Monday, January 29, 2007

Another Reason To Not Raise Minimum Wage, Continued

I recently posted about one of the less reported consequences from increasing minimum wage, outsourcing. I am taking Macroeconomics this semester, taught by Dr. Steven Isbell The class got into a discussion about the minimum wage, and its affects on the economy. During the discussion I asked the professor if he felt that outsourcing would increase if the minimum wage were raised. He said he didn't feel that it would increase it much, but it was a possibility.

The discussion sparked my interest, and after the class I asked if he would be willing to be interviewed. He agreed to an e-mail interview (which I was content to since my voice recorder vanished a week or two after I got to speak with Phil Valentine). The questions varied from the minimum wage to Social Security and taxes. I didn't discuss Iraq or foreign policy since it did not pertain to the economics discussion. Here's what I asked.

First, I asked him how many people in the united states make minimum wage. He replied that only about 2% of people make the current minimum wage, a statistic that can be verified directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I followed up asking how many people currently make at or below the higher minimum wage of $7.25. I was amazed to hear, "Currently, approximately 10% of the labor force earns $7.25 or less (again, statistics from the BLS). If, as proposed, the minimum wage is increased to $7.25, I expect that the proportion of the workforce making minimum wage to be slightly less than 10%."

I asked what his thoughts would be on the affects for people making $6 per hour, and also the people who would be making just over minimum wage. He feels that there could be a slight increase in unemployment for the people making less than the proposed minimum wage, and the people making slightly over minimum wage would hardly feel a change, but "The biggest economic effects will be market distortions that are not immediately recognized as being caused by the increase in the minimum wage. For example, the biggest impact will be on firms employing a large number of low-skill workers. These employers will adjust to this government-imposed increase in the cost of low-skill labor by raising prices and substituting capital inputs (machines) and/or high-skilled labor for low-skill workers."

I then mentioned that some people feel the wage increase is justified by the fact that CEO's make an average of 400 times the average employee. He said, "This not only a moot point, it is silly. If the minimum wage is increased to $7.25 per hour, the average wage for all workers will not change much at all. So CEOs will still be making 400 times average."

I will admit that there are some ethical benefits to people making below the poverty line, so I asked what other benefits/consequences there would be to the increase. He replied, "There will be lots of unintended consequences. They are too numerous to list; indeed, we do not even know what they all will be."

In class he had mentioned that he felt the unemployment rate would be adversely affected by the rate increase, so I asked him what he felt it would do in the short term, and if that trend would continue into a long term affect. He said, "Unemployment rates will be higher for low-skilled workers than they would be otherwise, plus the misallocative effects mentioned above."

I asked, if the wage passed, if he felt companies should get tax breaks in an attempt to offset the wage increases. He responded, "No. Trying to somehow compensate firms affected by the minimum wage will introduce other market distortions. This is the inevitable (albeit unintended) consequence of any government intervention in markets."

I then asked what he felt the affects would be on the Nominal (monetary) GDP and Real (Production) GDP. He said he feels that both will be below what they could potentially be, but will not be decreased by a disastrous amount. I was actually a bit surprised, thinking that Nominal would go up slightly with the increase in lower end wages, but Real GDP would reduce with reduction in the work force, leading to higher inflation.

I have long thought that minimum wage increases are more a tool for political pandering, and I asked him if he felt the same way. He replied "I do not pretend to understand politics, nor do I really like to impugn the motives of others. However, it does seem odd that if you really believed the minimum wage to be a beneficial institution, then you should support a bill to index the minimum wage to a price index. This way, the minimum wage increases with inflation, and there is never a need to bother with legislation mandating another minimum wage increase. I am not aware of anyone in Congress making such a proposal."

