Morning Report: New York goes all-in on the minimum wage experiment 7/23/15

Markets are flattish as earnings reports continue to pile in. Bonds and MBS are flat.

Initial Jobless Claims fell to 255k last week, the lowest level since 1973. People that have jobs are keeping them, unfilled jobs are at the highest level since the boom days of 2000, people that work part time and want to work full time can’t find jobs, and the labor force participation rate is at almost 40 year lows. What is wrong with this picture? A massive mismatch between the skills employers want the the skills the unemployed actually have. This is evident in the real estate sector, where skilled construction labor is in a dire shortage.

The Conference Board’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators came in much better than expectations, at +0.6% versus expectations of +0.3%. May was revised upward to +0.8%. Housing related indicators are finally driving the index higher, which is primarily a result of the big increases in building permits we have seen over the past two months. Labor continues to be the drag on the index.

In other economic data, The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose to .08 in June from -.08 in May. Production and employment indicators drove the increase. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell slightly last week.

The Greek Parliament approved the austerity package Tsipras and Europe was asking for. The ECB extended its emergency liquidity package by something like 900 million euros. I guess Greece is going to be out of the headlines for a while.

The other major international economic story – the meltdown in Chinese stocks – seems to have been arrested as well as state funds have been supporting the market. The Chinese have taken a page from the Japanese Ministry of Finance and have decided to try the old “use state funds and moral suasion to force buying and stop selling” in order to hold up the market. Japan did this in the late 90s (they were called Price Keeping Operations) and tried to prevent the market from falling below 13,000 in order to protect the banks. Eventually the market won and the Nikkei eventually fell below 7,000. I suspect China will see the same fate, but this will be a titanic battle of wills between Big Communist Government and Mr. Market. So far, Mr. Market has an undefeated record.

Between the strong labor data, and the fading of international worries, worries about a September liftoff will move to the forefront again. Low commodity prices are giving the Fed an excuse not to move, but they are probably behind the curve at this point. Inflation is great for debtors (or at least people who owe money at a fixed rate) but is bad for creditors. Note the biggest creditor out there is the Fed, who owns about 4.5 trillion of US Treasuries and mortgage backed securities.

New York State is going all-in on the minimum wage experiment – $15 an hour (or 31k a year plus benefits) for even 16 year old fast food workers. Note this isn’t New York City, where they might be able to get away with it, but New York State. The difference in the cost of living between, say Syracuse and Manhattan is night and day. The high priest of progressive economics, Paul Krugman seems to think the laws of supply and demand don’t apply to the labor market, so we will see how this plays out. IMO, the most obvious changes will be to cut teenagers out of the labor force entirely, and companies will continue to substitute technology for labor. Not sure how the left intends to deal with the technology issue – they probably imagine they can tax (or regulate) it away. What we do know is that if the left’s meddling in the labor market doesn’t give them the results they had hoped for, they will blame laissez-faire economics and the free market.

Speaking of the left, NYC Mayor DeBlinkins decided to back off from going after Uber. Progressive ideology aside, it is a bear to get a cab on the Upper East Side.

Homebuilder PulteGroup reported earnings that beat the street but revenues missed. Pulte said their first time buyer segment was showing “good results.” Pulte also intends to accelerate land spending in the second half of the year, which signals further that they plan to push through volume as it is getting harder to increase prices, especially at the low end. Pulte (as opposed to companies like Toll and Lennar) has exposure to the lagging portions of the housing sector – the Midwest, the Northeast, and the first time homebuyer.

109 Responses

  1. Not sure how the left intends to deal with the technology issue – they probably imagine they can tax (or regulate) it away.

    It’s going to eventually lead to some sort of Universal Net Benefit or Guaranteed Minimum Income or whatever name it goes by. How it comes about is gray. It could be a massive expansion of the Earned Income Credit. It could be part of a comprehensive flattening of the bewildering array of current income support programs (SNAP, SS/DI, Housing grants, etc). I saw Paul Rayn give a talk where he talked about having to restructure these systems so there is some conservative interest in this conceptually.

    Also, in theory, if there were a GMI, there would be no need for a minimum wage since starving artists wouldn’t be starving anymore.

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  2. Brent:

    The difference in the cost of living between, say Syracuse and Manhattan is night and day.

    Exactly. This will further destroy economic opportunities in areas like Syracuse that already suffer from a dearth of opportunity.

    More evidence that the left is primarily driven by emotion and sentiment, not rational thought.

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  3. If an artist is starving, what’s that say about their marketability?

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  4. This is evident in the real estate sector, where skilled construction labor is in a dire shortage.

    I think I may have asked this before, but how much of this is due to Hispanics (whether here legally or illegally) leaving for their home countries during the recession? And how likely are they to come back?

