05 January 2007

"No Sense Steering Now!"

That was the reaction of the McKenzie Brothers upon discovering the van they were driving down a steep hill had no brakes. Translation: What's the point of trying to help the situation when a positive outcome is so unlikely.

They're off to a flying start in Washington, now that the self-proclaimed most powerful woman in America seems to be in charge. George Will looks at her agenda and is not impressed:

(M)ost of the 0.6 percent (479,000 in 2005) of America's wage workers earning the minimum wage are not poor. Only one in five workers earning the federal minimum live in families with household earnings below the poverty line. Sixty percent work part-time and their average household income is well over $40,000. (The average and median household incomes are $63,344 and $46,326, respectively.)

Of the 75.6 million paid by the hour, 1.9 million earn the federal minimum or less, and of these, more than half are under 25 and more than a quarter are between 16 and 19. Many are students or other part-time workers. Sixty percent of those earning the federal minimum or less work in restaurants and bars and are earning tips -- often untaxed, perhaps -- in addition to their wages. Two-thirds of those earning the federal minimum today will, a year from now, have been promoted and be earning 10 percent more.

Raising the minimum wage predictably makes work more attractive relative to school for some teenagers, and raises the dropout rate. Two scholars report that in states that allow persons to leave school before 18, a 10 percent increase in the state minimum wage caused teenage school enrollment to drop 2 percent.

Democrats promoting dropping out of school? 'Course not, but that's what Lou Dobbs and Keith Olberman would tell you if this crap came from Republicans.
Labor is a commodity; governments make messes when they decree commodities' prices. Washington, which has its hands full delivering the mail and defending the shores, should let the market do well what Washington does poorly. But that is a good idea whose time will never come again.
It'll never come, because you cannot demagogue nothing.

Meanwhile in St. Paul, the new legislative session is only 3 days old and already 20 bills have been spun up by the Democrats; 18 of which raise taxes. Nice. They're still playing the "local government aid cuts" card; a myth which has long been since dispelled:
"We will continue to push for a cap on property taxes," Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said. "Many local units of government blamed their increases on LGA cuts, when their actual tax increases were far higher than the reductions."

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