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« Those Unedjicated Conservatives | Main | Ruminations – 3feb2014 (updated 4feb14) »

01 February 2014

Comments

Ben Emery

The wealthy who have way to much influence in our legislative process have rigged the system in their favor. It doesn't need to get any more complicated. As our government (state and federal) goes further down the road of who ever spends more on elections wins we will continue to see legislation that favors the wealthy and a heavy handed approach when it comes to the rest of us. The lower down the SES it gets the more heavy handed the policies become.

Bridgegate another distraction from the real issues that threaten our society today. An out of control executive branch, a obstructionist legislative branch, an activist judicial branch, and systemic corruption are the issues we all should be focusing on.

Scott Obermuller

I was 'focused' long ago, Ben. It seems your actual solution (bigger and more powerful govt) only adds to the problem.
Please explain how the legislative branch is 'obstructionist'? When they pass Obamacare or when they try to repeal Obamacare? When they give a pass to NSA or try to rein in the NSA?

Bonnie McGuire

Gov Christie's bridgegate is just another distraction by the media. Big deal. The same media says nothing about the President using executive privilege to bypass Congress which is unlawful. If he was a Republican they would join the democrats demanding he be impeached. I'm not crazy about Christie, but the whole thing is stupidly petty.

As far as women working...of course they should be paid the same as men doing the same type job. Years ago when our children were growing up I used to wonder why why mothers were looked down on professionally...because they weren't earning money. I was fortunate to have a wonderful husband who worked hard supporting his family. My job was to make a nice home and take care of our children. It occurred to me that this was more important than having someone else raise them. After all, they become the future of our community and nation. A very important job the state thinks it can do better.

Another profession looked down upon are farmers. Without the food they produce, everything else would collapse. Perhaps the up side of our draught will make people aware of where food comes from.

Bill Tozer

Brother Ben: Yes, we can all agree that there is too much money floating around Congress and influence peddling. Not all of it is bad. AARP lobbies for the seniors and The Sierra Club, The NRA, The Urban League, the airline industry and as you know, space constraints limit from listing 10,000 more, some good, some bad. We all need to have our voices heard, just most of us can't lean on our Congressperson or Senator individually with effectiveness. Who lobbies for our school children when it comes to vouchers to leave a failing public educational system? That one example I grant you has too much influence from the other side, too much corruption, too much heavy handedness, and too much money. So, our children suffer. I see your point.

Just consider what happens when with a military base closing in a township near you. The influence peddling comes out of the closet big time.

The issues of a reach around executive branch we can agree on. Activist judiciary? Preaching to the choir Brother Ben. Don't mind an obstructionist legislative branch in the least. It is after all set up to be an adversarial system, just like watching 2 lawyers vigorously state their cases in any courtroom.

Our focus must also be on the world scene, not just within our borders. Bell and Howe got their bacon saved with the Huey when Vietnam came along. Corruption got the contract? Who knows. Reagen had an easier time growing the economy and lifting the middle class because we had a large and strong manufacturing base.

But times have changed. Mom and Pop stores can't complete with the Big Box stores and thus pay little. Big Box stores can't complete with the Amazons of the world. Pay is little. All of our stores and most manufactures can't complete with emerging markets because of labor costs. Ford is the one exception as the Focus is the best selling car on the planet, made in many countries. And it is not just the US competing with China. We are competing with the Germans and French who also have plants oversees. Heck, Mexico even flexing its manufacturing muscles.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-31/mexico-surpassing-japan-as-no-2-auto-exporter-to-u-s-.html

You can talk about income inequality until the cows come home. But, can you compete with a robot? Can you work 24/7 like an automated assembly line? More importantly, can you or I land a good paying job punching in numbers on that assembly line's computer? You bitch about Wal-Mart, which is just another retailer facing the same problems. Do you think that Wal-Mart would have any advantage without their mind blowing distribution system?

The only way to make a decent living in retail is to go on commission or into management which is taking a risk. 10-12 bucks an hour will keep anyone in poverty. Successful people and businesses do what they know how: to make a profit. And that's what they do and they do it well. And they get better and better over time cause they only know how to be successful. They will come up with a way and they continue to improve. Success is what the American work force and our failing public education system should try to emulate.

Ben Emery

Bill,
Somehow executive pay continues to increase and those on the right don't have a problem with it. Trying to get more pay for those at the bottom across the board is opposed and argue it will increase the cost of goods and services. So why is it low end worker pay will raise the cost but executive pay doesn't? Right now pay disparity between CEO and low end worker in the largest companies is around 500:1. In the 1940's through 1970's that ratio was between 30/40:1.

Ultimately we have to figure out a pay system that all Americans can afford to live no matter how much automation is brought into the work place.

Johnny Cash "Legend of John Henry's Hammer"

But the bad boss come up laughin' at John Henry
Said, "You full of vinegar now, but you about through
We gonna get a steam drill to do your share of drivin'
Then what's all them muscles gonna do? Huh, John Henry?
Gonna take a little bit of vinegar out of you"

John Henry said, "I feed four little brothers
And baby sister's walkin' on her knees
Did the Lord say that machines oughtta take the place of livin'?
And what's a substitute for bread and beans? I ain't seen it
Do engines get rewarded for their steam?"


