January 12, 2019

Ted Rall hits one of his more wrong moments on minimum wage

Besides not fully understanding the First Amendment (charitable version) or being a sort of butt-hurt solipsist (less charitable but more realistic version, based on a long past history of his) in his suit against the LA Times for canning him, petulancy that is now nearly 18 years old (go here for my take on Popehat's takedown), Ted Rall has other moments a-plenty of flat-out wrongness about American issues.

(Notably, the cluelessness is more often about domestic issues. When he takes controversial stands on foreign policy, he's relatively more likely to be right. Not that that means a whole lot.)

His latest? Per the above cartoon? Saying the US "really" should have a $25/hour minimum wage, or "really really" should have one of $80 an hour. Ted has since doubled down on the BS in his most recent syndicated column.
According to ... ShadowStats.com [no actual link to individual piece by Ted] $22 in 2013 comes to at least $35 today.
It does not, except in such a seemingly febrile mind. The idea that an actual inflation rate, per CPI (and not core CPI) which has not gone over 2.1 percent anywhere in the 2014-18 period and had an average during that time of just 1.52 percent, is "really" 10 percent is bullshit. It's like claiming that not only is the Department of Labor's official unemployment rate of 3.9 percent on the U-3 numbers is wrong (and it is), but that the U-6 numbers of 7.6 percent are also wrong, and the "real" unemployment in the US is 15 percent or more.

So, IF I accept Ted's claim that we "really" (that's going in scare quotes every time now, Ted) "should" (ditto) have had a minimum wage of $22 an hour in 2013, your $35 an hour in 2019 still doesn't follow. Per actual CPI, that minimum wage should be $23.71. Even if you claim the CPI is wrong by 100 percent? That minimum wage should still be just $25.44.

His Gollum-precious ShadowStats, to be a bit more generous, claimed an inflation rate of almost 10 percent in 2011, Ted. That's just triple the official CPI for the year of 3.0 percent. So, let's do this once more, tripling the CPI for each year of 2014, normal compounding (unless Ted has some "shadow compounding" to pull out of somewhere) and see what we have.

We still "really" only get up to $27.47.

At this point, Ted is clearly, from my perspective, pulling numbers out of either thin air or his ass. Your choice as to which, Ted. Oh, and to punk and troll Ted just a bit more, your precious ShadowStats is behind a capitalist paywall. Oh, you running dog capitalist lackey.

Speaking of? Ted, if you "really" cared about minimum wage and related employee issues, you wouldn't have donations to you laundered through a charity with heavy ties to USPIRG and to Fund for the Public Interest, which has been successfully (not SLAPP-reverse failed) sued multiple times for employment law violations. And yes, Ted and fanbois, your final stop laundromat, Sustainable Markets Foundation, has just such connections. Not to mention having the word "markets" in its title.

I've broken up my Twitter thread related to his individual cartoon about his stupidity into individual tweets, with bits of commentary in between.
Wishes and reality are two different things, Ted, just as your LA Times suit has shown. I won't repeat old jokes about having one thing in one hand and another in the other.
Also not the first or last time she's been wrong. That said, on this particular issue, per her past, she should know better than Ted for a reason I'll note below.
I am going to post that chart I am talking about, to give us a clear visual.

Seems pretty clear to me, at least.

We should also note that the web post I linked to cites the Economic Policy Institute for some of its discussion. The EPI bats left of center on economic issues in general, so don't claim that I am citing some sort of wingnut piece. 

Tis true that one's a few years old, but here's a table that runs through 2018 that says the same.

We are now at the point where Ted is simply phoning it in.
And, that's the refudiation, nickel version, to Ted phoning it in.
Actually, not true, but the Tweet stays, to tie in with my point above.

Warren, of course, grew up in small-town Oklahoma, which means that on the sociological side, she has even less excuse than Rall for such uninformed blather.

My stance comes in this last tweet:
I don't know exactly how Oregon defines urban, suburban and rural in its law. Here in Texas, would Collin County be urban or suburban? Grayson County or Hunt Count suburban or rural? The idea is correct in general, though.

After we get something like that nationally? We then, per that table and graph above, institute a COLA. I faulted Nancy Pelosi for not doing that when she and her House Dems last raised the minimum wage.

As for Rall? In this case, in my opinion, it's not "just" the mix of laziness and willfulness that characterizes many of his columns, as well as both the content and drawing style of his cartoons.

I personally can't see this one as anything but deliberate lying. The statistics are out there in factual form, not Rall's distorted versions.

That's only increased by Rall's response on Twitter that he spends plenty of time in small town America. Then, in addition to telling apparent lies about the minimum wage, he doesn't actually care about small-town America, I guess. He's either exaggerating downward the size of places he's visited or else engaged in other exaggeration. Given his clear misstatements on the actuality of the minimum wage, whatever the exaggeration, IMO it's surely deliberate, though.

The per-capital income for the entire state of Mississippi is about $23,000, Median HOUSEHOLD income is about $43,000, less than one person working full time at $22/hour, Ted. So, if you "really" spend a lot of time in small-town America, you haven't "really" learned anything about "real" economic stats you "should" know.

In other words? Ted, I don't trust you. And others who do, the remaining fanboys, shouldn't.

(And, speaking of, per your suit against the LA Times? THIS is why they don't carry you any more. Idiotic mendacities and made-up information.)

Let's look at his past, too.

Among Ted's other larger mistakes in both domestic and foreign affairs?

The biggest was his whopper claiming Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 actually landed safe and sound in Kazakhstan, which he doubled down on for some time.

Then there was claiming Glenn Greenwald is a liberal. (He's become more librul on some things, but like Mark Ames and others, I consider him a libertarian just like his boss, Omidyar.)

Other ideas of his, which sounded deeply different at the time just sound dumb now. Like drafting cops. (That would probably also be unconstitutional, or very close to it. Certainly a violation of the spirit of the 13th Amendment.)

I used to halfway agree with his ideas on abortion, but have moved away from that now. Semantically, he's probably wrong, if he's going to stick that route, on using "murder" rather than "manslaughter" in many such cases. "Human life" may not be defined — or definable — as starkly as he would have it, either.

Trivialization by hyperbole is what he does here, is perhaps the best way to explain it.

Or else, gotcha by outrageous statement, like some of his editorial cartoons.

Basically, because he had, pre-9/11, traveled to Afghanistan as well as Pakistan, and had good insights overall on invading Afghanistan, and because he pissed off Hillbots already in 2008, I read him fairly credulously until the Flight 370 and Greenwald. The flight issue, and his stubbornness revealed on it, showed a new side. Then, per the Popehat link up top, I learned a lot more about him in comments there.

(I'm also in the middle of reading a book about pre 9/11 travels to Afghanistan that is almost certainly more realistic than whatever Rall wrote.)

Finally, if Warren made such idiotic claims, then, as a member of the really reality-based community, I see that as another strike against her presidential campaign. (Hiring Hillary Clinton's 2016 communications team would be another.)


This reminds me — once or twice a year I do a blog post when I do a major blogroll cleanup. Maybe I need to do one explaining those who I keep, even or especially when I disagree with them a fair amount.

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