Populism is Dangerous: Taco Bell Voted Best Mexican Restaurant in the Country

Source: Populism is Dangerous: Taco Bell Voted Best Mexican Restaurant in the Country

 

How does Taco Bell come out on top when there are so many restaurants that are a lot better? Taco Bell is known nationwide. The really good Mexican restaurants are likely to be single establishments, or very small chains. If, say, 100,000 people in Southern California consider, say, El Coyote the best Mexican restaurant ever, well…

There are some 3000 counties in the US. If 100 people in each county answer “Taco Bell” in a survey, that’s 300,000 votes.

After Trump was elected, there was an entire movement to abolish the Electoral College for no other reason than Trump won and Hillary did not, popular vote, yada yada yada. Thank the good Lord we are not a pure democracy.

The Electoral College was designed to protect the country from populist uprisings and democratic mob rule. Simply because historically, democracies tend to disintegrate into chaos before destroying themselves.

There are many reasons why the Electoral College is amazing, wonderful, and should never be abolished on a political whim. Think pieces, original intent exposes…they all make important points, but none so enlightening as this — the same people that vote for president also voted Taco Bell the best Mexican restaurant in the country.

So, if ever you wondered, THIS, THIS IS WHY WE HAVE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE.

More Welfare for Workers

 

Bernie Sanders billionaire welfare taxation defies all economic logic
Bernie Sanders has officially introduced legislation in Congress aimed at forcing large companies to reimburse the government for providing public benefits to their employees. Targeting Amazon in particular, the Vermont senator recently tweeted, “All over this country, many Amazon employees, who work for the wealthiest person on Earth, are paid wages so low they can’t make ends meet. The American taxpayer should not be subsidizing Jeff Bezos so he can underpay his employees.”

Not only is this proposal unworkable and likely to harm the small number of people it targets, but it also mischaracterizes companies like Amazon and Walmart as reaping the benefits of lower wages, while the government picks up the tab. This argument fails on basic economic principles and ignores investments that many of these companies make in their entry level workers. Rather than “taxing” major companies for giving jobs to low skilled workers, Congress should find ways to make it easier for them to educate and train their entry level workers.

One of the major problems with the proposed legislation is that it assumes that wages are set by the whims of company executives. But in a competitive labor market, wages are set by the supply and demand for labor, not some arbitrary decision making by executives. As economist Arindrajit Dube argued, research shows that benefit programs like food stamps and housing assistance actually reduce labor supply because they make work less attractive, which drives wages up instead of not down. He writes, “The key point is that it is difficult to imagine how food stamps would lower wages. If they don’t lower wages, they can’t be thought of as subsidies to low wage employers.” For the argument that safety net programs “subsidize” employers to ring true, wages would be higher in their absence, something I doubt proponents believe.

[snip]

 

Shylock the Dog

Andrew Klavan commented on the sex scandal in the Catholic Church. In his ongoing courtship with the third rail, he points out that it’s also a homosexuality scandal — the majority of victims were males under the age of majority.

There’s another point he raises, about bigotry.

Myself, I believe that bigotry creates the problem in the first place. When people are excluded from society, they are excluded from its moral structures and tend to become estranged from them. They say to themselves, “Well, if you hate me, your rules don’t apply to me.” This is likely to transform some members of the despised class into the very image of the cliche the haters hate. Shakespeare’s villainous Jew Shylock addresses the effects of anti-semitism when he snarls: “Thou call’dst me dog before thou hadst a cause; But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs.” In the excluded gay community, being sexually “wicked” or “evil” was often perceived as a positive thing. Why not, when the “good” people despise you?

This in no way lets the doers of evil off the hook. Rather the opposite. It means that when mores change and bigotry passes, excluded people should not only be welcomed into the majority community, they should also be held responsible to its values. It is no good to say, “Yes, we were bigoted against black people, so now we will not only welcome them in, we’ll ignore the high crime in their neighborhoods to show how un-bigoted we’ve become.” No. You have to say: “We were wrong. You’re part of our community now. Act like it.” Then you have to listen to CNN and the Twitter mob call you a racist. Then you have to say what you said again. And again.

So with gays. Instead of hiding this problem, the media should name it and address it. And instead of persecuting a cake baker who has the full and perfect right to disapprove of them, gay activists should work to purge their community of those who abuse the young. Instead of re-opening scars and feeding anger, this would begin the unification of gay culture with the majority straight culture.

