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How To Win The Minimum Wage Argument

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Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) has been a strong advocate for an increase in the federal minimum wage. In 2019, while referencing the minimum wage for tipped workers, she was quoted as saying “Any job that pays $2.13 an hour is not a job, it’s indentured servitude.” In so much as indentured servitude is a contract between two individuals, she may be right. In her apples to oranges comparison, she leaves out that fact that a skilled server or a bartender can easily walk down the street and look for an opportunity to earn a wage increase. Your average indentured servant was far more reliant on their landowner / “employer” for many of the necessities of life and often would have to travel hundreds of miles by foot to find a better opportunity. So, while AOC’s rhetoric may make for a catchy quote, her comparison is completely wrong.

Free market advocates and conservatives may find themselves in a tough political position in addressing the minimum wage argument. Who wants to be the person who is against giving the struggling server and single parent a “minimum wage increase?” Typical arguments against a minimum wage have been all rooted in facts and logic and the data is clear: after decades upon decades of implementation, minimum wage laws are a price floor that create unemployment. Further, these laws put people (particularly the young and minorities) at a serious disadvantage usually delaying their entry into the work force where they could be learning new skills and climbing the economic ladder.

Unfortunately, these traditional, fact- based arguments based on free market principles have not had the results that free market proponents would hope for. In fact, a 2019 Pew Research poll showed that 67% of Americans support an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15.00 an hour. AOC’s catchy rhetoric, while devoid of economic logic, appears to be winning the day.

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So how can we, as free market advocates, change the narrative and win this argument? We must change our approach and go on the offensive. The very term “increase the minimum wage” is a statement of strategic offense. As proponents of not having a minimum wage we often too quickly take the bait and reply with what I will call a “defensive statement” such as “but is creates unemployment” or “small businesses can’t afford that.” Any fan of sports knows that, while defense is crucial, you must have some offense to win.

When we find ourselves in a position to argue “against the minimum wage” we must think offensively and argue for freedom. One tactic is to use what is called the Ransberger Pivot technique. Invented in 1982 by a man named Ray Ransberger, it is a communication technique that we can use to disarm our intellectual opponent. It would go something like this:
“I agree with you, that servers in the food industry should be making a lot more money. In fact, I think you will agree with me, that even more people at this skill level should have opportunities to get jobs in this industry. If the government requires employers to pay $15.00 an hour, what happens to the person who really, really wants a job and they are willing to do the job for $14.00 an hour? What if this person watched the movie Cocktail with Tom Cruise and it has always been her dream to be a bartender, and no one is hiring because $15.00 is just too high a price to be able to afford to bring on another bartender? What if this person says, “I just want to get my foot in the door, I just want a chance, I will for work $13.00 an hour, I will do it for $10.00 an hour, please!” Shouldn’t this person be free to offer their labor at this price without interference from the government?”

Let us break down this hypothetical passage above: In using the Ransberger pivot we are first seeking to let our friend on the left know that we might just have the same goal by saying right away: “I agree with you” next we insert a small hypnotic suggestion “I think you will agree with me…” again we are telling this person it is time to “agree.” From here, we will gently change the trajectory and the frame of the conversation and pivot to our own strategic offense. Now it is time for our opponent to go on the defensive. Make them defend keeping a young and eager person out of the work force. Make them defend the idea of government restrictions preventing someone from pursuing their dream of becoming the next “Cocktail superstar.” Keep using the same pattern and formula throughout the conversation: Agree, pivot to offense, insert new fact and logic, put them on the defensive.

We might next say: “Did you know that when someone is mandated to pay $15.00 an hour that they also have to pay additional legally mandated fringe benefits like Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance? This can add up to 30 percent. So really, the employer is required to pay over $20 an hour and our aspiring bartender, she is willing to do the job for $14. The employer is impressed with this young person and sees her passion and enthusiasm and he really would like to mentor her and have her on his team. Unfortunately, he just cannot afford over $20.00 an hour because he recently used his profits and upgraded all his light bulbs to LED to help fight climate change. How is it fair that he cannot give this person an opportunity because of the government?

In these two short examples, we are taking the traditional, fact based, and logical arguments against the minimum wage and we are re-framing them into an emotional story and we are asking our opponent to defend the idea of keeping this enthusiastic young person out of the work force. From here, our battle is only half finished. Getting our opponent on the defensive is a key first step, but now we should offer solutions to the original problem: the idea that servers and bartenders do not make enough money. At this point we can point out the research showing that most people in the work force already make more than the minimum wage. We might share facts that show that in a free market meritocracy, very productive people will either earn a raise or take the skills they have learned to a new employer who will pay them more or they will take their skills, start a new business, and employ others. The sky is truly the limit for everyone so long as the government is not overly regulatory.

In an age of hyper partisanship and at a time when free-market principals seem to be rarely if ever defended by most of our politicians, we need to have strategies that can effectively articulate the benefits of freedom. With soaring federal deficits, runaway spending, and a feeling that an economic crisis is lying in wait we would be wise to remember Ronald Reagan’s famous words: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.” We need to take every opportunity to craft our arguments for freedom in that spirit.

 

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Are Cops Racist or Victims of a New Revolution?

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revolution
Photo credit: Clay Banks

Racism or revolution? It’s a fair question in any honest assessment of our current chaos. Cop shoots black man, people cry racism, protests turn into lawless looting and destruction. What isn’t talked about is the key to the entire mess—personal responsibility. And what lurks in the background is a new revolution.

First, who’s responsible for George Floyd’s death? Daunte Wright’s? One could say former Officers Derek Chauvin and Kim Potter, respectively, but this would be lazy thinking and dishonest. Here’s a better question: Who’s responsible for their lives?

Before we poke the hornet’s nest, let’s consider facts.

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Both men had criminal records. Both were known by local police. One was an addict; the other had a warrant out for his arrest. Both men chose to commit crimes; George Floyd tried to pass off a counterfeit bill; Daunte Wright illegally possessed a firearm. He also drove with an expired license plate. Keeping one’s vehicle current is a basic responsibility for all licensed drivers. Wright failed to do so, which led to his being pulled over. This is when he made his fatal choice.

Choices and consequences

Imagine yourself in his situation. An officer is arresting you. Your choices are: A) allow yourself to be handcuffed or B) break free and get back into your car or run or fight or anything other than acquiesce to arrest. Any rational and honest person has to know that he alone is responsible for his actions. Everyone is responsible for his or her choices—personally responsible. 

What did Daunte choose to do? He chose flight. This triggered the arresting officers, which prompted Officer Potter to use what she says she thought was her taser in order to subdue Wright. The fact that she used her firearm and then expressed shock and dismay afterwards indicates incompetence, not racism.

George Floyd and Daunte Wright chose to commit the crimes that invited police attention. They had criminal records because they chose to be criminals. They alone bear responsibility for setting the stage for negative interaction with law enforcement. We can debate the culpability of the officers, and a jury is deciding whether Derek Chauvin is guilty of anything more than excessive force.

They may find him guilty of much more, but the inconvenient truth for Black Lives Matter is that George Floyd and Daunte Wright would likely both be alive today had they not chosen to commit crimes. Their lives would truly matter because they’d be alive to make better choices. They could choose to become ex-criminals.

Personally irresponsible

In any era prior to our present age of victimhood and “systemic racism,” both men would bear personal responsibility for making choices that led to their deaths. This is not to say that Derek Chauvin isn’t guilty of manslaughter or murder.

The truth is that George Floyd and Daunte Wright and Michael Brown and others are solely responsible for their life choices—especially those that put them at odds with law enforcement. We all are. Rather than confront this truth, opportunists (and true believers) cry racism. The reality is that the vast majority of police aren’t any more racist than you or I. Many are simply weary and wary of the same people saying the same things in order to avoid personal responsibility. And now they’re called racists and badgered and beaten down as they try to do their jobs.

The beatdown manifests itself in rising crime and resistance to arrest, anti-cop antagonism, calls for defunding, accusations of racism, vilification and worse. Our legal system, which also isn’t racist, found no truth in claims like, “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” Sadly, race hustlers like Al Sharpton and the Black Lives Matter founders have weaponized these words to further an agenda that doesn’t help the people they claim to champion. They seem more interested in self-enrichment and political change than in equality.

The revolution

The Black Lives Matter grifters value equity over equality and revolution in place of our republic. Black “victims” of police racism and brutality are mere pawns in a new race war as the means to their end—a Marxist Utopia. Hatred, chaos and division are their weapons.

Why do we see looters presented as peaceful protesters by corrupt media? Why do young white anarchists participate in BLM protests after police shootings of black suspects and criminals? It’s opportunity.

What better way to usher in a new reality than with a new revolution? America rebelled against an English tyrant because of inequities involving class and representation. Because America was built on visions of equality, freedom and the merits of hard work and opportunity, class warfare has no legs here. Race is the ticket. Marxists tried it in the ’60s, but were thwarted by reform. Inadvertently, an entire ethnic group in America were turned into victims and semi-wards of the state.

The result? Critical Race Theory, white privilege, reparations, the vilification of police, and reverse racism against “white” people. The racist oppressors are our justice system and law enforcement. According to the revolutionaries, slavery is our original sin, and we have yet to fully repent of it.

In reality, we’ve made great steps toward equality. America is like any other republic—flawed and imperfect. America is also a beautiful experiment in self-governance. Rather than transform it, we should hold one another responsible for our choices and encourage each other toward unity and true equality.

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Sweet Frosting on a Poison Cake

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Do you play chess? If so, then you know that when your opponent moves harmless pawns into positions that block your defenses, soon you will lose to a devastating blow that you didn’t see coming.
Democrats know this and they are counting on your inaction. They will use words that seem caring and harmless while they take actions that will soon leave you defenseless.

They say that adding Supreme Court Justices will update an obsolete system and make it more “fair.” They tell you that the District of Columbia and the territory of Puerto Rico deserve to be represented in Congress. (By the way, they already are.) They tell you that our nation was founded by “slave owners” and “white supremacists.” Note that slavery of whites and blacks was common all over the world in those days. None were pure in this regard. They accuse our country of being systemically flawed and predisposed to discrimination and oppression. 

America is the best place on Earth for a person of color today. No country has ever been as accommodating, accepting and empowering of multiple races, genders, lifestyles and abilities as America is today. Nowhere is there a better place to be alive today if you have a unique difference that might limit you. 

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In order to make you agreeable to the idea of uninhibited immigration they focus on compassion for the problems of the invaders, not outrage over the violation of our borders, nor the burdens placed on our system. Why would they want unrestricted immigration? Because more dependents equals more demand for government solutions, ergo, more government control over daily life in America. Socialism and Communism require a permanent underclass of needy people. When the populace becomes self-sufficient they don’t need government so much. That is also why small businesses are shut down so thoroughly. If you have your own business then you become more independent and that won’t do for government to control you. 

Why Shut People Down?

Why shut down the entire economy and much of the world over a disease (Covid 19) that is not as threatening as many others? Because fear is the goal! We’ve been terrified by AIDS, Ebola, SARS, MERS, and in the past Tuberculosis, Polio and others. Rightly, we should be concerned. But terrified and hiding in our homes? No. The benefit to the Left of a shutdown and panic is evident. The more afraid we are, the more compliant we are. The more compliant we are, the more controllable we become. They can implement new laws and restrictions while we are afraid and then, when the threat is lessened, they only loosen a few of the restrictions.

Think about how air travel has become like entering a prison system with permanent pat downs and approvals needed. This is the same principle used in nature by a boa constrictor. It wraps itself around its prey and then tightens the grip. When the prey takes a breath the snake increases the grip, this reduces the prey’s ability to breathe bit by bit until it suffocates. It’s not the bone crushing but the suffocation that causes the death. 

Raise Taxes!

Why would increased taxes on corporations and employers be such a bad idea? Because the people who run businesses are the only source of non-government jobs. When companies have to pay more, they have to charge more for their products and they give fewer raises to their employees. When the government runs low on money due to taxing businesses into submission, they print more money without reserves to back the currency. In other words, they create “play money”, paper that has little or no value. Once they do this repeatedly then inflation sets in and all prices increase, for all people at all income levels.

What effect did the shut down of the Keystone Pipeline have on the average citizen? It raised their gasoline prices overnight. That is inflation and it didn’t just make your gas cost more. It made everyone’s gas cost more. When the trucks that deliver your groceries, clothing, supplies, etc. have to pay more for gas, they charge more for their products. That is a tax increase that you didn’t agree to nor get to vote on. 

What about “green technology”?

Aren’t electric cars and other such innovations going to lessen our need for fossil fuels and eliminate them altogether at some point? No. Fossil fuel, especially natural gas, is abundantly available and not harmful to the environment when used responsibly. Modern cars are amazingly efficient in this respect and America is the least polluting among all major countries on Earth. But the unrecognized fact is that electric cars require an immense amount of fossil fuel in order to be created. Petroleum products make life on Earth healthier and safer than any other single energy source. For proof of this, read Dr. Alex Epstein’s excellent book The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels. Of course we should be responsible and clean and considerate in our choice of and use of energy, but abandoning the best fuel source on Earth because news sources tell us we’re all going to die soon is not the way. PS: for generations now the Left has told us we were in imminent danger of extinction, but somehow it hasn’t materialized. Global Warming was preceded by Global Cooling, world overpopulation, rising sea levels and many other unsolvable threats that would make us want more government agencies. Now they just call it “Climate Change” and they don’t have to worry about whether it is warm or cool. 

More jobs!

What the Democrats are saying is “More Government” jobs. It’s just that the word “government” is silent, at first. A trillion dollars of your money spent on creating more government agencies and contracts cannot be sustained. At some point, coming soon to a cash register or bank account near you, the economy will collapse. That creates a massive opportunity for the Left to step into total control. In that instance there can be an overnight conversion from a Democratic Republic to a Socialist takeover. It’s a “tipping point” that is accelerated by each new mega-spending spree. “If we just do this one then our problem will go away.” Nope! 

Another major tactic of the Left, as personified in today’s Democrat party, is to repeatedly raise fears over problems that cannot be resolved. It is the state of fear itself that they are seeking to cultivate. More fear equals more willingness to become dependent upon government. More dependency equals the need for even more government. More government means more control and less resistance. As Senator Lindsey Graham pointed out in disgust in a recent Senate hearing, “All you guys care about is Power!” Yep, that’s the plan. 

They attack the person not just their position.

The Left knows that if you trust someone then you will cooperate with them. So they attack the source, the person who is promoting whatever the Left opposes. They did an exceptional job of making people hate Trump because they knew that his concepts worked and people would become more self-reliant and less needy. By making him a hated threat they defeated his causes with a “bank shot.” They do their best to dethrone our heroes, especially our Founding Fathers. If they can weaken your respect for our Founders, then they can attack what they created: The Constitution, The Three Branches of Government, The Bill of Rights, etc. and get you to agree to amending these amazing pillars of our society. If they can change the Constitution and the balance of power in government you can be assured that it will tilt toward giving them more control and giving you more government intrusion into your daily life. 

What’s behind the name?

They have become masters at hiding their poisons inside tasty looking packages. Like the hypocritical “Antifa” who claim to be anti-fascist while behaving in a pure fascist manner. Democrats have chosen deceptive names for all their initiatives. “Obamacare” aka “the Affordable Care Act” was doubly false. First, Obama clearly didn’t care whether your costs would go up or that you would lose your healthcare provider and your chosen doctor. He repeatedly promised that both were safe, knowing that neither would be. And it was not “affordable” for people at any level of income! They sold it by emphasizing how many people didn’t have coverage, then it took almost two years for them to coerce enough people into it to make it sustainable. Remember that even their website didn’t work despite tens of millions spent on it? How is that possible when Visa, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, eBay, and others have immense systems that are already proven? Who got the tens of millions? 

Now they veil their poisons with misleading names like “Covid Relief” and “Infrastructure” renewal. They propose completely illogical concepts like non-ID voting, the elimination of law enforcement and compassion for unknown immigrants as excuses for more government spending. Pause and reflect…what is the government spending? Your money…more taxes are always needed. There was never enough taxation to satisfy them, ever. Think about that. How come taxation doesn’t sometimes decrease? Because Democrats are in power. When Republicans are in power taxes often decline. Trump proved the economic wisdom of this by lowering taxes for all and eliminating regulations that had just kept bureaucrats working in government jobs. This freed the economy into an historic boom and the lower taxes paid on all that growth equaled more money than any of the Democrat’s forced taxation ever produced. 

What’s inside this delicious looking cake they are selling us? More Fear! Fear is their goal. With us afraid, all their controls can be put permanently in place. Nothing big at first. Just wrap their constricting coils around us and tell us that it is a hug to keep us safe. Then as we gasp from fear, they increase the grip. Once they have enough control then resistance is futile. Don’t ignore harmless pawns, they could be hiding a ruthless strike. 

To paraphrase Weight Watchers, “Nothing tastes as good as…self-reliance and freedom feels.” Don’t eat that cake! 

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