I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

April 26, 2016 - 12:20 p.m.

Waging War

You might have picked up that I'm not in a good place. I once again didn't go out of the house. I'd say "call me" but my phone isn't working. If you want to talk to me use email or Facebook message.

I binge watched first season Game of Thrones. I'm enjoying more than the first time as I know the characters but I'm finding less clues to future events than I thought I would. The biggest foreshadowing that was subtle was Dany not being bothered by going into the hot bath which she was warned was too hot and her brother getting burned. Those were not events you could realize were important the first viewing.

I did something so old it's new again for dinner. I had leftover broth but no sausages in the house so I made my soup with bacon instead of sausage. That has the advantage that I can add some of the bacon fat to the soup. I tried a mix with a bit less cayenne pepper and a little more jerk than usual. I was quite pleased by the result. I need to make this for somebody else to see if other people enjoy it as much as I do. Doing that brings up an ethical dilemma. Do I tell people that in contains MSG. Some people will say "Of course! People should know what they are eating." Really? Do I have to say that in includes cumin? Saying you have to say it contains MSG perpetuates the myth that MSG causes headaches. It is a myth. When people don't know they are being given MSG they don't get the headaches. It's being told that it has MSG that causes the headaches, not the MSG itself. That's a problem with all the "you have to tell people it contains _____ " it implies that ______ is harmful at least to some people. Anything with raisins is harmful to me. Does that mean everything with raisins needs a warning label? I know to be careful and I know to ask. Wow I get passionate about defending tasty ingredients. I also get passionate about fighting irrational fears. Now if I could only conquer my irrational fears. At least I'm rational enough to say that they are irrational.

Baseball is going nicely, both the Mets and the Nashional Batnoses, my fantasy team, are surging. The Mets are happily showing that my evaluation of their offense was wrong and are bashing home runs left and right. I don't mind being wrong about that but I can pretty much assure you that Walker is hitting way over his head. He has eight homers a tenth of the way through the season. He's only once tops 16 home runs for an entire season. But that's not the strangest part. Walker has those eight home runs and an OPS of a superstar .950. The Mets acquired him in the off-season to replace the workmanlike Daniel Murphy. Sounds like a big upgrade right? Murphy is doing even better with an OPS an MVP level 1.100. he won't keep that up either.

Know what I have in my bin of diary ideas? "The minimum wage and the Laffer Curve." It's the kind of thing that interests me a lot but I don't believe that My Gentle Readers enjoy a discussion of economics as much as I do. But in a way that's a reason to write about it. You haven't been researching it or thinking much about it and I have.

I haven't written about it here but I do post about it on Facebook. Over the years what I've done the most often is call for a higher minimum wage and refute the notion that raising the minimum wage hurts the poor by raising unemployment. The evidence shows otherwise, when localities raise their minimum wage it helps not hurts working people.

There is a fiat of course, that's not true for under all conditions, it's true with the current levels of minimum wage. What it shows is that the current level is too low. It does not tell us what the right level is. If it were $100/hour you could be pretty sure nobody would be working at 7-11 and in fact 7-11 would be out of business. That's where the Laffer curve fits in. Arthur Laffer came up with the notion, that everybody already knew, that at some level raising taxes rates would decrease tax revenue. Why? If the tax rate were 100% nobody would work as they wouldn't get anything out of it. He then made the totally warrantless assumption that we are on that place on the curve where decreasing rates will increase revenue. Reagan bought into that and the revenue crashed and the deficit soared. Republicans have been trying it ever since then with the same result. But they like that it gives intellectual cover to lower taxes so they keep invoking it. So now they say increasing the minimum wage will make working people poorer despite the fact that the evidence does not say we are at that point.

So for years I've been trying to convince people to work to raise the minimum wage. Then starting with fast food workers the idea caught on to raise it to $15/hr. Yay! Of course there are still caveats. That's so far above the current levels that we don’t have evidence as to its effect. It isn't irrational to think that it might be at the level that it would cost too many jobs. There's a caveat to the caveat. It has been tried in some localities and it has helped. I'm delighted that New York and California have adopted it. But I'm also not upset that New York has it coming slower to upstate than to the City and includes mechanisms to rethink it. It costs a lot more to live in New York City than in rural areas upstate. Why should the minimum wages be the same? I wouldn't be surprised if the optimal level in the City was $20 and that upstate $12. Just travel around and you'll see how much less restaurants charge. Most importantly look how much cheaper rent is.

Moving to the national minimum wage the reality is that what it really sets is the minimum wage in the deep south where the states will not raise their own or in some cases even set any minimum. So when setting the national rate, it's really setting the level in backwater Mississippi; The cost of living there is so much less that the rate should clearly be lower than in New York City or San Francisco. People can live on so much less there. I'm all for a national minimum of $15/hr but I'm not confident about that. This is not something that can be decided on feelings. Even though I said I have read and think about this more than most of you, I don't know nearly enough. This is what you hire people to figure out. But we also can't afford to wait. People need the raises now. It's just a matter of how high. There's nothing sacred about the $15, it's just a nice round number. If we can get $13.36 then take that. It's not a draw a line in the sand thing. Making it a significant raise is.

So I just wrote about the thing I said My Gentle Readers wouldn’t be interested in. Well I got it out of my system. Maybe tomorrow I'll have music or chocolate in my system.





Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017



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Horvendile April 26, 2016
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