Sunday, January 31, 2021

States Can Reject Critical Race Theory

 States Can Reject Critical Race Theory

President Biden has reinstituted the pernicious philosophy at the federal level, but governors and local legislators can still fight it off.

Max Eden

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden rescinded the Trump administration’s executive order prohibiting critical race theory (CRT) training for federal agencies and federal contractors. This is a sad reversal for Americans committed to colorblindness in public life. But while the president’s order is binding at the federal level, state legislators still have a say in the matter. They should not shrink from resisting this pernicious philosophy.

Critical race theory understands the world by viewing everything—society, economics, education, family, science—through the lens of “whiteness” and white racism. White people, according to CRT, drift in a kind of amniotic fluid of privilege and unearned gifts based on the brutal ideology of “white supremacy.” Critical race theory includes values such as hard work, objectivity, deferred gratification, family, and respect for the written word as intrinsically racist, and claims that by “centering” these values American culture relentlessly suppresses black achievement while boosting white mediocrity into advancement. The “theory”—unfalsifiable because any argument against it can be dismissed as an expression of “white fragility”—demands that whites relinquish their unearned societal privilege and work to uproot racism from their own minds and from society at large.

CRT training sessions have become standard across academia, public education, corporate America, and government. Highly paid experts in indoctrination conduct multi-day seminars explaining how racist attitudes infect even the purest intentions, and why white employees are and will always be racist.

When they see it for what it really is, most Americans abhor critical race theory. Trump’s executive order declared that it would be “the policy of the United States not to promote race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating in the Federal workforce . . . and not to allow grant funds to be used for these purposes.” It defined “race or sex stereotyping” as “ascribing character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of his race or sex.” It defines “race or sex scapegoating” as “assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex.”

President Biden’s reimposition of CRT training in the federal government is shameful. But it need not be the end of the story. Now is the time for governors and state legislators to step up—and to remember that these ideas don’t withstand scrutiny. In a state legislative committee hearing, the argument for colorblindness will always carry the day. As viewed through state and local media—where journalists are more likely to see their jobs as presenting both sides of controversies, rather than advancing the cause of social justice—the case against critical race theory will win hearts and minds.

To fight this battle at the state level is to win it—and to win it is to maintain a country founded on the ideal that all men are created equal. Not to fight this battle is to lose it—and to lose it is to concede that America should be a society that judges people based on the color of their skin, not the content of their character.

The only thing stopping state leaders is the political attacks sure to follow if they take a stand. If the past year provides any indication, CRT critics will be labeled by the national media and Twitter blue-checks as racists. After Trump defended—and Biden criticized—his executive order at the first presidential debate, NPR issued a “fact check” declaring: “Racial Sensitivity Training Is Not Racist.” It explained that “Racial sensitivity training, which addresses topics like white privilege and critical race theory, is aimed at creating inclusive workplaces for women and people of color.” Thus, only those harboring racial bias could oppose such efforts.

State leaders will have to decide whether imparting America’s principles to the next generation is worth the price of being excoriated on social media. If they decide that this is a price worth paying, they’ll pass laws prohibiting state and local government agencies, government contractors, and most importantly schools from using taxpayer money to indoctrinate adults and children into an ideology of racial and sexual scapegoating.

Press Secretary Dodges on Why Biden Revoked Rule Protecting U.S. Power Grid From China

Press Secretary Dodges on Why Biden Revoked Rule Protecting U.S. Power Grid From China

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

It is beginning to look like President* Joe Biden’s only goal is tearing down everything that President Donald Trump put in place regardless of whether or not it is good for Americans. It began with revoking the Keystone pipeline permits that will put thousands of pipeline union workers out of a job. Most of us knew that was coming, but the weirdest revocation yet is Biden’s decision to suspend a rule that protected our power grid from Chinese influence or hacking. The Hill reported on Trump’s order in May.

The executive order bans the use of equipment for the power grid that was manufactured by a company under the control of a foreign adversary, or the buying of any equipment that poses a national security threat.

