Following Minimum Wage Increases, Unemployment Spikes among Black Male Teens | Foundation for Economic Education

The minimum wage law is most properly described as a law saying that employers must discriminate against people who have low skills. That’s what the law says. The law says that here’s a man who has a skill that would justify a wage of $5 or $6 per hour (adjusted for today), but you may not employ him, it’s illegal, because if you employ him you must pay him $7.25 per hour. So what’s the result? To employ him at $7.25 per hour is to engage in charity. There’s nothing wrong with charity.But most employers are not in the position to engage in that kind of charity. Thus, the consequences of minimum wage laws have been almost wholly bad. We have increased unemployment and increased poverty. — Milton Friedman

Source: Following Minimum Wage Increases, Unemployment Spikes among Black Male Teens | Foundation for Economic Education

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I believe it is wrong to hurt people. 

I am a Libertarian for one very simple reason. I believe it is wrong to hurt people. Non-aggression lies at the very core of Libertarian philosophy.

Liberals and Conservatives will never say this. They can’t. They both believe that under the right circumstances pertaining to their particular agendas, it’s acceptable to hurt people. Unfortunately, this almost always has unintended consequences.

So many people who find libertarianism unpalatable begin their arguments with something like:

“Well, I don’t know much about Libertarian philosophy, but…”

Or:

“I got into an argument with a Libertarian the other day, and …”

Or:

“I once knew this Libertarian and he was a jerk.”

I’m 56. I’ve considered myself a Libertarian my entire adult life. I have subscribed to Reason Magazine. I have read almost every book by Ayn Rand. I have read and re-read the Libertarian party philosophical stances, and dozens and dozens of essays and articles. I (apparently) know the philosophy better than almost everyone I know.

I have also read progressive and conservative writings over all that time, and all the arguments pro and con. I subscribe to the New York Times, and I listen to NPR. I read Michael Harrington’s The Other America, and my first vote for president went to Jimmy Carter.

But like I said, at the end of the day, I believe it is wrong to hurt people. People left to their own devices will usually do good things, but like everyone, we basically want to be left alone and free to make our own choices.

This doesn’t mean I am anti-social. Quite the opposite. No one enjoys meeting friends and doing things in the world more than I do. I help my neighbors and friends when I can, and I’m involved in my local community. I don’t live in the woods, but in a densely populated traditional suburb outside of Philadelphia. My neighbor’s house is 20 feet away. We talk to them all the time. I couldn’t survive without associations with others.

No, I don’t always agree with other Libertarians, and yes, I often find some of them too strident in their tone. If I’m in the room full of people I agree with, I tend to take the contrary position just to make things interesting. I consider myself more pragmatic than some. Meanwhile most of my friends lean to the liberal side, but many lean right as well.

But to address some just a few of the points from those less studied:

No, Libertarianism isn’t corporate freedom or pro-corporate welfare. We hate corporate welfare. In fact, we probably hate it more than social welfare, because we dislike concentrated power of any kind. It is the biggest threat to individual liberty there is.

No, Libertarianism won’t leave starving people homeless in the streets. We genuinely want the truly destitute to get help and Libertarians will help them. Libertarianism will further encourage the spread of better managed and more effective private efforts to help people. Will there be failures? Well, after trillions of dollars of taxpayer money spent on social programs since the New Deal, aren’t there failures now?

If you want to solve a problem, a Libertarian will first ask you, “How can we do that without hurting someone?” If your solution in any way involves the use of force against a law-abiding citizen, you will not get a Libertarian’s approval. That’s why it’s called LIBERTY.

When it comes to hurting people, there are no “yes, buts…” You are either in favor of violence to advance your agenda, or you are not.

And by the way, to address those who wonder where our water will come from or who will provide fire protection: Our water, like our other utilities, already comes from a private company. Our fire companies are private non-profit entitles contracted by the Borough. And I live in a very blue part of Pennsylvania.

And yes, government built the roads, but they built them through many of our major cities, destroying neighborhoods wholesale, displacing hundreds of thousands, and caused enough economic damage to those places to make Hitler cringe.

Before government built the roads, private companies did. We called them RAILroads, and they did great until government decided to get into the transportation business, taxing and regulating the railroads to near extinction.

But hey, we went to the moon.

How’s that minimum wage hike working for you, Frisco?

As Tech Insider explains, the metallic burger maker is “fully autonomous, meaning the robot can slice toppings, grill a patty, and assemble and bag the burger without any help from humans.” According to the Craigslist ad, the burgers served at the as-yet-unnamed restaurant “will be fresh-ground and grilled to order, served on toasted brioche, and accented by an infinitely personalizable variety of fresh produce, seasonings, and sauces.”

Source: A Robot Burger Restaurant Is Coming to San Francisco – Eater

I’m in

Any reasonable person living in a state that’s a lock for either of the major candidates that must hold their nose to pull their lever must vote for a third party candidate. It’s the only way to make your vote actually count. There’s no such thing as a wasted vote, except when you vote for the candidate sure not to win your state.

For instance, if you live in Massachusetts, you know Hillary will carry that state by a wide margin. Voting for Littlefinger means absolute nothing in the grand scheme of things, because you cast your vote for an elector who will not vote for him (and may not vote for Hillary either). A Democrat disgusted with their nominee has to think the same. It’s long past time to end the two-party hegemony.

I’m voting Libertarian because like many of you, I’m tired of government intrusion in every aspect of our lives. Trillions spent, trillions wasted. Time for something new. And better.

Good guy with a gun story goes ignored

The interesting thing about this incident is that it flies in the face of the narrative that people would be safer if we make it harder for individuals to gain access to, or legally carry, firearms.

