Economics 101: We told you so! Raising the minimum wage has already cost jobs

We pointed out, last February, that President Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would cost jobs, and noted a Congressional Budget Office study which concluded just that. The White House, as expected, disputed that assessment:

White House Disputes CBO, Says Minimum Wage Hike Won’t Cost Any Jobs
By Sahil Kapur – February 18, 2014, 4:53 PM EST4644

The White House’s top economist moved to dispute a Congressional Budget Office finding on Tuesday that raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour could cost up to 500,000 jobs once implemented in the second half of 2016.

“[The CBO finding] does not reflect the consensus view of economists who have said the minimum wage would have little to no impact on employment,” Jason Furman, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), told reporters on a conference call. “It goes outside the consensus view of economists when it comes to the impact of the minimum wage on employment.”

Furman voiced “respectful disagreement” with CBO, pointing to other studies, which he listed in a blog post on the White House’s web site, that say a minimum wage increase wouldn’t cost jobs. They include a poll of economists conducted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a study by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

“Our view is that ‘zero’ is a perfectly reasonable estimate of the impact of the minimum wage on employment, based on research that began with David Card and Alan Krueger comparing minimum wage effects on employment,” he said, calling that a “completely reasonable” estimate based on the “highest-quality studies” on the issue.

More at the link. The Congress has not passed the President’s minimum wage request, but the Commander-in-Chief used his executive authority to impose the minimum wage increases on federal installations, so we have a real-world test of the White House’s claims.

Obama minimum wage edict leads to job losses at military bases
Posted by: Phineas on April 29, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Democrats and their Leftist allies are desperate to find any issue to run on in the coming elections, other than Obamacare. One of their tactics has been to try to gin up class warfare based on raising the minimum wage. They argue that it will help the poor, raise living standards, and, of course, be more “fair.” Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians, on the other hand, contend that increasing the cost of labor will only mean higher prices to the consumer, fewer jobs for the marginally skilled, and be particularly harmful to minorities. This video is a good example of how minimum wage laws kill jobs.

Needless to say, I come down on the side of those opposed to the Democrats’ demands for a minimum wage increase. But honest, intelligent people can reasonably disagree.  To help solve this disagreement, a real-world, real-time example would be nice. Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be), we have one. As Byron York reports in The Washington Examiner, President Obama’s edict raising the minimum wage for federal contract employees on military bases is leading to the closure of fast-food restaurants on those bases, thus costing jobs:

Obama’s order does not take effect until January 1, 2015. But there are signs it is already having an effect — and it is not what the president and his party said it would be.

In late March, the publication Military Times reported that three McDonald’s fast-food restaurants, plus one other lesser-known food outlet, will soon close at Navy bases, while other national-name chains have “asked to be released from their Army and Air Force Exchange Service contracts to operate fast-food restaurants at two other installations.”

Military Times quoted sources saying the closures are related to the coming mandatory wage increases, with one source saying they are “the tip of the iceberg.”

And increasing the minimum wage isn’t the only way Washington is increasing the cost of labor:

The administration is making it very expensive to do business on military bases, and not just because of the minimum wage. Under federal contracting law, some businesses operating on military installations must also pay their workers something called a health and welfare payment, which last year was $2.56 an hour but which the administration has now raised to $3.81 an hour.

In the past, fast-food employers did not have to pay the health and welfare payment, but last fall the Obama Labor Department ruled that they must. So add $3.81 per hour, per employee to the employers’ cost. And then add Obama’s $2.85 an hour increase in the minimum wage. Together, employers are looking at paying $6.66 more per hour, per employee. That’s a back-breaking burden. (Just for good measure, the administration also demanded such employers provide paid holidays and vacation time.)

As I wrote above, the natural business response to this is to either raise prices for the consumer, or cut back on employee hours — or cut jobs altogether. Well, guess what? York reports that military contracts do not allow the businesses to raise their prices above what’s common in the outside community. So, even though Obama is raising wages well above the prevailing standard, employers are forbidden to recoup their costs. What does that leave?

Closing the business altogether.

I quoted more than is my wont of Phineas Fahrquar’s article, but there is a bit more at the link.  I highlighted one very important sentence of Mr Fahrquar’s, because it points out how the normal response of business to increased costs has been restricted by the military contracts: when costs increase, businesses have to increase prices to cover those increased costs, and hope that heir customers can, and will, pay them.

But the military contracts do not allow such price increases; the McDonald’s on a military base has to pay significantly higher labor costs, but cannot charge more than a similar restaurant off base, which doesn’t have those costs.  If the on-base restaurants could raise prices to cover costs, soldiers would have the choice to pay he higher prices on base, or drive off-base to the less expensive ones.  At least some would choose to pay the higher prices on base, rather than to burn gasoline and time to drive off, but it would still be their choice.1 Now, at least for some, there will be no choice: the option to buy on based will be closed. That will mean higher prices that servicemen will have to pay for food on base, but, as we have previously documented, the Commander-in-Chief doesn’t care about soldiers and their families.
Related Article:


  1. And they’d get a real-world lesson in economics, too, but the President doesn’t want that! People who actually know something about economics are not liberals.

The naïvete of the left

That silliness can occur on the Delaware Liberal website is pretty much a given, and is something I usually ignore,1 but sometimes they outdo themselves:

Vladimir, Stop It. Just Friggin’ Stop It !
Filed in International by ProgressivePopulist on April 26, 2014 • 3 Comments

Ok, Vladimir. Enough of the belligerence. Crimea was an outrage and eastern Ukraine doubly so. So was Georgia. Speaking for myself and possibly millions of my fellow Americans, we don’t want a renewal of one of our worst mutual eras, the Cold War.

