Comment Rescue: Minimum Wage Checklist

Related Post Roulette

212 Responses

  1. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    This is unexpected; thank you. To be precise; this was my alternative to ‘set-it-and-forget-it” law making. It generally produces laws every bit as bad as it produces food; occasionally win, mostly blah.Report

  2. Avatar Richards
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s been my observation that while employers will tell doomsday stories about layoffs SHOULD the minimum wage go up, when it actually does happen in reality, the layoffs themselves simply don’t happen (or at least It’s Not News).

    To be fair, minimum wage tends to go up glacially….Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Richards
      Ignored
      says:

      Minimum wage increases should be somewhat slow; for small businesses (particularly in rural areas, where the customer base is thin on the ground,) it really would be a shock to the economy.

      But my guess is that a bunch of modest jumps over the next few years, starting with the biggest first, would have a stimulative impact; boost consumer spending, and so make it easier to pay higher wages, and the future small increases would build in certainty that the consumer spending wouldn’t contract, but keep expanding slightly as employees built it into their long-range plans.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        But my guess is that a bunch of modest jumps over the next few years, starting with the biggest first, would have a stimulative impact; boost consumer spending, and so make it easier to pay higher wages…

        That is certainly a possibility, but only that, a possibility. There are other possibilities as well.

        The biggest problem with this view of hiking minimum wage is that it assumes that it would be a transfer of wealth from employers to employees; that is, that the businesses forced to pay more wages would be the ones taking the hit out of their profits.

        If, however, employers fire their least productive workers or cut wages or raise prices, then this is no longer a transfer of wealth from the wealthy to the working poor; it’s a transfer of wealth from one group of the working poor to another. There might still be an economic stimulus effect, but a good deal of that would be coming from the increase in government transfers for those who lost their jobs, saw their hours cut or are now facing higher prices.Report

        • Avatar zic in reply to j r
          Ignored
          says:

          @j-r most of the working poor I know work their asses off. They work seriously hard, or they wouldn’t have a job.

          I’d rather see the real slackers go full welfare, and see productive workers paid more; I presume this will mostly be at the margins, anyway. But I know who comes to the local food pantry; and I can’t help but suspect that many people have this amorphous stereotype of ‘working poor’ that’s got jack shit to do with the actual working poor; a stereotype filled in with below poverty and not working poor.Report

          • Avatar j r in reply to zic
            Ignored
            says:

            @zic

            @j r most of the working poor I know work their asses off. They work seriously hard, or they wouldn’t have a job.

            That’s great, but it is in no way a response to what I wrote.Report

            • Avatar zic in reply to j r
              Ignored
              says:

              If, however, employers fire their least productive workers or cut wages or raise prices, then this is no longer a transfer of wealth from the wealthy to the working poor; it’s a transfer of wealth from one group of the working poor to another.

              That’s an assumption, too. One of many possible things. One could, for instance, subsidize payroll taxes or unemployment insurance or health insurance for smaller employers with less revenue flowing through their businesses.

              But I was specifically addressing the notion (remarkably like Jaybird’s notion — with the deadwood employees who might get fired filling in for the comic book store that might close) we should not ____________ (fill in the blank).Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                @zic

                I’m not @jaybird.

                I was replying specifically to your point about economic stimulus. The question of small businesses is a separate one.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                Ha. I know you’re not Jaybird, that’s why I found it odd that you made the same sort of parallel.

                I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t worry that there will, at the margins, be some job loss with an increase in minimum wage. But this isn’t just about those job losses, it’s also about the economic stimulus of an increase which puts more money in lower-wage consumers’ pockets.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                @zic

                I don’t really worry all that much about job losses from minimum wage increases, because minimum wage increases tend to be relatively small and not much higher than the prevailing reserve wage anyway. If the minimum wage went up enough to make a real difference, the job losses would go up as well, but they’d be evident so there is no point arguing over them.

                My comment was about the economic stimulus argument. It is flawed. A hike in the minimum wage would put more money in some people’s pockets, not the people who lose their job or the people who have their hours cut back. And all of those people are going to be facing slightly higher prices at the places they shop. So the overall affect is either going to be non-existent or very small.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                Hours is also often a function of policy. If it costs more to have part-time workers than it does to have 30+/week workers, employers will give workers more time.

                If you want to get into the economics of on-demand employment again, we can; but the arguments are policy arguments and how we regulate labor.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                My thought isn’t that deadwood might get fired at the comic book store.

                My thought is that if the comic book store will close if it pays 6 people but not close if it pays 5 people, then it will pay 5 people.

                Is the 6th deadwood? Maybe, maybe not. It might be a business where everyone is loved and just like family. The 6th might be someone who says, choking back tears, “I’m the most employable elsewhere. I will voluntarily go work at a different store.”

                It’s not particularly relevant whether the 6th is deadwood.

                It’s only relevant whether the 6th will cause the doors to close.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird this is exactly why a minimum wage increases generally 1) do cause some job loss that is 2) mostly at the margins.

                But I still think we’re underestimating the amount of 3) additional spending consumers will do 4) because they earn more money.

                See: https://www.stlouisfed.org/publications/regional-economist/january-2012/dont-expect-consumer-spending-to-be-the-engine-of-economic-growth-it-once-was

                This Federal Reserve bank paper (from 2012) argues that we shouldn’t count on consumer spending to fuel economic growth. But scroll down to the bottom, and look at the reasons why this is so; lower wealth, stagnant incomes, tight credit, and fragile confidence constricting spending. (The last, the end of the stimulus, is already fading behind us). Increasing the minimum wage helps increase wealth and end wage stagnation, and would help with confidence if it spurs more consumer spending. Credit (access to capital) is another issue; and one that should be somewhat eased by increased spending.

                I think we’re going to need to revisit lending to small businesses, too; but that’s another discussion. Certainly, a more robust economy in general will make more credit available.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                But I still think we’re underestimating the amount of 3) additional spending consumers will do 4) because they earn more money.

                If the additional spending is going to pay for additional prices to cover additional wages, all we’re doing is adding to the GDP without adding value.

                If there are people who lose jobs (or don’t get them) because of this, that’ll eat up a little bit more of the benefits.

                Plus there’s the whole issue of businesses that close because of this.

                There will be some people who seriously benefit from this, sure. It’ll be good for them. I’d really like to know a way to measure if more good is done than harm or churn, though.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to j r
          Ignored
          says:

          jr,
          actually, it’s more of a transfer of money from the working poor to the capitalized rich.
          Because we’re looking at taxi drivers being eliminated (along with tons of other service jobs), as we get better capital to do the job.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        The Atlantic has a good piece on Warren Buffett’s minimum-wage conflict. It’s pretty much what I meant when I suggested small, incremental increases; Buffet put it better:

        “I don’t have anything against raising the minimum wage but I don’t think you can do it in a significant enough way without creating a lot of distortions,” said Buffett in Omaha.

        Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    There were a couple of stories recently about what the minimum wage increase will end up doing in San Francisco.

    One was this story at (I know) National Review (and even if you don’t like the source, I trust it to at least have accurately quoted the comic book store owner, which are interesting pieces of info) and another was a story it linked to in (I know) The New Yorker (and even if you don’t like the source, I trust it to at least have accurately quoted the people in the story, which are interesting pieces of info).

    I’m down with the idea that these workers deserve more than what they’re getting.

    But there are also businesses that cannot give more than what they’re giving and will be forced to pick between being seriously innovative and/or going for some serious productivity increases among the staff, firing people (or, if we’re lucky, just not hiring new ones), and closing their doors (which involves firing all of them). Which sucks too.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      What I thought was interesting about that story was that the comic-book store owner’s solution was to introduce a new thing, the whole “monthly graphic novel subscription” thing.

      Which, y’know…yeah, it sucks to point to a specific public-policy decision that is causing costs to become untenable. But there are many, many stories of stores whose business model was “we are A Place That Has Stuff” that were blown away by the internet, which is everywhere and has all the stuff, and those didn’t involve minimum-wage increases at all. I mean, what about Joe’s Comics, or Ninja Comics And Cards, or The Android’s Dungeon, which all disappeared over the past ten years?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        We spend money at our local dealer’s and pay cover price for books rather than getting them for 25% off at Amazon.

        But that shop has characters including a guy behind the counter who will argue about whether Lex Luthor would make a good president with you.

        Which, now that I think about it, the internet also has.

        The comic book store feels like “mine”, though, in a way that the TPB section of Amazon doesn’t.

        The ability of these little local shops to give an environment and a culture is pretty much the only thing that they’ve got over the ‘tubes. If they’re unable to do that, they’ll end up being subsumed by Amazon and we’ll have even fewer jobs for unskilled workers.Report

        • Avatar zic in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          So right now, we subsidize employees of some of the largest and most profitable companies in the world so that little comic-book stores and their ilk won’t go out of business?

          Why not let the little guys do the rent seeking for a while? Why protect the big dude’s rent seeking in the name of the little guy?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic
            Ignored
            says:

            The incentives are all messed up. We’re trading small businessmen for employees of huge corporations.

            I’ll repeat myself from here.

            For the record, though, I don’t think that lowering the minimum wage would help in this present crisis.

            There are tons and tons of little regulations that come with opening a business and *THOSE* are the main problem right now. I’ll repeat myself and talk about the various hoops that you need to jump through if you want to do something as simple as opening a bar downtown… just a simple place with beer and maybe some mixed drinks. There are onerous regulations that you have to meet (that have nothing to do with making sure that people don’t die of ptomaine) that cover everything from proximity to schools to proximity to other places that also sell beer and mixed drinks (downtown, you need to get permission from other businesses to open a place that has an alcohol license… if you don’t get the necessary signatures on your petition, you can’t open your place. Which means that a couple of bars on a block can collude to refuse to let a third place open up).

            If you want to serve food (nuts, pretzels), there are more hoops. If you want to have a grill and serve hot food (perhaps even with a fryer), there are more hoops.

            It’s easier for a guy to say “you know what, I’d rather work for Massive Conglomerate. It’ll be less hassle.”

            Massive Conglomerate gets bigger. The guy who would have hired a bartender and a person to walk drinks around is now a cubicle monkey who is counting down until he gets outsourced to Singapore.

            Those little regulations that make it tough to open one’s own business play into the hands of Massive Conglomerate.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              But, in this case, if too many businesses close because of the minimum wage, we’ve killed the patient.Report

            • Avatar Zane in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              I know this is only an n of 1, but I have a friend who recently retired and sold his wholesaling business which had about 10 employees. He strenuously argues against the idea that over-regulation is a real problem facing small businesses (at least in Ohio). He says, “It’s just not that hard to meet the regulations.” He also provided health coverage to his employees prior to the Affordable Care Act. Now, he didn’t do retail, and he certainly didn’t have to face the rules about serving alcohol, so there are additional complications in your example.

              But he saw the biggest impediment to starting a small business as access to capital, and the biggest impediment to keeping a small business as competition from larger corporations who can take advantage of economies of scale that smaller companies can’t. His strategy was to emphasize human contact and service in a way not easily leveraged by larger corporations, but that’s a strategy for maintaining viability for an already existing business, probably not easy to do starting from scratch.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Zane
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, in 2011, I thought that raising the minimum wage was not going to solve that many problems. Now that we’re back down to 6% (In theory, of course… I understand that Bernie Sanders is using a different metric that gets him to 9%), raising the minimum wage might be a good idea.

                (I’m assuming that 5% unemployment is the lowest we can reasonably expect and that the 90’s were one hell of an outlier.)Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                U6 vs U3 is important.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Zane
                Ignored
                says:

                Haw. He had fewer than 50 full-time employees, he didn’t have a public-facing aspect to his business, he presumably didn’t deal with government customers, he didn’t do anything involving financial transactions or market trading. He didn’t have trouble meeting regulations because most of them didn’t apply to him.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                he didn’t have a public-facing aspect to his business, he presumably didn’t deal with government customers, he didn’t do anything involving financial transactions or market trading

                First, these are not the only regulations; but all businesses are regulated to some degree. Second, he said the regulation he did have to deal with wasn’t that difficult. So you can discount his particular business as not being a real business because he doesn’t have to deal with real regulation, but that’s only a nonsensical twisting of things to satisfy your own ideology about the evils of regulation.

                Third, he said access to capital is a bigger problem then regulation.

                So, one would have to ask if the bottleneck is in the regulation on the access-to-capital part of the equation. Also, the incentives. Because I’ve heard the same from a lot of small business owners; they cannot borrow money to grow their businesses. And many of these businesses are not new, they’re established and could take on more customers — the customers are there — with investment.

                Big businesses, on the other hand, seems to have little or no problems accessing capital. We see a reflection of this in venture investing; there’s a ton of money sloshing around for the next tech new thing from Super Technical University Students and there’s follow-up money from businesses that have received prior rounds of investing; but not a lot for the early business growth phase; and what little capital there is there is often coupled with some sort of federal government-backed investments in the form of loan guarantees or grants through state-managed development funds.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                :\ I’m not “discounting his business as not a real business”. What I’m saying is that he didn’t have as many regulations to deal with, so it’s a bit thick for him to claim that regulatory compliance is simple.

                He didn’t manufacture anything, which means that the compliance costs for the products he sold were fobbed off on the manufacturers of those products. All he had to do to, e.g., maintain compliance was CPSIA lead-content regulations was to tell the manufacturer to provide CPSIA-compliance documentation. This doesn’t mean that performing lead-content testing is simple and cheap.Report

          • Avatar Zane in reply to zic
            Ignored
            says:

            zic, I’m not sure what you mean by “So right now, we subsidize employees of some of the largest and most profitable companies in the world so that little comic-book stores and their ilk won’t go out of business?”

            I’m not following that. Even just logically, subsidizing employees of big companies won’t prevent little companies from going out of business. And I’m not sure how it links to the discussion about minimum wages. I’m thinking a word is missing or something. Or that I’ve missed a leap that’s obvious to others in there.Report

            • Avatar zic in reply to Zane
              Ignored
              says:

              @zane I used to own a coffee shop; selling gourmet coffess, teas, breakfast and lunch, and coffee and tea brewing equipment. I couldn’t have afforded a jump in minimum wage to $15/hr.; and it’s likely $10/hr. would have put us out of business. (We paid a manager $9/hr. and a barista $8.50/hr. plus tips; some days they’d take home $40 to $50 bucks in tips, but it was irregular.

              WalMart, one of the biggest companies in the world, owned by one of the richest families in the world, pays less, and many of WalMart’s employees also receive public assistance; particularly food stamps and probably Obamacare (not enough hours to quality for WalMart’s group plan). Because of the company’s on-demand employment practices, that economic instability spreads out — day care providers who don’t know what hours they’ll have kids, for instance.

