Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by n1 on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:18AM   Printer-friendly
from the will-code-for-gold dept.

The NYT reports that in a unanimous vote, the Seattle City Council went where no big-city lawmakers have gone before, raising the local minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum, and pushing Seattle to the forefront of urban efforts to address income inequality. "Even before the Great Recession a lot of us have started to have doubt and concern about the basic economic promise that underpins economic life in the United States," says Council Member Sally J. Clark. "Today Seattle answers that challenge." High-tech, fast-growing Seattle, population 634,535, is home to Amazon.com, Zillow, and Starbucks. It also has more than 100,000 workers whose incomes are insufficient to support their families, according to city figures and around 14% of Seattle's population lives below the poverty level. Some business owners have questioned the proposal saying that the city's booming economy is creating an illusion of permanence. "We're living in this bubble of Amazon, but that's not going to go on," says businessman Tom Douglas. "There's going to be some terrific price inflation."

 
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by githaron on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:41AM

    by githaron (581) on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:41AM (#51596)

    Correction, anyone with any savings loses out.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +1  
       Insightful=1, Total=1
    Extra 'Insightful' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   3  
  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:47AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:47AM (#51600)

    Youze be riich ifan youze gots any savins! Giv all yur money to Obama, richie richer!!

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by isostatic on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:03PM

    by isostatic (365) on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:03PM (#51614) Journal

    Money is an illusion. It's a proxy for work. All the money in the world won't help your old age if the nurse isn't willing to wipe your hoarding ass, or a doctor isn't trained to treat your stroke.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by youngatheart on Thursday June 05 2014, @01:33PM

      by youngatheart (42) on Thursday June 05 2014, @01:33PM (#51658)

      Money is an illusion, but it sure becomes a useful one when you have enough of it. I have savings now and a 401k and when inflation decreases the value of my income, my savings will also increase how rapidly it increases. What's more, I'll get raises every year to compensate. Inflation isn't so dangerous when you have investments to make more money for you as interest rates rise.

      You know who didn't have savings and investments to offset the pain of inflation? Me, when I worked for minimum wage and for quite a few years after that.

      Minimum wage increases always even out over time so that people who saw a wage increase have the same buying power as they did before the change, (I had an economics professor who had us do the research to see) but there is a temporary offset to move money from those who have more to those who have less. That's why tying the minimum wage to an inflation index is either genius or madness. I honestly suspect madness because otherwise I think Obama would have gotten it pushed through. I think some uber-economic-geeks sat in a meeting with him and showed him how accurate their predictions of previous economic changes were and the terrible things that would happen if he actually managed to get it done. So he can still say he is in favor of it publicly, he just can't actually implement it.

      This is an interesting experiment. I'm many states away from the epicenter, so I doubt the increase will have any measurable effect on our inflation rates here. That means that maybe doing it on a city by city basis could actually work to move money in that city from those who have more to those who have less without suffering the same rates of inflation. There are a few very real dangers: it could decrease the attractiveness of the city to businesses, it could increase the unemployment rates as lower paying jobs that can relocate are moved out of the city, it could incentivize automation to replace humans with what are now less expensive machines by comparison.

      Since I'm pretty confident this won't hurt me or my family, I'm happy to see this happen. If it hurts them, then at least the rest of the country doesn't pay, but if it helps then maybe more cities can do the same thing.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by hoochiecoochieman on Thursday June 05 2014, @01:53PM

        by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Thursday June 05 2014, @01:53PM (#51670)

        There are a few very real dangers: it could decrease the attractiveness of the city to businesses, it could increase the unemployment rates as lower paying jobs that can relocate are moved out of the city, it could incentivize automation to replace humans with what are now less expensive machines by comparison.

        A city that depends on minimum-wage jobs to be competitive is already a hopeless shithole, anyway.

        As to automation, as it increases productivity, employed people can work less hours and still be paid the same.

        The enormous automation we've been having since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution made it possible for us to work less and live in the comfort we have now. As long as the increases in productivity are socialised, the whole society benefits from automation.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:02PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:02PM (#51720)

          As long as the increases in productivity are socialised, the whole society benefits from automation.

          Wow, that's hopelessly naive. It hasn't happened in the last x decades, what make you think it will now?

