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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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News

Achievements Through the Ages

Marshaling resources, establishing order, and carefully scheduling activities and events are vital in any era

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Besides being regarded as the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, what do these sites have in common: the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt; the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, in what is now Iraq; the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece; the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Turkey; the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, in what is now Bodrum, Turkey; the Colossus of Rhodes in Greece; and the Lighthouse at Alexandria, Egypt?

Added to the above, what do the following sites, often referred to as the New Seven Wonders of the World, have in common? The Great Wall of China; Petra, an archaeological city in southern Jordan; the Colosseum in Rome, Italy; Chichen Itza in the Yucatán of Mexico; Machu Picchu in the Cuzco region of Peru; the Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India; and the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil?

Last, what do these have in common: the Acropolis in Athens, Greece; the Suez Canal; the Panama Canal; the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey; Teotihuacan in the Basin of Mexico; the Empire State Building in New York City; the Eiffel Tower in Paris; the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, China; El Mirador in Guatemala; the Tower of London; and many other notable places around the world?

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Long Before Today’s Tools of Technology

The answer to all of the above, in a nutshell, is that they are major architectural, landscaping, or construction feats that were conceived, built, and perfected without the aid of a computer, software, or any of the technological tools that are commonly associated with project management.

The same can be said of the Great Canadian Railway, the Patagonia Highway in South America, the Hoover Dam in Arizona, the Itaipu Dam bordering Brazil and Paraguay, the U.S. Interstate Highway System, the Great Siege Tunnels of Gibraltar, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Trans-Siberian Highway, the Aswan Dam in Egypt, the first passenger ocean liners, pre-World War II aircraft, early steel mills, etc.

Regarding the “Wonders” named above, to say it another way, long before anyone knew about electricity, let alone cyberspace or management software and spreadsheets, ambitious civilizations around the globe, pioneering builders, devised and constructed some of the most enduring, iconic sites and destinations in the world.

These massive projects involved conception (that is, the genesis of the idea), designing, planning, and material and labor considerations, all of which are part of today’s computer-aided world that obviously none of the builders and designers of these projects had at their disposal. As such, not all projects proceeded with the efficiency that today’s projects can muster. There were costly delays, high accident and mortality rates, and sometimes gargantuan setbacks. Despite it all, the march of civilization and the proliferation of monumental feats continued unabated.

Your Bottom Line

Whether it’s client services, team building, or what-have-you, what are their underlying concepts, and what makes their tenets viable now and for the future? You want to always seek both the short- and the long-term utility of a management methodology, a tool, a system, or even a set of beliefs.

With effective management, when you sweep away the contemporary hubbub, an underlying structure prevails. The need to marshal adequate resources, to establish order, and to carefully schedule activities and events, all remain vital in any era. Technological tools provide the contemporary template and operating systems by which we do proceed, while the underlying fundamentals of effective management are relatively constant.

When you stay open-minded to the available new terminology and tools, you’ll tend to learn new things and gain perspectives that you might not otherwise encounter. So, understand new terminology and tools, but do not be ensnared by them as if they are so vital that you can’t successfully manage a project without them.

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Education

Angry Parents Aren’t Terrorists—They’re Just Terrors to Public School Boards

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parents
Photo credit: Ryan Snaadt

Dear school boards: When you poke mama and papa bear, don’t be surprised when they growl and bare their teeth. And writing a letter to the president asking him to sic the FBI on parents rather than treating them as partners in education seems more political than needful.

To understand the gulf between parents and educators, just watch a school board meeting on youtube (if you still can). You’ll see concerned parents voicing their concerns at microphones. They look like defendants standing before judges in a tribunal. What happened to PTAs?

In school board meetings across the nation, parents are treated as opponents rather than partners. They’re frustrated and angry with imperious school boards who seem to insist that they know what’s best for their children.

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At times their anger causes them to raise their voices in passionate speeches. They love their children and seek to protect them from what they view as indoctrination, not education. Parental love drives their passion and triggers their protective instincts. This doesn’t make them domestic terrorists.

If school board members and teachers feel threatened by genuine threats in public meetings or on social media, they should be investigated—by local authorities, not by the federal government.

Yet last week the National School Boards Association (NSBA) wrote a letter to President Biden asking him to direct the Justice Department to investigate angry parents for hate crimes and domestic terrorism. Domestic terrorism.

