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Comment: A single person working full time at minimum wage (Score 1) 1082

by mpercy (#49732133) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

Such a person is *not* living in poverty, according to the official poverty designation. Of course, we give foodstamps to people earning 130% of poverty line. And the $194 in monthly foodstamps for a single person works out to about $1.21 per hour of full-time work. So we ought to be able to increase the minimum wage by $1.21/hour and eliminate foodstamps for minimum wage earners.

Of course, in California you can use your foodstamps at fast food places, so the circle is complete!

Comment: Missed so far...payroll taxes (Score 4, Insightful) 1082

by mpercy (#49732053) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

One item not discussed is how this is a benefit for tax collectors and a much larger hit on employers than just the hourly wage difference. Wages account for about 70% of employers labor costs (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecec.nr0.htm).

Consider just payroll taxes. A person making $8/hour working costs their employer $8.61 after the 7.65% FICA taxes ($0.61 goes to the taxman). Raise that wage to $15 and the cost to the employer is $16.15 ($1.15 goes to the taxman).

Then there's additional costs pegged to wages, such as UI insurance "premiums" and workers comp. In California UI insurance has a maximum cost, but runs up to 6.2% on first $7000 of wages before maxing out. In California, employers spend $3.48 in workers comp cost per $100 in wages paid.

Benefits employers paid (vacation, sick days) account for about $2.16 per hour worked on average (about 6.9% of average hourly wage).

Raising the minimum wage entails all those additional costs too, so jumping someone from $8/hr to $15/hr changes the costs to the employer from about $10.40 to about $19.50 (assuming 30% of labor costs are non-wage). It's not a $7 additional cost, but a $9.10 additional cost (of which the majority of the difference goes into the state tax coffers *before* the wages are subjected to the income tax and sales taxes).

Comment: Corporate free speech (Score 1) 776

by mpercy (#49675617) Attached to: Worker Fired For Disabling GPS App That Tracked Her 24 Hours a Day

While the Citizens United ruling moved the bar into "corporate speech" you need to understand that the decision was based on a 501(c)4 corporation, which is not at all like a business corporation. There are a lot of 501(c)4 organizations, and most are not political per se.

A 501(c)4 simply allows a group of people to pool their after-tax money (that's important, donations to a 501(c)4 are not deductible and hence are after-tax dollars) so that they can, as a group, sign contracts and hire people. They're tax exempt largely because the money donated to them has already been taxed, and they don't generally produce anything of commercial value (they don't generally sell stuff except memberships).

501(c)4 was created by the government for the purpose of providing these abilities. Groups like AARP and the NRA are 501(c)4 corporations. So are Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, and Lions Clubs, the Miss America Organization, and the League of Women Voters.

They are by their very nature "speech" groups. The "corporate" part is a legal necessity for hiring staff and paying bills. They don't need the limited liability, etc. normally associated with what most people think of when they hear the word "corporation".

And then there's the notion that about 1M laudable charities exist in the USA, and they are almost all 501(c)3 corporations.

Comment: Re: Privacy? (Score 1) 776

by mpercy (#49675097) Attached to: Worker Fired For Disabling GPS App That Tracked Her 24 Hours a Day

People earning minimum wage tend to be under 25, single, and working in a service industry. These jobs are not careers, they are stepping stones. Sure, let's go ahead and kick that rung off the ladder, though. Makes people feel good.


Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2012

In 2012, 75.3 million workers in the United States age 16 and over were paid at hourly rates, representing 59.0 percent of all wage and salary workers. 1 Among those paid by the hour, 1.6 million earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. About 2.0 million had wages below the federal minimum.2 Together, these 3.6 million workers with wages at or below the federal minimum made up 4.7 percent of all hourly paid workers. Tables 1 through 10 present data on a wide array of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics for hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage. The following are some highlights from the 2012 data.

Minimum wage workers tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up about half of those paid the Federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers paid by the hour, about 21 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with about 3 percent of workers age 25 and over. (See table 1 and table 7.)

By major occupational group, the highest proportion of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage was in service occupations, at about 12 percent. About three-fifths of workers earning the minimum wage or less in 2012 were employed in service occupations, mostly in food preparation and serving related jobs. (See table 4.)

The industry with the highest proportion of workers with hourly wages at or below the federal minimum wage was leisure and hospitality (about 19 percent). About half of all workers paid at or below the federal minimum wage were employed in this industry, the vast majority in restaurants and other food services. For many of these workers, tips and commissions supplement the hourly wages received. (See table 5.)

The proportion of hourly paid workers earning the prevailing federal minimum wage or less declined from 5.2 percent in 2011 to 4.7 percent in 2012. This remains well below the figure of 13.4 percent in 1979, when data were first collected on a regular basis. (See table 10.)