I’m sorry, but don’t you think that President Putin knows that? Don’t you think that he is, in fact, <>counting on that, to make sure that the United States and democratic Europe won’t do anything really serious to cause him problems?

Many of us admire and envy your history and culture. In particular, your nation’s demonstrated willingness to change and try to improve. Take your 20th century revolution, for example. You set aside many centuries of brutal oppression by your Tsars, turned them out and tried a grand experiment.

His “nation’s demonstrated willingness to change and try to improve?” Perhaps the Progressive Populist hasn’t read much on Russian history, and how the Bolsheviks staged a coup d’etat, and then had to establish control by bloodshed. The “nation’s demonstrated willingness to change and try to improve” was a “willingness” pushed by terror.

Ok, so communism didn’t serve its intended purpose and became oppressive in its own right. But one of my hero’s, Mikhail Gorbachev, had the courage to admit it wasn’t working and instituted in the same century a second major reform, Glasnost and Perestroika. We’re still waiting here for needed reforms to the failures of our economic system, capitalism. The world and many American’s hailed his guts and balls. And many members of your Union appreciated the autonomy Mikhail and his team gave them, though it has been a rough transition for many. You can be admired like that too. Through fear? Not so much.

The “failures of our economic system, capitalism?” Somehow I don’t see it as a failure to provide the world’s most successful economic system, the only one in human history which has lifted more than a small percentage of the people above the subsistence level.

Oh, it’s certainly true that not everybody is wealthy or middle-class under capitalism; capitalism allows people to fail as well as to succeed. But under every other system, almost everybody fails. The Soviet Union fell because it had a lousy economic system, one which produced just enough to build a massive military and a few heavy industries, but one which left the workers in the workers’ state living in cramped apartments queuing up in long lines whenever the grocery store had meat or milk, because those were rare occasions.

Yes, a few mistakes were made along that path, including bringing over American’s best and brightest consultants from such institutions as Wharton and Harvard to result in privatization moves that created a Russian oligarchy of insiders that has become the envy of our own oligarchs.

But now, your mimicry of our own history of imperialistic overreach stuns the imagination. For that matter, the mimicry of your own overreach in the closing days of our grand partnership in WWII in eastern Europe causes one to wonder about why we both fail to learn the lessons of history which have so much to teach us both. That imperialism doesn’t work for anybody.

It doesn’t? It worked reasonably well for the Soviet Union, for a couple of generations, creating a buffer zone between the democratic West and Soviet borders. Before that, imperialism served the United Kingdom pretty well, lifting a resource-poor island nation of 40 million souls to being the number one economic power in the world for 300 years. Colonization and conquest, started by English settlers in the early 17th century, led to our own “Manifest Destiny,” sweeping across the continent, and becoming the wealthiest nation on earth.  All of the denizens of the Delaware Liberal are beneficiaries of our own imperialist growth.  And before that, imperialism brought the wealth of the ancient world to a small town on the Tiber, in an empire that lasted almost five centuries.

Let’s not do this. We shouldn’t make your feel hemmed in and caught in a vise with our NATO alliance. You shouldn’t begin recreating your Union in response to that vise. Let’s get together and loosen the vise and work out mutually autonomous partnerships in that region and grow the economic pie for everyone’s benefit.

Yeah, it was just so horrible that the nations which were once subject to Soviet control went and became functioning democracies! And it was such a terrible thing that the people of Ukraine took control of their own country; we should have prevented that, because, why, it made Vladimir Vladimirovich upset! dripping with sarcasm

Look, there’s alot of admiration over here for your huge contributions to humanity and culture. Your ballet and classical music has made the world a better place. As have your brilliant contributions to science, architecture and art. And your willingness to end our nuclear campaigns of mutual terror.

We should have learned from your admission that Afghanistan was unfixable. And many of us here are grateful for your strategic brokerage in Syria to retire their chemical stockpile without blasting an already ruined populace off the face of the earth.

Vladimir, cut Pussy Riot and the gay community there some slack. There’s much creative energy for building your democracy pent up with these folks, just waiting to be unleashed for good. Just as I, as an atheist admire your country’s willingness to allow the Orthodox Church to surface from the underground and serve some of your people who seem to need them, Russia will not be harmed by political dissidents and those with lifestyles which you might not understand. You’re better than that. Hopefully, we are too.

Uhhh, PP, don’t you realize that President Putin isn’t interested in democracy? When, following his first two terms, he was unable to run for President again due to term limits, he got a colleague and crony, Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, to run for President, while Mr Putin did a term as Prime Minister, before becoming President again. Democracy means, among other things, being willing to leave office and surrender power; the former lieutenant colonel in the KGB hasn’t a democratic bone in his body.

Finally, I have an idea. Let’s put all this crap aside and form a partnership to address the imminent catastrophe of climate change. Let’s together lead a new Union of enlightened countries possessing passionate survival instincts and use our scientific resources to redirect our huge energy interests toward limiting carbon dependence and assure our planet of clean air and water.

Uhhh, in case PP hasn’t heard, Russia’s primary exports are hydrocarbons: oil and natural gas revenues accounted for 52% of federal budget revenues and over 70% of total exports in 2012.2 The last thing that President Putin wants, or that the Russian economy can stand, is limiting the industrialized world’s dependence upon hydrocarbon fuels.

The naïvete displayed by PP’s article is astounding .  .  . and incredibly ethnocentric.  PP wrote a very personal half-paean, half-lament to President Putin, based entirely on PP’s view of how things ought to be, informed by a liberal American worldview, that shows exactly zero understanding of the fact that Russians in general, and Mr Putin specifically, are not Westerners.  They have no real democratic tradition, and the freedoms we take for granted are only vaguely familiar to them.  To most Russians, the prosecution of Pussy Riot was almost inevitable, and the laws targeting homosexual proselytization of minors  are both consistent with Russian culture and widely supported inside Russia; arguments to President Putin on these subjects would be laughable to him .  .  . if he ever read them.

