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Re: “Bare Minimum

Sunday's DOONESBURY comic strip shows Garry Trudeau to be on same wave length as the working and wanna be working grunts in the expanding minimum wage class we now call THE WORKING POOR: Read it and have it accompany the MERCURY cover story you mail and otherwise send to our fellow campesinos:…

Only way to make it count is to send it to the one-party Democratic candidates whose policies during these Blue State years of domination look startlingly like the Red state
know-nothing years: Only 4 other states in U.S. spend less on their college students than Oregon tax payers. Corporate tax breaks & subsidies among the highest in the union, with flat job growth to show for it. Oregon remains a WORK AT WILL state that becomes a dumping ground for multi-national corporations that want to leave states that actually have laws protecting their work force from termination without cause and without notice. This also creates permanent instability in the job market that has bad effects on business climate, although that is harder to measure than the savings that come from letting go of older workers who've earned seniority benefits and hiring the desperate college-debt burdened young workers at lower cost to the employer.

Like the French say in their charming language: "Those who don't do politics, get done!"

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Laylow Studios Mitch on 03/31/2014 at 6:47 PM

Re: “Bare Minimum

If there is a mandate to double the starting wage in my business, here is a likely scenario. Those starting jobs are now more desirable. From the larger pile of applications on my desk, I will choose the candidates who have experience in my industry and are worth that higher wage. It is unlikely that I would hire a high school kid or other low skilled worker. Those folks, unfortunately, have been priced out of the market.

Municipalities considering higher starting wages should look carefully at the economic consequences of doing so. It is quite possible that the folks they are trying to help will have fewer chances to enter or even to remain in the job market.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Slacker on 03/29/2014 at 2:51 PM

Re: “Bare Minimum

This will only lead people to work for less than minimum wage under the table, or black market labor. When governments make it illegal or infeasible for people to make arrangements on their own terms, they do it anyway, out of view. While the black market is free from government coercion, it's also illegal, making it unlikely for an employee to seek justice from the government concerning a breach of contract. This is the governments job: to protect people from getting screwed over based on what individuals have agreed to with each other, not based on an number that a politician thinks is just for his subjects, I mean constituents.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by jksville on 03/29/2014 at 1:22 PM

Re: “Bare Minimum

I can understand a $12.50 minimum wage in Oregon, $13.50 in CA, $15+ in NYC. But $15 does seem like a lot starting in a entry level type job, especially somewhere like here. There are teachers making $19 an hr in Beaverton, OR. Does a Mc Donald's worker really need $15 an hr to survive with some dignity?

Now, maybe there could be adjustments in pay based on need and age. I am unsure what would be a fair means of doing this, but it might open more opportunity for teens needing jobs PT in high school. Say, living at home as a dependent, wages starting at $10.00 an hr? Once you are not a dependent, the wage is increased to $12.50 an hr. Seems reasonable to me. There is generally less living expenses while living with your guardians. Now, would that mean better paid entry level workers ending up not receiving jobs due to young kids being the competition? Not sure? I know plenty of folks that needed to take a $10 an hr job that might have been seen as a high school job back in the day. They HAD to.

There is so much inequities out there. Where does it all end? I wish for free continued education, health care, and a minimum income paid to keep people afloat. If these health and education entitlements were in effect then there would be less need for $15 an hr wages, $12.50 would be within reason.

Just removing the cost of dealing with benefits for businesses seems like a way to allow an increase in wages. I don't see why an employer has a bit of business in my ability to see a Doctor. It is actually semi creepy IMHO. Slavery like. Single Payer is common in most developed countries because it just makes sense. Health Care should not at al be about profits, it is only about the people.

