Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, August 7, 2015

Is the AZ Chamber of Commerce AFRAID of Bernie Sanders already?

Even though the GOP presidential clown car/bus performance Thursday night provided next to ZERO insight on how any of those bozos could reasonably preside over the federal government of the United States -- and NONE of the clowns mentioned the real elephant in the room (Bernie Sanders) -- might Bernie already be scaring the bejeezus out of Arizona plutocrats? Consider...

The Yellow Sheet Report, that bastion of unbiased and highly objective hard news (NOT even close!), highlighted in its August 7, 2015 edition, gossip about GOP state treasurer Jeff DeWit, and fear-mongering by Arizona Chamber of Commerce CEO Glenn Hamer.

DeWit crossed Scrooge McDucey by exposing the governor's plan to put the state land trust fund at long-term risk. Readers may remember that the state treasurer blasted McDucey's plan to raid the state land trust fund to reduce principal upon which the fund earns interest and dividend income. McDucey of course acts as if he doesn't have to account for his bodacious and outrageous actions to the people who put him in office. Now, as if made up by Yellow Sheet reporters, they claim the vindictive consequences aimed at DeWit were nothing of the sort.
A[n UNNAMED] source close to Ducey took issue with a comment in yesterday’s report that the Ninth Floor told DeWit to “pound sand” after he asked for a seat at the table on the governor’s land trust plan. The source said that seat was, indeed, offered by the administration. “They tried to work with him. They tried to work around his opposition. He was invited at the table,” the source said. “They wanted to work with his concerns or, you know, have him be a part of it.” The Ninth Floor even offered DeWit a fairly prominent role in stumping for the land trust plan, the source said, but in the end, that wasn’t enough. The source believes DeWit’s opposition was borne out of his “disappointment that the treasurer’s role isn’t in the spotlight that often. I think maybe he was a little bit surprised by that.” Another source familiar with the conversations between DeWit and the Ninth Floor told our reporter last month, shortly after the treasurer publicly came out against the plan, that the Ducey administration briefed DeWit about it several times before it was announced, and that the governor even invited the treasurer to the June press conference where the proposal was unveiled. “It appeared that most of the opposition was that... he views this as the treasurer’s fund to manage. There weren’t a lot of specifics about elements about the plan that he didn’t like,” the source said of the meetings between the Treasurer’s Office and Governor’s Office.
Who is going to believe this tripe, as reported by the Yellow Sheet? Nobody in their right mind. If McDucey's people want anyone to believe them -- and if the Yellow Sheet wants anyone to trust its "journalism," they should both go on the record with names. Names of official spokespeople, or whoever is actually authorized to speak for the McDucey administration. Short of that, even YS customers should take that poorly written report with huge grains of salt.

Does McDucey REALLY think he can get intelligent people to believe that 1) he authentically wanted the elected treasurer to have a genuine say in how the plan was written; and 2) that DeWit shouldn't be believed just because he's jealous of the governor? Good effing grief.

Now, the other big idea the YS set forth today is that the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry (not to be confused with anyone who has the interests of small business in our state at heart), is starting to freak out at the idea of a $15/hour minimum wage.
AZ Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Glenn Hamer today swung at the idea of raising the minimum wage to $15, and predicted an economic Armageddon that could force businesses to resort to, among other things, [God forbid] robots. “Businesses could cut the hours of existing employees, raise prices, institute hiring freezes, invest in automation like robots that will make employees unnecessary, or even close up shop. Small businesses in the Bay Area and Seattle have already faced that fate,” Hamer wrote on his blog (LINK). The bad news won’t stop there, Hamer said. Those who are looking to join the workforce, such as teenagers, would be worse off, he said, citing a Wall Street Journal article, which predicted that for every 10 percent hike in the minimum wage, youth employment will drop by one to two percent. “Even the most altruistic employers have a hard time justifying paying a high school kid with few skills the full time equivalent of over $30,000 annually,” Hamer said. Not content with explaining his policy disagreement, Hamer also questioned the motivation of those who are pushing for the $15 minimum wage. “Most disturbing in the minimum wage debate, however, has been the undercurrent of disdain for honest work,” he said, adding, “Entitled activists who claim to be champions of the poor use rhetoric that demeans entry-level work and portrays employers as villains.” The problem, he said, is that big companies won’t be the only ones who would be negatively affected. Mom and pop shops would, too. “They depict positions that pay the minimum wage as lifelong slogs, not the first step on the road to upward mobility and maybe even a career,” he said. Hamer cited his experience as an example: “I started out my work life as the assistant bun guy at Burger King. I earned a hair above minimum wage. I did not get rich,” he said. “But I learned valuable life skills like the importance of showing up on time, getting a job done right, treating supervisors and my fellow employees with respect, and how to interact with customers.”
Hamer, in his referenced blog post cites a specious argument posed by a failing pizza shop owner in Seattle.

Again, give me a f***ing break. Arizona is ALL about tourism. Are you telling me that raising the minimum wage is going to put a damper on people visiting our state? And since they will continue to come to Arizona in droves, is Hamer (and the YS) suggesting somehow that all the jobs necessary to provide a memorable tourist visit to the Grand Canyon, or Sedona, or Tucson's annual Gem Show, or any number of other exquisite destinations can be done by robot?

That's just bullshit. I smelled it. I'm saying something about it. Thank you Jon Stewart (notably starting at 33:30 into the clip).

Anyway, Hamer's screed can only be fairly characterized as irrational fear-mongering. How making it so that full-time employees can earn a living wage has ANY connection -- to disincentivizing development of a good work ethic and the associated life skills -- I neither know nor find in Hamer's unsound and grossly invalid argument.

Now, I am aware that potentially doubling (by the way, not all at once, but over the course of a couple of years) labor costs for small businesses can sound daunting. But examination of the entire business model adjustments blows Hamer's propaganda completely out of the water.

Therefore, before ANYONE buys Hamer's bullshit fear-mongering, if they have any critical thinking (or sound journalistic) skills at all, they will demand he demonstrate, with legitimate business model analysis, just how much of an impact such changes in minimum wage would actually have on the small businesses that support Arizona's economy.

Oh, about that Bernie Sanders connection. The "brain trust" at the Yellow Sheet chose this as the August 7th quote of the day:
“This is a freezing economic idea. This is Bernie Sanders economics. This is Bernie-nomics.”
- AZ Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Glenn Hamer on the campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Clearly Glenn's so scared he probably left huge skid marks in his drawers.

When Hamer makes HIS case for negative impact on the Arizona economy, I'll gladly provide analysis to rebut his claims. What impact will we REALLY see when we reduce economic stress for working families and give hundreds of millions more people in America generous amounts of discretionary/disposable income? Would not that BOOST the fortunes of small businesses in every inch of Arizona?

Clearly, Glenn Hamer is not familiar with Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

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