Minimum Wage is NOT Fair Wage

Income Inequality is when the best worker gets paid more because that worker produces more.


Every time wage levels are forced above (higher than) the actual value of the work done by an entry-level worker it causes major changes, but the most daunting are that the entry-level worker is then required to do more and have higher qualification/skills which in turn limits job opportunities to lower level workers.  The capacity to produce something of value for a free-market by each human-being around each of us is varied, and sometimes severely limited by an assortment of factors such as location, ritual, culture, society, gender, health, age, disabilities, etc.


Societies and cultures do not have aims to ensure equality, but they sometimes aspire to create fairness.  There will always be the human condition of unequal circumstances.


Why would anyone believe it is a good thing to pay the same wage amount to an average employee and to a superior employee?  It helps in that thinking to ignore incentives for rewarding the best workers that produce the best results.


Some people don't want a fair & free market regarding goods & services tied to skill & talent because of many issues.  But the main thing is that the totality of the problem is more complicated than just wiping out the minimum wage laws.


I tend to agree that Milton Friedman the Economist is correct on this area.  The deeper unresolved problems pertain to perceived inequalities.
I think that many people are having concerns about the inequalities caused when winners and losers are being chosen by authoritarian sources.  They might think high minimum wages will equalize things, but they are wrong.  The complication they ignore is that reality has unequal circumstances, unequal capacities, unequal skills, unequal silver-spoons, unequal thinking, etc.


One interesting fact is that the minimum wage laws usually have exceptions that only a few clever businesses are able to utilize.  These waivers are mostly out of the view of many people.



I do think the minimum wage rule hurts more than it helps.  As usual, the majority of employers can't get the exceptions.  It hurts the smaller employers and start-ups.  Wage laws and labor laws together have put the neighborhood lemonade stand out of business.  The minimum wage laws have negative effects for businesses in general, large and small in my opinion.




George N Romey Added Apr 13, 2017 - 10:05am
The minimum wage is based upon the belief that work should have some acceptable value.  In the past it was geared towards starter jobs of the young, who were still living with parents.  As the number of good jobs has been crushed and now a college degree required for jobs that at one time only needed a high school diploma more adults have been shoved into minimum wage or near minimum wage jobs.
Many of these jobs will be eliminated by technology.  At some point society is going to be faced with either massive numbers of people in the streets or ways to obtain full employment.  Simply letting employers pay what they want would be one big disaster and turn us into Indonesia even quicker. 
Lee Webster Added Apr 13, 2017 - 11:27am
George, I would like to make an attempt to persuade you towards another perspective. Can you imagine that some of these requirements actual cause the locking out of jobs for many sorts of people, not just young entry level employees?
What if you were told that you cannot let your friends volunteer to move furniture because it replaces the work of someone who should get paid, and paid at or above a minimum wage with benefits, etc?
Bill Kamps Added Apr 13, 2017 - 11:59am
Lee, the effect of minimum wages is complex, because the economy is complex.  It doesnt have just one effect, it has multiple effects, which are difficult to net out, on balance. 
For example, minimum wages DO put more money into the hands of the poorest people, who are almost certainly going to spend that money.  This provides a general boost to the economy and allows those workers to be greater consumers and buy things they couldnt before buy.
Minimum wages will cause some increase in prices, because employers who  have to pay people more, will try to recoup that expense through higher prices if they can.
Minimum wages DO cause some jobs to be eliminated because they are not worth  the value of the minimum wage, or employers just have to get by with fewer workers because they cant afford to raise prices enough to pay all their workers a min wage.
Minimum wages DO cause a ripple effect that raises the wages of others.  In Seattle  where the minimum wage is being raised to $15/hour, it is likely that that who used to make $15/hour will also want a raise since they wont want to be making a min wage.
The appropriate min wage in Mississippi is not the appropriate one in NYC, so the best min wage is different from place to place.  Forcing a low cost place like Mississippi to pay min wage, makes them less competitive against more productive areas of the country.   This is what is happening now in Puerto Rico, where they have to comply with min wage laws, and have trouble competing with their neighbors because of the high wage costs.
Min wages raise tax revenues both on the payroll side, and then on the  sales tax and consumption side.
Having said this what we dont know is the degree to which these things will happen, and what is the net effect on the economy.  We can model almost anything we want, but the modeling depends on assumptions, and the data is skimpy on what to make those assumptions.  After all, if it were a universally positive thing to raise the minimum wage, why not make it $100 / hour, which no one advocates because of the obvious negative results.
I think the experiments in Seattle and California are worth watching  because the min wage is being raised a lot, and is localized.  So we will see if there is a positive of negative impact on the economy.  If it is significantly positive, then other states or cities  will likely follow.  Setting the number at the Fed level is tough  for reasons of vastly different costs of living in different parts of the country.
George N Romey Added Apr 13, 2017 - 12:03pm
Lee minimum wage is required of anyone listed as a company by the state.  Your kid mowing a neighbor's yard or you agreeing to help your neighbor move furniture for $50 would not apply.
Minimum wage arguments on both sides miss the point that minimum wage jobs are now being used as jobs to make an independent living on.  The intent of minimum wage jobs were starter jobs for those not yet ready for independent living but needing to acquire work ethics and responsibilities.  As a nation we assumed those individuals should be paid some minimal amount for their effort.
Today unpaid internships have taken away what were starter jobs.  I guess slavery is back in vogue disguised as alleged "learning."  The burger flippers are no longer 16 and 17 year olds earning their spending money but 50 year olds trying to pay the rent.  Why this part of the argument gets lost is beyond me.  Maybe it relates to my latest article about idiots being in charge.  Those too simple minded to understand the problem of the bigger picture. 
Lee Webster Added Apr 13, 2017 - 12:14pm
This might sound too simplistic, but in many occupations the bottom wages that were forced higher caused hyper-multi-task by employees which in turn knocked out the people who were less capable of performing these new multi-task duties.
Lee Webster Added Apr 13, 2017 - 12:17pm
The California experience/experiment has cause an explosive increase of homelessness.
Bill Kamps Added Apr 13, 2017 - 12:31pm
There are many jobs that pay in the area of min wages, not just entry level jobs.  This is especially true if the min wage is expanded greatly to over $10/hour.  Since the median hourly income of people over 25 is about $20/hour it is reasonable  to assume quite  a few full time adults make less than $10/hour.   These are not just entry level jobs.
George Im not sure what it the point of saying min wage jobs were intended to be starter jobs, the fact is many adults have these jobs, for various reasons.  Your argument offers support to higher wages for min wage, since those jobs are more than starter level jobs for teenagers.
Doubling the min wage as California and Seattle are doing would seem to be a risky thing to do, but since I dont live there, the experiment is fine with me.  They will find out  soon what the results  will be.
George N Romey Added Apr 13, 2017 - 12:46pm
Not solely intended for starter jobs but certainly years ago most minimum wage jobs were starter jobs.  Have you been inside a Burger King or McDonalds lately?  Most of the workers are over age 40. Minimum wage has been around for decades with never any arguments so the issue is more than the wage itself.
Most jobs being created today are on the low end of the scale, more in the $10 to $12 range.  People therefore prevail upon social services and hence the soaring number of Americans now on food stamps and rent support.
There are no easy answers to the wage deflation in our economy. The simplistic solution is simply raise minimum wage which would likely cause all low wage jobs to increase pay.  The $12 an hour job would become the $15 to $16 an hour job. Yes some jobs would disappear but some jobs would simply pay more.  The point is we are unsure as to how this would play out as far as a net gain or loss to society.
Bill Kamps Added Apr 13, 2017 - 1:22pm
I agree George.  As I first said in this article, there are many cross currents at work when raising the minimum wage.  Some help and some hurt the economy.   I think it is best done on a state and local level, because the  right min wage varies a great deal. 
Lee Webster Added Apr 13, 2017 - 2:15pm
George, You might think the claims made here are talking passed your stated issues of 40 & 50 yr olds working at low end jobs.  Some of that group are very conscientious with strong work ethics that were caught up within unfortunate circumstances.  Those circumstances are almost too varied to mention, but it relates to pensions having been wiped out, scammers the likes of Bernie Madoff, the housing bust, bust, medical bankruptcies, etc.
The key issue is that people, small entities of businesses have too much interference, plus judgement lawsuits, have harmed the relationships among people within a work transaction.  Contracts for the most part are worthless when the most clever lawyer and judge are involved.  The truly complex issue that is often ignored is that people in some cases want to be paid higher than their abilities and work output.  The laws seem to help this practice along.  Its the newest participation prize.
George N Romey Added Apr 13, 2017 - 3:05pm
The issue I think is that we now have too many low wage jobs.  Few jobs other than fast food or retail actually pay under the $9 an hour mark.  Again, years back these were starter jobs, today they are filled with the adults on the lowest social rung trying to make a living.
When I was a teenager I worked at the Gino's fastfood chain.  I made $2.20 an hour.  I lived in a mix of blue collar and white collar families.  Some kids were not encouraged to go to college but rather right into a factory job.  I remember most of the older 20 somethings that worked in a factory made between $7 to $10 an hour (circa 1977-1980). I remember because they would often brag about their level of hourly pay and how they didn't need a college degree to make that kind of money.  The argument was that over one's lifetime a college grad would far outperform a high school grad even if they started close to the same level of compensation at the outset.  
If we take that model and apply it to today the next rung of workers would be in the $21 to $30 an hour range but of course they are not.  Why? Because there has been an explosion of entry level jobs that pay only modestly more than the minimum wage.  The argument would be that if the minimum wage were raised to $15 an hour the current $15 an hour job would be increased to the $18 to $20 range with more money in the pockets of people that spend all that they earn.  The flip side is that employers would automate more or trim business operations.
The truth is that there is no empirical evidence of what the net would be to the economy.  Low skilled jobs will continue to get automated either way albeit a rise in hourly wages could hasten the introduction.  Also, the assumption that small businesses are more likely to pay minimum wage is probably not correct.  
Lee Webster Added Apr 13, 2017 - 6:08pm
The babyboomers are soon to be the retired majority. That means the maximum will soon be reached for 55+ communities & HOA, reverse mortgages, tied up nest eggs and snowbirds
EXPAT Added Apr 13, 2017 - 7:19pm
If business doesn't pay a living wage, then society must subsidize their enterprise with food stamps and free medical care, so their employee's can keep making money for them.
EXPAT Added Apr 13, 2017 - 8:49pm
Walter Ruther and Henry Ford were touring the new automation facility. Ford quipped, I can work these machines 24/7 with no overtime and benefits, and I'd like to see you collect Union Dues from them.
