ChrisWeigant.com

The $15 Revolution

[ Posted Wednesday, April 13th, 2016 – 16:45 UTC ]

The fight for a $15-an-hour minimum wage achieved its biggest success last week, when California's governor signed a minimum wage hike that will bring the entire state up to a $15-an-hour minimum within the next few years. This is a milestone for a number of reasons, the most impressive being that it is the first such statewide measure to be enacted in the entire country. But what was really notable about the new California law was the way it happened. Because it was a real vindication of Bernie Sanders's contention that without a "political revolution," nothing much of note will get done in politics these days.

There is a (probably fictional) story from the 1800s of a French politician who, hearing angry crowds in the street, exclaimed: "There go my people -- I must find out where they are going, so I can lead them!" I was reminded of this when I saw Hillary Clinton joining in with Andrew Cuomo while he signed his own version of a minimum wage hike. Clinton was full of praise for the new $15-an-hour minimum wage (which, unlike California's new law, only applies to the New York City area, not statewide). I found this somewhat ironic, considering Clinton has so far only been willing to commit to a $12-an-hour minimum wage. Sanders, who has fully supported the $15-an-hour goal since he started running, was barely mentioned in the media coverage. He certainly wasn't invited to the podium -- instead Clinton tried to take as much credit possible for a law that goes far beyond what she herself is calling for.

Even though New York got much of the attention (they actually scheduled their signing ceremony before California), the California law is much more interesting. Not so much for the statewide aspect, but rather for the way it was enacted.

Governor Jerry Brown and the overwhelmingly-Democratic legislature didn't just wake up one morning and decide to pass the most comprehensive minimum wage hike in the country. What actually happened is they were backed into a corner and grasped at a straw in a desperate attempt to regain some sort of political control over the process.

California's Unions were already well on their way to putting at least one ballot initiative in front of the voters this November (they were actually collecting signatures for two possible initiatives). The people would have had a chance to vote on a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and polling showed the concept was wildly popular and would likely win in a landslide.

This put the legislature in a bind. Timid Democrats weren't all that excited about such a large minimum wage hike, and there were plenty of centrists quite willing to sit back and "study" the issue (indefinitely), so as to avoid having to do anything about it. But with signatures being gathered for a Union ballot initiative, they could see the political writing on the wall. If a minimum wage hike was going to be on the ballot this fall, then there would be a multimillion-dollar ad campaign both for and against it. It would become a defining issue for this election. And then these timid Democrats would have to explain to the voters why they didn't support the issue, and indeed why they hadn't done anything about it themselves. And finally, any law passed by initiative cannot be changed by the legislature -- it requires another initiative to do so.

There was only one way out of this mess. The legislature had to pass their own minimum wage hike, which was the only way the Unions would agree not to put the issue before the voters. There was some tinkering around the edges of the law, mostly to make the legislature and the governor feel better by attempting to regain some political control. The rise to the $15-an-hour minimum would take a year longer than it would have with the ballot initiative. The new law changes the minimum wage every year, and these year-by-year raises could be halted (or at least delayed) if the governor declared some sort of economic emergency. And small businesses would get an extra year to comply. Crucially, the law would be a legislative effort, meaning it could be changed by the legislature in the future. But even with all this tinkering, the core goal of a $15-an-hour minimum wage survived intact.

So a deal was struck, the Unions agreed to back down, and the law passed with blistering speed (within roughly a week's time). Jerry Brown signed it, and all Democratic officeholders gave themselves a big pat on the back.

But none of it would have happened without the type of revolution Bernie Sanders is calling for. The Unions put up their own money and resources to further the effort, but it never would have been a viable threat at all if the people didn't already overwhelmingly support the idea. The politicians -- in a fully Democratically-controlled state government, mind you -- had been doing precisely nothing on the issue before the threat appeared. The only reason they acted, in the end, was largely one of self-preservation. Now no Democrat will have to campaign this year on why they don't support a minimum wage hike. There will be no awkward moments on the campaign trail where Democrats are forced to explain why we should all settle for half a loaf (or even crumbs). No cries for moderation and incremental change will be necessary. Instead the politicians -- even the timid ones -- can claim leadership of a movement they initially tried to ignore.

This was, admittedly, a local example. Bernie Sanders may be hoping for too much when he talks of a national political revolution to force politicians to do the people's bidding in the national government. California Democrats, after all, do not have to even pay attention to California Republicans in the legislature. That's simply not going to be the case in the House of Representatives, even if Bernie does win the presidency.

What happened in California won't happen everywhere, even on the state level. A large number of states (blue and red) don't even have the direct-democracy option of the ballot initiative. So the political threat that worked in California isn't even possible in many places. Even where ballot initiatives do exist, in many states the politicians would rather just let the voters decide (which might lead to the same outcome, by a slightly different route).

Still, what just took place in California was a very quiet political revolution. It's hard to argue that a state minimum wage going from $10 to $15 isn't a radical political step to take. That's not incrementalism, that is downright revolutionary. The people were for such a change, which only goes to prove that it wasn't some fringe "lefty" idea, but in fact a very mainstream idea that a large majority of the public supported. The Unions realized this and used the fact to drive a hard bargain. If they had failed in their bargaining, the people would have gone ahead and made the change anyway. To put it in the most succinct terms possible: The people led. The leaders followed.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

116 Comments on “The $15 Revolution”

  1. [1] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    tough to say what a minimum wage ought to be in an entire state, especially one the size and variety of california. i am absolutely in favor of a living wage for workers, just not sure how it all works when the cost of living is so different from place to place.

  2. [2] 
    Paula wrote:

    Been sick since last Friday -- today went out for brief walk.

    Today's Anecdote: mid-forties black woman power-walking in the neighborhood. What does she think of the election season to date?

    "One word: a joke. It has been insane. I normally don't pay much attention this early but it's on TV. I can't take it seriously -- it's so crazy."

    I asked if she normally votes.

    "Oh yes! I vote."

  3. [3] 
    Paula wrote:

    Chris: I am thrilled about significant minimum wage increases anywhere and everywhere. But while you can link this success in Chicago to Bernie's revolution -- in spirit -- the real work was done by union folks and other activists; work that's been going on now for a few years.

    So when you say: But none of it would have happened without the type of revolution Bernie Sanders is calling for. I have to disagree. It's happening because a lot of people on the ground have been working hard to make it happen. It's change without revolution. It's change by people working the avenues available to them right now.

    Quite possibly "revolution" could/will make these types of advances occur more quickly or sweepingly. We'll see. But that hasn't happened yet.

  4. [4] 
    Paula wrote:

    It's change by people working the avenues available to them right now.

    Which makes the successes, so far, even more remarkable. Because they are coming to fruition after years of toil during a time where people were increasingly for it, but dubious, and leaders were uncommitted and unhelpful.

    I don't think, frankly, that Hillary or Bernie deserve credit for these achievements. Going forward, their support may play a role and credit may be deserved.

  5. [5] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    For what it's worth, NY doesn't have the initiative process that would allow that particular type of pressure and they still passed something pretty good.

    OR did pass a tiered system, as well, but like CA, under the threat of an initiative.

    We've also had elections in very red states that raised the minimum wage, so it will happen, perhaps not at a national level.

    Second thought, next post.

  6. [6] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    The thing to understand about geography is that only some things are subject to the local economy.

    Sure, rent or housing costs are, but a student loan is independent of whether you're living in a wealthier or not so place. Many other examples abound.

    We all need a living wage when we work, otherwise everyone else is making it happen in their taxes, and that's not a subsidy that should happen.

    If someone thinks that the urban number is not appropriate for the rural, then let's make the rural $15, and the urban more than that. Of course, that's fairy dust as a dream right now.

  7. [7] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    The problem with the low/no MinWage folks is that we don't have a "free market" in the sense that would make any such ideology work.

    No one is willing to work 4o hr a week if they can't get by. They are willing to accept too low wages b/c of the safety net. They can get by w/ food stamps, housing assistance, medicaid, etc. All borne by the taxpayer writ large, rather than by businesses and consumer.

    In other words, there is no natural floor on wages. Instead, let's admit that perhaps that $1 fast food burger should really cost $2. Let's say that if you need 40 hr of labor than you need to shell out enough $ to provide a living. That's an honest cost of things (and any free-market thinker should agree with that).

    We can still decide that some things are a bit much and need to be provided or assisted by full gov't: Health care, education (K-12 and higher ed), retirement, what have you.

    At least we'd have people earning a real living and a much more stable economic system (at least until machines force a universal basic income (oh, the real dream)).

  8. [8] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    Hey CW:

    Might or might not have gotten a third comment lost or held.

    S2

  9. [9] 
    Paula wrote:

    [6] Speak 2 f someone thinks that the urban number is not appropriate for the rural, then let's make the rural $15, and the urban more than that. Of course, that's fairy dust as a dream right now.

    Yep! The minimum wage should be about $22/hour.