Then the big question. If he were in Washington, would he pass the wage increase and why or why not? He stated, "No. My choice would be to abolish the minimum wage. Minimum wage increases are very ineffective ways of alleviating poverty. If you wish to increase the incomes of poor households, then do something that directly increases those incomes (currently, the most logical choice would be to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit). Attempting to somehow manage labor markets to achieve some preconceived desirable outcome will never work (or will work poorly)."

After those questions I asked him about Social Security, government pork and the tax system. Here was the discussion. The first thing I asked was his opinion of government pork. His reply was simple and to the point saying, "The problem is determining what is “excess”. Or what is “pork”. I think the major problem is that the government is simply too big. Start reducing the size of government, and the pork and other excesses will be taken care of in short order."

I then asked his opinion on Social Security. Again he was quick and to the point saying, "Social Security, MediCare, and MedicAid are the three worst things that the Federal government has ever enacted."

During class he pointed out that in his youth, there was one worker for every 2 people on social security, and that when my generation begins to reach our 30's or so, each of us will be supporting 4 people on Social Security. Hearing that, I asked if he felt that the Social Security system was reaching a critical point. He said, "A decision concerning changes should be made very soon (in the next 3-4 years). The longer we put off a change, the worse the problem will become."

I asked if he felt Social Security reform in the way of government "Personalized Savings Accounts" would be a good solution to the growing problem. He said that it depends on what you view as the problem. He explained, "If you consider the problem as one of restricting individual freedoms (as I do), then abolish the program(s). If you merely want to continue the program with no undue burden on future workers, then there are some modest changes that will work. I would recommend that the program(s) be abolished. Issue a bond, to each individual under age 60 (or some other suitable age), valued at twice the amount of what that individual has “contributed” to Social Security (what the individual has contributed, and what the employer has contributed). Then declare the Social Security program to be over.
Of course, that will be politically unacceptable. To reduce the burden on future workers, and to keep the program(s) viable, I would (1) raise the age at which benefits can be claimed, (2) index benefit increases to the overall price index, not the wage index. When Social Security was introduced in the 1930s, a worker retiring at age 65 could expect to receive benefits for 10 years or so. Now, a worker retiring at age 65 can expect benefits for 25 years or more. I don’t think it is too much to ask for an increase in the retirement age to 70 or so (and I’ve seen actuarial studies showing this would “fix” Social Security). Also, benefit increases currently rise faster than inflation (since overall wages rise faster than inflation). I think it only fair that a retiree accept benefit increases adjusted for inflation."

The last subject was something everyone hates, but is as certain as the fact that you cannot live forever, Taxes. I noted that the top 5% of income earners in the country pay 54% of the government's tax revenue. I asked if he felt that the upper class is being disproportionally taxed, and he stated, "Not necessarily. It is much better than it was in the 1970s when the top marginal tax rate was over 70%. This is not an issue so much of allocative inefficiencies (like the minimum wage, or “capping” salaries of CEOs). At least, I believe this is not a problem at current tax rates."

The last question was about the "Fair Tax" concept that Neal Boortz has suggested. A tax system that would essentially get rid of the IRS. It is a 23% sales tax which includes everyone, but low income families would either be exempt, or would receive reimbursement for the taxes they payed. He said, "This tax proposal is better than the current tax system, but I don’t think it is ideal. I am very much in favor of new ideas, and I think that debating/arguing over them is extremely healthy."

I am looking forward to the rest of the semester, and the class discussions that will result from it. One thought that I felt amusing, when the minimum wage discussion began, I would estimate about 50-60% of the class felt that a wage increase would be a great benefit, and would be an easy way to increase the GDP of the country. After the discussion, and learning the adverse affects, I would be surprised if more than 10% of the class still believes that a wage increase is a good idea.

*Just as a side note, the ideas expressed by Dr. Isbell are not necessarily the opinions of TTU, and it's faculty as a whole*

Friday, January 26, 2007


What the hell kind of a news agency hires this man? After watching Hot Air's video of Jon Snow sympathizing with Iraqi insurgents and death squads, I had to find the video that they described in this post where Snow dismisses a YEAR worth of rocket attacks from Palestine AFTER Isreal removed their troops from the Gaza Strip.. I could not believe my ears!!!! Watch it for yourself and try not to just scream out "OH MY GOD!!"