MikeL

Ben,

Let's say you are the King of the United States and you could control by executive decree how much CEO's could make compared to the worker bee. What is an exceptable ratio for CEO vs. worker?

While I do agree with you that the executive pay seems high compared to the worker, I disagree that this disparity should be controlled by government.

What do you think about Tom Steyer or George Soros, did they make too much money ?

George Rebane

BenE 835am - Your continuing question about exec vs labor pay has been answered many times. And you really should know the answer yourself, unless you are trying to demagogue RR readers, which you really shouldn't try because they are an astute bunch.

But once more around the barn. Run the numbers on a public company's executive pay, reduce it by whatever socially just fraction suits you, and distribute the 'saved' monies among the rest of the workers. The damage you do at the top will be apparent immediately, because the execs are the company's operating managers and brains. The marginal benefit to workers will be small, assuming that then they'll even have a job.

And if you feel that any such enterprise can be run on your socialist principles, then you are welcome to gather your like-minded people and have a go at it. By offering much higher wages to the labor component, your new company should be able to strip that ol' greedy capitalist of his workers. And off you go, leaving all those highly paid executives with no ability to produce and therefore facing ruin. Now why hasn't anyone done that yet?

Bill Tozer

Mr. Ben, you or I cannot put the brakes on CEO pay or even A-Rod's 26 million dollar contract. The US Constitution say gobberment has to stay out of private contracts no matter how unseemly it seems. You are proposing to alter the Constitution of the United State of America. Your way to fix things is for gobberment to set rules and limits, the same gobberment that has for generations exempted themselves from the same rules and regulations.

All plans for Utopia here on Earth always assume that corruption and favoritism will not exist, even though it has always existed from the quilting club to the UN since man picked up a club. Like those gurus that hit college campuses in the late 60's preaching simple barren lives stark lives free of materialism while collecting outrageous speaking fees with the chauffeur awaiting to drive the speaker to the bank.

Another thing I hear is if we just all buy locally and buy only products that are Made in America or only goods and services from employers that treat their workers exemplary, then it will work and the gears will be humming along down the road of prosperity for all. What that ideal fails to take into account is once again human nature. Why the hell is Wal-Mart the largest retailer in these United States? Because they sell cheap stuff. People love cheaper prices. You can load up a shopping cart of groceries at warehouse outlets or walk away with two bags from a local vender for the same price. Guess who is going to win every time?

Let's say you want to buy a small engine for a lawn mower or rototiller. You have Briggs, Wisconsin (made in the People Republic of Korea) and some brands you never heard of. You check out the details, hp, even fuel consumption and noise levels. Assuming all things are relatively equal, you pick the one that fits your needs and budget and of those models, you pick the one that is 75 clams cheaper. That is reality in the new millennium. Price of goods does matter. It is the difference between opening up the factory doors in the morning or shuttering them with big chains and padlocks. Price indeed matters from hammocks to pens.

Oh, to stay on Dr. Rebane's topic:

https://scontent-b-sjc.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/t1/1238912_10151637203250911_1812855357_n.jpg

https://scontent-b-sjc.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/t1/1234236_10151630736695911_248784026_n.jpg

fish

What do you think about Tom Steyer or George Soros, did they make too much money ?


Certainly not....they display the goodthinkful traits so neccessary to todays plutocrat. They stand as a shining example to us all!

Ben Emery

So basically your answer to the conundrum is some people are just meant to live in poverty so other people can have more than enough to live. $40 to $1 seems to be more than fair compensation. Also I believe you are confusing brains with being heartless. When the taxation policies of individual, corporate, and tariff were geared towards reinvestment instead of accumulation we had a somewhat balanced economy with the brains still at the top and in R&D. They were compensated $40 to every $1 the worker who manufactured those ideas into products or services. That reinvestment went into the pensions you hate so much that cannot be sustained today. That reinvestment went into health care insurance. That reinvestment went into education of workers making them more secure and productive. That reinvestment went into paid sick days and vacation days so workers were less stressed. The executives lived a very comfortable lifestyle but had long term incentives since their compensation wasn't based on the next year or quarter profit margins. The executives in those companies were on average with their companies something like 20 years or more where today it is in the range of 5 or 6 years.

It is about how the economy is structured not about what type of work is being done. We bought American goods, which kept US dollars in the US instead of today we have $600 billion trade deficit. The trade deficit is really intra-company trading within subsidiaries of a parent company that keeps the profits outside of the US, thus we have a boom and bust speculative economy based on flooding the nation with easy credit but at some point that credit comes due. What is the guesstimate $3 trillion sitting offshore?

fish

$40 to $1 seems to be more than fair compensation.

It sure does!. But pretty soon some political reformer...let's call him Ben....will say 40 to 1....? That's insanity !Before the 40 to 1 ratio implementation effort that I spearheaded, things were horrible...the chocolate ration was down to 25 grams per week. Good fellows conditions improved dramatically when we implemented to 40 to 1 policy....I say we can do better...it's time for the 35 to 1 Kulak to Peasant income ratio, by which we will usher in our radiant progressive future.

You do know how this ends don't you Ben?

Ben Emery

Soros, Gates, Buffett, and every other multi-billionaire have accumulated that money of the work or suffering of others and is disgusting. Speculating with necessities of life for the common person is immoral in my book. I have shown over and over again how these sick individuals operate so I won't waste your and my time doing it again. The difference between the lefty and the righty billionaire is the lefties advocate changes publicly that would cause them to work harder to accumulate more money where as the righty camp invests in legislators to allow them to accumulate more money easier. To tell the truth I don't think behind closed doors they are much different in their approach.

fish

The difference between the lefty and the righty billionaire is the lefties advocate changes publicly that would cause them to work harder to accumulate more money where as the righty camp invests in legislators to allow them to accumulate more money easier.

Well Warren didn't get the memo, not with his reputation as Americas greatest crony capitalist. But you keep on repeating the talking points.


To tell the truth I don't think behind closed doors they are much different in their approach.

Then why in the previous sentence do you make the argument that they are different?

MikeL

Ben,

Yes the hard realities of life are that some people will CHOOSE to live in poverty. You do believe in a persons right to choice don't you?

Thank you Fish for answering my question to Ben and thank you Ben for seconding Fish's answer with your 10:23 AM. post.

Evil Bill Gates, the mastermind behind Windows, forcing me to use his sinister program Excel, oh the horror.

fish

I don't know Mike....Excel is okay....but the whole Windows OS line should have earned someone a few years in a forced labor camp!

Joe Koyote

As far as the quality of journalism goes, media scholars like Eric Alterman, The Nation columnist and author of What Liberal Media?, attribute the demise of journalism to media conglomeration. The first thing that happens when a media outlet is gobbled up is a purging of the newsroom to cut labor costs and increase profit. Fewer reporters means fewer stories and less time for investigative journalism as the remaining reporters have to fill the daily print newshole, not to mention the new trend of having print reporters also providing web content. The creates a reliance on easy to gather stories like press releases, government "leaks", and the use of the same old sources which translates into the public mostly getting the corporate and government view of issues. Another factor associated with conglomeration is “self-censorship”. Reporters tend to hesitate to bite the hand that feeds them and in a conglomerated world where defense contractors own media outlets and media outlets have financial interests in nuclear power generation, etc. etc. stories critical of parent companies are often watered down if reported on at all, and the media outlet connection is often not mentioned. Bottom line is the public often gets mostly biased information.

fish

As far as the quality of journalism goes, media scholars like Eric Alterman, The Nation columnist and author of What Liberal Media?, attribute the demise of journalism to media conglomeration. The first thing that happens when a media outlet is gobbled up is a purging of the newsroom to cut labor costs and increase profit. Fewer reporters means fewer stories and less time for investigative journalism as the remaining reporters have to fill the daily print newshole, not to mention the new trend of having print reporters also providing web content. The creates a reliance on easy to gather stories like press releases, government "leaks", and the use of the same old sources which translates into the public mostly getting the corporate and government view of issues. Another factor associated with conglomeration is “self-censorship”. Reporters tend to hesitate to bite the hand that feeds them and in a conglomerated world where defense contractors own media outlets and media outlets have financial interests in nuclear power generation, etc. etc. stories critical of parent companies are often watered down if reported on at all, and the media outlet connection is often not mentioned. a certain type of would be world improver gravitates to the profession....well intentioned but with far to much faith in the power and efficacy of state intervention, he eventually winds up as little more than spokesperson for government. Bottom line is the public often gets mostly biased information.

Fixed that for you Joe.

George Rebane

BenE 1013am - I take that to be your answer to my 915am question. It's the same answer that I have been getting from progressives to that question for years (decades really).

And, as expected, you are part of the Obama's loyal legions who have bought into the myth of economic immobility in America. Today the report I broadcast and presented on 24 January is finally making the news rounds (but not, of course, in the lamestream). It shows that Americans are still economically very mobile, both up and down. And this mobility has not changed in at least the last thirty years contrary to what our Chief Liar is pitching around the country today.

And here's more that will attract the responding crickets.
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/02/06/analysis-obama-administration-bemoans-falling-incomes-but-studies-show-economic/
http://www.pewstates.org/research/data-visualizations/income-and-wealth-in-america-across-generations-85899453568
http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/

Joe Koyote

fish - You don't need to fix it for me.. it is correct as it stands whether or not it fits your world view.

fish

When you drop the same tired if we only had a "free press" we could have all the government required for our perfect society I absolutely do have to "fix that for you"....sorry my correction doesn't "fit your worldview"!

Brad Croul

"crack corps of crickets" :)

Joe Koyote

"When you drop the same tired if we only had a "free press" we could have all the government required for our perfect society " Where did you get that? You have a very fertile and suspicious mind that seems to want to read things between the lines that are not there turning facts into ideological fiction. All I am stating is what some of the experts say are some of the factors that play into our news. Nothing more. Take it or leave it.

MikeL

As far as the quality of journalism goes, media scholars like Erica Alterwoman, The Pravda columnist and author of "10 things to do with a booger", attribute the demise of journalism to laziness.

The first thing that happens when a media type gets lazy is they use easy to gather stories like press
releases, government "leaks", and the use of the same old sources which translates into the public mostly getting the NGO and government view of issues.

The second thing that happens is the lazy writer embellishes a non story to make the subject sound really really scary, examples of this are man caused global warming where every hot/cold wet/dry weather event is reported as conclusive evidence of how man is destroying the world.

Another factor not really relevant is with conglomeration of the news media since yellow journalism is alive and well. Reporters and everyone else on the planet tend to hesitate to bite the hand that feeds them.

In a conglomerated world where defense contractors make weapons systems, farmers grow food and carpenters build houses, media outlets don't have financial interests in nuclear power generation. Huh?

Stories critical of parent companies are often watered down if reported on at all or are complete works of fiction, and the media outlet connection is often not mentioned. Bottom line is the public often gets mostly biased information. Duh!

fish

"When you drop the same tired if we only had a "free press" we could have all the government required for our perfect society " Where did you get that? You have a very fertile and suspicious mind that seems to want to read things between the lines that are not there turning facts into ideological fiction.

Not really...although I can be lazy at times in this regard. Read Eric Altermans bio: He earned a BA in history and government from Cornell University, an MA in international relations from Yale University, and a PhD in U.S. history from Stanford University.[3] From my perspective this puts hims into the category that I included in the "fixed that for you" post. These guys pursue these kinds of credentials specifically so they can cheerlead for the state...and Alterman does not disappoint:

Some of his haunts:

Alterman began his journalism career in 1983, freelancing originally for The Nation, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, Harper's, Le Monde diplomatique, and later, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, and The Atlantic Monthly, among others, while working as a senior fellow for the World Policy Institute in New York City and Washington, DC. Shortly after that he became the Washington Correspondent for Mother Jones, and soon thereafter Rolling Stone, before returning to The Nation as a columnist in 1995. Alterman has also been a contributing editor to ELLE, and a regular columnist for Worth and the London Sunday Express.[citation needed]

Alterman also writes a regular media column for the Center for American Progress, where he has also been a fellow.[4]*

*from his Wikipedia entry

From my perspective this places Eric squarely in the E.J. Dionne, Katrina van den Heuvel, Sad Beard Yglesias, Thom Hartmann camp of pundits for whom no problem is too small to merit a federal program. The agglomeration of media of which you complain hasn't stifled his output or prevented him or the others listed from making sure that their endorsement of ever greater government intervention into every corner of our existence isn't heard.

Of course if you feel I'm in error I'm certainly interested to see your evidence.

Joe Koyote

I wasn't really talking about Alterman as a person or his lefty credentials, I just happened to agree with his observations about media. Your take that I was implying "government will solve all" , while it may be part of Alterman's persons, really didn't enter my mind. My point that conglomeration has an effect on the quality of media and here are some reasons why was meant to be politically neutral.

fish

I wasn't really talking about Alterman as a person or his lefty credentials, I just happened to agree with his observations about media. Your take that I was implying "government will solve all" , while it may be part of Alterman's persons, really didn't enter my mind. My point that conglomeration has an effect on the quality of media and here are some reasons why was meant to be politically neutral.

Fair enough Joe....if I read too much into your post I retract my criticism.

Bill Tozer

Brother Ben. Ok, you say I am confusing brains with heart and I say you are confusing what is with what you wish it to be. Yep, once that idea drops the 14" from the cranium to the heart, its there forever. When you wish upon a star....of how I miss Jimmy Cricket.

Also, Brother Ben, me thinks you are stuck in your father's generation. Me too sometimes. Have a friend that always complains that his Papa would go set up TV antennas on people's roofs doing business on a handshake and made enough to buy a house, feed his family and have a stay at home mother to the kids back in the day.

Look at our fathers' history. After World War II, young men came home to price and wage freezes. The only way manufacturing and businesses could attract good workers was to offer health care and other perks cause they could not offer them higher wages. Sears and Robucks offered wage and profit sharing. Thus Joe Blow working for the union got the wage AND bennies, while Joe Blow's brother just got the wage cause he wasn't as gifted or worked at a tiny company. It was not to relieve stress. It was to attract workers and keep them. That is why BarrackObamacare is a threat to the unions attractiveness. Who needs to pay union dues union if you get health care through BarrackObamacare? But I digress.

OK, do it the Ben and Jerry way. Great product I might add. Set yer limits voluntarily. But here is reality. Company X hires a CEO at 20 mil a year. Mr. CEO of company Y reads this in the paper and wants 20 mill plus ten bucks. Mr. CEO of Company Z will stay on board if he gets 25 mil when his contract expires. Mr. Smith hears about this and walks into the board room and demands 25 mill plus one dollar.

Same as our local gobberment agencies. Like they pay our little county's top dogs based on what bigger Placer County pays. Riddle this me Batman. How come the manager of tiny Grass Valley or tiny Nevada County makes more that the top dog of State agencies such as Cal-Fire, Cal-Trans, and the State Social Services department? Don't seem fair considering size, number of employees, vast responsibilities, etc. Answer: Cause that be the way it is. Cause somebody in Lake CO or Glenn CO got a big bump.

Besides being stuck in the 50's Bro Ben, you never seem to apprehend what having the highest corporate tax structure in the real world does to business. Off shoring? Hell ya. Want to bring those trillions home? Lower the corporate tax rate. Simple but wildly politically incorrect. I can hear ya now. Giving tax breaks to the heartless rich by people are dying in the streets! Shame! Corruption! Crony Capitalism!

But, most importantly, how are going to get around the Constitutional prohibition against government sticking its big fat sucking all the air out of the room nose into a contract between private parties? Hmmm. Answer me that Batman.

Psssst. Ben, get closer. I have some news for you. Some people will always end up living in poverty. The poor will always be with us. Its a secret so don't tell anybody.

Scott Obermuller

So Brother Ben wants a 40 to 1 ratio as 'fair'. Some guy runs a small business and works about 60 or 70 hours a week and makes a gross of 150,000 a year. His workers make 3,750 a year. Wow Ben - you are just brilliant. Any new ideas?
I wonder if Brother Ben knows that Ben and Jerrys already tried that sort of BS and it didn't work. They couldn't find anybody even remotely qualified to run their business at the 'fair' rate of pay they offered.
They brayed and brayed about their wonderful commie scheme until they had to cave and pay the top guy a lot more. Funny they don't brag about their left wing values any more.
We do have a problem on our hands as to how we handle an age of greatly increased automation combined with a growing number of utterly skill-less citizens. It seems that one method of attack is to bring in boat loads more of skill-less folks and pin a citizen badge on their chest and turn them loose. Brother Ben says we should just 'guarantee' every one a job and give them a piece of paper at the end of every month with the words "A Living Wage" written on it. You turn it in at the local Wally World for anything you want. Of course the shelves at WW will be a bit bare, but that's how it goes when the govt takes over.

fish

Just a little something I want to send out to our young, starry eyed politician in the Rebanes Ruminations audience.

This ones for you slugger!


Why are Taxpayers Subsidizing Big Mac Buyers?


A friend of mine who wishes to remain anonymous claims the following:

Walmart employees (as a group) are often the biggest recipients of federal and state aid within each state.
McDonalds employees are up there as well.

Specifically, my friend asks "Why are Taxpayers Subsidizing Big Mac buyers?"

His proposed solution is to raise the minimum wage to the poverty level, about $23,550 for a family of four.

My friend claims the employer, not the taxpayer will pick up the tab.

Seen and Unseen

My otherwise bright friend is not bright enough to examine the seen and the unseen costs and benefits of his proposal.

It's a given that those who are employed by McDonalds and WalMart will be better off, provided they retain their jobs.

That's a pretty big "provided". But it's far worse than that. Here are 10 things I came up with (and it only took a few minutes to do so). I am sure my list is incomplete.

1) There are no proposals to reduce food stamps or any other government subsidies if minimum wages rise. Money allocated on food stamps and other subsidies will still be spent unless Democrats agree to cuts.

2) Prices at at WalMart and McDonalds will rise.

3) The higher the wages, the more pressure there will be on businesses to reduce the overall number of employees by other methods, including hardware and software robots.

4) The higher the overall costs (of which wages are huge component), the fewer the number of store that will be built.

5) When corporations don’t open stores they otherwise would have, construction jobs are lost, shipping jobs are lost, merchandising jobs are lost, corporate income taxes do not rise as they would have, and property tax collection does not rise as it would have.

6) Marginal stores will be shut.

7) Employees at those marginal stores will be laid off.

8) Shut stores pay no corporate income taxes or property taxes.

9) Vacant stores are a form of blight. They reduce property tax collection and lower rent prices.

10) Marginal store closings and refusal to open new marginal stores will most likely happen in the very neighborhoods most desperately in need of jobs and services.

Moreover, for all the bashing of WalMart, please note that it pays one of the highest corporate tax rates in the country.

Other Problems With Minimum Wage Laws

Minimum wages impair the liberty of workers and employers to freely enter into voluntary contracts. They are extremely unfair to unskilled and low-skilled workers, many of whom will either lose their jobs or no longer find any.

Young entrants into the labor force won't even have a chance to improve their lot by gaining job experience because they won't be allowed to offer their labor for less than the minimum wage, even if they want to. Instead they will become dependent on handouts.

Issue of Fairness

The government cannot wave its hand and order nature around. Economic laws will remain valid regardless of legislation and regulations. And that means that all those whose labor is simply too expensive at the new minimum wage will be priced out of the market, typically the lowest skilled and poorest workers. It matters not if anyone thinks that is 'fair'. It is simply what is going to happen.

Please consider points number five, nine, and ten one more time:

When corporations don’t open stores they otherwise would have, construction jobs are lost, shipping jobs are lost, merchandising jobs are lost, corporate income taxes do not rise as they would have, and property tax collection does not rise as it would have.

Vacant stores are a form of blight. They reduce property tax collection and lower rent prices.

Marginal store closings and refusal to open new marginal stores will most likely happen in the very neighborhoods most desperately in need of jobs and services.

The above points should be so obvious, my friend should be embarrassed with his simplistic "hike the minimum wage" solution.

Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/#RwjYZ3M7aY5mAeEg.99

Ben Emery

Bill and Scott,

Maybe in a language you guys can understand. Laborers capital are their bodies and mind.

Totally wrong on the history of the benefits end of the issue. Benefits are for future security instead of wages today. Social Security and the benefits were to allow workers to live their later years with some dignity. Older physical laborers cannot compete with a 20 something who will work for bottom wages and can bend down without any aches or pains. Or in today's workforce older computer oriented eyes and cognition can keep up with the pace of advancements. Basically what you guys are advocating is the free marketeers wet dream of human beings are equal to property. Once they no longer are productive towards creating more wealth we throw them away.

Not everybody can be engineers, doctors, lawyers, or business executives. Somebody needs to do the actual grunt work whether it be cleaning toilets, framing homes, masonry, serving food, stocking shelves at stores, and the list can go on. Try to follow this ok. If average workers in large corporations were to be paid more there would be more money floating around the economy at all levels but Wall St. Virtually all people who make up to $50-$75k a year spend 99% of their earnings. Those are tires for their cars, roofs for their homes, clothes, food, ect...

Average individual income in the US in 2011 was $26,000. Sometimes looking at actual examples helps understand the numbers we are talking about.

40:1

$1,040,000: $26,000

Walt

Ben is only a "part time" Progressive. I have yet to get word from him
on when I can pick up MY cut of HIS money. I'm pretty sure he's "better off" than me. ( Have VS have not,,, LIB whining point)
Where Ben is concerned, as long as it's not coming out of HIS pockets, let the
redistribution begin.

George Rebane

re BenE 907am - Here we have the ongoing example of the progressive central planner's view of society and economy. Workers are "allowed", are "thrown away", and in general dealt with by some all-wise and all-powerful hand from above. These people argue that capitalists treat labor as a manageable asset and/or cost - and they do. But the argument that progressives don't is pernicious, because the central planners really get into people's lives and rearrange their details at will as if humans were nothing more than cyphers of the state to be marshaled and reconfigured for this or that grand societal objective.

That economics is not their strong suit leaks out of every statement they make. For example, nowhere in their exhortations of raising wages to some centrally planned and arbitrary level do they include the unassailable fact that the prices these workers then pay will also rise. They believe in the economic analogue of perpetual motion - you can always arbitrarily raise wages higher than the responding prices and come out ahead. And some of them actually believe that such higher wages can be extracted at gunpoint from management and higher paid workers without affecting the cost of output.

The all-knowing central planner is always able and prepared to search for a new stable point in the economy at which ample wealth is munificently created by those able, and then fairly distributed to those in need. In these deliberations of the elite, history serves no useful role and is excluded as they plot their new stratagems for us all.

Here and elsewhere this is a well-circled barn as we witness today's speeches by our Fearless Leader.

Scott Obermuller

Ben - I understand your viewpoint all too well. I would love to know how you separate 'workers' from others. Unless you are talking about non-workers. Everyone who works is a 'worker'. That includes executives and business owners. And it has been proven beyond doubt that the business owners and executives work far harder and longer than the rank and file. Every ones' capital is their time and energy and ability to contribute to society. Conservatives do not believe that humans are property. We believe that our time and energy are our property. And that the govt has no right to involve itself in the exchange of that time and energy for money or some thing else of value. If you think it is correct to have the govt determine the value of my labor, then it follows that govt will also determine the value of everything.
It disturbs me that folks on the left talk about dignity being coupled with money. Every human has worth and dignity that transcends money and social status. How much money they earn has nothing to do with their human rights or their dignity. The money they earn is related to how much value others place on their labor, not on their value as a human being. I value the labor of my doctor far more than I value the labor of some one who slaps a burger together for me. I don't value them differently as humans.
"If average workers in large corporations were to be paid more there would be more money floating around the economy at all levels but Wall St."
That depends on why the workers are paid more. Is their labor worth more or has the union (or govt) just mandated higher pay?
"Virtually all people who make up to $50-$75k a year spend 99% of their earnings."
Well - they probably do, but they don't have to. It's their choice. You don't need a new car or a large flat screen TV. They could be saving some of their income for the future, if they had the self control and discipline. If you want the govt to provide you (externally) with the attributes and qualities you should exhibit on your own, they will be glad to do that. But it will cost you in freedoms and liberties.

Walt

Ben could use some time on a construction site to get an idea of "a worker's value". How many skill sets does a pay raise make? Can he run anything bigger than a pick and shovel with wheel barrow? Is he good with a measuring tape?
Ben. I can operate MANY different kinds of heavy machinery, in many different
fields of work. From mining to HAZMAT. With many a certification of ability and competence under my belt.
Should the snot nosed kid who thinks he knows it all get the same pay as me?
They sure THINK they do.
Recall not long ago, there was this OWS protest.. Whining about no jobs for their collage education. Ever hear of it? " Big business" came out and offered jobs to some right there on the street.. Yet those that got offered the jobs, refused to take them. Now why was that?

Ben Emery

Robert Reich must of been reading Rebane's Ruminations and decided to give an opinion.

Why not a maximum wage for top corporate executives? The minimum wage, first enacted in 1935, was intended to represent society’s sense of minimally decent pay. Through the 1960s, it remained about half the nation’s average wage. In those same years, top executives were paid about 20 to 30 times the average wage. Since then, though, the minimum has declined relative to the average. And CEO pay has skyrocketed to more than 300 times the average. By almost any standard, this is indecent. The CEO of Oracle, for example, now gets 1,287 times the pay of the nation’s average worker. GE’s CEO gets 491 times the average worker’s pay. Company directors who set CEO pay explain they’re keeping up with the pay of “comparable” CEOs in other corporations, a process that has escalated the rewards.

