ITW Morning Edition (1/4): Business

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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38 Responses

  1. re: minimum wage and public assistance:

    I’m generally opposed to minimum wages, or raising the current wage, and some of the information from that article seems to support why I do. For example [bold added by me]:

    Mr. Sabia said higher minimum wages did help some workers get off the welfare rolls but others stayed stuck because of adverse employment effects such as a reduction in jobs or hours worked. While each 10% minimum wage increase resulted in reduced receipt of SNAP and WIC, for example, the amounts weren’t statistically significant and at the same time the receipt of school-nutrition assistance and housing assistance increased.

    Minimum-wage increases redistribute the income of low-skilled workers, helping some, hurting others,” Mr. Sabia said, and added that there’s scant evidence minimum-wage boosts reduce welfare caseloads or public spending on needs-based public programs. He said expanding the earned-income tax credit program would be a “far better” tool.

    However, the key point of this article–that raising the minimum wage does not significantly reduce reliance on government assistance–actually tilts me a little in favor of such an increase.

    One of my arguments against raising the minimum wage is that government assistance should be improved and expanded to help people instead of relying on wage mandates. But such improvements and expansions don’t seem to be in play. And while I do support an increase in the EITC (as well as making it more widely available), that also seems less in play. In other words, maybe one of the few ways to get poorer people more money that is politically doable is through increasing the minimum wage.Report

    • In other words, maybe one of the few ways to get poorer people more money that is politically doable is through increasing the minimum wage.

      In a political sense, there may be some truth to this. Or, at least, it is the most politically doable way. Mostly, though, it’s because it gives the appearance of passing off the expense to somebody else.

      (I don’t oppose raising the minimum wage mostly, but some of the proposals have me wary, and prefer action be taken on county levels rather than national.)Report

      • I could see county-level wage mandates, but one reservation I have is that there’s a lot of incentive to undercut neighboring counties. However, a national or state wage mandate overrides local differences in cost of living and labor markets. There probably isn’t a great solution to either of those problems, but maybe one that’s less bad than the others.Report

        • Most minimum wage jobs are pretty location-specific, though. A burger joint isn’t going to change counties to save a bit in labor costs. Or if they are, that says something pretty significant about the minimum wage hike.Report

          • I hadn’t thought of it that way before. But it might be different if we’re talking about Walmart or other big box store that hasn’t decided on a location yet but takes into account the local wage. Perhaps that’s more of a thing where counties are close together and there’s a strong car culture that makes it easier for larger numbers of people to drive. In Big City, a countywide minimum wage wouldn’t, by itself, prevent a Walmart from setting up. (If anything, it’s the local living wage activism and the small-retailer clients of influential aldermen that’s made it difficult for Walmart.)Report

            • Economists would take a strong interest on seeing what goes on this side of that one of the county line. You may see some disparity there.

              However, advocates for a higher minimum wage say that higher minimum wages don’t hurt businesses because they reduce turnover. So that theory would get a test.

              Also, employers on the lower minimum wage would be competing with employers on the higher for employees. They’ll be more motivated to close the gap themselves.

              And also, too high a disparity is unlikely to stay the case for very long. An employer would not be wise to base long-term decisions based on the whims of a county commission.Report

    • greginak in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

      I think the EITC is fine in general but i do have a concern. It is a tax break and looks like the gov giving something instead of people earning their own money. In 2012 it became a bit of political football among people who didn’t understand it ( 47% dont’ pay taxes bs). I’ve heard a few R’s say they want to cut it. It is simpler to have people just get paid for their work instead of routing it through a tax break.Report

      • Another problem with the EITC, along with the one you cite, is that people have to wait a year for it while a wage increase is more immediate.Report

      • Don Zeko in reply to greginak says:

        The big problem with the EITC is that it costs the government money directly, instead of indirectly costing employers, consumers, and hypothetical workers that can’t find work money indirectly. So the EITC is more economically efficient, but also a more difficult political lift.Report

        • You’re absolutely right, @don-zeko , but that’s also strange, too, when one thinks about it. I seem to recall–and my memory is hazy hear and I’m too lazy to google it–that a lot of Republicans in the ’90s were on board with the EITC because it was at least formally a tax credit.Report

  2. Guy says:

    (not having read any of the links yet…)

    What does ITW stand for?

    (something) The Week?Report

  3. Oscar Gordon says:

    I find the Citgo link quite amusing, given who own Citgo.Report

  4. Kazzy says:

    Did the genealogy websites make any promises about the privacy of the information it collects? If so, it’d seem giving it to the police short of a court order would put them in violation of the contract. And if the police have a court order to access the entirety of the database, that is kind of scary.Report

    • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

      I’m a lot less concerned about them finding out who one of my ancestors was screwing than them finding out who I’ve been talking to lately.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

      I think it’s a bit more complicated than that. What it looks like happens is that they can search the database because anybody can, and having found a match, they can get a court order to get names. So it’s not clear that there is a policy solution to do much, and it’s hard to fault the police for using this particular tool when it’s at your disposal. The solution, to the extent that there is one, is for people not to have the DNA out there, which defeats what I gather they are trying to accomplish (which is to connect various family threads. Hence… why we can’t have nice things.

      But my knowledge of how these sites work is pretty limited. People who do know how it works are welcome to elaborate.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        I wonder if these sites could prevent the cops from doing this (if they wanted to, which it seems they would to protect their customers and business model) but including in the Terms of Service that the site is intended for the explicit and sole purpose of identifying family bonds, yada yada yada and anyone found to be using the site for other purposes — including law enforcement and agents of the government — will be in found in violation of the TOS and subject to fines no less than $9B… or something. Assuming such language would be enforceable, it’d prevent the cops from just signing up as regular users and snooping around.

        I have no idea if that is enforceable though and it wouldn’t shock me if the courts ultimately determined that TOSs don’t apply to the government.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        Legal issues aside, this sounds methodologically flawed. Isn’t the false-positive rate on DNA testing high enough that you’re pretty much guaranteed to come up with more false positives than actual hits using this approach?Report

        • Troublesome Frog in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          Even if that’s the case, having one of your existing suspects end up on the list would be a very strong indicator. Assuming you could get the court to allow you to compare every name on the hit list to your “usual suspects” list instead of requesting data one person at a time, anyway.

          Even if you’re trying to pick one person out and you don’t have a list of people to compare against, you could compare the hit list to people who live in a certain area. Sure, you’d probably turn up entire families from time to time, but every little piece counts as you build up your Venn diagram.Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    In looking at my calendar, I’d like to wish everyone a good “Day After New Year’s Day (Observed-New Zealand)”.Report

  6. j r says:

    Or did it have something to do with everybody who was anybody getting too invested in the idea that it was time for Silicon Valley to have a female Steve Jobs (she wears black turtlenecks like Jobs) to notice?

    Yup, that is Steve Sailer. When something positive, but supposedly undeserving, happens to a woman or a minority, it’s likely about some form of affirmative action. Never mind the scores of white men who have been pumped up by the tech hype machine only to ultimately under-deliver on a product.

    Sailer is an interesting guy for a number of reasons. One is that the board angle is compelling enough for a blog post. That is an awful lot of high-powered political muscle for a tech startup with an undeveloped product. There is something there without the Sailerbait angle, but then I guess he wouldn’t be him without it.Report