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Comment Re:It's your choice (Score 1) 567

Either we as a society make employers pay a wage that people in that situation can live on or we accept having vast numbers of people on state aid. Whichever one we opt for, the public end up paying for it.

The difference being that increasing the minimum wage to make it a basic income means you give money to everyone who works minimum wage, and having assistance for those who need more than the current minimum wage means giving money only to some. Which costs less -- giving money to everyone or giving money only to those who need it? And what do you do for those that even a new minimum wage won't provide enough? You're still running welfare because of them, so you don't even get the savings from eliminating that program.

The second difference is that increasing minimum wage increases the cost of labor for almost every business, especially those dealing in food (grocery stores, burger joints, etc). Unlike the common opinion here, grocery stores are NOT companies that are just rolling in profit that can afford to pay everyone twice what they make today. Grocery stores who hire high school and college students part time to stock shelves and such will wind up paying them a lot more when they aren't even trying to live on that wage -- a cost without an associated benefit.

do you really think anyone would do the sort of work that pays the minimum wage by choice?

Yes. Now here's one for you: do you really think that the only people who work a minimum wage job are those who are trying to support a wife, three kids, and pay off a mortgage?

Being paid piecemeal is the exception, not the rule.

Piecemeal is not relevant to the issue of how much value your work has. If you produce $10/hour in value, then a sudden raise to $15/hr is ridiculous.

if a salaried or hourly paid employee doesn't pull their weight you warn them, give them a reasonable chance to improve and then sack them if they don't.

You just don't understand. They can 'pull their weight' if they are paid $8/hr. It's when they are paid $15/hr that they are no longer doing so. "Pulling their weight" is a balance between cost and benefit. Make the costs too high and they can't "pull their weight" simply because the job they are doing can't produce enough benefit. It has nothing to do with the employee or how hard they are working, it has everything to do with the job itself.

Let's pretend. You run a food service that sells hot dogs wrapped in pretzel dough. (Auntie Annie's, for example.) It costs 50 cents in hot dogs and dough and electricity for the oven per unit. You sell them for $3 each (two for $6, yum). You have an employee making $8/hr. Assume $16/hr for costs by the time you add all the extras in. He has to sell 16/2.5 dogs per hour to break even -- ignoring all the other costs of doing business. Your oven can keep up with that rate of production, and so can the employee. You actually sell 24/hr. You're ok.

Now double the minimum wage to $15/hr. That makes the employee costs $30/hr. Now you have to sell 30/2.5 dogs per hour to break even. But you're only selling 24 per hour, and that's all your oven can handle or the employee can prepare. The employee is "pulling his weight" at $8/hr wage; he's falling behind at $15/hr, and there's nothing you can do to fix it that doesn't cost you even more money. Your solution: "warn them, give them a reasonable chance to improve and then sack them". But there is no way they can improve. "The beatings will continue until the morale improves."

Oh, but you just raise the price to cover the difference. Now you sell fewer than 24 per hour and you're falling further behind. But you're a company that's rolling in profit, right, so you can absorb the costs. No problem.

There is a fact that you cannot get around: there are just some jobs that are worth the current minimum wage but not double that amount. (I use that number because minimum is about $7.50 and the new expectation is $15 -- double.) Some are pretty close to breaking even at minimum wage. And I would expect that some are even losing money there, but the employer wants to support the community and can subsidize the loss from the output of other workers. Make the minimum wage too high and that won't happen. Jobs lost. Which you admit will happen.

So, a rhetorical question for you: is it better to have a minimum wage job that won't fully support your family or no job and no money at all?

Maybe it would be better to accept that the function of minimum wage jobs truly is to be entry level, and maybe the money should be spent on producing more living wage jobs, instead of trying to force employers to pay living wages for jobs that just can't support it.

Comment Re:I don't even like Uber but (Score 1) 567

No. Any jobs worth $15 before a minimum wage hike will also increase in pay grade, because otherwise why would people bother when an ostensibly easier job pays the same?

No. Who said the lower wage job was easier? Dug any ditches recently? If the $15/hr job was only worth $15/hr before the minimum wage went up, it will still only be worth $15/hr after.

Prices go up, wages go up across the spectrum

You have a remarkably interesting view of how prices and wages interact. Prices going up does NOT mean wages go up. If only that were true, then the skyrocketing price of gas in the last decades would have meant Nirvana for all the employed folks whose wages went up with it.

Some jobs are also likely lost to automation because the cost-reward ratio changes,

Try "a lot of the entry level jobs" go away.

That's very clearly and obviously not how economics works,

Uhhh, right.

or there wouldn't be any people between minimum wage and $15/h in the first place.

Because clearly there are no jobs that are worth between "minumum wage" and "$15/hr" today, so clearly nobody pays anyone anything in between those two numbers. Except for all those jobs that are $10/hr, $12/hr, etc...

