Skip to comments.The Left’s Unhealthy Love for the Poor
Posted on 06/15/2014 12:49:07 PM PDT by Starman417
As the Obama Presidency continues to unravel, he keeps looking for one distraction after another to take the focus off of the economy, foreign policy, etc. We have the Bowe Bergdahl scandal to distract from the VA scandal right now, but prior to this we started to see Obama sense another electoral shellacking in the upcoming midterm elections. Naturally he did the only thing he knows how to do, not govern of course, but revisit his successful "divide and hate" election strategy. We see it in the White House pushing its "Gender Pay Gap" myth that takes all of two minutes of research to blow away, their anointing the Koch brothers as the left's hate du jour, and of course there is the minimum wage. This push to raise the minimum wage will probably be addressed in more detail by reviving my "Economics for Politicians" series as soon as I get the chance to pull it together.
One of the left's arguments for raising the minimum wage, forcing Wal-Wart to unionize, etc. goes along the lines of, "By paying less than a living wage employees are forced onto public assistance (food stamps, welfare, etc.). This amounts to a massive subsidy for those corporations paid for by the taxpayer." Believe it or not I find it to be an interesting argument, but I think it only works in a small, relatively homogenous society, as there are many arguments against raising the minimum wage (again, let's hold off on them until I can write my follow up post).
What if we're looking at this from the wrong direction? Instead of fretting over how much to force employers to pay their employees so that the left can meet that quantifiable, concrete measure of "whatever dollar amount makes leftist elites feel good about themselves", why not look at what we can do to make necessities less expensive so that workers have a better shot at providing for themselves even if they lack the skills to command a higher wage? Café Hayek did a fun series of posts that compared the goods in old Sears catalogs to what they would cost today. By taking into account not only price inflation and wage inflation the post figured out how many hours need to be worked to obtain the various products, Two examples are here and here. To make a long story short, most of the goods we enjoy today are higher quality and cost a lot less, but check out the links.
However much we might long for the good old labor market days of the 1950's the many changes to society have made goods a lot cheaper. The best part of this is cheaper goods disproportionately help the poor, since their lower incomes mean that any basic goods bought take up a greater portion of their income. In terms of the basic necessity of clothing we've taken care of one of the needs - care to go shopping at Wal-Mart, anyone?
How about food? In "The World Is Flat" Tom Friedman gives a surprisingly balanced look at Wal-Mart. He cites the leftist argument of their wages pushing employees onto government assistance, but also mentions that their lower food prices disproportionately help to feed the poor. What else can we do about high food prices? How about if we stop wasting corn on producing ethanol fuel? It's not like it's helping with the intended purpose of reducing "greenhouse gas" emissions. Or how about opening sugar markets, as our combination of market distorting subsidies and tariffs hurt consumers? Again, as the poorest spend a far larger percentage of their income on sugar (or any food) than do those hated one percenters, is this not the compassionate thing to do? Of course, resisting this reform enjoys strong bipartisan support. As I wrote a few years ago:
Phase out market-distorting subsidies and tariffs. The more drastic the change the more resistance there will be, so this needs to be done slowly over several years. We all know theres a reason that no politician who wants to be president will call for ending corn subsidies before the Iowa caucus during the primaries or call for ending sugar subsidies (Florida) before the general election. While it will hurt targeted industries in the short run we can offset it by lowering our corporate tax rates across the board flatter taxes, anyone?
Health care costs are another popular cause of the left, and the leftist argument is that a fully implemented Obamacare is the answer. Their premise seems to go like this:
(Excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...
Its not love any more than I love my hammer.
Dig the ice cream logo behind Obama -- Mt Desert Island Ice Cream in Maine. Or a black power symbol. Or both.
Control is where it’s at.
Quality comes because higher levels of automation. Cost is because most of it is made offshore by people earning a fraction of what a U.S. worker makes.
I wouldn’t call it love. They are trying to kill off the middle class so that we are left w/ 2 classes — the have and have not’s.
The few “have”’s control the masses of the poor.
If they cared about the poor, they invest more in education and keeping small business afloat. A hand up, not a hand out.
Yep...the poor to the left....not a problem to fix....but a tool to use....
Love the poor? Not even close. They hate the productive and wealth creating. They hate all that is good and decent. Their “love” for the poor is just a cover for their hatred and destruction of value. They hate the rich and productive. They hate the good and decent and normal. Wealth production is the means by which life is supported on this earth. And as they hate life, they have no choice than to tear down the means of supporting life, i.e., wealth and prosperity.
It's hard for someone to work 6 hours less to buy something now vs. then if there are no jobs to work less at. Total taxes have increased from the Reagan years so the work time comparison is off. Chinese-made products are cheaper than American-made but not as cheap as they claim.
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