Does it have to be this way?

Does it have to be this way?

It’s a question I’ve heard before; would a change of political parties in our cities and states really make that big a difference? It’s a fair question. As I’ve noted here on previous episodes, Democrats have had a lock on many local elections, and our big cities are in decline where that happens. But would it be any different with a Republican at the helm?

I’ll talk about this, with a few examples, even one involving another game of Name That Quote!

Mentioned links:

The tweet used for Name That Quote

Five Years Later, Scott Walker’s Reforms Have Saved Taxpayers Billions

New evidence suggests that Seattle’s ‘radical experiment’ might be a model for the rest of the nation not to follow

Seattle City Council [Wikipedia]

Homicides in Chicago this year double same period last year

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Show transcript

We’ve got another entry for Name That Quote, the game show where I quote someone and you try to figure out who said it. The catch, of course, is that it’s definitely not something you’d expect to hear coming out of that person. It just goes to show you that sometimes, people can stumble across the truth.

For a bit of background, recall that Flint, Michigan has been in the news for the lead-contaminated water coming out of faucets all over the city. I noted a couple of episodes back that, while the Republican governor has been coming under pressure to resign over this, the Democratic city council, the temporarily assigned Emergency Manager, the mayor, and even the EPA of a Democratic president all were barely mentioned regarding accountability, if at all. I also noted that this string of Democrats running the city has been going on for quite a long time. Turns out, someone else noticed this, too. Here’s the quote:

Flint has voted for Dems for 84 straight yrs. What did it get us? For 18 months Dems remained silent &ignored pleas while Flint was poisoned

First, I’d like to note that I will never be quoting myself. I know that sounded like something I might have said, but it wasn’t. Clearly it was said by someone who lives in Flint; hence the question, “What did it get us?” I will give you a hint that this was said by someone born and raised in Flint, and as far as I can tell still lives there.

I’ll let you mull that one over, and reveal the speaker at the end of the show.

I have often remarked on how bad government brings about bad results, and the Flint example is just one of many. But now I want to bring you some good news about how good government brings about good results.

Five years ago, protestors filled Wisconsin’s state capitol and Democratic state senators were hiding out across the border in Illinois to block a vote on Act 10, the entitlement reform package ultimately signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker in March of 2011. Unions and college students cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the capitol during their protests, while the governor was trying to save money for those taxpayers. Did it work?

Well, would you say that a savings of over $5 billion dollars, with savings reaching from the state to the small town level, worked? I know I would. And consider this; Walker came into office inheriting a $3 billion state budget deficit, and his policies erased that. Of course, Walker is a Republican, and he got conservative policies implemented in spite of massive resistance.

But apparently results are not what the protestors want. Union-backed organizations are threatening to spend millions of dollars this year to flip the Wisconsin senate back to Democrat control, because economic sanity is clearly a threat to unions and Democrats. Fighting against lower taxes and better government efficiency seem to be a Democratic Party core principle. That may sound harsh and silly, but just sit back and observe. What other conclusion can you come to?

Let’s keep with the topic of city and state policies as we move on to Seattle,Washington, where, almost a year ago, it began the process of raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour. The first increase to $10 an hour for some Seattle businesses and $11 for others took place on April 1, 2015, and additional increases to $12.00, $12.50 or $13 an hour took effect for most employers on January 1, 2016. So how’s that working out? The American Enterprise Institute ran the numbers and came up with this:

Early evidence from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Seattle’s monthly employment, the number of unemployed workers, and the city’s unemployment rate through December 2015 suggest that since last April when the first minimum wage hike took effect: a) the city’s employment has fallen by more than 11,000, b) the number of unemployed workers has risen by nearly 5,000, and c) the city’s jobless rate has increased by more than 1 percentage point.

Additionally, the city had its worst 3-month job loss in the city’s history between September and November of 2015. Wow, who could have seen that coming? Well me, and I’m certainly no economics professor. If I could see it, it should have been pretty clear to a whole lot of people. Well, unless you happen to be on the Seattle city council. And what party are all the members? Well, officially, the posts are non-partisan and there is no party identification on the ballots, but the Wikipedia page notes that 8 out of 9 self-identify as Democrats. The 9th? She’s a socialist. Color me unsurprised.

But wait, you might say; other things could have contributed to that downturn that just so happened to start when the minimum wage started rising! Maybe, but let me point out two things. First, job growth in Seattle had been growing strong for the previous 5 years, right up until April. Sounds like the minimum wage hike was a solution in search of a problem. And second, while jobs in the city were taking a dive, jobs in the suburbs hit a record high in November.

So we’re back to the elephant in the room, especially if you’re a Democrat. Which party’s politicians are destroying the very people who elect them over and over, and does the other party have a track record of actually making things better? I’ve heard some folks suggest that these bad things would happen no matter who was in power. The results suggest that this isn’t necessarily the case.

And in the meantime, as of late February 2016, the number of homicides in Chicago was double what it was by that time last year. Can we afford to stick with the same, failed policies, or will we continue to mount up casualties in a war we simply won’t fight?

OK, do you have an idea about who was the subject of Name That Quote? It’s liberal filmmaker Michael Moore! That’s right; it’s apparently not just conservatives who are realizing that the breakdown of our cities has been happening under the watchful eye of one particular political party. But here’s the question I keep on proposing; do you think he’ll make a change as to who he votes for? Yeah, me neither.

Filed under: Economics & TaxesMinimum WagePartisanship