Sunday, April 13, 2014

Alison Lundergan Grimes is Wrong on Minimum Wage


Alison Lundergan Grimes's argument for increasing the minimum wage reflects the doe-eyed naivete that has characterized her campaign:  the policy she advocates would actually hurt those she purports to help.

It's as if Grimes thinks that the government can outlaw poverty by ordering businesses to give workers a raise. Why stop with just the minimum wage?  Let's give everyone in Kentucky a raise!

In Grimes's op-ed in the Courier-Journal, she makes the spectacular assertion that raising the minimum wage would create jobs, when in fact, it  would do the opposite.

Grimes's inability to grasp basic economic concepts such as the laws of supply and demand underscores that she is not ready to lead. The cost of labor is no different than the cost of raw materials.  When the cost goes up, an employer has three choices:  (1) cut the number of employees -- either by firing existing employees or declining to hire new ones; (2) cut workers' hours; or (3) pass along the increased labor costs to consumers by raising the prices for goods or services.

Grimes points out that more and more Kentuckians are working minimum wage jobs.  But that is just a function of the "Obama recovery."  The last thing that Kentucky businesses need is more government regulation making it more difficult and more expensive to survive. To the contrary, for Kentucky to attract new businesses, we need to cut taxes and regulation -- which is why Kentucky needs to flip the House.

Though she pitches her argument to Kentuckians, Grimes is advocating the national minimum wage increase that Obama has been seeking. Plainly,  Grimes and Obama are of the view that Washington knows best and one size will fit all, thereby preventing Kentucky from using our lower cost of living and lower labor costs to lure businesses here from higher labor states like New Jersey (which is reaping the disastrous effects of increasing its minimum wage).

Grimes's makes the argument that "[p]rivate-sector leaders, including Gap. Inc. and Costco, have independently raised wages for their workers, including Kentuckians right here in the commonwealth."  (Note to Grimes:  we all understand that Kentuckians, by definition, are "right here in the commonwealth." Stop treating voters like we're stupid.)  But as to her point about Gap and Costco, that  illustrates that employers can raise the minimum wage without government compulsion.  If an employer like Gap or Costco wants the best workers, it will pay more to get them.  That's how supply and demand works.

Grimes then goes own to assert that 'recent polling shows that a majority of small business owners support increasing the minimum wage."  Again, Grimes's point undercuts her argument; if a majority of business owners want to increase wages, they are free to do so.  There is no law or regulation preventing them from doing so.  And if Grimes's assertion was true, it would already have happened, and other businesses would respond in kind by similarly offering higher wages.  The reality in the age of Obamacare, however, is that businesses are struggling to keep open under its onerous costs; the last thing they need is the government mandating that the cost of production and services go up even more.

Grimes ignores that minimum wage jobs are an entree into the workforce.  They offer employment experience for young people and women who may be returning to the work force after having taken time off to raise children.  A minimum wage job offers much more than just the wage -- it is an opportunity to get a fresh line on the resume showing recent employment history, a chance to earn a reference so that one can eventually move on to a higher paying job.  An employer will be less likely to take a chance on a worker if the government forces it to pay a wage for which that worker may not be able to deliver value.

Perhaps most disturbing about Grimes's and Obama's characterization of the minimum wage is the unspoken assumption that workers will stay stuck in minimum wage jobs, permanently.  To be sure, Obama and Harry Reid have created an economy where entrepreneurs are loathe to take a risk, start a business, hire new employees. Wages are stagnant and employment is such that huge chunks of the potential workforce have simply given up looking for a job. Yet Grimes wants to go to Washington to help Obama and Reid do more of the same.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell understands that the best way help minimum wage workers is through economic growth and innovation that only comes when we cut the shackles of government regulation and taxes.  The best way to help a minimum wage worker is not by mandating a raise -- which might get that worker fired -- but by creating an economic environment whereby the minimum wage job is a first job, not a sentence for life.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

KY Republicans Need to Continue Outreach to Minorities and Youth


Thomas Solwell's column today, on How Republicans Can Win Black Votes, reminded me of a bit of progress I observed recently.

The Jefferson County Republican Party tried something different this year.  Instead of a traditional Lincoln Day dinner,  a few weeks ago it hosted a "Party for the Party," complete with a band and a nominal entrance fee. The idea was to make the event fun and relaxed.  The genius of this approach is that it drew people who would not have paid to eat rubber chicken at a Lincoln Day dinner with a bunch of old white guys who all knew each other. This kind of outreach is key to the very survival of the Republican party.

So I was encouraged at the Party for the Party by the presence of Blacks and young people (teens and early 20's).  To be sure, there were not huge numbers of either group, but the presence of any is real progress, and we cannot let political correctness stop us from acknowledging this. 

One Black woman we spoke with observed that she is sick and tired of Democrats taking for granted that African-American voters will always vote for the Democrat. She therefore appreciated the real efforts that Sen. Rand Paul has made to court the Black vote.

Paul received considerable media coverage for speeches he has given to historically-Black colleges such as Simmons College and Howard University.  In addition to those speeches, however, Paul has quietly been meeting with African-American leaders on a continual basis.  That is how Paul came to recognize the importance of restoration of voting rights for felons who have served their time. He sat down and listened, and thereby learned that it matters deeply to members of the Black community.  Then he went to Frankfort and testified for and successfully lobbied for the necessary legislation to change Kentucky's constitution. In all likelihood, restoration of felony voting will help Democrats more than Republicans, at least in the foreseeable future.  Paul understood this and pressed on anyhow, because he thought it was the right thing to do.

As Sowell notes in his column, school choice is an issue where conservative principles can transform the lives of children -- disproportionately minority children -- stuck in failing schools that the teachers' unions oppose closing. This, too, is an issue that Paul has been vocal about, calling it the "civil rights issue of our day."

School choice (vouchers) and charter schools have a chance of becoming reality in Kentucky in the near future. Republicans stand poised to gain a majority in this state House come November, for the first time in nearly a century.  The House is the last obstacle to preventing school choice, given that it only takes a simple majority to override a veto by the governor here. And maybe we will get a Republican governor in 2015; Hal Heiner has been a strong proponent of school choice for years.

As for the young people at the Jefferson County Party for the Party, Paul gets some credit for speaking to issues that they care about:  that our profligate government is saddling them with debt and also invading their privacy.  Paul's recent speech at Cal Berkely shows that he is willing to go into unfriendly territory to grow the party. (Credit must also be given to the Nate Haney and his staff at the Jefferson County Republican Party for aggressively reaching out high school students as a new source of volunteers.)

Republicans have issues that can appeal to minorities and to Millenials. The Mainstream Media are not going to make our argument for us however.  Paul's outreach and the Jeff. Co. Party for the Party remind us that we must be willing to take the message to new venues, to new voters, to be innovative and welcoming.







Monday, March 24, 2014

Photos From GOP Women's Lunch


Peggy Grande, Kelley Paul, Claudia Coffey, Cathy Bailey

Former U.S. Ambassador to Latvia, Cathy Bailey and Peggy Grande

Former Special Assistant to Ronald Reagan, Peggy Grande
Kelley Paul addresses Republican Women on so-called "War on Women"

GOP Women Want to Flip the House


Former U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Cathy Bailey hosted 70 women today to hear speeches by Kelley Paul and Peggy Grande that made us determined to elect Republicans this fall. Bailey's ability to gather, motivate and then mobilize conservative women is the key to Republicans flipping the house and reelecting Sen. McConnell. Now she has a PCA, Kentucky Rise PAC, to help do just that.

Former President Ronald Reagan's Special Assistant, Peggy Grande, gave us a glimpse on her view of Reagan in his last last ten years, up to planning and attending his funeral. As Reagan's personal photographer, she sat in on Reagan's personal meetings with world leaders such as Margaret Thatcher. Grande used her vantage point to observe the attributes that made Reagan not just a great president, but a great person.  She highlighted his authenticity, respect and optimism.  Reagan's life was organized around his love for his God, his wife and his country, Grande told the packed room.  She shared one of her favorite Reagan sayings:  "Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly. Leave the rest to God."

Just when Grande had moved us to tears and had us missing Reagan unbearably, she reminded us of these words from his farewell address:

The lesson of all this was, of course, that because we're a great nation, our challenges seem complex. It will always be this way. But as long as we remember our first principles and believe in ourselves, the future will always be ours.

And something else we learned: once you begin a great movement, there's no telling where it'll end. We meant to change a nation, and instead, we changed a world.

After Grande made us nostalgic for one of the greatest leaders of conservatism who accomplished so much, Kelley Paul reminded us of the pressing needs our country faces today -- most urgently, the need to repeal Obamacare.  Whereas Grande spoke of the past successes of conservatism, Paul evoked the future.  It made me grateful for her husband's bold and courageous leadership, and a little less bereft about Reagan's absence.

Paul (Kelley, that is) seems to get better with each speaking engagement.  A few months ago, she gave a tremendous speech to the Jefferson County Republican Party in which she essentially illustrated conservative principles -- faith, hard work, family, humility -- by telling stories about her grandmother.  It was a masterful example of showing without simply telling.

Today, Kelley focused explicitly on policy.  The speech was every bit as substantive as what Sen. Paul would give.  She blew off the "window dressing" on the supposed war on women, item by item, refuting issues like the Lilly Ledbetter "Fair Pay" Act, Obamacare, the glass ceiling. Citing her own extensive experience in advertising and the telecommunications industry -- as well as the fact that law schools and medical schools are now 50 percent female -- Paul put the lie to the Democrat fairy tale that women are victims in need of Big Government to save us from the Misogynists. She quoted her husband's observation that if there was a war on women, those number suggest women won.

Paul gave an anecdote to remind us that in stead of looking to save a $10 co-pay on birth control, women should look to see if their insurance will cover the hospitals that could save a life:  it may no longer, thanks to Obamacare.

Paul told us that Sen. Tom Coburn has lost his doctor due to Obamacare.  I knew Sen. Coburn was retiring; I did not realize that it was because his cancer has returned.  Paul pointed out that Coburn, as a member of Congress,  was forced to sign up for Obamacare.  However, M.D. Anderson -- which saved Coburn's life the first time he had cancer -- does not accept Obamacare.  Consequently, those doctors who know Coburn's history and treated him successfully before, cannot do so under his new and supposedly improved Obamacare insurance (unless Coburn wants to pay out of network, $60,000).

 It is little comfort to Coburn, Paul noted, that Coburn now has an "approved" plant that gives free birth control and diet counseling.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Better Her Than Them To Teach Your Children Well



Sen. Kelly Ayotte Speaks at McConnell Center


Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R.-N.H.) spoke at the University of Louisville's McConnell Center today. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell gave the introduction and shared the stage with her.

Ayotte used the first portion of her speech to praise McConnell as Republican leader and a man of courage and conviction, a statesman who puts the interests of the country ahead of political expediency. She commented that no matter how busy McConnell is with running the Republican caucus, his fellow Senators know that first and foremost he loves Kentucky.

Clearly, McConnell has been a mentor to her, and she credited him with guiding her on how to be an effective Senator.  And effective she has been:  although she has been in the Senate for just three years, she has become an important Republican voice on foreign policy and defense. McConnell said that he values Ayotte's judgment and looks to her as a leader in the Republican caucus.

The second part of Ayotte's speech dissected the Obama administration's "Re-set" policy with Russia, and the horrific consequences that have flowed from it. Ayotte is very much of the Reagan view of peace through strength -- that the best way to avoid a war is to be prepared to fight one.  The corollary, she said, is that weakness invites aggression, which is why every time the Obama administration tries to be conciliatory to Vladimir Putin, he responds in ways that make the world more dangerous.

