have read this in several journals of philanthropy and can provide a link when I have the time to look them up again. Also, you are making an assumption that poor people never vote conservative and that all those in difficult financial conditions expect a government hand-out. There are needy people who forgo government assistance because they want to make it on their own. One of my friends is a single mother in a wheelchair. She chose to work for a living instead of going on Medicare, and despite the fact that she has been in dire financial straights at times, she votes against public assistance for the needy (and she could easily benefit from such assistance if she wanted to).



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Julie

posted February 12, 2007 at 10:56 pm


“I’ll bet anything that your ‘studies’ come, directly or indirectly, from business groups or right-wing activist groups that have a vested interest in keeping the poor poor.”It would be nice if you offered some proof of this instead of simply saying you’ll “bet anything.” Essentially, you’ve said nothing. By the way, why would “business” groups have a vested in keeping the poor poor? Wouldn’t businesses want people to have money to spend on their products and services? Not only is there no evidence to back up your arguments, but they don’t make much sense.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 12, 2007 at 11:04 pm


It would be nice if you offered some proof of this instead of simply saying you’ll “bet anything.” Essentially, you’ve said nothing. Well, then tell me specifically where those studies come from. The answer will be revealing, as I have enough experience with such organizations that they will quote all kinds of misleading stats to prove their point. Indeed, that’s their function. By the way, why would “business” groups have a vested in keeping the poor poor? Wouldn’t businesses want people to have money to spend on their products and services? One answer: Wall Street. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, your larger businesses actually are focused on stock prices — which, of course, focus on the wealthy — as opposed to providing services. That’s the real reason health insurance and prescriptions cost so much.



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Fred Mann

posted February 12, 2007 at 11:08 pm


“I’ll bet anything that your “studies” come, directly or indirectly, from business groups or right-wing activist groups that have a vested interest in keeping the poor poor.” First of all, there are literally thousands of studies coming from every imagineable point on the ideological spectrum. This is why the “left” won’t raise the wage beyond a certain point. They know it destroys jobs. If this were not the case, they would make it much higher. Secondly, your tactic is the Marxist tactic. Marx said, “look who’s telling you these things … it’s the bourgoise!! Therefore, it must not be true.” He took this approach, because he could not defeat the devastating arguments against socialism/communism. He developed the idea of polylogism to go along with it. This is the idea that there are differnt logics for differnt classes. Total nonsense. But he needed to take that approach, because he did not have an argument. Well, guess what … if Hitler says 2+2=4, it’s still true. What would it take to convince you? Again, is it even possible? If not, why?



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Wayne

posted February 13, 2007 at 12:38 am


Julie I actually do all that you suggest and hope you do too. If as a society, not as individuals, we do not address the needs of the poor then as a society we will be at fault. I know many wealthy who give extraordinary amounts of both time and money to do this but regardless of how much is given and how badly the Government does things, much cannot be done with out the role of Government. It is exactly why the Gov. builds streets or funds education. Individuals cannot do these things well. If you simply resent the money the government takes from you to help the poor then shame on you. If you don’t like the way it is spent, do something about it. Help change the system. If you think just giving money to some charity is enough then you do not know what poverty is like and how pervasive the problems that stem from it are. God condemns Governments that do not have a protective and proactive attitude toward helping poor people, not just individuals. Jesus was talking to an individual when he addressed the rich young ruler, so he told him what he should do. What would he say to you and me? Would he say that we need to spend all our time and energy trying to lower taxes?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 13, 2007 at 3:38 am


… [Y]our tactic is the Marxist tactic. Marx said, “look who’s telling you these things … it’s the bourgoise!! Well, in this case, Marx would have had a point; having read him I can tell you that much of what he was talking about came straight out of the Minor Prophets! Beginning in the 1950s, in response to the Cold War, a group of northeastern intellectuals — you have probably heard of one of them, William F. Buckley Jr. — founded a “new conservatism,” with many of the same ideals of the old conservatism that basically was discredited with the Great Depression and the New Deal. They were able to attract funding from a number of extremely wealthy conservatives, and they founded think tanks, student groups and even media to spread their message. Now, both strains of conservatism had their focus upon building a de facto aristocracy with themselves at the top, but the “new right” built a bigger and, so far, more lasting infrastructure. On top of that, in the late 1970s it was able to tap into what we now know as the “religious right,” which is why most (white) evangelical Christians support the Republican Party (though that is waning). But then there was the Scriptural mandate to look out for the poor, so they tried to find a way to look as though they were doing that without threatening their class status. They came up with “compassionate conservatism,” of course — but did not encourage the poor to vote, run for office or become community activists, the things that really give a sense of power and authority. I give you this history lesson because ultimately you’re asking the wrong question. It’s not so much “how can we help them?” but “how can we empower them to make their own way?”, and the partial answer is with policies. I can guess that you don’t live in a poor neighborhood, because you clearly don’t know what the issues are — otherwise you wouldn’t be playing the same old song-and-dance. Now, my church, located in the “inner city,” does indeed do extensive ministry to the immediate area; our deacons actually give away more money than is in many other churches’ budgets and work with the poor on “life skills.” But we also recognize that laws and attitudes need to be changed on the part of those who have, because in many cases the wealthty really do feel “entitled” to their wealth rather than understanding that it is a gift from God to be used for His purposes. Ultimately, that’s why I totally object to your thinking.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 13, 2007 at 3:40 am


Ironically, however, when Reagan cut tax rates, charitable giving greatly increased. They got tax write-offs, as well. But much of that money never made it to the ‘hood.



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Fred Mann

posted February 13, 2007 at 5:33 am


Thanks for the history lesson, but the case against the minimum wage was made roughly at the same time it was instituted (i.e. it predates the organizations you imply are the source of the ideas). In fact, the case against the minimum wage is the same as the case against price floors in general (minimum wage is a price floor), and thus the argument against minimum wage effectively predates by many years the institution of the minimum wage by FDR in 1938. Price floors (or minimums) lead to surpluses (in the case of labor, this means a surplus of labor, or … you guessed it, unemployment), and price ceilings lead to shortages (For example, if we said that the MAXIMUM wage that could be paid was $1, there would be a shortage of labor — i.e. the demand for $1-per-hour labor would greatly exceed the supply). Furthermore, the *height* of the price floor determines the size of the surplus. For example, if the government said that the minimum price of a loaf of bread is $25, we could expect a huge surplus of bread. If the government said that the minimum price of bread is $100 per loaf, we should expect the surplus (unsold supply) of bread to approach 100%. This is an economic LAW. If you want to test it, you can simply ask yourself “Would I buy more bread if it was $1 per loaf or $100 per loaf?” But we don’t actually need to run any tests to know if this is true. I am truly amazed that people continue to dispute this. Labor is just another good/service that people (called “employers”) purchase. If you raise the price high enough, it becomes unaffordable to some employers. Of course, some employers can pay a higher price than others, depending on the business model, but rest assured, every raise in the minimum wage causes *some* unemployment (unless, as I said above, the new minimum wage is still below the market wage). “I can guess that you don’t live in a poor neighborhood, because you clearly don’t know what the issues are — otherwise you wouldn’t be playing the same old song-and-dance.” Ha! From my front porch I can see an apartment complex that is mostly illegal aliens. Doesn’t get much poorer than that. I have worked some of the worst, hottest, loudest, most physically strenuous minimum-wage jobs imagineable. I worked a hot-glue gun for 8 hours a day (at an awesome $5.50 an hour) before I started delivering pizza. I was one of the only English-speakers at that job. Nice try though. Still, all of your arguments take the form of raw assertions. You say my arguments are irrelevant, but you don’t attempt to refute any of the studies or the economic laws.What do you have to say about my bread example above?Then you say : “It’s not so much “how can we help them?” but “how can we empower them to make their own way?”, and the partial answer is with policies.” But I have shown exhaustively that the minimum wage simply knocks the lowest rungs off of the ladder. Yet somehow, they are supposed to climb up. It OUTLAWS the entry level jobs for those of us who have little or no skills. You can’t argue this, but you persist. Again, what would it take to convince you? (Another reminder: I am neither a neo- or “compassionate” conservative)



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Wayne

posted February 13, 2007 at 12:18 pm


Fred you keep saying that you have “shown” us and that nothing you have stated has been refuted. Your example of bread is absolutely correct and absolutely incomplete. There are many things that dictate an economy. The “Law” of supply and demand is one of them. Greed can also dictate an economy. Weather can dictate an economy. Scientific advances can dictate an economy. An Arab oil embargo will effect our economy. A Volcano going off in the South Pacific will effect our economy. A jet plane crashing into a skyscraper will do the same. None of them have to do with the law of supply and demand. All but the Volcano may have to do with the idea of Justice and fairness. If God causes the Volcano to blow even it may be caused by injustice. What you refer to as a Law is merely a principle. It can be bent, broken, abused, or even just overcome, to good effect, or to bad effect, as any other “laws” of this type may be. We regularly overcome the “Law of Gravity” everytime we launch a space shuttle. If what you say is correct then the following must be true. We have a minimum wage. We must also have an oversupply of labor. You say we have such an oversupply but we don’t know about it because the Goverment is skewing the numbers. What you say is at the very least debateble. The following is not. We have 500,000 Mexican nationals alone who entered this country last year. Almost all of them found work at a rate above the minimum wage. More are coming because we have so much work available.Our rate of unemployment is not increasing to correspond to those figures. Since that last statment is true I say you are living in a onesided simplistic economic theory that is not complete nor is it correct. Your theory only works if you take a one sided look at things or a theoretical look and don’t live in the complete reality of the facts. Your just wrong Fred, I do not think you are bad. As a society we need to care for what is fair. The word is in itself nebulous and hard to define. What is fair could be what it takes to live, but that could also be contrued to be naive or utopian and unattainable. I think that is true so I wouldn’t raise the minimum to anything above $10.00. I determine fair to be an inflation adjusted figure based on a mid nineteen sixty dollar. You can argue with my logic on that and I can’t reply other than to say that is my idea. Minimum wage hasn’t ruined us yet, despite what “could have been” or that is “hidden and unseen” and that you can’t prove. If we are careful it won’t ruin us. If we deny the idea of fairness in our economy and in our society that will certainly ruin us.



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Wayne

posted February 13, 2007 at 12:34 pm


By the way if the price of bread gets high enough to buy a bag of gold you and I may not buy as much of it, but we will still buy it. If the bread maker determines that he can make enough money to offset his lower production, he will sell it for the bag of gold and not one penny less. None of the reasons for this occurring, and it has occurred many times in history, have to do with labor costs or price floors. Eventually the “market” will adjust for this, as many of us will die causing the bread maker to go back to business as usual. You and I will probably not be here because we will have died with the rest of the market, but your Law will have proven itself, right? No matter how nebulous, Fairness matters and Justice must be attempted.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 13, 2007 at 12:39 pm


But I have shown exhaustively that the minimum wage simply knocks the lowest rungs off of the ladder. In truth, you have shown nothing, only stated it.



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Julie

posted February 13, 2007 at 7:31 pm


“If you simply resent the money the government takes from you to help the poor then shame on you. If you think just giving money to some charity is enough then you do not know what poverty is like and how pervasive the problems that stem from it are.” Wayne, you obviously have not read all my posts because I made it clear that I am very well aquainted with poverty yet never applied for a dime of government assistance, even when I was homeless. Should I have been bitter and angry that there were rich people living in mansions while I was living in a seedy motel room I could bearly afford and often didn’t know how I would pay the next week’s rent? Should I have coveted my neighbors’ wealth just because I had fallen on hard times? You are the one who seems to be promoting a mentality of resentment and envy. By the way, when we didn’t have enough money to pay our own rent, my husband and I gave $30 to a homeless man we met on the street so he would have a place to stay for the night, and when we were homeless ourselves, my husband gave gas money to a man who was living in his car even though we couldn’t afford to rent an apartment. “If you don’t like the way [our tax money] is spent, do something about it. Help change the system.” I am doing something about it. I have spent the past 15 years of my life actively trying to change the system by attempting to keep our government accountable to the people. I’ve been a member of many government watchdog groups such as the National Taxpayers Union, Citizens Against Government Waste, etc. and have been very active in local/national politics.I am glad you did acknowledge that there are wealthy people who give vast amounts of money to the poor (working for a nonprofit, I have seen this firsthand). Imagine how much more they would be able to give if they could keep more of what they paid in taxes.



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Julie

posted February 13, 2007 at 7:41 pm


“Well, then tell me specifically where those studies come from. The answer will be revealing, as I have enough experience with such organizations that they will quote all kinds of misleading stats to prove their point. Indeed, that’s their function.” I believe one of the journals was “The Journal of Philanthropy” or the “Philanthropy Journal” but I’d have to look it up to be sure. I’d be interested to see the misleading stats you’ve seen in such journals and would appreciate some links when you have the time. Meanwhile, I’ll try to find the links to the studies I’ve read. I know I have them somewhere because I’ve referred to them in the past.



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Julie

posted February 13, 2007 at 8:00 pm


Another source that has documented the link between lower taxes and charitable giving is the Giving USA Foundation.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 13, 2007 at 8:17 pm


Should I have been bitter and angry that there were rich people living in mansions while I was living in a seedy motel room I could bearly afford and often didn’t know how I would pay the next week’s rent? Should I have coveted my neighbors’ wealth just because I had fallen on hard times? I personally have rubbed elbows with some of the richest people in my city, who were also churchmates (and this was at a time when I reluctantly applied for public assistance), and believe me when I tell you I’m not at all envious of them and never was. But you are totally mischaracterizing the nature of what Wayne and I are saying. Since the Reagan years there has been a focus on making the rich and powerful even more so at the expense of everyone else, especially the poor — in effect, class warfare (this I got from a book about the Clintons called “Partners in Power”). As I mentioned, government programs for the poor that actually worked were cut precisely because they worked (as I mentioned, they didn’t want the threat of more liberal/Democratic votes); things like voting, home ownership and community activism help to empower the poor more than anything else. (As I mentioned before, true empowerment of the poor but not according to their agenda is the LAST thing conservatives want — and that’s our beef.) Imagine how much more they would be able to give if they could keep more of what they paid in taxes. Uh — they already pay less per capita than you or I do, in part because of certain tax shelters and other loopholes. I’d be interested to see the misleading stats you’ve seen in such journals and would appreciate some links when you have the time. Meanwhile, I’ll try to find the links to the studies I’ve read. I know I have them somewhere because I’ve referred to them in the past. Most of the studies I’ve heard about come from such groups as the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, both of which skew to the right.



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anon

posted February 14, 2007 at 1:38 am


just checking



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wayne

posted February 14, 2007 at 2:09 am


Julie Being poor once is not enough I’m afraid. Many people become destitute and many recover from it and go on to lead very productive lives. When I mentioned not knowing the realities of poverty I was talking about the generational aspects, the physical aspects, and the psychological aspects. i have also worked with the poor for nearly all my life as a volunteer and in many other roles. I came into it with many of the thoughts you have but I have changed my mind on much. I really do not have a problem with rich people, wish I was one. I just do not believe poverty can be dealt with on and individual or small group level. It requires Government help but that doesn’t mean welfare is the answer just that there is a role for it that must be appreciated. Sometimes I might deal with a young woman or man who has never known a family member who worked, never lived on a schedule, never used an alarm clock. What they do not know is mountanous. Usually they have children at a young age, like maybe thirteen. their mother may be a drug addict so they have no family safety net. They have no job skills. They have no work ethic nor do they understand what a work ethic is. Often the physical abuse is extreme and there are subsequent mental or psychological problems. they may be fetal alcohol and have an attention span of less than thirty seconds. These are the types of pervasive problems I was referring to. I am not picking out the top or worst problems I have seen. I am not talking about an extreme individual. I am talking about many peopple who share all of these problems and more. In my first nineteen years I experienced the death of nineteen children under the age of 18. I am thankful that I also experienced my own changes in attitude and thinking as well. I do not know of any single charity that is set up to handle all of these. No church could do it. Certaily no individual could do it. It requires multiple resources and years of hard work on the part of these generationally poor to overcome their problems. Resenting people for the situation they have been born into just doesn’t work. Telling them to get a job doesn’t work. Charity in the traditional sense doesn’t work Friendship works. Commitment of time and money, works. Long term relationships built on earned trust, dignity, and respect works. But all of what works requires government help and assistance to some degree. The org I volunteer for uses very little government money but it has a head start program. No charity I have ever run into could duplicate the entirety of that program alone, but that program by itself and without all I mentioned above won’t work either.