          The rich capitalists get richer and the poor get paid less and less, have to work 2 jobs to survive so the bosses can get their quarterly bonuses.

          • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:17PM

            by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:17PM (#51734)

            So what? Blame the fucked-up redistribution system, not the technological advances. These will happen anyway. Trying to fight them will not make it better for anyone.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:22PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:22PM (#51774)

              Who's fighting the technological advances?

              The poor or less skilled can still work low end jobs and be paid a decent amount and have a life. The rich will just have to settle for 3 jets instead of 4.

              It's got nothing to do with redistribution, it's just greed from the already rich keeping all of the gains from the advances and not passing anything on to anyone else. If there was only some way to change that, like say a minimum wage or something. But that's absurd, just the crazed rantings of an anti-technology luddite right?

              • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:35PM

                by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:35PM (#51784)

                I guess you didn't understand my point. I'm all for redistribution, and a minimum salary is a pretty good way of doing it (but not enough).

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:48PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:48PM (#51790)

                  Perhaps we need a maximum wage, based as a percentage of what they pay as a minimum and number of employees.

                  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hoochiecoochieman on Thursday June 05 2014, @05:00PM

                    by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Thursday June 05 2014, @05:00PM (#51796)

                    I've been reading about stuff like that. I think it may be a good idea, it would surely put an end to the top salary extravaganza that's been going on in the latest years. Maybe not limit the top salaries, but increasingly tax it, making it prohibitively expensive for a company to pay millions of dollars to its CEO while keeping the janitor below the poverty line.

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @09:14PM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @09:14PM (#51915)

                      This is what pisses the people who make the rules off. You come across like an angst filled teen who has no idea what it takes to be successful and thinks that the right way to fix the world is to steal from the rich and give to the poor. It sounds an awful lot like simple jealousy. In reality I know nothing about you, but (check Anonymous is ticked) from your comments I'm certain you're a pothead who gets pissed off because you can't have the shiny toys your neighbor does. I believe you would be happier to see your neighbor poor even if you got nothing.

                      Want to impress me? Give your own income to the poor, not once but regularly. Be poorer so that people who have less than you get more. Give enough that you can't afford Internet access or transportation so that people who have no running water in their village can improve their standard of living. When you are actually poor so that the truly impoverished don't suffer so much, I will listen. But until then, your self righteous and hypocritical theory that people who are successful should be punished will fall on ears exactly as deaf as they should be.

                      And get off my lawn you dirty hippy!

                      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @02:35AM

                        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @02:35AM (#52021)

                        And you come across as a monied asshole who never had to work a day in his life. Who build those roads and schools and universities and hospitals? You? Or poor people just trying to get by who are paid less and less? Let me guess your generation had a middle class and if you worked hard and had a basic job things were ok. Well that same job now pays only a 1/3 what it used to, and there are more and more people chasing those jobs so you would be lucky to even get one. So your dad worked a middle class job and your mum could stay at home and look after you and your brothers and sisters. Try doing that nowadays on 1 median wage. It probably isn't jealousy but simple frustration with people like you who had it so easy, but think they had it so hard. Think back over your life, and plug in todays numbers for wages/unemployment/etc and think how differently your life would have turned out.

                        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @01:44PM

                          by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @01:44PM (#52234)

                          Good points. I guess I do sound like that. It's interesting because I'm pretty much the opposite, I grew up in poverty, managed to get some college but couldn't afford to finish and moved straight into doing the two job thing. I've also moved several states to get a low paying job (I think it was minimum wage plus a dollar.) No, dad and mom both worked and we always had enough to eat, though rarely more. And I have looked at the numbers and they're no worse for a graduate today than they were for me, but then I'm probably not as old as you think I am either.

                          That is what makes this response so interesting. I appear to be pretty much the exact opposite of who I am to a self entitled kid who wants everybody else to provide for him. I'm not sure I could ask for a better response.

                    • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday June 06 2014, @10:56PM

                      by urza9814 (3954) on Friday June 06 2014, @10:56PM (#52442) Journal

                      Man, I wish I had the numbers in front of me...I did some analysis of a couple possible tax schemes a while back.