Comment: I will happily pay another 20 cents on a Big Mac (Score 1) 776

by mpercy (#49674989) Attached to: Worker Fired For Disabling GPS App That Tracked Her 24 Hours a Day

"I will happily pay another 20 cents on a Big Mac so that the people making my food get a reasonable wage.

Then by all means, please, take some of your money and open a restaurant and pay your workers $20/hour or any other wage you feel is necessary. I'm sure that you will engender a clientele so enlightened that they will think nothing about paying $17.95 for a Big Mac because it makes them feel good that the person who flipped their burger is making a living wage. You'll have zero problems.

Or at least you could write to all the restaurants you frequent and advise them that if they do not increase the wages they pay to their employees, you will not eat there? Once all your similarly enlightened friends join you, those places will surely comply, right?

Why do "progressive" ideas always center around forcing everyone to do what progressives think is the right thing.

Ideas so good, they need to be mandatory and enforced by men with uniforms and guns.

Comment: Daniel Quinn on Education (Score 2) 776

by mpercy (#49674835) Attached to: Worker Fired For Disabling GPS App That Tracked Her 24 Hours a Day

Don't agree with everything, but Daniel Quinn's essay on education is a must read.


Some excerpts...

"Of course, then, as now, everyone knew that the citizen's education was doing no such thing. It was perceived then--as now--that there was something strangely wrong with the schools. They were failing--and failing miserably--at delivering on these enticing promises. Ah well, teachers weren't being paid enough, so what could you expect? We raised teachers' salaries--again and again and again--and still the schools failed. Well, what could you expect? The schools were physically decrepit, lightless, and uninspiring. We built new ones--tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of them--and still the schools failed. Well, what could you expect? The curriculum was antiquated and irrelevant. We modernized the curriculum, did our damnedest to make it relevant--and still the schools failed. Every week--then as now--you could read about some bright new idea that would surely "fix" whatever was wrong with our schools: the open classroom, team teaching, back to basics, more homework, less homework, no homework--I couldn't begin to enumerate them all. Hundreds of these bright ideas were implemented--thousands of them were implemented--and still the schools failed.

"During the Great Depression it became urgently important to keep young people off the job market for as long as possible, and so it came to be understood that a twelfth-grade education was essential for every citizen. As before, it didn't much matter what was added to fill up the time, so long as it was marginally plausible. Let's have them learn how to analyze a poem, even if they never read another one in their whole adult life. Let's have them read a great classic novel, even if they never read another one in their whole adult life. Let's have them study world history, even if it all just goes in one ear and out the other. Let's have them study Euclidean geometry, even if two years later they couldn't prove a single theorem to save their lives. All these things and many, many more were of course justified on the basis that they would contribute to the success and rich fulfilment that these children would experience as adults. Except, of course, that it didn't. But no one wanted to know about that. No one would have dreamed of testing young people five years after graduation to find out how much of it they'd retained. No one would have dreamed of asking them how useful it had been to them in realistic terms or how much it had contributed to their success and fulfilment as humans. What would be the point of asking them to evaluate their education? What did they know about it, after all? They were just high-school graduates, not professional educators.

"At the end of the Second World War, no one knew what the economic future was going to be like. With the disappearance of the war industries, would the country fall back into the pre-war depression slump? The word began to go out that the citizen's education should really include four years of college. Everyone should go to college. As the economy continued to grow, however, this injunction began to be softened. Four years of college would sure be good for you, but it wasn't part of the citizen's education, which ultimately remained a twelfth-grade education.

"And it should be noted that our high-school graduates are reliably entry-level workers. We want them to have to grab the lowest rung on the ladder. What sense would it make to give them skills that would make it possible for them to grab the second rung or the third rung? Those are the rungs their older brothers and sisters are reaching for. And if this year's graduates were reaching for the second or third rungs, who would be doing the work at the bottom? The business people who do the hiring constantly complain that graduates know absolutely nothing, have virtually no useful skills at all. But in truth how could it be otherwise?

"So you see that our schools are not failing, they're just succeeding in ways we prefer not to see. Turning out graduates with no skills, with no survival value, and with no choice but to work or starve are not flaws of the system, they are features of the system. These are the things the system must do to keep things going on as they are.

Comment: But if it was racism holding blacks down... (Score 2) 776

by mpercy (#49673901) Attached to: Worker Fired For Disabling GPS App That Tracked Her 24 Hours a Day

If racism is the factor cited by blacks as the reason that they cannot get ahead, live in urban wastelands, etc. then it stands to reason that fresh-of-the-boat blacks from Africa would face the same racism. And so it should be similarly impossible for African blacks in America to succeed as it is for African-Americans to succeed.

Since that does not appear to be the case, perhaps the "black culture" is to blame and not racism.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A firefly is not a fly, but a beetle.