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Fred Mann

posted February 14, 2007 at 3:19 am


Well, I can’t really justify spending anymore time on this. I have a feeling that literally nothing would convince you guys. But when you have time, just consider one last time the question you have really avoided since day one. I’ll rephrase it a little … and that is, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if we raised the minimum wage to, say, $30 an hour? Note, I am not asking if the wage is fair or anything like that. Just imagine what would happen. If it helps, imagine you are an employer in a BARELY PROFITABLE business (and there are lots of those out there in real life). Then, when you reach the obvious conclusion, ask yourself … is there any difference in the consequences if we lower or raise the wage, OTHER than the DEGREE of unemployment/inflation/business shutdowns that would result? If you can answer “yes”, then write up your results in the form of a working paper and submit it to http://www.mises.org. (the largest economics research site on the web — bigger than the governments BLS and NBER) If you truly believe that the minimum wage is noble, just, and helps the poor, and that you’ve got it all figured out, you will do this. If you don’t then you had best discontinue your advocacy until you are certain you are achieving the desired result (as opposed to the opposite result). I suggest diverting your advocacy to increasing private voluntary charity and doing whatever it takes to reduce scarcity (the root of poverty), even if that means advocating, God forbid, true free-market* reforms (and it does). (*the term “free-market”, by the way, has been highly distorted. I am using it in the literal/original sense. Things like the North American “Free Trade” Agreement” have nothing to do with TRUE free markets)



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 14, 2007 at 4:15 am


But when you have time, just consider one last time the question you have really avoided since day one. I’ll rephrase it a little … and that is, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if we raised the minimum wage to, say, $30 an hour? Note, I am not asking if the wage is fair or anything like that. Just imagine what would happen. If it helps, imagine you are an employer in a BARELY PROFITABLE business (and there are lots of those out there in real life). Frankly, Fred, you’re frustrated because you have not addressed the fundamental question we’re asking: What’s best, really best, for “the least of these”? Is it to allow themselves to be exploited so that some folks can make a few more pennies? I’m exaggerating, of course. As a result, we fail to appreciate how not hiking the minimum wage will cause all that economic hardship for employers, the same bellyaching from the “economic elite” we hear every time the subject is raised — in fact, there never has been any indication that it has happened. If you don’t then you had best discontinue your advocacy until you are certain you are achieving the desired result (as opposed to the opposite result). I suggest diverting your advocacy to increasing private voluntary charity and doing whatever it takes to reduce scarcity (the root of poverty), even if that means advocating, God forbid, true free-market* reforms (and it does). Once again, CHARITY IS NOT THE ISSUE AND NEVER WAS!!! If there were true justice and concern for the poor they wouldn’t need charity. What’s needed is justice so that the poor can make their own way! And part of justice is reallocation of resources so that can happen. What will it take to make you understand that?



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Julie

posted February 14, 2007 at 5:00 pm


For those who had asked, here’s one of the sources I was looking for on the relationship between lower taxes and charitable giving: In the Reagan years, charitable giving rose by more than 25 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars, twice the rate of the previous decade. During the 1980s, after a period of stagnation, new foundations began to be created again, and corporate giving, as a percentage of pretax profits, reached an all-time high (Leslie Lenkowsky, Ronald Reagan Helped Philanthropy, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 6-10-4).I apologize for citing the wrong periodical earlier; it was The Chronicle of Philanthropy, not the Journal of Philanthropy. I have a few other sources I can look for as well, but I didn’t have enough time right now (not that I expect it to change anyone’s mind, but I wanted to be sure to cite evidence to support my position whenever possible).



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 14, 2007 at 5:21 pm


In the Reagan years, charitable giving rose by more than 25 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars, twice the rate of the previous decade. During the 1980s, after a period of stagnation, new foundations began to be created again, and corporate giving, as a percentage of pretax profits, reached an all-time high (Leslie Lenkowsky, Ronald Reagan Helped Philanthropy, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 6-10-4). OK. But where did that money go specifically? That’s the million-dollar question we’re trying to answer here. Besides, as I have argued on this thread, charity is a poor substitute for social justice, which the conservatives who worship Reagan even to this day desperately have always tried to avoid because THEY wanted to maintain authority/control/power. Justice doesn’t always give tax breaks, you know.



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JohnGalt

posted February 15, 2007 at 12:59 am


From what I ve read on this board it seems that the supporters of the minimum wage (and its increases) don t have good arguments in support of it. They seem to be feeling oriented and disinclined to use logic. Perhaps that s why they are ignoring Fred s challenge: Fred Mann wrote: WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if we raised the minimum wage to, say, $30 an hour? Note, I am not asking if the wage is fair or anything like that. Just imagine what would happen. If it helps, imagine you are an employer in a BARELY PROFITABLE business (and there are lots of those out there in real life).This is the real-life situation. When we increase the minimum wage, jobs decrease. People get fired. In this way it produces the opposite of the desired effect. How can we ignore this? Government has no business controlling wages that s a matter for private businesses.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 15, 2007 at 2:30 am


This is the real-life situation. When we increase the minimum wage, jobs decrease. People get fired. In this way it produces the opposite of the desired effect. How can we ignore this? Because what you said is just plain false.



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wayne

posted February 15, 2007 at 12:43 pm


John Don’t just say things like that. Go back to the last time the minimum wage was raised. See what happened to umemployment. If you do this you will see what Rick is saying. Having a good theory isn’t as good as having a just one. I for once agree with Fred. I think w have kicked this dead horse more than enough.



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Fred Mann

posted February 15, 2007 at 3:43 pm


Yeah John, do what Wayne says. But then go and look at ALL of the minimum wage hikes. Note what happened during the 1970′s — a time of aggressive and persistent hikes in the minimum wage. The minimum wage was raised in 1974 from $1.60 to $2.00, a VERY large raise, and unemployment went from 5% to 8%! It was raised again the next year by 20 cents, and unemployment went up to 9%. Uh oh, Wayne …. I wonder what could be going on here. Also, look (yet again) at the Santa Fe study which studied the 2004 city-wide raise to $8.50. It caused unemployment in the exact group I predicted … the least-educated/lowest-skilled. Or, feel free to pick and choose your data and ignore the obvious economic theory which explains it all. This is why the minimum wage supporters STILL refuse to answer the question, “what would happen if we raised the minimum wage to $30″. They already know what would happen and why.



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Fred Mann

posted February 15, 2007 at 3:46 pm


Because what you said is just plain false. Rick Nowlin | 02.14.07 – 9:35 pm See above.



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wayne

posted February 15, 2007 at 4:56 pm


Stepped in that one didn’t I? I see we haven’t kicked this enough. But I remember 1974 and I do not believe you could site anything in the seventies that could be construed so as to blame the minimum wage alone for unemployment. What about the arab oil emmbargo, the end of Vietnam War? What happened with the last hike Fred? (by the way that is a serious question) The economic problems from the seventies through the early nineties were very comlex. I was in banking then and went through the fall of the S and L industry. It seemed to me in large part due to some uncontrolled market forces that finally came to roost but even that would not explain it all. You could blame it on Nixon,Carter,Arabs,Jews,Minimum wage, (I guess),deregulation,reregulation,tax reduction, tax increases,tax shelters, and a good old free marketer who ran the Lincoln Thrift. All would make good logical arguements. Why is yours any better? We already answered the 30.00 question. It wouldn’t be fair. Now do you want me to redefine “fairness” again?



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wayne

posted February 15, 2007 at 5:03 pm


Fred I just had one more thought that might help you understand my thinking. I have a friend who was one of the last children to escape Hitler’s Germany. Her parents didn’t make it out in time and were killed in one of the infamous camps. She recently went back to see her old home in Germany and was invited in to a neighbors house. The neighbor pointed to her old home and told her it belonged to her, not the people who lived there now. If Germany were to make reparations to my friend and all the others who still haven’t been treated fairly could that also cause unemployment? Would it be fair?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 15, 2007 at 8:06 pm


Because what you said is just plain false. Rick Nowlin | 02.14.07 – 9:35 pm See above. Fred Mann | 02.15.07 – 10:51 am | #See what I said earlier about Idaho and Washington.



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Fred Mann

posted February 15, 2007 at 11:55 pm


Rick, So you have a story which *seems* to back up your view. But then you ignore the studies and data that I present to you which shows that the opposite is true. What criteria did you use to make this distinction? Note that early on I pointed out the problems with ALL studies in general, especially those that show simple correlation, but I was lambasted for not having any “proof” of my ideas. So I provided links to hundreds of studies that showed that minimum wage caused job loss in the low-skilled category, and could certainly find hundreds more. But you chose to ignore all that. By the way, Washington State (Seattle) has always been very pricey for quite some time. As I explained in earlier posts various regions can bear different minimums without ill effect, depending on the money supply. That is because the market’s “minimum wage” is already ABOVE the local government-enforced minimum. So … how do you know that Washington wasn’t thriving IN SPITE OF the minimum wage? Unless we have some principles by which we interpret our data, clearly we can find various *CORRELATIONS* that show anything and everything under the sun. i.e. putting bananas in your ear keeps alligators away. I have done this and have not been bitten by an alligator. Is the banana in the ear the reason? Stop picking and choosing your data and answer the question I have asked so many times now.



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Fred Mann

posted February 16, 2007 at 12:26 am


Wayne, I think I answered most of your questions above. If not, feel free to elaborate. Also, please note that I modified my question to avoid the various objections you guys had to it (i.e. fairness). The question is … WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if the minimum wage was raised to $30 an hour right now? I am not saying that it is fair. I am just asking you to imagine the consequences, because it will elucidate the principle. I think an analogy will help…. Over the course of the 1990′s, the price of computers dropped precipitously. At the same time, the total money supply (i.e. money created by the Fed and fractional reserve banking) began to explode. So, we have falling prices AND a massively expanding money supply. Can we conclude from this that expanding the money supply causes prices to fall in the computer industry? NO!!! Increasing the money supply ALWAYS makes prices generally higher than they would have been. More money chasing same amount of goods = higher prices. No study is required to prove this. So … were it not for the expansion of the money supply, computer prices would have been EVEN LOWER (although we can’t know exactly by how much). The key here is to realize that expanding the money supply ALWAYS makes prices higher than they would have been, even if the data doesn’t show it. This is because other factors affect price — i.e. new levels of efficiency can help to lower prices. So, with respect to minimum wage, we KNOW that it has a negative impact on jobs. It can only cause harm to those on the low-end of the scale. Of course, as with inflation, there are all kinds of things which can mask this effect in the data. So again, we must employ reason to differentiate between correlation and causation. This is where the $30-per-hour question comes in…



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Fred Mann

posted February 16, 2007 at 12:37 am


P.S. — the interesting thing about the inflation example is that it is literally impossible to tell by looking at the data that expansion of the money supply has a price-increasing effect. So, without employing any principles, we could easily conclude that expanding the money supply is harmless and may even cause a fall in prices. However, if we understand the economic laws that pertain to inflating the money supply, we know that the conclusion reached from the data is 100% incorrect.



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wayne

posted February 16, 2007 at 2:14 am


Fred This is going to sound like I am being coy here but I am not. It sounds like what you are now saying is that since an increase in the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour is not above the prevailing wage, it will not cause an increase in unemployment. Now basically I said since we haven’t raised the minimum so that it kept pace with inflation, (and I think at least usually that would mean it would be under the prevailing wage) we should raise it to at least 7.25 per hour. Now please correct me if I am wrong here but I still don’t think I get your arguement. It is only wrong sometimes,i.e. when it exceeds the prevailing wage, but in theory it is also wrong all the time because no Government has the right to tell anybody how much they should pay their workers. And fairness has nothing to do with it because whatever you and I agree to is automatically fair. I told yu you would think I am not being honest but I assure you I would like to here you out on this. I must say even your arguement that it costs jobs doesn’t completely wash with me. It is just too simple. For example isn’t it possible to have more dollars chasing more product? Also you just kind of glossed over the oversimplification of job losses in the seventies. I still grant you the point on minimum wage hike in 74 if only on style. good form



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 16, 2007 at 6:05 am


What criteria did you use to make this distinction? I was referring to a specific story I read in the Washington Post a couple of weeks ago. The state of Washington has a higher minimum wage than Idaho, so by your reasoning more business would end up in Idaho. In fact, Washington is booming whie Idaho is struggling. (I read a hard copy so I’d have to search for the specific link — you might find it before I do.)



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John Galt

posted February 16, 2007 at 6:07 pm


Rick and Wayne, you two appear to believe in magical economics. You seem to be under the impression that raising the minimum wage has no effect on unemployment. Logically, that s absurd. Money doesn t appear from nowhere to magically cover costs. In the real world, businesses have a limited budget to spend on employees. That budget doesn t mysteriously increase just because the minimum wage is increased.If an employer can afford to pay three people a maximum of $6/hr. ($18/hr. total), and the minimum wage is increased to $7/hr., what happens? Simple. Someone gets laid off. Why? Because the employer can t afford to pay $21/hr. If he pays two of them $7/hr., only $4/hr. is left over to pay another employee. Since that amount is illegal, nobody can have that job. This isn t complicated. One of the 3 employees will be let go. In my city, it s already happening. Due to the minimum wage increase, Conway s Red Top has closed one restaurant (yes, an entire restaurant everyone got fired!) and reduced the hours open in others. Yes, people got fired, and others had their pay reduced due to fewer working hours. Conway s management estimated that the m.w. increase cost them an additional $180,000 yr. in payroll expenses, and they couldn t afford it. Workers suffered. Other restaurants, namely the Craftwood Inn and Stagecoach Inn, were forced to layoff a number of hostesses and busboys. Nice, huh? All this thanks to government control of private businesses, also known as fascism. This was reported in the Gazette, 12/31/06 issue. This is the real world, and it doesn t matter what you think is fair. This world is very unfair, and will remain so until Jesus returns. As he said in Mark 14:7, For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good. Note that he didn t command government to take from those who have more and give to those who have less. God s way of helping the poor is charity not government force. If the minimum wage had no effect on employment, then, as Fred asked, why not raise it to $30/hr.? Because we all know what would happen, and you two (Rick and Wayne) are not being honest when you deny it. In the real world, a $30/hr. minimum wage would result in massive layoffs and most businesses would go-out-of-business. Try to deny it. It s true and we all know it.



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Julie

posted February 16, 2007 at 7:36 pm


Great post, John! I especially liked your reference to Mark 14:7. Jesus never advocated the use of government power to force people to behave in redeemed ways, yet this is precisely what proponents of minimum wage laws are doing. Ironically, it is often the people who claim to stand for freedom of choice in other areas who would deny it to business owners. In an article in “The Conservative Voice,” Thomas Sowell notes that a number of black civil rights leaders are opposed to minimum wage increases for the very reason that it leads to increased unemployment. He also points out that countries with generous employee benefits mandated by law, such as Germany and France, have chronically higher unemployment rates than does the United States.Here’s one quote from the article: “Since all workers do not have the same skill or experience, minimum wage laws have more impact on some than on others. Young, inexperienced and unskilled workers are especially likely to find it harder to get a job when wage rates have been set higher than the value of their productivity… There is no free lunch. Higher labor costs mean fewer jobs.” Here’s the URL: http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/16813.html



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 16, 2007 at 7:52 pm


In an article in “The Conservative Voice,” Thomas Sowell notes that a number of black civil rights leaders are opposed to minimum wage increases for the very reason that it leads to increased unemployment. He also points out that countries with generous employee benefits mandated by law, such as Germany and France, have chronically higher unemployment rates than does the United States. Quoting known conservative figures and media won’t cut it here — they’re funded and touted by the very “economic elite” who want to maintain the status quo. It’s what I referred to earlier.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 16, 2007 at 7:57 pm


Rick and Wayne, you two appear to believe in magical economics. You seem to be under the impression that raising the minimum wage has no effect on unemployment. Logically, that s absurd. Money doesn t appear from nowhere to magically cover costs. In the real world, businesses have a limited budget to spend on employees. That budget doesn t mysteriously increase just because the minimum wage is increased. Did it ever occur to you that when people make more money they spend more money? Therefore, those business complaining about higher labor costs don’t realize that they might just get the money back. That’s probably what’s happening along the Idaho/Washington border, though I didn’t get a sense of that while reading the story.



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wayne

posted February 16, 2007 at 8:19 pm


John I have never denied that raising it to that level would in fact be wrong, if not stupid. I am not economist, (obvious isn’t it?)I just deny the simplistic thinking of Fred and I suppose you on this. My last post was very confused as I was very tired but I was attempting to ask Fred the following. The gist of your arguement seems to be that as long as the minimum wage is less than the predominant wage it is harmless. The proposed raise is ,I think, less. If that is true why would you be opposed to it, since by your logic it won’t cause unemployment to increase and by my logic it would at least be more fair? You are opposed to all Government help for the poor. Are you also against things like public roads or schools or VA and county hospitals for that matter? Poverty in the end is at least somewhat subjective and you must question any and all Goverment spending on these things if you are to be consistent. If we did so practically no one would agree with you. You and I both benefit from our Government taking from the rich and giving to us in many ways that are a boon to the economy. Probably all of them could be done less expensively than government does. I am sure you could build a freeway cheaper than the gov does, but if you and I as individuals had to do it we wouldn’t have the systems of transport we now profit from. What is fair is hard to know. It involves much more than just an understanding of market forces to come to some idea of it. The Gospels are full of examples of Jesus forgiving tax collectors. We can assume they needed it then and now. I have not ever said that our tax system is fair or right. I just think you are both using simplistic thinking to justify a political stance against Government interference with the economy in general.One of Governments jobs is to protect and promote Justice, that means the Government is right when it attempts to be fair. It does not mean the attempts are right in and of themselves but if a government does nothing to correct an unfair situation it is most probably wrong. Economic “Laws” do not trump social duty.



