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Catching Saul Alinsky's Virus 5

Time for Trump to smash some Democrat chokeholds on our economy.

By Will Offensicht  |  April 10, 2020

The legendary Chinese military author Sun Tzu famously wrote, "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles."  Republicans apparently don't know either - they nearly always lose political battles, even ones they should easily have won.

Donald Trump's been doing somewhat better than we're used to seeing, but he can't do it alone.  In this series, we've been trying to analyze the infamous Democratic technique of "never letting a serious crisis go to waste," and attempting to come up with ideas for how we can use their methods for our own ends.

Usually, this works best by sliding a carefully-thought-out clause deep in some giant bill where nobody will notice it until its results are felt far down the road.  Occasionally, though, a highly visible direct assault at the right moment can accomplish great things - if you have the boldness to act.

Abolish the Federal Minimum Wage

Nancy Pelosi has long wanted to boost our national minimum wage to $15 everywhere in America, as if living costs in high-tax areas such as New York City were comparable to living costs in, say, Kansas.  This is merely another sop to labor unions who collect lot of money from their members and give some to Democrat politicians. 

It doesn't matter to either Democrats or their union paymasters that raising the minimum wage makes automation practical for many jobs - fast food outlets are replacing counter staff with touch screens - or that even if the business survives the increased labor costs, many minimum wage workers get fewer hours and take home less money.

What matters is that many union contracts specify wages as a percentage of the federal minimum wage.  If the minimum goes up, automatically so do all the wages which use it as a benchmark.  This is a job-killing measure - except, of course, for government workers who're convinced that they will never run out of other people's money.

In a nation as vast and diverse as the United States, there is absolutely no legitimate reason for a single national minimum wage at any level.  There are whole states of "flyover" country where $15 is a solid middle-class wage, not a starting level first-job pay.  And then there's New York City, where a full-time $15/hr job can barely provide a box under a bridge.  Why on earth would anyone try to use the same rule everywhere?

Considering that as many as a third of Americans have been thrown out of work in the course of one pay period, this hardly seems the right time to leave up any barriers whatsoever to employment.  Indeed, just as Mr. Trump has been tearing down red-tape obstacles to making masks or using potentially lifesaving drugs, he should do the same for obtaining a paying job.  We'll enjoy hearing the Democrats scream - and American workers would be grateful for making it easier to find work.

Getting rid of a national minimum wage would, of course, not prevent states or cities from having one.  That would simply encourage the kind of experimentation our federal system is supposed to be designed for.  If Seattle or New York want to have high minimum wages, that's fine - businesses and workers can move to Texas instead, where we hope they'd have learned to vote against Democrats no matter what.

Promote Homeschooling

There are many studies which show that homeschooled kids are better socialized and learn more than kids in the public schools.  We've written about the many free resources which can help kids learn outside traditional institutions.

In a perfect world, all parents would be deeply involved in their children's education.  In our profoundly imperfect coronavirus-panicked world... parents are forced to be deeply involved in their children's education whether they like it or not, because all the schools are closed and they're stuck at home with their brats.

The Department of Education can issue regulations requiring public schools to cooperate more with home schoolers so that kinds can play on athletic teams or take driver ed without problems. They can also require that colleges be more friendly to home-schooled students.  This suggests a pretty monumental latent power - which we oppose the existence of, but if the Democrats are willing to use it to force boys into girls' bathrooms or to destroy due process for students accused of sex-related offenses, why can't we use it for good?

Most public schools are closed, so any education kids get during the lockdown will come from their parents.  We've been convinced for a long time that parents are a child's most effective educators and that subcontracting a child's education to others is generally a bad idea.

The educational establishment hates homeschooling, of course, since many states fund public schools on the basis of now many kids attend.  Any homeschooled child costs the public monopoly money.  And yet here we are, with every single kid being educated outside the public school system.

If Mr. Trump wanted to give the educrats total heartburn, he could require that Federal education dollars be spent on voucher systems, which let parents choose the school that gets the money, and that those be extended to home schooling.  This would make it possible for more parents to stay home and fulfill their obligation to raise responsible, law-abiding, taxpaying members of the next generation.

Who knows, some parents might be deciding that they like taking that responsibility now that it's been forced upon them!  The fact that idled public school teachers are mostly still collecting a paycheck while requiring parents to watch their own kids will simply make this change easier.

