Campaign Promises

… I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick … (X)ObamacareScreenHartWeb

… and good jobs to the jobless; (X)labor-force-participation

… this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; ( )global-temperature-vs-co2

… this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation … (X)100918-A-0846W-219

… and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. (X)G20 Leaders Meet In St. Petersburg For The Summit


So far, we’ve manage one goal in spite of him.

Minimum Wage

A quick show of hands, please … how many of you have ever worked for 70 cents an hour? Not very many. That’s what I made at my first job as a high school student shelving books in a university library. The minimum wage back then was $1 an hour, but as a student trainee all I got was 70 cents.

By the time I got my next paying job, the minimum wage was up to a buck-and-a-quarter, but I got $2 an hour. That was not because of any generosity on the part of my employer. It was because I had a First-Class Commercial Radiotelephone Operator’s License from the FCC and could legally operate the transmitter at the radio station that hired me.

I’ve never had a minimum wage job. Since that second job, I’ve been overqualified, but for that first job, I was underqualified. Indeed, if the library had had to pay me more that I was worth, I never would have had that first job. I’d have been priced out of the market.

There’s another way to look at the minimum wage. Declaring that there is a minimum price which must be paid for labor has the effect of outlawing labor not worth that much. That can have two effects. One is to keep more low-skill persons who want to work unemployed. The other is to force more workers into the off-the-books economy. Neither strikes me as a good idea.

Homeopathic Economics

Homeopathy is a form of quackery that bases medical treatment on the idea that stuff which makes well people sick will make sick people well. Obamacare is, among its many faults, a form of homeopathic economics.

Consider the effect of the Medical Device Excise Tax on unemployment. It’s a basic principle of economics that if you tax something, you’ll get less of it. That’s one of the justifications for the taxes on tobacco products. So if we tax medical devices, we should expect that the demand for them will go down (to the extent that it is elastic) or that manufacturing will contract because of the increase cost (to the extent that demand is inelastic) creating shortages. Either way, the costs to consumers go up and the need for employees at device manufacturers goes down.

Only an economic homeopath would think that doing something that kills jobs in a good economy will expand employment in a weak economy.

Oh, and the tax has the effect of raising the cost to consumers for medical devices. Again, only an economic homeopath would believe that increasing the cost of goods saves money.

Is it November yet?