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John Galt

posted February 16, 2007 at 10:35 pm


Rick, you asked Did it ever occur to you that when people make more money they spend more money?Not always. Sometimes they save it. Ever hear of a savings account? Also, unless the business took in additional revenue that was at least equal to their increased salary cost due to the minimum wage increase, the overall effect would be negative, and they would suffer financially. Even when people spend more, it doesn t flow back proportionally to every business. Poor people (those making minimum wage) don t go to restaurants as often as wealthier people do. Their spending tends to be for necessities; not frills like eating out. Therefore, restaurants suffer disproportionately due to wage hikes. The fact is that people lose jobs when the minimum wage increases. I notice you ignored the fact that restaurants closed and laid off people here in my town because they couldn t afford the increased salaries. Why don t you go tell those people who lost their jobs about your theory? Tell them how well the minimum wage laws work. Oh, and be prepared for them to spit in your face. Erroneous theories hurt real people.



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John Galt

posted February 16, 2007 at 11:19 pm


Wayne wrote: The gist of your arguement seems to be that as long as the minimum wage is less than the predominant wage it is harmless.Eh? I never said that, and I don t believe that it s harmless even when it s less than the average wage. When an employer can t afford the increased wage, jobs are lost. It s that simple. Did you know that Hershey chocolate company is laying of 10,000 people and moving operations to Mexico? Do you know why? Cheaper labor. Yes, the cost of labor (salaries) even determines whether jobs will remain in our country or leave. Salary costs matter, and as pay is forced upward by government decree, jobs die. This is reality. You also wrote: You are opposed to all Government help for the poor. Are you also against things like public roads or schools or VA and county hospitals for that matter?No, I m not opposed to having people pay for services they use. Schools, roads, and hospitals are all things people need and use, so it isn t wrong to make them pay for such things. However, I m against the income tax (I think it s unconstitutional) and if government would limit its spending to constitutionally mandated matters, then tariffs, excise taxes and imposts would be enough to cover costs, as they did before the income tax was ever established. My disagreement is with using government force to make people pay for other people s needs. Government has no business forcing people to be charitable. Charity must be voluntary, as Jesus said. He never commanded government to force people to give. America was never meant to be a socialist nation. The U.S. Constitution wasn t designed that way, and it has never been amended to allow for socialism. There is no constitutional authority for government to take from the rich and give to the poor. When it does so it is acting illegally, and when Christians urge it to do so they are complicit in that evil. We should not urge government to break the law. That produces government lawlessness, and then nobody s rights are safe. This is our situation today, as government routinely does things it was never given rightful power to do. Government lawlessness is a form of anarchy, and that isn t God s way. You wrote: The Gospels are full of examples of Jesus forgiving tax collectors.Yes, and they had even been taking more than they had a right to take; they were stealing. Yet, when people repent, Jesus forgives. To be clear, I m not opposed to just and lawful taxes only unjust and unlawful ones. You wrote: One of Governments jobs is to protect and promote Justice, that means the Government is right when it attempts to be fair… Economic “Laws” do not trump social duty.Yes, but justice and financial equality are two very different things. Although God wants His people to help the poor when they can through voluntary giving, He never mandated financial equality. He never said that everyone must earn the same amount of money or that we must all share everything we own with the poor. God allows differences in wealth and advocates private property ownership, otherwise the commandment to not steal would be ludicrous.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 17, 2007 at 12:45 am


Did you know that Hershey chocolate company is laying of 10,000 people and moving operations to Mexico? Do you know why? Cheaper labor. Yes, the cost of labor (salaries) even determines whether jobs will remain in our country or leave. That is just pure greed, nothing more. Hershey wasn’t losing money, from what I understand; it just wanted to make more, probably to please its shareholders. This is why I said, from the outset, that Wall Street is basically making these decisions. And besides that — with all the high-paying jobs moving overseas, what happens to the housing market? Food stores? Mom-and-pop hardware? I live in an area once renowned for steel, but when the industry went belly-up in the 1970s whole cities became ghost towns. Ever hear of a savings account? Yes — I have two. But I was in the service industry making only a little more than the minumum wage up until about 10 years ago, and beyond rent and household bills I had virtually nothing left to save. The adults also making the minumum are in the same boat. I notice you ignored the fact that restaurants closed and laid off people here in my town because they couldn t afford the increased salaries. Why don t you go tell those people who lost their jobs about your theory? I bet you didn’t talk to them yourself. You probably conveniently forgot that waitstaff and bartenders make most of their money on tips and as such are not subject to minimum-wage laws. What killed those restaurants waw either mismanagement, lousy service or lack of clientele or some combination thereof; wages had little to do with it.



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John Galt

posted February 17, 2007 at 4:18 pm


Rick, when your theories don t work you love to assume that it was for any reason other than that you re wrong. The restaurants said it was due to the minimum wage increase, and I see no reason to doubt them. Of course, you re forced to assume they re lying, because otherwise your argument falls apart. How sad. You re wrong in saying that waitstaff and bartenders don t make minimum wage. They do, only it s lower than the standard minimum wage due to tips being considered part of their salary in Colorado. When the standard one goes up, theirs also increases. As I wrote previously, restaurants are hit hard by such increases, and part of the reason is that their profit margin is low compared to other types of businesses. Do you know for a fact that Hersheys has few minimum wage workers, or are you just assuming that as well? Anyway, my point was that wages affect jobs, including their existence. There s no magical separation between wage increases and job stability. The first affects the second. Julie s posts on unemployment increases after minimum wage hikes were good, although again, you are forced to assume that the unemployment increase wasn t due to the wage hike. You assume much when it favors your position. Perhaps you should be more open to the reality that as the minimum wage increases, some people are fired. Haven t you ever been wrong? Things aren t true merely because you want them to be true. Reality can be harsh.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 17, 2007 at 4:57 pm


The restaurants said it was due to the minimum wage increase, and I see no reason to doubt them. Of course, you re forced to assume they re lying, because otherwise your argument falls apart. How sad. You’re right — I don’t trust them, for reasons I have already mentioned. Also, go to that Washington Post story about the minimum wage and how it’s affecting Idaho and Washington. You need a different view.



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John Galt

posted February 17, 2007 at 6:28 pm


Rick wrote: You’re right — I don’t trust them, for reasons I have already mentioned. Also, go to that Washington Post story about the minimum wage and how it’s affecting Idaho and Washington. You need a different view.Rick, you appear to be so dominated by what you want to believe that you re just not open to reality. You automatically discard all facts which contradict your opinions. This is not a healthy way to think, and it makes reasoning with you nearly impossible. You say you don t trust Conway s Red Top, the Stagecoach Inn, and the Craftwood Inn, for reasons you already mentioned? What reasons ? All you wrote was this: What killed those restaurants waw either mismanagement, lousy service or lack of clientele or some combination thereof; wages had little to do with it.Are you aware that your reasons are pure speculation, with not a shred of proof to back them up? How about giving a reason based on more than just your whimsical opinion? Do you personally know the owners or managers of those restaurants and have good reason to believe that they re all liars? If not, where do you get off calling them liars? How do you know they re not being truthful? As for me going to the Washington Post story, why don t I play by your rules instead? When Julie posted a comment from Thomas Sowell (a man whose articles I read and whom I believe to be honest), you wrote: Quoting known conservative figures and media won’t cut it here — they’re funded and touted by the very “economic elite” who want to maintain the status quo.Well, the Washington Post is a notoriously leftist-leaning publication, funded by people who support big government, so why should anything it prints cut it here ? If you can play that game, so can I.



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John Galt

posted February 17, 2007 at 6:58 pm


By the way, the minimum wage is also part of the status quo, and is supported by the “liberal elite” as part of their socialist vision for America and the world.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 18, 2007 at 5:16 am


Rick, you appear to be so dominated by what you want to believe that you re just not open to reality. You automatically discard all facts which contradict your opinions. This is not a healthy way to think, and it makes reasoning with you nearly impossible. Everyone has an opinion. But I’ve been around businesses long enough to know that often they want to blame everyone but themselves for their plight. The workers can be, and often are, a scapegoat — I was on strike in 1991 because my then-company wanted to rip off the workers even further than it had been doing. Furthermore, we just concluded negotations with my current company, and it’s amazing just how much it was willing to spend to get what it wanted. Are you aware that your reasons are pure speculation, with not a shred of proof to back them up? How about giving a reason based on more than just your whimsical opinion? Do you personally know the owners or managers of those restaurants and have good reason to believe that they re all liars? If not, where do you get off calling them liars? How do you know they re not being truthful? I too know people in the restaurant business and I have an idea about how things work. One of my churchmates, for example, used to run the one of the top jazz clubs in my city but closed it two years ago — it reopened under different management but closed again. He told me EXACTLY what happened. When Julie posted a comment from Thomas Sowell (a man whose articles I read and whom I believe to be honest), you wrote: Quoting known conservative figures and media won’t cut it here — they’re funded and touted by the very “economic elite” who want to maintain the status quo. Because you have to understand how these conservatives work. Years ago they founded think tanks and media basically to spread the conservative “gospel” irrespective of the facts (for further reflection I recommend “The Republican Noise Machine” by former conservative journalist David Brock, who knows this first-hand). By definition anything you hear from a conservative should be checked out — 90 percent of the time it’s flatly wrong or grossly distorted. (As I’m myself in the media, I know what to look for.) If it weren’t for these well-funded right-wing think tanks, Sowell wouldn’t even have a job. Well, the Washington Post is a notoriously leftist-leaning publication, funded by people who support big government, so why should anything it prints cut it here ? Says you — I appreciate its journalistic strength that no conservative medium can hope to match. BTW, a lot of right-wingers still hate the Post for fingering Nixon. As the saying goes, “You have a right to your opinion but not to your own facts.”



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Fred Mann

posted February 18, 2007 at 2:20 pm


Rick, Here is an appeal from the PARENTS of disabled workers protesting Arizona’s new minimum wage (Feb. 4 2007): http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/viewpoints/articles/0204minimum0204wage.html Some quotes from said article: “There are 3,500 Arizona adults with severe disabilities who will lose their work opportunities if we don’t address the unintended consequences created by passage of Proposition 202. ” “Many are physically unable to sit or stand for more than short periods. Some earn as little as 42 cents to $1.12 an hour in the work centers. But for them, this is meaningful employment. It’s their American Dream. They choose to participate in work centers, or we choose for them as their guardians because we know it’s their best option.” “Sixty percent of the people in the middle of this debate, severely disabled individuals in work centers, have productivity levels of 25 percent or less. Many have IQs below 30. Many can’t read, walk or even talk. We’re their parents. We want them to continue to be able to reap the benefits that limited work in a professionally supervised environment provides them.” So are these parents of the disabled workers funded by right wing think tanks? Of course not. But note that this is just more real evidence of the effect of the minimum wage — i.e. it robs employment from those on the lowest end of the scale … employment that they want! Also, you wrote above, ” “Did it ever occur to you that when people make more money they spend more money? Therefore, those business complaining about higher labor costs don’t realize that they might just get the money back. That’s probably what’s happening along the Idaho/Washington border, though I didn’t get a sense of that while reading the story.” This is another economic fallacy. It is another version of the same fallacy stated by Wayne above (sorry Wayne). That is … “Even Henry Ford knew that it was good business to make a car everyone could afford and then pay his workers enough to buy one.” This just makes no sense. If this were true, then why not pay them enough to buy 1000 cars? Then business would really be booming! Do I need to go into more detail as to why this is a fallacy?(not being sarcastic)



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Fred Mann

posted February 18, 2007 at 2:22 pm


Wayne, I’ll answer your questions later, but only if you’re still reading. Lemme know.



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wayne

posted February 18, 2007 at 5:11 pm


Fred I am still here. I am having difficulty with my computer and this blog for some reason and do not always get the new posts.



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Fred Mann

posted February 19, 2007 at 5:55 am


P.S. — Henry Ford paid his workers more because he was having problems with job turnover — no other reason. He was spending time and money training employees, only to have them leave shortly thereafter. Paying his workers more saved him money in the long run!



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 19, 2007 at 1:48 pm


As for the Arizona parents — well, isn’t it interesting how “welfare reform” has affected them as well? Yet another form of exploitation is what it looks like. Henry Ford paid his workers more because he was having problems with job turnover — no other reason. He was spending time and money training employees, only to have them leave shortly thereafter. Paying his workers more saved him money in the long run! And doesn’t that tell you something? That’s the same reason there’s so much turnover in the service industry that pays the minimum wage (as I said, I know this from experience).



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Fred Mann

posted February 19, 2007 at 2:21 pm


“Yet another form of exploitation is what it looks like.” What are you talking about? I literally have no idea.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 19, 2007 at 3:20 pm


What are you talking about? I literally have no idea. My point exactly. Why do you think companies, formerly simply manufacturing but now more and more informational, move their operations overseas? Because in those countries those kind of jobs represent a marked improvement from what they previously had. With that mentality, such companies would and could (theoretically) lay off all their able-bodied workers and replace them with the “disabled” — to save money.



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Fred Mann

posted February 20, 2007 at 12:28 am


“With that mentality, such companies would and could (theoretically) lay off all their able-bodied workers and replace them with the “disabled” — to save money.” Why is “disabled” in quotes? Are you doubting that these people are disabled now? Are you saying that the diabled people in the story are being exploited? Are the parents who are begging the government to remove the minimum wage “in on it”? Do you think someone with an IQ of 25 should be paid minimum wage even if they can’t do a small fraction of what the average worker can do?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 20, 2007 at 4:12 am


Are you saying that the diabled people in the story are being exploited? Are the parents who are begging the government to remove the minimum wage “in on it”? There’s that possibility. Do you think someone with an IQ of 25 should be paid minimum wage even if they can’t do a small fraction of what the average worker can do? You’re obviously exaggerating — someone with an IQ of 25 won’t be working anyway. But why can’t someone who might be “mentally challenged,” for example, be paid like everyone else? That’s where the exploitation might come in.



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Fred Mann

posted February 20, 2007 at 6:10 am


Rick: “You’re obviously exaggerating — someone with an IQ of 25 won’t be working anyway.”From the article: “Sixty percent of the people in the middle of this debate, severely disabled individuals in work centers, have productivity levels of 25 percent or less. Many have IQs below 30. ” You don’t even seem to be glancing at the things I post. That’s pretty rude. Me: Are the parents who are begging the government to remove the minimum wage “in on it”? Rick: “There’s that possibility.” Is this a joke? Are you for real? Rick: “why can’t someone who might be ‘mentally challenged,’ for example, be paid like everyone else?” Because they can’t do the same amount of work as everyone else! Wages are paid in exchange for a certain amount of work. The hourly rate you are paid is in direct proportion to the amount of work you can do in an hour. Do you actually doubt this? Or do you think people should be paid the same amount, regardless of how much or how little they do?



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wayne

posted February 20, 2007 at 2:02 pm


Fred I went to the article it appears to be something like a letter to the editor or an oped. I’m not saying the statistic is wrong, I do not know. It does seem as if these people are basically unemployable unless you can pay them third world wages. I have a hard time understanding that to be the American dream. But lets just say the Arizona law needs to be amended to allow for these work centers. What would stop anyone from paying these workers 42 cents per hour and then raking in huge profits? Your ideas would certainly allow for that to occur. I would guess it already has, The idea that disabled people would be abused is not strange nor that someone would find a way to do it if they had the legal right to do so. If someone cannot produce more than 42cents per hour I would say they need much more than just a job. John and you seem to also be against any government assistance for even individuals like these mentioned with disabilities, prefering that churches and private charities do the job. So the question is: Are you really saying that the ideal alternative to government assistance would be a job paying 42 cents per hour?



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wayne

posted February 20, 2007 at 2:08 pm


Fred I brought up Henry Ford a long time ago. It is a quote from him. I do not know where you got your info. Mine came from his museum in Detroit. I am not saying you are wrong again just clarifying that it isn’t just something some do gooder made up. Henry was, if anything, more in line with your thinking I would suppose. Still he paid a wage to his employees that was above the industry standard, before there was a minimum wage law and though not unscathed, he got through the depression doing so.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 20, 2007 at 3:23 pm


You don’t even seem to be glancing at the things I post. That’s pretty rude. The first time I heard about someone with an IQ of about 30 he was practically unable to take care of himself, so what the article said made little sense. As for the rest of it, Wayne summarizes my feelings.



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John Galt

posted February 20, 2007 at 7:39 pm


Rick wrote: But I’ve been around businesses long enough to know that often they want to blame everyone but themselves for their plight I too know people in the restaurant business and I have an idea about how things work.Sorry, Rick, but that accuse-all way of reasoning won t cut it here. Just because you ve known some restaurant owners who ve been deceitful, doesn t make the owners of Conway s Red Top, the Stagecoach Inn, or the Craftwood Inn, deceitful. You ve given no evidence to doubt these particular people, so you have no right to claim it. They said the closings and layoffs were due to the minimum wage increase, and unless you can come up with something more than your opinion, we have no good reason to doubt them. Again, it s just your opinion masquerading as something more. And if you really think minimum wage increases have no impact on unemployment, why shouldn t we raise it to $30/hr.? Huh? Wayne was honest enough to answer that. Your reason for doubting Thomas Sowell was: Because you have to understand how these conservatives work By definition anything you hear from a conservative should be checked out — 90 percent of the time it’s flatly wrong or grossly distorted.To quote you: Says you. I could say the same thing about liberals (yesterday s socialists). In fact, I will: Because you have to understand how these liberals work By definition anything you hear from a liberal should be checked out — 90 percent of the time it’s flatly wrong or grossly distorted.Although I ve seen distortion of facts on the right, I ve seen it at least as often (if not more) on the left. For example, the true definition of an assault rifle is a rifle that continues to fire as long as the trigger is held down; also known as an automatic rifle or machine gun. Only machine guns can be considered assault rifles. In spite of this, the liberal media, through constant lies and distortions, has convinced the average American that semi-automatic rifles (those which require a separate pull and release of the trigger to fire each round) are assault weapons. The left uses lies and fear mongering to serve its anti-right-to-self-defense agenda. It also supports unconstitutional laws and government agencies whenever such serve its purposes. The EPA, HUD, ATF, and DOE, are all examples of government agencies which have no constitutional right to exist. They re illegal, yet tens (hundreds?) of millions of dollars are stolen from the American people each year to fund them. Illegal taxes funding illegal agencies. How sick. How leftist.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 20, 2007 at 8:54 pm


To quote you: Says you. I could say the same thing about liberals (yesterday s socialists). In fact, I will: Because you have to understand how these liberals work By definition anything you hear from a liberal should be checked out — 90 percent of the time it’s flatly wrong or grossly distorted. Here’s why I said this, and the original context was your scurrilous and flatly libelous — yes, false — charge that the Washington Post is a left-wing newspaper directly funded by people “who support big government,” in response to my absolutely true statement that right-wing media are supported and funded by right-wing activists. (I did the homework.) And that kind of statement is precisely why conservative opinions have no merit with me — the right operates a certain way and is so full if itself it believes that everyone behaves that way when it actually doesn’t necessarily.



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wayne

posted February 21, 2007 at 2:57 am


John So do you think that the ideal alternative to government assitance for these disabled people is private charity and a job that pays 42 cents per hour?



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John Galt

posted February 21, 2007 at 5:20 am


Rick, your double standard is showing. Why is it ok for you to make scurrilous and flatly libelous charges against Thomas Sowell and the owners of Conway s Red Top, The Stagecoach Inn and the Craftwood Inn?? For all you know they may be the most honest people in the world, but you refuse to accept that possibility because it would cast doubt on your position. You make broad generalizations, then proceed to sweep everyone you disagree with into them. You continue to ignore the $30/hr. question, and you re accusations against those parents of handicapped children was unbelievably senseless and self-serving. Fred was right to ask if you were for real. Your bias appears to be impenetrable, and you re forcing me to the conclusion that you re an irrational, emotionally-driven person who can t deal with facts which contradict your beliefs. I might as well argue with a wall.



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John Galt

posted February 21, 2007 at 6:09 am


Wayne wrote: The idea that disabled people would be abused is not strange nor that someone would find a way to do it if they had the legal right to do so.Guess what, Wayne? They re now being abused by the people in Arizona who voted for the minimum-wage law. They ve probably all been fired due to that law. Is that fair? They don t think so, and neither do their parents. What right do people have to make laws which get people fired? I think that s abuse, and I m quite sick of it. For badly handicapped people, it isn t just about the money; it s about keeping busy and feeling needed and fulfilled. That do-gooder law robbed them of that. The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions, and many well-intentioned people keep paving the way year after year. They never see that their desire to control others is wrong, and can hurt people. We need to live and let live, and not force everyone to do things our way. I see the control-freak mentality as being a very serious national sickness in America. We don t seem able to just leave others alone; we want to control how they live by forever making more laws. It s a diseased way of thinking, and is the opposite of freedom.To me the American dream is having the freedom to find my way in the world without government interference; to work hard and make as good a living as I m able, without forcing others to support me. Forcing people to support others is a form of involuntary servitude and is wrong, whether done by individuals or governments. You asked me if I thought that the ideal alternative to government assistance for these disabled people is private charity and a job that pays 42 cents per hour? It s late and I m tired and I ll try to answer that tomorrow.



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Fred Mann

posted February 21, 2007 at 7:09 am


“I went to the article it appears to be something like a letter to the editor or an oped.” Obviously, it is a letter to the editor signed by several parents of disabled workers. They want what’s best for their children. I didn’t think someone would actually suggest that the parents are lobbying for their children to be further “abused”. I *thought* this would be a good approach to take since it is a direct appeal from those who are harmed by the minimum wage. Slam dunk!! I should have known that Rick would consider it a conspiracy, since it disagrees with his world view. Everything that contradicts his view must propaganda “from the right”. All of the parents who object to the minimum wage, must be, according to Rick, part of a secret cabal of industry leaders or something … (again Rick, if Hitler says 2+2=4 , it’s still true right? … or are you now reconsidering the truth of that equation? …)But anyway, if you type: [ arizona "minimum wage" 2007 disabled "3,500" ] into Google, you get 19,100 results. Why don’t you do a little research on your own? I’m sure you could find the report from your favorite source. But here is another article from one of the largest newspapers in the country — the Arizona Daily Sun: http://www.azdailysun.com/articles/2006/12/17/news/state/20061217_arizona_news_76.txt It has the estimate of jobs lost at 3,500-5,000. And that’s just in the “disabled” community. Note that one of the major employers of these disabled workers is a non-profit called the MARC center: “…such as the MARC Center, which employs about 500 workers of varying levels of disability.” They’re so EVIL! Just kidding. But I’ll bet you didn’t consider the non-profits. That is the problem with central planners/ socialists like you guys. You think you know everything and you think you know what’s best for everyone. But then you’re always surprised when the negative consequences start appearing, one after the other. People starve and die under socialism. And that’s the best case scenario where the central planners are good people. If they’re bad people, and they often are, they use government “charity” and other programs to funnel money into their pockets and/or the pockets of their friends. Again, why does your mortal enemy, Wal-Mart, support the minimum wage? Hmmmm…. Next point … “It does seem as if these people are basically unemployable unless you can pay them third world wages. ” Exactly. But this situation can not be changed by legislation. It really is sad that some people are handicapped and can’t perform at the level of the average person. But raising the minimum wage does not remove their handicaps. It DOES, however, remove their jobs. And depriving them of a job does not help them. Again, I’ll make the point I made above: Wages are paid in exchange for a certain amount of work. The hourly rate you are paid is in direct proportion to the amount of work you can do in an hour. Do you actually doubt this? Or do you think people should be paid the same amount, regardless of how much or how little they do? Which brings me to my next point. I can’t help but notice that none of you have answered my basic questions. I ask these questions because the answers illuminate the underlying principles. If you answer them honestly, you WILL see why the minimum wage does not, AND CAN NOT, have anything other than harmful consequences. “What would stop anyone from paying these workers 42 cents per hour and then raking in huge profits?” If a person can only produce 42 cents worth of product in an hour, then the employer will be making zero profit by paying him 42 cents an hour. Is that clear? If so, let’s move to the next scenario. Let’s say the person produces $10 worth of product in an hour, but the employer still pays him 42 cents an hour. Now the employer is making over $9 of profit per hour off of his employee. But what happens now? Well, other employers will pay this same person a higher wage, because they can do so and still make a profit. How much will this person ultimately earn? We can’t know exactly, but it will certainly be somewhere in the neighborhood of his hourly productivity (i.e. near $10). The exact amount he earns will depend on his ability to spot other employment opportunities, market himself (i.e. convey to employers that he is hard-working and dependable, etc), as well as the number of (and vigilance of) local competing businesses who need employees. But rest assured, no underpriced resource, including labor, remains underpriced for long in a free market. If you doubt this, put an ad in the paper to sell your car for $5, and see how long it takes to sell it.”If someone cannot produce more than 42cents per hour I would say they need much more than just a job. ” Of course, but how does taking the job away from them help them? How does making them depend 100% on charity, as opposed to 90% on charity, improve their situation? With respect to the Henry Ford question, I only brought it up to illustrate one of the many economic fallacies brought up in this thread. To recap … “Even Henry Ford knew that it was good business to make a car everyone could afford and then pay his workers enough to buy one.” This just makes no sense. If this were true, then why not pay them enough to buy 1000 cars? Then business would really be booming! Do I need to go into more detail as to why this is a fallacy and why this approach can not be used to justify the minimum wage? I know you guys don’t like to answer these types of questions, but give it a whirl. Again, Ford paid a higher wage because UNDER HIS PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCE, it made sense to. I know this is going to be objectionable to you socialist types … but if paying higher wages was financially beneficial for businesses, you wouldn’t need to mandate it. They would just do it out of self-interest!



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 21, 2007 at 7:17 am


Julie: Partial information is a dangerous thing. You forgot more generous government benefits in Europe, where mobility is higher. Sweden does very fine as a mix economy. As for charities, some heads of, have made the most news worthy stories for wasting the funds on themselves. My brother, the great republican, only loans me money if I bother to ask. I mostly give money away. It is not my business if they waste it, since I cannot control them. I also know poor people refusing unemployment money, which I said to them was just dumb. Fred: I guess you want us all to help keep the morons & unskilled perpetually employed. Just kidding. Actually worked in a temp job with the former, I know a lot of their pay came from charity write-offs. Around here it was rare to find beginning minimum wage jobs. No one would take them. Now more will. I am sure poorer areas are different. A lot of poor can move & do. Must managers make 30X more the average person or executives over 300x? Profit floors are unconstitutional. Kidding again.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 21, 2007 at 1:43 pm


Rick, your double standard is showing. Why is it ok for you to make scurrilous and flatly libelous charges against Thomas Sowell and the owners of Conway s Red Top, The Stagecoach Inn and the Craftwood Inn?? For all you know they may be the most honest people in the world, but you refuse to accept that possibility because it would cast doubt on your position. This is no double standard, believe me — it’s the process involved. You see, in journalism (even commentary) we are required to have at least two independent, distinct sources for every story we publish of which we do not have first-hand knowledge, and we check, double-check and triple-check our work to make sure it’s correct. Conservative media, on the other hand, have never adhered to these standards, nor can it do so in part because the modern conservative movement is so incestuous (quote one and in practice you quote them all), and it is for that reason why I cast doubt on anything a conservative says in the media. Fred was right to ask if you were for real. Your bias appears to be impenetrable, and you re forcing me to the conclusion that you re an irrational, emotionally-driven person who can t deal with facts which contradict your beliefs. I might as well argue with a wall. Similar things were said about me back in the 1980s when I was breathing fire against Ronald Reagan. But back in 2003 someone I knew from those days told me, “Remember what you were talking about that back then? I see where you’re coming from now.” You see, unlike the political right, I don’t care about being dominant or popular right now because ultimately I feel I will be vindicated. The last election should be a sign to you that conservatism, and with it the social injustice it has perpetrated over the last quarter-century, as we know it is on its deathbed.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 21, 2007 at 3:50 pm


Fred: Incidentially, if I remember correctly, they were paid below minimum wage. Also in some states, so were agricultural workers. I do not know what they are now with the fed change.



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wayne

posted February 21, 2007 at 5:28 pm


John and Fred I have not refused to answer any of your questions. The temptation to be right in these blogs can lead people to be awfully evasive though and I am no stranger to that temptation. You are being no less evasive when you side step my last question about your ideal alternative. I actually said the law in Ariz might need to be amended. The bottom line seems to be that you live with a world view that says employers will do the right thing because it is in their best economic interest to do so. The laws of economics prove this to you. Rick and I live in a world where employers can be either selfish or just plain stupid and regardless of economic laws do things that will hurt the economy and the poor. When I said I stepped in it with my statement about the last minimum wage increases I was being a little coy. It actually pointed out the reality that the economy is far more complex that you make it out to be. Any decision on economic policy, even a decision to just let it be, can have negative effects. Sometimes things happen. Our attempts to protect those who are weaker or poorer need to be done not just with the best of intentions but with a high degree of humility as to our ability to choose the right way. Your ideas are simplistic, mathematical and way too concrete. They do not allow for humanity as the one great variable. To say that the employer will pay them more is not to admit they may still not pay them fairly. I am not familiar with Marc but I believe many of these types of organizations are actually franchises. People who own these can make a very good living off of their disabled workers. I do not fault them for that. For you to say they will automatically pay more to a segment of society that both sides of this issue are apt to ignore, (I could cite your “bad” law in Arizona as a case where the other side did so) is just another example where you have been too simplistic. Fairness is not a gauranteed economic outcome. The minimum wage is an attempt at being fair. It is not a perfect idea but because it brings the concept of fairness to the market in a moral context, and not a mathematical one, it is a good thing in my opinion. By the way John, I have voted Republican since I was eighteen. I have been disabled for most of the last twenty years due to illness. I have many friends with children who are disabled. I do not know one of them who would agree with you. I am neither a socialist, communist or a do gooder. I have worked in the non profit arena as a volunteer for many, many years. I do not take any government/welfare assitance. I currently work for less than the minimum wage but have made much more than that in the past. Many times the market can subsidize the rich and allow us to pay far less than economic forces dictate. When we pay agricultural workers in peanuts so that we can have cheap vegtables, we can use market forces, to justify that, I am sure you will do so soon in your reply. These laws you will use to do this do not make paying workers in peanuts right or fair. The fact that if we did pay these workers more we would endure economic hardships does not make it wrong to do it. My father taught me that you do what is right because it is right, not because you will profit from it. If doing the right thing causes you problems, you still should do it. You should do it with all the saavy you can muster but you should still do it. Jim Wallace is right. This is a down payment on justice.



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John Galt

posted February 22, 2007 at 4:00 am


Wayne wrote: John and you [Fred] seem to also be against any government assistance for even individuals like these mentioned with disabilities, prefering that churches and private charities do the job. So the question is: Are you really saying that the ideal alternative to government assistance [for the disabled] would be a job paying 42 cents per hour?I think Fred did a good job of addressing the 42 cents/hr. question, but for me to properly answer you will require a comprehensive explanation. Sorry if I appear long winded, but I need to make this clear as day so that there will be no more confusion. I would appreciate your thoughts after you read and (hopefully) consider my points. In making decisions, I use principles and justice as my benchmarks. I do not believe that the end justifies the means, for that has been the creed of countless tyrants and evil men over the centuries. Even if something is good, there are wrong ways to go about achieving it. For example, in using the term government assistance, you gloss over the means it uses to assist people. You think of it as though it were a good and harmless force. It isn t. Before government can give money to those it deems to be in need, it must first get it from others. If people voluntarily give their money, that s well and good, but then government really isn t needed and charity will suffice. No, people bring government into the picture when they wish to use force against those who don t wish to participate in their schemes. In doing so, they never consider whether or not such force is right. I see three problems with using government force to redistribute the wealth of the people, because it violates 3 principles: First, theft is wrong. It doesn t become right just because government is doing it. Those who believe that governments, by definition, can t steal, are wrong. Any person or group can steal, be they individuals, businesses, or governments. Although it s good to help the poor, it isn t right to steal to help the poor. There s a crucial difference between charity and theft. Second, in a free society like ours, the purpose of government is to protect the rights of the people, including their right to keep the fruits of their labor. The right to own private property is a foundational right in our republic. Without private property, there can be no meaningful freedom in our society. The wealth of people who earn it does not somehow belong to those who don t. I m going to separate the next sentence because it is so important: Forced redistribution of wealth is not an American concept it is a socialist concept. When God wrote: Thou shalt not Steal, He meant it. Nowhere in the Bible does God advocate a socialist form of worldly government, so why should His people? Why do so many Christians assume that socialism is God s way? Charity not government force is God s way of helping the poor. This concept is shown throughout the Bible. Why do so many Christians assume otherwise? Third, forced redistribution of wealth is not only not an American concept; it is a violation of the U.S. Constitution. What amazes me is that so many Christians, while claiming to serve a God who loves justice and opposes covenant breaking, support laws which rob people and violate the covenant between We The People and our federal government? God is a covenant keeper, and His people should be covenant keepers. We should not support government lawlessness. When we do so, we are serving God s enemies, even though we may think that we are doing good. Does supporting the politics of envy and theft honor God? Of course not. You may ask, how is our government breaking the law by forced wealth confiscation and redistribution? Americans instituted government to protect our rights, not to trample them. There are proper limits to government power, and the U.S. Constitution was designed to control and limit the powers of government, in order to keep our freedoms safe. Private property is an integral part of a free society, and our Founding Fathers didn t give government the power to take our wealth except for very limited purposes, which are enumerated (specified) in the U.S. Constitution. The only lawful powers which government has are those which are delegated (given) to it by the U.S. Constitution. When it takes a power which was not delegated to it, it is USURPING that power and acting unlawfully and tyrannically. When that happens, our form of government is changed and our freedoms are in serious jeopardy. Any government with unlimited powers will eventually eat the right of the people, for power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That is happening today. I m not certain, but it may have been George Washington who said: Government, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. When we don t control fire, it consumes the house. We would all do well to take that to heart. Now, ALL legislative power is vested in congress; its powers are listed in Article1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, and if you want I ll list them, but nowhere is it given the power of wealth redistribution. That is illegal. To be clear, it is illegal for congress to make any laws which take wealth from the general population to give to the poor. Charity was never meant to be a government function. In case there were any doubts about federal power, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution were added to make it clear. The Ninth Amendment states that even though the Constitution lists certain rights of the people, they also have numerous other rights which aren t listed. The Tenth Amendment states that all powers which are NOT given to the federal government by the Constitution, are reserved for the states and the people. This means that most powers belong to the states and the people, and are not under federal authority or jurisdiction. It is important to limit federal power because any government big enough to give us everything we need, is also big enough to take away everything we have. When we give too much power to government, as the German people did when they elected Hitler, tyranny can ensue. Out-of-control governments have murdered more innocent people than all the wars in history, and communism played a big role in that. We must never never never trust government to do what s right. Instead, we must be ever vigilant and watch it like a hawk. But now I m ranting. Getting back to the subject, America was not meant to be a democracy, where rights are up for grab by a voting majority. In a democracy, the rights of the minority are never safe. A democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner. Guess who s dinner? Instead, our nation was meant to be a republic, where our individual liberties are not subject to majority vote, but are protected by a constitution. Thus we have the Bill Of Rights and other protections built in to our society. Minimum wage laws (at least at the federal level), although they may be supported by majority vote, are not authorized by the Constitution. On the state level, they violate the first 2 principles prohibiting theft and are contrary to the purpose of government in a free society. Minimum wage laws are the result of our government degenerating from a republic into a democracy. Our Founding Fathers feared democracies and James Madison, who is rightly known as the Father of the Constitution, wrote in The Federalist, No.10:…democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.As our government ignores the constitution and usurps powers it was never meant to have, our rights die, and the minimum wage law is part of this. Here s an interesting quote attributed to Professor Alexander Tyler:A democracy can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates pr
omising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy. Politicians promising the most benefits? Sound familiar? We re there. So, to fully answer your question, yes, I am against any government assistance for even individuals like those mentioned with disabilities, and I prefer that churches and private charities do the job of helping them. That s God s way, and it should be ours.



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John Galt

posted February 22, 2007 at 4:13 am


Wayne wrote: Rick and I live in a world where employers can be either selfish or just plain stupid and regardless of economic laws do things that will hurt the economy and the poor.True; and they have every right to be stupid, selfish, inconsiderate, and and wrong. That s part of being free. Laws will not and can not make people good. Only a relationship with God can do that.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 22, 2007 at 5:48 am


You think of it as though it were a good and harmless force. It isn t. Before government can give money to those it deems to be in need, it must first get it from others. If people voluntarily give their money, that s well and good, but then government really isn t needed and charity will suffice. And here is where you are dangerously wrong. We who flatly reject your premises are also trying to address the idea that people can also be held hostage to the “system” — i.e. health care costs. True; and they have every right to be stupid, selfish, inconsiderate, and and wrong. That s part of being free. Laws will not and can not make people good. Only a relationship with God can do that. You just contradicted yourself big time by saying that while “government theft” is wrong but that businesses should operate as they please even when they harm people. It is not only completely asinine; it is flatly unbiblical and totally beneath someone who calls himself a Christian. To be clear, it is illegal for congress to make any laws which take wealth from the general population to give to the poor. For the hundredth time, this is not about charity — this is about JUSTICE, giving the poor the means to make their own way WITHOUT the government assistance you say is illegal and immoral. But what also is even more immoral is the idea that one class should have all the power, whether economic or political, and the Founders also put THAT into play with such things as the estate tax. I mean, you are trying to justify materialism and pure greed — well, I can smell that “caca del toro” a mile away.



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Fred Mann

posted February 22, 2007 at 12:47 pm


“I have not refused to answer any of your questions.” As a mater of fact, you (and Rick) did. When you initially sidestepped my question by saying that $30 per hour minimum wage wouldn’t be “fair”, I rephrased it by saying “WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if we raised the minimum wage to $30″. This was a vain attempt to get you guys to think about basic principles, which you still refuse to do. “The temptation to be right in these blogs can lead people to be awfully evasive though and I am no stranger to that temptation.” I personally don’t have this temptation. If I don’t know or understand something, I don’t have an opinion on it. It’s that simple. I highly recommend it. “You are being no less evasive when you side step my last question about your ideal alternative.” Personally, I answered that question. You presented a false choice — i.e. either charity or a low-paying job. I responded by saying that one could supplement one’s charity with the job. Most disabled and low-skilled people WANT to do that, but you and Rick won’t let them. This is pure dictatorial behavior … and very harmful to the weakest among us. “I actually said the law in Ariz might need to be amended.” If you think this, then this would be tantamount to admitting that minimum wage causes harm (job loss) to those with little or no skills. I’ll take this as a good sign. “To say that the employer will pay them more is not to admit they may still not pay them fairly.” What is “fair”? You already said you are against a “living wage”, so how do you know if someone is being paid a “fair” amount? Are the disbled people we’ve been talking about being paid a “fair” amount? If not, what happens when we try to force the employers to pay them the “fair” amount? Well, we already know the answer to that — they lose their job! If you were a smart socialist (and you guys ARE socialists – more on that if you want…), you would then force the companies to keep them on the payroll. Then, when the company is about to go out of business because it can’t bear the new higher labor costs, you would subsidize it with the “magic money” of government that comes from … who knows where. Again, people starve and die under socialism. Socialist governments have a hard time delivering even the most basic commodities to the producers. The socialists, just like you, don’t understand why prices exist, what they mean, how they ration scarce resources, and what happens if we ignore them or attempt to manipulate them. This brings me to the other major question that you (and of course, Rick) sidestepped. And that is: Wages are paid in exchange for a certain amount of work. The hourly rate you are paid is in direct proportion to the amount of work you can do in an hour. Do you actually doubt this? Or do you think people should be paid the same amount, regardless of how much or how little they do? Maybe you’ll answer these questions this time? Probably not. I think you guys don’t want to accept the FACT that people are NOT equally talented, intelligent, and motivated. You don’t want to accept the FACT that people’s ability to produce things that other people want ranges from almost zero (or zero in the case of total vegetables) to extremely high. As I outlined in my earlier post, in a TRULY free market (not what we have now), your wages will be bid UP to the maximum level that corresponds to your ability to produce. But anyway, to put it in the form of yet another question … Is it “fair” to pay the same amount to two people, even though one of those people works twice as hard as the other? “The minimum wage is an attempt at being fair. It is not a perfect idea but because it brings the concept of fairness to the market in a moral context, and not a mathematical one, it is a good thing in my opinion.” Unfortunately, your opinion is provably wrong. Even if you have good intentions, YOU ARE USING THE FORCE OF GOVERNMENT TO TAMPER WITH SOMETHING YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!!! And rest assured, you are doing harm. I’m not trying to be mean, but you and Rick do not understand the basics of economics. I’m not saying your not capable of understanding them. But you appear to be almost wilfully ignorant of the basics at this point. And by the way, with respect to a question you raised long ago regarding my “simplistic” approach… First of all, when I pointed out that the minimum wage hike in ’74 led to a huge spike in unemployment, I was merely playing your “game” and showing you how the data didn’t actually agree with your statements (i.e. when you said “look at the last minimum wage hike”), and how the data *seems* to tell two different stories. Then I explained how and why we needed to use scientific methods to understand the seemingly contradictory data. That is, we need to go beyond correlation and seek to understand CAUSATION. We can do this with respect to the minimum wage. All we need to do is understand the UNIVERSALLY true axiom — higher prices of a good lead to less of that good being demanded, ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL. Of course other things CAN effect unemployment. For example, if lots of people come out of retirement, that can mask the job-killing effects of the minimum wage. But ONLY (and this is key) in NET unemployment figures. If we know where to look, then we can truly see if the data backs up our claims. We need to look inside the NET figures, and focus on the various categories — i.e. low-skilled workers, and teenagers. Here we find the predicted result every time. A final random observation: You seem to think that the ideal policy is one that doesn’t cause unemployment to rise. But is this really the best we can do? No. We should aim for falling unemployment and the goal should be to get it as close to zero as possible. Outlawing jobs (which is the intent of the minimum wage) certainly doesn’t do this.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 22, 2007 at 5:04 pm


Before we continue to get all bent out of shape, let’s all look at the big picture for a moment. The real issue were talking about is not really the minimum wage; the concern is three synonymous words: Authority, control and power, and who wields it and for what purpose. And since this is religiously-themed blog, let me tell you what I believe the Bible says about work and wealth. First, it is advisable wherever possible to work, not simply to earn a living and support a family but also because (for men especially) to have a sense of purpose. The Scripture says that a man who claims to be a Christian but is derelict in taking care of business at home is “worse than an unbeliever.” That said, I also believe that people should receive reasonable compensation for their work, and there is Scriptural justification for that view. No worker should be or feel exploited by his/her employer, that he is simply a “tool” to be used up and discarded at someone’s whim. That is especially the case because Roman society at the time of Christ had that very mentality, and He calls us to be different. Further, the Scripture also contains many admonitions to the wealthy. Now, it’s clear there is nothing specifically wrong with being rich, but Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” I believe one reason for that is that many rich people believe that they are somehow “entitled” to hold on to their wealth, not recognizing that God allowed them to accumulate it for some purpose. The book of James also makes it clear that there exists such a thing as “class warfare,” with the rich using their financial and social power to declare war on the poor (and in that he is echoing the prophets Isaiah, Micah and Amos) and it was happening at the time, even in a “godly” society. I also believe that government exists to punish and restrain evil and to administer justice for all people in its particular locality and not just to allow me to maintain my status or possessions regardless of my rank on the economic totem pole. That said, it is my contention that conservative ideology (or any other pure ideology) is fundamentally incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Who is calling us not simply to “salvation” but into a new community with different rules and a different mindset from the rest of the world. In such a community it is insufficient for the rich to give “charity” to the poor, good as that is — it also behooves us to adjust systems that keep certain people subservient. That is why the civil rights movement (which, BTW, began in the black church) proved a legitimate expression of the Gospel in action. Now, many African-Americans in the South actually lived fairly comfortable lives under segregation, but they were denied the right to vote and access to quality education, among other things. I note with irony that many of the same people who opposed the civil rights movement also oppose any form of political help for the poor — and I suspect it’s because they need someone to look down upon. I am not saying that God endorses minimum wage laws, but He does endorse structures that allow people to better themselves. To call this the “Robin Hood” mentality is disingenuous at best and blasphemous at worst. As I said, we Christians are called not simply to give from out of our financial wealth but also whatever authority we may have. I attend a church where this principle is consistently practiced. We actually do more for the poor in our community than almost any church in our city; we give away more money than is in most other churches’ budgets and support a health center and urban ministry. Yet we also register people to vote and encourage them to do so, recognize and pray for church members who are political leaders and several years ago even laid hands on the then-mayor of the city! We thus recognize that there is a political dimension to poverty and work to remove barriers to full involvement. I cannot believe that Fred and John can oppose these reasonable principles.



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John Galt

posted February 22, 2007 at 7:02 pm


I wrote: True; and they have every right to be stupid, selfish, inconsiderate, and and wrong. That s part of being free. Laws will not and can not make people good. Only a relationship with God can do that.Rick replied: You just contradicted yourself big time by saying that while “government theft” is wrong but that businesses should operate as they please even when they harm people. It is not only completely asinine; it is flatly unbiblical and totally beneath someone who calls himself a Christian.Rick, you seem to have a very hard time thinking clearly. I didn t contradict myself at all, because there s a fundamental difference between my 2 statements which should have been obvious to you. Let me explain clearly so that you will (hopefully) understand. My 1st statement: government theft is wrong. My 2nd statement: and they [employers] have every right to be stupid, selfish, inconsiderate, and and wrong.The difference? Theft is ILLEGAL, but being stupid, selfish, inconsiderate, and wrong ISN T. Theft SHOULD be illegal, but to make a law against being stupid, selfish, inconsiderate, or wrong would be ludicrous. Everyone in the nation would, in a very short time, be guilty of breaking such a law, including cops and judges. Nobody s perfect, and the whole nation would end up in jail. That would be a sight to behold. So, I stand by my statement that theft is wrong, and I also stand by my statement that employers (all people, actually) have a right (since it isn’t illegal) to be stupid, selfish, inconsiderate, and wrong. My statements were neither asinine nor unbiblical. Will you apologize, or embrace your error?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 22, 2007 at 7:27 pm


Theft SHOULD be illegal, but to make a law against being stupid, selfish, inconsiderate, or wrong would be ludicrous. Everyone in the nation would, in a very short time, be guilty of breaking such a law, including cops and judges. Nobody s perfect, and the whole nation would end up in jail. That would be a sight to behold. When your stupidity, selfishness or lack of consideration for other people affects them negatively, you better believe there should be laws. In fact, that’s why we have them in the first place. My statements were neither asinine nor unbiblical. Will you apologize, or embrace your error? No, I’m not going to apologize, because your statements were indeed asinine and unbiblical irrespective of what you personally may want to believe. You, on the other hand, are talking out of both sides of your mouth, and I can’t respect that.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 22, 2007 at 7:49 pm


Fred: Doing harm to some, doing good to some. You cannot have it one way.



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John Galt

posted February 22, 2007 at 7:53 pm


Well, embracing error does seem to be your forte, so I can t say I m surprised.



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wayne

posted February 22, 2007 at 8:20 pm


John Why do you drive on public roads that are built with confiscatory taxes? Why do you enjoy food that is harvested by poor people who are not paid what their labor is worth? Are you living in a log cabin deep in the forest and growing your own food? We are a society and as a society we have responsibilities to one another. ONE WAY THAT IS DONE IS WITH CHARITY. Another way is through the government and for the same reasons we have public roads. Some things have to be done on a scale no private institution could handle. It costs us and we can debate how much it costs and how our taxes are used. We should not debate whether there should be taxes for it. I am afraid that leaves us open to doing somethings that may be ill thought out or out right hairbrained. Your complaining about it makes you, at the very least, look selfish and certainly overly dogmatic. If all you want is to evade public responsibility and taxes, in the name of freedom and or personal responsibility, I am afraid you will have to go to hell to find your refuge. I am not being sarcastic with that last statement. It is just simply true.



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John Galt

posted February 22, 2007 at 9:09 pm


A morbid curiosity compels me to see just how far Rick is willing to take his line of thought. Ok, Rick, since you want a law against being stupid, selfish, inconsiderate, or wrong, here s my scenario: Congress outlaws stupidity, selfishness, inconsideration, and wrongness. President Bush is arrested for being wrong about the WMD. His advisors and some of his cabinet are arrested for telling him they existed. All congressman who voted to invade Iraq are jailed, since it was very inconsiderate of them. Ask any Iraqi. All congressmen who voted against it are arrested as well, for selfishly opposing what s best for America and being inconsiderate of our defense contractors, who need the work. Crap, now I m arrested for trying to set you straight about politics but being too inconsiderate while doing so and hurting your feelings. You snicker at this and offend someone who agreed with me. They report you. You re arrested, and are interred in a cell next to mine. We become friends .snarrrkk! Well, it could happen no? I express my displeasure with this new law to you, and you are offended again and accuse me of being inconsiderate. I m put in solitary confinement. I curse your name. They chain me to the wall… You discuss politics with President Bush, who is in a cell next to yours. You offend him. You join me in solitary. Good now I can really express my feelings. Everyone who voted for the minimum wage laws is jailed, because some innocent people were fired because of those laws, which affected them negatively. Everyone who voted against the minimum wage is jailed as well, because, heck, they were obviously being selfish and intended harm to poor people. It is found that Most judges and cops and lawmakers and bureaucrats have been wrong at times, and have inadvertently hurt people. They are jailed. All mothers-in-law are jailed, because, well, talk about being inconsiderate! On and on it goesFinally, the entire nation is in jail, except for Mother Theresa, who s dead. But finally, thankfully, gloriously, we ve achieved justice.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 22, 2007 at 10:11 pm


Well, embracing error does seem to be your forte, so I can t say I m surprised. Yet another problem I’ve noticed with conservatives over the years — they project their attitudes onto other people. If I disagree with you I’m automatically wrong, right? Well, guess what? Those days are over.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 22, 2007 at 10:20 pm


President Bush is arrested for being wrong about the WMD. His advisors and some of his cabinet are arrested for telling him they existed. Can you say “impeachment”? The right wing of the GOP tried to nail Clinton for far, far less. Crap, now I m arrested for trying to set you straight about politics but being too inconsiderate while doing so and hurting your feelings. You snicker at this and offend someone who agreed with me. Oh, you as a person don’t offend me at all. The problems are, and always have been, that your worldview is seriously defective and that I offend you by even saying that. Frankly, it is not in my power to convince you otherwise, so I let that go. It is found that most judges and cops and lawmakers and bureaucrats have been wrong at times, and have inadvertently hurt people. They are jailed. Not funny in the least — ask any African-American who has been stopped by a cop for no good reason. About a dozen years ago one even died in police custody here.



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John Galt

posted February 22, 2007 at 10:34 pm


Wow – you actually appear to agree that such a law against stupidity, selfishness, inconsideration, and wrongness would be good. So many people you dislike would be jailed. You continue to amaze me.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 22, 2007 at 10:52 pm


Wow – you actually appear to agree that such a law against stupidity, selfishness, inconsideration, and wrongness would be good. So many people you dislike would be jailed. I didn’t say that — it’s just that the effects of such things should be considered illegal on a case-by-case basis. That’s not at all “amazing”; you do it all the time (think traffic laws). Do you see why I consider your stance hypocritical?



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John Galt

posted February 22, 2007 at 11:19 pm


Ok, then the people in Arizona who voted to pass that minimum wage law which got those handicapped people fired, should be jailed. Case by case, harm was done to the innocent, off they go to lockup. I like it.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 23, 2007 at 12:16 am


Ok, then the people in Arizona who voted to pass that minimum wage law which got those handicapped people fired, should be jailed. Case by case, harm was done to the innocent, off they go to lockup. I like it. Ha, ha, ha — you know full well that’s not who’s really innocent here.



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John Galt

posted February 23, 2007 at 1:14 am


Huh? By voting for a stupid law, innocent people were really hurt. By your reasoning, those responsible should be punished. Or, are you feeling another onset of your double standard?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 23, 2007 at 2:03 am


Huh? By voting for a stupid law, innocent people were really hurt. By your reasoning, those responsible should be punished. Or, are you feeling another onset of your double standard? I don’t believe in double standards, despite your accusations. I also don’t believe that the rich should benefit at the expense of the poor — which apparently you do. But seriously — is there anything wrong with people on all sides working together for the common good? Why does it always have to be one side against another to try to get the upper hand? Or does that, to you, represent the dreaded “S” word?



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John Galt

posted February 23, 2007 at 6:16 am


Work together, Rick? Sounds good in theory, but I m not sure how to make that work. You like using the brute force of government to bend people to your will and achieve your ends, while I want to live and let live, with minimal government interference in people s lives. I thought Reagan was one of the best presidents we ve had in decades, and you hated him. So, how can we work together? I m willing to listen.



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John Galt

posted February 23, 2007 at 6:24 am


Wayne, I put much time and effort into answering your question thoroughly, and you ignored all of my reasons and principles. Is that the best you can do?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 23, 2007 at 3:55 pm


Work together, Rick? Sounds good in theory, but I m not sure how to make that work. You like using the brute force of government to bend people to your will and achieve your ends, while I want to live and let live, with minimal government interference in people s lives. No — that’s totally your perception and one thing you have to break through. Most people know full well that laws can change only so much, but with your approach you seem to want to wait for a more “convenient” way to go which costs you basically nothing, and that is the main weakness of the “compassionate conservative” approach. But as Martin Luther King Jr. said when he was told to “go slow,” “The time is always right to do right.” There was no practical way to end segregation without changing laws, and some of the things that keep people in poverty are likewise political; “liberals” understand this while conservatives often still fight it. As I said, the real issue here is power — who makes the decisions to benefit whom. I thought Reagan was one of the best presidents we ve had in decades, and you hated him. And I do not apologize for that, because where I live the economy was devastated because of his economic principles. Not only that, as I said before, he cut specific programs that actually benefited people because the ultimate beneficiaries certainly wouldn’t vote conservative (if they voted at all). In the black community, and I am myself African-American, Reagan is probably the most despised political figure ever, not least because he disdained King. This is where conservatives, who in my experience are barely even aware of dissenting views, need to reach out to people who think differently and not try to force their ideology and worldview down others’ throats. Many of us really do believe that modern conservatism has some serious flaws that need to be addressed, but the right has consistently attacked, and in some cases (e. g. Bill Clinton) tried to destroy, those who don’t accept it and arrogantly believes that it’s always right. That kind of mentality is precisely why we’re bogged down in Iraq right now. Real agape love, the kind Jesus talks about, can and often does mean sacrifice — of money, power, position, whatever is necessary in order to lift up others. The basic premise of “supply-side economics,” on the other hand, actually worked backwards because the thinking was that if business could operate more freely the economy would grow — which didn’t happen because it evolved into “bottom-line economics” with no concern for how it affected others. An indirect victim was a major employer in my area, which eventually got caught up in the speculation craze in the 1980s. So what does this have to do with the minumum wage debate? Well, to take it full circle, I would say that management would have to be willing to take a little less money in order to “do right” by their employees. In America this is considered heresy, I know, but as Christians we need to adopt and argue for Kingdom values even when doing so hurts — at first. If we would do this voluntarily we wouldn’t need the “heavy hand of government” to force change. This is why I have said from the outset that the issue was justice, not charity.



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John Galt

posted February 23, 2007 at 4:18 pm


So many words, and still you have not told me how we can work together.



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HASH(0x117444c0)

posted February 23, 2007 at 5:09 pm


So many words, and still you have not told me how we can work together. Nor do you truly want to know because, after all that, you still want to set the agenda and determine the process, which I suspected all along. That was my point — the right wants all the authority to do whatever it wants at the possible expense of everyone else, and that is the very heart of the problem.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 23, 2007 at 5:11 pm


That last post was mine.



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John Galt

posted February 23, 2007 at 5:12 pm


Is that you Rick? Are you Anonymous?



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John Galt

posted February 23, 2007 at 5:24 pm


Rick, you d be a fascinating study in mental health deviation. You re amazing. Here s the thought progression in your mind: 1) You say you want to work together with me 2) I ask you how 3) You rant about politics 4) I point out that you haven t answered the question 5) You reply with: Nor do you truly want to know because, after all that, you still want to set the agenda and determine the process, which I suspected all along. Every time I think you ve reached the limit of flakiness, you outdo yourself.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 23, 2007 at 5:43 pm


John, that is the kind of arrogant insult that keeps otherwise reasonable people from working with the political right — and also why this Sojourners’ blog exists in the first place. As I keep saying, you need to change your thinking in order to get what I’m saying, and since you refuse to do I don’t know what else I can say or do. That said, there is no one “program” that can put people together. You just have to recognize that others have different approaches to the same problem.



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wayne

posted February 23, 2007 at 6:01 pm


John I have mentioned I am having some problem with posting on this site. It goes on. I have not tried to just ignore your thoughts and the time you put into them. I think it comes down to this. If I were to agree with you completely it wouldn’t change the reality. If we paid everybody strictly according to how much they produced; If we all paid our fair share through private charity. If employers always paid the most they could to their empoloyees and still remain prfitable; If all our neighborhoods were full of Good Samaritans who watched out for those who were hurt by accidents of birth; If people didn’t take advantage of each other’s goodness and all charitable works had their intended outcome; If we all saw that war was economically not in our best interest. If other countries didn’t use their taxes to bolster their industries to compete with other’s, If there were no countries who controled both ends of the market place, production and distribution, as we do with plantations in South and Central America, or if they refused to arbitrarily control those markets; If racism and classism did not keep sharecroppers down and allowed their vote to make a difference and their lives to reasonably profit from their hard work. “If If If” You can demonstrate all day long that your economic principles are correct. Reality states that justice is not going to be achieved through your ideas. That is what Rick is trying to get you to see. You just won’t admit he even has a point. Because of reality your ideal is unobtainable and will in fact result in evil. You choose the path that says if we all just let the market work everybody would be fine. It never has happened and it isn’t going to happen, and even if it did happen the evil in men would pervert it. The status quo will remain and Justice or fairness will not be achieved. Therefore we have to defend the principle of fairness even as we live in an unfair world where, unfortunately, government must at times force us to do things. Sometimes you benefit, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes the benefit achieved is not the optimal one that could have been achieved if everybody just did the right thing. So Fred can tell me computer prices would have gone lower and, I am truly sorry but it doesn’t matter. The minimum wage remains “a” down payment on justice just as Wallace said it was. It is not the foundation of justice, which you keep trying to portray as being my position. I am not saying your thinking is wrong I am saying it is simplistic. I wish it were as easy as you say. Wouldn’t that be nice!



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HASH(0x117482a4)

posted February 23, 2007 at 6:12 pm


Wayne — Thank you. You see, there’s this little problem called “sin” that is always a factor when dealing with humans and that screws up even the best solutions.



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John Galt

posted February 23, 2007 at 7:14 pm


Wayne, I can certainly relate to computer problems. I ve had my share of them and am still having some (I can t open e-mail attachments or download new programs). Could be a virus. Anyway, you ve posted twice since my long reply to your question in my post of 02.21.07 – 11:05 pm, yet you ve continued to ignore the principles I outlined by which I come to conclusions and make decisions. You ve also not dealt with the points I made in my post of 02.21.07 – 1:14 am. So, I guess I ll just wait until you get around to it. You will, right?



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Julie

posted February 23, 2007 at 7:39 pm


“John Why do you drive on public roads that are built with confiscatory taxes? …We are a society and as a society we have responsibilities to one another. ONE WAY THAT IS DONE IS WITH CHARITY. Another way is through the government and for the same reasons we have public roads. Some things have to be done on a scale no private institution could handle.” But even in those cases (such as those involving our infrastructure), there are ways to fund them without using confiscatory taxation. For instance, when you talk about funding public roads, you are probably referring to excise taxes, such as the gasoline tax that funds our highways, in which a person is taxed on an activity he participates in or a purchase he makes. This is not confiscatory taxation, which involves taking the money by force or threat of force. An example of confisactory taxation would be property taxes, where homeowners (including the elderly living on fixed incomes) can have their homes seized (i.e., confiscated) if they cannot pay the tax. In the case of the gasoline tax, a person isn’t really being forced to pay the tax the way a homeowner is. If someone wishes to avoid an excise tax, he simply forgoes the activity or purchase. Sometimes this can be inconvenient, but it can conceivably be done (for example, if someone doesn’t want to pay the gasoline tax, he can take public transportation, walk, or ride a bicycle).This is the reason our founders set up the Constitution so the government’s primary functions would be funded through excise taxes rather than direct (capitation) taxes, such as those on wages. Sorry I haven’t been able to keep up on all the posts to this topic. I know I’ve probably been remiss in replying to some people, but I just don’t have the time to read everything on this thread. And John, I loved your post about the law against stupidity, etc. The mental image of you and Rick sharing a cell had me laughing out loud!By the way, “Who is John Galt?” :)



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John Galt

posted February 23, 2007 at 8:31 pm


I m glad you liked that post I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. And that s the kind of nonsense Rick s law against stupidity, selfishness, inconsideration and wrongness would lead to. He seems unable to follow a line of thought to its logical conclusion. I even pointed out how such a law would require that those who voted for the minimum wage law in Arizona be prosecuted, for that law really hurt people. Yet, Rick s double standard disallows his acknowledgement of error when it s the left doing it. When conservatives do it, he s all over them. His double standard is quite boorish. Anyway, I m glad someone finally recognized the name. All readers need do is type Who is John Galt? into a search engine to find out more.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 23, 2007 at 8:43 pm


But even in those cases (such as those involving our infrastructure), there are ways to fund them without using confiscatory taxation. No, there isn’t, most of the time. Everyone uses public streets, for example, and to limit the payment of such by “user fees” ensures that nothing will be built or, as important, maintained. And besides that, there is a Scriptural mandate to pay taxes when due, and it doesn’t matter to whom or for what purposes. (Though I am sympathetic, I do not believe in withholding taxes to avoid paying for what peace activists would call the “war machine.”) You see, people who oppose the idea of taxes are movitivated by just plain ole selfishness, and I won’t budge on that. They really do think that life is all about them and that anyone who makes a claim on their money, property or whatever for the public good is by definition an “enemy.” That’s not a Biblical way to operate because it leads to resentment of those who don’t have.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 23, 2007 at 8:47 pm


John — Your whole worldview depends on double standards, on which I already have elaborated. So I don’t want to hear it.



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wayne

posted February 23, 2007 at 9:00 pm


Julie John Galt is a character you and Fred would love as does John evidently. His ideas, or rather the ideas of his creator Ayn Rand would, like John’s, work well in a perfect world where everybody conformed to those same ideas, much like Communism might work if everybody conformed to the ideas of Jesus or, that Christianity itself would if the same were true. In the meantime we must deal with what is and I guess continue this discussion. My point on the roads is not just that they are built by taxes but that somethings must be done by Government. You, not just the poor, benefit in this way from taxes. Not all roads are built just from excise taxes. Some are built with property taxes which is the case with freeways and public transportation where John lives in Arizona. If the same is true where you live I also must guess that you actually ride a bike through the untax provided air instead of the publically built sidewalks or streets. It is either that or you ride a bike so that you can escape paying any tax that the Government wants to force you to pay thereby getting your road for free. Yes John I posted without replying directly to your question. I do not always seem to be able to get the refresh button to work and also have some difficulty getting my answers to be accepted. Many times things I have written have just been lost in this. Sorry. Often I have attempted to reply in general as I do not want to continue going over old ground. If you want to argue economics I will concede the ground. If you want to talk about the realities we can continue to discuss the matter. In theory almost anything works. In theory.



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John Galt

posted February 23, 2007 at 9:00 pm


Bullcrap, John. Show me where or shut up.



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John Galt

posted February 23, 2007 at 9:04 pm


Oops – I meant Rick.



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John Galt

posted February 23, 2007 at 9:11 pm


Wayne, capitalism actually works in practice, and communism doesn’t. We here in America go to grocery stores and find our shelves loaded with everything we could want, and as much of it as we want. In communist countries, however, lines into supermarkets are long, there is little variety, and not much quantity. So, try to be fair.



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HASH(0x1174f988)

posted February 23, 2007 at 9:11 pm


Bullcrap. Show me where or shut up. Remove your biases and go read my earlier posts, then figure it out — almost everyone else who is not right-wing can. As Wayne has said, you don’t live in the real world, which most of us have to.



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John Galt

posted February 23, 2007 at 9:27 pm


I did read your earlier posts, and you failed miserably in your attempt to show any double-standard on my part. Your reasoning was seriously flawed, as I explained in my post of 02.22.07 – 2:07 pm. I, on the other hand, have pointed out numerous times where you were using a double-standard, and you never successfully refuted any of them.



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John Galt

posted February 23, 2007 at 9:42 pm


If you want some examples, Rick, just off the top of my head, there was your mindless attack on Thomas Sowell (simply because he is a conservative), your mindless attack on the owners of those restaurants which were hurt by the minimum wage law, and your unbelievably mindless attack on the parents of those handicapped children. All examples of your hypocrisy or double-standards.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 23, 2007 at 9:55 pm


I did read your earlier posts, and you failed miserably in your attempt to show any double-standard on my part. Exactly my point — your bias is so telling you won’t see it. But everyone else sure does. If you want some examples, Rick, just off the top of my head, there was your mindless attack on Thomas Sowell (simply because he is a conservative), your mindless attack on the owners of those restaurants which were hurt by the minimum wage law, and your unbelievably mindless attack on the parents of those handicapped children. Again, that’s where your bias is showing. I did not “mindlessly attack” anyone, thank you very much. I did say, however, that anything you hear from Thomas Sowell or any other conservative in any conservative medium should be taken with a grain of salt because they simply don’t do the necessary reporting involved. And in fact, that’s the reason few conservatives get published — fewer than before, as a matter of fact — in mainstream media; they often make assertions that have been proven either completely baseless, based on distortions or just plain false. I stand by that, and if you want to call it an attack that’s on you. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?