Which, of course, he won’t.  The chances that President Putin will ever read anything on the Delaware Liberal  — or The First Street Journal, for that matter — are not zero, but they are so close to zero as to be practically indistinguishable, and I’m guessing that the Progressive Populist understands at least that much, which means that his article was written for the Delaware Liberal’s American readers, and though the article has attracted only three comments in the three days since it was published, none of the commenters demonstrated nearly the naïvete that PP did.  Bamboozer noted that these moves have been great for Mr Putin’s popularity in Russia, while xyz got it exactly right:

“and tried a grand experiment….”

Yes, quite an experiment. 20 million people paid with their lives to see the result of this “grand experiment”.

One would have thought that the Progressive Populist would have known at least that much about Soviet history, enough not to have so blithely written, “Ok, so communism didn’t serve its intended purpose and became oppressive in its own right,” as though it was somehow no worse, and perhaps a bit better than the tsarist autocracy it replaced,3 even though the Tsar’s Okhrana never approached the body count of the Soviet’s secret police organizations.

The real problem isn’t that the Progressive Populist is a naïf; the problem is that there are enough naïfs to enable the more cold-hearted left, those who use leftism as a means of gaining political power to have the chance to do so.

  1. Jason330, the site owner, banned me from commenting on my work computer, but not my computer at home. :)
  2. Russia also has large coal reserves, but is currently producing only a relatively modest amount.
  3. I have deliberately ignored the short-lived provisional governments of Prince Georgii Lvov and Aleksandr Karenskii, neither of which lasted long enough to have developed any individual character.

John Kerry was right

Read that headline again, because it’s not something you will often see in The First Street Journal!

Kerry Backtracks on Israel ‘Apartheid’ Comment
The U.S. Secretary of State wishes he could “rewind the tape” featuring him saying that Israel risks becoming an “apartheid” state. The comment, leaked on Sunday, drew condemnation from across the American political spectrum
By Per Liljas | April 29, 2014 | 12:42 AM ET

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is seeking to control the fallout from his heavily criticized remark that Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state.”

“I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for partisan, political purposes,” he said in a forceful statement released by the State Department on Monday.

“If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution.”

The tape being referred to is of Kerry speaking at a Friday closed-door meeting of the Trilateral Commission — a discussion group of U.S., Japanese and European officials. On the tape, he says that “a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.”

Acquired and published by The Daily Beast, the recording prompted condemnations from across the U.S. political spectrum. Republican Senator Ted Cruz even called on the Secretary of State to resign.

The direct quote from Mr Kerry:

A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state. Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.

The Secretary of State was wrong to use the loaded word “apartheid,” but if you leave aside the political baggage of the word, what he said was exactly correct: the notion that Israel and the occupied territories could form a single nation, and that nation remain both a Jewish state and a democracy is unworkable. In such a nation, Israel would have to either completely subjugate the Arabs, denying them democratic rights and leaving than as second-class residents, or the Jews in Israel would eventually be demographically overwhelmed, and the essential character of Israel as an ethnically and religiously Jewish nation would be drowned out in successive elections by the growing Arab majority.

Your Editor has said before that Israel, if it wished to keep the territories seized in the Six Day War of 1967, should have expelled all of the Arabs living in those areas, and annexed the territories. It would have been brutal and it would have been harsh, but it would also have been over and done with, leaving a larger Israel with shortened and more defensible borders.

But the window of opportunity to do that was very small: Israel could have done that in 1967, and maybe into 1968, but chose not to do so. The Palestinians living in those areas, whom the Israelis hoped would voluntarily emigrate, stayed put, and multiplied, growing from a shade under a million people in 1967 to over 4 million today. The population of Israel today includes 6,102,000 Jews and 1,685,000 Arabs; the population of the West Bank is 2,385,000 Arabs, while the Gaza Strip has 1,376,000 Arabs. Were these areas to all be incorporated in a unified Israel, there would be 6,102,000 Jews and 5,946,000 Arabs. With that kind of population split, there’s simply no way a unitary state could remain a Jewish state.

The entire problem with the Secretary’s statement was the use of the word “apartheid;” Erika Johnson of Hot Air documented some of the reaction. And your Editor is perfectly willing to criticize the Secretary on his choice of words; for being our top diplomat, he wasn’t exactly very diplomatic. If he is forced to resign over this, I won’t shed a tear, though it seems unlikely that he would be replaced by anyone better.

But that he used a politically loaded word doesn’t make him wrong. John Hinderaker of Powerline disagrees, saying:

But that consensus has been challenged forcibly by Caroline Glick in her new book, The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East, in which she argues that Israel can incorporate Judea and Samaria–the heart of Biblical Israel–into Israel proper, accord full civil rights to the Palestinians, and still retain a substantial Jewish majority. The key to her argument is demographic: the Palestinian population of the West Bank has been grossly exaggerated for political reasons. At the same time, the birth rate among Palestinians has collapsed.

So, she says, if one looks at the population numbers properly, annexing the West Bank and giving the Palestinians full civil equality, including voting rights, is a viable path forward for Israel. In other words, Israel need not be held hostage forever by a corrupt Palestinian leadership that pretends to engage in a transparently futile “peace process” while plotting Israel’s destruction.

