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Poverty Wages In America

Solving America’s low wage conundrum. Looking for a way up and out of the poverty wage trap. Plus

Colorado Walmart employees and supporters join nationwide protests, in front of a Walmart store in Lakewood, Colo., Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, for Walmart to publicly commit to improving labor standards. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the nation's biggest shopping day of the year. (AP)

Colorado Walmart employees and supporters join nationwide protests, in front of a Walmart store in Lakewood, Colo., Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, for Walmart to publicly commit to improving labor standards. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the nation’s biggest shopping day of the year. (AP)

Low-wage America is a big country, and it’s not an easy place to live.  The nation’s grown a lot richer over the decades, but retail wages have fallen by almost a third. America’s minimum wage, as a percent of average pay, is now the lowest of any OECD country but Mexico.  We all know the stories of McDonalds and WalMart workers on food stamps.  It can make you feel guilty just buying a burger.  But what to do about it?  There’s a new push on to raise the minimum wage, even if just locally.  And then what? This hour On Point:  America’s low wage crisis, and what to do about it.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Reid Wilson, senior political policy blogger for The Washington Post. (@PostReid)

Jason Fichtner, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. (@JJFichtner)

David Cooper, economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. (@metaCoop)

Tiffany Beroid, 29-year-old married mother of two who works at a Wal-Mart in Laurel, MD.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: Push for minimum wage hike led by localities, Democrats — ‘Efforts in Congress to raise the national minimum wage above $7.25 an hour have stalled. But numerous local governments — including those of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and the District — are forging ahead, in some cases voting to dramatically increase the pay of low-wage workers. The efforts, while supported by many unions, threaten to create a patchwork of wage rates that could mean workers in some areas will be entitled to vastly less than those working similar jobs nearby. The campaigns reach from coast to coast.’

Bloomberg Businessweek: What a Higher Minimum Wage Does for Workers and the Economy – “Raising the minimum wage is neither as wonderful as its advocates claim nor as dangerous as its detractors warn. On the upside, it would increase pay for millions of Americans, not only those earning the minimum but also those at fixed increments above it. These are people who could really use a raise. Contrary to what generations of students were taught in freshman econ, new research finds that minimum-wage increases at the state level have caused little, if any, harm to employment. ‘Outside of the simple Econ 101-type environment, increasing workers’ pay can improve the functioning of the low-wage labor market,’ Arindrajit Dube, a University of Massachusetts economist, testified before Congress in March.”

America: Francis’ Multi-faceted Reflection – “As has been amply reported and commented upon, Francis sees the need for a more diverse and less centralized and clericalized Church. He dreams of a poor Church living a fundamental option for the poor. He also critiques an economic system in which profit prevails over persons, violating their dignity and legitimate aspirations. Pope Francis has derived important elements of this pastoral vision from the writings of his predecessors mentioned above, upon which he gratefully and extensively draws. However, the powerful and personal synthesis and program is unmistakably his own.”

Pope Francis’ Anti-Capitalist Creedo

Eric LymanRome-based freelance writer who covers the Vatican for USA Today and the Religion News Service. (@EricJLyman)

The Washington Post: Pope Francis lays out a blueprint for his papacy in ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ — “Francis blasted the ‘idolatry of money’ in the world financial system, which he called ‘an economy of exclusion and inequality.’ He also called on the church itself to work from the trenches: ‘I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting, and dirty because it has been out on the streets rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confirmed and from clinging to its own security.’”

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  • JGC

    “a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power”, “an economy of exclusion and inequality”, “a globalization of indifference has developed” – the words of Pope Francis in “The Joy of the Gospel”.

    No wonder Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin are grasping to find their way to counter the admonitions of Pope Francis, without alienating yet another sector of the Republican base. Is there a #WarOnCatholicism yet?

    • hennorama

      JGC — One supposes that Rush “The OxyMoron” Limbaugh wanted to see his name in other media, and perhaps also wanted to spike his ratings at the end of the Fall and December 2013 Arbitron ratings period, both of which end on Dec. 4, 2013.

      See:
      http://www.arbitron.com/radio_stations/surveysched.asp

      • JGC

        I think you are probably right about that!

      • HonestDebate1

        I understand you have your biases. I understand you think you’re cutsie. But for the record, Rush is not drug addicted moron. He is not a contradiction of terms. It’s cool, but you are just being a gratuitously nasty person and it’s my nature to point that out.

        • JGC

          I actually was listening to Rush’s show last week when he started tiptoeing in with negative comments about Pope Francis’s statement. I really could not believe my ears, because why would Limbaugh say things that are bound to upset one of his conservative constituencies, Catholics? It made no sense to me at all, and I thought, well, maybe he just needs to drop controversial statements from time to time to get those ears glued to his broadcast. It worked, alright! That’s why Hennorama’s suggestion about it being a rating period sounded plausible to me.

          • HonestDebate1

            I was listening too, including the parts where he praised the Pope. Rush is a capitalist and his statements were completely consistent with everything he’s ever said on the issue. Quite possibly he was just giving his honest opinion without regard to pandering to constituencies. That makes more sense to me, I don’t know how his ratings could go up more than they already are and I have never known him to show concern for them. As a matter of fact I admire that quality. I don’t think he has anything to gain from saying he believes something he doesn’t and everything to gain by being brutally honest about his views. I personally find it intellectually stimulating to vehemently disagree with Rush because it requires a very strong argument.

  • JGC

    Interesting research and perspectives from Zeynep Ton, who is an instructor at the MIT Sloan School of Business. To access her views on “The Good Jobs Strategy”, google blog.zeynepton.com

  • Shag_Wevera

    I am exhilerated by a person of the Pope’s influence and stature championing the issues of poverty and wealth inequality across the world.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Occasionally in history, the super wealthy have pushed their advantage too far and have suffered a severe backlash. The French revolution is the easiest example. A bankrupt nation which had squandered its fortunes on excess and meaningless wars. Add in a ruling class that insulates themselves from the sacrifices needed to keep the nation afloat. Sound familiar to anyone?

    • Bluejay2fly

      The last useless war they squandered money on was the American Revolution. Also, Laki had a lot to do with it as well.

      • Shag_Wevera

        How about the railroad strikes?

      • Don_B1

        If you read Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August you should have come away knowing how the powers-that-were let themselves slip into a really useless and hugely destructive war, that the U.S. was drawn into when German U-Boats began attacking U.S. ships.

        That is just the major war that you missed. The U.S. Civil War was another.

        • Ray in VT

          I think that he may have been referring to the “last useless war” waged by the Ancien Regime prior to its fall in 1789.

          • Don_B1

            Shag_Weaver certainly was referring to that one and the super wealthy were more directly involved but it was wealthy interests that drove the other useless wars also.

    • fun bobby

      did they pass a minimum wage law after they were done chopping heads?

  • AC

    should i mention drone deliveries and how bike messengers and postal workers will no longer be needed, or are those not considered ‘low pay’? how there’s too many people?
    here’s where the future of paying anyone for fast food work is headed:
    http://mynorthwest.com/920/2312665/Why-robots-could-soon-replace-fast-food-workers-demanding-higher-minimum-wage

    • fun bobby

      is that a robot hamburger flipper

    • Don_B1

      Amazon delivery people are considered “Low-Pay”; just go back to the On Point program of a year or so ago.

    • HonestDebate1

      Bezo had a great line about the competition is not competing with Amazon, they are competing with the future. We can’t put the genie back in the bottle. But just think of all the jobs created for drone manufacturers, drone maintenance people and more packages to deliver because of the new paradigm. That means more warehouse employees and more warehouses means more construction jobs which is a boon for saw blade makers and lumberjacks. And on and on.

  • LinRP

    Finally, a Pope who calls out the twisted, destructive parsing of the word of Jesus by the right, and their false claim that they have a corner on what it means to be Christian. For so long now, the hypocrisy of Paul Ryan, Michele Bachman, et al, has been jaw-droppingly astounding. Nothing and no one Jesus took exception to more than the money-changers.

    If Jesus were alive today, the right would brand him a socialist, wacko. He was one of the greatest proponents of the redistribution of wealth, and of caring for the poor.

    I am not Catholic, nor do I adhere to any doxology, but to watch the right try and parse the Pope’s words is incredible. Ross Douthat in the NYT’s writes that Catholics do not need to “heed the Pope” when it comes to public policy. How rich is that?

    No one with an ounce of humanity should take exception to Pope Francis’s encyclical.Those words the Pope wrote wrote
    link us to the beginning of the reclamation, perhaps even the salvation, of our world.

    Just a friendly reminder of the words of that great, socialist liberal in the sky:

    “No one can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

    -Matthew 6:24

    “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you the truth, it
    is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’”

    -Matthew 19:23-24

    • Ray in VT

      Years ago I was reading an article on Christianity at the turn of the millennium, and they spoke with an American evangelical preacher who preached something akin to Prosperity Theology. The reporter asked him about the latter passage, and his response was that Jesus was joking. Stand up was not something that I was aware that Jesus did, but that guy thought so, apparently.

      • Ed75

        Yes, and did it himself. (Though Jesus is funny in many sayings.)

      • Labropotes

        Ray, the word for camel in Greek is one letter different than a word for rope. Maybe there was a transmission error, but it’s possible that Jesus was making a pun when he said “camel through the eye of a needle.”

        • Ray in VT

          Perhaps. There are certainly problems with translating a 2,000 year old document into something that is meaningful and conveys the accuracy of the intent of the text for the modern, or any other, age.

          • Labropotes

            Some Catholic divine said that if you want to say in the 20th cent what Jesus said in the 1st, you must say it in a different way. Yet, I feel no greater gap between my mind and Homer’s than between mine and Dylan’s, even though Dylan is contemporary.

        • fun bobby

          actually the eye of the needle refers to the shape of the narrow gates of their cities. tricky to get a camel to walk through

          • d clark

            Inproper and erroneous interpretation to try to blunt the words of the only Christ. I am well versed in NT Greek and camel means camel. Yes, as some have said, it was supposed to be humourous; as satire and parody are humorous.

          • fun bobby

            here is a good explaination. I guess I believed the sunday school version.

            http://www.biblicalhebrew.com/nt/camelneedle.htm

          • Labropotes

            All I have is a ten pound lexicon written by two chumps called Liddel and Scott.

          • d clark

            If you could use it, that would actually be something. The response of incredulity of the hearers of the saying make it clear he was speaking of an impossibility, not a difficulty.

        • Acnestes

          A “needles eye” in this context is an architectural feature – a narrow arch specifically intended to prevent animals from passing through into the market place or whatever.

        • Human898

          Whether rope or a camel, an actual eye of a needle or a gate, perhaps named for an actual eye of a needle, the metaphor does not appear to change, nor does it seem, the base direction of the teachings of Christ, based on his own actions and words.

          The following link points to what is perhaps a compilation and consolidation of “rights” and “wrongs” derived from the books of the Bible which have been translated an interpreted in a myriad of ways with, as one can see here, lots of disagreement for millennia. Still there remain common threads, not just in the Christian “faith”, but nearly universally through many religions and even adhered to by those thay do not believe in god(s) or have varying degrees of beliefs and roles in god(s).

          http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/Seven_Deadly_Sins.pdf

          One can claim to “believe” or have “faith” in anything they like, living according to those beliefs becomes a better measure of their actual faith or belief.

          The current pope is not the only one to have noted the direction humanity has gone in, perhaps in more recent decades as in previous eras in history, but he is in position to lead, unlike any other single leaders in the world, the people of his faith (of many nations) toward the main theme of the teachings of Christ instead of ignore their continued travel away from them.

          The interesting thing will be to watch those who have found all sorts of justifications to deny, simply ignore or somehow justify how and why the way they live does not line up with their claimed beliefs. They have attacked anyone that brings it up and used terms like “socialism” (hoping some will believe it is synonymous with communism) and “redistribution” to dispel or dismiss any challenges to the way they live. How will they react now? Will they call the current pope a Marxist (hoping to equate that to communism) socialist or will they begin to practice introspection and find the humility needed to be practice honest introspection? Will they challenge the Pope, ask for his removal and impeachment or will they review their own lives, recognize and acknowledge what the Pope is saying and perhaps change?

      • Don_B1

        LinRP

        The radical right religious here will be offended, but there are some interesting posts written by Amanda Marcotte (on AlterNet, etc.):

        http://www.alternet.org/belief/why-are-so-many-christians-so-un-christian?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

        There are more that can be found by Googling her name.

    • Ed75

      Jesus took exception to the money changers, but not because they were rich, it had to do with the Temple. Ryan and Bachman though aren’t the cold blooded people you think: they think that if we don’t change the system now, the debt will cause it collapse in coming years, for everyone.

      • Jim Salman

        Oh yes they are! Right-wingers like them were never concerned with the debt while it increased massively under Reagan and GWB. They are just using it as an excuse to cut spending on social programs. And for all their supposed concern, they refuse to consider increasing taxes on the rich and super rich, who can easily afford it.

      • Don_B1

        Jim Salman

        To back up Jim Salman, read the following which might (if you are willing to actually think about it) bring some understanding about government debt:

        http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-impact-of-public-debt-on-economic-growth-by-j–bradford-delong

      • TFRX

        Why don’t the Right ever need government to starve itself when they’re in power?

    • Ed75

      Socialism was condemned by the Church when it was developed in the 1800s, and after that Communism was condemned, and then unregulated capitalism (the government wouldn’t allow Rerum Novarum to be read in England). One reason people attacked Jesus, indeed, was that he threatened, they thought, the economic arrangements and profits of the time.

    • Labropotes

      But the enemy I see wears a cloak of decency
      All nonbelievers… talkin’ in the name of religion.

      Dylan

      LinRP, Jesus said that stuff about rich men and the Kingdom after watching a rich man ignore His teaching and walk away. He did not recommend laying hands on rich men and forcing them to obey.

      • d clark

        He also spoke EXCLUSIVELY to an occupied people who had ZERO input into the political process. We are otherwise and have responsibity to vote the rich to do their duty to others in a land that allowed them to prosper.

        • Labropotes

          Christian duties are imposed from within. Try saying, “I have a duty.” If you were following the teachings you impose on others, you would have sold your keyboard and given the money to the poor.

          • d clark

            And yet we are called to be salt and light. If we have political participation, which we do in this land, we are required to use it to the principles of Christ. Your misuse of Jesus to prop up a corrupt political and economic system, exposes you as a false prophet!

    • hennorama

      LinRP — well said.

      Pope Francis is an enormous success, as he has people around the globe talking about his words, actions, and his religion in a POSITIVE way (with the recent exceptions that you noted in your post), which is a far cry from recent history.

      Personally, I’ve paid more attention to Pope Francis’ actions and words than to all of the prior Popes in my lifetime, combined.

      By FAR.

      Pope Francis seems to be the epitome of a “holy man” — a true believer who is humble, kind, loving, and not interested in the trappings of high office.

      In other words, he’s a man of both the Church AND the people.

  • responseTwo

    Many years ago in the seventies I read through the whole new testament in the kitchen of our mobile home, no church, no sin speeches, and no fire and brimstone. What I read was an ideal way to approach life.

    Years later while watching our economy change and watching mega-rich churches sprout up looking like wall street, I became so confused as to what was going on.

    The pope has set things straight for me. It’s a great read!

    • Ed75

      No speeches (Sermon on the Mount)? No fire and brimstone (Jesus mentions Hell more often in the Scriptures than he mentions Heaven)? No Church (You are Peter and on this rock I build my church)? No sin (He who is in sin is a slave to sin)?
      The mega church people mean well. Yes, please read Pope Francis first. The pope’s encyclicals are the teaching of Jesus applied to the specifics of our time.

      • Ray in VT

        It does seem, though, that the sort of churches to which I think responseTwo is referring seem to be very Old Testament in their approach or emphasis. There seems to be little talk in much of that part of American Christianity about God’s love or forgiveness. There seems to be a lot of Leviticus and not a lot of the Sermon on the Mount.

  • northeaster17

    Last Wednesday I took great pleasure in tuning in to El Rushbo for a few minutes. Listening to that man and his people sputter and twist around what the pope said was more than perfect. It was beautiful. I smiled all the way down the road.

  • JGC

    What is a B Corporation? B Corp certification is a program run by the non-profit B Lab to “meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.” Could the company you work for, or the ones you invest in, qualify for B Corp certification?

    bcorporation.net

    also, an example of one company with the B Corp cert:

    benjerry.com/company/b-corp

  • John Cedar

    This new poop…he says a lot of stupid things.

    The invisible hand of the market has proven not to be benevolent enough for his liking.

    So it should be replaced with the invisible hand of God
    guiding politicians in forging a new economic system, which is sure to be a more benevolent one.

    • JGC

      Cue up the Tea Party circular firing squad: War on women, war on moderate Republicans, war on gays, war on Catholics…who is next to get booted out of the super-exclusive Tea Party Club?

      • HonestDebate1

        Oh please.

      • TFRX

        To paraphrase what Garbo said in “Ninotchka”, the result will be fewer, but better, Tea Partiers.

      • John Cedar

        You conflate your polysemous talking points, but you are on to something when you imply the Tea Party can no longer count on the pope vote demographic.

    • northeaster17

      By most recent results, ie great wealth inequality, it seems that the invisable hand of the market is not so inviable after all. More like a scam

    • Shag_Wevera

      May I make a suggestion as to what you should do with your invisible hand?

      • John Cedar

        By all means…suggest away.
        But to clarify, it is not my invisible hand
        and it was the pope who breached the subject.
        A reference to a concept made popular by Smith
        and some have argued Smith believed the invisible hand to be the hand of God.
        Time and time again the hand of God has proven to be more effective guiding economics to be benevolent than in guiding governments and their dictators.
        Why do you hate God? why do you hate America?

  • Ed75

    The Catholic teaching was clearly articulated by Pope Leo in Rerum Novarum (Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor) in 1891, and by later encyclicals. People have a right to own private property, but it is not an absolute right: property comes with obligations to others.

    Pope Francis is not anti-capitalist, but he’s against unregulated capitalism whose purpose is wealth and not the welfare of people, a somewhat nuanced position. I would invite people to read Pope Francis’ writings and encyclicals in full, carefully.

    • fun bobby

      where does that exist?

    • Don_B1

      You need to convey that aspect of the Pope’s article to John Cedar; he is doing his usual thing advocating unregulated free-market capitalism.

  • NewtonWhale

    Conservatives are apoplectic (pun intended) because Pope Francis took Reaganomics, weighed it in the balance, and found it wanting:

    “In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” he said. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

    “Never been confirmed by facts.”
    You’d think that journalists would have pointed that out. Instead it was a man of faith..

    • Jasoturner

      The state of journalism in this country is atrocious. To expect anything more than sound bite quotes from warring political factions is futile. And to call a political (or scientific) position outright wrong or unproven? Not gonna happen. At least we have Glenn Greenwald reporting scary truth out of Rio…

  • HonestDebate1

    It’s time to rerun these words of wisdom.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ0-cDKMS5M

    • Labropotes

      In a field that has produced many great debaters, the economist Milton Friedman was the best.

      • Bluejay2fly

        It seemed very simplistic to me. Our system is called mixed capitalism and he then compares that to a purer form of socialism. When you have pure capitalism you have slavery, child labor, triangle shirt factory, Times Beach, Missouri, etc. The system falls apart when the regulators of the system or “greed” (i.e. the government) become bought off.

        • Labropotes

          Incomplete, if not simplistic. Nobody advocates a world without rules. When power becomes concentrated it is easier to buy off.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          The pendulum has swung too far toward big government and over-regulation.

          It is time to starve the beast. Seven of the ten most affluent counties in the country are suburbs of Washington,DC.

          • fun bobby

            and I bet Hartford which is already the richest city because of the insurance industry is doing better than ever

          • Don_B1

            Hartford also has some of the worst slum areas due to the number of people who can find only poverty-level jobs.