And in addition, Thomas Sowell points out the cultural ills that are associated with “black ghetto” culture trace back to the redneck culture of the American south. Blacks in the north were very aware that they needed to be on their good behavior, and that any transgressions on the part of any black would reflect on all blacks.

Nowadays, we see more of an antinomian fallacy – blacks and other minority groups declare themselves to be not bound by the laws of the majority culture. They then complain when they are seen as lawbreakers.

There’s another aspect of bigotry to beware of. Shylock says, “beware my fangs”. When the majority is slapped with the labels of Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, and Bigoted, they will eventually tire of being called dogs. It’s one thing when a minority bares its fangs, it’s another thing entirely when the majority does so.

Donald Trump martyrdom and the horror of false accusations *UPDATED* — Bookworm Room

The unproven calumnies aimed at Donald Trump’s head are a reminder that, when governments, corporations or mobs deal in false accusations, justice is dead. Within the past few days, Bob Woodward dropped a book claiming to have first, or second, or third hand information from anonymous people who are, like, totally in the know, and…

via Donald Trump martyrdom and the horror of false accusations *UPDATED* — Bookworm Room

Workers on Welfare

From Bloomberg Opinion:

Senator Bernie Sanders is all set to propose legislation that proposes to put a tax on large businesses with employees who receive benefits from safety-net programs. The idea is simple: If a business isn’t paying enough to keep its employees from qualifying for, say, food stamps and public housing, then the business should be taxed an amount equal to those benefits. If a McDonald’s employee receives $400 in food stamps, then McDonald’s would owe the government $400 in additional taxes.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson thinks this is smart policy. In a tweet last week, Carlson pointed out that Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, is “the richest man in the world. Many of his employees are so poor, you’re paying their welfare benefits.”

[snip]

Whether motivated by concerns about inequality, as the Vermont senator is, or by the increasingly common view on the political right that when it comes to certain corporations, big is bad, both Sanders and Carlson betray a fundamental misunderstanding of economics and of the proper ordering of society.

Forces in a market economy will push the wage earned by workers toward the amount of revenue they generate for their employer. It is simply unrealistic to expect a company to pay, say, $15 per hour to a worker who is only generating $9 per hour of revenue for the business. Under such an arrangement, the company is losing $6 every hour the worker is on the job. That situation is untenable.

My argument may sound off given the amount of attention currently paid in some circles to issues like “market concentration,” “monopsony power” and the like. To be clear, I do not deny that these factors play a role in determining wages. But particularly in the low-wage labor market, a worker’s productivity plays a very important role in determining his wage. And large gaps between wages and productivity are ultimately unsustainable for many workers.

So in some sense, Sanders and Carlson have it exactly backward: Walmart, Amazon and McDonald’s are not being subsidized by taxpayers because some of their employees receive assistance from safety-net programs. Instead, employers of lower-wage workers are surely reducing safety-net rolls. In the absence of these jobs, more people, not fewer, would likely be receiving government assistance.

The logic underlying the claim by Sanders and Carlson also leads to a place that the senator at least probably doesn’t want to go. Sanders argues that if Amazon has employees on Medicaid, then taxpayers are subsidizing Amazon. At the same time, the senator supports single-payer national health care (“Medicare for All”). Should we view any national health-care program as a multitrillion-dollar taxpayer subsidy to business?

Of course not. And we shouldn’t view food stamps as a subsidy to business, either. Doing so reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how U.S. society has chosen, through politics, to assign different roles to different actors.

And while we’re at it, this from National Review:

Both Senator Bernie Sanders and Fox News host Tucker Carlson have recently slammed Amazon, Walmart, Uber, and other large companies for paying workers and contractors too little. In a withering monologue last week, Carlson claimed that the companies are all effectively subsidized by the taxpayer because many of their employees’ incomes are supplemented by various federal welfare benefits, such as food stamps. Sanders agrees. Yesterday, he introduced legislation (the so-called Stop BEZOS Act) to tax large corporations one dollar for every dollar their workers receive in government food stamps or health-care benefits.

