Gig Economy Leader to Embrace $15 Minimum Wage with Union Partnership

Gig Economy Leader to Embrace $15 Minimum Wage with Union Partnership

1. Elizabeth Dwoskin at the The Washington Post reports that SEIU and Airbnb are in talks about forming a partnership: Under the terms being discussed, Airbnb, which has previously been at odds with unions, will endorse the union’s Fight for $15 and encourage vendors who provide services to homeowners on the Airbnb platform to pay their staff at least $15 per hour. The platform will also direct Airbnb hosts to cleaners that have been given a seal of approval from SEIU. The cleaners will be trained, certified and provide green home cleaning services to Airbnb hosts, according to documents reviewed by the Washington Post. A poster child for the gig economy embracing the $15 minimum wage is a huge deal, obviously; it puts more pressure on organizations like Uber to do right by their employees. Dwoskin reports that the partnership was Airbnb’s idea. 2. Speaking of unions, local SEIU president (and friend of Civic Ventures) David Rolf has a wonderful piece in the new issue of American Prospect discussing many possible futures for the labor movement including worker ownership, control of work-distribution platforms, and the Shared Security platform he masterminded with Civic Ventures founder Nick Hanauer. It’s required reading which lays out a problem (declining union membership) and offers some forward-thinking solutions. Go check it out .

Daily Clips: April 18th, 2016

Daily Clips: April 18th, 2016

How cheap does solar power need to get before it takes over the world? I’ve written before about the potential of the solar industry  and Vox‘s Brad Plumer takes an in-depth look at the burgeoning sector. Fascinating stuff. On immigration, law is on Obama’s side: This sentiment isn’t coming from some commie socialist, it’s coming from former Republican Senator Dick Lugar. In this op-ed piece, Lugar is unequivocal about Obama’s actions on immigration, arguing: But whether or not you like President Obama’s actions, he has operated under longstanding provisions of law that give the executive branch discretion in enforcement. This presidential prerogative has been recognized explicitly by the Supreme Court. Moreover, the nature of immigration enforcement and the resources (or lack thereof) appropriated by Congress necessitate exactly the type of choices that the president has made. Moving toward a 21st-century labor movement:  SEIU’s president, David Rolf, has a fantastic column about the need to reboot America’s labor structure. He argues against restoring “America’s collective-bargaining framework” and instead suggests a Shared Security System – which we’ve talked about on our gig economy podcast episode . 3 million registered voters won’t be able to vote in New York’s primary:  New York values. 

AEI Professor Mark Perry Can’t Tell the Difference Between a Human Being and Ground Beef

AEI Professor Mark Perry Can’t Tell the Difference Between a Human Being and Ground Beef

AEI economist Professor Mark Perry has a lot of issues. First of all, he was busted last week for data manipulation , which is pretty much unforgivable in his line of work. But yesterday, he committed another unforced error: he published a blog post comparing human beings to ground beef. Well, technically, he quoted another economist comparing human beings to ground beef, but Perry enthusiastically ran with the analogy. Here’s the passage , which Perry employed in opposition to raising the minimum wage: Economist Walter E. Williams has used the following example to illustrate the competition described above between unskilled and skilled workers by looking at the market for different qualities of beef. Suppose that hamburger sells for $4 per pound and sirloin steak sells for $8 per pound. Hamburger is a much lower quality variety of beef compared to sirloin steak, but can attract a significant number of buyers who choose hamburger over the higher quality option for the 50% savings in price. Likewise, many employers may choose lower quality, unskilled workers over higher skilled employees for the significant savings in labor costs. But now suppose the government imposes a “$8 per pound minimum beef price law.” In that case, most shoppers who buy beef will then purchase more sirloin steak and less hamburger because the lower quality meat has lost it main weapon to successfully compete against higher quality sirloin steak – a significantly lower price that compensates for the lower quality. Result? Hamburger sales will suffer due to the “minimum beef price law” and sirloin steak sales will increase. Just like in the labor market, a $15 an hour minimum wage will remove the most effective weapon that unskilled workers currently have to compete against skilled workers – the ability to work for a lower wage. Result? Employment opportunities for unskilled and limited-experience workers will contract, while employment opportunities for skilled workers will
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Daily Clips: April 15th, 2016

Daily Clips: April 15th, 2016

What follows the Fight for $15?  A pretty good secure scheduling writeup in the Atlantic — if you haven’t heard our podcast on this subject, listen here ! Love that last line: “With luck, and with an honest effort by both business and labor to come to a consensus, Seattle could provide a model to the rest of the country.” Bernie, Pope Francis, and the Moral Economy:  Two old men discuss the purpose of the economy in increasingly unequal times. No, a $15 minimum wage won’t kill businesses:  Sorry trickle-downers, the minimum wage doesn’t destroy the economy. (Yes, I’m even looking at you,  Vox ) Video of the day: Very effective political ad from Bernie Sanders. Not something I say often. Tweet of the day: This claim about Fresno is same thing people said about SeaTac. Didn't happen. #skyaloft https://t.co/xBh9pBcxTY pic.twitter.com/UYO639xjN0 — Robert Cruickshank (@cruickshank) April 15, 2016

