The Minimum Wage and Stupid National Public Radio

Two things on my mind this Bastille Day 2012. The first is who is more stupid, French leftists or American liberals? I have life-long knowledge of both tribes. At this point, I think French leftists are smarter but more dishonest that their American cousins. In general, there is a certain artlessness about deception in ordinary Americans. The French are often artful; can’t take that away from them.

The second matter on my mind is that constant struggle to avoid using nasty epithets in connection with liberals’ statements. One that keeps coming up is the simple “stupid.” I scrupulously avoid the word on this blog and in my other writings. Yet, there are informational events that sort of self-label with no escape possible. Here is one, below.

It’s shortly after 5 pm on Sunday July 10th 2012. I am in my pick-up truck listening to National Public Radio. (I know the combination is jarring.) There an in-depth discussion of the minimum wage. That’s always interesting. Conservatives make an apparently impeccable theoretical argument against: Minimum wage laws create unemployment among the most vulnerable categories of the work force. Liberals sometimes make sophisticated arguments for the minimum wage. Behind those, however, I always find the usual combination of mindless jeremiads of “sad” and “unfair.” But, it seems to me that the empirical evidence supporting the conservative position against minimum wages is on the thin side. Listening to a relaxed radio show from the Left could be a good way to find out more.

The NPR reporter stages an older woman who makes her living and that of the three children in her charge working early morning shifts at some airport or other. She is quite unskilled and her job is to move handicapped people around in one of those little carts. For this, she earns $18,000 /year. That sure is not a lot of money. This mean old conservative hopes it makes her eligible for food stamps.

The reporter describes the woman’s financially tight life. He stops my mind on its narrow track by reporting that it takes one pay check just to buy back to school shoes for the three kids. My little mental arithmetic cogs are turning fast while I keep most of my attention on the road.

One month of gross pay would be $18,000/ 12= $1,500

Suppose total deductions on paycheck amount to 25% (I have no idea why it should be so high.) Her take-home monthly pay = $1,175

That’s the amount the minimum-wage lady says it takes to buy back to school shoes for the three kids in her charge.

First possibility: She buys each kid only one pair of shoes. She then can spend $391 for each child’s pair of shoes.

Second, more reasonable possibility: She buys each child two pairs of shoes for an average of $195 per pair.

Something is wrong. I reared two children in a pricey part of California. I was no where near minimum wage. Neither of my children ever, ever had a pair of shoes that cost nearly $200 of today. I have a grand-daughter who is three. Neither I nor her mother will ever, ever buy that precious girl a pair of shoes worth $200 of today. That’s never, no matter if “all the other girls have them,” no matter if 110% of the girls have them.

Is there an explanation I am missing?

And would I ever dare make up such a story in order to disparage liberals? Do I need to?

And, incidentally, as you read this little tale, did you find yourself wondering about the …hempf… social personality of the lady, the minimum wage earner? Did you, perchance imagine what her voice might sound like? And how about her hair?

Yes, you got it. The NPR in-depth liberal journalist gets caught spreading the worst of  the worst of stereotypes. It’s not the first time I report such an event on this blog.

Many of those people are simply stupid. Here, I said it, “STUPID!”

Mind you, whatever the lady decides to spend the money she earns on minimum wage on is none of my business. Her money is her money, bless her heart! It’s just that the story of the shoe expenditure does not make a good sentimental argument in favor of raising the minimum wage, or in favor of anything having to do with the minimum wage.

With friends like the NPR liberal journalists, the poor don’t need enemies.


About Jacques Delacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
This entry was posted in Socio-Political Essays. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to The Minimum Wage and Stupid National Public Radio

  1. Terry Amburgey says:

    “Is there an explanation I am missing?” Yes. You are assuming that 1 paycheck = 1 month’s income. All 3 of my kids & 1 kid’s girlfriend are currently working at close to minimum wage jobs. They are paid weekly not monthly. This is not uncommon. That would make it roughly $100/kid/shoes. That’s about what I pay for a pair of shoes although I will admit Canada is more expensive than the US in this case but I don’t know where California ranks on these sorts of costs. I didn’t hear the broadcast but there’s a possible explanation if it was ‘per paycheck’.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Ingenuous and digging deeper! I will be damned if my children ever got a $100 pair of shoes. I was fifty-five before I did and it made me feel bad. I will not tell you, Terry how much I was earning to avoid bumming you out but it was higher than the minimum wage. Perhaps, poverty is a matter of culture to some extent, after all.

      BY the way, the language in that NPR show was of the kind: “It takes a month wages.” It wasn’t: “It takes a month of discretionary income.”

      PS: I know the commentator. He is an intelligent and well-educated liberal. Imagine what a stupid, ignorant one would sound like.

  2. Thomas H. says:

    On n’a pas possiblement des valeurs pareilles.

    • Bruce says:

      It comes down to being a struggle between reason and emotion.
      The left depends on having an audience of government school educated people who have not been trained to think critically. Start doing the math and you’re a mean, insensitive guy. I fall into the trap of reasoning frequently. When I was reading this story I was wondering why she had three kids in the first place if she could not afford to buy shoes for them. That’s mean. Where’s the daddy? “War on women” mean. At $18K she does not pay any federal income tax but still has the right to vote for candidates who promise to redistribute my tax money to people like her. Right-wing mean. She votes herself benefits and there’s nowhere in our Constitution or founding documents that gives her that right. Strict constitutionalist mean. Remembering when Queen Michelle Obama wore $540 Lanvin sneakers to a Washington, DC food bank. Anti-Obama-must be a racist mean. So it goes. It must be a lot easier going through life reacting to things emotionally.
      I don’t think I’m mean and try to look on the bright side whenever possible. I’m happy she’s working, I think with three kids she might make more on welfare. Her life is not easy. I worked minimum wage jobs when I was single and am grateful for what I earn now. I sometimes think it’s far more than I deserve. I have spent a hundred bucks on athletic shoes too. That was to buy New Balance 995’s that are made in America of all places. I also spent too much at Brooks Brother’s for a pair of Levi’s that were made in America. Union made too!

  3. Terry Amburgey says:

    “The left depends on having an audience of government school educated people who have not been trained to think critically.” Interesting claim. Can you find an instance of a democratic party platform plank rejecting teaching critical thinking?

  4. I totally disagree with mr. Terry Amburgey and my name is Terry Amburgey

  5. Terry Amburgey says:

    Worst case of cognitive dissonance I’ve seen for a long time.

  6. bobby says:

    I remember when Vans were like $20 … I believe my parent’s refusal included words like “long” “cold” Day” & “hell” … I received Traxx from K-mart

  7. Pingback: The Minimum Wage and Stupid National Public Radio « Notes On Liberty

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