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I’d never heard of Michael Schaus, who is a conservative financial writer and the writer of a minimum wage piece that’s actually not all that crazy when you…just kidding, it’s awful. I’d just as soon prefer to skip all the obvious rage-bait that he includes in his column in an obvious attempt to keep people distracted from his main arguments (for a taste: “The economically challenged protestors of market driven wages are asking the profit-driven businesses to increase that wage to $15 per hour. Heck. Why stop there? Let’s kick it up to 25, or 40 dollars per hour.” Because…nobody’s asking for that?). Schaus’s entire article is really just speen directed at the poors. Just take this point:

Which brings us to the often repeated (in this column anyway) difference between careers and jobs. The Current Walmart CEO started his career as a part time (minimum wage) employee… But notice that he wasn’t satisfied with remaining in that position. Upward mobility, and ambition, does far more to increase the living standards of any given employee than petitions, protests, and government mandates.

The jobs at the center of the minimum wage discussion are jobs that are not designed for the average American worker to make into a career. Flipping a burger is a job for a part time teenage worker. It can even be a stepping stone for someone who fell into hard times, and is actively looking to increase their skill set (in hopes of obtaining more gainful employment). It is even a great job for someone who is looking for some supplemental income while they job hunt for better prospects.

This is something you occasionally hear from Republicans. Sure, the minimum wage sucks, but that’s what teenage burger-flippers are supposed to earn. It’s only for entry-level jobs, they say. Better workers will move up the ranks! Of course, not every single sales associate at Walmart is going to become the CEO. Most are going to either leave the company or remain roughly in the same job. And, obviously, having educational credentials and connections become increasingly more vital every step of the way. Schaus’s argument would be entirely valid if there were a huge number of CEO positions just there for the taking, with the only qualification being hard work. Unfortunately, there simply aren’t very many at all. So the question is, what do the average checkers of the world deserve? Schaus’s answer to that seems to be minimum wage salary, underinsurance and poverty. 

Now, of course, I predict that Schaus would strongly object to this interpretation of his argument. It might seem uncharitable to describe it that way. But that is the basic argument here. His column isn’t a solution, or even an insight, so much as stale lecturing that’s not even going (or meant) to be heard by the subjects. The fact is that working a very hard job at very long hours for minimum wage is not something I’ve experienced personally, but I can easily imagine that it must suck, and historically the best way of making it suck less has been by working to form a union. Also, Schaus like many conservatives believes in the Upward Mobility Faerie, which assumes that hard work/some intrinsic quality of America/some extrinsic force liberated by an American commitment to “freedom” (as pertains to employment laws) is all we need, certainly not organized labor. Unfortuantely, upward mobility is used here as a catchphrase rather than as a social science concept that has actually been calculated and mapped out, and the US in particular has been found wanting. Which is another reason why the associate-to-CEO path is rarer these days than it once was.

Essentially, the Michael Schaus argument is that, since your fast food clerk or Walmart checker is not a CEO, they have not passed his test and essentially deserve desperate poverty. It’s about time we started calling this sort of thing out.

This TNR piece proves it:

It wasn’t just Reagan. Moral Majority leader Jerry Fallwell called Tutu a “phony” who didn’t speak for South Africans blacks. He even urged Americans to support the Pretoria government.  North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms filibustered the sanctions bill. Strom Thurmond and Phil Gramm likewise opposed it. And future vice-president Dick Cheney called Mandela a terrorist, saying in 2000 that he didn’t regret his position. Pat Buchanan called Mandela a “train-bomber.” The Heritage Foundation said America should stop calling for Mandela’s release from prison. Pat Robertson, Grover Norquist, future Tea Party leaders, and current Republican Senators—all were on the books supporting the Apartheid government. When 35 House Republicans broke with the Reagan administration, the National Review called them “uppity,” and Human Events called them a “lynch mob.”

That last bit in particular is charming. The right, sad to say, still manages to regularly work violent rhetoric about race into topics both humdrum and climactic, and wonders why virtually everyone who isn’t a white person sees them as having unacceptable baggage on race. Every couple of days some conservative pundit or other makes some gratuitous offhand comment about rape (most recently El Rushbo), and the right wonders why women are an ever-elusive voter target. Even putting aside the overall presentation and content of your policies, peppering your communication with references to things that have incredibly negative connotations for specific groups of people is going to put you at a bit of a disadvantage in reaching out to them, and shows just how ingrained certain kinds of attitudes are, how hard to change. I mean, they said all this stuff over twenty years ago and none of it sounds much different than their rhetoric now.

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The Daily Caller is still exploring the issues that matter.

God, what a stupid article. This teacher hasn’t broken any laws, in all likelihood did some adult modeling to put herself through school (which is not something that IMO ought to be even stigmatized), and I have heard anecdotally that many women are having to turn to the sex industry to get through college. It’s speaks volumes about the priorities of Tucker Carlson’s shop that the outrage here isn’t over women forced by circumstance to use their bodies to maintain a middle-class existence, but rather than that it’s icky for former strippers to continue to exist, and indeed would presume to try to have a productive career and make a difference.

It’s been said before many times, but let’s say it again. Tucker Carlson, you are a scumbag. You employ a bunch of other scumbags. This isn’t about politics strictly. There are conservatives who are not scumbags, even in the media. You are not among them. This is about being an opportunistic bottom-feeder, when you could do better. In an even moderately just society you all would be pariahs, treated universally with the kind of withering contempt that you deserve. But this isn’t even a moderately just society. That’s the only reason why you still have a microphone. But I do believe that it is getting more just, slowly but surely. Perhaps it won’t get just quickly enough to see you laid low publicly. But I’d rather be me than you, that’s for sure.

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Reps. Kevin Cramer and Michele Bachmann recently told us that the poor and unemployed shouldn’t get any assistance because the Bible says that not working means you shouldn’t eat. Being Bible-believing people themselves, I think they ought to remain intellectually (if that’s the word) consistent and fast until the government reopens. After all, that is their job, isn’t it? And they’re not doing it. Hence, self-imposed starvation ought to apply to themselves as well as to the “takers”, no?
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Rep. Kevin Cramer needs to take his 2000-year-old 1600-page Quotations For Every Occasion and shove it.

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What with assholes (“Yoho”? Really?) who’re making life worse for everybody saying they’re Rosa Parks (via) and Senator Aqua Buddha all keen like Charlie Sheen (via), it’s been quite the day for bad comparisons — so obvs, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring vis a vis Ted “Costa Concordia” Cruz. I’m thinking either a) Jim Jones: the Final Picnic, or 2) An Evening with Milo Radulovich and Friends.

From Ted Cruz unmasks his own confidence game on the Plum Line:

Cruz’s call on House Republicans yesterday to keep up the fight was a signal to the troops to prepare to train their fire on Boehner again. But the swift denunciation from House Republicans suggests they aren’t going to lie down and take it anymore if and when that happens. They will push back with the reality-based argument that House Republicans have done all they can to prop up this scam — giving Cruz and company exactly what they asked for — and that ultimately it’s unworkable. And they can use Cruz’s own words to do so. In the end Cruz’s own suggestion that this will all be on House Republicans fatally undermines his whole confidence game, because it’s effectively an admission that the scam ultimately can’t be made to work.

Yes? No? Maybe so? More on TPM.

What with assholes (“Yoho”? Really?) who’re making life worse for everybody saying they’re Rosa Parks (via) and Senator Aqua Buddha all keen like Charlie Sheen (via), it’s been quite the day for bad comparisons — so obvs, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring vis a vis Ted “Costa Concordia” Cruz. I’m thinking either a) Jim Jones: the Final Picnic, or 2) An Evening with Milo Radulovich and Friends.

From Ted Cruz unmasks his own confidence game on the Plum Line:

Cruz’s call on House Republicans yesterday to keep up the fight was a signal to the troops to prepare to train their fire on Boehner again. But the swift denunciation from House Republicans suggests they aren’t going to lie down and take it anymore if and when that happens. They will push back with the reality-based argument that House Republicans have done all they can to prop up this scam — giving Cruz and company exactly what they asked for — and that ultimately it’s unworkable. And they can use Cruz’s own words to do so. In the end Cruz’s own suggestion that this will all be on House Republicans fatally undermines his whole confidence game, because it’s effectively an admission that the scam ultimately can’t be made to work.

Yes? No? Maybe so? More on TPM.