I’d note here that Miss Glick referred solely to the incorporation of the West Bank, leaving out Gaza, which would reduce the Arab population of a new, unitary state by 1.6 million. But it still means that Israeli Jews would have to vote virtually in unison — something that they certainly haven’t done recently — to outnumber Arab votes in such a state. Miss Glick is an Israeli journalist, though she was born and educated in the United States, having lived her first 22 years of life here.

Even if you take Miss Glick’s arguments seriously, that the Palestinian birthrate is exaggerated,1 her solution would still leave an Israel in which the official Jewish character of the state would be untrue for about 40% of the population. It is difficult to see that as something sustainable.

Mr Hinderaker is rightly concerned about what he characterized as:

Israel (being) held hostage forever by a corrupt Palestinian leadership that pretends to engage in a transparently futile “peace process” while plotting Israel’s destruction.

The late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tried to point a way out of that, when he had Israel simply pull up stakes and abandon the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians, telling them to make a go of it there themselves. Had the Palestinians actually been a civilized people, they’d have taken Gaza and improved it, making it a show place for what they could do. Gaza is resource-poor, but it does have potentially spectacular beaches, and could have brought in a lot of euros from tourists, had the Palestinians decided to go that route.

Unfortunately, the Palestinians really did make Gaza a show place for what they could do, and what they could do was to turn it into a squalid armed camp, and I have no doubt that’s what would become of the Palestinian areas of Judea and Samaria if those were turned over to the Palestinians as well, but, eventually that is exactly what will have to be done. Israel will have to pull out the settlers in the areas of the West Bank that are indefensible, and consolidate their borders around those which can be maintained, but they’ll need to give the rest to the people they cannot govern and do not want. The city of Jerusalem will be a problem as well, and they’ll have to expel some Arabs in neighborhoods that they wish to keep, and allow those neighborhoods they can dispense with to revert to Palestinian control. Mr Hinderaker’s concern about the Palestinians not being serious negotiating partners — a concern with which I agree — will be answered by unilateral action by Israel to solve the problem. In the end, nothing else will work.

Had the Israelis been cold-hearted enough in 1967 to have done what needed to be done then, none of these problems would exist today.

  1. An argument which assumes that Palestinians wouldn’t reverse that if they saw a chance to outnumber Jews in Israel.

Economics 101: Yet another California-headquartered company leaves for Texas

We have mentioned previously that business unfriendliness in government will have impacts on business, costing states jobs. From Forbes:

It Makes Sense For Toyota To Leave California For Texas
4/27/2014 @ 9:28PM

For Japanese auto brands, the logic of keeping their U.S. sales and administrative arms in California is breaking down under the outrageous penalties of conducting business in the Golden State and the changing dynamics of the North American automotive industry. So Toyota is leaving, according to Automotive News.

And where is Japan’s biggest automaker relocating its sales and marketing operations in America? Why, North Texas, of course. The move to Plano, Texas, will involve most of the 5,000 managers and employees at Toyota’s current Torrance, Calif., headquarters, the magazine said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry apparently didn’t even have to make a recruiting trip to southern California to get Toyota to do this, although he has helped lure plenty of companies with that gambit over the last several years.

And yet Texas has scored one of the biggest prizes so far in its very focused, state-on-state battle with the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown to get plum companies now headquartered in California to abandon the bluest state for the reddest one.

The Forbes article continues to note that there are solid business reasons which have nothing to do with the business-unfriendly climate in the Pyrite State, but when you pile on those additional government burdens, the incentives for companies which can move to move increase.

In the annual Chief Executive magazine “Best States / Worst States” ranking that surveys CEOs for their opinions, Texas has been holding on to the No. 1 spot for a while; California seems permanently relegated to No. 50.

As Automotive News put it, “Despite the deep, creative talent pool in greater Los Angeles, doing business in California has become more expensive for companies and their workers.” said that the cost of living for employees is 39 percent higher in Torrance than in Plano, and housing costs are 63 percent lower in Plano.

What does that mean? Well, it means that, for Toyota executives who have to move from southern California to the Lone Star State, they will see what is, in real terms, a 39% raise. When they sell their houses in California, they’ll wind up being able to by a house 2/3 larger for what they have been spending, or, looked at another way, be able to simply buy, with cash, just as good a home in Plano as the one on which they were making mortgage payments in California.

Of course, some won’t be able to make the move, due to family commitments or spouses’ careers, and that’s tough on them. Some will wind up losing their jobs due to this.

Would it be uncivil of us to point out that we told you so?

We have said before that if liberals really understood economics, they wouldn’t be liberals. Businesses exist to make money for their owners and shareholders, and states and cities which view businesses as milch cows for taxes rather than creators of jobs for their citizens are going to, eventually, cause businesses which can leave for friendlier areas to leave, and inhibit the creation of new businesses. Eventually this will have a negative effect on the number of jobs available for the public.

And you can see the effects in hard numbers: the March unemployment rate for Texas was 5.5%, well below the national average, while California’s was 8.1% and Illinois’ was 8.4%.1 It doesn’t take a PhD in economics, like Paul Krugman has, to understand this, yet the left keep ignoring it. It’s almost as though they kind of, sort of, understand that capitalism provides jobs, but want socialism anyway.


From The Conservative Tribune:

Michelle Obama Says Campaigning is as Hard as Being a Military Wife

It’s unreal how many times Michelle Obama has embarrassed herself and shown just how classless she is.

She’s been whining about not getting a salary as First Lady, telling people while on a foreign visit that it’s “very rare” for her to get to travel overseas, and she even literally told an interviewer that she’d rather sleep than go to church on Sundays.

This latest example of her classlessness reaches a new low even for her.  She just suggested that her glamorous life on the campaign trail being adored by thousands at rallies and being treated like celebrities by all of the media is a lot like military life, and because of these experiences, she feels like she understands military families.  Absolutely unreal.

