Ben Powell on Penn and Teller

The latest episode of Penn and Teller’s Bull Shit is a gem (here’s the YouTube preview). This episode reminded me of the Free to Choose episode 8, when Walter Williams takes American union leaders to task on the minimum wage. Williams pointed out that union leaders are only looking out for the interests of African American’s who happen to be members in their union. At the time, blacks were under represented as union members by the way. The remaining African American population is negatively effected by minimum wage laws. They get pushed out of the labor market all together because they can’t find low paying jobs that suit their low level skill sets.
Penn and Teller do a great job at showing the hypocrisies of wealthy liberal elites and their favorite Wal-Mart bashing trend. They claim to be standing up in the name of small town values and the working man, all the while, real hardworking folks are happy to take Wal-Mart’s salaries and low prices and increase the qualities of their lives.
But what about the fact that Wal-Mart sells clothes made in sweatshops? Who would ever defend sweatshops? Ben Powell (recent GMU grad) to the rescue. If I had to make the choice between third world children working in sweatshops or being prostitutes, I’m with Powell, and I’ll take sweatshops.
If you look closely you can see Nick Curott (a San Jose grad student and friend of mine, in the background). Unfortunately no mention of Powell’s hardworking and well deserving co-author David Skarbek (GMU grad student) in this episode.

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