Hugo Chavez has died. Here's an interesting article on the bizarre US hatred of him. Looks like he's done a lot of good for people that need it most. He's been elected numerous times in elections that are the fairest and most transparent in the world. There are dictators all over the world elected in fake elections if they are elected at all, brutalizing their own people. And yet for some reason they aren't subjected to the daily two minutes hate that Chavez is subjected to. He's treated as if he's a dictator while the US continuously sends armaments to real dictators. Kind of bizarre. Except it's not bizarre at all when you understand what it is that truly merits outrage within the US establishment.
HP quotes a right wing economist on minimum wage here. Raising the minimum wage would be terrible. I think it's interesting to notice how the argument is made if you follow HP's link here. Roberts decries "empirical analysis" which he likens to what he calls "scientism". A common slogan you hear, and I think it's true, is that facts simply have a liberal bias. So we don't want to talk about the facts. As the title of the Roberts article says we must instead be "Imagining a World of Minimum Wages." If you can use or imagination, conservative arguments make sense.
You can go wherever you like and read similar right wing style arguments. Here's Walter Williams. Raising the minimum wage is going to hurt minorities. How do we know? Williams has a couple of thought experiments to back up his belief. Not a bit of data. Mark Perry is playing with evidence though. He's guilty of "scientism" I suppose. See how teenage unemployment went up between 2008 and 2009. Must be because of the minimum wage. Of course there was nothing else that would have contributed to unemployment at that time I suppose. Like for instance a crashed economy that Mark Perry told us was awesome thanks to all the deregulation and tax cuts, and that people like Paul Krugman who were warning of impending disaster were totally wrong.
Speaking of Krugman, let's contrast his commentary on minimum wage. It includes the data which backs his assertions. No, there's no good reason to think the kind of rise Obama is suggesting would harm employment rates.
Krugman was right about the housing bubble, right about what austerity would do in Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Britain, right about supposed inflation. He's the top prognosticator according to a university study when evaluated against several of his peers. On the right we have people wrong about global warming, wrong about war, wrong about WMD, wrong about deregulated finance, wrong about Freddie and Fannie, just wrong wrong wrong. And yet people keep listening to them, even when they don't offer evidence but simply offer thought experiments. I find that kind of amazing.
Finally an article from Chomsky worth reading. Can Civilization Survive Capitalism. Notice the interesting discussion on how it is the poor of the world fighting to keep hydrocarbons in the ground. In Ecuador the people could benefit from selling their oil, and while they are much poorer than us they think what they have is enough and taking more is not worth the price their children will pay. Meanwhile in the US, the richest country in the world, we're fighting tooth and nail to extract and burn everything we can, which will accelerate the crisis. Future generations will find this puzzling.