It's not just K-12 education that needs a hefty dose of freedom.  When it was realized that people with college degrees made more money than people without, nobody noticed that the choice of degree mattered too.  Our government showers loans and Pell grants on students regardless of their chosen field, even though some fields are entirely worthless.  At best, "XX Studies" programs produce indebted baristas who aren't paying back their loans; at worst, they slide into high-paying government "jobs" whose purpose is to prevent other people from doing productive work.

The discussion of education policy has grown incoherent because nobody can agree on the purpose of education.  Democrats are convinced that the purpose of education is to provide safe jobs for academics who indoctrinate young people in liberal dogma and train Social Justice Warriors.  Few teachers seem to realize that their pensions won't get paid unless they teach students to be world-class taxpayers.

Ivy league colleges have different objectives from STEM schools.  "The Purpose of Education - University Goals" discusses competing convictions about the purpose of education.  If we can't even agree on the purpose of education, how can we agree on how it should be conducted?

In a very large country, any attempt to enforce unified standards on what it means to be educated is stupid and counterproductive.  Instead, we need to take this opportunity to liberalize the regime, allowing and encouraging the maximum flexibility for how education can be supplied and consumed

Mr. Trump should not only encourage home schooling, he should also encourage vocational training, apprenticeships, and all manner of nontraditional outside-of-classroom learning.  We're going to need a lot of welders, plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, and other skilled trades to maintain our high-tech civilization.  If we run short of elevator mechanics or air conditioner technicians, our cities will become uninhabitable.  Best of all, skilled trades aren't taught by tenured professors in Womyn's Studies, they're taught by practical people who know how to do something useful and can identify nonsense when they see it.  Their lives and livelihoods depend on fixing equipment correctly.

Being stuck in the house with their kids is a rare opportunity for parents to actually see how worthless or counterproductive much of their kids' education has been.  We hope they'll take the illustration to heart.

Build the Wall

The epidemic is obviously a national emergency - whether or not it was in the first place or needed to be, we're certainly in one now.  Even some normally "open borders" Democrats have realized that allowing infected persons to enter their communities is not a good idea.

That is why Mr. Trump suspended flights from China, only to be accused of over-reacting and racism by Sen. Schumer and Rep. Jerrold Nadler.  He was then criticized for under-reacting, then accused of even more racism, but his shutting down travel between the US and China and then Europe has clearly delayed the spread of the disease.

He is not the only leader who has figured this out.  CNN tells us that Rhode Island police are knocking on doors to identify people from have fled the New York contagion.

... joining other states in restricting the movements of out-of-state visitors to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Kentucky's governor says he is considering closing the border between Kentucky and Tennessee, and checkpoints have been set up in the Florida Keys to restrict access.

"Right now, we have a pinpointed risk that we need to address, and we need to be very serious and that risk is called New York City," said Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo at a news conference Friday.

Well.  Will wonders never cease!  We have Democrats using government power to restrict disease-carrying immigrants from other states!

Mr. Trump has already declared a national emergency to justify using other money to build the wall.  He should accelerate that and issue an executive order to all sanctuary cities to turn over names and contact data of the illegals they know about so they can be deported.

It would have been simpler not to let them in in the first place, but better late than never.

Restructure Medical Malpractice to be like Workmen's Compensation

In order to cover workplace injuries, businesses pay into a "workmen's compensation" fund from which workers job-related medical costs and loss of pay are covered.  The rate at which businesses pay is related to the dangers inherent to the jobs their employees do and to the costs incurred by injuries associated with a specific business.  A company which employs computer programmers who sit safely in offices all day is naturally going to pay lower workmen's compensation rates than a coal mine or a road paving company whose employees are more likely to be hurt on the job.

Although there are abuses, the abuses pale in comparison with abuses related to suing hospitals, doctors, and other practitioners for medical malpractice.

True Cost Of Health Care states that medical malpractice claims worth $5 billion were paid in 2003-2005 but that claims had dropped to $3 billion by 2017.  We have no problem with the idea of compensating patients who're genuinely injured by the medical system, but these cases are taken on a contingency basis where lawyers pocket 30-40% of the payments.

It would cost less and give more money to patients to cover medical malpractice matters with a system similar to workmen's compensation.  This would cut costs for everyone and take money away from trial lawyers who are staunch supporters of Democrats who always promise to block any attempts to reform the medical system.

If you've been following along through this series, you may have a question on your mind: what about China?  Yes, the Democrats have declared themselves enemies of American liberty, culture, and traditions, but the Chinese have as well - and in a much more visibly deadly way.

You're not wrong.  In fact, that topic became so enormous that it really deserves its own entire series.  So, we'll bring this one to a close, and then give China the direct, specific attention that a murderous Communist world power deserves.