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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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Elections

Democrats: Proud Election Deniers since 1977

Democrat election denial is vast

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Following the 2020 presidential election,  Chris Cillizza, CNN’s recently fired politics editor, observing a Quinnipiac poll, stated that “76% of self-identified Republicans… said they believe there was ‘widespread fraud in the 2020 election.’” Yet, more Democrats, 78%, believe that the 2016 presidential election was “stolen.” So which party has the greater percentage of election deniers?

Here is a long list, complied by The Republican National Committee, that pinpoints the vast extent of Democrat election denial:

 

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FOR DECADES, DEMOCRATS DISPUTED ELECTIONS THAT THEY LOST

 

DEMOCRATS CALLED THE 2000 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION “STOLEN”

 

DEMOCRATS RDISPUTE THE 2004 ELECTION

 

DEMOCRATS DISPUTE THE 2016 ELECTION

 

DEMOCRATS CAST DOUBT ON OTHER ELECTIONS

 

BIDEN AND HIS OFFICIALS MAKE STOLEN ELECTION CLAIMS

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Faith

What If You Only Had One Year to Live?

How would your life change day to day?

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What if all of the sudden your doctor told you that you only had one year to live? How would your life change? Chris Widener, Founder of PolitiCrossing, talks about his new book, Four Seasons. Focus on the preciousness of life with Chris in this short video. You can purchase Four Seasons right here. Or read the first chapter below the video.

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March 10, 3 p.m.

As Jonathan Blake turned off Roxiticus road and into his drive, he pushed the console button that would open his gate, and the massive, wrought-iron gates began to open. While waiting, his gloved hand on the stick shift, his eye caught the marker on the brick post. It read “Three Lakes.” When the gate had opened far enough, Jonathan eased his black luxury car through and continued up to the house. Jonathan had always cherished Three Lakes, but this afternoon, he loved it more than ever. Moving slowly up the mile-long driveway, he surveyed the land on which he had lived for most of his life. The massive, glorious trees that guarded the front entrance created a secluded tunnel leading to the first of the three lakes sitting just off to the right, a quarter-mile up the driveway. Lush, rolling terrain that occupied most of the rest of the 157 acres that made up the estate welcomed him warmly this afternoon.

The drive from Manhattan had taken him roughly an hour and 15 minutes. Having until two years ago been the owner of some 50 city and county newspapers up and down the East Coast, Jonathan had driven in and out of Manhattan thousands of times during his lifetime. This trip was different, though. There was so much to think about today, so much weighing on his mind. Monumental events loomed on the horizon—events that would affect Jonathan and his family profoundly and change their lives forever. Normally, the drive from the city to Three Lakes was a calm and soothing one, changing slowly along the way from the sterile, high-rise atmosphere of the fastest-paced city in the United States, to the natural, colorful scenery of the area surrounding Far Hills, New Jersey, deep in horse country. The drive usually drew Jonathan through an inner change, taking him from the overworked executive to the relaxed husband and father, ready to spend time with his family. Not so this day. The mind-numbing thoughts racing to and fro had made this drive seem nonexistent. By the time he approached Three Lakes, he was dull from the desperate mental exertion. He negotiated the drive on autopilot.

Nearing the house, Jonathan reached to touch another button, and the second stall of the five-car garage opened, making way for him to park. He slowed down and eased the car into its resting place. Turning off the engine and climbing out of the car, he pressed the opener again and closed the garage door behind him. The first stall, closest to the door to the mudroom, was reserved for his wife Gloria’s car, but seeing that it was gone, he knew that the house was his, at least for a time.

He rarely felt this way, but today he was glad Gloria was gone. He needed some more time to himself before revealing the tragic news.

The house on Three Lakes was enormous. At 23,000 square feet, the English Tudor-style home built by Jonathan’s father on the rolling landscape outside of Far Hills was the quintessential Northern New Jersey estate. It had five bedrooms in the family quarters, a two-bedroom guest wing above the garages, and a formal dining room that seated thirty-two when the large cherry table was extended. The huge kitchen was where wonderful family memories began, where feasts were prepared for the hungry family to enjoy. In addition, there were formal and informal living rooms, a den, a recreation room complete with a billiards table built in 1865, and two offices, one for Jonathan and one for Gloria. The two rooms that set Three Lakes apart from the other large homes in the area were the library and the ballroom. It was Jonathan’s mother, Charlotte, who, indulging a lifelong love affair with books, made sure that her husband, Edgar, included a library when he built the home. It was 2 stories high, with bookshelves all the way around its 1,800 square feet, holding 20,000 volumes. All of the great books of history were there, and Jonathan, also a book lover and avid reader, had spent hundreds of hours in the library reading them. The room was decorated exquisitely with overstuffed leather couches, recliners, and study tables in the corners, complete with a banker’s lamp on each. Providing access to the volumes on high shelves above your head was a two-story, rolling oak ladder that moved around the perimeter of the room.

The second special room was the 4,000-square-foot ballroom. Throughout their years together, Edgar and Charlotte had hosted many a party there and always engaged the most popular bands and ensembles to entertain their friends, relatives, and business acquaintances. A large chandelier hung like a sparkling beach umbrella in the center of the room, while off to the side were sitting areas around the wooden dance floor where tired dancers could talk, enjoy good food, and drink their wine or champagne. A huge fireplace dominated the outer wall, and in the winter months, guests looked forward to the warmth of a crackling fire. Large, two-story windows around the room gave way to broad, sweeping views of the gazebo, the front gate below, and the largest of the three lakes. The room was, quite simply, breathtaking.

Edgar and Charlotte Blake had built the home as a place in which to raise their two children, Betsy and Jonathan, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It was their permanent family retreat. When Jonathan was 20, his older sister died in a freak drowning accident. Edgar and Charlotte then lived alone after Jonathan left for college, their solitude punctuated with frequent visits home from Jonathan and later, Jonathan and Gloria.

When Edgar died at the age of 64, he left the house to his wife, Charlotte Wilson Blake. She died four years later, and the house in which Jonathan had grown up became his. Jonathan, Gloria, and their four children have lived there ever since.

After entering the house through the mudroom, Jonathan moved quickly through the kitchen, stopping only briefly at the preparation island in the middle of the room to see what had come in the mail that was laid out there. He quickly perused the stack and came to the conclusion that there was nothing important, at least not compared to what else had been occupying his mind since this afternoon. He left the kitchen cutting through the formal living room, down the hall, through the main foyer, and into his haven, his office.

Jonathan always felt safe and at home in the office that had originally been his father’s. Scores of books nestled in the bookshelves, surrounded by dark, rich, mahogany woodwork and leather furniture. He settled into his favorite chair next to the glass cabinet that held his favorite hunting rifles and shotguns, slipped his tired feet out of his shoes, and raised his legs to rest on the ottoman. Reaching over to the table next to him, he opened a small humidor and took out an Opus X cigar, one of the small pleasures of his life. Jonathan never smoked more than one per week when he was working, as he didn’t want them to become commonplace but to remain a special privilege he allowed himself as a reward for making it through another hard week at the office. Since retiring, though, sometimes he would allow himself an additional cigar during the week. After cutting the tip off, he took the lighter from the table and lit the cigar. Jonathan savored the rich aroma of the cigar. He loved the smell and had since he was a little boy when Edgar would relax with an occasional cigar.

There he was, home by himself and left to his own thoughts. The quiet of the house was deafening as he sat motionless, his head resting against the back of his chair. He stared out the window toward the backyard, where he could see the gazebo and the fields beyond. He looked longingly over his land and dreamed of what the future might have held.

“How will I tell them?” he wondered. “When will I tell them? What will they think? What will they do? How can I let them down like this?” As a cloud of cigar smoke curled into the air, his eyes turned toward what the Blake family affectionately called “The Wall.” The walls of the office were covered with artwork, plaques, and diplomas, but “The Wall” was reserved for the special photos that, taken together, told the story of his life. Jonathan put his cigar down in the ashtray and walked deliberately to the wall to gain a closer look. There stood Jonathan Blake. He was a tall, good-looking man. At 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, he was still in good shape, though in these later years in life, he had lost a little weight as some of his muscle mass had disappeared. In his younger years, he had weighed close to 190, a picture of good health. Now, his hair was dark, with just a touch of gray, the symbolic mist of wisdom framing his temples. His eyes were steel blue. All in all, he had leading-man good looks.

Set among the pictures were his 12 favorites. He buried both hands deep in his pockets and, moving from left to right along “The Wall,” he considered each picture and the time of life it represented. There was the picture of Jonathan and Betsy, aged 10 and 12, along with their parents, out in the back of the house next to the original gazebo, still full of vim and vigor, ready for life. He remembered the day well. It was warm and sunny, and he was a typical boy. His mother and father had asked him repeatedly to settle down and leave his sister alone so that they could get on with the picture taking. It was an amateur family portrait, but it captured this family, and that was what was significant. It showed them on the land that they loved, together for a moment in time. Jonathan thought of what a beautiful woman Betsy would have been had she lived. She had a broad, white smile that was infectious. Jonathan wished that his family could still be together. Now, as the other three were gone, this was an important picture, an important memory, for Jonathan. It was a connection to his past, his original family, his blood. His eyes turned to the picture of him and Edgar fishing in Pennsylvania. Charlotte had captured this on film when Jonathan was 14 on one of the family’s vacations. Edgar loved to fish and hunt, a passion that he eagerly and successfully instilled in his only son. In this photograph, Jonathan, not Edgar, was reeling in the big one, something that didn’t happen very often. Jonathan’s boyish grin was the center of the picture, his father’s smile of pride in his only son a close second. Jonathan looked just like Edgar, simply younger.

Just below that was a picture of Jonathan’s lacrosse team at the Delbarton Catholic Boys High School outside of Morristown. The Blakes were Presbyterian, but Jonathan, and then Jonathan’s two boys, Michael and Thomas, all attended Delbarton because it provided the finest education money could buy in that area of New Jersey. Thomas, the youngest of Jonathan and Gloria’s four children, would graduate that spring from Delbarton and then go on to Princeton University, another family tradition.

Delbarton had taught Jonathan to love a classical education and given him an outlet for his love of the written word. It also taught him to place God in the center of his life and to remember that he had a responsibility to his Maker and his fellow man. Delbarton was also where Jonathan pursued his passion for sports. He always played team sports, and he was elected the captain of the lacrosse team in both his junior and senior years. Many of his fellow students came from wealthy families, so it was always a source of inner satisfaction for Jonathan, knowing that it was his leadership abilities and athletic skill, not his father’s money, that got him voted captain by his teammates. His senior year, the lacrosse team went to the state finals but lost, despite Jonathan’s valiant effort of three goals.

The team picture brought that game to mind, and Jonathan studied each member of the team. He saw young men about to graduate from high school, go on to college, and then into the real world. He had kept up with most of his teammates and knew at least where most of them were and where their lives were taking them. As with all senior classes, some went on to do great things, others to more mundane and ordinary lives. Some, like Jonathan, attained great fame and wealth. Others lived simply, content with an average existence.

Jonathan thought about each of these teammates, so childlike then, so energetic, so full of dreams. Life had taken them in many directions. He wondered how many of them were truly happy now as they neared the twilight of their lives. He wondered how much longer they would live and what legacy they would leave for others. He wondered if any were truly making a difference in the lives of those around them or if they were just waiting life out, distracted by a plethora of activities.

In the middle of “The Wall” was a large picture of Jonathan and his precious mate, Gloria. He was a sophomore at Princeton, she a freshman at Drew University in Madison, about an hour away. Gloria had come to know Jonathan through her brother Martin, a classmate of Jonathan’s who now lived in Germany and taught at a university there. The picture was taken in front of one of the restaurants on Palmer Square. Jonathan noticed how young they looked. Their faces were so… taut. Age takes its toll on your skin first, he thought. There they were. Gloria was beautiful. Not striking, but naturally good-looking. Her light-brown hair caught the sunlight just so in the picture. At the time of the picture, they had been dating only two months, but they were in love and about to realize they would spend the rest of their lives together. He reminisced about Gloria. She was a spunky but brilliant young woman from South Jersey. Jonathan was bright, to be sure, but his family’s network of relationships definitely played a part in helping the Princeton admission process go smoothly. After college, Gloria taught school until Jennifer was born four years into her teaching career. How he respected and adored Gloria. He still caught himself looking lovingly at her across the room when she was not aware of him. Occasionally, she would catch him looking, and he would just smile a smile of love and appreciation.

Beside the picture of Gloria and Jonathan was a picture taken at a restaurant in Paris while on their 10th-anniversary trip. Jonathan had been to Europe many times before, but Gloria had only dreamed about it. Jonathan arranged to surprise her with this trip. It was the only time they went to France, and it was memorable for the setting as well as the occasion. Around that photo were four others, each one with Jonathan and one of the four children. There was Jonathan and Jennifer, the oldest of the Blake children, eating cotton candy at the zoo when she was 9. She was a small version of her current self with her brown hair, blue eyes, and a wide smile. How he loved Jennifer. He remembered when she was born, how he had cradled her in his arms so tenderly that first time. He had gazed into her eyes, amazed at the gift of life that God had bestowed upon him. How would he care for her? How would he be able to provide all that another human being, his child, needed? He had felt deeply the awesome privilege and responsibility of another life under his care.

Jennifer had grown up to be a strong woman, a lawyer. She was beautiful, proud, and self-confident. Yet Jonathan knew that her life was not perfect. Jennifer and her husband Scott, who was also a lawyer, were obviously not happily married. This caused Jonathan and Gloria much pain; they had many discussions on how they might possibly be helped. Jonathan pondered what might happen to them in the future. He didn’t know. And now, more than ever, he felt completely unable to provide any help. He wanted to do something, anything, to steer them in the right direction. He made a mental note to work on that soon.

