Friday, October 31, 2014

Empathy Deficit Disorder

I have been following pop-psychology uses of "empathy" for political and other purposes.

Democrat politician and economist Robert Reich writes:
Commenting on a recent student suicide at an Alaska high school, Alaska's Republican Congressman Don Young said suicide didn't exist in Alaska before "government largesse" gave residents an entitlement mentality.

"When people had to work and had to provide and had to keep warm by putting participation in cutting wood and catching the fish and killing the animals, we didn't have the suicide problem," he said. Government handouts tell people "you are not worth anything but you are going to get something for nothing." ...

Last week New Jersey Governor Chris Christie groused to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, "I'm tired of hearing about the minimum wage." ...

Christie seems to suffer the same ailment that afflicts Alaska's Don Young.

Call it Empathy Deficit Disorder. Some Democrats have it, but the disorder seems especially widespread among Republicans.

These politicians have no idea what people who are hard up in America are going through.
Republicans have no idea? A Democrat has controlled the White House for 6 years, and made a mess out of our economy.

Raising the minimum wage would benefit some workers, and put others out of work. It would also increase the cost of some products, like fast food. On balance, the best minimum wage is a tricky question. But to be always in favor of increasing it out of empathy is just stupid.

If empathy means never offending anyone, and always caving in to people who want more money, then the high-empathy folks are unfit to be politicians.


HeligKo said...

Empathy being the driver of making economic decisions is political crack for the uneducated and shallow thinkers. Raising the minimum wage has never created low level jobs that were above poverty. It almost always increases unemployment, and it raises the income line for poverty level. Its like a dog chasing its tail. It never catches it for long.

Anonymous said...

If low-wage workers need government assistance, why should the burden fall only on their employers? Society at large should take responsibility through income subsidies.

The main proponents of minimum wage laws are unions, whose wages are based off of minimum wages.

An unintended consequence of a higher minimum wage is that low-productive and entry-level workers can't find jobs at all.

Shlomo Shun said...

Empathy is good.

Sometimes it means helping someone do more for themselves...NOT encouraging a life on welfare.

Reich was bullied when younger. His protector was Mickey of three young men later killed in Mississippi during the Sixties.

Reich did not use the empathy he got to disempower himself. Protected, he grew into a better life.