The Double Down: Unhealthy sandwich and worse political move


That’s the double down. It will kill your heart with its greasy caloric meaty essence. It’s a bad idea.


That’s Pete Ricketts. He just doubled down. No, he didn’t just stuff a heart-attack-inducing meat bomb from KFC down his gullet. He was given a chance to clarify his position on minimum wage and pretty much said the same wrong, factually inaccurate, billionaire-biased statements he made before. 

Come with me as we explore the latest proof that Petey will do anything to save his CEO buddies a few bucks, no matter what you want as Nebraskans.

Pete swears a minimum wage hike would force small businesses to cut jobs

Like we talked about before, economists do not agree with Pete. But then again, they’re just extremely well-educated people who are paid to predict what effects economic policies would have, so what do they know? Pete once again wrongly concluded that “A minimum wage hike can hurt the very people it’s trying to help.” 

Don’t tell that to the 600 economists that signed this petition to raise the minimum wage. 

The thing I constantly hear is that “economists are divided.” Conservatives will trot out a single study or point to a single economist as proof there is no consensus. This is the same rhetorical strategy used by Climate Change Deniers who will run out one Koch brothers’ funded study as proof that “scientists don’t agree.” 

It’s true that economists are not unanimous. But if you actually look at the research, for every single study that says an economist doesn’t support a minimum wage hike, you find 100 studies that do. Americans are gifted at ignoring a preponderance of evidence that doesn’t support the view they already hold. Saying that “economists are divided” is untrue. A better explanation would be “A majority of economists support the minimum wage hike, a few do not. And those few who do not have not been able to suggest that any associated job loss would be significant.” 

The defense that Pete’s supporters used against me when I ran that first post was to say “cut him a break if he wasn’t completely 100% accurate and precise.” He’s had some time to think since then and do some actual research. He either didn’t or he he ignored it.

Pete’s semantics and word choices

Good god is this for real? This is what Pete said last week:

The issue flared last week after Ricketts was quoted in the Columbus Telegram saying that “many of the Nebraskans receiving the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour are high schoolers who need the entry-level positions to gain work experience and training.”

His defense in today’s World Herald was this: 

Ricketts countered that the key word in his quote was “many,” and that he never used the word “primarily.”

Oh for Pete’s sake… When you are asked why you don’t support minimum wage, and you respond by saying “many” minimum wage earners are “high schoolers,” you are 100% suggesting that most are in that category. Or why would you use that as a defense? If what he MEANT was that “some” of the workers were teenagers, that wouldn’t make sense in defending his position. Regardless, it’s not “many” or “most” or “a lot” of workers that are teenagers in this group. It’s 12%. That would be “a few,” Pete.

Scare tactics round two!

Again, without actually pointing to any studies (other than saying “I’ve seen studies”) Pete wants you to believe the worst is coming.

He also defended his position, saying that if the wage is increased, Nebraska businesses will have several hard choices to make. “They’re forced to either reduce hours, curtail hiring, raise prices, cut jobs or all of the above,” Ricketts said.

Not only is this statement not particularly accurate, but it neglects one major component: Nebraska’s economy as a whole would actually thrive. This would, in theory, create jobs. It goes like this: You give someone making $7.25 an hour $2 more an hour, they spend that extra money. That’s money that wasn’t actively circulating in the economy before. When more money is spent, companies can afford to (and need to) hire more workers. The easiest way to see this is history. If you go back and look at state and federal minimum wage increases in America, you’ll notice that they are not followed by job losses. It’s a ruse, a bogeyman used to scare citizens into fearing a plan to help the poorest among them crawl out of poverty a little.

Chuck nails it, again

Meanwhile, Hassebrook just crushed it with the simplest response: 

“Twenty years ago the average CEO earned 20 times the average worker. Today the average CEO makes 275 times the average worker,” Hassebrook said. “We’re in the midst of the largest gap in earnings in history.”

I was talking to a guy who told me with a straight face that “CEOs deserve that money.” No one can argue that CEOs don’t deserve to be paid and paid well. But one would imagine that earning 20 times more than an average employee is pretty good. The problem is that the CEO’s proportional income has skyrocketed while the workers hasn’t moved. If BOTH were making more money, it’d be okay. Heck, if the gap even jumped up to, say, 50 times, maybe that would be reasonable. But It’s mind-numbing to hear the suggestion that businesses would have to shutter their doors and spike prices to pay minimum wage workers when CEOs make 275 times the average employee. 

Popularity is not on Pete’s side

The other thing Pete didn’t address is the fact that most Nebraskans want this. Nationally, the support is in the 70% range. Locally, it’s in the 55% range. For context, Pete, that’s what “many” people want. 

I believe that political positions reveal personal character. Pete is literally misrepresenting facts and advocating a position that is against what Nebraskans want. Much like when Mitt Romney doubled down and owned the “47%” comment, Pete is doubling down on a position that may (and should) hurt him. If this is any indication of the type of governor he will be, one who ignores the will and needs of the people to prop up millionaires and billionaires, we’re in serious trouble if he wins.


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