The Washington Examiner reports:

“I first was exposed to the military community on the campaign trail. I remember that we would do these gatherings with moms, women — mostly working women — because I wanted to hear through — for my husband what were some of the challenges of working women out there. And everywhere we went, I heard the voice of a woman that I hadn’t heard before, and it was your voice. And I was just awed and blown away by what I heard through those voices, the challenges you all face,” she said.

But, she added, life on the campaign trail felt like military life. “Dealing with everything that I was dealing with — a spouse traveling, a job, kids — we didn’t deal with multiple moves, but I learned about the challenges that happen when you move from base to base to base; the way your kids have to adjust on a dime. And doing it knowing that the person you love is in harm’s way. And those stories moved me in a way that I didn’t expect.”


At some point you have to wonder about he utter cluelessness of the First Lady, who was graduated from both Princeton and Harvard Law School. Did Mrs Obama have to deal with a husband on the road a bit? Yup, sure did! But I’m guessing that being a millionaire, and having all sorts of support staff, along with Secret Service protection, makes that a bit different from what Cassy Fiano Chesser faced when her husband was deployed to Afghanistan.

When President Obama is away from the White House, Mrs Obama and her daughters still have a fully staffed mansion in which to live, complete with cooks, butlers, housekeepers, secretaries, and you name it, to insure that the Obamas need not worry for a single second about who’s taking care of the children or what to cook for dinner or whether they’ve missed anything in gathering the laundry or if there are dirty dishes piled up in the sink. And while it’s possible that Mr Obama could be shot at while he’s out, the odds that he would actually be injured or killed seem rather low compare to our soldiers and Marines on the ground in Afghanistan.

Sonia Sotomayor, the Left, and Affirmative Action: their answers are wrong because they aren’t addressing the right problems

Darleen Click of Protein Wisdom posted:

“Race Matters”

“Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage — the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry” ~~Ayn Rand

SCOTUS “Justice” Sotomayor has lived up to every warning issued about her dedication to the Left’s ideology of viewing all reality through the lens of Race-Class-Gender. Her 58-page polemic can be reduced to one phrase she used several times while attempting to coin yet another euphemism for naked racial preferences.

“Race matters.”Sotomayor Racist Leftism

Such a phrase is the raison d’être of all manner of racial supremacist groups regardless of how often they use the words “social justice” in their mission statements. It has as much connection to actual natural rights as the phrase “People’s Republic” does to democratic governments.

What we are being fundamentally changed to is a racial spoils system, where individuals must cling to a group identity in order to be “authentic” and socially acceptable. And the group Rulers will be solely in charge of defining the correct thought systems for the members.

And the world of Race Identity is a Kafkaesque theater of the absurd where people are to be judged by other people’s race-dominate perceptions, accurate or not.

More at the original.

Mrs Click continued to note the kerfuffle over the racist comments of Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Mr Sterling, an 81-year-old billionaire, told his twenty-something half-black, half-Mexican trophy girlfriend not to bring any black people to the Clippers’ games, specifically mentioning Magic Johnson. Mrs Click note that, by the way Justice Sotomayor and the left look at things, by the “standard of melanin counting,” the entire NBA would have to undergo so radical Affirmative Action, because whites and Asians are so dramatically under-represented.

But I’d look at it differently. Taking Justice Sotomayor’s own dissent in Schuette v Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), I see a serious racial anomaly which just cries out for an Affirmative Action solution.

Women Earn More Degrees Than Men; Gap Keeps Increasing
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

According to data from the Department of Education on college degrees by gender, the US college degree gap favoring women started back in 1978, when for the first time ever, more women than men earned Associate’s degrees. Five years later in 1982, women earned more bachelor’s degrees than men for the first time, and women have increased their share of bachelor’s degrees in every year since then. In another five years by 1987, women earned the majority of master’s degrees for the first time. Finally, within another decade, more women than men earned doctor’s degrees by 2006, and female domination of college degrees at every level was complete. For the current graduating class of 2013, the Department of Education estimates that women will earn 61.6% of all associate’s degrees this year, 56.7% of all bachelor’s degrees, 59.9% of all master’s degrees, and 51.6% of all doctor’s degrees. Overall, 140 women will graduate with a college degree at some level this year for every 100 men.

Clearly, something has changed, and women were once the beneficiaries of Affirmative Action admissions considerations. Justice Sotomayor wrote1:

Section 26 has a “racial focus.” Seattle, 458 U. S., at 474. That is clear from its text, which prohibits Michigan’s public colleges and universities from “grant[ing] preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race.” Mich. Const., Art. I, §26. Like desegregation of public schools, race-sensitive admissions policies “inur[e] primarily to the benefit of the minority,” 458 U. S., at 472, as they are designed to increase minorities’ access to institutions of higher education.

Justice Sotomayor clearly approves of policies which “inur[e] primarily to the benefit of the minority,” so, given that, shouldn’t we expect her to approve of policies which would increase the matriculation rate of males, including white males, on our college campuses.