“Additional steps are required to protect the security, integrity, and reliability of bulk-power system electric equipment used in the United States,” Trump wrote. “In light of these findings, I hereby declare a national emergency with respect to the threat to the United States bulk-power system.”

Former Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette said the order would “greatly diminish the ability of foreign adversaries to target our critical electric infrastructure.”

Considering our adversarial relationship with China, a country that recently brought us the COVID-19 pandemic when China did not alert the rest of the world to the magnitude of the problem they were facing in Wuhan earlier in 2019, it’s head-scratching why any president (Democrat or Republican) would want to give China more access to U.S. infrastructure.

Trump’s order protected our power grid from Chinese technology that might have embedded back-door capability to infiltrate our systems. The Biden team did not offer any official explanation for this change. In fact, the Biden administration has no answer for why the president* decided to rescind the protections. Don’t you find that strange?

Press Secretary Jen Psaki floundered laughably when questioned about the order by Newsmax’s Emerald Robinson. Watch:

Psaki claimed she would “circle back directly” with Robinson and answer this question. But don’t we deserve a public statement on the matter? One thing that Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree on is that Chinese access to our national security should not be a thing. Considering China’s history of duplicity and hacking American interests, why on earth would anyone think this is a good idea? Do they want cheaper equipment? Is it a budgetary issue? Was it a mistake? Sadly, I can’t tell you because the White House isn’t giving us any explanation.

Further, no media is reporting on it other than right-wing media. But CNN did write a piece about China’s access to Taiwan’s power grid. If that report can be believed, China is perfectly capable of using another nation’s power grid as a weapon against them. CNN reported in 2019:

The Philippines’ power grid is under the full control of the Chinese government and could be shut off in time of conflict, according to an internal report prepared for lawmakers seen by CNN.

China’s State Grid Corporation has a 40% stake in the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), a private consortium that has operated the country’s power lines since 2009. Concerns over potential Chinese interference in the Philippine energy system have dogged the arrangement since it was first agreed a decade ago.

Lawmakers called for an urgent review of the arrangement this month after the report claimed that only Chinese engineers had access to key elements of the system, and that power could in theory be deactivated remotely on Beijing’s orders.

Why would we want this in the United States when everyone knows China is an adversarial country that has already willfully harmed Americans by suppressing information about COVID-19? Was one plague not enough for Joe Biden? Is he hoping for a power grid attack crisis as well?

What possible explanation could the White House have that would make the revocation of Trump’s order to protect the power grid valid? I hope Robinson continues to ask this question until we get an answer.

‘New Window of Hope’: Chinese Communist Party Hopes Joe Biden Will ‘Restore Normalcy’
Gordon Chang: China Engaged in ‘an Act of War’ by Enflaming Antifa Riots in the U.S.
China Is Committing Another Holocaust. Pompeo Draws a Line in the Sand


The Occupation Of Washington Is Pure Panic Porn — And You Are The Target

 The Occupation Of Washington Is Pure Panic Porn — And You Are The Target

The Occupation Of Washington Is Pure Panic Porn — And You Are The Target

Just this week, we learned that thousands of Guardsmen could remain in Washington DC 'indefinitely.' Certainly through President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Guard have been in D.C. for three weeks now.

Fences, military trucks, and armored vehicles crisscross our roads and neighborhoods. Major traffic arteries through the city have been closed. Concertina razor wire surrounds our noble government buildings.

Originally called to secure the Capitol building from attackers, the Guard never left. By Inauguration Day, some newspaper reports put the number of uniformed troops deployed to the city at more than 25,000. Bridges were shut down, highway exits blocked, gates raised.

When asked, police and Guardsmen on the ground privately shared the belief they were here to stay. Soon, reports began to leak that indeed they would — through President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. Just this week, we learned that thousands of Guardsmen could remain “indefinitely.”

If this seems theatrical and excessive, it’s because it is. Worse yet, it’s about politics, not security, with the same politicians who claimed Antifa violence against their voters was a “myth” now insisting they need a full division of troops to defend them from a rebel army that doesn’t exist.

For months last year the American people endured hundreds of race riots, anarchist crime sprees, and literal occupations. As this lawlessness raged, calls to deploy federal forces were treated as if they were calls for fascism. When Sen. Tom Cotton published a New York Times op-ed in June calling to send in the U.S. Army — as Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and H.W. Bush had done to quell civil disorder before — readers and Times staffers rebelled, leading to the resignations of the editorial page editor and a senior editor with him.

In its scramble to apologize, the paper attached a 325-word mea culpa to the top of the op-ed. The senator’s call to restore order with U.S. forces “falls short of the thoughtful approach that advances useful debate,” the new editors charged. The cited constitutional duty to defend states, they claimed, should have been put into quotation marks. Cotton’s assertion that Antifa was a leader in the nationwide riots, they wrote in perhaps the most laughable portion, has “not been substantiated.”

When President Donald Trump ordered Guardsmen into the capital following nights of Black Lives Matter-inspired rioting, Maryland Sen. Chris van Hollen called it “an affront to our Constitution.” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser “formally requested” they be withdrawn, and made them move to new rooms and hotels, declaring that the city would not “pay their hotel bills.”

Continuing the troop-bashing, in July Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi compared the federal officers defending the Portland Federal Courthouse against weeks of nightly Antifa rioting (with 140 officers injured throughout the siege) to Nazi “stormtroopers.” And on and on and on.

Yet on Jan. 20, the nation watched as a Democratic president was sworn into office before an empty National Mall surrounded by a division of uniformed soldiers ostensibly there to hold back the army of Klansmen and neo-Nazis waiting just over the river to invade our nation’s capital and sack its government.

Fear and distrust is already dangerously high in our country — and both are rising.

Local leaders, empowered with COVID hysteria, tell ordinary citizens to inform on their neighbors. Major newspapers join social media in lauding children who turn in their parents.

Earlier this year, as lockdowns dragged on and Black Lives Matter riots intensified and spread nationally, once-calm Americans began to stockpile ammunition and coordinate emergency escape routes with their close friends. The reactions to these inputs, panicked though some might have been, weren’t surprising given the outside forces driving them.

The Jan. 6 Capitol riots were an ugly, deadly, and tragic but ultimately isolated incident, spurred on by liberal toleration of political violence, Trump’s refusal to accept the loss, and corporate media’s open scorn of half the country and their legitimate election concerns. Democratic politicians took those riots and used them to reverse political course and order the complete militarization of downtown Washington, intentionally spreading the fear and distrust deeper into America in an effort to make their point.

A once-calm relative, one Marine officer candidate told me this week, drew up waypoints to evacuate his family from their suburban community far outside Washington. MAGA insurrection, he feared, might be camped in the woods nearby.

This behavior might also seem panicked to calmer minds, but it’s neither isolated nor unexpected given how hard our leaders have worked to spread it. And make no mistake: They know as well as any other reasonable person in Washington that 25,000 troops and razor wire aren’t needed, but protection isn’t the goal here — the occupation of Washington is a massive undertaking in panic porn. The fear we see in the capital is simulated even if it is exciting. It’s also ugly, and it obscures the truth.

Poorly trained Capitol Police officers and a Democratic mayor and House that declined security reinforcements don’t make the rioters who attacked the Capitol a marching rebel army, as we’ve seen in the weeks since when the televised theater spread to state capitals only to end with more reporters than protesters on the much-touted day of attack. Similarly, keeping the capital under military occupation while the former opposition leader is put on trial isn’t necessary for national healing, as Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer now insists.

None of this matters to the leaders in Washington: Not walling themselves from the public they serve, nor spreading even more fear and distrust among their supporters than already existed. What matters is that the Democrats and the troops be seen as the only things standing between America and a Ku Klux MAGA apocalypse.

Longtime D.C. residents and experienced frequent flyers might think all this sounds foggily familiar. Indeed, like the closing of Pennsylvania Avenue and other “temporary security measures” following Sept. 11, the permanence of the Jan. 6 security state might echo longer than the loudspeaker recording that “unticketed passengers are no longer permitted in the terminal boarding area” — a temporary announcement entering its third decade this year.

Just as in the aftermath of the terrible Sept. 11 attacks, many of the indignities we’ve been subjected to are pure security theater. Unlike the aftermath of those attacks, however, the people the theater is meant to frighten off aren’t foreign terrorists — they’re you and me.

Christopher Bedford is a senior editor at The Federalist, the vice chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, a board member at the National Journalism Center, and the author of The Art of the Donald. Follow him on Twitter.

The Tragedy of Biden Voters

The Tragedy of Biden Voters

Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP

On his first Real Time installment after returning from vacation, his first of the Joe Biden presidency, host Bill Maher delivered an interesting New Rule monologue, The Tragedy of Trump Voters. In it, the comedian and commentator told his viewers to go ahead and hate President Trump, but not his 74 million voters.

That’s probably a good idea; Maher has them from time to time.

In his closing remarks, Maher delved into the life and death of Capitol Building demonstrator Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by Capitol Police as she tried to enter the congressional chamber.

No matter what political perspective is deployed for analysis, Babbitt’s death is tragic. Many Republicans and conservatives, especially those who have supported and still support the former president, will take issue however with Maher’s Trump-bashing spin on this woman’s sad end. But the exercise provides an interesting angle.

How would “tragic” apply to the rank-and-file Biden voter? We’re not talking here about the political, academic, Big Tech, or cultural elites, the real inciters of violence, who won’t be happy until America is transformed to the point of bearing scant resemblance to the intent of its founding documents. We’ll exclude from discussion, too, the seething ingrate extremists, bankrolled by Soros and his ilk, who are still taking to the streets, who will never be happy.

Our focus is on the tragedies awaiting propagandized Democrats whose primary intent was to remove Trump, and may not have fully grasped what may be in store for them if Biden’s cabal of far-leftists have their way.

EXPLOSIVE Study: Media Suppression of 8 Key Stories ‘Stole This Election’ for Joe Biden

On immigration policy alone, these people may be in for an outcome that strikes at the very heart of home and hearth. If Biden’s border policy wish list comes true, average suburban Dems may soon find their public schools overrun with a new wave of non-English-speaking children of immigrants, many of whom recently traded their social status up from Third World standards. These arrivals would come in addition to the millions of children of illegal aliens already in the country. The leftist ruling class isn’t worried; their kids go to costly private schools.

Democrats who may have hoped that electing Biden would calm the waters might have to countenance a whole new level of turmoil in the form of rampant immigrant crime. In addition to floating a plan for citizenship for untold millions of illegal entrants, Biden sought to place a moratorium on deportations, even for the most violent criminal aliens. The patently unconstitutional executive order was promptly blocked by a Texas court, but whatever happens, the order indicates that terminal softness will characterize Biden/Harris immigration policy. If Biden’s Democratic Socialist-crafted policymaking becomes law, dump-Trump-at-any-cost suburban moms will have to reckon with the possibility of a Friday night run to 7-Eleven spelling death for family and friends due to increased numbers of drunk-driving immigrants or bad-hombre, gun-toting gangbangers.

Biden’s reported consideration of sending billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to Central America indicates an understanding among his open-borders advocates that something must be done—or at least seem to be done–to stem the tides currently determined to reach our promised land. This attempt to pay them there so we don’t have to stop them here assumes that the money will actually trickle down to the great unwashed looking to make America home.

Not So Fast: Judge Blocks Biden’s Deportation Moratorium

All this leads to hospitals and emergency rooms besieged with unvaccinated, undocumented arrivals. It was Biden who criticized Trump’s initial COVID-19 travel bans, then reversed himself, and now may be in the process of reversing himself again by allowing untrammeled access to health care infrastructure for illegal comers. A simple weekend visit to a hospital or urgent care emergency room for an ankle fracture my expose Biden loyalists—and anybody else—to a reception area packed with contagious vectors settled in for a long wait. Legions of untested foreign nationals have their sights set on illegal entry. Don’t be surprised when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demands they be vaccinated before U.S. citizens.

The media duped low-info Democrats into believing that Mr. Trump bungled the pandemic response. It is lucky for them — and for the rest of us — that Trump’s task force sprang into action and put vaccines on the fast track. Meanwhile, that suited flak from the World Health Organization, like an evil groundhog come to the surface, is back in the loop, freed to ramp-up his COVID communist apologetics.  It’s all yours, Joe.

The tragic Biden voter is tragic for America. With the Paris Climate Accords yoke back around our necks, expect good Democrats to pony-up without protest for meaningless climate strictures that don’t measurably affect environmental pollution while the COVID communists snicker at our idiocy and foul the air, water, and land with unregulated contaminants. Never mind what standard of living awaits the children and grandchildren: The United States must lead the way.

Thoughts and prayers for those whose livelihoods are scuttled by the cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline. Don’t be surprised when that cousin formerly earning in the high five-figures as a welder shows up at your door looking for odd jobs. Tell him to call Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. When Buttigieg’s office blows him off, the next call should go to our friends in the Middle East—they’ll be waiting.

Biden’s Climate Orders Will Flip America’s National Security on Its Head

Democrat taxpayers, and the rest of us, will potentially contribute to re-empower the Iranian mullahs’ quest for an expanded terror network and nuclear capability.  There is no political litmus test for those buried in the rubble of Islamic extremist terror. Hard to have a drum circle after that.

Does your progressively-raised daughter have her heart set on school sports competition? Biden’s transgenderism policy seeks to condemn her to permanent third and fourth place.

Finally, as reported by Newsmax, the New York Times has run a piece suggesting that Joe Biden will “save” Catholicism from the “far right.” As any sixth-grader raised in the Catholic tradition knows, pro-abortionists can’t save Catholicism, can’t save the lives of the unborn, and can’t save themselves.

Unless Republicans effectively fight back and save dunderheaded Democrats from themselves, the manifold tragedy of the Trump-hating Democrat voter will be legendary. No single article — or book! — will be sufficient to provide even a pared-down outline of the potential damage caused by the redistributionist agenda ushered in (either legally or fraudulently) on Election Day 2020. The wealthy bi-coastal “progressive” influencers will be immune.

New Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer didn’t mince words prior to the Georgia run-offs: “Now we take Georgia and then we change the world!”

Tens of millions of Democrats followed their leadership with banners high and insipid slogans on their lips. Many of them who currently reside on the “haves” side of the “haves and have nots” equation may be in for a rude awakening.

After a mad quest for power at any cost, inflamed with hatred for a president, the Democratic Socialists have prevailed. Power over what? If the policy agenda already bubbling in the cauldrons of Democrat-controlled national government comes to a full boil, they will have achieved power over a globalist, Marxist disaster.

And we’ve only scratched the surface of the tragedy.

Mark Ellis is Associate Editor at the Northwest Connection, Portland, Oregon’s only conservative web/print publication. He is the author of the political thriller A Death on the HorizonFollow Mark, who has not yet been banned from  Twitter.

Saturday, January 30, 2021




In the post immediately below this one, John describes how, in Minnesota, the left is substituting indoctrination for learning. His focus is on plans to teach a virulently anti-American version of our nation’s history — one that, in John’s words, “drops almost everything normally regarded as history–the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, and any reference to minor figures like George Washington–in favor of political indoctrination” on the evils of whiteness, Christianity, and capitalism.

But the left isn’t content with spreading its propaganda through the teaching of U.S. History. It is also determined to do so through the teaching of Civics. And, to take things one step further, the left intends to use Civics classes to promote left-wing activism by students.

I warned about this development last month in a post called “Reject woke Civics.” That post quoted extensively from Stanley Kurtz, who, thank God, is all over this looming disaster.

In his latest contribution, Stanley demonstrates how far along the left is in imposing “Action Civics” on America’s students. He warns:

Advocates of “Action Civics” are poised to press a novel practice on every state education system in the Union. Bills mandating Action civics will soon be introduced in state legislatures across the country; it is already required in Massachusetts and Illinois. The Biden administration is likely to support that effort with federal carrots and sticks, using the model of the Obama administration’s support for Common Core.

Unfortunately, widespread adoption of Action Civics will definitively politicize an already politically tainted K-12 educational system, irrevocably cementing the partisan Left’s hold upon our culture. Action civics amounts to school-sponsored indoctrination and political action in support of progressive policy positions. It must be energetically opposed by all who value authentic liberal education.

What is “Action Civics”? Says Stanley:

Action Civics conceives of itself as a living laboratory in which mere civic theory is put productively into practice. Students, it is held, best acquire civic know-how through direct political action, for example by protesting in favor of gun control or lobbying for legislation to address climate change.

Action Civics thus aims to turn students into the shock troops of the left. That’s a move typical of authoritarian and, especially, totalitarian regimes. I think I learned that in Civics class.

Back then, Civics teachers had a quaint view of civic instruction. Stanley summarizes that view as follows:

True civic education conveys the purpose, nature, and contours of our constitutional republic, tells the story of the struggle to uphold its founding principles of equal rights and liberty, and cultivates virtues necessary to the republic’s preservation. What civic education very deliberately does not attempt to do is supply students with substantive political positions. That is for students themselves to determine as free individuals, in the fullness of time.

(Emphasis added)

Some advocates of Action Civics are open about their desire to deploy it on behalf of a leftist policy agenda. Others say it does not impose a political viewpoint upon students, but merely encourages them to act upon their own pre-existing political convictions. That might be bad enough, given that we’re talking about the largely unexamined pre-existing convictions of 15 year-olds.

But, as Stanley says, “given the pressures easily and inevitably placed upon students by teachers and peers in classrooms dedicated to direct political action, this is difficult to credit.” Make that impossible to believe.

It’s not speculation to say that “Action Civics” will directly promote left-wing student activism. The evidence supports this concern. Stanley points to that evidence:

In their 2020 report on Action Civics for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Tom Lindsay and Lucy Meckler assess the controversy between NAS and Generation Citizen. To determine whether Action Civics almost invariably leads to protests on behalf of progressive political causes, Lindsay and Meckler reviewed 27 political projects listed on the websites of Generation Citizen and its allies.

What emerged was an overwhelmingly progressive political bias, examples of which include protests in support of the Green New Deal, various gun control measures, driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, opposition to a border wall, etc.

In addition, Lindsay and Meckler reviewed public statements by Andrew Wilkes, a leader in the “Action Civics” movement. They found that his statements strongly supported progressive positions. Lindsay and Meckler concluded that Civic Action advocates are being less than frank about the decidedly partisan politics at the heart of their enterprise.

What a surprise.

There’s much more to Stanley’s article. I’ll conclude, though, the same way John concluded his post on the left’s hijacking of the way U.S. History is taught:

Essentially, liberals want our schools to be hotbeds of anti-Americanism. Unfortunately, just about all of our public school systems are in their hands. Unless voters wake up and demand change, the results for our young people and our country promise to be disastrous.



Across the country, leftists in charge of public education are substituting indoctrination for learning. Facts and objective standards are out, liberal shibboleths are the order of the day. My state, Minnesota, exemplifies the trend. Under state law, the Department of Education promulgates standards and benchmarks for K-12 schools in a variety of disciplines. These standards are periodically revised, and this year the Social Studies standards are being rewritten. Under Minnesota’s hard-left governor, Tim Walz, the committee doing the revision consists almost entirely of left-wingers.

That committee has released the first draft of its standards. This draft drops almost everything normally regarded as history–the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, and any reference to minor figures like George Washington–in favor of political indoctrination like this:

* Systemic racism in the United States rooted in our founding

* Developing a “respectful awareness” of the LGBTQ+ community

* The Reconstruction period, specifically successful efforts to disenfranchise newly freed Black Americans and connecting this history to persistent discrimination and inequity in the present

* An analysis of the ideology of Manifest Destiny and its relationship to whiteness, Christianity, and capitalism

More here. The committee recently held a public meeting (via Zoom, of course) in which members aired their world-views as they relate to teaching Social Studies to school children. This video, taken from that meeting, consists mostly of audio clips of committee members talking.

Essentially, liberals want our schools to be hotbeds of anti-Americanism. Unfortunately, just about all of our public school systems are in their hands. Unless voters wake up and demand change, the results for our young people and our country promise to be disastrous.

New Research Debunks Claim That a $15 Minimum Wage Would Not Reduce Employment

New Research Debunks Claim That a $15 Minimum Wage Would Not Reduce Employment

A new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds a “clear preponderance” of evidence that minimum wage laws reduce employment.

President Joe Biden is pushing a federal $15 minimum wage in his sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, and the policy is only gaining steam in progressive circles. But newly released research undercuts the main argument progressive economists make in favor of minimum wage increases.

new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research surveys the body of economic research on minimum wage increases and rebuts the notion that empirical data show no impact of increases in minimum wage hikes. The authors find that of all the available research on the subject they reviewed, there is a “clear preponderance” of findings that show a job-killing impact. The documentation of job losses is even more pronounced for teenagers, young adults, and the less-educated.

“[The] body of evidence and its conclusions point strongly toward negative effects of minimum wages on employment of less-skilled workers, especially for the types of studies that would be expected to reveal these negative employment effects most clearly,” economists David Neumark and Peter Shirley write

This research is a direct rebuttal of one of the most popular pro-minimum-wage-hike arguments offered by progressive economists. They rarely engage directly with the ironclad theory of supply and demand in competitive labor markets that proves the minimum wage causes unemployment just like any other price floor creates surplus.1 

Many advocates simply pivot to empiricism and handwave about “the data” not showing any impact.

“There’s just no evidence that raising the minimum wage costs jobs, at least when the starting point is as low as it is in modern America,” economist turned left-wing New York Times  columnist Paul Krugman has argued. (Reversing his own former position). Similarly, economist and former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen recently reversed her prior position during a confirmation hearing for her political position as the Biden administration’s Treasury Secretary. Now, she argues that the research suggests a “very minimal” impact on employment from minimum wage increases. 

The same argument has pervaded through much of academia.

“The last decade has seen a wealth of rigorous academic research on the effect of minimum wage increases on employment, with the weight of evidence showing that previous, modest increases in the minimum wage had little or no negative effects on the employment of lowwage workers,” reads a letter signed by prominent pro-minimum-wage economists in 2019.

But this new research, after surveying the field of empirical evidence, finds that reaching these progressive economists' conclusions “requires discarding or ignoring most of the evidence.”

When the government mandates a price for labor—aka a minimum wage—that exceeds the market rate, employers will inevitably purchase less labor. It’s just like consumers would purchase less soda if the government arbitrarily mandated higher prices for it than what it’s actually worth to people. In fact, that’s the exact point of  “soda taxes” passed in the name of public health; they reduce soda consumption. The same thing happens with labor.

The lucky workers who end up being able to keep their jobs may benefit from the artificially high wage, but many others will not find work at all. As far a federal $15 minimum wage is concerned, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would eliminate 1.3 to 3.7 million jobs altogether.

This was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Layoffs would likely be much worse now, with so many small businesses already on the brink of collapse amid lockdowns and a struggling economy. 

No amount of empirical squirming can eliminate the reality of trade-offs. Minimum wage proponents bury their heads in the sand in order to argue that you can simply pass a law to miraculously make everyone richer without any consequences. You can’t.

“There are no solutions, there are only trade-offs,” economist Thomas Sowell once observed, “and you try to get the best trade-off you can get, that's all you can hope for.” 

Economics teaches you that making a choice means giving up something,” economist Russ Roberts has similarly explained. 

The job losses that come with minimum wage hikes are a fundamental economic reality. This latest research offers yet another reminder that, no matter how much wish-casting progressives engage in, there’s no escaping trade-offs in public policy.

1. Some progressive economists engage with supply and demand theory by arguing that if a business has a labor monopsony, aka they are the only employer for that type of labor, then minimum wage increases will not cause unemployment. But this makes little sense, as the types of employers who hire minimum wage workers, such as restaurants, retail stores,  fast food, coffee shops, and so on, have nearly innumerable competitors for other places that will hire workers at the minimum wage.)