If nothing else, it is amusing that neither Sanders nor Carlson fully acknowledges the logical implications of their position. If Sanders is right that programs such as food stamps modestly subsidize employers who pay low wages, then his hugely expensive Medicare-for-all and free-college-tuition proposals would constitute a massive subsidy to low-wage employers. If Carlson truly believes that large firms have the power to suppress wages below competitive rates, then he should support raising the minimum wage to combat that power — something that he has, in the past, sensibly advocated against.

Snark aside, the pair are simply wrong on the economics of the matter, and shortsighted to boot. An employer’s responsibility is to pay employees for the work they do, not to ensure that they have some societally agreed-upon level of livable household income. Indeed, it is a peculiar worldview that suggests that, when setting wages, a company employing low-skilled workers should ignore the value of the tasks the employee actually undertakes for them.

In competitive labor markets, we usually assume that firms pay workers according to their productivity, the marginal revenue product of their labor. Market wages are determined by where this demand interacts with the supply of workers. Firms can’t underpay workers without losing the best to rivals. Nor can they routinely pay employees for more than they add to company revenue without losing capital to rivals at home and abroad and risking going out of business. There is no evidence that Amazon, Walmart, or Uber have high-enough degrees of labor-market power that they are the single hirer of workers in any one geographical area. For Carlson to imply that their pay rates are evidence purely of corporate greed is the worst form of populism.

There is a basic conundrum hanging over this debate: In a world with no minimum-wage laws, no out-of-work benefits, and no in-work benefits, some workers with low productivity levels would obtain work but find it difficult to live comfortable lives on market income. The real questions then are: Who should help, and if it is the government, will that end up subsidizing firms?

One form of help comes in the form of means-tested programs that apply regardless of work status, such as basic food stamps. These explicitly do not subsidize employers as Sanders and Carlson allege. Actually, we’d imagine that transfers of this kind would have the opposite effect, because they replace income obtained from work: The more you earn, the less in transfers you receive. These programs therefore reduce the supply of workers, by raising the wage people would have to be offered to return to work, which in turn raises market wages if the supply of workers is upward-sloping. Far from a “subsidy,” then, means-tested federal welfare benefits are more like a “tax on employers.”

Indeed, the only forms of welfare that can theoretically subsidize employers through lower wages are transfers that supplement income from work and so increase labor supply, such as the earned-income tax credit (EITC). As a wage subsidy, the EITC encourages more potential workers to seek low-paying employment, because the earnings from that employment plus the subsidy are higher than the means-tested benefits they forfeit by going back to work. The EITC thus increases the labor supply by design, which is great for EITC recipients but can hurt ineligible groups, such as those without children, who see their wage rates fall as a result.

The benefits of such supplemental subsidies are indeed captured by a combination of the employer and all employees. Academic experts Auston Nichols and Jesse Rothstein, using reasonable assumptions, estimate that for every $1 put into the EITC program, employees receive $0.64 of the outlay and employers capture $0.36 owing to reduced market wages. One therefore could, if he were so inclined, call the EITC an “employer subsidy,” though strangely neither Sanders nor Carlson has bothered to mention it at all.

Given that Sanders’s and Carlson’s critique focuses instead on means-tested welfare programs, it makes no sense. Cajoling companies to pay more by imposing high minimum-wage rates or taxing those whose employees receive government assistance would simply make it more difficult for lower-productivity workers to find jobs, putting taxpayers on the hook for more safety-net spending. Only supplementary welfare programs such as the EITC have the effect that Sanders and Carlson describe, and cutting these programs would certainly hurt the workers who rely on them as much as, if not more than, employers.

He Fights

Evan Sayet writes:

My Leftist friends (as well as many ardent #NeverTrumpers) constantly ask me if I’m not bothered by Donald Trump’s lack of decorum. They ask if I don’t think his tweets are “beneath the dignity of the office.” Here’s my answer:

We Right-thinking people have tried dignity. There could not have been a man of more quiet dignity than George W. Bush as he suffered the outrageous lies and politically motivated hatreds that undermined his presidency. We tried statesmanship. Could there be another human being on this earth who so desperately prized “collegiality” as John McCain? We tried propriety – has there been a nicer human being ever than Mitt Romney? And the results were always the same.

This is because, while we were playing by the rules of dignity, collegiality and propriety, the Left has been, for the past 60 years, engaged in a knife fight where the only rules are those of Saul Alinsky and the Chicago mob.

