The Minimum Wage Versus The Earned Income Tax Credit

Cartoon by Barry


The cartoon shows two people arguing, a young woman with her hair in a ponytail, and an older man wearing a suit.

WOMAN: We need to help low-income workers, we should raise the minimum wage!
MAN (thoughtfully): The minimum wage is inefficient. To really help low income workers, you’d have to raise the Earned Income Tax Credit.

WOMAN (enthused): Sounds good! Let’s raise the Earned Income Tax Credit.
MAN (angry): NEVER! That would increase government spending!

WOMAN: But you just said…
MAN: What a shame there’s no policy that helps low-income workers without government spending.

WOMAN (annoyed): You mean, like raising the minimum wage?
MAN (enthused): Hey, you know what poor people really need? Tax cuts for millionaires!

WOMAN (enthused): We should raise both the minimum wage and the tax credit!
MAN: Give me a sec to work out why I’m against that.

Posted in Economic cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |

It’s A Matter Of Perspective

Cartoon by Barry

Panel 1
An old man, who is a Senator, wearing a suit and tie, sits behind a large desk. There is an American flag behind the desk.
SENATOR: I love being a Senator. Lots of assistants, comfy chair, the pay is great, and I never lift anything heavier than my laptop.

Panel 2
SENATOR: I could keep doing this job forever!

Panel 3
As it snows heavily, an old man wearing a plaid shirt struggles to life a huge bundle of newspapers out of a truck. Behind him, through the snow, we can see the Capitol Building in the background.

On the front paper of the bundle of papers, we can read the headline: CONGRESS RAISES RETIREMENT AGE. A sub-headline says “Senator: ‘I’ve never met anyone who wants to stop working!'”

Posted in Economic cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |

Copyright Vs. Shakespeare

Cartoon by Barry

(Buy a print of this cartoon on Redbubble.)

This cartoon was inspired by a Huffington Post article by Jennifer Jenkins, in which she quoted Judge Richard Posner:

What happens if these underlying sources are copyrighted? As Judge Richard Posner pointed out, “Romeo and Juliet itself would have infringed Arthur Brooke’s The Tragicall Historye of Romeo and Juliet… which in turn would have infringed several earlier Romeo and Juliets, all of which probably would have infringed Ovid’s story of Pyramus and Thisbe.” You get the point — without a rich public domain, much of literature would be illegal.

Many thanks to my friend Rachel Swirsky, who co-wrote this strip. This is the second “Ampersand” strip Rachel has co-written; the previous one was The Church of Fiscal Conservatism.

Panel 1
Shakespeare, at a writing table, feathery quill in hand, holding up what he has just written to read it aloud.
SHAKESPEARE: “But soft! What light through yon window breaks? It is a lightning bug, and Juliet is the bug’s ass.”

Panel 2
Shakespeare sits, slumps his head into his hands.
SHAKESPEARE (thought): Needs work.
FEDERAL AGENT (from off-panel): HALT, THIEF!

Panel 3
Shakespeare rises and speaks sharply to the Federal Agent who has just walked in. The Federal Agent wears a 20th century suit and dark glasses, and displays a badge.
SHAKESPEARE: SIR! What brings you to my chamber?
FED: This PLAY you wrote, “Romeo and Juliet.”

Panel 4
FED: You STOLE it from Arthur Brooke’s “The Tragical Historye of Romeus and Juliet!”

Panel 5
Shakespeare is using the ol’ “explaining hands” gesture, the Fed points and yells.
SHAKESPEARE: The SEED was Brooke’s, but under my care it has flourished into a DIFFERENT tree-
FED: So you ADMIT it!

Panel 6
The Fed whips off his dark glasses for a panel. He looks so mad that he might eat them.
FED: Answer THIS, smart guy: Why should BROOKE bother writing NEW WORK when second-raters like YOU swipe his stuff?

Panel 7
Shakespeare is beginning to get pissed.
SHAKESPEARE: But sir! Poor Brooke lies beneath the sod. My simple play cannot disturb him now. The ONLY work being stifled is mine own!

Panel 8
FED: YOUR work? HA! Derivative TRASH! If you had any talent, you’d write something ORIGINAL!

Panel 9
SHAKESPEARE: But Brooke’s OWN idea germinated with Matteo Bandello! We are ALL leaves from the same branch, sir! That’s how creativity works!

Panel 10
The FED, who is quite a bit larger than Shakespeare, grabs Shakespeare and shakes him back and forth.
FED: No, that’s how STEALING works! Brooke’s only been dead for THIRTY YEARS. The worms have barely finished digesting!

Panel 11
Shakespeare’s babbling is interrupted when the stern-faced Fed yanks him around to put handcuffs on him.
SHAKESPEARE: But this is MADNESS! Do we not value freedom of THOUGHT? Are IDEAS not the currency of culture? The veritable grist of progress for the social mill? Tell me sir– OW!