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  5. Re: Uber – Quote of the day from Andrew Cuomo

    “I don’t think government should be in the business of trying to restrict job growth”

    http://www.vox.com/2015/7/22/9015443/bill-de-blasio-uber

    Better late than never to come to that realization I suppose.

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  6. If an artist is starving, what’s that say about their marketability?

    Market value is an interesting metric of artistry. The most valuable artist today is Van Gogh, mostly because he died young and there is a very limited supply of his existing works. As this article by Julian Barnes notes, the most valuable artist when Van Gogh was alive was a painter of military scenes:

    The most valuable painter of Van Gogh’s day was Meissonier, that Alexandre Dumas of 19th-century painting, whose fame, subject matter (typically, Napoleon’s triumphs and disasters) and traditional technique we might plausibly expect to have repelled the younger painter. Van Gogh disdained what he called ‘studio chic’, even if painting out of doors meant getting flies, dust and sand stuck to your canvas. Meissonier became the world’s most expensive painter in his own lifetime; Van Gogh did not achieve that rank until a century into his deathtime.

    One never knows who the next underheralded genius might be. Although one unintended consequence of GMI could be an oversupply of screechy performance artists and a serious deficit of tattooed baristas.

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  7. Huffington Post admits (unintentionally I think) that SSDI is actually just welfare.

    “Congress Can’t Write A Highway Bill Without Punching Poor People In The Face
    To pay for transportation infrastructure, they’re going after Social Security.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/congress-cant-write-a-highway-bill-without-punching-poor-people-in-the-face_55afd7fde4b0a9b948535462

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    • Huffington Post admits (unintentionally I think) that SSDI is actually just welfare.

      How so? The cuts are aimed at felons collecting benefits which would seem to be a small percentage of recipients. Although I concede the point that SSDI has become defacto long term unemployment insurance for people aged 50 and over who became unemployable during the Great Recession.

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  8. Impressionism was a revolt movement against the formal salon system in France by artists whose works had been rejected. At the Musee d’Orsay in France which is one of the two best collections of Impressionist art in the world, they have a couple of galleries devoted to the salon-approved contemporaries of the Impressionists. The paintings of these artists are stunning in their craftsmanship and near photo-realistic detail, but these are not qualities that the market eventually rewarded.

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  9. I think I may have asked this before, but how much of this is due to Hispanics (whether here legally or illegally) leaving for their home countries during the recession? And how likely are they to come back?

    This was due more to skilled construction workers leaving the construction industry after the housing bust and taking jobs in the energy sector.

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  10. Although I concede the point that SSDI has become defacto long term unemployment insurance for people aged 50 and over who became unemployable during the Great Recession.

    how does that work? if i lose my job i can just claim i have some sort of disability and no one will verify that it is actually true?

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  11. One never knows who the next underheralded genius might be. Although one unintended consequence of GMI could be an oversupply of screechy performance artists and a serious deficit of tattooed baristas.

    You sure know how to make that appealing!

    On a serious not, why would you want to legally obligate me to feed another human being that is not a dependent of mine?

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  12. Although one unintended consequence of GMI could be an oversupply of screechy performance artists and a serious deficit of tattooed baristas.

    Your tatooed barista will be a vending maching

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    • Random thought of the day: Now that we are supposed to accept that people without a uterus can sensibly be called “women” and people with a uterus can sensibly be called “men”, does everyone, at long last, finally now agree with me that abortion is not a “women’s issue”?

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  13. “since starving artists wouldn’t be starving anymore.”

    being an artist is a hobby.

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  14. On a serious not, why would you want to legally obligate me to feed another human being that is not a dependent of mine?

    You have to go back to First Principles.

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    • yello:

      You have to go back to First Principles.

      That presumes that there are first principles to go back to. In this case that is probably a false premise.

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  15. being an artist is a hobby.

    A job is something people pay you to do. A hobby is something you pay to do.

    The IRS has very complicated rules on how to distinguish the difference.

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  16. taking jobs in the energy sector.

    Interesting–I didn’t know that (obviously). So, in other words, there is a huge market for French and literature majors to tap into when they can’t find teaching jobs.

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  17. and if you don’t have to be productive but [edit — are otherwise capable and] can support yourself with government benefits, that’s a problem.

    what i’m getting at is the “i have to love my work thing. what BS.

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  18. Interesting–I didn’t know that (obviously). So, in other words, there is a huge market for French and literature majors to tap into when they can’t find teaching jobs.

    Only if they can weld

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  19. You have to go back to First Principles.

    There are First Principles, other than Marxism, that legally obligate charity? Stops being charity don’t it?

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    • There are First Principles, other than Marxism, that legally obligate charity?

