Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Noble Lie...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

Greek philosopher Plato introduced "the noble lie" to politics in his "The Republic." The concept is people are for the most part not bright enough to handle their own affairs so they need a few leaders who will feed them tales to keep them in line and presumably happy, thus avoiding revolution. Of course that is just a nutshell explanation but you get the drift.

There of course have been many such instances of such leaders throughout human history and the following article by Christian Schneider writing in the JOURNAL SENTINEL makes the argument President Obama is prone to such shenanigans. Whether this is in fact true or not is for you to determine after considering all the facts.

America's enlightened leader of today, President Barack Obama, appears to embrace the "noble lie" construct in order to feed the populace whatever he may be selling. Obama keeps reeling off the howlers, one by one, hoping that even though what he says isn't true, the public will side with him because it should be true.

We saw this last week with the "celebration" of Equal Pay Day, a quasi-holiday based on a fictional statistic. We might as well have a holiday celebrating Spider-Man's birthday. The idea that women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, a "fact" trotted out by Obama in his State of the Union address, takes into account none of the factors why the illusionary disparity exists.

For instance, while the Census Bureau statistic compares full-time workers, "full time" means different things in different workplaces. As Mark Perry and Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute have found, men are almost twice as likely as women to work more than 40 hours a week and women almost twice as likely to work only 35 to 39 hours per week.

The statistic also doesn't take into account marriage and family decisions women make. Children often take women out of the workplace, leaving them with less experience when they re-enter the workforce later in life. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, single women who have never married earned 96% of men's earnings in 2012.

White House economist Betsey Stevenson even conceded that the administration's go-to was misleading when she told MSNBC, "I agree that the 77 cents on the dollar is not all due to discrimination. No one is trying to say that it is. But you have to point to some number in order for people to understand the facts."

Continue reading tghe complete article BELOW THE FOLD

Via: Memeorandum


  1. One suspects that Obama is not the first leader to make a Noble Lie; we can reasonably assume that
    almost yearly since old Plato, some leader has done that. Politics, gotta love it.

    1. Yep, quite true BB Idaho, quite true. Obama is just pretty good at it, as were many others. As they say, 'this is now, that was then'.

  2. All this proves is we have a horrible situation for the working class today. It's time to seriously look at raising the minimum wage, quite a bit, removing individual health insurance from the work place, and pouring federal money into the schools at all levels. This statistic shows a bad crack in our economic foundation. That's the real story here. It's not a lie. It's a picture of a number of business sectors who treat their people like shit.


    1. That's how you see it jmj. No surprise there. Carry on, we know you will

    2. That's how I see it? Open your eyes. The shitty, lousy, tedious, part-time, minimum wage, service sector is now the number one employer in the nation. If you think that's a good thing, you are functionally retarded. C'mon man. Whether you like my prescription or not, please at least acknowledge the problem. You're an American, for Christ's sake.


    3. Take it away (O)CT(O)PUS, the dude is all yours.

      Aside from the language jmj employs, in violation of posted site commenting protocol his reference to functionally retarded is as offensive as you find Will's chosen rhetoric.

      jmj, any further violation of site commenting protocol will result in your comment going to spam. I suggest you read it as you apparently haven't. I've cautioned you before.

    4. Les, you don't have to be such a stiff. Can't you allow a little grown up license? I'm making a serious point here. I think a lot of conservatives and libertarians are simply unaware of what's going on in the broader economy beyond their immediate sight. You can't put a good spin on that statistic about women. It is not good for conservatism or libertarianism in any way. If I were you guys, I wouldn't bring up the subject.


    5. 1) Yes I do.
      2) Licence? No.
      3) Who is unaware can be a matter of perception. Perceptions can be in error.
      4) Point about spin... Is what's good for the goose also good for the gander?
      5) You are not one if "you guys", and "you guys" are good with that.

      Observe the commenting protocol in the future jmj or you don't get published.

    6. One of Jersey's several claims that stood out as quite questionable was this one: " The shitty, lousy, tedious, part-time, minimum wage, service sector is now the number one employer in the nation."

      I knew he had to be wrong. I've always known that minimum wage earners are a rather small proportion of the workforce.

      But lets see how small...

      Checking PolitiFact, a left-leaning fact-check site (so you can't go all Ema on me and bring up MurdochFoxNews)

      They analyze the numbers and come up with less than 3% (a little less than 4 million workers) making minimum wage. That's pretty small, not Number One anything.

      How is it compared to other sectors? How about manufacturing? According to the NAM (if you can find a better source, I'd welcome it), there are 12 million Americans employed in manufacturing. That's 4 times LARGER than the sector that you said was the number one employer in the nation. This is the manufacturing sector, by the way, that you have frequently bashed and said didn't exist.

      And these workers are paid about $19 an hour.

      Jersey, with all due respect, you'd do a lot better at making "serious points" if you did not throw out economic claims that are so wildly "off" like this, or use careless "you guys" claims (always a weak argument).


      RN: you are quite correct to criticize Jersey for bashing the mentally disabled with his "functionally retarded" smear. He may think it is "political correctness" that makes me criticize him for hating on these people. But to me it is basic human decency.

    7. dmarks, the way you nit-pick makes it very hard to take you seriously.

      Not all service sector jobs pay exactly at the minimum wage. Everyone knows that. I've never seen anyone get so stuck on a tree while lost in the forest. I'm sorry you are lost on the slightest rhetorical device, but rhetorical device is what this whole post was about in the place.

      Get to a higher place, dmarks.


    8. Jersey, I addressed your main point of your comment made Mon Apr 14, 10:07:00 PM EDT... that is far from nitpicking to show that the rock-solid economic figures show something very different from what you said.

      I wasn't "lost" at all. If anyone was "lost", it was the person who made this claim which had nothing to do with the employment/wage world out there.

      If your "rhetorical device" is to get some sort of point across with wildly inaccurate extreme exaggerations,you are the one that should be criticized, not those who point out the contradicting facts.

      "Not all service sector jobs pay exactly at the minimum wage"

      Few do, in fact. Makes one wonder why you said flat-out that this was the largest employment sector in the whole nation.

    9. If I may interject. I believe the service sector of our economy is growing while the manufacturing sector is shrinking. Which in my view is the real danger facing our nation. Wealth is created my producing, or production. A economy that produces little and merely services will become increasingly poorer.

      But hey. Just a fact largely discarded by progressives

    10. RN: That seems to be related to Jersey's point, actually. If the trend you identify continues, it can very well result in the situation Jersey described (min-wage service sector being the biggest of all). And the manufacturing sector, so much larger than the min-wage service sector, becoming smaller.

      In all fairness to Jersey, as a progressive, he has a strong record of concern over the US manufacturing sector. I don't think he will discard your point, RN. Unless I totally misread what you said in your interjection...


      Now, in terms of economies that manufacture little and merely provide services being "poorer", I suppose that might seem what it would be at first thought. However, is it really this way?

      Compare rich Singapore, a lion of Asia (15% manufacturing, 70% service) to very poor Cuba (a lot more in industry and agriculture, less in service).

    11. Les, progressives have been screaming and yelling about that for more than a generation now.

      And dmarks (thank you for paying attention), there are different aspects of the service sector, higher and lower ends, so to speak. I'm talking about the many millions of retail, healthcare, food, support, and hospitality workers in this country who are treated like abject crap, and they are the single largest bloc of workers in the nation. And remember, the Boomers are retiring now, so an even greater percentage of the workforce will now be relegated to these lousy job "opportunities." Thank God our governments, at the local, state and federal level, treat our entry end workers a little better. Were it not for that, people right down around the minimum wage would make up an even greater percentage of the workforce.

      When you look at the balance of sectors in America, it is comparable to France and the UK, who are also having the same economic problems, sur-prise, sur-prise. You could blame it on their more socialistic functions, but every other comparable economy with more socialistic functions, has a more balanced economy by sector.

      America is now nothing but a old-money Free Trade whore now.


    12. Jersey: Whether or not RN agrees, and whether or not I agree with all of it... that was a pretty good argument.

  3. The Noble Lie is a part of politics at every level. I appreciate this post Les. It has reclarified things for me.

    1. Believe it or not Joe it did for me as well. :-)

      "The more things change the more they stay the same"

  4. "It's time to seriously look at raising the minimum wage"

    which would force even more people into unemployment. Not sure how everyone else was brought up, but I was brought up to believe that the best way to get more money was to earn it.

    Will has it right the way he is described elsewhere: the way to improve this is job training, so the "working class" gets more money through better, more valuable work.

    " It's a picture of a number of business sectors who treat their people like shit."
    A hike in the minimum wage will make this worse, for sure. It will force companies to fire people. It will force them to cut other benefits and such in order to make up for the unfunded mandate as well.

    Throwing more money at schools won't help either until you get the NEA out of the picture, which fights to keep bad teachers on the job, and to make sure lousy "educators" get rich. A focus on education, not greed, is needed. With fair pay, and swiftly getting rid of (not throwing more money at) the bad destructive teachers.

    Here is one excellent example of pure waste, part of the NEA's war on education. The NYC school district spends $22 million a year to give money to so-called teachers who are too incompetent or abusive to teach.

    Take care of these scandals, before even considering having the government steal even more money from the already overtaxed taxpayers.

    "pouring federal money into the schools at all levels" won't fix a thing until this is ended across the board.

    1. In one state, where the governor is not a college graduate, he has taken the dmarks recommended steps, denigrating the teachers in that state, where 52 % have a masters degree . Perhaps they should go into something more lucrative, such as banking?

    2. BB: "denigrating the teachers in that state"

      Only the bad ones. The ones who would be fired if there was a merit system rather than tenure, or the child-abusers in "rubber room" situations. Such so-called "teachers" are not worthy of defense.

      Education is too important for those who harm the children to get rich from it.

    3. Bad ones: who hired them? Most states have a probationary period between 3-5 years during which the new teacher may be terminated for any cause. Tenured teachers can be
      terminated for a number of reasons, but they are permitted a defense. So, we get to defining 'bad teaching' it subjective or are there concrete metrics? Sure, we have all
      in our education run across a bad teacher (try reading RateMyProf sometime) and that
      bad teacher was bad by our definition as a student. (Students really hate hard teachers, but not the goof-offs, so let's ignore that system). Should they be rated by peers? That smacks a bit of family sticking together, so let's ignore that one. Rate them by the test results of their students? Every teacher will talk endlessly of the year of the 'good class' or the year of the 'bad class: rich kids vs poor kids? Involved parents vs parents who don't give a damn about their kid? Teachers work with all that, and yes some are more successful than others, but test results alone seem a fragile standard. So, we are left with
      evaluation by the administrators. The old saw, 'those than can, do/those that can't, teach
      and 'those that can't teach, administrate - leaves something to be desired. Parents?
      "you flunked my kid, you can't teach", "you put my kid on detention, you can't teach", "you give too much homework, you are a bad teacher", you don't give enough homework, you
      are a bad teacher" ad infinitum. My personal favorite, "you put my boy on detention and I've got a gun and I will be there within a half hour!" So, the term 'bad teacher' needs some
      concrete definitions, and I am sure there are bad ones. I guess a teacher who "harms children and gets rich from it" would surely be a bad one. But tell me, at what public school is the teacher's lot full of BMWs, Ferraris and Cadillacs? It is as hard to find a rich
      teacher as it is to find a poor banker, IMO!

    4. BB Idaho, all I can say is... Excellent response. My sister and daughter-in-law, both teachers with master's, as well as my son who is currently working towards his Doctorate at Northeastern would agree as well.

    5. BB: Performance evaluation is not rocket science. It's quite common all over the place.

      However, you don't have tenure on a factory line to make it harder to fire someone who is bad, or in the offices of United Way, or or or...

      " It is as hard to find a rich teacher as it is to find a poor banker, IMO!"

      How about the ones making $100,000? And who are not doing so out of any sort of merit or excellence?

    6. Performance evaluation, which in my experience is hated by both evaluator and evaluated, varies considerably. At its simplest, does the person do the job well? In the military, I recall they had a little booklet with key words, good and bad, like tact, understanding, personality (or lack thereof). Exceeds expectations: gotta love that. One time, my patent
      earned an unexpected $ million: this caused consternation in the finance department as
      an unbudgeted profit, taxes, etc and I received a chewing out (along with 'how's the next
      project coming along'? Perhaps the evaluation of the CEO by the board: Our stock is down
      20% this year, profits are at a 10 year low and employee turnover is skyrocketing- so your
      bonus is only $15 million, but the stock option deal will more than make up for it. Performance reviews: perhaps they SHOULD be rocket science...or discontinued.
      [despite having a 'Dilbert' attitude, I always got great ones, but still....]

