Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Stephen Colbert on Class Warfare

Stephen Colbert talks about the minimum wage his in "the word" segment.


10 comments:

Jason H. Bowden said...

"Just as no self-respecting physicist would claim that water runs uphill, no self-respecting economist would claim that increases in the minimum wage increase employment. Such a claim, if seriously advanced, becomes equivalent to a denial that there is even minimum scientific content in economics, and that, in consequence, economists can do nothing but write as advocates for ideological interests. Fortunately, only a handful of economists are willing to throw over the teaching of two centuries; we have not yet become a bevy of camp-following whores." -- Nobel Laureate James M. Buchanan

Stardust said...

Using your logic...we should not have seen the high unemployment rates we have seen during the past ten years since minimum wage has not increased in a decade.

Stardust said...

Minimum wage increase doesn't increase employment, it increases the money people get (usually a couple dollars an hour only) who are ALREADY WORKING. The only way it would hurt small businesses is if they were poorly managed and not doing so well to begin with.

Jason H. Bowden said...

The unemployment now is around 4.6%. That is extremely low, even by American historical standards. During the 1980s unemployment didn't get below 5.26%, and that was in 1989. Most of the time it hovered between 7-9%. For the 1970s, it was the same story.

There are still a few Keynesians around today who think minimum wages are a good idea since they increase what they call "aggregate demand," but Keynesianism has great difficultly explaining the stagflation of the 1970s-- it should be impossible when you look at the familiar Phillips Curve. However, classical theorists make a clear prediction -- not only is stagflation possible, it is a consequence of Keynesian policies. Lya suggests that I reject Keynesianism on principle, and she is correct in that regard.

Stardust said...

The unemployment now is around 4.6%. That is extremely low, even by American historical standards.

I know a lot of people who are having a hard time finding work. Are you yourself working or finding it easy to find work?

Stardust said...

The unemployment now is around 4.6%.

Yeah, because many people ran out of unemployment benefits and are no longer on the public dole. Conveniently, politicians never factor that into the equation.

Delta said...

A minimum wage, and a good one at that, is an obvious necessity due to the fact that in capitalist economies, people have vastly different amounts of capital and can use it to exploit others. If I own farmland and am "negotiating" a wage with a farmworker, I can hold out until he accepts $2/hour, or less if I want. He can refuse if he wants of course, but then he only has to watch the death of his wife, children, and himself, since he is completely dependent upon me, whereas I only forgo a small amount of profit by not hiring him immediately.

The idea that has been tossed around in right-wing circles that the minimum wage hurts poor people is just ridiculous and morally indefensible.

Jason H. Bowden said...

Delta--

That's simply not the case in a market economy. If someone wants to pay his workers $2 an hour, and the equilibrium wage is $7hr, the workers will go to the jobs that pay $7hr.

If the equilibrium wage is $7hr and we impose a price floor, there will be unemployment.

I'm not questioning your morality. I'm sure you mean well, but economically your ideas are without warrant. Self-congratulation is not a basis for economic policy. Some people think they can define themselves as caring, and define their opponents as uncaring without even thinking about the consequences of what is being proposed by both sides.

Stardust said...

uncaring without even thinking about the consequences of what is being proposed by both sides.

Do you ever consider that YOU might be wrong sometimes? I could be misunderstanding you, but it just seems like you are on a mission against "socialists" at all costs.

I am trying to understand why you, as an unemployed student, support policies that mainly help the rich businessman and wealthy get richer while people like yourself struggle from day to day and are hurt by rising costs with no pay increases, etc. It seems like you are only hurting yourself. I don't see any logic in that, from the middle-class perspective. Do you have secret oil stocks or someething?

Delta said...

That's simply not the case in a market economy. If someone wants to pay his workers $2 an hour, and the equilibrium wage is $7hr, the workers will go to the jobs that pay $7hr

Economies are not simple functions that have some equilibrium points. To pretend like it is one, to make graphs based on assumptions and equations that are outright wrong at best, and whose sole purpose is to convince others of how right-wing policies are correct, is immoral. Sadly the GOP's specialty is to get people to vote against their best interest. This "minimum wage is bad for poor people" is just another disgusting tactic.

But okay, let's say that there is this magical equilibrium wage. What do you think it is? We don't have price floors in third-world countries, so this should give us a good idea of what that equilibrium wage is. Hmm...appears it's 10 cents/hour. Benefits? Rape.