The concept that ignorance of the law is no defense, originates in a time when there were few laws. For the average person, law was simple. Don’t steal. Don’t cheat. Don’t hurt the innocent. Pay your taxes (Yawwww!) and don’t hunt in the king’s woods. A couple of hundred years ago, that was about all anyone would need to know about the law. Religious rulers added a few nutty overlays., but those were pounded into your brain by religious teachers in the community.
Nowadays. we have hundreds of thousands of laws, regulations, and rules that can get you into trouble. In many case you not only have to be familiar with all of these laws, and the thousands and thousands of court decisions in every jurisdiction, you on occasion have to know the laws and rules of every other country in the world and its attendant bureaucracies. Violate the foreign countries laws, rules and regulations while doing business from the United States with someone in another country, which activity is handled pursuant to all the legal laws, rules and regulations of the United States, and in many instances, you can be prosecuted here for violating the foreign laws there.
So, my suggestion.
In every criminal proceeding, a defendant should be permitted as a matter of law, to argue to the jury that 1) the defendant was unaware that the action was illegal, 2) no reasonable person would have thought that action to be illegal, and 3) a person situated in the same social/work environments as the defendant would have no reason to know that the action was illegal. In any prosecution where such a defense is raised, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that at least one of the three premises is not true for the defendant. If the prosecutor fails to make that case, the jury must acquit the defendant.
It should also go without saying that in every trial, the judge must tell the jury that if in the jury’s judgment, convicting a defendant of the charged crime would be unjust, they would have the right to acquit the defendant even if it believes the defendant violated the law. This is the basic principle of jury nullification.
A major impact of the minimum wage laws is the large number of people that will be thrown out of work. A Congressional Budget Office study in 2014 indicated that a minimum wage increase to $9 an hour would cost 100,000 jobs, and an increase to $10.10 would result in the loss of over 500,000 jobs. Those are nation-wide figures. For people laid off due to minimum wage hikes, the minimum wage is always zero. And many lives will be thoroughly destroyed by the loss of the marginal income that enabled families to survive.
Often overlooked in these analyses and debates is that it is not only minimum wage earners who get thrown out of work, but also includes a large percentage of people who earn more than the minimum wage because management can no longer afford the differential between different pay levels for different skill sets.
In 2018, the NYC minimum wage went up to $13 an hour in the hospitality industry and had a devasting impact on the restaurant industry. In 2019, the rate goes to $15 an hour. Have you noticed the rapidly increased use of ordering kiosks in fast-food restaurants that replace many workers? Some places are now experimenting with automated burger-flippers. Wonder where that will lead.
It’s often argued that the low minimum wage does not pay enough for an individual’s survival. That people still take the jobs is evidence that this is not the case. In many instances, the wages received are increments to a family income that includes family members with other sources of income, sometimes from jobs that pay more than the minimum wage.
Recent studies show that our ill-educated millennials think that socialism is cool. I don’t think they know what socialism is. They seem to think its some sort of system where Mom and Dad, or the next door neighbor, work at their favorite fun jobs while subsidizing the kid who wants to hang out with the BFFs at the café, sipping coffee made from only the most expensive beans, or nightclub hop while checking their social media and Instagramming their lovely cocktail, or expound to whoever will listen about what a rotten job their better-educated parents made of the world, or furiously argue over which movie or pop song was coolest. Oops.
Given how idealistic these folks are, I thought I would help them understand where there ideals lead.
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When I hear someone call themselves a Democratic Socialist, I’m reminded of a common cartoon trope where one of the dumber characters in the strip takes two large bulky household appliances that have no functional connection to each other and tapes them together, claiming to have invented a hot new
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