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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday January 11, @10:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the what's-the-catch dept.

Walmart is boosting minimum pay across all of its stores and handing out bonuses. The CEO says that it's thanks to tax reform:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is boosting its starting hourly wage to $11 and delivering bonuses to employees, capitalizing on the U.S. tax overhaul to stay competitive in a tightening labor market.

The increase takes effect next month and will cost $300 million on top of wage hikes that were already planned, the world's largest retailer said Thursday. The one-time bonus of up to $1,000 is based on seniority and will amount to an additional $400 million. The company is also expanding its maternity and parental leave policy and adding an adoption benefit.

"Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.," Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said in the statement.

The move comes three years after Wal-Mart last announced it was raising wages, spending $1 billion in 2015 to lift starting hourly pay to $9 and then to $10 for most workers the following year. The increase cut into profit and was criticized by some longer-tenured employees as unfair to them. Since then, many states have enacted minimum wage laws, meaning that a "sizable group" of its 4,700 U.S. stores already pay $11 an hour, according to spokesman Kory Lundberg.

Walmart is expanding a "Scan & Go" program from 50 to 150 stores. "Scan & Go" would allow customers to use a smartphone app to scan items and then walk out of the store with them. Kroger is experimenting with a similar "Scan, Bag, Go" program. These are seen as a response to Amazon, which has been trialing delivery of fresh foods and same-day deliveries. Amazon revealed an "Amazon Go" concept brick-and-mortar store in 2016, with no cashiers in sight.

Maybe Walmart's big plan is to give better pay to a dwindling amount of employees.

CEO letter to employees. Also at CNBC and USA Today.

Related: Walmart Wants to Deliver Groceries Directly Into Your Fridge
Walmart to Deploy Shelf-Scanning Robots at 50 Stores
Walmart is Raising Prices Online to Increase in-Store Traffic


Original Submission

Related Stories

Amazon Go: It's Like Shoplifting 47 comments

Amazon is testing a brick-and-mortar concept store that would allow shoppers to pick items off the shelf and leave without waiting in a line:

Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it has opened a brick-and-mortar grocery store in Seattle without lines or checkout counters, kicking off new competition with supermarket chains.

Amazon Go, the online shopping giant's new 1,800-square-foot (167-square-meter) store, uses sensors to detect what shoppers have picked off the shelf and bills it to their Amazon account if they do not put it back.

The store marks Amazon's latest push into groceries, one of the biggest retail categories it has yet to master. The company currently delivers produce and groceries to homes through its AmazonFresh service.

"It's a great recognition that their e-commerce model doesn't work for every product," said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research, noting that physical stores would complement AmazonFresh. "If there were hundreds of these stores around the country, it would be a huge threat" to supermarket chains, he said.

Also at CNBC, Bloomberg, and The Verge:

It'll feel like shoplifting, except you're actually being watched by more cameras than you can imagine.


Original Submission

Walmart Wants to Deliver Groceries Directly Into Your Fridge 109 comments

Walmart wants to test "in-fridge delivery" for Silicon Valley customers with August Home "smart locks":

Here's how the test will work: I place an order on Walmart.com for several items, even groceries. When my order is ready, a Deliv driver will retrieve my items and bring them to my home. If no one answers the doorbell, he or she will have a one-time passcode that I've pre-authorized which will open my home's smart lock. As the homeowner, I'm in control of the experience the entire time – the moment the Deliv driver rings my doorbell, I receive a smartphone notification that the delivery is occurring and, if I choose, I can watch the delivery take place in real-time. The Deliv associate will drop off my packages in my foyer and then carry my groceries to the kitchen, unload them in my fridge and leave. I'm watching the entire process from start to finish from my home security cameras through the August app. As I watch the Deliv associate exit my front door, I even receive confirmation that my door has automatically been locked.

While some may find the idea creepy, others have downplayed the creepiness factor:

Walmart to Deploy Shelf-Scanning Robots at 50 Stores 23 comments

Walmart isn't stocking shelves with robots just yet, but they will scan shelves using robots:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is rolling out shelf-scanning robots in more than 50 U.S. stores to replenish inventory faster and save employees time when products run out.

The approximately 2-foot (0.61-meter) robots come with a tower that is fitted with cameras that scan aisles to check stock and identify missing and misplaced items, incorrect prices and mislabeling. The robots pass that data to store employees, who then stock the shelves and fix errors.

Out-of-stock items are a big problem for retailers since they miss out on sales every time a shopper cannot find a product on store shelves.

Scanbots won't help with finding the 2 cans of baba ganoush hidden behind 50 cans of hummus.

Also at BGR and ArkansasOnline.


Original Submission

Walmart is Raising Prices Online to Increase in-Store Traffic 15 comments

Walmart is taking a bit of an nontraditional approach to boost sales ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping events by raising prices for products sold online and discounting those same items in physical retail stores. According to The Wall Street Journal, the big-box store has quietly raised prices for household and food items such as toothbrushes, macaroni and cheese, and dog food on its website while the prices in stores remained the same. If there are price discrepancies between online and in-store purchases, Walmart will now highlight this on the product's web listing to encourage customers to buy them from their local stores.

It's all part of an effort to increase foot traffic as Walmart continues to compete with Amazon just about everywhere else.

[...] With the new pricing strategy, a twin-pack of Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper costs $3.30 on Walmart.com, but goes as low as $2.50 if purchased at a store in Illinois. The aim is to also help reduce processing costs and increase online sales margins, since driving customers to stores means less shipping costs for the retailer.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/15/16655840/walmart-raising-online-prices-sales-store-traffic-amazon-competition


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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by mendax on Thursday January 11, @10:16PM (2 children)

    by mendax (2840) on Thursday January 11, @10:16PM (#621139)
    --
    It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by takyon on Thursday January 11, @10:26PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday January 11, @10:26PM (#621146) Journal

      Meanwhile, Costco [wikipedia.org] has been doing great, and its stock rose on that news:

      The closing Sam's Clubs make up about 10% of its total number of stores, which may surprise some investors considering the warehouse discounter's consistent growth. In both the third and second quarters, Sam's Club reported comp sales on par with that of Walmart, 2.8% and 1.2%, respectively, compared with Walmart's 2.7% and 1.8%.

      "It's been performing better, the stores look better, the operational issues they're working through, they're enhancing the supply chain, and there are things that Costco doesn't do," Telsey analyst Joe Feldman told TheStreet regarding Sam's Club in August.

      Costco, nonetheless, is seeing faster growth. Comp sales in its most recent quarterly report rose by 10.3% in the U.S., with e-commerce gaining more than 43%.

      Costco rose $3.96, or 2.1%, to $189.38 on Thursday. Walmart rose 35 cents to $100.02. Neither Costco nor Walmart could be immediately reached for comment.

      Aside: First question (right sidebar) seen on a Google search [google.com] for Costco:

      Q: Do they sell liquor.

      A: Yes

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Thursday January 11, @10:26PM (113 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday January 11, @10:26PM (#621147)

    $11/hr and 30 hours a week, sometimes almost 35. Put that together with the SNAP, and those off-the-books side jobs and your average WallyWorld inmate can almost afford to get their vehicle some legal insurance... if their significant other also works and the young-uns ain't too 'spensive.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, @10:39PM (77 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, @10:39PM (#621153)

      Warehouse associate at Amazon might be making a little more than a clerk at Walmart...but not much. Was going to post links to wage survey sites, but they were full of annoying crap.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by bob_super on Thursday January 11, @11:01PM (76 children)

        by bob_super (1357) on Thursday January 11, @11:01PM (#621163)

        Amazon builds on cheap land in the middle of nowhere. Many Walmarts are in cities, where being paid so little means my taxes are keeping walmart employees fed and healthy.

        We've discussed many times how the lack of a living wage means that the biggest retailer, based in the land of Capitalism, is raking in cash because Social Programs provide it with undervalued labor.

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, @11:15PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, @11:15PM (#621169)

          I'm more inclined to think Amazon builds near interstates and airports? These places don't seem like they are in the "middle of nowhere" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Amazon_locations#Fulfillment_and_warehousing [wikipedia.org]

          Agree about Walmart and a living wage. Without all the stores, it's a little hard to compare with Amazon wages, but here's what they are offering in Denver for part time delivery people, _using_their_personal_cars,
              https://www.denverpost.com/2016/08/10/amazon-pay-18-25-deliveries-own-car/ [denverpost.com]
          As noted earlier, Amazon warehouse worker pay is similar to Walmart clerk, maybe $1 or $2 more per hour.

