Saturday, December 24, 2016

What's Really Happening, Trump Edition

Trump has been a source of division everywhere, including in the Bureau.  Many electrons have been spewed and much vitriol unleashed on this very subject, inside and out of the Bureau.  You've probably seen a lot of the stuff outside.

There is a saying that you should include someone who opposes you in your group of advisors to keep you honest.  The Bureau contains conservatives, liberals and libertarians, and yes, there's more than one of us.  Your author is an anarcho-capitalist who tends to caucus with minarchists and is generally more to the right than left.  However, the ranks include at least one progressive, and it is to this poor soul that many, many questions have been posed.  We will address some of them below.

Why did liberals protest the Trump presidency?

Actually, this is something your author does not at all understand.  No liberal has been able to explain it.  However, some interesting bits have come to light.

One, the author simply was not aware of how certain the Clintonistas were of victory.  Trump's victory did not surprise this author.  The polls seemed to be roughly 50/50 heading into the election if you looked at the electoral college.  So, the first issue is that the left was sure of victory, which made the loss that much more damaging to their souls.

Two, there is an astonishing amount of disinformation about Donald Trump that is taken as gospel by the left.  Trump, of course, is the source of some of that, as he does not think much before he says something.  Also, there's a lot of carefully disseminated disinformation about Hillary Clinton in that she worked hard to convince everyone who would listen that she would defend the downtrodden, fix race problems and raise up the income of the lower classes.  The facts of the case aren't part of this essay, so your author will let them slide for now, which requires a powerful act of will.

Three seems to be the assumption that the right that elected Trump will control Trump.  It seems that Democrats tend to stay bought by the constituency that elected them whereas Republicans tend rather to pursue ideological purity that suits them.  Donald Trump, of course, does neither, which we will get into below.

Exactly what the protesters hoped to accomplish is, of course, a mystery, as is why the left attempted to force recounts everywhere and tried to suborn electors.  Rather ironically, both attempts backfired and made Trump's margin of victory higher.  But, I digress.  It seems that the left felt so strongly that Trump would lead us all to ruin and Hillary, despite all evidence to the contrary, wouldn't, so did the things that liberal firebrands have done throughout history: they set out to 'raise awareness' as if anybody was unaware of this election, and to use whatever tricks they had to avoid the manifest disaster they saw coming.  What that disaster would be, exactly, none of them have been able to inform me, because there really isn't that much to hang Trump on that Hillary herself hasn't been doing.

Is Trump a conservative?

Not at all.  Trump used to be a Democrat.  Seriously.  There are a ton of pictures of him beaming and shaking hands with the Clinton family.  They came out during the Republican primary.  They didn't come out in the general election, of course, because that would have been Clinton saying 'hey, don't elect Trump because he used to be friends with me', which would be counter-productive at the least.

Is Trump evil?

No.  Trump is a blowhard.  Trump is brash.  Trump gets in snits and says and does things that are inadvisable.  However, there is plenty of actual evidence that Trump listens to calmer people, that Trump himself tries to be a nice guy and that Trump does what he can to be what he thinks a good person should be.  That may not be what you think a good person should be, but Trump is not, essentially, evil.

So, why the hate?

Well, there are a lot of reasons.  First, Hillary was a solid candidate for those who would be our masters.  She stands for the advancement of the globalists, the bankers, and federal government power.  While that sounds like a load of conspiracy claptrap, it's really not because you can actually go read the documents these people have written, some of which were in the DNC emails stolen by some hackers somewhere.  The fact that it wasn't a Russian government operation is also not part of the scope of this essay, but it really wasn't likely to have been.

So, along comes Trump.  Trump isn't a good candidate by any stretch of the imagination.  He infuriated whole demographics.  Were the Democrats to put up any candidate but Hillary, he would not have won.  However, his very inability to avoid stuffing his foot in his mouth was perceived as evidence that he was speaking truthfully from his heart, so he was perceived as genuine, and the American, and, indeed, the world, electorate is clearly tired of managed leaders who do nothing to help the people.

Also, everyone that seems to be a part of 'the system' hated Trump.  Each of these he took out, one by one.  When George Soros counseled against voting for Trump. your author started seriously considering voting for Trump.  That sort of thing won him a large number of votes simply because he had the right enemies and he did not back down from them.  Rather, he doubled down.

So, we have a candidate that has no record, has a history of making up his own mind on the fly and who hates the sorts of people who had been in power for decades.  Yeah, there's enough of a reason to whip up the populace against him.

