Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 6/27/17 [Updated]

1. Since I don’t want to have too many posts at once showing how untrustworthy CNN has become, let’s put this one in the short form: on Sunday, CNN’s alleged show about journalism ethics, “Reliable Sources,” hosted by “watchdog” (stifling a guffaw here) Brian Stelter, conveniently skipped the single biggest broadcast journalism scandal in years.

Thomas Frank, a reporter for “CNN Investigates, announced that “the Senate Intelligence Committee  was investigating a Russian investment fund”, the Direct Investment Fund — “whose chief executive met with a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team four days before Trump’s inauguration.” The CNN “exclusive ” was based on a single  unnamed source, and quickly attacked as fake news—which it appears to have been. CNN, of course, has pushed the Trump-Russia collusion hypothesis as if it were a missing Malaysian airplane. The network pulled the story, retracted it, and three reporters involved in the fiasco “resigned.”

If one were depending on Stelter to get a weekly briefing on how reliable and ethical news media sources were in the week past, one would have been thoroughly deceived. “Reliable Sources,” under the oversight of Stelter, itself isn’t reliable or ethical. It is a house mouthpiece, masquerading as an ethics show. This is res ipsa loquitur, an episode that speaks so loudly by itself that no further evidence is required. If the host of a broadcast ethics watchdog cannot and will not report on serious ethics breaches by his own employer, which is also one of the most visible and significant broadcast news outlets in the journalism, then the show isn’t really dedicated to journalism ethics. It is a biased tool of competition and propaganda, with conflicts of interest that it neither admits nor tries to avoid.

Stelter devoted most of his show to attacking President Trump for not according proper respect to the news media. The President has labelled CNN as “fake news.” This episode vividly demonstrated why.

2. Watching HLN’s Robin Meade this morning to avoid “Fox and Friends” (the CNN outgrowth also has thus far  neglected to mention the network’s fake news episode,) the Cheerful Earful began, “The minimum wage might actually hurt workers????” while making a shocked face that would be appropriate if she was saying that the moon was made of cheese. Thus do those constantly marinated in progressive/ Bernie-style fantasies set themselves up for amazement by the obvious.

Yes, Robin, it has been well-known for about a century that raising the minimum wages causes unemployment for workers whose negligible skills just are not worth the new mandated wage, eliminates whole job categories (summer jobs for teens being the most harmful to society), and puts many small businesses out of business. But never mind! “Living wage” sounds so kind and  good, and the rising minimum wage is always a tool to help unions  argue for increases in their much more than minimum wages, which is why the Democratic Party keeps promoting the lie that raising the minimum wage ever higher makes sense.

Robin was shocked at a new study of the results of Seattle’s huge minimum wage increase, enacted in the heat of mindless progressive faith. Conducted by a group of economists at the University of Washington who were commissioned by the city, the study indicates that far from benefiting low-wage employees, the costs to low-wage workers in Seattle outweighed the benefits by a ratio of three to one. This is the study found that  some employers have not been able to afford the mandated minimums, so they are cutting payrolls, delaying new hiring, reducing hours or firing workers. Gee, who could have predicted that?  The news media is reporting this as if it is a surprise. It’s not. I oversaw a study at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce decades ago that indicted this would happen, because it has happened before. Frankly, it’s obvious; so obvious that I have long believed that Democratic Party advocates for the minimum wage are lying to their gullible supporters.  Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton made raising the minimum wage a rallying cry, which is one of many reasons why I found it impossible to trust Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.

In the meantime, having seen the writing on the wall, restaurants are increasingly moving to replace waiters, waitresses, and cashiers with automated systems, because they are cheaper…thanks to the minimum wage. If humans were cheaper, humans would keep those jobs, and restaurants would be more pleasant, unless you prefer dealing with computers than human beings. I don’t.

Lies have consequences. Or as Robin would say, “Lies have consequences???”

3.  Slain motorist Philando Castile’s mother has agreed to a not-quite $3 million settlement with the the Minnesota city of St. Anthony Village, whose police officer shot and killed her son during a traffic stop.  Unlike the recent payment of “wrongful death” damages to Mike Brown’s mother by the city of Ferguson, this resolution of the tragedy was appropriate, and is also a sufficiently high penalty that it should serve as an incentive for communities to hire better qualified police officers and train them properly. Unfortunately, the more activists reflexively demonize police for episodes like Castile’s death, the fewer qualified—the fewer sane—potential cops will seek this dangerous form of public service.

4. Ethics Alarms head scout Fred reports that since March, an 11-minute video has been shown to every prospective juror in the two federal courthouses that serve the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The Marshall Project writes,

The video — which cost the court $15,000 to make — complements the customary voir dire process, during which judges and lawyers question potential jurors about conflicts of interest and obvious prejudices that could prevent them from deliberating fairly. It features three speakers: the district’s U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes, Reagan-appointed Judge John Coughenour, and Jeffery Robinson, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union who started his career as a criminal defense lawyer.

“You might have a deep-seated belief that basketball is a better sport than football, and you may prefer strawberry to raspberry jam,” Robinson says in the video, describing examples of conscious — or explicit — bias. “Today, though,” he says, speaking slowly and looking directly into the camera, “I want to talk to you about unconscious bias: something we all have, simply because we’re human.”