Some lines from the video:
Snow: This is collective punishment; You've cut off the water. You've cut off the petrol. You've cut off the water, and you're starving the hospitals out.
Ravner: This is not, ah, collective punishment. And this is not just about the soldier. It's the culmination of about one year long since we've withdrawn full to the 67 line from Gaza, and since then what we've gotten was a day in and day out, even today when we are talking, uh, rockets being fired into Israel. And then came the ah, killing of the, ah, murdering of the youngster in the West Bank earlier this week. And now the Hamas government has to decide what are they exactly. Are they a terrorist organization as we susspect, or are they a government. If they are a government, there is a very simple and clear-cut resolution to the conflict strait away. Let them release our soldier. Let them stop the firing of rockets, and there will be no problem.
Snow: Well, ah, rockets are pretty pathetic things really, nobody gets injured, they are homemade, and you well know they have nothing much stronger than an AK-47. No RPG's, and you're delivering some of the most sophisticated bombardment that ever been subjected to a defenseless people.

Targets hit by the Qassam Rockets; A nursery school, A soccer field, A school yard, HaVegev College, a kindergarten class. Sometimes there were more than 30 rockets fired IN ONE DAY. ALL targets were civilian areas.

The number of casualties from the "harmless" rockets, ALL CIVILIANS:
14 Dead
51 Wounded (With injuries as bad as one man losing BOTH legs)
8 People put into shock (including 4 children)

The number of people killed in the "attack on defenseless people"; 1. A member of a terrorist faction who was killed in his own home.

Cross Posted at GOP and College

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Click and play.

Don't anybody pinch me, I'm too afraid I'll wake up!

I have tried very hard not to turn this into a sports blog, blogging only about baseball a few times as my beloved White Sox finally broke an 88 year championship drought in 2005, but once again, I need to gloat a little!

Da Bears are in Da Super Bowl for only the second time EVER, and the first time in 21 years!!!

Way to go, guys!

Now, on to Miami!

To celebrate, how about we cue up an old Chicago favorite in the jukebox for a chorus or two?

We are the Bears Shufflin' Crew
Shufflin' on down, doin' it for you.
We're so bad we know we're good.
Blowin' your mind like we knew we would.
You know we're just struttin' for fun
Struttin' our stuff for everyone.
We're not here to start no trouble.
We're just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle.

Somewhere up in Heaven, Sweetness must be smiling...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Gore Raises Global Warming Alarm Again, Cites New Scientific Evidence

Former Vice President Albert Gore, Jr. called a press conference earlier today to call people's attention to what he called an "urgent new development" on the global warming front. The former Vice President and inventor of the Internet once again showed uncanny timing in raising the global warming alert level in the wake of the worst ice storm in years across much of the U.S. and subsequent sub-zero temperatures sweeping across the nation's mid-section.

"It has recently come to my attention that there is now irrefutable scientific data that proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the earth's northern hemisphere has been steadily increasing in the last few weeks," Mr. Gore told a packed auditorium filled with media from all over the world. "Teams of crack climatologists have been checking and double-checking the data, and there is just no question that this is indeed the case. Furthermore, the effect is increasing incrementally... that is to say, that with each passing day, more and more sunlight is reaching the northern half of the earth's surface. There is also little doubt that the reason for this phenomenon is quite obviously the continued use of automobiles and other pollutants in the heavily populated and industrialized countries north of the equator, and in the United States in particular."

World-wide bedlam quickly ensued as a breathless media reported the story verbatim, using such headlines as "Worst Fears Confirmed: Earth Doomed!" and "Oh, God! It's Fry Day!" as they interviewed countless experts about the deleterious effects of ever-incrementally increasing sunlight on life on our "fragile" planet.

