Take a Walk on the Hedonic Treadmill

Here's what happens when you raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, according to scientists: Nothing.

Well, not nothing. All kinds of bad things happen to the economy. But nothing happens for two groups of people central to the whole debate: workers who get a bump to $15 and employers who have to bump to $15 an hour.

Most cities and states that have raised their minimum wage laws to $15 will phase in the increase over five years. That pretty much means the market will have adjusted to the change long before it becomes effective. But that's a terrible scenario to test my theory, based on research by Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert.

Let's do this instead: let's raise the minimum wage to $15 in 30 days.

But first, let's give a standard happiness survey to a thousand minimum-wage earners before we announce the increase. And let's give the same test to wager payers.

Then, let's give re-administer the test to both groups 30 days after the minimum wage hike goes into effect. And let's test them all again one year later.

To keep the experiment clean, the final analysis will include only those who a) kept their minimum wage job for the whole year, or b) kept their minimum-wage paying business open the whole year.

I can tell you the results. One year after the minimum wage goes to $15 an hour, workers making minimum wage will be just about as happy as they were before they learned the minimum wage was going up. Same for the businesspeople who pay them.

In between, just after the wage jumps to $15, worker will be euphoric and owners will be miserable.


It's called the hedonic treadmill. Even if we ignore the economic effect of a big jump in minimum wage (like business failures and higher unemployment for those who most need entry-level jobs), we know from science that people adjust quickly to changes in their circumstances.

When you get a new car, it's awesome, but a year later, it's nothing special.

When you buy a new pair of shoes, you love them. And even if they're still in great shape a year later, they're just a pair of shoes.

Dan Gilbert found that one year after winning the lottery and one year after becoming paralyzed, both groups of people were just about as happy as they were immediately before those life-changing events.

Dan Gilbert, (1) a Harvard psychologist has researched lottery winners and found that ‘the happiness effect’ starts to decline after just a few months. Once the initial elation of getting the big cheque has worn off , people seemed to return to their previous level of happiness or unhappiness.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 is a political ploy with economic downsides and no long-term benefit for the people who get the minimum wage.

On the other hand, helping a $7.25 an hour worker earn a 100 percent raise does wonders for that person's life, outlook, and self-esteem while providing economic benefits to his employer, his family, and his community.

So go ahead and double the minimum wage, Francis. It will do nothing but accelerate St. Louis's slide toward irrelevancy.

Don't Miss Your Chance to Celebrate Jim Hoft's Recovery on February 22 **Free Tickets Are Limited**

St. Louis's number one political blogger is better, and he's having a party to celebrate. Jim Hoft Live

Jim went through a frightening, life-threatening, and debilitating illness last year. But he's back and blogging on TheGatewayPundit.com.

JIm Hoft and Me

To celebrate his recovery, Jim's throwing a party.

Jim Hoft LIVE! Free Tickets!

Holiday Inn St Louis Sw - Route 66 10709 Watson Rd St Louis, MO 63127

Saturday, February 22, 2014 from 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM (CST)

Go get your ticket now, before it's too late. Mark your calendar. Tell your friends. Tweet about it, post it on Facebook, and be there!

 More Details

Help celebrate Jim's miraculous recovery and recognize those who helped him along his journey, including doctors, family, friends and fans of Gateway Pundit.

The event will include:

  • Cash bar
  • Appetizers
  • Presentations by family and friends
  • Live music

Doors open at 7:00 p.m.


Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

  • Must be 21 or older to attend

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

  • Printed tickets must be presented at the door

What is the dress code for the event?

  • Casual attire

Life As You’ve Known It Is About To Change

You have a choice. You can drive that change, or you can be swallowed by it. In a free society, people have liberty to do anything except a few prohibited things.

In a totalitarian society, people have liberty to do nothing except a few permitted things.

In a free society, the people have a black list of things they must not do, and government has a white of a few things it may do.

In Barack Obama’s America, the government has the black list and the people live by a short white list.

You have a choice. You can live in a society where a few things are prohibited but everything else is up to you. Or you can live in a society where you must get permission to do anything.

Yes, the choice is that stark. It's up to you whether your society is free or controlled.

And voting is not enough. If you want a free society, you must bring others like you to the polls.

