Wendy’s recent announcement that it’s installing 1,000 self-service kiosks in its restaurants is a huge counter-salvo against the Fight for $15 and its effort to push through an unreasonable national minimum wage.

Most mainstream economists believe paying America’s youngest and least-skilled workers at least $15 an hour will kill countless jobs, especially for those least able to lose them. But the progressives behind the push, seemingly ignorant about how the economy actually works, claim the wage hike would have few ill effects.

But the Wendy’s plan, plus similar automation ideas being considered by other fast-food chains, puts the lie to that contention. When you force employers to pay workers more than they’re worth, the result is fewer people have jobs.

The battle over the minimum began at the turn of the 20th Century, the dawn of the original Progressive Era . There is, however, a huge difference with how the leftists of yesteryear approached the issue. The original Progressives backed a minimum wage precisely because it would throw people out of work.

As economic historian Thomas C. Leonard explains in Illiberal Reformers (Princeton University Press, 2016), the Progs were a new breed on the national landscape at the end of the 19th Century. Devout believers in science as a cure for every ill, Progressives were convinced the only way America could survive and thrive was if all aspects of society were run by experts — namely themselves.

One of the Progressives’ main concerns was racial purity. They feared that Americans of Anglo-Saxon stock were threatened by hordes of inferior creatures, primarily racial minorities and immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. They concluded that an efficient way to protect the native-born was to drive the undesirables — whom they called “unemployables” — out of the workforce.

The “experts” believed the government had to intervene to prevent white workers’ pay from plummeting to unsustainable levels. They thought blacks and immigrants would accept lower living standards than white men, so they would accept lower wages. The ensuing “race to the bottom” would cut white men out of the job market and leave them unable to raise families.

To that end, the Progressives sought a national minimum wage — or, as they called it even back then, a “living wage” — to make labor so expensive that employers would hire only highly competent workers (i.e., white men).

(The Progressives also wanted women out of the workplace. Not only did they hold jobs that men could do, but the Progs also wanted females at home, breeding and caring for their families for the betterment of the race.)

So what would the “unemployables” do if they were prevented from working? Under the Progs’ plan, some — imbeciles, drunkards, criminals and the disabled — would be institutionalized, while others would be placed in “labor colonies,” a euphemism for work camps. It’s not a stretch to imagine that such places could eventually become concentration camps.

By 1919, fifteen states had minimum wage laws, but the Progressives never got the federal law they wanted. Acts were passed, but the Supreme Court struck them down as unconstitutional because they interfered with employers and workers’ right to enter into free and willing contracts.

Not until Franklin Roosevelt’s administration did Congress approve a law, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, that survived judicial review.

When it comes to the Progressive Era, historians are unfailingly generous in telling how it improved American life by creating better working conditions, establishing food and drug regulations, and reforming the political system. Many also credit the movement for women gaining the right to vote even though most Progressives opposed the idea.

But the dark side of Progressivism is buried and rarely comes to light in the history books. Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism is an excellent antidote that is both enlightening and entertaining. Now we can add Thomas C. Leonard’s Illiberal Reformers to the must-read list for exposing the anti-humanity ideals that formed the core of the Progressive machine.


by baldilocks

The Left has been building America up for overt communism/socialism/marxism/progressivism—henceforth called leftism–for a long, long time. Most educational systems have long ceased to educate their charges properly.They baldilockshave ceased to define objectively the concepts of leftism, small-l liberalism, capitalism, basic economics and, of course, history. Specifically, educational systems stopped calling leftist concepts and ideologies by name. This made it easier to present these principles as good and necessary–present them as rights.

The accepted and assumed “truth” that leftist principles are rights is virus-like. It has become so pervasive that, when those who are properly educated, formally or otherwise, try to explain how and why such principles aren’t rights guaranteed by the US Constitution and how the implementation of these “rights” has bankrupted this nation and how it has radically altered life in this country for the worse, explainers get labeled adversely: racist, Nazi, Uncle Tom, fascist, Aunt Jemima, sexist, tool of the Patriarchy, or some combination thereof, depending on the coating and plumbing of the Cassandra in question. And, these labels stick for the same reason–because the definition and history behind those terms isn’t taught either. So, for example, instead of a Nazi being defined as someone who oppresses a set of persons, a Nazi is defined as someone who stops another from oppressing a set of persons.

And, in the wake of the sowing of those seeds, the human emotions of covetousness have further softened the ground for Leftism. The idea of profit beyond a certain limit being morally wrong stems from nothing but envy. Therefore, if the regular Jane knows nothing about government or economics or history except for the distorted topical versions dispensed by the average public educational system, the average university system and/or the seven o’clock news, she can be convinced, for example, that nationalizing the oil industry will bring down her gasoline bill. She can be convinced that corporations are the enemy of the worker. She can be convinced that their money is her money—stolen out of her pocket. She can be convinced that all profits of other individuals and corporations belong to her and those like her. She can be convinced that the great, almighty government can save her and everyone from the dastardly, mustache-twirling corporations. And, ultimately, she can be convinced that the icon of Hope and Change—the very flowering of the Leftist transformation plan for America–can and will make all of her dreams come true.

And so it is that the Cassandras, eloquent though they may be, will go unheeded for the most part.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

by Linda Szugyi

Words have meaning.

That’s precisely the reason why progressives are always finding new words and phrases to describe the same old things.  The meaning of a word has a pesky little way of conveying truth, and when your goals run contrary to public opinion about said truth, then you had better run to the drawing board and find some other way to sell your snake oil, because the words “snake oil” aren’t going to sell many bottles.

“Rebranding” is the term used nowadays, and when it means that an old marketing ploy no longer connects to the consumer, it is not necessarily a bad thing.  After all, how many women today would be sold on a soap product that promises to preserve her daintiness?

When it means that an ideology no longer connects to voters, however, “rebranding” is a Very Bad Thing.  After all, we are talking about putting a social and governmental plan into operation, not choosing between different soaps.

When ideology is the subject at hand, then “rebranding” is another word for lyingGeorge Orwell knew that a long time ago.  Alas, rebranding often works.  So, the Florida legislature does not repeal the laws implementing Common Core, but it does strike the words “Common Core” from state law, and replace it with “Florida Standards.”

Apparently, Iowa and Arizona are also undergoing the “rebranding” procedure for Common Core implementation.  That which we call a rose by another name would not be as sweet, it seems.

In other words, if it smelled good wouldn’t we be satisfied by calling it Common Core?

Yes we would.  Common Core, however, stinks.  In fact, my rudimentary research for this post reaffirmed the fact that Common Core is educational snake oil.  Shoot, the item at the top of one Google search was an ad for “blamecommoncore.com,” which explains that:

“This website will seek to bring some clarity to this debate by using a common sense approach to the Common Core, based on facts and reasoned arguments. . . . CICERO Systems provides this source for Common Core information as a service to the educational community.  We invite feedback on all aspects of Common Core, without a political agenda and grounded in factual evidence.”

They are a source of Common Core information . . . as a service.  It’s got nothing to do with the fact that their eTextbook software bundle will “revolutionize the way you teach!”  Hmm.  It seems that the very act of selling a product is being rebranded as a public service.

Speaking of rebranding, we need a new language in order to discuss the Common Core standards, don’t you think?  I know the standards themselves already sound like a new language.  For example, check out the silly way Standard 9-10 LS.6 explains high schoolers should learn enough words to communicate like an adult, and should be able to learn new words on their own.  While you are at it, notice the lesson that meets this standard.  It features nursery rhymes and Kanye West.  Nursery rhymes.  And Kanye West.

Anyhoo, some of us foil hat wearers and cottoning on to the real meaning of words and phrases like “rigor,” “assessments,” and “college and career ready.”  So perhaps educators need to come up with a new layer of impenetrable verbiage.  Thinking Maps has a template ready:  A Common Language for the Common Core.

In only two short pages, this “common language” manages to be “peculiarly riddled with such stunning Orwellian-inspired ditties like change agent, change maker, education pioneer, thought leader, thought merchant, groupwork, groupthink and mindshift.”

I can understand that businesses want to use the education overhaul as an opportunity to make money.  But the fact that many teachers are actually sold on this profoundly silly doublespeaking fluff talk really boggles the mind.

Calvin would be proud.

academia here I come

Here is my auto-biographical epilogue.  I should tell you more about myself, but if you enjoyed my writing then really you should be thanking Da Tech Guy by subscribing.

Last week I talked about how playing with language is a sure sign that something isn’t working out.

Well it looks like the left is going to need new words again:

“Being described as a progressive, on the other hand, is a positive for 22% of voters and a negative for 34%, with 41% seeing it in between,” Rasmussen said.

“But in the previous survey, voters were evenly divided, with 29% saying progressive was a positive description and 28% describing it as a negative.

“This marks a continuing downward trend for progressive which little over three years ago was slightly more popular than conservative.”

And remember they started saying “Progressive” because “liberal” wasn’t popular.

Let’s see, can’t say liberal, can’t say progressive, no wonder communist and socialist is coming back.