Libertarian: The $15 Disaster
On Dec. 30, The New York Times editorial board repudiated its 1987 stance and endorsed a “$15 minimum wage.” The Times, Reason’s Billy Binion sighs, was right the first time around. Back then, the board warned about a minimum wage hike’s “possible job-killing consequences,” but now it “dismisses” them. Yet the research it cites, including one 1993 New Jersey study using data from “before the wage hike took effect,” is “anything but decisive.” A better lead: Target’s 2017 minimum-wage raise, which saw employees’ “hours reduced even as their hourly pay increased.” Worse, the Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that a $15 minimum wage would price “1.3 million workers” entirely “out of the labor market.” Fact is, it’s opponents of the hike who really have “genuine concern” for those not doing well.
From the Right: Admiring Elon Musk
So much for the doomsday predictions that greeted Republicans’ elimination of tax subsidies for electric vehicles: A Jan. 8 Reuters headline reports that “Tesla’s market value eclipses GM and Ford — combined!” And that’s great news, applauds National Review’s Kevin Williamson. While Nissan’s electric car, Leaf, is losing business, that’s “not because Americans are buying fewer electric cars, but because they are buying more of them”: Tesla stopped prioritizing “high-end rides” and started cutting into Nissan’s market. Whether Tesla will go on to “thrive or fade,” the fact that Musk “helped to start a new car company from scratch,” and made it a success, shows “what happens when you have a culture that values risk and innovation, understands the necessary role of failure and yokes capital to brainpower.”
Conservative: Big Abortion Trembles
Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report “reveals an organization that’s scrambling to defend abortion,” cheers Chad Pecknold in The Catholic Herald. The report “is filled with considerable trepidation over legal challenges to their business model,” as Team Trump dramatically tilts the federal judiciary to the pro-life side, state governments enact new restrictions and the Department of Health and Human Services reinstitutes a ban against federally funded family-planning clinics “offering abortion services.” Plus, “private donations decreased” in the latest reporting period. Also notable: “Gone are the long lists of named donors in the annual report. Gone is the political confidence that they will always have easy access to power.”
Iconoclast: Don’t Dismiss Bloomy’s Chances
Former Big Apple Mayor Mike Bloomberg “is not, in any conventional sense, a candidate,” scoffs The Week’s Matthew Walther. Bloomberg isn’t even bothering with the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary, and he won’t be “shaking the hands of hog farmers and schoolteachers.” Instead, his plan for winning the Democratic nomination mainly involves spending oodles of his own money on TV ads, “more than a $100 million so far — to say nothing of an upcoming $10 million dollar spot during the Super Bowl.” And while most pundits think his big-money exertions won’t move voters, and that he’s vulnerable to populist pressure, “Bloomberg doesn’t care in the slightest what his fellow candidates have to say about his background or his record in office. Nor is he especially concerned with what voters think of him.” His goal is “to bibbity-bobbity-boo himself into being the president of the United States” — a not-entirely implausible ambition, once you take into account the Democratic establishment’s determination not to run with a left-wing populist like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.
CEO: The Econ News Couldn’t Get Worse for Dems
At FoxNews.com, ex-CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder writes: “President Trump’s economy is roaring, completely debunking the left’s pessimistic narrative about economic growth.” Friday’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed “a record 158.8 million Americans are now employed, while the unemployment rate continues to hold steady at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent.” Meanwhile, weekly “jobless claims have fallen to 214,000 — thousands fewer than experts had expected.” The political import of all this: “These incredible economic figures are a nightmare for the Democrats, who have spent the last three years warning voters about impending economic doom.”
— Compiled by Sohrab Ahmari & Karl Salzmann