The current incarnation of the GOP is not your father’s Republican Party. These people are not fiscally responsible, and certainly not conservative. They’re really not that bright when it comes to economics. For some reason, they have convinced themselves that low wages are necessary for most companies to survive, and that is just insane. If it’s necessary to survive, then consider the example of Costco. They makes a higher profit per store than Walmart, and have for many years. Here’s another: the Washington, DC City Council proposed a minimum wage of $12.50 last year, and Walmart killed plans for three stores. There was no mass exodus of companies from the District; just Walmart. (By the way, they settled on $11.50, and there is still no mass exodus.) If low wages are so necessary to compete, why do so few companies pay the minimum wage? Fewer than 15 percent of all workers make less than $10 per hour, and small businesses that pay the minimum wage or less are actually at higher risk of failure. Most companies that pay at or around minimum wage are in the discount retail and fast food industries. Yet supermarket chains, which have a much higher union membership and pay higher wages against a much tighter profit margin, seem to do quite well.
Many minimum wage workers have no bank account, and rely on check cashing offices to get cash, pay bills and wire money to relatives abroad. Contrary to what social scientists believe, these workers prefer check cashing services over banks, because banks do not offer them the services they need, a researcher at The New School in New York City has found.
For example, if a worker deposits her paycheck on Friday in a checking account, she can’t spend that money until Monday or Tuesday. If she instead visits a check cashing service, the money is available immediately, and she can pay her bills at the same time.
The video is about 15 minutes long. Toward the end, Prof. Lisa Servon notes that the spending power of low-wage workers has declined dramatically since 1968, which makes it even harder for them to save money in a bank account.
More: Why the Working Poor and Banks Are a Bad Match - American Banker
When I was young, I was taught, “A fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage.” I could work a 40 hour week and make a decent living. I could even raise a family, send my kids to college and still look forward to retiring someday. But since trickle down economics, multiple recessions, the housing bubble, special treatment of banks ‘too big to fail’ and other corporate rot, that’s all gone. The jobs that are now available require I work two of them so I can default on a mortgage, apply for food assistance and deny my children the opportunity for a higher education. Meanwhile, the lazy rich help themselves to the fruits of my labor and produce nothing. Somehow, though, this is my fault.
The reality is that corporate America has stopped paying their workers for their work. Productivity is way up but wages are stagnant. Does that sound like the America you grew up believing in? It certainly doesn’t to me. The obvious solution is for corporate America to pay a fair minimum wage but the right finds the idea of this simple fix horrifying. When asked, those on the right use canned responses to explain why you don’t, and shouldn’t, make a living wage. Here are the top 5 “reasons” and why they’re completely wrong.
(1) Raising The Minimum Wage Will Cost Jobs
The biggest lie. Several studies have shown that increasing the minimum wage reduces turnover, increases spending and increases demand. These studies have all come to the conclusion that raising the wage has a negligible effect one way or another on job creation.
U.S. experience, it turns out, offers many ‘natural experiments’ here, in which one state raises its minimum wage while others do not. And while there are dissenters, as there always are, the great preponderance of the evidence from these natural experiments points to little if any negative effect of minimum wage increases on employment. - Paul Krugman
Does giving an increase really cost jobs? No. It seems that the real “problem” with an increase is that it affects profit margins. We, as a country, can more than afford increases on the minimum wage at the cost of a wage decrease on those earning the maximum. In other words, millions of poor workers can make more if millionaires and billionaires lose a tiny fraction of their yearly income. Clearly, you can see why corporate America is allergic to this idea. Sacrifce a third yacht so millions of people don’t have to use food stamps to survive? Blasphemy!
In a first, working-age people now make up the majority in U.S. households that rely on food stamps — a switch from a few years ago, when children and the elderly were the main recipients.
Some of the change is due to demographics, such as the trend toward having fewer children. But a slow economic recovery with high unemployment, stagnant wages and an increasing gulf between low-wage and high-skill jobs also plays a big role. It suggests that government spending on the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program — twice what it cost five years ago — may not subside significantly anytime soon.
Food stamp participation since 1980 has grown the fastest among workers with some college training, a sign that the safety net has stretched further to cover America’s former middle class, according to an analysis of government data for The Associated Press by economists at the University of Kentucky. Formally called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, or SNAP, the program now covers 1 in 7 Americans.
The findings coincide with the latest economic data showing workers’ wages and salaries growing at the lowest rate relative to corporate profits in U.S. history.
