February 18, 2014

I get emails

— Often — and for reasons I can’t fathom — from out of state Democrat Congresspeople.

For instance, this one arrived this morning from North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District Representative Jason Thigpen, who wants me to help him help America by insisting that Congress have a say on what employers are required to pay workers, given the horrific gap between the rich and poor.

Writes (whomever wrote this for) Thigpen:

Jeff --

Families and businesses in North Carolina are working harder than ever to rebuild our economy and create jobs, but far too many here are still struggling. The gap between the rich and the poor is as wide as it's been since the 1920s.

Unless we act now, things are only going to get worse.

As your next Congressman, I will fight to close that gap and see to it that all North Carolinians get a fair shot at getting ahead.

Join me in telling Congress: Don't leave the the middle class behind. Raise the minimum wage to $10.10.

I fought for our country to ensure that the American Dream is within reach for everyone, not just the top 1%. Currently, the annual income for a full-time employee working the entire year at the federal minimum wage is $15,080 -- not enough to afford a two bedroom apartment anywhere in the country.

Simply put, that's immoral and un-American.

The middle class is the backbone of this country, and the future of North Carolina depends on the ability of the middle class to survive and thrive. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 is a crucial step toward closing the income gap and making sure working folks in our state and beyond have a fair shake.

Sign the petition today.



To which I was, as always, happy to reply:

Dear Mr Thigpen,

I have no doubt that "families and businesses in North Carolina are working harder than ever to rebuild our economy and create jobs," nor that "far too many" in your state "are still struggling." But then, that's hardly surprising, given the onerous burden Obamacare places on small businesses, and that regulatory agencies under your party's direction routinely work to create obstacles to job creation, productivity, liberty and opportunity -- generating enormous compliance costs, pushing for ever greater taxes to fund the ever growing dependency it inevitably creates when businesses are shuttered, jobs are lost, entrepreneurs are discouraged from taking chances, and investors hold on to their money for fear that some Executive Order might simply take it from them and give it over to unions.

What is surprising is that you would suggest in some way that, as a representative of the party who is working -- purposely -- to destroy the middle class and create a kind of new feudal age, you give a shit about working people. Because it's clear that you don't.

Instead, what you care about are buzzwords and propaganda, bromides and bullshit. The gap between the rich and poor is not a static thing, nor is it an indicator of relative poverty. By consistently re-defining our poor to mean what in other countries would be better described as "affluent," you are able to promote this notion that homogeneity is superior to the results of liberty, that there is a finite amount of wealth, and that the richest among us are somehow "hoarding it" unfairly.

But as Margaret Thatcher so famously reminded one of her colleagues who pushed this same argument, people like you would rather see everyone more poor than everyone more rich, so long as the disparity between the two terms was brought more into line with what you think should be the ratio.

It is that that is amoral and un-American -- and unlike you, I don't use that phrase as a bit of emotional blackmail. Instead, I use it very precisely to mean it goes against the very notions of liberty upon which this country was founded. You cannot have liberty and radical egalitarianism. And no one who reads your missive -- at least, none of us on the thinking side of the political spectrum -- believe for even one moment that you would yourself be content to live under the kind of wealth redistribution schemes you'd demand of the "masses."

Minimum wage jobs are not meant to be careers. They are meant to be jobs where one picks up work experience, moves up a bit, then perhaps moves on. That some remarkably small percentage of people are trying to eek out a living working minimum wage jobs full time (and I suppose we're supposed to forget the earned income credit and all the other benefits in place that already help such people) does not mean "we" can "tell Congress" to force private businesses into overpaying for labor.

All that does is enrich unions whose contracts are tied to such wage increases -- as cynical, dishonest, opportunistic shitheels like you know full well. Simultaneously, it harms those who need work experience most: young workers entering the workforce for the first time, along with minorities and the cognitively challenged, whose labor and experience isn't yet worth the "living wage" you demand businesses pay.

Too, beyond just the loss of jobs, what an increase to the minimum wage does is ensure that costs will be passed on to consumers. This harms the lower economic brackets and the "middle class" the most, naturally, and so, to borrow from you (or your ghostwriter), is an exercise in immorality. It is a sop to the unions disguised as lunch pail populism.

I'm not buying it. And frankly, those in North Carolina or elsewhere who do are going to remain stuck in the same envious and rapacious rut your party works to keep them in.

You've always loved your slaves. Now, you just no longer care what color they come in.

To end this on a helpful note, I point you to Milton Friedman, who has explained how minimum wage laws harm the free market and reduce wealth and opportunity. For income disparity, I point you to Marx and Engels.

Because though I'm not sure you've read the latter two, you do sound very much like them -- and perhaps that's something you might wish to rethink, particularly if you're going to use your service to push an agenda that revitalizes the enemy position from the Cold War.

Jeff Goldstein

Posted by Jeff G. @ 1:37pm

Comments (14)

  1. Oh, Jeff. Jeff Jeff Jeff. That is just so unhelpful.

  2. I thought people were suppose to work for free for the good of society. Do you want to be a wage slave?

  3. If Jason Thigpen really cared, he would raise the minimum wage to $100.10 an hour.

  4. That’s gonna leave a mark. Bravo.

  5. Oh woe is me. Woe Woe. I keep glaring at my TV Screen and concentrating, trying to send Jay Carney to the corn field, AND HE WON’T GO!

    Effin’ woe man!

  6. Bravo and a hearty ‘Huzzah’.

  7. My wife works for one of those small businesses that, until very recently, had this crazy idea that they actually had to comply with Obamacare regulations, and so they (I know: hard to believe) set themselves up as compliant.

    Now that Obama has let them off the hook, though, all of the tax benefits that sprung from compliance have gone away, leaving them to hold the bag on roughly $35k worth of suddenly worthless tax incentives.

    But, no worries! Teh Boy King bought himself another election, maybe, provided the only people fucked over are the wealthier business owners. Which, in this case, is the case. Employees hardly ever notice when shit like this happens, because it largely doesn’t involve them at all.

  8. [By “himself”, I intended to convey that his fellow travellers were benefited. But: oops]

  9. Now that Obama has let them off the hook, though, all of the tax benefits that sprung from compliance have gone away, leaving them to hold the bag on roughly $35k worth of suddenly worthless tax incentives.

    i think lawyers would say they have “standing” to sue baracky.

  10. You’ve always loved your slaves. Now, you just no longer care what color they come in.

    That’s a keeper.

  11. You miss the point, Jeff. An increase in the minimum wage won’t cause 500,000 people to lose their jobs. But if it did, that’s a good thing, because, Life Of Leisure! But you’re a liar anyway.

  12. Hear Hear !! (clapping)

  13. You should write a book. I want an autographed copy.