Posts filed under “Taxes and Policy”
This week, Los Angeles became the third major West Coast city and the biggest in the U.S. to agree to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, an increase that will go into effect by 2020. Los Angeles follows Seattle, which will require employers with 500 workers or more to pay $15 by 2017. San Francisco will require the $15 hourly minimum by 2018.
The Seattle increase in particular has caused all sorts of analytical errors from people who should know better. Seattle Magazine ran one article with the headline “Why Are So Many Restaurants Closing Lately?,” which cited the wage as among the reasons. This was quite surprising, given the lack of any notable increase in restaurant closings, which are running at about the same pace as before the minimum wage increase. Even more telling, permits for new restaurants are rising. The data overwhelmingly disproves the assertion that the minimum wage increase is leading to restaurant closings — or is discouraging people from opening new ones.
That was only the most obvious error, but the rest of the blessedly data-free article was equally as innumerate. This is an attribute of modern media: Instead of original reporting, there is a regurgitation of prior tweets, posts, anecdotes and second- and third-hand source nonsense. Anyone could have easily looked up the actual numbers on restaurant closing and permits, as one of my colleagues did last month. The details can be found in “A Pizza Place Closes in Seattle,” and “Jobless in Seattle? Not Yet, Anyway” (See part I and part II.)
What we know about the minimum wage is that modest increases have a negligible effect on employment, and usually work as a net economic positive to the region that passes them.
Continues here: Ending the Minimum-Wage Subsidy
The details are still being sorted out on the deadly Amtrak crash that killed at least six people earlier this week and injured 100s more. But what we do know is that the stretch of track where the train derailed did not have the latest automated speed control system. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) board…Read More
There was some pushback on yesterday’s rather tame suggestion that the U.S. properly finance the fund that pays to maintain and repair our roads. Much of the correspondence was surprising. Then again, I am continually flabbergasted by the cognitive errors that the human brain can make. It’s a marvelously designed piece of wetware that does a…Read More
Get in your car and go for a drive just about anywhere in the U.S. You will be confronted with a transportation system desperately in need of a reboot. I’m not referring to a full upgrade to smart roads — the sensor-driven intelligent system that promises to move vehicles more cheaply and efficiently. Rather, I…Read More
Every year, right after the April 15 tax deadline, the U.S. Census releases its data on the prior year’s state tax collections. It is a fascinating document, filled with great data points for tax and policy wonks. It reveals a good deal about the state of local economies, economic trends and results of specific policies. In…Read More