Comment Re:Any opinions on thorium? (Score 1) 122

I have seen a few documentaries which make thorium look promising. But I don't really know enough about it.

Okay, I'll bite... Thorium is 20 years away at best.

If we ignore the "nuclear proliferation problem" for the moment, and just look at the technical issues, the engineering problems that need to be solved are quite numerous. Nearly all operational research has been done with MSRs (molten-salt-reactors) which have some potential long-term issues with corrosion and metal embrittlement due to exposure to high temperatures and high neutron flux densities that need to be studied and worked out. Alternative reactors (such as pebble-based) have other unknown problems like economical fuel manufacturing. Part of the economy of Thorium is the breeder aspect, but nobody really knows the full process/engineering-scope needed for reprocessing either (esp if you have to solve the "nuclear proliferation problem"). Then just like other nuclear technologies, there's the long-term cost issues associated with decommisioning/decontaminating plants after they reach their useful life time.

Maybe if the technology is promising enough people will spend more money to solve these issues, but these have been future problems for so long because it hasn't been as economical as people once thought.

Comment Older gear. (Score 1) 168

Older gear (probably not going to get updated, either. Because we have a good viewing and listening experience already.) Discrete components; pre-pro, amps, speakers, etc. The pre-pro could be remoted, perhaps, but it's very early on the curve of network control, and I've found it's not even reliable to tell to turn on and off. Denon bought Marantz, and they have been pretty sad about proper updates to nominally update-capable components.

OTOH, if a proper STT interface ever hits the streets (and no, I don't count the Echo - the number of negative developer and privacy issues there are ridiculous) I might be motivated to undertake such a setup. Mainly change the pre-pro to one that's smart enough to reliably remote and dedicate a computer with lots of storage to the theater as an AV source. But I'm 60, and every year that passes, I'm more satisfied with what I already have, so... perhaps not.

Already pretty much ignoring the 4K thing. Aside from very low media availability at this point in time, 1080p looks great on a big screen (and your average movie director still thinks it's "artsy" to soft focus and/or use a lens with horrific DOF, either/both of which completely waste all that fine resolution goodness anyway.)

Comment Re:The problem is what you consider useful (Score 1) 168

It was -40 degrees here just a few days ago, and it's not very nice now. And it's icy. And windy. Outside = awful.

Also -- you know why it's really nice to talk to an exercise measuring device? Because you can do it while you're exercising.

So how about you take your presumptions and re-evaluate.

Comment lol (Score 1) 168

Found the 1%-er.

No, you most certainly didn't. You found the guy who doesn't spend even a tiny fraction of what others do on children, booze, drugs, bars, travel, going out to eat, long trips, interest, hotels, sports events, video games, software, "apps", new cars, parties, education, or junkfood — and hasn't for quite a few decades now.

Which left me way more than enough to build a very nice theater into my home, the entire interior of which I built and wired by hand, after buying the property. Even with a modest income. Also, I bought the property with the specific intent of putting a theater into it - it was an abandoned church, a classic tabula rasa. Just a huge, empty room. And I had mucho help - my SO is awesome, and very much like-minded.

We each have our priorities. Home entertainment and at-home convenience are some of mine, that's all. In fact, almost every optional expenditure I make is in pursuit of a concrete, lasting improvement to my physical circumstance. If you don't have enough left over to do what you dream of by the time you're my age (I started this particular undertaking when I was 50, I'm 60 now), then you're Doing It Wrong.

Up till now, anyway. I don't know what's going to happen to the younger people going forward. Looking a good deal more bleak than it did for me.

Comment Re:Welcome to the future of capitalism (Score 1) 567

Thank the shitty nutritional documentations courtesy of your local governmental agency for that almost reality.
Assuming you prefer only one gender, you're already down to 50% roughly.
25% of the population is probably kind of old >65, so it would be cruel to expect many them to look too attractive.
So you're at about 37.5%.
Obesity rates are 50% or over so
So 18.75% would be nominally attractive, at least not obese.
I suggest that 1% of people being attractive is a bit low, probably closer to 9% assuming you're not too picky.
Twice as many if you're bi.

Comment Re:Sad to see Trump... (Score 2) 254

The problem with Trump and most of his campaign is that he's promising a quick, easy solution to a difficult problem: how do American workers stay competitive in a stage of increasingly easier global shipments?

And the problem with Trump's alternative is that she claims there was no problem. Democrats don't seem to get the utter incoherency of their position: America has no problems and Trump can't fix the really bad problems that America has.

Comment Re: Welcome to the future of capitalism (Score 1) 567

Because no one will buy their shit or use the services of their shit companies if we aren't around. We, the 99% are the job creators, we are the demand side, without us, they'll soon be doing their own farming and having no one to buy the useless shit they convinced us we need.

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