Why are parents so angry? Three issues come to mind: mask mandates, sex education that includes transgenderism, and Critical Race Theory.

Mask mandates

Masks can and do help prevent the transmission of the coronavirus. But they’re not necessarily a good option for children simply because, by and large, the virus is not deadly to kids.

In fact, 98-99 percent of children who get COVID fully recover. With this in mind, by doing a simple risk assessment of masking schoolchildren versus not masking them, we’d conclude that it’s better to let them learn without masks.

Additionally, we simply don’t know the longterm adverse effects forced masking has on learning. Most kids are visual learners and take cues from facial expressions. Their socialization may also suffer as a result.

Clearly, because educators are more at risk of death from COVID-19, they should continue masking. Thoughtful parents know their children who do not have preexisting conditions are generally safe to attend school without masks.

Why do school boards and teachers unions continue to push unnecessary and likely harmful mask mandates on children? For whom are they most concerned with protecting? If they believe in masking, they should mask up and suck it up. If they’re still afraid, perhaps they’re not cut out to be educators.

Sex re-education

Teaching children about the birds and the bees is a parent’s job, not a teacher’s. Sex ed is a family issue, not the state’s. Can’t it wait until just before puberty, rather than being taught to kids K-5?

Many traditional parents share this opinion. So is the self-evident truth that binary genders exist in human biology—and in reality. Parents who embrace this truth and passionately speak up about it are now at risk of being accused of hate speech.

We are born male or female. No amount of surgery or hormone treatment changes this reality. Parents know this and also know that confusing kids with fantasy genders and damaging gender reassignment harms them.

Public school educators have more than enough on their plates with teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. They should leave sex education to parents and resist pressure to push gender nonsense on impressionable children.

Parents are also concerned with the prospect of hormonally-altered boys competing against their girls in sports. This obviously gives males unfair physically advantages and presents a danger to the health of welfare of overmatched females.

The Journal of Medical Ethics affirmed this reality in a recent study in which the researchers concluded that “the advantage to transwomen afforded by the IOC guidelines is an intolerable unfairness.”

Bad theory

What is Critical Race Theory?

Critical Race Theory (CRT), as defined in a video by the Heritage Foundation, is a philosophy founded on Marxist analysis that claims America is “systemically racist.”

CRT proponents, active in colleges and universities for years, now seek to impact public policy in public schools. As a result, CRT is beginning to gain a foothold in K-12. This makes parents angry.

Most parents and some educators and school board members reject CRT’s racial discrimination for equity in favor of equality and opportunity for all— regardless of skin color.

The vast majority of thoughtful and caring parents believe that CRT teaches children to feel guilty for their “whiteness” while accepting the lie that America’s systems are inherently racist.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act dealt a mortal blow to systemic racism in America. Critical Race Theory ignores this landmark legislation and the fact that racism resides in people, not systems.

Obviously, there a differing definitions of systemic racism held by those on both sides of the issue. Just as there are differing definitions of “hate speech.” Perhaps it would be helpful to rely on definitions that are based in logic and common sense rather than emotion and agenda.

In the minds of many parents, Critical Race Theory is nothing more than partisan propaganda. CRT is harmful because it produces unmerited guilt, divides us and denies the attainability of the American Dream for people of color.

This is not borne out by our nation’s history. Rather, it’s debunked by generations of immigrants and people of color who came to America legally and made better and more prosperous lives for themselves and their families.

Terrorists or terrors?

To justify their appeal to the president for federal law enforcement support, the National School Boards Association is misapplying words and phrases to vilify angry and frustrated parents. Why? They’re either seeking to clear obstacles to their agenda and/or they mistake parental passion for peril to themselves.

Have some angry parents (or those who side with them) gone too far with social media attacks and threats? Probably. Does any of this have to do with genuine hate speech or domestic terrorism? Unlikely.

What’s more likely is that words like hate and terror are being misused to trigger more government interference in the lives of parents and their children.

Branding angry parents domestic terrorists is absurd hyperbole at best and political weaponization at worst. Parents who are merely resisting ideological intrusion into their public schools—and their children’s lives—deserve better.

What we need is an overhaul of a failing public school system and vouchers for charter schools and alternative educational systems like home schooling.

Why should we continue funding increasingly political public schools? Why should we believe school boards who claim parents are engaging in hate speech, threats of violence, and terrorism when most seek merely to protect their children by exercising their freedom of speech with passion and conviction?

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