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Tin Lizzy

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  • 10 Years Of Disappearing Teen Jobs [View article]

    Actually, my question about data was rhetorical. I remain unconvinced that you have looked at it. As Ba1k3es has already pointed out, the BLS data clearly demonstrate that older workers have displaced younger ones over the last several years, a phenomenon you have not accounted for. Balk3es supplied graphs that demonstrated these long-term trends. Looking at the numbers or calculating percentages will not change the conclusion.

    Here is another fun fact I learned from the BLS report "The characteristics of minimum wage employment, 2013":

    "Among employed teenagers (ages 16 to 19), about 20 percent earned the minimum wage or less" available here:

    In other words, minimum wage laws are irrelevant to most youth employment. Have you accounted for this in your analysis?

    I do not argue that teen unemployment is a non-issue. i think it is a big issue (which is why I read this article in the first place). It is an issue that may disproportionately affect minority youth. Another huge issue. Especially since 'minority' youth will soon become the 'majority' of youth. But you have not made the case that this issue is directly caused by minimum wage hikes. (And my view is that is is more a symptom of growing structural slack in the American economy that will never be fixed by tinkering with minimum wage laws). But you could be partially or wholly right. Unfortunately I cannot tell because your analytical methods are not capable of supporting your conclusions.

    There is much better research available on the NBER website. I am providing a link to a paper that would both agree (minimum wage hikes can impact employment) and disagree (the impact is indirect, taking 3 years to appear, and not important unless hikes exceed the rate of inflation) with your analysis, and provides further links to more research that clearly illustrate how complex and contentious this subject is. Here the link on the NBER web site:

    At the bottom of the page there are links to even more high quality research.

    For anyone who does not want to pay the $5, here is a pdf copy:

    I had a look a several of these papers and the provisional conclusion I have reached is that debates about minimum wage seem to pit the interests of older workers against those of younger ones. I think the best solutions to minimum wage issues would be those that consider both. One possibility is allowing minimum wages to rise but allowing youth to be paid at a lower rate.

    On the other hand, in my youth jobs for teen were plentiful. I sampled 3 before I left high school. My first job, in 1971, in retail, paid $1.70. Using an inflation calculator, I received the equivalent of ~$10 in today's dollars. So for me the real question is this. Why is it that the American economy could afford to pay teenagers such a good wage back then but not now? Of course the answers are complex. Some of them are externally imposed (i.e., the rise of China and offshoring) but maybe not all of them are (i.e., decline in educational outcomes for minority children and boys in particular).
    Feb 15, 2015. 09:58 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 10 Years Of Disappearing Teen Jobs [View article]
    Anthony Fernandez:

    Re: "The work of teenagers, though, is generally worth less than minimum wage. It's fine for them, they get money and they live well on their parents' income."

    Insofar as we are talking about the work of teenagers, I would agree with you. But only half of minimum wage workers are teenagers according to the BLS. And when it comes to total hours work there are even bigger demographic distinctions to be made because most minimum wage work is not performed by teenagers. I think this is the point that Bob123, Ba1k3es and I have been trying to make and why we and you are talking past one another. We are making apples to oranges comparisons.

    Here is some data from the most recent report on minimum wage workers, available here:

    Looking at Table 1 of this report I can pull up the following bits of data. While nearly 76 million hours of work were performed in the United States in 2013, only 4 million of those hours were performed by youth in the 16-19 age category. And more than 55 million of those hours are put in by workers working full time. When I made my satirical comments, I was referring to adult, full time workers who must rely on minimum wage work for their livelihoods, a very scary proposition if you ask me.

    That does not mean we should not be concerned about teenage unemployment, which skyrocketed in the Great Recession and has not come back down. But the notion that teen unemployment is was caused entirely by relatively small increases in minimum wages is absurd in my view. That doesn't mean that minimum wage laws could not be used to promote teenage employment. I actually live in a jurisdiction that allows kids under 18 to be payed below minimum wage, to promote hiring of teenagers. I don't see that as a bad thing.

    One of my sons took a below-minimum-wage job in a family-owned grocery store when he was 16. Of course he lost this job shortly after his 18th birthday after asking for his wage to be brought up the the legally mandate wage (he was replaced by a 15-year old). My son found this upsetting and felt unfairly treated. BUT. This store was privately owned and it is possibly the owner did these kinds of things because he had to (the store changed hands frequently until he bought it, suggesting that it was hard to keep it profitable). My son just moved on to a large grocery store chain which apparently could 'afford' the minimum wage, which helped him get over the experience. I presume the chain store could find other economies of scale to support the bottom line, or perhaps the precise value of the minimum wage simply was not the first priority for them. For example they may have been more concerned to retain workers. High worker turnover can be a hidden cost. The 2-level minimum wage assisted the private store owner (who was truly a small businessman) by giving him access to a group of low-wage workers, and supported an overall higher minimum wage for older workers who truly depend on it.
    Feb 15, 2015. 08:48 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 10 Years Of Disappearing Teen Jobs [View article]
    In a 'free market' why pay them at all? Maybe just turn them into slaves. Of course then,you might bear the full cost of their 'room and board'. I wonder if that could be done for $5/hour? Oh what the hell, just give them whatever you can for $5 (could we shave it down to $4? That would be so great for the bottom line). Feed them less. Turn down the heat. How about 5 or 6 to a room? If they expire there would be plenty more where they came from! After all, their labor is nearly worthless anyway, right?
    Feb 10, 2015. 02:34 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 10 Years Of Disappearing Teen Jobs [View article]

    With all due respect, you still have not made your case. You clearly imply that layoffs in "banking, finance, manufacturing, or real estate/construction, where job losses were very specifically", should not have propagated throughout the rest of the economy to impact minimum wage employment. I completely disagree with this. I think that in making such a claim you could be making a false assumption. So if you think I am wrong provide the proof.

    I will suggest an alternative hypothesis that seems to be consistent with all of the available data. When the Great Recession hit, massive layoffs occurred that propagated throughout the economy including minimum wage work. Many older people got laid of more skilled jobs and have not yet recovered these good jobs, rather experiencing long bouts of unemployment followed by underemployed as they replaced their unemployment benefits with minimum-wage casual or part time work. The effect of this has been a displacement of younger workers by older workers in these minimum wage jobs. Stubborn lack of growth in real wages and overall hours worked supports such a scenario. In this scenario, the minimum wage laws are irrelevant or only partially responsible for the stubbornly high youth unemployment. You cannot prove your theory without disproving mine.

    How to distinguish your scenario from mine?

    You need to prove that the number of minimum wage jobs has actually decreased in high minimum-wage regions relative to low-minimum wage regions over your chosen time period. You are currently using teen unemployment as a proxy for this data. But it might not be a good proxy.

    If you are correct, then there should have been an overall decline in the number of minimum wage jobs. If my scenario is correct, the number of minimum-wage jobs may have remained the same (or declined or increased) but the average age of workers in these jobs MUST have increased.
    So you could prove me wrong by demonstrating that the average age of minimum age workers in California has remained the same while overall numbers of minimum wage jobs have declined. If you have access to this type of data, we could assess the relative validity of the two hypotheses.

    Do you have such data? For example, have you proven that in California, job gains for older adults do not include an increase in the number of minimum wage jobs, or is this an assumption on your part? Are you sure that increases in minimum wages are not simply making these jobs more palatable to older adults, who are replacing teenagers? If you could produce such data you would be more convincing.
    Feb 10, 2015. 01:53 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 10 Years Of Disappearing Teen Jobs [View article]
    Anthony: Quite right. My point, though, was that this author was interpreting a very limited amount of data as if it could, in fact, be interpreted as a controlled experiment. I am not buying what he/she is selling.
    Feb 9, 2015. 02:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 10 Years Of Disappearing Teen Jobs [View article]
    Ironman: Correlation does not prove causation. The period 2007-2009 also correlated with the Great Recession, the mother of all confounding factors.

    How do you know that the Great Recession was not mostly/entirely responsible for the increases in the youth unemployment rate? Several other possible explanations for this trend also spring to mind. This short-term time series doesn't even come close to providing a controlled experiment in which the only possible cause of variation is changing minimum wage laws. Aren't you merely interpreting the data to suit your preconceptions?
    Feb 9, 2015. 02:14 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What If The Fed Isn't The Wizard Behind The Economic Curtain? [View article]
    It seems to me that Yellen would agree with you that it is not the Fed's job to fix income inequality. I read her speech carefully. It is available here:

    Her points about inequality clearly require political action to solve, particularly since her main criticism was of the US education system. In an indirect way, I think she was chiding useless politicians, who have been demanding that the Fed fix problems of their own making.
    Nov 5, 2014. 09:47 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Could The 'Shale Oil Miracle' Be Just A Pipe Dream? [View article]
    Deep Time:

    Actually, Occam's Razor should lead us to conclude that the sun is the primary driver of climate change
    Oct 23, 2014. 02:10 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Could The 'Shale Oil Miracle' Be Just A Pipe Dream? [View article]
    IPCC is a committee of bureucrats and politicians. They chased out most of the scientists a long time ago.
    Oct 20, 2014. 05:15 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Janet Yellen Is Wrong About The Cause Of Wealth Inequality [View article]
    Mr. Harding:

    I agreed with nearly everything you wrote except the part about Yellen being wrong. She is talking about the economy. You seem to be talking only about the markets. I don't think they are the same thing, so you being 'right' does not make her 'wrong'.

    Also, I read her entire speech.

    She did talk about the cost of post-secondary education. But her number one concern seemed to be the poor quality of public K-12 education, since improving it was her number 1 recommendation. The interpretation being there is no point in worrying about the cost of a college education for a high school drop-out, or a high school graduate who lacks adequate preparation for college.
    Oct 20, 2014. 04:45 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Could The 'Shale Oil Miracle' Be Just A Pipe Dream? [View article]
    Deep Time:

    Why don't you read the whole chapter? I have provided the link. What they 'observed' is a hiatus, which they 'defined' as a reduced trend. The usual double-speak.

    What rational and logical standards are you claiming? I am unaware of any that would invalidate this evidence. Enlighten me.
    Oct 16, 2014. 09:03 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Could The 'Shale Oil Miracle' Be Just A Pipe Dream? [View article]

    Did you actually read the link you provided? There was no mention of 2014 being the "warmest year", merely a warm September. Big difference between a month and a year.

    The following is copied straight out of chapter 10 of the 2013 IPCC report:

    "The observed recent warming hiatus, defined as the reduction in GMST trend during 1998–2012 as compared to the trend during 1951–2012, is attributable in roughly equal measure to a cooling contribution from internal variability and a reduced trend in external forcing (expert judgement,medium confidence). The forcing trend reduction is primarily due to a negative forcing trend from both volcanic eruptions and the downward phase of the solar cycle."

    You can read the whole chapter here:

    There you have it. The IPCC concludes that, due to reduced solar forcing, there has been no warming since 1998.
    Oct 15, 2014. 03:33 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Could The 'Shale Oil Miracle' Be Just A Pipe Dream? [View article]
    Long WTI:

    Don't know about average well costs in the Bakken. but I do know that Whiting has been really improving their recoveries - and safety - by improving their well completion techniques:

    This may not result in the lowest cost per well but it is improving total productivity per well, a more important metric IMHO. Proper well casings are also key to preventing contamination of groundwater, as well as improving recoveries. So this is a truly virtuous development. Maybe that is why the EPA is butting out.

    WLL and CLR are also improving their bottom lines by recovering well gas - instead of flaring it - what a waste.

    I think it is way too soon to write of US shale production because it is still changing rapidly and the economics are still improving for high quality producers.
    Oct 15, 2014. 11:33 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Paradigm Is Shifting; Fossil Fuels Are Becoming Fossils [View article]
    Mr. Silman:

    CO2 keeps marching upward but the earth hasn't warmed up since 1998, irrespective of IPCC protestations. Here is great quote:

    "Attacking carbon dioxide is hate speech against Mother Nature'

    Taken from here:

    Commercial greenhouse operators buy propane generators to produce CO2 from fossil fuels to increase yields in their greenhouses. 1500 ppm CO2 is considered optimal. 'Normal' air (400 ppm CO2 in 2014) is way below optimal for plants.

    So, CO2 keeps going up but global temperature has stopped going up with it. Why does this necessitate 'clean' technologies that are actually dirty (at least if you live in China), and expensive, and that risk the integrity of the electrical grid? Why not install a few more coal scrubbers and make those pesky oil producers up in the Bakken stop flaring 'waste' natural gas. I hate waste. And make drillers case their well bores properly so that 'fracking' does not contaminate groundwater. There are plenty of compelling environmental problems to address. And fossil fuels can cause some of them. But global warming caused by CO2 emissions is not one of them. The manufacture of green technologies, particularly the mining and processing of REE elements and REE magnets cause them as well. And you have still not addressed this in your arguments.
    Oct 8, 2014. 05:08 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Paradigm Is Shifting; Fossil Fuels Are Becoming Fossils [View article]
    Dear Mr. Sillman:

    I quite agree that the fossil fuel industry need not be subsidized. But I can find no specific subsidies in the articles you quote. So as far as I can tell these could be claims without substance. I like to see data as I am a scientist.

    Lets assume they have a valid basis. I have neighbors who have installed solar collectors and have an agreement with my power authority to sell the extra power produced back to the utility at 15-20x the going rate for electricity. I do not have solar collectors, so that means one of 2 things. Either I subsidize these solar collectors directly through my bill, or someone subsidizes me, to keep my costs from becoming unreasonable. I would like to know if any of the 'fossil fuel subsidies' claimed in these articles are of this nature. Can you answer this question?
    Oct 7, 2014. 06:08 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment