The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the tag “State of the Union”

Obama’s State of the Union, Minimum Wage: More Bricks with Less Straw

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Capitalism is not a system to be promoted or evaded.  Capitalism is a fact.  Capitalism is the way it works.  Capitalism means: when the scale goes up on one side, it goes down on the other.  Our love of law making to fix economics is the obsession with the irrational idea that you can push down on both sides of the scale at once without breaking the scale.

In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, the president said he wants us to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.

Hurray, we can buy more stuff!  Like… apples.

If I have an apple, and you want to buy it, will you be surprised if at the register I tell you, “They’ve raised the price to nine dollars.” You say, “Is that what you want to sell it for?”

No, I say. No one can afford to buy them now. So I am having to throw out all my apples as they go bad.

When two people are trading at a price they negotiate for themselves like grown ups, and the buyer is forced to buy at a higher price, it will hurt the seller. The seller cannot sell $9 apples. Since the buyer is forced to buy them at a high price, he won’t buy, so the seller is harmed. But don’t get confused about the analogy, listen carefully to who the buyer and seller are.

In work and wage – the business owner is the buyer. Stores are hoping to buy some hourly work from a worker.  The worker is the seller. Of course, we are used to thinking that workers are victims.  But they are only victims where they aren’t free.  Like slaves in Egypt. Rather, in a free society, workers are business people who sell labor to businesses that buy the product of work.  Sellers, though, are the ones hurt by the intrusion of a minimum hike. Stores can’t afford as much work so the seller (the worker) is the one who is hurt – and that means higher minimums would hurt workers.  As we said, in non-free societies, workers become victims.  Minimum wage is a mathematical Pharaonic brick policy

It is simple math – more money for the same work equals less work for the same money. They will cut your work.

Suddenly, the business doesn’t have a choice, they have to charge workers nine dollars an hour (if they were to get that hike through congress). But they would have to alter something to deal with the effects of such a change, because they would have to pay more without more income. This means less hours assigned to workers. More bricks… less straw. The extra money has to come from somewhere. It will come from the hours of workers. It will come from the quality of products they can afford to buy from vendors to sell to the public. The higher minimum will obstruct the people who have jobs to offer; it will starve the people who are hungry for jobs. Companies will offer less jobs. The higher minimum wage hurts the very workers it purports to protect.

When the scale goes up on one side, it goes down on the other.

By the way, we are promised you would have more cash in your pocket. But those dollars would be spent by you in some store that now would have to comply with a higher minimum.  Stores don’t just pass on these “savings” to their workers – they also pass them on to their customers.  The most logical place for the business to recoup the difference in P&L is from you.  The prices will go up.  The hours worked by workers will go down. (So customer service will incidentally hurt as well).

And this movement is understandable, because the market IS free in a way, even under duress of big government intrusion. Capitalism is a fact. The market may get told what to do, but it will retain a mathematical balance on its own.  Bernoulli tells us that if you squeeze the back end of the toothpaste tube, paste will come out the other. You may call that tightening up the system.  But you could just as well call it bleeding the system. When the scale goes up on one side, it goes down on the other.

Listen, friends. If you make hourly wages, and if you make minimum, then I hope you can do better and better for yourself. But know that pushing down on businesses is not going to hurt the businesses.  It will hurt you, the worker.  If you make minimum wage, you need to know that raising the minimum wage is one of the worst things that could happen to you.  You will get a bump, but then you will get laid off.  Or just cut back.  And then the prices will rise against your cut-hour paycheck.

We could stop voting for Pharaoh’s mathemagicians.  But that would mean finding the candidate who promised less stuff.  And since we don’t understand the scale, we think that promising less government enforced and funded stuff means we would get less stuff.  But less intrusion means more freedom.  Less intrusion means improvement of general welfare.  And we love to hear big promises.

Pharaoh makes big buildings. And he promises big promises. But whenever you hear Pharaoh promising you so many more bricks, remember that you’re the one making them.

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Obama’s State of the Union, Green Ribbon, Sandy Hook, and the Wizard of Oz.

State of the Union Obama Money Wizard Green Ribbon

President Obama outlined plans Tuesday night at his State of the Union address. His speech was mostly the same old thing, continuing to play heavily on support for the middle class while proposing regressive taxes that directly attack middle class incomes. Unique to tonight’s speech was the presence of green ribbons worn on the lapels of guests and members of Congress. This green ribbon was meant to memorialize the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. NPR commentators noted that the green ribbons were particularly important because of the President’s push for gun control legislation.  It was also noted that while Vice President Joe Biden was wearing a ribbon, Speaker of the House John Boehner was not.State of the Union Green Ribbons Obama Biden Boehner

What happened at Sandy Hook was a tragedy, and nothing should take away from our sympathy for the families who lost their loved ones. But at the same time, this sort of political manipulation because of a real tragedy is simply disgraceful. The ribbons and children they represent are being used as tools to bolster the President’s anti-2nd Amendment agenda.