Ayotte singled out the Obama administration's failure to honor America's promise to provide missile defense systems to Poland and the Czech Republic,  Obama's failure to call out Russia for violating its missile treaties and Obama's failure to make any meaningful response to Russian interference with Georgian sovereignty.  With each failed opportunity to respond to Russian aggression, Putin became further emboldened, culminating in his invasion of Ukraine.  And make no mistake about it, Ayotte stated, it is an invasion.  A free election does not occur within shooting distance of 60,000 Russian troops.

Ayotte noted that when the U.S. complained about Russian human rights violations by enacting the Mignitzky Act (freezing U.S. assets and prohibiting entry to Russians who commit certain human rights violations), Russia responded with cutting off American adoptions of Russian babies.  Ayotte's discussion of the adoption retaliation was noteworthy, because it gets so little press and realistically, most politicians probably do not understand it well enough to explain to an audience.  It was another example of Ayotte's superb command of her subject material.  It was also a stunning example of Putin's cruelty -- it made me wonder, how did we miss these tea leaves?  A man who will condemn a disabled Russian baby, whom nobody in Russia wants, to an orphanage when an American couple lies waiting to adopt, it takes a uniquely cruel human being to do that. 

Ayotte did not belabor the point. She speaks with a clinical, legal precision, like the prosecutor she was before her election to the U.S. Senate.  She does not go in for theatrics.  Although very pretty, the most striking thing about watching Ayotte is her knowledge of her subject matter.  She has internalized advice that McConnell often gives students:  work hard and know what you're talking about. Ayotte in this respect is very much like McConnell, and the complete antithesis of Obama:  she is serious about doing the people's business. In an age when Obama cheapens his office by trying to be hip and funny, Ayotte and McConnell are content with the dignity that comes with discipline, focus and adherence to conservative principles.

In response to a student question about the federal debt, Ayotte circled back to her support for McConnell. The debt is the most significant national threat facing the U.S., Ayotte said. She credited McConnell's focus on reducing wasteful spending, saying that if Washington does not get the debt under control, nothing else matters. She urged the students to demand that their elected leaders reduce spending so that they are not saddled with paying for politicians' inability to make the hard choices. 



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ann Coulter Makes the Case for Mitch


Ann Coulter's column in support of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is devastating. Though she never mentions him by name, she makes Matt Bevin look like a complete hack. Same for the "shysters" at the Senate Conservative Fund.  It is by far the most incisive opinion piece yet written on the Kentucky Senate race.

A few highlights on why America needs Kentuckians to reelect Mitch:

(1) For more than a decade, Sen. Mitch McConnell has stood alone in fighting unconstitutional campaign finance laws, earning him the undying enmity of The New York Times. (The Times is probably the largest contributor to the Senate Conservatives Fund opposing McConnell.)
 
McConnell took on the entire MSM, as well as members of his own party, principally John McCain and President Bush, who incomprehensibly signed McCain-Feingold into law with the idle musing that the Supreme Court could strike down any unconstitutional parts. (It didn't -- until some of it was finally overturned in Citizens United.)   McConnell was the Ted Cruz of campaign finance laws, leading filibusters to block these outrageous infringements on free speech, writing op-eds and giving speeches denouncing them, and directly suing to have McCain-Feingold declared unconstitutional in McConnell v. FEC.
. . .
(2) As minority leader, McConnell managed to get every single Republican in the Senate to vote against Obamacare -- even "Strange New Respect" Republicans like John McCain, Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham. No other Republican leader has ever accomplished anything like that.
 
For example, under Minority Leader Bob Dole, seven Senate Republicans voted for Clinton's 1994 crime bill, which contained the assault weapons ban widely credited with Republicans' sweep of Congress later that year. That's not merely a reflection of Republicans being worse back then: Among the "Ayes" were conservative John Danforth (Mo.) and William Cohen -- as good as you get from Maine.   The importance of a solid Republican vote against Obamacare can hardly be overstated. Thanks to McConnell, there is no confusion about which party is responsible for this widely detested law -- and which party you should vote for to get rid of it.     (3) McConnell tricked Obama into accepting the only spending cuts to the federal government in more than half a century.   Obama originally proposed the sequester on the assumption that its provisions were so harsh, Republicans would never accept it. But McConnell called his bluff and, for the first time since Eisenhower's first term, a bill was signed into law that would impose large-scale spending cuts on the federal government.   Even Ronald Reagan didn't cut federal spending!   McConnell did -- and that was with a Democratic president and a Democratic majority in the Senate. (Imagine what he could do with a Senate majority!)   Unfortunately, that deal was lightly thrown away by Rep. Paul Ryan last month,
. . .
(4) On the most important issue -- immigration -- McConnell not only voted against Marco Rubio's amnesty bill, but at the moment, he may be the only thing standing between us and a scheme to import 30 million new Democratic voters. As House Speaker John Boehner works feverishly behind the scenes to push amnesty through, McConnell recently announced that there would be no immigration bill in 2014 (thank almighty God).

Monday, March 10, 2014

Who You Gonna Crush?



Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's quote in yesterday's New York Times is getting taken wildly out of context.

McConnell did not state that he would crush the Tea Party. Here's the actual quote:  “I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” the Times reported McConnell stating. “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”

But as Truth Revolt pointed out (and as even the Times article reflects), the "they" to whom McConnell referred was not the Tea Party generally but rather the Senate Conservative Fund -- the Jim DeMint group that's been running TV ads against McConnell here, and a big Matt Bevin backer.

Note the distinction that McConnell is drawing:

I’ve always been and continue to be a big supporter of the Tea Party and the conservative change it’s bringing to Washington. One of the biggest obstacles to that change, however, is the Senate Conservatives Fund, a rogue political operation that has co-opted the Liberty movement for its own enrichment to the detriment of the conservative cause. This is a point that I have been making repeatedly and energetically over the past several months, because in my view this group has deceived a lot of good people. They claim to share our goals but undermine them at every turn. I think they should be stopped, and I don’t mind saying so.

Good for McConnell for calling out DeMint and his crazy band of so-called purists.  These people have elected more Democrats than the DNC.  Plainly they have no interest in actually winning elections or governing.

Kentuckians For Strong Leadership, moreover, has a new poll that shows McConnell crushing Matt Bevin -- including among self-identified members of the Tea Party:  McConnell beats Bevin 60 to 23 among Tea Party Supporters. McConnell actually polls better among conservatives than moderates.  McConnell's lead over Bevin is widening as the primary draws nearer.

Bevin is about to get crushed, deservedly so.  His campaign has been a complete waste of time and money.  Just a few years ago, Bevin looked at running against Yarmuth.  He even went to D.C. and met with some of the party types, but after kicking the tires, took a pass.  He will not get another such opportunity.  At least not as a Republican.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Stephen Stills Meddles vs. Mitch


Laura Ingraham, said it best:   celebrities should just Shut Up And Sing. Stephen Stills (Crosby, Nash & Stills) obviously has not read her book. So after the intermission at last night's Louisville concert, Stills deigned to advise Kentuckians how to vote.

Suffice to say he is not a fan of Mitch McConnell.  The leader will no doubt be glad to hear that aging. Woodstock rockers who enjoy freebasing cocaine are not in his base.

After urging voters to get rid of Mitch, Stills then waxed poetic about how marvelous that pot is now legal in Colorado.  It seemed he'd had a little himself during the intermission, after which time his intonation was uh, interesting.

As for the crowd's reaction to his plea to vote Mitch out, it was greeted with enthusiastic approval by about 46 percent -- same percentage Alison L-G will win in the general.