Quick Hits: How Bridgegate Could Help Christie. Big Problem With Rubio’s Anti-Poverty Ideas. Schooling Economic Illiterates.
1. How Bridgegate Could Help Chris Christie:
So things are rapidly going from 10 to 11 on the MSM Freakout O Meter on Bridgegate.
Whether or not it’s true, Bridgegate now has a bodycount.
According to the NY Times, it also has a federal criminal probe.
So how the hell could this help Christie?
A lot of conservatives don’t like him but they like the MSM and Democrats less. If they overplay their hand going after Christie it may cause conservatives to rally to him, at least temporarily. One of Christie’s biggest virtues for conservatives has always been he has the right enemies. Like Rudy Giuliani before him, the fact that liberal activists, unions and assorted members of the Democrat coalition hate him, it makes him more attractive.
It’s not a permenant solution for Christie but it might buy him some grace from the right. The more the Democrats in government and in the media go after him, the more some on the right will either hold their fire on him or actively defend him.
If nothing else, having Obama’s DoJ investigating him will help elevate the image of Christie hugging Obama.
At his presser, Christie drew some very bright lines that he had nothing to do with this or prior knowledge. If that checks out, this will be a net plus for Christie. If there’s any crack in his story, he’s toast. It’s a binary thing at this point.
One thought on how this could really hurt Christie behind the scenes…he spoke of his betrayal by a close staff. If Christie wants to move onto a White House race, he’s going to do so without some of his inner circle (including his top political aide and campaign manager Bill Stepien) and with a distrust of the people left behind.
2. Marco Rubio’s Big Anti-Poverty Plan Has A Big Whole In It
If James Pethokoukis is right in describing Rubio’s plan and what it’s trying to accomplish there’s a giant and troubling hole in it….
Second, the income gap between work and non-work is too narrow or even non-existent in some cases. The higher that society defines a basic standard of living, the more rewarding entry level jobs need be.
It’s true the gap between working and not working is to close but there’s no way the government can artificially inflate entry level wages. Well, they can try but they will only fuck things up for low-end workers. And if you push up entry wages you put upward pressure on all other wages which has all sorts of other distorting effects on the workforce and greater economy. And if you did all of this the Democrats would simply come back and say, “look the safety net is to stingy! We need to increase benefits.” and then you start the whole cycle all over again.
If the gap between work and welfare is too narrow the only solution is lowering welfare. Liberals won’t acknowledge this and yet they appear to be driving the conversation as always.
BTW- Why is the GOP focusing on “the poor” and not “the middle class”?
I know the argument will be, “we need to do both”.
A-That’s not true
B- I’d like to see the GOP do one thing right before it starts multi-tasking.
3. Megan McArdle Schools Juicebox Economics Writers
It’s old (from last August) but I just saw it and it’s great.
Without naming names (too bad but we know who she’s talking about) McArdle takes the Barros and Yeglisass of the wold to the woodshed and beats them over the head with a 2 x 4 about Walmart and wages.
If you want Wal-Mart to have a labor force like Trader Joe’s and Costco, you probably want them to have a business model like Trader Joe’s and Costco — which is to say that you want them to have a customer demographic like Trader Joe’s and Costco. Obviously if you belong to that demographic — which is to say, if you’re a policy analyst, or a magazine writer — then this sounds like a splendid idea. To Wal-Mart’s actual customer base, however, it might sound like “take your business somewhere else.”
This is not actually just a piece on how Wal-Mart can only pay low wages — I don’t know how much more they could afford to pay before they started to lose customers (or the board kicked the CEO out), and neither does anyone else writing about this. I’m actually interested in the larger point: the way that things most people rarely think about — like the number of products that a store carries — have far-reaching effects on everything from labor, to location, to customer service and demographics. We tend to look at the most politically salient features of the stores where we shop: their size, their location, the wages that we pay. But these operations are not so simple. They are incredibly complex machines, and you can no more change one simple feature than you can pull out your car’s fuel injection system and replace it with the carburetor from a 1964 Bonneville.
Having a basic understanding of business and economics helps one in writing about business and economics? Sounds kind of racist to me.