Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Raise the Wage!

USA Fasci$m Watch [link]

"Brown supports rise in minimum wage to $10"
2013-09-11 by Justin Berton from "San Francisco Chronicle" []:
Giving momentum to workers who rallied this summer to increase the minimum wage, Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday that he supports a bill that would boost California's basic wage from $8 to $10 by 2016.
The bill passed the Assembly in May and awaits a vote in the Senate. Legislators have a Friday deadline to pass the bill.
"The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs," Brown said in a statement. "This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy."
Yet the California Chamber of Commerce described the bill as a "job killer" and said increased wages would drive up costs for business owners.
Denise Davis, a spokeswoman for the chamber, said the higher costs could stall gains made in the recent economic recovery.
"What's at stake are California jobs and an improving economy," Davis said.
The governor's support arrived as welcome news for workers who've pressed for a federal minimum wage increase this summer. Some workers this summer held rallies outside fast food restaurants to demand a raise in the minimum wage.
Scott Myers-Lipton, a sociology professor at San Jose State University who last year led a measure that increased the minium wage within the city to $10, said AB 10 by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) is a positive step but lacks the power to increase wages with inflation.
"Ten dollars is great news today," Myers-Lipton said. "Nevertheless, it's not going to be worth $10 in 2016. It's going to be worth a lot less, and that's the weakness of this announcement."
Outside a Berkeley Jack in the Box restaurant, UC Berkeley student Arturo Dominguez, 24, said he would have loved to have made $10 when he got his first job at an East Bay McDonald's as a teenager.
But, he added, in the bigger picture the wage was still meager.
"You can't buy lunch for $10," the political science major said.

"5 years after crash, wealthy are better off"
2013-09-11 by Andrew S. Ross from "San Francisco Chronicle" []:
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Bros., heralding the Great Recession. And there's been a fair amount of studies and stock-taking.
The main takeaway: the better off are better off than ever. Most of the rest are right where they started, or worse.
For example, earnings of the top 1 percent (those families making more than $394,000 a year) commanded 95 percent of the income gains generated between 2009 and 2012. Their earnings grew by 31 percent in the period, compared with 0.4 percent for the less fortunate.
That's according to a study published last week by UC Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez, whose finding in 2011 that income inequality in the United States is the widest since 1928 was highly publicized.
In fact, according to the latest study by Saez, whose numbers are drawn from IRS data, America's top 10 percent (those households earning above $114,000) account for more than half of the nation's total income, the highest percentage since 1917.
 Despite improvements in the economy, "it seems unlikely that U.S. income concentration will fall much in the coming years," Saez concludes. (Details:
 Or it could intensify. Factoring in inflation, median household income ($52,000) has actually fallen by 4.4 percent since June 2009, according to Sentier Research, a Maryland consultancy, in a report last week based on government statistics. That includes "a period of stagnation" over the past 18 months, when the economy was supposed to be getting better.
 "The failure of an improved labor market to translate into higher levels of household income raises troubling questions about the types of jobs created over the past year and a half, the level of pay that they generate, and the effect on household income levels from people who have dropped out of the labor force altogether," said the consultancy's Gordon Green, a former U.S. Census Bureau senior statistician. (
 Then there's the Federal Reserve, which reported that American families have recovered just 45 percent of the $16 trillion in wealth that went down the tubes in the recession.
 And most of the recovery has gone to the wealthy, whose income bounced back largely thanks to the recovery of the stock market, according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in May.
 "Families that were younger, that had less than a college education and/or were members of a historically disadvantaged minority group (African Americans or Hispanics of any race) suffered particularly large wealth losses," the report stated. (
Fortune magazine, whose readers have a median household income of $91,000, probably appeals more to the 10 percent who are doing pretty well. Here's Managing Editor Andy Serwer in a Sept. 2 front of the book editorial titled "The Income Gap."
"So if you are with me so far and believe that income inequality is a problem, how do we solve it? We have to take a hard look at the effective tax rates of our very wealthiest citizens and have the fortitude to change the tax code, especially rates on capital gains.
"On the other side of the coin, we should increase the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage was last raised in July 2009 to $7.25 an hour, which works out to $15,080 a year. Consider that in 1968 the minimum wage was $1.60, which is $10.74 in 2013 dollars, or $22,339 a year. Wow is right.
"It's time to acknowledge that growing income inequality is a trend we need to reverse, and that we need to find ways to make that happen. The super-rich should realize that after decades of outpacing the mean, their income growth will revert to it at some point. How that happens is the biggest question of them all."

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