          • (Score: 2) by Marand on Sunday January 14, @04:38AM

            by Marand (1081) on Sunday January 14, @04:38AM (#622088) Journal

            I'm more inclined to think Amazon builds near interstates and airports? These places don't seem like they are in the "middle of nowhere"

            The two aren't mutually exclusive: interstates go through a lot of "middle of nowhere" to connect the more interesting places.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Justin Case on Thursday January 11, @11:27PM (69 children)

          by Justin Case (4239) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 11, @11:27PM (#621174)

          Social Programs provide it with undervalued labor.

          This is probably not a very effective point to make with those who think the Social Programs are immoral and should be eliminated.

          --
          When the government can crack your encryption, criminals can crack your encryption and drain your bank account.
          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 12, @12:08AM (64 children)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 12, @12:08AM (#621189)

            Same point, different perspective: if you eliminate the social programs, WalMart's wages are going to have to double in order to provide them with workers who are healthy enough to do the job. You can't smile and welcome people to WalMart if you're starving to death or dealing with nightly homelessness/exposure.

            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Friday January 12, @12:26AM (1 child)

              San Jose State University professors are sleeping on the street these days.

              During the subprime crisis I was walking through a bad part of town quite late at night. A woman approached me, toting a large suitcase and wearing a formal evening gown. She asked if I could give her five dollars. I did.

              Had I known then that there was an all-night restaurant nearby I would have bought her dinner.

              --
              127.0.0.1 www.hosted-pixel.com # I Am Absolutely Serious
              • (Score: 4, Informative) by NotSanguine on Friday January 12, @04:43AM

                by NotSanguine (285) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 12, @04:43AM (#621258) Homepage Journal

                San Jose State University professors are sleeping on the street these days.

                During the subprime crisis I was walking through a bad part of town quite late at night. A woman approached me, toting a large suitcase and wearing a formal evening gown. She asked if I could give her five dollars. I did.

                Had I known then that there was an all-night restaurant nearby I would have bought her dinner.

                I saw an article in the San Jose Mercury News (sorry, I've searched for it and have been unable to find it) back in 2000 that profiled several full time San Jose public school teachers who were sleeping in homeless shelters because they couldn't afford rents in San Jose.

                Disgusting.

                --
                No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
            • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday January 12, @05:01AM (58 children)

              Good. Any commie fucktard want to explain to me how precisely keeping wages shit with social programs is helping those on said social programs? To me it looks like nothing but keeping them under your thumb while telling them it's for their own good.

              --
              We've got #BieberFever [soylentnews.org]!
              • (Score: 5, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 12, @05:46AM (50 children)

                by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 12, @05:46AM (#621272)

                Well, here's the fun part: not everybody can earn wages. So, kill the social programs and we might as well start digging mass graves, putting the indigent in buses, driving them to the edge and telling them to jump in. You can't deport 'em all, the majority were born here.

                Unless you've got a thousand points of light in your pocket that can supply the 6 trillion dollars per year that are keeping people in the US fed, housed, and in good enough condition that they're not breaking into your house in the middle of the night to steal food, or money for food.

                The "thousand points of light" are just as effective as "trickle down" for people in need.

                In 2012, Points of Light mobilized 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service worth $635 million.

                Great, so they're only short by a factor of roughly 10,000 from replacing the major state and federal social programs. I'm sure that will scale up as needed when taxes are reduced, won't it?

                • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday January 12, @11:15AM (49 children)

                  I'm sure that will scale up as needed when taxes are reduced, won't it?

                  That's kind of the point. Your own comrades are the ones saying that social programs are harming wages. If the programs go away, wages go up. If wages go up, who the hell needs social programs? If we don't need social programs, people can keep the parts of their wages that would have been paying for the programs, so they have even more in their pockets.

                  --
                  We've got #BieberFever [soylentnews.org]!
                  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 12, @12:51PM (39 children)

                    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 12, @12:51PM (#621347)

                    If wages go up, who the hell needs social programs?

                    Start with the unemployed, move on to the disabled, elderly, etc.

                    If we don't need social programs, people can keep the parts of their wages that would have been paying for the programs, so they have even more in their pockets.

                    Historically, those pockets don't open charitably enough to keep all the unemployed, disabled and elderly out of dire straits.

                    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday January 12, @02:11PM (38 children)

                      Historically the disabled and elderly have been taken of by their families. The unemployed? Unless they physically can't work, fuck them.

                      --
                      We've got #BieberFever [soylentnews.org]!
                      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @03:47PM (9 children)

                        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @03:47PM (#621405)

                        All good if you have a functional family, or even any family at all. But with the trend to smaller families the traditional means of support for disabled & aged has broken down.

                        • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Azuma Hazuki on Friday January 12, @04:23PM (7 children)

                          by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 12, @04:23PM (#621424)

                          Don't bother trying to reason with Uzzard. He's another fucking Randroid who couldn't pass a high school economics class if Adam Smith were reading him the textbook and having him follow along with a pointing finger.

                          This is not due to lack of intelligence, but lack of wisdom. Simply put, he doesn't WANT to know, because that would require changing his worldview and admitting that he is wrong. SN is infested with his kind, and unfortunately for us, he's one of the staff...

                          • (Score: 3, Touché) by Marand on Sunday January 14, @05:03AM (6 children)

                            by Marand (1081) on Sunday January 14, @05:03AM (#622097) Journal

                            SN is infested with his kind, and unfortunately for us, he's one of the staff...

                            He's also a lot more tolerant of people having opposing views here than you are. Regardless of what his opinions are, least he's making them as a commenter and debating with people rather than taking a "my way or the highway" attitude and waving admin powers around over people he disagrees with, or just being dismissive and insulting like your comment was. Although I also don't agree with his extreme "I got mine, fuck everyone else" view on the topic, I don't think the insults and name-calling over it were warranted. Sure, it's unlikely you'll change his mind being respectful and civil, but at least then you won't be doing a disservice to your own views and others that share them, like you do by taking juvenile snipes at him as a person.

                            (Also, seriously, "infested with his kind"? That's some over-the-top hyperbole there, equating people you disagree with to vermin or insects.)

                            • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Azuma Hazuki on Sunday January 14, @07:04PM (5 children)

                              by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 14, @07:04PM (#622235)

                              Tone trolling is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

                              You're pulling the same "fair and balanced" bullshit Fox does, and it's just as wrong here.

                              Listen to me and listen well: some things simply are not up for debate. Oh, you CAN debate them, but the kind of people who usually claim they want to are here for proselytizing, rather than actual debate. I place Uzzard's libertarian horseshit in precisely the same category as I place NAMBLA's pedophilia apologetics and for nearly the same reason. You can "debate" it all you want, but the plain facts are 1) they're bad for society as a whole and 2) they have no real arguments to back them up; they collide with the genetic, evolutionary, and societal makeup of humanity as a whole.

                              Do you get it now? I'm all for honest debate, but that's not what people like him pull. I am sick and fucking tired of people polluting the noosphere with this shit.

                              • (Score: 2) by Marand on Monday January 15, @12:12AM (1 child)

                                by Marand (1081) on Monday January 15, @12:12AM (#622332) Journal

                                "Tone trolling"? No, I was trying to politely tell you that you're being a jackass while contributing nothing, and in the process making him look good in comparison. It seems like the majority of what I see you post on SN is combative and insulting, and doubling down on it by insulting me over mentioning it doesn't really help make you look like less of a jackass.

                                I believe arguments should be civil rather than devolve into name-calling shouting matches, because once it turns into a flamewar it's all noise and no signal. Arguing with someone almost never changes their opinion, but IMO the real point of debating something contentious is the audience to the argument. Being reasonable and making good points does a much better job of convincing others of your point — or at the least, not pushing them to the opposite side — than being an asshole.

                                Anyway, I figured I'd try saying, basically, "calm the fuck down" (but not as rudely) in case you're just letting emotions get in the way of reason, but I guess it's more of a vendetta against him, since you know he's most likely not going to ban you no matter what you say so you can get away with it. In that case, it's between you and him and I don't particularly care beyond annoyance at having to read or scroll through the bullshit to look for useful discussion, but that's easily fixed by giving you a negative karma bonus so your comments are collapsed by default. (Don't take that the wrong way, it's nothing personal, I just mark a few people 'enemy' so their replies to people start collapsed because their posts feel like I'm wasting time reading them, and your perpetual flamewar with TMB is a waste of time to me.)

                                • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Azuma Hazuki on Monday January 15, @03:21AM

                                  by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 15, @03:21AM (#622395)

                                  Marand, listen...I've been here almost since the site's inception. I've come to accept the fact that 1) there are around half a dozen truly diseased, evil people on here, 2) Uzzard's one of them, and 3) unfortunately for us he's one of the staff.

                                  After the last year-plus of political horror, I made a promise to myself: no more bargaining with terrorists. Because that's what shitheads like him and J-Mo and Runaway basically are: memetic terrorists. They are every bit as fanatical about their beliefs as a Muslim suicide bomber with a dynamite corset, though far less willing to put life and limb on the line for them. But they're exactly as beyond reason and faith-motivated; it just so happens their main article of faith is "Fuck you, got mine (and even if I don't I'd rather we both die than see you get something I don't think you deserve") rather than "There is no God but Allah and Muhammed is his prophet."

                                  I know you don't want to face this. I don't either. But some people are beyond redemption, through a specific and consciously-made choice, and NOTHING is going to change them short of horrible personal suffering. And even then, that's not a given.

                                  They see civility, compromise, and stopping to think as weaknesses, do you understand that? They look at people like you and me with contempt at best, and at worst, believe we do not deserve to live. They game the system. They demand their opponents not step over certain lines while making it a point not only to cross them themselves, but to laugh about it and pat themselves on the back for it, for not being stupid sheep who play by the rules.

                                  There are a lot more sociopaths out there than you want to acknowledge, and they've reached a critical mass in this country, both in terms of population and in terms of reach. And I am done trying to reach them. If they will not abide by basic human decency, I will not treat them as humans any longer, but rather the dangerous animals they pretend themselves to be.

                              • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Marand on Monday January 15, @12:54AM (2 children)

                                by Marand (1081) on Monday January 15, @12:54AM (#622341) Journal

                                Meant to add this to my other comment and forgot before submitting, sorry for double post:

                                Since I'm guessing by the "tone trolling" remark that you think I agree with TMB and was using my comment to try shutting down opposition, I figured I should add that I'm a supporter of universal basic income, which I believe strongly clashes with his "fuck social programs, I got mine why should I help anybody else" viewpoint. I think it's the only reasonable way forward long-term, because automation's eventually going to eat the majority of jobs, leaving a lot of people without options. Better to consolidate all the various programs, try to give everyone a livable wage, and let those that can work for more do so without hurting the ones that can't. I know there's the "everyone will be lazy!" argument, but I don't think it's the case; people tend to want more, and most will either look for work (for supplemental income) or be driven to create things, which they didn't have time to do when working 2-3 part-time jobs to barely pay bills.

                                Minimum wage + various programs is just a kludge that I hope is temporary.

                                • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday January 15, @09:49AM (1 child)

                                  You've been listening to looters too long. Compassion does not require robbery and help does not require the government.

                                  --
                                  We've got #BieberFever [soylentnews.org]!
                                  • (Score: 2) by Marand on Monday January 15, @11:25PM

                                    by Marand (1081) on Monday January 15, @11:25PM (#622839) Journal

                                    help does not require the government.

                                    Except that's supposed to be part of the government's job, otherwise we wouldn't bother with government at all. I'm generally pretty cynical, so this is somewhat out-of-character to say, but I've noticed that most people are fairly well-meaning and helpful to others. However, individual helpfulness doesn't scale, which is where government comes in. That said, I don't think complete wealth redistribution (communism style) will work because, while generally helpful, people still want goals and self-improvement, which is why I think UBI is a good middle ground between that extreme and the dog-eat-dog nature of extreme, absolute capitalism. People get a base income, and anything extra they earn is based on what they contribute rather than some government-mandated minimum that pushes people to take busy-work jobs instead of finding meaningful work.

                                    Minimum wage and existing programs are sort of trying at the same thing as UBI, but in a way that, for the employee, encourages taking busy-work jobs because they have to have anything in a pinch, and for the employer, discourages employment and enriches the selfish assholes that find ways to employ fewer people and work the remaining ones until they drop. Successful businessmen often have sociopath tendencies, and the larger the business the more likely this seems to be, so despite most people being helpful to others, businesses can't be expected to do the right thing for society without "nudging" them in that direction. Hell, I'm still trying to get medical benefits from my full-time job because my employer does anything it can to stall; and based on how lax they are with paying bills, I doubt they'd pay their employees if they thought they could get away with it.

                                    Of course, this kind of topic opens up a whole other can of worms, because it leads into discussing issues with the government itself. There's plenty that can be said about the US government's failure to represent the interests of the citizens in favour of big business, government bloat, and any number of other topics, because it's all linked in some way. That's why I try to avoid political discussions, it's too easy to get caught up in them and never get anything else done. :P

                        • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday January 12, @07:47PM

                          Actually, no. The trend towards smaller families means there is more disposable income sloshing around in each of your children's households.

                          --
                          We've got #BieberFever [soylentnews.org]!
                      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 12, @04:49PM (27 children)

                        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 12, @04:49PM (#621440)

                        In a country of 350 million, there are a significant number of disabled and elderly who are without family. With the rising tide of DINKs, many of them are going to find themselves without family support just when they start to need it. Easy to say that DINKs have the resources to save for their own care, unless they become disabled, or fall on the wrong side of an investment bubble.

                        The unemployed? I, personally have been out of work for up to 4 months at a stretch - couldn't get anything above minimum wage after my six figure job went up in smoke. After searching for 4 months in a radius of 300 miles (trying to stay near that family support network) watching the savings dwindle, the joke of unemployment compensation not even keeping up with basic needs, my wife now 6 months pregnant with obviously no health insurance, we took the job search nationwide and managed to find a good one 1000 miles from home. Not everybody is as lucky (or talented) as me - so, fuck them all, right? Take people who have been contributing to the economy at a high level for over a decade with one organization and turn them and their young children out in the street homeless because the economy has taken a pivot away from one sector to another?

                        • (Score: 2, Disagree) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday January 12, @07:50PM (26 children)

                          Take people who have been contributing to the economy at a high level for over a decade with one organization and turn them and their young children out in the street homeless because the economy has taken a pivot away from one sector to another?

                          If there are no jobs open for the position they lost, it was not a useful job and they were not contributing to the economy so much as leeching off incompetent management.

                          --
                          We've got #BieberFever [soylentnews.org]!
                          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 12, @08:43PM (25 children)

                            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 12, @08:43PM (#621548)

                            If there are no jobs open for the position they lost, it was not a useful job and they were not contributing to the economy so much as leeching off incompetent management.

                            Which is, of course, utter and complete horse shit. The engineering sector expands and contracts, often on political cycles. When you are one of 20,000 engineers employed in a particular sector that is currently demanding 22,000 engineers, things are great, pick your job from a wide variety. Times change, now only 19,000 engineers are needed in that sector - and if your management happened to be incompetent, or as likely just unlucky, you may be among the 1000 out looking for work.

                            Which is that? Not a useful job? Leeching off of incompetent management? What about the preceding 10 years when the job was in high demand?

                            The incompetent management that has screwed the most with my employability is the war machine - with Ronnine Ray-Gun on the way out when I graduated with my BSEE, the whole sector was puckered up tight, lots of guys with experience on the street looking for work - only jobs I was finding were in the nuclear power industry - that would have been a real great choice in 1988, right? Go into nuke power plants because that's where the jobs are. 2 more years in school and when I came back out I landed a job in medical devices - that ran for 12 years and had me making great salary and benefits, until 9/11 - then the funding for small med device companies all jumped ship into homeland security, follow the money into BS TSA projects? Maybe, but there wasn't any work in homeland security anywhere near my home. I made it through by finding a good med device company far away, but throw a little twist in this story and I could have been as easily trying to fit a family of four into my Mom's spare bedroom - and there's nothing productive or efficient about forcing people into those situations.

                            • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday January 12, @11:46PM (24 children)

                              Forcing? Sorry, you don't get to blame the results of your own poor foresight on anyone else. Nobody forced you to make the choices you made.

                              --
                              We've got #BieberFever [soylentnews.org]!
                              • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday January 13, @03:19AM (23 children)

                                by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday January 13, @03:19AM (#621668)

                                Troll much? The only way you could actually believe your own bullshit is if you live under a rock, alone.

                                • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday January 13, @03:30AM (22 children)

                                  Or I could just believe in personal responsibility instead of blaming all your woes on others.

                                  --
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                                  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Saturday January 13, @06:07AM (21 children)

                                    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday January 13, @06:07AM (#621712)

                                    Nope, not buying it, unless you're like 12 years old you should know that there's as much luck in life, things beyond an individual's control, as there is making personally responsible choices.

                                    Fish in the ocean live and die by luck more than skill, strength or "responsible choices." Part of human society, for millennia, has involved a level of mercy and care for those less fortunate. Misfortune can strike anyone, regardless of their level of personal responsibility, morality, diligence, industry, or intelligence. The vast majority need help now and again, and the vast majority don't have rich relatives who will just make everything alright by writing a check.

                                    If you're going to cram people into cities and make them all interdependent on each other, you can either provide social safety nets, or just let the sick, dead and desperate clog your streets. There's not enough productive land on the planet for everyone to have an independent homestead where we either make a living off of our own land or starve when winter comes.

                                    • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday January 13, @11:33AM (20 children)

                                      ...luck in life, things beyond an individual's control...

                                      This is what losers blame all their failures on, yes. Men, however, prefer to take responsibility for the courses our lives take. This includes planning ahead for unfortunate circumstances.

                                      --
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                                      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Saturday January 13, @02:41PM (19 children)

                                        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday January 13, @02:41PM (#621804)

                                        This is what losers blame all their failures on, yes. Men, however, prefer to take responsibility for the courses our lives take. This includes planning ahead for unfortunate circumstances.

                                        The problem with the great roulette wheel of populist capitalism is that, in a society of 350 million, it still puts thousands of people who made all the best, most responsible choices possible in their life, even planning ahead with all possible foresight, jobless and homeless. And, of course, we're talking about human beings here, so many more make less than optimal choices too.

                                        What percentage of the population are you willing to brand "losers" and let twist in the wind? When one of those "losers" kills your parents in an alley, are you going to go vigilante and run around in a bat suit at night futilely attempting to take responsibility for your family being insensitive, sociopathic jerks? Very few people start from such a fortunate position in life as to be able to do that. Personally, I'd rather shape society such that the "losers" don't have strong biologically based reasons to go around killing people in dark alleys for a couple of bucks, 'cause even the "best families" can get unlucky that way too.

                                        • (Score: 2, Disagree) by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday January 13, @04:38PM (18 children)

                                          Yes, I'm sure you would enjoy it if wild unicorns just ran around and shit piles of money in everyone's yard every morning. Unfortunately that isn't going to happen. In this life you can either earn your way or you can steal from others. One of these is a morally correct choice and benefits society as a whole while the other is contemptible and society is better off paying to incarcerate you. No, it does not matter if you talk the government into doing the stealing for you; adding a middle-man does not change the ethical correctness of an act.

                                          --
                                          We've got #BieberFever [soylentnews.org]!
                                          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday January 13, @05:15PM (4 children)

                                            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday January 13, @05:15PM (#621855)

                                            society is better off paying to incarcerate you.

                                            Wow! Three hots and a cot in a warm, dry room? Sounds like a great deal, if you happen to get caught. And who pays for the guards, and the chase, and the trial, and the incarceration? That sounds like a lot of expense to me, just to reward thieves with a comfy place to live after they get caught.

                                            • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Azuma Hazuki on Monday January 15, @03:27AM (3 children)

                                              by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 15, @03:27AM (#622399)

                                              When people show you who they are, believe them the first time, okay? Uzzard is not worth your debate time or your bandwidth. He's not here for honest debate. You've seen this. He's PROUD of that sociopathic horseshit he spent half a dozen posts spewing.

                                              • (Score: 2, Flamebait) by JoeMerchant on Monday January 15, @03:57AM (2 children)

                                                by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday January 15, @03:57AM (#622416)

                                                Khallow at least tries to have some internal consistency and supportable logic for his bent view of the universe. I don't usually tangle with Uzzard, but he's much easier to push into an irrational corner, it's nice to see that his surface BS comments are backed up by deeper, even less supportable BS. And, besides, I was bored.

                                                • (Score: 2, Informative) by Azuma Hazuki on Monday January 15, @06:28AM (1 child)

                                                  by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 15, @06:28AM (#622460)

                                                  Gods, we have some complete pieces of shit on this forum, don't we? All I hope for is every single one of the ones like Uzzard ends up sick and homeless through no fault of their own and has their "come to Jesus" moment. Whether they survive it or not. Nothing teaches people like them except personal suffering.

                                                  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday January 15, @01:48PM

                                                    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday January 15, @01:48PM (#622562)

                                                    I have some older relatives who would "never take charity from anyone," but... that didn't stop them from taking their $1000 per month social security checks from a system they never paid into (because they were self-employed and not forced to...) Still, they didn't sign up for SNAP, which they could have been eligible for, because that would have been a government handout.

                                          • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Monday January 15, @10:14AM (12 children)

                                            by acid andy (1683) on Monday January 15, @10:14AM (#622512)

                                            Most forms of commerce in the modern day free market are a type of stealing. Stealing with consent, really. There are a few products and services that are truly good value for money. The rest, by maximizing profit and minimizing costs, are effectively scams to trick people into parting with wealth that they arguably would have been better off keeping, once their crappy product breaks in a few months or their service backfires. Quality and durability of products is cut to a bare minimum and marketing spins illusions to sell shit that people simply do not need. Many services people would be far better off in the long term if they simply learned to do it themselves.

                                            The bigger the world population, the more competitive people have to get to stake a claim to decent land and resources so rather than a constructive force, work becomes a battle to see whoever can screw over the other guy quickest and take their wealth from them.

                                            It's a race to the bottom.

                                            --
                                            Make hay whilst the intervening mass is insufficient to inhibit the perceived intensity of incoming solar radiation.
                                            • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday January 15, @10:38AM (11 children)

                                              Stealing with consent is what we sane people like to call "voluntary exchange".

                                              --
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                                              • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Monday January 15, @10:49AM (10 children)

                                                by acid andy (1683) on Monday January 15, @10:49AM (#622521)

                                                When people's wages are so far behind inflation that they can only afford the cheapest, crappiest food that has been incrementally reduced in size and quality it's barely voluntary. When all affordable choices for a product have crappy built in obsolescence and don't work as advertised, value is being stolen from the consumer because they're being tricked into paying for an imagined benefit that simply doesn't exist in what they are getting.

                                                --
                                                Make hay whilst the intervening mass is insufficient to inhibit the perceived intensity of incoming solar radiation.
                                                • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday January 15, @12:55PM (9 children)

                                                  Yeah, that's 100% voluntary exchange. Those in that situation are contributing fuck-all, so they're making fuck-all. Which they should. If your value in your job is no better than that of some dipshit kid just entering the workforce, you absolutely deserve to be paid the same shitty wages. If you think you're more valuable but nobody will pay you more, you're simply incorrect.

                                                  As for shitty products, that corrects itself barring monopoly powers or regulatory capture; just not instantly.

                                                  --
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                                                  • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Monday January 15, @02:43PM (8 children)

                                                    by acid andy (1683) on Monday January 15, @02:43PM (#622574)

                                                    Yeah, that's 100% voluntary exchange. Those in that situation are contributing fuck-all, so they're making fuck-all. Which they should. If your value in your job is no better than that of some dipshit kid just entering the workforce, you absolutely deserve to be paid the same shitty wages. If you think you're more valuable but nobody will pay you more, you're simply incorrect.

                                                    Of course there's some link between a wage and the value to the employer. Or at least a theoretical upper limit to that wage. However it's widely recognized that generally speaking, if you're not someone like a director or investment banker, wages in the western world have been stagnating for years. That doesn't mean that the work being done has become less valuable over time. Wages for the same work (or in many cases, an expanded work load) have fallen in real terms, year after year, for the overwhelming majority of people. So are you saying that the vast, overwhelming majority of people are dipshits, oh mighty feathered scaly footed one? If so, I suppose it's possible you may be onto something but I think the mob may beg to differ when they arrive with their pitchforks.

                                                    As for shitty products, that corrects itself barring monopoly powers or regulatory capture; just not instantly.

                                                    Well it best get a move on. I've seen a gradual decline in the durability of most products over the last 20 years. The old "They don't make them like they used to!" meme was definitely on to something!

                                                    --
                                                    Make hay whilst the intervening mass is insufficient to inhibit the perceived intensity of incoming solar radiation.
                                                    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday January 15, @03:52PM (7 children)

                                                      I'm saying their work is less valuable to their employer if the average wage for their position is falling, yes. Look, wages aren't ideally valued correctly, they're always valued correctly. If you accept less, it's because you don't believe you can go out and find better. Which means that nobody is willing to pay you more. Which means the market has correctly valued your industriousness.

                                                      The solution to having a shitty paying job is either A) go get the same job for more elsewhere or B) go get a different job that pays better. Wanting or needing more money does not entitle you to more money. Need and desire are not valuable characteristics.

                                                      I've seen a gradual decline in the durability of most products over the last 20 years.

                                                      That there is what them of us with a wee bit of vision like to call an "opportunity". Toyota understands that, which is why their vehicles could be expected to run over a quarter of a million miles since the 90s. Mind you, it has to be done in an area where people have a significant amount of give-a-shit about the durability to price ratio for the item in question.

                                                      --
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                                                      • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Monday January 15, @04:30PM (6 children)

                                                        by acid andy (1683) on Monday January 15, @04:30PM (#622606)

                                                        Look, wages aren't ideally valued correctly, they're always valued correctly. If you accept less, it's because you don't believe you can go out and find better.

                                                        If as the statistics seem to suggest, most wages are stagnating, that implies that in most cases there simply isn't anything better out there. What you're saying seems to suggest that people in such situations should seek a promotion or acquire new skills for a higher paid job. The trouble is, there are far fewer of the higher paid positions available than lower paid. That's why, on average, people are screwed.

                                                        --
                                                        Make hay whilst the intervening mass is insufficient to inhibit the perceived intensity of incoming solar radiation.
                                                        • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday January 15, @04:34PM (5 children)

                                                          Only if you come at it from a "Average people are incapable of creating jobs, only of performing them" point of view. Which is quite shitty to average people and also untrue.

                                                          --
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                                                          • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Monday January 15, @04:44PM (4 children)

                                                            by acid andy (1683) on Monday January 15, @04:44PM (#622610)

                                                            Yeah, I did think of the "create your own job" option for people and it's certainly still very possible for many people. It's a fair point. Of course it's harder than it used to be in the west due to globalization (which can bring advantages but brings increased competition), monopolies, increased regulation and of course the widening wealth inequality meaning less consumers are available to afford a high price for your product.

                                                            --
                                                            Make hay whilst the intervening mass is insufficient to inhibit the perceived intensity of incoming solar radiation.
                                                            • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday January 15, @05:03PM (3 children)

                                                              It's mostly harder because people have been conditioned to not think for themselves.

                                                              Drop the wealth inequality line entirely though. The only people wealth inequality is a bad thing to are those whose personal happiness is rooted in greed. Having a large spread between the super wealthy and Average Joe does zilch to consumer prices. The only prices it has an effect on are things that are only marketed to the uber-wealthy; like gold-plated swimming pools.

                                                              --
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                                                              • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Monday January 15, @05:21PM (2 children)

                                                                by acid andy (1683) on Monday January 15, @05:21PM (#622625)

                                                                I think easy credit for the Average Joe masked the true long term effects on prices.

                                                                --
                                                                Make hay whilst the intervening mass is insufficient to inhibit the perceived intensity of incoming solar radiation.
                                                                • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday January 15, @07:24PM (1 child)

                                                                  Oh it fucked up a hell of a lot of things. Credit cards should only ever be used to build your credit score; put normal expenses on them and pay them off in full at the end of the month. Average people using them any other way is fucking retarded.

                                                                  --
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                                                                  • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Monday January 15, @07:48PM

                                                                    by acid andy (1683) on Monday January 15, @07:48PM (#622688)

                                                                    Although I would have worded it more charitably, you've found something we can agree on.

                                                                    --
                                                                    Make hay whilst the intervening mass is insufficient to inhibit the perceived intensity of incoming solar radiation.
                  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Dr Spin on Friday January 12, @03:08PM (6 children)

                    by Dr Spin (5239) on Friday January 12, @03:08PM (#621394)

                    who the hell needs social programs?

                    People whose employers have "financial accidents", get run over by buses, are caught running Ponzi schemes, or get bought out by asset strippers to name but a few.

                    In America, you could also add accident and crime victims, and people who get sick for some reason.

                    --
                    Putting your data in the cloud is like sending your teenage daughter backpacking in a 3rd world country with a pimp
                    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday January 12, @07:53PM (5 children)

                      Or you could stop subsidizing the stupidity of people who choose not to save for a rainy day.

                      --
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                      • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday January 15, @06:28AM (4 children)

                        by bob_super (1357) on Monday January 15, @06:28AM (#622461)

                        I'm pretty sure we originated the discussion at minimum wage.
                        Anyone below 2x min wage doesn't get to save for rainy days (unless they live at their parents').

                        • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday January 15, @09:54AM (3 children)

                          Bullshit. I did. It wasn't pleasant but even working shit jobs I was never fool enough to spend like unfortunate shit isn't guaranteed to pop up in life.

                          --
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                          • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday January 15, @05:51PM (2 children)

                            by bob_super (1357) on Monday January 15, @05:51PM (#622642)

                            How long ago?
                            My coworker's son just broke his wrist. Not exactly an extraordinary event.
                            Was sent to the wrong hospital, maxed out the out-of-network, plus follow-ups should max his in-network: $20000 total left to pay after insurance.
                            That's over a year of minimum wage, enough to force most minimum-wagers into bankruptcy.

                            Minimum wage has definitely not kept up with the real inflation of shit-happens costs.

                            • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday January 15, @07:47PM (1 child)

                              If he's old enough to have a kid he has no business working at a minimum wage job for longer than it takes to find something that is not a minimum wage job, which he should be absolutely busting his ass to find. Minimum wage should not be a comfortable wage. You should damned near starve on it and you sure as fuck shouldn't be able to raise a family on it. Adults should have adult jobs. The problem with America is not that minimum wage is too low. It's that grown-ass adults are so utterly worthless that they can't get better.

                              --
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                              • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday January 16, @05:39PM

                                by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday January 16, @05:39PM (#623194)

                                Walmart is the biggest retailer. How many people do you think are getting that $11/hr ?
                                It ain't for kids. It's "take it or move, because we killed all other local stores" wages, and hundreds of thousands of people have to take it.

                                You seem pretty deluded ... tens of millions of Americans with families are on minimum-wage jobs. Pretty often, they have two of them. It's the new normal.

                  • (Score: 2) by Taibhsear on Friday January 12, @04:36PM (1 child)

                    by Taibhsear (1464) on Friday January 12, @04:36PM (#621432)

                    If the programs go away, wages go up.

                    It's adorable that you think companies will raise wages if the social programs get canceled.

              • (Score: 2) by SanityCheck on Friday January 12, @06:22AM (6 children)

                by SanityCheck (5190) on Friday January 12, @06:22AM (#621286)

                Counter point I guess is that there are huge number of people for whom if you gave money instead of the social benefit (be it healthcare or food or housing etc) they would spend the extra money on lottery tickets and booze and remain sick, hungry, and homeless.

            • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Friday January 12, @04:18PM (2 children)

              by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Friday January 12, @04:18PM (#621420)

              A person who is starving to death will likely do anything to put food in their mouths, including smiling and welcoming people - really good ones will imitate a high degree of sincerity.

              And WalMart doesn't need to keep the same workers, because the training costs are minimal. So long as they can manage the churn they can happily take each fresh generation that has to downshift their lives. In short, I think WalMart would survive the elimination of social programs. Society, I'm not so sure.

              • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Taibhsear on Friday January 12, @04:39PM (1 child)

                by Taibhsear (1464) on Friday January 12, @04:39PM (#621435)

                A person who is starving to death will likely do anything to put food in their mouths, including stealing, robbing homes, and mugging people.

