ReasonTV Replay: Drew Carey on NAFTA

On the
20th anniversary of the North American Trade Agreement
, it’s a
great time to revisit one of ReasonTV’s earliest productions –
Mexicans and Machines: Drew Carey on NAFTA.

Here is the orginal text from the June 28, 2008 video:

Campaign season is just getting warmed up, but looking
back on the primaries we’ve already seen plenty of the usual fare:
candidates shaking hands, hanging out at diners, and scaring voters
about foreigners who are
taking your jobs.

Sometimes the threat comes from China, Japan, or
outsourcing to India. Today, it’s NAFTA, the North American Free
Trade Agreement-you know, all those Mexicans taking our

Senator Barack Obama joins the likes of CNN’s Lou Dobbs
in decrying NAFTA. So many free trade foes fret about cheap foreign
labor, yet they rarely holler about competitors who will work for
far less than any foreigner. Politicians don’t pay much attention
to it, but-from Terminator toIce
-Hollywood films have been warning us about humanity’s
inevitable war against the machines.

“Now, think about it,” says host Drew Carey.
“How are we supposed to compete against something that doesn’t get
paid, doesn’t get health insurance, and never goes on

Today, we don’t need human workers to book our travel,
do our banking, or file our taxes. From factory workers to symphony
conductors, countless workers are locked in battle with soulless
job stealers known as computers, websites, and

“No job is safe from the robot threat!” warns Carey. Of
course, the warning is more than a little tongue-in-cheek. There’s
no need to take a sledgehammer to a robot, because, although
technology shakes up the labor market, it ends up giving us higher
living standards as well as more and better job

Like technology, trade gives us more good stuff than
bad-yet Americans are likely to cheer technology and fear trade. No
doubt TV talkers and White House wannabes will keep stoking our
fears of foreigners until voters and viewers stop buying it-or
until robots snag their jobs, too.

from Hit & Run

Eyewitness to Fast-Food Strikes: Another Reason to Support REASON!


Here’s yet another reason to support Reason during our annual webathon: We’re
out on the streets covering all sorts of events that matter.

Consider last Thursday, when the Service Employees International
Union (SEIU) coordinated “wage strikes” in over 100 cities and
called for a minimum wage of $15 an hour for fast-food workers.
Reason TV covered the event held in New York City and filed a
report that you didn’t see on your evening news.

Take a look by clicking above and read the original writeup of
our coverage by going below the fold.

If you appreciate this sort of thing, please consider giving us
a tax-deductible donation. Details on all that here.

Yesterday, Naomi Brockwell and I attended a demonstration
demanding that fast-food restaurants boost their minimum wage to
$15 per hour, or a little more than double the current federal
minimum wage. The strike, which was led by a group
called Fast Food
 that’s affiliated with the Service Employees International
 (SEIU), was one of more than a 100 similar
demonstrations held in cities across the country.

The New York demonstration had about 150 people, but the number
of actual fast food employees participating in the strike was
small. It was business as usual at every restaurant we dropped
by yesterday morning and, at a McDonald’s restaurant on 23rd
Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan, employees behind the
counter said they had heard nothing about a strike.

We caught up with the protesters in front of a Wendy’s in
downtown Brooklyn, where the crowd consisted of union organizers,
fast-food workers, and their sympathizers. An estimated one-third
of the demonstrators were fast-food employees, meaning that less
than one-tenth of 1 percent of New York City’s 57,000 fast-food
workforce participated in the strike.A protester marching near Foley Square in Lower Manhattan. |||

The group was traveling from one fast-food restaurant to
another, before winding up at Foley Square in Manhattan around

Multiple strikers told us they had received compensation through
a union strike fund to appear, but declined to say the amount they
were paid.

Artificially doubling wages to $15 an hour would change many
things in the fast food industry, including the easy path it
provides for low-skilled employees to break into the labor market.
Substantially higher wages would mean that existing employees would
be less apt to look for other positions, and senior staffers would
be more inclined to hog shift hours. Franchisees would likely move
more aggressively to replace human service workers with automated
cash registers, which is already
 in European McDonald’s. Evidence of how
artificially boosting wages destroys opportunities for entry level
workers was best documented in a 2006 study by
economists David Neumark and William Wascher, which
was updated in

Shenita Simon, a shift supervisor at KFC, who participated in the strike. |||In interviews, several striking
workers described how it had been relatively easy for them to get a
job in fast-food service. Shenita Simon, who works as a shift
supervisor at KFC, told us that she doesn’t know where else
she would have been able to find a position, because fast food is
the only industry that “will allow you to have minimum
education.” Isaac Wallace, a Burger King employee, described
how he was able to get his job immediately after moving to New York
from Jamaica by simply walking into a Burger King in Brooklyn
and approaching the manager. 

