The following musing was a November 30, 2013 response to a media comment that my understanding of “the Minimum Wage” was based upon conservative dogma.
As your Representative from District 24 I like to think I do my homework and study the issues. I will rely on my experience, research and personal values to make the best decisions for my district. This includes renewing and expanding my knowledge through reading a broad range of books, many of which some might find a bit technical or boring. I am currently reading The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, written by John Maynard Keynes. He was the leading economist of the 1930’s – 60’s. I felt that I needed to balance my readings, as I have been focusing on Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell. These later economists have a more conservative approach to government encroachment on the economy. However, since Keynes was the leading economist while I was getting my degree in Economics, I thought a little refresher would be helpful, especially in light of our federal deficit and growing debt, much credited to blindly following Keynesian economic principles.
I have refreshed my economics vocabulary and struggled through various economic formulas to better prepare my grasp of the economics. Some great terms for a more powerful economic vocabulary include: frictional unemployment, propensity to consume, the National Dividend, money-wages vs. real-wages, and the aggregate supply function vs. the aggregate demand function. I have also read a great deal about the minimum wage from authors like Friedman, Sowell and Blinder, the latter of whom was an economic adviser to Clinton, and Friedman was a winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. So when the Times-News jeered me for being “flippant” about the impact of the “minimum wage” on the average income for Magic Valley workers, I was a little taken back. I apparently, according to the Times-News, “parrotted [sic] the standard dogma.” While they misspelled parroted, I was more curious about “flippant” and “dogma.” While Republicans generally do not like government interference with the free markets, I felt my opinion was well reasoned, not flippant. Apparently the editor follows some liberal dogma and without hearing the full interview determined I was being flippant.
I had to confirm exactly what I was being accused of so I confirmed with dictionary.com that my reasoned response was not based upon some dogma, and that my ten minute discussion about the minimum wage was not flippant.
The good news was that reading the Jeer, which took about thirty seconds, did improve my vocabulary and I look forward to using it at the earliest opportunity.