Some reads to kick off your Sunday morn:

• Shut up already! It’s not 1929 (Marketwatch)
•  The Lone Ranger of the 401(k)’s (NYT)
• Hedge Funds Unlikely Saviors for New York-Area Homeowners (Bloomberg)
• As Cash Use Drops, Do Crime Rates Follow? (BusinessWeek)
• It turns out Cuba actually needs the rest of the world (Quartz)
• Cultural production of ignorance provides rich field for study (LA Times)
• Enjoy Your $500 T-Shirt: Kickstarter Backers Get Nada in Oculus Sale (Businessweek)
• UNC’s fake classes were very fake (SB Nation) see also UNC Academic Scandal: Whistleblower, Former Athlete Speak Out (ESPN)
• A Nation of Takers? (NY Times)
• Here’s how a kid from Long Island became a king of Japanese ramen (PRI)

Whats for brunch?


Fewest Americans Earning Minimum Wage Since 2008

Source: Real Time Economics


Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

26 Responses to “10 Sunday Reads”

  1. rd says:

    Kristof simply doesn’t understand.

    The wealthy work very, very hard for those tax benefits and subsidies. The author clearly has no idea how painful it is sitting through those power lunches near Capitol Hill having to spend time with lobbyists, Copngressmen, and staffers. Those lazy people hunched over in the fields picking the vegetables that end up on the power lunch table have nothing on the effort required to endure that power lunch.

    Besides, if the corporate executives can’t expense those tax-deductible meals, the market for vegetables will collapse and those workers in the field will lose their jobs. So the tax deductions are essential in keeping those poor people working.

  2. RW says:

    Forget the deficit, skills-gap zombie, and all the other outrage and scare-pablum gleefully (and profitably) puked by corporate media, politicos and pundits.

    The Numbers That Worry Me

    I worry about problems that can cause permanent damage to businesses and the economy. They’re really the only things we should worry about because they’re the only things we will probably look back on 50 years from now and think, man, I wish we did something about that.

    Here are three.

    • RW says:

      Be sure to forget ‘tapering’ too.

      Zero forever

      Central banks talk an awful lot about the importance of credibility. But talk is cheap. I’m not sure how the Fed can expect anyone to take its word seriously when it has undershot its target nearly every month that target has been in place, when its forecasts make clear that it fully intends to undershoot that target for years to come and indeed on average, and when it is busy pulling away support to the economy while inflation falls ever farther below 2%. It’s a joke.

  3. eroldictat says:

    “Fewest Americans Earning Minimum Wage Since 2008.” This chart is almost completely worthless. Really nice colors and all, but what does it actually tell me? OK, I get it, a lot of states have a higher minimum wage than the Federal level, but what are the numbers and how many people are at that level? How do the minimum wage levels in place relate to the poverty line? Visuals (at their best) are supposed to distill lots of information into a clear concise picture. This one is very very basic, and doesn’t actually relate to the heading. Other than that, its great.

    • ottnott says:

      clicky the linky below the chart

      and when you get to the link, clicky another linky to get the BLS report full of stats.

  4. CD4P says:

    How about a chart depicting the minimum wage vs. the price of a gallon of gas over time?

    How about a chart of revenue-generating NCAA sport coaching salaries over time versus … (there’s sooooooo many options… graduation rates, team GPAs, degrees earned, average starting salaries of new student graduates, sororities on campus, items available at the dormitory salad bar, alumni active with the campus, attendance at home games, athletic director salary, university president salary, university board of regents salary, financial aid awarded to students per campus per year, $1 beer nights at bars within 1-mile radius of the campus per term, # of classes in sex ed offered per term, # of academic honors granted per term, # of local police citations for public urination written per term, # of hours of community volunteer work put forth by enrolled students per term, # of $10 all-you-can-eat nights at restaurants within a 1-mile campus radius per term (back in the day, this used to be hittin’ up the Superbar at Wendy’s for $5…), and on and on and on….)

  5. theexpertisin says:

    In 1943, workers expressed joy at the sum of $2.25/hour (without benefits) to do the heavy lifting of WW2 manufacturing. These wages were negotiated by unions, which were very powerful. This wage bought plenty of stuff, advancing the middle class to vast numbers.

    I think that part of the conversation regarding a livable wage needs to focus on the debasement of the dollar’s value by the Capital Gang which has resulted in grotesque purchasing power erosion upon working folks.

    • Backhand says:

      So everything priced in dollars went up due to currency debasement EXCEPT LABOR ? Why is that?