Since bias makes us stupid, it seems reasonable that teaching jurors how to identify their biases and avoid them will lead to smarter juries. It’s a start!

5.  Lisa Durden, the Essex County College professor who issued a racist defense of Black Lives Matters in a Fox News debate with Tucker Carlson, was first suspended by the community college and eventually fired, as she should have been. Durden, who seems to be angling for a job at MSNBC (and was doing so, I thought, in her appearance with Carlson, as I felt she was playing—over-playing, in fact— a role) is claiming victimhood.

Durden told the Washington Post that the firing was unjust and baseless, because “there was no due process, there were no facts.”

The video is a fact, Lisa. Your racist statements (“Boo-hoo-hoo! You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your ‘white privilege’ card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter’s all-black Memorial Day celebration!”) are facts. She went on to argue…

“I was publicly lynched. They didn’t let me finish the class and they disrupted the learning process.”

It’s called “firing for cause,” Ex-Professor. Once a teacher has proven that she cannot be trusted and advocates values no school can allow to be taught in a classroom, she must be removed as soon as possible. YOU disrupted the learning process.

Then this proof of civic ignorance: “I had a right to free speech, and I exercised that right.”

True…and the school exercised its right to decide that it did not want to be represented by an anti-white racist on national TV.

[UPDATE: Lawyer Michael Ejercito notes that the college is a state institution, so the First Amendment is relevant. This case found that professors could be disciplined for speech that a school felt undermined student trust in a faculty fairness and equal treatment, though it did not involve off-campus speech, like Darden’s. She says she is going to sue: good luck to her. It is one thing to teach racists theories in class: academic freedom applies. Going on national TV and using racist rhetoric, however, is legitimate grounds for termination, anywhere. If the Courts have to make this clearer, I’m sure they will, and I’ll be thrilled to see Ms. Darden pay for the clarification.]

Next, a lie: Durden told The Post  that when she mentioned “white people” she was referring  only to the white people who were upset about  Black Lives Matter banning them from the event  “I will apologize if a person assumed I meant all white people,” Durden said. “I never meant all white people.”

Sure. “You white people” directed to a white Fox host always means “those white people.”

The real ethics issues raised by this incident include how teachers like Durden (and the University of Delaware  adjunct professor who tweeted that Otto Warmbier was a “clueless white male” who “got exactly what he deserved” shortly after the young man died) get hired by colleges at all. Also:

What kind of process allows racists to enter the teaching ranks?

What kinds of training and standards do such professors receive?

Are these kinds of divisive and biased beliefs welcome at many (or most) colleges, as long as the professors don’t broadcast them outside the classroom?

 

55 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Education, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, Workplace

55 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 6/27/17 [Updated]

  1. Other Bill

    “Boo-hoo-hoo! You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your ‘white privilege’ card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter’s all-black Memorial Day celebration!”

    I’d wager that sort of comment gets made in nearly every sociology and –studies class in nearly every undergraduate institution in the country nearly every day. I’d love to hear what Curmie has to say on this issue. His theater classes sound great but what’s going on in other departments? Are the inmates really not running the asylum?

    How does someone like this get hired? Easy. Spouting this sort of stuff is a prerequisite for the job.

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence, Bill. It’s probably true that sociology attracts more of the SJW crowd than virtually any other discipline does. It is a field, after all, that examines groups rather than individuals, and that’s more of a liberal than a conservative conceit. (Old School left-leaning civil libertarians such as myself are becoming scarcer by the minute.) But “in nearly every undergraduate institution in the country nearly every day”? There may be a kernel of truth in that allegation, but I’d have to call that assertion, as stated, wildly exaggerated if not outright false.

      Indeed, a couple people in the sociology department are among my most respected colleagues, and not because they share my generally progressive politics (I don’t even know if they do), but because they challenge their students to think rather than to repeat ideology. To be honest, I’m at a big enough university that I seldom see most of the folks outside my college, so I don’t know many colleagues in the social sciences unless I’ve been on committees with them, or they’re active theatre-goers, or whatever. I do know that one of my best and brightest students in recent years picked up a second major in sociology. Her unstated but de facto endorsement goes a long way in my eyes.

      I can say that the complaints I hear from students about faculty in other disciplines mostly concern history, politics, and communications profs who believe that their opinion is “correct,” and others are, by extension, wrong. Whether this tells us more about my generally conservative and often evangelical colleagues here in East Texas, or about my overwhelmingly liberal students in the theatre program… I’ll leave that up to you to decide. My guess is a little of both.

      One of the challenges of teaching in any discipline in which the subject matter is other than purely objective is going to have to do with perception. If I challenge the naive assumptions of someone whose politics I agree with, I’m a rigorous and conscientious mentor. If I challenge similarly facile arguments from someone I disagree with, I’m stifling debate and imposing my politics on students.

      Are the inmates running the asylum? Probably in some places, but not by any means in all. And sometimes the inmates are doctrinaire right-wingers. My guess is that they’re outnumbered by liberal true believers nationwide, but they aren’t in my little corner of the academic world.

