Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The DePaul Conservative Resistance: A Call for Change

Over two weeks ago, conservative author David Horowitz came to DePaul to speak about the blatant disregard professors have in indoctrinating their students to subscribe to their political agenda. He came under the auspices of the DePaul Conservative Alliance (DCA), and as Vice-President of this organization, I can tell you that Horowitz was not just invited to stir things up at DePaul. Contrary to popular belief, the endgame for the DCA is not drumming up controversy by inviting speakers or hosting bake sales. Rather, we are calling for action to reform this educational institution into a bastion of high intellectual standards while tolerating and informing students of the many conservative ideologies that exist in the world.

This call for change will often seem as though we are devoted to conflict and quarrel, but rest assured, the goals of our operation and existence are not to, in the words of Frederick Douglass, “agitate, agitate, agitate.” Our movement is in essence a reaction to the prevailing tenets and structures in place at DePaul. Like Newton’s Third Law of motion, for every action there is an equal an opposite reaction; only in this case, we hope to go beyond an ‘equal’ reaction. In any event, we are seeking change. The path to reform is never easy, and the DCA fully recognizes this fact. Our progress so far, at least in the last two and a half years, has made considerable headway.

Two and a half years ago there was no DCA. Two and a half years ago the College Republicans were a group of about five people that maybe met once a month to discuss how Clinton should have been impeached and that the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ are still in Syria somewhere. Two and a half years ago, there was no conservative literature or newspaper distributed around campus. Two and a half years ago, conservatism was all but dead at DePaul.

But then, the fraudulent Ward Churchill was invited by the Cultural Center to speak at DePaul on his ‘little Eichman’ college campus tour, and the closet-conservatives at DePaul had finally had enough. Students mobilized and came out in droves to protest the man who said, “Innocent? Gimme a break.” in reference to the Americans who perished on 9/11. After Student Life banned us from protesting the event with posters, then College Republican President Joseph Blewitt found himself on ‘Hannity and Colmes’ discussing DePaul’s ridiculous “anti-propaganda” policy. The name ‘Ward Churchill’ quickly became the conservative rallying cry and catalyst for our movement.

To be fair, the conservative movement had started much sooner than the beginning of 2005. In terms of planning and preparation, some of the conservative students at DePaul, including myself, were mobilizing at the end of 2004 in hopes of creating a conservative newspaper at DePaul. After several months of hard work, our mission was successful and in November of 2005 the Lincoln Park Statesman was born.

The affirmative action bake sale is what put the DCA on the map. As a satirical attempt to protest the policy of affirmative action, the bake sale proved to open up discussion about the once taboo topic, and it also served as a recruiting tool for many conservatives to join our cause. Many called the bake sale ‘racist’ (the ‘McCarthyism’ of today) and in the face of adversity from the administration, the DCA fired back by gaining the media’s attention and threatening legal action with the help of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

Since its inception, the DCA has increased membership from roughly four to twenty-five active members. The College Republicans are now a legitimate organization at DePaul who are also seeking to make a difference on campus. After hearing Horowitz speak, the conservative movement is remided of why we need to subsist and why we must fight the academic status quo. The indoctrination from Lefist professors still permeates the college classroom. As Horowitz pointed out, a college student will go four years in the LA&S dept without ever reading Friedrich Hayek, a conservative and Nobel Prize winner.

The ideological struggle is a difficult one indeed, but success is never achieved unless this struggle exists. The administration has somewhat accomodated our presence on campus, but more needs to be done in the classrooms. The conservative movement continues to grow at DePaul and we are still calling for change.

Abolish the minimum wage

It’s official. Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic cohorts have begun 2007 with a disastrous piece of legislation. The House passed a bill which will increase the minimum wage from the current $5.15 to $7.25 over the next two years. The vote in the House was 315-116, a testament that the 82 Republicans who voted for the bill would know the wrath of their constituents had they voted against it. Not only is raising the minimum wage detrimental to the calculus of the American spirit and founding, but simply having one to begin with is what I find most upsetting.

An increase in the minimum wage is popular with the political masses; just ask the Democrats. This popularity is founded in the actual purpose of raising the minimum wage, not in its realization or practical outcome. Personally, I don’t want any American citizen to not have enough money to support a family, to not afford health care, or to not be able to pay their bills. There is a sense of altruism behind the policy of hiking the minimum wage, and just having one in the books is at least “good” in theory. Yet the theory is irrelevant if the pragmatic implementation of the policy has more negative than positive effects.

Many supporters are in favor of the increase because they want low-income workers to make more money. Yet the statistics tell a different story altogether. The people earning minimum wage, as of 2005, represent only 2.5% of the hourly paid workforce in America. Of these 2.5%, about half of these people are under the age of 25, and a quarter of these workers are ages 16-19. In fact, the average household income for the teenage minimum wage workers is roughly $64,000 per year-well above the poverty level. This means that increasing the minimum wage would force employers to pay teenagers, most of whom are still in school and don’t really “need” the money to live off of, more money an hour. The principle of altruism has lost much of its steam once realizing these statistics.

The negative aspect is not that kids shouldn’t be making more money or that they essentially should never receive money if they work for it. Rather, an increase in minimum wage either significantly increases unemployment, or increases the cost for the consumers.

For example, pretend for a moment that you own a restaurant. Let’s say you need ten people to effectively run this small restaurant and you decide to pay them each $6.00 an hour. Yet, the federal government decides to get involved in the marketplace and subsequently raises the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. As a business owner, you can do one of three things:

A) You could keep all ten on staff and take a profit-cut for yourself, since the returns will be less now that you are paying your employers a significant amount more. (No capitalist or business owner takes this option, trust me)

B) You could keep all ten on staff and increase the prices for the consumers to retain the same profits you were making when you paid your employers $6.00 an hour.

C) You could fire 2 of your employees and still maintain the same profits as before.
What do B and C, the only two practical outcomes, have in common? They are both negative effects on the economy. One option increases unemployment, the other option increases prices for the consumers. Minimum wage has this disastrous effect on the economy.

Yet raising minimum wage is not the ideological culprit for libertarian minded thinkers. The culprit is the minimum wage itself. The market should be able to dictate the wages of the individual workers. Why does the government have a right to tell me how much I have to pay a certain worker for doing a certain job? The answer is that they should not be given that power. Minimum wage is a fanciful bi-product of government coming to the rescue in the marketplace, when the majority of problems can be solved by letting the marketplace rescue itself.

If Wal-Mart were to open up a store and pay employees $2.00 an hour, what would happen? Nobody would apply and the business would collapse. Kmart would then take over the market by offering their employees much more for an hourly wage. Wal-Mart in return, understanding the market, would begin a competitive bidding process for labor if they wanted to keep their business intact. Since labor is a commodity, the competitive marketplace will position people into jobs that pay good, or else the worker can get up and become employed elsewhere. That is and should be the beauty of a free society.

In the end, raising the minimum wage does nothing to help low-income workers and only brings unemployment and higher consumer prices. Even the supporters of minimum wage acknowledge that too large of an increase in the minimum wage will be harmful, otherwise why not raise the minimum wage to $15 or say $20 an hour?

An abolishment of the minimum wage is necessary to reduce the role of government and to allow the market and business owners maximum freedom in investing their own money.