      • ch says:

        Because of the Petrodollar system Barry.

      • See me after class young man

      • theexpertisin says:

        BR, your questions are valid and should also be part of the conversation about a livable wage. The livable wage issue requires a comprehensive solution. It is not good governance jacking up the bucks per hour only when it is politically expedient, calling it a livable wage when in reality it is a temporary vote buying scheme, to be repeated when necessary by politicians.

        The minimum wage could be justified today at $15.00/hour, maybe more. Are we going to define the minimum wage as a bushel basket of c-notes/hour for the next generation?

      • rd says:

        The world competes for commodities and produced goods. We compete with the world to supply labor to accomplish those. As a result, the price of commdities and goods rises while the cost of labor remains static or drops as new labor enters the market.

      • ch says:

        Since 1973, the US has been able to print dollars for its oil. No one else can. If you look at a chart of real wages of the working class in the US, they peaked in 1973.

        If you set up a currency system like the US did in 1973, the outcome we are at now is the outcome you would be mathematically certain to get 100% of the time…just a question of how long.

        If you adjust the currency system, you will adjust wages in the US…this is in process…for example, witness how farmers and welders are making more than many Wall Street traders these days…

  6. I find the article on agnotology interesting (and the study of the field fascinating as well).

    Of course it is infuriating to learn about people who earn a living by obfuscating and/or deliberately suppressing the truth.

    At the same time, I just get a cold feeling from the study, like it goes for the easy emotion of anger at perpetrators even before the hard intellectual facts of causation have been established.

    My experience is that it’s exceptionally difficult to get anyone (stupid or intelligent) to believe something they don’t want to believe. The purveyors of doubt and ignorance, it seems to me, are just shoveling manna to the famished. They may in some ways be the proximate cause of doubt (maybe in a straw-broke-the-camel’s-back sort of way), but they seem not the root issue. The masses who lap up the supposedly “fair and balanced” and fallacious “other side” are people who have a deep psychological aversion to complexity and collectivism. They fear the unknown and they fear groups.

    There are two sides to this coin. Yes, there are reprehensible people out there who are engaged in a determined, sick, and sociopathic crusade to fool others. But the thing is, those others *want* to be fooled, and they’ll pay for the pleasure, and without them, none of it would work.

    I’d like to see a least a little focus on the willing “dupes” in all this. We already know there are lots of terrible people who will do anything for money.

  7. hue says:

    The Brutal Ageism of Tech: Years of experience, plenty of talent, completely obsolete
 (The New Republic)

    Rumor, gossip, nonsense: How the news became a nightmare (Salon) news you can’t use

    The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science (Mojo) BR posted this when it came out, worth reading or again

  8. Jojo says:

    Silicon Valley Business Journal
    Mar 26, 2014
    $31.71: The hourly pay it now takes to afford Silicon Valley rent
    Lauren Hepler
    Economic Development Reporter- Silicon Valley Business Journal
    In the market for a two-bedroom apartment in Silicon Valley?
    Renters in the region must now make $31.71 per hour — far above average wages for hundreds of thousands of local workers — to afford a market rate two-bedroom apartment, according to a new report.
    The National Low Income Housing Coalition this week released a 236-page guide to “housing wages”, or the pay it take to comfortably afford housing in the U.S., which ranked Silicon Valley as one of the nation’s three most expensive housing markets. Only San Francisco and Honolulu, with housing wages for a two-bedroom apartment of $37.62 and $35 respectively, were costlier than the San Jose metro area.
    The study is based on federal data and defines affordability as housing costs that eat up less than 30 percent of annual income, hopefully leaving other funds for necessities like healthcare, food and transportation.

  9. rd says:

    Apparently, homeless people wnat jobs, not handouts:

    Who knew? This could possibly set an example for people higher up the food chain so that they too will be less dependent on government handouts (aka tax credits, subsidies, carried interest, property tax breaks etc.).

  10. VennData says:

    New G.O.P. Bid to Limit Voting in Swing States

    How proud to be a GOP voter you must be. Anything to protect your boss’s tax cuts.

  11. Jojo says:

    Project Yosemite
    Experience 200+ miles of backpacking through Yosemite National Park


    Project Yosemite is a time-lapse video project set in Yosemite National Park and shot by Colin Delehanty and Sheldon Neill. We started it in January 2012 after meeting through the video sharing website, Vimeo. The idea for the project came to us during our first overnight trip to Half Dome.