    7. So, let's nix performance evaluations, give everybody a hug and a big raise, an extra week vacation and call it a day.

      Evaluations based on measurable performance objectives ove a specific time period with periodic checkpoints and discussions (daily, weekly, monthly) with the employee is effective. Never discuss the employees "attitude" or personality but rather desirable and undesirable or acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.

      The problem with evaluations is there are too many untrained managers.

    8. dmarks, show me the evidence raising the minimum wage increases unemployment. (I've got news for you - it's not true)


  5. We note that fewer women are in the workforce these days, and RN you are correct regarding the
    child-rearing choices facing that gender. Any place I ever worked, job positions were paid based on
    the position, not gender. Certainly jobs that attract women..nursing, teaching, real estate, etc, offer
    fair pay. What skews the average, IMO, is that so few women are in top management, engineering,
    the sciences, heavy construction, etc. The 'experts' are still debating whether that is driven by choice,
    circumstances and other factors. On the other hand, I think we all know or are familiar with single moms trying to raise 3-4 kids working a couple of minimum wage jobs- and would like to address that problem.

  6. "...the way to improve this is job training, so the "working class" gets more money through better, more valuable work."

    What on earth does that mean? What is "better more valuable work?" Does the person who cleans the streets not contribute valuable work? He or she does. And he or she deserves to be paid a living wage. Someone has to do menial work. So far, we haven't invented robots to do it. Human being with families do those jobs, and they deserve to earn a living wage, not one that forces them to hold down 3 or 4 jobs to make ends meet and that places stresses on their families' lives.

  7. "When economists have analyzed the data, many have found few, if any, negative effects of a minimum wage on employment. This has shifted some of the thinking in the profession — and pointed to flaws in a perfectly competitive model.

    Paying workers more often leads them to feel better about their work and reduces stress, both of which increase productivity. And when workers produce more, employers’ labor costs fall. Companies such as Costco have figured this out, and voluntarily pay higher wages. Other firms may not care whether they pay less and get less from their workers, or pay more and get more."

    From "Five Myths About The Minimum Wage

    1. As a manager for many years before circumstances helped me move into the field I truly love I was often approached by employees who wanted more money. My first question was. "how much are you currently making?"

      I couldn't believe how many couldn't answer my question.

      I leave it to you Shaw to determine for yourself the significance of this.

    2. I worked in management as well, as the head of two departments in a high tech company, one of which was Human Resources. I never encountered what you've described. And even if that happened in your experience, what does it have to do with giving people a living wage?

      Look up Costco and see how that company has thrived by paying its workers a living wage. Then compare that with WalMart, a company that does not, and as a result, the US government has to subsidize WalMart's employees with food stamps. Costco pays its employees enough money so that the US government doesn't have to subsidize them.

    3. "Paying workers more often leads them to feel better about their work and reduces stress,"

      I suppose, then, if we pay paperboys $110,000 a year, we will get such better paper delivery than we would get otherwise...

      "Look up Costco and see how that company has thrived by paying its workers a living wage"

      The living wage concept is completely invalid: as it varies wildly from person to person. Also, it is a matter of lifestyle choice so much of the time.

      Overlooked also is that Costco employes a fraction of the workers employed by Walmart (about one-tenth as many). I am sure Walmart could boost wages a lot, too, if it fired most of its workers and became more on the level of Costco. One of the reasons Walmart is a lot bigger is that it employs a lot more people, including those with low skills that demand low wages. People who would be left unemployed, and 100% subsidized by the government in a Costco world.

    4. "From "Five Myths About The Minimum Wage"

      Which is an opinion piece, really.

      The same source, the Washington Post, has another article where they step back from pure opinion and report on this issue in a more journalistic fashion: here

      "Economists disagree on whether the minimum wage kills jobs. Why?"

      It is also interesting to note that the defenders of the minimum wage increases have an allowable number of lost jobs. As if 2000 jobs lost to this were an acceptable loss (articles by defenders of it that refer to the job losses as existing, but "small"). It is my opinion that this is 2000 jobs too many, and we should have policies which gain jobs, not lose more and more.

      The number of people fired as a result of bad regulations (<a href = ">this included</A>) is made up of the total accumulation of such "small" numbers".

    5. dmarks: "From "Five Myths About The Minimum Wage"

      Which is an opinion piece, really."

      And so is your comment.

  8. "And even if that happened in your experience..."

    Ah, now Shaw you are implying, intentionally or not, that I'm making this up or lying. So noted.

    "... what does it have to do with giving people a living wage?"

    The point is if someone does not even know what they are being paid how can they know what they need for that very subjective "living wage.". Perhaps it's about budgeting, or perhaps it is not about what is needed but about what is wanted.

    At any rate I am not opposed to seeing an reasonable increase in the minimum wage. But I feel very confident in saying that in a very short time you and others will be clamoring for a $15.00/hr minimum wage, or a $20.00hr.

    BTW, all the companies I worked for paid their employees welll above the minimum wage. They were paid based on skill level of job performed, insurance was truly affordable and plans were available to fit individual needs, 401K plans were part of the benefit plans, a couple gave employees matching contributions or a % of employee contribution, and one had profit sharing.

    Companies generally pay based on skill required to preform a job and or responsibility.

    What we are experiencing is the modern day
    version of the 19th and 20th century "class

    1. There are reasons why some employees may be reticent about discussing their wages: Perhaps shame, or fear of receiving a lecture about financial management, or perhaps confusion in being unable to distinguish gross pay from net pay after taxes, or perhaps an overwhelming sense of privacy when discussing personal financial matters. The error in your anecdotal account is that you have no concrete evidence upon which to base your subjective judgment.

    2. Errors seem to be abundant.

      Noted and taken under advisement.

  9. RN said: "very subjective "living wage.""

    I see you agree with me at least partially (but only so far) on the idea that the "living wage" idea is very subjective

    A living wage for a teenager in a middle class family who is working at the Walmart checkout is $0.

    A living wage for a single mom with two kids working on the next aisle might be $50,000 a year

    A living wage for a single man with major living expenses might be over $100,000.


    Any attempt to define this always results in "one size fits few". Rather than treat employers as a sort of agency with unlimited funds to shovel out a huge proportion of unearned money along with the earnings on a paycheck, I strongly support means tested government aid programs.

    RN: you said: "BTW, all the companies I worked for paid their employees welll above the minimum wage. They were paid based on skill level of job performed"

    The idea of some sort of imaginary pulled-from-the-a** "one size fits few" living wage being mandated, or even the minimum wage (I know you disagree on that one) completely negates the idea of paying on the job performed or anything "based on skill required to preform a job and or responsibility. "

  10. No, I did not imply that you were making it up;.

    "even if" "even though": phrase You use "even if" or "even though" to indicate that a particular fact does not make the rest of your statement untrue.

  11. On the subject, the only evidence of such sexist wage discrimination is found here:

    "According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, single women who have never married earned 96% of men's earnings in 2012."

    That's a 4% difference. Not saying it is too small to address, but it needs to be addressed. And the proposed "equal pay" laws are not the way to do this, as most of what it changes are wage differences that have nothing to do with any sex discrimination.

  12. More absolute BS from Obama - As numerous economists have pointed out, when you control for key factors such as occupation, education, hours worked, and years of continuous service, women make just as much as men and sometimes more. The bottom-line here is that women just make different choices than men and it is this fact and NOT discrimination which explains the wage disparity.............And you can't compare single men with single women. You have to compare never married men with never married women in that this technique has a tendency to control for continuity in the work force (women not leaving to have kids, etc.).

  13. I'm seeing Nevada "sEnator" hArry JACKAS rEid has proclaimed the Bundy family "domestic terrorists."

    Given the reasonable and thinking person's concept of terrorism would sEnator hArry rEid's
    statement be a Noble Lie?

    1. As opposed to the Feds who've acted so judiciously, I'm assuming.


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