                FTFY

                • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Friday January 12, @06:16PM

                  by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Friday January 12, @06:16PM (#621472)

                  Correct. I wasn't trying to imply that if social programs are cut that there wouldn't be an increase in crime, nor was I advocating that they should be cut. Only that, if they are cut, people would still be acting as greeters at Walmart until they have a health problem something similar that the social programs would have addressed. And then there would be someone right behind them to take the job until they can't do it any more. Therefore Walmart has no vested interest in whether social programs exist... until their attention is invited to it by legal measures if so.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Friday January 12, @12:17AM (3 children)

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 12, @12:17AM (#621195) Journal

            I'm not aware of anyone who thinks all Social Programs are immoral and should be eliminated.

            Social programs were never meant to fund mega corporations, they were to provide temporary help for the temporarily unemployed, or permanent help for those unable to ever be employed.

            If you are an adult, and working, at 50% of full time or more, and still qualify for social programs, the entire bill for social program benefits should be sent to your employer. Especially if your employer has more than 5 such employees.

            After-school and summer employment for teens was what the provisions allowing such employment conditions were put in the law for. Not so Walmart could skate on health care and a living wage.

            The intentional practice of keeping boat loads of employees just below that level needed to qualify for full time benefits and the current minimum wage is a scourge brought about by the need for the democratic party to maintain a large underclass in need of social programs as a source of voters.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @12:50AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @12:50AM (#621207)

              The intentional practice of keeping boat loads of employees just below that level needed to qualify for full time benefits and the current minimum wage is a scourge brought about by the need for the democratic party to maintain a large underclass in need of social programs as a source of voters.

              It's possible I am wrong on this but my impression has been that it is Republicans who have consistently fought against raising the minimum wage and Democrats who have been fighting for it. Of course, if you have anything to educate me otherwise I would be interested ins seeing that.

            • (Score: 5, Funny) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday January 12, @05:02AM

              I'm not aware of anyone who thinks all Social Programs are immoral and should be eliminated.

              Hi, nice to meet you.

              --
              We've got #BieberFever [soylentnews.org]!
            • (Score: 3, Touché) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 12, @05:49AM

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 12, @05:49AM (#621273)

              skate on health care and a living wage.

              That's capitalism, baby! If you're not taking full advantage of the laws as written, you're cheating your investors out of potential gains.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, @11:28PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, @11:28PM (#621175)

          If your damn Social Programs didn't provide it with undervalued labor, we might actually be a land of Capitalism, and Walmart would pay a living wage to avoid losing all their employees.

          Lots of people don't want more pay. There is a lovely graph I saw that shows effective earnings (adjusted by subsidies and taxes) as a function of salary/wages in Chicago for a small family. Once you reach something like $12/hour or $18,000/year, you don't want any more unless you can get up to something like $40/hour or $80,000/year. There is a huge gulf in the middle where higher pay isn't worth the loss in benefits and the increased taxes. This is nothing like Capitalism.

          • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @01:03AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @01:03AM (#621213)

            Lots of people don't want more pay. There is a lovely graph I saw that shows effective earnings (adjusted by subsidies and taxes) as a function of salary/wages in Chicago for a small family. Once you reach something like $12/hour or $18,000/year, you don't want any more unless you can get up to something like $40/hour or $80,000/year. There is a huge gulf in the middle where higher pay isn't worth the loss in benefits and the increased taxes.

            I think you may be referring to what has been called the Cliff Effect. [pbs.org] While I think your numbers are a bit off---I seem to recall that you clear the valley when you can earn around $20+/hour---it does have a devastating effect on people trying to get off welfare. After learning about this phenomenon I now see welfare as being like a vortex that sucks people in and doesn't ever want them to get out! Of course, it could be largely mitigated if welfare benefits were gradually phased out, rather than cut off all at once when reaching a certain income level. But that would solve problems and it doesn't look to me like this generation of politicians wants anything to do with solving problems.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @06:15AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @06:15AM (#621281)

              Who's going to reward you more as a politician; the company that is having its workforce subsidized, or the taxpayer, who only pays you what he has to in order to avoid jail time in nearly all cases?

              It'd be one thing if taxpayers collectively boycotted bought and paid for politicians by refusing to vote for, but they're far too busy being led around by the shiny marketing and campaigns that they paid for with that money. That, and there's usually a worse one of the two big bought and paid for candidates. Our electoral system is basically "we have your mom and your sister hostage; you get to pick which one of them will live". At the end of the day, you're just choosing which important thing you like is going to be disposed of.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 12, @12:05AM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 12, @12:05AM (#621187)

          $11/hr on the typical Wal-Mart 32 hour work week, with 2 weeks off for county sponsored mental health counseling / parole obligations, comes up to ~$17,600 gross annual income, before FICA.

          Rent in any semi-metro area runs $6000/yr and up, vehicle insurance $1000... it doesn't take much stretch of imagination to figure out who pays for healthcare for ALL these people.

    • (Score: 2, Disagree) by Justin Case on Thursday January 11, @10:44PM (1 child)

      by Justin Case (4239) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 11, @10:44PM (#621154)

      I'm not sure I'm following your reasoning. Are you saying Walmart shouldn't have given all those people a raise?

      P.S. In a free country you could open your own store and pay the employees $20... $30... even $50 an hour if that's what you think "should be".

      --
      When the government can crack your encryption, criminals can crack your encryption and drain your bank account.
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by crafoo on Friday January 12, @12:13AM

        by crafoo (6639) on Friday January 12, @12:13AM (#621192)

        What an incredibly transparent strawman argument. You aren't following the reasoning because you ware incapable of the simplest of logical constructions? I'm not quite following your reasoning here

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, @10:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, @10:45PM (#621155)

      None of that is Walmart's fault.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, @11:27PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, @11:27PM (#621173)

      $1,320 a month can support you if you don't have a car.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @12:49AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @12:49AM (#621206)

        That all depends on where you live. In NYC you don't need a car but you certainly need more than $1,320 a month.

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 12, @12:58AM (1 child)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 12, @12:58AM (#621211)

        How in the hell are you going to hold a job at the average WalMart without a car? 4 or 6 hour shifts, spending 90 minutes on the bus-ride each way to get from the low income housing to the WalMart - yeah, that's a life worth living.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @09:14AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @09:14AM (#621316)

          To be honest, working at WalMart at all - or, indeed, pretty much any corporation - means that your life probably isn't worth living. Or at least to me. A minimum wage increase might slightly mitigate the nightmare, but that is all. This is why I strongly sympathize with people who cheat the welfare system and/or generally try to avoid working. This 'work until you're old' mantra needs to die. I can't wait for the robots-do-everything-and-everyone-is-taken-care-of paradise, or more likely, for nuclear annihilation. Either one.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Friday January 12, @12:22AM (27 children)

      I have a good friend who insists that minimum wage should not be increased.

      I once pumped full-serve gas at $3.20 per hour. Adjusting for inflation, my hourly pay was more than $15 today.

      If it's just a training wage why are aging grandmothers asking if you want fry's with that?

      --
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      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @01:00AM (26 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @01:00AM (#621212)

        It used to be the case that a single man could support a wife and 5 children, and then retire for a few years before dying.

        Now, a couple struggles with 2 incomes and without kids.

        Where did all the productivity go?

        • The Left wants you to believe it's been stolen by the 1%.
        • The non-Left wants you to believe it's been stolen by the Government.

        It turns out that you cannot account for much of the loss by looking at the 1%. Also, though governments have grown enormous, their official activities are not enough to account for the present situation either (to say nothing of the future trillions of dollars in liabilities).

        Perhaps the loss of productivity is not so direct: In the latter half of last century, with primitive technology, the United States put men on the Moon; yet, today, even planning for a return would cost more resources than the old, actually successful program. That is to say, there are now much higher standards for doing anything, including building homes, receiving medical care, keeping cities clean, etc. New York City used to be an absolute pigsty—go watch any old movie to see "tumbleweeds" of trash blowing through its streets.

        Maybe, westerners are living beyond their means; perhaps, they are living lifestyles far better than they are able to afford—they are suffering in the same way that someone from, say, Thailand would suffer if he tried to live in just the Midwest based on a normal income in Thailand.

        So, why isn't there a correction?

