Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Economic Argument For Raising The Minimum Wage.

With the US presidential elections in full swing this year and with the candidacy of Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination, the argument over the federal minimum wage issue is now penetrating the public sphere like never before.  Yes, we did have the fast-food workers stage protests in the past, demanding that they be paid a living wage.  Now however, with Bernie Sanders taking the issue on the campaign trail, it has become hard to ignore.  Unfortunately, the argument has become largely about ethics versus economics, with the ethical argument in favor of a higher minimum wage, while the economic argument is largely used to oppose the idea, arguing that it would lead to massive job loss, inflation, loss of economic competitiveness as well as other typical arguments which were typically used over the past decades.

While many of the economic arguments against raising the minimum wage may have made perfect sense a few decades ago, in case many of us have not noticed, we no longer live in the same economic environment we did for the past few decades.  Changes in the structure of the economy, in large part brought about by globalization made most of those arguments largely irrelevant.  One of the changes that took place has to do with inflation.  Inflation stopped being a major problem in the past decade and a half or so, because the influx of much cheaper goods coming from places like China, where labor and environmental protection costs are much lower.  Since the 2008 crisis, deflation has become the bigger concern, not just in the United States, but in the entire developed world, with even developing nations such as in Eastern Europe and China experiencing a dramatic shift towards a lower inflation environment.  While the US Federal Reserve target rate is an average of 2%, since 2014, inflation has been hovering consistently under 1%.  2011 was the last year that inflation was above 2%.  Needless to say therefore that inflation is not really a huge problem right now, therefore a hike in the minimum wage would not only be safe, but in fact beneficial, because it would be just the thing to help the economy get back to the 2% inflation goal.



As far as job loss issue goes, it is certainly true that higher wages would have an initial effect of causing some job destruction.  At the same time however, we should keep in mind that there would also be the secondary effect which I believe in this case would be more powerful than the primary effect and the secondary effect would involve job creation through an increase in consumer demand.  In fact, our current dilemma stems from a lack of consumer demand, which was also caused by the effects of globalization.  Wages have risen dramatically in China for instance, taking hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.  In the US however the effect of globalization is opposite.  Aside from the top 5% of households by income, pretty much all income groups have experienced stagnation or a steep decline in real household income.

Upper Limit of each fifth.
2000
2014
% change
Lowest 20%
$24,600
$21,400
-13%
Second lowest 20%
$45,400
$41,200
-10%
Third Lowest 20%
$71,700
$68,200
-5%
Fourth Lowest 20%
$112,400
$112,200
0%
Lower Threshold of top 5%
$199,600
$206,600
+ 3.5%

Data source:  United States Census Bureau.

As we can see, aside from the top five percent of households by income, most households have either stagnated or are experiencing a decline in real income, which means that the US consumer’s ability to increase consumption is in decline for over a decade and a half already.  The consumer debt bubble carried the consumer after 2000, until that bubble burst, and since then the consumer is being carried by the low interest rate environment, which is in effect reducing the consumer’s interest burden, freeing up income to increase consumption.  The effects of the low interest rates are also starting to wear off, because it is a one-time boost, which cannot be replicated given that interest rates cannot go further down from here.  An increase in the minimum wage is therefore the only viable solution going forward, because there is no other viable way of boosting the consumer’s ability to continue increasing spending.  In fact, if nothing is done, consumer spending which makes up about 70% of the economy may end up contracting back to 2000 levels, causing a very nasty period of sustained economic contraction in the process.  For this reason, the economic argument which currently mainly supports the idea that raising the minimum wage is a bad thing, which will cause unwanted inflation and job loss is flawed.  The current path may in fact lead to a much greater loss of jobs and the economy could get permanently stuck in a deflationary cycle, as seems to be the case with Japan for decades now, and Europe as well for the past few years, unless we start seeing some income growth for the other 95% of households, not just the top 5%.  A sure way to accomplish this would be to introduce a multi-year plan to get us to a much higher minimum wage compared with today. 

  

Monday, January 11, 2016

Germany's Feminist Movement Risks Completely Discrediting Itself.

It has been eleven days since the attacks took place, and so far, if we are to sum up the reaction of the mainstream left, one word is enough to sum it up:  Shameful!

