For some, not exactly a raise

This time out, I’m reconsidering 3 topics I’ve covered in the past with some new information.

Stevie Wonder: He said something that I’ve said about Black Lives Matter in the past. Will it carry more weight?

San Bernardino: Five years ago, I talked about how this California city went bankrupt. They’re finally coming out of it. Now what?

Seattle: So how’s that minimum wage hike working out for them? Exactly as predicted. (Predicted by conservatives; not by the liberals that passed it.)

Mentioned links:

Previous episodes of “Consider This!”

Episode 7: Voter ID, Canadian Health Care, and Bankrupt Cities

Episode 137: Do Political Parties Matter for Local Issues?

Episode 154: #AllBlackLivesMatter

After five long years, San Bernardino is officially out of bankruptcy. What’s next?

What are the political party affiliations of the City of San Bernardino Mayor and Common Council?

Stevie Wonder: ‘You Cannot Say Black Lives Matter and Then Kill Yourselves’

New study suggests that Seattle’s $13 minimum wage is hurting workers

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Show transcript

The first “this” to be reconsidered is something I first touched on way back on episode 7; the insolvency of the city of San Bernardino, California. That was 5 years ago, and the Los Angeles Times article from June 28th talks about the city finally emerging from bankruptcy, and what’s next for the city.

One of these items is the realization that San Bernardino’s budget woes are not over. The budget going forward is making “modest” growth plans over the next 20 years, though the Times doesn’t define “modest”. Perhaps this is modest compared to how it had been rising, and hopefully this keeps the city fiscally responsible. Overspending is such a problem at all levels of government that saving for a rainy day never seems to cross their minds. With one-third of its residence living in poverty, they have a tax base problem. Perhaps it’s time to stick to essential services and infrastructure improvements. It does sound like that’s the plan.

I will note that the San Bernardino city council is … a good mix of Democrats and Republicans. I will also note that, 5 years ago, I blamed the bankruptcy on spending problems, and I didn’t mention party affiliation, although I could say this is the exception that proves the rule. Spending is always the issue, and when we as voters base our votes on who will spend more for us, we invite this sort of fiscal irresponsibility.

Music legend Stevie Wonder took part in a North Minneapolis peace summit a few weeks ago, focusing on ending youth gun violence. This is an excerpt of what he said.

[Stevie Wonder audio]

If he was white, this would have been considered racist by some. Others might say he just didn’t understand the problem. He hasn’t experienced what it’s like to be black, and so he really can’t speak to this.

Except, of course, he is black, and thus he knows what it’s like.

I still believe that it’s not entirely helpful to counter with “All lives matter”, because blacks aren’t saying they don’t. They’re just pointing out that there is a difference in how some lives are treated, and that’s a fair point. But Stevie’s pointing out another issue that I’ve brought up here before; black-on-black killing. When I’ve mentioned it on social media, I’ve been told that is an unrelated issue; a distraction. How whites treat blacks has no relation to how black treat blacks.

But how, then, to deal with a prominent black man saying that, if black lives matter, they should matter to blacks as well? As noted on this show before, blacks killed by blacks far outnumber those killed by whites, and if you just limit this to killings by cops – which BLM refers to as “genocide” – black-on-black killing is about 10 times worse.

Stevie Wonder has a point. Maybe when he says it, it’ll carry some weight. It certainly got applause. Because after all, it seems different when I say it.

Seattle raised its minimum wage $2 an hour in 2016. Some might call that a modest increase. But a group of people who wouldn’t call it modest are business owners, based on a recent case study.

Published in the National Bureau of Economic Research, the study found that Seattle’s decision to raise its minimum wage from $11 in 2015 to $13 in 2016, caused employers to respond by reducing the number of hours worked by minimum wage employees.

The end result in terms of dollars earned was that the minimum wage hike eclipsed the supposed benefits of higher minimum wages. According to the study, low-wage earners made $125 per month less than they had before the higher wages kicked in.

Additionally, the study claimed that if the city had never raised its minimum wage, the city would have 5,000 more minimum wage jobs.

I guess another group of people who wouldn’t consider it a modest increase are those who were getting $11 an hour and are now getting zero.

David Autor, an economist at MIT told the Washington Post, “This strikes me as a study that is likely to influence people.” He said that the study was “sufficiently compelling in its design and statistical power that it can change minds.” Well, Mr. Autor, you’re right, it can, but hold not thy breath.

Filed under: Budget & SpendingDebtEconomics & TaxesGovernmentMinimum WageRace Issues