Panel 12
Shakespeare, dressed in jailbird’s stripes, sits in a prison cell, loking a bit wistful or confused.
CAPTION: And so Creativity was Saved from a Plagiarist Lout.

(Buy a print of this cartoon on Redbubble.)

Posted in Barry's favorites |

Immigration and Jobs

Cartoon by Barry

Illustration shows Alamar, a dark-skinned man wearing overalls and a hardhat, standing behind a partly built brick wall holding a brick in one hand and a trowel in the other.
CAPTION: Alamar came to the United States to find work. Alamar is a brick mason. He works hard and is very productive.

Illustration shows Alamar continuing to work on the wall, while a woman nearby wearing a hardhat checks something off on her clipboard. Behind Alamar, a man walks up carrying a box. Behind that man, a large truck has pulled up.
CAPTION: Because Alamar is so productive, people in related jobs, like brickmakers, site supervisors, and truckers, have more work to do.

Illustration shows Alamar, no longer wearing a hardhat, buying groceries from a cashier.
CAPTION: All those people, including Alamar, spend money in the local economy, on things like groceries and movies and diners and gas and clothes. All that spending creates more jobs.

Illustration shows Alamar back at work on the wall. Next to him, an angry bald man is yelling.
CAPTION: That’s why Americans welcome Alamar with friendship and open arms.

Posted in Economic cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |

Talking About The Deficit

Cartoon by Barry

Cartoon depicts a woman and her child, sitting on the edge of the curb. The child is sleeping leaning against its mother. In front of them, a homemade cardboard sign reads “Unemployed Hungry.” On the sidewalk behind the pair, two men wearing jackets and ties are arguing back and forth: Deficit! Deficit! Deficit!

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Really Good Careers

Cartoon by Barry

Description of cartoon: The cartoon shows a woman holding a child’s hand, in a fairly dismal-looking city area, standing on a sidewalk at the entrance to a building. Above the entrance is a sign that says “Really Good Careers.” To the right of the entrance, a smaller sign says “An equal opportunity employer.” The entrance is shaped like a male silhouette; it seems apparent that the woman and her child could not fit through the entrance.

This cartoon is also available in black and white.

Posted in Economic cartoons, Feminist cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |

See Sue Run (now with two endings!)

Cartoon by Barry

There are two versions of this cartoon. The only difference is the final panel; in one version, the final panel is about how many Americans ignore the way government helps their lives. In the other version, the final panel is specifically a dig at the Tea Party.

The general version:

And the Tea Party version:

See Sue
(Illustration of small white girl in pigtails running. This is Sue.)
See Sue run.

See Sue run to public school.
(Illustration of Sue running towards brick building.)
Go, Sue, go!

See Sue’s Daddy tkae a child-care tax credit.
(Illustation of Sue’s Daddy in foreground filling out some forms while Sue plays with toys on the floor in the background.)
Maybe Daddy will use it to buy Sue more toys!

See Sue use federal student loans to attend college.
(Illustration of Sue, now a teenager in a cap and gown, receiving a high school diploma.)
Good going, Sue!

See Sue lower her taxes with the lifetime learning credit.
(Illustration of Sue putting an envelope into a mailbox. This cartoon is certainly action-packed, isn’t it?)
Clever Sue!

See Sue get a job.
(Illustration of sue wearing goggles and sawing a piece of wood that’s clamped to two sawhorses.)
See the employer tax exclusion make Sue’s health care cheaper.

See Sue buy a home.
(Illustration of a small house.)
Sue can afford it because of the mortgage deduction!

See Sue have a baby.
(Illustration of a baby’s pacifier.)
See Sue take the child-tax credit.

See Sue save for her kid’s college education with a tax-free education savings account.
(Illustration of Sue, now a bit older, filling out forms.)
Good planning Sue!

See Sue retire.
(Illustration of Sue, now older with white hair, at a retirement party — there are balloons and cake and a man has his arm around her shoulders.)
Now Sue will collect Social Security!

See Sue get sick.
(Illustration of Sue in a patient’s gown at a doctor’s office, being spoken to by someone holding a clipboard.)
Good thing Sue has Medicare!

See Sue Fail To See
(Illustration of Sue, wearing a blazer, angrily speaking.)
Sue: When has the government ever helped me?
Funny Sue!

See Sue join the Tea Party.
(Illustration of Sue, wearing a blazer, angrily speaking.)
SUE: I’ve never taken a cent from the government!
Funny Sue!

Posted in Economic cartoons, Health care |

The Ten Stupidest Objections to the Occupy Wall Street Movement

Cartoon by Barry

Panel 1
Large lettering says “The Ten Stupidest Objections to the Occupy Wall Street Movement”
In the lower right-hand corner of the panel, a self-portrait of the cartoonist, a fat guy with long dark hair, says: I’ve heard or read all these myself!

Panel 2
Furious-looking yelling man in polo shirt: Folks in third-world countries are EVEN POORER, so poor people in AMERICA should be GRATEFUL and SHUT UP!

