Where would political argumentation be without Conflation, False Distinctions, False Equivalences, and Question Begging?
Especially Question Begging.
Jonah gives an example:
The link goes to a Washington Post piece this morning by Ed Rogers (Republicans can’t avoid the minimum wage debate):
President Obama and the Democrats are making an election year issue out of the minimum wage. Obviously, they want to avoid talking about Obamacare specifically and the Obama economy generally. Some in the mainstream media are promoting Obama’s futile plan to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, and sometimes Republicans take the bait and talk too much. Without a clear plan of their own, Republicans are just the party of “no.”
So, I don’t know whether he falls into the “Dems” group Jonah is talking about.
Or whether “without a plan” equals “no ideas.”
It’s clear, though, that it’s evidently beyond the skill set of folks arguing politics these days to get past the most basic logical fallacies in making their case.
Is Mr. Rogers guilty of Question Begging?
I guess it depends on what he means by “clear plan of their own.”
As Mr. Rogers makes clear
The Democrats’ minimum wage recommendations not only won’t work, they’ll make things much, much worse:
The American Action Forum, led by former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, analyzed minimum wage data and found that if a new federal minimum wage of $9 an hour were imposed, it would cost us almost 1.4 million new jobs. The higher minimum wage would result in a decrease in the net job growth rate across the country. That’s consistent with common sense. If you raise the price of labor, especially while our economy is so fragile, there will be less labor.
And a survey released on March 19 by Express Employment Professionals, one of the nation’s largest privately held staffing firm, showcases an inconvenient truth for Democrats: raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would “result in layoffs, reduced hiring, and higher prices at a large chunk of American companies.” The survey found that among employers who currently pay their employees the minimum wage, 38 percent said they would have to fire some employees, 54 percent said they would curtail new hiring and 65 percent said they would raise prices on the goods and services they offer to cover the extra costs. There is no doubt that raising the minimum wage would diminish the number of jobs in the near-term. Obviously, we should not do anything that reduces the number of jobs. Period.
So, on the one hand we have a party beating the drums for something that will destroy millions of jobs and we want to keep them from doing that.
That sounds like a plan to me.
Not, evidently, to Mr. Rogers.
Which is where Question Begging comes in.
A policy question like minimum wage (or Obamacare) isn’t binary. It’s not a choice merely between Action A or Action B.
There is a third option.
That is the basis of a lot of libertarian thought.
You come across a guy who’s thinking of hitting his head with a hammer.
One of his friends is begging him to do nothing.
“Doing nothing isn’t a plan. Give him something else to hit his head with.”
We beg Democrats (and more than a few careerist Republicans) to quit or refrain from doing stuff that ruins people’s lives and “So what’s YOUR plan” is all you got?
No, Charles, it’s about communication
So it’s a communications plan?
In politics, as we know, a bumper sticker beats an essay. In this case, the Democrats have the bumper sticker. And while the Republican essay is compelling and honest, it’s still an essay.
There is nothing Republicans can do to avoid some negative fallout for opposing a minimum wage hike, but a little Republican creativity would be useful right now. Republicans can’t just say we want higher paying jobs as a way to avoid talking about minimum wage jobs. Without a plan of their own, Republicans are just trying to bluff, hoping no one notices. Well, it’s too late for that. The other side is scoring points.
Putting aside for a moment the notion of accepting communications advice from a guy who can’t even make clear what he means with his thesis point, are we seriously expected to fight bumper stickers with bumper stickers?
With a new generation of conservatives and libertarians represented by Walker, Cruz, Rand Paul, Rubio, and their cohorts with almost unprecedented ability to hold a mass audience while explaining persuasively what they stand for and why—
Mr. Rogers wants to limit our communication strategy to bumper sticker slogans?
Is that his plan?
Here’s a bumper sticker:
- Any job is better than no job.
That’s not exactly the truth, but hey—we’re talking bumper stickers here and Mr. Rogers won’t allow essays.
So how about this?
- Any lower paying job you actually have is better than a higher paying job that doesn’t exist.
Might be too long to fit a bumper sticker, but then the people who are swayed by bumper stickers probably already vote Democrat anyway.