        Well, sometimes there is; see Detroit, Michigan. That place just imploded. Everywhere else, though, governments won't allow there to be a correction. Not only do governments subsidize the fuck out of everything, and thus force society to live beyond its means, but there are regulatory laws that don't get counted in the budget; the cost of regulatory compliance gets passed on to the consumer, and as everyone must submit to such a burden, it is treated as "normal" rather than corrected.

        The problem is government, but it's indirect.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @02:17AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @02:17AM (#621232)

          This is a very sensible post. Congrats.

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by lentilla on Friday January 12, @02:58AM (17 children)

          by lentilla (1770) on Friday January 12, @02:58AM (#621236)

          Where did all the productivity go? The Left wants you to believe it's been stolen by the 1%.

          I would say that is a pretty fair summary. I wouldn't have said stolen - but wealth does have a bad habit of migrating to the wealthy. I invite you to read a summary [wikipedia.org] here. It's pretty sobering reading. So I do earnestly disagree with your conclusion that "it turns out that you cannot account for much of the loss by looking at the 1%". Whether it is the top 1%, or; say; the top 10%, it should be fairly obvious there is a problem. It wouldn't be so much of a problem if everybody had enough to put food on their table and a roof over their head but it patiently obvious that this isn't the case.

          The non-Left wants you to believe it's been stolen by the Government.

          An wasteful and inefficient government is not necessarily the worst thing. Providing they employ lots of their citizenry, their wages are re-injected into the community. See the Velocity of Money [wikipedia.org] theory. Where governments really fail their constituents is where they award fat contracts that end up lining the pockets of the very rich - meaning that money exits circulation amongst the general population.

          Maybe, westerners are living beyond their means

          I disagree. The USA has enough collective wealth for every US citizen to live in comfort. The problem is simply that the wealth is not shared.

          So, why isn't there a correction?

          I think there is something rotten in the physiologic DNA of North America. Like an insatiable child, they can't simply be satisfied with "enough", they have to have the shirt off the man's back too. "Winning" has come to trump good sense, and "sharing" is for losers.

          • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @03:32AM (14 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @03:32AM (#621241)

            North Americans are, by the numbers, the most generous and sharing group of humans that has ever existed in the history of Planet Earth. That's not my opinion; that is objective fact.

            Secondly, it's never good to have an efficient or wasteful government; you are suffering from the Broken Window Fallacy [wikipedia.org]. If all that mattered were getting money into the hands of the population, then the government could simply pay people to dig ditches and then fill them back up—clearly, that's a waste of resources, as those diggers could be put to work on something more useful instead; hell, it would be more efficient just to give those people money without requiring any ditch digging.

            If Government were inherently the best investor, then you'd want Government to make all the decisions for how society's resources should be allocated. However, history has shown us that this is not the case; the Government is not necessarily a very good allocator of society's resources. So, fine, it might be good to have Government doll out decision-making power for society's resources, and it could do this by "injecting" money into the economy, as you say; that way, more people on the ground are choosing how society's resources should be allocated, and they will hopefully, in aggregate, make decisions that better meet society's needs and wants. Yet, where is that injected money coming from? Well, that money represents resources that someone has freed for consumption by someone else; that money is coming from people in society who are objectively productive. So, why in the world would you take money away from objectively productive people just to hand it to someone who might not be as productive, or who might be anti-productive?

            Capitalism is the recognition that decision-making power over society's resources should remain in the hands of the people who have proved themselves productive—it should remain in the hands of the people who have proved themselves good at making winning bets. Under capitalism, you "vote" with every decision that you make; when such a "vote" turns out to be productive, you are rewarded with more voting power (e.g., more money); however, when such a "vote" turns out to be loss-making, you are punished with diminished voting power. Is there "inequality" in the end? Well, from the perspective that some people have more decision-making power than others, yes. Yes, there is inequality. However, it is completely fair in the sense that people who prove themselves good at making decisions for society end up being the ones who are able to make decisions for society, while those who are not good at making such decisions are cut out of power.

            If you want to direct society, you must prove your worth to society; you must prove that your control over society's resources will likely result in a benefit to society. It is not enough simply to exist; it is not enough to win a 4-year popularity contest; your proof must be lifelong accomplishment, and the testing never stops.

            • (Score: 5, Informative) by lentilla on Friday January 12, @05:17AM (11 children)

              by lentilla (1770) on Friday January 12, @05:17AM (#621268)

              I'll take your Broken Window and raise you a False Equivalence! :-) Digging ditches and filling them in serves no benefit to society. Government at least tries to do something useful. I can not disagree with you that it is often inefficient - what I was attempting to convey was that I don't consider it to be the greatest crime. Better that someone steals my TV to feed themselves than breaks into my house and smashes the TV for fun. That sort of thing.

              However, it is completely fair in the sense that people who prove themselves good at making decisions for society end up being the ones who are able to make decisions for society

              Not quite. What happens is that people that are good at making and holding on to money get to take everybody else's wealth. And the more money you have, the more efficient this transfer of wealth becomes.

              Capitalism is only a meritocracy within its own sphere. The are many measures of an individual's worth and money is only one part of the equation. If; for instance; society chose to uphold athleticism as its guiding principle, then all the strong men would have all the yachts and all the women.

              So, why in the world would you take money away from objectively productive people just to hand it to someone who might not be as productive, or who might be anti-productive?

              Well, that's a tough one. It does rather depend if one subscribes to Objectivist thinking or not. A great many solid arguments have been placed for and against.

              I think I see it this way: the more money one has, the easier it becomes to obtain more money. The first million is hard. The second is far easier, and so on. This is not objectively fair because one unit of productive work for a garbage collector results in less money earned than one unit of productive work by a billionaire investor. So that situation could certainly benefit from some readjustment. Continuing that example: the rich man still needs his garbage collected, and the garbage man could benefit from the fruits of the rich man's labour. We are all in this world together. Maybe when it comes down to it, I instinctively reject the conclusion that the billionaire investor is a million times better than the garbage man. So; yes; I do support taking some amount of money away from people who have more than they need and sharing with others - just like how the garbage man shares his efforts in garbage collection with the rich man.

              Besides, if the wealth disparity becomes too great, the pitchforks come out, and everyone looses.

              you must prove that your control over society's resources will likely result in a benefit to society

              Why would I want to control someone else? Society's resources are common wealth - they aren't mine to snatch and grab. That's why we came up with government (for the people, by the people) and have tried to leave monarchies, dictatorships and oligarchies behind. They are not nice; well; unless you happen to be on the top of the heap. History tells us you end up with a very small amount of lords at the top of the heap, and the rest of the population is held in poverty. Worse, people in poverty do not generally have the space to self-actualise - so society ends up wasting all that potential - people that could be brilliant scientists mopping floors, that kind of thing.

              I'm not suggesting we go all-out Robin Hood here. I am simply making a case for reasonable distribution of our common wealth to all citizens by way of the fundamental assumption that common wealth belongs to everybody, and in recognition of the fact that most people have something positive to offer to society that is best capitalised when they are given the opportunity to do so. It won't hurt the wealthy but a more equitable distribution of wealth certainly would improve the lives of the poor and would make for a collectively richer society.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @06:12AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @06:12AM (#621280)
                • As already explained, government is not inherently good at betting; having decentralized betting is better, and it's best to allow betting by people who prove themselves good at making bets.

                • Yes, money is only one aspect of Capitalism; any resource is capital, including for example your labor. Capitalism is merely the philosophy that every interaction (every allocation of capital) should be voluntary, where "voluntary" is defined by a contract in advance of interaction ("voluntary" does not necessarily mean "desirable").

                • Your mutually profitable interaction between the garbage man and the rich man is already handled by Capitalism; I have no idea what your point is; I have no idea why you think that justifies theft.

                • Nobody said anything about controlling other people; capitalism is a philosophy that implies resource ownership must be well defined, and I am speaking of that ownership. Your reading of my comment is incorrect.

                • People actually flourished under monarchies; it's one of the reasons fascism sprung from Marxism: The marxist prediction that a communist revolution would begin in an "advanced" capitalistic society such as Britain or Germany failed; such revolutions never occurred because the people in those countries were experiencing ever improving qualities of life. Instead, a revolution was unexpectedly (and embarrassingly) forced in one of the poorest, most backward, least capitalist parts of the world (Russia), and mainly because the Germans supported Lenin in a bid to get the Tzar off their backs, not because there was some uprising of the downtrodden proletariat.