We can help you do that.

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday St. Louis Tea Party’s Liberty HQ is open all day. We can provide everything you need to sustain the free society, including a walk list—paper or smartphone—so you can call out others to vote for freedom with you.

Come to 9966 Lin Ferry Dr, St. Louis, MO 63123, at Lindbergh and Tesson Ferry, to control your destiny.

You are not alone. But you will be if you don’t act.

St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners Proves Government Can’t Get Anything Right

Flag of the city of St. Louis, Missouri. SVG I... Conservatives love cracking on government and its unintended consequences. How often does a government initiative give us backassward results?

Exhibit A: Obama hands Solyndra millions in tax dollars to promote green energy. Solyndra (and numerous other green energy grant recipients) goes bankrupt.

Another example is the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners.

In 1861, Missouri’s legislature created a board of commissioners to oversee the St. Louis Police Department. Why? Because Missouri was a slave state, but St. Louis was full of Unionists who might use the police to advance the cause of abolition. Missouri’s rural politicians created the board to better control that police force.

Over time, of course, that governor-appointed board has given St. Louis and Missouri a great police department. The oversight from Jefferson City limits the amount of corruption on the city’s police department.

It’s an irony only government could create. A board intended to deny basic God-given liberties and rights to slaves became a crucial tool in protecting liberty and rights and fairness and justice in the city of St. Louis for a century and a half.

That’s why both the NAACP and the ACLU oppose Proposition A. And, for once in my life, I agree with the NAACP and the ACLU.  Vote No on Proposition A November 6.

St. Louis Police Department Is Crumbling, But You Can Vote to Save It

You get the feeling that Rex Sinquefield holds a grudge against his home state, and he’s using some of his fortune to punish us. Rex gave a quarter million dollars to Obama’s Lawyer, Chris Koster. But that wasn’t his first assault on us. Rex’s war against the St. Louis Police Department is older and far more bitter.

Rex wants to force the state to surrender the Board of Police Commissioners for St. Louis. He wants his pal and financial ward, Mayor Francis Slay, to control the police department, and its pension fund, just as Slay and his cronies control the hapless St. Louis Fire Department.

Under the plan Rex has financed, Slay would control the police board exclusively. Police officers would no longer be open to those with a passion for law enforcement and order.  Instead, Slay would use police positions as rewards and promotions for other city workers.

Already, the city police department is losing top-flight officers to the county and other jurisdictions, according to veteran sources in the St. Louis Police Department.

“The young guys know the pension fund is all but gone. Slay will raid it just like he raids the firemen’s.” Rex's pet issue is to blame.

On November 6, Missourians have a chance to protect the police officers who protect citizens of and visitors to St. Louis. I beg you to VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION A on November 6. 

If you want a safe St. Louis, vote NO on Proposition A.

In case I wasn’t clear, please vote NO on Proposition A.

And tell your friends.

*UPDATE* More on Prop A by Gary Weigert, a 32-year veteran of STLPD.

MORE: St. Louis Police Chief Isom announced his retirement. He's one of the youngest chiefs to retire, and after only 5 years. Guess he wants to grab his pension while it's still there.

SOTUday Night Fever on KSDK 5

I’ll participate on KSDK Channel 5’s post-SOTU discussion panel Tuesday following the State of the Union speech. (I being Bill Hennessy, in case you’re reading this from a news feed.)

I don’t know who my fellow panelists will be, but I think it’s pretty cool that a local network invited a tea partier to help break down the President’s State of the Union speech.

The speech starts at 8:00 p.m. CT Tuesday, January 25 on  KSDK 5. The analysis follows. 

Please tune in and tell your friends.  (Tweet, Facebook, email a link to this post, using the buttons below.) 

Other ideas to make the evening more meaningful:

* Start an office pool on what I wear

* Do a shot every time Barry says “perfectly clear”

* Draw a picture of Nancy Pelosi when John Boehner announces the President

* Have your kids interrupt with applause every time you say something really, really witty at the TV

* In the comments below, post the snarky answers I should have given instead of the lame, unintelligible responses I actually give

* Add your own ideas below

Why You Should Come to St. Louis If You Can’t Drive to the Beach

Yes, there are three major Tea Party events on 9-12:  Washington, Sacramento, and St. Louis. But if you can’t see the Atlantic or the Pacific from your window, why don’t you make the trip to the middle of the country, to the “Gateway to November” Tea Party under the Arch?

Map picture


I’m hearing from groups in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, and many from Illinois and Kansas who CANNOT WAIT for the 9-12 "Gateway to November" Tea Party in St. Louis. They’re ready to roll, to recycle, and to repeal.  Are you?

Thanks to the K&N Patriots who volunteered to serve as Ambassadors to the bus groups coming into town.  If you need their assistance or have any questions in putting your bus trip together please call 314-266-1775 and leave a message.  We’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.  You may also email admin@stlouisteaparty.com.  Please include 9-12 Groups in the Subject line of the email.

Now, some people want to know why we’re having a Tea Party on 9-12, and why is always the most important question. 

We’re having a 9-12 Tea Party because believing in a vision is the key to making it real.

If people do not believe that we can accomplish what we hope to accomplish, they will not help us. If they do believe we can change history, they will join the fight. 

Leftist, liberal, and Democrat organizations hire their protesters, their audiences, and their grassroots activists.  That’s because liberalism is funded by billionaires and big corporations, like GE. 

Conservatives, on the other hand, must earn our support. That requires not just being right, but also being creative, offering novelty and reward, to those who come out to events.  The bar rises when you ask volunteers to knock on doors, distribute literature on street corners, or make phone calls. 

One way we attract and energize activists is with big events, like the 9-12 Tea Party in St. Louis. 

On Sunday, September 12, 2010, St. Louis will host the Midwest’s 9-12 Tea Party. This event, billed as the “Gateway to November,” will attract new volunteers and energize veterans. That’s the purpose of all big rallies, and it’s why media attention matters. 

Large crowds of true believers serve as social proof to others who already agree with our view of government and philosophy, but doubt our dedication and our clout.  When they see hundreds of thousands in DC or ten thousand in St. Louis, they begin to believe in our vision as well as in our reading of history.

We need to attract those who believe what we believe—limited government, fiscal responsibility, low taxes, national security, and federalism.  And we must help them believe that, together, we can change things.

If everyone who believes what we believe votes in November 2010, in the primaries and general elections of 2012 and beyond, then we cannot fail to restore the republic.  But if we only talk among ourselves, if we pretend that twenty people in a public library meeting room is enough to change the world, we will forever lash out at and blame bogeymen for our own failures.

Spread the word. 

Build the energy.

Share the vision. 

Grow the movement. 

Win the election.

Repeat in 2012. 

That’s why a Tea Party. And that’s why we need you in St. Louis  on the steps of the Arch on September 12 at High Noon. 

How We've Made a Difference

When you give over most of your private time to a cause, you need some feedback. We got some from former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan on Friday: The Summer of the Angry Mob Meet the Mob--Dana Loesch

Ms. Noonan reflected on the Townhall Revolt which began in St. Louis one year ago. Writes Noonan:

When Rep. Russ Carnahan held a town hall meeting at a community college in Missouri on July 20, he tried patiently to explain that ObamaCare not only would be deficit-neutral, it would save money. They didn't shout him down, they laughed. When Sen. Claire McCaskill appeared before a town hall meeting in Jefferson County, Mo., on Aug. 11, she responded to the crowd with words that sum up the moment: "I don't get it. . . . I honestly don't get it. . . . You don't trust me?" "No!" the crowd roared.

Do you remember what last summer was like?  I do. I remember being at work on July 20 and getting emails and tweets on my phone.  I remember watching that video, then watching it go viral.  It spread across the country. Suddenly, people in every city were flooding politicians' formerly sleepy townhall events:

It was a largely self-generated uprising, and it was marked, wherever it happened, in San Diego or St. Louis, by certain common elements. The visiting senator or representative, gone home to visit the voters, always seemed shocked at the size of the audience and the depth of his constituents' anger. There was usually a voter making a videotape in the back of the hall. There were almost always spirited speeches from voters. There was never, or not once that I saw, a strong and informed response from the congressman. In one way it was like the Iranian revolution: Most people got the earliest and fullest reports of what was happening on the Internet, through YouTube. Voters would take shaky videos on their cellphones and post them when they got home. Suddenly, over a matter of weeks, you could type in "town hall" and you'd get hundreds, and finally thousands, of choices.