      The necessary First Principle has to acknowledge the existence and validity of Positive Rights.

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      • yello:

        The necessary First Principle has to acknowledge the existence and validity of Positive Rights.

        In who do these positive rights inhere? The notion of “positive” rights must, by its nature, be limited only to a subset of all humans. The idea that so-called positive rights inhere in all humans universally is literally incoherent. It makes no sense.

        One must also define what one means by the term “right” in the first place, which you are always and inevitably reluctant to do. Understandably, I think, since to do so would almost certainly undermine your ostensible first principles.

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    • McWing:

      There is, I think, a not entirely unserious case to be made for a GMI as an alternative to the vast array of entitlements currently available. Within a context in which the government is already committed to providing a minimum standard of living to people who cannot or will not support themselves, it could make sense to reduce the administrative complexity to a single program.

      One big problem with a GMI is the moral hazard it introduces, and the no-longer starving artist is the perfect example. When taking government support is perceived as a birthright rather than as something to be ashamed about, people are encouraged to rather than discouraged from taking it. If a GMI is sold as a way of “freeing” people to pursue other (unproductive) activities, ie as some kind of net economic benefit rather as the economic cost that it obviously is, then people will think it is actually a good thing to collect it. One of the biggest problems with all of the entitlements we currently dole out is that there is less of a stigma attached to them than there used to be. To the extent that a GMI would exacerbate that situation (and progressives seem to inevitably think that any such stigma should be avoided rather than promoted) it is a very bad idea.

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    • Brent:

      you’re gonna need a ruling from these two dudes:

      Yeah, I read the first one of those the other day. Twilight Zone.

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  20. Do you agree that a legal obligation to provide sustenance is different than charity?

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  21. I withdraw my peak derp comment.

    what a miserable way to go through life. there is the problem with the “politics is personal” lie. it’s not. it is one aspect of life. and should be a minor one.

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  22. From the Open Marriage article:

    It does work both ways and, yes, I too enjoy sexual carte blanche. I just don’t use mine as much as my wife uses hers. What’s important is equality of opportunity, not outcome.

    This strikes at the fundamental unfairness of open relationships. Women have a much easier time finding willing sexual partners, particularly if they aren’t very picky. Perhaps because of this, they don’t put as much effort into pursuing and initiating extramarital relationships. One of the better jokes about the Ashley Madison hacking is that the hackers obtained the names of ten million men seeking an affair. And eight women.

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  23. I had absolutely no idea my grilling was such an important statement.

    And I was doing my happy dance after reading this:

    http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21600085-reduce-health-risk-barbecuing-meat-just-add-beer-marriage-made

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  24. The idea that so-called positive rights inhere in all humans universally is literally incoherent. It makes no sense.

    If they don’t inhere in all humans universally, then they aren’t rights, they are privileges.

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    • yello:

      If they don’t inhere in all humans universally, then they aren’t rights, they are privileges.

      You are the one asserting their existence, not me. So you need to clarify…are they rights (ie universal),and if so, how can that be under any standard understanding of the term “right”? If not, then a) why do you assert the existence of these “rights” when what you actually mean is “privileges”, and b) in whom do these privileges inhere?

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  25. re: derp

    Thanks. You miss a day, you miss a lot. It is tough to write about certain topics in a non-cis-normative way no matter how hard you try.

    As far as low cost menstrual hygiene being a necessity, this recent NPR story pointed out that the low participation rate of girls attending school in third world countries is partially attributable to the expense and lack of availability of hygiene products.

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  26. $15 an hour (or 31k a year plus benefits) for even 16 year old fast food workers. Note this isn’t New York City, where they might be able to get away with it, but New York State.

    New York City has to comply by 2018 but the appleknockers have until 2021. The current NY minimum wage is $8.75 so that comes to roughly a 10% raise per year over a six year period. And one of the major perceived benefits of MW increases is to workers making slightly above that. It would be interesting to see how tightly the wage ranges compress as the increase goes into effect.

    And if a 16 year old is working 40 hours a week, why aren’t they entitled to the same salary and benefits? In my fairly affluent suburban enclave, I haven’t seen a teenager working at a fast food place in years. Perhaps a higher minimum wage would drag some of them away from their video games and into the labor market.

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    • yello:

      Perhaps a higher minimum wage would drag some of them away from their video games and into the labor market.

      The exact opposite will happen. Rather obviously, actually.

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  27. it’s not hard. you don’t have to cater to people’s delusions.

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  28. “yellojkt, on July 23, 2015 at 10:04 am said:

    Huffington Post admits (unintentionally I think) that SSDI is actually just welfare.

    How so?”

    The title of the piece:

    ““Congress Can’t Write A Highway Bill Without Punching Poor People In The Face”

    Not disabled people. Poor people.

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  29. “Brent Nyitray, on July 23, 2015 at 11:57 am said:

    @Scott: you’re gonna need a ruling from these two dudes:”

    Should such sentiments become mainstream, then western civilization will deserve its subsequent collapse.

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  30. “Should such sentiments become mainstream, then western civilization will deserve it subsequent collapse.”

    i think their will be a backlash or the pendulum will swing back. or .. this isn’t even really outside a small subset of the progressive left.

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  31. Actually, a lot of the issue with Millennial workers is that they graduate from college without ever having held a job and make all their rookie mistakes when it counts, as opposed to making thier rookie mistakes at the local supermarket where it doesn’t matter.

    A too-high minimum wage prevents teenagers from getting work because they aren’t worth that rate yet.

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    • Brent:

      A too-high minimum wage prevents teenagers from getting work because they aren’t worth that rate yet.

      Exactly. It is absolutely mind-boggling that anyone could think that raising the minimum wage would result in more teenagers getting work.

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  32. The exact opposite will happen. Rather obviously, actually.

    My tongue-in-cheek comment was aimed at the upper middle class where a summer job is looked down upon in favor of college admission enhancing volunteer work or sports camp or the like.

    A too-high minimum wage prevents teenagers from getting work because they aren’t worth that rate yet.

    Internships and other unpaid work is taking the place of these activities. The accoutrements of working culture (grooming, punctuality, taking direction) can be achieved without flipping burgers. And will have to be. Since those jobs will be taken be either higher skilled workers or machines.

    Every company hiring a person with no work experience is taking a big risk. That’s why there are frequently sub-minimum and training wages, although these can be abused as well.

    My son to get his current job which pays half of what he used to make had to do several months of unpaid work and take an expensive non-accredited course just to become attractive to employers.

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  33. We could always, you know, let employers pay what the labor is worth to them and let workers accept wages that are worth it to them.

    Cut out the middleman.

    Just spitballing here.

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  34. I worked under age and under the table at a Chinese restaurant, and bagged groceries at the local supermarket because I wanted the money. How it looked on my college application never entered my mind. I guess I am sounding like an old man or something…

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    • I guess I am sounding like an old man or something…

      Have those kids been walking across your lawn again?

      I spent three years working at a Wendy’s. Jimmy Carter gave me a raise from $3.10 to $3.35 an hour.

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    • Ha! Brent, the northeast had a recession summer of 1958 when I turned 15. I thought I was lucky getting a job as a kitchen boy in a chinese restaurant.

      Well, the ceiling was 6′ high in the kitchen and I was 6’2″. I had to peel and de-vein shrimp, and wash dishes. I was constantly harrassed for getting the dishes too clean.

      I periodically hit my head on the ceiling. I learned to hate shrimp. I learned that Chinese restaurants may not be very sanitary. I quit after two weeks.

      By lying about my age I got a job at Petriella’s Tile and Terrazzo, cleaning forms, stacking lumber in the overhead, and carrying bags of marble chips to be poured in wet concrete. I crushed a disc in my spine and was hospitalized and put in traction for two weeks. I did not file a workers’ comp claim. I was 15 and thought it was my fault because I lied to get the job. Ten years later, at Navy OCS, that spinal injury reasserted itself, leading to my Honorable Discharge from the Newport Naval Base Hospital.

      Summer jobs in HS. Preparation for life.

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  35. I worked at a dry cleaners. i think that’s more valuable than any resume padding camp. it taught me to do well, lest i have to work at a drycleaner.

    but i guess i could just go on disability or complain about how unfair life it and it didn’t get my first career choice

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    • I cashiered and bagged groceries at Wegman’s. Eventually I worked my way up to occasionally being assigned to the bottle return desk…a treasured position for all the cashiers. Wegman’s was one of the original stores with a scanner and they used to rate us based on the number of items scanned and number of customers we checked out. Getting the express check out was key to getting your rating up.

      I once got suspended for 2 weeks for selling beer to someone without asking for ID. They set me up by sending an undercover worker through my line. I was really upset when I first found out, but it turned out to be a very relaxing two weeks. I hadn’t had a free Sunday afternoon in months.

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      • Just saw this over at Ace, which linked to an article at the New Republic slamming the Planned Parenthood videos. Amazing.

        The anti-choice organization Center for Medical Progress—which, in 2013, claimed tax-exempt status as a biomedical charity—have recently released two “undercover” videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing post-procedure tissue donation. The group claims the videos demonstrate that Planned Parenthood profits from fetal tissue donation (which would be illegal) and that they are “haggling” over the price of “baby parts.”

        As an OB/GYN, I can tell you that neither of these claims are true.

        These are not “baby parts.” Whether a woman has a miscarriage or an abortion, the tissue specimen is called “products of conception.” In utero, i.e. during pregnancy, we use the term “embryo” from fertilization to 10 weeks gestation and “fetus” from 10 weeks to birth. The term baby is medically incorrect as it doesn’t apply until birth. Calling the tissue “baby parts” is a calculated attempt to anthropomorphize an embryo or fetus. It is a false image—a 10-12 week fetus looks nothing like a term baby—and is medically incorrect.

        Ace notes: “Oh, I’m terribly sorry — you’ve created euphemisms to make this sound less ghoulish to yourselves, and now you’re claiming your Magic Words of euphemism have reified (become real) and transformed baby parts into “products of conception”?”

        Additionally notable was the reference to an “attempt to anthropomorphize an embryo or fetus”. Is Dr. Gunter really that ignorant of just what kind of fetuses Planned Parenthood is mining for body parts?

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        • BTW, at the end of that New Republic piece she says:

          Just as there are people who believe the moon landing was faked, there are those who refuse to believe that the full scope of reproductive health care is grounded in medical evidence. As the facts are inconvenient, the only option is to circumvent them by any means possible. These videos are the kind of propaganda that only reinforces those fixed, false beliefs.

          Does anyone have any idea WTF she is talking about? What does it mean that “the full scope of reproductive health care is grounded in medical evidence”, and what does that have to do with whether or not PP is harvesting and selling body parts from abortions?

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        • Brent:

          You mentioned Scarsdale the other day. Hope you are not in Chappaqua.

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  36. Advantage of a low tier state school for college? If you’re a resident the have to let you in. And if you flunk out? They have to let you back in.

    Advantage low tier state school.

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  37. @ScottC: “So you do recognize that raising the minimum wage will make it harder for people to get a job. Yet you still advocate for it.”

    Specifically, raising the minimum wage makes it harder for the low-skilled folks with less education (and lacking the money to pay for career training or certifications) to get jobs. Ostensibly the people it’s supposed to help. It’s impact on successful politicians and highly paid pundits and middle-class bloggers and college professors and everybody here is going to be negligible. It’s a feel good thing that will have little to no negative effect on the people advocating for it most strongly.

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  38. @yellojkt: “I spent three years working at a Wendy’s. Jimmy Carter gave me a raise from $3.10 to $3.35 an hour.”

    At least you started getting a living wage!

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  39. @ScottC: “yello:
    Perhaps a higher minimum wage would drag some of them away from their video games and into the labor market.
    The exact opposite will happen. Rather obviously, actually.”

    Eh. There will be some parents who respond to a higher minimum wage by making their kids get a job. “Look, they’re paying $15 a hour. Go get that job!”

    Of course, they’ll be competing with PhDs, so that will be a problem.

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    • Of course, they’ll be competing with PhDs, so that will be a problem.

      I’d take a pimply teenager over a MFA graduate anytime. Fewer things to unteach them.

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  40. Only if they can weld

    Anybody can learn how to weld. I’m pretty good at it. And it would give them a marketable skill. . . as opposed to speaking colloquial French or being able to spend an hour parsing Moby Dick.

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  41. PP is harvesting and selling body parts from abortions?

    Good lord. Not you, too?!?

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    • Mich:

      Good lord. Not you, too?!?

      Is this an invitation to discussion the topic, or just a standard drive-by?

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  42. Yeah Scott, all right thinking people accept, unquestioningly, PP euphemisms!

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  43. Q; Should medical researchers be to able to artificially inseminate women so they can donate the tissue.

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    • nova:

      Should medical researchers be to able to artificially inseminate women so they can donate the tissue.

      It’ll be interesting to see if you get any takers on the left to answer that. Certainly the logic justifying abortion would would suggest there is no reason to object to it. I’m guessing you don’t get any answers.

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  44. “The term baby is medically incorrect as it doesn’t apply until birth. Calling the tissue “baby parts” is a calculated attempt to anthropomorphize an embryo or fetus.”

    Anthropomorphize a *fetus*? I get the semantic argument but how do you anthropomorphize a fetus? It’s funny that in a scolding argument about the misuse of words, the author misuses a word.

    I think fetal tissue harvesting would be a more (the most) accurate description of the practice.

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    • KW:

      I think fetal tissue harvesting would be a more (the most) accurate description of the practice.

      I think human fetal organ harvesting would be more accurate than that.

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  45. markinaustin: “Summer jobs in HS. Preparation for life.”

    Assuming you don’t cripple yourself in the process. 😉

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  46. @brent: ” if i lose my job i can just claim i have some sort of disability and no one will verify that it is actually true?”

