Minimum-wage Cruelty

Here’s a question from Walter Williams to those who support higher minimum wage laws:

The average wage for a cashier is around $10 an hour, about $21,000 a year. That’s no great shakes, but it’s an honest job for full- or part-time workers and retirees wanting to earn some extra cash…

Here’s my question to supporters of higher minimum wages: How compassionate is it to create legislation that destroys an earning opportunity? Again, making $21,000 a year as a cashier is no great shakes, but it’s better than going on welfare, needing unemployment compensation or idleness. Why would anybody work for $21,000 a year if he had a higher-paying alternative? Obviously, the $21,000-a-year job is his best-known opportunity. How compassionate is it to call for a government policy that destroys a person’s best opportunity? I say it’s cruel.

Trump: We will never back down

From his speech in Poland last week:

And if we don’t forget who are, we just can’t be beaten. Americans will never forget. The nations of Europe will never forget. We are the fastest and the greatest community. There is nothing like our community of nations. The world has never known anything like our community of nations.

We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers.

We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God.

We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression.

We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything. We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves.

And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom.

That is who we are. Those are the priceless ties that bind us together as nations, as allies, and as a civilization. What we have, what we inherited from our — and you know this better than anybody, and you see it today with this incredible group of people — what we’ve inherited from our ancestors has never existed to this extent before. And if we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again. So we cannot fail.

This great community of nations has something else in common:  In every one of them, it is the people, not the powerful, who have always formed the foundation of freedom and the cornerstone of our defense. The people have been that foundation here in Poland — as they were right here in Warsaw — and they were the foundation from the very, very beginning in America.

Our citizens did not win freedom together, did not survive horrors together, did not face down evil together, only to lose our freedom to a lack of pride and confidence in our values.  We did not and we will not. We will never back down.

Amen.

May We All

Love these lines from the Florida Georgia Line song ‘May We All.’

May we all do a little bit better than the first time
Learn a little something from the worst times
Get a little stronger from the hurt times
May we all get to have a chance to ride the fast one
Walk away wiser when we crashed one
Keep hoping that the best one is the last one

Here’s the video:

Like I Have Time to Read!

Responsible – Response-able

I was going to excerpt parts of a great post from Ace of Spades but decided to post it in its entirety, and highlight the parts I liked:

Too Busy For Joy [Warden]

“Like I have time to read!”

This exclamation, one I’ve heard about a half dozen times over the last few years, is always followed by a contemptuous sneer. It’s a response to one of my social icebreakers, “Read any good books lately?”

I’m always a bit taken aback when I hear it. Truth be told, it used to make me feel a tinge of guilt–like I’m a bit of a loafer who neglects his adult responsibilities.

That’s not an accident, of course. It’s meant as a rebuke.

I don’t feel that way anymore. These days I think to myself: Well, then you’ve chosen a life that doesn’t make room for such things. And if you’re bitter that I’ve chosen otherwise, then that’s your problem to work through.

Americans are strangely proud of creating misery for themselves–as if running yourself so ragged that you no longer enjoy life is something to be admired.

Please don’t misunderstand. I know that some people have unimaginably difficult schedules due to circumstances outside their control. An adult taking care of a sick parent, for example, may not have any time at all for leisure. I understand, respect and admire this.

But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about people with options–educated, upper middle class families with healthy families. For them, how they spend at least some of their time is a choice.

I had dinner the other night with another married couple, old friends of ours. I couldn’t wait for the evening to end. As my wife and I struggled to keep the conversation afloat, all I received in feedback was grouchy, stilted responses and a vague sense of judgment. Apparently we’re not busy enough, tired enough, stressed out enough to relate.

They’re chasing a business dream and I sincerely hope that they make it. If they do, they’ll probably have a wonderful retirement. Assuming they’re still alive to enjoy it, that is.

Meanwhile they’re in what should be the best years of their lives–in their adult prime with a house full of children young enough to still be cute, sweet, and bursting with love and enthusiasm–and yet the primarily emotion I detect is a grim, joyless obligation.

“Like I have time to read!”

No.

No, that’s not correct.

You choose not to read just as you choose not to go to the gym or take a bike ride or go fishing or visit with the neighbors or go for a walk with your kid or call your mother or meet friends out for coffee or watch the sunset from your porch.

You choose.

I choose.

And we live with it or change course.

Couching it in any other terms is not being honest with yourself. One of the most sobering things about growing up is the realization that, no, you can’t have it all. Adulthood is ultimately about trade-offs and how you manage them.

It strikes me that who you are is largely just an accumulation of your daily thoughts. Surely, there’s a genetic component (I’ve always been a moody person, for example), but one’s core being is mostly a matter of self determination, even if not recognized as such.

I suspect that there’s a tipping point when your accumulated thoughts overcome social and genetic factors like intelligence, health, wealth, physical attractiveness, etc… in determining your general level of happiness. This occurs somewhere around the age of 40. It’s no coincidence that this also happens to be roughly the age when people experience a mid-life crisis.

I wish people were happier. Life can be a wrecking ball. Even some of the luckiest people I know are struggling in their daily lives. I don’t consider myself to be an overly joyful person. I’m a brooder and a worrier by nature. But the more I look around, the more I realize that I’m nearer the top of the happiness scale than I am the bottom. Humor helps. So does finding joy in little things. It doesn’t take a lot to please me, less and less as I grow older, in fact.

As a point of perspective, I attend church with a woman who survived the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. I think of her sometimes when I’m feeling sorry for myself. The horrors she experienced are unimaginable to those of us who were born in the United States.

But she is not that thing. She is what she thinks and has thought about that thing. Her thoughts are beautiful, loving and full of God’s grace. She is an amazing human being.

She has time to read.

She has time to think.

When you talk to her there is pain, but also great hope, joy, and a relentless determination to make the world a better place.

If this person who has had such nightmarish events thrust upon her can choose happiness, then so can we. It’s a choice. No one is too busy for joy.