Thursday, September 20, 2018 -
Print Edition

‘Does it do good?’ vs. ‘Does it feel good?’

A fundamental difference between the left and right concerns how each assesses public policies. The right asks, “Does it do good?” The left asks a different question.

One example is the minimum wage. In 1987, The New York Times editorialized against any minimum wage.

“There’s a virtual consensus among economists,” wrote the Times, “that the minimum wage is an idea whose time has passed. Raising the minimum wage by a substantial amount would price working poor people out of the job market . . . More important, it would increase unemployment . . . The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable — and fundamentally flawed.”

Why did the Times take this stance? Because it asked the conservative question: “Does it do good?”

But 27 years later, the Times editorial page wrote the very opposite and called for a major increase in the minimum wage. The page had moved further left and was now preoccupied not with what does good — but with income inequality, which feels bad.

It lamented the fact that a low hourly minimum wage had not “softened the hearts of its opponents” — Republicans and their supporters.

A second example is affirmative action. Study after study has shown at least two deleterious effects that race-based affirmative action have had on black students.

One bad effect is that more black students fail to graduate college — because they have too often been admitted to a college that demands more academic rigor than they were prepared for. Rather than attend a school that matches their skills, a school where they might thrive, they fail at a school where they are over-matched.

The rest of this article is available in the June 12 IJN print and digital edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at carol@ijn.com or subscribe to our online e-Edition.



Dennis Prager

Columnist | Conservative Lens


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