              Jaybird’s concern for the comic book store, which really does seem reasonable to me, since I know what a huge jump in minimum wage would have done to my coffee shop, protects WalMart’s rent seeking, too.

              I got no problem with structuring policy to help smaller businesses; I was a business writer, and I know how tough it is to survive. If we’re worried about small businesses, discuss minimum wage as a function of size/profitability; don’t buy into the rent seeking of McMonsterMarts. We change policy in other ways based on business size. Taxes are progressive. Insurance requirements are somewhat progressive, and could be more so.Report

              • Avatar Zane in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Ah, thank you! I was missing the link between how concern about the impact of minimum wages on small business works to the benefit of much larger businesses, who already have numerous advantages and spillover effects. Particularly when the only solution being discussed is a one-size-fits-all approach and variations aren’t considered.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                zic, if you create a category of “small business” that isn’t subject to the same minimum-wage laws, then you’ll see a lot of Giant Corporations turn into a massive conglomerate of small businesses, or simply a core management team with a zillion contractors. (Uber already works that way.)

                Sort of like how so many businesses suddenly stopped having full-time employees when the ACA required that businesses with 50 full-time employees pay for health insurance.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                The businesses that stopped were close to the 50 person threshold, anyway. (a threshold that’s pretty common and longstanding for most federal workplace regulations, e.g. FMLA). We did not see Walmart divest themselves.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                When we say minimum wage, we’re discussing this basket of costs that include payroll taxes — some withdrawn from the employees pay check, some paid by the employer, possibly health insurance. but also costs completely invisible to the employee — unemployment insurance, perhaps some health-insurance contribution, a match to FICA; potentially a payment into a retirement fund or HSA account. There are a lot of other ways to put more money in the pockets of employees while lessening the burden of a minimum wage hike on small businesses.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                I think that the only meaningful healthcare reform would be to let everyone buy into Medicare, with payments indexed to age and income, and to also provide a government-managed HSA with tax-free contributions.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                DD,
                The good senator from Oregon proposed this, back when Obamacare was sausagemaking.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Some people just really like the experience of shopping or at least shopping for certain things in person because of characters like this. Depending on the product or service, some businesses double as community centers and hang outs for certain social groups. Comic book and gaming stores are good examples of this. Many of them also double as nerd community centers. Many other people do not care. They simply want what they want for the cheapest price available.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq
            Ignored
            says:

            Borderlands has a pretty large coffeeshop that is connected to the bookstore but also has a separate entrance.

            I wonder which business makes the most each day and whether there is ever a time that the bookstore makes more than the cafe.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        @densityduck

        The article says that just as much blame lays on rising rents (the store occupies a huge space in the most prime area of the most desirable Valencia Street).

        The article also mentions the Internet.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      @jaybird

      Borderlands is still open three months later.

      I will quote this from the article:

      “Some people worried that Beatts’s posts would lead people to blame the minimum-wage increase for the troubles faced by independent bookstores, in general, when, in fact, it is only one of several pressures, which include rising rents and competition from Amazon and e-books. “We all feel that there is very little we can do about Amazon and gentrification of the city, so people are focusing on the minimum wage,” Lois Helmbold, who volunteers at Modern Times, another independent bookstore in the Mission, told me. ‘I just think that’s really short-sighted and leaves people thinking that increasing the minimum wage is not really a good thing.'”

      So there are a variety of factors that are hitting stores in SF right now. The main one seems to be rents that rising extremely fast because of Tech 2.0. Wages are no where near the raising rents as an issue. I see stores everyday that say they are closing and it is not because of a lack of profit but because the lease is up and the landlord did a double or triple rent raise. Some of these stores have employees and others do not. The owners do a calculation and decide that rising rents are just too much.

      Restaurants are starting to do interesting things with wages though. I’ve seen restaurants say that they are just going to add X amount per ahead to each bill to cover wages for everyone or they are going to charge higher food prices so costumers don’t need to leave a tip. The food prices did not seem that much higher.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I’d like to wait a year before coming to any conclusions, given the cycle of the year (what will the summer do? what about the Christmas shopping season?) before coming to any real conclusions about what will happen due to the hike. (I mean, if stores don’t hire temp help between Thanksgiving and Christmas or only hire 1 when last year they hired 2, that’d be interesting).

        There’s a lot of stuff that needs to work its way through the system. 3 months isn’t that long. Hell, a year probably isn’t long enough.

        The rent thing bugs me. That can’t be sustainable.Report

        • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          @jaybird

          The thing about sustainability is that things are sustainable until they aren’t. Right now tech 2.0 is still the hottest game in town and people just want to play and play some more. The Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists are still very willing to pony up money. This causes commercial as well residential rents to raise quickly.

          The net is slowly changing though. Twitter, Linkedin, and another company just lost a massive amount to their stock values because they had to admit that their future expected earnings are more precarious than they admitted. Twitter earned a respectable 436 million last quarter but they still really don’t know how to monetize their users into profit.

          We are starting to see a rise in copycat apps or apps with a twist. First there was grubhub and seamless, then came Blue Apron, Caviar, Munchery, and now comes more app and food delivery companies but with fancy executive chefs like David Chang from Momofuku. First there was Washio and now there is Rinse.

          I think lots of people suspect that Tech 2.0 is also going to have a bubble burst. The question is when and how much ancillary damage will they do with it.

          I am sort of curious about what is going to happen when the bigger tech companies start taking away perks to save on cash.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Saul DeGraw
            Ignored
            says:

            Nobody really knew how to monetize Facebook, either. The answer turned out to be “let companies pay $100,000 a day to have their ad served up in front of every user’s face, guaranteed”. And so Facebook turns out to be exactly like every other communications channel in the history of humanity.Report

        • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          The thing about business closings is that they tend to happen in days or weeks, not months or years. Sometimes the well-planned ones happen in months. Others are more like “Our lease is up at the end of the month and so are we.”Report

  4. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    Interesting segment from Planet Money about minimum wage. It’s about a mall that has two different minimum wages because it straddles town lines.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/08/28/343430393/a-mall-with-two-minimum-wagesReport

    • Avatar Zane in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s a fascinating story, greginak. What’s really interesting to me is that the lower-minimum-wage shoe store manager would like to have raised wages to match, but that the corporate owners won’t let him. So he’s faced with high turnover as employees leave to work at higher minimum wage jobs in the same mall.

      And, as we might predict, the person who is struggling in higher-minimum-wage side of the mall isn’t a manager for a corporation, but the owner of her own small business.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        For what it’s worth, my wife and I shop at that mall relatively frequently and, from a customer’s perspective, I don’t think there’s any way to tell which half of the mall fall sunder which policy rules. There isn’t a line past which the mall becomes a dystopian hellscape. When I first learned about it, the economist in me wanted to play the “can I find the dividing line” game and it quickly became clear that eyeballing it would absolutely not work.

        All of this reinforces my general opinion that at the margins we’re talking about, the minimum wage is not a major macroeconomic issue even though it’s discussed as though it’s the difference between the end of capitalism and great jobs for all. Sure, raising it to $500 an hour would really shake things up, but in the ranges we’re talking about, it’s pretty close to being a nothingburger from a grand policy perspective. There are winners and losers, and those wins and losses are small enough that the overall effect is hard to notice.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to Troublesome Frog
          Ignored
          says:

          I agree with @troublesome-frog. I tend to think that minimum wages are an inefficient way of helping the working poor. It would be much better to let the labor market be and plus people up with cash transfers from the government.

          That said, the actual reserve wage is probably not much lower than the minimum wage anyway, so getting rid of it wouldn’t do much to change the reality of labor markets. Likewise, increasing it won’t do all that much either, because the more you increase it, the more that labor markets will adjust through either cutting hours or raising the cost of living.

          All in all, raising or lowering nominal wages is one of the least useful policy levers that we have. The minimum wage as a political issue is almost entirely about mood affiliation.Report

          • Avatar Zane in reply to j r
            Ignored
            says:

            @j-r I tend to think that minimum wages are an inefficient way of helping the working poor. It would be much better to let the labor market be and plus people up with cash transfers from the government.

            In the abstract, I agree with you. But we’ve never done cash transfers in the way that you and I are probably thinking of as more efficient. At least, we haven’t done them other than the Earned Income Tax Credit.

            Compared to a negative income tax (that is somehow parceled out more than annually), increased minimum wage is pretty inefficient. Compared to our current system of TANF, SNAP, Medicaid, college financial aid, and countless other programs? Increasing the minimum wage is much more efficient, even though it misses the poorest.

            I’d also argue that (t)he minimum wage as a political issue is almost entirely about mood affiliation doesn’t reflect the lives of those who actually earn at or near the current minimum wage. For folks at that line, this is a crucially important issue, particularly if increasing the minimum wage is the only policy prescription ever offered, taken seriously, or implemented. Sure, few Republicans support a minimum wage increase at this time, but the party has done so in the past.

            I’m not hearing any bipartisan calls for other things that might help the working poor, are you?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Zane
              Ignored
              says:

              A while back, I looked up the numbers of “who makes the minimum wage” and I was surprised to find that fully half of minimum wage earners are 16-24 (split pretty equally between the 16-19 and the 20-24 groups).

              So a quarter of the people on minimum wage are teens. Another quarter are young adults just starting out. (Indeed, I made minimum wage while in College and only started making (barely) more than minimum wage at the tail end of my college career.)

              The minimum wage is perfect for teenagers because it is part of the process of turning unskilled labor into skilled labor (or, at least, experienced unskilled labor) that will be able to command higher wages.

              I have no idea what to do about the half that is 25 and older. It’s a damn shame.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The problem is that they weren’t supposed to still be flipping burgers that late; they were supposed to have moved on to a well-paying union job in the factory or the mine or the loading dock, or gotten married and been supported by their husband, or gotten a college degree and become a doctor/lawyer/scientist.

                The idea of fast food service being someone’s career was not one that American business ever imagined, and that’s why fast food jobs are the way they are.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                But when fast food jobs come with non-compete clauses, that’s because some people like to push the boundaries of peak asshole.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Mike, please tell me you are being facetious with that…Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Wow. Even I’m speechless.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ve never given no-compete clauses much thought despite the sheer number of them that I’ve signed (and been released from due to such things as losing my job to outsourcing or losing my job to the contract ending). I guess it’s one of those things that might make sense to me in the days of on-the-job training… if the company turns you from being a guy with a resume that has nothing but “philosophy degree” and “restaurant experience” into a “unix administrator”, it makes sense for them to say “you can’t quit the day your resume looks awesome and go work for our biggest competitor for a rate commensurate with your new skills that we gave you/helped you develop with the understanding that you’d use them for us”.

                But they dragged me, kicking and screaming, from making 12 bucks an hour to “solidly middle class”.

                Hell, even now, I work for a company that says “we will reimburse you for any certification test you take so long as you pass it… assuming, of course, that you stay with us for 2 years after that. If you leave one year and eleven months later, you owe us the price of the test.”

                Which, again, strikes me as fair.

                But doing it to people who will command no more the day you finish training them than the day before you started?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If your employer wants to charge you for training and forgive the debt over time, that can also be abused, but it’s not a non-compete. A non-complete is “Even though you no longer work here, we have control over where you can work.”Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Question for the legal professionals here: Every time I see a contract with ridiculous bullshit in it, the attorneys who look at it say, “Meh, it’s not really enforceable.” If I hired a professional to advise me and write a contract and he wrote something full of holes and unenforceable nonsense, I’d be annoyed in the same way I’d be annoyed if my dentist sometimes removed perfectly good teeth for no reason.

                If my understanding is correct, the two parties have a contract and nobody really knows what will happen if they disagree, which is kind of like not having a contract at all. It seems like doing that kind of work would be frowned upon by a professional guild, but I see it all the time. There seems to be no penalty for writing things that get ripped to pieces in court. What’s the deal?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Troublesome Frog
                Ignored
                says:

                tf,
                Most “wrong” contracts are written by people with a TON of leverage. Apartment contracts are written by people with knowledge, who feel like the people in the apartments won’t know to call a lawyer.

                If you can tell a mom that she has to pay for the rest of her dead kid’s rent, and wave a Contract, well, that’s what it is.

                It is still legal to write a contract in crayon, and to be contractually obligated to not wear red hats.

                It is not legal to write a contract where you are not allowed to vote — though I’ve seen it done, and not all contracts have to be legal, if you’re going to use extralegal enforcement.Report

              • We do know what happened. Subway wrote a letter to the woman’s prospective employer saying “Hire her and we will sue you”, so they decided to hire someone else. We don’t know whether they would have sued or who would have won if they had, but none of that matters. Legally enforceable or not, the non-compete served its purpose.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Troublesome Frog
                Ignored
                says:

                One of the legal eagles can counter, but I suspect this is a result of us not having a loser pays legal system. An unenforceable clause in a contract still requires the headache & expense of a legal suit to get stricken. So unless it is something that is expressly forbidden to include in a contract, the cost of including it is effectively zero, especially if the other signatories (or, as Mike pointed out, a third party) are unwilling or unable to fight it.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Wow! Even assholes are saying that is a dick move…

                I can appreciate a non-compete in a position where there is proprietary knowledge or trade secrets in play, but for sandwich making? I’m starting to think it’s time for courts or legislatures to (dare I say it?!) regulate the use of such things.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                @oscar-gordon

                At least I’m a nice asshole…most of the time.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dave
                Ignored
                says:

                @dave

                No worries Dave, us assholes know our own.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m an asshole and an unrepentant capitalist and even I think that’s terrible.

                Someone needs to find the guy who thought this up; this is one case where I might support some public shaming.Report

              • Avatar Zane in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird The minimum wage is perfect for teenagers because it is part of the process of turning unskilled labor into skilled labor (or, at least, experienced unskilled labor) that will be able to command higher wages.

                I agree with this, with a caveat. If we look at lifespan employment chances, and if we look at the economic role that teenagers play within their families, I’d argue that we can’t lump all teenagers within the same group on this.

                For middle class families, teenagers are a net drain on family income, of course. But that net drain is proportionately small enough that the family can absorb the loss for long enough for the child to become launched and independent. (Though this may be true of fewer over time as it appears that young adults take much longer to become economically independent of their families.) For middle class families, I believe that most teenagers’ income is spent on consumer items, for the teenagers themselves, that we might think of as non-necessities.

                For poor families, historically any income brought in by the children was to some extent shared among the family for necessary expenses. (I’d be interested to know if this has changed over the years.) For those families, increases in the minimum wage for teenage children might make an important difference in standard of living and the ability to weather financial crises.

