I do not watch Fox News, and so I had no idea that Kennedy, the once-freaky MTV VJ from the 1990s, had become the Fox News commentator whose wardrobe attempts the standard GOP marketing of a MILF, but fails because she's filled to the brim with the kind of bile that caused Dickens' character Krook to spontaneously explode in Bleak House.
What happened to her? Wikipedia says the former host of the show that I watched with the same religious commitment as Yo! MTV Raps—the late-night alternative rock show Alternative Nation—changed after reading Ayn Rand on Kurt Loder's recommendation. (Loder is a libertarian.)
One thing her July 12 segment on the income tax Seattle City Council passed this week revealed is that she has not visited this city since the grunge years. She is clearly under the impression that our economy is doing much worse now than it was in Kurt Cobain's times. She has no idea this is the city with the most cranes in the US, the city with 2.8 percent unemployment. She thinks our income tax will scare away rich people, that they will leave in droves to settle in Bellevue and other tax friendly cities—and in some way, I hope this prediction is right. She, of course, refers to that dumb study from University of Washington, that says high wages are hurting poor people.
But enough about this Fox Business commentator. Like the trees that are in the Amazon spheres, the only Kennedy that matters (in this context anyway) is in a sphere whose glass is composed of the days between 1992 and 1997. Let's think about the UW's minimum wage report, which tells as much about Seattle's economy as the tea leaves at the bottom of a teapot will tell you about the future. Why is it so useless? The answer can be found at the end of this New York Times' piece, "Seattle Shows the Way to Higher Pay." What it points out is that productivity has been de-linked from wage growth for over four decades. And so, while productivity has continued to rise and rise, wages have been flat or fallen. But before they flat-lined, the gains made in productivity were often matched with the gains made in wages, and this happened during a period in US history that is known as the Golden Age of Capitalism.
If it had kept pace with other relevant benchmarks, like average wages and productivity growth, it would be $11 to nearly $19 today. Cities and states are experimenting with higher minimums because Congress has failed to raise the federal minimum. The experiment appears to be working.
You can never see this broad fact if you are busy picking at the bits of data. The micro-economics so beloved by the neoclassical school hides much more than it reveals.