The Robots are Coming – and Sooner Than We Think

by: the Common Constitutionalist

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Remember the “Fight for 15,” the big progressive plan to raise the minimum wage to the arbitrarily chosen hourly base of 15 dollars? And recall that we free-market conservatives have been arguing that a mandated wage hike will not end well?

Already, the hike has taken a toll on some cities. Local and State minimum wage hikes are forcing restaurants and like service industry employers to raise their prices and/or lay off staff. Other businesses are closing up and relocating outside of cities to avoid the mandated pay hike.

Governments – federal, state and local, bowing to the pressure of a tiny minority of radicals, know not what they do.

Governments and radical activists create static charts and models showing how a massive minimum wage hike will benefit “the workers.” They never consider how the mandates will affect the employers – nor do they seem to care. They don’t understand that the private sector cannot just vote themselves more money to pay for the wage hike and further crushing regulations.

So instead of subserviently complying with government overlords, companies of all kinds are seeking to find ways around these crushing big brother decrees. And just like everything else in life – leave it to private sector innovators to find a path around Nanny State mandates. read more

Real World Economy Versus The Minimum Wage

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Once again liberals have demonstrated that they just don’t get how the economy works. They are so utterly ignorant.

When purchasing an item, do you ever comparison shop? Of course. Most everyone has or does. And you want to get the most for your dollar. Again, of course – otherwise, why comparison shop. And if you see two of the same product, with different prices, all things being equal, you would choose the lower cost item.

Maybe one of the two products presents better value for the same cost. Again the obvious choice would be to choose the better product for that same cost.

And so it is for labor. Labor is a product. Companies don’t hire people out of a sense of charity. No – even for the lowest position in the company, people come in and fill out an application, maybe submit a resume and possibly fill out an evaluation form. Then someone goes through the applications.

And what are they doing? Why, the HR person or whomever is comparison shopping. He or she is looking for the best, most qualified candidate for that particular position at a predetermined cost. They’re looking for the biggest bang for their buck. He or she is looking for a hire who will bring at least as much value to the company as they will be paid. Otherwise, it is just charity. read more

McDonald’s CEO Supports Raising The Minimum Wage

from IBD:

Don Thompson, CEO of McDonald’s, recently remarked that his company would support raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour.

It is always noteworthy when a chief executive has kind words about regulation affecting his industry. After all, if McDonald’s saw benefit in paying its workers more, it could do so today without having to wait for Congress. No regulation needed. read more

Seattle Proposes $15 Minimum Wage

from the American Thinker:

Seattle’s proposal to adopt a $15 an hour minimum wage has some economic experts asking if it will doom Seattle’s economy.

Even Slate’s business and economics correspondent, Jordan Weissmann, questions the wisdom of adopting such a precipitous increase:

Yesterday, Murray announced a plan that would gradually raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour and tie it to inflation, which won approval from a large committee of business and labor leaders, as well as some city council members. Today, Washington state’s minimum is a comparatively piddly $9.32. read more

Federal Government Has Declared War On Work

While 50 years ago the federal government declared war on poverty, I would submit that in recent years it has led an undeclared but real new war: a War on Work. The government increasingly is using its coercive powers to punish people who want to work, creating a vast class of able-bodied Americans dependent on the government — and politicians — for their daily bread.

The statistics are startling. A smaller proportion of working-age Americans works today than when the recession officially ended 4-1/2 years ago (June 2009).

But this trend is not just a failure of policies to encourage economic recovery, such as the stimulus package and the ineffective, highly expansionary Federal Reserve monetary policy. The decline in work has been going on since at least 2000, under both Republican and Democratic administrations. read more

The Ultimate Dominion by Robots

After you heard President Obama’s call for a hike in the minimum wage, you probably wondered the same thing I did: Was Obama sent from the future by Skynet to prepare humanity for its ultimate dominion by robots?

But just in case the question didn’t occur to you, let me explain. On Tuesday, the day before Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage, the restaurant chain Applebee’s announced that it will install iPad-like tablets at every table. Chili’s already made this move earlier this year.

With these consoles customers will be able to order their meals and pay their checks without dealing with a waiter or waitress. Both companies insist that they won’t be changing their staffing levels, but if you’ve read any science fiction, you know that’s what the masterminds of every robot takeover say: “We’re here to help. We’re not a threat.” read more

SEIU Will Kill the Fast Food Industry

by: the Common Constitutionalist

 

If you live in a major city, soon if not already, you will not be able to get fast food.

 

What are the soccer moms to do? Here’s an idea. Go home and make dinner. It shouldn’t be that difficult, judging by what we see on the politically correct McDonald’s commercials. Just dress up like a clown and serve your kids apple slices and milk. And don’t forget to recycle!

 

Anyway, our old communist pals are at it again. The SEIU is whipping up a frenzy among fast food workers with a call to strike. Workers in many cities have already walked off the job.

 

SEIU boss Mary Kay Henry granted an interview with fair and balanced Salon.com. Seated in her posh Washington DC office she told Salon, “see the fast food workers as standing up for all of us. Because the conditions are the same.”

 

Really Mary? The same as what? The same as your condition? Not hardly.

 

In 50 cities across the nation workers will walk or have already walked off the job. The strike against all the major fast food chains is for more pay and a chance to unionize.

 

The arbitrary number they have chosen is $15 an hour. I say arbitrary, because it is based on nothing. Someone just pulled it out of a hat. Why not 20, 50 or $100 an hour?

 

The argument is always the same; a living wage. No one can live on $7.25 an hour, the current minimum wage. I’m sure that’s true, but the average fast food worker doesn’t make minimum wage. The average is at least $9 an hour according to the Bureau of Labor statistics. read more

Is This Our Destiny?

Is Demography Destiny?

by: Thomas Sowell

Some media pundits see in the growing proportion of non-white groups in the population, a growing opposition to the Republican Party that will sooner or later make it virtually impossible for Republicans to win presidential elections or even to control either house of Congress.  But is demography destiny?

Conventional wisdom in the Republican establishment is that what the GOP needs to do, in order to win black votes or Hispanic votes, is to craft policies specifically targeting these groups. In other words, Republicans need to become more like Democrats.

Whether in a racial context or in other contexts, the supposed need for Republicans to become more like Democrats has long been a recurring theme of the moderate Republican establishment, going back more than half a century.

Yet the most successful Republican presidential candidate during that long period was a man who went completely counter to that conventional wisdom– namely, Ronald Reagan, who won back to back landslide election victories.

Meanwhile, moderate Republican presidential candidate after moderate Republican presidential candidate has gone down to defeat, even against Democratic presidential candidates who were unpopular (Harry Truman), previously unknown (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton) or who had a terrible economic track record (Barack Obama).

None of this seems to have caused any second thoughts in the Republican establishment.  So long as that remains the case, demography may indeed be destiny– and that destiny could be Democratic administrations as far out as the eye can see.

If non-white voters can only be gotten by pandering to them with goodies earmarked for them, then Republicans are doomed, even if they choose to go that route.  Why should anyone who wants racially earmarked goodies vote for Republicans, when the Democrats already have a track record of delivering such goodies?

An alternative way to make inroads into the overwhelming majority of minority votes for Democrats would be for the Republicans to articulate a coherent case for their principles and the benefits that those principles offer to all Americans.

But the Republicans’ greatest failure has been precisely their chronic failure to spell out their principles– and the track record of those principles– to either white or non-white voters.

Very few people know, for example, that the gap between black and white incomes narrowed during the Reagan administration and widened during the Obama administration.  This was not because of Republican policies designed specifically for blacks, but because free market policies create an economy in which all people can improve their economic situation.

Conversely, few policies have had such a devastating effect on the job opportunities of minority youths as minimum wage laws, which are usually pushed by Democrats and opposed by Republicans.  But these facts do not “speak for themselves.”  Somebody has to cite the facts and take the trouble to show why unemployment among minority youths skyrocketed when minimum wage increases priced them out of jobs.