    I think the assumption is that if you’ll spend two years doing paper work and file again and again after being repeatedly turn down and then hire a lawyer, you must be disabled.

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  47. @ScottC: “I think human fetal organ harvesting would be more accurate than that.”

    Is it really the harvesting of entire organs? And to what ultimate purpose? I would think the harvesting of an organ would imply the use of the harvested organ as an organ.

    Irrespective of whether one considers it organ harvesting or tissue donation, my understanding is that getting paid (also no matter what you call the compensation) is illegal.

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    • KW:

      Is it really the harvesting of entire organs?

      I have no idea what they actually do. Based on the videos, though, it certainly sounds like that is what is going on. They talked about how livers, for example, were in high demand, and how certain procedures could be followed in order to maximize the chances of getting undamaged organs. Certainly I would love to see some kind of mainstream media investigation into exactly what PP is doing in this regard, but I doubt we will get that.

      Irrespective of whether one considers it organ harvesting or tissue donation, my understanding is that getting paid (also no matter what you call the compensation) is illegal.

      I believe that receiving compensation for costs, such as storingor transportation costs, is not illegal. So it seems that profiting is illegal, but selling in and of itself is not, as long as you sell at cost.

      But to me, while it would certainly be interesting to know if PP is violating or flirting with the edges of the law, the more interesting question is whether taxpayers are really on board with subsidizing an organization that does this sort of thing, whether it is legal or not. I suspect that while Americans in general probably support access to abortion to some limited degree, they do in fact have some moral objections to the procedure (certainly more so than the activist pro-abortion crowd that is so vocal about PP) and that they will have quite a few qualms about harvesting organs or other body parts out of aborted fetuses. I also suspect that both PP and the MSN agree with me, which is why they are both doing their utmost to shield the public from knowledge about exactly what PP is doing in this regard.

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  48. Don’t know how true this is, but if you have teen kids who like to get into flame wars, keep them off tumblr

    http://thoughtcatalog.com/joshua-goldberg/2014/12/when-social-justice-warriors-attack-one-tumblr-users-experience/

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  49. I thought of an army of Caos with no self control or judgment

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  50. It’ll be interesting to see if you get any takers on the left to answer that. Certainly the logic justifying abortion would would suggest there is no reason to object to it. I’m guessing you don’t get any answers.

    This is precisely why discussing this with you is pointless. So feel free to consider this a driveby.

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    • Mich:

      This is precisely why discussing this with you is pointless.

      nova asked the question, not me. I just predicted you would be reluctant to answer it. So far it looks like I was right.

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      • An excellent, even-handed article by Robert Tracinski on the PP videos. (Actually it seems to have been written after the the release of the first video, but before the second one was released.)

        http://www.tracinskiletter.com/2015/07/what-the-planned-parenthood-case-isnt-about/

        There is a real ethical difference between the donation of fetal organs versus ordinary organ donation, or even the donation of medical leftovers of delivery like the placenta or umbilical cord, which are uncontroversial sources of fetal tissue for medical research. In those cases, the organs are available because of a death that occurred through unrelated causes, or the tissue is the normal waste product of birth that would otherwise be destroyed. But in the case of an abortion, the organs are the product of a death caused by one’s own medical intervention. That certainly creates a different moral dimension, one that needs to be discussed seriously.

        But if left is trying to evade the issue, the right is also trying to muddy it. They are trying to make it about “selling organs” or violating existing law or discussing abortion in an ordinary tone of voice over salad, when that is not what this is about.

        The outrage over this video is largely driven by a single, deeper issue. In Reason, Elizabeth Nolan Brown complains that “as bioethicists noted in an early ’90s paper on the issue, for many people ‘the transplantation of tissue from an electively aborted fetus is morally inseparable from the morality of elective abortion.’ As Arthur Caplan, head of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University and one of the study’s authors, told Vox: ‘For critics of abortion, the idea of making something good from something they see as inherently evil is not something they have room for.’” Well, that seems natural enough, though, doesn’t it? Should we really adopt more flexibility when it comes to things we regard as “inherently evil”?

        But what this implies is that the actual driving issue in this case is the morality and legality of abortions performed in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. That’s a debate worth having, and the pro-life side should not be dismissed—as some of my fellow atheists do—as being driven by mere hatred of sex or by what pro-lifers’ “imaginary friend” (a derisive way of referring to God) tells them to do.

        Yet it’s also going to be a harder case to make, and one with less immediate public appeal than screaming about “selling organs” or making out abortion advocates to be obvious cartoon villains. It’s going to require a deeper, longer discussion which depend more on philosophy and basic principles than on emotion—and that’s not the conversation either side is trying to have right now.