Those grainy videos--and some not-so-grainy--came from you.  Darin Morley, Michelle Moore, Adam Sharp, Patch Adams, Dana Loesch, and others.  The video camera became the weapon of choice, and St. Louis became the viral video epicenter of the Tea Party movement.  And we never stopped. Never.

In the heat of August 2009, the action heated up. The SEIU and Russ Carnahan sent thugs to beat us down and intimidate us.  Now, the SEIU enforcers prepare for trial, their apologists accusing the victim of Uncle Tomism.  Barack Obama is considered a Socialist by 55 percent of Americans, and his approval rating is in free fall.  ACORN had been forced to change its name, and the President's party is in danger of losing the House and Senate in November's election.  Strong conservative candidates have upset RINOs in numerous states and races.  And the colors of the American flag seem a little deeper--stronger reds, more faithful blues, and blinding whites. As Ms. Noonan observes:

And yet his [Obama's] poll numbers continue to float downward. He is not more loved with victory. To an unusual and maybe unprecedented degree his victories seem like victories for him, and for his party, and for his agenda, but they haven't settled in as broad triumphs that illustrate power and competence.

Take a moment to reflect on the long, hot August of 2009. Many of us went toe-to-toe with the enemy, day after day. I was five confrontational protests in seven days at one point, and I saw many of the same faces at each of them.  We were defiant yet friendly, confrontational yet civilized.  Outspent $10,000,000 to $1, we forced the Socialist Obama to wait eight monts for his healthcare victory, and then it was watered down.  And it will cost him if we make it.

It's not quite morning in America, but the sun is on the rise.  The left is on the run.  We're ready for the sprint to November and the party afterwards.  Victory is in the air, and I love it.  God help me, I love it so.

Video of St. Louis Event--Almost as Good as Being There *update*

My hat's off to Bob Anders and the crew from Creative Video Services for this 3-part series of the St. Louis Nationwide Chicago Tea Party protest held February 27, 2009. If you need videography, you can't go wrong with Creative Video. Part I: http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=3408578&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1 St. Louis Tea Party (Part 1) from CR8VDO on Vimeo.

Click here for Parts 2 and 3.

Dana has lots of great links.  


1.  It was a 3-part, not 4-part video. Sorry, my math.

2.  The STL Tea Party made Drudge!!!!  How flippin' cool is that?


St. Louis Tea Party Makes Drudge

A Long, Hot Day in St. Louis

This morning, I heard the news of the murder of a young police officer. Officer Norvelle Brown, only 22 years old and a rookie cop, made St. Louis headlines for the second time in his short career--his short, honorable life.  In April, Officer Brown responded to a hostage situation during a barber shop robber, defusing the situation and apprehending the armed robbers.   He and another officer received citations for that action.  He had been out of the academy only 7 months at the time.

Last night, Officer Brown left his patrol car to investigate a group of people who were loitering in a vacant lot.  No one knows the exact details leading to Brown's murder.  We do know that the bullet that killed him missed his body armor, passing through both lungs.

Officer Brown was able to speak for a short time before he died.  Police have not publicized his last words.  I hope they were to his parents.

Fox2 News online has more information.

Backstoppers is an organization that takes care of first responders killed or disabled in the line of duty.  If you have an extra dollar or two, they will put it to great use.  For instance, within 24 hours, Officer Brown's family will get a visit from Backstoppers, along with a $5,000 check.  Later, the Backstoppers will help the family with any additional needs related to their son's service and tragic death.

That was this morning.  Tonight, one of St. Louis's finest churches was destroyed in a fire that still roars on in the hot, humid air of August in St. Louis.  The 125-year-old St. Alphonsus Liguori "Rock" church stood at 1118 North Grand, about 4 blocks south of Vashon High School where Officer Brown attended.  The Rock church was beacon in the North St. Louis area.

My mood has been glum all day.  It's glummer now.  The heat wave that's plagued St. Louis for two weeks broke this evening.  But the rain that damped the temperature seem more like tears from Heaven, mourning St. Louis's long, hot day.