                  Ancient Egypt, run by demi-god Kings, was the height of Civilization for thousands of years, and was able to maintain an incredible degree of stability; hitherto, it was probably the longest-running form of civilization in Human history.

                • Who decides what is reasonable? Capitalism says the market should decide; voluntary exchange should decide.

                  If you're skeptical, then I suggest your skepticism actually stems from governmental interference in the market, either through direct coercion, or through indirect means such as manipulation of money. A government, being founded on the principle of "do-as-I-say" imposition rather than "do-as-we-already-agreed" cooperation, is inherently anti-Capitalism, and thus distorts the market in distasteful ways.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @06:22AM (9 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @06:22AM (#621287)

                You ask...

                Why would I want to control someone else?

                ...and I have to wonder if you are human. Maybe you lost your balls in a tragic accident. You may need a testosterone patch. Heck, even women want control. Little girls want control.

                I would love the ability to control as many people as possible.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @03:59PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @03:59PM (#621412)

                  > I would love the ability to control as many people as possible.

                  And we have Bingo ... the AC sociopath outs themself!
                   

                • (Score: 3, Troll) by Azuma Hazuki on Friday January 12, @04:26PM (7 children)

                  by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 12, @04:26PM (#621428)

                  You and people like you are the Renfields to the Draculas of the world. You're the slaves whose dream is slave ownership, not freedom. I don't know enough swears to give you what you deserve--that would require an oxyacetylene torch, so just imagine the entire planet with its middle fingers upraised.

                  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday January 12, @07:58PM (6 children)

                    Darlin, you need to spend a week doing backbreaking work for sixteen to twenty hours a day and getting beat bloody for not doing so fast enough or looking at the overseer wrong. That or you need to stop using the word slavery incorrectly.

                    --
                    We've got #BieberFever [soylentnews.org]!
                    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Azuma Hazuki on Friday January 12, @08:46PM (5 children)

                      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 12, @08:46PM (#621553)

                      Don't be disingenuous, you ambulatory shitstain. Slavery of all kinds has existed throughout history. Some of it was far less awful than what you're describing, but it was still slavery. Of course, for you to know that would require you to read some history books, and God almighty forbid you actually learn something...

                      In short: your bullshit "Dear Muslima" attempt not only fails on factual grounds, it doesn't have anything to do with the point I was making either. Eat shit and die, then continue eating shit in Hell. Love ya ;)

                      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday January 12, @11:50PM (4 children)

                        Use the correct words instead of ones that appeal to people's feels if you don't want to be called out on your bullshit. Slavery is involuntary. The choices you make in life are not. One is someone else being evil, the other is you being fucking retarded and getting what you deserve.

                        --
                        We've got #BieberFever [soylentnews.org]!
                        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Azuma Hazuki on Saturday January 13, @03:53AM (3 children)

                          by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 13, @03:53AM (#621682)

                          Stop trying to deflect from the original point, asshole. You're putting up a smokescreen--at least I hope to fuck that's smoke and not high-pressure diarrhea, jeez.

                          There are times when someone's choices boil down to "X or die," and most people for some reason have an aversion to death. Hell, you could argue even the slaves you're talking about had a choice to rebel or not. Point still stands, and your petty, misaimed attacks do nothing to dent it. Who the fuck do you think you'e fooling?

                          • (Score: 1, Troll) by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday January 13, @11:38AM (2 children)

                            Was there supposed to be a counterargument in there somewhere or did you just want to fling metaphorical monkey shit? I'm good either way but it's hard to tell with you sometimes what with you being incapable of presenting a decent argument.

                            --
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                            • (Score: 0, Troll) by Azuma Hazuki on Saturday January 13, @11:36PM

                              by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 13, @11:36PM (#621991)

                              You don't read so good, do ya boy?

                            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 14, @01:28AM

                              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 14, @01:28AM (#622037)

                              Actually, she doesn't much like the metaphorical varieties of shit. They all lack texture and flavor.

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by hendrikboom on Friday January 12, @05:13PM (1 child)

              by hendrikboom (1125) on Friday January 12, @05:13PM (#621451) Homepage

              However, it is completely fair in the sense that people who prove themselves good at making decisions for society end up being the ones who are able to make decisions for society, while those who are not good at making such decisions are cut out of power.

              That would make sense.

              But what happens is that instead of selecting those who are good at making decisions for society we are selecting those who are good making decisions for themselves. These are very different criteria, with very different results.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @06:11PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @06:11PM (#621469)

                That means each side is profiting.

                Society as a whole profits when each individual pursues his own self-interest.

                The history of governments (especially socialist governments) suggests that recognizing "self-interest" as a core aspect of society is the only way forward; the road to hell is paved with supposedly good intentions.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 12, @05:58AM (1 child)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 12, @05:58AM (#621275)

            My alma mater had the best football fight song: "We're #1" repeat, as loudly and obnoxiously as possible until your opponents walk away disgusted. It worked, because 5 of the 7 previous years we had taken the national championship, and over half that time we were ranked top of the polls. It seemed to be everyone's dream to be that #1, and who gives a flip about the 4000+ other colleges and universities in the country?

            The problem, as I see it, is that too many of our leaders come from the #1 crowd and don't give a flip about the losers. And too many losers continue to vote these #1 sociopaths into power, apparently under some delusion that their success will somehow rub off onto the little people.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @06:17AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @06:17AM (#621283)

              As votes are handed out freely, they're not worth much.

              Nobody loses the next vote for using the last one poorly.

              Nobody gains more voting power by using votes well.

              Democracy is a sham. Only Capitalism provides a "vote" that makes sense.

        • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday January 12, @05:08AM (4 children)

          Now, a couple struggles with 2 incomes and without kids.

          And what, precisely, did you think would happen when you doubled the workforce by telling women that not having to hold down a job was oppression? Double supply, halve demand.

          --
          We've got #BieberFever [soylentnews.org]!
          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 12, @06:05AM (3 children)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 12, @06:05AM (#621277)

            "We" (including my parents and grandparents) did this to ourselves - the majority of families having dual incomes means that things like real-estate just become twice as expensive, grocery stores crank up their prices (and profits) because people can afford it, the "standard of living" supposedly doubles, but so much of what we pay for isn't cost+, it's whatever the market will bear. Quality and value have only marginally increased while profits have soared.

            I have a decent job, and my wife has worked for the family, in the home, not earning outside money for the last 18 years. It is still possible to do without inheriting a fortune or receiving disability benefits. We live in an "average" home, drive "average" used cars, give the kids an "average" education, but only because my pay is far above the national average.

            • (Score: 2) by SanityCheck on Saturday January 13, @12:54AM (2 children)

              by SanityCheck (5190) on Saturday January 13, @12:54AM (#621628)

              #1 greatest swindle of our times. Swindle #2 is immigration.

              • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday January 13, @03:22AM (1 child)

                by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday January 13, @03:22AM (#621671)

                Can't be knocking immigration - 98% of my ancestors were immigrants from Northern Europe, the other 2% walked the land bridge to Alaska a bit earlier. None of them had a nickle to their name when they got here, most would have been in prison or worse if they didn't come.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 13, @09:17AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 13, @09:17AM (#621741)

                  Right, but in the current "wave" you are not the 98%, you are the 2%. Also, if one of those bozo "genetic" scams tells you you are 2% anything, it's a fucking lie.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @06:25AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, @06:25AM (#621288)

          We have been subdued by aliens and all the extra production is going to them?

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by captain_nifty on Friday January 12, @08:59PM

          by captain_nifty (4252) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 12, @08:59PM (#621559)

          Where did the productivity go? The productivity is in the air, we burned it, it came from fossil fuels. They allowed us to reap huge gains in productivity and production in a few short centuries.

          What changed? We used all the easy to get oil and coil and have reaped all the easy to get benefits of efficiency. The law of diminishing returns in practice for using a finite resource.

          It now costs much more to get the same amount of fuel out of the ground and thus productivity declines. This would be obvious if our finance based economy wasn't completely divorced from reality and statistics weren't continually tweaked by governments.

          Our societies won the lottery when we found fossil fuels, and sadly we are paralleling the fate of many such winners who became accustomed to a standard of living that is unsustainable.

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