Town Square

Feeling good about the show

Original post made by Tim Hunt, Castlewood, on Oct 8, 2013

This story contains 416 words.

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Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Oct 10, 2013 at 8:13 am

Citizen Paine is a registered user.

Lest any readers be deceived into thinking that the conventional wisdom in your article – things that everybody Knows are true – actually ARE true, here are a few points to ponder.

First, on the facts: the CA minimum wage will rise to $9 next July, and $10 in January, 2016.

Second: “most of the people holding minimum wage jobs are teenagers …” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Web Link, 24% of min-wage earners are teenagers. More than ¾ are not “dipping their toes into the workplace for the first time.” They are the working poor, and their numbers are large, and growing. Just for completeness: 64% have HS diplomas, and 76% are Caucasian.

Third: “ adding 20 plus percent …”. Couple points for context, here. The federal minimum wage is $7.25. The buying power of that minimum wage was $10.55 when it peaked in the 1960s (at $1.60/hour – those were the days); it has deteriorated more than “20 plus percent” since then.

Comparing the cost of living in our fair state to the nation, if you take our five largest metro regions (where most of the people are, after all), averaged, with St. Louis, a worker earning $50K there would need to make fully $73K here just to stay even – that’s a 46% difference – far more than the delta between state and federal minimums. Web Link

Fourth: “it will reduce employment at entry-level jobs …” Econ 101, right? Except not right, necessarily. Min wage jobs are primarily in the service sector. If burger-flipping and house cleaning could be mechanized, they would be. Further, businesses will pass-on those costs if they can, and the demand curves in those sectors are quite steep – meaning that they indeed can. A 10% min wage bump may correspond to a 3-4% overall cost increase, which in-turn may take my Big Mac up a dime. I do not predict a consumer revolt over that, nor a run to Jack, whose costs will rise correspondingly. We do love our food-like substances.

Fifth: … “Those (new min wage jobs) will be part-time …” They already are: 66% of min wage jobs pay for fewer than 40 hours per week (BLS link). Welcome to WalMart.

Sixth: Thomas Sowell is just not credible. He’s an out-of-touch scold, whose last original thought occurred during the Reagan Administration. He’s been coasting on the tide of his uniqueness, ever since. It’s a very tired act.

A much more timely article would take-on rising income inequality, in which this new minimum wage will make a practically imperceptible dent.

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Posted by Daveg
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 10, 2013 at 9:06 am

Daveg is a registered user.

I believe Citizen Paine's comments are some of the best, well reasoned, responses that I have seen on this forum. Tim's postings are generally well written, accurate and always informative. However, after reading both Tim's and Paine's comments, I would ask, as I'm sure others would also, that Tim pen a reply addressing the points that Paine has articulated. This type of discourse, one filled with facts, rather than emotional rhetoric is much more helpful than the general blather that the forum eventually falls victim to.