Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

Notes from today’s meeting (3 Oct 2016)

Read this post online here (assuming the link works!)

Minimum wage and related issues

Worth watching: Nick Hanauer, Seattle billionaire, giving a TED talk on the dangers of growing inequality.

Worth reading:  Hanauer in the Atlantic on the minimum wage.

If human beings’ sense of fairness is sufficiently violated, they will do economically irrational things to punish the unjust. There’s ample research to back this up and theory to explain it. So if your economic theory doesn’t consider this as a factor, then it’s deficient and does not conform to reality as best we understand it.

When people in the United States have been polled to find out what they consider a fair division of wealth, they DO NOT think that everyone should be equally wealthy. But they are unaware of how far from ideal things actually are.

Here’s a paper by researchers Michael Norton (Harvard) and Dan Ariely (Duke). I don’t know Norton’s work, but I do know some of Ariely’s other work, and I think he’s brilliant.

The short summary:

This is what people think the ideal wealth distribution looks like, by income, political preference, and gender.


This is what they think it actually is. Quite different than the ideal, for all. Maybe even starting to be considered unfair (see polls referenced below).


Here’s what it actually looks like.


Gallup poll: “Americans Continue to Say U.S. Wealth Distribution Is Unfair

Pew Research “Most Americans say U.S. economic system is unfair, but high-income Republicans disagree

911 Terrorism bill and fallout

To correct the record: the bill was sponsored by John Cornyn, [R-TX].  Chuck Schumer is a one of about a dozen cosponsors (listed below) and tries to take more credit than appears due, here. He’s notable for introducing an amendment that watered down the vote.

Complaints from Republicans in the House and Senate that Obama did not sufficiently explain the consequences are cited in this CNN report, excerpted below. Emphasis in the quote, mine.

“Because everyone was aware who the potential beneficiaries were, but nobody focused on the potential downside in terms of our international relationships. And I just think it was a ball dropped,” McConnell said. “I wish the President — and I hate to blame everything on him and I don’t — but it would have been helpful had…we had a discussion about this much earlier than the last week.” is a great site that scrapes government data from and presents it in more helpful ways.

The 9/11 terrorism bill is S.2040, or JASTA.  Here’s JASTA at and  here’s JASTA at GovTrack.

Here’s one of GovTrack’s graphics, which makes voting patterns a little clearer. Below is an excerpt from this page.


The bill was originally sponsored by Sen. Cornyn, John [R-TX] and cosponsored by:

Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Coons, Chris [D-DE] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Cruz, Ted [R-TX] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Feinstein, Dianne [D-CA] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Flake, Jeff [R-AZ] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Franken, Alan “Al” [D-MN] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Graham, Lindsey [R-SC] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Hatch, Orrin [R-UT] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Lee, Mike [R-UT] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Markey, Edward “Ed” [D-MA] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Perdue, David [R-GA] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Tillis, Thom [R-NC] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Whitehouse, Sheldon [D-RI] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
And a bunch of latecomers who came to the party, became co-sponsored,


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