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night is expected to focus in part on reducing income inequality, such as by raising the federal minimum wage. Congress, meanwhile, is debating cuts to food stamps, with Republicans including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., wanting a $4 billion-a-year reduction to an anti-poverty program that they say promotes dependency and abuse.
Economists say having a job may no longer be enough for self-sufficiency in today’s economy.
“A low-wage job supplemented with food stamps is becoming more common for the working poor,” said Timothy Smeeding, an economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who specializes in income inequality. “Many of the U.S. jobs now being created are low- or minimum-wage — part-time or in areas such as retail or fast food — which means food stamp use will stay high for some time, even after unemployment improves.”
The newer food stamp recipients include Maggie Barcellano, 25, of Austin, Texas. A high school graduate, she enrolled in college but didn’t complete her nursing degree after she could no longer afford the tuition.
Hoping to boost her credentials, she went through emergency medical technician training with the Army National Guard last year but was unable to find work as a paramedic because of the additional certification and fees required. Barcellano, now the mother of a 3-year-old daughter, finally took a job as a home health aide, working six days a week at $10 an hour. Struggling with the low income, she recently applied for food stamps with the help of the nonprofit Any Baby Can, to help save up for paramedic training.
“It’s devastating,” Barcellano said. “When I left for the Army I was so motivated, thinking I was creating a situation where I could give my daughter what I know she deserves. But when I came back and basically found myself in the same situation, it was like it was all for naught.”
HURR HURR!!!11!!! GET OF UR LAZY ASS & PULL URSELF UP BY UR BOOTSTRAPS U LAZY MOOCHERS!!!111!!11!!!!! IF UR GETTIN MINIMUM WAGE IT’S CAUSE UR WORTHLESS!!!11!! NOW THOSE WALMART SHELVES AIN’T GONNA STOCK THEMSELVES.
Embarrassed because sub-“living wage” stories often played in left leaning media outlets (including Mother Jones) to demonize companies such as MacDonalds and Walmart, the magazine had to clarify their position:
That’s actually not true, we’ve never advised interns or fellows to sign up for food stamps. It is true that the stipend level qualifies them for food stamps, as do most internships, and our HR director has, in the context of explaining their stipend, said as much, but we’ve never encouraged anyone to sign up.
Perhaps sensing that it wasn’t as satisfactory explanation, Mother Jones again clarified:
As a nonprofit investigative news organization, this is an issue that Mother Jones has always felt strongly about, which is why we have been paying our interns a substantive stipend longer than many the industry. It’s also why, as of January 1, our 2014 budget increases the base fellowship stipend to $1,500—an amount equivalent to slightly more than California minimum wage.
Which would put their new and improved intern wages pretty close to the hourly wage of the average chain fast food/big box retailer. Whom have been pilloried for suggesting to their employees that public assistance may be viable options to make ends meet.
More power to them. Anyone working full time should not also need welfare in order to survive.
Workers walked off their jobs at fast-food restaurants across the country as part of a national protest against low wages, a day after President Barack Obama renewed his call for a minimum wage hike in a speech Wednesday.
The action is part of a growing movement against what workers say are sub-standard working conditions and wages too low to make ends meet. Thousands of labor activists and workers, who were scheduled to start their shifts early Thursday morning, did not show at work and chose to protest instead.
Workers and their supporters are expected to strike at the nation’s major national fast-food restaurants, organizers said, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC. Protesters in cities such as Charleston, S.C., Providence, R.I. and Pittsburgh, Pa., will join the action for the first time, along with clergy, elected officials and community supporters.
It’s almost that magical time of year, where Americans engage in vertical food distribution, cheer the Cowboys getting in the end zone, and trample over one another in their quest to celebrate the birth of the flat screen TV. It’s also a time where mega corporations are supposed to be somewhat less a-holes. Well, maybe not if you’re McDonald’s. McDonald’s, in partnership with Visa, runs a financial planning website with a very Hallmark-y message for its low paid employees: eat smaller meals and sell those annoying Christmas gifts on Ebay.
Just when you thought McDonald’s learned its lesson after previously urging its employees to seek food stamps, the purveyor brightly colored crap that’s bound to not make your colon “not love it” appears to have simply tweaked its message. The McDonald’s website cares so much about your well-being, it doesn’t want you to waste your time eating a full meal. After all, who has time for that in these stressful times.
But what should we do about the upcoming holidays, ever-so wise McDonald’s website?
McDonald’s pays you enough to invest in a lovely one room dog house, so they certainly know how you can manage debt. Just in case you were thinking of either buying or receiving presents this year for Christmas, don’t. You work for McDonald’s; you should he happy enough. With that in mind, the McDonald’s website wants you to stop your complaining and sell your stuff on Ebay.
