Friday, October 31, 2014

Jackson T. Stephens Jr. says judicial recall is on his agenda

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 1:41 PM

DADDY'S MONEY: Steve Stephens is ready to use some against judges. The Supreme Court  ruled against him in minimum wage suit.
  • DADDY'S MONEY: Steve Stephens is ready to use some against judges. The Supreme Court ruled against him in minimum wage suit.
Jackson T. "Steve" Stephens Jr., who lost a court fight to remove a minimum wage increase from the ballot, tells The Arkansas Project that he's thinking about putting some of his inherited wealth into a judicial recall measure in Arkansas.

That would require a ballot initiative. I'm not sure if an initiated act would suffice or if a constitutional amendment would be required.

Stephens threatened as much in a statement he released after losing the minimum wage case. He and Sen. Jason Rapert, who wants to recall judges who are nice to gay people, will make a fine pair.

Stephens tells Dan Greenberg of the Arkansas Project that he was willing to give the Supreme Court a pass on its ruling striking down the voter ID law (how nice, it was in plain conflict with the Arkansas Constitution, all seven justices agreed). But he contends that it institutionalized fraud in concert with the ruling in the minimum wage case.(Not really. That ruling merely prevented a bad notary from initially killing valid signatures in an initial count. Fraud remains a clear way to remove a measure in the final certification process.)

If Stephens wants to make it even harder to reach the ballot, fine. There's a constitutional amendment, a bad one, Issue 2, that will accomplish that. But  that could make it harder for him to put his judicial recall on the ballot, should he try. He doesn't seem inclined by the way to add legislators to a recall measure. He has some excuse, but I suspect the real one is that they are more directly bought and controlled already.

Stephens has millions in money inherited from his father's financial empire  to spend on such things and has been a major backer of the Club for Growth, which he chairs, in supporting politicians who favor the low-tax, low-regulation, leaky safety net favored by such pet candidates as Tom Cotton.

By the way: Stephens rolls out in the interview some of his poor reasoning for opposing a minimum wage. As luck has it, Ernest Dumas debunks it thoroughly in this piece for The Leader in north Pulaski County.

Said Stephens:

Well, empirically, the minimum wage does not do what it is designed to do. It does not help poor people. And I think the facts in Arkansas bear that out. The last time that the minimum wage was raised in Arkansas, in 2006, black youth unemployment in the state was 29 percent. Today it is 39 percent. And that is the demographic that the minimum wage is designed to help

Said Dumas:

We have 75 years of experience with minimum-wage increases and 45 years with Arkansas’ own minimum wage, which applies to employers with four or more full-time employees.

As it happens, we have the immediate experience of 13 states that have raised their minimum wages the past year. Did they put teenagers and adults with high school educations or less out of work, as the Democrat Gazette says happens? Comparing those 13 states with the 37 that did not raise their wage floors, federal data shows that jobs were growing faster in the 13 states than in the others. Two University of Delaware economists examined the data in the states closely and concluded: “There is no evidence of negative employment effects.” 

Stephens seems most offended that the minimum wage campaign was financed by labor and Democrats. His implication is that THIS somehow makes it fishy. No more fishy than a scion of great wealth pouring his money into his pet political causes.

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