Petitioner argues that race-sensitive admissions policies cannot “inur[e] primarily to the benefit of the minority,” ibid., as the Court has upheld such policies only insofar as they further “the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body,” Grutter (v Bollinger),2 539 U. S., at 343. But there is no conflict between this Court’s pronouncement in Grutter and the common-sense reality that race-sensitive admissions policies benefit minorities. Rather, race sensitive admissions policies further a compelling state interest in achieving a diverse student body precisely because they increase minority enrollment, which necessarily benefits minority groups. In other words, constitutionally permissible race-sensitive admissions policies can both serve the compelling interest of obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body, and inure to the benefit of racial minorities. There is nothing mutually exclusive about the two.3

Yet, would it not be true that the steady increase in the percentage of female students on our campuses decreases diversity, and since white males are, in fact, a minority group,4 using Justice Sotomayor’s argument, sex-sensitive admissions polices would further a compelling state interest in achieving a diverse student body precisely because they increase white male enrollment, which necessarily benefits that minority group. In other words, constitutionally permissible sex-sensitive admissions policies can both serve the compelling interest of obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body, and inure to the benefit of sexual and racial minorities.

The above argument was a reductio ad absurdum, and The First Street Journal does not seriously argue for any Affirmative Action programs to benefit white males, and we do not favor Affirmative Action programs on he part of government5 which benefit anybody, period.

Of course, we can fairly easily explain why so many more women than men are being graduated from colleges; it is because so many more girls are being graduated from high school than boys:

Leaving Boys Behind: Public High School Graduation Rates
by Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters

Executive Summary

This study uses a widely respected method to calculate public high school graduation rates for the nation, for each state, and for the 100 largest school districts in the United States. We calculate graduation rates overall, by race, and by gender, using the most recent available data (the class of 2003).

Among our key findings:

  • The overall national public high school graduation rate for the class of 2003 was 70 percent.
  • There is a wide disparity in the public high school graduation rates of white and minority students.
  • Nationally, the graduation rate for white students was 78 percent, compared with 72 percent for Asian students, 55 percent for African-American students, and 53 percent for Hispanic students.
  • Female students graduate high school at a higher rate than male students. Nationally, 72 percent of female students graduated, compared with 65 percent of male students.
  • The gender gap in graduation rates is particularly large for minority students. Nationally, about 5 percentage points fewer white male students and 3 percentage points fewer Asian male students graduate than their respective female students. While 59 percent of African-American females graduated, only 48 percent of African-American males earned a diploma (a difference of 11 percentage points). Further, the graduation rate was 58 percent for Hispanic females, compared with 49 percent for Hispanic males (a difference of 9 percentage points).

More at the original. But it isn’t terribly difficult to understand: if 7% fewer males than females are graduated from high school, then 7% fewer males are eligible to matriculate at universities. No one would argue against that.

The trouble for Justice Sotomayor and the left is that if 78% of white students are graduated from high school, while only 55% of black students earn their diplomas, it is just as understandable that black students would be seriously under-represented in colleges. Yet, for some reason, the left don’t want to consider that rather obvious statistic.

As is fairly typical, the left come up with the wrong answers, because they don’t look at the facts objectively. The problems of black under-representation on college campuses begin long before black Americans can ever apply for university admissions; they begin at the elementary school level:

Throughout elementary and secondary school, blacks scored lower, overall, on mathematics and reading tests than whites. Even for children with similar test scores one or two grades earlier, blacks generally scored lower in mathematics and reading than whites.

Somehow, some way, in a public education system dominated by liberal Democrats, by teachers who would claim to be the most concerned about minority student achievement, black students are falling behind long before college and university admissions are ever in the picture.6

The problems which the learned Justice so laments, wise Latina that she is, are problems which are beyond the power of the government to address by the time students are applying to colleges. The problems begin in the elementary schools, and in the local communities, and they are problems of attitude and culture more than anything else. Our great public education system, controlled for so long by the left, has proved itself unable to deal with the problems; perhaps, just perhaps, it is that very control by liberals which has led to those failures. And perhaps, just perhaps, it is the unwillingness of the left to hold black Americans to the same standards, on just about anything,7 which contributes to the corrosive culture in our inner cities which fosters the attitudes which have so many minority children failing in school, long before they ever reach university age.

  1. Schuette v Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), dissenting opinion of Justice Sotomayor, p. 15.
  2. Hyperlink not in Justice Sotomayor’s original, but added by the Editor.
  3. Schuette, dissenting opinion of Justice Sotomayor, p. 16.
  4. Non-Hispanic whites constitute 63.7% of the population, and slightly less than half, or 31.8% of Americans would be non-Hispanic white males.
  5. The cases at hand all concern state institutions, which must operate under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Private institutions are not so restricted, and The First Street Journal does not care, or think it is any of the government’s business, if private institutions wish to pursue Affirmative Action programs.
  6. In Philadelphia, for example, it is estimated that only 28% of black male students who enter high school are graduated in four years. Each of the nation’s ten largest public high school districts, which enroll more than 8 percent of the nation’s public school student population, failed to graduate more than 60 percent of its students, with the graduation rates in Detroit and New York City being 42% and 43% respectively. Those are cities which have been run by liberals for years and years.
  7. Interestingly enough, in those few areas in which black Americans are held to the same standards, athletics and the military being the best examples, black Americans have very solid records of achievement.

Rule 5 Blogging: From Norway!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Kathrine Sørland in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

Today, soldiers from Norway; click photos to enlarge.

Norwegian Army, girl-camp. A recruiting-happening for women.

Norwegian Army, girl-camp. A recruiting-happening for women.

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: From Norway!’ »

From Around the Blogroll

The Wall Street Journal noted that raising taxes on the most productive citizens has become an article of faith in Illinois. But less than two weeks ago, the Journal also pointed out that Illinois is faring far worse economically than it’s comparable midwestern neighbors. Hmmm, I wonder: could the high tax policies in Illinois have anything to do with the state doing worse than its neighbors?

Writing on Sister Toldjah, Phineas regretted that, under President Obama, our foreign policy has been reduced to twitter juvenility.

William Teach wrote about General Electric’s statement that Obaminablecare is hurting it’s health care equipment sales.

Donald Douglas was sort of amused by the statements of 81-year-old Donald Sterling that he didn’t want his twenty-something trophy girlfriend bringing an black guests to Los Angeles Clippers games. His girlfriend is part black herself, and, as owner of the Clippers, Mr Sterling pays million of dollars to a lot of black employees. (Real Clear Sports named him one of the ten worst professional sports team owners.) Dr Douglas pointed out that Mr Sterling has long supported Democratic politicians and causes.

L D Jackson noted that, once again, President Obama has delayed a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, probably until after the November elections. There’s really no excuse for this: this issue has been studied for years and years, and all of the information needed for the President to take a decision is already available to him.

Karen, the Lonely Conservative, wrote about the story that the Veterans’ Administration Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, was keeping two sets of appointment books, deliberately delaying medical care — but trying to hide the delaying policies, away from computer records — to save money. CNN reported that at least 40 veterans have died, in part due to the delayed appointments.1 I wish that Karen had gone further with her article, because the VA story isn’t really a surprise: we already knew that Britian’s National Health Service has ordered appointment delays to save money, denied cancer patients treatment that the NHS thought was too expensive, and even had a former NHS Director die after her surgery was cancelled four times. That’s the kind of thing that happens in a single-payer system, where the government is responsible for paying health care costs: the government has to keep costs under control, and the Phoenix VA wasn’t doing anything that other single-payer systems haven’t done before; the only problem is that they got caught at it. The only question now is: did the administrators at Phoenix do this on their own, or was there knowledge about, and instructions on, this policy from Washington? We’ll be told that it was some rogue administrators in Phoenix, but there will be an immediate clue: if the director and his top staff aren’t fired by President Obama, in the next couple of days, then we’ll know that those people know enough to incriminate people in Washington.  Still think that Sarah Palin was way out in left field when she talked about Obaminablecare “death panels?”

Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom noted that the government will have an interest in telling you what to eat.

Dejah Thoris of the Victory Girls finds liberals unintentionally amusing.

William Jacobson of Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion tells us about the pro-Palestinian group which slid fliers under the dorm room doors of Jewish students at New York University, telling them that they were being evicted.  Despite the protests of the left that they aren’t anti-Semites, but just opposed to Zionism and Israels policies concerning the Palestinians, the NYU group was simply targeting Jewish students, who may or may not have supported Israel’s policies.  And while it is certainly intellectually possible to not be anti-Semitic but still be opposed to Israel’s policies, in my many years of debating with people on this subject, I have yet to find a single person who supported the Palestinians who din’t turn out to be at least subtly anti-Semitic. And Robert Stacey Stacy McCain has more:

Remember When @RaniaKhalek Played ‘Count the Jews at the Nation’?
Posted on | April 26, 2014 | 22 Comments

New York University student Laura Adkins exposed the intimidation tactics of the radical campus group Students for Justice in Palestine and, as you might expect, Adkins has been relentlessly harassed online the past two days by the usual suspects, including self-proclaimed “independent journalist” Rania Khalek.

The fact that SJP is linked to Hamas? The fact that SJP was kicked off campus at Northeastern University? The fact that SJP’s faculty adviser at Northeastern bragged “that anti-Israel activism on campus has made pro-Israel students afraid to speak out”? Khalek can’t be bothered with these facts, which expose the truth that SJP is a terrorist-supporting group that uses brownshirt tactics.

Khalek supports the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, the goal of which is the elimination of the state of Israel. Last month, a blogger at the Jerusalem Post called attention to Khalek’s peculiar ethnic obsessions:

More at the link.

Patterico discusses the statement by former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) that he’s thinking about running for President.  To me, the greatest reason to want another Bush in the White House is the joy of watching the left go absolutely apoplectic.  Their heads would explode! :) But Mr Bush would not be the candidate for whom I would vote in the primaries.

Hube spotted Dartmouth College’s witless surrender to an accredited victim.

John Hitchcock is back to writing more on Truth Before Dishonor, and he thanks Piers Morgan for encouraging him to join the NRA.

  1. We cannot know how many of those veterans would be alive today had the VA Medical Center provided prompt treatment.

Once again, Vladimir Putin bitch slaps Barack Obama


Remember what Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), then the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, said about the top of the ticket?

Well, Vice President Biden didn’t quite get it right: he said that it would not be six months before President Obama would be tested. “Watch, we are going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. . . . I guarantee you it’s gonna happen.” It took a bit longer than six months, but the crises have occurred.

  • In Benghazi, where quick Presidential leadership was called for, on a real-time basis, the President was absent.

    WASHINGTON DC – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testified this morning on Capitol Hill that President Barack Obama was absent the night four Americans were murdered in Benghazi on September 11, 2012:

    Panetta said, though he did meet with Obama at a 5 o’clock prescheduled gathering, the president left operational details, including knowledge of what resources were available to help the Americans under siege, “up to us.”

    In fact, Panetta says that the night of 9/11, he did not communicate with a single person at the White House. The attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

    Obama did not call or communicate in anyway with the defense secretary that night. There were no calls about what was going on in Benghazi. He never called to check-in.

  • In Syria, with the long civil war, President Obama announced that that President Bashar al-Assad had to go, and tha we would send arms to the rebels trying to topple the Ba’ath Party government. Mr Assad is still President of Syria, and he’s now winning the war.
  • And now, after all of the President’s strong words, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is testing him yet again:

    Ukraine crisis: Pentagon says Russian jets violated airspace
    The US says Russian military aircraft have entered Ukrainian airspace several times in the past 24 hours, amid rising tension in the east of the country.
    25 April 2014 Last updated at 18:20 ET

    A Pentagon spokesman told the BBC on Friday that the incidents had happened mainly near the border with Russia, but gave no further details.

    Earlier, pro-Russian separatists seized a bus carrying international military observers, Ukrainian officials said.

    Talks were under way to secure their release near the town of Sloviansk.

    Russia has tens of thousands of troops deployed along its side of the border with Ukraine as pro-Moscow separatists continue to occupy official buildings in a dozen eastern towns, defying the government in Kiev.

    Also on Friday, US President Barack Obama and European leaders threatened to impose new sanctions on Russia, saying it has failed to implement an agreement to defuse the crisis in Ukraine.

So, the Western leaders threatened to impose new sanctions, huh? It’s pretty obvious that the previous sanctions didn’t bother President Putin in the slightest, so it’s rather difficult to see how these new sanctions are going to have him quaking in his boots. Heck, Russian bombers even violated Dutch airspace, something which has happened before, but given the heightened tensions, the Russians would be more careful these days . . . if they hadn’t already judged President Obama and the other Western leaders as milquetoasts.

There is really no reason at all for Russia not to invade the eastern half of Ukraine, where much of the population is Russian, because the West has proved that it cannot and will not do one thing to stop the bear.

Dr Strangelove put it most simply: “Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy the fear to attack.” Mr Putin has no fear of attacking at all, because he knows that he can, and, as Hale Razor put it, the most serious consequence will be that Mr Obama will unfriend on Facebook.

The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Schuette decision

As expected, the editors of The Philadelphia Inquirer were disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Schuette v Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), but understood it just enough to dance around what the ruling actually was.

The 6-2 decision suggests a nation that no longer needs to directly address the vestiges of past discrimination, which have left minority communities poorer, sicker, and educationally deprived.

No, that’s not what it means. The ruling in Schuette very explicitly stated that the previous decisions allowing state schools to employ race-based considerations for Affirmative Action purposes remained in force:

(It) is important to note what this case is not about. It is not about the constitutionality, or the merits, of race-conscious admissions policies in higher education. The consideration of race in admissions presents complex questions, in part addressed last Term in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 570 U. S. ––– (2013). In Fisher, the Court did not disturb the principle that the consideration of race in admissions is permissible, provided that certain conditions are met. In this case, as in Fisher, that principle is not challenged. The question here concerns not the permissibility of race-conscious admissions policies under the Constitution but whether, and in what manner, voters in the States may choose to prohibit the consideration of racial preferences in governmental decisions, in particular with respect to school admissions.

The decision in Schuette concerns, directly, whether the voters have the right to decide the question in he first place, and, indirectly, whether race-conscious decision-taking must be a part of any plan to address the effects past discrimination. 1 In places where Affirmative Action plans which contain preferences or other methods to assist minority applicants, the ruling leaves those plans untouched.

The Editors continued:

That is not to say America hasn’t made progress since that sad period when no black person realistically expected to be treated according to the content of his character rather than his skin color.”

That’s a sadly amusing sentence, given that the programs the Editors want to see very explicitly discriminate on the basis of skin color.

But as Sotomayor so eloquently put it in urging her fellow justices to reconsider, “We ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society.

I have somewhat less respect for the Justice who once stated that, as a “wise Latina,” she would reach better conclusions than a white male who hadn’t had her experiences, because, as a judge, she is supposed to apply the law, not set policy, but setting policy is exactly what she wished to do here. The political process in the state of Michigan reached a decision, by the most direct democracy there is — a question put to the voters — which stated that the state, including state colleges, would not discriminate on the basis of race; the (not so) wise Latina thought that her voice ought to outweigh the decisions of the voters.

Colleges give preferences to athletes, children of rich alumni, and others they want on campus. Why not do that for students still struggling to overcome past barriers to opportunity?

Some still can: colleges in states which allow Affirmative Action can, and private colleges anywhere can do exactly as the please. But that does not mean that every state, everywhere, must comply, and it does not mean that the public, either directly through the initiative process (as happened in Michigan) or indirectly, through their elected representatives, must choose to have race-conscious standards for anything.

A ruling against affirmative action suggests an ideal world that has yet to exist.

The boxed quote was visible, as a sidequote, only in the print edition yesterday morning,2 but it demonstrates the not-very-good thinking of the Editors: the ruling was not one against Affirmative Action, something the plurality decision directly stated was not an issue, but whether the democratic process allows states and other government entities to take decisions concerning what their policies will be. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote:

It has come to this. Called upon to explore the jurisprudential twilight zone between two errant lines of precedent, we confront a frighteningly bizarre question: Does the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment forbid what its text plainly requires? . . .

Even taking this Court’s sorry line of race-based admissions cases as a given, I find the question presented only slightly less strange: Does the Equal Protection Clause forbid a State from banning a practice that the Clause barely—and only provisionally—permits?

Justice Scalia has it exactly right. The Court has, through some convoluted reasoning, and the applications of tests such as strict scrutiny, previously allowed things which the actual words of the Constitution explicitly prohibit.3 That it has become a muddled mess is hardly a surprise. And if we had had three more “wise Latinas” on the Supreme Court, we’d have had just what Justice Scalia said: a ruling which held that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits what it explicitly requires.

  1. Left unmentioned is whether states, cities or schools must address such concerns, or whether they may or may not choose to do so.
  2. The Philadelphia Inquirer, Thursday, April 24, 2014, page A-21.
  3. Thanks to Justice Sandra O’Connor and her attempt to be moderate, we have the twin cases of Gratz v Bollinger and Grutter v Bollinger, which tell us that racial discrimination is unconstitutional if it’s done too explicitly, too rigidly, but is acceptable if state institutions try to be subtle and sophisticated about it.