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wayne

posted February 23, 2007 at 11:07 pm


Yes lets all look up John Galt on the internet and just see what he (or should I say Ayn Rand and therefore John) really thinks. the following is an excerpt from the famous speech Ayn Rand put into her characters mouth.”Twelve years ago, I saw what was wrong with the world and where the battle for Life had to be fought. I saw that the enemy was an inverted morality and that my acceptance of that morality was its only power. I was the first of the men who refused to give up the pursuit of his own happiness in order to serve others.To those of you who retain some remnant of dignity and the will to live your lives for yourselves, you have the chance to make the same choice. Examine your values and understand that you must choose one side or the other. Any compromise between good and evil only hurts the good and helps the evil.”Now perhaps this sounds good to you as it obviously does to this current John, but lets be logical. What about in time of war? Does this philosophy work? Am I, in battle, to live by this creed? Life is also a battle and we are brothers. We have to be about our brother’s business and Julie that is not just individuals, every society has its own burden to bear. John you would preach this to Rick who is the child of slaves? You don’t think he knows about market forces? You would dare to preach this to an African American who lives in Mississippi or any other southern state today? How would you dare preach this? Because it’s logical? I don’t think you understand the limits of logic. You live in a white man’s dream world and I for one cannot help but understand all of Ricks words to you and echo them, “Bull Crap!” Ayn Rand lived her life in bitterness over the Communist take over in Russia and her family’s fall from its position in that long ago world. Never once did she own up to the evils that the wealthy of her class perpetrated on the serfs and lower classes of Russia. Eventually Russia succombed to Communism and paid dearly for their centuries of Aristocratic evil. Any society that follows her way today will eventually meet the same fate. That John, is a Law! I have often wondered if Ayn met the same fate as the rich man in Jesus parable, asking for some poor man to dip his finger in water. That would be another definition of “Fairness” I suppose. Your theory’s are both elegant in their simplicity and foolish.



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wayne

posted February 23, 2007 at 11:13 pm


I left out the best part of John Galt’s creed. Here it is. Does it really exemplify your thinking? “The world will change when you are ready to pronounce this oath: I swear by my Life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man,nor ask another man to live for the sake of mine.” Only someone like Ayn Rand could use logic to make ignobility sound like its opposite.



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John Galt

posted February 24, 2007 at 1:06 am


Gee, Wayne, you seem to be posting profusely now. Yet, you’re still ignoring the principles I explained in my comprehensive post to you. will you continue to claim that you are “unable” to reply to that post? Please deal with the issues of theft and violations of the U.S. Constitution. Unless, of course, such things are ok with you, at least when done for the poor? Logic may have limits, but I see you’re also avoiding the moral problem when theft and covenant breaking are used to help the poor. Don’t you have a problem with that? As for Rick being black, he was never a slave and I doubt his parents were. So lets stop pretending his blackness somehow makes him right.



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John Galt

posted February 24, 2007 at 2:08 am


Really, Wayne, you’re not being fair to me. You keep ignoring the issues I raised, yet you keep bringing up new issues. Am I supposed to deal with the new issues before you deal with the old? To be clear, my positions and principles are not based only on logic. They’re based on biblical principles (How does the Bible say to help the poor?) and moral principles as well.



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Julie

posted February 24, 2007 at 3:28 am


“The world will change when you are ready to pronounce this oath: I swear by my Life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man,nor ask another man to live for the sake of mine.” Wayne, as someone who conceivably believes in free will (I hope that as a liberal you at least believe in free will), how can you possibly disagree with this statement? Do you honestly believe that people should be forced by government to live for the sake of others? Should you force another man to live, work, and toil for your benefit? Is that what you really believe? Should I be forced to live for your benefit? Should you be forced to live for mine? Please think this through to its logical conclusion. Isn’t being forced by law to live for the sake of other men a form of slavery? Isn’t that exactly what the African slaves were forced to do against their will–toil for the sake of others? Is this your noble ideal? Do you really want to live in the nightmare world described by John Galt as a “world run by means of force, by men who claim that fear and joy are equal incentives, but that fear and force are more practical?”In “Atlas Shrugged,” John Galt asked, “Is it ever proper to help another man? No, if he demands it as his right or as a duty that you owe him. Yes, if it’s your own free choice based on your judgment of the value of that person and his struggle. This country wasn’t built by men who sought handouts. In its brilliant youth, this country showed the rest of the world what greatness was possible to man and what happiness is possible on earth. Then it began apologizing for its greatness and began giving away its wealth, feeling guilt for having produced more than its neighbors.” Even the Apostle Paul did not believe in handouts for able-bodied people who wanted to force others to live for their benefit. He wrote in one of his epistles, “Whoever will not work, will not eat.” Entitlement is not a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and it is not a biblical virtue. When I was destitute and homeless, I never once believed I was entitled to the fruit of another’s labor. Even today, though I am no longer homeless, I would easily qualify for government aid, but I will not force another man to live or work for my benefit.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 24, 2007 at 4:52 am


As for Rick being black, he was never a slave and I doubt his parents were. So let’s stop pretending his blackness somehow makes him right. My mother grew up in pre-civil rights rural North Carolina — if anyone has the right to talk about this, she does even more so than I, a born-and-bred Northerner who was born during the movement. He wrote in one of his epistles, “Whoever will not work, will not eat.” That comment needs to be placed in context, however. The Thessalonians were simply waiting around for Jesus to return — the thinking was that He would do so in their lifetime and essentially doing nothing in the process. That’s what Paul was knocking. Entitlement is not a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and it is not a biblical virtue. True — so why do conservatives and the wealthy think they are entitled to make the rules for everyone else? Because they in fact do.



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wayne

posted February 24, 2007 at 7:54 am


In reply to Julie and to John the Ayn Rand character as well as John the other guy who won’t use his name or is named after the first John and is being just a little spooky. “Wayne, as someone who conceivably believes in free will (I hope that as a liberal you at least believe in free will),” Reply I am only a liberal if I am compared to you. “how can you possibly disagree with this statement?” Reply: Your question reveals your blindness, because the idea that you are not you brothers keeper is an evil that goes back to the first murder. What about that concept is not clear as glass? “Do you honestly believe that people should be forced by government to live for the sake of others? Should you force another man to live, work, and toil for your benefit? Is that what you really believe? Should I be forced to live for your benefit? Should you be forced to live for mine? Please think this through to its logical conclusion.” Reply: Society s by their nature imply obligation. Force? All governments use force. All society s use force. Any society that you would like would also use force. What do you think Jim Crow was about? They used a lot of force to keep the poor man down and justified it with logic like yours. You don t want a society without force, just one that won t force you. “Isn’t being forced by law to live for the sake of other men a form of slavery? Isn’t that exactly what the African slaves were forced to do against their will–toil for the sake of others? Is this your noble ideal?” Reply; I am forced to obey many laws, that is why they are called laws. Slavery is being owned by another man and you have never been the victim of that evil. Paying taxes is not equal to being a slave. That you can even suppose you are in any way enslaved is offensive. I never said Rick s parents were slaves. Saying he is the child of slaves is not the same, please do not be so obviously and purposely obtuse. The fact that you could reply in such a manner demonstrates what a white man s dream you live in. I guess you are now not only an Ayn Rand Libertarian but also an anarchist. “Do you really want to live in the nightmare world described by John Galt as a “world run by means of force, by men who claim that fear and joy are equal incentives, but that fear and force are more practical?” Reply; I am sorry but John Galt s world is the nightmare. In “Atlas Shrugged,” John Galt asked, “Is it ever proper to help another man? No, if he demands it as his right or as a duty that you owe him. Reply; “No one has done this to you or at least it is ludicrous to identify Government welfare as such. We vote, things happen. You don t like the way they happen change the minds of the voter. I would hope that the more you reveal to us what you really think the opposite will happen. “Yes, if it’s your own free choice based on your judgment of the value of that person and his struggle. Reply: I value people as God s creations made in His image. “This country wasn’t built by men who sought handouts. In its brilliant youth, this country showed the rest of the world what greatness was possible to man and what happiness is possible on earth.” Reply; And by men who did a lot of that enslaving you re always so mad about. I guess they didn t want a hand out though right? Who needs a hand out when you own Rick s great grand parents? And when they fought a war over that slavery thing that was just a states rights issue I suppose, and if you had been alive back then your uniform would have been gray, right? “Then it began apologizing for its greatness and began giving away its wealth, feeling guilt for having produced more than its neighbors.” Reply; Just when did all this giving take place? Now your living in that dream world again aren t you, where everybody is making you feel guilty and taking away all your money. I suppose all this giving away we have been doing is the reason we are the wealthiest nation on Earth. If we have become this wealthy by giving all our wealth away I would think you would logically want to give more. Oh, now I remember, Fred says we would be even more wealthy. How could I be so illogical? John you re bordering on paranoid. I lost two replies to you today. Stop it! It s weird. “Even the Apostle Paul did not believe in handouts for able-bodied people who wanted to force others to live for their benefit. Reply; Nowhere in the NT was force the issue, but no first century Christian would have agreed with Ayn Rand or you. cf. Acts 2: 44-45 The Old testament tithe was not so much a gift as it was a tax,( It was part of the Law, you know those things we are forced to do) it was also the minimal not the optimal, and it was used for the poor, among other things. He wrote in one of his epistles, “Whoever will not work, will not eat.” Entitlement is not a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and it is not a biblical virtue. When I was destitute and homeless, I never once believed I was entitled to the fruit of another’s labor. Even today, though I am no longer homeless, I would easily qualify for government aid, but I will not force another man to live or work for my benefit.” Reply; I applaud your selflessness and deride you self-righteousness. I think Rick has answered your Thess. quote and I agree with him.



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John Galt

posted February 24, 2007 at 4:16 pm


Wayne wrote: “John you re bordering on paranoid. I lost two replies to you today. Stop it! It s weird.” Huh?????



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wayne

posted February 24, 2007 at 5:35 pm


Okay John here’s is your reply written again and hopefully it makes it. You said “The right to own private property is a foundational right in our republic. Without private property, there can be no meaningful freedom in our society. The wealth of people who earn it does not somehow belong to those who don t. I m going to separate the next sentence because it is so important: Forced redistribution of wealth is not an American concept it is a socialist concept.” Reply; John if that is true then why did God institute the year of Jubilee. It is the harshest redistribution law that has ever been enacted. Under God s Mosaic law all debts were forgiven and almost all the wealth that was earned was replaced (read redistributed) in the hands of anyone who had lost out. The tithe under Mosaic law was not like your tithe in church today. IT WAS PART OF THE LAW AND AS SUCH IT WAS A TAX. You read what you read and then make it fit want you wanted to hear anyway. You said, “When God wrote: Thou shalt not Steal, He meant it. Nowhere in the Bible does God advocate a socialist form of worldly government, so why should His people?” Reply; I don t think any of us would truly like the form of Government that God imposed on Israel, but it was certainly more socialist in its form than you will admit to. See above. You said; Why do so many Christians assume that socialism is God s way? Charity not government force is God s way of helping the poor. This concept is shown throughout the Bible. Why do so many Christians assume otherwise? Reply; Because they are right to think this. It is you who are making the assumptions and torturing the text to do so. You said; Third, forced redistribution of wealth is not only not an American concept; it is a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Reply; Yeah that s why guys like you win every legal battle on these lines right? The whole nation is one big conspiracy against you and Julie to take all your hard earned money away from you. Among other things this is the kind of statement that make you look a little paranoid. You said; What amazes me is that so many Christians, while claiming to serve a God who loves justice and opposes covenant breaking, support laws which rob people and violate the covenant between We The People and our federal government? God is a covenant keeper, and His people should be covenant keepers. We should not support government lawlessness. When we do so, we are serving God s enemies, even though we may think that we are doing good. Does supporting the politics of envy and theft honor God? Of course not. You may ask, how is our government breaking the law by forced wealth confiscation and redistribution? Reply; I do not ask that question. I also do not support any politics of envy. Once again you characterize the other side with a straw man and then proceed to knock it down. Hooray John, You win!



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Julie

posted February 24, 2007 at 5:40 pm


“So why do conservatives and the wealthy think they are entitled to make the rules for everyone else? Because they in fact do.” Rick, I am so glad you brought this up because I actually agree with your comment about conservatives. As someone who could best be described as a libertarian (possibly even a classical liberal), I find it abhorrent the way conservatives and the religious right are always telling other people how to live. Conservatives claim to stand for freedom and individual liberty when it comes to things like the right to self-defense and economic freedom, but then they turn around and tell people what drugs they can’t use, what books they can’t read, etc. It’s the height of hypocrisy, and you are correct in condemning it.As for the wealthy making rules for everyone else, I m not sure that s universally true. There are many wealthy liberals in Hollywood and the media, for instance, and I doubt you would accuse them of making rules for everyone else. So I think you need to be a little more specific on which wealthy people you are talking about here and what rules they are trying to make. Wayne, your reply was more involved so it may take time for me to address all your arguments, but I will try to deal with some of them now. You made an excellent point about the Old Testament tithe, and I agree that it was more of a tax than a gift. Giving was not voluntary under the Old Covenant as it is under the New Covenant. But while there were curses for disobeying the law in regard to tithing, I m not sure there were any civil penalties for refusing to tithe. In other words, if a person didn t tithe, he wasn t thrown in jail and didn t have his land, flocks, or home taken away from him (if I m wrong, please correct me).You are also correct in saying that the tithe was used to feed the poor, and I certainly believe that as God s people, we are morally obligated to do whatever we can to help the needy. However, you are overlooking the fact that we are not living under the Law of Moses/Old Covenant anymore. This doesn t mean that our obligation to give to the poor has ended; it means that under the New Covenant, giving is entirely voluntary. I cannot find any New Testament verse that advocates coerced giving. 2 Corinthians says that everyone should give what he has decided in his heart to give, and not under compulsion. And in Acts 2:44-45, it never says that any believer was forced to sell his possessions and give to anyone who was in need; it seems that the believers did this voluntarily out of their love for one another. They did so, to paraphrase John Galt s speech in Atlas Shrugged, because they valued one another.I also want to apologize for coming across as self-righteous when I stated that I do not want to live off the fruits of another s labor. I was simply trying to show that you don t have to be wealthy to believe that it s morally wrong to force others to live and work for your benefit. I am sincerely sorry if that offended you. I am sure there are other needy people who refuse government handouts; in fact I have known several of them, including my friend in the wheelchair I alluded to in another post. Just when did all this giving take place? It would take me a while to find the figures, but the Untied States government gives a tremendous amount of money away in foreign aid to countries where it often ends up in the hands of corrupt government officials rather than those it was intended to help. About the slavery issue: this may take longer to address in depth, but you are right in pointing out that America did not always live up to the ideals espoused in the Declaration of Independence. That sad fact, however, does not invalidate those ideals. Also, while it could be argued that our founders were remiss in not making slavery illegal when they wrote the Constitution, many of them were actively involved in passing legislation that would abolish the slave trade itself and that made it more difficult to own slaves. Thomas Jefferson is often criticized for owning slaves, but they were slaves he had inherited, and there was a law on the books making it illegal for him to free them, even though he wanted to (I believe he stipulated in his will that his slaves were to be freed upon his death). Jefferson also stated that he believed America would come under God’s judgment over slavery, and he probably would have viewed the Civil War as just that. (I have an article that details much of this, but I m not sure where it is. If I find it, I will cite the pertinent facts). By the way, it s entirely possible that at some point, my ancestors may have been slaves even though I m white. Why? Because at the time of the Civil War, there were probably as many indentured servants (who were mostly white) as there were black slaves from Africa. Black people weren t the only slaves in the history of this country. So, if I were alive back then, I could have been an indentured slave freed by the Civil War. This is kind of a side issue, but I wanted to address it since you seem to assume there s no way I could have been a slave had I been alive during that time.I hope to deal with the rest of the issues in your reply if I have more time. This is all I had time for right now. Thanks for being patient.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 24, 2007 at 7:00 pm


Julie: Government has the right to enforced giving. It is called taxes. Period. End of story. John: Get up to date. Pentagon inspector general found Cheney to have mislead the country with dubious evidence of WMDs. Rockefeller, the new intelligence committee head, found the old Republican head, helped mislead Congress. Do you think Bush was just a stupid bystander?



