On Tuesday, the Trump administration spokeswoman was performing her usual fake indignation scene, using CNN’s mistake to browbeat the White House correspondents.
After six months of this treatment — being called enemies of the people, fake news and dishonest, and being shut out of usual news opportunities (on one occasion while Russian media were allowed in) — one reporter had had enough and spoke back.
Brian Karem informed the spokeswoman that newspeople are doing their jobs and demanded respect for that.
Which the spokeswoman immediately used to repeat her unfounded diatribe. She’s good at her job, which is being a robot for Trump.
It’s hard for normal people to deal with people who behave like robots. Karem spoke to her human-to-human, which is the only way we can, and by doing so we retain our humanity. It’s too much to expect that we’ll remind them of theirs.
Helen Hunter, St. Paul
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The Star Tribune’s headline writers (or editors/writers) need to work a little harder to obscure their continuing and unsupported addiction to trashing measures lofted or considered by Republicans. On Wednesday, the newspaper described, in a large, bold headline, “health care bill in peril” because it is being negotiated further among Republican senators in Washington. What is “in peril” is the journalists’ ability to find balanced positions and terminology on legislative matters. Debate does not equal peril. Shame on you, again. Again. And again. Is there not a 12-step program for journalists who can’t be objective?
John Bradford, Minnetonka
$15 MINIMUM WAGE
Will it matter, anyway?
I am fascinated by the ongoing debate regarding raising the minimum wage to $15 in the city of Minneapolis. It is my opinion that this is being driven by emotion, not facts.
Let me be clear: I strongly believe that any working person deserves a decent wage, benefits and good working conditions. Anything less is not acceptable.
That said, it appears the only “fact-based” information has come from Seattle, where a study shows that the increase has had a substantial negative effect on those it was intended to help.
Fifty years of experience as a small-businessman tells me that any business owner who is a greedy cheat will always have ways to beat the system and mistreat employees. The overwhelming majority of small-business owners are trying to make an honest profit and treat their employees with respect. I think it is simplistic and unfair to say that all a business would have to do in response to the higher wage requirements is to raise prices. In noncompetitive businesses, that is likely possible. But it is laughable to say that small restaurant or other small businesses can easily offset higher wages.
It appears to me that we have another law being passed that will hurt the many in an attempt to make the few stop cheating.
Bruce Blumenthal, Minneapolis
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Two recently released studies of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage produced contradictory results. As we move toward the final vote on $15 in Minneapolis, we need to approach this data scrupulously and scientifically.
The University of Washington’s study, which claims that raising the wage has increased unemployment among low-wage workers, is methodologically unsound. Researchers created a “synthetic Seattle” as a control group, a methodology that raises questions about the study’s accuracy. Furthermore, the data excluded many chain establishments, which employ nearly 40 percent of Seattle workers. The study claimed that a reduction in jobs that pay $19 an hour or less equates to a loss of opportunity for lower-wage workers. However, this claim is not in accordance with past evidence that an increased wage floor and competition have been empirically shown to move many lower-paying jobs above $19 an hour.
In the age of click bait and fake news, we must hold our data to a higher standard. The bulk of rigorous economic research from the past decades indicates that raising the wage results in higher income for low-wage workers without increasing unemployment. At a minimum, let us be scientific and evaluate the body of evidence as a whole. Several previous studies have shown Seattle’s minimum-wage increase to be net positive for workers, and we shouldn’t let one faulty study deter Minneapolis from passing an economically sound policy that would lift 71,000 workers above the poverty line and demonstrably reduce the equity gap.
André Robinson, Minneapolis
The writer is a research assistant.
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Let us be clear: The proposed minimum wage of $15 is not a living wage, especially if enacted over several years. There is a chart by a university in Oregon (http://bit.ly/2sSrkFZ) showing the minimum-wage rate from 1938 to 2015 relative to its value. Value peaked at 100 percent of poverty in 1968. In 2015, it stood at 60 percent of poverty.
As for its being local, why not? The cost of living is local. If we expect wage earners to support themselves, wages must be at least at 100 percent of the poverty level.
Mary K. Lund, Minnetonka
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I agree with the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s concern that a $15 minimum wage is unrealistic, especially without a tip credit for restaurants (“Mpls. businesses are at a tipping point,” June 18). Most restaurants will raise prices; the margins are too low to absorb the additional costs. Missing from the conversation is that tips probably will plummet as guests start to leave a gratuity similar to that left for a caddie, a hotel maid or a parking valet. Tips will be a couple of bills, not a percentage of the check or bill. Quality servers who currently have a nice income will search for new opportunities.
Perhaps it’s not too late for the City Council and Mayor Betsy Hodges to change their stance and allow a tip credit for restaurants. Good service is counting on it.
Kelly Morlock, Eden Prairie
Wagging the dog
Given recent actions (threats to Syria about potential chemical attacks and tweets in support of Saudi Arabia against Yemen), I am deeply concerned that President Donald Trump is stirring up a hornets’ nest (“U.S. accuses Syria of preparing for another chemical attack,” June 28). In this volatile and complex part of the world, recent administrations of both parties have learned that they meddle to their (and our) peril. Remember how disastrous President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq was? Trump, by all accounts, is not well-informed about the complexities, to put it mildly. It is tempting to suspect that he is trying to gin up a war to get the public to ignore his problems with Russia and rally around the flag.
Nancy Beach, Minneapolis
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The only action Trump has taken that had majority support was the Tomahawk strike on the Syrian airfield in April. For millions of dollars, we didn’t cause significant damage or destroy any aircraft. What we got was a momentary rise in Trump’s poll numbers.
Fast-forward to today. No health care bill, no border wall, and the Russia story is crushing him. Enter the new Syrian threat unknown to our military leaders, but Trump has drawn a red line. Soon we will rain bombs on Syria; Trump can pat himself on the back and he can be popular for 24 hours. Totally worth it.
Michael Mummah, Brooklyn Park