Arnold Kling  

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Think Before You Sign... A Black Gamer Speaks...

Even if the California's lawsuit against auto manufacturers for the damages caused by global warming is, as Steve Verdon says, "a cheap political stunt," it is still shocking. The idea that this could win votes tells you something.

And then, there is Alex Tabarrok's report that some economists are signing a statement that raising the minimum wage is a tool for reducing poverty. I do not think that anyone who has studied the issue would agree to that.


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COMMENTS (10 to date)
Gabriel M. writes:

They have studies it with the Feelings, Basket Weaving and El Crapo Studies Department, as Capt. Capitalism would say. LOL

Mr. Econotarian writes:

Maybe some economist should start an opposing petition that says that the minimum wage is not an effective tool against poverty, and may lead to more unemployment of the poor.

dWj writes:

I wish I could empathize better with shock that this could win votes, but I live in a state where I just cast a feckless vote against Eliot Spitzer last week as he won in a landslide; this doesn't seem so strange from my perspective.

Brad Hutchings writes:

Any Democrat in California who drives a car is at least as big a hypocrite as any Republican in California who employs a gardener.

(Help me make that fit on a bumper sticker and we'll make millions!)

Scott writes:

Democrat w/Car = Republican w/Gardener

MattM writes:

Although I'm a fairly liberal person, it does seem foolhardy to think that raising the minimum wage by itself will reduce poverty. While instituting a minimum wage hike would certainly bring some people out of poverty, it would also reduce the number of minimum wage jobs as employers downsized their workforce to compensate.

Now, if you combine other policy changes with a wage increase, there could indeed be positive net results... but that letter ignores all of the complexity and pretends that this is a magic bullet for reducing poverty - it isn't.

Randy writes:

I'd just like to question the assumption that poverty is inherently bad. Certainly poverty, as in dying of starvation, is bad. But the American definition of poverty is more along the lines of having to do without the things I want. And that kind of poverty is not only a great motivator, but a just punishment for socially unacceptable behavior. It is poverty that we fear - poverty that drives us. Who would work if poverty did not exist?

Proposed; the minimum wage would be a bad idea even if it did work, because it would reward a lack of motivation and/or socially unacceptable behavior.

Talking Ed writes:

In a capitalist society there are always going to be people who are better equipped to earn money than others....hence stratification of the rich, poor, and everything in between. We should focus on policies that aim to make everyone richer, including the poor, instead of figuring out new ways to slice up the same pie. Create as many positive incentives as possible, and not get caught up in politically motivated crapolicy.

If raising the minimum wage were able to eliminate some fundamental socioeconomic injustice preventing the poor from climbing the ladder of success...then I'd be all for it. That's simply not the case.

Matt writes:

If anyone sues it should be a class action suit by residents of California, especially residents who do not drive. After all, if my air was clean and clear in 1953 and with no culpabilitry on my part, my neighbors began spewing poisons into my atmopshpere, then do I not have a case?

Who would I sue? My neighbor who purchased a car was told that the car was inherently safe by the auto manufacturers, if driven properly.

Matt writes:

Having read the comments, no one commented that Arnold Kling is a libertarian, and how do libertarians assign liability in global warming?

Generally, if my reading of libertarianism is correct, a libertarian would have the damaged party sue the damaging party, thus setting market prices for damages.

I can see Arnold argue that the state of California should not be suing on behalf of citizens who have been damaged by co2 emissions, but I have found plenty of references by other libertarians that the issue of class action against co2 emitters should be decided by law suit. I could go into the references and arguments, but that is Arnold's job. From memory, I have seen libertarians propose private ownership of the arctic wild life and lands, as well as ownership assignment of atmoshperic property rights to land holders as means of redressing and correcting the problems of global warming.

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