Once the strike moved to Foley Square, organizers from Fast Food
Forward began obstructing our efforts to talk with protesters.

For more on why doubling wages for fast food workers would hurt
entry-level workers, read Nick Gillespie’s “Big
Labor’s Big Mac Attack”
 at The Daily

Produced by Jim Epstein and hosted by Naomi Brockwell.

About 2.30 minutes.

Scroll down for downloadable versions and subscribe
to Reason TV’s
YouTube Channel
to receive automatic updates when new material
goes live.

from Hit & Run

Ronald Bailey Reviews The Cure in the Code by Peter Huber

RIPFDAWe are at a turning point in
medicine, Peter Huber explains in his new book, The Cure in the
. Knowledge of the individual’s genetic makeup will soon
allow molecular medicine to reach deep inside each of us to cure
most of the maladies that afflict us—and perhaps even slow the rate
at which we age. First we will learn to understand each person’s
genome; then we will learn to craft treatments tailored to his or
her genetic constitution. But it may not be so easy—and not for
purely scientific reasons. Timid regulators at the Food and Drug
Administration stand in the way of dramatic medical progress.
Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey’s review first
appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

View this article.

from Hit & Run

Donate to Reason! Because it’s Sunday Morning, and Nobody Defends Culture From Culture-War Quite Like Us!

Before we get to the sales pitch here on Day Five of Reason’s
annual webathon—in
which we ask our readers to contribute dollars
or Bitcoins
to the 501(c)3 nonprofit that makes all our libertarian journalism
and commentary possible—a little palate cleanser: 


That clip was embedded in an obituary here six weeks back,
titled “How
Lou Reed Inspired Anti-Communist Revolutionaries and the Rest of
.” It was the latest installment in the ongoing Reason genre
of coverage of defending popular or “low” culture against political
attacks from the left and right, and celebrating how the stuff can
liberate the world in ways wholly unintended its creators.

Here’s a great compendium of ridiculous congressional
attacks on culture, as put together by Anthony Fisher:


Here’s another classic, “Bollywood vs. Bin Laden: Why radical
Islam fears pop culture,” as anchored by Shikha Dalmia:


Partisan/ideological bores tend to treat music, film, art, and
other expressions of culture either instrumentally—judging
a work by how well it satisfies a particular political mission—or
reactionarily, by trying to play defense against a
perceived assault on decent human values. Nick Gillespie correctly
identified the mistaken frameworks, while championing individual
autonomy, all the way back in February

The audience has a mind of its own. Individuals sitting
in a theater, or watching television, or listening to a CD don’t
always see and hear things the way they’re “supposed” to. […]

That would be news to most participants in the public debate
over depictions of sex and violence in movies, TV, and music.
Liberals and conservatives are as tight as Beavis and Butt-head in
agreeing that consumers of popular culture–the very people who make
it popular–are little more than tools of the trade. Joe Sixpack and
Sally Baglunch–you and I–aren’t characters in this script. Just
like TV sets or radios, we are dumb receivers that simply transmit
whatever is broadcast to us. We do not look at movie screens;
we are movie screens, and Hollywood merely
projects morality–good, bad, or indifferent–onto us.

True story: In France, this commercial would be censored. |||“We have reached the point
where our popular culture threatens to undermine our character as a
nation,” Bob Dole thundered last summer in denouncing “nightmares
of depravity” and calling for movies that promote “family values.”
“Bob Dole is a dope,” responded actor-director Rob Reiner, a
self-described liberal activist. Fair enough, but it apparently
takes one to know one: “Hollywood should not be making exploitive
violent and exploitive sex films. I think we have a responsibility
[to viewers] not to poison their souls,” continued Reiner, who rose
to prominence playing the role of Meathead on All in the
. […]

Of course, it is hardly surprising that denizens of Washington
and Tinseltown frame the debate so that all interpretive power
resides with would-be government regulators and entertainment
industry types. Clearly, it makes sense for them to conceptualize
popular culture as a top-down affair, one best dealt with by
broadcasters and bureaucrats. This consensus, however, has
implications far beyond the well-worn notion that entertainment
should be properly didactic.