          • fun bobby

            yup its quite a dichotomy

          • Bluejay2fly

            It’s too much regulation in some cases and not enough in others. I could site examples in both directions all day. However, the larger issue is that Statesmanship is dead. People are greedy and will not sacrifice money and power for the greater good. Our politicians are corrupt because the entire society is corrupt.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I disagree. We are still the most generous country in the world as measured by private charities. The shift to larger government impedes private charity.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Giving your wife flowers and candy after you beat her does not make you generous. Ask the millions of dead Asians how generous the USA has been to them. Or how we let our inner city blacks kill each other by the tens of thousands and write it off as public service homicide.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Asians? Like those in the Philippines who just suffered a direct hit from the Typhoon.

            Who was the leading provider of public and private aid? [Hint: it wasn't China($100K)]

          • Bluejay2fly

            Aside from all the mayhem are wars have caused (BTW Iraq and Afghanistan is also Asia). If you eliminated the tax break on charity or better yet imposed a tax penalty you would see charity pretty much dry up. As for the Philippines yes we can be generous in such cases but it is also LAZINESS. Giving a poor African fresh water or a house gives you an instant appreciable result. Instant satisfaction. Our citizens suffer from more complex problems which deserve attention but are largely ignored. Real charity is a commitment ,and is hard work, it is not handing a sandwich to a starving man and walking away. I will say from that perspective we are wanting.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Thank you for the clip.

      Phil Donahue never had a chance.

      • fun bobby

        I miss phil. jerry was the only one who survived. even oprah gave up

        • HonestDebate1

          Oprah may be hopelessly liberal but she at least had the sense to run from Trinity.

    • d clark

      First off, when he says government can accomplish nothing (0:55), I suggest throwing moon dust in his eye. And I take issue with him and contend that modern European Social Democracy is as effective as American style Capitalism in the balance of wealth versus the welfare of the polulace. He of course (when he asks for Donahue’s angels) discount the presence of his capitalist demons, personified in Gordon Gekko.

      • upandacross

        First Commandment: I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

        There is a word for the practice that violates this commandment: idolatry

        The Free Market is a human institution and, as such, it is imperfect. To attribute omniscience or omnipotence to it is, in a word, idolatry. I fear Mr. Friedman may cross this line.

        The only institution capable of addressing the short-comings of a Free Market is government. The only institutions capable of distorting the benefits of a Free Market is government and the Free Market itself. Therein lies the conundrum.

  • Bluejay2fly

    One reason why wages are not sufficient is because taxes and the large government it supports are too high. In NY school and property alone can run easily from 3-10K in a farm country. You cannot have 1/3 of your gross pay taken before you even begin to pay bills. Lower taxes and that is a raise.

    • northeaster17

      We should stop baseing school taxs on property values.

      • Bluejay2fly

        AGREED It is barbaric.

  • fun bobby

    Outside of the simple Econ 101-type environment, AKA “when you ignore basic economics”

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    In MA, at the bequest of Gov. Deval Patrick, the legislature passed a new gas tax this year that will increase automatically with inflation.

    The gas tax hurts the working poor and lower class the most.

    100K+ citizens rose up over the past few weeks to get a repeal of the automatic increase onto next years ballot. Governor Patrick has responded to this effort with disdain. The state house elites are cowards because they want to avoid difficult future votes on the gas tax.

    • Yar

      If gas had a tax increase of one dollar, would the price of fuel be one dollar more? In a market economy, lowering the gas tax mostly would benefit the oil companies.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Not true.

        IF the gas tax was raised above the point of price elasticity, then some of the working poor would be forced to quit their jobs. Not everyone works and lives in the city.

        • Yar

          And that is the problem, we have subsidized energy, it built up our suburbs and made us use more energy per person.

      • HonestDebate1

        The oil company’s profit margin is small. The government makes much more per gallon from taxes than the oil companies make.

        • J__o__h__n

          They have record profits. And the government uses that money to build and maintain roads. How useful would the gas be without roads?

        • Yar

          The government doesn’t make anything on gas, the feul tax isn’t covering the cost of maintaining transportation infrastructure.
          As for regressive taxes healthcare wins hands down. I would like the minimum wage to be indexed to the cost of energy.

      • TFRX

        Lowering gas taxes in a couple of states has not lowered the price of gas. Basically a giveaway from consumer to gas distributors at the cost of the road funds.

    • fun bobby

      gas tax is perhaps the most regressive of all taxes. he wants to tax gas and software and give tax breaks to casinos. Does he want us to become reno?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Yeah, but he is still going for a $9M renovation of HIS office.
        It is nice to play KING — when they let you.

        • fun bobby

          I wish he would go back to Chicago

  • Labropotes

    I was going to say something about increasing productivity to grow wages, but it looks like that isn’t working anymore.

    Look on the net for a chart that shows productivity and wage growth. They used to track, but in the mid 70′s, wage growth stops while productivity continues to grow. The new wealth looks like it’s ending up in the pockets of “financial services” professionals. Look for a chart on their compensation, too.

    Remember that guillotines need periodic maintenance to be in good working order.

    • Shag_Wevera

      I’ve got a can of WD40 right here…

    • hennorama

      Labropotes — there are some coincidences that may explain this phenomenon:

      Corporate Profits as a percentage of GDP are at or near an all-time high of just under 11%. Since 1970, corporate profit’s share of GDP has more than doubled (from 5% to almost 11%).

      Wages and Salaries as a percentage of GDP are at or near an all-time low of just over 44%. Since 1970, Wages and Salaries’ share of GDP has declined by nearly one fifth (from 54% to 44%).

      Coincident to the above, since 1970, union membership as a share of the U.S. workforce has declined by more than half (from about 25% to a bit over 11%).

      This chart shows Wages as a percentage of GDP (in red) and Corporate Profits as a percentage of GDP (in blue) using Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED). The timeframe is Jan 1, 1970 through July 01, 2013.

      Note how Wages as a percentage of GDP drop during each period of Recession (indicated by the shaded areas), and rarely if ever recover to their prior level.

      It appears that Employers use recessions and the associated employment insecurity to increase their profitability.

      It also appears that reduced union representation and collective bargaining may be related to the inexorable decline of Wages and Salaries as a percentage of GDP.

  • NewtonWhale

    Pope Francis ties unfettered capitalism to the rape of the environment:

    “They reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control,” he wrote. “A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules… In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.”

    • Labropotes

      Is there anyone in the world who rejects the right of states to exercise any form of control? That person would be out of the mainstream and then some. We are each in danger of becoming part of the brutality Francis describes here. Good intentions are not sufficient to prevent it.

      • NewtonWhale

        Fox Business host John Stossel :

        “I’m hoping the shutdown will wake people up and say, hey, maybe we don’t need all this stuff,” he said. “We could close whole departments. Why do we need a Commerce Department? Commerce just happens, government gets in the way.”

        The Fox Business host asked viewers to tune into his to his show so he could show them “how this could be a good thing, how with less government, people are freer because we have more, we’ll create the jobs and we’ll invent the good things.”

        “So, you’re pro-shutdown?” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked.

        “Yeah,” Stossel replied. “Shut more down!”

        http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/10/03/fox-business-john-stossel-government-shutdown-is-a-good-thing-shut-more-down/

        • Bluejay2fly

          Stossel is an imbecile. We have no private sector jobs. Yes, big gov should be torn down but give people decent jobs to replace the ones they lost.

  • J__o__h__n

    Walmart cares about its employees or they wouldn’t have a food drive for them.

  • Shag_Wevera

    I commented before wondering where the usual righties are, and an hour later I have my answer. I guess their butlers and personal assistants don’t get them up that early.

    • Labropotes

      Mines only just brought my paper and tea.

      • Bluejay2fly

        Mine are building my iPhone 6 in China

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Apple would pay an additional $3.6B in corporate taxes if they moved iPhone manufacturing to the US. The additional labor cost is only $600M/year.

          Answer: Apple will continue to build in China because of US tax laws.

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/09/25/if-apple-brought-iphone-manufacturing-to-the-us-it-would-cost-them-4-2-billion/

          • J__o__h__n

            Companies that want access to our market should not be able to dodge taxes. And it also safety and environmental legislation and worker rights that factor into their equation.

          • Bluejay2fly

            The fact that all those factory jobs may have kept people out of prisons and off welfare never factors into cost does it?

          • TFRX

            That depends on who is counting and what. There is a bean-counter aesthetic at work for many.

          • Labropotes

            I count imaginary beans.

          • Labropotes

            Taxing companies is sort of like making them tax farmers. I’m not opposed to it if it’s efficient and not excessively distorting. But maybe we could find a way to collect taxes which didn’t incentives offshoring.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            That’s your take away from the forbes article?

            The world market is not a zero sum game.
            Look what happened to the US boat industry when they passed the luxury tax in the ’90s.

          • Shag_Wevera

            If only we could treat our workers like they were chinese…

      • Shag_Wevera

        No crumpets and jam?

        • Labropotes

          I’m waiting. Damn his lazy bones.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Leave it to the American right to bash a Pope who expresses concern for the poor. Don’t worry though, there are all sorts of non-denominational churches in America for you that glorify success and individual wealth.

  • Yar

    We are basically an exploitive people, how does that change? We rationalize that we would rather exploit than be exploited. This is the moral price we pay for participating in a consumption based economy. To change our point of view we must first acknowledge the privlidge that got us to where we are. The idea of a self-made individual is false. Complete individual freedom is like one hand clapping.

    • Labropotes

      I do not use others as means to my ends. I honestly enlist the voluntary cooperation of those I do business with. If they are not satisfied with the outcome of the transaction, I am not satisfied.

      No one argues for complete individual freedom. Why argue against it? One hand clapping.

      • Yar

        You, like most are willingly blind to the exploitation in our economy. Read the book Tomatoland.

        • Labropotes

          You said we. I said I.

    • Bluejay2fly

      We do not dream anymore, we do not build things or repair things, all we do is buy things and throw them away when they “outlive” their usefulness. We abandon old buildings, old cars, old furniture, all because replacing them is cheaper and stimulates the economy. We have lost our way and have set a bad example for the rest of the world. The fact that we are obese as a nation could not be a more fitting metaphor.

  • Shag_Wevera

    We need government, regulation, and law enforcement. Why? We are inherently flawed, and so many of us will prey on one another that civilization could not survive.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Read about Katrina, Ruby Ridge, Waco, and see what our LEO’s are doing for us. Maybe the 1 million plus in prison is not enough. Law enforcement treats citizens like combatants in a war. That is a perversion of their mission.

      • Shag_Wevera

        You make my point. Imagine all the situations you name WITHOUT any central authority.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Law enforcement has devolved into a military and police state mentality. In many of those situations they trampled peoples rights enormously!!! Also, they have turned into cowards shooting first and applying force when not necessary. I have worked in law enforcement for 15 years and know all about it. Thank God, I am one of them with a badge so I get a pass when the confrontation starts.

          • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

            The Rule of Law has gone off the rails, jumped the shark, and sailed past its sell-by date.

  • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

    America is rapidly becoming a Third World Country.

    • Coastghost

      Distinctly odd outcome for a country pleased to elect and re-elect a third-rate President.

      • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

        The dysfunctionality of our government is not limited to the executive branch of the Federal government in Washington. All branches of government, at all levels of Federal, State, County, and Municipal jurisdictions are devolving into corruption and irreparable dysfunctionality.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Ha ha!!! It isn’t share the wealth but share the incompetence. If only he had been upfront.

          • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

            The “incompetence” ultimately boils down to the distributed ignorance of the populace with respect to the STEM disciplines in general and Systems Science in particular.

        • Coastghost

          Fish rot from the head down, according to trusted marine biologist Michael Dukakis.

          • TFRX

            Trying to blame all that crap red-state gumminting on the black Democrat in the White House? Puhleez.

          • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

            In this case, the “head” is the cultural concept known as the Rule of Law.

            Most religions have deities at their apex.

            The Rule of Law doesn’t have a deity, per se, but it has a comparable mythological character traditionally known as “Leviathan,” the Chaos Monster of the Deep.

      • Bluejay2fly

        All our POTUS’s have been great to the wealthy elites it is just the taxpayers who monetize that wealth who have a difference of opinion.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Bangladesh with fat people.

    • OnPointComments

      “…the Pope falls into the trap of conflating inequality and poverty. Some countries enjoy income parity because most citizens are rich and others because most citizens are poor. Put it this way: Egypt, Pakistan, and Mongolia all enjoy more economic equality than the United States. The GDP per capita here is $49,800. In a country like Argentina, the Pope’s homeland, a place where wealth is more fairly distributed, it’s $18,200.”

      http://thefederalist.com/2013/12/03/pope-wrong/

      • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

        What matters is the ratio of per-capita GDP to per-capita income. Can the average American worker who creates $50K USD worth of goods and services turn around and consume $50K USD worth of goods and services? Can the average Argentinian worker who creates $20K worth of goods and services turn around and consume $20K worth of goods and services?

      • Shag_Wevera

        Uh, that’s what happens if you even things out a bit.

        • OnPointComments

          “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” –Winston Churchill

  • creaker

    I hope there’s a bit of discussion of how much government assistance is used to supplement wages that would be otherwise completely untenable. Not only do our taxes provide wage supports for places like Walmart – the people receiving this assistance largely spend it at places like Walmart. Win-win.

    • J__o__h__n

      Stores that have an unacceptably high percentage of workers on food stamps shouldn’t be allowed to accept them.

  • Coastghost

    How many radio show hosts and radio show guests pulling in six-figure incomes are enthusiasts for trimming their own salaries down to five-figure incomes? Income redistribution to their hearts’ content could thus become a distinct possibility.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Rush and Hannity included? I say “DEAL”!

      • TFRX

        Now Shaggy, when the spit hits the fan, you know they never mean that.

        Cos their lot are authentico Americans, the VOTP, in a way that making a six-figure income will never “corrupt”.

      • Coastghost

        Rush probably has a seven-figure salary, would be my guess, can’t speak for Hannity.

    • OnPointComments

      According to NPR’s website, internships at NPR pay $8.50 an hour to $8.75 an hour. Those radio show hosts pulling in six-figure incomes should cut their own salaries and pay the interns more.

      • Bluejay2fly

        What? Next you’ll be decrying the usury rates of student loans and how $8.75 an hour is not helping them escape that financial trap.

    • creaker

      As the share of poverty wage earners keeps growing, it becomes a distinct inevitability. Most all private sector wages are dependent on people having money to spend.

    • jefe68

      So far this comment gets the “stupid is as stupid does” award for today’s show.

      I’m sure the regressive right wingers will be filling this forum with their usual frothy memes about the working poor.

      • Coastghost

        You’re enamored of hearing college-educated professionals with six-figure incomes discuss the plight of low-wage workers? Less entertainment value than a public radio station pledge drive!

        • jefe68

          Om not enamored with any of the above.

          I just think you’re comment is not worded to make any insight into the disparity of wages in general in this nation.

          It’s clearly designed as a way to get a reaction, which it did, mine, and to distract.

          You don’t give a rats ass about people making low wages. You don’t even address the facts about wages and salaries for the majority of working folks in the US. Which have been flat for over 30 years.

          When the minimum wage was introduced 50 years ago it was $2 per hour. That would be $15.27 an hour in today’s dollars. So spare me your false indignation or should I say misplaced indignation to what NPR journalist make.

          David Gregory, the moderator of NBC News’ Sunday morning talk show Meet the Press makes a lot more than any NPR journalist and he’s a partisan hack.

          Two can play this silly game.

          • TFRX

            But Dave Gregory always has his other career. Those Mad Microphone Skilz will provide for him as a member of MC Rove’s posse should he lose his spot on MTP.

            That’s the kind of foresight that smart people have which you and I fail at.

          • Coastghost

            If you want, then, let’s agree to withhold all applause for all eloquent and well-spoken words regarding the circumstance of the poor, as these words are known only to precede inaction.
            That way, we have time to consider why we never entrust the poor themselves with devising solutions to their own problems. Why is it that the poor show themselves not adept at addressing substantively their own plight and circumstance? Failure to address THIS surely is as lamentable as spending one hour babbling about the minimum wage.

      • brettearle

        jef–

        Maybe I’ve misunderstood CG….

        Despite the usual hard-ass, Right Wing Mentality [see my comment above], why can’t the `Joe the Plumber’, egalitarian strategy for NPR journalists, obtain?

        Again, maybe I’ve misunderstood CG’s comment….

        • jefe68

          See below…

  • Coastghost

    Most public radio commentators earning six-figure incomes seem to favor minimum wage laws.
    Pew should do a formal survey for us on this very topic to determine whether the anecdotal evidence has a high explanatory value.

    • 65noname

      huh?

  • AC

    i made a point to harp on my fav subject to ponder on; that all these ‘low-paying’ jobs are becoming mute. so what is the point of all this energy and debate?? what americans should favor is educating their kids to be able to have A job in the very near future – programming and designing the robots and drones, this requires a good deal of formal education. poor people all seem to have the same ‘core’ problem internationally – lack of education….

    • OnPointComments

      It’s so sad to think of all those silent low paid workers.

      • AC

        i’m sorry, i think i don’t really understand what you mean? do you mean, they are afraid to speak up? i am more worried they just won’t be needed, period.

        • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

          The confusion, I reckon, is to be found in the distinction between “moot” and “mute.”

        • OnPointComments

          I was just poking a little fun at your use of the word “mute” instead of “moot.” No offense meant.

          • AC

            gees, i didn’t even notice – thanks, i’ll change it….

    • Coastghost

      Or, what is arguably worse: so many of our fellow citizens lack the mental aptitude and discipline to make any good or poor use of any public education opportunity offered to them. (We educated folk prefer not to dwell on the facts that poor people often are poor simply because they habitually exhibit poor thought and poor decision-making.)

      • brettearle

        The Right Wing mentality ALWAYS POINTS TOWARDS BLAMING THE VICTIM NO MATTER WHAT.

        Some people have no money–sometimes, THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN.

        • Coastghost

          Be amazed at the raging success of American public education, In which case.

      • AC

        this isn’t true – i do tons of voluntary outreach work in ‘poor’ and private schools, the diff is usually a given child has at least 1 parent who is available to support and coach them, and one has one with all kinds of problems or working 3 jobs. i’m not kidding. i have seen it.

        • Coastghost

          I’m here to tell it IS true, because I’ve seen it with my own eyes and in order to avert complete blindness I was obliged to leave public education after no more than four years at it.
          All the continuing clamor over new and more and better pre-K public education is aimed at the very phenomenon I cite, but these stalwart efforts only vainly attempt to address the fact that the poor would have to be raised by someone else to disabuse the entire class of poor Americans of the native ignorance that characterizes their class.

          • lobstahbisque

            In Japan, literacy rates are at 99%. Are you saying it’s a nationalistic difference, more uniformity of population, or that we just have ‘the wrong kind of people’?

          • Coastghost

            Americans do not uniformly hold literacy and educational attainment in identically high esteem. Our commentariat routinely ignores this phenomenon as utterly as possible.
            Simple provision of public education opportunities has not itself fostered the cultural reception of literacy and education among all sub-populations of Americans.
            Education itself thus CANNOT be or become the simple cure for economic and social inequality: our sub-populations already exhibit disparities and inequalities of ability and opportunity: provision of educational opportunities itself only enhances the gulf that exists by virtue of the existing discrepancies and inequalities.

          • lobstahbisque

            I’m glad you got out of public education— you could have done a lot of damage.

        • Bluejay2fly

          Just remember NAZI Germany had some of the world’s leading engineers, scientists, and physicists. What good did that do the world? Education and morality. I do not see a lot of compassion or empathy in this society and that cuts all across the board.

          • Coastghost

            Compassion takes time to deliver, and lots and lots of repetition. Blame cultural velocity for contemporary impatience.

          • lobstahbisque

            Compassion saves the society, one soul at a time.

          • AC

            can you flush this out more? i’m not grasping the point very well…

    • Bluejay2fly

      If everyone goes to college than someone with a 200K student loan debt is going to be driving a bus or managing a Taco Bell. We have a serious jobs problem and an over priced education problem. Do you think colleges do not overcharge? Do the math at your college.

