Ed Driscoll

Dangerous 'Butterfield Effect' Now Striking Non-Journalists

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.


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