Panel 3
Balding man at laptop: If they don’t have an official media spokesperson, how can we take them seriously?

Panel 4
Angry yelling woman: They criticize corporations, but use SMART PHONES made by CORPORATIONS! HYPOCRITES!
Same woman, added as an afterthought: And they wear clothes!

Panel 5
Person with long hair in a ponytail, shrugging and looking confused: Shouldn’t they protest in WASHINGTON instead? That’s where the people in CHARGE are, right?

Panel 6
Angry man with giant head and a necktie: THEY’RE HIPPIES! HIPPIES SUCK! I HATE GODDAMNED HIPPIES!

Panel 7
Concerned looking woman with long wavy hair that I was happy with how the drawing came out: Why aren’t they wearing NECKTIES, like civil rights marchers fifty years ago?

Panel 8
Angry, strict-looking man wearing a vest and with his shirt buttoned all the way up: There was a bad statistic on a hand-lettered sign! That’s PROOF these people are liars!

Panel 9
Smiling woman in striped shirt who looks as if she thinks she’s making a really telling point: Why aren’t these people at JOBS instead of protesting? HUH? Why not? Huh?

Panel 10
Paranoid man in a trenchcoat with the collar turned up, standing against a brick wall, whispering something confidential: “Occupy Wall Street” is OBAMA setting up the country for riots!

Panel 11
A yelling man with a huge open mouth, whose face fills up virtually all of the panel: A movement that FAILS to compress its entire meaning into a simple SOUNDBITE is DOOMED! DOOOOOMED!

Posted in Uncategorized |

When I Get Thin…

Cartoon by Barry

The cartoon features a lot of small panels, all featuring a single fat figure (some larger, some less large). The panels cascade and pile up on a final large image at the bottom of the strip.


DUDE IN TIE: Then people will appreciate me.
ENTHUSED WOMAN: Then I’ll write my novel.
PERSON IN GLASSES: Then I’ll have the lover I deserve.
DISTANT WOMAN: Then I’ll go dancing.
WOMAN IN ZIG ZAG SHIRT: Then I’ll buy some nice clothes.
GUY WITH BACK TURNED: Then I won’t be so shy.
BALDING MAN: Then I’ll deserve to have a lover.
WOMAN READING NEWSPAPER: Then I’ll look for a better job.
MAN LOOKING IN MIRROR: Then I’ll like myself.

(There are several panels at the bottom which we can’t see all of, due to other panels piled on top of them, but we can see little bits of characters and dialog, all starting with the word “then”).

The bottom of the strip shows a person with long dark hair, arms on hips, facing a wall (and away from the viewer) and glaring. There’s a big window, but the person isn’t looking out the window.

PERSON (in thought balloons): Then! Then! Then!

Posted in Uncategorized |

Top Ten Ways Teachers’ Unions Caused The Economic Crisis

Cartoon by Barry

Panel one
TITLE: Top Ten Ways Teacher’s Unions Caused the Economic Crisis (note: the words “teacher’s unions” are in a dripping blood font).
GRINNING DUDE IN SUIT WHO IS WEARING A FAKE HALO: Brought to you by the coalition of completely innocent bankers!

Panel two
BALDING DUDE IN SUIT, WITH PEDANTIC ATTITUDE: Maybe bankers wouldn’t destroy the economy if SOMEBODY had done a better job teaching them addition!

Panel three

Panel four
GRINNING WOMAN HOLDING BIBLE: If teachers allowed prayer in class and didn’t teach evolution, GOD wouldn’t have FORSAKEN THE ECONOMY!

Panel five
MAN SITTING ON HUGE PILE OF MONEY: Teacher pay sucks MILLIONS from the economy that could otherwise be spent in more PRODUCTIVE sectors of the economy. Like finance!

Panel six

Panel seven
SMILING WOMAN WITH NICE HAIR: When we just GIVE children an education, we kill their instinct for the FREE MARKET! First graders need more skin in the game!

Panel eight
MAN IN KLAN OUTFIT: Teachers unions support DEMOCRATS, democrats support giving MORTGAGES to BLACK PEOPLE, loaning BLACKS money DESTROYS the ECONOMY. Isn’t that obvious?

Panel nine
RICH DUDE STANDING IN FRONT OF MANSION: If unions didn’t lower PRODUCTIVITY, we BANKERS wouldn’t have to sell worthless sub-prime mortgages just to squeak out a meager living!

Panel ten
Image shows two young people, looking angry, and wearing Hogwarts uniforms.
GIRL: After Voldemort killed Lily and James Potter, his NEXT STEP was forming a TEACHERS’ UNION!
BOY: What a louse!

Panel eleven
GRINNING, POWERFUL-LOOKING DUDE IN SUIT: If no one was teaching MATH, we wouldn’t even KNOW there WAS an economic crisis. Problem SOLVED!

Posted in Economic cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |