Daily Clips: July 13th, 2016

Daily Clips: July 13th, 2016

CEO PAY REMAINS UP 46.5% SINCE 2009: Exorbitant CEO pay means that the fruits of economic growth are not going to ordinary workers since the higher pay does not reflect correspondingly higher output. From 1978 to 2015, inflation-adjusted CEO compensation increased 940.9 percent, 73 percent faster than stock market growth and substantially greater than the painfully slow 10.3 percent growth in a typical worker’s annual compensation over the same period. THINK GOVERNMENTS ARE A MESS? MARKETS DON’T:   Among investors, though, the full faith and credit of governments is at an all-time high, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 2016 GOP PLATFORM IS RIDICULOUS:  As the nation becomes more diverse and tolerant, the Republican Party decides to head in the other direction. Naturally. Tweet of the day: At the risk of repeating myself, remember always that it is in the media's interest to have a close election to pump ratings. — Bruce Bartlett (@BruceBartlett) July 13, 2016

Chase, Target, and Starbucks Are Raising Their Minimum Wages. Is That Enough?

Chase, Target, and Starbucks Are Raising Their Minimum Wages. Is That Enough?

Today, Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, wrote in the New York Times that Chase is giving its lowest-paid employees a raise: Our minimum salary for American employees today is $10.15 an hour (plus meaningful benefits, which I’ll explain later), almost $3 above the current national minimum wage. Over the next three years, we will raise the minimum pay for 18,000 employees to between $12 and $16.50 an hour for full-time, part-time and new employees, depending on geographic and market factors. A pay increase is the right thing to do. Wages for many Americans have gone nowhere for too long. Many employees who will receive this increase work as bank tellers and customer service representatives. Above all, it enables more people to begin to share in the rewards of economic growth. This comes one day after Starbucks announced that their employees will get a raise ranging from five to fifteen percent, in the form of increased wages and stock awards. Of course, Chase and Starbucks are following a business trend; Target announced in April that they’re raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour, and Walmart raised their staff pay in January. The reason why these companies are raising their wages is because the federal minimum wage — that’s $7.25, in case you’re not keeping track — hasn’t gone up since July 24th of 2009, an increase that passed through Congress way back in 2007. Inequality keeps expanding as profits trickle up to the top one percent and never come back down. Of course Chase, Starbucks, Target, and Walmart aren’t doing this because it’s the kind thing to do, or even the right thing to do. They’re doing this because it’s becoming impossible to hire good staffers on the minimum wage. As soon as Dimon’s editorial was published this morning, though, the perennially wrong blogger at Forbes, Tim Worstall, misinterpreted the situation . As is custom, Worstall in a roundabout way attributed Dimon’s actions to
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Daily Clips: July 12th, 2016

Daily Clips: July 12th, 2016

BERNIE SANDERS ENDORSES HILLARY CLINTON: “There is no doubt in my mind that Hillary Cilnton is far and away the best candidate” to address America's needs, @BernieSanders says. — Vox (@voxdotcom) July 12, 2016 JPMORGAN CHASE IS GIVING THOUSANDS OF EMPLOYEES A RAISE:  In a terribly written piece (It starts: “Wage stagnation. Income inequality. A lack of quality education.”) CEO Jamie Dimon lets us all know how benevolent JP Morgan Chase actually is. He explains: Our minimum salary for American employees today is $10.15 an hour (plus meaningful benefits, which I’ll explain later), almost $3 above the current national minimum wage. Over the next three years, we will raise the minimum pay for 18,000 employees to between $12 and $16.50 an hour for full-time, part-time and new employees, depending on geographic and market factors. SO, ABOUT THAT “GOOD GUY” WITH A GUN:  The Washington Post‘s editorial board has an incredible column today on gun violence in America. Here’s my favorite paragraph: Yes, guns can be properly and effectively used in self-defense. But saturating the nation with firearms also primes the country for deadly violence, making many situations more likely to end in death. Potential suicides are more likely to succeed. Deranged and angry people, such as Johnson, can murder trained law enforcement officers from a distance. Curious children accidentally shoot themselves, their friends or their parents. Domestic abusers kill family members before tempers cool or authorities arrive. Police officers see or fear guns in the cars they pull over, and their adrenaline starts pumping.