So why not set a maximum of, say, 100 times the average worker's pay? Any corporation paying its CEO or any other executive in excess of 100 times the pay of the nation's average worker that year would have to pay an “excessive executive pay” tax equaling ten times this overage -- thereby eliciting the attention, and discipline, of shareholders. What do you think?

Ben Emery

Walt,
I am in the same boat as you are. I learned to operate a tractor at the age of 10 and by 15 I was using harvesters, receivers, back hoes, and knew how to split gears. I could drive and back up with a fifth wheel. I drove for a courier company in the Bay Area and ended up being warehouse manager. You just as everybody here has virtually no idea how an economy works. There are levels upon levels to a functional economy but you guys seem to be stuck on talking about one issue at a time. No one issue is the answer it is a series of policy shifts that need to take place. That is why FDR's New Deal actually worked. That administration took on big business, especially the bankers, and made the series of changes that created the opportunity that most people say they want to get back to. The 50's are a product of the New Deal and progressive policies.

Ben Emery

Robert Reich

Why not a maximum wage for top corporate executives? The minimum wage, first enacted in 1935, was intended to represent society’s sense of minimally decent pay. Through the 1960s, it remained about half the nation’s average wage. In those same years, top executives were paid about 20 to 30 times the average wage. Since then, though, the minimum has declined relative to the average. And CEO pay has skyrocketed to more than 300 times the average. By almost any standard, this is indecent. The CEO of Oracle, for example, now gets 1,287 times the pay of the nation’s average worker. GE’s CEO gets 491 times the average worker’s pay. Company directors who set CEO pay explain they’re keeping up with the pay of “comparable” CEOs in other corporations, a process that has escalated the rewards.

So why not set a maximum of, say, 100 times the average worker's pay? Any corporation paying its CEO or any other executive in excess of 100 times the pay of the nation's average worker that year would have to pay an “excessive executive pay” tax equaling ten times this overage -- thereby eliciting the attention, and discipline, of shareholders. What do you think?

Bill Tozer

Brother Ben: First, I cannot add no word to Mr. Scott Obermuller's last post (02/03 1046am). Excellent.

To answer you last question, there is no mechanism to set maximums to anyone's earnings in our Land of Opportunity, except a very punitive tax code. Then contracts would be drawn up just like Bill Walton did coming out of UCLA and joining the Portland Trailblazers and had a contract clause that Portland had to pay all of Bill's taxes. Or taking deferred payment in stock which is SOP to avoid the full hit of the taxman in a particular calender year.

Still, the question remains. How would you do it? I sound like a broken record now. How do you get around the iron clad Constitutional prohibition of government interfering in a legal private contact/agreement between two private parties?? Ben, you want us to play the "what if" game and I say no way, Jose.

Another point of contention is you wrote on this tread, "It is about how the economy is structured not about what type of work is being done."
Hello Brother Ben! Wrong, wrong, wrong. The monetary value placed on one's labor is in direct correlation to the work being done. Has nothing to do with the value of a human being.

I see in your examples that you just want to have CEOs (and owners) of large corporations pay their workers more. The evil S&P 500 I gather or all big corporations? Which ones? All? The large accounting firms, the Mega Law Offices, or just the ones that produce a product. The software giants? The hardware giants? Intel? Cisco? IBM? Think one poster here would like that, lol. How big is a big corporation? Or just Wal-mart and the fast food industry?

Your formula of 40 to 1 is reasonable in your mind, but part of your equation is that you really want to lower the earnings of someone. He/she is making too much! Pelosi and Carly and Meg and Diane are ALL multimillionaires. They are making too much! To be candid, I would like to see some of those rap artists go under financially, but I don't have a say in the matter. Pay the workers more by knocking down The Man. Stick it to The Man and throw the workers the bones and meat scraps from his table. I get it, I think.

Scott Obermuller

From Brother Ben - "That is why FDR's New Deal actually worked."
Actually, Ben, it didn't work and FDR's own secretary of the Treasury and close friend Morgenthau at a congressional hearing in 1939 formally announced that FDR's new deal was a failure. It's one thing to have an opinion I don't agree with, but fabricating facts doesn't help your case, Ben. The US went into WWII mired in the same depression that FDR said he would fix back in '32.
"So why not set a maximum of, say, 100 times the average worker's pay? Any corporation paying its CEO or any other executive in excess of 100 times the pay of the nation's average worker that year would have to pay an “excessive executive pay” tax equaling ten times this overage -- thereby eliciting the attention, and discipline, of shareholders. What do you think?"
What is the average worker's pay? That would include every one that works at the company. Including the executives. So it comes to - say - 60K. Now they pay the top exec 10 Million bucks a year. So the company then has to pay the feds an extra 40 Million in taxes. The company's tax might be a couple of hundred million a year anyway, so they shrug and pay. Then they tell the workers that the commie govt the workers voted for just cost them an extra 40 mil and there's no money for bonuses or raises.
When you're in a hole, Ben - it's best to stop digging.
There's another way this could play out - this is the way Ben thinks it will go. The top exec gets told he won't be paid what they had promised him and he will only get 100 times the average pay. Ben thinks the guy will cry and sell his Lambo and tell his mistress to hit the road. Then he will raise every one's pay by 100% having seen the error of his ways.
Actually he can't do that as it will bankrupt the company so he says adios and leaves for Hong Kong or Singapore and makes even more. His replacement is a transgender AmerIndian studies major that works for 60K a year in solidarity with the 'workers' and runs the company into the ground and everyone loses their job. But at least there was 'social justice' and Ben is happy.

Bill Tozer

Mr. Obermuller: Are you referring to fiduciary responsibility? My, there are a ton and a half of Federal laws that govern fiduciary responsibilities. Protects us little guys and teachers pensions that invest (own a piece of the rock) in publicly traded companies. O my, the penalties and liabilities are quite severe for any CEO that violates his fiduciary responsibility.

fish

WOW an Ben Emery comment so important he decided to run it twice.

Robert Reich must of been reading Rebane's Ruminations and decided to give an opinion.

Or one of his minions decided to speak with his voice.....

Why not a maximum wage for top corporate executives? The minimum wage, first enacted in 1935, was intended to represent society’s sense of minimally decent pay. Through the 1960s, it remained about half the nation’s average wage. In those same years, top executives were paid about 20 to 30 times the average wage. Since then, though, the minimum has declined relative to the average. And CEO pay has skyrocketed to more than 300 times the average. By almost any standard, this is indecent. The CEO of Oracle, for example, now gets 1,287 times the pay of the nation’s average worker. GE’s CEO gets 491 times the average worker’s pay. Company directors who set CEO pay explain they’re keeping up with the pay of “comparable” CEOs in other corporations, a process that has escalated the rewards.

And when your plan fails to alleviate any of the problems that you claim to care about then what?

So why not set a maximum of, say, 100 times the average worker's pay? Any corporation paying its CEO or any other executive in excess of 100 times the pay of the nation's average worker that year would have to pay an “excessive executive pay” tax equaling ten times this overage -- thereby eliciting the attention, and discipline, of shareholders. What do you think?

Couple of days ago it was 40:1....why so generous all of a sudden? The fact of the matter is that the shareholders already know exactly what the CEO should make relative to others in his/her field. As I suspected though Little Bobby eventually shows his hand at the end with a plea for ... an “excessive executive pay” tax equaling ten times this overage.

I'm interested Ben...as a feminist are you offended that the new female CEO of GM is being paid less than her male predecessor or as a class warrior are you cheered by it?

George Rebane

Just to chime in on CEO pay, I personally don't believe that orders of magnitude higher-than-average worker wages deliver value to the company's shareholders. I am in favor of management compensation packages that are based on longer term success of their companies. By longer term I mean intervals that may even exceed their tenures.

An example, CEO and board member compensations (for the current period) would be based on the share price appreciation profile over, say, the next 3-year-period. For second tier 'chief' executives (CFO, CTO, COO, ...) it might be based on the bottom line profit profile over the same period. For middle managers, the performance of operating profit or EBITDA for the company or their specific profit center. For lower level managers it would depend on their cost center's contribution to gross margin.

In short, guaranteed wages would be at the minimum to provide a comfortable life style for manager and family. And performance based compensation would not be capped, and depend on the level of the company's cashflow that the manager is most responsible for and to which he is paid to contribute. Absent such an 'enlightened' compensation schedule, companies should be free to pay their management and workers whatever the hell they want to get the performance they need.

fish

Funny George...no where in your post do I see the government reaching in anyone pocket or dictating the compensation policies of a business. Pretty sure Ben and Bob aren't going to like it

Bill Tozer

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/04/health-law-could-mean-fewer-full-workers/5203719/

Well, all the major outlets are reporting this story..CBO is to be discredited now, right?

George Rebane

BillT 1250pm - Mr Tozer, we both know that the CBO and MBO have long been discredited when it comes to financial analysis and prognostication. One of the remaining few claiming a 3-digit IQ that is still fooled by Obamacare is Krugman who sees that program flying hot, true, and normal.

Bill Tozer

Dr. Rebane: I am sure you have read the Wall Street Journal's investigation into this so I won't bother to post their link. Neither will I post the White House's cheery assessment that while losing a couple of million jobs, BarackObamacare will create thousands of jobs because people will have more money to spend because of lower premiums.

Well, those that have their premiums lowered are those that have little disposable income to begin with. Yep, they will have the freedom to choose to work part time because they can get their health coverage on the exchanges according to our beloved Jay Carney (with an unbelievable straight face). Man, he is good I tell ya.

Let's see if I get this right. Raise minimum wage but have Barackobamacare cut hours. Loose 2.3 million jobs (mostly lower income workers) but its just dandy because Barackobamacare will create thousands of jobs now that the lower middle class and low income workers can work part time and spend the rest of their time buying stuff, thus creating jobs. Oh, the ole freedom to choose. Glad I am beyond unedjucated on these matters too great for my pea brain.

Of course, fewer workers and fewer hours will have an effect on Social Security funding. Less is more, right? Barackobamacare is truly the gift that keeps on giving:

http://news.investors.com/politics-obamacare/020414-688813-cbo-obamacare-means-less-work-social-security-worse.htm

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