      • Whether this tells us more about my generally conservative and often evangelical colleagues here in East Texas, or about my overwhelmingly liberal students in the theatre program

        My son is in on scholarship for Theater and Music at a (very) small Texas college. His friends DO tend more toward the progressive side of things, but I have not heard any rabid leanings so far. They are just mistaken youth, for the most part 😉

        The general (relative) poverty in the area tends to enforce conservative thinking, I have observed. Case in point is that his friends think we are a wealthy family because we watch movies several times a month, when we can. And I guess that we are well off, compared to many of them.

        Good insight, Curmie. I will keep the college you teach at to myself (there aren’t that many large-ish east Texas colleges that fit your hints dropped at EA)

  2. Chris

    1. It’s good that CNN took appropriate action against the reporters responsible for the fake story, though of course they never should have allowed it to run in the first place, and you’re right that the “media watchdog” abdicated its duty by not reporting on it.

    2. Studies on the minimum wage are mixed enough that I don’t think we can declare as fact whether they are overall helpful or harmful to workers.

    3 and 4. Yes.

    5. I have a lot of thoughts about how we SJWs have a tendency to become so convinced of our own righteousness that it blinds us when we repeat the cycle of bigotry that we’re attempting to fight against, but no coherent way to organize those thoughts at the moment. I’ll think on it more.

    • 2. Studies on the minimum wage are mixed enough that I don’t think we can declare as fact whether they are overall helpful or harmful to workers.

      Economics aren’t hard to understand, they’re just hard to accept.

      I can explain to you in detail exactly why this happens, but if someone decides to ignore logic and reality in favor of progressive beliefs, and then that person decides to write a paper dripping with academic terms, but without real substance, and then if you choose to weigh my explanation and that rag on equal terms, or even give the rag more weight because you can loosely describe it as a study… Well… It still won’t change the fact that employment is down and average earnings are down in Seattle.

      Maybe you can tell all the new unemployed and underemployed people that they just have to read the right studies.

      • Chris

        What a vacuous reply. It assumes:

        1. There is only one valid theory of economics.
        2. Anyone who does not accept your theory of economics is an idiot.
        3. All studies that disagree with your assertions are automatically “rags” without “real substance.”

        …And it does all this without providing one iota of substance to back up any of these assumptions. After watching you repeatedly get your ass handed to you on the subject of economics on another blog recently, I’d think you’d be more wary of doing this, but perhaps you feel safer making such arrogant proclamations without being challenged here.

        I’m sure you can do better than that, Humble.

        • “After watching you repeatedly get your ass handed to you on the subject of economics on another blog recently, I’d think you’d be more wary of doing this, but perhaps you feel safer making such arrogant proclamations without being challenged here.”

          Lame attempt to stifle discussion.

          1) link or it didn’t happen.

          2) “losing” an argument isn’t the same as being wrong. You will lose an argument to a conspiracy theorist ALL DAY LONG because they refuse to operate in a world of reason. The same can occur against anyone holding theoretical opinions.

          • texagg04,
            There is some obvious trolling going on in the comments preceding yours in this side discussion.

          • He’s talking about this mess: http://amptoons.com/blog/?p=23088&cpage=1#comments

            The relevant comments start around post 87. I’ll leave it up to you if you want to slog through it all.

            I was, however, particularly proud of my comment at 97:

            “If you have to use the singular example of the mighty nation of Timor-Leste to make your point, you’re doing it wrong. The only way that you can have a GDP smaller than your government spending is if your trade deficit is so significant that it offsets both government spending and personal consumption. This will never happen in America, barring an apocalypse.”

            • Just plodded through it. Anyone characterizing you as “having your ass handed to you” is flat out prodding you for an emotional outburst because you assuredly did not “have your ass handed to you”.

              Another cheap tactic. Glad it didn’t work.

              • texagg04 wrote, “Just plodded through it. Anyone characterizing you as “having your ass handed to you” is flat out prodding you for an emotional outburst because you assuredly did not “have your ass handed to you”. Another cheap tactic. Glad it didn’t work.”

                Now you know why I said there was trolling going on.

        • philk57

          The law of supply and demand is not a theory. It is a foundational law of economics.

          • Chris

            As there is no theory, including Keynesian economics, that disputes the law of supply and demand, what exactly is your point?

        • 1. I’d love you to cite an economist who: a) said the minimum wage wouldn’t negatively impact jobs, and b) has an explanation for Seattle. Is there more than one theory in economics? Oh yes. But some are more… durable.. than others. There are several theories about the shape of the Earth as well, but I’m pretty sure it’s a sphere.

          2. Anyone who thought minimum wage increases, especially large minimum wage increases, would not have negative effects on employment IS an idiot. Or ignorant. Or biased. Yes. I’ll assert that.

          3. I have yet to read a study (and I have read many) that argues minimum wage increases benefit employment levels that didn’t have holes I could drive a semi through. But by all means… Please feel free to provide an example of a robust economic paper that makes that case.