$15 Then! (Yet Another Reason Why a $15 Minimum Wage Isn’t as “Insane” as You Think)

$15 Then! (Yet Another Reason Why a $15 Minimum Wage Isn’t as “Insane” as You Think)

Last night during the Democratic debate, when asked if she would sign a $15 an hour federal minimum wage should the bill come across her desk, Hillary Clinton snapped back, “Of course I would … if we have a Democratic Congress, we will go to $15 .” Clinton has previously backed state and city efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15, but this is the first time she’s on the record supporting that number at the federal level. My, how far the $15 movement has come. And yet, not quite so far as it first appears. Back in 2012, when New York City fast food workers first walked off the job demanding a $15 minimum wage and the right to organize, the political and media establishment collectively rolled its eyes at such an “insane” demand. But that was back when $15 was still worth, well, $15 — at least in 2012 money. Four years later, adjusted even for our current anemic rate of inflation, those same three five-spots are only worth about $14.46. And not even Bernie Sanders is talking about jumping to $15 now. He proposes a gradual phase-in through 2022 (a full decade after that first fast food strike!), when $15 will only be worth about $12.80 in 2012 dollars. That’s not nothing. But in today’s money, it’s about $4,600 a year less than what those fast food workers were striking for. Because inflation! So yeah, the rapid progression of $15 from fringe idea to the most loudly shouted about point of agreement in the Democratic debate is nothing short of amazing. Still, whatever your first impression of the proposal, it’s important to remember that $15 now isn’t the same thing as $15 then.

Elizabeth Warren Is Right: It’s Time to Reform Tax Preparation

Elizabeth Warren Is Right: It’s Time to Reform Tax Preparation

Michael Arria at Alternet says that Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill called the Tax Filing Simplification Act, which would “direct the Internal Revenue Service to create a free tax preparation and filing service.” This is an absolute no-brainer. President Ronald Reagan proposed a similar, “totally voluntary” system in which Americans would “automatically receive your refund or a letter explaining any additional tax you owe.” And since the 1980s, computers have only made it easier to track and tabulate what people owe in taxes. And for those who fear dirty tricks from the IRS, this would be a system with plenty of checks and balances: most importantly, if you disputed the IRS’s return, you could simply do your own taxes and file them, the way you do now. Nothing would change for you. Automatic tax filing makes so much sense! Who would possibly argue against making tax preparation easier? Well, that’d be Intuit, the company that owns TurboTax. Arria says they’ve put $13 million into lobbying against automatic tax preparation legislation. In 2014, Jordan Weissmann at Slate pointed out the sleazy ways that Intuit fights tax prep reform. Their lobbyists trick advocates for poor Americans into believing that automatic tax legislation would somehow harm the poor. They claim that the institution of tax prep reform would mean the end of free tax preparation services for low-income Americans, which is patently false. If you haven’t already, I’d urge you to read Tom Heberlein’s great article on Vox about Sweden and taxes . It’s packed with all sorts of interesting information about why Sweden isn’t the socialist hellhole that conservatives would have you believe. But the part that’s most relevant to our interests for this post is this description of what tax preparation is like: In Sweden, the four-page tax form comes in the mail already filled out. On a Saturday morning, Betty and I take our coffee to
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Daily Clips: April 14th, 2016

Daily Clips: April 14th, 2016

Chicago police ‘have no regard’ for lives of black people, report says : In a 22-page report, data from the Chicago police showed that there is “validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.” How to watch tonight’s Democratic debate: 9pm ET tonight CNN – online stream available at CNN.com Tax policy is widening the gender gap: It seems that the tax and benefit system is implicitly working against the achievement of gender equality in the workforce. Rather than blame the private sector for exacerbating inequality, it might be time for the state to look more carefully at how its own labor market interventions are impacting the gender gap. Top 50 US companies hold 1.4 trillion in cash offshore : Yay. Tweet of the day: Avg of Continued Claims as a percent of the Labor Force at an ALL-TIME low. Thanks, Obama. pic.twitter.com/ZSrspsRxAQ — Invictus (@TBPInvictus) April 14, 2016

Daily Clips: April 13th, 2016

Daily Clips: April 13th, 2016

The future of Bernie Sanders’ grassroots army:  Bernie has lit a progressive fire in this country that will not burn out anytime soon. How will he continue to mobilize his supporters after this election? Paul Ryan isn’t a moderate alternative to Donald Trump. He’s not moderate at all. Should feminism be about political solidarity?  An interesting and thought provoking read. North Carolina’s bathroom law just keeps backfiring on Pat McCrory: If this saga has gone terribly for McCrory, it’s been great for Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is trying to unseat the one-term governor. Cooper’s game plan to win in a socially conservative state like North Carolina had always been to attack McCrory on his job-creating record. Now, Cooper can claim he has tangible evidence to “prove” that the governor’s proposals are costing North Carolina residents jobs. And he can make the case that McCrory’s executive order is an admission that the law went too far while still hammering the governor on the law itself. (McCrory’s camp responded that the governor is making decisions “based on the best interests of the state and its citizens.”) Tweet of the day: Team Ryan raised half a million from Charles Koch and his wife. https://t.co/7Poh7Aq4jl — Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) April 13, 2016

Free Marketeers Are Losing the Debate (and Their Minds) Over the Minimum Wage

Free Marketeers Are Losing the Debate (and Their Minds) Over the Minimum Wage

  Writing in The Week, Shikha Dalmia, a senior analyst at the libertarian Reason Foundation (motto: “free minds and free markets”), adds absolutely nothing to the minimum wage debate beyond the same old 1980s-era trickle-down bullshit : Progressives have gone crazy over the minimum wage. As opposed to conservative Republicans, who I guess are sanely campaigning on promises to deport 10 million immigrants, build a giant border wall, carpet bomb Syria/Iran/whoever, return us to the gold standard, and punish women who have abortions. President Obama got the ball rolling when he called for hiking the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. Now, both Democratic presidential candidates are trying to one-up him, with Bernie Sanders demanding a $15 federal wage and Hillary Clinton $12. Meanwhile, California and New York have already passed laws mandating the Bernie rate, and scores of cities across the country are clamoring to follow suit. Actually, President Obama first got the ball rolling back in 2008 , when he campaigned on raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour — equivalent to about $10.50 today (about 40 cents below the 1968 inflation-adjusted peak of $10.90). So, yeah, Obama’s been pretty damn consistent on this issue, like, forever. As for Hillary Clinton’s proposed $12 an hour minimum wage, phased in over five years , by the time it would be fully implemented in 2022, it would stand about 30 cents below the 1968 inflation-adjusted peak. So again, no historical outlier here. And while Bernie Sanders’ $15 minimum wage would represent an inflation-adjusted high, he too proposes phasing it in over five years, so it’s not quite the jump it first appears: about a 22 percent premium over 1968 (but about half what it would have been had the minimum wage kept pace with productivity gains as it had done over its first 30 years). So I’m failing to see what’s
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Paul Ryan Is Not Running for President Because He Knows His Party Is Falling Off a Cliff

Paul Ryan Is Not Running for President Because He Knows His Party Is Falling Off a Cliff

Today, House Speaker  Paul Ryan is supposedly going to make an announcement that he’s formally ruling out a presidential run in 2016. Ryan has made this same denial in the past , but as Donald Trump’s delegate numbers flag below the necessary 1,237 votes to get nominated on the first try at the Republican National Convention, Ryan’s name keeps getting floated as a possible last-minute nomination. There is a recent historical precedent for this kind of move; Ryan, you’ll remember, didn’t even run for his current position of House Speaker; it was basically handed to him once John Boehner quit and every other Republican who aspired to the Speaker position turned out to be terrible.   Why Ryan, though? Why do Republicans enthusiastically nominate Paul Ryan for every single job from Vice President to Speaker to President? Well, he’s young for a nationally known politician. He’s from Wisconsin, so he doesn’t carry any of the stigma that, say, a Texas politician does. And as we all know from 2012, he’s very into physical fitness. paul ryan doesn't respect obama because he doesn't lift, bro. pic.twitter.com/rbd5E0PgMr — Hunter Hurt Helmsley (@rayze1) January 13, 2016 It seems pretty clear that Ryan is not the most likable or charismatic guy. He didn’t provide any lift to the 2012 Romney ticket. But he does like to promote himself as the brains of the Republican Party. And he likes to present his budgets as thoughtful documents that mark a way forward for the party and the nation. Since far-right congressional Republican s don’t like Ryan’s budget, surely they must be sensible and bipartisan, right? Not so much. In 2014, Ryan’s budget, if passed, would have privatized Medicare . His 2015 budget was full of the typical far-right folderol: repealing Obamacare, cutting funding for humanities and PBS, adding all sorts of new restrictions to social programs. So if Ryan is a typical post-George W. Bush conservative—one with a Tea Partier’s obsession with cutting social programs back to a nub—why are Republicans so eager
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