Will he be a good president?

The bureau does not know.  Nobody does.  This is a source of a lot of concern for many analysts.  Confidence in Trump is rather more dependent on the opinion a given analyst has of Hillary than anything else, as, if you believe, as this author does, that she is the most corrupt politician to arrive to the scene in many decades, at least since Richard Nixon, then you believe that nearly anyone would be better than she.

Since nobody knows anything about Trump other than his public businessman persona, nobody knows whether he will be good or bad, but the chance remains he will be good.  There is evidence of this.

First, he's already made good on one of his promises and kept some jobs here.  He's working on keeping more.  His methods are cause for concern, but Trump is about the deal, not the mechanics of governance as Hillary.  For this reason, Trump surveys the information available and then makes the best decision he can see at the time.  This means he won't ever be predictable.  It also means he won't let political realities impinge on what he thinks is best.

We see this in his recent statements about the F-35 program.  The bureau has long been of the opinion that the F-35 is an utter waste of money, built for a war that will never happen and already obsolete.  The one thing it is is fabulously expensive, and provides a lot of money stuffed into the coffers of LockMart, which is often payback for favors during electioneering.

Trump wasn't paid for by LockMart.  That means he can look at the F-35 for what it is.  Survey the internet for a list of its failings; there are plenty.  Simply put, the Chinese airforce can see it, it is not particularly good at a gunfight and it is basically not field-repairable.  Also, its airframe is not durable so we will have to replace them much sooner than an equivalent aluminum-framed fighter.  Add it all up and you can understand why many analysts all over the internet have been calling for the cancellation of the F-35 program.  Trump sees this and, surprisingly, has made a rational choice.

Will he cancel the program?  Who knows.  Perhaps he will see the political expediency of retaining the program.  Perhaps he is simply trying to renegotiate the contract and bring down the cost of the program.  Perhaps he will do the thing that the Bureau has been calling for and create a new set of stop-gap fighters such as the F-18E/F and the F-15 SE, which would tide us over until such a time as supersonic drone warfare is a thing.

This author, for one, remains cautiously optimistic that the Donald will, indeed, make America great again.  We still wrap ourselves in our cynicism because we've felt this way before, in the early days of the Obama presidency, as well as the early days of the Bush presidency, but, perhaps, this time, it really is different.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Why We Can Never Repay the Federal Debt

I keep hearing many people talk of repaying the United States' federal debt.  This cannot happen.  Let me explain.

First, as has been discussed before, the United States Dollar is actually properly called the Federal Reserve Note.  What does this mean?  It is emitted by the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States and not by the Treasury.  It is backed by nothing and is pure fiat money.  There is no way to meaningfully redeem a Federal Reserve Note except by paying taxes.

The way a Federal Reserve Note gets born is interesting.  Ok, it's interesting to economics geeks, but might be passably diverting to the rest of you.  First, the Treasury Department issues a bond.  Then the Federal Reserve Bank buys some of those bonds.  To do this, it creates money by simply flipping a few electrons in a computer.  Then, once it receives the bond, it considers that an 'asset' and makes loans, swaps and so on using that to create money into the banking system, getting a nominal interest on everything it does.

Yes, for each dollar it creates to buy a federal bond, it creates a matching dollar to stuff into the banks.  If it were to see the debt paid down, the Federal Reserve Bank would see its assets shrink, and, were it not mendacious, it would be forced to recall its loans to banks to cover the loss of assets.  This is how the law is set up to work.  If the Federal Reserve Bank sees its assets go down, it must lower its loans by the same amount.

It wouldn't actually take much of a lowering of the federal debt, then, to cause a major problem in the economy, so accustomed is it to suckling at the teat of easy money.  Remember the hoary economist adage 'all activity is at the margin'?  If the debt goes down by 1% that means that the Federal Reserve Bank must reduce the money in the banks by 1% as well.  If the bank already has a reserve of, say, the minimum, which we'll call 3%, then suddenly its reserves will drop below the minimum and it will have to scramble to increase its reserves, which it can do by either increasing interest income or simply reducing its loans.  This would mean a greater recession and possibly a deflationary depression.

Yes, what I'm saying is that the bankers have gotten themselves into a position where not taking out loans would be ruinous.  This means they get to have a sustained income in interest for little to no risk, meaning they can maintain their lifestyles at everyone else's expense.  This is the essential fraud of the banking system.

There is no easy way to get rid of this monkey on our backs.  It will take either an economic disaster of biblical proportions or an amazing political will to effect change.  Until then, the bank will continue to skim off the top of the economy.

Why does it matter?  The activities of the fed cause inflation.  That is actually a stated goal they have.  That inflation is a hidden tax as it means that someone else is spending money to compete with the money you make in your job, and that money they are spending is reducing your purchasing power, meaning your life is worse.  From my viewpoint, it is much worse than that because the banks take no risk but receive profits as a result of their neat little scheme, so they actually provide no value.

In a classical economic system, a person that lends money he has to provide capital for industry provides value.  Such a person has accumulated the capital, presumably, through careful effort, and thus is likely to make good decisions about the dispensation of his capital.  This means such a person is, effectively, a controller.  This person decides what economic activity will happen, and, should such a person gain more and more capital in the process, such a person can be presumed to be good at such decisions.

If there's no requirement to use personal capital, such a person is merely getting money for no risk, meaning that person has no skin in the game and is lots more likely to waste money, so the economy's efficiency will suffer, leading to less of the things people want being available, thus increasing the cost of things people want.

So, in effect, the banks are stealing from us and hoping we never notice.

What is really happening

The day has come for another admittedly infrequent installment in this series.  Anyone who has read this blog (all six of you) knows that these vignettes contain speculation gleaned from the way news is published more than what is in the news itself.

For starters, we have Clinton's health.  As pointed out by one of our analysts (and yes, there's still more than one), Clinton could have simply told people she had pneumonia and been done with it, even if she only showed up for a few minutes on 9/11.  Few would care.  However, there are three interesting things about this story:

1) Hillary got pneumonia in the middle of summer.  Old people often do this.  This is proof of poor health all by itself, though.  It could just be she does not have enough left to cope with her schedule, but her schedule has been weak anyway.

2) Hillary is an inveterate liar.  That's not a salacious accusation, it's an observation based on what she's done in the past.  There's no reason to conclude she actually has pneumonia.  Certainly, we can surmise that pneumonia is not the totality of her health problems, meaning there's likely something else they're not telling us.

3) If #2 isn't correct and this is just pneumonia, then the Clinton campaign is really stupid.  It would have been lots better as said above to simply say she had it and curtail her schedule accordingly.  Once again, this shows poor judgement on the part of someone who wishes to attain what is, for better or worse, the highest office in the world.

Then we have Donald Trump.  He is pivoting towards the general election in lurches and appears to have the thing won, in my opinion, if he can just avoid angering anybody else.  Comparably, Clinton now has a major gaffe on her hands, although I doubt any of her core supporters really care that she called the supporters of her opponents, essentially, a stain on the character of America.  The ironic bit, of course, is that Clinton's career has been just such a stain as she continues to sell influence from every office she gains.

Then there's Wasserman-Schultz, who, in an apparent payment for helping defeat Sanders, has been given a job with the Clinton campaign.  This is a really stupid idea too, not that it bothers Clinton supporters.  Comparably, Trump won the Republican nomination despite being hated by the Republican leadership, which shows that the Republican party is far more democratic than the Democratic party.

Not that I support either; to a man, our analysts support Johnson/Weld.  One interesting bit is that the only 'gaffe' Johnson has committed so far, the 'Aleppo' gaffe, appears to have helped his poll numbers because more people are considering Johnson.

Believe it or not, none of the analysts in this venerable Bureau are actually Libertarians.  Only one of the analysts, your humble author, has ever been a member of the Libertarian party.  The other current analysts include a progressive and a conservative, on the principle that the more different angles available the more likely a correct assessment is made.

That being said, support in the bureau for Johnson/Weld remains strong because, oddly, the Libertarian ticket is more progressive than the Democrats and more conservative than the Republicans.  Libertarians have always been towards the anarcho-capitalist corner of the political map anyway, but Johnson/Weld, being moderate libertarians, are not as far in that direction as your author would like.  That being said, they present the best option for real change in this republic.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Hillary Bot

I track politics quite a bit, as an analyst for the bureau, ok, for the fun of it.  This means I am abreast of the latest about Hillary's email server.  As such, I can't seem to understand how her supporters still, well, support her.

The obligatory, these days, disclaimer must be said, and then mostly disbelieved, that I don't care that Hillary is a woman.  I only care that she is a bad candidate.  She's not very good.