At first, we had the first days of the attempted cover-up.  The initial police report did not contain any reference to the sexual assaults, instead maintained that the night went by relatively incident free. Only on the fourth did the story break, with right-leaning Breitbart leading the charge.  That same evening German state broadcaster ZDF failed to make any mention of the incidents, even though by that time Breitbart was already pointing out that as many as ninety women were sexually assaulted. ZDF later apologized, but the one thing that remains clear is that there was a definite desire to bury the story.  Only on the fifth day did the mainstream media pick up the story, not because it wanted to, but because it was caught in offside by the sheer size of it.  In other words, it sank in that this one cannot be swept under the carpet and any continued attempt to do so, will only serve to further discredit them.

The German government was also forced to address the issue on the fifth day.  Three days later, the fall guy was identified.  It was to be Cologne's police chief.  He was accused of mishandling security and withholding information on the perpetrators.  Cologne's pro-migrant mayor came out soon after, claiming that she was misled by the police reports, thus her ridiculous reactions.  Merkel repeatedly came out demanding that the criminals be brought to justice, but no word on what should be done with the "sponsor" of the criminals.  She made it a point to highlight how personally affected she was by the attacks.  That must be true indeed, because just before the attacks, we learned from Bild that the German government was actively suppressing information in regards to migrant criminal acts.  So, yes indeed, she is personally very affected by the fact that this time, it was just too big to be swept under the carpet, therefore the negative consequences of her imposed experiment can no longer be denied.  These negative consequences amount to her and her government breaking the most sacred social contract which is one of the main foundations of our society.  It is the contract by which the masses relinquish the right to violence in favor of the state, in return for the state providing a high degree of security.  Any policy which knowingly does the opposite and endangers the public, is a breach of that contract.

The shameful reaction of feminists.

With over 200 women having been sexually assaulted in Cologne, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf Frankfurt and Berlin as a direct result of past and present migrant policies, one would think that at the very least women's movements would jump firmly into the corner of the victims, as well as demanding policies which will protect women in their community from being exposed to such barbarous acts.   They might have even been able to protect women's rights and remain in favor of migration, if they would have come out in favor of shifting the granting of asylum from the overwhelmingly young male invasion of Europe, to perhaps following the Canadian model and only granting asylum to those applying from the first safe country, such as Lebanon or Turkey.  If we think about it, such a policy would have more humanitarian weight, because governments in Europe would be able to chose the most vulnerable, such as families, or women with children, or even orphaned children, instead of granting asylum to hordes of young men, which could better fend for themselves.

Early on however, it became clear that multi-kulti is more important to the feminist movement than the safety of women.  That was made clear by the very first protest held in Cologne, where mainly women marched with the overall theme of "No to sexism,  no to racism".  The racism reference has no connection to any possible racial dimensions that the attacks may have had, given that the perps were overwhelmingly of color and it seems the overwhelming majority of victims were white.  It was a reference to anyone who opposes the current trend of mass migration, which brought the perps to Germany.  In effect, the protest turned into more of a pro-immigration march then a denouncement of the events and policies that led to over 200 women being sexually assaulted by a mob.


Source:  Telegraph.

In other words, they are saying that they denounce the attacks, but they are not only in favor of the policies that led to the attacks, but they feel that anyone who is opposed to the current open borders policies which brought the attackers to Germany, is a "racist".  Of course, it does not seem that any of them may have taken a time to actually think about the victims when it comes to making such correlations.

 I will not by any means attempt to speak in the name of the victims, or pretend to know where most of them stand on the issue.  But given that at this point we have roughly 200 victims of sexual assault in Cologne alone and we had similar occurrences in many German cities and elsewhere in Europe, with a connection to recent or past weaves of asylum seekers and other migrants, I think it is a good bet to assume that at least some of the women who experienced these assaults on that night, will feel that the current open border policy is to blame for their ordeal.  Should we label them as racist now because of it?  The feminist voices we have heard from so far most certainly seem to think that we should.  I do not think that it is up to me to condemn this vile attitude.  I may find it vile, but for all I know, maybe all the women who were assaulted thus far may agree with their position.  What I do take issue with is the way they have portrayed European men, because after all, I am a European man.

