Gospel John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
Jesus moved about within Galilee;
he did not wish to travel in Judea,
because the Jews were trying to kill him.
But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.
But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,
he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.
Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said,
“Is he not the one they are trying to kill?
And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him.
Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?
But we know where he is from.
When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.”
So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
“You know me and also know where I am from.
Yet I did not come on my own,
but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”
So they tried to arrest him,
but no one laid a hand upon him,
because his hour had not yet come.
Who are minimum wage earners?
On January 3, 2000 Senator Ted Kennedy asked Vice President Al Gore if he would advocate the minimum wage on his campaign trail for President. Kennedy told him, “This is a women’s issue because the majority of minimum wage earners are women. It’s a children’s issue. It’s a civil rights issue. It’s a fairness issue.”
Fourteen years later the minimum wage is still an issue fraught with heated arguments pro and con. Let’s take a look at both sides of the fence but first think about your own town and the people in it that work behind the cash registers in fast food and retail stores alike. Are they mostly women? Are they teens making money on their first job experience? Are they retirees keeping busy? Well, what do you see right in your own backyard?
35 million Americans make minimum wage, three quarters of them over twenty. Females over 20 account for 48.3 percent while males in this category equal 31.2 percent. WWW.raisetheminimumwage.org/pages/demographics
WWW.fivethirtyeight.com/features/when-living-wage-is-minimum-wage/ Of all the research accumulated so far I respect Scott Winship’s. Check out parts of his work at the Manhattan Institute. Also included are other ideas out there about minimum wage.
Scott Winship is the Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Previously a fellow at the Brookings Institution, his areas of expertise include living standards and economic mobility, inequality, and insecurity. Earlier in his career, Winship was research manager of the Economic Mobility Project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and a senior policy advisor at Third Way. His research has been published in National Affairs, National Review, The Wilson Quarterly, Breakthrough Journal, and Real Clear Markets, among other outlets. Winship received a B.A. in sociology and urban studies from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in social policy from Harvard University.
But that doesn’t mean that, broadly, pay for low-wage workers fell. We could leave the minimum wage at $7.25 in perpetuity and it would become a progressively smaller fraction of the average wage. Perhaps in one hundred years $7.25 would be just 10 percent of the average. But if so, it would almost surely be the case that no one would be working for $7.25 anymore. In other words, what matters is not whether an arbitrary threshold in the wage distribution is rising or falling but whether low-skill workers in general are seeing wage growth. Minimum-wage workers are poorer than they used to be, but there are fewer of them. In 1979, 8 percent of workers made the federal minimum wage (or less), but by 2011, just 3 percent did. Comparing minimum wage workers over time compares the worst-off 3 percent today to the worst-off 8 percent in 1979.
In contrast, comparing equally-sized groups of low-wage workers shows that they are better off than in the past. The Economic Policy Institute data indicates that the 10th percentile of hourly wages—the pay of the worker poorer than 90 percent of workers and better-paid
than just 10 percent of them—rose 5 percent from 1979 to 2011. The increase was 12 percent for the 20th percentile and 16 percent for the median worker. This is not a dramatic rise in inequality between the poorest workers and the typical worker. The median worker made 1.8 times the worker at the 10th percentile in 1979, but the ratio rose only to 2.0 by 2011. Even the ratio of the 80th percentile of hourly wages to the 10th percentile rose just from 2.8 to 3.5.
Finally, note that a minimum wage worker in 1968 or 1979 paid higher taxes than she does today, despite payroll taxes going up. In no small measure, the decline in taxes for low-wage workers reflects the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, now the largest antipoverty program for nonelderly Americans (benefitting one-quarter of American households), nonexistent in 1968 and practically so in 1979. Note, too, that today (unlike in 1968 or 1979) a large share of the workforce is subject to a higher state minimum wage than the federal minimum. In 2007, the federal minimum wage was only beginning to rise from its all-time low, but 70 percent of the workforce enjoyed a higher state minimum. Essentially no one did prior to the late 1980s.
What about the fact that “low-wage workers” (those earning under $10 per hour in Dube’s piece) are older and better educated today than in the past? Because the workers below any threshold are a smaller and smaller group as wages rise, we should not be surprised to see the demographics of low-wage workers change over time. But the finding that the share of low-wage workers that had attended college rose from 25 percent to 43 percent between 1979 and 2011 is less striking when you know that the share of all workers having attended college rose from 33 percent to 59 percent (Tables P-16 and P-17). Similarly, while the share of low-wage workers that are teens fell from 26 percent to 12 percent, the share of all workers that are under twenty fell from 9 percent to 4 percent (Table 5.2).
Different people will ultimately differ in their willingness to increase the minimum wage given the same information about its likely costs and benefits. Informed decisions, however, require accurate information.
Original Source: http://www.economics21.org/commentary/how-solid-case-raising-minimum-wage
Employment rates among women have increased across the industrialized world, coinciding with rising educational attainment, delayed marriage, and declining fertility. All indications are that these trends reflect the preferences of many women for the satisfaction, independence, and additional income provided by a job over the under-valued and, for many women, unrewarding life of fulltime homemaking and childrearing.
More to the point, the CPS trends for households broken down by the marital status of the head all show sizable income gains without any household-size adjustments. For all households, the increase in this measure of pre-tax, post-transfer income was 30 percent from 1979 to 2007. For households in which the head was married, the increase was 44 percent. Among households where the spouses were separated, median income grew by 34 percent; for those with a widowed head, 50 percent; among those with a divorced head, 33 percent. Finally, among households with a never-married head, the increase was 34 percent from 1979 to 2007, and the increase for households with a never-married male head was 29 percent.
Foundational Research on Minimum Wage and Job Growth
Study: Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: Reply (2000)
Summary: A follow-up study by David Card and Alan Krueger that repeats their 1994 analysis, but uses official government data to determine employment figures. The study finds that the minimum wage increase in New Jersey did not affect employment in fast-food restaurants after New Jersey’s 1991 increase or after the 1996-1997 federal increases eliminated the differences in minimum wages between the two states.
Study: Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (1994)
Summary: A landmark study published by David Card and Alan Krueger in the American Economic Review examining employment at fast-food restaurants on both sides of the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border after New Jersey raised its minimum wage to $5.05 an hour while Pennsylvania’s minimum wage held constant. The authors conducted a phone survey of over 400 fast-food restaurants and found no evidence that the increase in the minimum wage in New Jersey led to job loss—in fact they found employment increased in fast-food restaurants in New Jersey. For this and related research, Card was awarded the John Bates Clark medal in 1995—the so-called “junior Nobel prize,” granted by the American Economics Association every two years to the best economist under forty.
Why Do Minimum Wage Increases Not Reduce Employment?
#1) The vast majority of low-wage workers are employed by large corporations, not small businesses:
Study: Big Business, Corporate Profits, and the Minimum Wage (2012)
Summary: An analysis of Census Bureau data finds that roughly two thirds (66 percent) of low-wage workers are employed by large companies with over 100 employees, not small businesses. Furthermore, the largest low-wage employers – including retail and fast food chains such as Wal-Mart and McDonalds – are earning strong profits today and can afford higher wages.
New York Times, January 2013: “Efforts to raise the minimum invariably run into arguments that employers, especially small businesses, cannot afford to pay a higher wage. But the evidence shows that most low-wage employees work for large companies, which have largely recovered from the recession and have reinstituted generous pay packages for executives.” (Source)
#2) There is significant savings that result from paying higher wages – including reduced employee turnover and increased productivity – and these savings help offset the cost to employers of a minimum wage increase.
Study: Why “Good Jobs” Are Good for Retailers (2012)
The economist and former treasury secretary Lawrence Summers warned recently of “the devastating consequences of robots, 3-D printing, artificial intelligence, and the like for those who perform routine tasks. Already there are more American men on disability insurance than doing production work in manufacturing. And the trends are all in the wrong direction, particularly for the less skilled, as the capacity of capital embodying artificial intelligence to replace white-collar as well as blue-collar work will increase rapidly in the years ahead.”
Microsoft founder Bill Gates warned recently, “you have to be a bit careful: If you raise the minimum wage, you’re encouraging labor substitution and you’re going to go buy machines and automate things.”
Summary: Harvard Business Review study by MIT Professor Zeynep Ton documents how major retailers such as Trader Joe’s and Costco benefit for higher sales revenue and profits than their low-wage competitors by investing in their employees, which reduces turnover and boosts productivity. For example, the starting wage at Trader Joe’s ranges between $40,000 and $60,000 per year, more than twice what many of its competitors offer, and yet the sales revenue per square foot at Trader Joe’s are three times higher than the average U.S. supermarket.
Costco CEO Craig Jelinek, March 2013: “We pay a starting hourly wage of $11.50 in all states where we do business, and we are still able to keep our overhead costs low. An important reason for the success of Costco’s business model is the attraction and retention of great employees. Instead of minimizing wages, we know it’s a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty. We support efforts to increase the federal minimum wage.” (Source)
Study: Minimum Wage Shocks, Employment Flows, and Labor Market Frictions (2012)
Summary: Study by economists at the University of California-Berkeley, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill finds sharps reductions in employee turnover in the first nine months following a minimum wage increase on the state level.
Study: Living Wages and Economic Performance (2003)
Summary: Examines the effects of a wage increase for workers at the San Francisco Airport, finding that annual turnover among security screeners plunged from 95 percent to 19 percent when their hourly wage rose from $6.45 to $10 per hour. After wages increased at the airport under a living wage policy, 35 percent of employers reported improvements in work performance, 47 percent reported better employee morale, 44 percent reported fewer disciplinary issues, and 45 percent reported that customer service had improved.
#3) Raising the minimum wage boosts consumer spending, generating higher sales revenue for local businesses and promoting economic growth.
Study: Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Give Working Families, and the Overall Economy, a Much-Needed Boost. (2013)
Summary: An analysis by the Economic Policy Institute shows that the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and index it to inflation, would generate more than $30 billion in new economic activity and support the creation of 140,000 new full-time jobs as businesses expand to meet increased consumer demand.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, February 2012, “Raising the minimum wage will put much-needed cash in the pockets of more than 1.2 million New Yorkers, who will spend those extra dollars in local stores.” (Source)
Study: Poor Sales, Not High Wages, Worry Small Businesses (2012)
Summary: An analysis of polling by the National Federation of Independent Businesses shows that small business owners consistently cite low sales revenue as their main economic concern, with concern over wage costs ranking as a minor consideration even through the Great Recession. Study concludes that the real concern among small businesses is not that their low-wage workers earn too much, but that their customers earn too little.
The Bottom Line on Minimum Wage and Job Growth:
Two decades of rigorous economic research have found that raising the minimum wage does not result in job loss. While the simplistic theoretical model of supply and demand suggests that raising wages reduces jobs, the way the labor market functions in the real world is more complex. Researchers and businesses alike agree today that the weight of the evidence shows no reduction in employment resulting from minimum wage increases.
The Economist, November 2012: “Evidence is mounting that moderate minimum wages can do more good than harm. […] Bastions of orthodoxy, such as the OECD, a rich-country think-tank, and the International Monetary Fund, now assert that a moderate minimum wage probably does not do much harm and may do some good. Their definition of moderate is 30-40% of the median wage. Britain’s experience suggests it might even be a bit higher.” (Source)
Crain’s New York Business, February 2012: ““Critics of [the minimum wage] proposal are making the same arguments as the last time the Legislature increased the minimum wage, in 2004. The hike to $7.15 an hour from the federal minimum of $5.15 was phased in over three years. If the change had a cataclysmic effect on businesses that depend heavily on minimum-wage workers, we certainly missed it. Objections . . . while meriting consideration, are essentially objections to the very existence of a minimum wage, which has been a fixture in the U.S. since 1938 and has never stopped our economy from flourishing.” (Source)
Kids not burying themselves in the books
In a new report researched by Vicky Rideout, senior adviser to Common Sense media, head of VJR consulting with more than 30 studies under her belt she clarifies:
“This review brings together many different government, academic, and nonprofit data sets to reveal some very clear trends,” said Rideout. “There has been a huge drop in reading among teenagers over the past 30 years, and we’ve made virtually no progress reducing the achievement gaps between girls and boys or between whites and children of color. The bottom line is there are far too many young people in this country who don’t read well enough or often enough.”
A component of the findings concerned children multi-tasking while reading and either listening to music or television in the background as they read. Instant messaging can be included in this alignment. Children spent up to one hour daily reading but the statistics were down to 76% in 2013. Girls spending ten minutes more than boys reading daily for pleasure while a full one-third of children scored below basic reading skills.
James Steyer, CEO and Founder of Common Sense Media is concerned that, “Technology is playing an increasingly significant role in kids lives, and it’s changing the nature of how kids read and our definition of what is considered reading. Used wisely, technology such as e-readers could help support ongoing efforts to reduce disparities, promote reading achievement, and fuel a passion for reading among all young people, but we need more research to better understand the impact of technology on kids’ reading,”
According to Professor Daniel Willingham, “…we’re not less capable of reading complex prose, but less willing to put in the work. Our criterion for concluding, ‘this is boring, this is not paying off,’ has been lowered because the Web makes it so easy to find something else to read, watch, or listen to. If I’m right, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that our brains are not being deep-fried by the Web; we can still read deeply and think carefully. The bad news is that we don’t want to.”
Be on the lookout for Daniel Willingham’s new book, “Raising Kids Who Read”. Willingham is a Psychology Professor at the University of Virginia where his focus is on cognitive psychology and neuroscience to k-12. Author also of “Why Don’t Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What it Means for the Classroom”, “What Can You Trust the Experts: How to Tell Good Science from Bad in Education”, “Cognition: The Thinking Animal” among others.