      • Enuff_of_this

        If you go to school, amass 200K in debt, and you’re driving a bus or managing a Taco Bell, you may have chosen the wrong major. Where you study is as important as what you study.

  • James

    I work during the day in as a legal secretary. To supplement my pay, I work approximately once a week at a chain dollar store….my thoughts.

    1. A monkey can do a stock clerks job. That is easy money. I don’t know if I’m underpaid as a secretary or overpaid as a clerk.

    2. Working a cash register is harder, I’ve worked it twice and am close to mastering it.

    3. People in a supervisor role at these places (even if they aren’t the General Manager) shouldn’t be paid food stamp wages. They are responsible for the store, to balance the cash register, etc. If a store trust an employee enough to manage the store, then they should be paid better then minimum wage.

  • ToyYoda

    $15/hour from ~$7 is quite a leap. I’m all for increasing wages for the poor, but I think that’s a huge adjustment for businesses to make. If they raise it, it should be done in a slower manner, I would think.

    • RolloMartins

      But if minimum wage had been pegged to inflation it would be roughly $11/hr. That is much less a leap.

  • TFRX

    “You’re not going to be rich on $15 an hour” said the CBS news reporter, almost protestingly.

    That’s a hoot–I mean, unintentionally. If we can’t find someone on the TV to interview someone like that who can’t appreciate the difference between $8 and $15 / hr, we really got a media economics problem.

  • 65noname

    the first “guest” spreads some of the typical myths. first, although unions obviously support a higher minimum wage the dispute is NOT “between unions and business”. it is between business (profits) and citizens. It was the tax paying citizens in the seattle area and in new jersey who voted to raise the minimum wage. And it is not busineeses who will have “to pay” fro the raised wages. It is the citizen/consumers who will pay any increase in business costs. And, to repeat, it is those consumers have voted to raise the minimum wage.
    this is just another example as to how government radio routinely uses loaded terms in seemingly innocous ways.

  • James

    Unemployment for those under the age of 24 is something in the neighborhood of 17%. These people, college students, retired people, stay at home moms, should be filling these positions. If your a primary wage earner, you should be older and in more skilled positions.

  • toc1234

    easy Tom, your flimsy mask of impartiality is slipping again…

    • jefe68

      He’s pissed off. As he should be.

  • OnPointComments

    WHO MAKES MINIMUM WAGE?
    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/07/19/who-makes-minimum-wage/

    “Perhaps surprisingly, not very many people earn minimum wage, and they make up a smaller share of the workforce than they used to. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last year 1.566 million hourly workers earned the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour; nearly two million more earned less than that because they fell under one of several exemptions (tipped employees, full-time students, certain disabled workers and others), for a total of 3.55 million hourly workers at or below the federal minimum.”

    People at or below the federal minimum are disproportionately young (ages 16 to 24) and work largely part-time.

    • RolloMartins

      The true minimum wage (that expressed as inflation adjusted) would include many more people than you are including.

    • Shag_Wevera

      If you get a .15 raise after 6 months you no longer make minimum wage. Thanks for the straw man.

    • OnPointComments

      It never surprises me when the simple recitation of undisputed facts gets down votes. It’s as if the voter is saying the facts don’t support my preconceived notion of what I think the facts should be, and I don’t like that.

  • jefe68

    McDonald’s made $1.5 billion in profits in the third quarter, up 5 percent from last year.

    The number is strikingly close to the $1.2 billion taxpayers are shelling out each year to help pay public assistance to the McDonald’s workforce, according to a report released last week by the National Employment Law Project.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/15/mcdonalds-wages-taxpayers_n_4100866.html

    Walmart made $28.7 billion in profits.

    A study on the cost of Walmart’s wages, “Hidden Cost of Wal-Mart Jobs,” found that the average Wal-Mart worker required $730 in taxpayer-funded healthcare and $1,222 in other forms of assistance, such as food stamps and subsidized housing, to get by.

    http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2013/11/12/wal-mart-pay-raise

    • upandacross

      Thanks for this. I see the same thing in my client’s businesses. They wouldn’t survive without low-wage workers and their employees couldn’t accept these low wages without government subsidies.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Economist – someone who never worked a “slime line” in a fish processing plant.

    What you hear on Ashbrook’s show: the continuing rationale for more greed. “Gee, if every one of us was an Einstein NONE of us would have to work!”

    Thanks much. Old School Liberal/Registered Professional Engineer

  • monicaroland

    It is a highly complex issue. As a compassionate society, we have many fine programs that help low-wage employees, including help with food, health care, heat, and rent. But is is possible that these well-intentioned programs may cause employers to keep wages low? In other words, if employees are receiving benefits from the government, might they have less incentive to strike or unionize or petition the employer for more money? I don’t know the answer to this question.

  • Anne in VT

    What your previous guest failed to say is that many large corporations who pay poverty wages (aka Walmart) encourage their employees to apply for federal assistance programs to help them get by. Walmart is shirking its responsibilities and forcing the taxpayer to subsidize its corporate profits. Its shameful.

    • Enuff_of_this

      Then get an education and move on up in life. Don’t make excuses, make adjustments

      • Shag_Wevera

        Blame the victim. Its easy cuz they usually can’t defend themselves. “Don’t like minimum wage? Well make more money then, Dummy!”

        • Enuff_of_this

          They are victims of the choices that they made.

    • Anne in VT

      Got an education…had a great career…happily retired and feeling empathy for those who are caught in the Walmartization of American business.

  • dawoada

    It’s not just the minimum wage people who must get raises. Others must get a raise to stay ahead of the minimum wage earner. Their supervisor would have to get a raise, and their supervisor’s supervisor, etc, etc. That means all costs are going up. The result will be substantial increases in prices.

  • RolloMartins

    Spokesman for the Koch bros. not telling the truth? Shocker.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Just wait until these low wage workers have the hours cut to 29/week to comply with Obamacare.

    • TFRX

      Please build the time machine required for your fantasy. This cutting hours down is not new.

      Many of your captains of industry were doing it when their own companies’ bennies started at X hours. Please don’t pretend stuff that isn’t true.

      • HonestDebate1

        “… as a share of all workers”.

        Now look at the LFPR and run the numbers. You’ve been duped.

  • creaker

    Flood the market with educated people seeking work, and wages will stagnate and drop as there just is not enough work to go around. Supply and demand. And if you need proof, just look at the labor market for graduates in their 20′s.

  • Yar

    No matter the number unless wages are indexed to costs it quickly gets lost to inflation. Tie the wage to the cost of energy. Think of it as a proxy for the gold standard.

  • Slacker66

    Ugh… Minimum wage employment is NOT a career path. It’s a start point

    Actions and poor decisions have consequences!!!
    AND no one EVER said you cannot have TWO jobs!!!
    Want more–work more! Get skilled!

    Get rid of luxuries like cell phone, cable, gadgets, CIGARETTES– live modestly and grow from there!!!

    Cannot tell you the number of folks that are poor that are there because of the reflection in the mirror.

    • JGC

      Two jobs – many would like to try to take on a second job, but “just in time” scheduling done by companies like WalMart, make it very difficult to do so. Their schedules are constantly shape-shifting, making it impossible to commit to being available for a second job. These companies essentially want workers to be “on call”, available 24/7 at their whim, and at very low wages.

      • fun bobby

        yeah and all you have to look forward to at walmart is a dead end like this guy right?

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/25/doug-mcmillon-walmart-ceo_n_4337165.html

        • JGC

          That is actually a very interesting example, fun bobby. It shows how the new CEO gained thorough knowledge and experience by working in many different positions within the company. That is one of the fixes recommended by Zeynep Ton, to cross-train employees, make them familiar with the company products/culture, and that way they can always be prepared to answer customers’ questions, they can always be productive because they can work at more than one task. For a WalMart, when the customer foot traffic is low as expected at certain times of day, don’t underschedule workers; have a constant level of workers who should be using that time to re-stock the shelves.

          Sometimes I am forced to go to WalMart when I am visiting in western PA – they are the only game in town now, since they undercut all the small merchants- and my impression of it is narrow aisles with high shelving and poor lighting; cardboard boxes stacked in areas impeding access to merchandise; random carts that are abandoned and overflowing with items meant to be shelved; shelves that ironically are empty; and no one around to ask for assistance.

          Maybe this new CEO can emphasize some of the policies that helped him in his J. Pierpont Finch-like rise to the top, for the hourly workers at WalMart.

          • fun bobby

            sounds like one bad walmart. All the ones I have been are clean and bright and the employees are not always that competent but generally helpful. They are also known for their efficiency in stocking the shelves. if you ever go in at 3 am they are buffing all the floors and stocking all the shelves using a JIT inventory system. I bet he will be a great inspiration for his fellows

          • JGC

            Probably bad because there is no competition.

            “employees not that competent but generally helpful”! That sounds like when I ask someone for directions, and I slowly get the feeling they don’t really know the way, but they really really want to be helpful, even if it means they are giving me invented information..

          • fun bobby

            they don’t have a target, kmart or dollar store in the area? their online shopping works pretty well when there is someone in the store to actually go retrieve your item

      • wku1977

        Would’ve.. could’ve… should’ve… Excuses, excuses, excuses…

    • fun bobby

      its like people don’t understand that if you work hard at mopping the floors next week you could be on the fries

    • Renee Engine-Bangger

      Perhaps take a break from your navel gazing and you will find some answers to your silly, uninformed point of view.

      • warryer

        Nothing but name calling here. What exactly is wrong with his point of view?

        • Renee Engine-Bangger

          What is wrong with his point of view? Well, aside from the ignorant, uninformed assumptions (based on similarly ignorant and cynical conservative propaganda), nothing. Nothing at all.

          • warryer

            Again with the name calling. You have admitted that there is nothing wrong with his statement so, I don’t know why you are calling him names. You are only degrading yourself at this point.

          • jefe68

            I don’t know, ignorant, uninformed assumptions, seem to be pointing out that there is something wrong with that comment.

          • Renee Engine-Bangger

            Ha ha. Guess you have some issues with reading comprehension.

    • Shag_Wevera

      For some, it is an endpoint. Should they live in a cardboard city down by the docks?

  • lobstahbisque

    They’re here, it’s just that their aim is a little off today, as they have had their usual placards blown down by the big bad Pope.

  • Slacker66

    Nurses make $15/hour– so what their pay raise to?

    There are second and third order effects.
    Want more???–here is a thought!!! WORK

    • fun bobby

      yeah the supervisors at UPS make under $15

    • Shag_Wevera

      Nurses make $25/hr in southeast wisconsin. That’s without overtime, of which there is plenty. Where are you, down south or something?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        $25/hour — with or without benefits?

        • Shag_Wevera

          Benefited, though tehy contribute to their health insurance and 401k. A good nursing assistant at a quality place can make $15.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Much better wages than a school teacher with a masters degree. (starting around $16/hour without counting weekend grading).

            Of course gym teachers are paid the same rate as an AP math or science teacher. Kind of nuts.

  • 65noname

    why is government radio giving a free forum to the Koch bros owned and controled Mercatus Center? And doing it without making clear that it is funded and controlled by them? If a union financed guest was on the show, these guys would say “union financed” as if it was a pre-fix to his or her name everytime the name was mentioned.

    • Shag_Wevera

      I agree. We could use fewer think tanks and institutes.

  • Yar

    So who would work at Walmart, if everyone got a better education? Why should we subsidize the customers of Walmart by not paying a living wage.

    • Bluejay2fly

      This so called education is seriously over priced and is getting deluded every year. My father worked in a factory with barely a HS diploma they replaced him with an engineering graduate. Was that necessary? Credential inflation is not about job skills but about getting a better employee. One who proves they can commit and are saddled with student loan debt and must have that job.

    • fun bobby

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/25/doug-mcmillon-walmart-ceo_n_4337165.html
      that guy would.
      I also think we should cut off any subsidies that low wage workers receive

    • Shag_Wevera

      You make a great point. For some, service industry is as high as they’ll go. Should they make enough to live and have a family? Are they entitled to the pursuit of happiness?

      • James

        Are they entitled to the pursuit of happiness?

        Yeah, emphasis on pursuit

  • andrewgarrett

    As far as the Pope goes, what does he want? We know that the global poverty rate is the lowest in history, thanks to globalization. In the last 20 years alone a billion people in the developing world escaped extreme poverty. Would the Pope prefer feudalism, when nearly everybody was a serf or peasant? Would he prefer the ancient slave and piracy-based economies? I know he’s not a Marxist – we all know that Marxism killed 80 million innocent people and impoverished millions more. So what does he want? I don’t understand his criticism, although sure, he should ask that individuals be more Christ-like.

  • RolloMartins

    The red herring isn’t the minimum wage…it’s the Koch’s saying “get an education.” So many would end up with a degree and a job right back at WalMart except now they have tens of thousands of debt.

    • ThirdWayForward

      Yes, this whole “lack of good education” thing is a total red herring. The problem is lack of jobs that require skilled labor. If there are no good jobs available, then it is completely useless to beef up the educational system. On the other hand, if there is strong demand for skilled labor, then workers have strong incentives to get trained and employers have strong incentives to train on the job.

    • Bluejay2fly

      They might as well say “Swim to the life boat” even thought it’s miles away in freezing water.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    How are illegal immigrants are distorting the labor market and thus driving down wages?

    • fun bobby

      not much since they have been static, equal numbers coming and going

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        ???
        12 million has no impact?

        • fun bobby

          they do keep things cheap. do you want to wash dishes or pick lettuce? will you do it for below minimum wage?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I want an honest system with no hidden costs. This would include a guest worker program where appropriate.

          • fun bobby

            guest worker is code for second class citizen

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Not necessarily. It allows folks to move up out of their current plight but also get them out of the shadows. There is no reason for the US to cede control over its borders to chaos.

          • fun bobby

            we need to actually enforce the laws we have now. we could get the border under control if we ended the war on drugs

    • Bluejay2fly

      They are not your kid is too fat and lazy to do those jobs.

    • Yar

      It isn’t the labor of those workers that distorts wages it is the corrupt immigration system that exploits their position. Make them citizens and wages will rise.

      • William

        If we have more cheap labor why would wages go up?

    • TFRX

      Do a little homework about the exploitability of people who can’t run to OSHA or NLRB, willya?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Yeah, then we should crack down on employers that hire illegal immigrants. What is wrong with an honest and transparent system?

        • TFRX

          Can you answer your first question, or will I just put this up to another JAQing session?

    • northeaster17

      If you use the commonly used number of 12 million undocumented residents. That represents about 3.5%of the population. Not sure how much distortion that represents

  • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

    Instead of minimum wage (or perhaps in addition to it), I’d like to see a system where a worker is rewarded in a manner proportional to the value added by their labor.

    So, for example, if a worker takes some resources worth $X and, through his or her labor, transforms those resources into products or services worth $Y, then their compenation should be proportional to their value added, $Y − $X.

    Perhaps in addition to a minimum wage, there should be a minimum proportionality factor so that, for example, they earn at least 50% of the value added by dint of their labor.

    • ThirdWayForward

      That would be fairer (a word that I never use in the context of anything having to do with employment), but it would be hard to calculate and enforce.

      As a social and moral standard, workers SHOULD be paid, and if possible demand, what they are worth, in terms of some fraction (say 50%) of the value added.

      The problem is the huge power disparity between an individual worker and an employer. Our labor laws have been weakened to the point that makes it very difficult for workers on the margins to organize effectively.

    • OnPointComments

      The system you describe is the system we have now.

      I reached a point in my job where I knew I was worth more than I was being paid. I made my case to my boss, and he said he would consider it in a year or so. I made my case to another company and they agreed. I quit my job and got another one paying more.

      If a person can’t quit a job and get another one paying more, chances are the work they are doing is not worth more.

  • TFRX

    I have a sense of Gish Galloping here.

    Who is peddling the anecdote about “my cousins’ hours are cut because the ACA is driving up the cost of labor”?

    Tom, get your guest to talk slower and ask him back up his precise claims.

  • creaker

    As things drop to the point where working people’s families are going hungry and unable keep a roof over their heads, unions are going to be making a big comeback.

    • Shag_Wevera

      I sure hope so.

      • Bluejay2fly

        I am a member of a strong union. The problem is as our wages go up so do taxes and fees. I now pay 10K a year to live in my house just in taxes.

    • fun bobby

      that and not government fiat is the solution

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    “Senior Research Fellow” now sounds like one of those pork loin eating goobers on strident talk AM radio. So much for higher education, ‘eh?

    I’ll channel him: GREED IS GOOD. GREED GREED GREED GOOD GOOD GOOD. “Mongo like can-dy.”

    Hoober Doober

    • HonestDebate1

      Indeed it is.

  • James

    Jesus Christ Tom enough with the indignation! Not everyone who works minimum wage is working for a multi billion dollar corporation (with billion dollar profits) A lot of these companies are franchise based and are operated by an owner. A lot of restaurants and some stores are family owned and operated. Would you agree to a 10% cut in wages to pay your interns twice as much?

    • fun bobby

      2x 0 is 0. he wont mind tripling his interns wages

  • Coastghost

    Bands struggle each day across this country to be heard, to get noticed, to get a recording contract, to tour: what help are they getting from $250 million+ rock ‘n’ roll populist Bruce Springsteen? Is Springsteen bankrolling concert venues and touring schedules? Does he spend even $50 million a year (a million a week) offering music education classes in public schools? New Jersey schools should be the country’s top performing academies, were the Boss being the ardent populist he advertises himself as.
    Deaf populism is unplugged populism, rather obviously to one who shares no populist sentiments.

    • jefe68

      Springsteen has performed to support the revitalization of Asbury Park, and has played an annual series of winter holiday concerts there to benefit various local businesses, organizations and causes.

      Springsteen has played benefits for causes against nuclear energy, for Vietnam veterans, and for Amnesty International.

      Mr Springsteen is also involved with this organization.
      http://www.springsfnd.org

      Yeah, go ahead and make some more inane comments about people who you seem to know nothing about.

      • Coastghost

        You misconstrue: I’m simply amazed that a man of such obvious philanthropic zeal should still somehow manage to amass and accrue a fortune of some $250 million. I find it amazing that so many of his loyal fans harbor no amazement at his prowess for hanging on to the very fortune that so many of them contributed to so often over the years, while any number of them these days may see themselves fit only to have sad songs written of their plight.

        • jefe68

          I guess you have issues with Bill and Melinda Gates as well.

          You seem pissed off at his success.
          What are you a failed rock musician?

          • Coastghost

            I would celebrate his success were he modest about it himself.
            I’m genuinely amazed by the existence of populist and philanthropic fortunes: you might think philanthropies and the fortunes of philanthropic princes and entertainment royalty would consume themselves in the service of humanity more aggressively at least some of the time.

  • adks12020

    The “get an education” argument is completely bogus. There is already a ridiculously large number of college graduates working in jobs below their education levels because of the state of the job market. How is adding more college educated people to that mix going to help anyone but the universities? The people out in the job market already looking will be hurt and so will the new graduates. One huge problem is the imbalance in our economy. There are far too many service jobs and not enough manufacturing jobs. Not everyone should need a college education to get by.

    • AC

      it doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘college’ but some formal technical and scientific knowledge IS what will be needed for new ‘jobs’…

      • adks12020

        I agree that is becoming more and more common but why not have apprenticeships rather than forcing people to pay thousands for school? Or maybe give people a better chance to start in high school (some offer programs but most don’t)? Anything must be better than the current system. I live in an area of the country that has recently seen a boom in hi tech jobs. The problem is that in many cases they are not attainable to graduates of technical colleges. Many of those technical colleges state explicitly that the associates degrees they offer “may get them an entry level job” which would be fine if they didn’t have to pay thousands of dollars for an education but is very tough with that added cost. Plus thousands of people are getting those degrees and the job pool is being diluted and extremely competitive. The good, stable jobs in those industries still require bachelor and gradual level education.

        • AC

          i think germany still uses this apprenticeship style programs, but i’m not sure. they also have ‘work-share’…
          i think they will be able to handle the changes coming to the modern world very well and would likely be a good starter-model….

      • Bluejay2fly

        It’s obvious you did not pay for your college. Newsflash, its expensive and life crippling.

        • AC

          Of course i paid for college MYSELF and i worked part-time too, why do you think i didn’t?

    • fun bobby

      c’mon what we need are more English lit degrees!

  • Jim Smith

    If you have ever seen “Undercover Boss” the big boss, with their six or seven figure income, too-large home and expensive toys goes undercover to see his/her big business from the inside. They are more often than not appalled that their employees don’t make enough money and have to work multiple jobs or work too many hours for little pay and inadequate benefits. One woman who worked at Model’s was even homeless! At the end they all cry and hug and the boss gives them a few bucks and a nice vacation. Sometimes they even raise their pay. How about all the companies who undervalue their employees wake up and share the wealth and benefits?! Until then, I don’t go to any store, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s etc, that pays low wages just so I can buy crap products and food from unhappy, undervalued people. Vote with your wallets!

  • AC

    there are just too many people for every one of these types of ‘jobs’, and the ‘jobs’ themselves are slowly disappearing as technology advances.
    how many humans do you need to run a ‘fast food’ store? i don’t even like fast food….
    then what?
    anyone?

  • upandacross

    What opponents to raising the minimum wage don’t understand is that federal aid programs are, in effect, subsidizing business by allowing the working poor to survive with these low wages. I have a client that flat out admits “all my employees get government assistance”. This distorts even the classic supply/demand argument that businesses must pay what the labor market will accept based on labor supply. Thus, some workers are able to accept low-wages if subsidized by government.

    The question for society is: are we better off to keep subsidies in place so that low-wage businesses can provide low-price goods and services or is it better to put more money in peoples pockets so they can afford higher prices?

    • jefe68

      It’s amazing how some people don’t get that and how most of them seem to be pretty right wing or libertarian in there politics. Look up the show on the SNAP program and you will see a high volume of right wing hand wringing about their tax dollars being wasted on feeding people.

  • nj_v2

    When listening to Mr Fichtner’s comments, consider the source:

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Mercatus_Center

    [[ "The Mercatus Center was founded and is funded by the Koch Family Foundations. According to financial records, the Koch family has contributed more than thirty million dollars to George Mason, much of which has gone to the Mercatus Center, a nonprofit organization. Democratic strategist Rob Stein described the Mercatus Center as "ground zero for deregulation policy in Washington.”

    The Mercatus Center has engaged in campaigns involving deregulation, especially environmental deregulation. It now fills the role once played by the economics department at Chicago University as the originator of extreme neoliberal ideas. Fourteen of the 23 regulations that George W Bush put on his hitlist were, according to the Wall Street Journal, first suggested by academics working at the Mercatus Centre." ]]

  • creaker

    The strength of an economy is the number of dollars moving through it. We’ve moved more and more to where the money just moves straight to the top and out. We need ways to push more of that money back into the economy.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Imagine 30K people spending 30K a year in your local economy. That is what we put into Korea every year and we have 180,000 troops abroad,

  • Jim Smith

    Plus, where are all these high paying jobs they are talking about? Most college grads with a higher education, which they paid through the nose for, cannot find a job in their field.

    • AC

      what’s the field? the flip side here is the pressure of high-tech corps demanding more h1n1 visas for foreigner workers since not enough US kids go into STEM fields.. this serves another purpose, those foreign workers are more likely to do the same work for less, so eventually, this ‘low-wage’ argument will also hit american high-tech, at the moment well paid, workers…
      in the meanwhile, i’m doing very well and graduated in 2006…

      • walla walla

        There are more graduates than openings even in the STEM fields. See

        http://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1319039

        Also, its good that you graduated in 2006 when the economy was doing alright. If you had graduated during/after the downturn it would be much harder. One of the big problems, described by Larry Summers as the “secular stagnation” is the divergence of employment rates with the economic recovery. I highly recommend watching his speech he gave a couple weeks ago: http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2013/11/18/larry_summers_speech_the_fed_s_biggest_problem_is_the_zero_lower_bound.html

        • AC

          the article focused only on electronic and IT majors – which there are a lot of, and some you have to wonder how they managed to get through all 4 years; prob with a little help of a ‘curve’…now i’m being mean. still….

          • walla walla

            While it is coming out of an EE focused magazine, the article states,

            “Data provided by the National Science Foundation for STEM degrees awarded, the Department of Education, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that from 2010 to 2020, there will be 2.5 million STEM-based job openings. Projected STEM degrees earned to fill those jobs in the US are 3.9 million.”

            Also, the go on in the very next paragraph to hypothesize that the quality of the education may be lower, which you seem to be implying.

  • Slacker66

    So folks–instead of beating up on minimum wage and corporations versus the little person… Change the entire climate!

    Shift our tax system to the Fair Tax (HR25) and get rid of all these subsidies and handouts and taxes, hidden costs… Especially business and income taxes! Shift to a consumption tax–after all, it really is not what one makes but what one spends money on that is really the driving issue. And makes everything more transparent and clean with less Bs from our elected crew

  • fun bobby

    if I am warren buffet and I own burger king and they force a $15 minimum wage I am replacing all the cashiers with self checkout and cell phone apps. I am buying some self cleaning toilets and automated grills. I bet I could build a burger king with just one employee

    • Shag_Wevera

      What a terrible world you would create if you could.

      • walla walla

        but isn’t this an inevitability? If not tomorrow, 50 years from now. The problem isn’t just here in America, worldwide unemployment is very high: particularly for the youth 15-24 demographic.

        The only question at this point is whether there will be socioeconomic reforms before or after the social unrest.

        This is a good article outlining the issue:

        http://www.economist.com/news/international/21576657-around-world-almost-300m-15-24-year-olds-are-not-working-what-has-caused

      • fun bobby

        and I, warren buffet, am a democrat! what kind of a business is going to make less money? you know businesses with stockholders are required to make decisions to maximize the return to their stockholders right? if they don’t they are doing the wrong thing

    • 65noname

      they’re doing it anyway, raised minimum wage or not.

      • fun bobby

        of course, its inevitable that machines will cost less to employ than humans. artificial raises in human wages will accelerate this process

        • 65noname

          “artifical”? what in the world does that mean? Is that like “artifical” public health? or “artifical” policie departments? And what about “artifical” profits?

          • fun bobby

            In the above use I meant it to mean “by government fiat” hope that helps

          • 65noname

            a democratic vote is hardly “by fiat”. As opposed to a business’ arbitary decision to pay a particular wage, a wage based only on what it can get away with

          • fun bobby

            and when will there be a national referendum on the minimum wage? “what people can get away with” is an interesting description of market forces. do you think stores would be able to get away with paying low wages if the government did not make up the difference?

          • 65noname

            1. I don’t know. but there have been several local referendums.

            2. Whether it is “an interesting description of market forces”, it certainly is accurate one.

            3. yes. they have for centuries.

          • fun bobby

            1. hint. it will be never because there are no national referenda in America.
            2. if you like it
            3. when was the last time we tried it in America? if we did it now people would quit those low wage jobs or the employers would have to pay them more

    • jefe68

      You make some real lame arguments.
      You post a lot about taxes and yet somehow you don’t get it. Walmart and McDonald’s, two examples, both of these companies pay their workers lousy wages and both use huge proportions of public assistance. (Wal-Mart worker required $730 in taxpayer-funded healthcare and $1,222 in other forms of assistance, such as food stamps and subsidized housing, to get by.)

      It would seem to me that this is a no brainer in terms of less tax dollars being spent to help people deal with the basic necessities.

      • fun bobby

        jefe you seldom make any arguments. perhaps its better that way. I mentioned neither walmart nor mcdonalds, I am hypothetically warren buffet. As myself and not warren buffet I have said many time that we should not subsidize any workers. How much does the average family who shops at walmart save every year? If you did away with the walmart how will people be able to afford the basic necessities? jefe if you shopped at walmart you would notice there are no self checkout. if you mandated a $15 per hour minimum wage do you think that would stay the same or change?

        • jefe68

          So the argument for a higher minimum wage is not an argument.
          Please stop with the BS. This topic is all about Walmart and McDonalds as much as it’s about any company that Warren Buffet owns that does not pay a living wage. That’s the argument. What part of this do not get?

          By the way why is that Costco can pay it’s workers well and it has no effect on their bottom line?

          As far as not subsidizing any workers goes, well you seem to me to be a social Darwinist of the worst sort. The consequences of the kind of world you would like to live in would not be pretty.

          • fun bobby

            “Please stop with the BS. This topic is all about Walmart and McDonalds as much as it’s about any company that Warren Buffet owns that does not pay a living wage. That’s the argument. What part of this do not get?”
            does anyone see an argument in there?
            I don’t know anything about Costco do you shop there?
            your government handouts keep people poor.

    • Jim Smith

      I hope you pay that ONE employee really well because if they walk off the job you will have no income.

      • fun bobby

        nahh there are many many unemployed workers since every other business is doing the same thing since they raised the minimum wage. human labor is becoming obsolete and so less valuable. making laws won’t change that

        • fun bobby

          I might even outsource the monitoring of the equipment to a foreign country

  • ThirdWayForward

    Raising the minimum wage puts more money in the hands of those who will spend it and it reduces the need for government to support those workers in various ways. It functions as an economic stimulus.

    Part of the reason we are in the economic doldrums now is that not enough people have enough disposable income and job security to spend money.

    Raising the minimum wage lifts all boats.

    • fun bobby

      so low income workers will have more secure jobs if the minimum wage in increased. one would think employers would be trying to lay off as many as possible to offset the increased labor costs

      • Slacker66

        Raising minimum wage just raises wages for all and does nothing in the end due to inflation

        • fun bobby

          if you have been to a walmart you might notice they have no self checkout. do you really believe that would stay the same if minimum wage was raised to $15? humans will only be employed as long as its not cheaper to replace them with a machine. raising the minimum wage will accelerate this process

    • William

      But did we not see the demise of the unions in America because they became too expensive?

      • 65noname

        no we didn’t. the unions are in decline because corps own congress and the media, including government radio which believes that the “center” is somewhere inbetween the koch bros and newt gingrich.

        • William

          You really can’t blame the business community to donate money to political leaders. It worked out very well for the UAW which was richly rewarded by Obama. Even China is losing jobs due to raising wages to countries like Vietnam and Cambodia.

          • 65noname

            Sure I can; businesses buy politicans in order to ensure that the laws that it wants are passed and the laws that it objects to are not. Yes, the unions try it also. But, first, they represent people not money and, second, they are not nearly as successful as business mostly because their resources are dwarfede by that of business.
            And, no, obama has done squat for working people. And, no china would not loose jobs due to rising wages in other slave labor countries. In fact, it would seem if wages are lower in china then businesses would stay there.

  • Human898

    In 1965 the pay ratio of CEO’s to average workers was 20 to 1
    Now it is 100′s of times that.
    How is it CEO’s are worth every penny of their pay and those that provide the labor for their companies are “too expensive”?

    • fun bobby

      because they only have one ceo and many workers

      • northeaster17

        That sounds more like an excuse than a reason

        • fun bobby

          just math

          • jefe68

            Wal-Mart worker required $730 in taxpayer-funded healthcare and $1,222 in other forms of assistance, such as food stamps and subsidized housing, to get by.

            Just math.

          • TFRX

            Maybe if WM put out jars for collecting change to buy their workers SNAP and Medicaid it’d sink in for some people.

          • fun bobby

            as I have said before we need to end those subsidies for those workers immediately. its not walmarts fault that that is the system we have devised. I have said for a while that walmart is the biggest food stamp beneficiary. and how much does the average family who shops at walmart save per year?

          • jefe68

            I guess Costco did not get your memo.
            By the way Costco pays it’s workers a living wage and guess what, they outpaced Walmart in profits this year.

            Walmart is using the system to their benefit. And yet you seem fit to defend it even though they are costing tax payer money.

          • fun bobby

            if Costco has a model that works for them that’s great. and look jefe they did it without even any force from the govt. I have never shopped there and don’t even know where one is. are their prices lower than walmart? Walmart is using the system to their benefit. this is why I advise changing the system yet it sounds like you want to double down. You still have not accepted that every family that shops at walmart saves money and on average thousands per family per year. if you don’t like that walmarts workers cost tax money then advocate to stop those subsidies. that would actually force them to raise wages and save tax dollars

          • jefe68

            Wow, you really have no idea about labor history.

          • fun bobby

            are you saying minimum wage laws predated unionization?

          • jefe68

            Nope. But that’s not what I meant.
            Are you really as thick as you sound?

          • fun bobby

            jefe if you have a point feel free to make it

          • northeaster17

            It’s math alright. And the message sent is one that CEO’s matter. Workers do not. That equation is badly skewed.

          • fun bobby

            so what are the workers going to do about it?

          • northeaster17
      • Human898

        If a CEO makes $10 million and gives up 5 million in pay, can they still live in the lap of luxury? 5 million dollars will create how many $50,000 a year jobs? People with those jobs will need food stamps? People with those jobs will pay income taxes to help pay down debt? People with those jobs will buy more goods and services, supporting more job growth and more income for themselves and their CEO’s?

        How do many corporations in the world make the profits they do without the “many workers” or without many customers? How is there multiple millions for CEO compensation without the many workers and many customers?

        I was a lifelong Republican and have been the CEO of a company. I became an Independent when it became apparent that to remain an “accepted” member of the neo republican party, I had to advocate greed, gluttony and capitalism that had no consideration for social impact, only maximizing profits, regardless of whom got trampled. I am not alone in my thoughts amongst other Republicans who remain and disagree with where the republican party has gone or left, because the republican party continues with policies that contributed to the Great Recession and in the Great Depression.

        If it is OK for already wealthy people to want more, why is it not OK for people struggling to want more? My father was a conservative guy, but truer to the non-political definition of the word, He was also able to be liberal (the non-political definition of the word) in many ways because he was conservative and lived more modestly than many of those as fortunate as he. He passed on much of his excess to others.

        • fun bobby

          sounds like he identified the actual solution and came to the same conclusion as most wealthy people. thus the gates foundation

          • Human898

            I’m not sure of what you mean exactly Bobby. The foundation Bill and Melinda Gates began has Warren Buffett as one of its trustees. The Gates and Mr. Buffett have no problems with other solutions and those that include the government or paying more of their good fortune in taxes to help pay down the nation’s debt and go toward those in need.

            The following offers examples of the ratio of pay between the head of the company Bill Gates began and average worker pay and Warren Buffett’s company and his pay.

            They have encouraged others to share more of their good fortune, by paying better wages, giving those in need and paying a relative (to their wealth and good fortune) effective tax rate that they have not been paying.

            http://www.payscale.com/data-packages/ceo-income

            http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2012/ceo-pay-ratios/

            http://www.gatesfoundation.org/who-we-are/general-information/leadership/management-committee/warren-buffett

          • fun bobby

            most wealthy people recognize they are obligated to help others

          • Human898

            If that were true Bobby, I sincerely doubt this conversation would be needed or taking place.
            Some people seem to think that tithing is fine, but taxes are not and all the people that churches and charities give to are truly needy, but those offered assistance from a government are lazy moochers with a dependency. No doubt, there are some abusers of the government on the welfare end, but their numbers are often inflated and others are thrown in with them and misrepresented while those that defraud the government and taxpayers at the million and billion dollar contracts end aren’t talked about nearly as much.
            If more people were honorable, just, fair, generous and respectful of one another, there would be less need for government. I imagine the Pope is onto something with what he has observed to be how people are treating one another, especially those with wealth and power who have the means to change the world, not just to satisfy their own egos and hedonism, but to raise up all, realizing the paths that all their good fortune comes to them and wanting to give back, if not all their excess good fortune, but meaningful portions thereof.

    • Bluejay2fly

      I have the more respect for a thug who sticks a gun in my face to rob me than one of those CEO’s. At least the thug does not try to masquerade as an honorable person.

    • William

      I agree. I used to take my children to the movies but it has become so expensive that we have not been in a few years. I look and see how greedy actors have become with their multi-million dollar salaries while the common man can’t afford to go to a movie with his children anymore.

      • TFRX

        Greedy actors?

        I don’t know where to begin. This post is so full of fail.

        Cheaper actors will not result in cheaper movie tickets. You sound like you just need a focus for your anger.

        Now tell me some more things you “know”, like how signing that new free agent makes the beer and hot dogs more expensive at Big League Stadium.

        • William

          So those multi-million dollar actors don’t affect the cost of a movie ticket. Interesting….

          • TFRX

            Keep JAQing it, William.

          • jefe68

            It’s amazing how the right wingers on this forum twist things to a new level of absurdity. And they do it almost on a daily basis.

      • jefe68

        Ding, ding ding!!!
        The “stupid is as stupid does” award for today’s show now goes to this chap. Oh the inanity…

        • William

          Your silly comments never disappoint us. You going on strike Thursday?

          • jefe68

            Wow, you really are not very bright.

      • Human898

        Glad you have noted the excesses of some of the wealthy.
        What about the others? Athletes?
        Who sets the pay for actors and athletes?
        Are actors and athletes their own bosses or are they hired by companies that have CEO’s that are paid as much or more than the actors they hire?
        If you and others stopped going to the movies and sporting events to do things like buy food and education, health insurance, clothes and a roof over yours and your children’s heads, how do the actors, athletes and CEO’s earn their excessive pay?

        • JGC

          I think we can start with dialing back the tax breaks given to sports teams, which spiral into the hundreds of millions of dollars. This will affect the mangement/ownership of the teams, of course, rather than the more visible “stars” of the teams.

  • Coastghost

    Hearing wealthy people discuss the plight of the poor: a distinct pity our homes are no longer outfitted with sitting rooms.

  • DN

    Raise the minimum wage and prices will NOT go up IF executive salaries are lowered by a commensurate amount. Seems like an easy solution.

    • fun bobby

      so you want a maximum wage law as well?

      • Shag_Wevera

        Why is that horrible? What if it was set at 5 million?

        • TFRX

          How about throwing in all the dinners at Lutece they can write off?

          (Disclaimer: I’ve never been there, but I hear it’s very nice.)

        • fun bobby

          then how would people build things like tesla cars and space x or create the gates foundation that sponsors things like this broadcast for example?

    • Human898

      The SEC has been floating thoughts with regard to ratios, with the possible thought of not limiting wealth, but ratios.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-17/ceo-to-worker-pay-ratio-disclosure-proposal-to-be-issued-by-sec.html

      The following explains what has happened the last 50 years and speaks to your thoughts of balancing the equation to something closer to where it was than where it has come to be now.

      http://www.epi.org/publication/ceo-pay-2012-extraordinarily-high/

  • walla walla

    better education isn’t necessarily the silver bullet.
    There are still many more people graduating every year with advanced degrees than there are positions. This in turn places further downward pressure on middle class wages.
    The skill shortage seems to be largely a myth created by corporations to allow for an increase in high-skilled immigrants to continue lowering wages.

    • fun bobby

      its also caused by companies not training people anymore they don’t want the expense of training but then they do not have the people available they want. its starting to trend back

    • Enuff_of_this

      The exceptions being advanced degrees in Philosphy, Middle Asian Music Compostion and like disciplines

  • Cindy C Barnard

    Education Education Education, starting from Grade 1. We’ve failed our children by not providing a public educational system with a meaningful, useful education; and not just by the numbers, but in civics, finance, arts… We’ve focused too much on a test to measure. So much to say here.

    None the less, there are many reasons people would work in retail or restaurant, whether Walmart, Walgreens, or Tiffany’s, McDonalds or Masa’s. Not everyone with an good education will become an engineer, doctor, or tech genius.

    By pay a living wage (companies can well afford it) then businesses will take the burden off the gov. (or to say the tax payer). More money to spend on goods and services and businesses shouldn’t have to increase their prices and fees.
    Why should we subsidized big business by allowing them to pay so little to their employees?

    Of course, if we as citizens still believe that CEOs and company owners should make ungodly amounts of money then we’ll continue to perpetuate the problem.

    • fun bobby

      do you think that ceos will be paid less if the minimum wage increases? do you think the increased costs will come out of companies profits or from increased prices or cutting staff?

      • Shag_Wevera

        Probably some of both. Maybe a cheeseburger needs to cost a buck and a half instead of a buck.

        • fun bobby

          where can you get a 50 cent burger? can you even get a white castle for that anymore? its amazing you believe ceos will be paid less or companies will make less money to pay for a minimum wage hike. higher prices and fewer jobs are the only sensible things for a business to do

          • Shag_Wevera

            Um, $1. The Dollar Menu…

          • fun bobby

            I am pretty sure all the dollar menu items cost at least a dollar. how will poor people who eat fast food be able to afford double prices will their minimum wage double and if it does have they gained anything from the deal?

          • jefe68

            Wow.

          • Labropotes

            fun bobby, I think your comment is worthless, but you are entitled to at least one up vote. /sarc

          • fun bobby

            feel free to dodge the question. it shows that you don’t have a good answer

          • Labropotes

            I’m sorry. I meant to support your view. In saying you were entitled to an up vote regardless of the value of your comment, I was making a joke on the assumption that everyone is entitled to an award regardless of merit.

            bff, fun bobby! ;-)

          • fun bobby

            lol it was late

      • Cindy C Barnard

        Right, so big business should be allowed to hold this country hostage.

        Raise conscientiousness and awareness (and I still have faith the media can help out here, along with social collaboration) and consumers will choose more wisely.

        We should also offer incentives to help businesses improve stewardship for community and environment.

        But a good education is also key, as mentioned… not just test scores, but the value of goods and services – the real value and how they’re obtained. humanities, civics…

        • fun bobby

          yeah right the media is going to help.(the media are parts of huge corporations) “NPR brought to you by walmart where you can buy forever stamps”
          consumers are wise to choose walmart because of the low prices and for the kicker they can know they are shopping somewhere dedicated to the environment and corporate responsibility on a global level. you should check out their corporate responsibility page

    • carl_christian

      Thank you for bringing in a sense of proportion — the kind you can only get when you take in a bigger picture than just jobs & wages; we need to be talking about perfecting our economic way of life — who decreed that corporate capitalism was the final word in structuring the ‘best possible’ of all possible worlds?
      And while we move toward a more ethical economy, we’d do well to start actively sharing jobs because as others have pointed out, there are simply not enough jobs to go around, no matter how much education we provide, technology is ultimately displacing more jobs than it is creating. Think 3D printers run amok among many clever people using them and way fewer manufacturing jobs are necessary, for example.
      We all need to participate a great deal more actively and with imagination in crafting a more just society. And do it before the Earth responds to our lack of an environmental attention span!

  • William

    So we can expect to see the Pope demanding that his church and all other religions give up their tax exempt status?

    • fun bobby

      I would like to see him sell all his jewelry and gold candlesticks

  • brian copeland

    I’m sick of the argument that the low wage worker needs to get an education. That great and everything for an individual, but these positions are going to exist one way or another. Sure, a Wal-Mart worker to go to community college, but there’s just going to be another worker waiting in line to get the low wage job. And at least in this economy, these aren’t college or high school aged workers waiting to fill the ranks. These are adults with real-world responsibilities and dependents.

    • AC

      they wont be needed otherwise
      http://www.businessinsider.com/nations-must-prepare-for-robots-destroying-the-low-skill-job-market-2013-3
      either learn how to design or program, or you’ll be out of luck

    • OnPointComments

      According to the US Government Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 28% of workers at or below minimum wage do not have a high school diploma; another 30% of workers at or below minimum wage have only a high school diploma.

      The wage that a job pays is based on how much the job is worth, not how much the worker needs.

      • Bluejay2fly

        Government mandates such as you must pay school tax, property tax, you must have health insurance, auto insurance, etc all this has made the minimum wage woefully unmanageable.

      • Pete

        These jobs exist because they NEED to be done. Just how successful would McDonald’s be if there were no burger flippers? How successful would Walmart be if they didn’t have shelf stockers? These kinds of jobs are the most basic, and dare I say, the most necessary and important for the success and very existence of these companies. What is that worth? Remember, it was a $2 “O” ring that brought down the space shuttle.

        • OnPointComments

          If an unskilled worker can be taught how to do the job in a minimum amount of time, the job is worth minimum wage.

          • Pete

            Really? So, pay should be based on how long it takes to learn the job regardless of the value that job creates for the company? A restaurant without a dishwasher is not going to last more than a day. That makes that position rather important, wouldn’t you say? Every job is there because someone needs to perform that function. The machine will not function without all the parts—making them all important. A $2 “O” ring brought down the space shuttle—and it never would have gotten off the ground without it.

          • OnPointComments

            If the dishwasher quits tomorrow, another person can easily be taught to do the dishwasher’s job. You can wish that the person mopping the floor in the operating room is just as valuable as the surgeon, but it just isn’t so.

          • Pete

            I am not saying that everyone is equally important, but that all are to some degree important. If a business can’t function without a certain position, then that person performing that function should be paid a living wage—especially if the business absolutely depends on that function being provided—like flipping burgers at McDonald’s. If you can’t afford to pay that person a living wage, then perhaps you have a bad business plan—or you’re just greedy.

          • Enuff_of_this

            Or you have grossly underpriced your product or service.

          • JellyJelly66

            Maybe the focus of this discussion should be on time, not skill. If an adult is putting in full-time hours, she or he should be legally protected from want for basic necessities.

            We need to stop attaching moral judgement to an individual’s earning power.

          • Pete

            What we need are corporate morals, but of course, corporations can’t have morals because they aren’t people. They are machines designed to generate profits for shareholders. The individual is not important.

          • JellyJelly66

            Corporations are legal, if not moral persons. Thus, a legal mandate is entirely appropriate as a check to their rampant psychopathy.

          • Pete

            If nobody cleans the operating room, all the efforts of the surgeon will be for naught. The job is rather valuable to the hospital and patient, no?

          • OnPointComments

            If the surgeon doesn’t show up, it will be difficult to find a replacement. If the janitor doesn’t show up, another janitor will be easily found.

          • jefe68

            And yet they are human beings who deserve to be paid a decent wage for a job that’s not easy to do. Have you any idea what cleaning up a OR entails?

            By your argument nurses are expendable as well.

          • liminalx

            Try getting surgery in non-sterile operating room. Obviously the surgeon has more training and “skills” but that does not minimize the value and necessity of those who keep the operating theater clean and sterile.

        • JellyJelly66

          Yes. The focus on economic worth is the problem. An employee’s skill, credentials and what value they contribute to the company’s bottom line should have no bearing on that employee’s ability to secure a basic level of living for herself and her family.

    • Enuff_of_this

      Minimum skills demands the minimum wage.

      • Bluejay2fly

        That obviously does not apply to management who make millions.

        • Enuff_of_this

          That would be class envy

          • JellyJelly66

            What is envy?

            At its core, envy is a visceral response to perceived injustice.

            In this case, the injustice is evident in the stark income inequality that occurs not as an outcome of the invisible hand of free market magic, not as a reward for high skill level or earned credential, or even for the amount of hours you are capable of supplying your energy or time or warm body – but as a direct result of a patently rigged game.

          • OnPointComments

            I envied the talent of Luciano Pavarotti. It was absolutely fair and just that Luciano Pavarotti could sing as he did and I couldn’t.

            Could I be taught to sing as Pavarotti did? Not in a million years. Could I be taught to flip burgers? In a minute.

          • JellyJelly66

            But suppose it was mandated that your predestined lack of vocal talent made it fair and just and legal that no matter how hours you spend flipping burgers, you will suffer for want of the basics?

          • Enuff_of_this

            You are obviously a victim then

    • JellyJelly66

      Here here. I would like to add that the education argument is also casually oblivious to the logistical nightmare that a single-parent endures while working full-time while seeking further education or training.

  • TFRX

    Can we have some pushback to Jason Fichtner?

    At some point while he’s dreaming up “long term solutions”, how many millions of Americans is he willing to discard until then?

    I mean, how about a guest whose idea of “long term” is “I won’t have to skip paying rent if my kid has an unplanned doctor’s visit resulting in stitches?”

    That the Koch guest said “Dysfuncitonal Congress because of a lot of partisanship” is almost gravy on top.

  • JellyJelly66

    The minimum wage/living wage is indeed a “red herring”. The real culprit is corporate greed. Full-time adult employees don’t need your heart to “go out to them.” They need legal protection for this simple human right – a bread crumb of your respect.

    • fun bobby

      what should the law say? full time adult employees get promotions and raises

      • JellyJelly66

        The law should mandate a minimum wage that would put a full-time employee above the poverty line.

        This cannot be left to promotions and raises alone.

        • OnPointComments

          The US 2013 Federal Poverty Level for a single person is $11,490. A full-time worker making minimum wage earns $14,790 per year.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Oops!!!

          • JellyJelly66

            Thanks for supplying the figures:) The definition of poverty puts things in perspective. I’d like to go one further on mandating a living wage. We need to mandate a guaranteed livable annual income. Then we can talk about worker’s rights.

          • fun bobby

            why don’t the workers unite and talk about their rights if they are important to them

          • jefe68

            They are.

          • fun bobby

            good, I support them. just imagine how many more would be motivated to action if their subsidies were removed

        • fun bobby

          so people who can’t get promoted from the mop to the fries should get $15 an hour? if everyone makes 15$ wont we have to raise the poverty level because of inflations?

        • fun bobby

          its your lucky day because that is in fact already the case.

    • TFRX

      I like the “don’t need your heart to go out to them, just the force of law”. Good take on this.

      Why? Because the first thing that happens when a bit of power is extracted to the riffraff is the rewriting of history that that power was given up willingly.

      Plus, when the spit hits the fan, rich people are still rich, and will always have their backers, no matter how much scorn may be heaped on them. The names of Rockefeller, Morgan and such had different connotations depending on one’s place on the ladder, but scorn never cancelled out money.

  • 65noname

    one wonders why when the bros-owned dude, jason, claims that the sinking US wages structure is the fault of the “dysfunctional” congress, the government radio announcer didn’t mention that the koch bros are a major financial backer of the congressional gangs that are most preventing any legislation from being passed.
    Could it be that he is aware of what happened to NYC government radio when it attempted to put on a program that the koch bros opposed?

  • creaker

    Did I miss it? Or did they get through the whole hour without using words like “strike” or “organize” or “union”?

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      The subject of revolution and social unrest was part of the discussion, though.

  • Ray from Harlem

    White I agree the minimum wage should rise as inflation does, I also think people should consider the life decisions they make that will have an affect on their personal finances. Children being one of them. I know what it’s like to make minimum wage..but I don’t know what it’s like to feed and take care of children. I don’t have any because I CAN’T AFFORD THEM. Lifestyle changes and smart decisions won’t avoid financial troubles but it definitely eases the pain. People need to learn and make better decisions. In all, I agree, companies should pay a pay more as your skill level increases. I have two bachelors degree (Accounting & Computer Science) and a Masters in Accounting and I make less than $50k.

    • hennorama

      Ray from Harlem — given your background, you can easily get seasonal employment as a tax preparer to supplement your salary. You could also probably make a similar amount in three months or so with your own tax prep business, even as a sole proprietor.

  • Peter Caravello

    The problem is that our economy has become less demand driven and more dividend driven. The mind set of corporations and investors has to change along with wages and hours. THEY must learn to live on less.

  • intermodal

    Discussion about Fed setting higher inflation target….big big concept to leverage tons of cash sitting on sidelines in our economy…”liquidity trap, zero lower bound, and secular stagnation”……raisng wages would leverage cash from saving and stimulate economy. But it is fiscal policy and not monetary ,so Fed reserve cannot do it…congress must.

  • Coastghost

    Since the poor themselves never lead, are never seen to lead, or are never permitted to lead discussions on remedying perceived plights: trained economists will inevitably have something to say:

    http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/12/when-are-minimum-wage-hikes-most-likely-to-boost-unemployment.html#comments

  • Bluejay2fly

    We all pay for under paying jobs. Taxes that cover their healthcare cost they cannot afford. Taxes that pay for social programs like SNAP or WIC. We monetize the wealth of all these CEO’s by filling in the gaps left by low paying jobs. These fast food jobs should be transitional and these workers should be working in steel mills, recycling centers, furniture factories, etc. We have gutted our industrial economy and have left no place for low skill workers to go. Enjoy paying for their incarceration when they start selling drugs!

    • TFRX

      Don’t forget the right’s healthcare plan. There’s always emergency rooms!

      • hennorama

        TFRX — they can’t decide what “access to healthcare” means.

        Remember how conservatives first said that “everyone has access to healthcare already,” and how Mitt Romney famously said “Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people — we — if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”

        Now, “access to doctors” is being used by some to mean that “the services of the providers I choose must be paid for under the terms of my health insurance policy.”

      • jefe68

        And street corners and vacant lots.

      • HonestDebate1

        Nice!

      • StilllHere

        don’t forget the left’s: death panels

    • fun bobby

      we need to eliminate govt subsidies for people that are working. that’s the real way to force employers to increase wages

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        About 80% of all Walmart workers are on food assistance. So, they need to starve and then demand more money?

        What could possibly go wrong with that?

        • HonestDebate1

          In Dakota starting wage at Walmart is $17/hour. The answer is a thriving economy not measures that squelch it.

          • Enuff_of_this

            Thanks to an oil boom and a worker shortage. When the oil show is over, the wages will drop back in line with the mainstream. Don’t forget that the cost of living has skyrocketed as well so 17.00 there will get you no further ahead than the current minimum wage gets you everywhere else.

          • fun bobby

            please find a walmart that pays minimum wage to start

          • HonestDebate1

            The cost of living is down in that area.

        • Enuff_of_this

          80% eh? Care to share the offical data on that one?

        • StilllHere

          full time?
          you’re making stuff up

        • fun bobby

          i would like to see that number be zero. lets not give food assistance to anyone who is employed full time. no one will starve. they will demand higher wages and form unions which is how these problems ought to be resolved

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Jason Fichtner used the straw man argument of $100/hour minimum wage. Is he suggesting that $0/hour minimum wage is actually better?

    • fun bobby

      that’s a good idea. let market forces take over. npr has interns right?

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        It’s a terrible idea. Thanks for revealing your true colors.

        • jefe68

          This guys a real pill.

          • brettearle

            I have determined that he thrives on attention.

            `Nuff said?

          • jefe68

            Yep.

          • brettearle

            I always appreciate someone with a good sense of humor,

          • Labropotes

            people can you feel it? Love is in the air

        • fun bobby

          do you really think people would take jobs that paid less than the minimum wage?

          • jefe68

            People do.

          • fun bobby

            besides npr interns

          • HonestDebate1

            I love the leap to accusations of heartlessness. to me your true colors are far more compassionate than the alternative expressed.

          • fun bobby

            I would rather see people making a good living with opportunity than being stuck living off of government handouts and I am the bad guy

          • jefe68

            Then why are you against corporations, such as McDonalds, Walmart and Burger King paying living wages?

          • fun bobby

            i am all for that. their workers should negotiate for that. all of those corporations also provide lots of high paying jobs and room for advancement. if the government did not make up the difference they would have to pay their lowest entry level workers more. walmart as far as I know pays far above the minimum wage as does mcdonalds. warren buffets burger king probably has management opportunities for all sorts of people but I don’t know what they pay their new entry level workers

          • jefe68

            Well there are a lot of people working at Walmart that might disagree with you.

            Wal-Mart’s low wages means that employees are also relying on $2.66 billion in government help every year, or about $420,000 per store. In state after state, Wal-Mart employees are the top recipients of Medicaid. As many as 80 percent of workers in Wal-Mart stores use food stamps.

            CEO Mike Duke makes more money in one hour, than his employees earn in an entire year.

          • fun bobby

            walmart pays above minimum wage.

            since each family that shops at walmart saves 2,500 a year then it would take fewer than 200 families per store to see a benefit.
            Then you will be so happy that he is being replaced by one of his employees.

    • HonestDebate1

      Yes it would be, much better. People determine their own value. I would never work for minimum wage, would you? Do you need the government to determine your value? I don’t.

      • ThirdWayForward

        What level of wage-slavery you will accept all depends upon whether you need the job to keep a roof over your head and food on the table.

        The reason that conservatives keep hacking away at food stamps, housing and heating support, and Medicaid is that the lack of these programs ratchets up the level of desperation in the working poor. Their labor supply is made cheaper and more pliable.

        • HonestDebate1

          What if I am willing to work for $6/hour? Minimum wage hikes always hurt the poor. There seems to be an assumption that people are forced to work for less than their value but never a consideration that many people are forced to pay more than the job is worth. What business is it of the government’s to put employers in the position of firing some people who are happily working for their pay so that others can get more?

          But I do agree that this sorry state of the economy makes things more difficult. Unfortunately fewer jobs because of a higher minimum wage will make things worse.

          • northeaster17

            If you worked for $6 an hour you’d be either in your mothers basement or on welfare. Like it or not.

          • HonestDebate1

            Or a kid with no skills developing a work ethic.

        • fun bobby

          and who could afford to take such a low paying job?

  • walla walla

    Milton Friedman discusses the concept of the negative income tax. This idea would create a ‘minimum’ yearly income while greatly reducing the government’s safety net obligations.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtpgkX588nM

    • hennorama

      walla walla — this interview is from 1968.

      Since that time, the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has been instituted and greatly expanded, as have other refundable Federal and state tax credits.

      The EITC is based on a requirement of EARNED income, either as an employee or through self-employment.

      Perhaps you missed it.

      You may also note that the last time Dr. Friedman’s and the ‘Chicago School’ theories got a real tryout was in Chile, under General Pinochet. One might consider this the first 9/11 disaster, as the coup occurred on September 11, 1973.

      Milton Friedman’s laissez faire economic ideas were “translated into action” when his Chicago Boys implemented them in Chile, after General Pinochet launched a military coup in which President Salvador Allende was killed/murdered/assassinated.

      Between 1972 and 1987, the GNP per capita fell 6.4 percent, adjusted for inflation. Per capita GDP was over $3,600 in 1973. As late as 1993, it had risen from its lows under Pinochet to only $3,170. Only five Latin American countries did worse in per capita GDP during the era of Pinochet and Friedman’s Chicago Boys.

      Chile is far more accurately characterized as a tragic failure of Friedman’s ideas, and the Chilean people are still paying the price today.

      • walla walla

        I agree that the Chicago Theories really really messed up Chile. Naomi Klein’s book, “Shock Doctrine,” does a good job of tracing the economic and political machinations of this influential group. I agree that many of his policies were terribly inequitable.

        On the other hand, you seem to be reaming against this idea merely because it came from Milton Friedman. You don’t make any sort of argument against this policy in particular. You just go on a tangent about the whole Chicago economic philosophy.

        You said it yourself: we’ve implemented similar policies such as the EITC. Are these tax programs harming impoverished people or the GNP? If not, perhaps the credits need to be increased.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          I believe Dr. Friedman was making an efficiency argument that a direct tax credit is more efficient and should replace means tested entitlements to eliminate layers of bureaucracy. The current EITC was layered on top of the existing bureaucracy. Nothing was eliminated.

          • walla walla

            good point WorriedfortheCountry.

            While MF certainly makes a strong case for the efficiency of his negative income tax credit, I’m not entirely sure which has better outcomes in regards to those who qualify for support.

        • 65noname

          actually hennorama did make more than ‘sort of an argument’. he or she wrote at length about what happened in chile when the murderous butcher allowed freidman to experiment at will on the chile economy

        • hennorama

          walla walla – Thank you for your response.

          Indeed, Ms. Klein’s book detailed the Chilean exploits of Dr. Friedman and the Chicago Boys quite well.

          No doubt you will get arguments from some in this forum who believe every word that Dr. Friedman ever spoke and wrote to be gospel, and who will argue against BOTH the EITC AND other income support measures, such as SNAP, WIC, Section 8, TANF, etc., without understanding that Dr. Friedman effectively supported some of the concepts of the EITC.

          They will also likely make some other comments about race, ethnicity, etc.

          The difficult issues surrounding the Negative Income Tax (NIT) are the following:

          It is generally thought to be a disincentive to work. Given the present political climate, this factor alone means it is DOA.

          The NIT is unlikely to be high enough to replace the existing system of various social support benefits. Ditto as to the politics.

          The administrative requirements would need to be similar to the already existing system of support benefits, negating much of any potential efficiency gains, OR it would cut out those with critical short-term needs. For example, if the NIT was paid out only annually through income tax returns, it would therefore be measured on an annual income basis. If this was the system, then how would it benefit those who have a massive but short-term need for income support?

          ==========
          Dr. Friedman’s ideas are interesting but ultimately have proven to be fully implementable only at the point of a gun, and with a “benevolent dictator,” willing to “disappear” anyone who opposed him.

          On November 1, 1991, Dr, Friedman spoke about the relationship between freedom, politics and economics, as follows:

          “That brings out an enormous paradox, the one that as I said caused me to rethink the relationship among different kinds of freedom. The British colonies that were given their political freedom after World War II have for the most part destroyed the other freedoms. Similarly, at the very time officials of the British Colonial Office were imposing economic freedom on Hong Kong, at home in Britain a socialist government was imposing socialism on Britain. Perhaps they sent the backward people out to Hong Kong to get rid of them. It shows how complex the relationship is between economic freedom and political freedom, and human freedom and political freedom. Indeed, it suggests that while economic freedom facilitates political freedom, political freedom, once established, has a tendency to destroy economic freedom.”

          In the same speech, he claimed Chile was a miracle:

          “I have nothing good to say about the political regime that Pinochet imposed. It was a terrible political regime. The real miracle of Chile is not how well it has done economically; the real miracle of Chile is that a military junta was willing to go against its principles and support a free market regime designed by principled believers in a free market. The results were spectacular. Inflation came down sharply. After a transitory period of recession and low output that is unavoidable in the course of reversing a strong inflation, output started to expand, and ever since, the Chilean economy has performed better than any other South American economy.

          “The economic development and the recovery produced by economic freedom in turn promoted the public’s desire for a greater degree of political freedom exactly what happened, if I may jump from one continent to another, in China after 1976 when the regime introduced a greater measure of economic freedom in one sector of the economy, agriculture, with great success. That, too, generated pressure for more political freedom and was one of the major factors underlying the dissatisfaction that led to Tiananmen Square.

          “In Chile, the drive for political freedom, that was generated by economic freedom and the resulting economic success, ultimately resulted in a referendum that introduced political democracy. Now, at long last, Chile has all three things: political freedom, human freedom and economic freedom. Chile will continue to be an interesting experiment to watch to see whether it can keep all three or whether, now that it has political freedom, that political freedom will tend to be used to destroy or reduce economic freedom.”

          Of course, this all came after free elections, closely followed by a CIA-assisted military coup, which happened at the behest of US business interests that had been negatively affected by Allende’s nationalization of copper mines, banks and other foreign-owned businesses.

          See:
          http://www.cbe.csueastbay.edu/~sbesc/frlect.html

          • HonestDebate1

            Who on earth believes everything anyone writes as gospel? You have quite an imagination.

  • Coastghost

    I mean, to hear today’s show: funds derived from yacht berthing fees apparently are not high enough for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to avert steep post-secondary tuition rate increases for coming academic years. (Don’t ask Harvard for help, it’s on its own fund-raising binge just now.)
    Why is John Kerry so disloyal to his native state, and why do Massachusetts residents accept Kerry’s tax dodging so sheepishly? Since public service has been so lucrative for John Kerry, it’s hard to fathom how his native sense of philanthropic generosity has left his personal fortune so intact.

  • ThirdWayForward

    This discussion was very useful,

    But we keep being struck by the sheer obscenity of those, such as the Kochs, worth tens of billions of dollars, who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars channeled through various political and academic institutes to ensure that minimum wage workers shall not receive more than $7.25 an hour.

    They have their boots on the heads of the powerless. Absolutely no scruples, no compassion.

    Then we hear their minions on shows like these, who are paid, albeit indirectly, to echo their opinions. Mercatus is a Koch front.

    Tom, perhaps you might invite the Koch brothers onto your show. Let them speak for themselves. Real people make for better radio than puppets.

    • jefe68

      The minimum wage of $1.60 an hour in 1968 would be $10.56 today when adjusted for inflation [see the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index.
      http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

      • fun bobby

        how much did a 60 inch tv cost in 1968

        • Enuff_of_this

          How much did a new car or a house cost?

          • jefe68

            Again, wages have been flat while goods and services have gone up.
            That’s the point of the post. If you don’t understand this, well that’s not my problem.

          • fun bobby

            I think both were cheaper but cars then did not last that long and houses were much smaller than new houses today

        • jefe68

          Inane.

          • fun bobby

            yes your one word snipes are

        • StilllHere

          Exactly, living is cheap now: food, shelter, luxuries…

        • Duras

          The price index continued to increase throughout the 1980s, 90s, and up to today.

          • fun bobby

            that does not answer my question

        • Enuff_of_this

          Around $191.00, but they were very rare

          • fun bobby

            its my understanding that such a thing as a 60 inch television did not exist then. I cant believe no one picked up on that. if such a thing did exist it wold have cost far more than 191.00. how much was a digital watch back then?

    • Enuff_of_this

      The right has the Koch Brothers and the left has George Soros. Spending money to influence policy and opinion bastardizes the system no matter which end of the spectrum you happen to lean towards.

    • James

      Of course the irony of your statement is that the Koch brother’s made their fortune through oil, and oil jobs traditionally don’t rely on minimum wage workers. In fact, they pay quite well.

      So no, this isn’t all just some Koch brothers plot of rule the world, this will blow your mind but not everything is.

  • John_Hamilton

    It would help to have a broader historical perspective. The current predicament didn’t always exist, and won’t last forever. Just looking at the Industrial Revolution would reveal fast moving dynamics and relationships between employers and employees.
    What I believe is the most critical difference today is not the movement of market forces or the crassness of capitalism, but a cultural change. Psychopathy, the condition of amoral, manipulative, callous and remorseless mental state, is rampant. It may be that it is inevitable in a mass industrial system that the incidence of psychopathy increases. If it goes beyond 50% we’re finished.
    It is both sad and comical to me when I go into a big box discount store and see young managers walking around, conferring robustly aobut the most trivial things, like shelf stocking – as if discussing brain surgery or a Mars probe. It’s hard to find meaning in the modern world, which is partly why there is so much drinking, drug-taking, and reckless behavior. Psychopaths flourish in such a condition, taking easy advantage of the desperate rest of us.
    Whatever the truth is about our current predicment, it is coming to a head. As things stand today the system will break down. The better we become at defining the nature of the problem, the better we will be able to correct it. Hopefully it will be in time to avoid disaster. The likelihood is that it is already too late.

    • northeaster17

      A lack of remorse or empaty as well as grandiose self worth are hallmarks of today’s market. What could go wrong?

    • fun bobby

      the pendulum swings in both directions. we have had a pretty great run

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    “It would be comforting to believe that the government can simply decree higher pay for low-wage workers, without having to worry about unfortunate repercussions, but the preponderance of evidence indicates that labor is not exempt from the basic economic principle that artificially high prices cause surpluses. In the case of the surplus of human beings, that can be a special tragedy when they are already from low-income, unskilled or minority backgrounds and urgently need to get on the job ladder, if they are ever to move up the ladder by acquiring experience and skills.”
    — Dr. Thomas Sowell

    “The effects of the minimum wage have been concentrated on the groups that the do-gooders would most like to help. The people who have been hurt most by the minimum wage laws are the blacks. I have often said that the most anti-black law on the books of this land is the minimum wage law.”
    — Dr. Milton Friedman

  • OnPointComments

    I’m sure that somewhere in the world there must be committed, die-hard liberals who own McDonalds franchises. I wonder if those committed, die-hard McDonalds-owning liberals pay their employees at least $15 an hour. I looked for the stories online but couldn’t find any.

    • Enuff_of_this

      That’s a great question. I was also looking into that and came up empty handed as well.

    • fun bobby

      warren buffet owns burger king. and that Panera guy does not pay $15 either. funny how they want walmart to pay more but their own adherents don’t pay more

      • StilllHere

        He also owns DQ. I know I wouldn’t pay $10 for a Peanut Buster Parfait even though I named my first son after it.

        • fun bobby

          I ate DQ once and got very sick blaahh

    • JellyJelly66

      The franchise model means it is possible. They did it in Australia and turned a profit:

      http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/08/the-magical-world-where-mcdonalds-pays-15-an-hour-its-australia/278313/

      The key is paying full-time adult employees a living wage – that would raise the legal definition of poverty level – so that fast food corporations can no longer depend on $7 billion year in federal subsidies to prop up their labor force. (See http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/publiccosts/fastfoodpovertywages.shtmlper )

      In truth, the American fast food industry is a model for using government programs to turn a profit. They are quite committed to this model. It works for them.

      It’s really a liberal worldview that they have put into practice.

      • Enuff_of_this

        The cost of living is approximately 35% higher in Australia and wages are part of what drives that up.

  • Sy2502

    The argument for raising minimum wages is usually that life is expensive and these people need higher salaries to face the cost of living. The problem with this argument is that minimum wage people rely on services of other minimum wage people. So say you make minimum wage and eat mostly fast food. The people at the fast food also make minimum wage. So we increase minimum wage and your salary goes up. But guess what, the fast food workers’ wage goes up to. And how does the fast food joint make up for it? By making the food more expensive. So now you make more money, but have to pay more for your food. So how did your condition improve?

    • Jessica Green

      How does the fast food company make up for it? A lower profit margin.

      • Sy2502

        Do you actually live on Planet Earth?

  • Duras

    Thomas Jefferson said that there should be equal opportunity and that everyone should live modest lives and until those conditions are met we should not stop fighting.

    Well, there is certainly not equal opportunity in America. And contrary to republican belief, middle class money is not going to poor black people, it is going to the top. Poverty is getting more dire, and it is absolutely criminal that kids must grow up in these conditions.

    Over the last 33 years, America has stepped on unions, slowed the increases in minimum wages, and cut taxes on the top. And what has it gotten us? Have corporations flooded our lands? Has the middle class flourished from supply side economics? Has poverty disappeared and everybody turned into a “go-getter”?

    No. Quite the opposite. Reaganism has had the opposite effect of everything it preaches. We–and particularly the republican South–are a nation of fat, idiots; not individuals, but drones who repeat, like a broken record, “I’m an individual.”

    The only people the welfare system in this country subsidizes are CEOs and executives who have greased the hands of politicians and stepped on unions.

    • OnPointComments

      Nearly every single thing in your comment is untrue.

    • marygrav

      I have hear that ALL the benefits that President Obama is in favor of is for the benefit of Black people, not for the American peoples in general. The Republicans would like the American People to believe this so that they can abuse the entire population with the excuse that the n******** are getting everything. This is an old racist dodge that has worked for the GOP in the past that helped bring Reagan into office and send jobs overseas.

      • HonestDebate1

        That’s sick.

        • brettearle

          I’m kind of with you on this one.

          She’s not radical Left. She’s fanatic Left.

          Her excessive zealotry hurts our cause, here, on the Left.

          When it comes to `my’ Left, I do not follow Reagen’s credo for the Right: “Let no Republican speak ill of another.” [or whatever that quote was].

          You should try it sometime.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m quite familiar with the concept thank you very much. BTW, I’m not a Republican.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        “I have hear”
        You should check your hearing.

        Falsely charging racism is just plain wrong and you should be called out.

      • Duras

        I think this sums up what has happened to America since Reagan:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3yJomUhs0g

      • Jessica Green

        Just a guess, but I bet all of the people flummoxed by the race remark are white. I’m not calling anyone a racist; it’s just that we live in two different worlds in the U.S. And we want to pretend otherwise.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    “Detroit becomes largest U.S. city to enter bankruptcy”

    Another Obama promise falls by the wayside.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/12/03/detroit-bankruptcy-eligibility/3849833/

    • Jessica Green

      Obama’s omniscient all powerful ness must have not been working that day. In any case, you skipped civics too many times. How do I know that? Because your ignorance of how our government works is showing.

  • marygrav

    Did I hear someone mentioning that Obamacare has raised the cost of labor? As far as I know Obamacare has not even kicked in yet. Obamacare should reduce the cost of doing business because of the subsities which come with it.

    Employers always whine about pay raises, especially the minimum wage. Yet these same employers depend on demand in the system to make a profit.

    Of course more money in the system will cause inflation, but inflation can be handled. Starvation wages will only create Revolution. The corporations may be answerable only to their shareholder. But the shareholders expect the poor to fight wars to protect their profit. Take a lesson at what is happening in the China Sea.

    How would this joker know what is happening in Ames Iowa? It is natural for Iowans to have at least 3 jobs and they are part-time. We have Big Box minimum jobs which school their employees on how to get Food Stamps and Welfare benefits to make ends meet. Our Good Representative Steve King has made sure that Food Stamps were cut. Farmers, especially factory farms are getting over like Fat Rats while the people are expected to eat them.

    Pope Francis is among the most decent men of religion that now graces the Earth. I wonder when those in the Vatican will poison him. Maybe he is the reincarnation of MARX. If he is, then he is a GIFT FROM GOD. The Pope is a man of the world and has been part of the poor of the world. I hope he will live long and prosper. But he seems to good to live.

    • fun bobby

      Stalin loved marx too.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Harpo?

        • fun bobby

          he was a gummo fan which ought to explain a lot

  • Duras

    Walmart employees were better off when Sam Walton was alive. After his death, Walmart has rolled back employee benefits, pay raises, and added more temp positions.
    Walton, a great businessman, tried to make his employees lives a primary product.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Some Dems in DC are now pushing to raise the federal gas tax by $.15/gallon. That should help the working poor.

    Any takers?

    • fun bobby

      not to mention those middle class pushed out of the cities with long commutes

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        As far as taxes go, the gas tax is probably as good as it gets. Although regressive and negative for the economy, in theory the gas tax is as close to a use tax as we have. However, no one really believes that the additional money raised would be used effectively.

        • fun bobby

          all excellent points

  • brettearle

    Your comment is a failure

    • jefe68

      Like I said, he’s a real pill.

      • brettearle

        To be honest about it, I could (theoretically and, maybe, actually) get so petty about this that I could likely go on, in a back-and-forth, with you, on this matter–until kingdom come.

        There are so many, around us–who operate from such false and twisted premises–that it’s a wonder how the Gods of Indulgence, throughout the Universe, can keep up with it all.

        I guess they don’t.

        But where did the dysfunctional Wiring come from?, is what I want to know…..

        • jefe68

          Good question. But people who have the kind of beliefs and convictions of fun bobby think the same about us.
          In that divide lies the rub.

          • brettearle

            In the blind justice of the Universe–my ego removed, whether we believe that or not–I have the Hubris to believe the following:

            That you and I (and some others….we know who they are) are currently sailing with the prevailing winds.

            And, two, if we even enter (or, God Forbid, ever become part of) “The Other’s” Bizarro world of mentality–and a Bizarro world is from where their distortion emanates, unquestionably and unequivocally–then we must instantly recognize that they have joined the human race…whether we wish to acknowledge that or not….lest we designate ourselves as other than human….(and we just might have to, in any case, should we undergo such a deranged conversion)….

            In HIS case, he may actually BE APART from both the Universe or the Bizarro Universe.

            I’m still researching it…..

          • Labropotes

            HOT LIPS: I think it’s a marvelous letter.

            FRANK: We’re a good team.

            HOT LIPS: We think the same way.

          • brettearle

            Two things:

            (1) Movie or TV episode?

            If Movie, which scene?.

            If TV, which episode?

            (2) Is your example a kind of

            entertainment-metaphor to

            demonstrate our mutual contempt,

            for a certain third party?.

            Incidentally, apologies for my comment, above:

            It’s a bit on the convoluted and idiosyncratic side–so I ask for your, and jefe68′s, forbearance.

            But when one is trying to expound on a rather oddly unique character, it can get a little hairy….

      • brettearle

        Ha. Ha.

        Keep up the good work.

        May your constructive relentlessness never see a finish line!

  • Francisco Rodriguez

    We, the consumers, need to start voting with our dollars. Let’s only buy from business that pay their employees a living wage. Wal-Mart will change it’s current pay scale ONLY when we switch our voting dollars into companies that pay a living wage.

    Wal-Mart will fall to the “laws” of our economy because it will no longer be competitive. Companies compete with each other every day. Let them compete for our dollars!! Let’s not shop where workers are paid poorly! Easy fix…pat on the back lol

  • Linda MacDonald

    The reason more women who don’t go to college are the majority of minimum workers is because well paying blue collar jobs are male dominated. This is due to a cultural breadwinner bias. The wage for construction jobs (prevailing wage) and most municipal blue collar jobs (custodians, DPW, fire, police etc. are set high even though they do not require a college degree because they are held by men.

    Raise the minimum wage since most poor families are headed by women. Making them work more than one full time job, expecting them to go to college while raising children by themselves and then also expecting them to be good parents is unfair.

  • Red

    Even if the current minimum wage DID keep up with inflation, it still wouldn’t be a living wage. Not only do people today have the same basic expenses that people did in years past (clothing, food, housing, utilities, etc), but they have multiple additional expenses for things that either didn’t exist before, or things in which the costs have far outpaced inflation (internet, cable, cell phones, health insurance, tuition or student loans, etc).
    My mom paid for her (private) college education, working part-time for minimum wage in a factory. Her parents were unable to help, and she made enough to pay tuition, living expenses, etc, herself, and without any loans or debt when she graduated. Even working full-time at $15/hr, there is no way to pay for that same education today without major grants and scholarships.
    [And while I think cable (in my list above) is a luxury--I don't personally have cable--unfortunately, we live in a world where personal cell phones and (regular, if not 24/7) internet access is expected and/or required by many employers, including for those employees who only make the minimum wage--though most employers don't pay or reimburse for those expenses.]

  • Fredlinskip

    Top couple percent of Americans and corps have unprecedented cash reserves.

    Obviously if we can just create more tax cuts for wealthy- they will decide to hire and pay more, which will bring about a healthy economy, (AND create more revenue to pay down our mounting National Debt).

    • Jessica Green

      Was your 2nd paragraph tongue in cheek?

      Tax cuts for the wealthy is one of the factors that got us where we are. The only jobs the current tax code has provided are for the accountants who work on not paying tax for their wealthy clients. This tax-cuts=jobs rouse is a farce propagated by the 1% and designed to make sure we stay the 99%. Trickle down? Don’t hold your breath.

      • Fredlinskip

        Yes it was.
        It was an attempt to satirize GOP stance towards economy, job creation, and debt reduction- although all I really did was state their position.

        It’s sort of like that comedian on Saturday Night Live years ago who simply repeated Sarah Palin verbatum and it became comedy.

  • Michael Bristol

    The elite club providing a living for academic goons like
    J.Fichtner also fund corporate pr tanks like the Mercatus Center.

    This club has been allowed to gut and close most places of manufacture in the US. It pays and paves the way for most politicians and legislators whether Republican or Democrat.

    The laws that come out of Washington DC are bought and paid
    for including the present minimum wage.

    Those who understand thoroughly that reasonable arguments will never raise any hourly rate are sitting in corporate board rooms.

    • Jessica Green

      Will never WILLINGLY raise the hourly rate. And thus there are people in the streets…

  • GuestAug27

    The problem with raising the minimum wage for the ones at the very bottom will only hurt the people who are economically just above them. If the people at the bottom make a little more, it will not take too long before housing and food price “adjust” to their “higher” earnings. This will only diminish the buying power of everybody else.

    There must be a better solution that lifts all boats, not just the ones on the bottom. Perhaps tying the median wage to productivity growth and using taxes as an enforcement?

    • Jessica Green

      You forget the flexible part of the equation: profits. Corporations do not need to make astronomical profits to stay healthy. Also, we need an adjustment to wages at the top. They are unrealistic ally inflated. The tax structure needs to be readjusted back to what it comfortably was: the wealthy need to pay as much as the rest of us. And no, the knock-on effect is that in raising the minimum wage is that all wages will rise. Pay structures are not a flexible part of the equation: your boss will always make more than you.

      • GuestAug27

        wrt to the knock-on effect, I don’t quite see how a wage of a recent college grad would go up as a result of the minimum wage of a janitor going up.
        wrt to profits of corporations, don’t I benefit from them by having my 401k money in the stock market? Big profits benefit the shareholders, don’t they? Aren’t we all capitalists now?

        • Jessica Green

          I don’t understand your question. Wages within an organization are scaled. A person at the bottom would have a knock-on effect to the level above them, unless the gap was already so out of kilter that it could absorb the increase.

          As to your 401k, it’s your company and Wall Street that benefit from that deal. All those profits you make don’t mean many dollars in real buying terms. They sold you on a farce when defined-benefit plans were abolished.

          In capitalism, the house always wins. All we’ve got is the government. Corporations may be people, but they are people without souls.

  • domnogin

    Tavis Smiley says half of America is almost poor, newly poor, or perennially poor, roughly what Mitt Romney said about the 47 percent. We can unravel this trap with a $15/hour minimum wage to try to keep with post-1968 inflation and productivity, a 74% top marginal income tax on people and corporations over $1B to repay the national debt, and ending the $107K income cap on Social Security FICA taxes. Since mental degradation starts as early as the 40s, allow retirement at 55 and bypass unfunded retirement plans.

    • FrankensteinDragon

      How bout we just radically regulate markets–i call for a separation of wall street and government, of church and state, so to speak. We need a constitutional convention to outlaw corporate personhood, environmental degradation, and campaign financing of any kind. Demolish the WTO and criminalize the fraudsters that crashed our economy and continue to rob the poor. Destroy the upcoming trans pacific trade agreement. And hold our ‘selected’ officials responsible for at least 13 years of illegal wars and mass murder.

      Its time to throw out the bath water–not skim it with your wash cloth and hope the water gets clean after years of filthy pigs soaking in it. Aint gonna happen.

      With the rise of the printing press came the illusion of representative democracy–now its time to evolve–its time for pure direct democracy. I don’t need thugs telling me about the world and what I can do for them. They belong in jail, a dark dirty hole–in Guantanamo.

      we tolerate criminal sadistic behavior as the norm–and that makes our society extremely sick. But there are many who want transformation–those who don’t are the problem and the sickness–the cancer.

    • StilllHere

      I’m guessing you’re way past your 40s.

  • FrankensteinDragon

    The lion, the ass, and the fox go hunting and agree to share the spoils. After they kill a stag, the lion asks the ass to divide up the meat. The ass carefully divides the meat into three equal shares for his friends. The lion, indignant, seizes the ass and tears him apart, limb form limb. Then the lion asks the fox to divide up the portions. The fox gathers the flesh into a huge helping pile for the lion and saves himself a tiny tiny morsel. “Ah, friend,” asked the lion, “who taught you to divide things so equally?”–”I needed no other lesson,” said the fox, “than the ass’s fate.”

    A man called in and said corporations are not charities, not welfare systems–they have a bottom line and are obligated to the shareholders. This is our economic system. And Tom Agrees.

    Okay, this is true. But we are not a corporation. We do not live in a corporation. We live in a society, a community, a nation that rallies you/us under a flag and says “United we stand”. We have obligations to our fellow man/wo. Nation or not, we are still living in a society with a social contract–less we perish. I know some of you dont care–really just don’t care–but thats what makes you psycho–don’t you see. -’She puts the lotion in the basket’

    Tom didn’t challenge this callers statement whatsoever. The sad thing here is we are expected to accept and appreciate that we are now part of the machine–the psychotic borg–we the corporation. This is a very sick mentality. We should be questioning that we live in a corporate system, our station–the cubicle–which by the way is not democratic but is somehow more important to us than the principles we claim to understand and subscribe–TOM should have questioned the very morality of the reality that shareholders are our gods and that society doesn’t matter. This is bogus journalism–its called framing the argument–propaganda plain and simple. He gets us thinking about it but he doesn’t ever challenge the system critically as a journalist should do, as a free press should do (and some people just cant make these connections because they’re indoctrinated–this is not a free press. this is the corporate press. Welcome to fascism ladies and gentleman–its not the fascism of your fathers fathers. it is more sophisticated and sinister.

    • GuestAug27

      But what is good for corporations is good for everybody. Don’t you have your 401k money in the stock market? We are all “capitalists” now and need to support corporations.

      • Jessica Green

        When employers abolished defined-benefits plans for 401ks, they did it because it was more profitable for THEM, not for you. They sold you on it by telling you that you are now part of the capitalist dream.

        As a retired pensioner, you would have made more money under the old system. Your 401k is small potatoes (have you thought about how you’ll live on those small potatoes?). The ones making the money off your 401k are your company and Wall Street. It’s not you.

      • jefe68

        Here’s a little fact about 401K’s, they were never designed to be complete retirement plans.
        Originally they were meant to be part of a three legged stool of retirement. SS, pension plan, and 401K’s.

        In the 2008 financial collapse millions of people in there mid forties on lost in some cases half the value of their 401K’s. Which means if you’re over say 45 you will never fully recover in time for retirement. The real ripoff are all the hidden fees in these plans that bleed people dry over the long term. Frontline did a very interesting show on 401K’s that well worth watching.

        The best way to invest on stocks is a index fund.

        • HonestDebate1

          What was the original intent of Social Security?

    • Jessica Green

      I like the way you think.

      • FrankensteinDragon

        i like the way you think

    • Fredlinskip

      If U.S. was a corporation, then it would be in her best interests to end such practices as Social Security, Medicare, education programs, food stamps.
      We could all live in a World of Ayn Rand- survival of fittest.
      Fortunately, our constitution still reads, “We the people”- not “We the Mega-Corp”.
      The way things are going, GOP may try a constitutional amendment to remedy that inconvenience.

  • dmacado

    Here’s the study by Card and Krueger that was mentioned in the broadcast.

    http://davidcard.berkeley.edu/papers/njmin-aer.pdf

  • Jessica Green

    The show was one dimensional (tax structure wasn’t discussed, reducing profits, and the damage of the current extreme pay structure were barely mentioned). “Get an education” is not a solution. Bottom line, workers were blamed for a system in which they have little or no power.

    • OnPointComments

      You’re wrong; “Get an education” is a huge part of the solution. If everyone followed the advice of Juan Williams, there would be far less poverty. As he said, “The road to success is plain as day:”

      1. Stay in school and graduate from the highest level of school
      2. Take a job and hold it
      3. Marry after you have finished your education
      4. Don’t have children until you are 21-years-old and married.

      The four items that Juan Williams listed are all matters of personal responsibility and self-discipline. None of them can be given to a person or mandated by law.

      • 228929292AABBB

        Yeah we need more Juan Williams. That would make for a better world.

      • The poster formerly known as t

        Are there enough high-paying jobs for every single person in America? If not, then my three pointers will makes more sense than canned advice that only briefly made sense until the dot com bubble crashed.
        1. Get a useful skillset i.e. something that the wealthy are willing to pay a lot for, really learn it to a point where you have at least 2 years experience by the time you graduate, and don’t take out too many student loans –which is just as bad as having a child without a good job at a living wage.

        2. get hired at places that will pay you a living wage doing something you can do well. Do your job well and you will hold it. Do not strive to be proficient. Be excellent or else don’t even bother. I If you need to jump jobs to stay relevant in your field, especially in competitive fields, don’t be afraid to.
        3. Network. This is just as important as learning a high skill set. Please be personable, well-groomed . No one important wants to associate themselves with non-conformists.

  • HonestDebate1

    “Basically, all it is is drugs and poverty. I mean, every kid has his own decisions. Like, kids may say, ‘I ended up here just because of the neighborhood I live in.’ It’s your choice whether you wanna make or you don’t,” he said. “Whether you want to be another statistic lying down, another drug dealer that they know about, or you can choose to be somebody successful. And I choose to be somebody successful.”

    http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9584241

    • HonestDebate1

      Usually, I view the down votes as a badge of honor but sometimes they bother me greatly, like when an MLK quote was dissed with downers. This is one of those times. How can anyone with an ounce of decency view this story as negative? Is it just a hatred for me?

      I don’t do down votes because they are anonymous. I implore one of you four to come clean, put your name on your position and explain it to me. Please.

      • JGC

        I didn’t downvote this -I just saw these posts a few minutes ago- but for me, I read your initial post as sort of an exhortation of: in spite of life’s kicks, one has to find the grit to get up and get on. And then I clicked on the foxdetroit link, expecting to read a supporting article that showed a disadvantaged person in a moment of triumph, but instead all I saw were video headlines with depressing stories like this:

        Teen brother and sister robbed while walking home on Detroit’s west side

        Detroit eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy

        Mentally disabled man beaten in unprovoked attack

        EMU student hit by stray bullet in her off-campus apartment

        What lesson am I to make of this?

        • HonestDebate1

          Thanks JGC, that helps a little. Please watch the video up top about the beasts of the beat. The quote in my comment comes from a very young disadvantaged kid who truly gets it. I was very moved.

          I saw this story on Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze” and I knew if I linked to it, there would be many who could not get passed the messenger. This is too important for that nonsense, so I clicked the copy link to video button and posted it. I did not realize there would be anything but the video.

          Regarding the other videos, they are unrelated and tell different stories. They are different issues but if I had to answer your question, I would say that these fine young men will most likely never stab, rob or beat anyone. I would say they have a very good chance of escaping their environment. I think they are likely to make a positive impact on society. And the big lesson is that all it takes is love and respect which are free. There are a lot of forces telling these disadvantaged kids they are victims. It’s very poignant to see the change when they are convinced they are not victims; they are full of hope and potential. I think that message should be shouted from the mountaintops and it upsets me to see commenters who would rather view them as helpless victims.

          • The poster formerly known as t

            The problem is that the opportunities to get out of poverty are different, in different regions. The availability of “hand-outs” from the successful via scholarships, public transportation, and good old fashioned mentoring (It is much more important to be around the right kind of people constantly than blindly working hard. ) seems to be just as important as having the right attitude. The real issue for me is the existence of disadvantaged people in urban areas if there is no work for them to do. They’re not really not wanted there and due to land consolidation trends of industrialization, they can’t go back to an agrarian existence where they can provide for each other (that’s how communities traditionally existed for the poor. Now, thanks to modernization and urbanization, they are at the mercy of the non-poor.). This a global problem, and not an American, dark-skinned one.

          • HonestDebate1

            I am just saying that treating people as victims and excusing bad behavior because of it, is destructive. Nothing good comes from it. We should hold the bar high and expect much. That is the way to escape poverty. It’s not about working hard so much as it is about making good decisions… or at least not making bad ones. IMO we should stop telling poor kids that they must remain chained to the position in life they were born to.

            No one said anything about the color of skin. It’s irrelevant.

          • FrankensteinDragon

            how has that worked for us so far?

          • HonestDebate1

            Generational welfare, affirmative action and low expectations have been devastating to the black communities.

          • jefe68

            As a white guy I guess you’re an authority on what it’s like being black or asian or a woman for that matter.

          • Guest

            The fact that the students are black and the teacher is white may be the reason this particular video was selected by the original source, and the person who posted it.

            Let’s just say there’s a history that leads to that supposition.

          • HonestDebate1

            All I can tell you is you’re wrong. I don’t view race as a factor. I don’t assume blacks are disadvantaged. If the teacher was black and the students were white, I’d still get the same warm fuzzy feeling. Race has nothing to do with it.

          • jefe68

            Yeah, race is a factor. You deny it, but that does not mean that your posts reflect your position and experiences. A lot of what you post has racial subtexts and the sad thing is you’re not even aware of it.

          • HonestDebate1

            It is only a factor if one considers blacks to be inherently inferior. I don’t.

          • jefe68

            And yet you always post the same memes when the subject of race is brought up.
            Such as this one, which seems to be in your rolodex of pat comments to post.
            Filed under race, no doubt.

          • HonestDebate1

            I did not bring up race. My original comment had nothing to do with race.

        • hennorama

          JGC — a better question might be “What does any of this have to do with the topic of ‘Poverty Wages In America’?”

          • HonestDebate1

            Far more than Pinochet and Chile, access to healthcare and gratuitously trashing Rush Limbaugh.

        • HonestDebate1

          I am quite convinced, to my glee, there is at least one poster who seeks me out and clicks down on virtually everything I write. So maybe I shouldn’t read to much into the down votes as they relate to my comment.

          I do feel sorry for anyone who gets satisfaction out of this anonymous and shallow tactic.

      • The poster formerly known as t

        I didn’t vote you down but I think the dark-side of your rags-to-riches story is you’re basically trying to rationalize the existence of ghettos by saying they only exist because they are made up of defective people.
        The qualities that make a good drug dealer usually translate to solid managerial/ business/ sales acumen or other fields where aggression and the ability to influence is prized. Unfortunately, those aptitudes don’t always come with a personality that is predisposed to sit one area and study for hours.

        • HonestDebate1

          I am doing no such thing and this is not a rags to riches story.

          I disagree with your characterization of drug dealers. Breaking the law is not a managerial skill. It’s not good business. But even so, successful drug dealers don’t do drugs.

          Many of these youths who feel like they are victims turn to drugs, they gravitate to dealing because it seem like a way out but it chains them instead.

      • J__o__h__n

        I don’t see why the down votes aren’t recorded the same way the up votes are.

        • HonestDebate1

          It’s a nod to the nasty.

      • jefe68

        You lie…

  • Cindy C Barnard

    Thanks Dave, always appreciate the help. Nevertheless, education isn’t just about minor grammar and spelling mistakes; and I regret that for some such mistakes can distract from a valid point of view.

  • Cindy C Barnard

    Thanks Dave, appreciate the help. Nevertheless education isn’t just about minor grammar and spelling mistakes; and I regret that for some such mistakes distract from a valid point of view.

  • 228929292AABBB

    To the posters who encourage the President to keep his promise to bring jobs back to the US (and I agree with you) you should probably take a look at this before you get your hopes up

    http://www.businessinsider.com/wikileaks-haiti-minimum-wage-the-nation-2011-6

    It’s straight from administration documents and it’s about how the Obama administration pressured Haiti to keep its minimum wage from ballooning to 61 cents an hour and guess why? Because Levi’s asked the President to do so to keep their imported goods desperately cheap and he did. When are we going to admit this man isn’t the person we elected rather than continuing to hope? Audacity indeed.

    • StilllHere

      News flash, the president lies.

  • Jack

    I was interested and surprised to hear Mr. Fichtner state that he was having a tough time in the studio since he was being made to sound like an uncaring conservative. And yet, if you don’t want to sound that way, then don’t say things that sound heartless. The solutions he provides, while somewhat helpful, are not solutions, but patches every bit as much as simply raising the minimum wage on it’s own. The most dastardly is the call to “more education;” I know plenty of educated people who work at Starbucks because there are no jobs, and plenty of people with a Ph.D. who accepted lower paying jobs out of their field because that was what was open. More education does not, in and of itself, equal prosperity.

    • HonestDebate1

      Sometimes the most compassionate sounding approaches are the most cruel and sometimes the cruelest sounding approaches are the most compassionate. Minimum wage is an example. Raising the minimum wage always hurts the poor.

      • Ray in VT

        “Raising the minimum wage always hurts the poor.” Now, is that meant to be taken literally, as there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.

        • HonestDebate1

          I suppose you should not take the word “always” so literally to mean every single person. How about, poor people, as a whole, are always hurt most by raising the minimum wage.

          This explains it well:

          http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/364671/how-minimum-wage-hurts-poor-people-mario-loyola

          And this which is linked to in the above link:

          http://www.nationalreview.com/article/364486/minimum-wage-myths-kevin-d-williamson

          And here is the Mercatus Study (I thought I had given you this before):

          http://mercatus.org/publication/unintended-consequences-raising-minimum-wage

          And people’s wages go up without the hike.

          http://blog.heritage.org/2012/04/25/raising-the-minimum-wage-hurts-low-income-workers/

          The majority of studies agree, what evidence to the contrary are you referring to? I just think in this economy the last thing we need is fewer jobs and more burden on employers.

          • Ray in VT

            Specifically I had in mind a study cited by one of the guests (possibly a study out of Stanford) that I had seen before. There is far from a consensus in the literature on this one. There is certainly far more in the literature that ascribes no discernible negative effect on employment than there is scientific evidence against the dominant position regarding climate change and the impact that humans are having.

            I have little regard for the libertarian perspective on this, or really any other, economic issue. The fact is that for many people wages have been stagnant for a long time, and the wages for many buy less and less, while profits at many of these companies, as well as executive compensation, is quite high. Despite all of the money that is sloshing around in some of these sectors, the wealth is not trickling down to the workers.

            Are there likely to be some losers by raising the minimum wage? Yes. Are there likely to be some winners by raising the minimum wage? Yes. Given the costs to society that come with the sort of low wage economy that has flourished in recent times, I am fine with public action in the face of private inactivity. If I have to pay an extra 10 cents for a Big Mac and the guy flipping it gets to take home an extra $20/week, then that seems like a fine trade. If Walmart has to pay its people a little bit more and the price of a t-shirt goes up 5 cents. Also fine with me.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s not your business to determine the costs of goods. It’s doesn’t work that way. In the real world jobs are lost.

            From the Heritage link:

            Heritage economist James Sherk finds that “two-thirds of all recent studies show that raising the minimum wage reduces jobs.”

            Minimum wage is an entry level wage for unskilled work. I think any grown person that has not nurtured the skills to earn more than minimum wage is a total loser.

            I was not able to find the Stanford study, Do you have a link?

          • Ray in VT

            I’m not attempting to determine the costs of goods. That would seem to be something akin to price controls. I am in favor, however, of establishing a floor below which wages should not fall. It’s a pretty long standing policy that shows very wide support.

            You say that the minimum wage is “an entry level wage for unskilled work”, yet in recent years far more low wage workers are not entry level workers, and they often have higher levels of education. It is no longer the case that it is just a place for the uneducated.

            Considering how much of the American public you have written off, I am not surprised that you would denigrate low wage workers. It seems that you have a pretty low opinion of many of your fellow countrymen, perhaps some 47% of them.

            Here is the link to the article to which I was referring, and that I think was referenced by one of the guests:

            http://davidcard.berkeley.edu/papers/njmin-aer.pdf

            Card is now at Berkeley, which may be why I mistook the paper being associated with Stanford, although both authors were then at Princeton and the paper was published in American Economic Review.

            Also, as for your edit, one must also consider whether or not it is valid to use the standard of “at the minimum wage”. If one gets a 10 cent raise, then one is no longer a minimum wage worker, yet one may only be bringing home and extra $4 per week. Many people who would have had far more buying power at a minimum wage job historically than they do presently.

          • Jessica Green

            Checkmate.

          • Jack

            This was actually my point in referring to Ph.D. holders who work at Starbucks because they can’t find work elsewhere. A person with a Ph.D. is, by definition, an expert in a field, and not, typically, an entry level worker.

      • FrankensteinDragon

        how? Did they not earn the money and benefits of a hard-working human being? Ir are they just not human enough or american enough or white enough or religious enough? Didn’t they produce the products and services the billionaire sells? Without those workers wouldn’t the billionaire be worthless? Are they his slaves?

        • HonestDebate1

          It is heartless and cruel to give a man a fish.

          • Jessica Green

            Can we put the Christ back in Christian?

    • OnPointComments

      If our poverty problem was limited to “educated people who work at Starbucks because there are no jobs, and plenty of people with a Ph.D. who accepted lower paying jobs out of their field because that was what was open,” the country would be saying that we have solved the poverty problem. It is surprising to me the number of liberals commenting on here that education is of little or no value, when all research and evidence proves the opposite.

      “Education is the most important predictor of income.” You know who said that? President Obama in his speech today. He’s right.