The prevalent argument for doing so, seems to be the thesis that there is really no difference between the behavior of the newcomer asylum seekers and the general male European population.  After all, the argument goes as presented by feminist activists such as Anne Wizorek..

"The problem of sexism and sexual violence, especially against women, has already been there and has nothing to do with any people who come here as refugees or are growing up as people of color in general,"

In other words, if I am to understand this argument correctly, because sexual abuse already occurs in out society, the fact that the newcomers committed this mass-assault on women, in no way changes German society.  Any attempt to claim that it does is racially motivated.  If we dare to claim that these young men who come from a different society with a different set of values behave any different from any of us, we are racists.

First of all, I have to agree with Anne Wizorek, there are plenty of sexual assaults committed by European men.  In fact, in Denmark for instance, about 500 cases of rape are reported every year.  Putting aside right-wing claims that a disproportionate number of rapes in Denmark are committed by Muslim men or other foreigners, it means that at least 500 women per year are raped in Denmark by a European man.  That means that over a lifetime approximately one in one hundred women can be expected to report a rape over their lifetime.  Argument goes that the majority of  rapes are in fact not reported, therefore the numbers can be much higher than that.  So, yes, there is no denying the fact that Muslim men are by no means the only ones who will sexually assault women.

Having said all that, there is a huge difference when it comes to the attitude of most Western men towards women and how most Muslim men see things.  For one thing, we were not raised to believe that our god approves of sexually molesting women who are not of the same religion as we are.  Aside from that, in our society, women have not only the right but also enough trust to display a high degree of sexual freedom, in terms of the way they dress and behave, without expecting to be sexually molested.  They expect to be able to flirt and then demand an end to it.  They expect to go as far as they want with a partner and demand an end to it at any point.  And rightfully so.  It is their right!

The fact that it still happens occasionally that a man ignores the right of a woman to say no at any point, any time, and under any circumstance is unfortunate.  But realistically speaking, I doubt that society will ever reach the point of completely eradicating sexual abuse.  But my point is that compared with men in most societies, Western men do tend to show a great deal of restraint, and furthermore most of us condemn those who do not.  Comparisons such as these in regards to events such as Oktoberfest;

"Sexual assaults and even rape happen every year at big events like Oktoberfest. 'The way to the toilet alone is like running the gauntlet: within 50 feet, you can be sure to tally three hugs from drunken strangers, two pats on the ass, someone looking up your dirndl, and some beer purposely splashed right down your cleavage,' wrote Karoline Beisel and Beate Wild in 2011, in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. An average of ten reported rapes take place each year at Oktoberfest. The estimated number of unreported cases is 200." (link)

 which try to draw a parallel that equates the behavior of the average European man to that of the average man raised in the Middle East or North Africa, is insulting to say the least.  It is insulting, because the reality of events such as Oktoberfest is that the experience of most women at the event is such that they would be willing to return next year as well.  The crimes and misbehavior by the men towards women, is obviously rare enough or benign enough that the vast majority of women feel safe enough to return and have fun.   On the other hand, I think few women who passed through the area of Cologne where the assaults happened would chose to do so again, if they could go back in time, knowing what they now know.

Fact is that the feminist claims that the massive migration of people from a very different culture, where women's legal and cultural rights are nowhere near the point where it is in the Western world will not change the state of women's freedom in the Western world, is outright ridiculous and based on nothing but ideological belief.  It did change to some extent already, with only a million people moving to Germany in one year.  I think it is time to admit that Germany and the state of women's safety in society will not be the same ever again if the current open borders policy will continue for much longer.  As I said in the past, a shrinking population will not assimilate a growing population.  It is the growing population which gradually tends to assert itself culturally, even before it becomes the majority population, because it is more energetic.  With that, the cultural rights will go first, and then eventually, even the legal rights.

And if the women who call themselves feminists believe that they can have their globalist, multiculturalist ideological viewpoints validated, while at the same time pretending that they will be able to not only safeguard the current degree of freedoms, both legal and cultural, but also enhance them, they are absolutely wrong.  It was already proven wrong.  Even a clumsy attempt to sweep the evidence under the carpet and then the current attempt to whitewash the events, at the cost of throwing the victims under the buss, did not prevent the fact that women's cultural freedoms are already under attack from surfacing.  All it did was to further undermine the trust of society in their authorities and the ideological dogma most German elites adhere to.  It is also severely undermining the reputation of the feminist movement, because since all this happened, their only preoccupation seems to be the downplaying of what happened, by using comparisons which make them sound a lot less like feminist, women's rights advocacy movements and a lot more like anti-white-male, hate groups.  If they hate us so much, perhaps they should take the time to contemplate the difference between the consequences of women allowing themselves the freedom to behave as they do within our society and what would happen to a woman which would do the same in a Middle Eastern or North African country.  What would be the odds of not being molested and raped over and over again, until they would change their behavior? That is the difference between us and them, and pretending that this difference does not exist is a shameless insult!

I want to leave the reader on a more positive note, with one single feminist voice, which I thought was appropriate:


(link)

She is Swiss Actress Milo Moire and her message is 100% focused on women's rights, within the context of the attack.  She is the only true feminist voice on this issue thus far, that I am aware of.








Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Men Of Cologne, The Men Of The Western World.

Thinking back to my dear departed dad, I think he was a rather primitive man, at least by the standards we hold to be ideal in our current society.  He was nothing like us, sophisticated dudes these days.  The events in Cologne, Germany from the past few days, where apparently a large group of mainly migrant asylum seekers decided to ring in the New Year by committing dozens of sexual assaults and other crimes in the town square, brought back a memory of a story my dad once told me from when he was a young man.

It was a summer day in my hometown in Romania when my dad was catching a bus from just outside of town, where people  went swimming and fishing.  On the bus, there was a father with two young girls who attracted the attention of a group of young men who were probably slightly intoxicated.  They decided to show some similar affection to the young girls as the group of the roughly 1,000 young men in Cologne's central square did on New Year's to the local ladies passing by.  The father immediately stood up of course and tried to defend his daughters.  The group of hyenas wanted to gang up on him and teach him a lesson, but they immediately realized that a rather large group of passengers, especially fishermen also stood up and were ready to show the hyenas that it was not their territory after all.  They acted like a group of protective German Shepherds.  The group of hyenas responded by backing off, but also made sure to let the father know that they will pick up the issue once they got off the bus and the German Shepherds were no longer there.

But when they did get off the bus, to their surprise, so did all the German Shepherds, who according to my dad, did not know each other, did not communicate on the bus, yet they all knew what had to be done.  The bus driver also knew what had to be done.  He immediately parked the bus in a way that shielded the former passengers from the view of the rest of the street.  Then the German Shepherds told the dad to take his daughters away and they turned their attention to the hyenas.  They pinned them to the ground and went to work on them, mainly using the tips of their fishing rods as whips.  It was primitive vigilante justice.  No authorities were involved.  Just a bunch of like-minded primitive men with a German Shepherd-like protective mentality.  Knowing the Romanian authorities from back in those days, I would imagine if the hyenas would have gone to complain, they would have been in for another round at the police station, once the officers would have learned why the hyenas were stripped like zebras.

I am not like my father.  I may have been something like that when I was growing up.  But then I learned how to be civilized.  I avoided violent confrontations on a few occasions once I grew up, even in a few cases which would have made my dad slightly ashamed of me if he would have learned of it.  From his perspective, being a German Shepherd was something to be proud off.  It was his idea of what it meant to be a man.  Imagine the disappointment he would have felt learning that his only son was more of a puddle.  And not just any poodle, but a highly domesticated docile one.

Heck, the last time I threw a punch was a decade ago, and even then it was due to the fact that I had no choice.  I was in a club with two co-workers, one of which got very drunk.  He must have done something to offend a group of young men, because at some point two of them came close to us and one of them started punching him.  My other co-worker jumped to hold back the second guy, so I had no choice but to put an end to the pouncing on my drunk co-worker, so I got out of my chair and punched the attacker in the face.  It was a pathetic punch!  It most certainly was not anywhere near the potential power that my body could have produced.  It was more like 25% of my full potential from back in those days.  At the moment I thought I am in trouble, because evidently, I no longer had it in me.  But to my surprise, the attacker backed off.  He seemed terribly surprised, as if he never had the honor of being punched in the face before.  It turns out, he was just another poodle, just like me, despite his initial apparent fierceness he displayed while attacking my drunk co-worker, who was just too drunk and too stuck between his chair and table to be able to get up and defend himself.  As he started backing off, following my feeble punch, he seemed to be trying to mumble something with an expression of surprise and slight fright in his face.  Then the German Shepherds did show up, in the form of the club's hired muscle and escorted the attacker out.  That is the end of that story.  To this day, I continue to ask myself whether there would have still been some German Shepherd instincts in me if the situation would have escalated.  I am inclined to believe that I am probably a poodle, even though I for one am not very proud of it, unlike an increasing number of people among our society who seem to be convinced that it is the ideal.

