Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The New Republic: Noam Scheiber: 'Raising the Minimum Wage Isn't Just Good Politics: It's Good Economics'

Source:The New Republic- supporters for raising the minimum wage.

Source:The New Democrat

"The minimum-wage debate follows a predictable pattern any time it flares up in the media: Liberals say it’s a moral outrage that people can toil away at full-time jobs and still live in poverty. They nod at the overwhelming public support for raising the minimum wage as a way to shame reluctant politicians. Conservatives, for their part, insist that all the minimum-wage talk is just self-defeating do-gooder-ism: great for making Upper-West-Siders feel righteous, a lot less so for helping the people they claim to care about. In the real world, conservatives argue, raising the minimum wage costs jobs that the poor and young desperately need. At which point liberals mumble defensively and retreat to their original talking points, if they respond at all.

Monday’s New York Times piece on the renewed push for a minimum-wage increase is a handy case in point. The writers of the story—a nice, scoop-filled piece of reporting—talk about the issue’s potential to split Republican elites from the party’s voters, in classic wedge fashion. Intriguingly, they suggest it could goose turnout among young people and minorities, two Democratic-leaning groups that often vanish during midterm elections. And, of course, the story includes a de rigueur warning of doom and destruction from House Speaker John Boehner--“Why would we want to make it harder for small employers to hire people?”—which goes largely unanswered by anyone on the left.

Well, that’s no good. Yes, the politics of the issue sufficiently favor Democrats that they can ignore the GOP's economic argument—Republicans may resist, but that will only help Democrats on Election Day. But as White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer correctly points out to the Times, the hope isn’t just to retain a few Senate seats. It’s to improve people’s lives.

If they’re serious about doing that, Democrats can’t cede the intellectual fight. They have to expose the House GOP position for what it is—water-carrying for business, particularly the fast-food restaurateurs who are leading employers of minimum-wage workers and donate overwhelmingly to the GOP. Until that happens, Republicans will be able to hold out with a patina of respectability among mainstream journalists and commentators, who largely accept the GOP's job-killing claims.

When they engage at all on the job-market consequences of boosting the minimum wage, Democrats frequently cite a study by economists David Card and Alan Krueger1 from 1994, which looked at a (then) recent increase in New Jersey. After surveying over 400 similar restaurants in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Card and Krueger found that the hike had no effect on jobs, contra the Cassandra-like freak-out from fast-food proprietors. 

The paper was regarded as ground-breaking and, for its troubles, immediately got labeled “controversial” by the mainstream media thanks in part to persistent grumbling on the right. But in fact what made the paper so innovative wasn’t the conclusion per se, which other studies had arrived at. (For that matter, even when you tallied together all the studies that found a negative impact on employment, the effect that was very small. Recent studies have affirmed this.) What made it innovative was the methodology, which so cleanly tested the proposition. By comparing restaurants in New Jersey with restaurants just across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania, Card and Krueger were basically able to compare like with like, with the exception of the minimum wage law whose effects they sought to isolate.2 It was about as close to a laboratory experiment as you get in economics (other than, uh, these guys).

Even more relevant to the current discussion, however, was the rationale for why moderately raising the minimum wage wouldn’t kill jobs, as most of us might expect. After all, it’s one thing to look at a bunch of businesses and notice that they’re not cutting back. But unless there’s a compelling explanation for why our intuition on this is wrong, it’s hard to consider the study definitive. Even a study as well-designed as Card and Krueger’s could be flukish, or corrupted by hidden forces that aren’t evident to the authors or readers. Who knows, maybe McDonald’s managers in New Jersey are just unusually altruistic (though having patronized several fine Garden State dining establishments, I consider this to be extremely unlikely).

The bottom line is that backing the numbers with sound logical arguments is an important insurance policy against flukish-ness, and Card and Krueger identify a few. The first is that employers simply pass along the higher wages to customers rather cutting back on workers. And because the cost-increase tends to be small, and because customers accept the fairness of raising the minimum wage, they don’t buy fewer hamburgers or pizzas than before. As it happens, Card and Krueger found solid evidence that this was going on, as have many others. 

Before any conservative starts hyperventilating, it’s worth pointing out that this isn’t true of all industries, or even all employers in industries where it regularly happens. (In fact, Card and Krueger were skeptical of this story in their New Jersey study, before warming to a version of it in a subsequent book.) But this does happen a fair amount, and often in very pronounced ways.3 And the phenomenon goes a long way toward explaining why minimum wage laws frequently have so little net effect on jobs: If, in response to a minimum wage hike, some employers add a few workers while others cut back a bit, then it makes sense that the overall effect might hover around zero.

None of which is to say I expect the average Democratic pol to start lecturing minimum-wage denialists about monopsony employers any time soon. But if enough of us in the trenches band together and retake the intellectual high-ground, victory is likely to come a lot sooner.

I say this because even if the political resonance of the minimum wage issue helps Democrats wildly exceed expectations in 2014, they’re unlikely to retake the House. And, unfortunately, House Republicans have repeatedly showed they can hold out against public opinion for long stretches of time. What even they can’t do, however, is hold out against both public opinion and the received Beltway wisdom, as last fall’s shutdown fight demonstrated. The way to force Republicans to cave when public opinion won’t do the trick is to deprive them of any pretension to seriousness." 

"Howard Dean, S.E. Cupp, Hilary Rosen & Kevin Madden debate raising the minimum wage." 

Source:CNN Crossfire.

From CNN

There are both good political as well as economic reasons for raising the minimum wage in America. If it is done right and I’m going to give you an example of why it make sense to raise the minimum wage in America.

Raising the minimum wage in America if it is done right, makes so much good sense that I can give you two good examples from both a political, but as well as an economic example and give you both of them from the Right even though I’m a Liberal Democrat.

The political example would be this: Imagine you are Joe or Mary taxpayer in America and you work very hard for a living just to pay your bills and raise your kids and you are a little angry about that and feel overtaxed, because here you are playing by the rules and doing everything you can to pay your own way. But you are also paying taxes to pay for people who don’t pay their own way because they are low-skilled. You probably feel like you have an extra burden to pay to go along with yourself and your family, even though you are not getting any extra money to pay for that burden.

As a result, low-skilled workers work low-skilled minimum wage jobs and have to collect public assistance in order to survive. Because these low-wage employers are able to pass their employee costs onto you. And have you make up the difference for these workers housing, groceries and health care. But you raise the minimum wage to ten, twelve dollars and hour with a break especially for small employers and you keep their public assistance benefits where they are now, now these low-skilled workers can pay more for their costs of living. And Joe and Mary Smith (or whoever) and many others won’t have to pay as much in taxes to make up the difference. 

The economic example is pretty simple: You want more people working and fewer people collecting Unemployment or Welfare Insurance, then working has to pay more than not working so people are incentivized to work for a living. And not collect public assistance checks for a living instead. You raise the minimum wage to ten or twelve dollars an hour with a thirty percent tax break for employers especially for small employers and you have employers pay their share of the public assistance costs with like a payroll tax.

And tell employers they can get all that money back if they instead just pay their low-wage employees those costs. Or train them so they can move up in their organization or a combination of both. Now employers won’t be able to pass their employees costs on to the backs of average Joe and Mary taxpayer (or whoever) and many others and you would be able to cut the middle class tax burden in this country. The politics for Democrats are very good here.

And this would be a very good way to get Democrats to the polls in 2014 and get organize labor to help them out. It is actually good politics for Republicans as well if they are truly interested in reaching out to the working class. And not just there to carry the water for the wealthy and corporate America. Because they could say they are in favor of this as well so we can cut the taxes for average workers. 

It’s not just the minimum wage, but every physically and mentally able adult in America should be incentivized not just to work, but to pay their own away. No physically or mentally able adult in America should be able to collect more from public assistance and not working, then working any full-time job. What you would make in a week working a full-time minimum wage job, should be more then what you would get from a Welfare check and not working at all. We should not just raise the minimum wage to a working wage, but subsidize the employment of low-income, low-skilled workers, to encourage as many Americans as possible to make it in America on their own. 

