The Law Of Unintended Consequences

On Friday Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about a recent bill sponsored by Washington, D.C.’s city council.

The article reports:

On Tuesday, 7 of the 13 members of Washington’s city council sponsored a bill to jettison the wage hike for tipped workers that 56% of D.C. voters had approved by a ballot initiative less than a month before.

Under Initiative 77, the workers would see their minimum wage climb from the current $3.89 an hour to $15 an hour by 2026, erasing the difference between tipped and nontipped workers.

Keep in mind that D.C. is about as heavily Democratic as you can get. It went for Hillary Clinton by a 91%-4% margin.

But the D.C. council members came to understand what economists — and D.C. restaurant workers themselves — already know. Sharp increases in the minimum wage will cost lost hours, lost jobs and lost income.

The article concludes:

This wage mandate, just like the one the council is trying to repeal, will also end up hurting the very people it’s supposed to help.

That’s not speculation. It’s what happened in Seattle, which four years ago decided to gradually hike the city’s minimum to $15. Researchers from the University of Washington found that the average low-wage worker lost $125 a month as the mandate took effect and employers cut back on hours and jobs.

Other parts of the country are catching on as evidence rolls in of the job-killing side effect of these mandated wage hikes. The mayor of heavily Democratic Baltimore vetoed a minimum-wage bill last year. The city council in Flagstaff, Ariz., decided to scrap the planned hike to $12, and cap it at $10.50.

“Fight for $15” makes a good bumper sticker. But as Democrats are finding out first hand, it makes bad public policy.

Maybe the answer is not raising the pay for minimum-wage jobs, but in better educating our children so that when they enter the workforce at minimum jobs, they are able to learn skills and progress to better paying jobs. In many cases, companies have responded to increases in the minimum wage by replacing workers with machines. Minimum-wage jobs are valuable–they teach workers entering the workforce the basic principles of holding a job–showing up, working hard, being courteous to fellow employees and customers, and being dependable and on time. Drastically increasing the minimum wage will result in many minimum-wage jobs being eliminated.

Some Policies Are Simply A Bad Idea

Baltimore, Maryland, has had a rough year. After riots followed the death of Freddie Gray in April 2015, the Black Lives Matter movement insisted that the police be withdrawn from predominately black neighborhoods. It turns out that was not the solution. Yesterday Breitbart reported on the results.

The article reports:

Since the riots, police morale has collapsed, and city officials began planning a lighter police footprint in response to complaints of residents and protest leaders.

But now, black leaders are blaming cops for the spiraling murder rate, saying that the police pullback has put them in danger.

The Rev. Kinji Scott, a Baltimore activist, is blaming city hall for leaving the neighborhoods unprotected.

“We wanted the police there,” Scott insisted. “We wanted them engaged in the community. We didn’t want them beating the hell out of us, we didn’t want that.”

Scott and others are now pressuring the city to bring police back in as a deterrent to the soaring crime rate.

Despite the loud proclamations from BLM activists that the police are the problem, Scott and his fellow activists are now claiming that they never wanted police to go away.

This is an example of trying to have it both ways. During the protests in Baltimore, protestors wore t-shirts saying, “Disarm the police.” The police were a convenient scapegoat to blame for the problems in black neighborhoods. People much wiser than I have stated that one of the first things than can be done to reduce the crime rates in black neighborhoods is to bring fathers back into families. Children of all races who are raised in families with their two biological parents are much less likely to get involved in gangs and illegal activity. We need to fix the family and then improve the education in black neighborhoods. That is a goal all of us can work toward.

The article concludes:

The reverend’s claims also seem to fly in the face of a list of 19 demands issued by protesters in 2015, one of which demanded that police be barred from entering certain buildings or parts of neighborhoods they had designated as “safe” from police. Clearly, the protesters wanted police removed from Baltimore’s neighborhoods. But now that they’ve gotten their wish, community leaders have suddenly realized what a bad idea such a pullback is.

The police are a force for good. There are occasional exceptions, but they are rare. Generally speaking, where there is a police presence, there is less crime. The recent events in Baltimore illustrate that.

Changing The Rules On “Don’t Let A Crisis Go To Waste”

During the second term of the Obama Administration, there was a lot of chaos caused by accusations of racism on the part of police. Later, many of these reports turned out to be false. Nevertheless, the Obama Administration set up a system whereby certain police departments would be subject to a level of interference by the federal government not seen before in America. Thankfully Attorney General Jeff Sessions has at least temporarily put that interference on hold.

The following memo was sent from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 31:

Hot Air posted an article about the memo today.

The article reports:

You may recall that less than three months ago there was a big press conference held in Baltimore where Loretta Lynch sat down with the Mayor to announce the approval of one of these consent decrees. In a very expensive program, the cops in Charm City would be in line for all sorts of “reforms” which would change their mandatory training regimens and the way they conduct business. Listed among the goals of the program were ways for police to focus on “deescalation” in violent confrontations, how to be more “respectful” of protesters (one assumes that would come before they actually begin setting buildings on fire) and putting civilians from the community in charge of police oversight.

Keep in mind that they were taking all of these steps even as Baltimore was experiencing a two year surge in violent crime which hadn’t been seen in decades. Much of the “reform” work was obviously in response to the Freddie Gray riots, which is particularly ironic because as I’m sure you will recall, all of the trials against the police were eventually dismissed with no evidence of foul play being established.

So now there will be a 90 day “pause” before any of these consent decrees move forward. What will happen during that time? Just a guess on my part, but I imagine there will be “modifications” rather than scrapping them completely. The changes will probably focus a bit less on reasoning with potentially violent mobs in the streets and getting some better armor and equipment. But as I said… that’s just a guess. It would certainly be in keeping with the promises that President Trump made while running for office, though.

Unfortunately there will always be people in authority who do not do their job fairly and honestly. There is nothing wrong with removing those people from their jobs. The problem is, however, that in recent years the press has reported things that were not true in many situations and caused unrest by their reporting. The lack of honesty in the press has ruined lives and given people a wrong picture of police in America. Most of our policemen are good men trying to do the difficult job of protecting the public. They need our support. Yes, we need to remove the bad apples, but we need to understand that the bad apples are the exception rather than the rule.

Why Voter Identification Matters

The Daily Signal posted an article on Friday about voter fraud. It is an issue in America.

This is the list the article includes of some recent incidents:

 

  • In McAllen, Texas, two campaign workers (known as politiqueras in local parlance) who bribed voters with cocaine, beer, cigarettes and cash during a 2012 school board election have been sentenced separately to serve eight and four months in prison, respectively. U.S. District Court Judge Randy Crane called this election fraud “terrible” and said that “our country requires that our voting process be clear and free of fraud for democracy to work … it’s dangerous for this to occur without consequence.”
  • A couple in Le Sueur, Minn., was charged with felony voter registration fraud for lying about where they lived so they could vote in a school bond referendum in another town.
  • A woman in Dothan, Ala., was sentenced to six months in prison for her part in a voter fraud scheme that got a city commissioner re-elected. She was the second of the four people charged to have been found guilty of voter fraud in the case, which may have involved more than 100 absentee ballots.
  • Bronx politician Hector Ramirez has been arrested after a 242-count grand jury indictment charged him with a massive voter fraud scheme that involved tricking voters into letting Ramirez and his staff illegally vote their absentee ballots. The local prosecutor told the New York Daily News that Ramirez, who lost two prior tries at a state assembly seat, “made a decision that he was not going to lose, under any circumstance.”
  • A state appeals court upheld a ruling voiding a 2013 commission election in Weslaco, Texas, in which dozens of illegal votes were cast in an election won by only 16 votes. The illegal votes included individuals falsely claiming to reside in the city and improper “assistance” that told voters who to vote for—a great example of how even a small amount of fraud can make a difference in close elections.
  • In Philadelphia, the setting of the infamous 2008 New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case, four local election officials have been charged with casting multiple votes in the city’s 18th Ward in a precinct in which three of them didn’t even live and were not registered to vote. This case illustrates the importance of poll watchers, because it was a local poll watcher who saw what happened and brought it to the attention of the district attorney’s office. This is the same district attorney, Democrat Seth Williams, who indicted two Democratic state legislators last year for accepting bribes in exchange for voting against a voter ID bill after the Pennsylvania attorney general, Kathleen Kane, also a Democrat, refused to prosecute the case.
  • On May 7, the Board of Immigration Appeals of the Executive Office for Immigration Review held that a Peruvian citizen who illegally registered and voted could be deported for violating federal law. Margarita Del Pilar became a permanent legal resident of the U.S. in 2004. She promptly applied for an Illinois driver’s license and registered to vote at the same time, then cast a ballot in the 2006 congressional election. When she applied for naturalization in 2007, she admitted in the INS interview that she had voted in an American election. Of course, if she had not applied to become a citizen, she could have continued to illegally vote with almost no chance of being detected.

Unfortunately, people who are not citizens are voting in American elections. That is the problem that the sudden influx of illegal aliens will create in the 2016 election. If an illegal alien has a driver’s license, he can illegally register to vote by simply stating that he is an American. This is a serious danger to the integrity of the American election process.

The article also suggests one solution to the problem of non-citizens voting in elections:

One recommendation I have made to state legislatures is to implement legislation that requires court clerks to notify state election officials when individuals called for jury duty are excused because they are not U.S. citizens. Courts get their jury lists from voter registration rolls, and it is a requirement that those who register to vote affirm under oath they are U.S. citizens. Individuals called for jury duty also have to affirm, again under oath, that they are U.S. citizens. And yet in a 2005 study, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that 3 percent of the 30,000 individuals called for jury duty from voter registration rolls over a two-year period in just one U.S. district court were not U.S. citizens.

The Virginia legislature recently passed a common-sense election reform bill (HB 1315), which would have required county jury commissioners to provide local election officials with the names of individuals called for jury duty who turned out to not be U.S. citizens. Local registrars could then remove those illegally registered voters and provide information to local law enforcement and the U.S. Justice Department for investigation and possible prosecution.

Unfortunately, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed this bill. Considering the political history of Governor McAuliffe, that is not a surprise.

 

The Justice System Works–Sometimes The People In It Don’t

Yesterday Breitbart.com posted a rather blunt statement by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (D). He stated that the charges brought against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray were “George Zimmerman and the Duke Lacrosse case all over again” and said “these cops are political prisoners, offered up as human sacrifices, thrown like red meat to an angry mob.” He made this statement on Friday’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel.

This sounds like an inflammatory statement until you really examine it.

The article reports:

Clarke said of the charges, “it’s a miscarriage of justice. This neophyte prosecutor stood up there and made a political statement, Neil, and I say that because she’s chanting or voicing some of the chants from this angry mob. Her job is to tune that out. She said, I hear the voices. She’s not supposed to hear anything as she reviews this case that is not consistent with the rule of law and our system of justice. Look, I’m an experienced and a veteran homicide detective. I’ve had — I’ve participated in charging conferences. There is no way I have ever gotten a criminal charge within 24 hours after taking over all the reports and evidence to a prosecutor. A prosecutor who is thorough needs several days to sift through hundreds of pages of reports. They usually want to interview some of the witnesses themselves, in person, and they have to sift through all of the evidence, piece by piece, and they have to wait for some of the forensics evidence to conclude, to come back and that’s why I say on a minimum, three to four days. She just got this case yesterday. This is political activism. She’ll never prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, and I’m not going to silently stand by and watch my brother officers, offered up as human sacrifices, thrown like red meat to an angry mob, just to appease this angry mob.” And that “she rushed this thing through.”

In case you have forgotten, the Duke lacrosse case occurred in 2006. It involved false charges of rape filed against three members of the Duke lacrosse team. As a result of the accusations, the remainder of the 2006 lacrosse season was canceled. Remember, the charges were false and the men were innocent. Meanwhile, where do they go to get their reputations back (or their athletic scholarships)? We are watching the same thing happen in Baltimore. When the dust clears, it may become obvious that the police may have been negligent in following procedures closely (there are rumors about a seat belt that was not fastened that should have been), but from here it does not look like whatever happened in Baltimore is deserving of the media attention or the protests it is getting.

It is unfortunate that there is injustice in our society, but it has always been there and always will be there. Since the police involved were both black and white, I don’t see how this can be logically seen as a racial issue. It may be seen as a racial issue if one chooses to do so, but I am not convinced there is any logic to that point of view.

If conditions in Baltimore are that bad, the answer is found in the ballot box–not in looting and destroying personal property.

 

How Spontaneous Are These Demonstrations?

How spontaneous are the demonstrations in Baltimore, New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C? I don’t know, but having seen help wanted advertisements in the past advertising for paid protestors, I am wondering. I am sure many of the people protesting are protesting because they think injustice has been done. I am also sure many of the people are protesting because it is an excuse to behave badly.

Yesterday the U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about the protests in Baltimore, New York, and other cities. The article includes a lot of pictures of the protests. Please follow the link above to read the article. Often the British press does a better job of reporting on America than the American press does.

The article sums up events in Baltimore:

Enforced by 3,000 extra police and National Guardsmen, the streets that had been rocked by massive unrest were quiet following the ending of the curfew at 5am with no reports of disturbances in the early hours.

Indeed, going on the numbers alone, the curfew was a resounding success.

On Monday, 235 people – including 34 juveniles were arrested, 19 buildings set ablaze, 20 police injured and 144 vehicles torched.

On Tuesday, 10 people were arrested and one police officer was injured.

But life is unlikely to get completely back to normal anytime soon.

Attempting to keep expectations low, Governor Larry Hogan said that along with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake they can’t promise that respect for the rule of law has returned to the city.

‘You can’t ensure that there’s not going to be any unrest. I’m not a magician,’ Hogan said to the Baltimore Sun . ‘What I can assure you is that we will put all the resources that we have at our disposal to make sure that disturbances don’t get out of hand.’

Let’s back up and look at this for a moment. It is unfortunate that a black man died while in police custody, but obviously that is not the whole story. When the facts eventually came out in Ferguson, it became obvious that the person killed was guilty of a number of things, including attempting to take the policeman’s gun and shoot him. Again, what happened was unfortunate, but the actions taken by the policeman involved were not totally unjustified. I wish there were more gentle ways to handle criminals who don’t listen to the police, but I also wish there were not criminals who don’t listen to the police. Both wishes are unlikely to come true.

This is one picture from the U.K. Mail article:

Protesters in Washington DC also marched on Wednesday from the Chinatown neighborhood to the White House in Washington DC

Note that the majority of the signs in the picture are professionally done. It is interesting to me that all of the protestors had the time (and the money) to get these signs printed up in such a short time.
I don’t like conspiracy theories, but I have noticed that sometimes people of all races die in encounters with police. It seems as if the victims who are not black just don’t get the publicity and reaction that we have recently seen. I  haven’t seen any “White Lives Matter” posters, and both white and black lives do matter. It seems odd to me that when America has its first black President, there is more racial tension in the country than there has been since the Civil Rights Movement. We need to examine the source of that tension carefully and look for the money behind it. The destruction and anarchy that is evident in these protests is being led behind the scenes. It would be to our advantage to know who is doing the leading.

Is Free Speech The Same As Destruction Of Property?

Is destruction of property a part of free speech? Evidently in Baltimore it is. Baltimore has recently been hit with protests as a result of the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody,

The Blaze reported yesterday:

Protests over the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, took a violent turn on Saturday, resulting in dozens of arrests and widespread property damage. During a recent press conference, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake confirmed that the protesters were being given “space” to “destroy.”

“While we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on,” the mayor said of the protesters. “We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to deescalate, and that’s what you saw.”

Someone needs to explain to me how destroying someone else’s property in any way accomplishes anything. Protesting is a right of every American; however, violence and property destruction are not a right–they are a criminal offense. Those who sought to destroy should have been promptly taken into custody–not given space to do so. The message sent to the people of Baltimore is that the police will not defend their businesses. This is not a good message to send. I suspect we will see many businesses move out of Baltimore in the near future because it is not safe to stay there. Also, what impact will the statement of the Mayor have on the cost of insurance for businesses in the affected area.