Daily Clips: July 11th, 2016

Daily Clips: July 11th, 2016

WHY 2016 COULD BE A TURNING POINT ON GUNS:  Here is a piece you must read. Paul Waldman makes a convincing case that we are close to achieving an America with sane gun laws. While he provides many astute arguments, this was my favorite: [Hillary] Clinton also hasn’t hesitated to call out the NRA specifically, and given what a cautious politician she is, that’s also revealing. The newly invigorated gun control movement has taken as one of its core goals to drive a wedge between the NRA and gun owners generally, arguing that the group’s radical policy positions and nightmarish outlook don’t represent most gun owners, who aren’t stockpiling dozens of firearms in their underground bunkers as they look forward longingly to the coming apocalypse. BERNIE SANDERS WILL HIT THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL WITH HILLARY CLINTON:  The dream is over, Berners. What a ride it has been! And no, Bernie’s not “selling out.” This is how politics works. GOVERNMENT HOLDS THE PROMISE TO MORE GROWTH:  Productivity, according to this author, “is the key to long-term prosperity.” So it is troubling, therefore, when productivity flatlines (much like it has been) because then that “means that the pie isn’t growing.” Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson have a theory that “good government is critical to economic development.” Recently, they have added to their theory with a new idea called “state capacity.” This “incorporates the old idea of good institutions, and adds other factors that Acemoglu and Robinson believe are indispensable – strong education, research spending, infrastructure and lack of discrimination.” With this in mind, they argue that government “isn’t the bane of innovation – it’s a necessary and crucial input.” WORST HEADLINE OF THE DAY:  THE WORLD HAS BEEN FALLING APART FOR A LONG TIME. HOW DO WE PUT IT BACK TOGETHER?

Daily Clips: July 8, 2016

Daily Clips: July 8, 2016

SHOOTINGS IN DALLAS: It’s been an incredibly difficult week for America . The media seems eager to paint the Dallas shootings as part of a larger “War on Police.” That is not true; police have reported that the shooter disavowed the Black Lives Matter movement. What this was, was another in a long string of horrific mass shootings. This time, the shooter targeted police officers. Last time, it was gay men. Once, it was Batman fans. The unifying theme in these shootings is that a small number of men choose to use guns to enact their twisted wills on the world, and we make it way too easy for them to get those guns. JUNE’S JOBS REPORT IS GREAT: Here’s some good news : The US economy gained 287,000 jobs in June, the strongest monthly result of 2016. The unexpectedly strong result helps put to rest fears of the US economy tipping into recession — a recession that would have been bad for Hillary Clinton’s chances of capturing the White House in November. Here’s Donald Trump on May’s weak jobs numbers last month: Terrible jobs report just reported. Only 38,000 jobs added. Bombshell! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2016 Weirdly, Trump has yet to tweet about the June numbers. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.  HATE LOSES: The anti-transgender bathroom initiative did not make the November ballot in Washington, says Joseph O’Sullivan at the Seattle Times : The proposed initiative to restrict bathroom and locker-room access for transgender people won’t be on Washington state’s November election ballot. The campaign in support of Initiative 1515 indicated Thursday it couldn’t gather the 246,000 signatures needed, according to David Ammons, spokesman for the Washington Secretary of State’s Office. SPEAKING OF LGBT RIGHTS: King County just made a welcome announcement : The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community, is excited to announce that King County Executive Dow
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New Poll Shows Washington Voters Overwhelmingly Favor Initiative 1491