          Chris… One of those people that are “handing me my ass” thought that the proof that America could afford additional entitlement spending is that the National GDP is bigger than the amount the government spends… Which I pointed out was an odd way of thinking, as government spending is a component of the GDP. Generally, I admit, I don’t have classical education on everything I comment on, but I have a business degree minoring in economics, and they don’t know their asses from holes in the ground. I’ve never met people more willing to remove doubt of their idiocy by writing things down, it’s probably what you get by being a smug, self-satisfied, BA holding academic, but I have no doubt that were that exchange read by someone who had a relatively solid grasp of economics, they’d laugh alongside me.

          • “Anyone who thought minimum wage increases, especially large minimum wage increases, would not have negative effects on employment IS an idiot. Or ignorant. Or biased. Yes. I’ll assert that.”

            It’s absolutely fair to assert that, because it is true. There are jobs and people who are simply not worth more than the minimum wage, and when you raise it, those jobs disappear. It’s goo-goo gah-gah market theory, so obvious that a baby could understand it. Viable businesses will not pay more than a commodity is worth.

            • It’s based I think on an unspoken mythical premise that businesses operate on massive profit margins that represent money that greedy business owners refuse to disperse to their workers… when in reality, thanks to competition helping to make life affordable for people keeps prices so low that for most businesses in most industries (with a few exceptions), profit margins are razor thin, and the slightest change in operating costs equate in the business going under.

              • Junkmailfolder

                And the theory that labor is a monopsony and that my business is not competing with other businesses for smart, capable employees.

          • Chris

            1. I’d love you to cite an economist who: a) said the minimum wage wouldn’t negatively impact jobs, and b) has an explanation for Seattle.

            Can you clarify this request? As far as I’m aware, all economists recognize that raising the minimum wage a certain amount would negatively impact jobs; the question is “How much of an increase will show a significant negative impact?” And of course that question will have different answers depending on what part of the country is being studied.

            This article is not written by an economist, but cites numerous prior peer reviewed studies (NOTE: the study referred to in Jack’s blog post has not yet been peer reviewed) showing modest increases in the minimum wage has not led to job loss, while arguing that Seattle’s minimum wage increase may have been too high.

            https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/seattles-minimum-wage-hike-may-have-gone-too-far/

            2. Anyone who thought minimum wage increases, especially large minimum wage increases, would not have negative effects on employment IS an idiot. Or ignorant. Or biased. Yes. I’ll assert that.

            Again, you’re not being clear. What constitutes “large?” We’d probably agree, given a reasonable definition of “large,” that large minimum wage increases are likely to have negative effects on employment. But the body of research on modest minimum wage increases is robust, and clearly shows little to no negative impact.

            3. I have yet to read a study (and I have read many) that argues minimum wage increases benefit employment levels that didn’t have holes I could drive a semi through.

            Examples, please?

            • Well, since the current push has been to DOUBLE the MW, isn’t your argument moot?

            • 1.”Can you clarify this request? As far as I’m aware, all economists recognize that raising the minimum wage a certain amount would negatively impact jobs;”

              Well… Seeing as your original statement was:

              “Studies on the minimum wage are mixed enough that I don’t think we can declare as fact whether they are overall helpful or harmful to workers.”

              “Mixed” usually means… You know… That people have different opinions, not just disagreements on scope.

              2. “Again, you’re not being clear. What constitutes “large?” We’d probably agree, given a reasonable definition of “large,” that large minimum wage increases are likely to have negative effects on employment. But the body of research on modest minimum wage increases is robust, and clearly shows little to no negative impact.”

              “Large” is somewhere between nothing, and the $15 an hour lunacy that both main Democratic contenders talked about this last election cycle. If people are earning, on average, $125 less than they were previous to a $2 raise from $11 to $13, just imagine the magic at $15. What’s “Large” in that context? $2 an hour? 15%?

              You know what the right answer is? The right answer is “Who fucking cares?” Something like 2% of wage earners actually earn the minimum wage and the vast majority of those people are students. Our system is designed so that even if you start at the minimum wage, you quickly collect the skills and experience necessary to earn more. If an increase to the minimum wage acts as a barrier to employment at SOME level, and everyone understands (as you just said, see 1) that SOME amount of an increase is going to have negative outcomes, then why test it? What’s the benefit in trying to figure out where that line is? Think long and hard about Seattle if you answer.

              “Examples, please?”

              Wait… I asked you for an example of a robust paper that argues that minimum wage increases benefit workers…. Because I think that they don’t exist… And you want ME to find an example for you?

              No. It doesn’t exist. Saved you some time.

              • Chris

                Well… Seeing as your original statement was:

                “Studies on the minimum wage are mixed enough that I don’t think we can declare as fact whether they are overall helpful or harmful to workers.”

                Yes, that was sloppy. The word “they” in that sentence doesn’t even refer to anything. I should have said “Studies on modest minimum wage increases are mixed enough that I don’t think we can declare as fact whether they are overall helpful or harmful to workers.”

                My original statement suggests that whether the minimum wage should even exist is a divisive issue, and that’s not what we’re discussing here (at least, I hope not).

                “Mixed” usually means… You know… That people have different opinions, not just disagreements on scope.

                But the differing opinions that exist among mainstream economists, as far as I understand, are about to what extent minimum wage increases affect employment. That’s an accurate description of the body of research.

