By way of background, during the minimum wage segment, Krauthammer correctly noted that raising the minimum wage would result in some job losses because "it's an axiom of economics: If you raise the price of everything, you are going to lower demand."If you need me, I'll be over here, shaking my damn head, palming my damn face.
Economics is a funny ol' discipline. It's extremely important out in the wide wide world, and most undergraduates take at least an intro course. Certainly folks who end up in a b-school or poli sci or whatever have done the principles series. But something (obviously) gets lost in time, translation, and under the pressures of special interests. Like Bryan Caplan observes, there's a telephone game of dread import happening, one subject to not only innocent mistakes, but to active sabotage.
And the curious language of economics lends itself quite easily to misinterpretation. Consider something that's in pretty much every intro textbook: (except the only one you should be using) a model for "perfect competition", shorthand for a market with many sellers, each with a small proportional share of the market. This is used as a pedagogical tool to teach students the role of prices in the production process. Importantly, it's the economist's version of a frictionless environment, a blackboard fiction intentionally stripped of context to teach the mannequin articulation of applied price theory. The "competition" bit means competition between firms, but lazy op-ed writers latch on to the linguistic shorthand and claim that competitive markets imply that the competition is between firms and customers or firms and their employees.
This is not the message of the discipline of economics.
Markets are first and foremost about cooperation. The simple, common, everyday act of offer and acceptance in an environment that respects both the prior and post allocations after an exchange is a cooperative act embedded in a suite of institutions that holds all participants sovereign. The mundane activity of going grocery shopping is a marvel of commonplace human dignity. Trying to justify coercive intervention into this by claiming that firms are competitive perverts not only the lessons of economics, but robs ordinary people of the ability to say "no". In a livery market, if I don't like the surge pricing, I can say "no". In a market for after a hurricane, if I don't like the price for ice or gas, I can say "no". And that's as true for a buyer as a seller. Markets may be less cooperative under situational duress, but their fundamental character is still cooperative. I for one plan to change how I talk about this. I encourage you to at least consider doing the same.
If even bright people like Krauthammer and Klein can botch something as simple as the First Law of Demand, some small tweaks to the jargon might be worth considering.