Small Ivey: “Erik, this is a fantastic idea – cut the taxes for employers if they pay their employees more. How about this – how about making salaries paid to employees a direct tax credit, such that employers could reduce their taxes to zero if they pay their employees the money that would have been going to taxes. This would get the money right into employees’ pockets instead of needing to send it up to Washington and then back to the employees through welfare checks. Would teenagers get the higher wages too, or just adults with kids at home to feed?”

Thursday, December 26, 2013

NFL Films: Vince Lombardi Teaches The Power Sweep

Source:NFL Films- Green Bay Packers head coach/general manager Vince Lombardi (1959-68)

"Power Sweeps" - Winning Football with Vince Lombardi (Volume 7)" 

From Coach D

This photo is from another YouTube showing Coach Vince Lombardi teaching his power sweep. But the video that this photo is from, is currently not available online right now. 

Source:NFL Films- Green Bay Packers/General Manager Vince Lombardi.
I think the best way to describe Vince Lombardi's brand of football, at least offensive football, is to do it with a hypothetical.  

Imagine the night before your football game and you just found your opponent's game plan and playbook. You now not only know what plays your opponent is going to run and how they're going to beat you. Just one problem: even though you know exactly what the Packers (in this case) are going to run against you, you are not good enough to beat them. 

While the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970s and 80s ran so many different formations and plays to win their games on offense and the Redskins with different type of offense, but used a lot of different formations on offense in the 1980s, the Packers were beating their opponents simply by out executing their opponents and having better players. Losing to the Packers in the 1960s was literally the death by execution. They had the ball on 1st in 10 from their 20, you knew it was coming but you couldn't stop it. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Onion: 'Peter K. Rosenthal Looks Back at It's a Wonderful Life'

Source:The Onion- left to right: Donna Reed, Jimmy Stewart and a cute little girl.
Source:The New Democrat

"The Onion's movie critic Peter K. Rosenthal looks back at the holiday classic 'It's A Wonderful Life' in this week's Film Standard."
From The Onion
How can one Uncle Billy can completely change the complexion of a movie review? You know if I had an uncle who was that big of an asshole and screw up, I doubt my life would be so golly gee swell. (To use a term from that era) Especially if I was relying on a dip-shit like this to help me run my business.  
First of all, if I’m dumb enough to rely on a dip-shit to help me run my business, I’m probably not that much of a businessman to begin with. Maybe Uncle Billy has something that he can use as blackmail that keeps him in business with his partners. Maybe he saw Joe kissing Sally instead of his wife Mary and threatening to use that against Joe or something. But the people who go into business with someone like Uncle Billy are people who go out of business, because they are not smart enough to hire people who are not dip-shits to work for them. 
It's a Wonderful Life, is a classic 1930s, 1940s, 1950s Jimmy Stewart movie. Where he represents a a very simple man from a very simple time. (At least according to Hollywood) Where he's a very well-liked town and knows everybody there and they seem to like him, because he's just like everybody else in that town.  
In Jimmy Stewart's day you don't cuss, even words like damn and hell are considered sins. And if there wasn't for this little annoying thing like the First Amendment, you might get arrested for saying damn or hell in public. 
In Jimmy Stewart's day, Joe Smith is married to Mary and they have 2-3 kids. Of course Joe works and of course Mary stays home and raises their kids. Because it's considered a sin for women to work in Pleasantville. Because in Pleasantville women are not only not expected to work, but be subservient to their man. Perhaps Pleasantville is the capital of Saudi Arabia or at least part of Saudi Arabia. Except in Pleasantville the people aren't Muslin or Arab, but Protestant and tend to be Anglo-Saxon. Except for the servants, who of course are African-American and in some cases even use to be slaves. 
And George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) is curious what life looks like outside of Pleasantville USA. And is curious what life looks like outside of his collectivist town where everyone seems to almost be a clone of someone else. Where everyone talks and thinks the same way, lives their life the same way. Again absolutely no cussing, no dancing in public, no drinking on Sunday. Everyone says Grace before they eat, etc. 
And George wants to know if everyone else in America lives this way and perhaps what big city life would be like. The problem is that Joe is dumb enough to get in bed, I mean go into business with his Uncle Billy and of course Billy's nickname is screwup, or dip-shit and runs the business into the ground like a drunk autopilot crashes a plane. And now Joe is stuck in Pleasantville or Bedford Falls (to be precise) and left there pick up the pieces and put his life back together.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Atlantic: Josh Freedman & Michael Lind: 'The Past & Future of America's Social Contract'

Source:The Atlantic with a look at the so-called American social contract.

Source:The New Democrat

"In the 20th century, the United States moved from an economy based on high wages and reliable benefits to a system of low wages and cheap consumer prices, to the detriment of workers. What's next?" 

The problem of low pay has dominated headlines this year thanks to striking fast food workers, tone-deaf employers, and a spate of successful campaigns to raise state and local minimum wages.

Behind the news cycle, however, there’s a deeper issue than what Walmart or McDonald’s pay their workers today. Americans are once again wrestling with what they fundamentally want from the social contract—the basic bargain most of us can expect from the economy throughout our lives... 

"Michael Lind, historian, Policy Director of the New America Foundation's Economic Growth Program, and author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States (2012), on infrastructure reform and our innovation system after the 2008 crisis.  
Watch more!  Subscribe to the Intelligent Channel!" 

Source:The Intelligent Channel with a look at the so-called American social contract.

From The Intelligent Channel

When we are talking about the social contract, we should be clear about what are we talking about. Because this gets to the heart of what we want from government in America especially the Federal Government. Are we talking about the American tradition of the safety net that has helped contribute to the largest and most powerful economy and country in the world. Or do we want a Scandinavian welfare state.

With a welfare state the Federal Government would play a huge role especially in an economy of seventeen-trillion dollars in a country of three-hundred and ten million people in providing us with most of the services that we need to live well in America.

Or are we talking about building off of the New Deal not to turn Americans into Nordics economically and ideologically, but to empower more Americans with more economic power in this great vast diverse huge country of three-hundred and ten million people. And empowering more Americans regardless of race, ethnicity and gender with the economic power to live in freedom to be able to take care of themselves.
As a New Democrat I’m in favor of the third option of building off of the New Deal by not having government take care of more people. But using government to empower more people to be able to take care of themselves. Which would be great for the economy as well as the fiscal condition of the country. With fewer people collecting from the social insurance system and more people paying into the system. Because we would have a larger middle as well as larger upper class with more people starting new business’s. Because of the greater access to education including college and fewer people in the lower economic class either unemployed. Or working low-income jobs, but still collecting public assistance to survive.

And again and I’m not trying to sound partisan ideologically, but again this gets to what do you want from government. And who do you trust to provide people with the services that they need in life. Do you trust government to take care of everyone. Do you trust an unregulated and almost completely tax-free corporate America and so-called free market to work for everyone. Or do you trust an educated workforce and educated individuals to be able to make their own decisions with their own lives.
As a Liberal I believe an educated public with the right tools and education can take care of themselves and do not need big brother or big government or a nanny state to do that for them. And the main problem with our workforce right now is that we do not have enough workers to be able to make with enough of an education to have the power to be able to take care of themselves. And a big reason why the Left right now is debating what should the role of government, especially the Federal Government be to address the income and skills gap in this country.

I believe Liberals agree with Progressives or Social Democrats that the Federal Government should be doing more. But we differ on what that new role should be. With the lets say further Left of the party essentially wanting to transform America into Scandinavia economically and politically. With the JFK/Clinton New Democratic Coalition of Liberals saying that when people have the tools that they need, they tend to make good decisions with their own lives instead. And do not need government doing everything for them.

My message of economic power and creating what I would call and economic power system, for lack of a better term right now, is about education K-College and quality education for all through college. Once we establish that and lookout for the American economy especially as we move towards energy independence, rebuild our falling infrastructure system and actually start paying down some of our national debt.

The energy and debt are already under way, but the infrastructure still needs a new plan out of Congress to make that happen. And universal access to education and job training for our low-skilled and low-income workforce as well. Our population that collects from public assistance whether they are working or not. So they can get the skills that they need to also live in freedom, the economic power they need to be successful in America.

This shouldn’t be about big government versus small government at least on the Left. But more about big government versus limited, but good government only doing the things that we need it to do for people. And then let the people with this new-found freedom, let them fly and let’s see what Americans can do for themselves. Once they have the power over their own lives.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ed Valanzuela: Happy Birthday To You!

Source:Ed Valanzuela- Happy Birthday!

Source:The New Democrat

"Happy Birthday To You! (Traditional) - No copyright infringement intended for this version.
(gif borrowed without permission from funmunch.com who owns the copyright)
Thanks to somebody who gave me this mp3. Just wanted this on my pinoymusic channel. Pinoy kasi ang dating sa akin nito... 

Happy Birthday to my lovely and beautiful mother who turns, well she would probably kill me even from three-thousand miles away if I gave that out. But Happy Birthday mom and to having a lot more birthdays as well, no matter how long you live.

The New America Foundation: Michael Lind- 'The Next Social Contract'

Source:The New America Foundation- from Michael Lind's book.

Source:The New Democrat 

"The American social contract—the implicit division of obligations among individuals, families, employers, communities, and government—has long needed an update. Policies, programs, and assumptions designed for the single-earner families and industrial workplaces of the postwar era are consistently failing to provide security and opportunities for families today. New America took up the mission of designing a new social contract in 2007 and was the first organization to frame its vision in these terms. The initiative that followed generated vital ideas that continue to shape debate and policymaking. 

The American social contract is in crisis. Even before the Great Recession exposed its inadequacy, it was clear that the existing American social contract — the system of policies and institutions designed to provide adequate incomes and economic security for all Americans — needed to be reformed to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. What is needed is not mere incremental tinkering, but rather rethinking and reconstruction. Policies that have worked should be expanded, while others that have failed should be replaced. The result should not be just a modification of today’s partly failed economic security system, but a substantially reformed system incorporating the soundest elements of the old — a new social contract for a new America." 

From The New America Foundation 

"Michael Lind, historian, Policy Director of the New America Foundation's Economic Growth Program, and author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States (2012), on infrastructure reform and our innovation system after the 2008 crisis.  

Watch more!  Subscribe to the Intelligent Channel!"

Source:The Intelligent Channel- talking to economic historian Michael Lind.

From The Intelligent Channel 

Source:The New Democrat- I believe this is a cartoon about Theodore Roosevelt, who is one of the founding fathers of the American public safety net.

What Michael Lind is talking about her is borrowing a helluva lot of money for a country that's already deep in national debt (meaning the United States of America) to pay for things like infrastructure, research and development, and I'm sure a European democratic welfare state, as well. Perhaps making the political calculation that American taxpayers would never agree to pay for the new taxes and tax increases to fund all of these new government services and expansion of current government services. So this needs to be soled in a way that government can tell the people that they're getting all of these new so-called free government services (because no one will pay the taxes to fund them) and it's not going to cost them anything. 

If government could just borrow the money for everything that it does, you wouldn't need taxes for anything. Why do we have taxes? 

One, to pay for the government services that we get and actually need like defense, national security, infrastructure, the regulatory state, etc. 

Two, so government doesn't have to borrow the money form other countries to pay for the government services that provides for its people. Every national government in the history of the world has run deficits to pay for its government. That's just the nature of economics everywhere in the world, especially capitalist free world. But one of the good reasons for taxes to limit how much a national government can borrow, knowing that your foreign credit could actually run out, if foreign creditors don't believe you can pay back what you actually owe. So of course every civilized country in the world has to have taxes or tariffs to pay for its government services. 

What comes to what's called the social contract and I don't like that term because it's not as if taxpayers have a choice in whether to pay for the government services that it gets, short of  leaving the country. 

What I believe government's role in America is to see that everyone has a real shot at making it in America on their own and not needing public assistance at all or some universal welfare state to pay for their cost of living. 

Things like infrastructure investment, research and development, that government finances, can help in insuring that every American has the opportunity that they need to make it in America. 

But an overwhelming majority of Americans don't expect government to take care of them from cradle to grave. Otherwise the Socialists would've been running America a long time ago, instead of being stuck in third-party status or trying to overtake the Democratic Party.

Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democracy