Turkey’s decision to actually cooperate with US-led Coalition efforts to combat the Islamic State has created an opportunity for a game changer in Syria. Not only will plans to establish an “Islamic State-free zone” in Northern Syria help expel IS from the region while offering anti-Assad ground forces a chance to entrench and regroup, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s acknowledgment that he no longer has the forces needed to secure most of Syria suggests the Islamic State and Assad’s forces are being corralled. This is, however, the Middle East and conflicting interests always threaten progress.
Turkey was wise to push the United States to “kill two birds with one stone” by persuading the Obama Administration to embrace a strategy that tackles the threat of the Islamic State and the interests of the anti-Assad forces in Syria. Unfortunately, Turkey appears to see the Assad regime and the Kurds as the two most pressing threats. Under the guise of airstrikes against the Islamic State, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shamefully wasted no time in targeting forces of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) across Iraq and Syria.
Barack Obama’s first visit to his father’s homeland of Kenya as US President has generated a great deal of fanfare, including some controversy. Since before the first African-American President was sworn into office, the Right of the US political establishment has rebuffed him at every turn in an effort to frame Mr. Obama as the worst President in US history, which has forced him to rely on greater support from the Left. Indeed, President Obama has grown increasingly vocal in his support for gay rights and this gay rights agenda has created so much friction that Kenyans have promised to throw rotten eggs at the US President, if he speaks about LGBT rights.
Although it is tempting for Western LGBT activists to simply frame Kenyans as “ignorant” and “intolerant,” Kenyan backlash against Obama’s gay agenda is part of a much broader culture clash. As such, the controversy surrounding President Obama’s visit to Kenya is an opportunity to discuss broader issues in play. Clearly, it is not just Kenyans who take issue with the topic of homosexuality as much of the world tends to be more conservative when it comes to sexuality and gender identity, but it is not just LGBT rights that provoke outrage. Recognizing America’s myriad of foreign policy plunders and the reality that the United States is the most influential country in the world, allies and rivals alike are extremely resentful when it comes to the US imposing its views onto others.
Not only do many of the critics who conclude raising minimum wage is a counterproductive solution due to the inflation it helps drive, they also argue the existence of minimum wage creates several “perverse incentives.” In reality, these supposed perverse incentives are economic issues that cannot be solved by eliminating minimum wage.
1. Minimum Wage promotes illegal immigration
There are many reasons people illegally immigrate to the United States that have little to do with their economic interests. Drug trafficking, gang violence, political insecurity, and a lack of justice are just some of the noneconomic factors that force individuals to leave their home countries.
Those who do enter the United States illegally for economic reasons do so, because the U.S. economy offers such individuals more opportunities than their home countries do. Although minimum wage laws do technically apply to illegal immigrants, employers who willingly violent U.S. immigration laws often do so to exploit cheap labor, according to USImmigration and Customs Enforcement.
That said, impoverishing struggling Americans by eliminating minimum wage in an effort to discourage illegal immigration would only hurt the US economy and the American People. While illegal immigration did slow due to the Great Recession according to the Pew Research Center, harming the US economy to address illegal immigration is thoroughly irrational.
At the center of efforts to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour in places like New York, DC, and Settle is the desire for economic justice. Focusing on fast food workers as New York is doing, fast food restaurants have embraced an assembly-line business model that has undermined the wages of restaurant workers for decades. Although most fast food jobs are not considered lifelong careers capable of supporting a family, their low-wage business model hinders the creation of living wage restaurant jobs, henceforth the justice in raising minimum wage for fast food restaurant.
To boot, minimum wage was once a living wage and $15 per hour is now a living wage, so it makes sense from the perspective of workers to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour. Of course, New York’s decision to focus solely on fast food restaurants across the State is likely a terrible mistake. Not only does it neglect those stuck in the minimum wage trap throughout the rest of the service sector and puts a disproportionate burden on fast food corporations that is not shared by other corporations, it distorts the economics of poor communities, which will hurt businesses in those communities that cannot compete by raising their wages and prices.
The opening of Cuba’s US embassy after 54 years of isolation would be a significant accomplishment for any American President. The successful completion of a nuclear agreement with Iran would also be a major achievement. Outside of brokering peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, President Obama has accomplished more than his two immediate predecessors ever dreamed of doing. That said, the world is a very different place with far more issues than it had even when George W. Bush was President.
Although uncertainly still rules US-Cuban relations and the Iranian nuclear deal, these are important achievements, because they make it easier to deal with the far more difficult issues assaulting the International Community. Unfortunately, global economic woes, the growing threat of globalized terrorism boldly exemplified by the Islamic State, power struggles with China and Russia, global climate change, declining reserves of natural resources and other emerging issues minimize the impact of the Obama Administration’s achievements.
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