[snip]

The Left has been engaged in a war against America since the rise of the Children of the ‘60s. To them, it has been an all-out war where nothing is held sacred and nothing is seen as beyond the pale. It has been a war they’ve fought with violence, the threat of violence, demagoguery and lies from day one – the violent take-over of the universities – till today.

The problem is that, through these years, the Left has been the only side fighting this war. While the Left has been taking a knife to anyone who stands in their way, the Right has continued to act with dignity, collegiality and propriety.

With Donald Trump, this all has come to an end. Donald Trump is America’s first wartime president in the Culture War.

During wartime, things like “dignity” and “collegiality” simply aren’t the most essential qualities one looks for in their warriors. Ulysses Grant was a drunk whose behavior in peacetime might well have seen him drummed out of the Army for conduct unbecoming. Had Abraham Lincoln applied the peacetime rules of propriety and booted Grant, the Democrats might well still be holding their slaves today. Lincoln rightly recognized that, “I cannot spare this man. He fights.”

Raping Statistics

Source: Lies, Damned Lies, And Campus Sexual Assault Statistics | Ashe Schow

A potential draft of new federal campus sexual assault policies was leaked this week, so expect a new round of false and misleading statistics to be shared by those who claim due process “protects rapists” and “hurts victims.”

Rape and sexual assault are serious offenses, and shouldn’t be watered down to create a narrative that America is somehow the rape capital of the world, nor should we pretend that non-offenses are offenses. That hurts real victims.

I’ve taken down every one of these statistics before — sometimes many, many times — but it’s time to debunk them all in one place. So here we go.

1-in-5 (or 1-in-4 or 1-in-3) Women Will Be Sexually Assaulted During College

Studies purporting to find such an astronomical amount of sexual violence on college campuses (numbers thousands of times higher than war-torn Congo or Detroit, America’s most dangerous city) suffer from many of the same flaws. They are often not nationally representative, are produced by women’s organizations determined to find women as oppressed victims in America, and are self-reported — a notoriously unreliable form of data.

[snip]

The Majority Of Campus Rapes Are Committed By A Small Number Of Men

Sometimes known as the “serial predator” study, this one from David Lisak has been around for decades and was debunked just a few years ago. It claims that “90%” of rapes on campus are perpetrated by a few men.

For starters, Lisak didn’t conduct the study himself but used data from studies conducted by his former grad students, who didn’t limit their data to college students. As in the 1-in-5 stat above, this one was also not nationally representative, as the surveys were conducted near a commuter college with participants who didn’t live on campus and may not have even been students.

The surveys were anonymous, yet Lisak has claimed he conducted follow-up interviews with men who admitted to committing multiple rapes (one questions whether such admissions would be so freely given to a stranger in the first place). Lisak did conduct 12 interviews during his dissertation research three decades ago, but he then combined those cherry-picked interviews into a single character — called “Frank” — which he used to tell school administrators how dangerous their campuses were. No such monster as Frank actually exists, nor is he a common problem across the country.

False Accusations Are Rare

The truth is, we don’t know how many accusations are truly false, and even if we did, one can’t walk into an investigation assuming they already know the answer.

We’re often told that “just” 2% to 10% of rape accusations are false. College administrators are told this when “trained” on how to handle accusations of sexual assault. The implication is clear: Women just don’t lie about rape, so nine times out of ten, you’d be safe in assuming the accused is guilty.

But that statistic is wildly misleading, as it only applies to accusations made to police that are proven false. Proving a negative is often impossible, especially in a “we had sex but it was consensual” situation. On college campuses, there is no punishment for a false accusation and thus no fear, as there is with lying to the police.

Further, the proven false statistic is one category of sexual assault classifications. The other categories do not all equate to “true,” so implying that 90% to 98% are true is downright false and prejudicial. Other categories include “baseless,” wrongly reported as sexual assault, cases without enough evidence for an arrest, cases with enough evidence but for some reason outside police control an arrest is not made, and cases where there is enough evidence for an arrest. Of the cases that lead to an arrest, a small percentage actually go to trial and result in a “guilty” finding.

Using the same logic as the peddlers of this statistic, one would only be able to say that 3% to 5% of rape accusations are true, since that’s how many return a “guilty” finding.