In the end, if we just made sure there was a subsidy for all, there could be less need for social programs and more room for folks to go back to school (that would be an option due to the high tuition being removed) and stimulate the economy by having more spending power. Less stress from not being in fear they cannot even see a physician if they get sick, or if they did.. it would mean debt that cannot be paid back.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by djkenny on 03/29/2014 at 11:57 AM

Re: “Bare Minimum

Guys this is basic. I understand compassion and wanting to help others. But let's actually think this through:

* The money has to come from somewhere. Only the federal government gets to "create" new money.
* Will the business owners take it out of their profit? Not likely. They will try to pass it on.
* Will consumers want to pay it? That is a value judgment for every individual consumer.
* If consumers don't want to pay it, the business owner must cut costs some other way. This includes cutting staff.
* If the cost is successfully passed on to consumers, then wealth is being redistributed from the lower and middle-class (assumption here that they are the primary consumers) to the lower class.
* Will this redistribute money from the wealthy to the lower class? Answer: Not much.
* Will it in effect be a tax on every one else? Answer: Yes.

So what we have here is a compassionate but misguided attempt to help the poor that does little to change the real systemic/structural issues our country has with economic inequality. What we need are changes to our tax system (how about taxing capital gains and carried interest the same as regular income, for example) and regulation of executive compensation.

6 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Ed on 03/28/2014 at 3:54 PM

Re: “Bare Minimum

Colin - far from a single issue candidate:

Per achieving a living wage in Portland, there are a few ways of doing it without raising the minimum wage as mentioned in the article. You can use tax policy to achieve the same result as raising the minimum wage. It's actually probably better because can enact a progressive tax on higher earning employers to subsidize lower earning small businesses that might otherwise have a hard time adjusting at first. Despite the focus on $15/hr, it's only one of the issues that needs to be addressed to keep a Portland that people can afford to work and live in.

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by NCaleb on 03/28/2014 at 3:39 PM

Re: “Bare Minimum

Any study cited from UC Berkeley-give me a break, you guys in Portland are so far up California's rear end.Like the state has something to boast about. Truth be known,it's Bush's fault.

2 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Chuck Conners on 03/28/2014 at 3:24 PM

Re: “Bare Minimum

"Caleb, [apparently a fucking attorney and professor] when he first proposed a $15 minimum wage, didn't realize there was a state pre-emption until told by the Mercury."

This is all insanity. I'm personally in favor of a hike, but what's the point of debating this when state law clearly forecloses it? Are we so stupid we would elect a single-issue candidate who can't even affect his single issue and didn't even fucking know that fact before he declared?

7 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Commenty Colin on 03/28/2014 at 10:58 AM

Re: “Bare Minimum

Two side notes: absolutely nothing has changed with the law and concept of pre-emption. Mr. Fish, Esq. had the same pre-emption arguments today that he had four years ago. Obviously Fish is "reactive" and not "pro-active" on a city minimum wage.

In fact, when you think about the fact that Fish is a labor lawyer- it is a little surprising that he did not understand the issue "chapter and verse." Labor law is full of pre-emption issues. Labor lawyers are paid to analyze pre-emption and other issues and argue them before a judge or arbitrator.

On to Salzman v. Caleb: I just visited Caleb's Facebook page. Something tells me that he may be a formidable candidate.

I believe that Salzman and Fish are going to have trouble motivating parts of their base, and that Caleb and Maxwell will do better than expected. Some of votes will be "for" the outsider candidates, some voters will be strongly motivated by their dislike of incumbents. Two powerful forces. I see both outsider candidates peeling away the progressive vote. Between minimum wage issues and water bureau woes,- I think we will have an interesting May.

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Reverend Bite Me on 03/28/2014 at 8:55 AM

Re: “Bare Minimum

Down Twinkles.
Occupy was a notable failure. At least those damn Tea Party idiots were able to get people elected and attempt some change, even if it was change most of us didn't care for.
That the Occupy crowd is now looking at this 15 as being an issue seems at least somewhat related to their original core issue.
Their "dealing with a wide variety of issues", and failure to make grounds on any front, shows a lack of discipline and understanding of how the political process works.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for raising the minimum wage, and more importantly, eliminating such extreme highs and lows in distribution of wealth in our country - but you put a Occupy label on just about anything and it is doomed to fail, as they don't know how to realistically deal with the problems we face.
Much like this 15 Now campaign.

5 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by frankieb on 03/28/2014 at 6:49 AM

Re: “Bare Minimum

There is nothing arbitrary about a raise to $15. A minimum wage that does not keep pace with standard equity metrics such as the regional CPI (which Oregon does index), regional housing costs, the regional median income, and measures of worker productivity, is going to be continually eroded. Compared with corporate profits and worker productivity, the minimum wage has quickly lost ground to ever increasing skilled work necessary for even the lowest paid jobs with the ever increasing use of automation and machines which are leading to more and more productivity.

Introducing automation should not lead to all of the profits from the machine going to who paid for it or designed it (and I design such machines). They who skillfully operate such machines deserve a corresponding pay increase, recognizing the complexity of the machines.

Failure of businesses to increase wages to share gains in worker productivity is bad public policy because it overcompensates the introduction of machines and leads to increasing income inequality. Overall, rising income inequality hurts the long term sustainability of the economy and prevents further economic gains and security that would otherwise happen from expanding quality of life and having more of both disposable income and personal savings for retirement.

I run and have run small businesses and am part owner in a startup business. So is GreenCPA. I am surprised that some people think businesses do not like good public policy. We all live here and have neighbors we want to see succeed as well.

Very few things in economics are true zero sum games.

It takes a lifetime of propaganda against this basic recognition that we live and work in an actual community to train people to think what is solely good for one business is good for the community. It turns out what is good for the community is still good for the community, even today under capitalism. Who would have guessed?

As far as a perceived shift away from the banking sector, that is nonsense. Political candidates from the Occupy crowd (outside the duopoly party candidates funded by bankers) have and continue to want money moved out of the national banking system and into local credit unions and state banks. Unfortunately at the local level, as any follower of ZeroHedge should know already, banking policy is not all done locally, but is handled by the federal reserve.

Currencies are not where most of the economic system's assets are stored. The money supply is only one means of creating liquidity, and the money supply needs to be managed to target economic expansion, unemployment, and inflation. We do not want a currency that incents hoarding and want some inflation. People and businesses must hold both liquid and harder assets, but mostly the harder assets that create or preserve actual productive output. Blaming the entire economy on the money supply and its management is only targeting one part of the economy. That the Occupy crowd is dealing with a wide variety of issues is a positive development in the Occupy story.

Indeed, raising the minimum wage to keep pace with metrics I pointed to above is how a local entity can bring fairness to a system that manages the money supply in a way that inflates slowly such as we have without needing to get permission from federal entities. In this way it is exactly aligned with an Occupy-style analysis of the problems with our current national and international banking system. It is thinking globally and acting locally.

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by sethwoolley on 03/28/2014 at 3:16 AM

Re: “Bare Minimum

"An arbitrary hike in the price of a product does not benefit sellers, it drives away buyers." -ZeroHedge


4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Ed on 03/27/2014 at 6:09 PM

Re: “Bare Minimum

And I could pull three links out of my ass:………

It's interesting how no one in the 15 Now fad seems to want to actually ask any Portland businesses how they feel about the practicality of raising the minimum wage to 15 an hour.

4 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Spindles on 03/27/2014 at 4:17 PM

Re: “Bare Minimum

The Capitalist's Case for a $15/Hour Minimum Wage…

8 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by GreenCPA on 03/27/2014 at 4:08 PM

Re: “Bare Minimum

Typical liberal understanding of a complex economic situation. Have a widening gap of wealth inequity that just seems to be getting bigger? Simple, just enact a government mandate to force businesses to pay more. Who needs comprehensive knowledge of any one company's salary and overhead requirements? Just get more money!

Have savings being eroded by systemic government inflation? Simple, have government legislation make it possible for "tax-free" retirement plans and easy loans to heard previously unfathomable amounts of money into the stock market, making Wall Street the over-valued behemoth, with little relation to the real economy, that it is today.

Of course, seeing as how our country's way of dealing with its own economic woe's is to have the Fed hand over $80 billion dollars of interest free money every month to the banks coffers to hoard as they purge their balance sheets of the toxic derivative garbage they created, maybe the ideology of "give me stuff for free" is understandable.

And isn't it interesting how the Occupy Wall Street people have shifted their focus onto issues like 15 Now, instead of keeping the focus on the absolute fraud perpetrated by the major US and international banks that sank the economy in the first place. But hey, why punish the banksters like they did in Iceland when you could punish businesses instead?

Sadly, if by some remote miracle the minimum wage in Portland gets ratcheted up to 15 an hour, I don't think the support gravy train is going to last very long when the majority of folks who have worked for years to get to a point where they earn $15-20 dollars an hour realize they're now earning the equivalent of less skilled, entry level workers. Unless everyone on the chain gets a 5 dollar raise. But that would never increase prices, right?

7 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Spindles on 03/27/2014 at 3:31 PM

Re: “Bare Minimum

Hmmmm, so says the Economist.
Oh wait, you are a Lawyer.

4 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by frankieb on 03/27/2014 at 2:52 PM

Re: “Bare Minimum

"Where is that money going to come from? If it is just passed on to us, the consumer, you and me, it is just going to inflate the price of everything, and in the long run none of us are going to be better off."

There's no historical precedent for this happening (that I'm aware of). If you can point to an example, please provide it. Competition actually keeps prices low while raising minimum wage puts more $ into the economy (low wage workers tend to spend most of their salary). In contrast, deregulated market speculation (AKA our system) on commodities drives prices up extremely fast as banks and hedge funds create artificial scarcity in markets. In Portland, rent prices are skyrocketing with no commensurate rise in wages or rent controls. This is a formula for displacement.

"What is more important is the relative difference in wealth between the owners/executives/managers (highly paid) and the front line troops (low paid). It is a structural thing."

I agree. Looking to solve this problem is also important and not separated from the fight for a living wage. It's all relative in the end.

"It requires a change in values, regulation, and tax policy. Not just a simple rule to bump up X to X+1."

Agree. The fight for $15 is a demand for a change in those values. Not the end all solution, but an important part of the struggle.

12 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by NCaleb on 03/27/2014 at 2:26 PM

Re: “Bare Minimum

I agree that there are bigger problems that need to be addressed and of course we as a nation need to figure out how to deal with mass globalization and how to promote local manufacture and sales.
However, in the mean time, this is something we CAN do. As JRRTRollkien highlights above (albeit toward a different point), "the prices of goods and services appear to be inflating at a much more rapid rate than the wages for unskilled workers."
Exactly. People--all kinds of people--are really struggling to adjust to cost of living, especially rent, in cities all over the country, and Portland is having this problem more than most in the affordable housing area because of the rampant desire to move here from elsewhere.

Nobody said raising the minimum wage was an end-all be-all solution for all economic ills. Other measures need to be taken, but this would be a firm step in the right direction. Workers need to have money to pay rent and buy food, plain and simple--it'd be better if they had money to afford (gasp!) schooling for their children, medical care, etc. Right now, they're spending increasing amounts just to stay alive.

I kind of resent a couple comments I see above saying that you "went to college and took out loans" so that you wouldn't have to work a minimum wage job and that others should do the same. Maybe you should do some research. There are thousands of us now who did the same thing you did...and we're still struggling to stay alive in minimum wage jobs, or maybe twenty to fifty cents extra per hour. Don't turn this into an us vs. them.

Is it really that crazy that everyone who has a job should be able to count on $30,000/year? That's still a very low yearly salary.

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Tori Cole on 03/27/2014 at 2:22 PM

Re: “Bare Minimum

It sure is easy to extort more money out of people when it's not your money.

6 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by Spindles on 03/27/2014 at 11:45 AM

Re: “Bare Minimum

Where is that money going to come from? If it is just passed on to us, the consumer, you and me, it is just going to inflate the price of everything, and in the long run none of us are going to be better off. What is more important is the relative difference in wealth between the owners/executives/managers (highly paid) and the front line troops (low paid). It is a structural thing.

It's the relative difference that is important, not an absolute difference.

Unfortuantely, that is much harder to change. It requires a change in values, regulation, and tax policy. Not just a simple rule to bump up X to X+1.

see here for a great article:
Is Surging Inequality Endemic To Capitalism?…

4 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Ed on 03/27/2014 at 11:37 AM

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