Quick Hit: Obedient Little Birds

SO! I had all my students watch the SOTU (and at least one of the myriad Republican rebuttals offered afterward). A lot of my kids latched on to the minimum wage issue, and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM (so far; I’m not through all their papers yet) spouted some variation of this nonsense.

“Raising the minimum wage raises inflation and cuts jobs.”

EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.

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What good, obedient little birds they are, parroting back exactly what they’ve been told to believe without any evidence to support (or, more importantly, to refute) their claims.

My response?  “Prove it. Do some research; find out what economists say, then get back to me.” They won’t, I know, so I may assign a mini research assignment on the topic. I can’t stand it.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Quick Hit: Obedient Little Birds

  1. magicalmysticalteacher

    Oh, excellent! Not their mindless responses, but your challenge to PROVE IT! ;)

  2. Great assignment. I am curious to learn from their research.

  3. Brandon

    Well, here’s a report from the CBO that they can start with which estimates that a $10.10 option would reduce total employment by 500,000 workers.

  4. Yep, but there are a lot of ways to interpret that data, Brandon:

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/02/14/1594181/no-firing-minimum-wage-raise/

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/labor/report/2012/11/16/44464/there-are-significant-business-costs-to-replacing-employees/

    http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/labor/news/2014/02/18/84257/evidence-shows-increasing-the-minimum-wage-is-no-threat-to-employment/

    The problem comes not from the raw data, but in how those data are interpreted. There is no such thing as black-and-white in an issue like this – there are going to be ‘winners’ and ‘losers;’ the question is really in scope and scale.

  5. Brandon

    Well, there will certainly be winners and losers. If it is all up to all the data are interpreted, it seems you were perhaps too quick to dismiss your students as merely parroting a position that had no ground to stand on.

    http://www.heritage.org/research/testimony/2013/06/what-is-minimum-wage-its-history-and-effects-on-the-economy

  6. At what point did I “dismiss” them? I asked them to find evidence for their claims. They’re not basing their claims on evidence; they’re parroting the talking points they’ve been fed (and I know that because I asked them to explain their position to me – to help me understand what they meant when they said what they did – and they couldn’t).

  7. Brandon

    You are correct, you did not dismiss them, so for that I stand corrected. That was not the best word to use.

    The tone of the post, however, did seem skeptical that they could find any evidence to support their claims, since they were merely talking points.

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