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Ed Driscoll

Dangerous ‘Butterfield Effect’ Now Striking Non-Journalists

June 4th, 2014 - 6:45 pm

Great moments in cause and effect, via Instapundit:

POLITICS: Woman who voted for every Austin, TX tax increase discovers that now she can’t afford to live there. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”

Yes. And perhaps Boston talk radio host Michael Graham can help:

It’s what happens when someone on the Left makes a statement that is laughably ludicrous on its face, yet it reveals what the speaker truly believes — no matter how dumb.

“The Butterfield Effect” is named in honor of ace New York Times crime reporter Fox Butterfield, the intrepid analyst responsible for such brilliantly headlined stories as “More Inmates, Despite Drop In Crime,” and “Number in Prison Grows Despite Crime Reduction,” not to mention the poetic 1997 header, “Crime Keeps on Falling, but Prisons Keep on Filling.”

Mr. Butterfield is truly perplexed at what he calls the “paradox” of more criminals in prison coinciding with less crime in neighborhoods. An observation that might appear obvious to an 8th grader (crooks + jail = fewer crimes) is simply beyond his grasp. Butterfield of the Times is the poster boy for the greatest conundrum facing the American Left today: How do you explain to people who just don’t get it that the problem is they just don’t get it?

Of course, those most vulnerable to Sudden Onset Butterfield Effect remain leftwing journalists:

Competing cities in the metropolitan area will seek to take advantage of Seattle’s higher labor costs to lure away low-wage employers. You can also count on them to trumpet the $15 wage as proof of Seattle’s “anti-business” atmosphere.

There will be trade-offs. Any economic action also carries with it the risk of unintended consequences.

Thus, as wages are driven higher for low-wage workers, employers will have incentives to automate some tasks, make more use of temporary workers, decrease hours and take steps to increase efficiency with the existing or smaller staff, causing hiring to slow.

It would be nice to think a city ordinance could stick it to The Man. But The Man is accustomed to certain profit margins and will seek to maintain them. He won’t sell a yacht to ensure that fry cooks get a better deal.

Funny, I’ve known lots of small business owners over the years. Don’t know any who owned yachts — these days, those are primarily reserved for the class that were once described — in less enlightened times, mind you — as civil servants.

Of course, the Seattle Times was once a small and struggling business itself; the punitive tone of those who now write for it is yet another example of from shirtsleeves to hair shirt in three generations.

And from full employment for humans to full employment for robots in about the same length of time, as the Gods of Copybook Headings seek their merciless revenge.

Unexpectedly.

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Top Rated Comments   
My daughter lives in Seattle with her 'fiancée'. I don't suppose they'll ever get married and I've written off any chance of grandchildren from them - because they are the typical city dwelling liberals - and she's 41.

I'm still trying to figure out where I went wrong with that one...

Anyway I'm talking to her earlier today and asked her what she thought of the new minimum wage (which won't affect her since she makes more already) - she thinks its great that those kids at McDonalds can get 'a living wage' in a few years. What about the kid living at home making $15 per hour? "Oh there's old people there too so it'll benefit them too" Deflection again! Its a stepped program and takes a while to kick in. I asked her what a cheeseburger will cost in 'a while' - she doesn't think the prices will go up since McDonalds "has lots of money" - but she thinks its great that those Mom N Pop stores will be (mostly) spared the new wage mandate. I tried to explain that most of those McDonalds in and around Seattle are owned by individuals and Mom N Pops and probably aren't anything close to rich. Didn't phase her! She says "McDonalds can just pay them more." I guess 'franchise' is above her pay-grade.

The older I get the dumber my ---- well I didn't say it but I was thinking it.

One time a while back I asked her how she likes the new multi-million dollar Seattle Public Library. Just fine she says. I asked her what it cost her - "nothing" - you mean it was free? "Well no - the City pays for it". Where did the city get the $$'s? "I dunno! Taxes?" Yep - and you are helping to pay for it through your rent. Thats why its so high. Keep voting for all those city projects - your rent will go up. "Yeah but I like the city - and the buses are so cheap - and DAD! we don't pay property taxes - the landlord does!" - I shut up after that one.

Logic seems to fail the liberal mind - when you make a point that seems to have no refute they simply move on to something else.

Can't figure out where I went wrong...

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"He won’t sell a yacht to ensure that fry cooks get a better deal."

The only people with yachts these days seem to be Democrat politicians and cronies. Unlikely any of them employ fry cooks but their personal chefs probably already get good deals.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just like all Obama voters, she thought OPM was going to pay for it all, and they are shocked indeed when the true costs fall on them.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (48)
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Liberals aren't used to seeing cause and effect. They usually fund programs in ways the programs aren't broken, so nothing ever gets fixed.

Therefore the startling theory that arresting a criminal makes a neighborhood safer becomes a butterfly flapped its wings in Asia and a city in North America fell, as if random chance.

Libs are used to saying prisons exists to oppress non-whites and so law enforcement couldn't actually ever do anything. It's wonder libs don't want 911 outlawed (with a special exemption for them of course).
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Butterfield I know was the one in Watergate, and a good guy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Butterfield

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The liberal/progressive/Fascist left always derides/despises the "rich." However, just who funds their political campaigns? Most of the rich capitalists in this nation support the Dems and their fellow strap-hangers. Hollywood celebs, pro athletes, hedge fund managers on both coasts, Tom Steyer, George Soros, Warren Buffett, most of the Goldman Sachs staff, et al, plus MSM and almost all of academia.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The gifts of eight years of Obama will be with us decades after he's left the scene. And liberals it seems feel both vindicated (every stupid little tic brought into the light) and uneasy (I've never seen America more divided and uncertain about the future). Minimum wage of 100 dollars for all! (And what might be the affect). Take any liberal idea and follow it to its end and you have Detroit.
Skip forward a couple of years when Obama leaves; Is America be better off after eight years of rule by a boy King?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's the crux of the problem with "minimum wage" legislation and similar programs to try to give poor people more money. Giving poor people more money just raises the dollar figure for poverty. You get an inflationary effect that eliminates the value of the new dollars.
If you lower the costs of goods and services, especially the daily-purchase items like food and energy, you will improve the standard of living for everyone. The poor will get the greatest improvement and the rich will get the least change in their standard of living.
Of course the rich will also get more money from producing more goods and services, so "progressives" reflexively turn away from the only concept that actually works. And this concept is also based on liberty and responsibility, two things that "progressives" want for themselves but not for you.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
And remember the person who said "Of course, I want people to have health care, I just didn't realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally."

We are infested with a class of people who can be best described as Liberal Sheep. They are incapable of analytical thought and any kind of decent reasoning skills.

When Obama talked about bankrupting the coal industry do you think any of them stopped to ask themselves how much their local electric utility relies upon coal? Of course not. The Liberal Sheep are all about to be surprised once again.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
" They are incapable of analytical thought and any kind of decent reasoning skills."

That's it. They mean well, but they don't think well.


Thus they elect people who very much do NOT mean well.

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Seattle minimum wage story provides a perfect primer for politics under a Democrat majority:

1. Democrats propose stupid policy idea
2. Opposition point out reasons it won't work
3. Democrats do it anyway
4. Reasons it won't work keep it from working
5. Democrats cite reasons it won't work as grounds requiring more government action
6. Lather, rinse, repeat (until Democrats removed from power)
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course... the solution to bad government is always MORE bad government.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dr. Sowell once put it kind of like this:
"If liberals like an idea and it fails nine times in a row, they will insist that the tenth time will work. If they don't like an idea, it can succeed nine times in a row and they will insist that it will fail the tenth time."
Being a little fair, almost all of us have a bit of this inclination. I was especially prone to it when I was trying to date. It was less that I liked the method that failed so much as that I didn't know one that would work. Fortunately, sweetheart eventually rescued me from all that.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is the same thing with people who really think that spending more and more money on public education by raising the taxes exorbitantly will really make kids smarter instead of teachers richer.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
A few years ago I lived in northeast Pennsylvania (moved there chasing "gas-field money"). Even considered buying a house in the area because rents were sky-high. Discovered that housing prices were pretty steep on the Pennsylvania side of the border but nice houses could still be bought just over the border in New York state comparatively cheaply. This seemed a mystery to me until I discovered that the taxes on a $150K house on the New York side were in the neighborhood of $7,500.00/YEAR (as opposed to less than half that on the Pennsylvania side). That is the equivalent of putting another complete house payment PER MONTH in a savings account just to pay the tax man! Just gotta love those blue state taxes!
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Occasionally, the obvious needs to be stated, since all other input (from the MSM, etc.) we have tells us that the sun comes up in the West (*) and that 1 + 1 = whatever we want it to be. (And that Fire will Wet us, and that Water will Burn.)

Thank you for another excellent column.

(*) Although if the NYT printed that the sun was going to come up in the East, I would definitely recommend looking out the window to make sure.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
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