        Like

  51. Summer jobs in HS. Preparation for life.

    I worked my butt off in HS. I had a bunch of lawn customers during the day and I bagged groceries at night. Up at 7, mow till 3, get to the supermarket at 4 and work till 11. then get shit-faced in the parking lot with my co-workers till whenever..walk home and repeat in the morning…

    Great times…

    Like

  52. An excellent, even-handed article by Robert Tracinski on the PP videos.

    Yes. It is very good. It points out the places where the actors deliberately try to entrap the PP person into selling the tissue for a profit and is repeatedly rebuffed. This is also the case in the second video where the request for the Lamborghini is clearly sarcastic.

    So it does all come down to whether you believe abortion is wrong at all, not whether or not PP is using aborted tissue as a profit center which they clearly aren’t.

    Like

    • yello:

      This is also the case in the second video where the request for the Lamborghini is clearly sarcastic.

      The Lamborghini comment was obviously sarcastic, but I think the second video is more damning on the haggling issue. In fact it is fairly clear that the woman is not merely interested in selling at cost. The comment about not wanting to present a price because the first person to do so in a negotiation inevitably “loses” seemed to me to be a straight up admission. In her defense she does say a couple of times that it “isn’t about the money”, but her other comments tend to contradict that.

      So it does all come down to whether you believe abortion is wrong at all, not whether or not PP is using aborted tissue as a profit center which they clearly aren’t.

      I don’t think it is at all “clear” that they aren’t. Self-interested denials can hardly be taken as determinant. But it is also true that the videos don’t make it clear that they are doing so. They do, however, raise some questions that an audit or investigation of PP might be able to provide more clear answers to. Apparently there are about 10 more videos scheduled to be released, and the scuttlebutt is that the worst of them are yet to come. So I don’t think we can be certain of anything quite yet.

      Anyway, as I said yesterday, I think the more interesting point than mere legality is that the taxpaying public, which subsidizes PP, almost certainly does see abortion as more troubling from a moral perspective than does the activist pro-abortion crowd that comprises PP and its hardcore supporters, even if it is willing to accept legal abortion up to a point. As a result the public is much more likely to be troubled by the fact that it is subsidizing an organization that harvests fetal organs, even if doing so is perfectly legal. I think these videos represent a serious and legitimate danger to PP’s ability to feed at the public trough, which is the main reason the MSM, as ardent backers of PP, is so reluctant to talk about and question exactly what it is that PP is doing.

      Like

  53. i’m really interested to see if they are altering procedures and/or timing for optimal tissue donation purposes.

    Like

    • i’m really interested to see if they are altering procedures and/or timing for optimal tissue donation purposes.

      Altering procedures seems pretty small beer because that can be justified as just other ways to skin a cat, so to speak. Altering timing would be a pretty bright line. I just can’t see a doctor saying “Come back in four weeks when the fetus is bigger because that is more valuable to us.” At least I can’t see an ethical doctor this side of Joseph Mengele saying that.

      Like

      • yello:

        At least I can’t see an ethical doctor this side of Joseph Mengele saying that.

        Which side was Kermit Gosnell on?

        Like

        • Which side was Kermit Gosnell on?

          You will find fewer liberal defenders of Kermit Gosnell than conservative defenders of Dylann Roof.

          Like

        • yello:

          You will find fewer liberal defenders of Kermit Gosnell than conservative defenders of Dylann Roof.

          Almost certainly untrue, but besides the point in any event. You’re avoidance of the binary paradigm is often frustrating because you seem unable to evaluate the questions you are asked.

          Like

    • nova:

      i’m really interested to see if they are altering procedures and/or timing for optimal tissue donation purposes.

      My guess is that it will be particular to local affiliates, not the national organization, but that it is more likely that procedures might be altered than that they arrange for or encourage particular timing for the procedure.

      Like

  54. ” I just can’t see a doctor saying “Come back in four weeks when the fetus is bigger because that is more valuable to us.” ”

    I can.

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  55. @ScottC: “nova asked the question, not me. I just predicted you would be reluctant to answer it. So far it looks like I was right.”

    I tend to think participation in these online conversations are about what we, personally, take from them. Or, what particular itch it scratches for us. That’s just not an itch Michi needs to scratch. 😉

    I also find she’s suspiciously reluctant to discuss 1980’s Flash Gordon (and how hot Ornella Muti was in that movie) with me. Though lord knows I’ve done my part.

    Like

    • KW:

      That’s just not an itch Michi needs to scratch.

      Her unsolicited drive-by’s aimed at me and the insinuations she makes in them don’t support your conclusion.