Because it assumes that the viewer, the listener, or the
audience member is a passive receiver of popular culture, this
consensus must inevitably result in calls for regulation by the
government (such as the V-chip, which is part of both the House and
Senate telecommunications bills) or paternalism by producers (“More
and more we’re tending toward all-audience films …that have civic
values in them,” Motion Picture Association of America head Jack
Valenti told the Los Angeles Times). The viewer
simply can’t be trusted to handle difficult, sensitive, ironic
material–or to bring his own interpretation to bear on what he

The Plastic People of the Universe play at Vaclav Havel's wake. ||| Matt WelchAs we never tire in pointing
out, audiences can frequently surprise you with how they use pop
culture to leverage their own freedom. Whether it’s dirty Czech
rock musicians using the Velvet Underground and Frank Zappa to take
decisive stand against totalitarians
, anti-Taliban Afghan men

going nuts over Leo DiCaprio
, or rap/metal enthusiasts
fueling the Arab Spring
, American culture bemoaned by political
critics at home can have galvanizing effects abroad.

Once you grant consumers the decency of their own free will in
interpreting cultural works, a whole host of interesting
philosophical and political implications tumble forth. I know not a
small number of people whose introduction to libertarianism came
through this cultural-interpretive portal. It’s one that Reason
works tirelessly at keeping open.

Won’t you please donate to Reason
today? We’re just over $115,000 of the way to our
$150,000 goal
, with donations from
more than 375 readers. Help get us over the top, and thumb our
noses at the cultural
always conspiring to keep us less free. Donate to Reason right
the hell now

from Hit & Run

Terry Michael on Cutting a Deal Over Immigration and Obamacare

HandshakeIf politics is the art of the possible, it’s at
least plausible that reasonable conservatives and moderate liberals
might reach a grand bargain taming the two big policy beasts:
immigration and healthcare. That could happen, writes Terry
Michael, director of the Washington Center for Politics &
Journalism, if Tea Party Republicans decide they dislike Mexicans
less than they despise the Affordable Care Act. And it would
require enough scared moderate liberal Democrats to realize
immigration liberalization is more attractive to swing voters than
illusory healthcare “reform.”

View this article.

from Hit & Run

WTO Reaches Historic Deal on World Trade

no ballyhooThe
annual WTO ministerial conference, held this year in Indonesia, was
scheduled to close on Friday, but closed instead on Saturday with
the trade organization’s first major international agreement.

From Gant Daily:

For the first time in two decades, World Trade
Organization’s (WTO) member economies approved an agreement to
boost global trade, a move that could add $1tn to the world

Ministers from WTO’s 159-member countries approved on Saturday a
“trade facilitation” accord that will set common customs standards
and ease the flow of goods through borders all over the

The ministers also made decisions on several issues such as how the
WTO should take action on government food security programs as well
as securing better market access for the world’s least developed
nations to developed economies.

put up some resistance
to a deal over some kinds of food
subsidies it wanted to keep, and Cuba threatened to veto it over a
removed reference to the US embargo on the country. India reached a
compromise with the US to deal with food subsidies at a future
meeting and Cuba withdrew its veto threat.

You can read the draft text of the declaration here.
The deal covers only a portion of the issues being negotiated under
the wider Doha round of WTO talks, which started in 2001.

Follow these stories and more at Reason 24/7 and don’t forget you
can e-mail stories to us at and tweet us
at @reason247.

from Hit & Run

Work at Reason!

ReasonReason has launched
the Young Journalist Fellowship and is pleased to announce two open
fellowship roles. Tell all your friends!

Young Journalist Fellowship

Reason’s Young Journalist Fellowship is an opportunity for
early-career and aspiring journalists to develop their skills and
gain experience while exploring the ideas of free minds and free
markets through the premiere outlet for liberty-focused

Reason is currently accepting applications for the following

Visual Content Fellowship, the leading libertarian news and commentary
website with over 3 million monthly visits, is looking for
editorial design artists to create compelling visual content for
our site.

