The Locker Room

July 10, 2006

Kevin Hassett explains why raising the min. wage is a bad policy

Posted by George Leef at 3:29 PM

AEI scholar Kevin Hassett explains here why raising the minimum wage is a bad policy. We have heard the arguments before, but Hassett makes effective use of what some economists have found -- that the workers who are laid off become "scarred" and have great subsequent difficulty in the labor market. What is so "compassionate" about helping 10 people slightly (people who, by the way, would probably have earned raises on their own merits) at the expense of inflicting a devastating wound on the 11th?

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Re: Headbutting Frenchmen

Posted by George Leef at 2:42 PM


First and foremost, the French lost. In your analogy, Patton's team won.

Secondly, Zidane didn't play all that well throughout the whole tournament. He was an average player, garnering criticism for being "too old" to play, throughout every match until he woke up against Spain. But, a short-lived resurrection, a player-of-the-tournament does not make.

In the quarterfinal against Brazil, Zidane played well. His free kick lead to the game's only goal. Yeah, viva la French. His supposed "inspired play" only looked as much because the French team itself was not built to win. He carried an average team farther than expected, much like Ballack did with the German team.

The only way an aging player wins the MVP for a tournament is when his team wins and no one can figure out how such a thing could happen. Then those voting journalists are left scratching their heads and figuring that only the "heart of a champion", the "skill of a veteran", could get them that far.

I suspect that most of the would-be-voters saw that the game would most-likely go to penalty kicks. With a veteran-laden Italian squad sucking wind faster than a three-year-old slobbering down a popsicle in August, and with history markedly against the Italians in PKs, and with Zidane as a sure-fire goal if PKs were indeed to happen, journalists decided that a French victory was to follow, with Zidane as their Atlas.

But, most of this was wrong; and most of what insued to follow was a result of a headbutt. So yes, I take away an MVP that was preemptively awarded.

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Re: Headbutting Frenchmen

Posted by Shannon Blosser at 1:01 PM


OK, I see where you are coming from. But, let me ask you this. Do you take away the MVP trophy from Zidane because of the play when it's to be awarded for his play the entire tournament?

Let's put it in NFL terms. Let's say Peyton Manning makes it to a Super Bowl and in the fourth quarter gets ejected from the game with the Colts leading 30-23 and they go on and win the game. Manning up to that moment we'll say was 23-28 passing, with 300 yards and 3 TDs. Do you take the MVP trophy away from him?

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Re: Headbutting Frenchman

Posted by Shannon Blosser at 10:59 AM


In most sports, I would totally agree with you. And in fact, even the last World Cup would have followed similar voting practices. But, in this year's World Cup, the collection of votes was delayed till midnight to allow journalists the necessary time to view the whole match before deciding. In no way could FIFA had known that adding this extra time for voting would be so relevant to this year's vote. Regardless, the time to vote was delayed. Journalists didn't wait to cast their votes.

With the game starting at 8, running 90 minutes, pluse 30 min. overtime, plus breaks in the action and allowing for the time to switch keepers between PKs, journalists could have had an extra hour before casting their vote.

I'd still say they jumped it.

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The next time political debate raises your blood pressure ...

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:38 AM

... consider yourself lucky.

The following passage suggests Russians would rather consume the state's propaganda than sort through alternative viewpoints.

And at the heart of this taming of the Fourth Estate, argues [former independent magazine editor Sergei] Parkhomenko, is a phenomenon running much deeper than Putin's urge to control. "The most important thing is that society doesn't support the journalists," he says. "Society doesn't demand information. We got freedom of speech as a gift in the 1990s. It just fell from the sky. But people quietly let it go, and now they struggle to remember they ever needed it."

It's a view ratified by Nikolai Svanidze, a leading anchor on Rossiya, who said in June that viewers were "tired of pluralism." "Our guests from the United States and European countries may not understand what I'm talking about," Svanidze said, "but the classic Soviet viewer is not used to alternatives. It's tiring to have a choice because you have to think."

This article offers more details about Vladimir Putin's efforts to tame the Russian media. 


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Re: Headbutting Frenchmen

Posted by Shannon Blosser at 10:26 AM


I don't know how much I would blame the media for jumping the gun with Zidane getting MVP honors. Many of those MVP votes take place midway through the fourth quarter or so, in an effort to get everything prepared for the award presentation. The same is true for interview requests for players after the game. With Zidane's headbutt coming near the end of overtime, the vote probably already occured in order to get the trophy presentation ready.

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Re: Poison pills

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:07 AM


In discussing the prospect of the N.C. Senate rolling all of the House's proposed ethics, campaign, and lobbying reforms into a single bill, you wrote:

Of course, this may be the intent of rolling the reforms into one bill--include enough bad provisions (i.e. poison pills) and nothing will get done.

The alternate theory is that linking the bad ideas with the good ones will increase the chances that lawmakers will vote to support the bad ideas.

Some lawmakers believe that they must walk away from Jones Street this year with some type of "reform" bill passed -- regardless of the content.

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A Center-Right North America

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:00 AM

JLF friend Michael Barone makes his living analyzing election trends.

His latest column notes similarities in the most recent elections involving all three North American Free Trade Agreement nations: Mexico, Canada, and the United States.

All chose center-right governments by narrow margins, installed by minorities of the voters. Calderon's 35.9 percent of the vote in a three-party system is eerily similar to the 36.3 percent won by Stephen Harper's Conservative Party in Canada's four-party system. We all know about Bush's two elections. All three leaders have been opposed vociferously, indeed often considered illegitimate, by the metropolitan elites of New York, Toronto, and Mexico City. All three beat parties that claimed only they had national reach--the Democrats here, the Liberals in Canada, and PRI in Mexico--but that were tarred with scandal when they were voted out of office.

Read the full column to learn why the similarities do not surprise Barone. 

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Poison Pills & Ethics

Posted by Daren Bakst at 09:49 AM

It appears that the Senate, as reported in the N & O, "may roll many of the [ethics] reform bills into one bill for a vote. The House would then have to concur."

If this means that some of the attacks on political speech are rolled into the bill, like the excessive regulation of 527s, total bans on lobbyist contributions, more public financing of elections, etc, then any responsible legislator would have to vote down all of the ethics reforms.  Of course, this may be the intent of rolling the reforms into one bill--include enough bad provisions (i.e. poison pills) and nothing will get done.

These reforms, by their nature, need to be addressed one at a time--we should know, on the record, who is for real reform and who is for entrenching their own power at the expense of violating the First Amendment.  Warning to legislators: Be careful of "reforms" buried in unrelated bills, like technical corrections bills.

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No great leaders?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:48 AM

Editor Mortimer B. Zuckerman of U.S. News believes the nation has no great political leaders today to compare to Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.

Where are their like today? With a population of some 300 million people, America seems unable to produce even one great leader. Our past three presidents have all shrunk in the estimation of their countrymen--and not without cause, given the nation's seeming inability to solve the critical problems of healthcare, education, immigration, energy dependency, and fiscal profligacy.

As the nation starts its 231st year, Zuckerman says we'll need to find that leadership. 


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Re: Headbutting Frenchman

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:20 AM

Now, this is rich. It's so full of irony that I can barely keep my fingers steady while typing. Zinedine Zidane has won the prized golden ball for this year's World Cup. Despite his headbutt that earned him a trip to the lockerroom and the disappointment of watching his team win the runner-up medals, journalists from around the world gave Zizou 2012 votes, crowning him the player-of-the-tournament. Italy's Fabio Cannavaro came in second with 1977.

The press writes now that most of these votes were garnered before the red-card-worthy blow. In typical form, the press jumped the gun, assuming that the player that they had seen increase in skill (and greatness) was simply going to play out the final in like manner.

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The "Right's" version of the ACLU?

Posted by Michael Moore at 09:18 AM

This article in the Washington Post today gives an overview of a Christian based legal group, could this be the balance to the ACLU?  Well the Alliance Defense Fund might just be providing market competition to the ACLU. 

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College is a waste for many students

Posted by George Leef at 09:04 AM

This article, intended to make the point that women are surpassing men not only in numbers but in academic accomplishment, also makes an important point about the wastefulness of years in college for many (mostly male) students.

They don't care in the least about augmenting their knowledge and cognitive skills. They want to have fun and get their degree with the least amount of effort possible. What is the value in all of those easy courses students take so they can coast through college? We hear all the time from politicians and higher ed proponents that a college education is vital because we're in a "knowledge economy," but many students graduate with hardly any more knowledge or useful skill than when they entered.

The attitude toward learning on display in the article speaks volumes about America's K-12 education system. Students get used to the "soft tyranny of low expectations" and it carries on into college, where many schools, frantic to keep up enrollments, accommodate it.

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