The State of the Union address is a particularly troubling event. Thomas Jefferson stopped the practice of giving presidential speeches to Congress because he felt that it made the president out to be an imperial figure. He instead would send a written note about the current affairs of the country to those who needed it. The presentation this year makes it clear that it is only about political posturing. Members seek out aisle seats hours before the event, hopeful that they may get a picture hugging the president or shaking his hand, hoping to pander to the constituents who might be watching.

Many came adorned with green ribbons to hear lofty promises about how our President is going to put our nation back on track. It was very appropriate that all this posturing was represented with green. You may remember L. Frank Baum’s famous Emerald City of Green deception: Oz. Obama’s America is a new Oz.

“Even with eyes protected by the green spectacles, Dorothy and her friends were at first dazzled by the brilliancy of the wonderful City … There were many people – men, women, and children – walking about, and these were all dressed in green clothes and had greenish skins. They looked at Dorothy and her strangely assorted company with wondering eyes, and the children all ran away and hid behind their mothers when they saw the Lion; but no one spoke to them. Many shops stood in the street, and Dorothy saw that everything in them was green. Green candy and green pop corn were offered for sale, as well as green shoes, green hats, and green clothes of all sorts. At one place a man was selling green lemonade, and when the children bought it Dorothy could see that they paid for it with green pennies.”

And the new Oz has a new wizard, President Obama. A fool’s magician, yet  just as all  the good citizens of the Emerald City were forbidden to remove their green-tinted glasses, each American watches the state of the union through the comfort of a pair of their own colored glasses.

When will America discover that her President is no better than the false Wizard of Oz? Baum’s imperial ventriloquist is too much like our own head of state. What we need now is not more speeches from this talking head, but we need the brainless, the cowardly, the heartless, and those who are lost to break down the wizard’s chambers to discover the man behind the curtain and demand that he stop misleading the citizens. Back in Oz it went like this:

“You must keep your promises to us!” exclaimed Dorothy.
The Lion thought it might be as well to frighten the Wizard, so he gave a large, loud roar, which was so fierce and dreadful that Toto jumped away from him in alarm and tipped over the screen that stood in a corner. As it fell with a crash they looked that way, and the next moment all of them were filled with wonder. For they saw, standing in just the spot the screen had hidden, a little old man, with a bald head and a wrinkled face, who seemed to be as much surprised as they were. The Tin Woodman, raising his axe, rushed toward the little man and cried out, “Who are you?”
“I am Oz, the Great and Terrible,” said the little man, in a trembling voice. “But don’t strike me – please don’t – and I’ll do anything you want me to.”
Our friends looked at him in surprise and dismay.
“I thought Oz was a great Head,” said Dorothy.
“And I thought Oz was a lovely Lady,” said the Scarecrow.
“And I thought Oz was a terrible Beast,” said the Tin Woodman.
“And I thought Oz was a Ball of Fire,” exclaimed the Lion.
“No, you are all wrong,” said the little man meekly. “I have been making believe.”
“Making believe!” cried Dorothy. “Are you not a Great Wizard?”
“Hush, my dear,” he said. “Don’t speak so loud, or you will be overheard – and I should be ruined. I’m supposed to be a Great Wizard.”
“And aren’t you?” she asked.
“Not a bit of it, my dear; I’m just a common man.”
“You’re more than that,” said the Scarecrow, in a grieved tone; “you’re a humbug.”
“Exactly so!” declared the little man, rubbing his hands together as if it pleased him. “I am a humbug.”

One day we will realize that Obama, our Wizard, and the Government, our Oz, offer no solution to our needs. The true solutions are but “make believe.” The government exists at the expense of the Munchkins. Our presidential Wizard squanders the national wealth and starts unjust wars against foreign peoples who are not doing us any harm. It wrecks our families, tramples on our rights, invades our communities, and steals from our bank accounts. It skews the culture toward decadence and trash. It tells lie after lie. The president is not a powerful wizard, but a conniving liar who has tricked us into submission.

It is the obligation of every patriot to denounce the Obama humbug. The federal government has overstepped its boundaries, making promises it cannot keep. When will Americans awaken and realize that the president is not the magician he claims to be? He has no solutions for the economy, for crimes, for gun violence, for peace, for any of those things he campaigns for. The president, like the Wizard, is after one thing: expanding the power of his office and maintaining his great and powerful image. Once the wizard is exposed, the power is gone.

Let’s look behind the curtain, exposing the man behind the smoke and mirrors, sending him off in his own balloon full of the hot air he so much enjoys billowing.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a link is given.

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