The loss of income from an entry-level job is only part of the loss sustained by minority young people.  Work experience at even an entry-level job is a valuable asset, as a stepping stone to progressively higher level jobs.  Moreover, nobody gains from having a huge number of idle youths hanging out on the streets, least of all minority communities.

Labor unions push minimum wage laws to insulate their members from the competition of younger workers, and Democratic politicians are heavily dependent on union support.  For the same reason, Democrats have to go along with teachers’ unions that treat schools as places to guarantee their members jobs, rather than to provide the quality education so much needed to rise out of poverty.

What Democrats cannot say under these conditions is what Republicans are free to say– even if Republicans have seldom taken advantage of that freedom to make inroads into minority voting blocs.  Inroads are all they need.  If the black vote for Democrats falls to 70 percent, the Democrats are in deep trouble.

But if Republicans continue inarticulate, then it is they who are in big trouble. More important, so is the country.

The Wage War

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Last week some flaming liberals in the House of Representatives suggested that the national minimum wage be raised from $7.50 to $10 an hour. (Probably part of the 78-81 communists in the party).

Why stop there? Let’s make it $12, $15 or maybe $25 an hour? Why not? Who wouldn’t want to be paid more.

As I’ve just demonstrated, the $10 figure is purely arbitrary, but according to the Hill Online, representative Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois and about two dozen other liberal Democrats endorsed legislation to raise the federal minimum wage immediately, thinking that this will be a hot election-year issue.

What a great idea! Once again Congress shows how out of touch they are with the business community. Of course the business community is not whom they wish to curry favor. Remember, they are for the working class, supposedly.

The Democrat leadership, however, has been a little less enthusiastic. It’s not that they don’t wish to raise the minimum wage. It’s that they wish to do it slowly, incrementally, so, like the frog, we don’t realize were being boiled alive.

The Politburo, or Democrat leadership if you like, would be more inclined to sign on to a proposal by Sen. Tom (dung heap) Harkin of Iowa. He proposes to gradually raise the rate to $9.80 over three years, but even this proposal has received scant attention from the leadership.

If you recall our beloved president issued a proclamation shortly after his 2008 victory that the minimum wage would be hiked to $9.50 an hour by 2011, but of course the compliant press would never dare call him on it.

Even the idiot consumer advocate Ralph Nader has weighed in on the subject. He said, “you get a conservative voter making eight bucks an hour at Walmart, here she is not going to say, I don’t want $10 and hour because I’m a conservative”.

No Ralph. I would hope that the people at Walmart and every person working would realize that these companies can’t just magically raise wages across the board. I would hope that the employee would say, “Hey, I’d rather make eight dollars an hour and be employed then the promise of $10 an hour and be laid off so the company could afford to pay the $10 an hour to all the other employees by using my paycheck”.

I know these are rhetorical questions, but do these dopes in Congress not understand anything about business? Have they never had to make a payroll? Have they never had to compete for business, maintain a minimum gross margin, had to lay someone off due to a down turn? Silly me. Of course not. When you can print money and deficit spend until after the cows come home, how could you know, or care.

These politicians don’t give a damn about the little guy. The little guy is who employs most Americans. The “Walmarts” of the world would be adversely affected, yes, but it really hurts the small business.

Issues that they never take into consideration are the difference between what an employee takes home in pay compared to his total compensation. Employers must pay for legally required worker benefits that include Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, health and disability insurance benefits, and whatever paid leave benefits they offer, such as vacations, holidays and sick leave. It’s tempting to think of higher minimum wages as an anti-poverty weapon, but such an idea is ridiculous on it’s face. After all, if higher minimum wages could cure poverty, we could easily end worldwide poverty simply by telling poor nations to legislate higher minimum wages.

Poor people are not poor because of low wages. For the most part, they’re poor because of low productivity, and wages are connected to productivity. The effect of minimum wages is that of causing unemployment among low-skilled workers. If an employer must pay $10 an hour, plus mandates that might bring the employment cost of a worker to $14 or $15 an hour, does it pay him to hire a person who has the skills that permit him to produce only $8 worth of value per hour? Most employers would view hiring such a person as a losing economic proposition.

But, you say; are you heartless? Don’t these workers deserve a “Living Wage”? I could ask the same to those minimum wage advocates. Don’t you care about the workers?

The facts are that most studies of minimum wage laws in countries around the world show that fewer people are employed at artificially higher wage rates. Moreover, unemployment falls disproportionately on lower skilled workers, younger and inexperienced workers, and workers from minority groups. In other words, raise the wage rate & create greater unemployment.

A Cato Institute study cited data showing consistent job losses in places where local or regional “living wage” laws have been imposed. This should not be the least bit surprising. Making anything more expensive almost invariably leads to fewer purchases. That includes labor.

As imposed wage rates rise, so do job qualifications, so that less skilled or less experienced workers become “unemployable.” Think about it. Every one of us would be “unemployable” if our pay rates were raised high enough.

Attribution: Walter E Williams

But You Owe Me; Entitlement America

From The Cleveland Current:

In what is sure to inspire some serious ire among all those who once believed Ronald Reagan, that it was the USSR that was the “Evil Empire”, Wyatt Emmerich

analyzes disposable income and economic benefits among several key income classes and comes to the stunning (and verifiable) conclusion.

That is, “a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year.”

And that excludes benefits from Supplemental Security Income disability (SSI). America is now a country which punishes those people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system.

Not surprisingly, we only here of the richest and most audacious thieves, but it is also the penny scammers at the very bottom of the economic ladder that rip us off each and every day, courtesy
of the world’s most generous entitlement system.

The chart tells the story. You can do as well working at minimum wage as you can working $60,000-a-year, full-time, high-stress job:

Stunned? Try it yourself.

Almost all welfare programs have Web sites where you can call up “benefits calculators.” Just plug in your income and family size and, presto, your benefits are automatically calculated.

And if this isn’t enough, here is one that will blow your mind:

If the family provider works only one week a month at minimum wage, he or she makes 92 percent as much as a provider grossing $60,000 a year.

First of all, working one week a month, saves big-time on child care. But the real big-ticket item is Medicaid, which has minimal deductibles and copays. By working only one week a month at a minimum wage job, a provider is able to get total medical coverage for next to nothing.

Compare this to the family provider making $60,000 a year. For a typical Mississippi family, coverage would cost around $12,000. Adding deductibles and copays adds an additional $4,500 or so to the bill. That’s a huge hit.

There is a reason why
a full time worker may not be too excited to learn there is little to show for doing the “right thing.”

The full-time $60,000-a-year job is going to be much more demanding than woring one week a month at minimu wage. Presumably, the low-income parent will have more energy to attend to the various stresses of managing a household.

It gets even scarier if one assumes a little dishonesty is throwin in the equation.

If the one-week-a-month worker maintains an unreported cash-only job on the side, the deal gets better than a regular $60,000-a-year job. In this scenario, you maintain a reportable, payroll deductible, low-income job for federal tax purposes. This allows you to easily establish your qualification for all these welfare programs. Then your black-market job gives
you additional cash without interfering with your benefits. Some economists estimate there is one trillion in unreported income each year in the United States.

This really got me thinking. Just how much money could I get if I set out to deliberately scam the system? Getting a low-paying minimum wage job would set the stage for far more welfare benefits than you could earn in a real job, if you were willing to cheat. Even if you don’t cheat, you could do almost as well working one week a month at minimum wage than busting a gut at a $60,000-a-year job.

Now where it gets plainly out of control is if one throws in Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSI pays $8,088 per year for each “disabled” family member. A person can be deemed “disabled” if they are totally lacking in the cultural and educational skills needed to be employable in the workforce.

If you add $24,262 a year for three disability checks, the lowest paid welfare family would now have far more take-home income than the $60,000-a-year family.

Best of all: being on welfare does not judge you, even if you are stupid enough to take drugs all day.

Most private workplaces require drug testing, but there is no drug testing to get welfare checks.

The welfare system in communist China is far stingier. Those people actually have to work to eat.

Now we finally know that the very bottom of the entitlement food chain makes out like a bandit while us idiot Americans actually work and pay our taxes.