Rep. Jackson, Meet Sen. McGovern

(Guest Blogger Dave Carter is a Contributor for Ricochet.com, a retired military veteran, and current cross country truck driver.)

Question:  What do you get when you combine the fiery zeal of a utopian with the serene and confident confusion of a politician?

Answer:  Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Holding a press conference yesterday, in an apparent effort to prove the above proposition, Rep. Jackson announced his proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour.  In the press assemblage there was a reporter from CNSNews.com, who understood his role to be other than that of a simple stenographer for liberal dogma.   “Why not raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour, if $10 is not enough to live on, why not raise it to $20?” the reporter asked.  After all, as Ralph Nader said in his own press release on the subject, “We live in a land of the absurd: the richest 1 percent controls as much financial wealth as the bottom combined 95 percent.”  So, as long as we’re spreading the wealth around, if $10 an hour is good, wouldn’t $20 an hour be even better?

That’s when the rambling began: “Let me explain why the immediate jump to $10″, said Rep. Jackson:

First, we’re just trying to catch up to 1968 — even making the argument for $20 an hour would by far surpass what the 1968 expectation of the minimum wage was designed to accomplish. … So, putting it in the context of the 1968 legislation, $10 an hour is not unreasonable.  And I believe that the jump to $10 per hour is reasonable, I believe it’s responsible, it will not cost jobs, it will create jobs. It will contribute to the livelihood as you heard from Robert [Weissman] of 30 million Americans who work hard every day and at the end of a hard day’s work they’re still poor. They still cannot afford bread, they cannot pay their rent, they cannot make their car note, they cannot put their children through school.

Well, if a jump to $10 an hour creates jobs…a proposition which requires us to believe that a government-mandated increase in the cost of doing business creates more jobs and economic growth…then why not really get the economy roaring with an increase to, say, $50 per hour?  Rep. Jackson knows the answer, of course, which is why he demurred on the side of obfuscation.

Unfortunately, people with no job at all have even less of a chance of putting the kids through school, or making the car note.  Just ask George McGovern, who describes how meddlesome and expensive regulations eventually killed his business.   His article, What I Know Now:  Nibbled to Death,  tells the story of the former senator’s experience in purchasing and attempting to run a hotel:

As an innkeeper, I wanted excellent safeguards against a fire. But I was startled to be told that our two-story structure, which had large sliding doors opening from every guest room to all-concrete decks, required us to meet fire regulations more appropriate to the Waldorf-Astoria. … And a critical promotional campaign never got off the ground, partly because my manager was forced to concentrate for days at a time on needlessly complicated tax forms for both the IRS and the state of Connecticut.

Two and a half years later, having sunk all of the earnings from his post-Senate lecture tours into the hotel, Senator McGovern finally gave up.  The loss is not a huge deal for the Senator, of course, but as he writes:

I can recover eventually from the loss of the Stratford Inn because I’m still able to generate income from lectures and other services. But what about the 60 people who worked for me in Stratford? While running my struggling hotel, I never once missed a payroll. What happens to the people who counted on that, and to their families and community, when an owner goes under?

And what lesson did he learn?  “… if I were back in the U.S. Senate or in the White House, I would ask a lot of questions before I voted for any more burdens on the thousands of struggling businesses across the nation.”

Are you listening, Rep. Jackson?

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