    I've just started reading a book American Amnesia
    How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper: http://books.simonandschuster.com/American-Amnesia/Jacob-S-Hacker/9781451667820#sthash.LuIovZAt.dpuf: http://books.simonandschuster.com/American-Amnesia/Jacob-S-Hacker/9781451667820

    I'd heard the author on Majority Report with Sam Sedar -- he talks about what he calls "the mixed economy" which he says is what we had in the US during much of the 20th Century -- in which Government and Business were partners rather than adversaries, and it was understood that Government had a constructive and necessary role in protecting citizens and ensuring their well-being. Government was also seen as the vehicle through which a kinds of research was done, the fruits of which were then used by private businesses to create products and make profits. (This I got from the interview -- I'm still in the beginning of the book.)

    A living wage is something we must shoot for, using every tool at our disposal. Embracing positive, effective government is key, I think. We have to replace the "every man for himself" ethos that took over.

  10. [10] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    Here's a second try, in three posts, to keep them from getting too long.

  11. [11] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    The basic problem that much of the conservative and "free-market" ideologies miss when they advocate against a MinWage increase (and even push to get rid of a MinWage completely) is that we don't actually have a free-market economy.

    No one would put in a full-time week if they couldn't get by. They wouldn't really work for an offer of less than that. The only reason people can accept low wages is b/c we subsidize the industries that offer such low wages. These subsidies take the form of food stamps, housing assistance, education benefits, medicaid, tax credits, etc. With such benefits, someone can take low wage work b/c the taxpayer is making up the difference. It certainly isn't a "free-market" approach to an economy and this "safety net" is not a benefit to the worker, but rather a subsidy to the business owner, investor, and consumer who doesn't have to pay fair and reasonable costs for the labor they require.

  12. [12] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    What the real fight is about is this: If you work full time, then you should earn a living. We should define that living as one adult and one dependent (presumably, the costs associated with a child) living modestly. It's minimum wage, so you couldn't afford a house, but you could afford rent, clothes, food, transportation (again, MinWage might mean public transportation if the local area has it), supplies (such as school supplies for the dependent). Nothing extravagant, just the basics. You shouldn't need food stamps, you shouldn't need housing assistance, you shouldn't need much of the "safety net." The taxpayer shouldn't have to support the average day-to-day of your existence.

  13. [13] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    There's still room for gov't, but it's at the level where MinWage jobs really can't cover: Health care, education (K-12 and higher ed), retirement security. Basically, the really big things that the public sector does better than the private sector. We can add in the single parent with more than one dependent as part of what the public sector covers that the private sector can't, if necessary.

    For this to happen, we all have to understand that a $1 burger should really cost $2. That is, if you require 40 of labor (or 48 or 30 or whatever we define as full time) then you need to pay for such labor costs. This is true whether you are the business owner or the consumer.

    This is the essential attitudinal change that needs to happen, at least until machines force us to do the universal basic income thing (oh, one can dream).

  14. [14] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    There's still room for gov't, but it's at the level where MinWage jobs really can't cover: Health care, education (K-12 and higher ed), retirement security. Basically, the really big things that the public sector does better than the private sector. We can add in the single parent with more than one dependent as part of what the public sector covers that the private sector can't, if necessary.

  15. [15] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    For this to happen, we all have to understand that a $1 burger should really cost $2. That is, if you require 40 of labor (or 48 or 30 or whatever we define as full time) then you need to pay for such labor costs. This is true whether you are the business owner or the consumer.

    This is the essential attitudinal change that needs to happen, at least until machines force us to do the univeral basic income thing (oh, one can dream).

  16. [16] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    It's actually four posts, having trouble getting the final one through. Maybe it will appear in the AM. If not, will repost the culmination.

  17. [17] 
    Paula wrote:

    Speak2: I'd replied to you earlier and it got eaten. Hopefully will show tomorrow!

  18. [18] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Paula and Speak2 -

    Comments have been freed. Sorry for the delay...

    -CW

  19. [19] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Paula -

    Oh, I agree, the Unions deserve a lot of credit. But my point remains. I'm not saying Bernie is directly responsible for the min wage hikes in any way, but I am saying his political philosophy is a good description of how it happened. A few years ago, $15 seemed like a pipe dream, only supported by some radicals in the street. Some fast food workers protested for a day, but it would never happen politically. It wasn't reasonable, or achievable, according to the politicians (even the liberal ones).

    Then the movement began growing, and min wage hikes started passing both at the local level (cities and counties) and at the state level (even in red states). The Unions began to believe $15 was within reach. They pegged their efforts to the $15 movement, and began a major push. This is what just worked in CA.

    But they would likely have not gone with the $15 goal absent the movement. Even if the Unions had managed to force a new law, it probably would have been a lot more modest. But suddenly the pipe dream began looking a lot more realistic.

    It was a grassroots movement that convinced the natural allies (the Unions) of its viability through the strength of its support. So when the hard bargain was driven, $15 was the only thing the Unions would accept.

    That is the power of a political revolution, on one single issue. No, Bernie didn't have anything directly to do with it, but his framework for change was indeed how it happened. Jerry Brown and the Dems in the legislature would likely gladly have settled (like Clinton) for $12 an hour, but the people were ready for a more revolutionary approach -- which succeeded.

    This is counter to the Clinton view that political change needs to be small and reasonable to have any chance of happening. Which is why it rubbed me the wrong way to see her on the stage glomming onto the credit, personally.

    -CW

  20. [20] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Paula -

    I should also mention this is why a whole lot of progressives have been disappointed with Obama, too. He always seemed happy to settle for the incremental approach rather than trying to whip up support at the grassroots for something that once seemed like only a pipe dream.

    -CW

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    WHEN prices rise, demand falls. Exceptions to the most basic rule of markets are curiosities—the kind of thing an economist might bore you with at a dinner party. Set carefully, minimum wages can provide such an example. But policymakers must not assume this is a cast-iron law. Big rises in minimum wages are a gamble with people’s futures.
    http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21659741-global-movement-toward-much-higher-minimum-wages-dangerous-reckless-wager

    It's great for the people who will still have jobs...

    But what about the people who will LOSE their jobs???

    Nobody wants to address that... :^/

    Michale

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    With the rise in automation and robotic technology, this is abso-tively and posi-loutly the WORST time to raise the costs to business of human workers..

    Those who demand a "living wage", which these days consists of being able to have their 70" TV and a PS4, might find themselves replaced by an algorithm..

    If one wants higher pay in their jobs, here's a unique idea...

    EARN IT....

    Michale

  23. [23] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    The bottom line is that if you could do the job yourself you wouldn't hire someone else to work for you. If you are not paying the person you hire enough money to live on based on a 40 hour work week (food, housing, transportation, medical care and taxes) then you are stealing their labor.
    If you can't sell your product or service at price that covers your infrastructure costs, material costs, pays your workers a living wage and make a profit- then you have a business model that doesn't work and you should go out of business. The solution is not to make your profit while you steal from your workers.
    Pure free market ideology only works in the hypothetical world. In the real world people use it as an excuse to take advantage of other people. That is why we have government- to make sure that those that have the power to take advantage of other people don't get away with it.
    And other businesses that pay their workers a living wage should not have to subsidize their competition through all the government programs that help their underpaid workers.
    Example:
    Company A: 10 workers getting paid 20 thousand a year. 500 thousand post infrastructure and material costs. About 230 thousand worker pay and employer taxes. About 270 thousand profit. Workers getting government assistance.
    Company B: 10 workers getting paid 30 thousand a year. 500 thousand post infrastructure and material costs. About 340 thousand worker pay and employer taxes. About 160 thousand profit. Workers not getting government assistance.
    Where does the money for the government assistance come from? We are told we can't charge the owner of Company A higher taxes because they are job creators and that would be punishing success. We can't charge Company A workers because they don't make enough to pay taxes.
    That leaves the owner of Company B and it's workers to pay the taxes that subsidize Company A.
    But simply raising taxes on the owner of Company A based on the 270 thousand profit is unfair to Company C, a company with 20 workers that pays its workers 30 thousand a year but does more business and makes a profit of about 350 thousand.
    Most citizens are not upset with people that get rich using the business model in B and C. It's the Company A's that are the problem.
    We should tax businesses that do not pay their workers a living wage in the following manner.
    Minimum wage 10 dollars an hour. Living wage 15 dollars an hour. Any business that pays any of it's workers less than the living wage is allowed to earn 50 thousand dollars that will be taxed at the regular rate for that amount of profit. It makes no difference if that business is a mom and pop store with three part time employees or a giant corporation with hundreds or thousands of employees.
    Everything they earn over 50 thousand would be taxed at a rate of 75 to 95% (the bigger the company, the higher the rate) on the amount over 50 thousand until they have paid for the difference in what they pay their workers and the living wage, plus the cost of administrating the government programs that subsidize their workers. Once they have covered this amount then the rest of their earnings would again be taxed at the regular rate.
    This would actually make it less profitable to underpay your workers and give Companies B and C a level playing field to compete with Company A without punishing businesses that are starting out or struggling to survive.

  24. [24] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CW-
    The concept of how this was achieved is the same basic idea of Voucher Vendetta.
    The Tea Party has proven that taking on the establishment candidates can work. Bernie has proven that small contributions can work. This story about the living wage shows people can achieve things that were thought to be impossible. Many internet campaigns have moved the public discourse.
    Voucher vendetta combines these proven approaches.
    Isn't it time to inform citizens that do not read your column on this website about Voucher Vendetta in a column like your Friday Talking Points that appears on the Huffington Post ?

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    Don,

    If you are not paying the person you hire enough money to live on based on a 40 hour work week (food, housing, transportation, medical care and taxes) then you are stealing their labor.

    I have to disagree with you, my friend..

    The *ONLY* determining factor for pay for labor is the job itself... The complexity of the job and the educational requirements..

    What a person desires for pay is completely and logically irrelevant to the determination...

    Using your rationale, a doctor or a lawyer or a CEO SHOULDN'T be paid the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for their work..

    Because no one NEEDS to make that kind of money..

    What a person WANTS to make or even NEEDS to make is completely and 1000% not relevant to determine pay scale...

    If it were, then someone who flips burgers would be paid the same wage as a cop on the streets...

    And that's ridiculous...

    Michale

  26. [26] 
    John M wrote:

    Paula wrote:

    "Which makes the successes, so far, even more remarkable. Because they are coming to fruition after years of toil during a time where people were increasingly for it, but dubious, and leaders were uncommitted and unhelpful."

    Which is exactly the same thing that could be said about the ultimate success regarding the legalization of same sex or gay marriage.

    Oh, by the way Michale, we are rapidly coming up on the one year anniversary of that. As I recall, you were emphatic that we would see ministers and churches being sued and forced to conduct marriages because of that. Not once such case has happened. Care to admit that you were wrong about that yet? :-D

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    I mean imagine the chaos if "need" is the only determining factor for pay scale..

    2 Employees at McDonalds.. Flipping burgers..

    ONE employee is a model citizen. Always on time, never been in legal trouble, not even a traffic ticket...

    The other employee has child support payments, fines for DUIs and a drug habit..

    Using the "NEED" rationale for pay purposes, the scumbag would be paid 3 times the amount that the good employee would get..

    The scumbag is REWARDED with higher pay for being a scumbag...

    Pretty ridiculous, iddn't it??

    Owning a business is not being a welfare agency... If an employee wants to earn more pay, let them do more work... Or work 2 jobs.. When I was in high school, I held down THREE jobs.. AND went to school...

    Of course, back then people weren't HANDED a middle-class living.. Back then, people actually WORKED for it...

    Michale

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oh, by the way Michale, we are rapidly coming up on the one year anniversary of that. As I recall, you were emphatic that we would see ministers and churches being sued and forced to conduct marriages because of that. Not once such case has happened. Care to admit that you were wrong about that yet? :-D

    No.. We're not seeing churches and ministers sued because said churches and said ministers are scared so they are performing the ceremonies...

    The tyranny and terrorism of the minority at work... :D

    It's not about equal rights. It's about special rights... Legalized persecution of religious people...

    Ya must be so proud.. :^/

    Michale

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    JM,

    I am also constrained to point out it's not all peaches and cream for the religious..

    https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=church%20sued%20for%20refusing%20gay%20wedding

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    JM,

    I am also constrained to point out it's not all peaches and cream for the religious..

    https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=church%20sued%20for%20refusing%20gay%20wedding

  31. [31] 
    John M wrote:

    Michale wrote:

    "Those who demand a "living wage", which these days consists of being able to have their 70" TV and a PS4, might find themselves replaced by an algorithm."

    One way around that, which has been proposed, and that even some conservatives love, would be to replace all existing welfare programs, except maybe for social security and national health insurance, with a direct payment of a guaranteed national income instead. Make it a requirement that everyone have a bank account into which it would be deposited, in order to get it. A one time payment, every year, of say 25,000 dollars, regardless of income. You could spend it however you wanted. If you ran out of money before the next payment the following year, that would be your own bad management and tough luck. If you did not want to work, or could not work, or weren't creative enough because you were replaced by a robot, so what. You'd still have a basic income. If you had a job that paid you another 100,000 a year on top of that 25,000, then great, but again, so what. Studies have shown that such a system would actually be cheaper than our current system of welfare payments because there would be so much less overhead, and gaming of the system, etc. I only use 25,00 as an example. It would be set above whatever the poverty line is, and indexed for inflation, etc. You would not even have a need for a minimum wage law.

    If Alaska can do something like it on a state level, with oil profit revenue payments once a year to every adult resident, why not expand something similar to a national level?

  32. [32] 
    John M wrote:

    By the way Michale, that supposed case of ministers in Idaho being force to perform a gay marriage has been repeatedly debunked. They were not in fact ministers or a church, but a for profit wedding company being run by what amounted to a couple clerks who had legal authority to perform non-religious wedding ceremonies, and were therefore covered by secular non-discrimination laws, if I remember correctly.

  33. [33] 
    John M wrote:

    Also, the way around being replaced by robots or even having a minimum wage law at all, would be to replace all current welfare programs with a guaranteed national minimum income instead. It would be cheaper than current welfare, and a lot easier to administer. It would not kill incentive or ambition, because everyone who wanted to and were able to, could still get a job that would pay them above and beyond in addition to whatever minimum income they were getting from the government. You would get a payment, once a year, deposited into your bank account, similar to what Alaska already does. If you ran out of money, spent unwisely, mismanaged things, before your next yearly payment, that would all be on you.

  34. [34] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M - Update on some comments U and I exchanged on April 4....

    You:

    Why don't you run those models on the 2014 elections and see how the fare.. :D

    I'd be more inclined to accept your models if they accurately "predict" the 2014 Nuclear Shellacking...

    Me:

    More to the point, analyzing Senate elections with my electoral college models would be like analyzing a submarine with a flight simulator.

    Well, I did a little house cleaning to my Models and Simulations folder this am. It's back-up day! Inside a sub-folder dedicated to Presidential Simulations I found I HAD built a submarine/senate simulator. I had clean forgotten that....but I write a lot of models and it was 4 yrs ago! (I also forget where I've put my car keys about once a week.

    I couldn't find a lot of data to populate my Senate sim, since prediction markets (and bookies) only covered a few states and the market volumes on these states were small. Only the NYT and 538 gave complete state by state data for all the races.

    Just before the election, my model using "borrowed" NYT state by state data gave the Dems a 34% chance of retaining Senate control, with a most likely loss of about 6 seats. The 538 raw data gave a very similar outcome, also a 34% chance of Dems retaining senate control, with a most likely loss of 7.

    I would say my model gave two fairly accurate forecasts of a shellacking. The actual loss of seats was 9, and both data sets gave odds of about 25% that the Dems would lose 9 or more seats. Not a good year for the Democrats.

  35. [35] 
    John M wrote:

    AArgh!! I've made two posts now about, or tried to, regarding a national minimum income, and both have been swallowed up as well. Hopefully they will show up eventually.

  36. [36] 
    neilm wrote:

    Michale [25]

    These naive Ayn-Rand-type solutions (i.e no income protection) fail, just like Communism, to take human venality into account. The system of checks and balances we have are important because a lot of people's behavior sucks when they can distance injustice (physically or intellectually).

    Minimum wages are a poor mechanism to balance this power struggle, but politically acceptable in the U.S. in 2016.

    As an example of the power of capital over labor, look at the practices of Walmart, who for many years figured out that they could find just enough desperate people to work for a wage below survival level because the government, in the form of food stamps, etc. would make up the difference to keep them alive. This resulted in tax payers subsidizing the wage bill for Walmart, a company owned by some of the richest people on the planet whose only qualification for that 'job' was to have shared bodily fluids or genes with the late Sam Walton.

  37. [37] 
    neilm wrote:

    Michale [25]

    These naive Ayn-Rand-type solutions (i.e no income protection) fail, just like Communism, to take human venality into account. The system of checks and balances we have are important because a lot of people's behavior is appalling when they can distance injustice (physically or intellectually).

    Minimum wages are a poor mechanism to balance this power struggle, but politically acceptable in the U.S. in 2016.

    As an example of the power of capital over labor, look at the practices of Walmart, who for many years figured out that they could find just enough desperate people to work for a wage below survival level because the government, in the form of food stamps, etc. would make up the difference to keep them alive. This resulted in tax payers subsidizing the wage bill for Walmart, a company owned by some of the richest people on the planet whose only qualification for that 'job' was to have shared bodily fluids or genes with the late Sam Walton.

  38. [38] 
    neilm wrote:

    Michale [25]

    This is as naive as Communism.

  39. [39] 
    Bleyd wrote:

    nypoet22 [1]
    I agree with that statement fully, and scaling it up to nation-wide makes it even worse.

    A $15 minimum wage will work in some places, but others not so much. New York and California have relatively high costs of living, so for people there, a $15 minimum wage may seem like a necessity.