                Again, no respectable economist argues that it’s impossible to raise the minimum wage so high that it would negatively affect employment. By the same token, no respectable economist argues that the minimum wage shouldn’t exist. Libertarian extremists do, but those are hacks, not respectable economists.

                You know what the right answer is? The right answer is “Who fucking cares?”

                Uh…people on minimum wage, I assume?

                Something like 2% of wage earners actually earn the minimum wage and the vast majority of those people are students.

                *sigh* See, this is why I say you should be more careful about making bold proclamations about economics with nothing to back them up.

                Your percentage is close…about 3.3% of American workers were at or below the federal minimum wage in 2015.

                But “the vast majority” of those workers are not students. Only about half of minimum wage workers are under 25, and only about a third have some college experience.

                https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/minimum-wage/2015/home.htm#table6

                That’s obviously not “the vast majority.”

                Our system is designed so that even if you start at the minimum wage, you quickly collect the skills and experience necessary to earn more. If an increase to the minimum wage acts as a barrier to employment at SOME level, and everyone understands (as you just said, see 1) that SOME amount of an increase is going to have negative outcomes, then why test it? What’s the benefit in trying to figure out where that line is? Think long and hard about Seattle if you answer.

                This is such a stupid question. The potential benefit would be higher wages, not just for minimum wage earners, but for everyone.

                Wait… I asked you for an example of a robust paper that argues that minimum wage increases benefit workers…. Because I think that they don’t exist… And you want ME to find an example for you?

                No, I asked you for an example of one of the studies that you said you could drive a hole through.

                • Junkmailfolder

                  About 3/5 of your 3.3% of Americans earning less than minimum wage are in the food/hospitality industry, which relies largely on tips to supplement hourly wages. We find elsewhere on the bls website that less than 10% of waiters/waitresses make less than $8.22 an hour.

                  Precise calculations are going to be impossible, but it’s obvious that a very large chunk of that 3.3% actually make more than the minimum wage and will skew any analysis based on those numbers.

                  Since 10% of waiters/waitresses earn less than $8.22 an hour, I’m going to make a grossly unscientific guess that less than 5% of waiters/waitresses make minimum wage after tips. Now our 2.7M employees has shrunk to 1.16M, and that’s completely ignoring the other 40% of employees making less than minimum wage who might be earning tips and commissions. Around 250K of those under 19 make exactly minimum wage with another 229K making less. Applying the same assumptions as before for “less than minimum wage workers” gives us 100K workers under 19 making less than minimum and 250K making exactly minimum.

                  Grossly unscientific assumptions aside, it’s conservative to assume that over 30% of minimum wage earners (350K out of 1.16M) are teenagers. Using the same assumptions on those with some college/associates experience gives us 485M college students at minimum wage. Those two groups added together is 72% of minimum wage workers.

                  I’d never publish these numbers as fact, but I don’t think I made any wholly unsupportable assumptions.

                • “Your percentage is close…about 3.3% of American workers were at or below the federal minimum wage in 2015.

                  But “the vast majority” of those workers are not students. Only about half of minimum wage workers are under 25, and only about a third have some college experience.”

                  You’re right, I tend to work from memory on these things, and sometimes concepts bleed together. I meant “School aged”. Something like 70% are less than 30. And my point was that these are either people getting an education so they can make more later, or getting experience so they can make more later.

                  “This is such a stupid question. The potential benefit would be higher wages, not just for minimum wage earners, but for everyone.”

                  Frankly. Bull. I challenge you to cite that. When you raise the minimum wage, the only people who make more are people lucky enough not to get laid off or get their hours cut. 3.3% of Americans are on the National Minimum wage? Wonderful. What about the percentage of people on higher, state issued minimum wages? It’s invariably higher. Canada has minimum wages between $10 and $12 and our percentage of people on Minimum wage is almost 8%. There is NO evidence that people who previously made more than the minimum wage see any increase in wage upon a minimum wage increase, and there’s good evidence that the minimum wage on aggregate causes lost wages for workers.

        • “There is only one valid theory of economics.”

          As a matter of fact, in the realm of explaining phenomena, there indeed is only ONE valid explanation for any phenomena in question. There may be several competing theories claiming greater conformity to that ONE valid explanation, but in that group of claimants, one theory IS closer than others.

          Single components of one theory may be very inaccurate compared to single components in another theory all while the former is closer, on average, to the truth than the latter.

          So I don’t get the point of your comment #1… some sort of moral relativism in economic theory?

    • Chris, I would love to read your thoughts on #5. If you state that they are not up for debate, I promise to keep quiet, too. Part of the reason I come here is to understand different points of view.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    >>>
    In the meantime, having seen the writing on the wall, restaurants are increasingly moving to replace waiters, waitresses, and cashiers with automated systems, because they are cheaper…thanks to the minimum wage. If humans were cheaper, humans would keep those jobs, and restaurants would be more pleasant, unless you prefer dealing with computers than human beings.
    >>>

    Call me a social hermit if you like, but oh thank god.

    The best part about Panera is that I can order on a kiosk.

    A kiosk that wont spend the first 15 seconds of our interaction asking if I want to try their special whatever. (of course the splash screen shows it I think, but it’s easy enough to just click through)

    A kiosk that wont misunderstand or incorrectly enter my order (Yes it’s still possible to get the wrong food, but the odds are reduced)

    A kiosk where when I’m ready and after taking as much time as I like (there tend to be less lines at them as they can put 5-6 of them in a restaurant instead of 2-3 people behind a cashier) and then swipe and go.

    A kiosk where, for better or for worse, there is no human element aside from me.

    Other places are moving this technology in as well already (I do not live in a $15 minimum wage area), mini tablets at tables where you can order apps/call a waiter with the touch of a button.

    This is the natural progression of technology, while raising Minimum wage so high may cause ruin and devastation to other areas of the economy, this is one I welcome computers to come into.

    • Anonymous Coward,
      You don’t find much value in direct person-to-person interactions with your fellow human beings do you? Texting with others is likely your favorite form of communication, am I right?

      • Anonymous Coward

        Don’t generalize too much about me based on my food ordering preferences, Zoltar.

        I’m not looking for a deep human connection, or even small talk when I roll up to Mcdonalds with people behind me in a line. I want to order what I want, pay for it and get out so the person behind me can get his food quick as well.

        I’ll take my time and have a conversation with the clerk at my local circle K, when there’s no one that I’m holding up.

        I would probably even go ahead and chat with a worker at BK or MCd if it looked like I wasn’t inconveniencing anyone, but they keep their people busy as can be, from working the equipment in the back to taking orders from the people streaming in the door.

        I expected someone to make that statement, hence the initial dare for someone to call me a social hermit, but the facts are clear: in this area small kiosks do the jobs that a person would cheaper, faster, and with less errors than their minimum wage human counterparts, it’s about time for that job to die off.

        Trying to save this job position is not worth it, there are very few positives to having it stay done by people (conversations, as you pointed out, are one of the few), and many advantages to ditching it.

        I know it’s tangential to Jack’s point about minimum wage at best, but it’s good that this change is happening, and it’s not just happening in areas where the min wage is $15.

        • Anonymous Coward wrote, “Don’t generalize too much about me based on my food ordering preferences, Zoltar.”

          Your point is humbly taken to heart, but don’t read too much into it, it’s just inline with a more wide spread trend that I’ve noticed.

          Just so you know where I’m coming from; I don’t think the phrase “social hermit” applies to what either you or I was talking about.

          Not finding much value in direct person-to-person interaction does not automatically imply that person-to-person contact is actually avoided like a social hermit does, and a social hermit wouldn’t likely text much or at all either. A social hermit has a tendency to isolate themselves from all social contact except where absolutely necessary. That’s truly not what I meant.

          Nearly everyone in our society are starting to lean towards less person-to-person contact and direct vocal communication in favor of less direct contact. I actively go out of my way to say hi to people, wave to people, smile to others, encourage conversation, talk with clerks, talk to people while in line waiting for whatever, talk to the UPS driver, stand next to the door on an elevator and turn around to talk to people, etc. If our society continues to progress down this path we’re all on, vocal communication will become somewhat of a lost “art”. I think it’s terribly sad to see groups of teenagers congregating in an area and it’s rare to hear them talk much, they are all texting. I think this person-to-person disconnect will be detrimental to our society.

      • Red Pill Ethics

        How’s that relevant? It seems more like an implied ad-homnim. For the record, I also like the kiosks at Panera. They’re faster and more reliable than using the cashier as the middle man. That’s true not just of Panera but at any service that requires a high degree of customization. Just because you value efficiency and consistency doesn’t mean you don’t value people.

    • much lower chance of someone spitting in your food if they never see you as well!

  4. #1 I don’t have much faith in any “news” media outlet anymore; very pointedly, I don’t trust any of them to provide unbiased or truly balanced news. Reader/Viewer beware – verify everything possible.

    #2 It’s interesting to see how some people immediately disregard studies when they don’t show something that agrees with your opinion. Such is the nature of bias makes you stupid.

    #3 It was very obvious in the video that the officer was in fear of a firearm that was known to be present and Philando Castile did not take that into consideration when he moved to pull out his wallet from a non-visible location. If Philando Castile had followed the Officers instructions better we wouldn’t be talking about this wrongful death tragedy. There wasn’t effective communication from either side in this incident. There was “equal” responsibility in this tragic case and I think a settlement was appropriate. The officer, police in general, and the victim shouldn’t be drug through the mud for this tragic incident, it’s terribly sad.

    #4 That’s an outstanding idea to educate jurors about hidden bias and approach it in a respectful and educational way to help jurors to not be swayed by bias. Acknowledging that a bias exists is always the first step.

    #5 I fear that there are many more just like Lisa Durden out there and you can’t root them all out. The problem is how to properly educate students to think critically when they are confronted with these kinds of teachers.

  5. Essex County College is a public college, which means it is bound by the First Amendment.

    However, a case can be made that the firing of Professor Durden falls within the boundaries of Garcetti v. Cebbalos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006).

  6. Alex

    3. I’ll grant the outcome is just, but I honestly can’t see how this is incentive enough to hire and train a better police force. The brunt of the penalties are carried by two parties:Yanez, who lost his job, and the taxpayers, who are now 3 million in the red (unless insurance pays, but then bigger premiums). I don’t see the officers in charge of training and hiring being docked pay, or even getting a formal black mark on their records. Whose butt is in the line for fixing that and how can society make sure it actually happens?

    4. Good, probably one of the best possible uses for those $15,000. Can we now get one about jury nullification?

  7. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I like the daily warm ups… But I do. If that means anything to anyone.

    • Thanks. First feedback whatsoever. Much appreciated. I almost did end-of-day final thoughts, but was too tired too often.

      • Glenn Logan

        I used to (and still do on Tuesdays) do a morning post like this. Mine was more of a link dump with comments on selected stories, but it’s the same thing.

        I’ve always like them. I like yours, too. More feedback!

      • Yes I enjoy them as well. I think it’s an interesting format and actually may go a long way towards your vision of expanding readership…

        Some personalities are immediately turned away by long detailed articles but will hang on for quicker summary blurbs that are more “this is how it is for these couple reasons” formatting. Those people, may be hooked into the discussion if they feel certain pronouncements are off and in the follow on discussion they may imbibe the same amount of analysis that would have turned them off if it had been presented in a single long essay.

    • Ditto; as long as the brevity doesn’t become a habit that rolls over into the “single topic” ethics blogs.

  8. E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

    On the “BOO HOO HOO RACIST COMMENT: my questions is, what half-baked ‘university’ would hire her in the first place? What are her credentials? Second to the above: She proclaims herself to be a victim? I expect her to be on MSNBC very soon. (And to be really catty: she should take a lesson here: if you want to be taken seriously, say something intelligent and don’t douse yourself in daisy jewelry. There are in fact mores on this, though Fox and Major League Baseball have apparently eschewd them all. When will be “buff” male reporters in tee-shirts and big gold chains?)

    On the CNN FIRINGS: Too little, too late, and their non-coverage of same only proves their bias.

    On the MINIMUM WAGE issue: I need some help here. There is a non-profit organization out there (almost nationwide) that teaches (for free) high school graduates toolsl and abilities that they no longer get in high school and would never get in college. Welding, for example, provides a trained, first-year employee $75 K in annual salary. But we don’t have enough of them. The president of the organization noted that — despite all the ‘new’ jobs being created– the estimate is that that there are 6 million job openings right now but no trained employees to fill them. His mission is the 6 million. Anyone know about this?

    • There is a cultural aversion to “grunt labor”. We’ve cheapened it morally and hold doers of menial dirty sweaty jobs in lower regard. We’ll say we don’t, but we do.

      We’ll pay lip service to those jobs but we’ll privately tell our kids, you better go to college and get a “profession”.

    • philk57

      Mike Rowe is pushing hard on this element of our economy. His experience mirrors my own from my high school counselor – there was the military/trade school track and the college track of students and it was quite clear that the military/trade school track was where the “losers” were expected to go.

      The bias was very clear that if you weren’t college track, you really were not worth bothering too much about because you were going to either be a grunt in the military or a grunt worker in the trades.

  9. Glenn Logan

    In the meantime, having seen the writing on the wall, restaurants are increasingly moving to replace waiters, waitresses, and cashiers with automated systems, because they are cheaper…thanks to the minimum wage. If humans were cheaper, humans would keep those jobs, and restaurants would be more pleasant, unless you prefer dealing with computers than human beings. I don’t.

    What this means, in the long term, is that wealthy people get to be served by human beings while paying more for their food, but poor folks, who tend to eat a lower end places they can afford (when they eat out at all) as well as younger people are going to be eating at the fast-food equivalent of self-service froyo kiosks. In a wondrous irony, a high percentage of patrons of the new robo-food are going to be the victims of automated replacements.

    I’m sure they won’t miss their income. After all, no wage is better than an insufficient wage. Anybody can tell you that.

    Well played, libs. Progress!

  10. I was just browsing some news websites. Did any of you see that in an article about Ivanka Trump where CNN declared that ” “Fox and Friends” is, at this point, basically state propaganda.”

    I spend zero time watching shows like Fox & Friends and I’ll spend zero time defending the bias of shows like Fox & Friends, but I’ve just got to say that that statement coming from CNN is hilariously hypocritical!

  11. I would recommend everyone read “Reducing Poverty via Minimum Wages, Alternatives” by David Neumark (link at the bottom of this much-to-long post). It’s an excellent read, that concisely lays out many of the flaws of minimum wage laws. After reading, I’d like to pose the following questions (most of them inspired by Neumark’s letter) to any/all pro-$15 members of this forum. These are sincere questions, as I’d like to understand your motivation to champion these laws, and right now, all I can sincerely come up with is A) $15>$7.25, therefore it’s the right thing to do; or B) More $ in people’s pockets, means more $$ in the economy.

    But, how does a raised minimum wage…
    *…that has no control over hours worked, result in an outcome of a livable wage? If I am employing someone for 3 hours, at $5/hr, and all of a sudden, I have to pay her $15/hr, with no increase in revenue, so I cut her back to 1 hour, and do the other 2 hours myself, how has she benefited?
    *… address the fact that about a quarter of min. wage earners are teenagers, and not the main wage earner of the household? Assuming low wage = poor family is inaccurate in many, many situations, and results in $ being put in the pockets of families that dont need it.
    *…address the fact that 57% of poor families where the head of household is in the 18-64 age range, have no one in the family working.
    *…address the idea that with a newly set income floor, employees who were previously $5, 6, 7 above the prior floor, are not going to be satisfied that the education/training/effort that allowed them to rise above that floor, was rendered irrelevant in one fell swoop by the government, and are going to expect additional compensation?
    *…address diminishing returns, whereby, raising the min. wage so much, that you begin raising the wages of people who were actually already in the upper half of the income distributions? According to Mr. Newmark, at $15/hr, only 12% of the benefit would go to families below the poverty level, while, 38% would go to families who were already in the upper half of the income distribution.
    *…address the notion that it prices low skilled workers out of jobs. My first job was as a camp counselor, at age 14 (which, coincidentally, set off a chain reaction of jobs, moving from asst. preschool teacher, to co-teacher, to ead teacher, to asst. director, to center director, and so on, that led to me becoming a PE teacher)…we were a bunch of knuckleheads, that looked at it as getting paid to play and hang out, but we kept the kids entertained and safe, and that was all that was expected of us. For that, we were paid, roughly $5.25/hr. If the rate were $15, the skill set and maturity desired would have wildly outpaced what we were able to provide, and thus, none of us would have been hired; they’d have chased after school teachers who were free for the summer, instead. I would have never gained valuable experience with children, never learned that I enjoyed working with kids, and likely, would never have become a teacher.
    *…address the notion that it removes low skilled worker’s ability to negotiate their way back into these jobs. Employers may be inclined to hire a low skilled worker, and a low skilled worker may be willing to work for a reduced wage because they recognize their limited economic value (and recognize that with experience, that limited value won’t remain limited forever); regardless, neither of these parties will legally be able to make a deal in a way that satisfies both employer and employee. How is this fair?

    And my biggest question: Why does anyone have a “right” to a livable income? Because they NEED it? If true, then why doesn’t everyone simply have the right to a job, period? And why aren’t people guaranteed a right to 40 hours? What I hear from those championing $15, is that “hard work should result in a livable wage…”…well, shouldn’t it also result in the hours necessary to earn that livable wage? What of kleptos, chronic liars, or workers who are just untrustworthy, employees who cost the employer more $$ that they’re worth…are they entitled to a livable wage? Why? Why is it an employers obligation to make sure their employees have enough to live off of? How is that not paternalistic? How is that even determined? If person A has student loans, a car note b/c they live in a location w/o public transport, and an elderly parent to care for, and person B has none of those, how is a fair, “liveable” wage determined? And if your employer has to be all up in your business to the point where they know what your economic needs are, and has to pay you a rate to match that, why do they not get a say as to how you spend your money? “Liveable” wage strikes me as very subjective term.

    I understand that employers who take care of their employees have happier employees and a more productive workforce. But shouldn’t that be what differentiates a good employer from a bad one, and thus, leaves the choice up to the employee as to whom they’ll work for?

    And if I have made poor economic choices, gambled, mismanaged my checkbook, or racked up tons of debt, my ability to make ends meet, put food on the table, and pay rent are severely damaged…by my own prior actions. And no one will bail me out, rightfully so. But, if I engage in poor educational/personal choices, screwing around in school, engaging in short-sighted life decisions that limit my ability to continue my education, making decisions that limit my ability to differentiate myself from other applicants, decisions that limit my skill set….I’ve had to bear the consequence of that immaturity thus far, but now, suddenly, I get to be on par, economically, with someone whose positive life choices led them earning a decent rate? How is that fair to the guy who screwed up with his debt or gambled his money away, and what’s the motivation for future kids to not screw around in school, going forward? It used to be, dont screw up, or you’ll end up working for minimum wage at a dead end job…now, that’s not such a serious threat anymore.

    Yeah, way too many questions for anyone to actually answer. But if anyone wants to take a shot any any of them, I’d be grateful.

    http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2015/december/reducing-poverty-via-minimum-wages-tax-credit/

    • “If I am employing someone for 3 hours, at $5/hr, and all of a sudden, I have to pay her $15/hr, with no increase in revenue, so I cut her back to 1 hour, and do the other 2 hours myself, how has she benefited?”

      I THINK their logic is that eventually that manager/owner can only work so much and they will eventually be forced to choose between losing sales or hiring workers. It’s not a completely illogical train of thought, it’s just that it never seems to pan out. It’s an interesting dilemma, and one I think on regularly. It strikes me that the greatest periods of innovation are periods of strife. Perhaps when faced with the choice of losing sales or hiring workers, owners pick option C: Innovate. Which could be anything from a rehash of procedures to automation. I ordered McDonald’s for lunch today by using the most janky touchscreen kiosk I’ve ever had the misfortune to handle. Who’d have thought that we’d get to the point where a giant touchscreen computer would be cheaper than a McJob?

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