      Like

  56. I’m curious as to what the conservative defense of Roof consists of?

    Like

  57. I’m curious as to what the conservative defense of Roof consists of?

    “We utterly condemn Roof’s despicable killings, but they do not detract from the legitimacy of some of the positions he has expressed.”
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/council-conservative-citizens-dylann-roof

    Like

    • yello:

      “We utterly condemn Roof’s despicable killings, but they do not detract from the legitimacy of some of the positions he has expressed.”

      Hilarious. This is pretty much exactly analogous to the pro-abortion crowd's attitude toward the Gosnell affair. "We condemn what he did, but that does not detract from the legitimacy of his profession or killing unborn babies.”

      Like

  58. you know, i really don’t consider the white power movement to be representative of anything other than itself. but if you want to tar the legit political opposition with them than rather than have to deal with actual criticism, fine.

    but if the country is irremediably racist, i suppose i’m wrong.

    Like

    • you know, i really don’t consider the white power movement to be representative of anything other than itself.

      The quote came from the Council of Conservative Citizens. You probably have a legitimate No True Scotsman complaint but they self-identify as conservatives.

      I recall some attempt years ago by some ATiMers to pin people down on their perception of what percentage of conservatives were racists. It’s not zero.

      Like

      • yello:

        You probably have a legitimate No True Scotsman complaint…

        Sigh. Yet again you use that reference incorrectly. (Hint…a No True Scotsman argument is not legitimate by definition.)

        I recall some attempt years ago by some ATiMers to pin people down on their perception of what percentage of conservatives were racists. It’s not zero.

        Nor is the percentage of liberals who are racists, of course.

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  59. Yeah NoVa, and don’t try and equate National Socialism with the left .

    Nice strawman, Yello, cause all us baggers have said since day one here that there are no, zero, nada racists on the right. Hell, we post that everyday and will be easy for you to find. I’ll wait.

    Like

  60. they’re clearly playing on the KKK with their acronym.

    but sure, i’m sure their well versed on the finer points of madison’ argument in federalist 10. or hayek’s critique of central planning and locke’s thoughts

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  61. they’re clearly playing on the KKK with their acronym.

    Yeah, they aren’t particularly subtle.

    but sure, i’m sure their well versed on the finer points of madison’ argument in federalist 10. or hayek’s critique of central planning and locke’s thoughts

    But I suspect that goes for most supporters of Donald Trump or Ted Cruz for that matter.

    Like

  62. No, but they’re focus/intent isn’t the same.

    Like

  63. scott — i just tried. and yes.

    you can test sites with this: http://downforeveryoneorjustme.com/#

    Like

    • nova:

      That’s a great link. Thanks.

      I wonder if the Federalist got hacked due to its coverage of the PP videos. I have seen more coverage there than any other news or opinion site.

      Like

  64. @yellojkt: Meh. “The quote came from the Council of Conservative Citizens.”

    Folks can call themselves anything, and I imagine most white power folks consider themselves conservatives and patriots. And if they like traditional marriage and low taxes then maybe they are conservative, but the white power thing is not really a characteristic of modern conservatism. I expect a sizable percentage of “conservatives” are racists, assuming we cannot take the label of on set of beliefs off a group just because they also believe additional things, but the implication that there is something inherently racist about modern conservatism, and that by extrapolation positions on lowering taxes or less government regulation are ipso facto expressions of racism is inaccurate.

    Nazis had the word “Socialist” in their name, but, as it turns out, they were way more “National” than they were “Socialists”.

    But the larger argument is of the Liberal Fascism argument that Jonah Goldberg wrote a book about, calling out situations where individuals and groups who self-identify as liberal advocate for things that can be considered potentially fascist or do things not dissimilar to the fascists of old. One might conclude that such examples prove that liberals are fascist or there is something inherently fascist about liberalism/leftism but I don’t think that’s true. Just because various people and groups self-identify as left or right in no way suggests that other behaviors or even beliefs are inherently tied to that self-identification.

    The number of conservatives who are atheists or agnostics is non-trivial, yet it’s normally assumed that Christianity is an inherent part of conservatism and vice-versa . . . despite the liberalism of, say, the current Pope and much of the leadership of the Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians.

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  65. @ScottC: “I wonder if the Federalist got hacked due to its coverage of the PP videos. I have seen more coverage there than any other news or opinion site.”

    Could be a ddos attack, or they could have just been brought down by their growing popularity.

    Like

  66. @yellojkt: “But I suspect that goes for most supporters of Donald Trump or Ted Cruz for that matter.”

    Probably true. And, no doubt, those folks self-identify as conservatives, yet it’s not really a deep understanding of conservatism and it’s principals and history that is driving them to “hell yeah” for Trump or Cruz. Most of the flaws we want to attribute to political preferences are inherent more in humanity than foisted on innocent souls by accidentally stumbling into the wrong ideology.

    Like

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