                This latter point is especially important given that we know that some subset of minimum wage earners aren’t able to escape the ranks of the working poor throughout their lives.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Zane
                Ignored
                says:

                If minimum wage is good for people just working for extra cash, but not OK for people trying to make a living, why do we continue to insist that employers either try to know the difference, or decide employers can’t know the difference, so everyone gets the living wage, whether it’s needed or not?

                More & more the GBI seems like the way to do this…Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Agreed Oscar, but it’s not gonna happen in the US until it has to.

                My personal off the cuff guesses as to what it’ll take:
                -Some smaller western countries do it first.
                -Unemployment goes over 20% and there’s no realistic prospect of it getting below it again.
                -Utterly prostrate inflation for at least another decade or so.
                -Boomers die off or at least relinquish the levers of power.
                -Population growth-decline in Mexico/Latin America defangs some of the immigration scare questions.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Boomers die off

                That’s inevitable, but I’m not thrilled with how much you guys are looking forward to it.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Better if we look forward to the lynch mobs someone’s going to set on the boomers? They’re not called the Locust Generation for nothing, ya know…Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Is it that obvious that we are already mentally divvying up your stuff?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                Sorry, there seems to be some built in culture wars/social attitudes within boomers that probably will produce too much gridlock and established positions to expect a dramatic reform like this to happen while boomers remain in power. Liberal Boomers would never accept the cutting of less efficient safety net programs to pay for a GBI and Conservative boomers would never accept the base premise of a GBI.Report

        • Avatar bobtuse in reply to Troublesome Frog
          Ignored
          says:

          Because you are a bland consumer, you see no service difference because after all you are bland.

          Since there is no difference, these or that people make no difference to you. How far would the wage have to drop before you noticed? We’ll never find out. As long as you get your “goods” you mall shopper you.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      Philip Sandigo manages a shoe store on the $8-an-hour side. When San Jose raised the minimum wage, he lost about half his staff.

      They went to the stores on the side of the mall that paid $2 an hour more.

      The written story doesn’t follow through with this thought (maybe the full radio story does, though), but this bit of information should lead you to ask the following question: how did the other store suddenly have the budget to hire the workers that left the first store?

      The answer is likely that they replaced their worst workers with the best workers from the other store. And this is generally what happens when the minimum wage goes up. There isn’t a huge increase in unemployment, but the folks who end up losing their jobs are the ones who are the least productive and the least skilled.

      Not necessarily a reason to oppose raising the minimum wage, but it is a trade off that I wish more proponents of raising the minimum wage would at least acknowledge.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        Given we’re talking about mall shoe store workers i don’t think skill is the issue. It’s more like the worst( lazy, slow, unfriendly) were the ones to lose jobs. That is the impression from the store owner on the low min wage side, they just got the mediocre workers.

        I don’t really have a problem with poor workers having trouble with jobs due to their own poor behaviour. That is how the work world should work isn’t it. The good workers can now get more benefit from their good skills. That being said it seems like both sides of the debate way overstate the difference raising the MW will make.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          @greginak

          That is fine, but the problem then becomes that the people least likely to be able to find new jobs and the most likely to fall into the sort of unhealthy pathologies that we associate with being poor and unemployed are the ones bearing the brunt of any rise in the minimum wage. Whether it’s owing to their own behavior or larger societal problems, the result is the same.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        @j-r The answer is likely that they replaced their worst workers with the best workers from the other store. And this is generally what happens when the minimum wage goes up.

        If the employer keeps the same number of employees at the higher minimum wage location, that could very well could happen. But the specifics matter. In this case, the employer in the higher minimum wage location is able to find a competitive advantage due to the higher wage only because the employer in the lower minimum wage location chooses not to compete on wages. (Other, less-tangible disadvantages aren’t initially noticeable when the 2nd employer makes this choice, one presumes. And this would appear to be borne out by the story, where corporate doesn’t care, but the local manager struggles with the problem.)

        But at a retail establishment that isn’t near a border of different minimum wages, or if the lower minimum wage sited employers choose to compete on wages, that probably isn’t happening. At least, not the keeping the same number of employees but switching for “better” ones. There’s no wage differential to take advantage of in that case, and the employer already has incentives to keep effective employees and not keep ineffective ones.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to Zane
          Ignored
          says:

          But at a retail establishment that isn’t near a border of different minimum wages, or if the lower minimum wage sited employers choose to compete on wages, that probably isn’t happening.

          It doesn’t have to happen like that. It’s as simple as the employer now faces higher personnel costs, so he decides to cut hours or maybe fire one of his workers. Whose hours is he going to cut? Who is he going to fire? Probably not his most productive or valued worker. He’s going to cut the guy who shows up late and has some scary tattoos on his neck. In other words, he’s going to fire the guy most likely to have a problem finding a job somewhere else.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        @j-r how did the other store suddenly have the budget to hire the workers that left the first store?

        It’s not clear that the problem is entirely one of budget. At least, not for all the businesses. The pretzel store has struggled a bit (though didn’t cut staff). The shoe store in the dystopian hellscape side of the mall (I love that image, Troublesome Frog, and while I’m glad it isn’t true, it does have a certain appeal) may have the resources to increase wages to match, but the manager isn’t allowed to by the store’s corporate owners.Report

  5. Avatar Cardiff Kook
    Ignored
    says:

    Gabriel,

    A minimum wage is simply a regulation prohibiting hiring someone below a given wage. As such, the net effect of the regulation is to privilege higher skilled/experienced workers over lower experienced workers.

    It will not necessarily have any strong impacts on short term employment though. The reasons:
    1). Employers are committed to their current strategy and will adjust their overall expenses in various ways, only one of which is reduced employees. The actual cut may be to cut maintenance costs on the building, or to switch to a lower quality paper vendor. Cutting employees is not the only option to rising costs.

    2) Employers will — over time — change the mix of employees. They will replace $8 an hour caliber employees with $10 an hour employees.

    3) In addition, employers can demand more from an employee or change the employee’s benefit package to absorb the cost increase. Lower benefits, less training and development, tougher attendance rules, and so on. Thus the employee gains only in theory not in practice.

    4). Employers will reduce not employees, but HOURS. The minimum wage is per hour worked. Thus employers respond with larger pools of employees with fewer hours and less convenient scheduling, again eating up the gains to the worker in this case higher wages offset with shit hours and scheduling. Sound familiar?

    5) Over the course of years ( long as opposed to short range) the employer outsources, off shores, automates and changes business practices to reduce the demand for lower skilled labor.

    The problem with minimum wage laws is primarily on economic efficiency. Some people think this is irrelevant, thus they dismiss minimum wage effects. I of course disagree. Even here though, small minimum wage increases have smaller effects which will be lost in the statistical noise of a complex system. Large increases will be much more harmful, though.

    Minimum wage laws are at heart extremely inefficient. They gum up markets to supposedly transfer money to low skilled workers. Of course almost all workers getting boosts are other than heads of households — they tend to be kids, students and older folks trying to bring in some side money. So it makes markets inefficient while doing good inefficiently.

    Once again, those who understand markets tell what will happen if we make markets less efficient. This includes outsourcing; offshoring; unemployment concentrated with minorities, lower educated and less experience; economic stagnation and larger pools of part timers.

    Sound familiar?Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Cardiff Kook
      Ignored
      says:

      Of course almost all workers getting boosts are other than heads of households — they tend to be kids, students and older folks trying to bring in some side money. So it makes markets inefficient while doing good inefficiently.

      I know this is the assumption, but it really depends. Women and minorities are over-represented in the group of people who are head-of-household and earning minimum wage.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/10/upshot/minimum-wage.html?abt=0002&abg=1Report

      • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s not an assumption. The data is clear that the overwhelming majority are not heads of households and most are not poor.

        The minimum wage is an awkward and inefficient way to transfer incone to the poor.Report

        • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Cardiff Kook
          Ignored
          says:

          Adding on, I would recommend other means of transferring income to the poor, which are more targeted and less destructive to market efficiency. Guaranteed subsidized jobs with choose your own employer for example.Report

        • Avatar zic in reply to Cardiff Kook
          Ignored
          says:

          Roger, the data is clear. 1) that income is very important to those households; and 2) the households that are living on minimum-wage incomes are mostly minorities and run often single mothers.

          I’d also point out that minimum wage employment often means less-than-full-time employment, and many minimum wage workers juggle two or more jobs, and often work seasonal jobs. Come to Vacationland this summer; have a lobster and splash in the surf at Crescent Beach, knock yourself out eating your fill at some of Portland’s incredible restaurants, go fishing or hike in the mountains. Paddle down a river or across a chain of lakes. Shop the outlet malls in Kittery and Freeport and visit the artisan galleries in Camden and Bar Harbor. I guarantee, you’ll have a great time, and it will be made greater because of the minimum wage and seasonal workers you’ll encounter every day of your stay. Some of those folks will be college students, working a summer job. But a lot of them are moms and dads putting food on the table, gas in the tank, and shoes on children’s feet.

          I would recommend other means of transferring income to the poor, which are more targeted and less destructive to market efficiency. Guaranteed subsidized jobs with choose your own employer for example.

          How’s that going to work? Who’s going to pay the wages? Who’s going to administer it? What will application look like? While minimum wage is clumsy, it still directly goes into the pockets of consumers. What I see, instead, is some other way for large corporations to rent seek and/or a whole lot of new government program/regulation/spending that goes elsewhere besides to the consumer. Hell of a lot easier to offset wage increase via the payroll taxes; particularly for smaller businesses, or to shift the formulas for unemployment tax and workman’s compensation, etc.Report

          • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to zic
            Ignored
            says:

            Zic.

            Google it. I just did and the overwhelming majority of minimum wage earners are not poor, and they are not heads of households.

            If you want to help the poor, then do so. This is just sloppy helping. It is screwing with markets for five people to help one person.

            The guaranteed job idea has been discussed here many times before. Here is a link on the details for starting some experiments.

            http://www.morganwarstler.com/post/44789487956/guaranteed-income-choose-your-boss-the-marketReport

            • Avatar zic in reply to Cardiff Kook
              Ignored
              says:

              Roger,

              http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/10/upshot/minimum-wage.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

              Minimum-wage workers are older than they used to be. Their average age is 35, and 88 percent are at least 20 years old. Half are older than 30, and about a third are at least 40.

              These patterns are somewhat new. In 1979, 27 percent of low-wage workers (those making $10.10 per hour or less in today’s dollars) were teenagers, compared with 12 percent in 2013, according to John Schmitt and Janelle Jones

              They’re split fairly evenly between full-timers and part-timers. Most — 54 percent — work full-time schedules (at least 35 hours per week), and another 32 percent work at least half time (20-34 hours per week).

              Many have kids. About one-quarter (27 percent) of these low-wage workers are parents, compared with 34 percent of all workers. In all, 19 percent of children in the United States have a parent who would benefit from the increase.

              One in eight lives in a high-income household. About 12 percent of those who would gain from an increase to $10.10 live in households with incomes above $100,000. This group highlights the fact that the minimum wage is not nearly as well targeted toward poverty reduction as the earned-income tax credit, a wage subsidy whose receipt, unlike the minimum wage, is predicated on family income.

              There’s more, I stopped at the 5-graf limit, the last graf goes to your point. So because 12% wouldn’t really need the income, we shouldn’t consider the 54% who work full time (35 hrs/week)? Or the 19% of children in the US who would benefit? While women only make up 45% of the work force, they make up 55% of the minimum-wage labor force. Hispanic workers account for 16 percent of the work force but 24 percent of those who would be affected by the wage increase. For African-Americans, the comparable shares are 11 percent of the work force and 15 percent of those who would gain from the increase.

              So yes, it is inefficient in that it isn’t solely focused on poverty. But it’s probably more efficient than creating a whole new government agency/program to administer a guaranteed jobs program; and one that would face incredible odds of ever getting implemented, too. Your ideal isn’t politically efficient, probably not politically possible.Report

            • Avatar Zane in reply to Cardiff Kook
              Ignored
              says:

              @cardiff-kook If you want to help the poor, then do so. This is just sloppy helping. It is screwing with markets for five people to help one person.

              The problem is, there is nothing else on offer politically. Historically, Republicans have occasionally supported minimum wage increases. I think everyone would agree that minimum wage increases aren’t ideal. But many would argue that minimum wage increases are better than the other politically possible option, which is doing nothing.Report

              • Avatar Cardiff kook in reply to Zane
                Ignored
                says:

                Only if you disregard the negative effects of distorting markets. Many of those arguing for minimum wage do not understand how markets work or how they enhance prosperity. Thus there is no tradeoffs in their minds.

                It’s wishful thinking or naive optimism. It is grabbing the observable benefits and disregarding the unseen and secondary effects.Report

    • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to Cardiff Kook
      Ignored
      says:

      You have snuck in an assumption that I disagree with.

      Your argument depends on the assertion: workers wages are determined by the value they provide.

      This isn’t true. Prices are determined via negotiations and the conclusion of negotiations are determined by relative power of those negotiating.

      A benign example to start with. Bob is a skilled network engineer. He could work at LarryCo or CurleyCo because both desire his skills. He chooses he one with the better benefits package. Go free markets!

      A more sinister example James is an incompetent MBA but he is friends with the son of LarryCos CEO. He gets hired to a management position and is extremely well compensated.

      And now to the example of the minimum wage worker Steve. Steve is a worker who works hard in a location filled with physical hazards such as hot grease. His job is essential to the CurleyCo’s operations and profits but it is not a specialized skill set. CurlyCo used the sheer awfulness of being unemployed to allow itself to pay far below what he employees output is returning to the company as the job can always be re-filled. Steve does not make enough money to live and is stuck in a cycle of poverty. The economy could be structured such that Steve is compensated to a non-poverty level but it has been decided to avoid that. Steve is in no position to negotiate because there are too many other desperate people who could take his place. Thus the wage is low and will stay low.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to TrexPushups
        Ignored
        says:

        Your argument depends on the assertion: workers wages are determined by the value they provide.

        Nowhere in your comment did you provide any evidence, empirical or otherwise, that this is not the case.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to j r
          Ignored
          says:

          Well, if the phrase “the value they provide” just means the wage they receive from management for performing certain tasks, then no evidence could refute it since it’s a definitional truth.

          But on a different understanding of the concept “value” – a more objective one, say, like productivity – then he did provide the evidence you’re looking for. Negotiations.

          Or are you going all the way down the subjectivity of value rabbit hole? 🙂Report

          • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            I am not going down the “value rabbit hole”. One particular phenomenon is the increase in productivity we have noticed without a similar increase in wages.

            http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/11/overtime-pay-obama-congress-112954.html#ixzz3JiWJcXhM

            And lastly negotiations where one side can walk away without consequence while the other faces homelessness and other stark considerations are less negotiations and more coercion. That creates way to much potential for abuse via wage theft(not paying for hours worked), sexual harassment, and many more.Report

            • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to TrexPushups
              Ignored
              says:

              Trex,

              Supply and demand.

              One billion workers entered the market in past generation. More people exited poverty in the last generation than any before in history. However, the supply of workers is holding down wages for higher priced workers.

              Humanity achieved the best gains ever. Celebrate it, and quit trying to screw up what is working so incredibly well.

              Seriously, how can you turn the greatest economic success in history into a negative? Granted, competition is a bitch. But it is a necessary bitch. It drives economic progress, and it is working.Report

              • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                Says the dude that’s never had to compete with those billion new workers.Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Road Scholar
                Ignored
                says:

                ….to the dude whose very existence is owed to the fact that economic progress saved his grandparents or parents from dieing early in childhood poverty and disease.

                My point is that the reason you and I are alive along with six billion other people is due to a particular recipe of economic prosperity which emerged in Western Europe around 1776. Part of that recipe includes freedom from being restricted from participating in the economic networks of reciprocity and cooperation.

                I find it amazing that an entire generation of “progressives” have forgotten what allowed us to make progress, and what is necessary to progress in the future.

                Every generation is tempted to selfishly lock in competitive privileges at the expense of others. It is resisting this shallow, zero sum mentality which fosters the progress in the future. Choose wisely, your grandkids depend upon you.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                Earnestly held religious beliefs always look somewhat odd from the outside, don’t they?Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                You must be referring to Marxism?

                Yeah, how could anyone still believe in this after the horrors of the 20th century? One would be hard pressed to find an ideology which was so conclusively proven to be an abomination on humanity. Must be based on faith, cognitive biases and wishful * ought implies is* thinking.

                One side offers unprecedented advances in human wellbeing in any country adopting it and some zealots actually choose the other path and think they are doing it for others. Weird huh?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                See how it makes people behave?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Smacks of transcendent universal truthism.

                (Firewall and hammer, just sayin’)Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                Smacks of argument via snark. If you disagree with me on global human welfare, let me know how. If you disagree with me on the causes, let me know in what way. I would be glad to share my reasoning.

                I find reasoning improves with the light of open discussion. Wouldn’t you agree?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                You have said the same thing (over and over and over, often word for word, straight out of scripture) for years. We’ve had all the discussions it is possible for us to have.

                I’m not trying to argue against you, nor will I ever do so. There are other True Believers here, and they’ll agree with you, and there are non-believers here, and they will disagree with you to varying degrees, and ne’er the twain shall meet.Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Chris,

                My “scripture” amounts to two claims:
                1) global economic prosperity has increased markedly over the past two hundred years and continues to increase
                2). This economic prosperity is due in no small measure to… economics.

                The first is empirically verifiable. The second is something most educated people (certainly most economists) agree with. I suspect you just find the implications threatening to your brand of socialism.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                Preach it, brother.Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Engage, bro. Quit repeating your mantra after I have shown it to be absurd. You might as well be putting your hands over your ears and shouting “I’m not listening!”Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                Can I get an amen?!Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ll try to move the dots damn close together here.

                What form of capitalism doesn’t match workers with their work. What form of capitalism leaves human capital on the table.

                Under what premise is there ever, ever, ever, not enough work?

                The same trade that allowed my great grandparents to survive, will by what allows future generations to survive in spite of the constant distortions.

                The one thing I like about James Ks comments is they aren’t laidened with thick layers of Peachy Keen state capitalism(3).Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                @joe-sal

                “What form of capitalism doesn’t match workers with their work. What form of capitalism leaves human capital on the table.”

                Last I checked we still had plenty of nepotism in Capitalist systems and this presumably allows a good chunk of people to raise quicker or beyond their skills and capabilities.

                As someone who used to be in the arts and is now in the over-stocked legal economy, I can tell you that there is plenty of wasted talent out there who is underemployed for a variety of reasons.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                I know Saul, and your writing is getting better. Even in the midst of all the flak that we throw at ya.Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Joe Sal
                Ignored
                says:

                joe, are you asking me?

                The answer is markets which are poorly designed or with regulatory barriers which make them inefficient.

                One example is a minimum wage or mandatory benefit package which can make hiring low skilled workers at a profit illegal.

                What is your disagreement? Do you understand why markets contributed to your prosperity? Do you understand how division of labor and exchange work? How properly structured property rights and contract law can create a decentralized system where people engage in cooperative endeavors aimed at solving each other’s problems, spreading the solutions and improving upon them in efficiency and quality?

                I assume you do know all these things. So where do you disagree with me? Be specific.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                It appears you assume the solution to state capitalism(3) is more state capitalism(3) while chanting peachy keen.

                I assume the solution to state capitalism(3) is capitalism(1). Always was, always will be, no matter what -ism under which you fly your flag.

                “How properly structured property rights and contract law can create a decentralized system where people engage in cooperative endeavors aimed at solving each other’s problems, spreading the solutions and improving upon them in efficiency and quality?”

                This is the opiate typically fed to the masses (for the record it is missing blah,blah, education, blah, training, blah). I might have bought into it a decade ago, that time has passed. In a state capitalism(3) system, solutions created will be a state capitalism(3) solution.

                There is no contract between labor and capital. Even if there was one it would be “transcended” as something archaic from days of old.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                Cardie,
                Just a note: those people exiting poverty were in CHINA, your model capitalistic state. You know, the one that’s newly got a minimum wage?Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                No, they were in the China that rejected Communism and began to integrate into the global networks of markets.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                The term “market” is just a bunch of emergent properties (and the properties that emerge from those). The problem with Marxism, as applied, is that, for whatever reason, it punished defectors with a surprising zeal (and to the point where it punished people who didn’t defect, hell, it caught up people who were putting their back into it on behalf of the five-year plan).

                It might be worth wondering why there were so many defectors punished so enthusiastically . The argument that it wasn’t written into the original documents is insufficient, given the number of times it happened. (Like it was an emergent property or something.)Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Unsurprisingly, rapid social change, particularly in underdeveloped areas, tends to produce violence, whether that change be towards markets or towards something else.

                Granted, Leninism and Stalinism have, built into their makeup, perfect mechanisms for state violence against defectors within the system, while capitalism, after perhaps some initial spasms of internal violence, tends to present defectors with a choice: get on board or starve. Once it’s chugging along, it becomes the best system (with Communism, not coincidentally given their close connection, a close second) at building weapons to destroy external barriers (i.e., people from over there who get in the way).Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Given the universality of violence in rapid change, it might be worth doing an economic analysis of which system is more efficient when it comes to such things as violence, immigration/emigration, wealth creation, health care, literacy, and so on.Report

      • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to TrexPushups
        Ignored
        says:

        Trex,

        “You have snuck in an assumption that I disagree with. Your argument depends on the assertion: workers wages are determined by the value they provide.”

        Just to clarify, the assumption is that employers — in a relatively free voluntary market — will hire employees so long as doing so provides value to the firm. Yes, of course. This is not an opinion, it is a fact.

        You do seem to be implying that the world would be better in some alternative universe where employers paid based upon an amount which would personally please you — or perhaps please a central planning board. Of course that is not how it does work, and if it did, we would no longer have a market, and we would no longer have the system which creates prosperity. You want all pony, no manure. Sorry, the real world will not work this way, regardless of how much you will it to. To paraphrase Bacon (not Kevin) — to master the universe you must obey it.

        Instead, allow markets to work and subsidize employment or provide transfers to help the needy.

        “Prices are determined via negotiations and the conclusion of negotiations are determined by relative power of those negotiating.”

        If by relative power, you mean supply and demand, then yes.

        I suspect you mean something other than supply and demand though, in which case you are mostly wrong. If workers are in demand (they add big value needed by lots of employers or consumers) and supply is low, wages will go through the roof, even for those with shabby negotiation power. In other words, it is demand and supply balance which implies the power balance. Of course this will attract more workers and drive wages back down until the wage is pretty much commensurate with other alternatives for the prospective employee.

        Similarly, the going rate for a worker to an employer is the return on capital adjusted for risk that an employer can make off that worker’s service. If the return exceeds the cost of capital by a meaningful amount, it will attract employers to capture the above-market returns until the balance point where the next hire would be fruitless. Before this point, any employer using power to trick an employee into shit wages risks another company stealing the employee with a slightly higher wage. This process continues until the employee stops at the employer offering the going rate.

        Think of it as an auction. The real competition occurs between those on the same side of the auction. Workers compete with workers. This is the important power balance. Employers compete with employers for workers. The result is the going wage. Power imbalance isn’t critical.Report

        • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Cardiff Kook
          Ignored
          says:

          Cardiff Kook: “You have snuck in an assumption that I disagree with. Your argument depends on the assertion: workers wages are determined by the value they provide.”

          Just to clarify, the assumption is that employers — in a relatively free voluntary market — will hire employees so long as doing so provides value to the firm. Yes, of course. This is not an opinion, it is a fact.

          That all sounds plausible, in a sort of TED talkie / elevator pitchie sort of way. The problem is there’s facts on the ground that belie your theory.

          Productivity is defined as units of value output per unit of labor input. Post WWII median wages and productivity steadily rose in tandem, which comports fairly well with your statement above.

          Until about 1973. At that point wages and productivity started to diverge. Productivity continued to increase at basically the same rate it always had while wages — real inflation-adjusted wages — stagnated and actually declined. The Labor department just released a report that showed that real weekly median wages peaked in 1972 and have never recovered. Real median hourly wages also experienced a local max in 1972 and have only recently exceeded that level. The difference between the two numbers — weekly vs hourly — is explained by a drop in median hours worked per week.

          And that’s where your theory falls apart. Employers are reaping more value per worker than ever before while paying little more per hour than they did forty years ago. If your theory — excuse me, “fact” — actually held true then the last thing we should be seeing is under- and/or unemployment. Firms should be snapping up workers like Fluffy chasing kitty treats to get in on the action. After all, to do anything else would be leaving money on the table and that’s simply intolerable to any self-respecting capitalist.Report

          • Avatar zic in reply to Road Scholar
            Ignored
            says:

            The Labor department just released a report that showed that real weekly median wages peaked in 1972 and have never recovered. Real median hourly wages also experienced a local max in 1972 and have only recently exceeded that level. The difference between the two numbers — weekly vs hourly — is explained by a drop in median hours worked per week.

            That drop is, in no small part, because women entered the workforce. There were hidden costs, mostly mother’s not home as much after school. The do all sorts of wonderful things things that make the places more cheery, like Adam Young’s neighborhood in Good Omens. When the moms all went to work, families got rushed and more parents did it alone. The exception that proves the rule would be what black moms know. They always had to work.Report

            • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to zic
              Ignored
              says:

              zic: That drop is, in no small part, because women entered the workforce.

              Which drop are you referring to, zic? If you mean the drop in average hours worked per week, I agree. It’s striking to compare the graph of female workplace participation from your linked article with the graph of average weekly hours at the bottom of the WSJ blog that I was able to find again. To really get the gist of what was going on it would be helpful to also look at a graph of overall workplace participation rates over the same time period. Absent that data my guess is that more people were participating in the workforce but each participant on average working fewer hours per week.

              I also found this interesting quote in the HuffPo article:

              She [Norma Carr-Ruffino] noted that the change in terms of women’s participation in the workplace began in the 1970s when a single-income household could no longer support a comfortable, middle-class lifestyle. “It’s not so much that opportunities opened up for women but economic need” that drove women to work, she said.

              So the increasing participation of women in the workforce has been primarily a reaction to wage stagnation in an effort to shore up family incomes. Of course, now having a career and the fulfillment that entails is a completely different driver, and I’m glad for that advance.Report

          • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Road Scholar
            Ignored
            says:

            Real median hourly wages also experienced a local max in 1972 and have only recently exceeded that level.

            Correction, now that I located the article again: Real median hourly wages have recovered somewhat better than weekly paychecks but they haven’t yet rebounded to the glory days of 1972.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Road Scholar
            Ignored
            says:

            @road-scholar
            Until about 1973. At that point wages and productivity started to diverge. Productivity continued to increase at basically the same rate it always had while wages — real inflation-adjusted wages — stagnated and actually declined.

            There are two errors here: First, you’re ignoring non-wage compensation (mostly employer contributions to retirement and insurance plans), which has been growing as a percentage of national income. Second, you’re comparing median wages to mean productivity. There is very little secular decline in total employee compensation as a percentage of national income.

            There has been a decline since 2008 (from 65.0% in 2008 to 61.2% in 2014), but this is likely cyclical; the 65.0% in 2008 was two percentage points lower than the all-time high (67.0% in 1980) and within a percentage point of all but a handful of years since 1929. Interestingly, employee compensation as a percentage of national income was highest in the late 80s and early 90s, not the early 70s, although the difference is small.

            Anyway, the secular decline in employee compensation as a percentage of national income from the all-time high appears to be on the order of a percentage point or two. We won’t really know until the recovery is complete. I haven’t read it, but there was recently a paper that was a big deal that claimed that even this much could be explained entirely by housing prices, but I’m not sure of the details on that.

            Anyway, the myth is that the stagnation in median wages is due to capitalist fat cats keeping more for themselves. The reality is that it’s overwhelmingly due to a) more employee compensation being in non-wage form, and b) greater inequality in employee compensation.

            There’s very little evidence that employees are not, on average, being paid their marginal product. The obvious evidence for the fact that they are is that unemployment is high. If employers are getting such a screaming deal on workers, why aren’t they hiring more?Report

            • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Brandon Berg
              Ignored
              says:

              Brandon Berg,

              Well, first of all, if there’s a mistake being made it’s not by me. You may want to drop a note to the Labor Department and to Jeffrey Sparshott at the Wall Street Journal.

              By one measure, wages for most U.S. workers peaked more than four decades ago.

              Adjusted for inflation, average weekly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees–the bulk of the workforce–topped out in October 1972, according to the Labor Department. In today’s dollar, that weekly paycheck was the equivalent of about $811, compared with just under $703 a week last month.

              This measure of course would exclude the suits in the C-suites, which is sorta the point. Makers vs Takers, though they didn’t and wouldn’t put it that way. (Allow me to indulge in a slight bit of editorializing.)

              I think it’s hilarious that you finish with,

              There’s very little evidence that employees are not, on average, being paid their marginal product. The obvious evidence for the fact that they are is that unemployment is high. If employers are getting such a screaming deal on workers, why aren’t they hiring more?

              Seriously, do you even bother to actually read my comments before firing off an indignant rebuttal? Because that’s literally the exact same thing I said to CK, except my point is the exact opposite, that it disproves your pet theory.