                      The absolute best is actually a form of the flat tax. It's freakin' genius, and progressives need to get on that shit because the Tea Party types will LOVE to hear proposals for a flat tax. But...it's not REALLY a flat tax. Flat tax with an exemption. Believe it or not, the idea did come from some conservative think-tank or something. Anyway, the basic idea is you have something like a 50% flat tax, but your first $30,000 of income is tax-exempt. So if you're on minimum wage, you pay no taxes. Makes sense, since we're generally giving these people money in the form of food stamps and social security, so why tax them just to give it back? If you're at the top, you pay 50%. Depending on the effect you want you can toy with those numbers, maybe even go for 90% flat tax with a $50,000 exemption or something if you want to get closer to a maximum wage. Which would be my ideal, but you'd probably have to start lower to get the damn thing passed.

                      The only problem is that the effective tax rate then ramps up REALLY fast and then flattens off toward the top, but it's still a hell of a lot better than what we have in place now.

                      When I looked at this I think 50% with $30,000 exempt was about what I used, and I ended up getting the same revenue we currently do...but census data puts everyone above $100k into the same bracket, which I fixed at an assumed $100k to be conservative. So in reality those numbers would probably increase revenue very significantly, and you could almost certainly use an even higher exemption.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @12:07AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @12:07AM (#51979)

                    In 1942, Franklin Roosevelt wanted a 100 percent marginal tax rate [google.com] on the excessive incomes of what today would be billionaires.
                    He settled for 94 percent.
                    During Ike's administration it was 91 percent.
                    JFK's: 70 percent.

                    Historically, when tax rates on the richest have been 50 percent or higher, the USA has had a prosperous working class and national stability.
                    Rates below that mark are soon accompanied by economic slumps. [firedoglake.com]
                    Reagan ran us onto the rocks in his second term.

                    -- gewg_

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Thexalon on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:08PM

          by Thexalon (636) on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:08PM (#51726)

          A city that depends on minimum-wage jobs to be competitive is already a hopeless shithole, anyway.

          That would be every single city on the planet. It's not that the only reason somebody goes there is to have minimum wages, it's that the businesses that serve the other businesses that really drive the growth of the city survive on minimum wage workers.

          Consider, for example, New York City, not exactly a hopeless case: Sure, it's the Wall Street types bringing in huge gobs of money that makes the whole thing work. But one reason the Wall Street types are comfortable working in New York City is because there's somebody to make and deliver their coffee and 3-martini lunches and Chinese takeout for them, and somebody to keep their building clean, and security guards to keep everyone reasonably safe, and so forth. And those businesses might be serving an upper-crust and not be as price sensitive and be able to pay their people pretty well for their services, but the people who do those jobs need to live somewhere and eat and somehow get to work and take care of their kids, so they in turn need a bunch of businesses that are very price sensitive, and pay their people minimum wage.

          Now, I think overall this will work out well for Seattle, but it's not a sure bet, and that's part of why.

          --
          The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
          • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:31PM

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:31PM (#51744) Journal

            A city that depends on minimum-wage jobs to be competitive is already a hopeless shithole, anyway.

            That would be every single city on the planet.

            How wrong I was when I didn't believe them telling me America is an alien planet.
            I guess a single counterexample [theatlantic.com] would suffice?

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
            • (Score: 3) by khallow on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:04PM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:04PM (#51956) Journal

              I guess a single counterexample would suffice?

              Ok, where is that single counterexample? I note that there are numerous reasons why your link is not an actual counterexample. First, it has nothing to do with minumum wage, but rather the equally dubious idea of paying people to work less (maybe same wage per unit hour but greater non-wage benefits per hour). Second, it hasn't actually been implemented. This idea still has to sneak past the people with common sense. Third, even if it is ever implemented, we'll have to run the experiment for a few years at least in order to see how badly it fails. And fourth, by then, you'll have completely forgotten about your "counterexample".

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @04:18AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06 2014, @04:18AM (#52063)

                How is it that the "counterexample" gets modded up to +5 when even a cursory glance at the link shows that it is not an example at all?

                Please mod parent up.

          • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:27PM

            by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:27PM (#51778)

            A city that depends on minimum-wage jobs to be competitive is already a hopeless shithole, anyway.

            That would be every single city on the planet.

            Well, just in case, I went for some fact-checking. And guess what? You're wrong. At least at the country level. Please compare these two indexes and try to find that relation you're talking about.