It amuses me to no end that her campaign has reliably been forced to trot out the fact that she is incompetent as proof she is not a criminal.  What do I mean?

The most recent bit, trotted out by her campaign, is that she doesn't even know how to use a computer.  She used a Blackberry because she knows how.

Wow, where to start.  This woman would have us believe she's competent to run the free world but not competent to use a computer?  That she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that her home server was secure but she doesn't know how to use a computer?  I can go on like this for a while.

A reasonably wise and competent leader would at least attend a class, break out one of the 'Idiots' books, or hire someone to personally teach her.  She's rich enough.  The fact that she hasn't even, minimally, done this suggests that she's just not that interested in being the best possible public servant she can be.

That isn't really a surprise; being a servant isn't part of her character.  She's an 'elite' in her mind.  She's better than the rest of us and we should be ecstatic, I tell you, ecstatic to let her be involved in running things because, well, there's something or other she has or does that makes it all better.

Except that it doesn't.  She wasn't particularly good as Secretary of State.  She was almost a non-entity as a senator.  As First Lady, her only policy effort failed, thank goodness, and has recently been held up by a federal court as a model of mendacity.

The only thing she shows any aptitude for is lying, although she's incompetent at that too.  Bill would lie and then stick with his story.  Hillary tells one lie, gets called out, shifts to a new lie, gets called out, then, sometimes, shifts back to the original lie hoping we've all forgotten.  Her lies are now too numerous to print.

The thing is that if she'd simply seized the narrative and said that she did use a personal email server, State was not aware of it, but it wasn't illegal and wasn't insecure, and, yes, classified information likely did pass through it but she was not aware of any, she'd now be looking at a slap on the wrist and it wouldn't likely affect her campaign as much.

It is the lies that affect her campaign.  It's not that she's dishonest; that was known because she is, after all, a lawyer and a politician.  It's the fact that her lies were all so transparently aimed at conning the American public into electing her, which, combined with the evidence she believes she's entitled to the office, paint a picture of someone who lacks the humility to properly serve the American people.

She, if elected, intends to get out in front of all of us and lead us to where we were going anyway, as she does not actually have an original idea.  The only things she intends to try to make happen that are against the public opinion are things that are very bad.  She is the caricature of the establishment candidate: led by the nose by special interests, only willing to stand up for ideas that are inconsequential except to harass populations considered evil by liberals, and completely certain of her personal superiority and therefore the right to make such decisions on our behalf.

What Is Really Going On With Donald Trump

Today I watched Hillary Rodham Clinton stand up with a grim look and pronounce that Donald Trump did not have the temperament to be president.  She then reminded us that the President of the United States would have the secret nuclear codes.  She felt this piece of knowledge, apparently, would shock those American citizens who support Donald Trump into supporting her.  She is very, very wrong.

For starters, her argument actually works better against herself: would you want someone as president who is not even reliable enough to avoid risking exposure of state secrets just for her personal convenience?  That is, of course, the most charitable explanation, that she is too incompetent and/or lazy to bother with following official directions.  Should such a person really be allowed to control the nuclear codes?

However, this post is actually about Donald Trump.  A problem most of the anti-Trump crowd has is that they assume that people are listening to politicians and rationally picking the one that makes the best arguments.  Were this the case, Hillary wouldn't be doing well, either, but Trump would certainly be doing poorly.

Trump appeals because he is not a part of the establishment.  From the fact that he is independently wealthy to the fact that his brash statements and lifestyle obviously show he is not beholden to public opinion, Trump sets himself apart from the serious society that modern politicians expend great effort aping.

So, when Hillary attacks Trump in this way, not only does she expose herself to counterattacks, but she also completely fails to get the point.  In a way, nobody in Hillary's position, or anyone in any talking-head position, can attack Trump effectively because Americans are pretty sure they're all lying to forward their own agendas because, well, they've been caught at it so many times.  Attacks from them mean little to a Trump supporter.

As a matter of fact, given how low the average American's opinion of the establishment has sunk at this point, getting attacked by the establishment merely burnishes Trump's appeal.  There is no effective way to attack this man.  That, alone, makes him one of the most appealing candidates in some time to the kind of people that want change.

The constant creeping of bureaucracy that has accelerated under Obama grates.  It has come to the point that nothing short of revolutionary effort will stop it.  I do not intend to become apocalyptic, but our current government attempts to control as much of our lives as possible under the guise of enlightenment.  Trump, whatever his political views, is seen as the only candidate that can effectively stand up to this, if only because he's a loose cannon, a bull in a china shop, whatever metaphor you like, and has the intestinal fortitude to steer his own course no matter what.

I am not praising the man.  I will vote Gary Johnson, as I did last election.  If you don't know who Gary Johnson is, you should take some time to Google him to see if maybe he presents a better option than the two presumptive nominees.  However, I am cautiously optimistic about a Trump presidency as long as he makes an effort to surround himself with good people.

Unfortunately, it could all go very, very wrong.  If he sets about to making new laws and new regulations, then he will just contribute energetically to the death spiral of over-regulation we seem to have slipped into and thus hasten the apocalypse (ok, a little apocalysm slipped in).  I still don't see, personally, how he could possibly be worse than the known evil of Hillary Clinton, the lying, manipulative, venal, corrupt and greedy woman who honestly does not care about this country so long as she gets to run it, something she sees as her entitled right for some reason or other that escapes me.

Just as a final shot, note that every single accusation she's leveled at Trump applies to her: she insists he's just doing this for personal gain (she certainly is doing it for personal gain), he's unstable and unfit to be president (she's never held an idea longer than it was of use to her personal political campaign), he's corrupt and pays for influence (she's corrupt and has sold influence, to Trump), and so on.  The personal gain argument is particularly mendacious as Trump will not make more money as president than he could as, well, the Donald.  As a matter of fact, he's spending his own money on the campaign.  Hillary, on the other hand, will make much more money after she is president, peddling influence, among other potential career opportunities.  This is the final advantage of Trump, that he has already made his money, so has no need of being bought.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Why I Support Donald Trump

There, I said it.  I support Donald Trump for president.  Not that I care particularly for him as a candidate; I don't.  Not that I think a Republican would be significantly different than a Democrat; I don't.  Not that Donald Trump has shown significant insight or deep understanding of the issues; he hasn't.

No, it's pretty simple: the kinds of people I loathe in national politics simply hate Donald Trump.  That means there must be something there, and, even if there isn't, it will send a definite signal if Donald Trump achieves the presidency: the people are angry.

The average voter does not have the inclination nor the time to understand what is going on in the world.  Indeed, the world is so large and chaotic that no group of dedicated persons, even those in the Bureau, have the slightest chance of understanding everything.  Therefore, the average voter uses a rule of thumb to decide on an election.  In this election, that rule of thumb is that they are tired of the establishment screwing around and robbing us blind.

There are other reasons.  Trump actually has a point when he says nobody outside of America really respects Obama, and that mantle of disrespect would be assumed by Hillary were she to become president.  Whether a strong personality should occupy the Oval Office or not, at least Trump does, indeed, possess a strong personality.

Then, there's the question of success.  Whether or not Trump got his billions by righteous means, whatever those means are to you and yours, he did, indeed, get billions.  By comparison, nobody else in the entire field is anywhere near as successful.  This means Trump is, at least, minimally competent to run a large organization, something that cannot be said of Hillary, whose primary income is derived from speech giving and, apparently, influence peddling.  As a matter of fact, Trump has, indeed, purchased influence from the Clintons.

And, finally, and, perhaps most tellingly, Trump basically cannot be bought.  This is unique in recent memory.  Prior to Trump, there simply has not been a candidate in my lifetime that was so situated and had a chance in the general election.

I do think Trump's heart is in the right place.  I believe he's been watching the country veer towards authoritarianism, aided and abetted by petit dictators in both parties who would enforce their idea of heaven on the rest of us (exempting themselves, naturally) so that we could all live a 'better life' than we could achieve by our own efforts.

Given that, politically, I am a rather radical minarchist, I support Gary Johnson as being both the closest to me politically and the most likely to make any real change in governance.  Since he's a Libertarian, he's not going to get the election at the moment, so, instead, I will help elect Donald Trump at the two main parties as a promise of further electoral revolt if they do not mend their ways and see to the simple pastime of making a government that operates smoothly and improves lives by not screwing them up.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Why $15 an hour minimum wage is a bad idea

Several candidates (and many voters) are enamored of the idea of a massive increase in the minimum wage, with $15 or even $17 being quoted, as this is assumed to improve the lot of the very poor.