It’s Bad That 91% Of Colleges And Universities Said They Received No Rape Reports

I include this one because while one would think it would be a good thing that reports of sexual assault aren’t rampant on college campuses, the “scholars” at the American Association of University Women think it’s a bad thing. Because they’ve thoroughly bought into the debunked statistics above, no reports must mean that schools are somehow discouraging victims from coming forward or are sweeping reports under the rug. It’s hard to believe either of these is the case when the media, lawmakers, federal institutions, and Hollywood are constantly claiming huge swaths of the female population are sexually assaulted on college campuses and begging people to come forward.

1-in-3 Men Would Rape If They Could Get Away With It

This statistic was quickly debunked as soon as it appeared in 2015. A woman who admitted to me at the time that she was seeking grant money (a good motive for finding alarming statistics in one’s survey) claimed her study found that a whopping one-third of surveyed men had “intentions to force a woman to sexual intercourse.”

Wow, right? Except, as I’ve pointed out with previous misleading statistics, this one suffers from many of the same flaws. It’s not nationally representative, and the answers of just 73 men were used to arrive at the 1-in-3 number blasted out by the media and women’s groups. Of those 73 men, 23 were found to have those intentions, based on the researchers own definition of what constituted bad intentions. Just nine guys said they would actually rape a woman. Nine guys do not an epidemic make.

These guys may not have been taking the survey seriously or they were answering a question from Plato’s Republic: How many people would commit a crime if they knew they wouldn’t be caught? One would believe many people would answer affirmatively to such questions about various laws, but that doesn’t mean they’d actually commit them. One can never know if they will get away with it.

Why History Sometimes Needs Revision

Sometimes it’s because, as David Bernstein says,

Something is Amiss in the History Profession

While I’m sure there are many excellent historians around, I found that the historians I interacted with not only tended to reason backwards from their political priors, but that their standards of how one makes an appropriate inference from existing evidence are such that they would be laughed out of any decent philosophy or law school academic workshop.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.

(1) MacLean begins her book with a chapter on John Calhoun, in an effort to link Calhoun’s thought to Buchanan’s. The problem is that she doesn’t actually present any evidence that Buchanan was influenced by Calhoun, and there is evidence to the contrary. I was told in response that my criticism is unwarranted. MacLean is an intellectual historian. Intellectual historians read lots of stuff about an era, and then reach conclusions. People who are not trained intellectual historians can’t properly judge these conclusions, they just have to accept the end-result.

(2) While MacLean doesn’t quite go so far as to assert that James Buchanan was racist in supporting school vouchers in Virginia in the late 1950s, some of her defenders do. I pointed out that he gave entirely non-racist reasons for his support of school vouchers, and there is no direct evidence that he preferred segregation to integration. In response, a historian noted that Ernest Van den Haag, a conservative writer, made similar non-racist arguments for school vouchers at the same time, but later became an overt supporter of Jim Crow segregation. This, he argued, shows that Buchanan was also a Jim Crow segregationist. When I teach Evidence, I always struggle for examples of something that almost seems on point but doesn’t quite meet even the incredibly lax relevancy standard of Federal Rule of Evidence 701. I’m going to use this one. I also joked on Facebook that whenever I need a good non sequitur in response to a question I don’t want to respond to, I’m just going to say “Ernest Van den Haag.”

(3) Several historians asserted more generally that James Buchanan was a segregationist. I noted that MacLean presents no evidence that he favored segregation, and that others have presented at least suggestive evidence that he did not. The response was that calling Buchanan a segregationist doesn’t mean that he actually favored segregation, even though that’s how every dictionary defines the word “segregationist.” Rather, historians of the segregation era have their own definition of segregationist, which in essence means someone who didn’t support the NAACP’s strategy for combating segregation. (So one could personally and politically be against segregation, but still be a “segregationist” if a historian decides that you didn’t oppose segregation in the way the historian thinks you should have.) I should note that I’ve done my own historical research on the era, and I don’t agree that there is any sort of historical consensus that “segregationist” has that definition.

(4) A big theme of MacLean’s book is that Buchanan inspired an effort to promote an anti-democratic putsch by the Koch Brothers. As Ilya Somin has explained, her conception of democracy doesn’t make any sense, at least if one assumes that she supports standard limits on democracy widely supported by progressives. But other historians have come to the rescue, arguing that the United States is a democracy when it follows the will of the people, as opposed to the will of organized reactionary interest groups. The U.S., for example, was democratic in the 1930s and 1960s, but not in the 1950s or 1980s. Democracy, in other words, means “progressive politics are winning out.” Lack of democracy means “progressive politics are not winning out.” Because in a true democracy, the will of the people wins, and the will of the people is naturally liberal-democratic-socialist. So Roe v. Wade is a “democratic” decision, even though it overturned the abortion laws of almost every state, because progressives approve of it. I kid you not.