            The relation is not clear, but if there's any, I'd say it's quite the opposite, places with higher minimum salaries tend to be more competitive. Which makes sense, because you're not very competitive when you're starving.

            Global Competitiveness Report [wikipedia.org]

            List of minimum wages by country [wikipedia.org]

            • (Score: 2) by khallow on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:07PM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 05 2014, @11:07PM (#51958) Journal

              The Global Competitiveness Report has nothing to do with competitiveness. It's not a serious metric either. Finally, I bet they have several dubious measures tied directly to the minimum wage which would be a case of circular reasoning.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Thexalon on Thursday June 05 2014, @01:51PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Thursday June 05 2014, @01:51PM (#51668)

      It's a proxy for work.

      Correction: It's a proxy for work for most of us poor schlubs. For rich people, it's a proxy for their ability to invest successfully.

      At the risk of being seen as a dirty commie, here's Karl Marx's idea of what happened, described in the first section of Capital:
      1. People originally made all their own stuff, or operated under a command economy depending on which cave man had made himself in charge by force or popular acclaim.
      2. People started realizing that specializing could improve productivity, and barter is born: Og is better at making spearpoints, Mook is better at throwing them at mammoths, so Og will trade spearpoints for Mook's mammoth meat.
      3. Because bartering gets really complicated when there are a lot of commodities out there being traded, eventually everyone decided to use just one commodity for bartering all the time. This commodity, such as gold, became money. And so now Og would go to a market, sell his spearpoints (a commodity) for money, then use his money to buy Mook's mammoth meat (another commodity), or what Marx shortens to C-M-C. In this scenario, money is indeed a proxy for work.
      4. Some people are able to collect more money than others and build up savings. Others are not. For the sake of example, some new guy Clob has been able to collect money, whereas Mook and Og have not.
      5. Those with money start finding for ways to turn money into more money without doing the work of making a commodity themselves. For example, if Mook doesn't have any money for spearpoints, and Clob has money, Clob might tell Mook "I'll buy your spearpoints, you go out hunting for mammoths and give me 1/4 of the money you make from the meat to pay me back." So Clob has used his money to buy some commodities (Og's spearpoints) in exchange for what he hopes will be a larger quantity of money (1/4 of Mook's meat sales). As soon as this happens, at least some of Clob's money doesn't represent Clob's work, but rather how much of Mook's work Clob is able to collect, and now the pattern is M-C-M' rather than C-M-C. This use of money is what Marx termed "capital".

      Not part of Marx's analysis but also quite relevant: Once you introduce the concept of family inheritance, Clob's no-good son Fob might well be collecting a great deal of money from the work of Mook and other people like him, while doing absolutely no real work himself.

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by fadrian on Thursday June 05 2014, @02:24PM

        by fadrian (3194) on Thursday June 05 2014, @02:24PM (#51687) Homepage

        And, to add on what a more recent Capital (Piketty's) had to say, the reason why inequality grows is that returns from labor (g) are much smaller than returns from capital (r). When r > g, inequality grows because capital begets capital more quickly than labor does.

        --
        That is all.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @10:54PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @10:54PM (#51951)

          His 700-page scholarly work shortened into 1 page. [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [theguardian.com]

          tl;dr: People who make their money from labor (the working class) slip farther behind every day; people who make ALL their money from money (aristocratic capitalists) are the only ones who advance.
          Hard work doesn't get you squat.
          The elites are just laughing at your puny efforts to "make it".

          -- gewg_

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Thursday June 05 2014, @02:41PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Thursday June 05 2014, @02:41PM (#51697)

      Is it still an illusion if 99% of the people in the country believe it?

      Not really sure how your comment is meant to change anything about my life, either. Or is this just the equivalent of "money sux" and I'm supposed to shut up and nod?

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by starcraftsicko on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:57PM

    by starcraftsicko (2821) on Thursday June 05 2014, @12:57PM (#51641) Journal

    That's an overstatement.

    The nature of inflation is that asset prices increase along with everything else. Admittedly some increase or change at different rates than others, but that's true regardless of minimum wage policy.

    If you have your savings invested in cash (in a mattress), or in cash equivalents, or in fixed rate debt instruments, you'll take a hit. But inflation is not an overnight phenomenon in the US, so you'll have time to make adjustments as long as you can remember where you buried the money.

    --
    This post was created with recycled electrons.