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By Rachel Goldfarb, originally published on Next New Deal

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Seven Nobel Laureates Endorse Higher U.S. Minimum Wage (Bloomberg)

Lorraine Woellert reports that the laureates are part of a group of 75 economists pushing for a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour by 2016, and for indexing the minimum wage to inflation. Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz is among the signatories of this letter.

Net Neutrality is Dead. Bow to Comcast and Verizon, Your Overlords (LA Times)

Michael Hiltzik explains yesterday's federal court decision, which struck down the FCC's net neutrality rules. He quotes Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford, who says big telecommunications companies aren't really competing, which makes regulation even more necessary.

Blue-Collar Wage-Grade Federal Workers Waiting on Pay Raise (WaPo)

Emily Wax-Thibodeaux writes about the federal employees who haven't gotten a 1 percent raise yet, despite President Obama's executive order ending a three-year pay freeze. Congress could finally enact that raise in the omnibus spending bill that's under consideration now.

Extension of Unemployment Benefits Dead in Senate For Now (CBS News)

Rebecca Kaplan explains how a fight over the rights of the minority party in the Senate subsumed the push to renew extended unemployment benefits. Senate Democrats are criticizing their Republican colleagues for putting politics ahead of the needs of the long-term unemployed.

Whose Side Are Progressives on: The Poor or the Upper Middle Class? (PolicyShop)

David Callahan points out that the coalition that elected President Obama twice and just elected Mayor de Blasio in New York City looks like a barbell: plenty of poor voters, and plenty of upper-middle class voters. But thus far, political priorities have greatly favored the wealthier part of this coalition.

Poverty Is Literally Making People Sick Because They Can't Afford Food (The Atlantic Cities)

Matthew O'Brien looks at a new study that determined that low-income patients who are living paycheck-to-paycheck experience an increase in health problems related to lack of food at the end of each month. The easiest solutions ensure that people have more money to buy food.

Democrats Concede to Curb Funds for Wall Street Regulators in Spending Bill (The Guardian)

Dan Roberts explains some of the bargains made for the sake of Congress's omnibus appropriations bill, expected to pass this week. Financial reform advocates are angered by the cuts to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission budgets.

Regulators Ease Volcker Rule Provision on Smaller Banks (NYT)

Matthew Goldstein reports that regulators gave in to pressures from the banking industry and revised the Volcker Rule, supposedly to reduce its effects on smaller community banks. However, the revised rule will allow big banks to keep certain investments that could be seen as proprietary trading.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Economics on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 07:31 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm a bit surprised that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Krugman isn't among the signatories of the letter calling for a higher minimum wage.

    "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

    by pierre9045 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 07:49:24 AM PST

  •  discussion with a conservative (0+ / 0-)

    So, I'm a conservative.  I'd like to talk with people who don't automatically agree with me, and I figured this was a good place.

    Concerning the minimum wage, this is the budget I estimated for someone from Durham, NC where I live:

    7.5/hr * 40 hrs = 1200/mo
    -0 (taxes) = 1200
    -800 (2BR+util+insurance) = 400
    -250 (food) = 150
    -25 (clothing) = 125
    - 50 (healthcare) = 75
    -75 (monthly bus fare) = 0

    1) This is for needs-based support of a family of four.  I live in Durham, NC, so i estimated these figures based on that region.

    2) Medicaid would most likely erase that 50 hc cost, but i have it in there for prescriptions, copays, etc.

    3) $250/mo for food is not luxurious, and will most likely not involve meat, but you can build a filling nutritious diet for four people on that budget.

    4) This is not including other subsidies such as TANF, and the $2,000+ tax credit this family would receive from children, EITC, etc.

    5) The $0 tax figure is because 1,200x12mos is $14,400 is below the standard deduction for married filing jointly.

    6) This also assumes no second job for this earner, and that the husband/wife is at home full-time with the children.

    7) I've assumed telephone and/or internet access within the utilities cost.

    8) For a single mom/dad, things get tighter with childcare, but I imagine that a 1BR apt is an option at that point.

    Please comment and let me know if i've neglected anything, but please keep it to Needs, not Wants, subjective as those terms may be.

    The discussion seems to revolve around the idea that the minimum wage is not a survivable wage for a family, but I think that's not true based on the above numbers.

    I'm not starting this because I'm heartless or hate poor people.  Hopefully, you'll just take my word.  From an employer's point of view, if someone cannot produce more than $9 worth of revenue per hour, it doesn't make sense to hire them.  Many people, for a lack of skill or experience, do not produce this kind of revenue, and that minimum wage excludes them from the job market.  I'm also working from the assumption that producing and consuming is better than only consuming.

    •  Maybe, just maybe you can find some mythical (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mollyd, Shockwave

      family that fits those parameters but if anyone of them breaks down for any reason bills pile up, interest on credit cards or some payday loan to squeak by. And as far as generating $9/hr to pay for them workers are earning about what they did in 1970 in adjusted dollars but are producing far, far more value for the companies they work for. Ever wonder why the stock market has been booming (with occasional massive plunges in Reagan and Bush years) for 30 years? It's because companies are taking more and more of the profits, benefiting from the increased productivity, and not raising wages to match.

      There are lies, damn lies, and statistics but they all pale in comparison to conservative talking points.

      by ontheleftcoast on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 08:24:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are so many problems with your post (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't quite know where to start, but consider this, You've assumed your family pays no taxes. That is false. You've ignored withholding for social security and medicare.

      Didn't I just read that NC has gone to a flat tax thereby increasing taxes on the poor and giving that money to the wealthy?

      North Carolina Just Gave Millionaires A Tax Cut, Raised Taxes On The Poorest 900,000 Working Families
      As to wants v. needs, you seem to assume there are people in this world who wish to live at a starvation level. I wonder why wealthy people have a longer life expectancy than the poor? But hey, no problem. You're just stealing life not money. You also assume there are no moral issues in your discussion. That it doesn't matter if peoples' lives are stunted by lack of healthy food and intellectual stimulation.

      Oh, and btw, yes, you are heartless.

      I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

      by Just Bob on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 10:47:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Health Insurance for a family of four (0+ / 0-)

      is closer to $1,000 a month if they were paying the full cost.

      North Carolina did not expand medicaid, so I'm not sure where the family would land with respect to ACA assistance or medicaid eligibility. But, if say two members of the family had asthma, their co-pay for prescriptions would exceed $50. If the mother were taking birth control pills, that would likewise eat most of the budget you've allotted to health care.

      As another commenter mentioned, you neglected to include the taxes for social security and medicare. A W-2 employee would have 7.65% withheld from her paycheck from the first dollar earned. That's another $92 out of your budget.

      You didn't include any expenses for the kids like books or extracurriculars or school supplies. An inability to spend on issues like that is a factor in keeping generations from escaping poverty.

      You didn't include anything for the education of the parents, to help them develop skills to get a better paying job.

      You also didn't consider any kind of emergency, which can come up at any time. One unpaid sick day or a holiday or your work cutting your hours and you're screwed.

      Finally, I recommend, as an exercise, going grocery shopping one day with exactly $62.50 in your pocket (your weekly allowance). There's the obvious challenge of feeding four people for that, which I agree is doable if unfun. But now add to that the stress of tracking everything you've put into your cart in your head to the dollar so you don't arrive at the checkout short. It's surprisingly difficult and stressful to do. Now imagine all day every day is like this for you, and will be for the rest of your life.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 09:25:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Adam Smith (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, lotlizard

    The minimum wage is not only a floor on wages, it is a floor on productivity. Min wage means that you cannot hire someone to work who cannot produce enough to justify the wage. Min wage means that employers have incentive to increase the productivity of workers. Otherwise, employers afford to neglect employees and have them do low productivity tasks. Min wage creates an incentive for employers to invest in worker productivity.

    I realize that no one reads Adam Smith anymore, much less the "libertarians" who have mangled what Smith said, but for "free market" advocates on the right, shouldn't they take heed, since they supposedly base their entire economic philosophy on Smith's tenants? Yet it's amazing how selective the propaganda, as well as scholarship, is about teaching

    Adam Smith. Quote:

    "But the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with prosperity, and fall with the declension of the society. On the contrary, it is naturally low in rich, and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin. The interest of this third order, therefore, has not the same connexion with the general interest of the society as that of the other two."--Adam Smith, "Wealth of Nations."

    American Heart Association: Diet Soda can cause type 2 Diabetes. "Circulation" July 23, 2007. Read it for yourself.

    by jeffrey789 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 09:49:44 PM PST

    •  Theocrats allying with atheist Ayn Rand's ideology (0+ / 0-)

      Contradictions like that have been rife on the Right since the onset of Reagan-Thatcherism.

      Any political movement that can use the logic theorem "p and not p, therefore q" — if a contradiction is true, then anything is true — so effectively for decades isn't going to be worried by such trifling concerns as Adam Smith's actual ideas.

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

      by lotlizard on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:07:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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