"Unless something is done immediately, we will all be dead within, at most, a few years," stated Dr. Stew N. Majuces, noted Global Warming Expert from the Progressive American National Institute of Climatology. "This is a disaster of unprecedented scope, and the fault clearly lies squarely with President Bush, who has steadfastly refused to deal with this issue throughout his shameful Presidency, despite repeated warnings from all of us here at P.A.N.I.C.! The imminent death of all life on this planet is on his head --- and his head alone!"

Some media outlets began to delve further into the study, which also reportedly reveals a decrease in sunlight across earth's southern hemisphere over the same period of time.

"Clearly, the greedy and over-industrialized north is stealing sunlight from those of us in the less-fortunate, underdeveloped south," reported one Brazilian television network. "In the process, they have doomed us all!"

In a joint appearance on nationwide television hours later, newly crowned Shrieker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and newly minted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Illegal Land Deals) called for immediate legislative action, beginning with, but not limited to, ratification of the controversial Kyoto Accords Treaty.

"There is no time to waste on extravagances such as blue-ribbon panels, committees or even floor debates, we need to take action NOW," stressed a visibly angry Pelosi. "Anyone suggesting we need to take the time to study the evidence is only trying to get our children and grandchildren all killed, like the White House is trying to do to our soldiers in its useless war in Iraq, which we have clearly already lost. It's time for everyone on earth to wake up to the real threat, which is global warming, not global terrorism, which never really existed except in the feeble minds of the President and his political lackeys!"

White House spokesman Tony Snow could hardly contain his laughter as he issued a call for calm minutes later from the White House Press Room. "This is nothing more than grandstanding on the part of Mr. Gore and his ilk," Snow chortled. "We have had our own scientists at NASA and NOAA as well as the NWS check this so-called data, and it turns out all Mr. Gore's 'experts' have discovered is that the earth is continuing to rotate normally around the sun in its proper orbit, causing a gradual increase in the amount of sunlight seen each day in the northern hemisphere and a corresponding decrease in the southern hemisphere, following the winter solstice, as happens every year... and has happened every year for the past 5 billion or so years! God willing, this cycle will continue unabated for the foreseeable future."

Curiously, most news services across the globe chose to quote only the final sentence of Mr. Snow's statement, causing more anger and panic and calls for President Bush's immediate resignation.


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Sunday, January 14, 2007

President to request surge of 21,500 restroom attendants in wake of Athens embassy bombing.

Speaking of dropping bombs...
President George W. Bush is expected to announce a massive increase in toilet scrubbers, towel holders and arse wipers after a rocket-propelled grenade was shot into the toilets of the U.S. embassy in Athens, sources say.

Mr. Bush told the Nation in his Wednesday address: "Our restroom attendants will have a well-defined mission: to help Grecians clear and secure stalls, to help them protect the local population and to help ensure that the Grecian forces left behind are capable of providing the paper towels that Athens needs."

Congressional Democrats, along with some Republicans, are united against the plan, however, and are threatening to cut off funds to what they call an escalation.

"In ordering more restroom attendants to Greece, the President is ignoring the strong advice of most of his own top generals. General John Abizaid -- until recently, the commanding general in Iraq and Afghanistan -- said, and I quote, 'More American forces prevent the Greeks from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future,' end of quote," Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin said in the Democratic response.

Polls show that 55 per cent of Americans support withdrawing some or all U.S. restroom attendants from Greece, with support for no change in attendant levels or an increase in the number of attendants at just 21 and 17 per cent, respectively.

Local yokel Cletus McCoy supports sending more attendants: "Well, considerin' them Greeks er responsible fer nan-unlehvun, I thank we shud go in an' nuke the whole Balkan peninsula."

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan paused from between sips of Jamba Juice to rant, "NO WAR! No more children must die for George Bush's illegal war for hummus!"

It is possible that Congress may vote to cut off funds to American peace-keeping efforts in restrooms throughout the Mediterranean, to which White House Press Secretary Tony Snow retorted, "Democrats are pussies," and proceeded to bitch-slap Helen Thomas with his microphone whilst screaming, "That'll teach you to grow old, you hag!"

Major props to my AP Economics teacher, Mr. Cordina, for the idea for this blog post. I gotta give credit where it's due!

Happy Fun Blog Media Bias Example

The Wordsmith from Nantucket posted hilarity worthy of the aforementioned Happy Fun Blog


The Pope is visiting DC and President Bush takes him out for an afternoon on the Potomac...sailing on the presidential yacht.

They're admiring the sights when, all of a sudden, the Pope's hat (zucchetto) blows off his head and out into the water. Secret service guys start to launch a boat, but Bush waves them off, saying "Wait, wait. I'll take care of this. Don't worry."

Bush then steps off the yacht onto the surface of the water and walks out to the Holy Father's little hat, bends over and picks it up, then walks back to the yacht and climbs aboard. He hands the hat to the Pope amid stunned silence. The next morning, the Washington Post carries a story, with front page photos, of the event. The banner headline is:

Click the headline to read the punchline.

Sunday, January 07, 2007



Happy Fun Blog cannot be safely viewed with your head up your own posterior (or anyone else's for that matter).

Happy Fun Blog contains a conservative political core which, if exposed, can cause liberals' brains to melt.

Happy Fun Blog should not be read while consuming carbonated beverages.

Discontinue reading Happy Fun Blog if any of the following occurs...

  • Spontaneous projectile vomiting.
  • Tingling in the extremities... ESPECIALLY THERE!
  • Spastic colon or chronically itchy rectum.
  • Loss of appetite (for absurd political parody).
  • The inexplicable and ultimately irresistable urge to utter profanity at groups of elderly nuns armed with rulers.
  • The incoherent ramblings of Ted Kennedy begin to make sense to you.

If Happy Fun Blog begins to smoke, unplug your computer immediately.

When not in use, return Happy Fun Blog to its specially designed hyperbolic chamber at the Los Alamos Nuclear Research Laboratory.

Happy Fun Blog contains the insane ramblings of several little known bloggers who fell to Earth, presumably from outer space.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Blog.

Happy Fun Blog offers no guarantee of quality or quantity of posts.

Staring longingly at Happy Fun Blog will not cause fresh posts to magically appear.

Due to a recent act of the state legislature, Happy Fun Blog may no longer be legally viewed in Vermont.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


So Demorats taking over Congress, Senate, blah blah blah.

I get a call the other night from Ted Kennedy

Rrrrrrrring , rrrrrrrrring ***

Stew: Hee-lo
Ted Kennedy: Hic, Shtewed, her Get Shtewed lease

Stew: Hello? You mean Stew Magoo of Get Stewed?
Ted Kennedy: Yesh, mumble *hic*

Stew: I'm sorry I didn't understand. Who is this?
Ted Kennedy: Thish is Ted Kendy. Kennenedy. KENNEDY.

Stew: Oh, Mr. Kennedy. Right, well, what can I do you for?
Ted Kennedy: You've got that Newshmonger team of shientishts rite?

Stew: Yes Mr. Kennedy, the Newsmonger crack scientific team of Science Mongers.*hipple
Ted Kennedy: Well, we need 'em. Now that Pelosi has opened her giant trap and stated that we're going to fix every*hic*thing, we've got to come up with some sholutionsh.

Stew: Er, well, the only problem is that I don't actually agree with basically ANYTHING that Demorats stand for and I'm not really sure that I want to help you.
Ted Kennedy: "..."

Stew: Hello?
Ted Kennedy: Pleash? Don't you think they could come up with jusht one idea?

Stew: Hold on, I'll ask them
(In the background:
Guys, any ideas to stop the terrorists for Ted Kennedy?
What's that?
Yeah, uh huh.
Right. Right, okay.
Check, okay good point, thanks. Thanks Sciencemongers.)

Stew: Ted?
Ted Kennedy: Yesh.

Stew: Okay, I'm back. Basically the Sciencemongers say that you're pretty much screwed. Since your party has been slamming Bush and all the possible solutions as unreasonable and just downright wrong, you're going to have to come up with something unique.
Ted Kennedy: Well I know THAT, sho what'sh the shol, solution? What'sh that unique way that the Democrats can combat the war on terror without loshing any livesh?

Stew: Well, Teddy, basically since the normal measures used to fight wars have been ridiculed by Demorats and, to be quite honest the terrorists aren't fighting a "normal" war as we know it, you're going to have attacks on America, etc etc. And what do the martyrs for jihad get once they're done blowing up the evil "death to America" people? Virgins. I'm pretty sure at last count it was something like 72 of them.
Ted Kennedy: Rite I remember shome guy prattling on about that during one of the shecurity meetingsh.

Stew: Great, so why don't you just go ahead and give the jihadists the virgins? I mean, we've got tons of women that are willing to do just about anything for a few bucks. You can probably get a couple of million of them together in no time.
Ted Kennedy: Hicle* Thatsh GREAT! I gotta call Murtha.

Stew: Goodbye Mr. Kennedy
Ted Kennedy: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz *snort* zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Another chapter in the war on terror by the Demorats...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Constitution Is A "Living Document"

The Get Stewed Newsmonger News Crew has uncovered a disturbing development. Plans by certain individuals to rewrite the Constitution.

We the People of the United States and any Mexican Nationals who will vote Democrat in elections, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice as long as it doesn't interfere with the liberal ideology of the redistribution of wealth, liberal hypocrisy and the socialistic ideal, insure domestic Tranquility for Democrats, neuter the common defense, promote the Welfare state, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and anyone who votes Democrat, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article. I.

Section 1.

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Democratically led Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Democratically controlled Senate and Democratically controlled House of Representatives.

Section. 2.
Clause 1: The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the blue states be they alive or dead, legal or illegal, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the Democrats of the State Legislature.

Clause 2: No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and who shall not, when elected, be a Conservative or Libertarian. It shall be permissible for an elected Conservative or Libertarian to switch party to Democrat in order to remain in power.

Clause 3: Representatives and direct Taxes on the rich shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union.

Clause 4: When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies with a Democrat.

Clause 5: The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment of anyone connected with the Bush family.

Notes from Bill:
Hillary, I think you and Osama Obama might want to look over this first draft. It would probably be pushing it at this point to include references to China and/or replacing the National Monument with the Eiffel Tower that we talked about after we smoked that great big phattie.


PS I didn't inhale. HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


PJ Maximum wrote a compelling and disturbing post about the most important thing in American society today. The success in the war on terror.

She goes on to postulate that without success in the war against Islamic fascists, all is lost.

Well, I have a dissenting opinion. The most important thing is NOT the success in the war on terror, but instead it is keeping McDonalds from removing the McRib sandwich from the menu.

No you may be scoffing and telling yourself that I'm just being crazy CRAZY CRAAAAZY

but let's consider the facts:
  • The McRib is a tasty, delicious and reasonably priced sandwich
  • It has Pickles
  • It has Onions
  • It's made of PORK
  • What do muslims hate?
That's right, pork. PORK PORK PORK!

Imagine if we invested a paltry million dollars in McRib sandwiches and then dropped them into Iraq or Iran or Darfur with little bitty parachutes. The people would be happy because they'd be getting free meals from the sky and we'd be fighting terror by driving the Islamic fascists out of the areas that we carpet bomb with the tasty McRib.

I'm telling you, it'll work. But only if we all band together to keep the McRib on the McDonalds menu.