Folks, before I begin, let me make one thing clear up front: A strong and vital media is the most important tool we have for the survival of democracy.
I’d add “unbiased” to “strong” and “vital”. And it;s the matter of “bias” where the “fake news” allegations start.
My stomach churns when I see liberals use the phrase “fake news” in a joking way because it backhandedly embraces Donald Trump’s attacks on journalism, which I consider to be an existential threat to the entire United States of America.
Eh. You apparently believe that the media should be above criticism. I disagree.
you’d probably be defensive, too, if the President of the United States kept calling you an enemy of the state on Twitter
And if you were the POTUS, you’d be defensive, probably, if the media kept accusing you of being a Russian stooge without any serious evidence.
(Oh, wait, that’s really happening.)
Kessler talks to an expert at MIT who makes a case that the living wage in America as of 2017 was $16.07 per hour, in Kessler’s words, “ for a family of four (two working adults, two children). That means both adults together would need to make at least $32.14 before taxes to cover basic necessities.”
Probably worth mentioning here that any calculation of “living wage” for the entire nation has such a huge standard deviation to make the approximation worthless. Put another way, the cost of living in NYC, LA, SF, CHI, and DC is so high that it skews the result significantly. I would assume, then, that the same calculation made locally in San Antonio would find that a “living wage” in that area would be more like $10 an hour.
In the end, Kessler decides that AOC could have accurately said “almost half” of all workers don’t make a living wage, but the words “vast majority” earned her a Pinocchio.
Well, based on the variance problem as I mention above, I don’t think anyone can possibly be correct if looking at wage on a national basis. So, I’d give both AOC, Kessler, and the MIT “expert” four Pinocchios for pretending that a national average was meaningful in the slightest.
But Kessler also notes that this is “a figure that contains part-time workers,” as though the number of hours worked has anything to do with whether or not those workers, according to AOC, “make a living wage” for those hours.
Well, Kessler’s point that the part time worker might have another job where they make substantially MORE than that “living wage”. So, AOC can’t rationally assume that the part time worker isn’t making a “living wage” when their other job gets calculated in.
Also, there are other variables. My niece has a part time job where she makes less than $16 an hour, but her other “job” is going to law school. :-) But AOC would have her calculated into the “poor suffering low wage workers” column when she’s shouldn’t be there at all.
And I expect that a LOT of those part time workers are students.
AOC’s point is true: for the majority of the country, it’s getting harder to make a living.
I think we’ve clearly shown now that her point cannot be assumed to be true.
More than half of all Americans have less than a thousand bucks in savings. As we saw with the food bank lines that sprouted up across the country this month during the government shutdown, 63 percent of Americans can’t cover a $500 emergency. Does Kessler call that a living? Because I sure don’t.
That’s a more valid discussion than one using hourly wage as a metric as both Kessler and AOC are doing.
Kessler verified AOC’s second statement that some Americans “can work 100 hours and not feed [their] kids,”
Although obviously true as stated, that’s really not a good reason for a higher minimum wage.
Kessler points out that both Amazon and Walmart recently raised their minimum wages everywhere across the United States — Walmart to $11 and Amazon to $15. (A little off-topic, but please take a second to note that both minimum wages are well below the living wage that Kessler described.)
I’ve clearly shown now that the $16 an hour metric is bunk.
Amazon hires delivery drivers through the gig economy
It cannot be said enough that the “gig economy” is a far greater threat to workers than how much the minimum wage is set to.
I refuse to use Uber or Lyft for that reason. And anyone uses those services has no business complaining about “living wages.”
One study, for example, found that the “Wal-Mart effect” lowered retail wages by $4.7 billion in 2000.
Which was back when Wal-Mart actually DID pay ALL its workers starting at minimum wage. That finding is no longer valid.
Who cares if American retail workers lose nearly five billion dollars in wages if American families save a few dimes on toilet paper? This is backward, trickle-down thinking.
What’s more important is that the robust labor market has forced WalMart to go to a starting hourly of $11 an hour in order to get quality labor. Chalk one up for capitalism.
But just because benefits like the EITC and SNAP go directly to workers doesn’t mean that Walmart doesn’t enjoy those benefits, too. By paying its workers less than they’d have to without government benefits, Walmart is putting those wages directly in its profit margin.
Hmmmm. Careful there. You’re basically arguing that the government should stop giving out welfare benefits to employed low wage workers, because doing so would force the corporation to pay more.
You really want to go there? The GOP would love it, but……
There is, in fact, a transfer of wealth exactly as AOC says: the government financially supports low-wage employers by largely not allowing their workers to starve to death or go without a home.
Do you see the problem with this line of reasoning, yet? If you order Wal Mart to pay more, then the workers start losing their benefits. So, a marked increase in the minimum wage does not benefit workers.
We all know what you want; btw. The Holy Grail for the far left is to find a way to force corporations to lower their profit margins and transfer that money to the wages and salary line.
The problem is that the government lacks the power to do so. If you force them to increase the wages and salary line, they defend the profit margin by increasing the role of contractors (thus saving them the cost of fringe benefits, increasing automation and robotics (who work for electricity and cans of oil) or offshoring even more functions to venues with even lower wages.
So, yes, government can make it so Wal Mart workers will earn more. There will just be fewer workers working for Wal-Mart. :-(
AOC is arguing the opposite of what that paper is claiming: while Furman claims it’s better to lower prices and wait for Walmart to decide to offer a living wage, AOC is saying it would be better to pay a living wage so Walmart workers can afford to eat in restaurants and shop for food and clothing and other goods in their local economy — and at their own Walmart.
Sure. She’s just missing the part that there would be fewer workers working.