Source: Media Silent as Concealed Carrier Stops Mass Shooting in Progress at a South Carolina Nightclub | The Daily Liberator

I’m a huge first amendment guy (none bigger), but I also know that like it or not, even the most impartial media outlets have their agendas. Sure, the New York Times might be impartial about the stories they cover, but it’s the stories they choose to cover that reveals their biases.

YourStory-Brexit

Brexit and Shop Floor Wisdom

The frenetic hand-wringing over the British vote to leave the European Union makes me chuckle just a little. Sanctimonious outrage will do that to me. As usual, people apply their pre-conceived notions and confirmation biases into their thinking about this development. And as usual, I step back and take the long view.

Not surprisingly, the exit has disgusted “right-thinking” people, the intelligentsia and the so-called progressives, assuming that the British have succumbed to a form of insanity for leaving what they see as the greatest gift Europe has received since liberation by the Americans. No one really knows what’s going to happen. That’s simple truth, but the press has largely failed to mention an important fact: The referendum was not binding. Parliament still has to vote to make it official, and anything can happen between now and then.

The political establishment likes to denigrate the “uneducated” opinions of the working class and older Britons who overwhelmingly supported the exit. This reminds me of my experiences working in shops and other businesses where the everyone but the bosses seem to know why the company is going under. Those in the trenches, making actual contact with the product and the customers, often have a better sense of reality than their supervisors sitting at their desks in remote sites. Anyone who’s spent anytime in the workforce (or who reads Dilbert) can relate to this.

Maybe the shop workers don’t see the Big Picture, but the big picture rarely depicts their lives with any detail. The big picture shows them as filler or afterthoughts. Except, that they are there, and they do matter. The big picture loses a lot of color and meaning without them, and in a democracy, ignore them at your peril.

I bristle at the notion of turning over more and more decisions to central authorities, no matter the perceived advantages. The working classes of Britain understand this. They voted to exit because appointed officials in an office building in a country on another continent dictated to them how to go about making a living.

Those who voted to get out bristled against those policies affected their lifestyles and professions, and in the end, voted for more democracy, not less, and history proves that people allowed to peacefully decide on their own futures is always a good thing.

Trumpty Dumpty

Trump represents to me everything in my life I have fought against: Ignorance, hypocrisy, greed, and power. I will not let myself or my family be willingly subject to that kind of tyranny if I can help it. 

And the Proudly Ignorant’s railing against the policies of the last eight years is mathematically incorrect. They more correctly need to include the eight years before that, and probably the the sixty years before that. Their vitriol against Obama needs to be measured against the plain and simple fact that he is the natural extension of, like it or not, American liberalism. His administration fits quite neatly within those bounds. For those that seem to target him as some kind of outlier or extremist shows that they are simply out of their minds with blind hatred for lord knows what, if not simple racism.

I’ve said it many times, I don’t like Obama either, but I don’t like him for the right reasons: Because he has expanded government power, trashed more civil liberties, and increased the opacity of the executive branch at the expense of our democracy. But then again, so has almost every one of his predecessors going back to Reagan.

So what does Trumpty Dumpty propose to fix that? More government power, fewer civil liberties, and severely increased opacity. And the Proudly Ignorant seems to see that as a solution.

This is empire in its decline, and you will find me atop the ramparts if it comes to that.

The Trumpening descends upon us

Any economist will say that you can’t give any president a whole lot of blame or credit for the economy’s performance during their administration. For all their power, it’s still pretty much beyond their control. Blaming Obama for the continued sluggish growth is as wrong as it is giving him credit for getting us out of the recession. A potted plant would have accomplished the same results.

You can only tag a president with the tone he or she sets and for instituting policies that will in the very, very long run affect things down the road. This past recession springs from events that took place twenty years ago or more.

And one more thing: Even after eight years, I still don’t get the level of vitriol that people spit at Obama. You will never convince me that there isn’t a racial element to it.

I don’t like him either, but from a historical perspective, he falls right in line with every Democratic president (and some Republicans) since FDR. He comes from a very American liberal tradition, so if you’re going to call him “Dick with Ears” or “Muslim Spy” or worse, you’d better claw back and find some choice ones for Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton (all Titans compared to what we have in front of us today, btw).

I don’t like Obama because he brought us bigger, more powerful government. So will Trump.

I don’t like Obama because he laid waste to more of our civil liberties. So will Trump (he’s all but promised that).

I don’t like Obama because despite his promises of transparency, his administration is among the most opaque ever. Trump is the very embodiment of opaqueness and back-room dealing.

I don’t like Obama because my one expectation for his presidency never came to pass: That Wall Street would fill with rolling heads.

Think Trump, a New York wheeler-dealer whose very brand all-but-sucks from the teat of Wall Street, will meet this justice on behalf of those Americans who suffered at the hands of their deceit?

And yes, I don’t like Hillary for all those reasons as well, but I hesitate to say much about her because for chrissakes, the mainstream alternative is so… much… worse.

Let’s make school tax history

sherrifs sale in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania

The School District of Jenkintown recently announced its preliminary budget, and it called for a 2.9% increase in our tax levy. Last year, the inflation rate stood at nearly zero. Some might argue, with some justification, that Jenkintown’s enrollment of only about 650 students barely qualified as a school district, and indeed, the education that they receive, while highly rated, looks and feels more like a private prep-school than your run-of-the-mill suburban public school.

Out of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts, Jenkintown rates number 41. It proposes to spend almost $23,000 per pupil in the upcoming year. The district carries a debt load of over $1.2 million, and it currently seeks ways to accommodate a growing enrollment, much of it coming from families who rent. Families fleeing the Philadelphia schools have Jenkintown high on their list. Unfortunately, since they don’t buy homes to gain access to our school, this increase in demand has no affect on our housing values. They’re renting, which has the potential to further destabilize what people typically consider a close-knit community. Continue reading