(5) Relatedly, one problem for those on the left who suddenly proclaim that democracy is the be all and end all is that they love anti-democratic decisions* such as Brown v. Board of Education. The response I received when this was pointed out is that Brown was in fact democratic despite being a Supreme Court ruling invalidating legislation, because black people couldn’t vote in the segregated South, and therefore the South didn’t really have democracy. When I pointed out that Brown itself arose in Topeka, Kansas, where black people could in fact vote, the basic answer was that if a democratic legislature did something that harmed minorities, it was really being undemocratic, because all working class people would recognize they have common interests if it wasn’t for the evil reactionary interests manipulating them. In other words, if we see policies enacted that the left sees as reflecting class solidarity, we know it’s democracy at work. If we see majoritarian racial solidarity, that’s not democracy.

The historians I’ve discussed and debated with are not fringe-y. One of my interlocutors is a chaired professor at a major state university. Others are junior professors or grad students or post-docs or think tank fellows with degrees from some of our most reputable history programs.

Again, I’m not saying that these folks represent all historians, all American historians, or even all intellectual historians who speciaize in the U.S. Nevertheless, the fact that all of these arguments (and more) have been made with a straight face by well-credentialed historians suggests something is amiss in the profession.

*UPDATE: Just to be clear, I understand that Brown can be squared with various versions of “democratic theory.” But MacLean’s basic normative thesis is that the Kochs, using Buchanan’s “intellectual software,” and understanding that libertarian ideas are unpopular and can’t be enacted via ordinary majororitarian processes, seek to undermine democracy as defined in majoritarian terms. Given that, one has to either concede that Brown is an example of “anti-democratic” constraints on majority rule, or concede that sometimes constraints on majority rule are a good thing, and can even enhance “democratic politics.” But the latter concession would undermine any cohrent defense of MacLean’s thesis that Buchanan and the Kochs should necessarily be condemned for seeking to put “democracy in chains.” Instead, we’d have to have a debate on what sorts and in what contexts constraints on majoritarian democracy are sound, which is a good part of Buchanan’s life work.

My correspondents, not wanting to make either of the concessions noted above, instead bypased them by essentially arguing that “democratic” means “producing policy outcomes that I approve of,” and that we can therefore evade the counter-majoritarian basis of Brown by asserting the opinion’s essential rightness. If we accept that assumption, then MacLean could have written a much shorter book, consisting of a few sentences showing how she disagrees with libertarianish philosophy, and then concluding, “Buchanan and the Kochs are anti-democratic because they support(ed) policy outcomes I don’t approve of.”

Does Welfare Subsidize Employers?

Source: The Pitifully Low Wages of Economic Illiteracy – Cafe Hayek

Leo Gertner (Letters, August 27) repeats a favorite trope of the left – namely, that welfare payments received by low-wage workers are really subsidies to employers who allegedly reduce workers’ pay by the amount of government welfare benefits received by these workers. There are several flaws with this trope.

First, it’s backwards. By reducing the economic burden of being unemployed, welfare payments not tied to work requirements reduce the supply of low-skilled labor and, thus, raise – rather than lower – the wages that employers pay to such workers.

Second, it’s at odds with readily observable labor-market realities. If workers reduce their wage demands because they have outside income, then whenever two highly paid professionals marry each other, one of them over time would come to be paid no more than the minimum wage. (Mr. Gertner and other Progressives would then argue that employers of these low-paid physicians, lawyers, and other professionals are “subsidized” by the employers of these employees’ high-paid spouses.) But of course we observe no such thing.

Third, if this trope were indeed correct, then the most direct way to protect taxpayers from having to subsidize employers would be to abolish the government welfare programs. When their welfare benefits disappear, low-wage workers will demand, and receive from their employers, higher pay to replace the lost benefits. But because Mr. Gertner and others who repeat this trope surely oppose abolition of the welfare programs that they assert are subsidies to employers, it’s unlikely that even they really believe this trope.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030