Wages of Monday

July 14, 2014

screen-shot-2012-05-11-at-10-42-05-amFoggy and chilly this way-too-early Monday on California’s north coast as the weekend officially comes to an abrupt end without much fanfare.
An ugly morning is a Monday.

And speaking of pure ugly — on Friday, US House GOPers passed a ludicrous, dumb-ass business tax-cut measurewith no effort to pay for or offset that amount.’
The action was the highest un-paid measure passed in years, but revealed Republicans heart and soul is in tax cuts, not reality.

War waged without wages.

(Illustration found here).

In the last couple of weeks, at the liquor store I manage, there’s been a turn-over in personnel — the owner had to fire one guy, and another abruptly quit, so we’ve been in a hiring mood. Hopefully, we’ve got two good replacements in training, so maybe this episode has a quick turn-around.
And the $9 an hour we’ve always paid for clerks — for years in fact — has become the state minimum wage. In our blundering, we were/are ahead of the curve.
California hiked its state minimum wage to $9-an-hour July 1 — via the LA Times:

California’s new minimum wage is the fourth highest in the country, behind the District of Columbia at $9.50 an hour, Washington state at $9.32 and Oregon at $9.10.
Oregon’s and Washington’s are tied to the rate of inflation and go up with the consumer price index.
California’s minimum wage, though not indexed, is scheduled to rise again to $10 an hour on Jan. 1, 2016, under legislation signed last year by Gov. Jerry Brown.
But that’s not enough for some state and local government policymakers. An effort by state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) to push the California minimum wage to $13 an hour in 2017, and match future increases to the annual inflation rate, died in an Assembly committee late last month.
Meanwhile, the city of San Francisco, which has the highest minimum wage in California at $10.74 an hour, has put a measure on the November local ballot to gradually raise it to $15 on July 1, 2018, and index it with inflation. The Bay Area cities of Oakland, Berkeley and Richmond are considering similar moves.
In Los Angeles, the City Council is working on a law that would raise minimum wages for thousands of hotel workers to at least $15.37 an hour starting July 2015.

Republicans, though, have fought the issue tooth and toenail. Three times in the last three years, Congressional Democrats have attempted to pass legislation to raise the national minimum wage, stuck at $7.75-an-hour for the last five years, but GOPers have blocked each move. Even President Obama has called for it to be raised to $10.10 an hour.
However, Republicans claim doing so is a “job killer” — pure bullshit.
New analysis reveals a higher minimum work wage isn’t a job killer, but in fact, makes for more jobs:

The 13 U.S. states that increased their minimum wages on January 1 saw higher employment growth, on average, than the states where the minimum wage didn’t change, according to an analysis by the Center for Economic Policy Research, a progressive think tank.
Four states passed laws to raise wages, while nine others had automatic wage increases pegged to inflation.
The employment rate rose 0.99 percent, on average, in those states in the first five months of 2014, according to the CEPR.
Employment rose by just 0.68 percent, on average, during that same period in the 37 states that didn’t raise wages.

CEPR’s study is the latest to debunk the common argument that raising the minimum wage is an economy killer.
Earlier this week, Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE restaurants, the parent company of Hardees and Carl’s Jr., hypothesized that a higher minimum wage would increase youth unemployment and cause all sorts of economic problems.
“Government needs to get out of the way,” he told Yahoo! Finance.
“If government gets out of the way, businesses will create jobs and wages will go up.”
But economic research has shown this simply isn’t the case.
Take San Francisco, where the minimum wage, $10.74 an hour, is one of the highest in the country.
The city has seen faster job growth than any other big city over the past 10 years.
Likewise, Washington state, which has the highest state minimum wage in the country at $9.32, has seen faster job growth than any other state.

Facts, however, is not a Republican strong point.

Odd, wages aside at the bottom, these weird times,the “quit rate” of American workers is increasing:

That is changing, however, according to a statistic called the national “quit rate,” which some might call the “Take this job and shove it” index.
The figure shows that the percentage of Americans who are jumping ship voluntarily is hovering at its highest levels in the four-year recovery.
Many see the shift as a sign of optimism for an economy that has sputtered its way through an on-again, off-again rebound from the demoralizing downturn of 2008-’09.
“The quit rate is a useful measure of how much confidence workers feel and how many opportunities they have to switch to a more attractive job,” said Steven Davis, a professor who specializes in labor economics and worker mobility at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Ain’t that good, though:

In purely mathematical terms, the nation made up the over 8 million jobs destroyed by the recession — but it has not yet created jobs for the new generation of young graduates who entered the workforce since the downturn.
Their numbers, which are not reflected in the statistics, are nearly as great as the total lost, leaving a gaping hole in the world of work.
That’s why many Americans complain that the recovery so far has passed them by.
“The improvement in the labor market is not as great as it looks at face value from the decline in the unemployment rate,” Davis said.
“The quit rate is one of many indicators that point to a partial recovery.”

And to take this job and shove it, means to shove this frigging’, low-paying sonofabitch up the strained ass of the rich, which now own this country.
History is touchy — what’s neat right now, might be considered shitty a few years from now.
Cultural historian and journalist, Neal Gabler, at the Boston Globe points out:

History is a lot like forestry.
In the latter, you often can’t see the forest for the trees, and in the former you often can’t see the epoch for the incidents.
Though it hardly seems as momentous as the Great Depression or the civil rights era, our current period may be one of the most significant in American history — one that may well determine what kind of country we will be for decades hence.
To put our own times in focus, it helps to ask: What will historians 50 or 150 years from now think of the early 21st century?

The first thing historians are likely to fasten on is the historic economic inequality in America today.
As the French economist Thomas Piketty has documented in his pathbreaking book, “Capital in the 21st Century,” America, the vaunted land of opportunity, has become one of the most unequal nations in the history of the world when it comes to wealth distribution — a country in which the top 1 percent own nearly 40 percent of the nation’s wealth.
Historians will certainly also focus on the fight to disenfranchise poor and minority voters after 100 years of advancing civil rights.
They will discuss how the Supreme Court and the Republican Party succeeded in rolling back many of those achievements — the court by ripping out a central provision of the Voting Rights Act, and Republican state legislatures by imposing onerous voter registration restrictions that, let’s face it, have one aim only: to suppress minority voting, which is likely to tilt Democratic.
They will cite the role of money in politics and the sudden turnabout by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, which released a torrent of big money into American politics.
They will look at the nation’s increasing churlishness — its reluctance to embrace health reform that would provide insurance to those who cannot otherwise afford it, its willingness to cut benefits, like food stamps, that primarily help the young and the elderly, its grudging extension of unemployment benefits to people afflicted by the economic downturn.
And historians will say that these are not discrete things but that they coalesce to form what may be called the age of inequality.
Historians are also likely to see how this age of inequality answered what has been arguably the nation’s foremost question from its founding: Is America to be an aristocracy or a democracy?
Ever since Andrew Jackson, the thrust, with a few detours, has been toward democracy.
Historians will show that had changed in the late 20th and early 21st century, not necessarily because most Americans wanted economic inequality, voter suppression, big money in politics, or cruelty to the poor but because the system wasn’t responsive to them.
It had become oligarchic.

So the country rolls on, and it rolls back.
And historians will wonder how the 21st century came to resemble the end of the 19th — a terrible time when the wealthy ruled and everyone else capitulated.

Way down, a minimum wage is way-minimum to pay.

(Illustration out front found here).

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