It is not just me.  Chances are that so are you, especially if you were raised in our sophisticated Western society.  And evidently, so are the men of Cologne, Germany, where following that whole Hitler thing, society pushed itself towards extreme civility, perhaps to a greater extent then anywhere else.  If more of the men of Cologne would have been anything like my father and armed with the communication technology of today, a large number of German Shepherds would have presented themselves on the scene and would have put an end to the fun of the hyenas in no time.  It is true that in their primitive fashion, they would have probably mauled some of the ones on the scenes that were not at all hyenas, but just people having innocent fun, while their hyena friends were doing their not-so innocent thing.  But primitive German Shepherd justice is by no means perfect, even if at times necessary as we are now learning (at least some of us) and highly effective.

Just as well!  If there would have been enough German Shepherds to show up and do what evidently needed to be done that night, the headlines the next morning in the mainstream media would have been that a bunch of racist young men attacked a group of poor asylum seekers, who were just looking to celebrate their fortune of being far from conflict and showing their generous gratitude to the local host population.  The authorities and media would have certainly not waited days as they did with reporting the assaults, until they realized that unlike other smaller incidents, there was no sweeping this one under the carpet.  They finally realized that the gig is up and the more they try, the further they will erode their reputation.  But, if they would have had that alternative story of the German Shepherds showing up, they would have called the next day for re-doubling the efforts to "educate" the people of Germany in regards to "tolerant behavior" and they would have called to further marginalize those who still have not learned that being a German Shepherd in today's society is not acceptable.

It seems that even those who are supposed to be the designated German Shepherds of our society, namely the police, are in fact no longer German Shepherds either, at least as far as Cologne is concerned.  I watched a video of the event posted on line and to my surprise, did not see a single foot patrol walking through the crowds, at least to remind the partying hyenas once in a while to behave themselves, because the designated German Shepherds are on the job.  No wonder then that as many as 90 victims have come forward so far, with many saying that the real number of victims is most likely higher, because as is the case in such situations, some are just ashamed to come forward.

We have become poodles under the non-written social contract with our elites that in exchange for us Western men giving up on our masculinity and becoming a bunch of docile intellectual caricatures, hanging out in pubs and coffee places, dressing in a manner that denies our heterosexuality just a little bit and act like it as well, in exchange for the authorities assuming the responsibility of keeping us safe.  And the assumption is that they will do a good job of it.  Today the people of Germany are learning that their elites have broken their side of the bargain.  They introduced a large population, which includes a very large proportion of hyenas, by our standards.  They did so, while pretending that the hyenas were not there.  They went as far as hiding some of the early deeds of the hyenas last year, in order to continue pretending.  And now, when the events in Cologne can no longer be denied as an indication of the fact that a large number of hyenas were unleashed on the docile German society, due to the misguided policies of the elites, they are still trying to whitewash it to some extent, by pretending that German society can in the future weed out the hyenas from the rest of the migrant population.  In other words, no need to at the very least change policy, never mind admitting failure and resigning.  It is as if the social contract does not exist, and the German Shepherds agreed to become puddles, without any implicit expectations in return.

But the poodles of Germany have to come to terms with the fact that their society did make this deal, whereby they will largely give up being German Shepherds.  It is important to admit the existence of this social contract, because it is very important to admit that the contract has been broken.  And if the contract is not re-constituted by the elites, it is necessary to either replace the current elites with a new one, which will be willing to meet the elite's side of the bargain, or alternatively the German puddles, in defiance of their elite's wishes, will have to dig very deep and see if there is still a German Shepherd somewhere in there.  It may be in there, but it may take a long time to resurrect it, because generations of conditioning have buried it very deep.  Beside's, at some point, there may simply not be enough German Shepherds to deal with all the hyenas.