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Julie

posted February 24, 2007 at 8:10 pm


Wayne, I will now try to address some of the other issues you raised. the idea that you are not your brother s keeper is an evil that goes back to the first murder. Let s be clear here. The context of the Old Testament verse you are referring to is murder, not forced wealth redistribution. When Cain asked, Am I my brother s keeper? he was seeking to avoid responsibility for having murdered him. The context has nothing whatsoever to do with taxation, entitlement programs, or forcing employers to pay their workers a certain wage. And even if the verse was written to show that we are morally obligated to care for our family members, there is no indication that we are to do so by taking the money from other people.All governments use force. Very true. The key question is this, What are the legitimate purposes for which governments may use force? As a Christian libertarian, I believe the only legitimate use of government force is to protect innocent people from aggression and to punish those who have committed aggression against the innocent. One way of paraphrasing this idea is, My rights end where your rights begin. Though you clearly disagree with me on this, I have no right to use government force to take away your property. However, if I try to steal from you, the government has the right to use force to stop me and to punish me. Comprende?What do you think Jim Crow was about? They used a lot of force to keep the poor man down and justified it with logic like yours. This statement is so unfair it just boggles my mind. Where do you get off implying that I support the use of force to keep the poor man down, especially when I m living at or below the poverty level myself? How can you make a judgment like that about me? What could I have possibly said in any of my posts to suggest that I believe in using force to keep poor people down? I d really like to know.You don t want a society without force, just one that won t force you. Really? Just what kind of government/societal force have I been advocating in my posts? What exactly do I want to force people to do for me? I already stated that when I could have benefited by forcibly taking other people s wealth via government entitlement programs, I chose not to. This is not self-righteousness; it s simply a statement of fact. Since I myself qualify for government assistance, isn t it obvious that I don t have any money that the government could take from me by force? So please explain what it is that don t I want the government to force me to do? I am already giving to the needy, often beyond my means, even though I am poor myself, so obviously I have no reluctance to give money to the poor. Therefore, what is it that I want to avoid being forced to do? Slavery is being owned by another man. Paying taxes is not equal to being a slave. I don t expect you to agree with this, but there are many forms of slavery. Although the feudal serfs technically weren t owned by other men, many historians would say that the serfs were, in fact, slaves. The 14th amendment defines slavery as involuntary servitude; it says nothing about being owned by another man. Involuntary servitude means working for someone else against your will. Period. If the government decided to collect a 100 percent tax on your income, wouldn t that make you a slave to the government? Even if the government were only taking 85 or 90 percent of your paycheck against your will, wouldn t it still be slavery? Right now, the total tax burden on the American people is about 40 percent. That means that for 40 percent of their time, or from January 1 to April 24, most Americans are working for the government. They can t get out of it; it s involuntary. How can you not see that this is analogous to slavery? Is working against your will for someone else not slavery simply because the someone else is the government? What about countries in the ancient world in which the government itself forced men to work for the king or pharaoh? Is that not slavery? The fact that you could reply in such a manner demonstrates what a white man s dream you live in. Wow. If my life has been a dream, I d love to wake up. Last year I was homeless and this year I am barely able to pay rent in a modest apartment in a seedy part of town. I went without phone service for ten months because I didn t have enough money to pay a monthly phone bill, and I ve been unable to make car repairs several times in the past few years due to lack of funds. I also have several medical problems that I can t have treated because I can t afford the copayments. The fact that you think I m living in a white man s dream shows how colossally ignorant you are about my life. It shows you are eager to pass judgment about things you know nothing of. How sad.About the Thessalonians quote, here it is in context: For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we did not eat anyone s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither will he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, who are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread (2 Thess 3:7-12).If they weren t eating their own bread, they must have been eating someone else s. It is clear they weren t working. Therefore, they must have been expecting other people to feed them, and Paul makes it clear that this was wrong. I am growing rather weary of this discussion so I may bow out. It seems that John and I will probably have to agree to disagree with Rick and Wayne. It s becoming increasingly obvious that no one here is going to change anyone s mind. I think I can sum things up by stating that the guiding principle Rick and Wayne prefer to live by is force, whereas the John Galts of the world have chosen the principle of freedom.



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wayne

posted February 24, 2007 at 8:48 pm


John and Julie Never thought I would change you. I believe you are free, as free as you can be. You are free to pick and choose. You are fre to deny societies duties to the lesser among us. You are free to think employers will do the right thing. History tells us otherwise but you are still free. By the way Pharaoh was a God. He owned everything, even his people. So they were all slaves yet most of them worked on the Pyramids because they thought it was an honor to build a God’s tomb. Paul called himself a slave also and asked us to have in our hearts the mind of Christ who gave away everything for us. I don’t think the minimum wage comes close to slavery, no matter how you define the word. on the odd chance you might check back I will respond Wayne, your reply was more involved so it may take time for me to address all your arguments, but I will try to deal with some of them now. You made an excellent point about the Old Testament tithe, and I agree that it was more of a tax than a gift. Giving was not voluntary under the Old Covenant as it is under the New Covenant. But while there were curses for disobeying the law in regard to tithing, I m not sure there were any civil penalties for refusing to tithe. In other words, if a person didn t tithe, he wasn t thrown in jail and didn t have his land, flocks, or home taken away from him (if I m wrong, please correct me).Julie It was actually worse than that. God judged the entire nation for its non-compliance with these laws. When the prophets condemn the rich for their oppression of the poor they are not just talking to individuals. They are referring to the whole nation because as a society God had given them commands that pertained to how the poor were to be treated. The exile into Babylon is viewed by many to correspond to the society s refusal to obey these laws, like the year of Jubilee. Under the law the farmland was to lay fallow every seventh year. As a society they never obeyed this. The term of the exile, wherein the land would have been forced to lay fallow, is nearly equal to the time that the land should have done so if had they obeyed and kept the Sabbath year. Therefore God judged the society, and not just the individuals. Further He judged the society on Earth and not in Heaven. Yes, we do not live under this covenant but that covenant still says something to us about the God who instituted it and how He thinks. This is why I have argued against your statement that it is only through private charity that God asks us to serve the poor. Societies have God given and mandated responsibilities also. You and I are part of this one and need to pay attention to the lessons God has seen fit to pass on to us about the past. The concept of redistribution of wealth is touchy but this I know for sure, it is not an unGodly idea. The year of Jubilee confirms this, as it is a God instituted redistribution tax on a scale that dwarfs any America has ever conceived.You are also correct in saying that the tithe was used to feed the poor, and I certainly believe that as God s people, we are morally obligated to do whatever we can to help the needy. However, you are overlooking the fact that we are not living under the Law of Moses/Old Covenant anymore. This doesn t mean that our obligation to give to the poor has ended; it means that under the New Covenant, giving is entirely voluntary. I cannot find any New Testament verse that advocates coerced giving. 2 Corinthians says that everyone should give what he has decided in his heart to give, and not under compulsion. And in Acts 2:44-45, it never says that any believer was forced to sell his possessions and give to anyone who was in need; it seems that the believers did this voluntarily out of their love for one another. They did so, to paraphrase John Galt s speech in Atlas Shrugged, because they valued one another. Julie this is the correct quote Yes if it s your own free choice based on your judgement of the person and his struggle This is not what the people in Acts were doing nor is it a biblical basis for helping anyone. Need is the not the basis, the obtainability of a proposed goal is not the basis. All of that should figure into what we do to help but it is not the basis. The shared image of God and the inherent dignity that implies, regardless of any other condition or circumstance, is the basis.I also want to apologize for coming across as self-righteous when I stated that I do not want to live off the fruits of another s labor. I was simply trying to show that you don t have to be wealthy to believe that it s morally wrong to force others to live and work for your benefit. I am sincerely sorry if that offended you. I am sure there are other needy people who refuse government handouts; in fact I have known several of them, including my friend in the wheelchair I alluded to in another post. Thank You.Just when did all this giving take place? It would take me a while to find the figures, but the Untied States government gives a tremendous amount of money away in foreign aid to countries where it often ends up in the hands of corrupt government officials rather than those it was intended to help.Don t bother. As a nation we give lots of dollars. Most of it is in goods so that the actual money stays here and is earned by our farmers for instance, or our armament industry. Sure there is corruption, that happens right here so why should it surprise us when another country does it? As a percentage of wealth we are one of the cheapest givers though and many much smaller countries may give less in dollars but much more as a percentage. It still doesn t make the word s of Ayn Rand true on any level. That is just another weird poor me concept she comes up with all the time. I can imagine this is true so I can feel good about myself for being a selfish brat. is always the way I have read her.About the slavery issue: this may take longer to address in depth, but you are right in pointing out that America did not always live up to the ideals espoused in the Declaration of Independence. That sad fact, however, does not invalidate those ideals. Also, while it could be argued that our founders were remiss in not making slavery illegal when they wrote the Constitution, many of them were actively involved in passing legislation that would abolish the slave trade itself and that made it more difficult to own slaves. Thomas Jefferson is often criticized for owning slaves, but they were slaves he had inherited, and there was a law on the books making it illegal for him to free them, even though he wanted to (I believe he stipulated in his will that his slaves were to be freed upon his death). Jefferson also stated that he believed America would come under God’s judgment over slavery, and he probably would have viewed the Civil War as just that. (I have an article that details much of this, but I m not sure where it is. If I find it, I will cite the pertinent facts). By the way, it s entirely possible that at some point, my ancestors may have been slaves even though I m white. Why? Because at the time of the Civil War, there were probably as many indentured servants (who were mostly white) as there were black slaves from Africa. Black people weren t the only slaves in the history of this country. So, if I were alive back then, I could have been an indentured slave freed by the Civil War. This is kind of a side issue, but I wanted to address it since you seem to assume there s no way I could have been a slave had I been alive during that time. Indentured servant hood was the beginning of slavery in this country as well as in England. It came to a virtual halt around the civil war but did go on afterward. I believe 1868 is the final year for most of it anyway. Child labor laws after the turn of the century ended the rest of it I believe. By the way it is those same child labor laws that give the lie again to your theory. People had to be forced to stop employing children to do dangerous work that cost them their health and their lives. The evil of child labor lowered those fair wages tha
t market forces should have made employers pay their other workers. So much for employers doing the right thing apart from force! All slavery is evil, this was too. Slavery still exists in this country today, as it does around the globe. The children (great great great grandchildren if needed) of these white slaves still did not share the generational effects of slavery that the African slave s children has had to and still does. There is just no comparison when the Legacy factor is appreciated. TJ also bore children with his female slaves. He deserves criticism, his freeing them was mighty white of him, yet makes him better than most of his contemporaries. The point is Julie read Ayn s thoughts here and see how false she is being with everyone. There was no such time when the ideals of a people were kept consistently. There is no bright past or whatever she called it. The ideal is ahead of us, not in our history. The consistency your ideals would require in order for them to work is impossible to achieve. You guys can keep on with all the logical thought you want to, it just won t work. Government will have to step in at times. Taxes will have to be paid. Society has its own obligations and duties to its lesser members, we as individuals get to have a say in the matter and also act as the hands and feet of God in doing so. It is a privilege to act in this way. Eph says we are to work with our hands so that we might share. Argue about how taxes are spent. Idealize the best way for Governments to help try to produce fairness. Do not argue the rightness or wrongness of Government doing so just because it is forcing you, as it is not sensible. It is the moral duty of Government to wield force for the sake of fairness.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 24, 2007 at 10:48 pm


As for the wealthy making rules for everyone else, I m not sure that s universally true. There are many wealthy liberals in Hollywood and the media, for instance, and I doubt you would accuse them of making rules for everyone else. So I think you need to be a little more specific on which wealthy people you are talking about here and what rules they are trying to make.” A few weeks ago I was reading a column by, I believe, Paul Krugman of the New York Times in which he described the contempt what he termed the “economic elite” had for FDR — and Roosevelt said in response, “I welcome their hatred.” But he of course was not speaking about Hollywood liberals, since they’re not involved in making laws. Rather, industrialists and bankers, which used their financial clout to “buy” politicians, did things like fight unionism; Andrew Carnegie even slashed pay (I’m not sure about benefits and jobs) on a fairly regular basis. Part of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” back in 1994 had the effect to trying to turn back the clock to the pre-Depression days. I don’t ever want to see that. If they weren t eating their own bread, they must have been eating someone else s. It is clear they weren t working. Therefore, they must have been expecting other people to feed them, and Paul makes it clear that this was wrong. In that culture what you suggest was happening simply wasn’t done — work was assumed and expected, and besides, Middle Eastern society then as now was far, far more communitarian than Western (and especially American). And in fact, you kinda see that mindset today in dispensationalism — nothing to be done because Jesus was returning. Which of course is true, but the Scriptures tell us simply to “keep an eye peeled.” I think I can sum things up by stating that the guiding principle Rick and Wayne prefer to live by is force, whereas the John Galts of the world have chosen the principle of freedom. Not even close, because there is no true freedom without justice — it can only be license. And justice happens only when you work and agitate for the freedoms of others, something that libertarianism seems to overlook. We tend to forget that God sometimes — often — makes demands and not necessarily offers guidelines. Martin Luther King Jr. understood this principle well, which is why he never backed down with the civil-rights movement — during his stay in the Birmingham jail when he wrote his famous letter, he encountered a jailer (one account said several) who hated blacks, but he engaged him (them) in conversation he found out that he (they) had complaints of his (their) own. He said in response, “You ought to be with us.” You see, the Gospel is not simply about individual salvation; God in redeeming us places us in a Body and desires to build a new, holy community that reflects His heart and His values. As such we are no longer individuals accountable only to ourselves; today we belong to Him and each other, which is why “Christian liberatarianism” to me is somewhat of an oxymoron.



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John Galt

posted February 24, 2007 at 10:55 pm


Wayne, I find the issue of why Judah was exiled to Babylon interesting. You claim it was for not helping the poor, so could you provide a verse for that? I found this: “You trample the poor and steal what little they have through taxes…Therefore, you will never live in the beautiful stone houses you are building…for I know the vast number of your sins and rebellions. You oppress good people by taking bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.” Amos 5:11-12, NLT



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 25, 2007 at 3:14 am


I found this: “You trample the poor and steal what little they have through taxes…Therefore, you will never live in the beautiful stone houses you are building…for I know the vast number of your sins and rebellions. You oppress good people by taking bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.” John, don’t even try it. The NIV reads as follows: 11 You trample on the poorand force him to give you grain.Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,you will not live in them;though you have planted lush vineyards,you will not drink their wine. 12 For I know how many are your offensesand how great your sins.You oppress the righteous and take bribesand you deprive the poor of justice in the courts. It’s not just, or even primarily, talking about the government — in this context it’s also talking about private citizens who use their financial power to “buy” officials and oppress the poor through unjust policies. Also check James 2 — which I mentioned before.



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Joel Kretzmann

posted February 25, 2007 at 6:48 am


Julie: Sorry I do not work jan. to april 1 for the government. Cliches are a form of slavery. Myself, I turned to the government when my family would not help me, nor had a rich uncle. Trouble with government is when they make a mistake, it is hard to remedy; as with most power centers. Someday we will all be a burden on someone, what will you say then. What did you say when you could not read? As a pastor’s son, I know one or two rich carried the congregation a few times. Toll roads are a big drag. The richer states usually have higher taxes & more services which attracts more business. They can coordinate more economic planning better & on a bigger scale. Shall we go back in time when princes would make wars to mobilize the resources of the nobles & their militias & idle populations so they could build roads, boats, castles & ports. Ecomomic study partly started to figure out how to use idle rich’s land more productively so there would be less poor in poor condition.



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wayne

posted February 25, 2007 at 3:41 pm


John The NLT is a revision of Ken Taylor’s Living Bible which was originally called a paraphrase, not a translation. It is perhaps a good devotional tool, it is not generally considered a good teaching tool. It uses certain methods for retelling what the Bible says that are suspect, such as “Dynamic Equivalence”. Literal translations are probably better tools for you to quote from and will have much greater weight here.



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wayne

posted February 25, 2007 at 4:08 pm


Julie I did not reply to your comment on my statement “a white man’s dream” I did not mean to infer you live in a play world without want or need. That world is not a white man’s dream, it is everyman’s dream. The dream world of the white man is one in which he sees everything from only a white man’s perspective. John consistently dis’s Rick in this way and I find it extremely offensive and ludicrous. All of the ideals of Ayn Rand come from this type of world view. It is a top down look at reality and never takes into account the evil that can be done from that view point. If we all just looked out for ourselves and only helped those we judge as worthy of our help how would that be Christ like? I am very glad God did not agree with Ayn Rand or Libertarian ideas, We would all have been screwed. Now from God’s perspective that could certainly have been justified and even logical, as we would all have received our just rewards. Thankfully God was more than logical in His dealings with us. I am impressed with your logic on many levels. I have rethought many of my ideas on the minimum wage and will continue to do so. It is certainly not sacrosanct. I never thought that anyway but again let me say some of your logic is thought provoking. Where you come from in your thinking though is very scary. Julie it is not wrong to ask for help. It is not wrong to need help. It is not wrong for the Government to provide help. It is not wrong for the Government to tax us in order to provide help, (as you admitted the tithe was a tax God used for the poor in the only Government He ever set up). How we (the members of the church)are to give is from the heart. Unfortunately the Government cannot rely on such motivation as its only tool is force. Fred and John and Julie and any one else who is reading this and agreeing with them, you really need to think through the limits of your logic and its spiritual/moral effect on you. Budhism is logical, I do not think it is moral. It may be pragmatic, I still would live by it. John just so you don’t get off on me again this is the third attempt to reply to you.



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