New Poll Shows Washington Voters Overwhelmingly Favor Initiative 1491

Yesterday, Raise Up Washington turned in over 360,000 signatures supporting their initiative to raise the minimum wage and introduce paid sick leave statewide. Today, another initiative traveled to Olympia to turn in some 330,000 signatures: the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility took a major step toward getting Extreme Risk Protection Orders on the ballot this November. @WaGunResponsib turns in sigs for I-1491 to get on ballot. Initiative would legalize extreme risk protection orders pic.twitter.com/D8MT5JXnjK — Natalie Brand (@NatalieBrandK5) July 7, 2016 What are Extreme Risk Protection Orders? As I reported back in February , Alliance Executive Director Renee Hopkins described them as a way to “allow family members and law enforcement officers… to ask a judge to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms if there is documented evidence of dangerous mental illness or a high risk of violent behavior.” Two of the deadliest shootings in Washington state history — the Jewish Federation shooting in 2006 and the Cafe Racer shooting in 2013 — could likely have been avoided had Extreme Risk Protection Orders been in place. This is the second time Washington voters will directly take on the NRA at the ballot box, after 2014’s successful  Washington Universal Background Checks for Gun Purchases initiative. And at the moment, things are looking good for I-1491 this November. A  Public Policy Polling poll commissioned by the Northwest Progressive Institute in June asked 679 likely Washington voters how they’d vote on I-1491 if the election were held today. The results: Yes: 73% Definitely vote yes: 56% Probably vote yes: 17% No: 21% Probably vote no: 11% Definitely vote no: 10% Not sure: 5% As NPI’s Cascadia Advocate points out : The overall “Yes” figure is certainly impressive (73%!), but what really stands out is that an outright majority of voters fall into the Definitely vote yes camp. That 56% number suggests that most Washingtonians are very enthusiastic about I-1491. It’s obvious that the American people are sick of gun violence. And as the Democrats’ filibuster in the Senate and sit-in in the House have proven, NRA-funded Republican lawmakers are making changes impossible on the federal level . So states and
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Study: Raising the Minimum Wage Is Good For Babies

Study: Raising the Minimum Wage Is Good For Babies

We already know that increasing the minimum wage would help  working familiesreduce childhood poverty (and thus, make kids healthier ), and generally make life better for parents and kids . But a new public health survey released in May found that the impact of raising the minimum wage isn’t just positive for families as a unit—according to the study , a raise of just $1 could actually reduce infant mortality. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, sought to “investigate the effects of state minimum wage laws on low birth weight and infant mortality in the United States,” according to the authors, Kelli A. Komro, PhD, MPH, Melvin D. Livingston, PhD, Sara Markowitz, PhD, and Alexander C. Wagenaar, PhD.  Their findings? “If all states in 2014 had increased their minimum wages by 1 dollar, there would likely have been 2790 fewer low birth weight births and 518 fewer postneonatal deaths for the year.” All things told, the researchers found, that same dollar increase would decrease infant mortality by as much as 4%. This is hardly the first study that’s linked higher wages to improved public health. A 2015 report published in The Nation’s Health, Minnesota State Health Commissioner Edward Ehlinger called the state’s minimum-wage increase a greater benefit to public health than a tobacco tax increase enacted that same year. From that report: “If you look at the conditions that impact health, income is right at the top of the list,” Ehlinger said. “Anything we can do to help enhance economic stability will have a huge public health benefit. This is a major public health issue.” It’s not a huge surprise; wealth and public health are linked in a variety of ways. People living in poverty are more susceptible to obesity , heart disease , and l ower life expectancy . And while these links are due to myriad factors, almost all of them can be solved or at least ameliorated just by putting a little
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Daily Clips: July 7, 2016

Daily Clips: July 7, 2016

IT HAPPENED AGAIN: Philando Castile is the second African-American man to be shot by a policeman in less than 24 hours . Like Alton Sterling , Castile died on camera. Castile was legally carrying a firearm, but the NRA doesn’t seem to care . CITY COUNCIL PROMOTES PAID PARENTAL AND FAMILY LEAVE: Check out the new proposed policy for city employees over at Councilmember Lorena González’s page. VIRAL PETITION BERATES “EXTREME LABOR CUTS” Janet I. Tu at the Seattle Times writes: A Starbucks barista’s petition complaining that the coffee chain has cut working hours in its stores to the point of “gross underemployment” for workers has garnered more than 11,000 signatures and the attention of top Starbucks executives. “THERE’S GOING TO BE A WHOLE LOT OF HAPPY STORE MANAGERS” Check out this great Marketplace story by Andy Uhler on raising the overtime threshold.

You Won’t Believe How This Dumb Think Tank Wastes Money That Could Have Gone to Minimum-Wage Workers

You Won’t Believe How This Dumb Think Tank Wastes Money That Could Have Gone to Minimum-Wage Workers

Last week, think tank/PR firm the Employment Policies Institute— not the good EPI; the bad EPI —paid for a full-page ad in the New York Times protesting the $15 minimum wage. The ad, which depicted an unflattering caricature of SEIU president Mary Kay Henry (because it’s always smart to mock your opponents’ physical appearance), argued that the $15 minimum wage would kill “starter jobs.” Why did the ad run last week? Who knows? Why did the ad run at all? Well, presumably the organization, which Goldy pointed out is most likely funded by “the restaurant, accommodations, and retail industries,” had to have some kind of splashy results to show its backers. Because the not-that-EPI’s great War Against $15 is really not going well. They’re losing, and their backers can’t be thrilled about how badly they’re losing. Here’s how badly the not-that­-EPI’s war on raising the wage is going: Some 63 percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2020. Every time you turn around, a new city or state is getting on the road to $15. Several states, including Washington, are voting to raise the wage this November. President Obama is a vocal supporter of raising the wage, as is Secretary Clinton. Walmart and Target have voluntarily raised their minimum starting wages because the government hasn’t kept up. Hell, even a majority of small business owners believe the minimum wage should be raised. Basically, the not-that-EPI just has Paul Ryan and Donald Trump on its side. And even Donald Trump isn’t sure where he stands on the minimum wage. But really all the not-that-EPI is proving with this ad is that they have enough extra money lying around to take out a full-page ad in the New York Times. I don’t know how much they paid, but based on the Times’s own rate cards (PDF), the rate for a full-page, full-color national ad in the business section is $214,733. Now, there’s every chance that the not-that-EPI got a sweetheart deal of some sort out of the Times, so let’s round the
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Daily Clips: July 6, 2016

Daily Clips: July 6, 2016

ALTON STERLING WAS SHOT: A graphic video shows Baton Rouge police wrestling an African-American man named Alton Sterling to the ground and shooting him. CLINTON PROMOTES DEBT-FREE EDUCATION PLAN: Hillary Clinton will unveil a higher education plan that incorporates major aspects of Bernie Sanders’s education policy: Clinton is adding three features to her plan for higher education policy, called the “ New College Compact .“ They include eliminating tuition at in-state public universities for families making under $125,000 by 2021 and restoring year-round Pell Grant funding so students can take summer classes to finish school quicker. WASHINGTON STATE DECIDES: Joel Connelly at the Seattle PI writes about two measures that are likely to make it to the ballot in November: Initiative 1433 would increase the state’s minimum wage, currently at $9.47 an hour, in phases to $13.50 an hour by 2020. I-1433 would allow workers to earn an hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours spent on the job.  Initiative 1491 would provide for extreme risk protection orders, allowing family members or law enforcement to ask that courts temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms if there is documented evidence that a person’s access to guns threatens his/her life and that of others. REPUBLICANS TALK A GOOD ECONOMIC GAME: Kevin Drum at  Mother Jones  points out something that has been staring us in the face for a while: ….economies always recover eventually. Conservatives take advantage of this fact by loudly and clearly insisting that their proposed tax cuts will supercharge economic growth. They know that eventually there will be growth, and when it happens they can then loudly and clearly insist that their tax cuts were responsible. Since they’ve been loudly and clearly saying this all along, ordinary citizens conclude that they’re right. Democrats don’t really do this.  

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