              And why doesn’t your theory work? Simple. Because starting about then (1975, to be exact) the U.S. has consistently run a trade deficit, mostly increasing since then actually. And that means that collectively we have been consuming more than we have been producing. Which means that American industry has literally had no use for a portion of the workforce. They’re not stupid; they’re not going to pay people to stand around with their thumbs up their butts. And that’s why each subsequent recession has been deeper and longer and the recoveries have increasingly been characterized as “non-hiring.”Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Road Scholar
                Ignored
                says:

                @road-scholar I don’t question that those median wage figures are correct*—your error was in comparing median wages to mean productivity to support the claim that workers are not paid their marginal product. As I said, that’s wrong for two reasons, namely that you’re comparing mean to median and that you’re not accounting for non-wage compensation. Total employee compensation has pretty closely tracked total productivity growth.

                Sorry, I did kind of gloss over the latter two-thirds of the last paragraph of your comment. More on that in a minute, but first, your rebuttal to the last paragraph of my comment doesn’t make much sense:

                Which means that American industry has literally had no use for a portion of the workforce. They’re not stupid; they’re not going to pay people to stand around with their thumbs up their butts.

                My claim is that the reason median wages have stagnated is not that employers are not paying workers their marginal product, but that the marginal product of the median worker has stagnated. As a rebuttal, you offer…the observation that the marginal product of the median worker has stagnated?

                Anyway, back to this:
                If your theory — excuse me, “fact” — actually held true then the last thing we should be seeing is under- and/or unemployment. Firms should be snapping up workers like Fluffy chasing kitty treats to get in on the action. After all, to do anything else would be leaving money on the table and that’s simply intolerable to any self-respecting capitalist.

                Can you walk me through your logic here? CK said that employers will hire workers as long as they provide value to the firm. You just said that American industry has literally no use for part of the workforce, i.e. they would provide no value to the firm. So the fact that firms aren’t hiring workers that would provide no value to the firm disproves the claim that firms will keep hiring workers as long as they provide value to the firm?

                *Note, however, that inflation adjustment is problematic and may be hiding a significant increase or decrease in real median wages.Report

          • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Road Scholar
            Ignored
            says:

            @road-scholar

            You flipped my comment around and mangled the meaning. Perhaps I was unclear.

            My fact is that employers will only hire if it is expected to add value. Basic economics assumption of rational behavior., and well supported with empirical data.

            You shifted it around to a discussion on the relationship between wages and productivity. But then you completely disregarded the most important point, which you did acknowledge above in another comment — namely the addition of one billion workers and the concepts of supply and demand.

            I agree with @brandon-berg that any comparison needs to include wages and benefits. I will add that the comparison needs to include the effects of an unprecedented increase in supply of competing hlobal labor. I read an article recently, which I will not bother to look for unless you want to read it, which showed that the relative suppression of wage increases in the west is predominately a factor of increased competition from abroad.

            Worldwide, wages are growing at an impressive rate, but still not as fast as productivity, again, due to the fact that labor has been expanding at a pace faster than entrepreneurs can create opportunities to leverage the labor resources. The increased profit is of course the very market signal for entrepreneurs to increase their efforts to claim the rewards.

            This is the market working. One billion workers enter the market, labor supply thus drives down wages relative to profit, signalling entrepreneurs to redouble their efforts.

            And the results worldwide are awesome: as per the
            http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/economists/pinkovskiy/World_Paper_with_Xavier.pdf

            “We use a parametric method to estimate the income distribution for 191 countries between 1970 and 2006. We estimate the World Distribution of Income and estimate poverty rates, poverty counts and various measures of income inequality and welfare. Using the official $1/day line, we estimate that world poverty rates have fallen by 80% from 0.268 in 1970 to 0.054 in 2006. The corresponding total number of poor has fallen from 403 million in 1970 to 152 million in 2006. Our estimates of the global poverty count in 2006 are much smaller than found by other researchers. We also find similar reductions in poverty if we use other poverty lines. We find that various measures of global inequality have declined substantially and measures of global welfare increased by somewhere between 128% and 145%. ”

            We have a global market now, and the pundits continue to misrepresent it as a local issue. Misses the forest for the trees.Report

            • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Cardiff Kook
              Ignored
              says:

              @cardiff-kook
              Worldwide, wages are growing at an impressive rate, but still not as fast as productivity, again, due to the fact that labor has been expanding at a pace faster than entrepreneurs can create opportunities to leverage the labor resources

              Do you have a source for the bolded part? As I pointed out, there’s been only a very small discrepancy between productivity growth and total employee compensation growth in the US, and I remember seeing a paper that there’s been none at all in most other advanced economies. There may be some in developing economies, and if so I’d be interested in seeing that.

              Or were you just speaking imprecisely, meaning that median wages are not growing as quickly as mean productivity?Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Cardiff Kook
      Ignored
      says:

      @cardiff-kook

      Yes, most of what you say sounds familiar, and the rest sounds plausible. They form the basket of things I fear will happen if the minimum wage is increased and the reasons why my default is to prefer a policy that creates more jobs, if bad ones, over one that decreases fewer jobs, if good ones.

      I guess here are some reasons why I hedge and don’t go full bore in favor of my stated preference. One, I’m not convinced that what you describe–and what I believe may/will probably happen–is necessarily the whole story of how things will shake out. Maybe there is a multiplier effect and maybe higher wages will boost the economy. Maybe earning more per hour will somehow spread the wealth in a way that will overall benefit most others. Two, there’s the question that The Smiths asked, “how soon is now?” Some of what high hope for from a jobs first policy is that wealth will increase and that jobs will increase and that eventually, the increase in jobs will empower workers. But it won’t happen overnight.

      None of this is to deny the points you are making, just to suggest that I’m not fully convinced of my own jobs first position, which despite all remains my default.Report

      • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Gabriel Conroy
        Ignored
        says:

        I’d be careful about social engineering based upon wishful thinking.

        Interfering with price signals has consequences, and the likelihood of these being fortuitous is unlikely, especially since the benefits are primarily aimed at other than the group we are trying to help.

        I like targeted help better.Report

        • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Cardiff Kook
          Ignored
          says:

          Again, I don’t have much to disagree with here. I probably prefer targeted help, too. But if that’s not in the offing, then perhaps interfering with price signals in the form of revising the minimum wage upward might be the more doable thing on the table. Even then, that doesn’t mean it will work. And my main hesitancy in adopting a minimum wage increase rests in the very consequences you rightly fear.

          Also, although I am engaging in wishful thinking, I am trying to be as realistic about it as possible. My test–or more accurately, my riff off of Zic’s test–is an attempt to measure the likely affects of a minimum wage increase and to see how much harm it does. If the harm is small enough, maybe it’s worth a go.

          Or maybe not. I’m still undecided on the issue.Report

          • Avatar zic in reply to Gabriel Conroy
            Ignored
            says:

            @gabriel-conroy

            My test–or more accurately, my riff off of Zic’s test–is an attempt to measure the likely affects of a minimum wage increase and to see how much harm it does. If the harm is small enough, maybe it’s worth a go.

            I’d rather see that test structured as a comparison — how much harm vs. how much help. I’d be a fool to suggest a minimum wage hike won’t cause some harm; but the test is the balance of harm to help, not calculating one in the absence of the other.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to Cardiff Kook
      Ignored
      says:

      @cardiff-kook

      A minimum wage is simply a regulation prohibiting hiring someone below a given wage. As such, the net effect of the regulation is to privilege higher skilled/experienced workers over lower experienced workers.

      In theory, yes, but in practice, minimum wage levels are so low that in relative terms, the difference between higher-skilled and lower-skilled can be bridged in a VERY short period of time at a very low cost to employers (an employee can teach a new hire how to stock shelves or put together a sandwich – as examples). For all practical purposes, I don’t see any group being privileged. If a proposed minimum wage increase was large enough, I’d gladly come back to this point and may oppose it for on these grounds (among others).

      It will not necessarily have any strong impacts on short term employment though

      I’ll go through your reasons and comment:

      (1) To the extent they can, yes although some businesses don’t have that kind of flexibility (i.e. fast food franchises).

      (2) Again, this goes to my point above. Is there really a difference between an $8/hr employee and a $10/hr employee in the low-wage, low(er) skilled service sector and one where it makes it economically viable to replace a workforce? While it may seem theoretically correct, factoring in real world transaction costs (business disruption), at this level, it doesn’t seem like it would happen.

      (3) The people I have in mind for the purpose of this conversation don’t receive benefits and I think that most employers are pushing these people as hard as they already can, especially given what I’ve read about the low wage service sector. I agree that it won’t stop employers from trying to squeeze blood from a stone.

      (4) This is probably the strongest point. To throw out a number, if labor costs are 30% of revenues, my sense is employers will do what you say in order to try to keep at that level before raising prices (if they even can raise prices). This is where Dave’s First Rule of Capital (TM) comes into play. 🙂

      (5) The long-term business practices that would most likely affect low wage, low(er) skilled workers in the service sector is the further incorporation of technology, but a lot of these jobs are going to require human capital and can’t be outsourced (I don’t see robots cleaning hotel rooms anytime soon).

      I of course disagree. Even here though, small minimum wage increases have smaller effects which will be lost in the statistical noise of a complex system. Large increases will be much more harmful, though.

      How much are you disagreeing if you think small changes in the minimum wage will have little impact (as do I)?

      Minimum wage laws are at heart extremely inefficient. They gum up markets to supposedly transfer money to low skilled workers.

      At heart? How about in practice? How are labor markets gummed up by minimum wage laws where those wages stand today? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most of the people here that support minimum wage increases (at least in principle) see more of a problem with low wage employees being paid minimum wage and having that income further increased through public assistance than any inefficiencies or potential disruptions to labor markets.

      I think most of us here, no matter what side we’re on, understand the basics of supply and demand, but speaking for myself, I try to look at the details more closely than the theory. When it comes to concepts like market efficiency, it’s a moving target. Unless market inefficiency can be somehow quantified correctly and it demonstrates how inefficient minimum wage laws make certain sectors of labor markets, I don’t see how the theory translates into something I can find useful in our conversation.

      One last point:

      Adding on, I would recommend other means of transferring income to the poor, which are more targeted and less destructive to market efficiency. Guaranteed subsidized jobs with choose your own employer for example.

      I greatly appreciate you pointing out this example. If I may respectfully disagree, I think I would much rather regulate wages, other forms of payment and provide public assistance before I would go down that road. As it is, aren’t we already subsidizing low wage jobs for certain subsets of our population?Report

      • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Dave
        Ignored
        says:

        Thanks. Good discussion, Dave.

        My argument has two components — the size of the effects and the measurability of the effects.

        Small changes will have proportionately smaller effects (positive or negative). The changes will be both insignificant and unmeasurable.

        Larger changes will have larger effects but will still be greatly unmeasurable in many impacts. It will be lost in the general noise of billions of responses which I summarize as losses in economic efficiency.

        A penny increase in the minimum wage is irrelevant on all dimensions — no benefits to recipients, no impacts on employment and no impact on economic efficiency.

        A doubling of the min wage would be significant in all effects, but still many of these adverse effects won’t be measurable. They will be lost in changes of part timer pools, benefits, job demands, changes in the composition of the employed and the unemployed, changes in job creation and outsourcing, offshoring, technology, number of franchises. Some of these will emerge immediately, some will evolve slowly over decades. In addition the starting place isn’t some libertarian dream, it is the messy world we actually inherited from those past interferences. You disagree with me on the relative size more than absolute effects, but in truth neither of us really knows and we are unlikely to know afterward either because we can never separate what did happen with what would have happened.

        My argument amounts to a claim that the impacts of a single change in a system as complex as our economy can’t always be measured — heck , even if it could all be measured we would just disagree on what it means. There is too much noise with countless diverse effects, many of which aren’t even gathered accurately by economists ( though I do have some research papers trying to measure these various effects — would you like them?)

        That which matters can’t always be measured. But that in no way means it doesn’t matter.

        If you don’t find that useful, so be it. That certainly doesn’t imply we should do whatever we feel like rationalizing, or that if it can’t be measured it can’t do harm. I can’t necessarily measure the impact on economic efficiency of targeted price controls, of barriers to entry, or of the effects of various changes to collective bargaining rules. But I do not recommend we throw all theory to the wind and just declare an open season on any market interference that anyone can rationalize. Do you?

        Not that this means I reject all market interference. I don’t. I am suggesting that before we interfere with supply and demand that people understand the possible ramifications, that we progress slowly and deliberately with strong checks and balances.

        For example on the guaranteed job idea, in all past discussions I have stressed that it is a new idea and as such will probably FAIL in most incarnations. Thus if tried at all, it should be tried in small areas in multiple ways — as should minimum wage increases and guaranteed income and doing nothing at all.

        As you may know, my area of expertise is (or was — I am retired) in the creation, design, testing and implementation of new programs (financial products and services). I am well aware that they usually don’t work and usually for unimagined reasons. In addition, I have learned that what people want differs as well. As such. I again recommend smaller level social experimentation until we are quite certain of large, unanimous and consistent benefits with fewer side effects.

        I’ve gone on long enough. Let me know if you want to see those studies on efficiency effects of min wage changes.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Cardiff Kook
          Ignored
          says:

          @cardiff-kook

          Talk all you’d like. I’ll try to get a response to you later tonight or tomorrow. As always, thank you for the discussion.Report

          • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Dave
            Ignored
            says:

            @dave

            Thanks, please include an “at” sign so it gets in my mail!

            I originally wrote out a point by point response to your point by point response. It can be summarized though by we agree in concept but not in magnitude. As above, absent trying and measuring we are both just assuming magnitudes though.

            By the way, another way to make the cost benefit of minimum wages improve is to target them in some way or fashion to the intended beneficiary, such as people over twenty five. This would have to be done wisely, of course, not crudely. I leave it to everyone’s creative imagination on how to do so wisely.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Cardiff Kook
          Ignored
          says:

          @cardiff-kook

          Sorry this took so long…

          Larger changes will have larger effects but will still be greatly unmeasurable in many impacts. It will be lost in the general noise of billions of responses which I summarize as losses in economic efficiency.

          Two points on this. First, I think the larger changes having larger effects most certainly influence my position on an issue. Second, if we can’t measure the impacts in the noise, how can be sure the noise represents a loss in economic efficiency?

          My argument amounts to a claim that the impacts of a single change in a system as complex as our economy can’t always be measured — heck , even if it could all be measured we would just disagree on what it means. There is too much noise with countless diverse effects, many of which aren’t even gathered accurately by economists ( though I do have some research papers trying to measure these various effects — would you like them?)

          I think my point, and maybe our disagreement, is that we can measure enough to not worry about the noise although I’m not sure why we think the noise represents economic inefficiency.

          If you’d like to post a link to a paper, by all means. I’ll try to read it when I can.

          If you don’t find that useful, so be it.

          If only because I think we can know enough to make informed decisions and what’s hiding behind the “noise” won’t change our views on what we think we can see.

          That certainly doesn’t imply we should do whatever we feel like rationalizing, or that if it can’t be measured it can’t do harm.

          Understood and I don’t think I’ve ever held a position remotely close to this (I know you’re speaking generally and not as if I do believe it btw).

          But I do not recommend we throw all theory to the wind and just declare an open season on any market interference that anyone can rationalize. Do you?

          Why not? I’m a sucker for disaster movies. 😉

          Not that this means I reject all market interference.

          I know and I’ve never thought that. You and I may inadvertently talk past each other because our approaches are different. Your approach seems more macro and mine more micro. I think it’s easier to discuss market interference on micro issues because we’re dealing with very specific issues to very specific problems. I think there’s less spillover to ideology there than in a broader “markets v regulation” discussion. Again, I could be wrong.

          As such. I again recommend smaller level social experimentation until we are quite certain of large, unanimous and consistent benefits with fewer side effects.

          My concerns about a large minimum wage increase notwithstanding, I suppose it’s better to see the results in a single locality before imposing it nationally (which I know won’t happen now anyway but you get the point).

          Have a good weekend.Report

          • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Dave
            Ignored
            says:

            @dave

            “….if we can’t measure the impacts in the noise, how can be sure the noise represents a loss in economic efficiency? ”

            First, because you have effectively eliminated a series of voluntary options. If an employee wanted higher wages and lower benefits, a less convenient part time schedule, tougher working conditions, worse training, etc then supposedly they could have looked for these terms. You’ve forced a trade off by eliminating the inverse situations with lower wages.

            Similarly, restrictions apply to the employers. The net effect of the change is indeed to require by law that they convert from lower skilled to higher skilled employees. Thus they lost a chosen option.

            As an example, if as an employee I prefer lower wages but good medical insurance, or lower wages and extensive scheduling freedom, an increase in minimum wage would reduce value for that employee. We have destroyed utility, and can do so in myriads of ways through price controls.

            Second, the effect of a price control is to distort the feedback signals of the market. Low wages represent an opportunity to capitalize on the wages through the creation of more jobs that use this low priced factor of production. Raising the price of the worker sends the opposite signal, actually encouraging substitution of labor with other solutions, such as technology, work abounds, off shoring, outsourcing etc. Again, if these WERE efficient at the going rate, the assumption is at least some businesses would have noticed.

            “Your approach seems more macro…”

            It really is. I honestly think minor changes to min wages is kinda not very important. I think the broader assault on economic efficiency is something to be very mindful of.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Cardiff Kook
              Ignored
              says:

              Cardie,
              ““….if we can’t measure the impacts in the noise, how can be sure the noise represents a loss in economic efficiency? ”

              First, because you have effectively eliminated a series of voluntary options. If an employee wanted higher wages and lower benefits, a less convenient part time schedule, tougher working conditions, worse training, etc then supposedly they could have looked for these terms. You’ve forced a trade off by eliminating the inverse situations with lower wages.”

              This does completely ignore the black market.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      And here’s an actual article from the Seattle Times by a reporter about various restaurant closings that were breathlessly reported as “due to the minimum wage hike in Seattle,” (http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/truth-needle-is-15-wage-dooming-seattle-restaurants-owners-say-no/), instead of say, an article focusing on ownership (shocking they don’t want to raise wages), an editorial based largely on ancedotal evidence, and a libertarian blog (again, shocking they’re trying to paint the worst possible picture of the min. wage hike).

      Will businesses have to close because of any change in regulation? Sure. I mean, I’m sure there were factories that closed when they had to install emergency exits.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        It may or may not be worth reading Paul Guppy’s comment on that post (don’t be daunted by the 700+ comments, Paul’s is near the top).Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          I’m stunned the Washington chapter of ALEC (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Washington_Policy_Center) is against a minimum wage hike. Stunned!Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak
            Ignored
            says:

            It wasn’t the partisan nature of the comment that interested me as much as the parts that involved “we did reporting on this, here’s what we learned”.

            I wouldn’t suggest *ONLY* reading his comment.

            But it’s an interesting counterpoint to the article.Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              I live in Seattle. I’ve read plenty of statements by the “Washington Policy Center” about how the coming minimum wage hike is going to destroy the economy here in Seattle.

              Here’s what actually happened – Seattle Magazine had an article about various restaurant closings, and said “hey, it could be also the minimum wage.” Various right wing and libertarian blogs, including the WPC grabbed this and ran it as proof the “minimum wage is going to cause massive restauntant closings in Seattle!”

              The Seattle Times interviewed the actual ownership of said restaurant closings and they all told the reporter, “nope, wages weren’t an issue.”

              The WPC then commented to basically say, “but, you didn’t ask them the right questions to get the answer that would help our narrative,” then also linked to the same article that Gordon posted where management said raising wages might lead to big problems, as management has said about any rise in the minmum wage since 1933.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        Jesse Ewiak: an actual article from the Seattle Times

        So Seattle Times Editorial Staff don’t write “actual articles”? I’m betting they’d disagree with you there. Her article was just as well researched & sourced as yours.

        And the Libertarian blog focuses in on one of the more troubling & justifiably criticized aspects of the minimum wage law, the franchise rule that treats franchise locations as if they were corporate owned, instead of independent businesses that can’t count on corporate support. Forcing them to a shorter time frame for the hike is clearly unfair.

        And finally, the Eater article has interviews with lots of owners who are (pre-hike) concerned but supportive of the move. Personally I like what Ivar’s did, going straight to $15, publicly announcing a 20% price hike, and ending the practice of tipping 20-25%. I wish all US restaurants would do that, it’s one of those Euro traditions we would do well to adopt.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Oscar Gordon
          Ignored
          says:

          I mean a news article instead of an editorial piece with an obvious slant. I just find it strange that of all the articles in the Times, not exactly a super-liberal paper had about the minimum wage hike, you pick the editorial that’s largely against it.

          Fine, if the owners of the Chiptole franchise down the street don’t want to raise their minimum, rename themselves Chuck’s Sub Shack, and see what hurts them more – no longer having the inherent marketing advantage that being the franchisee of a multi-billion dollar corporation gives you, or paying your workers a few bucks more.

          Why do businesses only announce a price hike, in a big press release, only when a minimum wage increase is announced. I mean, we never see the “all prices have been raised this percent and/or profit dropped this much because we had to jack up our CEO’s salaries, and as a result, all of the CEO’s underlings” press release. It’s almost as if there’s a political angle to management announcing things to the public that raise their cost of business they don’t support, but don’t mind not announcing things to the public that raise their cost of business when it’s something that’s advantageous to them.

          On the purity of the thing, sure, eliminate tipping and raise wages of staff. But, the truth is, most American’s like the idea of being treated like King’s and holding the wages of a server over their head if they aren’t deferential enough unlike in Europe, where ya’ know, you’re treated as a person instead of a Lord.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jesse Ewiak
            Ignored
            says:

            You know, I was actually going to reply to this seriously, but…

            “sure, eliminate tipping and raise wages of staff. But, the truth is, most American’s like the idea of being treated like King’s and holding the wages of a server over their head if they aren’t deferential enough unlike in Europe, where ya’ know, you’re treated as a person instead of a Lord.”

            *sigh* why bother?Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse Ewiak
            Ignored
            says:

            Right, because the news article didn’t have a slant either.

            Jesse Ewiak: Fine, if the owners of the Chiptole franchise down the street don’t want to raise their minimum,

            They aren’t objecting to having to raise the wage as much as having to do it faster just because they have a franchise agreement. Honestly I’m surprised the city wasn’t sued because of the two tiered approach to the implementation schedule.

            I fail to see your point regarding PR. It’s PR. Duh.

            I’m with DD on that last point.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s worth noting that regulations can appear to business owners to be more of a problem than they are. If I’m running a restaurant with a tight margin, and you tell me that I need to increase wages by 2/3, I look at my books and see that that’s going to push me into the red. What I’m not taking into account is that every other restaurant owner faces the same cost increase, so I can raise prices without the fear of being undercut.

      Of course, demand curves slope downards, so if we all raise prices, we’re going to sell less, and a few of the marginally profitable restaurants will probably close down. But it won’t be the bloodbath that a naive analysis suggests.

      The real problem is not that businesses will be going bust left and right, but rather that in the long run they will find ways to cut workers out of the process entirely. Like grocery-store self-checkout. And in Japan it’s quite common for low-end restaurants to have vending machines that sell meal tickets. These things are fine when they’re economically justified on the basis of supply and demand, but not so much when they only make sense because of an artificial constraint like the minimum wage.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Brandon Berg
        Ignored
        says:

        @brandon-berg The real problem is not that businesses will be going bust left and right, but rather that in the long run they will find ways to cut workers out of the process entirely. Like grocery-store self-checkout.

        But it’s not that employers won’t seek labor-saving innovations in the absence of increased labor costs. Sure, higher labor costs will increase the incentives for doing so, but it’s not as though if workers would settle for less everyone would have jobs.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Zane
          Ignored
          says:

          @zane

          Labor saving innovations have a price associated with them (capital outlay & maintenance). Employing such an innovation has to be worth more than just paying a person to do it. So lets say an employee costs a business $45K a year (after wages, benefits, & taxes), if a $150K robot can do the same job, has a 5 year warranty, and has an annual operating budget of $10K a year, replacing the worker is probably a marginal gain, especially when factoring in the more esoteric benefits of a good employee (flexibility, problem solving skills, human interaction, etc.).

          If the employee suddenly costs $60K a year, though, the calculus is much better in the robots favor. Perhaps not enough to overcome the loss of the esoteric benefits, but better. Give that robot developer a couple of years of feature enhancement, functional robustness improvements, & price reductions, and the calculus can change again.

          This is why I think a GBI is a better system.Report

  6. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
    Ignored
    says:

    I know I’ve responded only to a couple of comments so far. I promise to try to read them, and maybe participate more later, but things are kind of hectic so I’ll have to be a little bit more of a lurker to my own post.

    Thanks, everyone, who’s read my OP.Report

  7. Avatar aussie shiela
    Ignored
    says:

    Could I get some idea why the author of the OP (and others on this thread) don’t ever consider other country’s experiences in ensuring that their citizens get to share in productivity gains, even if they are the ‘undeserving’ lesser skilled ‘unter arbeiter’?

    Why do even well informed and presumably moderately intelligent usians simply ignore examples of other polities where the abject state of the US working class is not replicated?

    Is it because the US is considered ‘exceptional’?

    I’m constantly staggered at the epic disregard/uninterest in any other experience of ‘capitalism’ as it is actually practiced in other countries-let alone the various versions of actually existing social democracy across the globe. Truly, you guys are amazing-and not in a god way.

    I wonder what would happen to these discussions if US voter turnout approached 80% for local, state and federal elections?

    My guess is-you wouldn’t be having this conversation in public, and certainly no putative representative would dare consider tarring 47% of the electorate as essentially, lazy bludgers, when in reality they work harder and longer than anybody in a wealthy country should, for a lot less in both wages and general social insurance against catastrophe.

    Truly, the US ruling elite is exceptional-exceptionally fortunate in its ability to get one half of the US working class to be ready to kill the other, either at the ballot box, or literally, if really required.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to aussie shiela
      Ignored
      says:

      To be fair to Mitt, he didn’t intend to say the 47% thing in public. And when he publicly denied having said it in the first presidential debate, the US media called him a brilliant tactician rather than a lying sack of shit, so he did understand his audience.Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to aussie shiela
      Ignored
      says:

      Well, my OP certainly didn’t look too closely (or at all) at other countries’ experiences. But I wouldn’t say I “don’t ever” look at them.

      Spain seems to be having some difficulties with a large number of people choosing employment off the books in part because of the unwieldy mandates on wages and employment expenses for on the books employment. Germany, France, and UK seem to have much less of a problem, but not no problem, even though they have similar mandates, so the mandates aren’t the only and inevitable cause of such things, but at a certain point, they can affect workers negatively, as Cardiff Cook points out above.

      Maybe the US is “considered exceptional,” but I don’t believe it is “exceptional” in most senses of the word, other than, like every other state on earth, having distinctive features in its governance structure and size and having its distinctive history. Rest assured, I’m well aware of such things and they inform how and whether I support any policy change.

      Yes, let’s look at other examples, but let’s be smart about how we use them and let’s learn why and how they got to where they are, what about their experience is replicable, and what about their experience is desirable or undesirable.

      Finally, I don’t believe the very poor or the people more likely to be earning minimum wage are “undeserving,” and I find the “unter arbeiter” trope to be just a reprise of the even offensive “Lumpenproletariat” notion.Report

  8. Avatar aussie shiela
    Ignored
    says:

    What’s the explanation for the fact that if the US minimum wage had actually preserved it’s ‘real dollar’ value over the last 40 years, minimum wage workers would be earning above $US20.00 an hour?

    Why is it there is no general outrage (save from the usual suspects?) about the an actual fall in mortality rates for US non college educated women-(something practically unheard of elsewhere)?

    Does anyone here have a view about why this has happened?
    Divine disapproval of people who don’t get permission to f**k?
    Lack of middle class values?
    Or simply, that the US ruling class simply doesn’t give a damn, because the US working class is structurally incapable of forcing them to give a damn?

    A better discussion than the one on this thread might be-‘What are the structural advantages that the US ruling class enjoys, that are not enjoyed by any other ruling class in the OECD?

    Now that is a discussion which might be interesting.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to aussie shiela
      Ignored
      says:

      What’s the explanation for the fact that if the US minimum wage had actually preserved it’s ‘real dollar’ value over the last 40 years, minimum wage workers would be earning above $US20.00 an hour?

      I don’t know. I guess it’s the same as the explanation for why people regurgitate bullshit without taking thirty seconds to fact-check it.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Brandon Berg
        Ignored
        says:

        $20/hr is indeed an overstatement. According to that chart the minimum wage in real dollars peaked out at about $11/hr in the late sixties, before starting a long decline. Again, things started going to shit for the working class in the 70s.Report

  9. Avatar Aussie Sheila
    Ignored
    says:

    Try again sunshine. Got a graph that shows US minimum wage growth against TFP? Got one that shows how it tracks against % of median wage? Of the US mean wage? Oh and BTW COL comparisons 40 years to date don’t mean much unless you can show the relative variations in the goods and services that account for COL in any one period measured. Health care anyone?

    Fact is, well behaved and tamed social democrats all over advanced capitalist polities regularly mobile their base with the warning ‘ vote for ( local neo liberal Tories) and your voting yourself to be the US working class’. It is understood, despite the regular appeals of all elites to anti immigrant feelings even as they proselytise for the free movement of labour unencumbered by any protective legislation, that the local versions of the US succubus class look upon the US labour market and it’s overlords, with envy.

    If approximately 20 % of your working class weren’t either black or brown you people would have a fork in you. That’s not a dig at the black and brown working class. It’s a back handed compliment at just how skilled your elites have been in marshalling one half of the working class against another, while pissants on blogs earnestly discuss whether over worked, underpaid, insecure and unhealthy millions deserve a standard of living taken for granted elsewhere.

    Wankers.Report

  10. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    You don’t deserve 15 dollars an hour…

    http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/fast-food-workers-you-dont-deserve-15-an-hour-to-flip-burgers-and-thats-ok/

    Don’t screw up a market system even more. Find another way.Report

    • Avatar Zane in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      You gotta love TheBlaze.com, don’t you? It’s not enough to discuss minimum wage issues in terms of the economics–which by and large the commenters here have done. No, everything must be cast in terms of moral worth. The problem isn’t that individuals can’t actually support themselves at the minimum wage. The problem is that minimum wage workers are stupid to try to support themselves at a minimum wage job: they are too lazy and too entitled to be able to get a better job. People who argue for a higher minimum wage are an insult to those who have worked for their success:

      These are people who had to undergo years of training and education to finally find a job that pays them what you want to make at McDonald’s. So what are they — suckers? What was the point? Why’d the do it? And why do you deserve to skip over the hard part — the part where you make sacrifices and go hungry and do whatever it takes to make ends meet — just to inherit by governmental decree what these people sweated for years to attain?

      Unlike folks who oppose a minimum wage increase because they are concerned about the potential economic fallout, Matt Walsh is really more concerned with what people deserve. As if people are opting to pass up on better pay, better hours, and less physically demanding work because of their immoral slothfulness. As if minimum wage workers consist of two categories: virtuous youngsters using the job as a waypoint to something better (like Matt Walsh!), and people who are too worthless to try harder.

      The impression is that the economy is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing–reinforcing God’s plan. If you find yourself at the bottom, it’s your own damned fault and you’d better do something to take care of it.

      If you want me to be *more* in favor of increasing the minimum wage, recommending pieces published on TheBlaze might be the way to do it.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        @zane

        Are we really surprised that people see this as a moral issue? The Gospel of Prosperity is a very American tradition and combined with our Puritanical and Calvinist heritage.

        I’d love to be able to solve this problem.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Saul Degraw
          Ignored
          says:

          @saul-degraw

          Make outsourcing firms and fast food franchises joint employers under current labor law. That would go a long way and it’s being attempted as we speak.Report

          • Avatar Zane in reply to Dave
            Ignored
            says:

            Dave, could you talk a little more about this? I know that the fast food corporation/franchisee issue has been important in some recent lawsuits, but I’m not at all familiar with the outsourcing side.Report

            • Avatar Dave in reply to Zane
              Ignored
              says:

              @zane

              I’m working on a brief post about the joint employer issue. Some lawsuits have been filed where advocates for workers want to hold McDonald’s jointly liable for the actions of the franchisees.

              There’s more to the story because there’s another case circulating in the NLRB review system where the Office of General Counsel of the NLRB submitted an amicus brief that essentially presents the position it has used for McDonald’s.

              Without getting too much into the details, such a change could be seen as a radical change in labor law, assuming it survives the review process and the subsequent court challenges.

              Right now, franchisors are only legally liable as joint employers if they exercise direct influence over working conditions, hiring practices, etc (which none of them do). People want to change that and believe it will make organizing that much easier.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        @zane

        No, everything must be cast in terms of moral worth.

        Do you think the opponents of the minimum wage increase are the only ones doing this?Report

        • Avatar Zane in reply to Dave
          Ignored
          says:

          @dave Do you think the opponents of the minimum wage increase are the only ones doing this? (casting everything in terms of moral worth, that is)

          I think that many sides use morality (however defined) as an aspect of arguing about economic issues. But there is a long historical tradition in the US of looking at economic success or failure as governed almost exclusively by the moral worth of the individual. Moral worth is usually framed in terms of being hard-working, being able to sacrifice in the short-term for long-term success, and so on. Saul noted this when he mentioned the Gospel of Prosperity above.

          Does the Left have an equivalent? Sort of, but I don’t think it’s nearly as pervasive or accepted, and I don’t see it used very often except by folks on the fringes or the powerfully embittered. It probably has a name that I don’t know, but I think of it as “wealth is the product of cheating and scamming”. And while the Gospel of Prosperity seems to be used to explain where everyone ends up, the “wealth is the product of cheating and scamming” seems to be used mostly to explain the success of the super-wealthy.

          I think the idea of moral worth explaining individual economic outcomes is especially pernicious for a bunch of reasons. It places blame for poverty on the individual poor person, the mere fact of economic success provides a positive social patina regardless of the actual circumstances, and so on. But most importantly, it completely distorts the ability to objectively look at the functioning of our economy among its adherents.

          If the poor are poor and the rich are rich because of their innate qualities, there’s less room to be able to critically look at our economy and how it functions. For example: The recent foreclosure crisis and resulting recession in the US. Those who buy into the moral worth argument explain it in terms of “dumb or greedy people bought houses they couldn’t afford at terms they should have known better than to accept” and “greedy lenders lent money they shouldn’t have.” The president and CEO of a local bank in Ohio said the best way to avoid another such crisis is better education on ethics in MBA programs. (I wanted to shout and shake my fist at him but I’m far too well-behaved.)

          But there are far better explanations of what happened than “bad or greedy people did bad things.” In particular, the desire of policy makers to encourage home ownership wedded to a strong aversion to direct governmental programs like the FHA helped lead to the development of a market in home mortgage securities. That market was really problematic because conflicts of interest were not adequately addressed in terms of evaluating the risks of the securities. The attractiveness of mortgage securities (based on poor risk evaluation) meant that originating mortgages and selling them as securities became far more profitable than the older model of originating mortgages and making money from borrowers paying back the loan with interest. The financial link between originating mortgages and earning money from the interest, which made lenders conservative and risk-averse, was broken. In effect, mortgage originators no longer had any financial interest in whether the mortgage was risky–their money was made on the front end and rating agencies were stamping all resulting securities as low risk. Lenders had strong incentives to increase their volume of lending, even in very risky situations, because they did not bear the risk of failure.

          On the borrowing side, individual borrowers were undermined by the shift in business model. Before, lenders would not lend money to you if they thought you could not pay it back. The fact that there were great information asymmetries which undermine borrowers’ abilities to make rational economic decisions was mitigated by the lenders’ own conservative interests. You could take your banker’s word on whether you could afford the house you wanted. But once the lenders’ interest changed from making money on servicing the loan to making money on selling the loan in a bundled, fairly opaque security, the information asymmetries became of prime importance. Mortgage borrowers are very often unable to rationally evaluate risk, particularly as lenders brought all kinds of relatively unfamiliar tools to the subprime market like balloon payments, refinance fees, interest rates that changed from a low fixed rate at the beginning to a much higher variable rate over the life of the loan, and so on. (Most of those unfamiliar tools had the effect of increasing the profits of mortgage originators or of making the loan more appealing up front.) The complexity of the new tools and, very often the naivety of first-time borrowers made it almost certain that borrowers could not evaluate risk.

          We know what followed. A global economic downturn as it turned out that lenders lent far more money in very complicated and expensive loans than borrowers could pay back, which meant that the resulting securities collapsed in value and everything came tumbling down.

          If you believe that we got into this mess because “stupid homeowners borrowed more than they should have”, that mortgage originators were just “greedy”, that holders of mortgage securities were “stupid”, then you have no real fixes to prevent another such situation. You’ve taken the moral worth argument rather than looking at the underlying economics of the situation.

          If you don’t adhere to an ideology that ties success or failure to moral worth, you are free to look at the economics of the situation, and take seriously the issues that contributed to the problem. You can note that mortgage originators weren’t being “greedy”, they were following the incentive structure in place. Importantly, that incentive structure didn’t magically form within an unfettered market. It resulted from particular policy goals among policy makers that favored some solutions over others and from the perceived self-interest of financial institutions that lobbied and used influence to shape the market structures they wanted. And those institutions weren’t “evil” for lobbying as they did, they were following their own perceived self-interest (which turned out to be a disaster for them, but probably less of a disaster for them than for everyone else).

          We can recognize that while neo-classical economics assumes a rational actor with perfect information, we’ve always had massive information asymmetries on the part of mortgage borrowers. It’s just that earlier iterations of that market kept lenders from making exceptionally risky loans. Homeowners weren’t “foolish” for taking out larger loans than they should have, they simply believed their lenders, as generations had done before with great success.

          The moral worth view of economics cripples effective analysis and problem solving, and distorts popular understanding of how economics really works.Report

          • Avatar Dave in reply to Zane
            Ignored
            says:

            @zane

            Some great points in here. Let me make a few comments…

            Does the Left have an equivalent? Sort of, but I don’t think it’s nearly as pervasive or accepted, and I don’t see it used very often except by folks on the fringes or the powerfully embittered. It probably has a name that I don’t know, but I think of it as “wealth is the product of cheating and scamming”.

            We may have different ideas of equivalents on this one. I was thinking of something more along the lines of a justice-based approached similar to some of the posts that were shared in the Walsh article. I see more of that than I do of your example, especially from my reasonable liberal friends.

            I don’t know if I want to try to argue that they’re more or less pervasive than the moral worth arguments I hear from the right side of the political spectrum, especially since I think both have very limited value when trying to get into the details of specific problems, as you mentioned in your last sentence.

            The president and CEO of a local bank in Ohio said the best way to avoid another such crisis is better education on ethics in MBA programs. (I wanted to shout and shake my fist at him but I’m far too well-behaved.)

            Even if you weren’t well-behaved, the strategic placement of said bank executive’s head was such that he/she would have neither seen you shake your fist nor heard you shout. Education on ethics…and I’m tall (I’m 5’5″)

            You can note that mortgage originators weren’t being “greedy”, they were following the incentive structure in place.

            I think you are being far too nice. I’d say they were greedy bastards, as was everyone that had a vested interest in seeing as much loan volume as possible.

            And those institutions weren’t “evil” for lobbying as they did, they were following their own perceived self-interest

            As you said, an ideological approach to this issue spells trouble because what happened was that individual actors acting in their own self interest doing roughly the same thing encountered circumstances that hit them all at the same time with consequences that became systemic in nature.

            We can recognize that while neo-classical economics assumes a rational actor with perfect information, we’ve always had massive information asymmetries on the part of mortgage borrowers.

            As well as markets where participants have a herd mentality whether or not it’s the rational thing to do.

            It’s just that earlier iterations of that market kept lenders from making exceptionally risky loans.

            Exactly. Lenders weren’t going to keep that stuff on their balance sheets and those that made the risky loans did so knowing they were going to pawn them off.

            Homeowners weren’t “foolish” for taking out larger loans than they should have, they simply believed their lenders, as generations had done before with great success.

            Perhaps, but the biggest difference between that lending cycle and previous lending cycles was the increased availability of exotic mortgages. Unlike a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage, teaser rate mortgages were never structured to be held until the sale of the property or loan payoff but rather refinanced when the teaser rates were up.

            Homeowners were under the impression that the same lending conditions would be there in a few years along with the home price appreciation that was taking place. I can’t blame them for being wrong about that especially given the number of people that thought the party was going to go on forever, but some of us had our concerns.Report

            • Avatar zic in reply to Dave
              Ignored
              says:

              In the run-up to the collapse, my sweetie and I were doing serious house hunting. We looked at dozens upon dozens of properties (I’m very picky).

              I cannot begin to tell you how often real-estate agents justified an inflated price tag and suggestion of an ARM mortgage with, “don’t worry, you’ll be able to refinance in a few years.” It was the conventional wisdom that prices would never go down. We did purchase a new house in Portland just before the market collapsed. When it was collapsing, we put both houses (our current and the one we’d just purchased) for sale, accepting whichever didn’t sell as our home for the duration; and while we lost some money, we didn’t lose as much as a lot of other people. ETA: when we sold the new house, at the closing, the buyers were told this very same thing as they agreed to a mortgage where interests rates would balloon in a few years.

              I wrote about the housing markets and price inflation; I was fortunate to work with an editor who, like me, suspected there was something fishy at the bottom of housing inflation, though neither of us had a broad enough view to see it as a national problem driven by an unregulated, opaque market that seemed to magically make the risk go away. Over the course of the 2000’s, we delved into the topic every which way we could; and not a one of those fascinating and informed experts on housing had a bead on the real rot, that I recall; and if one did, I, too, totally missed it.

              At least I was looking for it, though. That was uncommon; I got called a skeptic and a bear quite a bit through those years of reporting.

              If I ever purchase another house in a speculative market, I plan to fill the yard with tulips as a reminder to myself that bubbles can only really be understood after they pop.Report

              • Avatar Zane in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                @zic, I was greatly concerned about subprime mortgages and predatory lending, but not because I knew that they might harm the overall economy. I had no idea. But I was very aware of how many homeowners and home buyers were being convinced to take out mortgages that they could not afford in the long term.

                I had clients (poor and elderly) who usually had a single asset: their debt-free homes. Before Medicare Part D, many of my clients found themselves with overwhelming credit card debt to pay for medications. Most found credit card debt extremely uncomfortable. The interest rates were high and any late payment could pile on fees and even higher interest rates. Mortgages, on the other hand, were viewed as safe and understandable. All of these folks had taken out and paid off mortgages. They felt comfortable with them.

                And several of them were convinced to take out a new mortgage on their debt-free homes so that they could pay off their medical-related credit card debt. In other words, they traded their unsecured debt for a risky, expensive, complicated, unsustainable mortgage with their only asset as collateral. And if they were successful in refinancing, they found that they owed more than before the first mortgage due to the early payment penalties and very high fees for refinancing. Borrowers who believed that they had a moral obligation to pay their debts found themselves in an uncontrollable spiral that drained any savings and ate larger and larger proportions of their monthly social security.

                In effect, the only real financial assets were extracted out of the poor neighborhoods of my city and deposited into the pockets of mortgage lenders who did not care what happened to borrowers after the mortgage was sold. It brings me no joy or happiness to know that the collapse brought down many of those lenders–my clients still lost their homes and my city still reels.Report

            • Avatar Zane in reply to Dave
              Ignored
              says:

              @Dave We may have different ideas of equivalents on this one. I was thinking of something more along the lines of a justice-based approached similar to some of the posts that were shared in the Walsh article. I see more of that than I do of your example, especially from my reasonable liberal friends.

              Yes, I agree that social justice-based arguments on the left are arguments based on morality, but those arguments are not as typically based on the moral worth of the actors within the economy, but rather on the collective responsibility to attend to the less successful. My example was more of an opposite equivalent–an emphasis on the moral failings of individuals within the economy.

              In regard to the “greediness” of mortgage originators: I think you are being far too nice. I’d say they were greedy bastards, as was everyone that had a vested interest in seeing as much loan volume as possible.

              I was far kinder than I feel that many mortgage originators deserve. However, the real destruction caused by the actions of mortgage originators cannot be adequately addressed by trying to fix their “greed”. Participants in capitalist economies are supposed to act in their own economic self-interest, to be “greedy”. Moral exhortation and lectures on ethical capitalism do not address the underlying systemic problem caused by the particular structure of the mortgage market at that time. But in previous formulations of that same market, acting in economic self interest did not encourage behavior that led to that particular bad outcome. We can learn from that awareness.

              (That said, I still feel real anger at those who convinced people I knew who were poor and elderly to take out subprime mortgages on their homes.)

              Perhaps, but the biggest difference between that lending cycle and previous lending cycles was the increased availability of exotic mortgages. Unlike a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage, teaser rate mortgages were never structured to be held until the sale of the property or loan payoff but rather refinanced when the teaser rates were up.

              And in fact, those “exotic” features of mortgages were often offered as good things to the consumers. “Sure, the rate might increase after the initial loan period, but by then you will have demonstrated your creditworthiness by making regular payments, and you’ll be able to refinance at a much better rate and leave with better credit” without reminding the clients of the penalties for early repayment and the increasing fees for refinancing or explaining the risk of refinance being more difficult if general economic conditions changed. In fact, the structure of the mortgage market made it incumbent upon mortgage originators to downplay those problems or risks as much as possible or even tell borrowers that the problems or risks weren’t real.Report

          • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Zane
            Ignored
            says:

            @zane

            It probably has a name that I don’t know, but I think of it as “wealth is the product of cheating and scamming”.

            Here are a couple of candidates for a name: “antimonopoly” and “economic populism.” There are probably others. I would hasten to add that neither is purely “of the left.”Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        Zane: These are people who had to undergo years of training and education to finally find a job that pays them what you want to make at McDonald’s. So what are they — suckers? What was the point? Why’d the do it? And why do you deserve to skip over the hard part — the part where you make sacrifices and go hungry and do whatever it takes to make ends meet — just to inherit by governmental decree what these people sweated for years to attain?

        Dodging the moralizing wrapped up in this, there is a kernel of truth to it. Change the framework to one of signaling. A person who makes a wage in the $15-$20 range is probably someone with a modicum of education or training. Assuming such a person is psychologically normal, that education & training is something they invested a measure of personal worth, of identity into. The wage they can command, being significantly above the current minimum wage, has value to who they are, who they see themselves as. That pay is a signal, to the self, and to others.

        It’s part of how they value themselves. They did the work, they made the sacrifice, they get to reap the benefits. Now if the government pops in & says everyone makes $15, suddenly the work they did to be better is devalued, suddenly they are just minimum wage workers again, which is something they worked hard to not be. Can you not see how that would be upsetting & offensive? Look at your wage (assuming you are an educated professional making well above the MW), imagine if that became the new minimum wage, would your not feel a bit of a psychological gut punch?

        Now, of course, what is unseen is that when it all shakes out, if the guy currently making $15-$20 hour is educated & trained & valuable, their pay will rise accordingly as well, in time, as the labor market adjusts.

        All of which of course ignores all the other secondary effects of the tide being forced to rise…Report

        • Avatar Zane in reply to Oscar Gordon
          Ignored
          says:

          Oscar Gordan, I can see how the signaling is important, and I see how entry-level jobs help workers develop important skills for later employment.

          The problem is that this presumes that people in those entry-level, low-wage jobs have a path out of them. Many do. For very many people in minimum wage jobs they are a temporary station on a much longer journey. It’s probably not too great a leap to say that’s been the experience of quite a few people commenting here. It was true of me.

          However, many people in minimum wage jobs have no realistic path out of them. The signaling still works. Others learn that they don’t want to stay in those jobs. But for those without an apparent path out, it’s just grinding, never-ending work for a pittance with a fair amount of degradation on the side.

          Also, Walsh is arguing against a $15 minimum wage hike, which is far above any amount that would realistically be approved in Congress. He points out that “many” teachers, firefighters, pilots, and police earn less than this. If signaling were all-powerful, people would just leave those jobs and start working at Wal-Mart or Burger King. I don’t see that happening. Many minimum wage jobs are part-time, have variable hours, may have no paid time off, and typically offer pretty terrible benefits. They also often involve quite a bit of physical labor or unpleasant tasks. Also, I think we could look at the labor markets of each of the professions and see a fair amount of policy and economic complexity as to why this is so. If we were to hew to a completely laissez-faire approach, the fact that a pilot makes much less than a bricklayer despite more expensive training and higher professional status can be found in a simple supply and demand curve.

          And speaking of pilots, I think there’s an interesting discussion to be had about the airline industry as a whole in terms of employee compensation, mergers, unions, and regulatory oversight. A pilot for a major airline makes far in excess of $15 an hour, but a pilot working for a regional carrier is likely to make less. The whole industry is shaped by distorting economic structures.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Zane
            Ignored
            says:

            @zane

            My point was that the moral argument is more nuanced than just one of deserving. Or perhaps moralizing is a mask for a more basic emotion, that of not wanting to be de-valued by fiat.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      @damon

      Are you really trying to win the cartoon libertarian award? Posting to the Blaze is not exactly going to convince most people by quoting from a paranoid website run by Glenn Beck.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Says the guy who posts clickbait from LGM…

        Anyway, I don’t find much of value in that Blaze piece. It’s mostly personal anecdote. That said, I see plenty of personal anecdotes presented as proof for why we ought to raise the minimum wage.

        Pick one or the other. You can’t have both.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      @damon

      Tsk tsk…

      https://ordinary-times.com/commenting-policy

      Posting links to unapproved sites is a violation of the commenting policy here because heaven forbid you offend the sensibilities of your ideological opponents.

      Take for example:

      What we strive for is a community where conversation can occur without devolving into the typical downward spiral so often associated with comment threads on the internet.

      When you post to an unapproved site, you trigger a downward spiral. Shame on you. From now on, only post links to LGM, Crooks and Liars, Addicting Info and HuffPo. Otherwise, the Thought Police will come knock at your door and force you to write “Paul Krugman is the Greatest” 1,000 times.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      Wow the Blaze is run by Glenn Beck? @saul-degraw. Meh. You want paranoid? Try infowars. This was the first article that came up with my search criteria. I selected it for the title, which was basically my point.

      Every employee contributes value to an organization. His pay is reflective of that value. If for any reason that value drops below his wage, he’s no longer worth being kept. Burger flippers, for example, don’t generate > 15 dollars an hour to the organization, therefore they aren’t “worth” 15 dollars an hour in wages. “Worth being strictly defined as “how much value you generate to the organization”. That’s it.

      Oh, and @zane, in the terms of economic “deserve”, that’s all that they are entitled to. Anything more than that is a societal question, not economic.

      @dave
      Yah, well, I’m just one big trouble maker. But seriously, I get along well with most folks. Some of my best friends are flaming liberals. Sadly, unlike the majority of people I interact with, I CAN separate the person from their political views.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        @damon Oh, and , in the terms of economic “deserve”, that’s all that they are entitled to. Anything more than that is a societal question, not economic.

        You may be arguing only about the economic question, but the source you cite in support of your stance is (mostly) arguing about the social/moral question. Minimum wages put people out of work, Walsh argues, but it is immensely important that they also reward the undeserving, the slothful, the slackers, and the takers.

        People who want the minimum wage increased will destroy our economy, he argues. And why do they do this?

        And all so that you could avoid working your way up the income ladder like everyone else had to do.

        I know my mention of it will undermine my ability to be taken seriously by some, but I think his essay is a powerful example of how unexamined privilege blinds those who benefit from it. In Walsh’s world there seem to be no important impediments to success (except those faced by corporations and business owners that are imposed by regulations) because there were no important impediments to *his* success. Race, class, access to education, a base of financial security: these are variables that have no meaningful impact on anyone’s ability to improve their financial standing because he faced no meaningful barriers based on race, class, etc.

        If you are not paid enough to get by, it’s your fault for not working harder. Every person in a minimum wage job could be in a much better job if only they tried. I’m not sure how sophisticated an economic perspective this is; who’d fill all those empty minimum wage jobs if the poor suddenly became industrious? And what positions would all those newly hard-working, no longer poor people hold? Pharmacists? Attorneys? Economists?Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to Zane
          Ignored
          says:

          Zane, yes that’s true, but as I said, I posted the link for the primary reason of it’s title.

          But I don’t disagree that rampant minimum wage increases would soon remove any reason to hire unskilled folks. It’d be too easy to replace them with machines.

          I’m seeing more and more restaurants where you swipe your CC at the table vs being taken care of by a person. Is this a coincidence? I think not. That’s just one example.Report

          • Avatar Zane in reply to Damon
            Ignored
            says:

            I suspect that we’d be seeing more automation in restaurants regardless of the relative cost of labor. And I think that’s supported in part by the fact that in most states, the minimum wage for servers is quite a bit lower than the overall minimum wage for all other workers.

            There are other things that factor into labor costs than just compensation.

            It’s speculation on my part, but I’d guess that the fact that tips make up a very large proportion of servers’ income makes them very willing to switch employers if policies or practices affect their tip income or if a different restaurant offers a chance for larger tips due to clientele, hours offered, or the nature of the restaurant. Loyalty to employees or employers doesn’t seem to be a feature of restaurant work. My anecdotal knowledge suggests that restaurant managers in the large chains are under pretty enormous pressures themselves, which leads to servers feeling mistreated. Constantly struggling with turnover, not insignificant training costs, and the difficulties of managing short-handed make automation quite attractive.

            And the problems resulting from lack of employee loyalty (not that I think restaurants are necessarily owed loyalty) certainly aren’t improved by the compensation structure and the not-always aligned interests of the parties involved. There are structural factors involved in most restaurant business models that shape employer/employee relations.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Zane
              Ignored
              says:

              The big places like Chili’s and Olive Garden have waitstaff who fight and claw for shifts on Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights and the best ones tend to be able to bargain with management and end up with the best shifts.

              The waitstaff most likely to turnover works the less awesome shifts where you have a minute to pee.Report

              • Avatar Zane in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @jaybird, I agree with you, except possibly

                …the best ones tend to be able to bargain with management and end up with the best shifts.

                The best bargainers may not be the best servers, and the best servers from management’s perspective may not be the best servers from the customer’s perspective.

                Sunday nights may be good for tipping, but it sounds like Sunday afternoons are often perceived as the worst: http://sundaysaretheworst.com/?cat=1Report

        • Avatar Aussie Sheila in reply to Zane
          Ignored
          says:

          Beautifully put.

          Let’s see the responses, not just in the context of the U S but in an ethically imaginative way that comprehends the political and social, experiences and ends, that shape other polities that have at least an equal claim to democracy and prosperity as that claimed by the elites of the US.

          Understand. To people from polities as rich as, (and often now more rich on a GDP/population basis than the US) , and with a democratic tradition at least as deep and in Australia’s terms actually longer than your own (since the franchise was so …ahem… restricted in the States until 1965) the self satisfied, ‘angels on a pin head’ scholastic discussions about who and in what circumstances, deserve to live decently from their honest labour, is simply unbelievable.

          In a polity where most people vote, this discussion would be incomprehensible.

          That’s the point. It’s not an economic discussion you are having. It’s a revealing political strip tease.

          CheersReport

          • Avatar Zane in reply to Aussie Sheila
            Ignored
            says:

            @aussie-shiela To people from polities as rich as, (and often now more rich on a GDP/population basis than the US) , and with a democratic tradition at least as deep and in Australia’s terms actually longer than your own (since the franchise was so …ahem… restricted in the States until 1965) …(snip)

            To be fair, Aussie Sheila, it’s not as though Australia and its various states were eager to allow non-whites to vote. Per this handy document from the Australian Electoral Commission (http://www.aec.gov.au/Education/files/history_indigenous_vote.pdf), indigenous Australians finally received the legal right to vote in every Australian state in… 1965. Perhaps the English-speaking world was trying to do good that year, eh?

            In 1949, Australia granted the federal franchise only to indigenous Australians who had served in the military. Prior to that, it was illegal for all but a tiny minority of indigenous Australians to vote. Only in 1962 was the federal franchise extended to all indigenous Australians. But each of the Australian states could still restrict the franchise for state elections. Queensland was the last holdout.

            Certainly the United States has a history of racism, classism, and oppressions of many kinds. It’s important that Americans remain aware of that history and its impact today. But the United States is in no way alone in having a shameful history of oppressing minority groups.

            I’m glad you liked what I said in my earlier comment. Unfortunately, you undermine your point by claiming a supposed national moral superiority. That asserted virtue doesn’t hold up under closer examination.Report

  11. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    By the way, to the admins, I’m subscribing to post comments (not just replies to me), but I’m not getting the emails, and they aren’t going into the spam folder (I check). I’ll get a few emails, but not most or all.

    Also, I can not manage my subscriptions anymore, the link I get emailed just goes back to the page saying I will be emailed a link to my subscriptions.Report

    • Avatar CK in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      @oscar-gordon

      Just happened to see your comment – and could easily have missed it. If you have a glitch report, it’s best to send it to us/me using the Contact form, available via the main menu, at https://ordinary-times.com/supportsuggestionsglitches That way a) you can be reasonably sure I’ll see the report, and b) we can examine the problem without littering a comment thread with our back and forth. You can also try commenting at whatever latest development-related post: I won’t change any significant feature at the site without explaining why, and soliciting feedback, as here: https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2015/05/03/in-reply-to-linking-and-comment-subscriptions

      Always helpful to be as specific as possible. For instance, in this case it would be helpful if you pasted a copy of the subscription email you received in the email to Glitch Reporting, and also whether you’re registered user and, if so, whether you are or were logged in when subscribing/managing..

      There are clearly problems with the Subscribe to Comments plug-in. It’s buggy enough that, with regret, I’m considering disabling it, but, since very few people have reported problems, I’m in more of a holding pattern.

      (submitted with test email address/subscribing to “Replies to my comments”)Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *