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  • Washington State's Minimum Wage Experience [View article]
    "Response; And what does that have to do with anything?"

    It has to do with the fact our country can afford to take care of its citizens. If you want to live in a dog-eat-dog, every-man-for-himself, type of society then try Somalia.
    Jun 26 12:17 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Washington State's Minimum Wage Experience [View article]

    (1) Please, a blog post is not an academic paper. BLS issues an annual report on minimum wage workers. Search for "BLS minimum wage" and it pops right up. If I can do that, why can't you?

    (2) I don't follow your logic here. Any concerns about the inadequacy of the existing minimum wage would be magnified with respect to workers earning less than minimum, and therefore should have more not less bearing on one's conclusions about the adequacy of the existing minimum wage.

    (3) And the point you miss is that many people earning minimum wage are not young, are not entry-level, and are not "in a learning curve."

    America is the richest country on earth. If someone shows up for a job, follows a supervisor's instructions, does the assigned tasks, in short is doing the job s/he was hired to do, the job ought to pay enough to cover that worker's basic necessities. Taxpayers should not have to subsidize employers' labor costs. From that standpoint, the public has an interest that is protected by government regulation of minimum wages, just as the public has an interest in regulating workplace safety.
    Jun 16 04:17 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Washington State's Minimum Wage Experience [View article]
    An argument that assumes minimum wage workers are teens is hardly a reasoned argument. According to BLS, half the U.S. workforce earning minimum wage or less is over age 25.
    Jun 14 02:40 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Disconcerting 'Wealth Effect' Disconnect [View article]
    "If you get a job that is just shuffling papers ... then 'anyone' can do that."

    Really? Uneducated teenagers can "shuffle" patent applications, loan applications, or real estate closings? I'm not impressed by your logic or knowledge of the real world.

    For what it's worth, the compressed air nail gun was invented by four veterans in an American Legion hall who got the idea from World War 2 machineguns, and they didn't make a dime. They ran out of money, the banker took their company, and Bostich bought their patents for a song in a bankruptcy sale. Another example of blue collar guys who work hard, make things, and add value getting run over by the front office "paper shufflers."
    Jun 12 11:38 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Coach: A Long-Term Investment Opportunity In A Good-Yielding Stock [View article]
    Coach's problem may well be that it no longer has the "in" brand name in handbags. Perhaps management squandered their brand's cachet, or perhaps consumer tastes simply moved on. In any case, once a brand dependent on snob appeal goes out of style, it's toast. (Disclosure: I dumped my COH at a loss a couple weeks ago.)
    Jun 12 01:45 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Coach: A Strong Leveraged Buyout Candidate [View article]
    Coach competes in a space where image, "fad" trends, and fickle consumer tastes play a large role. Coach has fallen out of favor as the "in" brand name in its space. This is a far more serious problem than financial engineering can address.
    Jun 12 01:39 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • On Writing About The High Stock Market Prices [View article]
    No, it was me who did all the buying. I paid off my mortgage in Dec. 2008, leaving me with only two things to do with my money: Spend it or invest it. Tuning a deaf ear to Mr. Bernanke, I put it all in stocks. Now my problem is all these stocks have gone up a lot, but if I sell them and take profits, what could I do with the cash? Buy even more expensive stocks? I could always buy a bigger house, but that would play right into Mr. Bernanke's hands. I don't know what to do.
    Jun 12 12:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Disconcerting 'Wealth Effect' Disconnect [View article]
    All of this is fine, but America doesn't (and shouldn't) belong solely to entrepreneurs. The vast majority of Americans work for someone else. They should be respected and decently compensated. There's a place and a role under our system for both capitalists and workers.
    Jun 11 07:25 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Washington State's Minimum Wage Experience [View article]
    Eliminate EPA? Are you serious? Before EPA, we had Love Canal. Do you really think business would police itself in the absence of environmental cops? EPA exists because it didn't. How many Superfund sites did businesses leave for taxpayers to clean up before we had pollution laws and a federal agency to enforce them? No thanks, I won't vote for laissez-faire pollution and toxic waste. Reasonable people can argue about the wisdom or efficacy of specific policies (such as coal), but it's not in the public's interest to step away from environmental regulation (e.g., CERCLA, RCRA, TSCA, CWA, CAA), nor do I believe you could get enough political support to make it happen.
    Jun 10 12:47 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Washington State's Minimum Wage Experience [View article]
    "Legislating that employers be 'nice' can get you only so far."

    But going that far is worthwhile. Who (except maybe some employers) wants a return to the working conditions of the late 1800s and early 1900s?
    Jun 8 05:22 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Washington State's Minimum Wage Experience [View article]
    Sawant indeed is a Socialist (capital S), but also is only one nine Seattle City Council members (the other eight are Democrats), and her vote alone can't pass a rent control ordinance (or any other ordinance). The last time Seattle flirted with rent control was in the early 1980s; the rent control campaign at that time was spearheaded by a then-young attorney named Frank Shoichet, and was soundly defeated. I remember being interviewed by a local radio station about that issue (I spoke against it). Although Sawant won election to the city council as a Socialist, that doesn't mean Seattle is full of Socialist voters; it was really her personal drive, charisma, and energy that got her a (narrow) elective win. The council seat provides her with a great bully pulpit for her socialist (small S) ideology, but I don't think she's going to win many converts. Seattle has always had a couple of small socialist political parties. I grew up in Milwaukee, which had a Socialist mayor for many years, but Milwaukee never became part of East Berlin and is still a capitalist city.
    Jun 6 03:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Disconcerting 'Wealth Effect' Disconnect [View article]
    JasonC -- that's your personal philosophical viewpoint. It's neither the law nor the actuality, and it's probably not going to become a political reality in the foreseeable future.
    Jun 6 01:35 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Disconcerting 'Wealth Effect' Disconnect [View article]
    "Nobody is entitled to a payout that isn't covered by the dedicated contributions."

    This goes against the basic design of Social Security since its beginning, which is that recipients at the bottom of the benefit scale get more relative to their contributions and those at the top get less relative. In other words, some net transfer from richer to poorer was built into the system from the start. It's not, strictly speaking, a forced savings program in which you simply get back your contributions plus interest.
    Jun 6 01:34 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Washington State's Minimum Wage Experience [View article]
    "I doubt it is any different than any other highly leveraged area whose supposed 'healthy state' is totally predicated on cheap credit."

    Wrong. Seattle has a concentration of wealthy industries and high-paying jobs, and a lot of people in high-paying jobs. Seattle is a regional medical center, a regional legal center, a regional banking center, a regional corporate headquarters center, a regional transportation center, a major port link to Asian markets, and has Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, many high-tech companies, and the University of Washington and two other colleges. Drive through this city and you'll see construction cranes everywhere. Six-figure household incomes are commonplace in Seattle, and Seattle has thousands of families living in million-dollar-plus homes. I don't know what the leverage is, but if I had to guess, it's probably comparable to any thriving urban area.
    Jun 5 01:40 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Washington State's Minimum Wage Experience [View article]
    "the employment to population ratio for individuals aged 16 - 19 years old is probably the best proxy"

    Wrong. Using this age group as a proxy for minimum wage workers assumes most minimum wage workers are school-age teens working part-time at entry level jobs, and that's not true. Minimum wage workers are predominantly adults who depend on their jobs for self-support, and a significant percentage are supporting a household or children. Even in the fast food industry, you find many minimum wage workers who have been in those jobs for 10 years or longer, and are in their late twenties or thirties age-wise. If you use teens as a proxy for your workforce profile, you might as well throw away your results, because they won't mean a thing.
    Jun 5 01:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment