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Minimum Truth: The Hollow Argument Against Higher Wages

Economy Memo Pad Politics

Minimum Truth: The Hollow Argument Against Higher Wages

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In the midst of a crucial political debate that plainly favored proponents of a higher minimum wage, the Congressional Budget Office dropped a bombshell headline this week.  Increasing the minimum to $10.10 an hour – as demanded by President Obama and Democrats on Capitol Hill – will “cost 500,000 jobs.” At a moment when employment still lags badly, that assertion was potentially devastating.

Almost lost in much of the predictable media coverage was the CBO’s estimate that a minimum-wage increase would lift at least 900,000 workers and their families out of poverty – and boost incomes for at least 15 million more.

But as top economists have repeatedly pointed out, such damning employment numbers are fuzzy and unreliable, while the CBO’s poverty numbers probably underestimated the positive impact of a higher minimum.

Moreover, those 500,000-jobs-lost headlines were highly misleading, with the strong implication that more than half a million actual people would be laid off — which is wrong. In fact, the CBO number is meant to estimate the number of jobs that employers might not fill when workers leave, or the number of jobs that employers might not create as quickly if they must pay a higher wage.  It doesn’t mean that people will lose their current jobs, but those people seeking low-wage jobs may have to look slightly longer to find them.

What about that nice round number of 500,000? Naturally it is rounded to the nearest hundred thousand, but more to the point is that the headlined number is simply the midpoint of an estimated range from “slight impact” or zero lost jobs on the low end to one million on the high end.

Such a million-job spread represents substantial uncertainty. Skeptics may consider the uncertainty even greater because the CBO report relied heavily on disputed assumptions by conservative economists – and diverged from the consensus of top US economists, who expect that moderate increases have a vanishingly small impact on employment.

But even if 500,000 fewer jobs are created in the short run, that somewhat notional cost must be weighed against the indisputable benefit to low-wage workers. As economist Dean Baker explains:

With 25 million people projected to be in the pool of beneficiaries from a higher minimum wage, this means that we can expect affected workers to put in on average about 2 percent fewer hours a year. However when they do work, those at the bottom will see a 39.3 percent increase in pay.

While overstating the negative effect of raising the minimum wage on jobs, the CBO study understated the positive effect on families living in poverty. Its estimate of 900,000 families lifted above the poverty line is based on computer simulations. But historical research into the effect of previous minimum-wage increases suggest a much more robust benefit to the working poor.

According to University of Massachusetts economist Arindrajit Dube, who has studied the effects of minimum-wage increases in recent decades, the impact on poverty is much more powerful than the CBO suggests. He quotes a study by the Hamilton Project, a centrist economic think-tank based at the Brookings Institution, which suggests that as many as 35 million families will benefit from an increase to $10.10 an hour due to “spillover effects” raising income among workers who already make slightly more than the minimum.

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Joe Conason

A highly experienced journalist, author and editor, Joe Conason is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo, founded in July 2011. He was formerly the executive editor of the New York Observer, where he wrote a popular political column for many years. His columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate and his reporting and writing have appeared in many publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, and Harpers.

Since November 2006, he has served as editor of The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit journalism center, where he has assigned and edited dozens of award-winning articles and broadcasts. He is also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Hunting of the President (St. Martins Press, 2000) and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martins Press, 2003).

Currently he is working on a new book about former President Bill Clinton's life and work since leaving the White House in 2001. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, and lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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126 Comments

  1. 2010HDSTGLIDE February 21, 2014

    The minimum wage should be increased. I don’t think that bringing it to $10.10 per hour even over a couple of years is the right answer. To much to fast. It will slow down hiring, at least I know it will slow my hiring down.

    Reply
    1. old_blu February 21, 2014

      The guys that work with me are valued and trusted mechanics that are worth a lot more than they are paid now, and it is well over $10.10 an hour. If you’ve got trusted and valuable employees they should be taken care of.
      Nice moniker BTW I have an 06, that I spend many hours enjoying.

      1. ram1020 February 21, 2014

        I agree. In my youth, I had a sub-minimum wage at a Dairy Queen. I was a trusted employee that worked hard; however, when I was able to leave and get a minimum wage, there was quickly somebody else cleaning the parking lot garbage cans for sub-minimum. I’d like to think they didn’t do as well as me, but getting adequate garbage can cleaners is a lot easier than getting good mechanics.

      2. 2010HDSTGLIDE February 22, 2014

        The people that I work with are paid more than $10.10 per hour and are worth every bit of it and more. They are what makes my company work. Ride on.

    2. johninPCFL February 21, 2014

      Really? So you don’t hire new employees based on the manpower necessary to meet your customers’ needs?
      Curious…

      1. ram1020 February 21, 2014

        Not to be a wise guy, but how many of the 15 check out lines were open the last time you were at WalMart? What would one less hurt (except when that one less would make it zero)?

        1. johninPCFL February 21, 2014

          According to an asst store manager I know, staff levels are dictated by Bentonville, and are driven by store data sent in daily. If you happen to manage a store in an area populated by droolers, you have to efficiently hire and fire until the work required gets done in the time allotted.
          Cashiers are assigned to stations by shift except at night. Customer service cashiers may be rotated to work routine checouts 1/2 hour at a time as needed to control lines.

      2. 2010HDSTGLIDE February 22, 2014

        I will not hire anyone if I cannot be profitable.

        1. johninPCFL February 22, 2014

          Makes sense. Unless you’re engaged in research and development, or starting a new company in a new field. Those companies typically run for five years or so before beginning to turn a profit. Henry Ford worked (using other people’s money) for a decade before FoMoCo began to turn a profit. Similarly, JD Rockefeller used his partner’s money to launch Standard Oil, which ran for a year before turning a profit.

  2. old_blu February 21, 2014

    When the employee wages go up they buy things and when they but things it is pretty simple that it is going to help all the economy, and they’ll be paying more taxes as well. Someone on here said the other day it’s a win, win for everyone. (wink)

    Reply
    1. ram1020 February 21, 2014

      It depends. For this to work that simplistically, it would have to assume that prices wouldn’t increase where the low end earners shop. The second thing would be that the products they buy are generally American, otherwise it is a stimulus for China.

      1. neeceoooo February 21, 2014

        Greed plays a big part of your rebuttal and unless the American people take a stand somewhere, nothing will ever change.

        1. ram1020 February 21, 2014

          Greed is not going away, so, unfortunately, it needs to be a factor.

          1. Dominick Vila February 22, 2014

            You are right, in some ways greed and ambition are an integral part of the motivation that drives ingenuity, business expansion, and job creation. However, the excuses that are being presented by those whose goal is to deflect attention from the exploitation of the American working class, are poorly conceived excuses that reflect nothing but desperation. An important component to customer satisfaction is employee satisfaction, and that is hard to achieve when people are asked to work with a smile on their faces on an empty stomach.

          2. Sand_Cat February 22, 2014

            I’m not sure we should credit “greed” as a driver of many good things. The desire to have a decent life for oneself and one’s family is not “greed,” even if in today’s uncertain times some with that desire end up going well beyond it.
            True, many of today’s corporations are the epitome of greed, but then, the CEO and the others in the hierarchy grasping at every dime are likely not the ones really doing the innovation, or at least most innovators in things other than new marketing techniques and ways to screw the competition – the non-productive stock-in-trade of the greedy – are driven by greed so much as professional pride and the joy of problem-solving. I suppose it depends on how one defines “greed,” but I consider it a synonym of avarice and gluttony, and as a producer or product of envy and other unfortunate character flaws, and I suspect the dictionary would bear me out. I see that “envy” is also often misused in this context: it is not envy in the usual sense of the word (i.e., covetousness, also “credited” as a driver of innovation by some) to want the things others have so long as the desire does not mean literally the actual things the others have, i.e. depriving the other to gain for oneself.
            Language is important, and it – like most of our culture – is incredibly corrupted by greed and envy in the sense described above, in my opinion, and the language and culture are mutually reinforcing one another.
            Greed in our culture seems to me to be the insatiable desperation to possess and completely control everything and everyone else on earth, and includes the wanton destruction of anything one cannot possess in that sense.

          3. Shee Bee March 4, 2014

            Greed is this desire no matter.the impact on others….only neanderthals or sociopaths care nothing for others. Our country is FOUNDED on caring for equality of all PERIOD!

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      2. old_blu February 21, 2014

        I some-what disagree with you because although the Big screen was made in China Best Buy sold it (that helps my buddy that works at Best Buy) and some trucker brought it to us (that helps my brother’s economy) and on their way down to buy it their car broke down. (that helps my economy)
        Do you see what I’m saying? It’s still pretty simple.

      3. Lisztman February 21, 2014

        “It would have to assume that prices wouldn’t increase where the low-end earners shop.”

        False assumption, ram1020. It is quite possible that prices would go up at some number of places. But will they rise at all places? Not necessarily.

        Behind that — the cost of doing business depends upon a lot more than simply paying employees. Physical plant (the buildings, the heat, the electricity, equipment), taxes, inventory, etc. etc. Any rise in prices is linked only to the employee costs. IOW, if in a McD’s budget, “employees” constitute 25% of the budget, and the wages go up 40%, then the impact on the budget is approximately 40% of the 25% — or 10%. So a $5.00 McD’s meal goes up to $5.50.

        The min-wage worker’s “new” income is more than adequate to cover that 10% rise. For the rest of us, we’re paying less in safety-net support (food stamps, Medicaid, etc.)

        1. Independent1 February 22, 2014

          Your example is not valid! You cannot correlate a rise in wages with a rise in prices like that; there is not a direct relationship for many business. It depends greatly on the sales volume of each business. Obviously, the greater the sales volume, the less that a company would have to raise it’s prices.
          Fact is, that Elizabeth Waren demonstrated that for McDonald’s to increase the wages of it’s employees to $10.10/hr could be covered by raising the price of one combo meal by 4 cents. McDonalds sells enough combo meals each day to cover the about $2.50/hr increase in wages for the number of people they actually have working at a minimum wage salary.
          Also, McDonald’s stores in Europe, where the minimum wage is already $12/hr are more profitable than its stores in America where it pays an average wage just over $8/hr. Possibly why: because even McDonald’s own workers can afford to eat the more profitable items on McDonald’s menu. They don’t need to always order the less profitable items off of what was the $ Menu as probably most minimum wage people earning around $7-$8/hour most likely do.

      4. plc97477 February 21, 2014

        Except the low end earners will have more to spend.

  3. Dominick Vila February 21, 2014

    The centerpiece of the argument by those who oppose raising the minimum wage to a livable wage is that ending the exploitation of millions of American workers, and raising the minimum wage to close to what workers in other highly successful industrialized nations earn, would result in an inflationary trend that would affect consumerism and, ultimately, reduce sales and profits. Studies that show that raising the cost of a BigMac by $0.20, a slight increase in the price of tomatoes and clothing, and a minimal increase in the cost of durable goods, would not have an adverse effect on the economy and would, in fact, increase consumerism as a result of millions of Americans having more disposable income to spend, is always ignored by those whose mentality has not evolved since the pre-Civil War days.

    Reply
    1. ram1020 February 21, 2014

      Mental evolution aside, there would need to be some assumptions on the “spillover effect” that they mention in the article. Depending on how high up the wage scale they go, it could impact more prices than the ones you mention. One way to reduce that effect may be to phase in the minimum wage increases as some have suggested.
      The other danger is that this may effect the current government benefits received by minimum wage workers, which, along with the price of Big Macs, clothing, and tomatoes, could negate any increase in real purchasing power. Some means of phasing people out of programs rather than dropping them at a certain income levels would be a way to be sure we aren’t hurting those we want to help by not looking hard at collateral effects.
      Now that I have stated my concerns, I’ll go back to fighting them Rebels.

      1. Dominick Vila February 21, 2014

        The consumables I mentioned were just a sample of what would be impacted if salaries go up. Obviously, it also includes every service where minimum wage workers are employed.
        I doubt raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would cause a damaging spillover effect. Raising it to $15, as some suggest, may be a different matter. What may be more challenging is the effectiveness of raising the minimum wage at a national level. $10 would allow a young person to support himself in Alabama, it would result in starvation in New York.

        1. Lovefacts February 21, 2014

          Yes, and those NY employees of fast food companies are paid the current minimum wage which is just over $8/hour.

      2. Bill February 21, 2014

        History shows that what you are saying has not happened when the minimum wage was raised in the past. You are entitled to your own opinion, but you aren’t entitled to make up your own facts.

    2. Bill February 21, 2014

      I heard the increase to a Big Mac would $.02

      1. Lisztman February 21, 2014

        As I noted above, for a rise from $7.25 to $10.10 I’d expect a place like McDonald’s, where the inventory and physical plant are pretty small, to hold a rise to about 10% (assuming that they’re being honest and trying to compete).

        Wal-Mart? Price increases should be even less. Their inventory and physical plant costs are probably substantially higher (compared to employee expenses) than those in fast food.

        Any rise also assumes that the Burger King or Kohl’s across the street hasn’t decided to hold the line a bit to steal business. The companies that scream the most about min-wage laws are the ones who are paying minimum wage.

    3. Lisztman February 21, 2014

      Absolutely. Not to mention the number of workers who may no longer require food-stamp assistance, which costs are passed to all of us (IOW, right now, Wal-Mart and McDonald’s are the moochers).

      Opponents will immediately jump on this and tell me that since SNAP is reduced, their min-wage increase isn’t helping. Wrong. SNAP doesn’t pay a whole lot. Ask any full-time min-wage worker. They’ll take the raise and lose their food stamps any day, rather than leave things as they are.

  4. Salvador Tovar Mengibar February 21, 2014

    The phony argument has been taken as gospel by the Republicans who always have discredited CBO’s pronouncements. It is obvious that by increasing the workers’ purchasing power the economy will vastly improve and many people now unemployed will find job openings.

    Reply
  5. FT66 February 21, 2014

    I have a question to those who are saying raising minimum wage will kill jobs. Can you please tell us when will be the proper time to make a raise and kill jobs? Are you telling us that the current rate will stay as it is forever?

    Reply
    1. Lucien February 21, 2014

      It’s simple give the people a raise and allow the top brass of people get less money, ooops they won’t want that will they?

  6. neeceoooo February 21, 2014

    According to the Congressional Budget Office, raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could decrease jobs for low-wage workers. BUT – while Republicans will insist that 500,000 workers will lose their jobs because of higher wages, the CBO report actually states that there may only be a “very slight decrease” in total employment. The report also found that higher pay would lift more than 1 million people out of poverty, and a wage hike would have a positive effect for 95% of the people it affected. Although the CBO says that there could be job losses, many economists argue that higher wages would actually result in job growth. The Economic Policy Institute says higher wages can provide a boost to our economy. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said a wage increase can actually lead to more jobs. And, economists David Madland and Keith Miller found “no clear evidence” that higher wages led to job losses after studying two decades of economic data. There is no debate that higher pay will benefit the vast majority of low-wage workers, and stimulate our economy. Don’t believe the Republican hype.

    Reply
    1. Jrigney February 21, 2014

      Well, left to my own devices, I am not pro-Democrat, or anti-Republican. I am however, vehemently anti-bullshit, and I’m afraid that this has put me at odds with Republicans, more often than not, in the last few decades.
      The “We’re gonna lose a half-million jobs!” screed is another example of same. You have cited knowledgeable parties who dispute this claim. But let’s take that a step further and say—just for the sake of argument—that this modest hike in the minimum wage is going to cost jobs.
      OK, fine with me.
      Those are precisely the kind of crap jobs that our economy can lose and be none the worse for the wear.

      1. Lisztman February 21, 2014

        Hate to say it — but I doubt that there will be much of a loss of jobs anyway, no matter how it plays out. There may be modest price increases — if the min wage goes up 40%, I’d expect a one-year inflation bump of maybe 2%.

        Why no loss of jobs? Because: If employers could offer the same service with fewer workers, they’ve already cut those excess workers. For companies that pay minimum wage, the days of “loyalty” are gone. They’ve already cut the workforce to a minimum operating figure. Hard for them to tell how they could go any lower.

        1. Jrigney February 21, 2014

          Valid point.

    2. Lisztman February 21, 2014

      A-yup. The right wing took one sentence out of context, pounced on it, and is waving its banners from the rooftops.

      I expect Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz to campaign accordingly.

  7. Jambi February 21, 2014

    The CBO still bears the burden of …”There’s theTRUTH… There are LIES…
    and There are STATISTICS… They will always have trouble applying this philosophy to…”HAVE more $… WILL SPEND more $… (I’m sure they’ll attempt to measure “How Much will be spent?” by consumers after their raises)

    Reply
    1. Duckbudder February 21, 2014

      All of it.

  8. johninPCFL February 21, 2014

    Employers hire as necessary to keep their customers. If they have fewer customers, they lay people off (as we’ve just seen happen.) If new employees are more expensive, they delay bringing on new hires until the costs of working the existing employees (overtime, etc.) makes bringing on a new employee cost effective.
    A well run business doesn’t fire employees when costs go up slightly (why are they there in the first place?), and they may delay bringing on new hires. That, in essence, is what the CBO report says.

    Reply
    1. 4sanity4all February 21, 2014

      Businesses don’t always follow good practices or common sense. Lately, in many stores, I have been unable to find anyone to ring up my sales, either in the department I am trying to purchase in, or any others nearby. Sometimes, I put down things I want to purchase, and I just leave, because I am not going to wait all day. So, by having no help around, they are losing sales. This makes no sense to me, and people with whom I have spoken said that this has happened to them, too. It seems to be a ‘thing’ since the economy has gone down.

  9. ram1020 February 21, 2014

    If this works out to be salary range compression, it will not hurt badly. The spillover effect that they talked about, if extended to already good paying jobs, could be inflationary, which would hurt the buying power of those receiving the increase more than anyone else. I think the idea of increasing it gradually is the best bet.
    As far a job loss is concerned, 1 million out of 137 million may be in the statistical error, but it would be foolish to think there wouldn’t be any. The real squeeze would not be on a company like McDonald’s. They make their money on royalties. It would be the franchisee that would take the hit. Maybe this would lead to more corporate franchisees like Arco Dorado south of the boarder.

    Reply
  10. SeekingOut February 21, 2014

    I wonder why the CBO chose to rely on the views of conservative economists to base their report? Shouldn’t they be coming up with their own analyses? Ideologically tethered “professionals” shouldn’t be considered at all, I would think…..quite apart from the fact that conservative economists have lately been largely discredited as I seem to observe.

    Reply
    1. Kurt CPI February 21, 2014

      The CBO has an outstanding track record at nailing the effects of economics related issues. They get it right far more often than partisan, television network, or private “studies”. I’m not defending either position, just responding to the (so far) neutral integrity of the CBO.

      1. SeekingOut February 21, 2014

        I agree that CBO has a good reputation, but I still do not understand why they would choose to have a particular bent of opinion inform their analysis. My point is it should be their own, independent analysis which forms the basis of their deliberations, all of the time.

  11. Jrigney February 21, 2014

    I am an employer, and a raise in the minimum wage isn’t going to keep us from hiring anybody. I am also an American Taxpayer, and I find it bloody outrageous that extremely profitable multi-national corporations are actually telling their employees to go apply for public assistance. As a taxpayer, I have a huge problem with subsidizing the payrolls of companies like McDonalds and Walmart.

    Reply
    1. neeceoooo February 21, 2014

      I am not an employer but I am an American taxpayer and I also have a problem with my taxes going to subsidize the salaries of employees from McDonald’s or Wal-Mart so the CEO or owners can be millionaires.

      1. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

        I respectfull disagree. This Has nothing to do with subsidizing multinational corporations. The bottom line is lifting people up and out of poverty….as miniscule as a “minimum wage” is….I posted a reply above that we need a guaranteed annual income, not minimum slave labor wage.

        1. neeceoooo February 21, 2014

          I do agree with you and if the American people could expect a decent salary, many aspects of the economy will improve.

        2. Bill February 21, 2014

          Guaranteed annual income, great idea, but if we can’t even get a minimum slave labor wage how do we get something like that passed?

          1. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

            We cannot right now with the political structure brainwashed into the concept of a minimum wage…

            I believe that if there was a real factually based dialogue about the significant differenecs in minimum wage verses guaranteed annual income I am confident the logic will superced dogma and a concept of minimum wage based upon a false premise…

            A minimum wage keeps people in poverty.

          2. Bill February 22, 2014

            That’s fine but right now we have to give low wage people something to help them survive. Maybe if we can get rid or the GOP something better can happen but for now $10.10 looks good for someone making $7.75. We need to get them whatever we can so people can at lest afford to eat.

        3. Lisztman February 21, 2014

          Absolutely true. At the same time — the “in addition…” statements are made to counter the inane arguments of those who would keep wages at poverty level “because… well, because.”

        4. Jrigney February 21, 2014

          I must respectfully disagree with your assessment that this “has nothing to do with subsidizing multinational corporations”.
          It in fact, has much to do with that.
          When many of these companies—Walmart and McDonalds being the best documented offenders—have actually been caught, counseling their low-wage employees to go and apply for Public Assistance, that says only one thing: They are VERY DEFINITELY expecting us, The American Taxpayer, to de facto subsidize their domestic payrolls.
          That’s Corporate Welfare, pure & simple.
          And THAT is why I advocate for raising the minimum wage. Those who have been paying attention will already know, without us reminding them, that Hyper-profitable multinational corporations have got their hungry little piggy-snouts firmly ensconced in our public feeding trough, quite enough already, thank you very much.

          1. neeceoooo February 21, 2014

            and bravo again.

          2. Jrigney February 21, 2014

            Kind of you to say.

          3. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

            Appreciate the respect….but lifting people up and out of poverty benefits those in poverty which is where the focus should be….even though the concept of a minimuum awage is illogical and should be replaced with a guaranteed annual income…..I have explain the concept above with factual analysis…

          4. Jrigney February 22, 2014

            I understand what you are trying to say about lifting people out of poverty. I get it.
            But you had said, and once again, I quote:
            “This Has nothing to do with subsidizing multinational corporations.”
            I am doing my best to explain that : “Yes, it most certainly does.”.
            Further, and again, with all due respect, raising the Minimum Wage is not “illogical”. It is a step that can actually be achieved. And only if a hell of a lot of us are diligent about holding certain of our Elected Official’s feet to the fire.
            On the other hand, “Guaranteed Annual Income”? That’s pie-in-the-sky, Brother. The chances of anything like that happening are somewhere between slim & nil, and even that is only true if you pull the word “slim” out of the sentence.

          5. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

            What I appreciate most about your replies and posts is the civility…seriously….there are some trolls that stop here that are clueless..

            We can agree to disagree as I do understand your view…

            As most know here at NM…I do not believe in a minimum wage or liveable wage etc….because it only perpetuates the problems and never solves it…so maybe we can agree on that.

            As far as ” That’s pie-in-the-sky” that is true as long as the current political stalemate is here….but i suspect hat by 2016 when Hillary is elected, the country will be ready for the concept as it was in 1968 with Nixon…

            The current “entitlement” programs envisioned since Roosevelt are not working.

            It will be difficult to take all entitlement money, throw into one giant account, and get people out of poverty once and for all…

            Again…great exchange…

          6. Jrigney February 22, 2014

            It’s a dodgy set of problems, to be certain. And it seems that the people who are most certain that they are RIGHT ABOUT THIS are the ones least likely to be.
            I used to think: “Well, if I were the King of the World…..”, until I became a little bit more familiar with the concept of “blowback’.
            Albert Einstein, a man who’s very name has long since become a euphemism for “really smart guy”, once said “Many of the problems we face, started out as the ‘solution’ to some other problem(s)”. So I am not even hardly pretending I have all the answers.
            I have also enjoyed our discussion. Whether we agree on all things or not, at least you clearly give a shit, and that holds a lot of weight with me.

            I am sure that there is one thing that we can agree on: Resources sufficient to make serious dents in these problems, don’t amount to the loose change in The Pentagon’s sofas.

          7. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

            oh my goodness…dont set me off on “defense” budget! LOL

            We need to cut a minimum of 10% of dollars from the gift to “multinational war based military-industrial-complex” courtesy the GOP House. All expensitures for all departments…

            According to Brad Plumer of the Washington Post who analized the “defense” budget:

            “The United States spends far more than any other country on defense and security. Since 2001, the base defense budget has soared from $287 billion to $530 billion — and that’s before accounting for the primary costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But now that those wars are ending and austerity is back in vogue, the Pentagon will have to start tightening its belt in 2013 and beyond……

            All told, the U.S. government spent about $718 billion on defense and international security assistance in 2011 — more than it spent on Medicare. That includes all of the Pentagon’s underlying costs as well as the price tag for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which came to $159 billion in 2011. It also includes arms transfers to foreign governments.”

            WTF?

            $718 billion !

            Take back 71 billion!!! 10%!!

            Apply to a “peace based get the USA back to work” budget.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/07/everything-chuck-hagel-needs-to-know-about-the-defense-budget-in-charts/

          8. Jrigney February 22, 2014

            Well, two things immediately:
            Lawmakers can’t even get a meaningful audit out of the Pentagon (that hasn’t been heavily redacted, anyway), so we….you me, everybody else….are going to have to start screaming loudly about that.
            Secondly, as long as we’re screaming loudly, we have apply pressure to reign in what has come to be referred to as “The Military-Industrial Complex”
            No small task, these people throw a lot of weight around inside the Beltway.
            To wit, some knowledgeable parties have even laid the Kennedy Assassination at their feet. (disclaimer: nobody has ever gotten that allegation past the point of circumstantial evidence)
            Anyway, my point is: We American Taxpayers are now buying The Pentagon weapons systems that The Pentagon doesn’t even (deleted expletive) want. It has gotten badly out of hand.

          9. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

            Totally agree…

    2. Lisztman February 21, 2014

      Bravo, Sir.

  12. SeekingOut February 21, 2014

    Why do you think Walmart shares are tumbling? They are saying it’s the weather and because of food stamps reduction; while the latter may be true to some extent, there is also a significant number of us who have stopped shopping there. Recipients of food stamps got their last check in December, meaning that the fall in those shoppers’ buying power will show up in Q1 2014 (yet to be announced). So they are welcome to continue to wallow in their delusional state and not see the writing on the wall. If a company cannot afford to pay its workers then its business model is not sustainable and they should live or die in accordance with the dictates of the market. Their business should not be subsidized by taxpayers.

    Reply
    1. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

      This Has nothing to do with subsidizing multinational corporations. The bottom line is lifting people up and out of poverty….as miniscule as a “minimum wage” is….I posted a reply above that we need a guranteed annual income, not minimum slave labor wage.

    2. 4sanity4all February 21, 2014

      I have decided to shop at the stores who are paying decent wages, selling American made goods as much as possible, and following green practices. We can choose to make being ethical be profitable.

      1. SeekingOut February 22, 2014

        Yep, well said. I do the same. Support US workers and products as much as possible. I know that this may affect Walmart workers negatively, but if they lose their job at Walmart, they will be employed where the business is going and more than likely on better terms.

  13. Kurt CPI February 21, 2014

    Conason isn’t really disputing the CBO report although he calls into question the scope of their assessment of lost jobs. I can afford to pay 8 cents more for my Big Mac if it raises millions of peoples standard of living and removes them from dependency on taxpayer-funded social programs. My problem is that the “poverty line” is arbitrary. Raising an employee’s weekly paycheck from $320 to $360 might technically raise them above that line, but they’re not going to go out and buy a new car. And if a 1/2 million go from $320 to $0, it takes 8 people receiving that $40 differential to make up for 1 lost job. 8 X 500,000 = 4 million (the number of higher-pay workers required to offset the job loss). The CBO estimates that 900,000 people will exceed the poverty line as a result of the wage hike. The other $15 Million will have that extra $40 per week IF they work 40 hours (which most probably don’t). They’ll still need the same public assistance they’re getting now. They won’t be able to afford to pay for any of their own Obamacare. Does that mean I don’t support a minimum wage hike? Actually, I do support it. The cost to me will be minimal, it will raise the standard of living at least a little for millions of people, and it won’t incur the cost of a government-managed social program.

    There’s plenty of truth on both sides of the issue. To report otherwise is ideological nonsense. It’s a good thing, but it’s not panacea for poverty or reigning in the cost of social programs.

    Reply
    1. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

      The report clearly indicates that we are brining people up and out of poverty. Sure—it fals way too short….and I posted a reply above that we need a guranteed annual income, not minimum slave labor wage.

      1. Kurt CPI February 21, 2014

        A guaranteed annual income is exactly what we don’t need. You think we have lots of unemployment when it’s involuntary? What do think would happen to unemployment rates if we all got a guaranteed income for doing nothing if we so chose? It’s the proverbial snowball where fewer and fewer working people have to support the growing unemployed, raising taxes and creating a situation where there’s no point in going to work. To me this idea is just ludicrous.

        1. 4sanity4all February 21, 2014

          Some European countries have a guaranteed annual income law, and they have almost nobody on welfare. All work is considered worthy of good wages. I guess that sounds too much like socialism to some Americans, but to me it sounds like common sense.

          1. Kurt CPI February 21, 2014

            There has to be more to it than that. Please provide a source for your assertion. Study after study has proven that if you provide for someone without requiring something of them in return that a large percentage will simply take what they can get and do exactly what is required of them – nothing.

          2. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

            You were provided sources to consider the concept of guaranteed annual, but you choose to not read posted proof sticking to your not informed opinions that are not factually based…..please read…

          3. Kurt CPI February 24, 2014

            I read the article that quoted Dr. King’s book, but there wasn’t enough information there to derive your perspective. If indeed providing a guaranteed annual income for full-time working people is your stance, then I agree with that. In fact I don’t see where a minimum wage differs from that (minimum hourly wage X 2080 hrs/yr = minimum annual income). If you’re talking about (and there are pundits for this position) a guaranteed annual income for everyone, regardless of employment status, then you’re absolutely right, there’s no convincing me of any merit to that system. In all of those discussions (the “Venus project” is another example of a variant on this philosophy), the fatal flaw (IMHO) is the assertion that people don’t work for money, and that if they had a guaranteed sustenance they would be productive in a way that benefits everyone. This has been proven wrong time and time again. In fact, exactly the opposite is true – the less work required for the necessities of life, the less work is done. Only in very small prototype communities has this ever worked, and only as long as the like-minded founding residents keep to themselves. They don’t survive past the first generation. Then again, maybe that’s not what you mean at all and I’m completely missing your point.

          4. daniel bostdorf February 24, 2014

            Ok…if you are missing the point…

I refer you to last years article:



            America needs a basic income guarantee
            By Allan Sheahen

            Partial 

Quote:



            “
Dr. King had a solution to poverty and to the bleak economic conditions faced by many Americans today. “I am now convinced that the simplest solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a new widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income,” he wrote in his 1967 book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? “A host of psychological changes inevitably will result from widespread economic security.”

In 1969, a Presidential Commission recommended, 22-0, that the United States adopt a guaranteed annual income, with no mandatory work requirements, for all citizens in need. The report was buried and forgotten, even though the National Council of Churches, by a vote of 107-1, agreed. So did the Kerner Commission, the California Democratic Council, the Republican Ripon Society, and the 1972 Democratic Party platform.

Fast forward 50 years and the concept of a guaranteed income — or Basic Income Guarantee — is not discussed much anymore. But it remains, as the late economist Milton Friedman always maintained, the most practical and sensible way to end poverty in America and provide economic security to all Americans.

”

            It was also endorsed by President Richard Nixon.

            Read the rest here.

            http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/317887-america-needs-a-basic-income-guarantee


            This should be enough for you to get the point.
            Thanks

          5. Kurt CPI February 24, 2014

            OK, a quick read of “The Hill” article sheds some light. I don’t believe that, in and of itself, a guaranteed income constitutes any sort of solution. There are however modifications and external policies that I believe could work together to make it so.

            1). I agree that there are not sufficient jobs to employ everyone. I do not agree that there are not sufficient tasks for everyone to make a contribution. As an analogy I strongly support affirmative action. But I believe it would be more useful and benefit many more people if there were a consignment mandate attached. As one example, a recipient of preferred placement could be required to put in two years of service in under-served communities or where the excellence provided by their education would edify many in a community. Likewise, a $10,000 annual guaranteed income should require 300 hours of community service for the unemployed (which could also provide training/skills enhancement).

            2). Money is based on something of value. Prior to 1936(??) the money supply, in over-simplified terms, was basically GDP divided by the weight of gold in the vault. As GDP increased or decreased, the price of gold was adjusted so as to keep the amount of currency in circulation approximately equal to the value of all things produced. I want to know where the 1.5 to 3 trillion in annual disbursements to everyone is going to come from. We surely can’t add it to the current deficit package.

            3). Who would administer such a program? I absolutely DO agree with the “The Hill” article that anything that takes things out of the hands of government will be far more efficient: To quote the author, “Only a government can spend so much money so ineffectively”.

            So I’ll accept that this may be PART of a solution. I do not agree that this alone would produce anything other than 30% inflation.

          6. daniel bostdorf February 24, 2014

            Appreciate your civility….and respect your give and take on his…

            Here is one more to read..

            http://www.remappingdebate.org/article/guaranteed-income%E2%80%99s-moment-sun

          7. 4sanity4all February 22, 2014

            Kurt, I never said that nothing is required of anyone. Perhaps I was not clear- the guaranteed annual income law that I am referring to means that if you work a full work week, you will get a guaranteed living wage. The story I read was written by an American student studying abroad. He was looking for a job to support himself. A local told him to apply at McDonalds, since their country had a guaranteed annual wage law, he could earn $16/ hour. He was surprised to find that it was true; McDonalds paid that much because local law required it. And their franchisees were able to make as much profit as an American franchisee. Hamburgers were about a dime more over there. The living wage being given was true of all other employers in that country. And the reason so few were on welfare is because only disabled people didn’t work. Being able to make a living wage is very encouraging. I suppose social pressure made everyone proud to be able to work and earn their way. I never said that anyone was giving something without requiring anything in return. They require a week of work for a paycheck. But the paycheck is enough to live on.

          8. Kurt CPI February 24, 2014

            Ahh, that makes good sense. As long as people are required to provide something in return for their income, there’s something to be considered. I still go back to basic economics – money is just paper unless it represents something of value. daniel bostdorf provided a link to the way the confederacy funded the civil war – a complete disaster. Hitler repeated this in WWII to the same end. With that in mind, if indeed McDonald’s employees could make $15/hr and hamburgers still be priced at fast food prices (If I’m going to have to pay $20 for lunch I can get something a cut above a cheeseburger) then what’s stopping us? Our corporate model doesn’t provide (in fact makes it illegal) for corporations to do anything that would negatively impact the investors (owners). So legislation is the only way to bring about this kind of social change. But I would need to see a realistic study on the true impact of this kind of thing. Fast food is one thing – there’s no moving a restaurant business offshore if you want to sell hamburgers to Americans. But what are the effects of a guaranteed income when combined with current “free-trade” and foreign tax policies that push other kinds of businesses offshore? Would it just encourage more of that? Anyone who thinks giving people money to spend without some corresponding upside (increased production, product of greater intrinsic value, etc) is a way to improve the overall economy is dreaming. It’s called inflation, and is a vicious self-feeding cycle. If we’re talking about this as a method of wealth redistribution, it’ll take a huge shift in our economic model to insure that the money for the guaranteed income indeed comes from the existing money supply, not from the printing press, or worse, treasury bonds (debt).

          9. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

            exactly…

        2. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

          Just back in….it is impossible that you took any time to read the articles I attached. You responded withing 3 hours. The articles and websites require reading.

          You do ot have an informed, factual basis to reject ouy of hand the concept.

          So—before you start nay saying I think it is incombent that you take time to THOUGHTFULLY analize what I am bringing up.

          You do not understand the logic of a guaranteed incomes as Richard Nixon and others have and do.

          So….do us a favor here at national memo….read about the concept and think about it for more than 3 hours.

          The we can have a real factual based give i take.

          You simply post bumper sticker platitudes and knee jerk reactions.

    2. Bill February 21, 2014

      Where are your numbers coming from? A raise to $10.10 an hour would amount to over a $100.00 for a 40hr week not the $40.00 you talk about.

      1. Kurt CPI February 21, 2014

        There are two proposals, one for just over $9.00 and the other for the $10.10. Obviously a $2 increase would yield double the $1 increase. You can re-do the math if you want, 4 people instead of 8, $100/wk for a full time, less for a part time. Like I said, I support the wage increase because it will help more than bloated government programs that cost millions to administer.

        1. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

          Lets take a $15/hour livable wage scenario:
          $15/hour is $420 a week 28 hours part time. $21840 yearly . Still poverty level.
          $15/hour full time is $600 a week/ $31200 yearly. Still near or at poverty if you consider family size.

          Federal poverty guidelines here:
          http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/tools-for-advocates/guides/federal-poverty-guidelines.html

          Therefore….the “minimum wage or livable wage” should be replaced with a guaranteed yearly income based upon Federal poverty statistics by state.

          Back in 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King and highly respected economists both Democrat and Repiublican proposed this a s a way to eliminate poverty once and for all.

          Concept is outlined here:
          http://www.progress.org/tpr/martin-luther-king-on-guaranteed-income-social-dividend/

  14. Lovefacts February 21, 2014

    Costco’s success disproves the CPO claim. In Richmond, VA, the starting wage is $16/hour with full benefits, including a 401K. Their prices are the same as Sam’s Club =/- $1. Yet their net profit/store is greater than that of Sam’s Club.
    What’s also ignored is the overall increase in taxes generated: sales and income both from the individuals and businesses. In addition, the CPO and Republicans disregarded the impact these low wages have on the budget. People earning minimum wage–or a waitress in VA earning $2.35/hour plus tips–rely upon SNAP, housing assistance, free meals for their children in school, and Medicaid.
    Using Wal-Mart for example–because of low wages and keeping the majority of employees at below 30 hours/week–each Wal-Mart store costs the taxpayer between $600,000 and $900,000/store, location dependent. Given there are 4,000 stores in the US, and using an average of $750,000/store, this low pay cost “us” the taxpayer $3B/year. That’s $3,000,000,000/year. And that’s just one company. If you include all the businesses who pay subsistence wages and rely upon “us” the tax payer to make up the difference, you’re talking real money–the kind that pays for “entitlements,” balances the budget, and pays off the national debt. And impact does $10.10/hour have on prices, it increases them a few cents/items, $0.03/burger.

    Reply
    1. neeceoooo February 21, 2014

      Thank you for your well thought through facts and I agree whole heartedly.

    2. ram1020 February 21, 2014

      I will assume your numbers on Sam’s Club are accurate, since I have a hard time separating Sam’s Club details (other than growth) from the rest of WalMart.
      Your second paragraph is where I am concerned. If the increase in pay leads to losses of government benefits, what are the low income workers gaining? The businesses will try to remain profitable, and will raise prices (as you mention in your last line), but the businesses that pay on the low end will probably have more low end earning customers. The reality is that what you see as a subsidy for WalMart and McDonald’s is actually a subsidy for their customers.
      If all other things were equal, maybe the cost of a burger wouldn’t rise some much. But what about the low wage workers where they make the burgers? Or that process the tomatoes, or work in the pickling plant? The article mentions spillover, where near minimum wage workers would get raises, too, as a good thing. The problem is that we can’t project the spill over. If someone was happy making $11, will they now need $12 or $13 to recognize the value of their responsibilities compared to a French fryer? Then the people that make $12 to $15 then need some additional money? This goes on. These could cause additional price increases that, added to the loss in benefits, could make the low end workers worse off than they are now.
      The minimum wage is too low and should be increased. Didn’t the president suggest that we increase it gradually ($1.00/year)? That would be the smartest idea, so we could adjust welfare and the like without hurting the people we are supposed to help.

      1. Lovefacts February 21, 2014

        The official Wal-Mart site says it has 4,000 stores in the US, this includes the superstores, plus 620 Sam’s Clubs.

        Actually, I don’t see this as a subsidy to the American taxpayer. The low prices are due to buying products from China and 3rd world countries. Which in turn cost American jobs and closed down American industries. Which in turn contributed to unemployment, destruction of the unions, a negative in our balance of payments, and the vanishing middle class.

        Therefore, paying employees a wage that’s below the poverty line and insuring they work less than 30 hours/week so they don’t qualify for benefits, serves only one purpose–to increase profits. The cost: human dignity and a living wage, while saddling the country with the responsibility and cost of feeding and housing them.

        1. ram1020 February 21, 2014

          And that Sam’s club sales are growing faster than at the WalMart stores, but it doesn’t say anything that could compare their profitability to Costco. That was what I was saying.
          This isn’t a subsidy to the American Taxpayer, the welfare paid to WalMart employees is a subsidy to the WalMart shopper. You are right about the low prices reflecting their low costs, both from the materials they sell and the costs of operating the store. Raising the minimum wage will add to their cost, so, like any other business, you can expect them to pass it on to the customer. The only difference is that the cheap clothes from overseas will cost more. Now maybe that isn’t important to you, but it is to the WalMart shopper. Furthermore, if the higher wage costs the WalMart employee some government benefits, are they really better off? You, as the American Taxpayer might be a bit better off from less government welfare spending, but will the WalMart employee losing some government assistance and the WalMart shopper paying for the wage increase, the people that you say you want to help, be better off? This is why I prefer doing the increase in steps. This can give us the time to adjust for any unintended benefits.

          1. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

            thoughtful—-Lets take a $15/hour livable wage scenario:
            $15/hour is $420 a week 28 hours part time. $21840 yearly . Still poverty level.
            $15/hour full time is $600 a week/ $31200 yearly. Still near or at poverty if you consider family size.

            Federal poverty guidelines here:
            http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/tools-for-advocates/guides/federal-poverty-guidelines.html

            Therefore….the “minimum wage or livable wage” should be replaced with a guaranteed yearly income based upon Federal poverty statistics by state.

      2. 4sanity4all February 21, 2014

        We need the jump to at least 10.10/hr. because wages have been stagnant for at least 20 years in this country, but prices have not. If there is pressure to raise wages that are just above minimum, that is fine. Our economy can handle that, slight inflation would not be so bad. The market will not allow prices to rise too quickly, or people will shop less. The fact is, we used to have regular salary raises for everyone in the U.S., and prices also edged up a bit. Inflation never got out of control, except in the 70’s during my lifetime. I am willing to pay a little more for products if those at the bottom get some financial relief; they have been getting crushed for far too long, and it is time to give them a good raise. A dollar at a time won’t do it, because every time, Conservatives put up a huge, nasty fight. I don’t want to hear their whining any more than I have to. BTW, Gov. Quinn in IL is asking the legislature to raise Illinois’ minimum to $10/hr. and if they do not co-operate, he intends to put it to a referendum, so the people can decide. I guess he is concerned that the GOP will keep dragging this out on the federal level.

        1. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

          Still not enough…
          Lets take a $15/hour livable wage scenario:
          $15/hour is $420 a week 28 hours part time. $21840 yearly . Still poverty level.
          $15/hour full time is $600 a week/ $31200 yearly. Still near or at poverty if you consider family size.

          Federal poverty guidelines here:
          http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/tools-for-advocates/guides/federal-poverty-guidelines.html

          The “minimum wage or livable wage” should be replaced with a guaranteed yearly income based upon Federal poverty statistics by state.

          Back in 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King and highly respected economists both Democrat and Repiublican proposed this a s a way to eliminate poverty once and for all.

          Concept is outlined here:
          http://www.progress.org/tpr/martin-luther-king-on-guaranteed-income-social-dividend/

          1. ram1020 February 22, 2014

            If you raise everyone to today’s poverty level, and you use the same way to calculate the poverty level, wouldn’t that raise the poverty level?

          2. 4sanity4all February 22, 2014

            No. Just because the amount of money people have to spend rises does not mean that prices will rise. Spending will increase because more people have more money, so sales will increase. If sales increase, profits may increase. So there would be no need to raise prices. Raw materials still cost the same, remember. And, because of competition, prices cannot rise if there are plenty of goods available. Because if supplies remain constant, the guy who offers the lower price will usually make the sale.

          3. ram1020 February 22, 2014

            Increase in costs is inflation, whether it is from normal market forces like supply and demand, or from government actions. If the poverty level is based on the cost of food and housing, the food aspect will rise, since that is where a lot of the low end salaries are. When you take into account spillover, even more wages will rise which will effect the cost of everything.

      3. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

        ….Lets take a $15/hour livable wage scenario:
        $15/hour is $420 a week 28 hours part time. $21840 yearly . Still poverty level.
        $15/hour full time is $600 a week/ $31200 yearly. Still near or at poverty if you consider family size.

        Federal poverty guidelines here:
        http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/tools-for-advocates/guides/federal-poverty-guidelines.html

        Therefore….the “minimum wage or livable wage” should be replaced with a guaranteed yearly income based upon Federal poverty statistics by state.

        Back in 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King and highly respected economists both Democrat and Republicans including Richard Nixon proposed this a s a way to eliminate poverty once and for all.

        Concept is outlined here:
        http://www.progress.org/tpr/martin-luther-king-on-guaranteed-income-social-dividend/

    3. Bill February 21, 2014

      The GOP answer to Government Assistance, cut all assistance and eliminate the minimum wage. That way people can be empowered.

      1. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

        Only if replaced by guranteed annual income which I have outlined above and below posts…

        Lets take a $15/hour livable wage scenario:
        $15/hour is $420 a week 28 hours part time. $21840 yearly . Still poverty level.
        $15/hour full time is $600 a week/ $31200 yearly. Still near or at poverty if you consider family size.

        Federal poverty guidelines here:
        http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/tools-for-advocates/guides/federal-poverty-guidelines.html

        Therefore….the “minimum wage or livable wage” should be replaced with a guaranteed yearly income based upon Federal poverty statistics by state.

        Back in 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King and highly respected economists both Democrat and Repiublican proposed this a s a way to eliminate poverty once and for all.

        Concept is outlined here:
        http://www.progress.org/tpr/martin-luther-king-on-guaranteed-income-social-dividend/

    4. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

      Lets take a $15/hour livable wage scenario:
      $15/hour is $420 a week 28 hours part time. $21840 yearly . Still poverty level.
      $15/hour full time is $600 a week/ $31200 yearly. Still near or at poverty if you consider family size.

      Federal poverty guidelines here:
      http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/tools-for-advocates/guides/federal-poverty-guidelines.html

      Therefore….the “minimum wage or livable wage” should be replaced with a guaranteed yearly income based upon Federal poverty statistics by state.

      Back in 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King and highly respected economists both Democrat and Repiublican proposed this a s a way to eliminate poverty once and for all.

      Concept is outlined here:
      http://www.progress.org/tpr/martin-luther-king-on-guaranteed-income-social-dividend/

    5. Ethan Allen February 23, 2014

      Your estimate of $600,000 to $900,000 per store seems high. Not all Walmart employees are single income/ head of household. A significant portion of them are couples with two incomes and semi-retired people supplementing their SS or other pension streams. A low wage or part-time hours does not automatically mean that a person is on one or more forms of public assistance.

      Is there any way to accurately determine how many employees in a given firm are accessing public benefits?

  15. howa4x February 21, 2014

    Even if the Federal government doesn’t act the damage to the GOP brand is already done. They are defending the have’s from the have not’s. The counter argument of course is that the have’s like giant retailer Wal-Mart are depending on the taxpayers to cover the benefit packages of their low wage workers. Same for McDonald’s who tell employees how to apply for food stamp assistance and housing vouchers, all taxpayer funded because they pay subsistence wages.. So the real issue is do we as middle class taxpayers want people who are employed full time to make a living wage that gets them off of public assistance or do we collectively want to subsidize giant companies like Wal-Mart and mickey D’s? That’s the bottom line in this debate.

    Reply
    1. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

      The bottom line is actually the elimination of poverty. And raising the minimum wage does this.

      I do not believe in a minimum wage. I believe in a guaranteed annual income.

      I think the President and other political leaders need to significantly RE-think about how to solve poverty and unemployment altogether. At the same time cutting hundreds of billions of dollars.

Asking for multinationals/business leaders and the do nothing obstructionist GOP to “help” long term joblessness is…well… a nice PR idea. There is no substance.

We need a guaranteed yearly income based upon Federal poverty statistics by state that links this to jobs created to repair and rebuild this country from top to bottom based NOT upon war and the military….but on peace and taking care of everyone that wants a job and is able to work.

      
If this concept is good enough for Richard Nixon back in 1969….it is good enough for us in 2014.

      “Guaranteed Annual Income legislation

      In August 1969, in the eighth month of his presidency, Richard Nixon delivered a speech proposing the replacement of AFDC with a program that would benefit “the working poor, as well as the nonworking; to families with dependent children headed by a father, as well as those headed by a mother.” In case the point was missed, he continued: “What I am proposing is that the Federal Government build a foundation under the income of every American family with dependent children that cannot care for itself — and wherever in America that family may live.”

      From the article:
”Imagine this headline: “House of Representatives approves proposal for guaranteed annual income by wide margin.” The passage of that kind of social welfare measure sounds wholly implausible today, but, in fact, the House did pass such a bill in April of 1970 by a vote of 243 to 155. The measure, The New York Times reported, “establishes for the first time the principle that the Government should guarantee every family a minimum annual income.”

      Read here about Nixon’s idea:

      http://www.remappingdebate.org/article/guaranteed-income%E2%80%99s-moment-sun?page=0,0
Back in 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King and highly respected economists both Democrat and Repiublican proposed a guaranteed annual income as the final way to eliminate poverty once and for all.

Concept is outlined here:
http://www.progress.org/tpr/martin-luther-king-on-guaranteed-income-social-dividend/

From the article:
”Rev. Dr. King viewed the guaranteed income as the way to abolish poverty. It does have that effect, but when prRev. Dr. King viewed the guaranteed income as the way to abolish poverty. It does have that effect, but when properly funded (not touching earned income) and properly distributed (to all people), it becomes more than that — it can be a fundamental instrument of economic justice.operly funded (not touching earned income) and properly distributed (to all people), it becomes more than that — it can be a fundamental instrument of economic justice.”

This is a no brainer…../A guaranteed annual out of poverty level annual income would eliminate all antiquated social programs and nearly all entitlements. It would make this country the leader in eliminating poverty once and for all. In addition, We need livable affordable housing, and a pathway to home ownership with all the positive economic consequences.

HOW TO PAY FOR THIS? 
The article link contains a dollar figure in 1967 as needing 20 billion to do this. 

In 1967 1 million dollars is now $6,978,113.77.
(7 times factoring inflation: http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Calculators/Inflation_Rate_Calculator.asp

A 1000 million is a billion.
Therefore—we would need only 140 billion. Easily obtainable by transfering that out of existing trillion dollar social programs, and creating a single source for all social programs integrated into a guranteed wage that has a job attached to it.

      Other areas to get the money?

      Policy Basics: Where Do Our Federal Tax Dollars Go? read here:
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=vi…

      The consequences are very clear and far more logical than the entire mess of dozens of social welfare programs: We have those that were once poor, no job, no way up and out of poverty now NOT poor. They are tax payers.

      Simply asking business and the do nothing GOP to “help” is not the solution…asking the same old question is.

      It is time for Presidential leadership—not more talk and lip service about eliminating poverty etc…

      Mr. President: Time to be great…

      1. howa4x February 22, 2014

        Excellent post. You should be a columnist for this

        1. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

          Thanks—-but …onason and those whose lives are dedicated to professional standards 🙂

        2. daniel bostdorf February 27, 2014

          Hello—-I have enjoyed your posts here at NM over the years…

          I am not going to be following NM anymore because of a complete lack of 
consistent commentary standards. It is my understanding that NM has a 
few new editors, and that is the cause. They are allowing pop up work at home ads, flame throwing bullying trolls to run rampant…like some here…and at over a dozen other articles at NM…

          

The final straw this past Feb 23rd is allowing a bullying serial right wing troll to flame 
throw everywhere at NM and NM Editors refuse to shut this person down.
          
wjgreen314

          

wjgreen314 profile: http://disqus.com/wjgreen314/

          

Free speech is one thing, but yelling fire in a crowded theatre is illegal.

          

Yelling fire, flame throwing and bullying other posters at this site is unacceptable. And I cannot support it anymore.

          I manage a few websites, and we simply do not allow it.

          To reach editors at NM, they are listed below at the “contacts” or here:

          To reach Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason: Joe@nationalmemo.com.

          To reach Executive Editor Jason Sattler: Jason@nationalmemo.com.

          To reach Managing Editor Henry Decker: Henry@nationalmemo.com

          For general editorial inquiries, please send an e-mail to editors@nationalmemo.com.

          1. howa4x February 27, 2014

            Too bad you are leaving I enjoyed your posts. Best of luck to you since we all need it

          2. daniel bostdorf February 27, 2014

            thanks—-nothing will change unless we complain…Isimply don’t understand Conason….I have known him over 35 years…

            To reach editors at NM, they are listed below at the “contacts”

            To reach Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason: Joe@nationalmemo.com.

            To reach Executive Editor Jason Sattler: Jason@nationalmemo.com.

            To reach Managing Editor Henry Decker: Henry@nationalmemo.com

            For general editorial inquiries, please send an e-mail to editors@nationalmemo.com.

  16. John Kruger February 21, 2014

    I suppose if we were to institute slavery we could see to it that everyone was “employed”. I can see conservative spin machines lauding such a policy with “Millions of jobs created!”

    Exploiting people to the extent that some large corporations have is flatly immoral. There is little motivation to share wealth in a company with the lowest paid employees if such corporations make all decisions based on the math of profits. Raw free market capitalism cannot make the right choices in a living minimum wage, which is why the government absolutely must make those decisions for them.

    Reply
    1. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

      Very much agree.

      “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” ……Nelson Mandela

  17. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

    Conason is deadon a susual.

    The basic….fundemental reality is that we need to lift people up and out of poverty where the big tax dollars are spent of social welfare programs. Raising minimum wage does this.

    Economists agree: Raising the minimum wage reduces poverty

    A higher minimum wage will lead to a significant boost in incomes for the worst off in the bottom 30th percent of income, while having no impact on the median household.

    As many economists have argued, the minimum wage ”substantially ‘held up’ the lower tail of the U.S. earnings distribution” through the late 1970s, but this effect stopped as the real value of the minimum wage fell in subsequent decades. This gives us an empirical handle on how the minimum wage would help deal with both insufficient low-end wages and inequality, and the results are striking.

    More here:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15038936/Dube_MinimumWagesFamilyIncomes.pdf

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/04/economists-agree-raising-the-minimum-wage-reduces-poverty/

    From Wall Street Journal–This is up to date analysis by the foremost authority this matter:

    Raising Minimum Wage Reduces Jobs, Poverty, Study Says Losses in Employment Partly Offset by Increased Purchasing Power

    quote from article:

    “Richard Trumka, president of union federation AFL-CIO, which is holding its winter meeting of labor leaders in Houston this week to strategize for the year, immediately challenged the study’s findings and said it echoed false claims by conservatives. “Every time momentum builds for lifting wages, conservative ideologues say it will cost jobs. Every time, they’ve been dead wrong,” Mr. Trumka said in an emailed statement issued during his closed-door meeting with labor leaders.”

    NOTE from me: and the key is lifting Americans out of poverty–not job losses. Getting out of poverty cuts government social welfare assistance(your tax dollars) to those with increased $$ in pocket—-it stimulates the economy:

    Conason is correct:

    “The CBO said that a gradual increase to $10.10 an hour by July 2016

    would eliminate 500,000 jobs, but lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty

    from the total of 45 million projected to be living in poverty in 2016.

    “The report predicted other positive effects for the economy. Low-wage

    workers tend to spend a larger fraction of their earnings, so some firms

    would see increased demand for their goods and services as a result.”

    Reply
  18. Bill February 21, 2014

    The GOP apposes the increase, they want to get rid of the minimum wage altogether, what would people be working for if that happened, after all if they want to get rid of it they must think it is too high. The GOP wants to empower people, just what does that mean, how do they plan to do that? Just more fancy words with nothing to back them up, more GOP BS.

    Reply
    1. 4sanity4all February 21, 2014

      The way the GOP uses words brings to my mind an abusive person who twists everything around to make it all the fault of his victim.

  19. Lisztman February 21, 2014

    The CBO did the Nation a disservice by putting forth this half-million statistic without any asterisks.

    I need not repeat what’s below those asterisks — the article has pretty much done that. Unfortunately the CBO did the entire nation a disservice by presenting that “data” in the undocumented form; the entire right wing has jumped all over it, and with no further research is touting simply “loss of 500,000 jobs” as, of course, yet another massive mistake by Obama and/or the Democrats.

    Comment threads at National Memo or any similar forum, especially some of the right-leaning ones, will bear this out.

    The CBO owes the Nation these explanations not from independent think tanks or economists, but from itself.

    Reply
    1. 4sanity4all February 21, 2014

      I was under the impression that the CBO said that from zero to a million jobs could be lost, and the right wing jumped on that and decided to split the difference for purposes of a sound byte. I could be misinformed, but I thought I read that.

      1. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

        Yes—-the GOP propaganda machine as usual selectivelt took a statement out of context forgetting that this ilfts up people out of poverty…which the GOP doesn’t want. They want a permanent slave labor workforce based in poverty.

        We fought this battle in the 1860’s called the Civil War.

        The new”civil war” war today between the 3% and the rest of us is based upon same immoral southern labor/facistic economic models still prevalent today.

        Except in 1860’s, southern bankers funded the war. Along with international money interests most notable in England and Amerterdam.

        Interesting information about who bank rolled the confederates states in 1860’s and why the southern bankers and slave landholders created the civil war mess.

        Confederate war finance here:

        http://eh.net/encyclopedia/money-and-finance-in-the-confederate-states-of-america/

      2. daniel bostdorf February 27, 2014

        Hello—-I have enjoyed your posts here at NM over the years…

        I am not going to be following NM anymore because of a complete lack of 
consistent commentary standards. It is my understanding that NM has a 
few new editors, and that is the cause. They are allowing pop up work at home ads, flame throwing bullying trolls to run rampant…like some here…and at over a dozen other articles at NM…

        

The final straw as of February 23rd… is allowing a bullying serial right wing troll to flame 
throw everywhere at NM and NM Editors refuse to shut this person down.
        
wjgreen314

        

wjgreen314 profile: http://disqus.com/wjgreen314/

        

Free speech is one thing, but yelling fire in a crowded theatre is illegal.

        

Yelling fire, flame throwing and bullying other posters at this site is unacceptable. And I cannot support it anymore.

        I manage a few websites, and we simply do not allow it.

        To reach editors at NM, they are listed below at the “contacts”

        here is the list:

        To reach Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason: Joe@nationalmemo.com.

        To reach Executive Editor Jason Sattler: Jason@nationalmemo.com.

        To reach Managing Editor Henry Decker: Henry@nationalmemo.com

        For general editorial inquiries, please send an e-mail to editors@nationalmemo.com.

  20. daniel bostdorf February 21, 2014

    Conason is deadon a susual.

    The basic….fundemental reality is that we need to lift people up and out of poverty where the big tax dollars are spent of social welfare programs. Raising minimum wage does this.

    Economists agree: Raising the minimum wage reduces poverty

    A higher minimum wage will lead to a significant boost in incomes for the worst off in the bottom 30th percent of income, while having no impact on the median household.

    As many economists have argued, the minimum wage ”substantially ‘held up’ the lower tail of the U.S. earnings distribution” through the late 1970s, but this effect stopped as the real value of the minimum wage fell in subsequent decades. This gives us an empirical handle on how the minimum wage would help deal with both insufficient low-end wages and inequality, and the results are striking.

    More here:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15038936/Dube_MinimumWagesFamilyIncomes.pdf

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/04/economists-agree-raising-the-minimum-wage-reduces-poverty/

    From Wall Street Journal–This is up to date analysis by the foremost authority this matter:

    Raising Minimum Wage Reduces Jobs, Poverty, Study Says Losses in Employment Partly Offset by Increased Purchasing Power

    quote from article:

    “Richard Trumka, president of union federation AFL-CIO, which is holding its winter meeting of labor leaders in Houston this week to strategize for the year, immediately challenged the study’s findings and said it echoed false claims by conservatives. “Every time momentum builds for lifting wages, conservative ideologues say it will cost jobs. Every time, they’ve been dead wrong,” Mr. Trumka said in an emailed statement issued during his closed-door meeting with labor leaders.”

    NOTE from me: and the key is lifting Americans out of poverty–not job losses. And it has nothing to do with subsidizing multinational either… Getting out of poverty cuts government social welfare assistance(your tax dollars) to those with increased $$ in pocket—-it stimulates the economy:

    Conason is correct. And so is CBO…

    “The CBO said that a gradual increase to $10.10 an hour by July 2016
    would eliminate 500,000 jobs, but lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty
    from the total of 45 million projected to be living in poverty in 2016.
    “The report predicted other positive effects for the economy. Low-wage
    workers tend to spend a larger fraction of their earnings, so some firms
    would see increased demand for their goods and services as a result.”

    Reply
  21. sealbeams February 22, 2014

    There is no argument. This is BS. Just consider where this desperate argument comes from.

    Reply
    1. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

      Thank you for your view…

  22. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

    Conason has written and important article as usual….

    The basic….fundamental reality is that we need to lift people up and out of poverty where the big tax dollars are spent on social welfare programs. Raising minimum wage does this.

    Economists agree: Raising the minimum wage reduces poverty

    A higher minimum wage will lead to a significant boost in incomes for the worst off in the bottom 30th percent of income, while having no impact on the median household.

    As many economists have argued, the minimum wage ”substantially ‘held up’ the lower tail of the U.S. earnings distribution” through the late 1970s, but this effect stopped as the real value of the minimum wage fell in subsequent decades. This gives us an empirical handle on how the minimum wage would help deal with both insufficient low-end wages and inequality, and the results are striking.

    More here:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15038936/Dube_MinimumWagesFamilyIncomes.pdf

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/04/economists-agree-raising-the-minimum-wage-reduces-poverty/

    From Wall Street Journal–This is up to date analysis by the foremost authority this matter:

    Raising Minimum Wage Reduces Jobs, Poverty, Study Says Losses in Employment Partly Offset by Increased Purchasing Power

    quote from article:

    “Richard Trumka, president of union federation AFL-CIO, which is holding its winter meeting of labor leaders in Houston this week to strategize for the year, immediately challenged the study’s findings and said it echoed false claims by conservatives. “Every time momentum builds for lifting wages, conservative ideologues say it will cost jobs. Every time, they’ve been dead wrong,” Mr. Trumka said in an emailed statement issued during his closed-door meeting with labor leaders.”

    NOTE from me: and the key is lifting Americans out of poverty–not job losses. And it has nothing to do with subsidizing multinational either… Getting out of poverty cuts government social welfare assistance(your tax dollars) to those with increased $$ in pocket—-it stimulates the economy:

    Conason is correct. And so is CBO…

    “The CBO said that a gradual increase to $10.10 an hour by July 2016
    would eliminate 500,000 jobs, but lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty
    from the total of 45 million projected to be living in poverty in 2016.
    “The report predicted other positive effects for the economy. Low-wage
    workers tend to spend a larger fraction of their earnings, so some firms
    would see increased demand for their goods and services as a result.”

    But I also believe that the premise of a minimum wage is flawed and illogical….it keeps people in poverty even at a $15 an hour level….I have written below that we need a guaranteed annual wage.

    Reply
    1. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

      ps….don’t feed the trolls who post BS…

  23. charles king February 22, 2014

    Let us all do some (Critical Thinking) Why?have our government stated that the miminum wages should be raised to ten.ten dols. an hour. Because it is needed to lift the pay scale of the least on the pay scale of the econ scale. Who? are these people that do not want to comply and How? do they handle the demand of their workers. We all can come together and agree to disagree I think through this process the owners and workers will respect eachothers position and make a deal and remind each that we are ALL-Americans so lets all come together and make America work for us all. Why? cant we all just get along, smile. Remember that we All_American has the VOTE on the side of Democracy so do not let MONIES and those with MONIES destroy Our Democracy, Do Not LET Capitalism, Plutocracy, Republicans, and anyother Who? think that our Government is too Big,only too protect the People from harms way. People with your VOTE and Democracy you cant go wrong. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING

    Reply
    1. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

      Agreed! You state: “ALL-Americans so lets all come together and make America work for us all. …..While we are at it…to make America to “work again”….We need to cut a minimum of 10% of dollars from the gift to “multinational war based military-industrial-complex” courtesy the GOP House. All expenditures for all departments… According to Brad Plumer of the Washington Post who analized the “defense” budget:

      “The United States spends far more than any other country on defense and security. Since 2001, the base defense budget has soared from $287 billion to $530 billion — and that’s before accounting for the primary costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But now that those wars are ending and austerity is back in vogue, the Pentagon will have to start tightening its belt in 2013 and beyond……
      All told, the U.S. government spent about $718 billion on defense and international security assistance in 2011 — more than it spent on Medicare. That includes all of the Pentagon’s underlying costs as well as the price tag for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which came to $159 billion in 2011. It also includes arms transfers to foreign governments.”

      read here:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/07/everything-chuck-hagel-needs-to-know-about-the-defense-budget-in-charts/

      WTF? $718 billion ! Take back 71 billion!!! 10%!!

      Apply to a “peace based get the USA back to work” budget. And raise the minimum wage—if you believe in it….to $25 an hour.

      That….is a liveable wage that will start to nearly eliminate poverty once and for all….

      “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” ……Nelson Mandela

      1. charles king February 23, 2014

        Now I know Why? we have poverty in My Country because their are too many Bureaucracts in My country and not enough real citizens. Thank you are the magic words in my Book. Mr. C. E. KING
        Subject: Re: New comment posted on Minimum Truth: The Hollow Argument Against Higher Wages

  24. daniel bostdorf February 23, 2014

    As we approach the end of this article’s cycle on National Memo before it is archived, I think it is important to get the perspective from Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley millionaire and registered Republican who once ran for California governor who is advocating the highest minimum wage in the country for his home state.

    This excerpt is from an article that profiles 5 tycoons who want to close the wealth gap….

    Here is a Republican out of the five who supports raising minimum wage….quoting the article:

    UNZ: THE REPUBLICAN WHO FAVORS A RAISE

    Not all members of the super-rich taking up the issue of inequality are progressives. Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley millionaire and registered Republican who once ran for California governor, is advocating the highest minimum wage in the country for his home state. Unz rose to fame when he spearheaded a 1998 ballot proposal that dismantled California’s bilingual education system. He later became publisher of The American Conservative, a libertarian-leaning magazine.
    Lately, he has become obsessed with the idea that a wage hike is the best way to advance the conservative ideal of reducing dependence on government programs. Frustrated with the gridlock in Congress, Unz is pouring his own money into a November ballot measure that would increase the minimum wage in California to $12 an hour in 2016.
    At that level, he said in an interview with The Associated Press, “every full-time worker would be earning almost exactly $25,000 and every full-time worker couple $50,000. Under normal family circumstances, those income levels are sufficiently above the poverty threshold that households would lose their eligibility for a substantial fraction of the various social welfare payments they currently receive, including earned-income tax credit checks, food stamps and housing subsidies.”
    Unz, whose fortune comes from founding Wall Street Analytics Inc., argues that by not paying a living wage, companies are forcing the government to subsidize them through massive welfare spending. An advocate for the free market, Unz opposes any kind of subsidy. The wage proposal has led him to work with strange bedfellows, including Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate and former independent presidential candidate, and progressive economist James Galbraith.
    Unz, 52, trained as a theoretical physicist, has an IQ of 214 and has written scholarly papers on the Spartan naval empire. His political rivals and allies alike have made much of his nerdy demeanor. But his unorthodox background seems to have given him the confidence to go against the conventional wisdom of his party.
    “The thing that’s really shocking is that the Republican response to the problem is to call for increased welfare spending. From a free-market perspective, businesses should compete without subsidies,” Unz said. “If they can’t compete, then maybe they should go out of business.”

    the other 4 here:

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_WEALTH_GAP_TYCOON_ADVOCATES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-02-23-09-53-44

    Reply

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