Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump erupted on “Fox & Friends” Monday morning after a weekend that saw Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas sweep all of Colorado’s 34 delegates without any votes being cast by citizens in a traditional primary process.

“I’ve gotten millions … of more votes than [Sen. Ted] Cruz, and I’ve gotten hundreds of delegates more, and we keep fighting, fighting, fighting, and then you have a Colorado where they just get all of these delegates, and it’s not [even] a system,” Trump said, during the Fox News broadcast. “There was no voting. I didn’t go out there to make a speech or anything. There’s no voting.”

His comments came after Cruz won the remaining 13 delegates at the weekend’s convention, bringing his total for the state to 34, an outcome he described as unfair and just shy of illegal.

“They offer them trips — they offer them all sorts of things, and you’re allowed to do that,” Trump said, of the method by which some woo delegates. “I mean, you’re allowed to offer trips, and you can buy all these votes. What kind of a system is this? Now, I’m an outsider, and I came into the system and I’m winning the votes by millions of votes. But the system is rigged. It’s crooked.”

The televised remarks followed  a weekend of tweets expressing similarly critical views.  “How is it possible that the people of the great State of Colorado never got to vote in the Republican Primary? Great anger – totally unfair!” wrote Trump, in one Twitter post.

He followed it up with a second tweet: “The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed!”

It was last August when officials with the Republican Party in Colorado decided they would not let voters take part in the early nomination process.

The Denver Post reported Aug. 25: “The GOP executive committee has voted to cancel the traditional presidential preference poll after the national party changed its rules to require a state’s delegates to support the candidate that wins the caucus vote.”

“It takes Colorado completely off the map” in the primary season, Ryan Call, a former state GOP chairman, told the paper.

In late February, just before Super Tuesday, the Post published a scathing editorial, saying the party blundered on the 2016 presidential caucus:

“GOP leaders have never provided a satisfactory reason for forgoing a presidential preference poll, although party chairman Steve House suggested on radio at one point that too many Republicans would otherwise flock to their local caucus.

“Imagine that: party officials fearing that an interesting race might propel thousands of additional citizens to participate. But of course that might dilute the influence of elites and insiders. You can see why that could upset the faint-hearted.”

One self-avowed Trump supporter took to YouTube on Sunday to express his displeasure with the process and burned his Republican registration on camera.

“Republican Party, take note. I think you’re gonna see a whole lot more of these,” he said as he ignited his registration. “I’ve been a Republican all my life, but I will never be a Republican again.”

And to the GOP, the man said, “You’ve had it. You’re done. You’re toast. Because I quit the party. I’m voting for Trump, and to hell with the Republican Party.”

The popular Drudge Report news site splashed a headline in red Sunday evening that stated, “Cruz celebrates voterless victory.”



In Pa., Reagan Democrats turn to Donald Trump

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. — This downtown 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, marked by chains of shuttered and abandoned storefronts, bears all the exit wounds of the manufacturing era.

“When the mill shut down . . . people left here in the middle of the night, walked away from mortgages,” said city administrator Samuel L. Gill. “It was a traumatic time. We saw our population drop overnight by 35 to 40 percent.”

Similarly struggling towns across Pennsylvania are proving to be fertile ground for Republican Donald Trump, who leads in state polling for the April 26 presidential primary.

For many, Trump’s promises of restored American greatness echo President Ronald Reagan’s “city on a hill” theme from the 1980s — before the towns’ economic drivers went overseas. In his historic victories, Reagan appealed to what would be known as “Reagan Democrats,” mostly blue-collar whites uneasy with national trends.

Now, those voters’ continued disaffection, and signs that Republicans are making gains here, have some Democrats nervous. According to state registration data, Republicans have greatly outpaced Democrats among party-jumpers. In Aliquippa’s Beaver County, nearly seven times as many Democrats have changed their party affiliation to Republican as the other way around.

“That’s an interesting county that’s in transition, [they] were diehard Democrats for decades,” said Jack Hanna, former southwestern caucus chairman for the state Democratic Party. “The typical western Pennsylvania Democrat from years past is what I would call culturally conservative, and it’s finally starting to catch up with us.”

Gill agreed that Trump had found some backing even in traditionally Democratic areas, saying, “He appeals to the working class with the possibility of bringing back manufacturing jobs. That’s the key thing they want to hear.”

With Trump holding the lead in the Republican primary, but doubts still lurking about his ability to close the deal in November, places like Aliquippa are acquiring a growing importance in the campaign. Over the next several weeks, states with heavy rural and manufacturing roots — including New York, Indiana, Nebraska, West Virginia, and Kentucky — will vote in the Republican presidential primary.

Trump’s scalding critique of US trade policies over the last several decades resonates in these former manufacturing hubs. The concept of American decline echoes their own experience, particularly in bustling mill towns that have gone fallow as urban centers thrive. While cities like Pittsburgh, just up the Ohio River, are embracing a new economy with inventively refashioned neighborhoods and a wealth of cultural offerings, smaller towns barely hang on to the vestiges of the good times.

“I will vote for Trump,” said Bill Rowan, a 66-year-old Vietnam veteran living in Beaver, just north of the Ohio River from Aliquippa, who said he voted twice for President Obama. “As crazy as it is, as difficult as he is as a politician, he says a lot of things that people want to hear.”

In Aliquippa, the Jones & Laughlin steel complex, which once employed 17,000 workers and served as the town’s economic engine, began closing in stages in the 1980s, taking much of the town’s energy with it. The population here has sagged to about a third of what it was just at its peak.

On Wednesday, US Steel, grappling with imports and competition from China, announced layoffs for 25 percent its North American nonunion workforce. The company did not say how many of those jobs would come from Pittsburgh, where it has 4,200 employees.

In Trump’s rally speeches and in television appearances, he chastises American leaders for how they have handled trade. He vows to impose steep tariffs on China and Mexico, despite warnings that they would ignite damaging trade wars. And he’s not alone: Both Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Governor John Kasich of Ohio have stoked populist concerns mounting in former manufacturing towns.



If California's $15 Minimum Wage Isn't Going To Reduce Poverty Then Why Bother To Do It?

Or perhaps if we were to be ever so slightly more accurate, if California’s $15 minimum wage isn’t going to reduce poverty very much and might possibly increase it then why are we doing this? I think the problem is that most people don’t quite understand the distributional issues of that minimum wage. After all, it seems pretty obvious. The minimum wage is low, poor people are the people who have low wages, so obviously a rise in the minimum wage will help poor people, right?

But this isn’t actually quite so. The trick is that poverty is defined as living in a poor household and it’s nowhere near true at all that all people getting minimum wage live in poor households. Thus the benefits of a minimum wage rise don’t necessarily go to people in poverty. In fact, a minority of such benefits do.

And it’s worse than that. For we know that there are going to be price rises as a result of this hike. But it’s generally true that those price rises will be on the things which are bought by poorer people, not richer. The net effect of those two could actually be that poverty increases as a result.

Ron Bailey over in Reason is having a look at a number of papers on the minimum wage and this is, for my argument, the important part:

"In an even more recent analysis for the Federal Reserve, Neumark asked how effective raising the minimum wage is at reducing poverty among those low-wage workers who remain employed. He found that if wages were simply raised to $10.10 per hour, as favored by President Barack Obama, with no changes to the number of jobs or hours, only 18 percent of the total increase in incomes would go to workers in families living in poverty. Thirty-two percent of the benefits would flow to families living in the top half of the income distribution.

How can that be? Neumark points out that the relationship between being a low-wage worker and being in a low-income family is fairly weak. First, in 57 percent of poor families, no one has a job, so no one gets any wages at all. Second, other workers have low incomes because they work low hours, not because they have low wages. Neumark notes that 46 percent of poor part-time workers have hourly wages above $10.10 and 36 percent above $12 per hour. Finally, many low-wage workers are secondary workers who live in well-off families—teens, for example"

The distributional effect of a minimum wage rise does not, even mainly, go to the poor. So it’s a horrible public policy to use in an attempt to reduce poverty. The full version of that paper is here.

"Moreover, if we consider raising the minimum wage higher, for example to $12, only 15% of the benefits go to poor families, because other higher-wage workers who would benefit are less likely to be poor. Likewise, 35% would go to families with incomes at least three times the poverty line. With a $15 minimum wage the corresponding figures would be 12% and 38%.

This evidence—coupled with the fact that employers who would pay the higher minimum wage are not necessarily those with the highest incomes, but instead may be owners of small businesses with low profit margins—indicates that minimum wages are a very
imprecise way to raise the relative incomes of the lowest-income families"

Only 12% of California’s $15 an hour minimum wage rise will actually go in higher incomes to people living in poor households. That’s just not an effective policy at all.

And we do have to consider something else. Which is that other studies have shown us something about price rises. We do indeed know that there are going to be price rises as a result of this. But the distribution of them will not be equal at all. For low wage workers are the largest consumers of goods and services produced by low wage workers. Think it through: Walmart’s target demographic isn’t Wall Street financiers after all.

Any price rise Walmart has to impose to pay for higher wages will impact upon Walmart’s customers: who do indeed tend to be poorer than the national average. And as I say, studies have shown that while the income effect of a minimum wage rise is as Neumark states above, skewed towards richer families, the distribution of the price rises runs the other way. It’s skewed toward larger price rises in the goods and services that poor people buy.

It is therefore possible that this minimum wage rise will increase poverty overall: increase the prices paid by those poor by more than their share of the income increase. I think it’s unlikely that matters will be that extreme but it is at least possible. But the larger point still stands. As a tool to beat poverty a minimum wage rises stinks. So, let’s not do it, let’s go and do the other two things that we know do raise poor peoples’ incomes. Adopt a policy of full employment, that being something that drives up wages, and increase the EITC which we know very well is the most efficient method of reducing working poverty.

You know, let’s adopt policies that work, not ones that don’t?



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1 comment:

Robert said...

Regarding, "If California's $15 Minimum Wage Isn't Going To Reduce Poverty Then Why Bother To Do It?", there is another answer that few have ever mentioned - racism. A key feature of apartheid South Africa was a minimum wage law imposing a minimum wage higher than the skills and experience of most blacks was worth, with the deliberate aim of shutting them out of the economy. In America, racism was also the explicit reason for the first "minimum wage" law, the Bacon-Davis Act, designed to shut out black construction workers from competing against white construction workers on price. That racist law has indeed had its intended effect - 1930 was the last year that the unemployment rate among blacks was lower than among whites. Ever since 1931, when the Bacon-Davis Act took effect, unemployment rates among blacks has been higher than among whites - exactly as intended.