The ideal candidate is passionate about free minds and free
markets, is a news junkie who stays constantly abreast of issues
trending on social media, has excellent graphic design and layout
skills, and has a vision for how to reach new audiences by adding
visual content to Reason.

For application instructions and more information, visit

Washington, D.C. Reporting Fellowship, the leading libertarian news and commentary
website with over 3 million monthly visits, is looking for a
libertarian political junkie to cover Capitol Hill and beyond.

The reporter would be responsible for covering the actions and
words of “Liberty Movement” politicians on Capitol Hill, and
important political news of the day, especially issues of
particular interest to libertarians, such as Obamacare, federal
spending, debt, war, civil liberties, criminal justice reform, the
drug war, elections, etc.

For application instructions and more information, visit

from Hit & Run

Sheldon Richman on Crime and Punishment in a Free Society

The criminal justice system as we know it is a
product of state arrogation and a repudiation of individualism. But
would a free society be a crime-free society? Sheldon Richman
assures that he isn’t being utopian when he says we have good
reason to anticipate it.

View this article.

from Hit & Run

ReasonTV Replay: How Pearl Harbor – and December 1941 – Made America a Global Power

72 years ago today
Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor, launching the United
States into World War II. As Craig Shirley argued during a
2011 ReasonTV interview, not only did the attack push America into
the war, but it steered U.S. foreign policy away from its long
history of non-interventionism. 

Here is the original text from the Dec. 7, 2011

The bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December
7, 1941 killed over 2,400 Americans and led directly to the entry
of the United States into World War II.

In his powerful, thickly researched new book, December 1941: 31
Days That Changed America and Saved the World, Craig Shirley
chronicles the day-by-day shifts in American culture, politics, and
national identity through that horrible month. Before December,
Shirley tells Reason’s Nick Gillespie, a solid majority opposed
entry into World War II and the “eminently respectable” America
First movement was poised to help select the next president of the
United States. Non-interventionism was so universal that Franklin
Roosevelt himself had campaigned for his third term as president on
a promise to keep “American boys” out of European

By the start of 1942, says Shirley, the long tradition of
isolationism was over, never to be seen again. The nation that had
rejected the League of Nations after World War I helped create the
United Nations and America quickly became not simply a global
economic, political, and military power but the dominant player on
the globe.

The author of many books, including two biographies of Ronald
Reagan and a forthcoming book on Newt Gingrich, Shirley talks with
Reason’s Nick Gillespie about what was gained – and lost – in the
historical hinge point that was December 1941.

Approximately 8 minutes.

from Hit & Run

Are You Ready for Some (Tax-Subsidized) Football on Championship Saturday?

is a huge day for college football as various
conference-championship games will decide just who gets to play for
a national title in January.

My latest column for
is about all the rotten subsidies
that the college and professional game squeezes out of taxpayers
who don’t give a rat’s ass about the gridiron. Stadium deals in
which even craptacular teams (Vikings!) get sweetheart arrangements
are well-known. The extent of direct and indirect subsidies to
Division I college teams – even powerhouses – is less
well-publicized. Here’s a snippet:

With the exception of a tiny handful of programs – Ohio State,
University of Texas, LSU, and perhaps three or four more –
virtually every athletic program at every public NCAA Division I
school is subsidized even
as administrators plead poverty when it comes to resources for
faculty and, as you know, education. Especially in an age of
busted government budgets, even the most rabid sports fan should
agree that it’s an outrage that the highest-paid public
employee in
a majority of states
 is a college football coach (in
another 13, it’s a basketball coach).  It’s far better to be
broke and have a cellar-dwelling NFL franchise, right?

If you watch football this weekend, recognize that most of the
drama and meaning is taking place off the field. The way the
college and pro games are built on subsidies and giveaways neatly
encapsulates crony capitalism at its worst – and helps to explain
why taxes go up even as it seems there’s never enough money for
basic government functions.

Read the whole thing here.

And for god’s sake, Buckeyes, beat the Spartans in the Big 10
championship game if only because the latter gets a
$3.6 million subsidy
from its university.

What say you, Reason readers (and hopefully, Reason supporters –
please give to our
!): Should government at any level or in any way be
subsidizing sports that rake in millions of dollars?

from Hit & Run