George will: Let them eat cake!

There are, of course, no good arguments against raising the minimum wage -- eroded by inflation to its lowest real value since 1955. So let's take a look at George Will's latest column -- in which he calls for its abolition -- for a sort of taxonomy of really bad arguments.

Before Will even gets to those bad arguments, he parrots a popular but entirely meaningless meme that's gained great currency on the right …


Today, raising the federal minimum wage is a bad idea whose time has come, for two reasons, the first of which is that some Democrats have an evidently incurable disease -- New Deal Nostalgia. Witness Nancy Pelosi's "100 hours" agenda, a genuflection to FDR's 100 Days. Perhaps this nostalgia resonates with the 5 percent of Americans who remember the 1930s.
Allow me to translate from wingnuttese to English: If we define the New Deal not only as a basketful of Roosevelt's policies in the 1930s but as a consensus that guided the hand of government during the period between the end of World War II and the rise of the new conservative movement in the 1970s -- as one should do -- then Will is saying that Democrats are nostalgic for a time when the very idea of corporate accountability was born; a period in which America experienced an unprecedented increase in shared prosperity; an era when a huge middle class was built and a single semi-skilled worker could afford to raise his or her (mostly his) family with a modicum of dignity; an era when people had the reasonable expectation that their kids would have an opportunity to do better than they did and a time when government attracted halfway intelligent people who believed in public service instead of the half-witted hacks that the Hart-Rudman Commission in 1999 found to be the ultimate cause of an "unprecedented crisis of competence in government."

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