Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Zombies Ideas That Aren't Bastards: Where Did Ben Carson's Belief That Raising the Minimum Wage Will Hurt Black People Come From?

In a democracy, the 4th Estate is supposed to critically evaluate candidates for political office. By doing so, the electorate should, ideally, be provided with information to make an informed voting choice.

Last night's Fox Business Network Republican Primary Debate was one more example of how that model is broken in the United States. 

Fox News is the Republican Party's propaganda outlet. In the age of Right-wing edutainment and epistemic closure, Fox News actually controls the Republican Party. Consequently, a debate hosted by the Republican Party's propaganda arm is akin to a person talking to themselves, about themselves, for their own entertainment.

[Fox Business Network's "debate" would also be at home in the old Soviet Union, Mao's China, or the German Democratic Republic where party apparatchiks would ostensibly duel it out over decisions that were already decided.] 

Ultimately, the only substantive value that came from Fox's debate was that the public was allowed to see--again--the inner working of the Right-wing id.

But perhaps a teachable moment can be salvaged from the Republican human zoo circle jerk primary debate last evening.

One of my favorite animals is the civet cat. This wonderful creature eats coffee berries and poops out the bean inside, to which the civet cat's stomach acids have imparted  a rich and robust flavor. Enterprising human beings then pick through the civet cat's crap to find these beans which are then sold for 3,000 dollars a kilogram.

During last night's "debate" Ben Carson suggested that raising the minimum wage would hurt black workers. As I have said many times before, the primary role of today's black conservatives is to parrot and channel white supremacy and neoliberalism. The canard that raising the minimum wage will somehow hurt Black and Brown America is a tired and old talking point. 

Ideas have a history. Zombies ideas are hard to kill. Carson is offering up an argument that was developed decades ago by Right-wing libertarian think tanks and then legitimated by black conservative economists Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. 

Williams' documentaries "Good Intentions" and "The State Against Blacks" are favorites on the White Right. Williams is also a regular guest on extreme libertarian John Stossel's show on the Fox Business Network.

Why do you think that the many discredited economic theories offered up by conservatives are taken seriously despite the great amount of evidence against them? 

Alternatively, do you substantial have evidence that raising the minimum wage is actually a net loss for the black and brown poor and working classes more generally? If so, please do share.

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