There was also a picture of Jonathan with Michael, his second child, wrestling on the living room floor, both of their faces beaded with sweat and looking directly into the camera as if they had stopped and posed. How does a father describe his love for his first son? Jonathan breathed deeply, letting the air out in a heavy sigh. Jonathan had dreamed of a life of partnership with Michael, and his son had not disappointed him. Michael had also graduated from Princeton and was becoming a young man who would, in a few years, be ready to partner with his father in life and work. Jonathan had for years vividly pictured in his mind late nights plotting the next adventure with Michael, alternating between bestowing fatherly wisdom and eagerly embracing the vigor of a young man pursuing a higher goal. Michael was now married to Patty, a charming young woman whom Jonathan and Gloria considered the greatest find Michael could have made. Grandchildren would come from these two first, he figured. The thought of grandchildren was important to Jonathan—even more so now.

A picture of Samantha, Jonathan and Gloria’s third child, and her dad dressed exquisitely for a high school, father-daughter dinner was next to the picture of Michael and Jonathan. Jonathan wore a dark-blue, double-breasted suit. He had looked dapper, he thought. Samantha wore a dark-blue dress to match. Samantha. Now she was a pleasant enigma to Jonathan. She was the tenderest of the Blake children. A typical middle child, she was quiet and deferred to the strength of the older children and the attention shown to her younger brother. She usually played the role of the quiet helper in the Blake family. Jonathan admired Samantha for her calm spirit. He appreciated her servant’s heart immensely. He thought the world of her. The problem was simply that he didn’t know her very well. Yes, this picture placed him at a certain time and date in her life, but the reality was that if any of the Blake children had been lost in the shuffle of Jonathan’s busy life, it was Samantha. Jonathan hadn’t spent much time getting to know her while she was growing up, and now he regretted that. Soon she would be marrying William Moore, a young Presbyterian minister, and begin to develop her own life and family. He had thought ever since the engagement that the chances of delving into his daughter’s heart and life were growing increasingly slim. He had often pondered recently how he might find time to make a place for himself in Samantha’s life. This, too, he would make a priority now.

A picture of the youngest, Thomas, about age 14 and looking a lot like Jonathan did in the picture with Edgar, and Jonathan holding a shotgun in one hand and a duck in the other, completed the collection of pictures of Jonathan and his children. Thomas had brought a sense of completeness to Jonathan. He had always wanted four children. His slightly morbid reason being that he wanted to make sure he had more than two children in case anything happened to one of them. While Michael had been groomed to be a businessman, Thomas had been groomed to take up Jonathan’s leisurely pursuits such as hunting and fishing. He was smart and did well in school, but his passion was in sport. Michael could obviously handle a rod and reel or a shotgun, given the scores of trips he had taken with his father to pursue fish, elk, and deer, but Thomas was a young master in Jonathan’s eyes.

Yes, Jonathan pondered, each of the children had their strengths and weaknesses, as do all people, but all in all, they were good kids, leading good lives. Jonathan was very proud of them all and loved them as only a father could. Finishing off “The Wall” were pictures of the family on the beach in Florida, a picture of the combined staffs of Jonathan’s newspapers taken at one of their annual Christmas parties, and, next to the picture of Gloria and Jonathan, was a family portrait. Here was the Jonathan Blake family, attired in suits and dresses, standing on the newly renovated gazebo in the backyard. It was a beautiful summer day, and there was a lot to be happy about. The family was all together, they had attained wealth and status that only a few ever achieve, and above all, they were healthy.

All of the pictures on Jonathan’s wall boldly declared one thing: Family man. Jonathan Blake had remained married and faithful to his one true love for his whole life, had succeeded in business beyond anyone’s expectations, including his own, provided jobs for literally hundreds of people, and had raised four fine, upstanding, God-fearing children who would most likely repeat the pattern in their own lives. His life appeared to be a success.

As he stood there staring at the family portrait, thinking more of the trouble he was now facing and the dread with which he faced it, knowing the impact it would have on his family, he heard the mudroom door swing open and then close again. Gloria was home. Jonathan’s heart began to race. He stood there, hands still deep in his pockets. He didn’t move. He didn’t need to. Gloria would surely look for him in his office first. She would be there soon enough, asking questions Jonathan didn’t want to answer. He didn’t want to have to do what he would be required to do in the next few minutes. In fact, he loathed the pain he was about to cause his love.

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