By Megan McArdle
If you’re a recent college graduate, I commend to you this story from the Wall Street Journal on the peripatetic career paths of the Ohio State Class of 2008. With the financial markets crashing, these kids ended up taking jobs they didn’t want in places they didn’t want to be — or moving into mom’s basement while they struggled to forge a career out of their thin employment prospects. But the kids the Wall Street Journal interviewed are (except for one sad chap who decided to move to New York) basically OK. They’re not doing what they thought they’d be doing. Still, they’re having good lives, and even good careers, though it took them longer than it took luckier classes that graduated in more prosperous times.
Don’t get me wrong, youngsters: I feel your pain. I graduated from business school in 2001. The job I had lined up with a management consulting firm evaporated, with the coup-de-grace delivered just as the MBA Class of 2002 began recruiting. Suddenly I was competing with kids who hadn’t lost a job — and even though the job loss wasn’t my fault (my whole class was laid off), employers didn’t see why they should take a chance on an unemployed person. To make matters worse, I spent a year doing administrative work in a trailer at the World Trade Center disaster recovery site, rather than immediately looking for a new “career” job. To make matters still worse, my previous job had been in the tech industry. There was about a year and a half when I had no idea where I was going to find another full-time job. I began to think I had inadvertently ruined my life.
Eventually, I got a job with the Economist magazine, which I found because of this blog I’d started while working at the World Trade Center. Ten years later, things are pretty much all right. Okay, I got lucky … but you know what? As the Journal article shows, eventually, if you keep moving, you’ll probably get lucky too. So here are some hard-but-hopeful truths for the classes of 2008-13, inclusive:
1. You need to take a job, any job. Every time you leave your house, or otherwise make contact with the real world, you create opportunities for something good to happen to your career. Leaving the house also keeps you from falling prey to depression, which tends to plague the unemployed like, well, the plague. Also, it’s easier not to look completely desperate when you have a little money coming in. “Desperate” is not a good look to wear to a job interview.
2. Don’t say you can’t work a lesser job because you won’t be able to focus on your job search. After the first few weeks, your job search is not taking you 60 hours a week. There just aren’t that many prospects out there. Don’t give yourself excuses to stay home and sulk and/or sponge off mom and dad — who will, incidentally, be much happier to have you in the basement if you’re visibly working hard.
And here’s the kicker:
11. If you really want to work somewhere, volunteer to work unpaid. Take it as a second job — nights, weekends, whatever. Yes, this will cut into your social life. So will working at Target, in your thirties.
Fuck you Megan and your privileged white ass.
All of the “13 tips” are just variations on “work for nothing” or “work for whatever you can get.” BE HAPPY FOR THAT BOWL OF GRUEL. You know that people who are working part-time at Walmart or McDonald’s for minimum wage still have to make themselves available for scheduling 24/7, if they ask for a few hours to go to a job interview, they might not have that part time jrrb to go back to.
When unpaid internships (slave labor) are the norm for entry level, then what used to be entry-level salaries will become the norm for someone seeking paid work after a year or two years of slave labor. And all experienced workers’ pay will slide downward accordingly.
The American Dream will be fulfilled when everybody is striving to work for minimum wage (after working at an unpaid internship) and the Waltons have all Teh Moneys.
Markwayne Mullin yet again. He is becoming Oklahoma’a answer to Louis Gohmert.
Raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour could increase the price of a hamburger by about 438 percent, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) argued at a town hall meeting with constituents on Thursday, Think Progress reports.
“You guys wanna pay $20 for a hamburger at McDonald’s?” Mullin said. “If you wanna increase it, that’s great,” he added, “but what you’re gonna do is punish everybody along the way.”
The math behind Mullin’s argument is a bit hazy and it’s not clear from his remarks how a 38 percent increase in wages would lead to a more than 400 percent increase in prices. We reached out to Mullin’s office Monday afternoon but didn’t receive a response. Other economists predict a much more modest increase in fast food prices as a result of a minimum wage increase.
We do know, as Think Progress points out, that the price of a Big Mac in Australia — where the minimum wage is $14.50 an hour — is just 6 cents higher than in the U.S. where the average Big Mac costs $4.56.
While acknowledging that fast-food companies are profitable on the backs of low-paid workers, the New Yorker’s James Surowiecki points out in a piece last week that a $10.10 minimum wage is something that “companies can easily tolerate.”
There are also a number of examples of successful fast-food restaurants that pay their employees above the minimum wage, including In-N-Out Burger, which starts its workers at $10 an hour, according to CBS DFW.