      • The poster formerly known as t

        Education pays off if you are very bright. If someone is not capable of getting into a selective school and excelling at learning how to do something very difficult, like medicine, engineering, than the pay off is a lot more modest. Obama would probably have ended up as a public school teacher or a general manager at big box retail store if he had not been able to get into a selective school.

        • HonestDebate1

          I think you are confusing ignorance with stupidity.

          • jefe68

            In your case it seems they are one of the same.

          • HonestDebate1

            If you don’t now the difference between ignorance and stupidity by the time you finish reading this comment then you are stupid.

          • jefe68

            I rest my case.

        • Jessica Green

          Know a lot of former students who are indentured servants to their student loans and those loans aren’t chump change. Upwards of $80k is not uncommon.

          • HonestDebate1

            Why would anyone borrow more money that they can pay back? It’s voluntary servitude.

          • jefe68

            The level of your inanity grows ever larger.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’ll put you down as in favor of borrowing more than you can ever pay back.

          • Jack

            They don’t borrow more than they can pay back, but are fed unrealistic expectations of what kind of salary they can expect post-graduation by parents and friends.

          • HonestDebate1

            Buyer beware.

          • Jack

            Yes, because that’s the appropriate response: saying those who are more educated always make more money than those who are less educated so the cost is worth it out of one side of the mouth but then saying that financial gains do not always follow out the other.

          • HonestDebate1

            It doesn’t take a college degree to know that going into debt $250K for a humanitarian degree is a bad idea.

        • Jessica Green

          They borrow because people like you tell them that it’s the only way to succeed and because they know the alternative is a low paying wage for the rest of their lives. It’s not rocket science, but it does involve empathy, i.e., trying to see it from another’s perspective.

        • Jack

          I would add to that, with advanced higher education, it only pays off if you are very lucky.

      • Jack

        Note that I never said education is of little or no value; I wouldn’t have a Ph.D. myself if I thought it were of no value. I’m simply saying it is not a guarantee of prosperity and, in some cases, is a liability. The educational theory of “a little is good more must be better” doesn’t hold water in the real world; according to that theory, with a Ph.D. I should be able to get any job I wanted but if I went into industry, I would be told I’m “over qualified,” which is really just code for “we don’t want to pay you what you’re worth.”

    • Fredlinskip

      Income redistribution to the top over the past 30+ years caused by “trickle up” economics have created not only income inequality but has contributed to an environment where the majority of jobs being created in America today are entry level.

      The “predatory lending” which occurred just before recent financial collapse is perfect illustration of misguided “trickle up” economics.

      • HonestDebate1

        The poor don’t send checks to the rich.

  • StilllHere

    Hyperbole will get you nowhere. Wealthiest, by what measure? If this individual could find a better job, what’s stopping them?

    • Labropotes

      StilllHere, with respect to all Erics, I wonder if this one is real. That paragraph is extremely well written despite the orthography. If Eric can communicate with such clarity, I’d be surprising if he couldn’t find a much better paying job.

      Eric, if your situation is as you say, believe me, you are worth more than you are paid. Find a hotel, or some kind of public communication role, sales. Pitch yourself as able to deliver your boss’s message clearly, accurately and amiably.

      • HonestDebate1

        Good advice.

  • StilllHere

    Where in academia or the public sector do you work? Such ignorance would never survive in the private sector.

  • The poster formerly known as t

    But without low-status people, i.e. low-wage people, how will the higher-status, i.e. upper classes feel good about themselves? Robotics and software can’t satisfy this intrinsic need all social humans have to point to a group of people and say “those people are not as good as we are” or something like that.

    • StilllHere

      You shouldn’t generalize your own sensibilities.

      • The poster formerly known as t

        What makes you think I’m talking about myself?

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    It is clear now that Obama gave a speech today to a leftist group on income inequality that OnPoint received the memo to cover this from the WH.

    After listening to Obama’s remarks it is sad to hear that President Obama has learned nothing about what drives economic growth in his first 5 years as President. Despite a his regime massively expanding regulations and ‘top down’ controls he went on to blame the paucity of economic growth on the lack of regulations. His ignorance is stunning.

    • OnPointComments

      President Obama’s call for more regulations goes back to that Democratic aphorism “Liberals don’t care what you do, as long as it’s mandatory.”

    • Fredlinskip

      Can’t get enough of those economic meltdowns?
      If it’s legal to rip people off blind- guess what:
      people are going to get ripped off blind.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Obama gave lip service to over-bearing government regulations prior to his re-election. He even hired a ‘czar’ to strip away unneeded regulations that were a burden to economic growth. I think the dude’s name was Cass Sunstein (another ivy league pin head who happens to be married to the latest UN ambassador).

        Well, the work product the ‘czar’ went the same way as the Obama promise to “go through the budget line by line” and eliminate all waste and fraud. The result of this great project [null set].

        • Fredlinskip

          You know the whole “Czar” thing is a bit ridiculous.
          It is just an unfortunate title given to heads of departments.
          Budget did get cut (see: Sequester).
          Obama has offered compromise (to chagrin of many in his own party) on lots of things, including “entitlements”
          The more he compromises the further out in right field GOP goes.

          • HonestDebate1

            The sequester resulted in spending $15 billion more than the previous year.

          • pete18

            It’s draconian I tell ya!

    • Jessica Green

      The only thing standing between you and a corporate master is the government. Corporations have no incentive to do more than use things up at the cheapest cost to them as possible. They’re why we have child labor laws, a minimum wage, and regulations to protect our air and water. If you don’t believe corporations should be regulated, you are either naive or stupid–or both.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Complete BS. The pendulum has swung way to far towards big brother government controls. In fact, it is far harder for the little guy to start a business today. Big government protects big business, not the other way around.

        • Jessica Green

          Really? I am a small business owner, as is my daughter, and my other daughters husband and none of us would say that govt regulation has impeded our success.

  • MordecaiCarroll

    Re; the caller who argued against raising the minimum wage, asserting “We live by the quarterly earnings projection”

    This is precisely what’s gone most wrong in business culture in this country over the last two-three decades. This worship of the quarterly earnings report above all else encourages all kinds of reckless and often damaging behavior on the part of corporate entities. Pursuit of a quick buck can lead to all manner of trouble/disaster down the road.

    Witness the banks that nearly tanked the world economy in 2008. The mortgage backed securities built on mortgages that the banks knew were bound to fail were a ticking time bomb. A very lucrative time bomb for a stretch of time, but ultimately an incredibly destructive and costly one too.

    Bubbles and the practice of outsourcing of jobs to places like China and Bangladesh have become much more commonplace during the time since the “quarterly earnings projection” became the End All and Be All. That’s not coincidence – it’s a symptom of short term thinking/grasping after the quick buck

    What happened to what ex Goldman Sachs chief Gus Levy referred to as being “long term greedy”? Why isn’t that good enough anymore?

  • EricB

    Dear Tom,

    I believe that, during the conversation between Mr. Cooper, Mr. Fichtner, and Mr. Wilson, all presented false ideas regarding wage stagnation and mobility. To imply that either tax incentives or a change in the minimum wage will have any effect on the lives of the poor is political posturing – they are not valid economic arguments, but simple solutions politicians can use to sway a population.

    The tax rate on the poor will always find an equilibrium – the poor are really taxed through their vices – gambling, alcohol, cigarettes, ect. Lower any one of these, and the others will just be raised. Rebate incentives have little meaning to someone who can’t afford to take advantage of them in the first place.

    A wage is determined by the number of people who can do a job, and nearly everyone can do the work Walmart and McDonalds needs. You aren’t really increasing the value of labor with a minimum wage shift, just the arbitrary number attached to it.

    The true culprit of wage stagnation is globalization. The companies and entrepreneurs who are grossing huge profits here in America are doing so on the massive amount of mobility taking place in other countries – countries whose labor will take decades to reach the cost of what it does in America.

    Globalization is not a bad thing, so long as those companies that profit from it invest in American businesses that are not global. For this reason, I believe the best way to increase the standard of living in America is the creation of a trade market in which large businesses can invest in local ones. The incentive for companies to do this is that investing in local American companies will in turn increase the demand for all products.

    The fundamental investments that must be made are those that increase the value of the labor someone is able to create. The most important of these are access to affordable childcare, affordable health care, and the dependable protection of life and property. Without these three investments, the poor will never have the time or security to invest in education.

    The second most important thing is to invest in non-traditional methods of education at every stage of life. A culture that values creativity and independence is an essential transformation that cannot and will not take place inside of public, charitable, and religious institutions.

    Finally, we must invest in a culture that celebrates entrepreneurship. Middle class America thrives on small, local business people. They serve local needs like weddings, events, news, advertising, real estate, construction, ect. Without investing in these people in lower income communities, the populations will remain dependent on the labor that globalized companies will provide them – labor that has no likelihood of creating mobility.

    • Fredlinskip

      “I believe the best way to increase the standard of living in America is the creation of a trade market in which large businesses can invest in local ones. The incentive for companies to do this is that investing in local American companies will in turn increase the demand for all products.”

      Apparently there has not been enough of this “incentive” for Corps to do this. Any suggestions??

      It seems there could be some tax incentives involved? As in perhaps- invest and hire overseas- pay lots of tax;
      invest and hire here- pay not so much.
      When tax rate on upper brackets was 91% there seemed to be lots of investment here in America.
      Any correlation?

      • EricB

        Punishment is never a good tactic, as any kind of punishing incentive will have loopholes that corporations can (and do) find. Any and all “correlations” that people draw about economics are insignificant factors in the power of globalization.

        I’d be more certain that its a marketing problem. No one wants to invest in “impoverished communities” but everyone would love to invest in “emerging markets.”

        Secondly, our finance system has been split in two: you can invest with large banks, who themselves make investments in global economies, or in local banks, that don’t have the capitol to make risky investments.

        All I’m saying is that venture capitalists spend millions on technology corporations because its new, but there is less risk when investing a similar amount of money into a group of home repair businesses. There are plenty of channels for technology companies to solicit venture capitalists for funds, but very few for the businesses of every day America.

        • Fredlinskip

          But can’t some loopholes be designed so that companies that invest and hire here, pay less.
          No one ever paid 91%, but to avoid doing so, many were “incentivized” to reinvest here.
          Infrastructure spending ruled the day.

          I know we are talking apples/ oranges as that was long time ago, but still.

          • EricB

            I think you’d be surprised at how easy it is to transfer cash to the Bank of London, wire it to a Trust in an Offshore island, make a large Grant to a Small investment firm in India with the expectation that the money would be invested in Technology firms with low labor costs, and then contract work out to those companies for Network Infrastructure, then purchase the contracted work at discounted rates and write off the cost on your taxes. But something tells me, you’ve already got that figured out.

          • EricB

            The point being, there are always loopholes. Trying to fight globalization is like trying to fight a Hippo by throwing apples and oranges at it. You’ll just irritate it, and the best that could happen is it gets up and leaves.

          • Fredlinskip

            If corporations exploit loopholes as the one you illustrate, so successfuly that they pay zero tax (or are perhaps even subsidized), how can this serve American interests?
            Seems a fatal flaw that leads to unsustainable National Debt.
            How about this for an incentive?- if a company will not hire, pay a living wage or support our country’s revenue base- how about deporting the whole company with stipulation that none of the members can set foot or do business in or with America again.
            Something’s got to give.

          • EricB

            Essentially, in a consumer society, the consumer always pays the tax. Most taxes on globalized companies are subsidized to compensate for the relatively high costs of American labor, so that those Americans can keep there jobs. I personally support Texas tax plan that incorporates high consumption tax and low income taxes. Best way to raise tax revenue is to raise the value of the services entrepreneurs can provide their community.

          • Fredlinskip

            Something needs happen different.
            I would suggest perhaps we ought to take instruction by looking with 20/20 hindsight into our past and examine which administrations:
            created robust job growth, strong middle class, upward mobility, low national debt, etc.
            Been there, done that.

            Clinton policy might be worth reexamining, for example.

          • EricB

            Clinton was a moderate though, and his fiscal policies of military reductionism and trade deregulation wreaked havoc on the decade that followed (mostly due to the US and West needing to remain militarily superior to be able to continue to demand high costs of labor and resources). On the other hand, war profiteering is a horrible and very serious problem that is hard to deal with as a result of the fear propagation post 9-11.

          • Fredlinskip

            “..West needing to remain militarily superior to be able to continue to demand high costs of labor and resources.”
            “Most taxes on globalized companies are subsidized to compensate for the relatively high costs of American labor, so that those Americans can keep there jobs.”

            This is a perspective with which I am not familiar and would require further study on my part before I could comment.

            Unfortunately I need get to work.

            I would agree in general about trade policy- which could still use some “rejiggering”.
            Good day.

    • Fredlinskip

      “The tax rate on the poor will always find an equilibrium – the poor are really taxed through their vices – gambling, alcohol, cigarettes, ect”

      Just me, or does this statement seem a bit condescending??

      • EricB

        I don’t think that drawing a correlation between uneducated people, poverty, and addiction is an underrepresented idea, nor an idea that hasn’t shown to be both true in experimentation and larger social contexts either. The middle class and upper class have their vices too, they just don’t happen to be social stigmas.

        • Fredlinskip

          It seems to me rather judgmental to assume the reason for a person’s poverty is because of this person’s vice.

          • EricB

            I certainly didn’t mean to imply that. Perhaps I should revise the statement to be less so. I wouldn’t say my neighbors are rich because they choose to gamble on high risk investments and Vicodin -the media doesn’t stigmatize and governments don’t tax those things quite as heavily.

  • SamEw

    If the wal-mart employee who called in was giving accurate information she is working less than 1200 hours a year or 24 hours a week. Her reaction is to protest at the job she has instead of trying to find another one; that sort of learned impotence is absurd. Also, in case your wondering I say that as someone who has had 3 jobs where I was making less hourly than she was in the past two years.

    • hennorama

      SamE — she indicated that she could only work the hours that were scheduled. “Wal-Mart doesn’t want to give us no more than what we’re scheduled.”

    • jefe68

      So the fact that your not paid well means she should not be paid a fair wage? Is this part of your argument?
      There is something sad about that, so very sad.

      • HonestDebate1

        Who said anything about fair? And what is that anyway?

        • jefe68

          Wow, you’re a real piece of work.
          And I’m being polite here.

          • HonestDebate1

            Thank you for your kind words.

        • fun bobby

          if you don’t deserve $15 for pushing the carts in the parking lot after acquiring all the advanced degrees required to do so then life is not fair

        • jefe68

          “While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”

          Nelson Mandela

          • HonestDebate1

            Non-sequitur

          • jefe68

            That’s funny, I was thinking that you personify the very meaning of non-sequitur.

      • SamEw

        It is sad that you five others at least have no ability to read and comprehend something you might disagree with.

        • jefe68

          How so? You compared your low wages to hers. Then you derided this person for not working enough hours. What’s sad is you accept this as normal, or so it would seem.

          In a lot of cases Walmart keeps workers hours on the low side. They have been sued for not paying people for hour’s they worked. Walmart has an appalling record of abusing workers in terms of wages, benefits.

          • SamEw

            1. I never said she shouldn’t be paid more or even given a full time position maybe she is a good worker and should. However, you interpreted my comments as such and felt it necessary to insult me not because of what I wrote but because of your subjective interpretation of what I wrote. My only point was I understand what it is like to be in a such a position.

            2. It strikes me as strange that a person working under 25 hours a week instead of looking for a full time job or working another part time job goes to the part time job she has and protests. Now, granted I have no idea what she is doing with the rest of her time but from her comments she seems to feel dis-empowered and entirely reliant on Walmart at least for the immediate future.

            3. You may think I’m being harsh but essentially what she was doing was protesting against part-time hours. If she had been working 35 hours and wanted 40 that would have been considerably different because she would have been less able to look for and or take another position or pursue education. Maybe you don’t want a part time job but a lot of people for personal or professional reasons do and if Wal-mart as a matter of policy moves all or most workers into full time positions they will have to eliminate or cut back part time positions. Do you really think part time positions are in general bad idea? because that seems to be the position you’re taking.

  • jefe68

    “Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times — times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation — that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.”

    “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life,” he said. “While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”

    The words of a great humanitarian.

  • jefe68

    1. If wages had kept pace with productivity gains, the minimum wage would be over $16 an hour.

    Corporate profits have soared. Workers are producing more, but they’re not sharing in the rewards.

    Productivity and the minimum wage generally increased at the same rate from 1947 to 1969, during this country’s postwar boom years. Using a conservative benchmark, economists Dean Baker and Will Kimball determined that the minimum wage would be $16.54 today if it had continued to keep pace with productivity.

    The strikers are asking for $15 an hour.

    (Source: Baker and Kimball, Center for Economic and Policy Research http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/cepr-blog/the-minimum-wage-and-economic-growth)

    2. The average fast food worker makes $8.69 an hour.

    Many jobs pay at or near the minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. And an estimated 87 percent of fast food workers receive no health benefits.

    (Source: UC Berkeley Labor Center http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/publiccosts/fastfoodpovertywages.shtml)

    3. The CEO of McDonald’s Corporation makes $13.8 million per year.

    That’s a 237 percent pay increase over last year, when he was paid a “mere” $4.1 million. Presumably health benefits are also included.

    (Source: USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/04/12/mcdonalds-former-new-ceo-big-pay-bumps/2078001/)

    4. McDonald’s cost the American taxpayer an estimated $1.2 billion in public assistance per year.

    In other words, taxpayer money is subsidizing this large corporation’s profits – at the expense of American workers.

    (Source: National Employment Law Project http://www.nelp.org/page/-/rtmw/uploads/NELP-Super-Sizing-Public-Costs-Fast-Food-Report.pdf?nocdn=1)

    5. McDonald’s made $1.5 billion in profits last quarter.

    That’s up 5 percent from the previous year.

    (Source: McDonald’s Corporation http://news.mcdonalds.com/Corporate/Press-Releases/Financial-Release?xmlreleaseid=123038)

    6. The 10 largest fast food companies cost taxpayers an estimated $3.9 billion in government health assistance and $1.04 billion in food assistance.

    Republicans are demanding cuts to government health and food programs. With all the talk of deficit reduction, it’s surprising that no one has pointed out that a great way to lower expenditures would be by ending these backdoor subsidies for highly profitable corporations.

    (Source: UC Berkeley Labor Center http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/publiccosts/fastfoodpovertywages.shtml)

    7. These 10 companies earned $7.4 billion in profits last year.

    They also paid out $7.7 billion in dividends. Meanwhile …

    (Source: National Employment Law Project http://www.nelp.org/page/-/rtmw/uploads/NELP-Super-Sizing-Public-Costs-Fast-Food-Report.pdf?nocdn=1)

    8. Fast food workers are more than twice as likely to be on public assistance.

    25 percent of American workers receive some form of public assistance – which is a disturbing figure itself. For fast food workers that figure was 52 percent.

    And it’s not just part-time work that’s causing the problem. More than half of full-time fast food workers receive some form of public assistance.

    (Sources: University of California, Berkeley/University of Illinois study; UC Berkeley Labor Center )

    9. Most of the workers who would be affected by this wage change are adults.

    We also hear that it’s not necessary to raise the minimum wage, especially for fast food workers, because most of them are “kids” working a few hours each week for pocket money. Think of this as the “malt shoppe” argument.

    But it’s not true. Most low-wage workers are adults. Nationally, adults make up 88 percent of the workers who would receive a raise if the minimum wage were increased to $10.10 per hour. In locales as distinct as New York State and Albuquerque, New Mexico, that figure rises to 92 percent.

    (Sources: US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Fiscal Policy Institute, New Mexico Voices for Children/Fiscal Policy Project)

    10. Over 7 million children live in minimum-wage households.

    And many of these workers are parents. Seven million children – nearly one American child in ten – feels the effects of low wages.

    (Source: data from the National Women’s Law Center)

    http://billmoyers.com/2013/12/05/12-fast-facts-about-thursday%E2%80%99s-fast-food-strike/

  • Andrew Page

    since this seems to split along party lines, how about a bit of give and take for both?

    A raise in the minimum wage in the same bill as a cut in the corporate tax rate?

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