More than one problem exists with this idea:

Wrong demographic

Actually, rather than helping the 'poor', this is likely to impact the newly employed.  Most of those who earn minimum wage are actually young workers.  Sure, there are families whose wage earners earn minimum wage, and we will get to them, but the majority of those impacted will be workers looking for their first job, which are normally teenagers and young adults who need the money a lot less than the truly poor.

Drives inflation

This one is a bit difficult, as it isn't immediately obvious, but think about all the people who earn minimum wage.  We often speak of the makers of burritos in these pages, and we will do so again.  The actual cost of a burrito is heavily dependent on labor costs, most of it at the low end.  Increasing minimum wage will cause an increase in the cost of the burrito.  It won't be completely proportional; other issues impinge that we discuss below.

This will increase the cost of production of nearly everything.  Over a relatively short period of time, a few years, nearly everyone will have to be making more to have the same purchase power as before, so those on minimum wage will suddenly find themselves little better off than before.  For instance, in an economy comprised of a doctor and several burrito producers, in order for the doctor to get as many burritos, he will have to raise his prices, leading to burrito producers having to pay more, largely negating the gains from the increase in minimum wage.

Drives unemployment

First, and almost immediately, while inflation has not taken hold, our mythical burrito house is faced with a difficult decision: raise prices or fire workers and make the remainder work twice as hard.  As time goes on, he will get a third choice: buy new equipment to replace workers for much less.

So, let's look at the hypothetical dual wage earner family that makes, right now, say, $9 an hour each, for $18 an hour.  In order to meet the new minimum wage requirements, the burrito house has to lay off one of them.  The other, being senior, is actually given more than the minimum wage, say, $16 an hour, but, as you can see, that's less total pay than both got before.

Since the wage earner is unskilled labor, the remaining wage earner will have a hard time finding a job.  They will have to spend less money, which may not be possible.  It is quite likely that raising the minimum wage in this way will actually cause higher unemployment and serious hardship for the very demographic it is intended to help.

As time passes, it will be financially advantageous to replace workers with machines.  Inflation often does this.  Once again, this will lead to unemployment, except it will be permanent this time.  Since inflation will eventually remove the effect of the minimum wage, it will eventually remove the unemployment effect, but if a particular industry has already mechanized production, it is unlikely to walk back from that.

The final cause of unemployment is that we have a global economy, and, unless we are willing to enact stringent isolationism, raising the minimum wage will drive production to countries with lower wage costs.  This has already happened repeatedly.  This will, of course, lead to lower employment.

Reduces entry level jobs

For a new job seeker, often a teenager, with no skills and no job history, it can be very difficult to get a job.  Raising the minimum wage will make this much worse.

Mechanization will require skilled operators.  This means companies that mechanize in response to the increase in the minimum wage will face higher training costs, and this presents a very real risk.  The company has to bet on an unskilled worker working out, and is paying much, much more for the worker while the worker is not making the company any money.

Even companies that have not mechanized will be reticent to hire new workers.  Since a company is in the business to make a profit, they need to sell more product than they incur in costs.  A new worker is unlikely to turn a profit for some time at the new, higher minimum wage.  This means companies will be less likely to take a chance on a new worker.

Of course, eventually, inflation will fix this problem as well.

It doesn't work

In the long term, raising the minimum wage will raise costs.  It will raise costs rather quickly, rapidly wiping out the income gains for those to whom it applies, and causing hardship for those on fixed incomes, who can't respond to such massive inflation.  It may trigger hyperinflation.

If we instead got rid of the minimum wage, we'd see the cost of nearly everything either stay the same or drift lower.  What this means, to the target demographic, is that the things they buy can get cheaper.  This is improved purchase power.  While the target demographic does not have more money, they can buy more because prices have fallen, so they are better off.

If we got rid of the minimum wage, we'd see higher employment, which results in lower crime as well as lower welfare costs.  Giving people the option to work with dignity for their wage is always better than forcing them to not be able to work by enshrining a number in law.

So, what should we do?

We should eliminate the federal minimum wage.  States are welcome to set whatever minimum wage they like, so, if you want to live in a state with a minimum wage, you can.

Eliminating the federal minimum wage would allow for greater employment, meaning more people can support themselves and get on the job track rather than the welfare or crime track.  It will allow companies to train younger workers while paying them pocket money, and will mean that people who find themselves in economic trouble can at least get some cash flow.

Eliminating the federal minimum wage would allow real data to enter the argument.  Since different states would have different minimum wages, or none at all, we'd be able to compare them with a chance to make an observation on who is really right on this issue.