    On that first trip, we carried loads of camera equipment to Half Dome’s summit, where we shot time-lapse all night and through the morning. Being on Half Dome that night felt like being on another planet, a smooth granite surface under our feet and endless space spinning overhead. The morning’s sunrise felt like the first proper sunrise we’d ever witnessed. We decided to team up and document the experience together for others to see.

  12. ch says:

    RE: It’s not 1929 – he’s right. It’s 1918 in France or Germany. The Fed’s balance sheet is up 5x in 5 yrs (like the Reichsbanks) and most people are saying “See! No inflation!!!”

    But foreign creditors are exiting the system now just like then (google “UK, Frankfurt Yuan settlement and clearing agreements” from this week alone).

    When they leave…then all that inflation will come back, but only in imported goods.

    • rd says:

      Bush was bad, but he did not succeed in wiping out much of a generation as well as destroying a significant part of the country. France and Germany entered a mutual destruction action in 1914 that would be hard to replicate today. They had succeeded in bringing each other to their knees by 1918, physically and financially. I don’t think it is an accurate analogy for today.

      • ch says:

        RD – clearly no “great war” has been fought, that wasn’t my point. Conflict isn’t always needed to hollow out nations.

        40 years of moving production assets overseas and forcing the nation’s brightest young minds into finance instead of production/engineering is enough to do it.

        You are left with a pile of debt & no means to pay it back. So creditors leave you. They left Germany & France and they are leaving the US sure as day for anyone with the eyes to see.

        Most of Wall Street is ignorant of economic history so they don’t understand what they’re seeing – prices rise slowly, then faster, then nearly overnight when a political (not economic) tipping point is reached.

        What do you think would happen if it came out tomorrow morning that 40% of oil production is no longer priced in dollars?

        If it could never happen, then why the heck would the US ever try to become oil independent, much less export oil? For 43 years, we could export printed dollars for oil. Something has changed.

    • noncist says:

      Things are changing, but your analysis makes no sense.

      Inflation in imported goods would increase the value of domestic production. US manufacturing is already near all-time highs and inflation in imports would encourage even more domestic manufacturing.

      The same forces would also deflate the price of US goods abroad, further goosing US manufacturing and exports. US consumers would see higher prices and more jobs. The inflation would be uneven – having more impact on Chinese imports than necessities like food for example. The US economy would likely benefit overall from a decline in the value of the dollar right now – it’s one of the reasons we have ZIRP.

      Suppose a number of nations are conspiring to trade oil in currencies other than dollars. China, Iran, and Russia would certainly love to do this and probably already are to some extent. The US and Saudi Arabia certainly would not participate, but Venezuela and Nigeria probably would. If this is the grand scheme, then why is the value of Chinese, EU, and even Russian USD and gold reserves increasing even while the value of gold has generally fallen (by almost 20% in the past year)? Those countries must be taking on *more* US dollars net. If they are planning to break away from the dollar, it seems like they are preparing to shoot themselves in the foot.

      Within the oil market, pricing 40% of oil in currency other than USD would probably bifurcate the market into a US dominated half and a Russia/China dominated half, but prices would be lower on average and less volatile in the US half for several reasons (an established market with more control over supply than the other half and less risk of Russian political meddling).

      So if you’re caught in the middle of this sudden sea change (ie the EU), what oil are you gonna buy? The USD market as much as possible, but the other market as well. The EU wants stable energy prices and they would probably have cheaper logistic access to the other market, so they will probably default to the USD market and try to only buy the other market when it is cheaper or the USD supply is limited (same thing really).

      What if you’re China? Well, your appetite is so huge you need to buy from both, but the USD market is better because you have all these dollars in reserve anyway (and more coming in all the time as you export to the US, doubly so due to this huge devaluing of the dollar) that you’re trying to get rid of so buy oil with the ‘worthless’ USD as much as possible and only pay the other market when you have to.

      Except, wait, this exact dynamic shows why the current regime is actually fairly stable. China *wants* to buy oil in USD, because it’s better than just having dollars accumulate.

      Make an argument for exactly which currency they will trade in and maybe I’ll believe you. Bonus points if you can make a compelling argument for BitCoin!

  13. rd says:

    An experimental analysis of potential reasons why Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin are currently undergoing a conscious uncoupling:

  14. Willy2 says:

    Right. It isn’t 1929 but it’s more like 1929, 1933 & 1937. and in some regards it’s also more like 2000, 2008 & 2014 as well.