    However, I live in Texas, where we have one of the lower costs of living in the nation, and $15 an hour would be excessive. About 5 years ago I was making $12 an hour and living comfortably in a small town in a pretty large, upscale apartment with a top end cable package while making some student loan payments. I wasn't adding to my savings, but I wasn't going into debt either, I was breaking even financially. I could have still been making a living wage at closer to $9 an hour there. I imagine that wouldn't have been possible in some other states, but that's the point.

    For some states, a $15 minimum wage probably is merely a living wage, but where I live, it's far more than that, and really would cause big problems for smaller businesses.

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    By the way Michale, that supposed case of ministers in Idaho being force to perform a gay marriage has been repeatedly debunked. They were not in fact ministers or a church, but a for profit wedding company being run by what amounted to a couple clerks who had legal authority to perform non-religious wedding ceremonies, and were therefore covered by secular non-discrimination laws, if I remember correctly.

    Yes.. You may have debunked ONE claim..

    Now go ahead and try all the other claims.. :D

    neil,

    Michale [25]

    This is as naive as Communism.

    How so???

    Are you honestly saying that a person's DESIRE should figure into the pay scale??

    THAT is pure communism... From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs

    TS,

    M - Update on some comments U and I exchanged on April 4....

    I'll conditionally concede the point because I barely remember 10 hours ago, let alone 10 days ago. :D

    Michale

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    JM

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/churches-that-refuse-to-perform-gay-marriages-may-lose-insurance-coverage

    So much for Freedom Of Religion...

    The VERY FIRST freedom mentioned in the Bill Of Rights..

    Michale

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    Americans can't even support their chosen Presidential Candidate without the PC police destroying their efforts...

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3538882/Tulane-University-fraternity-causes-uproar-campus-erecting-Trump-wall.html

    It's a pretty sad country that the Democrat Party has created....

    Michale

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    JM,

    Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage—when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples. Indeed, the Solicitor General candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage. See Tr. of Oral Arg. on Question 1, at 36–38. There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this Court. Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.
    -Chief Justice Roberts.

    Basically Democrats have given the hysterical nutjobs in the gay community license to legally and forcefully discriminate against those of religious affiliations...

    Hurray... :^/

    Michale

  44. [44] 
    neilm wrote:

    This is as naive as Communism.

    How so???

    It does not take into account people's venality, the negative effects of capitalism, and power. This no-holds-barred approach has a naive expectation of the outcome from a labor/capital balance. Once capital has the economic requirement to decrease wage costs, the race to the bottom is an inevitable result.

    You are a Trumpeter - so I presume you want Trump's protectionist policies towards China, etc. Trade barriers are simply another mechanism to prop up wages, but a far more destructive mechanism.

    If you don't want a minimum wage, you can't, with intellectual integrity, continue to support Trump.

  45. [45] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale(25)
    You are not using my rationale when you talk about doctors, lawyers, etc. and how what some wants or needs to make for performing the required job is not relevant to what they are paid.
    My point was that the person who owns the burger joint cannot possibly cook the burgers, man the cash register, sweep the floor, etc. all by him or herself. If he is paying his workers a living wage while making a profit I have no problem with whatever profit he makes. But if he or she is making his profit by exploiting free market pressure to take advantage of his workers that are on the receiving end of that pressure it is wrong.
    It is similar to price gouging in an emergency or natural disaster. For example, A lumber yard that sells 4x8 sheets of plywood for the regular price of 25 dollars taking advantage of supply and demand by charging 75 dollars for that same sheet of plywood when a hurricane is coming. No one would complain if they spent extra money to bring extra plywood for the emergency and charged 30 or 35 dollars to cover the extra cost, but the government steps in and says no to 75 dollars a sheet.
    The government should also step in when employers take advantage of their position of power to exploit the workers desperate for a job. This not only protects the workers, it protects the employers that do pay a living wage from having to subsidize and compete against the employers that don't giving the employers that don't pay a living wage an unearned and undeserved advantage.
    The living wage is basic pay that applies to any job, any skill or any expertise. Doctors ,lawyers, CEOs or anyone with more than the basic skills or expertise deserves to make more than a living wage but that is up to the employers and employees to work out because that has nothing to do with the basic level of employment covered by the living wage.

  46. [46] 
    Paula wrote:

    [20] Chris: Oh yes, I was often one of them! Although, Obama's incrementalism was typically aimed at his dealing with Republicans -- he would give away too much out of the gate and end up accepting too little and it was maddening!

    [19] I guess I'm confused about how you are defining revolution. You are kind of using the words "movement" and "revolution" interchangeably. I see these Minimum wage victories as the results of movement activities versus revolution activities. Maybe it's just semantics. You are right that a few years ago $15/hour was pretty unthinkable. And definitely the ideas Bernie is running on -- some of which seem like pipe dreams to many -- will turn into actuality. They start by being put on the table -- they have to be put on the table. If people continue to push while educating the public they go from being "extreme" and "impossible" to the next logical step.

    To me that's the dance. Activists start by presenting the ideal. Opponents resist -- initially. If the pressure continues, opponents begin to negotiate. Depending on how things are handled by both sides you start to get results ranging from minimalist to the whole enchilada.

    As John M notes [26] you get Gay Marriage. Or $15 minimum wage. Or, I hope, a Public Option and eventually Medicare for All. Etc.

  47. [47] 
    Paula wrote:

    [40] Don Harris:
    The living wage is basic pay that applies to any job, any skill or any expertise. Doctors ,lawyers, CEOs or anyone with more than the basic skills or expertise deserves to make more than a living wage but that is up to the employers and employees to work out because that has nothing to do with the basic level of employment covered by the living wage.

    Yep!

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    Neil,

    If you don't want a minimum wage, you can't, with intellectual integrity, continue to support Trump.

    Who says I don't want minimum wage???

    But ya'all's reasoning is that the "minimum wage" for menial jobs MUST be equivelant to what a patrol officer makes or what a college grad makes..

    And THAT is moronic...

    There is only ONE factor necessary to determine wages...

    And THAT is the nature of the job..... PERIOD...

    Michale

  49. [49] 
    Paula wrote:

    Opponents of a living wage look at jobs outside of their context.

    Jobs are constructs, like money is a construct, like economies are constructs. They are ideas we all agree on. We agree on them because through cooperative use of them we benefit.

    At any point people could stop using money. Or change what money is. We've gone from gold to paper to bytes. We can't eat any of those things.

    Without other people money has no value. If you are the last person on earth you could command all the money in the world and what good would it do you? Money is inextricably tied to people. Money is cooperative.

    If you want to play football you need players and you need rules. One team can win, the other lose, but everyone needs to survive so that you can play again. If one team is so overwhelming it always wins the other team will either quit playing altogether or begin focusing on how to weaken their opponent. Or both. If the losing team is so starved of resources the players become weak and ill or die, there's no one for the other team to play. It's more fun for everyone if both teams are strong and healthy and there's actual suspense involved.

    If you want to make money and enjoy any benefit from the having of it there has to be other people around who make the products and provide the services that you can purchase with your money. If the people you purchase from are healthy and cheery it's more pleasant for everyone. If the people you purchase from are sick, angry, depressed or on the verge of violence, it's not pleasant, and it could become dangerous or even fatal.

    The economy is run from the top. Individuals have no say in setting the terms and conditions in which they live. To expect people to labor full-time and not be able to earn enough to pay reasonable expenses and have some left over for savings and fun is sadistic, counter-productive and eventually unsustainable.

    It is also doable. It's been done before. The transition will require transition meaning some businesses fail. But others begin to thrive and new ones are born.

    Money only has value when its moving between living beings.

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    My point was that the person who owns the burger joint cannot possibly cook the burgers, man the cash register, sweep the floor, etc. all by him or herself.

    That's why he hires people to do it for them..

    But he doesn't pay them what they WANT to be paid. He pays them according to what the job entails....

    Is he going to pay the guy flipping burgers at the same rate he pays his tax accountant??

    According to ya'all, he should...

    If he is paying his workers a living wage while making a profit I have no problem with whatever profit he makes.

    Define "living" wage....

    For most menial employees, it means covering the car payment, the drugs, the 70" LED SMART TV and the XBOX ONE..

    To this generation, THAT is a "living" wage...

    And THAT is utter felgercarb...

    It used to be one worked hard to have nice things.. Now all one has to do is piss a bitch and sue and all of the sudden, it's all provided with little or no work required...

    Michale

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    It is also doable. It's been done before. The transition will require transition meaning some businesses fail.

    Oh some businesses fail.. And what happens to those employees?? They lose their jobs..

    So, instead of paying a DECENT wage and have more people employed... Ya'all want am EXORBITANTLY high wage for SOME and the rest are on welfare....

    Which is the goal of this particular agenda.. To put MORE people on the government dole and, once they are enslaved by the dole, they will always vote for the people who will CONTINUE the dole...

    Democrats...

    Nice scam... But most Americans want to EARN their way, not have it handed to them with a multitude of strings attached...

    Michale

  52. [52] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale
    You are the only one saying the burger flippers should be paid the same as the tax accountants and that the living should include more than the basic necessities listed in comment 23.
    The job entailing basic skills gets paid a basic living wage. The tax accountant gets paid more because of the special skills required for that job.
    Less than a living wage is not a decent wage.
    The people that lose basic skill jobs that steal their labor by paying less than a living wage if that company folds because they can't make a profit if they pay a living wage will find jobs at the companies that do pay a living wage that will then be more successful and hire more employees because they don't have to compete on an unlevel playing field with the companies that don't pay a living wage.
    It is the businesses that have the wages of their employees subsidized by the safety net programs that are on the government dole- not the employees. There would be no need for the government to supplement the wages of workers if their employers paid them a living wage.

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    High wages are NOT a right..

    They are a privilege.. A privilege that must be EARNED for them to have ANY meaning whatsoever...

    Michale

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    Define "living" wage....

    For most menial employees, it means covering the car payment, the drugs, the 70" LED SMART TV and the XBOX ONE..

    To this generation, THAT is a "living" wage...

    I *NEED* my PS4 and 70" LED SMART TV to live...

    Please pay me more so I can have those things...

    I also have a couple DUIs so I need more money to pay those fines...

    Oh and I'm a playa so I have kids all over the city that I have to provide child support for.

    That's my "living wage" pops... Pay up...
    -Democrat Voter

    The Democrat Party at work... :^/

    Michale

  55. [55] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW

    Negotiations starting from a strong position with lofty goals is the only way to get a good deal in the end.

    It's business 101 whether we're talking about bargaining at a flea market or negotiations in a boardroom.

    The audacity of Obama and Hillary is in caving in to the business interests that fund their campaigns by arguing that incrementalism is the only realistic path and violating a basic rule of business. Their funders don't negotiate that way, and they'd probably lose their jobs if they did.

    A

  56. [56] 
    altohone wrote:

    Paula

    Bernie's approach is revolutionary because it is a departure from the status quo.

    A

  57. [57] 
    Michale wrote:

    Go ahead, burger flippers...

    Demand $15 bucks an hour..

    Here's The Burger-Flipping Robot That Could Put Fast-Food Workers Out Of A Job
    http://www.businessinsider.com/momentum-machines-burger-robot-2014-8

    You'll demand yerselves right out of a job and then you can join the unemployment line and the welfare rolls....

    Which is the goal of this entire agenda.. Put people out of work and dependent on a Democrat Party government...

    Michale

  58. [58] 
    altohone wrote:

    Bleyd

    Five years ago $12 and hour is about the equivalent of $15 today.

    Plus, $15 per hour in NY, LA, SF or any expensive area means you will be living in a shit hole, and struggling to make ends meet... so the comparison really needs to take into account just how expensive those places really are... and it's going to be years before the wages actually hit $15, so adjusting for inflation makes it even less generous than it seems.

    And, I would also argue that savings aren't a luxury.
    Unusual or unexpected expenses are guaranteed to come up, and retirement on Social Security alone is a hard way to spend your final days.
    But job losses, car repairs, natural disasters, medical problems... something is going to come up inevitably.

    So, at $12 per hour five years ago in an area with a low cost of living and you weren't able to save any money suggests that the low cost of living argument is a bit overhyped.

    It also seems to me, that inherent in the low cost of living argument there is a notion that poorer areas should stay poorer... whether rural areas or bad neighborhoods... and that is also problematic for a country with a name that begins with the word "United".

    A

  59. [59] 
    Paula wrote:

    Burger-flippers work within a system in which owners of burger-flipping establishments make profits as a result of the burger-flippers labors. Those same owners make profits because customers have the money to purchase the burgers.

    Burger-flippers live in a world where bills have to be paid. Burger-flippers have extremely limited control over what the amounts on those bills will be. They don't get to set their rates for electricity, water, trash-removal, gas, insurance, transportation, housing, sales-tax, other taxes, food, etc. Their control is mostly in the areas of reductions of usage, but even that can only go so far. And by having little or no discretionary income these burger-flippers can't go out in the world and support other businesses.

    Most burger-flippers aren't homeless because we taxpayers step in through various social programs to help make up, to a degree, the difference between what the burger-flipper earns and what he/she needs for survival.

    The burger joint's owner(s) can therefore continue to pay people less than a living wage because the shortfalls are made up for by all of us who pay taxes.

    If we stop subsidizing businesses in this way there will be hardship and there will be trouble. Maybe, in the end, there would be living wages because people would figure out it's in our collective best interest not to shortchange our population.

    Or we could recognize that now and stop shortchanging the population without first imposing hardship or trouble. Smart countries do that, and have done it around the world. Foolish countries wait to be forced.

    Michale sneers at burger-flippers. They do not deserve a living wage because they don't, in his view, possess enough skill to merit it. Yet the owners profit from their labors. So their labors do have value. So one of the questions is: if you added up the costs and subtracted it from the profits, is there enough left over to pay the workers a living wage or isn't there? If there isn't, can that be changed? By improvements in service delivery, equipment, training, etc.? Could you pay enough if you reduced the workforce by some reasonable amount? Or is the business such that it is impossible to do? If so, maybe it needs to be shuttered.

    There are those who believe it doesn't matter that there's more than enough to pay workers a living wage, the owners should be able to keep every dime they can and let the workers eat cake. Verizon workers are striking right now because the company has huge profits but keeps moving jobs out of the country and in other ways hurting their workforce.

    It's a choice.

    In my view, we can work on the question of how to pay people a living wage or we can work on the question of how to deal with not paying people a living wage. I choose the former.

  60. [60] 
    Paula wrote:

    [52] A: yep.

  61. [61] 
    Paula wrote:

    Chris: my comment was eaten.

  62. [62] 
    Michale wrote:

    You'll demand yerselves right out of a job and then you can join the unemployment line and the welfare rolls....

    Pigs get fed....

    Hogs get slaughtered....

    Michale

  63. [63] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale-
    You are the only one that mentioned paying menial workers the same as a tax accountant or 70" televisions. The accountant gets paid more than the living wage because he has more skills.
    Less than a living wage is not a decent wage. The living wage only covers what was mentioned in comment 23- food, housing, transportation, medical care and taxes.
    The people on the government dole are the employers that don't pay a living wage- not the employees. The living wage would not only help the employees it would help the employers that do pay a living wage because they would no longer have to subsidize and would be able to compete with the employers that are currently gaining an unfair advantage by paying lees than a living wage.
    If the employers paying less than a living wage go out of business their employees will get better paying jobs from the employers that do pay a living wage because their businesses will no longer have to compete with bad actors so their business will grow and they will hire more employees.

  64. [64] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    The people led. The leaders followed.

    That is indeed a refreshing dynamic and one that all Californians can be rightly proud of.

    Let's acknowledge, though, that there are two parts to such a revolution which are both required for successful outcomes. The people need to be proactive and the leaders need to act.

    In the special case of California, you have "up-wing" leadership in the form of Governor Brown, who has a carefully honed ability to govern with a future-oriented progressive vision and the requisite pragmatism in order to put sound policy in place that will benefit the state and all of its citizens.

    Too bad that Governor Brown couldn't be persuaded to set his work for the people of California aside to run for president again. California's gain, America's loss. You win some, you lose some.

  65. [65] 
    Michale wrote:

    You are the only one that mentioned paying menial workers the same as a tax accountant or 70" televisions. The accountant gets paid more than the living wage because he has more skills.

    Exactly!!

    Why would you want to pay someone that flips burgers the same amount as a starting police officer??

    Less than a living wage is not a decent wage.

    You have yet to define "living wage".. Until you do that, we can't discuss the issue logically..

    Michale

  66. [66] 
    Michale wrote:

    If the employers paying less than a living wage go out of business their employees will get better paying jobs from the employers that do pay a living wage because their businesses will no longer have to compete with bad actors so their business will grow and they will hire more employees.

    And where are these "better paying jobs"???

    You DO know that almost 100 million americans have LEFT the job market because there ARE NO JOBS...

    So, where are all these better paying jobs you think are out there???

    Michale

  67. [67] 
    Michale wrote:

    And while we're at it, where is all this new money going to come from to increase the minimum wage to the amount that a 1st year police officer makes??

    It's going to come from higher prices...

    And, when these higher prices drive away business, it will cause the business to fold and then there will be MORE people without jobs...

    Ya'all seem to think it's a rosy utopia where money grows on trees...

    In places where the minimum wage has been pushed up, businesses have closed...

    You can't get blood from a stone..

    THAT's the part ya'all just don't get...

    Michale

  68. [68] 
    Michale wrote:

    You are the only one that mentioned paying menial workers the same as a tax accountant or 70" televisions.

    That's because I am the only one to look at the issue without the blinders of ideological slavery..

    Ya know.. REALITY.....

    Michale

  69. [69] 
    Michale wrote:

    REALITY
    shiftwa.org/more-seattle-restaurants-close-doors-as-15-minimum-wage-approaches/

    REALITY
    businessinsider.com/raising-the-minimum-wage-to-15-an-hour-would-hurt-millions-of-vulnerable-people-2015-4

    REALITY
    nypost.com/2016/03/12/how-the-15-wage-is-already-killing-seattle-jobs/

    REALITY
    forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2015/04/30/and-here-is-as-we-said-the-effect-of-seattles-15-an-hour-minimum-wage-on-employment/#404724a11063

    REALITY
    reason.com/blog/2015/10/14/sorry-bernie-sanders-raising-the-minimum

    That's the reality, people....

    No amount of starry-eyed, blinder infused, hopey changey crap will change the reality...

    It's THAT simple...

    Michale

  70. [70] 
    Michale wrote:

    Neil,

    You say that you always read The Economist and trust it's findings..

    Economists have been grappling for decades with whether (and by how much) a higher minimum wage affects employment. A paper by David Neumark of the University of California (on the very useful IZA World of Labor's website) summarizes the literature. Most studies show there is an impact with a 10% rise in the minimum wage causing around a 2% drop in employment for affected workers (normally the young and low-skilled). This is not the same as saying that overall employment will fall by the same amount.

    The paper also shows that a higher minimum wage may not be as effective in tackling poverty as many hope. Low-wage workers don't all belong to low-income families. Mr Neumark notes that, in 2008
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2016/04/minimum-wages

    Still do???

    Michale

  71. [71] 
    Michale wrote:

    Neil,

    You say that you always read The Economist and trust it's findings..

    Economists have been grappling for decades with whether (and by how much) a higher minimum wage affects employment. A paper by David Neumark of the University of California (on the very useful IZA World of Labor's website) summarizes the literature. Most studies show there is an impact with a 10% rise in the minimum wage causing around a 2% drop in employment for affected workers (normally the young and low-skilled). This is not the same as saying that overall employment will fall by the same amount.

    The paper also shows that a higher minimum wage may not be as effective in tackling poverty as many hope. Low-wage workers don't all belong to low-income families. Mr Neumark notes that, in 2008

    Still do???

    Michale

  72. [72] 
    Michale wrote:
  73. [73] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Michale, is this your cut and paste minimum wage argument adjusted for inflation? Last time the poor got a 63" inch television. Heh...

  74. [74] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    Thanks for the release CW.

    Paula [9]: I completely agree. There are simply some things Gov't is better at. Bridges and roads require we all chip in something rather than do it individually. Basic research (in which the payoff is a long way out). Medicare is Gov't for a reason. There is truly no way for health care of seniors to be both affordable to the individual and profitable for the provider. Many other things as well.

  75. [75] 
    Bleyd wrote:

    altohone [52]

    You missed my point. It's not lost on me that places like New York or California may need a minimum wage of $15 in order for it to be a living wage, the issue is that that's not the case for the entire country. Trying to force a wage that high on an area with a lower cost of living, like Texas, would be excessive and likely cripple small businesses (I'm talking about 10-20 employee businesses, not the ones that technically fit that category).

    When I said I was living on $12 an hour, I was living in an upscale, 1100 SF, 2 bedroom apartment and paying for several luxuries on top of that. I could have lived just as comfortably, if much more modestly, on a far smaller wage had I needed to. I was pointing out that such a wage was far more than merely a living wage for me in the area I lived.

    Basically, the point I'm making is that I don't think it's a particularly good idea to make a flat minimum wage that all states have to adhere to, especially if it's based on what is considered a living wage in the highest cost of living areas in the country. A base minimum that would be a living wage in the lowest areas, but which can be increased at the state or local levels to account for higher cost of living areas would make more sense to me. Republicans do sometimes have a point when they say that certain things should be left up to the states, and that a one-size-fits-all federal program can be detrimental in some situations.

  76. [76] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    A good portion of the comments are really about moving the so-called Overton window, which is one of the really good things Sanders has brought to the discussion.

    Oh, and Paula [44], there is always the case of the Washington Generals to counter your analogy {hehe}.

    Great discussion that this article gave us CW. Way to go.

  77. [77] 
    Paula wrote:

    Breaking up swallowed comment, take 1:

    Burger-flippers work within a system in which owners of burger-flipping establishments make profits as a result of the burger-flippers labors. Those same owners make profits because customers have the money to purchase the burgers.

    Burger-flippers live in a world where bills have to be paid. Burger-flippers have extremely limited control over what the amounts on those bills will be. They don't get to set their rates for electricity, water, trash-removal, gas, insurance, transportation, housing, sales-tax, other taxes, food, etc. Their control is mostly in the areas of reductions of usage, but even that can only go so far. And by having little or no discretionary income these burger-flippers can't go out in the world and support other businesses.

    Most burger-flippers aren't homeless because we taxpayers step in through various social programs to help make up, to a degree, the difference between what the burger-flipper earns and what he/she needs for survival.

    The burger joint's owner(s) can therefore continue to pay people less than a living wage because the shortfalls are made up for by all of us who pay taxes.

    If we stop subsidizing businesses in this way there will be hardship and there will be trouble. Maybe, in the end, there would be living wages because people would figure out it's in our collective best interest not to shortchange our population.

    Or we could recognize that now and stop shortchanging the population without first imposing hardship or trouble. Smart countries do that, and have done it around the world. Foolish countries wait to be forced.

  78. [78] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Program Notes:

    First, comments have been restored. Don't know why the filter's acting up so much this week, sorry to all.

    Second, I will be writing one of those snap reaction columns tonight, after the final Democratic debate. So it'll be a late posting, everyone.

    -CW

  79. [79] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Michael (36)
    So much for Freedom Of Religion...

    The VERY FIRST freedom mentioned in the Bill Of Rights..

    I'm sorry, but your link is to an article that put "marriage" and "wedding" in quotes whenever it referred to a homosexual couple's wedding or marriage...not a good indicator that the article is going to be unbiased in its reporting! And you should actually read the article, because the headline doesn't quite tell the story! Insurance policies that churches usually buy only covers damages and injury liability coverage; not for discrimination lawsuits. The article states that the churches can purchase more coverage if they want to. It isn't that they can't get coverage or that any church has been dropped by an insurance provider.

  80. [80] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Michael (43) said:

    Basically Democrats have given the hysterical nutjobs in the gay community license to legally and forcefully discriminate against those of religious affiliations...

    Hurray... :^/

    As one of those "hysterical nutjobs", you can shove it where the sun don't shine, you bigot! Marriage is not a religious practice, it is a legal contract! I don't consider the legal cases against the baker or the photographer to be an attack on religious affiliations, as those are not recognized as being religious places of employment. Also, for some reason the media likes to skip over the fact that the baker originally agreed to provide her services, but failed to notify the couple of her change of "heart" until the day of the wedding when they went to pick up their cake -- destroying any hope that they could find a replacement bakery to make them a cake! Any business can refuse to provide services to anyone they choose, they simply have to say, " We aren't available that day" and that's it! What they don't get to do is say, "No, we won't work for someone like you!"

    I'm sorry that you oppose equal rights for all.

  81. [81] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale (65+)
    If a starting police officer is getting paid 15 dollars an hour they are under paid because they have the skills discussed earlier that merit higher pay.
    What is your definition of definition?
    One more time- Living wage covers food, housing, transportation, medical care and taxes. If the 47% that Mitt Romney says don't pay (Income) taxes were paid enough to pay taxes it would broaden the tax base so we wouldn't need as high a rate for the higher earners that would then be making their money without being on the government dole.
    The jobs are already there. They exist at the businesses of the bad actors that are living off the government subsidies of their employees pay.
    When those companies go out of business the companies that pay a living wage will get their customers and hire more employees.
    This of course will not solve the other problems with jobs. But just because it will not solve all the problems is no reason to reject it when it can solve the problem it is intended to solve.

  82. [82] 
    Paula wrote:

    Hmm, okay, Swallowed Comment Part 2 (77) -- let's see if it makes it!

    Michale sneers at burger-flippers. They do not deserve a living wage because they don't, in his view, possess enough skill to merit it. Yet the owners profit from their labors. So their labors do have value. So one of the questions is: if you added up the costs and subtracted it from the profits, is there enough left over to pay the workers a living wage or isn't there? If there isn't, can that be changed? By improvements in service delivery, equipment, training, etc.? Could you pay enough if you reduced the workforce by some reasonable amount? Or is the business such that it is impossible to do? If so, maybe it needs to be shuttered.

    There are those who believe it doesn't matter that there's more than enough to pay workers a living wage, the owners should be able to keep every dime they can and let the workers eat cake. Verizon workers are striking right now because the company has huge profits but keeps moving jobs out of the country and in other ways hurting their workforce.

    It's a choice.

    In my view, we can work on the question of how to pay people a living wage or we can work on the question of how to deal with not paying people a living wage. I choose the former.

  83. [83] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Michael said (43):
    Basically Democrats have given the hysterical nutjobs in the gay community license to legally and forcefully discriminate against those of religious affiliations...

    Marriage equality threatens traditional marriage in the same way that abolishing slavery made freedom less enjoyable for white people. As one of those "hysterical nutjobs", at least I now see your true colors. No wonder you are constantly claiming others are making "bigoted comments", it's just your own defense mechanisms kicking in trying to cover up the fact that you are the face of bigotry!

  84. [84] 
    Paula wrote:

    Today's anecdote:
    50-ish black man riding bicycle, with several missing teeth.

    The election season to date?

    "I suppose you mean Trump? I don't like him. He might be a good businessman but I don't think he knows about government. Now Kasich, I would favor him. A few years ago he did this thing where it made it easier for ex-cons to get jobs. He said we can support them or they can support themselves. If they weren't that bad they should be able to get work. So on the Republican side I favor Kasich. But I'm a Democrat. I haven't done my homework yet. You have to do the research. You can't just believe what people say. People come out of the woodwork to run for office and they can say anything. I haven't decided yet who I support."

  85. [85] 
    altohone wrote:

    Bleyd

    I got your point, but the factors in play nationwide do matter.
    You living well in Texas while making almost five dollars more than the federal minimum wage should be a given. A certainty.
    (though my grandmother would have scolded you for living large rather than saving)

    Housing costs are really the main variable in cost of living figures... and officially should only make up one third of anyone's expenses.

    So, two thirds of the cost of living is for food, medicine, transportation, clothing, etc.
    Those costs do not vary much by region.

    Just as a point of discussion, you may have noticed that the poverty rate is a national figure.
    In other words, people earning roughly $15,000 per year are considered poor whether they live in an area with a high cost of living or a lower cost of living.

    So, unless qualification for government benefits is also adjusted for areas with higher costs of living (which they don't now), applying that argument to the minimum wage is one sided.
    In other words, people in NY making $20,000 per year could still qualify for benefits.

    Wouldn't that seem like the fair thing to do?

    And you know who would fight such a proposal?
    Yup... all the greedy bastards fighting against increases in the current minimum wage.

    A

  86. [86] 
    altohone wrote:

    BTW CW-

    Maybe you should do a follow up piece on enacting/enabling ballot initiates country-wide.

    Your post doubled as a pretty good justification for the value they hold in letting people force our government to act when they are unwilling.

    Seems like it would be a good turnout driving election issue in all the states that don't currently allow them (coincidentally driven by the same forces in both parties who oppose raising the minimum wage, though I bet they use other justifications).

    A

  87. [87] 
    altohone wrote:

    Paula-

    I am very impressed with your comments today.

    They make me wonder why you would even consider supporting Hillary though.
    She definitely does not share your wisdom.

    I'm not asking for you to explain, just pointing out the reality.

    A

  88. [88] 
    Paula wrote:

    [85] A: thanks!

  89. [89] 
    TheStig wrote:

    11 minutes after 11, the debate is over. The optics, as I see 'em. Sanders was a progressive Larry David, and Clinton repeatedly told him to curb his enthusiasm.

    I thought both candidates performed well in this politically flavored theater.. Sanders proposed, and Clinton triangulated. Nobody scored a knock out, partisans of both candidates can be pleased with their performances. Sanders really needed a knockout, so I see this as a strategic victory for Clinton..

  90. [90] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I think the biggest loser of the night was Prime Minister Netanyahu.

  91. [91] 
    Michale wrote:

    Marriage equality threatens traditional marriage in the same way that abolishing slavery made freedom less enjoyable for white people. As one of those "hysterical nutjobs", at least I now see your true colors. No wonder you are constantly claiming others are making "bigoted comments", it's just your own defense mechanisms kicking in trying to cover up the fact that you are the face of bigotry!

    Absolutely I am bigoted..

    I am bigoted against hysterical nutjobs in the gay community who try to force their lifestyle onto others who clearly want no part of it..

    So yes.. I admit I am bigoted.. I have ALWAYS admit I am bigoted...

    Unlike others who falsely protest ad nasuem that they are NOT bigoted... :D

    Michale

  92. [92] 
    Michale wrote:

    Trying to force a wage that high on an area with a lower cost of living, like Texas, would be excessive and likely cripple small businesses (I'm talking about 10-20 employee businesses, not the ones that technically fit that category).

    Ding, ding ding ding!!

    We have a winner!!! :D

    And NO ONE will define what a "living wage" is...

    Having the money to pay all your bills seems to be the best definition..

    Gotta cover those RTO contracts for the XBOX ONE and the 70" LED SMART TV.. That's the Democrat's "living wage".... :^/ Add to that, the free Obamaphone and the government paying the mortgage and... viola'

    You have a Democrat voter.... :^/

    Michale

  93. [93] 
    Michale wrote:

    Paula,

    Verizon workers are striking right now because the company has huge profits but keeps moving jobs out of the country and in other ways hurting their workforce.

    And who keeps allowing companies like Verizon to move jobs out of the country..

    YOUR Democrats...

    Michale sneers at burger-flippers.

    Not at all. I just don't think that they should earn the same pay as a first year police officer or a first year paramedic.

    And anyone who DOES think that burger flippers SHOULD earn the same pay as first year police officers or paramedics is a few fries short of a happy meal...

    There is a tried and true, sure fire path to getting better pay...

    EARN IT

    But people today are lazy. They don't WANT to earn it. They want it handed to them on a silver platter..

    And Democrats are right there, willing to give it away..

    And ALL it costs is your soul....

    Michale

  94. [94] 
    Michale wrote:

    And NO ONE will define what a "living wage" is...

    Having the money to pay all your bills seems to be the best definition..

    I understand why no one can define what a "living wage" is...

    Because it's completely and totally unique to the individual...

    A single mom with 4 kids has a much higher "living wage" requirement than a single guy living with his parents..

    That is why the "living wage" argument is completely specious and totally without any logical foundation or rational merit.....

    It's nothing but a "Wouldn't It Be Nice" argument...

    Michale

  95. [95] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michale, is this your cut and paste minimum wage argument adjusted for inflation? Last time the poor got a 63" inch television. Heh...

    Yea.. 60" TVs are so 2014.... :D

    Michale

  96. [96] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, ya'all have two points to address..

    1. Define "living wage"..

    B. Where are all these jobs that people can get once their current employer goes under, bankrupt by forced exorbitant wages??

    Michale

  97. [97] 
    John M wrote:

    Michale wrote:

    "Yes.. You may have debunked ONE claim..

    Now go ahead and try all the other claims.. :D"

    But that's EXACTLY what I am asking about. What are all those "OTHER" claims you are talking about? I don't know of ANY!!!

    "So much for Freedom Of Religion...

    The VERY FIRST freedom mentioned in the Bill Of Rights.."

    What you cited has NOTHING to do with freedom of religion. It was talking about churches possibly not being able to get PRIVATE insurance coverage for a POSSIBLE scenario that the church ITSELF was asking about which is about as totally unlikely as the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny being real concerns.

    It was NOT about the government forcing the church to do anything. Nor was it about the church being ACTUALLY sued to perform any kind of marriage.

    It just as might have well been about the church asking if it could get insurance coverage just in case a meteor would drop on the church building tomorrow and destroy it for all the relevance it had to the point that you were trying to make and utterly failed at doing so.

  98. [98] 
    Michale wrote:

    But that's EXACTLY what I am asking about. What are all those "OTHER" claims you are talking about? I don't know of ANY!!!

    I gave you thousands of Google Listings...

    What you cited has NOTHING to do with freedom of religion. It was talking about churches possibly not being able to get PRIVATE insurance coverage for a POSSIBLE scenario that the church ITSELF was asking about which is about as totally unlikely as the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny being real concerns.

    And how can they exercise their freedom of religion if they have to shut down their church because they can't get insurance??

    It was NOT about the government forcing the church to do anything. Nor was it about the church being ACTUALLY sued to perform any kind of marriage.

    It is exactly about that because part of their freedom of religion requires that they carry liability insurance.. And churches can't get liability insurance because they refuse to perform gay marriages...

    But that was just one or two articles..

    The bigger concern is that the government is forcing churches to alter how they do their exercise their religion..

    Next on the chopping block will be Tax Exempt Status..

    "Sorry.. You don't do what we want, we yank your tax exemption!!!"

    Pure, unadulterated extortion..

    NO WHERE in the US Constitution does it say that gay people have a constitutional right to force their lifestyle on others..

    But, the VERY first right is the right to exercise religion how PEOPLE see fit.. Not how GOVERNMENT sees fit...

    It's all a moot point anyways..

    Once President Trump is sworn into office, all this crap goes away....

    And it can't be soon enough!! :D

    Michale

  99. [99] 
    TheStig wrote:

    My immediate reaction to The Final Debate was:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2016/04/13/the-15-revolution/#comment-73837

    To me, the modern broadcast version of a Presidential Debate is an awful lot like watching the mating rituals of tropical birds on PBS...vocalization, lots of dancing, bobbing, spreading of plumage etc. All the apparent silliness is somehow vital to political fitness. Rather than moderators, what viewers need is a political David Attenborough explaining (in hushed tones) what's going on and why, in real time. What we get, sadly, is Wolf Blitzer popping up now and then with a vacuous remark.

    Both Clinton and Sanders are effective debaters, but with distinctly different styles. Clinton has fancy footwork, Sanders is more of a puncher. As these things go, the final bout was a good one.

  100. [100] 
    Michale wrote:

    It just as might have well been about the church asking if it could get insurance coverage just in case a meteor would drop on the church building tomorrow and destroy it for all the relevance it had to the point that you were trying to make and utterly failed at doing so.

    A meteor falling on the church has NOTHING to do with exercising freedom of religion..

    Forcing churches to acquiesce to a POLITICAL agenda thru extortion and intimidation (as the hysterical gay activists have done) has EVERYTHING to do with exercising freedom of religion..

  101. [101] 
    Bleyd wrote:

    altohone [83]

    To be clear, I do support an increase in the minimum wage, I just don't think it should be as dramatic as Sanders is suggesting. After listening to Clinton's stance in the debate, she comes closer to my thinking, a modest increase nationally and then support states that feel they can/should increase it further.

  102. [102] 
    Michale wrote:

    On a previous commentary...

    Michelle Fields, then of Breitbart News, claimed Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski grabbed her with force when she was trying to ask the candidate a question

    Palm Beach County won't prosecute because video evidence shows Fields invaded Secret Service 'bubble' around Trump and touched him first

    Lewandowski, they found, 'reacted and did what he needed to do' and bruises on Fields' arm pictured days later were not visible that night
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3540520/No-charges-Trump-campaign-manager-reporter-battery-case-investigators-say-reacting-touched-Trump-did-needed-do.html

    Ya see, Weigantians..

    There is ALWAYS another side to any story...

    But ya'all want to believe ONLY the worst about Trump and ONLY the best about Hillary..

    The facts are always somewhere in between...

    Where I live.. :D

    Michale

  103. [103] 
    rdnewman wrote:

    @Michale [#96]


    Next on the chopping block will be Tax Exempt Status..

    "Sorry.. You don't do what we want, we yank your tax exemption!!!"

    NO WHERE in the US Constitution does it say that gay people have a constitutional right to force their lifestyle on others..

    And no where in the US Constitution does it entitle churches to receive government financial subsidy in the form of tax exemptions.

  104. [104] 
    Michale wrote:

    And no where in the US Constitution does it entitle churches to receive government financial subsidy in the form of tax exemptions.

    Like I said...

    Tax exemptions are next.. Which will destroy the churches..

    Which is the entire point of the Left Wingery plan...

    Michale

  105. [105] 
    Michale wrote:

    JM,

    So much for your claim that the churches will be left alone...

    So, looks like I turned out to be dead on ballz accurate...

    AGAIN... :D

    Michale

  106. [106] 
    Michale wrote:

    And no where in the US Constitution does it entitle churches to receive government financial subsidy in the form of tax exemptions.

    But hay.. I don't give a flying frak about religious institutions.. Religion is the cause of more death and destruction and heartache than any other cause on the planet, save politics...

    So, here's the deal...

    We'll kill the tax exemptions for the chruches and kill the "constitutional" right to force the gay lifestyle on people who want no part of it...

    No more forcing businesses to cater to gay couples, no more forcing people to violate their principles and morals..

    No more of that whatsoever...

    So, will the entirety of the Left Wingery agree to that??

    "Well, Womack.. Looks like yer stuck between The Rock and a hard case.."
    -Sean Connery, THE ROCK

    Of course not... Because the Left Wingery agenda is *ALL* about forcing people to the Left Wingery agenda...

    Michale

  107. [107] 
    Michale wrote:

    And I am also constrained to point out that, since ya'all supported a regime that EXECUTES gay people simply for being of the gay lifestyle, ya'all's "support" of gay rights is severely lacking in credibility...

    Michale

  108. [108] 
    Michale wrote:

    since ya'all supported a regime that EXECUTES gay people simply for being of the gay lifestyle, ya'all's "support" of gay rights is severely lacking in credibility...

    Or, is there a "context" that I am missing that would make executing gay people because of their lifestyle choice an acceptable action??

    Besides the Hussein Obama context, I mean....

    Michale

  109. [109] 
    John M wrote:

    Michale wrote:

    "And how can they exercise their freedom of religion if they have to shut down their church because they can't get insurance??"

    My response to that would be, TOUGH! So what? I thought you were all in favor of letting PRIVATE free market forces decide on whether an organization survives or not??? What are you going to do? Force people to attend a church that they don't want to, simply to keep it open and make sure it survives, rather than let them vote with their own feet and support? That is essentially what you are arguing for.

    "It is exactly about that because part of their freedom of religion requires that they carry liability insurance.. And churches can't get liability insurance because they refuse to perform gay marriages..."

    But that's NOT the government deciding that Michale. That is the PRIVATE insurance company deciding that, all on it's own. That's the whole POINT. And even in the article you cited, it made extensive use of the word "MAY." It said insurance companies "MAY" decide to drop the church's coverage. Not that ANY insurance company HAD YET DONE SO.

    "NO WHERE in the US Constitution does it say that gay people have a constitutional right to force their lifestyle on others.."

    And NOW WHERE in the Constitution does it say that heterosexuals have the right to force their lifestyle on others either Michale!

  110. [110] 
    John M wrote:

    Michale wrote:

    "No more forcing businesses to cater to gay couples, no more forcing people to violate their principles and morals.."

    And no more forcing businesses to cater to Jewish couples, or black couples, or handicapped couples, or couples with blue eyes, or, or, or... Is that what you want? Because that is the extreme Libertarian response. Even though I am a public business, and I am open to the PUBLIC, and I am supposed to serve ALL the PUBLIC, I want to retain the right to practice my bigotry and prejudice against anyone I want without any consequences or restraint of any kind.

    You can dress it up nicely anyway you want Michale, but that is a FACT that that is what you are essentially saying. As they say, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a load of swine just the same.

  111. [111] 
    John M wrote:

    Michale wrote:

    "And I am also constrained to point out that, since ya'all supported a regime that EXECUTES gay people simply for being of the gay lifestyle, ya'all's "support" of gay rights is severely lacking in credibility..."

    NO ONE said that they were supporting that particular REGIME. You really can't tell me that you are not intelligent enough to make that distinction, are you Michale??? Between having a strategic interest in a nation on a long term basis as opposed to supporting a particular government that is in office only temporarily? You don't think that a government like Israel, for example, would make a similar distinction about having a relationship with the United States, even though it might intensely dislike or not get along with, a particular American Presidential administration, or vice versa?

  112. [112] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Get ready to duck and cover, John! :)

  113. [113] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    In other words, very bad analogy, I'm afraid to say.

  114. [114] 
    Michale wrote:

    NO ONE said that they were supporting that particular REGIME.

    Bull...

    By siding with Iran against Israel, ya'all were supporting Iran...

    I realize it's embarrassing for ya'all to admit the facts, but the facts are facts nonetheless.. Ya'all supported giving Iran billions and billions of dollars to continue their repressive actions and their ballistic missile program and their terrorism..

    The simple fact is ya'all sided with Iran and Obama against Israel and common sense..

    Michale

  115. [115] 
    Michale wrote:

    And no more forcing businesses to cater to Jewish couples, or black couples, or handicapped couples, or couples with blue eyes, or, or, or... Is that what you want?

    I want people to have respect for other people's beliefs and morals..

    Let me give you an example of how things SHOULD be..

    Gay Person: I realize you are a christian bakery, but I really like your products and I am hoping I could have you cater my wedding to my gay partner.

    Business Owner: I respect your beliefs and your lifestyle, but I also have my own beliefs that I must respect so I am going to have to respectfully decline to provide the service you desire.

    Gay Person: I understand and I would not want to put you in a position where you must compromise your beliefs. I'll go elsewhere. Thank you for your time...

    You see how easy it is, JM???

    MUTUAL RESPECT...

    That's the name of the game..

    Now, let's look at how things go when the Left Wingery agenda is at work...

    Gay Person: Yo!! I am gay and I demand you cater my gay wedding!!! I don't give a rat's ass about your beliefs!!! You will accede and accept MY beliefs and MY beliefs only or else I will destroy you and your business!!!!

    You see the difference in the two approaches..

    Ya'all support the latter approach..

    I support the former approach...

    And *I* am in the wrong??

    I don't think so...

    Michale

  116. [116] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, of course, the Left Wingery is free to discriminate at their leisure...

    You are a Republican?? You can't get your hair done at a Sante Fe hair salon...

    You support Trump?? Sorry, there is a Boston landlord who won't rent to you...

    Pure, unadulterated unequivocal discrimination and bigotry..

    But it comes from the Left so that's all perfectly acceptable..

    The Left Wingery demands tolerance and respect but they are the most intolerant and disrespectful group on the planet..

    Present company excepted, of course.. :D

    Michale

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