Ruther replied " I'd like to see you sell these machines a car!"
Lee Webster Added Apr 13, 2017 - 11:00pm
There are competing ideologies:
1) Some people want to be paid a wage higher than their abilities and at a value higher than their work output.
2) Some people want services and products at a price that is so low that it does not support higher living wages & production costs.
3) Some people want to restrict/limit the percentage of profits.
4) Some people want the higher minimum wage to solve social ills. 
Do you pay your moving company workers a living wage when moving into a new apartment or house?  Do you pay the landscapers that do your lawn a living wage?  How about paying a living wage to the handyman, painter, and house cleaner, etc?
Peter Corey Added Apr 14, 2017 - 3:53am
>The minimum wage is based upon the belief that work should have some acceptable value.
Why must the "acceptable value" of work be determined by a third party such as government, rather than by mutual consent between employee and employer?
Keep in mind that minimum wage in this country was originally supported and promoted by the labor unions specifically as a way of pricing blacks and women out of the work force in order to make them uncompetitive with more experienced union members.
Blacks and women were just beginning to enter the work force, and being mainly unskilled, the only competitive advantage they had over more highly skilled and experienced union members was the fact that they were willing to work for lower wages: that's how they got into the work force in the first place: "Hire me! I'll do a good job AND I'll work for less than a pricey union member!" Get it?
Minimum wage forced unskilled workers not to accept a low wage, thus making it harder for them to get into the work force in the first place.
It's no coincidence that increases in minimum wage over the decades correlates closely with increases in persistent unemployment of the unskilled: mainly young workers (16-25) and mainly black.
Congratulations on supporting and promoting economic legislation that was founded on racism, and which largely remains racist today.
Keep in mind the difference between "stated intentions" and "actual effects" of government legislation. The stated intention of minimum wage might have been "to provide a 'living wage' and help poor workers"; the actual effect was to make unskilled workers progressively less desirable for employment, and thus to increase the pool of the chronically unemployed.
Ari Silverstein Added Apr 14, 2017 - 8:14am
“Income Inequality is when the best worker gets paid more because that worker produces more.”
I disagree.  One’s production is not always linked to one’s pay.  The best hamburger flipper is simply never going to make more money than those in the corporate suite.  Income inequality is simply the fact that some people get paid more than others.  The reason one’s pay may be higher than another is different for every person sans labor unions where pay is entirely the product of tenure. 
Lee Webster Added Apr 14, 2017 - 9:34am
Reply in reverse order>
Ari, You have truly mixed-up things when you mix-matched the ‘best hamburger flipper’ as requiring equal compensation (pay) to the ‘corporate suite’. Do you really want a hamburger flipper to have the same wages as a corporate executive? It is hard to believe that you want to flatten wages across the board to a point where merit pay is extinct, and there are no advantages of compensation based on the value, quality and quantity of the work.
Generally, I would assume that a hamburger flipper has a different skill-set than does a corporate executive at Sonic Restaurants.
Lee Webster Added Apr 14, 2017 - 9:53am
John G, Can it be true that some people want (consent) to be unemployed because of various reasons, not just retirement, but also due to not being able to find their niche etc?
I’m unclear on whether your stance is misdirection towards anti-statism of unjust rules and immoral authorities. In practice there are unequal circumstances, unequal opportunities, unequal outcomes, unequal thinking...  Fairness may not be the same issue as equality.
The problem we have on employment is that too many in the federal government want to prescribe and restrict main street business operations in the real world to the point that a majority of the people seeking employment have no where to go.  The innovations for small and medium size businesses have been choked by red-tape and imbalances of the playing field.  The feds are severely restricting low-skilled employment opportunities, as well as low-tech employment.  But the real crime is when the young and old are persuaded to get loans for schooling that result in debt that is unpaid because there are no jobs after graduation, plus many have high debt with no degree after attending college and other high cost training programs.  
Lee Webster Added Apr 14, 2017 - 9:56am
I would assume you agree with the following quote -
“Government has three primary functions. It should provide for military defense of the nation. It should enforce contracts between individuals. It should protect citizens from crimes against themselves or their property. When government-- in pursuit of good intentions tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special interests, the cost come in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of freedom. Government should be a referee, not an active player.”
― Milton Friedman
Billy Roper Added Apr 14, 2017 - 9:57am
The Socialism of enforcing a minimum wage is only healthy in a homogenous society where abilities and needs, to paraphrase Marx, are more equal. The less homogenous the society, the less healthy socialism is.
Mike Haluska Added Apr 14, 2017 - 10:48am
If you could "legislate prosperity", why stop at $15/hour??? 
What the hell, if government can set wages then lets make the minimum wage $150/hour!!!  That way everyone will be rich!  
The only thing amazing about "minimum wage" is how easy it is to blow the concept out of the water and how dunderhead "progressives" keep bringing it back up.
Kate Moss Added Apr 14, 2017 - 10:58am
"Every time wage levels are forced above (higher than) the actual value of the work done by an entry-level worker..."
Of course that has never happened, so how can you therefore state what the consequences would be?
George N Romey Added Apr 14, 2017 - 11:08am
We miss the real issue and that is the destruction of the middle class and in particular that of social mobility.  Social mobility is what leads to a higher standard of living, full employment, less need for social service, reduced social unrest and less strain on society. Those with gumption and motivation are able to improve their status in life. Those that do not remain on the bottom of the pile. Social mobility is the only true answer to income inequality.
You cannot legislate social mobility into existence.  It needs to come out of the private sector as a value that hard work, tenacity, loyalty and dedication and making a contribution are rewarded in an organization.  At one time the hard working burger flipper was promoted to a shift supervisor, then to store manager then to district manager and beyond.  During that time that employee may have gone to college to obtain a business degree, often paid for by the employer.  
There are exceptions, people with severe learning and physical disabilities.  They should be included in the dignity of work and be respected for the contribution they make both in monetary and personal terms. 
Lee Webster Added Apr 14, 2017 - 11:46am
Kate Moss, Can we debate facts for a moment?  You disagree with the premise -- "Every time wage levels are forced above (higher than) the actual value of the work done by an entry-level worker..."
You say that this never happens.  Do you reject the following --
The local convenience store owner in the past could hire local boys & girls to do little jobs around his business establishment at say $5/hr involving duties of clean-up, taking trash out, learning to be on time for work.  Sometimes the youth would volunteer to do chores occasionally to learn new tasks. 
The above scenario is impossible in today's regulated world because that business owner would be violating so many laws that he would be out of business.  Wage & Hour laws stop it, Minimum Wage laws stop it, and a combination of many other factors hinder such, including liability concerns and insurance issues.
Is this not the state of affairs?
George N Romey Added Apr 14, 2017 - 11:49am
Lee you are assuming that most small businesses employ minimum wage or near minimum wage employees.  I've worked with a lot of small businesses and that is not the case.  Many small business owners have had the option of significantly growing their business but have kept the enterprise at a certain size for control and not to become just another faceless corporations that treats employees as an item on a cost line. 
Carole McKee Added Apr 14, 2017 - 12:22pm
In my opinion, making minimum wage $15 across the board is the equivalent of handing out participation trophies to everybody in sports. Some people deserve a higher wage, and should get it. Some do not, and shouldn't get it. 
Seriously, have you seen some of the employees who believe they should earn $15 an hour? I'm all for seeing people get ahead in this world, but I think it should require a little effort. Somebody wanting $15 an hour should have basic math skills, language skills, and people skills. 
Dino Manalis Added Apr 14, 2017 - 1:02pm
The minimum wage should only be earned by youngsters who lack work experience, everyone else ought to demand better pay.  Like all wages, I support raising the minimum wage, but it should still remain low, maybe $9 an hour.  Expanding the earned-income tax credit is also important.  These measures ought to be included in any tax cut package.
Some people with serious disabilities earn less than the minimum wage and it's legal, I think it's wrong and inhumane!
Steve Bergeron Added Apr 14, 2017 - 1:41pm
Allowing the government to establish minimum wage, rather than supply and demand in a free economy, is not helpful.  All it does is temporarily put a little more money in the hands of the lower end workers.  But that doesn't help them in the long run because all it does is drive the costs up, or in some cases, eliminate jobs.  The government should stay completely out of it.  If an employer offers wages too low, then those laborers will go to his competitor who will pay more.  Competition for labor should drive wages, not some arbitrary government law trying to win votes or control the bourgeoisie.  Free economy supply and demand, not just for supplies and products, but for labor, also.  
I think George has a good point regarding automation, but society has successfully adapted to automation before.  Horses and buggies were replaced by automobiles and motorcycles.  Folks working in the buggy and horsewhip industries had to learn new skills to work in the automotive industry.  I think it may be a little harder this time around, though, but we'll see.  Man is a very adaptive creature.
Carole McKee Added Apr 14, 2017 - 1:43pm
Dino: I'll agree with $9. That seems reasonable.
George N Romey Added Apr 14, 2017 - 1:54pm
Steve the difference was that this country began to prepare for the change from an agricultural society to an industrial society.  In the early 1900s TR established the 1-12 public school education system mandating that all children attend school.  Twelve years of education was a very, very radical idea at the time. Most Americans had no more than a grade school education and could barely read and write. But TR understood to compete in the 20th century Americans would need to know how to read and write.  We also passed health and safety laws so employers could not treat people as livestock.
Today we have no such plans either in the private or public sector to combat the change.  Business still clings to the 40 hour work week even in the face of high unemployment and less need for human effort.  There is no formalized way of retraining displaced workers.
J. Riddle Added Apr 14, 2017 - 2:24pm
"Of course that has never happened, so how can you therefore state what the consequences would be?"
J. Riddle Added Apr 14, 2017 - 2:35pm
"Competition for labor should drive wages, not some arbitrary government law trying to win votes or control the bourgeoisie."
The premise for any job-offer in a capitalist economy is that the employer will be able to extract significantly more value from the work of the would-be employee than he is going to be paying that employee. All of his incentives are to pay as little as possible. That "competition for labor" for which you're pining just leaves everyone to starve; that's why, starting in the 19th century, every one of the advanced capitalist economies eventually adopted a minimum wage (or a system that guarantees one). These governments didn't do this out of the kindness of their hearts; they did it because people forced to live under the sewer of a system you're now advocating demanded it. It's one of those stabilizing elements on which capitalism is dependent.
Steve Bergeron Added Apr 14, 2017 - 3:11pm

That's a good point.  We have been severely lacking in non-college technical and trade training.  We have a severe shortage of skilled labor, as a result.  Germany, from what I understand, has a much better handle on these things.  If a young man or woman knows they're not going to be college material, then they are steered towards learning a trade.  They become apprentices, and learn from a "master" in that trade.  Skilled trade jobs are highly respected there. 
For decades now, we've made the mistake of thinking that everyone needs a college education.  So, we have young people, who really aren't college material, spending tens of thousands of dollars on a "college education" in subjects that won't pay them a wage appropriate to easily pay all that money back.  It's a bad deal for them.  
Steve Bergeron Added Apr 14, 2017 - 3:18pm
J. Riddle,
I don't think it's that bad as living in the sewers.  But, I think we have a spoiled entitlement generation that doesn't want to put forth the effort to earn a marketable skill.  Pair that with an educational system that is a failure, in that it no longer teaches children how to think critically and solve problems, and you have the disaster we have now.  People have choices if they are educated and skilled.  They don't, if not.  Making employers of businesses responsible for others' failures is a formula for financial disaster in a society.  It takes a lot of effort to become truly marketable and useful in our society.  It's not a given, and it's not a right.

One possible solution is to take every able-bodied person on the welfare roles and train them through apprenticeship jobs.  Rather than hire contractors to cut the grass near the highways, etc., use able-bodied people to do that.  And there are a lot of other similar jobs that could be done that way.  If you're on the welfare roles, and are healthy, fine.  The bus will be at the corner tomorrow morning at 6:30am to pick you up and take you to work/school.  That'll save the government money that could be put back into creating trade schools, etc.
Larry Dunbar Added Apr 14, 2017 - 3:44pm
"Income Inequality is when the best worker gets paid more because that worker produces more."
That takes me back to the time (late 70's or early 80's) when I was the focus of Income Inequality.
Here I was, one of the highest paid of workers, but the work I was completing was subsistence oriented, at best.
I had to, literally, carry a tool from one location to another. I mean, other than knowing how to drive a car or pickup, there are no other qualification for the job I was doing.
But then the event arose when my supervisor had to tell the owner of the corporation that I was the less paid person on the job site, to accomplish this function.
Like climate change, this left a mark in my brain, because it happened on a remote desert road of Central Oregon and between me, my supervisor, and the owner of the corporation I worked for. 
Right then and there, I felt like a person who had just given a great reach-around, but little credit for my effort, of something I would not want to be credited for.
Like politics, Income Inequality is local. :)
Peter Corey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 12:09am
>Because when the alternative is unemployment it isn't 'mutual consent'.
Wrong. There's another alternative:  Accept a lower wage and you'll be hired.
Minimum wage causes unemployment of the low skilled, whose lack of experience and lack of specialization aren't worth the artificially higher wage to the employer. The higher the minimum wage, the greater the numbers of unemployed.
Weird how people get the fact that as the price of sirloin increases, consumers of beef buy less sirloin and substitute some other, cheaper product, instead; but when the price of labor increases and consumers of labor (i.e., "employers") buy less of it and start substituting some other, cheaper product (e.g., automation), their cognitive dissonance chimes in and they either pretend not to understand at all, or they go into denial mode, or they substitute a moral argument for an economic one: "Those evil, greedy employers! How dare they not hire an unskilled worker and pay him more than he's worth!"
Peter Corey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 12:21am
>Jobs come from demand, not profits.
Hey, that's a GREAT, closely-reasoned theory, John G.
So, in order to increase jobs, we need only increase demand! And to increase demand, we need only get more money into the hands of more people so they can spend it! Fantastic! So here's the plan:
Give every consumer a printing press and special paper so they can print up as much money as they want, and then spend it! All of that additional "aggregate demand" will create powerful incentives for people to create more jobs.
By the logic of your demand-side argument, there's not the slightest reason such a plan would not work.
Opes Added Apr 15, 2017 - 12:31am
Wage based on merit is a murky concept because of the means by which merit is determined and by who determines it.  The pay level does not determine a sweat-shop, rather it is the work hours and conditions. 
As the regulations become more and more severe on wages and labor laws, there will surely be more and more off-the-books, under-the-table and cash-to-hand workers.  There is an ever increasing number of unaccounted cash-to-hand work happening as people find methods to avoid having their gross pay chopped down severely by deductions of an actual paycheck.  But this problem would be reduced if employment rules were not so limiting.
As mention by Steve, "For decades now, we've made the mistake of thinking that everyone needs a college education.  So, we have young people, who really aren't college material, spending tens of thousands of dollars on a "college education" in subjects that won't pay them a wage appropriate to easily pay all that money back.  It's a bad deal for them. "
Peter Corey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 12:32am
>I'll agree with $9. That seems reasonable.
I don't understand what your definition of "reasonable" is, nor do I understand how you arrived at the $9.00 figure?
If $9.00 is reasonable, then wouldn't it also be true to say that $9.50 is even more reasonable? I mean, if you asked a potential employee which hourly wage is more reasonable in his opinion, do you think he would scratch his head and be stumped ("Gee, I dunno. Should I accept $9.00/hour or $9:50/hour? Hard to say. I'm not sure which one is more reasonable.")
And if it's true that $9.50/hour is more reasonable than $9.50, wouldn't it also be true to claim that $10.00/hour must be even more reasonable than $9.50/hour? Yes, I think so.
And if every incremental increase is "more reasonable" than the previous amount, then why stop at $9.00/hour? Why not $50.00, $60.00, or $70.00/hour?
Obviously, the higher the amount, the "more reasonable" it is.
That's one reason a wage — which is simply the traditional name for "the price of labor" — can not be left up to the subjective whims of bureaucrats and other third parties to decide on behalf of the first two parties, i.e., the employer and the employee.
Peter Corey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 12:40am
>The minimum wage should only be earned by youngsters who lack work experience, 
Youngsters who lack work experience are precisely the workers who don't get hired at all under minimum wage. Sorry, but if you lack skills and experience, you're not worth $15.00/hour or more to an employer. You become worth that wage when your productivity brings in $15.00+/hour or more to the employer's business.
It's not a difficult argument to grasp, even if you don't like the moral implications: i.e., you don't get paid according to what you need (or claim you need); you get paid according to the value you can generate for your employer.
In any case, it's irrelevant. All minimum wage jobs in fast-food and retail will soon be replaced by automation (Wendy's already has automated fast-food kiosks, and AI-driven machines already exist that can make your burger "your way" just by having the customer speak into a microphone, or order from a smartphone). $15.00/hour for a human being to submerge potatoes into a fryer and clean a grease-trap is frankly outrageous.
Peter Corey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:04am
>Over what period?
If you're paid $15/hour and you produce the equivalent of $3.00/hour then the "period" is "the hour."
You seem to lack any awareness of first-grade arithmetic (not to mention freshman Econ101). 
It's not uncommon on the far left.
J. Riddle Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:20am
That doesn't really even rise to the level of a strawman--it's just a false statement.
Peter Corey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:21am
>The 'price of labour' must be relevant to the 'cost of living'.
Apparently, it isn't. The "Price of Labor" emerges on a free market in exactly the same way as the "Price of Tomatoes." Purely mechanically by means of supply and demand. 
Um, apparently not.
And what's really funny is that the dolts on the left can't figure out —or choose not to figure out—that raising the minimum wage ever higher is itself one of the causes of raising the cost of living ever higher. Then they complain that the the cost of living has increased and they demand another hike in the minimum wage (which raises the cost of living still further). And when they see ever larger pools of unemployed unskilled workers, they engage in their usual practice of looking for scapegoats on whom to blame their failed policies. Employers are a convenient scapegoat, so let's blame them: "The GREED of the employers!"
All price controls fuck up the economy in one way or another. If you legislate the price of something higher than supply and demand would automatically set it, you create a glut of the product that no one wants to ease by buying at the legislated higher price; if you legislate the price of something lower than supply and demand would automatically set it, you create a shortage that no one wants to ease by selling at the legislated lower price.
It's not that hard to figure out. You just have to stop confusing fantasies of Utopia with reality. 
Peter Corey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:40am
>So your view is that those who by virtue of misfortune happen to be at the bottom percentiles of society should be forced to live in poverty and privation.
I guess your view is that it's a "misfortune" to be young, black, male, and unskilled (despite the fact that those who are skilled started out at some point in their work history as unskilled). Sounds implicitly racist to me.
I see you know nothing about civil rights history. Wages for unskilled black workers were on a par with unskilled white workers after WWII, and in some cases, exceeded the wages of unskilled white workers, UNTIL the Civil Rights Act of the early 1960s, the Great Society programs of LBJ, and the beginning of almost constant hikes in the minimum wage. No, it's not a coincidence; it's cause and effect.
You and minimum wage are denying people the right to enter the workforce and compete against those with more experience and greater skills with the only competitive advantage they have going for them: the willingness to accept a lower wage. If you take that advantage away from them, they simply will never enter the workforce . . . because although you can force a worker to reject any wage lower than, e.g., $15.00/hour, you cannot force an employer to hire any one particular person; and an employer will not hire anyone at $15.00/hour if he thinks he's only worth $5.00/hour. Sorry if reality hurts your feelings, but that's the way it is.
Every hike of the minimum wage raises the height of the first rung of a ladder that symbolizes the workforce: to climb that ladder, a worker must first somehow get his foot on that first rung. If you keep raising it, he'll never get on it. Then you'll have a big unemployment problem for which you can try to blame someone else (for example, "The GREED of the ladder manufacturers! Why won't they provide a free footstool with every purchase of a ladder so that short people can get their foot onto that first rung?!").
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 2:50am
Minimum wage sucks. Here's a true story:
A guy goes for a job interview at a security firm. It turns out he's got more and higher qualifications than the manager, who is the CEO's nephew. Yeah, there is a reason it's called nepotism... One day, that manager picks up the guard on his way home, and they had a chat which went like this:
"Manager: we just can't get good people and our staff turnover period is six months. We don't know what to do.
Guard: Guards get paid minimum wage (R2.100 in a four-week month, R2.400 in a five-week month) and work maximum hours. They can't afford to buy a pair of shoes while managers earn ten times more and can afford to buy a pick-up truck. Pay them two or three times the minimum wage and not only will you attract the best, but also be in a position to demand better performance.
Manager: Yeah, but the clients don't want to pay higher contract fees.
Guard: So what? Private security services are not a right, but a service which has to be paid for. The choice is simple- charge more and at first have fewer contracts which you can service at high standard, but whose numbers will increase once word gets out about your high levels of professionalism, or go for "economies of scale" by having a lot of contracts for which you get paid peanuts and are serviced to low standards. It's your choice, but the guards aren't going to stick around when they're paid so little and work six 12-hour shifts (three days, three nights, three off- actually illegal because maximum working week for guards is 48 hours, even at 12-hour shifts)."
By the way, that guard resigned after 11 months and took over one of the firm's contracts where he worked for another SEVEN years at double what he was previously paid, while the manager left his job to work at another company for double the salary he was earning (R20.000 per month), to get R40.000 a month. It's always about the money...
Mircea Negres Added Apr 15, 2017 - 2:54am
Correction, the guard worked on that site for another SIX years.
George N Romey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 8:50am
Minimum wage has not kept up with inflation.  Now I believe that minimum wage should be high enough for some very basic standard of living but low enough that people are not encouraged to remain in a minimum wage job.  The biggest issue is that the $15 an hour jobs are going to college grads so the below $12 an hour employees have no where to go.  Liberals think that if we get everyone into college (and the debt to go along with it) that somehow this would all work out.  We would just have more educated people competing for junk jobs with no career path.
Yes trade and vocational schools are part of the answers but even some of those jobs are going away with technology not to mention the use of illegal immigrant labor. 
We need a complete paradigm shift in the mentality of companies in the US but I don't see that happening.  Demand continues to decline and first quarter GDP is expected to be barely above zero.  This leads to one big economic toilet flush after another eventually leading to a Depression type of event.
Lee Webster Added Apr 15, 2017 - 8:56am
 BINGO / Strawman said the people that fit this thinking of wanting wages higher than abilities and work output:
I repeat my list --
1) Some people want to be paid a wage higher than their abilities and at a value higher than their work output.
2) Some people want services and products at a price that is so low that it does not support higher living wages & production costs.
3) Some people want to restrict/limit the percentage of profits.
Utopia - 4) Some people want the higher minimum wage to solve social ills.
Lee Webster Added Apr 15, 2017 - 9:15am
Income is synonyms to earnings, salary, pay, remuneration, wage and stipend.  
Inequality is synonyms to imbalance, inequity, inconsistency, and difference.  
Carole McKee Added Apr 15, 2017 - 10:01am
John G: A lot of educated people are working for less than $15/hour. So you believe that a high school kid, or a high school drop-out should be earning the same as someone who has more education, more experience, and more integrity? And $360 a week? Yes, I have lived on less than that, and raised two kids on it. Life wasn't easy, but I managed. And as for that amount, now I'm collecting Social Security, and I wish I got as much as $360 a week. Oh, and back when I was struggling, there were no programs to help out, other than welfare, which I refused to apply for. 
J. Riddle Added Apr 15, 2017 - 10:26am
"Minimum wage has not kept up with inflation."
Back in 2012, John Schmitt at the Center for Economic and Policy Research broke down its devaluation. The value of the minimum wage peaked in 1968. If it had been indexed to inflation from that point forward, it would have been $10.52/hr. by 2012.
"A final benchmark for the minimum wage is productivity growth... Between the end of World War II and 1968, the minimum wage tracked average productivity growth fairly closely. Since 1968, however, productivity growth has far outpaced the minimum wage. If the minimum wage had continued to move with average productivity after 1968, it would have reached $21.72 per hour in 2012... If minimum-wage workers received only half of the productivity gains over the period, the federal minimum would be $15.34. Even if the minimum wage only grew at one-fourth the rate of productivity, in 2012 it would be set at $12.25."
And all of these figures are as of 2012; they'd be even bigger now.
George N Romey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 11:46am
Carole $15 an hour comes out to $30K a year.  Most rational people would classify that as the working poor.  How is that in the richest nation known to mankind we have smart, educated and well able people making poverty wages?  Clearly something is wrong with this picture.
J Riddle thanks for the stats.  Again clear as day those on the lower end of the income spectrum have been falling further and further behind while the top keep taking all of the gains.  If you looked at the empirical evidence for top earners you would see a completely opposite story.
Victor Crain Added Apr 15, 2017 - 12:34pm
George, this is a very interesting thread. Thanks for creating it. There are a couple of points I haven't seen raised, and a couple that appear to be factually incorrect.
(1) Paid what one's work is worth? We know from too many C-suite examples that value and compensation are unrelated and that shareholders have little control over executive compensation. Is anyone's work actually worth $10 million a year? No, Milton Friedman famously wrote that there is no place for normative values in a supply and demand system -- its what the market will bear.  And there are a number of factors that distort what that figure is, not just the minimum wage.
(2) In my experience, I've see very few companies that make decisions based on tax or minimum wage. Those that do are marginal in terms of viability as a business -- they're not going to be around long enough to matter and whoever they hire is going to be out of work.
(3) For large companies (e.g., Wal-Mart) to depend on the government to subsidize their employees is absurd. That's what they've been doing. From a taxpayer perspective, they should be paying tax surcharges on earnings to offset the public resources their workers are absorbing. 
(4) Automation isn't a scare tactic. Google and Amazon are both playing with the creation of stores with no workers -- fully automated systems in which purchases and credit cards are scanned when the shopper exists the store.  The technology exists and is only a couple of years away from deployment. Between that and self-driving trucks, that destroys the two largest categories of unskilled work.
(5) Both Gates and Musk have said that government needs to plan on the day when a lot of people are permanently unemployable. Both have endorsed taxes on robots to provide a minimum level of income to the unemployable. 
(6) The US economy is driven by consumers. Until we deal with the issues draining wallets, we won't have a real and enduring economic expansion. There's already signs of deterioration with a slump in car sales that may require layoffs this summer. 
The key issue for everyone is disposable income. When consumers have it, they can spend it, and that drives jobs, profits, dividends, declines in Federal debt, etc. The challenges facing having disposable income are wages, education loans, healthcare costs, housing costs and of course taxes. The actions that Cuomo has taken in New York and that the City of San Francisco has taken regarding education are huge, but just a start. The healthcare bill is a step backwards.
Anyway, we'll see. I'm expecting a recession before year end.
Victor Crain Added Apr 15, 2017 - 12:35pm
Correction, thank you Lee!
George N Romey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:00pm
Victor good points.  Companies are going to automate no matter what happens with minimum wage.  Consumer demand is plummeting and debt levels are higher now than in 2008.  Anyone that doesn't see an economic meltdown coming is in la la land.  GDP has been artificially monkeyed with and we never had any meaningful recovery.
Years ago when the minimum wage was relatively higher than now there weren't these silly arguments of how it destroys companies.  I guess companies would really flourish if we brought back slavery.
Carole McKee Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:27pm
Well, George, what is wrong with this picture is the cost of everything in this country is ridiculous. $30K in another country would be more than enough to get by on. Being poor is harder in this country than any other country. Yet the poverty guidelines are ridiculously low. Poverty level income for one person is $12,060. Many people on Social Security don't even get that much.
Raising the minimum wage will just raise the cost of everything. Greedy companies aren't about to raise the wages and keep costs the same. So that $30K ($15/hr) has less worth. And those living on Social Security are the ones who really suffer. 
George N Romey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 1:38pm
Carole I can tell you that entire cottage businesses have been created based upon a business model of cheap labor.  Since good paying jobs have been saying bye bye people are forced into these low wage jobs. 30 years ago they would not have existed because they pay like crap, are part time and have no benefits. 
In contrast products in the US are far cheaper than other parts of the world.  In part its because of technology and manufacturing being conducted overseas with near slave labor.  If production were here in the US merchandise might cost more but we would have a 1960s standard of living and this moronic discussion about how minimum wage "kills business" (which it does not) would be moot.
Carole McKee Added Apr 15, 2017 - 2:11pm
Minimum wage would kill some businesses if the business raised the wages and left the cost of their goods the same. It's more than just products. It's the high cost of housing and utilities. In Ecuador an electric bill is around $20-$40 a month. How can it be so low? Greed is lacking. Housing. I was just checking the cost of rentals. The average 1 bedroom apartment was around $650/month, and I have no idea what kinds of neighborhoods the apartments are in.
A lot of people who voted for Donald Trump believe that the United States is a business, and as a businessman, he will run the country as such. How exactly are big businesses run? The CEO's and other top executives get outrageously high paychecks, while the companies flourish on the backs of the workers, who are mostly underpaid, underappreciated, and not respected. Well? Looks to me that's exactly the way the government is being run right now, so I guess they were right. Trump will run this country like a business.
George N Romey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 2:22pm
Carole spend some time on YouTube watching some very successful people that fully expect another economic meltdown, and within the Trump years, because the fundamentals of our economy are not there, as was the case in the previous decade.  Our entire business cycle is built upon a widespread middle class, one which is being destroyed.  When you destroy the golden goose there are no golden eggs to be had.
Trump will likely be faced with a 1929 type event.  He will likely deal with it just like Herbert Hoover did and will get the same result. Sadly many innocent people will perish.  I agree is cabinet is full of GS types that can' see the forest from the trees because the trees they see are growing hundred dollar bills instead of leaves.
Carole McKee Added Apr 15, 2017 - 2:27pm
George: Very true.
George N Romey Added Apr 15, 2017 - 5:11pm
In the late 80s and very early 90s the mantra was that corporations would open new markets by having locals produce for themselves, presumably by paying them a wage that would enable locals to buy what they produced (Henry Ford theory). That was not the case.  It was simply labor arbitrage.   
Its taken two decades for the end result, which is a considerably poorer consumer class.  Business will ultimately pay the price for their stupidity and myopic thinking.  
Lee Webster Added Apr 15, 2017 - 7:41pm
John G,  You hit upon something I can partially agree with you on.  That is regarding Keynesian demand management model.  It is very significant because of the fiscal policy ideas surrounding infrastructure spending toward stimulating the economy.
There are some points made by others that do make sense to me for seeing another perspective, one of them is the inflation argument versus minimum wage levels.  But, I fear that argument misses the point on several other levels.
Lee Webster Added Apr 15, 2017 - 7:51pm
The Level of Minimum Wage did not destroy the Middle Class. 
Zero Wages is destroying the Middle Class.
The percentage of able-bodied adult men & women who do not have a bonafide full-time job with benefits is way out of balance.
Lee Webster Added Apr 15, 2017 - 8:09pm
Here are Forbes Magazine (March2017) quotes from Steve Forbes -
"...Money is not wealth.  It facilitates the buying and selling of products and services.  It measures their value the way a clock measures time.  It is similar to a claim check..."
"...Money is the most misunderstood topic today.  It is still holy writ among economists that manipulating the supply and cost of money can guide economies, the way a steering wheel does a car..."
Phil's Personal Perspectives Added Apr 15, 2017 - 8:58pm
Henry Ford understood people need to earn enough money to purchase his product.  Walmart and similar businesses understand that as well.  Rather than paying a "living wage" forcing people to seek public assistance is their solution.  It is possible that the amount of a living wage can vary in different geographic areas.  The South generally obtained the greatest return on tax dollars from the Federal government while paying in the least.  Transferring private employer responsibility to the public sector is not a solution.  All companies have supervisory level employees to insure employers receive proper work for pay.  Smaller businesses do have a potential problem in trying to compete.  This is where the public sector may help to offset any pay differential.  Not everyone is a freeloader and I would argue most people sincerely want to do a good job.  Corporate America could help and recognize they do have a responsibility to their employees.  The time for crying wolf is over.  Serious problems require serious people.
Bill H. Added Apr 15, 2017 - 10:56pm
Raising the minimum wage would need to be the first of multiple steps on returning the fiscal balance to the US. Others include reinvesting in the business and the community along with actually doing some long-term planning, rather than only worrying about the month-end stockholder report.
Ohh, and getting rid of the MBA Spreadsheet Jockeys to make room for what's left of some real Old School Management that really knows how all of the gears mesh in the company machine. I was fortunate enough during my working life to have worked under several epic super-leaders whose knowledge and ethics were beyond great. I also worked under a couple no-clue egomaniacs that led their companies to a sad quick demise. I learned well from both extremes.
Peter Corey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 2:04am
>Tomatoes don't require income to survive so no.
So yes. Tomatoes have costs of production: e.g., planting, sustenance, and maintenance, not to mention harvesting and distribution. You're reacting in typical knee-jerk leftist manner without thinking. No surprise there.
In any case, you were too busy "virtue signaling" to fellow leftists on this board ("Look at how good and kind and moral I am, everyone! I love all the right things and hate all the bad things! Am I not virtuous?") to pay attention to my statement. Once more:
Don't like objective laws like supply and demand? Tough. Leftists might not also don't like the law of gravity because it makes children fall out of trees. Alas, there's nothing a leftist congress or supreme court could do to legislate the law of gravity out of existence in order to "save the children"; similarly, there's nothing a leftist congress or supreme court can do to legislate away the law of supply and demand as it applies to the price of labor without causing growing unemployment among the low-skilled.
Obviously, you don't give a shit about the injurious consequences of the minimum wage among the ranks of the unskilled because most of their members are young and black . . . and who cares about them, right? — certainly not you. You can always find a convenient scapegoat and shout, "Racist! You're the cause of the black teenagers' plight!" But in fact, you are the cause. You're just to economically ignorant and morally smug to recognize it.
You racist.
Bill Kamps Added Apr 16, 2017 - 7:26am
George, I would agree that $30K per year, does not afford one a very high standard of living in the USA by our normal standards.  However, only 30 countries out of over 200+ have a per capita income greater than $30K per year.  This highlights this statement you made.
How is that in the richest nation known to mankind we have smart, educated and well able people making poverty wages? 
My point, they ARENT poverty wages by world standards.  That is the dichotomy that you dont get.  These people making $30K per year are still among the richest in the world, probably within the top 10% of the world's population, maybe higher.
We need to stop measuring our success and wealth purely  by internal standards, and start appreciating our wealth and success based on world standards.  No where else in the world is the middle class expectation a stand alone house with two cars. Even the rich in most countries dont have that.
All of us in WB, even those that decry the wealth of the top 1%, are themselves members of the top 1% by worlds standards.  You who complain about the rich corporations, are among the beneficiaries of that system.  Some 99% of the world would gladly trade their economic problems for yours.
George N Romey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 11:01am
Anyone making less than $30K in this country is poor, and for Americans that is what matters.  People living in poor nations do not face the same cost of living that we do.  Its all relative.
Should Americans just allow this country to get poorer and poorer just because other parts of the world are poor?  I guess we should just let our youth become uneducated and without skills because that is the way the youth is in other parts of the world.
Lee Webster Added Apr 16, 2017 - 11:21am
George, Are you proposing that the Minimum Wage imposed by the Federal Government be
1) equal to a living wage for the nation on average or
2) for each region that has a different cost of living?
Why does the minimum have to be a living wage for trainees and students learning about work?
George N Romey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 11:28am
Your last statement in theory sounds good.  However, companies have already abused the unpaid internship model.  Suddenly a bunch of full time jobs would be classified as "trainee" or "student." Work should have some value no matter who is performing it.
Yes there is probably merit for a regional minimum wage and in fact that is what we have as some states and local towns have their own minimum wage (above the federal standard). 
As far as a living wage.  The minimum wage should provide the most basic standard of living-essentially shelter, food, clothing and the like. I am in favor or a gradual rise somewhere in the $12 to $13 range.
Victor Crain Added Apr 16, 2017 - 12:38pm
Bill, your comment has some merit, but you're ignoring great differences in cost of living.  Nominal income comparisons are meaningless.
There are countries in Europe in which, when one groups taxes, healthcare and housing costs together, consumers have more disposable income than do workers in the US. Nominal currency values may be lower, but who has the higher standard of living?  It's not the US, not anymore, and that shows in current immigration trends. The wall discussion is silly simply because, since 2012, we've had as many Latino immigrants leaving the country as entering. Our population growth is approaching the lowest rate in the country's history. 
Further, we have the American Diaspora -- the exit of US citizens to live elsewhere. The government doesn't publish data on this, but private estimates run around 9 million and growing. It's not just Costa Rica for retirement either. Popular destinations are UK and South Korea. In my work, I met a female teacher from Georgia who now lives and works in Saudi Arabia and is delighted there, with no plans for more than occasional visits to see family in the US.
The ultimate issue for me in standard of living is the economy. It won't function unless people have money to spend, and poverty pay doesn't provide that. Henry Ford is credited with creating the middle class in the US by raising pay in his factories such that his workers could afford by buy his cars. There's wisdom in that.
Without disposable income, a market economy doesn't function, and ultimately everyone loses. Whether it's companies going bankrupt, the government going bankrupt (and there are people rooting for that as a way to erase programs like Social Security), nuclear war (and there are some rooting for that, too, as a way of triggering the Second Coming), or simply shooting in the streets, there are a lot of really bad possibilities. Why do you think Musk is spending on building a Mars colony? His view is that we are going to destroy ourselves.
So, if you can see past short term greed, there's an economic logic to a minimum wage. My view is that someone who doesn't know how to pay workers a decent wage should sell his company to a better manager. We shouldn't need a law to force people to do what is in their ultimate interest. It's sad that we do.
George N Romey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 1:09pm
Victor good points.  A middle class is not natural as wealth on its own will concentrate into fewer hands.  That has been the history of the world with centuries of slavery and serfdom.  A solid middle can't be made by just government policy.  It needs to be a focus of both the public and private sector with the understanding the benefits Victor pointed out.
Will there always be some level of greed and economic shortsightedness?  Of course.  There was in the economic heydays of the US and would be if we are able to return to a 21st century version of those days.  What will America ultimately look like if it keeps on the current trajectory?  The events of 2008 and 2009 are certainly a signal of what's to come but far worse.  Would such an event cause massive social unrest in the US?  No one really knows.  Compliant serfs or violence against government and business?  We may very well soon find out.
Bill Kamps Added Apr 16, 2017 - 1:10pm
Victor, Im not against the minimum wage, as I have stated else where in this post, and in other post.  In fact your first statement is a key to enacting something sensible, it needs to take into account the cost of living, which is not the same in rural Mississippi as it is in Manhattan.  Yet the Federal minimum IS the same everywhere.
Having said that, our frame of reference of what is poverty, and what it means to live in the middle class, is far ahead of the rest of the world. I am pointing out that someone making $30K is almost certainly living better than much of the rest of the world, even taking into account the cost of living.  Most likely a person making $30K in the US has electricity, indoor plumbing, air conditioning, TV, probably a car, etc.   So even in poverty, they are far ahead of most of the people in the world. 
As you and George both point out, how well someone lives on $30K a year depends a lot on their situation, even in the USA.  If they are single and share an apartment with a friend, it is very different than if they have 3-4 kids, and the wife stays at home to take care of the kids. 
So when we set minimum wages, or fair minimum salaries, what standard of living are we trying to support ?  A single person living in a rural area, or a family of four living in a big city ?   Big difference in the money they need.
I think any sensible minimum wage has to be adjusted for local costs of living.  I also am in favor of states and local governments setting their own.  I have seen where people say the Feds should set the bottom, and then others can set higher, but even that does not account for the 3x difference in the cost of living between the biggest cities, and the rural areas.   So even the Fed number should be adjusted.
George, it DOES matter what is our expectation, especially for the middle class where these folks have many more options.  Should a middle class family of four expect to live in a 2500 sqr ft house ( not condo ), with two cars ?  That is not middle class anywhere else in the world, and points out our frame of reference.   For one thing it is pretty wasteful of resources. 
People by choice are discovering that owning a single family home is very expensive, if one not only includes the cost of buying but the upkeep and also the opportunity cost that they are less mobile and less able to go where their career takes them.  We are seeing a move towards more renting, and more condos, as people weigh their options.
Standards of living in the industrialized world are going to tend to converge as markets continue to cross borders.  We should not necessarily expect that our kind of resource consuming middle class will make sense in decades to come.
George N Romey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 1:20pm
Bill you will get no argument out me that people could downsize their life.  I have in so many ways and some of it I don't miss.  That being said I just read another rant comment in another WB article in which some moron is arguing the poor is this country should be happy because they are not the poor in other countries.  So they should feel rich because they do not live in a mud hut. have a diet of solely rice and die before they are age 50? 
It takes more to live today.  Try finding a job even a minimum wage job without a computer, internet connection, stored resume and smartphone?  These have become basics not luxuries.  Thank employers for requiring an email address, the requirement to download a resume for a job and requirement to apply online.
Carole McKee Added Apr 16, 2017 - 1:36pm
I think that if a person wants $15/hr, he should put out $15 worth of work. 
But I also believe that our priorities have changed. Our needs used to be food, shelter, clothing, and heat. Now people want to add electronics, cell phones, expensive clothes and shoes, jewelry. These are not needs. These are wants. When I retired, I gave up my cell phone. I have discovered that I don't need it. I also gave up going out to dinner a couple of times a week. No it's an occasional dinner out. But it seems nobody else is willing to give up these things. Attitudes are "pay me what I think I'm worth so I can have what I think I am entitled to."
George N Romey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 1:43pm
Carole most of the people I know that are struggling long ago gave up jewelry, constant new clothes, etc.  I am certainly one of them.  My life by force has changed drastically in the past four years.  I have not been in a mall to shop since 2012. 
However, a smartphone, an Internet connection, a laptop to store a resume and complete online job applications IS A MUST, even for very low pay jobs.  I've been in the job market for over four years, I could never look for jobs without all the electronics and Internet connection.  A cellphone for most is no longer a luxury.  In fact, most companies WILL NOT CONSIDER YOU FOR HIRE without a smartphone and email address in which you can receive regular correspondence.
To think of it I have been without health insurance now since 2013 and have not been to a doctor or dentist in years.  I am far from alone.
Carole McKee Added Apr 16, 2017 - 1:58pm
George: No, you are not alone. And I understand how important companies believe it is for potential job candidates to have a computer. I, myself, job hunted on the computer. Now I never had a smart phone. How expensive are they? I have no idea. And it's not people like you that I criticize. You definitely sound like you are worth more than $15/hr. But seriously, there are people in the work force that are just not worth that much. I don't think it's fair to pay someone who just coasts on the job the same amount as someone who actually works on the job. 
George N Romey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 2:09pm
Carole is issue is that too many Americans are stuck in jobs well below their skills and abilities level because there is such a shortage of good jobs in this country.  Most of the job growth has been low wage, temporary, and gig jobs.  At that some of those better jobs go to the youth of the rich, Chelsea Clinton prime example.
I've meet so many young people trapped in low skill, low wage jobs even with a college degree. I have met a ton of age 50 plus with pedigree educations and great experience shoved into the ranks of poverty because of age discrimination, again unless they are of a rich family with connections. 
Carole McKee Added Apr 16, 2017 - 2:31pm
George: I know. Before I started college, I worked at a low paying job. $5/hr, and I had two kids! I ended up taking second job, and then a third to make up the difference. When I got out of college I worked as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist first for $11.63/hr. I went back to college, earned 2 bachelors degrees, and a Master's. There were very few jobs available, and so I went to work for $13/hr. You do what you gotta do. I did so much better when I struck out on my own and worked as a counselor, a consultant, and an adviser. I have managed to worm my way into a lot of government work over the past 10 years. I still get called for some things, even though I am retired. the last thing I accepted was sitting as an adviser concerning the NRA and gun control. that was brutal. I think I'll stay retired.
George N Romey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 2:37pm
Carole what I find now is that so many jobs are part time but you have to be available when they want you.  You are not given set hours.  Therefore it becomes impossible to string together a bunch of part time jobs to make one full time job (with no bennies though).  Moreover, many part time jobs come and go.
Back in November and December I was working 5 part time jobs essentially working during the week from 2PM to 6AM and working all day Saturday and Sunday, I used the mornings to full time job search and get whatever sleep I could.  While it was physically exhausting at least for those two months I had the resources to pay bills and the physical stress was much, much, much less than the mental stress.  But then after the New Years four of those jobs suddenly went away.  And I'm someone with an MBA and 30 years business experience.
Welcome to the New America!
Phil's Personal Perspectives Added Apr 16, 2017 - 2:47pm
We can all describe problems with our economy and pay structure.  Some are probably accurate descriptions.  The question being raised by Mr. Webster is what is the means to a solution.  We can probably all agree irrespective of political biases that $300.00 per week is not enough for a person or family to live on.  What needs to be done?  If employee compensation should somehow be commensurate with skill then what and where are the skill jobs?  A 52 year old factory worker, for example, loses his job due to outsourcing, automation, etc. that job and others like it are basically gone.  What does this 50 year old and others similarly situated do?  Skills are learned on the job some times but training is more likely needed in today's economy.  The question I have is where is the training and who is to provide it?
Lee Webster Added Apr 16, 2017 - 5:05pm
People attempting to follow a prescribed formula to land a career job are stumped!  Not enough good jobs to go around.  The cause is that there are also not enough entrepreneurs able to get a shot at creative and new ground braking job creating businesses.
The answer is to stimulate the American Knowhow of the genius entrepreneurs.  But in the process we need to drastically reduce Wage & Hour regulations and several other job reducing laws.
George N Romey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 5:28pm
Its not wages that is inhibiting new businesses.  Its lack of financing/capital, the inability to compete against the economics of big business, a weak job market leading to fear of failure, etc. 
Phil's Personal Perspectives Added Apr 16, 2017 - 6:36pm
John G.,  at the turn of the twentieth century in the early 1900's 40% of our labor force was in agriculture.  In rapid transition that number reduced to about 4% without massive unemployment.  Both the private sector and the public sector engaged in a training process to transition people into different private sector jobs.  Why is paying too much always the reason why for corporate America to sit back and do nothing other than sing the blues.  If a product is being produced that no one can afford to purchase,  then what are the options?  Sounds like a third world economy to me.
George N Romey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 6:40pm
Phil its because companies are now under the thumb of Wall Street. This includes thousands of companies owned by private equity or VCs that are not publicly held.  All of these companies are awarded solely for short term results. Yes Corporate America could take the high road and provide for a successful future economy but they don't because its all about this quarter's earnings.
Phil's Personal Perspectives Added Apr 16, 2017 - 7:16pm
George, What you state has a lot of truth.  Do we sit back and accept it as the way it is?   We still have purchasing power and the power of the ballot box.  There have to be ways to harness those powers.  Giving up is not an option nor is accepting the unacceptable.  There have to be enough intelligent people out there, blogging or wherever, with some constructive ideas.  Anyone who has a rational idea, now is the time to start speaking up.  There are few thinking minds in Washington, in our state capitols or in our corporate board rooms.
Lee Webster Added Apr 16, 2017 - 7:39pm
John G, I agree with your take on fiscal stimulus. The problem lately is that the control on where the stimulus is offered have had poor insight.
My conclusion or theory that laws hinder the creativity of startup businesses is born from deductive reasoning, not inductive reasoning as you seem to allege.
George N Romey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 7:45pm
Phil it will never happen with the current two party system.  They play their respective roles based upon what the money donor class demands.  Not until Americans put Independent members into national office will we see the systemic change we need.  This would also unleash business people that understand the big fail that is being set up for our capitalistic system and therefore want to change the system. 
The real head of the snake is the financialization of our economy by Wall Street and the big banks.  This is why financial reform including a return to Glass Steagall is mandatory.  As long as business leaders are rewarded for short term, wrong myopic decision making the system will continue down a path of economic destruction. 
George N Romey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 7:49pm
What this country doesn't need are start ups based upon low value business ideas that employ low wage labor.  We've got enough of those kind of companies coming out of our proverbial economic ass. What we need are high value businesses that provide higher wages and salaries.  The minimum wage would have no bearing on these kind of very needed start ups.
Lee Webster Added Apr 16, 2017 - 7:50pm
Phil, You are correct that there must be space created for transformational changes to grow entrepreneurial power and to push for further adaptation of the landscape of ideas that can be monetized. Infrastructure spending is another but equally significant need that could bring multiples.
Peter Corey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 7:53pm
>That's truly pathetic on so many levels.
And you are truly ignorant on every level.
Congratulations for supporting a policy that makes it impossible for the low-skilled to enter the workforce, condemning them to a life on welfare or gang involvement.
George N Romey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 7:58pm
Infrastructure spending could be administered by a privately set up corporation and board of regents.  States could send in request for projects.  The federal government would simply fund and oversee the Board of Regents.  We could pay much of it by cuts in military spending, a Wall Street transfer tax (yes let those rich assholes make a contribution to the country that has given them so much) and some entitlement reform.  The tax base that would be created by the velocity of money and a 21st century infrastructure would mean we would actually come out ahead.
I think we need a 5 year $1 trillion a year program.  We used a public/private arrangement to get men to the moon in the 1960s with rudimentary technology. This is no different.
Of course Wall Street and the 1% see no need.  Their lives have never been better.
Lee Webster Added Apr 16, 2017 - 8:08pm
Milton Friedman and Steve Forbes of course have ideas of which some make good sense.  There was a time when I thought the Forbes Flat Tax idea was good, but I've seen too much in it as wrong.
Lee Webster Added Apr 16, 2017 - 8:15pm
Just do 3 things
1) Gov Bonds for infrastructure
2) Repatriation of money from abroad
3) Waive some business regs for startups
Phil's Personal Perspectives Added Apr 16, 2017 - 8:22pm
It seems that a return to a stronger control of financial institutions such as Glass Steagall could help.  Independent members in national office are also needed.  These two go hand in hand.  Our current crop of leaders can not help with either of these.  Fiscal stimulus is another concern perhaps addressed through infrastructure and changes to grow entrepreneurial power.  If these actions together are steps in the right direction, then how do we, all of us, work to make it happen?  As a start it seems to me we need a ballot box initiative to create an informed electorate to elect "independent members."  This is not a call for utopia.  A change only requires 50% plus one.  This is not a revolution if you will.  It may be trying to persuade 10% possibly more of the electorate to vote for a certain candidate or issue.  We did not create our current problems in one election cycle and we can't correct them in one.  We need to start at some point or we can continue to post our theories.  
Peter Corey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 8:35pm
>Minimum wage has not kept up with inflation. 
Minimum wage causes unemployment among the low skilled. There is zero doubt about this, and there is almost 100% agreement among economists on this issue. The way in which government then tries to tackle the unemployment is by INFLATING. 
I know it's against your principles, but try thinking for a moment:
If a worker's real productivity contribution to a business is, e.g., $7.50/hour and the minimum wage law coerces him to accept no wage lower than twice that amount, i.e., $15.00/hour, he will remain unemployed because no law forces an employer to hire anyone. 
Now, if government doubles the money supply so that each dollar is worth about 1/2 of what it was worth before the inflation — indicated by the fact that aggregate prices in the market will approximately double—the coerced wage of $15.00/hour is now only really worth about 1/2 of that amount, i.e., $7.50/hour. Now, that low skilled worker might have a chance of being hired, since his wage and his real contribution to productivity have been made equal by means of inflation.
Minimum wage is simply a political ploy on the part of politicians to get votes by appealing to people's non-rational and misplaced sympathy for the proverbial "underdog", as well as by appealing to most people's ignorance of basic economics; and inflation is a political ploy on the part of those same politicians to deal with the "unintended consequence" of the minimum wage, i.e., unemployment among the low skilled.
>Now I believe that minimum wage should be high enough for some very basic standard of living
The actual "minimum wage" is $0.00/hour, which is what the unemployed low-skilled person receives when he can't find a job at your arbitrarily chosen wage of $15.00/hour. You've condemned that worker to have no standard of living whatsoever, not even a low one. 
The purpose of low-wage, entry level jobs is not, and never has been, to have a basic standard of living, since "basic standard of living" is entirely in the eye of the beholder and not something objective that you or your favorite politicians can decide for someone else. The purpose of slinging hash and cleaning grease traps has always been to get experience showing up to a job on time, saying "Yes, sir, Mr. Boss Man, what needs to be done today?" and then gaining enough experience to move up the ladder to something better.
The idea of condemning a low-skilled worker to a lifelong "comfortable, basic standard of living" doing work like making smoothies for customers and being able to raise a family, take nice vacations, and send their kids to college on that sort of low-productivity job is cruel to those workers and in general, obscene.
It's easy to see that your problem is not just abysmal ignorance of economic basics but a desire to "virtue signal" to others on this board and elsewhere: "Look at how virtuous and good I am, everybody! I want nothing but good things for the poor! Applaud me, everyone!"
>but low enough that people are not encouraged to remain in a minimum wage job.
See what I mean about your combination of economics ignorance and virtue signaling? If a low skilled worker is receiving a wage that allows him to eat three decent meals a day, get a mortgage on a house, buy a car, marry, raise a family, obtain good health insurance, receive excellent medical care, take regular vacations — all the things that you believe comprise a "basic standard of living"—there is not the slightest reason they would want to leave that job. 
What you're hoping for is that such a worker would move on to some higher productivity job anyway, despite not having any incentive to do so.
> The biggest issue is that the $15 an hour jobs are going to college grads
By constantly raising the minimum wage, you start attracting a  demographic of more highly skilled workers. There is no way that someone who never finished high school and has no skills (hard or soft) can successfully compete against someone who finished high school, finished college, has some etiquette that employers find appealing, communicates clearly, and has some hard skills, AT THE SAME WAGE. The low skilled high school dropouts might be able to compete successfully if they could negotiate a lower wage from the potential employer. But minimum wage forces them not to do so.
And if you raised the minimum wage to something like $50/hour, the college grads would themselves have to compete against far more experienced Ph.D.s, who might find a wage of $50/hour for slinging hash preferable to a non-tenure-track adjunct teaching gig at a salary of $25K
Peter Corey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 8:40pm
>You definitely sound like you are worth more than $15/hr.
You can tell how much a person's productivity contribution to an employer is worth just by listening to them?
Peter Corey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 8:41pm
>The 'worth' of work must be relative to the cost of living. 
Peter Corey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 8:59pm
>You said it. I refuted it.
That you disagreed with a statement doesn't mean you refuted it. 
You're a dingbat.
>Marketable tomatoes don't require income.
Yes they do. But the word "costs" is used instead of "income."
The supplier of tomatoes would no doubt like the selling price of his product to be slightly higher than the costs of producing them, and he will factor in those costs when deciding on a price; but the CONSUMER of tomatoes doesn't give a damn how much it costs to cultivate tomatoes. The consumer is comparing the price of tomatoes to his own income, and to the alternative uses to which he could put it ("I could use this money to buy tomatoes, or another pound of coffee, or some microwaveable dinners"). So the income required by the tomatoes means nothing in determining the price at which it moves off the shelf (called the "equilibrium price"). That price is determined by nothing but the overall supply of tomatoes and the intensity of demand by consumers.
This is no different from the way in which the price of labor is determined. 
That you believe the price of labor OUGHT to be decided on a different basis is nothing but a subjective MORAL feeling on your part, which has nothing to do with economics.
Gravity OUGHT TO disappear temporarily when a child falls out of a tree — but it doesn't (your moral feelings regarding an objective fact like gravity have nothing to do with physics). Research scientists OUGHT TO be paid more than superfluous rock stars — but they aren't (your moral whims regarding the "true, objective worth" of different lines of work have absolutely nothing to do with economics).
Grow up and get over it.
Peter Corey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 9:17pm
>The only economists who believe what you do are the nutty Austrian School who reject macroeconomics and any scientific approach to the discipline.
Even the neoclassical school disagrees with you.
Wrong. The neoclassical school is almost unanimous in agreeing with the basic "Law of Demand" insight: the higher the price of something, the less of it will demanded."
There was some sloppy "research" by Card and Krueger (Princeton University) in the 1990s claiming that there was evidence on the PA/NJ border that it wasn't so; but their research was repeated more carefully by other economists and found to comport with traditional expectations: minimum wage always has a "dis-employment" effect; meaning, it causes FEWER low-skilled workers to be employed than would otherwise be the case.
The idea that the price of something — sirloin, for example — could increase and that consumers would want to buy even more of it is kooky. Consumers will either buy less of it and substitute something else for it (chuck, chop meat, chicken, etc.); or, if they absolutely MUST have sirloin, they will buy the same amount of sirloin as they bought before the price hike but they will economize by purchasing less of something else . . perhaps buying less expensive instant coffee instead of the premium whole bean brand. In other words, the price hike in sirloin WILL have unintended consequences, either in the purchase of sirloin itself, or in the consumption pattern of other goods.
What is true of beef consumers is necessarily true of other consumers, e.g., labor consumers (a/k/a "employers").
Thanks to ignorant ass-hats like you, employers WILL substitute low-productivity/high-wage employees like "Burger Flipper" with automation that can do the same thing but without complaining about their "basic needs".
Thanks for incentivizing employers to replace humans (whom you pretend to care so much about) with machines. The fault is entirely yours.
Oh, and by the way, as a matter of epistemology:
Just because someone in a lab coat can measure something and stick a number on it doesn't make it "scientific". In the social sciences, it almost always results in being "scientistic". If you don't know what the fallacy of "scientism" is, look it up.
Peter Corey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 9:23pm
>Paying less than a dignified standard of living
Ah, now it's not just a "basic needs standard of living" but a "DIGNIFIED" standard of living! And who gets to decide what constitutes "dignified" vs. "undignified"? You?
To have a "dignified standard of living", I personally need the following:
A yacht;
A Masarati;
An 8-room apartment in the SoHo district of Manhattan (with 12-foot high ceilings);
A whole-body CT-Scan from the Princeton Longevity Center every year;
3 meals a day of nothing but the highest quality organic fruits and vegetables and grass-fed venison.
That says "dignity" to me. You find it excessive? Tough shit. Go fuck yourself.
Peter Corey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 9:34pm
>No that would be society in any democracy.
North Korea is a democracy, no? Everyone is equal. Everyone gets the same thing: same number of calories per day, same education, same clothing, same housing. According to your definition of "dignified", are the people there living in a "dignified" way? Yes or no.
>Just because perfection isn't possible it doesn't mean that you stop trying to achieve better.
And you get to decide on the definition of "perfection" that's supposed to apply to everyone else whether they like or not?
Screw you, you little moralizing, tin-pot dictator.
Peter Corey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 9:45pm
>We haven't eliminated labour and capital still requires a market for its products.
That's right, booby. And in order to constitute a "market for products", people have to produce things: production comes BEFORE consumption. Then you can trade what you've produced for something that someone else has produced and you can both consume. But the act of consumption comes last; it's an EFFECT of production, not a cause.
"A man who applies his labour to the investing of objects with value by the creation of utility of some sort, can not expect such a value to be appreciated and paid for, unless where other men have the means of purchasing it. Now, of what do these means consist? Of other values of other products, likewise the fruits of industry, capital, and land. **Which leads us to a conclusion that may at first sight appear paradoxical, namely, that it is production which opens a demand for products.**
Should a tradesman say, " I do not want other products for my woollens, I want money," there could be little difficulty in convinc- ing him that his customers could not pay him in money, without having first procured it by the sale of some other commodities of their own. "Yonder farmer," he may be told, "will buy your woollens, if his crops be good, and will buy more or less according to their abundance or scantiness; he can buy none at all, if his crops fail altogether."
[Chapter XV, page 133, "A Treatise on Political Economy" by Jean-Baptiste Say. The above insight by M. Say is often called "Say's Law", i.e., Produce First; Consume Last; and the latter can only be equal AT MOST to the former.]
PS: I find that there's no better way of saying, "Fuck you, John G" than calmly and diplomatically presenting purely logical arguments against your economic myths, fallacies, lies, and distortions. I hope you appreciate my kindness and efforts on your behalf.
Peter Corey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 9:52pm
"Say (134) expands upon this point on the next page by arguing that 'a supply of commodities or services . . . will universally find the most extensive demand in those places where the most of values are produced; because in no other places are the sole means of purchase created, that is, values.' He later provides an example to support this argument. He (137) asks, rhetorically, in which situation would an entrepreneur rather be: a monopolist in a small town in a remote part of the world, or in competition in one of the great cities of the world such as Paris or Amsterdam? The answer, he suggests, is obvious: the latter. The reason we prefer the latter is that although we must compete with numerous other sellers, many of those sellers are potential buyers of what we are offering. The small-town monopolist may be the only seller of his particular good, but his market is limited by the small number other sellers in the town. The path to riches is to be where those who can purchase are, and purchasers will be where there are numerous sellers. He further notes (137) that this process will only work where the source is 'real production alone' as someone who 'lives upon the production of other people, originates no demand for those productions; he merely puts himself in the place of the producer.' Thus, as he later concludes, 'the encouragement of mere consumption is no benefit to commerce; for the difficulty lies in supplying the means, not in stimulating the desire of consumption; and we have seen that production alone, furnishes those means' (139).
In his excellent book on Say's Law, [William] Hutt (1974: 27) offers a restatement of the law as: 'All power to demand is derived from production and supply . . . The process of supplying - i.e., the production and appropriate pricing of services or assets for replacement or growth - keeps the flow of demands flowing steadily or expanding.' In a later book Hutt (1979: 160) provides a more exact definition: 'the demand for any commodity is a function of the supply of noncompeting commodities.' The addition of the modifier 'noncompeting' is important. For a computer technician, it is presumed that her demands that result from her production will be for goods and services other than computer technician or similar services. The goods or services competing with those that she sells can always be obtained by applying her labour directly, so she is unlikely to demand them. That is. she will only demand non-computer repair-related goods and services. The demand for her services as a computer technician is a result of the supplying activities of everyone but computer technicians."
Peter Corey Added Apr 16, 2017 - 9:56pm
>Not at all. We have social contracts and the ability to get rid of non-performing politicians in theory.
Ah, very closely reasoned (LOL!).
State one such "social contract" that mentions and defines "perfection". If possible, provide a link to some reference or scholarly source, OK?
I'll wait patiently for an intelligible reply while you enjoy a little more mental masturbation as you try to figure out what to post.
Victor Crain Added Apr 17, 2017 - 12:40am
I've had computer issues today, so just getting back to the thread now.  Bill, I have to thoughts to share with you: (1) the senseless Facebook killing today may be a foreshadowing of what happens when people lose hope and have weapons; in much of the world including the industrialized parts of China, there are people with standards of living that are fully comparable or better than what many people have in the US. Not only do they have the same material goods (house, car) that Americans have, they have a level of financial security that many Americans now do not. That's huge.
Lee Webster Added Apr 17, 2017 - 9:51am
The debate exhibits a clear divide although some is heightened emotionality due to strong attack upon perceived moral sensitivities and ethics.
The moralistic divide seems -
a) Capitalism is immoral because it has unfair transactions and too many people will be on the short end.
b) Money values are virtual and fiat.
The above neglects to factor in that people have opportunities to raise their station in life.  If we are to talk on moral grounds, is it any more moral for the best talented worker and least talented work to have the same pay?  Is socialism or any other system moral?
1) Some people want to be paid a wage higher than their abilities and at a value higher than their work output.
2) Some people want services and products at a price that is so low that it does not support higher living wages & production costs.
3) Some people want to restrict/limit the percentage of profits.
4) Some people want the higher minimum wage to solve social ills.
The solution:
Just do 3 things -
1) Gov Bonds for infrastructure
2) Repatriation of money from abroad
3) Waive some business regs for startups
George N Romey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 9:53am
Victor increasingly our economy is becoming full of low wage companies that base their business model in either low wages and/or taking advantage of the poor. This is the most disturbing trend and the one that should be a wake up call that our economy and way of life are coming to an end, and soon.
This notion that the free market cures all ails or the other side that thinks everything can be legislated away is moronic.  The countries that have done the best year after year with regards to standard of living and quality of life are the ones that find the right balance.  Their corporations are just as competitive on the world stage as any other nation. 
Carole McKee Added Apr 17, 2017 - 12:03pm
Peter: Actually, I have good instincts and can tell a lot by what someone writes. It's not so amazing when you realize I've spent a good part of my life reading people.
George: I don't know where you've been looking for work, but you might want to consider more than just the business world. I know we had an MBA in charge of the Methadone Clinic where I worked. Hospital administrations also hire people with an MBA degree. 
My brother has a dilemma similar to yours. He's 57 and his company eliminated his position. He has a mortgage and college loans for three kids he has to worry about. He just sent me his resume and I made a couple of changes to it, so hopefully he'll find something.
I hope you get something soon. By the way, living on Social Security is even less fun than working for minimum wage. I would have been okay with my 401K, my savings, and my small investments, but when my son got ill it all went to try to save his life. he had no healthcare coverage other than the college accident insurance we covered, and with a pre-existing condition, he couldn't get insurance. I cashed in my 401K, (took a real beating on that) spent all my savings, and liquidated my investments to pay for hospital and other medical bills. His medicine was $1500 a month. He passed away, and what I had left paid his funeral costs.
Bill Kamps Added Apr 17, 2017 - 12:12pm
This is the most disturbing trend and the one that should be a wake up call that our economy and way of life are coming to an end, and soon.
George our economy and way of life are changing, just as they always have.  Our history is only about 250 years now, and at no time during our history was one 50 year economy at all like the previous 50 year one.  The main drivers of the economy have constantly been changing, and the way of life of the people have changed with those drivers.  Now 500 years ago or so the king serf model was pretty  constant for several centuries, and during that time the economies of the world were more or less consistent.  However, once people became free to create their own fortunes, change became a constant.
Often times I get the feeling that for your results and causes are reversed.
Companies do what their owners decide to do, to some degree following Adam Smith's invisible hand.  They dont decide to have a company of low paying jobs because they want to punish the workers, they decide to do it, because in the world they see today, this is how they think they can be successful. 
Our job is to do something that provides enough value such that we will be paid what we wish to be paid, it is not some employer's responsibility to create a job so we can make what we wish to be paid.
The economy we see is largely the result of millions of decisions made around the world, and largely is an accident or a confluence of unplanned related situations.  Government attempts to plan economies have succeeded only at the margins and have not stopped the big changes in the world, currently a greater homogeneity as more countries become industrialized.
Finally just an FYI.  I would suggest to you that sending out resumes and filling out job applications is largely a  waste of time.  But then you already know that.  I have never gotten a job that  way, and I have been steadily  employed since I was 11.  In fact, no one I know or work with has gotten a job that way.  People get the best jobs from their network of friends, and business acquaintances.  Building a network is no more work than answering job postings, but it is a different kind of work and one we all should be doing especially while  employed. None of us do it enough including myself.    People who know the work that you do, are the most likely ones to hire you in the future.
Bill Kamps Added Apr 17, 2017 - 12:27pm
Lee, life is not fair, having said that what the government can and to some degree does do, is make sure that transactions are "fair".  I put it in quotes because the government cannot make all transactions fair, they cant stop companies from dealing with their friends rather than strangers, and they cant stop companies from hiring their friends rather they better qualified strangers.  But the government can to a degree set up the rule of law, and get companies to adhere to it.
There is a reason companies prefer to do business in the  US, rather than Russia, for example.  In the US the rule of  law, while not perfect, is at least a lot more predictable than in Russia.  Property rights, and business law is more consistent in the US than in many places.  Yes of course there is corruption in the US just like other places, but by an large you wont have your start up company shut down because you forgot to write checks to all the local politicians to allow you to stay in business.
Therefore attempts to make the minimum wage "fair" will be a failure, because of costs of living, number of children, etc.  The wage that  is set will appear to be capricious and unfair no matter how it is set. This doesnt mean that it shouldn't be done, its just that fairness really should enter into the conversation, because it cant be achieved.
A minimum wage should be set based on some estimate of what is best for the economy.  After all having people working and spending money is better than having people sitting at home doing nothing, including spending the least money they possibly can to stay alive.  As is often mentioned, Ford paid his workers more, so they could buy his products.  This should be the guiding principal for where the minimum wage should  be.  At what point does the raising the min wage reach a point of diminishing returns, or do some harm to the economy ?
This is why  I find the experiments in Seattle and California interesting.  Raising the min wage 25 cents wont move the  needle, but doubling it will. Doubling the min wage could change the economy, either for better or worse.  We will also get to see HOW  the  changes happen, what are the pros and cons.  It may also stop the nonsensical debate where the right says its costs jobs, and the left says it puts money into the economy.  The truth is it does BOTH, we just dont know to what degree exactly.
George N Romey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 1:11pm
Bill I have networked to death spending thousands of dollars on events, social clubs and the like.  What did I find?  Mostly men and women my age looking for work or the blind leading the blind.  What do I hear from colleagues?  My company is not hiring, only some entry level positions, and is in fact been letting people go-I pray every day I won't be one of them because I don't want to end up in your shoes.
As far as the destruction of the middle class and therefore income inequality, this is what I hear from deniers:
Its always been that way we just never noticed in years back or;
There is no problem, unemployment is at 4.5% and the economy is growing or;
Growing income inequality isn't much of a big deal and those at the top will ultimately bestow some of their blessings on the lower rungs or;
Its all the middle class fault, after all they wanted to have cell phones.
Now I can respect other points of view and have a dialogue of how much greed might or might not be contributing to the decline.  But the deniers are just beyond me.
Peter Corey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 7:13pm
>Peter: Actually, I have good instincts and can tell a lot by what someone writes.
Carole: I've heard that a lot. But only from you.
Peter Corey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 7:20pm
>A minimum wage should be set based on some estimate of what is best for the economy. 
The majority of economists would aver that what's best for the economy is the right of the worker and the right of the employer to contract freely with each other in negotiating a wage. A wage is nothing more than a price; the price of labor. For the government to determine and set the "true" or "correct" or "fair" price of labor is as bad for the economy as having the government determine and set the "true" or "correct" or "fair" price of tomatoes, rental housing, gasoline, milk, or anything else. If government sets the price too high, a glut of goods must result; if government sets the price too low, a shortage of goods must result. The price that mitigates against a glut or a shortage is the market price: the price as determined by the buyer and the seller. This is true for tomatoes, rental housing, gasoline, milk . . . and labor.
The logic of basic price-theory in economics is not that hard to grasp. 
Peter Corey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 7:24pm
>After all having people working and spending money is better than having people sitting at home doing nothing, including spending the least money they possibly can to stay alive.
Um, what about the unskilled black kid who dropped out of high school, and whose limited skills and workforce experience caused employers to take a "pass" on hiring him at the higher minimum wage? He sits at home and now has nothing to spend; his wage is now $0.00/hour. What's your plan for him and the many others like him?
Peter Corey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 7:43pm
>I find the experiments in Seattle and California interesting.  Raising the min wage 25 cents wont move the  needle, but doubling it will. Doubling the min wage could change the economy, either for better or worse.  We will also get to see HOW  the  changes happen, what are the pros and cons.  It may also stop the nonsensical debate where the right says its costs jobs, and the left says it puts money into the economy.  The truth is it does BOTH, we just dont know to what degree exactly.
>The truth is it does BOTH
Um, how, PRECISELY, does raising the cost of labor for an employer create an incentive for employers to hire even more employees? Why wouldn't an employer do what any consumer does when faced with increased costs: reduce the cost by searching for an alternative?
Sorry. Employers are no different from you or me. They don't intentionally seek higher costs for things they want and need, at least, not without taking compensatory action somewhere else in their economic decision-making.
Regarding Seattle, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has already compiled statistical evidence that since 2015 when Seattle implemented a $15.00 minimum wage, job growth has decreased and unemployment has increased. No surprise there. See the BLS data charts at this link:
"Early evidence from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Seattle’s monthly employment, the number of unemployed workers, and the city’s unemployment rate through December 2015 suggest that since last April when the first minimum wage hike took effect: a) the city’s employment has fallen by more than 11,000, b) the number of unemployed workers has risen by nearly 5,000, and c) the city’s jobless rate has increased by more than 1 percentage point (all based on BLS’s “not seasonally adjusted basis”). Those figures are based on employment data for the city of Seattle only (not the Seattle MSA or MD), and are available from the BLS website here (data are “not seasonally adjusted”). Those three negative employment effects are displayed in the three charts above and I’ll explain each in greater detail below."
[People are just stuck on stupid when it comes to this issue. Reason, logic, empirical data, economic history, etc., apparently amount to nothing with True Believers in Government Magic. They still think "magic" can happen by somehow getting around a basic law of human interaction within a division-of-labor society. That's as silly as believing that government can enact legislation that somehow gets around the law of gravity. You can't so it with gravity; you can't do it with prices.]
Peter Corey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 8:58pm
>Quoting the AEI now. LOLz.
Heh, heh! The data Mark Perry presents are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. LOL!
Peter Corey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 11:10pm
>The solution:
Just do 3 things -
1) Gov Bonds for infrastructure
"Government Bonds" are just another way of saying "Tax People Sometime in the Future rather than Today." 
You only have three choices: tax NOW to pay for infrastructure; tax LATER (via selling bonds) to pay for infrastructure; or inflate (print money, spend it on infrastructure, and blame the resulting devaluation of the dollar on something or someone else).
>2) Repatriation of money from abroad
American dollars abroad always circulate back to the US because that's the only place they ultimately can be spent. 

>3) Waive some business regs for startups
Equal application of the law. Waive all business regulations for all businesses, incumbent and startup alike.
Peter Corey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 11:43pm
>there are people with standards of living that are fully comparable or better than what many people have in the US.
For example?
Peter Corey Added Apr 17, 2017 - 11:57pm
>North Korea is a democracy, no? Correct. No. You're such an idiot.
You're in denial. The North Korean government certainly believes their country is a democracy. See this link:
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
"The DPRK is the Juche-oriented socialist state which embodies the idea and leadership of Comrade Kim II Sung, the founder of the Republic and the father of socialist Korea."
[NB: "Juche" translates as "self-reliance"]
"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a genuine workers' state in which all the people are completely liberated from exploitation and oppression. The workers, peasants, soldiers and intellectuals are the true masters of their destiny and are in a unique position to defend their interests."
"According to the Constitution of North Korea, the country is a democraticrepublic and the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) and Provincial People's Assemblies (PPA) are elected by direct universal suffrage and secret ballot." [from Wikipedia]
You can't define "democracy" as "whatever I happen to like." That would make you sound even more biased than you've already managed to sound.
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 12:01am
>Money is a man made accounting entity. Nothing like gravity.
But laws of economics come before the invention of money, and, in fact, govern money in the same way as they govern other commodities.
"Prices", "Supply", "Demand", etc., exist without money. In a barter economy, the price of a pair of shoes might be a dozen eggs ("Price" = "Exchange Ratio"), and it's still determined by the overall supply of shoes and the overall supply of eggs.
The basic theory of exchange in economics (actually a subdivision of economics) is called CATALLACTICS.
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 2:39am
>But it's just plain wrong because you have to make assumptions which are not true to make your model work.
For example? What assumptions are you talking about?
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 2:55am
>All your theories are disproved empirically by looking at Japan.
Do a little homework before sticking your fat feet in your mouth and trying to talk, OK? Japan has deployed Keynesian macro policy for two decades, which has the effect of causing their once vibrant economy to stagnate for two decades. See:
Japan has fallen victim to the Keynesian scam
"Japan saw its economy shrink at an alarming 6.8 percent annualized rate in the second quarter, proving its greatest national disaster, Abenomics, has failed and the Japanese economy has fallen victim to the scam called Keynesian economics. (Defined as the belief that a country can tax, spend, devalue and inflate its way to prosperity.)
Since the popping of the BOJ-induced bubble in 1989, Japan has been the most faithful adherent of Keynesian principals. At the onset of the crisis, they immediately began on their misguided path with large doses of deficit spending. Instead of allowing the economy to rid itself of bad investments and heal, they continued to prop-up failed business models — creating Zombie banks and an equally Zombie-like economy.
As one lost decade turned into two, in the year 2000, they coupled their fruitless spending efforts with massive amounts of money printing. And despite two decades of low growth, the nation stubbornly held on to the popular Keynesian excuse of "if only" … If only our stimulus was larger, if only we weakened our currency more, if only we kept interest rates lower for longer; economic nirvana would be achieved. Keynesians love to use this counterfactual argument because they believe it cannot be proven wrong — that is until now!
In 2012, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a master plan to pull the world's third-biggest economy out of its stagnation. His plan was to deploy, in massive and unprecedented fashion, the strategies of central bank credit creation, currency destruction and debt accumulation. The Japanese doubled down on the great Keynesian experiment, as if Paul Krugman himself was running the economy, they placed the economy on Keynesian steroids. Now, we are beginning to see what an economy looks like when the Keynesian playbook is utilized to its fullest extent.
With a first-half economic contraction in the books, many economists are now warning that Japan is poised for yet another recession. Back In June, I warned the reported 6.1-percent GDP growth in the first quarter would prove to be temporary because businesses front-loaded capital spending in a move to avoid April's well-anticipated and substantial increase in the consumption tax from 5 percent to 8 percent. And because of the asinine belief that growth comes from inflation, Japan's lethargic economy — whose inactivity had previously been blamed on falling prices — slowed dramatically right after prices went up
Household consumption plummeted at an annualized pace of 19.2 percent from the previous quarter, while private investment sank 9.7 percent. And because of the Japanese battle against deflation, real wages dropped 3.8 percent year on year in May. Those mismanaging the Japanese economy believe consumption will surge if they can achieve a substantial increase in the CPI. The misguided logic being the Japanese consumer will only spend if they are running in perpetual fear of rising prices. 
One of the cornerstones of Abenomics was destroying your currency with the hopes of boosting exports. Ironically, last week the central bank warned over a worsening export and factory output picture. In fact, June showed the worst trade deficit ever in Japan, and a 57 percent rise in the trade deficit for the first half of the year. 
And today with a near 250 percent debt-to-GDP ratio, it's difficult to argue Japan didn't engage in enough deficit spending. Over the past three years, interest rates on the JGB 10-year note went from 1.5 percent to 0.52 percent. Under its own brand of quantitative easing policy put in place last April, the Bank of Japan now buys 70 percent of all new government bonds issued in markets, as well as other more risky assets. With the JGB market on virtual life support courtesy of the BOJ, it is impossible to argue rates aren't low enough or that the BOJ hasn't monetized enough. They spent, they printed, they taxed; but the Japanese economy is out of gas, and the Keynesians who own this plan are now ou
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 2:56am
Japan has fallen victim to the Keynesian scam
"And today with a near 250 percent debt-to-GDP ratio, it's difficult to argue Japan didn't engage in enough deficit spending. Over the past three years, interest rates on the JGB 10-year note went from 1.5 percent to 0.52 percent. Under its own brand of quantitative easing policy put in place last April, the Bank of Japan now buys 70 percent of all new government bonds issued in markets, as well as other more risky assets. With the JGB market on virtual life support courtesy of the BOJ, it is impossible to argue rates aren't low enough or that the BOJ hasn't monetized enough. They spent, they printed, they taxed; but the Japanese economy is out of gas, and the Keynesians who own this plan are now out of excuses. "
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 2:58am
In 1991, [Japan's] real output per capita was 87% of that in America; in 2011 that figure had fallen to 72%. For most of the 1990s, Japan was the second richest large economy in the world—richer than Canada, Britain, Germany, France, and Italy. It is now poorer than all of those economies except for Italy. In 1987, Japan's real output per person reached 98% of Germany's, and from 1988 to 1998 its income was higher than that in Europe's strongest economy. In 2011, its real GDP per capita stood at 92% of that in Germany. Japan has underperformed and fallen behind Western Europe, and it has badly lagged North America. And neither Western Europe or North America had a very good decade in the 2000s!
. . . this evidence strongly suggests that Japan's economy has significantly underperformed reasonable expectations over the past two decades, and that this is partially, and perhaps mostly, attributable to macroeconomic policy failures."
[Needless to say, the "macroeconomic policy failures" were entirely Keynesian.]
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 3:46am
>You have to assume constant full capacity. 
No you don't. I've already shown you why you're mistaken by quoting Say directly from his Treatise on Political Science, as well as by posting a summary of Say's views by Steven Horwitz. Say's Law says nothing about a state of equilibrium entailed by "constant full capacity" (which itself is a myth perpetuated by the Keynesian school). 
"What is clear from this brief look at what Say said is that he was describing a principle by which economies worked, not an equilibrium condition of aggregate supply and demand . . . It is one of the principles by which the complex phenomenon of the market operates. . . .It explains the process by which the aggregate level of demand is determined, and what constrains individual demanders. [NB: What ultimately constrains individual demanders, of course, is, previous production.]
"Say's Law does not say that general gluts or shortages can never occur. Rather it explains a principle by which markets operate. Whether the effects of that principle will be beneficial or not depends on the institutions that frame the markets in question. Just as Smith's invisible hand would still operate, but produce undesirable consequences. where property rights are not protected from public or private predation, so too will Say's Law not produce desirable outcomes when certain institutional prerequisites are not in place. 
This section's discussion suggests two crucial institutional prerequisites:  the maximum flexibility of prices possible [NB: no inflexible union rates set by collective bargaining, and no minimum wage rates set by government whim]. . . and the maintenance of monetary equilibrium. [NB: No "quantitative easing", no "monetizing of debt", no inflation, no easy-money Fed policy] If those two are met, then Say's Law implies that general gluts and shortages are not possible. If they are absent, then the process Say's La.w identifies will still operate, however it will not produce the benign results It would under the right institutions. Where prices are excessively sticky and/or where monetary disequilibrium is present, general gluts and shortages are possible, and their existence is a confirmation, not a refutation, of the principle expounded in Say's Law."
Bill Kamps Added Apr 18, 2017 - 8:43am
George - Our job is to do something that provides enough value such that we will be paid what we wish to be paid, it is not some employer's responsibility to create a job so we can make what we wish to be paid.
I do have sympathy for you and the many others who cant find a job at the salary you are used to  having.  All I can say is that blaming the economy, corporations, greedy rich people may have some truth to why this is happening but it doesnt fix your problem.  Fixing your problem requires that you do what is in the bold print, figure out how to do something that people are willing to pay you for. 
As I have stated the economy of the US has been changing rapidly since the invention of the rail road and the start of the second industrial revolution in the country.  Every few decades the economy has changed dramatically, and this means that jobs that new jobs are being created and old ones are being eliminated.  If we want to thrive we have to adapt. 
What you saying is that you have networked to death, and there are no jobs. If that is truly the  case, then you need to do something different because your job isnt coming back.   It is a cruel and unfair world, but that is the size of it.  I know there are thousands of  people laid off in the oil industry, some will get there jobs back in time, many will not, and will need to change careers.  It happens.
Bill Kamps Added Apr 18, 2017 - 8:53am
Peter in the perfect world where everything worked without government intervention, and employers and employee were equal in their bargaining position, I would agree with this statement. 
The majority of economists would aver that what's best for the economy is the right of the worker and the right of the employer to contract freely with each other in negotiating a wage.
However, we dont live in a perfect world, the job/labor market has a lot of distortions, and generally employers have the stronger position.  This is why labor unions were created to give more leverage to the workers, among other reasons.  Yes, every intervention then creates more distortions. 
We have laws that limit child labor, number of hours  worked without overtime, working conditions, and so on precisely because the employer has historically taken advantage of the employee who may be desperate and thinks they lack leverage to bargain for themselves.  We can say if a six year old wants to sew clothes for money we should let them, however we have agreed that this is not appropriate activities for six year old children.
So similarly a min wage is yet another intervention.  Maybe wise maybe unwise.  Certainly having one number for the whole country makes little sense since the cost of living in NYC is far different than the cost of living in rural Mississippi, which then just points out how difficult it is to wisely intervene in the labor market.
Lee Webster Added Apr 18, 2017 - 8:54am
Carole, Your personal experiences...  We try to adapt, but some can't relate to how hard that is with personal tragedies involved.  The capacities and capabilities vary so widely - In practice there are unequal circumstances, unequal opportunities, unequal outcomes, unequal thinking... 
Some of us can relate to when a.m. radio was dominant, and the efforts made to keep up with all the various shifts in economies, technologies, and culture.
Lee Webster Added Apr 18, 2017 - 9:10am
Bill Kamps ,
The Seattle & California experiment to raise the Minimum Wage to become the highest in the nation is ok in my opinion as that is a local state affair rather than a federal decree imposed onto the states.
I would 'guess' the expectation of cause and effect for Seattle & California is increased homeless people on the streets, increased career college students, increases of adults living free off of and with their parents or other relatives.  In addition there will likely be more 'citizens' moving from those states.
Lee Webster Added Apr 18, 2017 - 9:41am
Peter & John, It is interesting to see your attempts to reason with each other on economic theory, and practice.  But who is winning this debate you are having?
The problem as I see it between you both is that one of you is discussing this on moral grounds, while the other is discussing it on statistical grounds.  
The moral argument is to have a economic system that  produces equal exchange between labor and business operations in ways financially and otherwise.  Somehow a high Minimum Wage is thought to be a solution for this. 
The statistical argument is possibly also an amoral one in which the construct of numbers replace people.  The attempt is to maximize and sustain values.  It is logical to have a sustainable system that shifts and adapts to changes which helps to encourage innovations and the potential for maximum opportunities to the widest populations.
Carole McKee Added Apr 18, 2017 - 12:33pm
Lee Webster: You're right. Everybody's situation is different. But did you notice how many people have all the answers but don't even know the questions? 
I can relate. I remember when we only had A.M. radio. And one TV station, and black telephones with no dial. ;-}
Mike Haluska Added Apr 18, 2017 - 12:58pm
John G - your assertion:
"Government spending pays for itself."
 is so full of crap it's astounding that grown ups anywhere buy it.  First of all, the government first takes from the taxpayer.  You know, Keynes never intended his solution to the Great Depression to be a model for standard economic policy - start at 25:45 in the video link.
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 2:36pm
>one of you is discussing this on moral grounds, while the other is discussing it on statistical grounds. 
1) Economics is a science. As such, it as "value free": it tells us what  occurs under such-and-such conditions, as well as why it occurs. It does not tell us whether or not we ought to adopt a certain policy aiming at certain ends. It merely tell us that IF we adopt a certain policy, what the results will be irrespective of the good intentions of those implementing the policy. E.g., IF you implement rent control, you WILL have a shortage of rental housing. IF you implement minimum wage, you WILL have a glut of low-skilled workers who cannot find employment at that higher wage. Economics doesn't tell you whether a housing shortage or a glut of unemployed workers is good or bad. It merely tells you that certain results will occur as a result of certain policies.
It's typical of those on the left to substitute moral arguments (usually in the form of outrage) for technical arguments when trying to discuss economics. This has led to an interesting paradox:
Leftists who live in capitalist societies admire the wide variety of goods and services available to everyone; they would simply like people to voluntarily behave AS IF they were living under a socialist dictatorship (employers hiring low-skilled workers at "fair" wages that normally only the high-skilled would command, etc.). Conversely, leftists who live in fully socialist societies admire the egalitarianism around them: everyone gets the same healthcare, the same education, the same wage, the same number of daily calories, the same clothing, the same public transportation, etc.; they would simply like people to voluntarily behave AS IF they were living under a free, capitalist society with private ownership of the means of production, and the incentive of self-interest: i.e., they would like people to voluntarily produce lots of goods and services, and to spend time innovating. 
Leftists fail in both instances. In the first, leftists substitute some fantasy of Utopia for the real world, so they're just not living in reality. In the second, they substitute some fantasy about human nature for actual human nature: self-interest is THE most powerful incentive to induce people to work hard, produce lots of good and services, and spend time innovating. They're not voluntarily going to do any of that for a hazy abstraction like "The People" or "The Proletariat." The so-called "incentive problem" is one of the classic reasons why socialist planned economies are so poor and unproductive: no one has a vested self-interest in doing anything. In order to make the economy work at all, the Power Elite in the controlling party must resort to state compulsion: fear, fines, imprisonment, etc. There are other purely technical reasons why centrally planned economies always end up in economic chaos, but the classic "incentive problem" explains a lot.
2) I mentioned nothing about statistics. The basic economic insight that's relevant to this discussion is called the Law of Demand: as the price of a good increases, consumers of that good will either continue to buy the same amount as they did at the lower price, or they will buy less of it; however, they will not intentionally buy more of the good at the higher price. The reason the law is true is that it rests on an axiom of purposeful action: since time and labor are scarce in relation to unlimited wants and needs, every conscious person aiming at certain ends necessarily needs to conserve his time and his labor, which he needs to employ toward many ends, not just the one under consideration. "Time" and "labor" are a person's fundamental "costs", i.e., the things he necessarily channels AWAY from one need or want in order to channel it TOWARD some other need or want that he believes —according to HIS subjective scale of preferences—is more urgent or more highly desired.
Since money is one of the forms that "time" takes in an economy (e.g., you can spend lots of your own time cultivating your own wheat, harvesting it, milling it into flour, and baking the flour into bread for your own consumption, OR you can let someone else spend their own time and labor, while you pay them money for their end product: bread. As far as your economic activities are concerned, you've saved lots of your own time and labor by simply buying what someone else produced), the Law of Demand adequately explains why people in a money economy always seek to reduce their money costs in relation to their output: money —like time or labor—has alternative uses.
That's just another, more prolix way of making the point that no employer will intentionally and voluntarily pay $15.00/hour for labor that he believes is only worth $5.00/hour: that additional $10.00/hour woul
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 2:37pm
That's just another, more prolix way of making the point that no employer will intentionally and voluntarily pay $15.00/hour for labor that he believes is only worth $5.00/hour: that additional $10.00/hour would have to be channeled AWAY from other things he regards as more urgent. No one voluntarily violates the Law of Demand.
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 2:48pm
>Peter's position is based on the monetarist myths and lies as propounded by the Chicago School and other very rich influence peddlars.
Lefties like you just can't help finding scapegoats. Pretty much demonstrates your complete intellectual bankruptcy.
Anyway, your accusation and finger-pointing are hard to justify given that the same arguments against price controls (whether minimum wage, rent control, or something else) were made by Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, James Mill, Jean-Baptiste Say, Frederic Bastiat, Nassau Senior, Carl Menger, Leon Walras, and quite frankly, the majority of other economists, including, by the way, many "New Keynesians" like Paul Krugman (read, e.g., "Pop Internationalism").
Print this out and read it aloud like a mantra:
"An economy, might, indeed, suffer macroeconomic problems; BUT THERE ARE ONLY MICROECONOMIC SOLUTIONS."
And do a little homework before trying to BS us with propaganda about how great Japan has done under Keynesian macro policy. Two decades of stagnation don't inspire confidence that you know what you're talking about.
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 2:55pm
>In a modern fiat money economy the starting point is the government spending the money that eventually it extinguishes by taxation
Except that it doesn't work. Japanese stagnation and US "stagflation" prove that decisively.
In a series of video interviews from the early 1970s (available online, by the way), Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek — who knew Keynes very well—claimed that although Keynes was a brilliant "raconteur", no one knew LESS about economics than Keynes. Keynes apparently took one course in economics at Cambridge under Alfred Marshall, and then starting writing books on the subject, setting himself up as an expert. He knew nothing about what the rest of continental Europe was up to regarding economic theory, and nothing about what was going on in the US.
And dolts like you think Keynes was some great thinker! He wasn't. He simply revived a number of mercantilist fallacies from before the time of Adam Smith. He was, in short, an economics crank.
I guess it's no wonder you admire him.
Mike Haluska Added Apr 18, 2017 - 3:09pm
John G - I wish you would have made your admission:
"moral position of the benefit to society of full employment."
far earlier!  Then I would have been aware that I was debating with someone who abandoned reason in favor of some view of morality!  You see, I don't have an arbitrary or "moral" reason for "full employment" because:
1) NO NATION will ever achieve "full employment".
2) I am only concerned that people who choose to work of their own free will are not having the fruits of their labor confiscated by an immoral government and "given" to able-bodied people who choose of their own free will NOT to work.
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 3:13pm
>In a modern fiat money economy the starting point is the government spending the money that eventually it extinguishes by taxation. 
Words have meaning.
"Spending the money . . ." must either mean, "Taxes and spends" (for where else would government get the money to spend in the first place); or it must mean "prints money." Hello???? Government must first somehow GET money before it can start to SPEND it.
If it taxes first and then spends, it's accomplishing nothing except redistributing wealth from places individual demanders would spend it, and then spending it somewhere else. This changes the pattern of spending but not overall spending, and it obviously produces nothing.
"Taxing" a dollar from your right pocket and "spending" that same dollar in your left pocket doesn't create new wealth, and therefore doesn't produce new spending. That government might reach into millions of pockets and the re-spend it somewhere else, in someone else's pockets, doesn't change the logic of this.
If government prints money and spends it, then the people who receive the new fiat currency first have the same advantage that counterfeiters have: they have new money and are faced with yesterday's low aggregate prices. As they spend the money on goods, and that fiat currency is re-spent by others in ever widening circles, prices obviously must begin to climb. Everyone thinks, "This is great! My advertising must really be working! Look at how many items I'm now selling to new customers!" and office workers receive a hike in their wages and salaries, thinking "My talents must really have come to the attention of management! I'm getting that well-deserved pay raise! I think I'll buy that 10-foot flat screen TV now!" And the spending and the price increases continue . . . until it hits a wall: all those people on fixed incomes (pensions, welfare, unemployment, etc.) do NOT get hikes in their income but are nevertheless faced with a higher "aggregate price level." They, essentially, are getting taxed (by means of the higher prices without compensatory hikes in their income) in order to subsidize everyone else's new consumption. Inflation is basically a hidden tax on the poor.
>The convention is to issue bonds in this amount to soak up the excess reserves in the payments system.
But a bond is nothing but a promissory note to pay the face amount plus interest to the holder after a certain time interval. Where does government get the money to pay for this? Obviously: it must tax again. Bonds are nothing but a method of deferred taxation.
Your main problem is that you believe in magic. You believe pieces of paper issued by government magically create wealth. In fact, they do the opposite: they consume wealth, mainly be eating away at an economy's stock of real capital.
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 3:23pm
For more on the crank ideas of Keynesian macroeconomics, see:
The Failure of the New Economics
by Henry Hazlitt
And the following three by William Hutt:
A Rehabilitation of Say's Law
by William Hutt
The Theory of Idle Resources
by William Hutt
Two reviews of "The Keynesian Episode"
by William Hutt
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 6:05pm
>Where does money come from Petey?
Real money (i.e., a commodity like gold, silver, seashells, cigarettes, oxen, plows, etc.)? Or fiat money (paper) that's supposed to represent real money OR real goods? Which one are you talking about, Little Johnny G?
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 6:31pm
>How does a $US (money) enter into existence?
US$ as a specified weight of gold? A weight of silver? Or a piece of paper with an engraving of a dead president? Real money? or fiat money. They're different. I know it's hard, John-John-Gee-Gee, but try to clarify your thoughts and express yourself succinctly.
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 6:32pm
>How does a $US (money) enter into existence?
US$ as a specified weight of gold? A weight of silver? Or a piece of paper with an engraving of a dead president? Real money? or fiat money. They're different. I know it's hard, John-John-Gee-Gee, but try to clarify your thoughts and express yourself succinctly.
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 7:22pm
>And don't start that commodity shit talk that you libertards love using to avoid the question.
I'm not avoiding the question. I just know what I'm talking about and you clearly do not.
Paper was never chosen by the market as a medium of exchange in all of economic history. Money has always been something that was scarce, was valued for its own sake, and had some use. Gold and silver are scarce, valued for their own sake, and useful; certain kinds of seashells were scarce, valued for their own sake, and useful; cigarettes in prison and in wartime trenches are scarce, valued for their own sake, and useful.
Paper? It's not scarce, it's not valued for its own sake (except to print things on), and has no use (except as a something on which ink will adhere.
If paper were a real money -- as opposed to a fiat money -- governments wouldn't have to legislate "Legal Tender" laws into existence, coercing people to accept paper as "legal payment" for debts and obligations. My mutual consent, of course, two parties can agree to be paid in something other than paper (or be paid "in kind" by bartering if they wish); but outside of mutual agreement, one or the other party must accept paper. If paper really were money, you wouldn't government to tell them "You MUST accept this as payment."
But I see you know little about monetary history or theory. Try this, first:
MONEY: Sound and Unsound
by Joseph Salerno
Read, especially, Chapter 1, on the 18th century monetary crank, John Law, who singlehandedly destroyed the French banking system in four years from 1716 to 1720. You can think of Law as an early version of Keynes, or you can think of Keynes as a 20th repeat of Law. Either one would be correct. Enjoy!
Lee Webster Added Apr 18, 2017 - 8:14pm
What is 100% employment? Who is counted in this, the sick and disabled, psychotics etc. This assumes no one ever gets fired for lack of working.
Somewhat related, when banks gave mortgages to people who were unqualified and unable to pay, is it the banks immorality for giving it or the loan receiver's immorality for accepting a loan they knew they could not pay?.
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 8:21pm
>1) NO NATION will ever achieve "full employment".
 >Except for all the ones that have.
For example?
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 8:36pm
>We don't have barter economies. We have state money economies.
"State money" economies are, at root, barter economies. Ultimately, goods and services are being exchanged for other goods and services.
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 8:52pm
>Full employment was defined as 2%
The US had just over 2% unemployment immediately following the end of WWII . . . precisely when Samuelson and other Keynesian knuckleheads were predicting another Great Depression because of all the homecoming GIs looking for work. The knuckleheads were wrong because their theory was wrong. What allowed all those homecoming GIs to find employment was the fact that prior labor legislation since the time of Hoover and Roosevelt was abolished and the GIs had the freedom to accept work at wages low enough to hire them back into the workforce. The ensuing rise in productivity as more people went back to work soon increased supply so much that "aggregate prices" fell. The fall in prices for food, clothing, automobiles, appliances (radios, televisions, refrigerators, etc.) allowed even people of modest incomes to buy them. It was the fall in prices that created the robust Middle Class of the post-war years.
Simply defining "full employment" as 2% unemployment is stupid unless you link it to the idea of wage-flexibility, productivity, and falling consumer prices. If you really want "full employment" by Keynes's lights, you could abolish all heavy construction equipment and give people little spoons with which to dig foundations for skyscrapers: you'd obviously have to hire a lot more people to dig a foundation that way than if you had a few people with modern backhoes.
Of course, since each spoon-digger's personal productivity is very low compared to the excavating done by a backhoe operator, each spoon-digger would receive a very low wage in return for his backbreaking labor.
In which case, you could invent a convenient scapegoat and shout, "The greedy foreman! He's to blame for this crisis; the grueling (but noble!) work of the spoon-diggers and their outrageously low wages!"
As the great lefty, Rahm Emanuel once said, "Never let a good crisis go to waste."
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 8:55pm
>Olde worlde thinking.
Yep. Just like algebra and plane geometry. Still true and still relevant, even in the age of nuclear power.
And in any case, John-John-Gee-Gee, it's already been pointed out several times that Keynes ideas were not "new" for his day but were simply a rehash of mercantilist fallacies from the days before Adam Smith. Keynes was even "oldere worlde" thinking. You're just too biased to see it.
Peter Corey Added Apr 18, 2017 - 8:56pm
>1) NO NATION will ever achieve "full employment".
 >Except for all the ones that have.
For example?
Peter Corey Added Apr 19, 2017 - 4:30am
>That's the difference between you and me. 
Actually, JohnJohnGeeGee, there are a number of differences between you and me. For one thing, I have two functional hemispheres in my brain; you obviously do not. My brain has convolutions in it; yours is smooth and fuzzy like an old tennis ball that's been whacked too much. Those are just a few of the differences.
>I was taught all that shit at university but a( I realised that it was shit because the reality never matched the theory and b) I was prepared to reject and relearn.
I see. So you're one of those street-wise, self-educated, school-of-hard-knocks savants! No wonder you're forced to combine smugness and stupidity in all of your posts — you're actually just economically illiterate and need a classic Freudian "compensating mechanism" to hide that fact. Your obtuseness and denial of the obvious make sense now.
Here's some sage advice:
Go into a closet and suck eggs.
But remember: you'll either have to spend your own time and labor raising chickens to produce your own eggs, OR you'll have to exchange money for someone else's productivity in eggs. And the only way to obtain money (short of stealing it from someone else) is by producing some other good or service for which someone else will exchange money. Catallactics is simple and straightforward, but to grasp it you'll need at least one convolution on your brain.  Shucky-darns! You're one short.
Mike Haluska Added Apr 19, 2017 - 10:59am
John G - your accusation:
"Yes, you're a social Darwinist who'd rather people starved than you pay tax. That's your ideology, selfishness and greed."
is typical of people who think they "know what's best for us".  It's also typical of people who think they're being "noble and charitable" and "morally superior" because they "give away" OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY - of course, after they take their "cut off the top". 
There is nothing moral, charitable or lawful about using the government to confiscate from others to be "redistributed" to potential voters.  This is the primary reason people vote Democratic and its demise is the end of the "Progressive" Democratic Party.  The LAST thing you and people like you want is a thriving, prosperous economy that raises the poor into the middle class!  You and people like you never come up with ideas that stand on their own merit - they ALWAYS  require use of government force.  
Mike Haluska Added Apr 19, 2017 - 11:00am
Peter - keep giving John G both barrels!  I'm loving every minute of it!!!
Lee Webster Added Apr 19, 2017 - 2:53pm
John G,
Your answer helps to clear up a few things on perspectives.  You stated - "Full employment was defined as 2% unemployed to allow for churn and 0% underemployment.
Of course people who can't work are not included. "
The phrase 100% Employment and the idea of Full Employment have differing meanings for various people.  That speaks to the complexities of how we all communicate to each other about whether policies are right & wrong, fair or unfair, etc.  So thanks for clearing up what you meant by Full Employment.
I find it always interesting how we all seem to at time twist words to mean different things to make our points.  The legal system and government documents are full of phrasings that mean something different than what it might seem to mean on the surface.
For example, when congress says tax decrease - it often means a decrease on an additional higher tax that was planned.
However, we are dealing with a lot of approximational language here now, rather than absolutes.
Lee Webster Added Apr 19, 2017 - 3:04pm
The original premise of this thread has not been defeated, but there has been additional food for thought.
Some might ponder that economically a rising tide lifts all boats. But sunken damaged boats will not rise unless heroic efforts are made.
Meaning that a prosperous economy is good for everyone with increased opportunities to succeed and improve lifestyle.  But it does not guaranty that bad personal decisions will succeed nor will unfortunate circumstances be always resolved positively
George N Romey Added Apr 19, 2017 - 3:18pm
Since there will always be "job churn" there is no such thing as 100% full employment.  In fact when the economy is booming like the late 90s people would quit a really crummy job or working under a tyrant boss in the belief they could easily get re-employed in a better job quickly. 
Peter Corey Added Apr 20, 2017 - 4:14am
>And no, monetary systems did not arise from barter systems.
Money is about credit and debt. And the number zero.
Money evolves on the market by means of voluntary exchanges (i.e., catallactics). When direct barter (e.g., Tom trades the shoes he made for the chickens raised by James) becomes cumbersome and inefficient (e.g., Tom wants chickens but James doesn't need shoes; instead, he wants socks. So Tom needs to find someone else on the market who has socks and is willing to trade them for shoes; then Tom can trade the socks he just obtained for James's chickens) indirect exchange occurs, in which a person will trade his goods for some other good meant only for re-trading for something else.
A good that is used in this way — for bartering indirectly, rather than directly — is called a Medium of Exchange. In the above example, Tom used socks as his medium of exchange: he didn't want socks for himself as a consumption good; he only wanted the socks because he knew that James wanted them as a consumption good. "Socks" obviously meant different things to Tom and James, and were therefore two different kinds of goods: for Tom, socks were a medium of exchange, a kind of tool in furtherance of a longer term plan for consuming chickens; for James, socks were useful in and of themselves AS socks, so they were a consumption good. Note well: same object functioning as two different goods.
When a good is used "in furtherance of a longer-term plan for obtaining some other good", it's called a Capital Good.
This sort of indirect exchange by means of individual and idiosyncratic media of exchange will itself soon become cumbersome and inefficient. For example, what if the next time Tom wants chickens, James now wants cufflinks, and not more socks? Now Tom would either have to find someone with a supply of cufflinks willing to trade them for shoes, or he would have to go through a number of different exchanges, each exchange with a different medium of exchange, until he could obtain cufflinks and trade them for chickens.
So what needs to occur — and what historically always has occurred — is that the individual traders on the market discover — not by any one person's conscious design — some particular good that's already on the market, that already has some sort of consumption value, and which they're all willing to use as a common medium of exchange.
When a medium of exchange becomes common among traders — when it becomes a General Medium of Exchange — it's called MONEY.
People discover other uses for money, of course — as a "store of value", for example — but those other uses develop as a result of its basic function as a General Medium of Exchange.
Historically, goods that are discrete, durable, and easily divisible, have been chosen by traders as General Media of Exchange, which is the reason various metals evolved into money.
Simply to bloviate with empty hand-waving statements for the sake of sounding knowledgeable, like "Money is about credit and debt" is as pathetic as saying, "Tolstoy's novel, War and Peace, is about Russia!"
Um, yes, both statements are superficially true, but they lack the sort of granular descriptive detail that one would normally get from someone who at least had read War and Peace and grasped its basic storyline, or someone who at least had taken a course in Econ101 and grasped its basic principles.
Peter Corey Added Apr 20, 2017 - 4:18am
>Since there will always be "job churn" there is no such thing as 100% full employment.
The economics term for the temporary unemployment (usually voluntary and short-term) entailed by "job churn" is Frictional Unemployment.
When unemployment becomes involuntary and long-term, it's called Structural Unemployment.
Peter Corey Added Apr 20, 2017 - 4:20am
>I don't believe that Corey has made any attempt at reason. 
You're in the minority on that issue.
In any case, you wouldn't recognize reason if it stood up and poked you in the eye, having already been blinded by mercantilist fallacies and Keynesian dogma.
Lee Webster Added Apr 20, 2017 - 8:55am
Hard to know who will read this far down into this thread.  We all ought to know that the logic & reason applied by humans can be faulty.  Humanity does seem illogical at times.
Lee Webster Added Apr 20, 2017 - 8:57am
A lawyer-politician coined this phrase – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” It is full of philosophy!

The equality spoke of here might more be of hope than literal fact. So notice that the word “Truths” is mentioned! Wow, can we really get into a great debate on that. Back when this phrase was developed, not all male people were even considered men, and women could not vote and had no equal standing either.

The equality spoke of in this complete sentence with all of the cultural circumstances within that time period is that people deemed to be men were equal to pursue LIFE, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness as a right. They also meant divinely too, but are debating against England who felt the King was divine to rule.

Lee Webster Added Apr 20, 2017 - 9:06am
John G.
Free-Markets & Capitalism you consider evil, therefore you want a fair Redistribution as a method to resolve Imbalances & Poverty.

Some think a Surplus is evil. But the anticipation of future needs (rainy day resources) is a counter argument.

It is extremely important that we mean the same concepts in dialogue. For example – the values within a Free-Market is not necessarily equal to a Fair-Market value. Anti-Statism is to fight against being under the control of so-called unjust rules and immoral authorities.

Fairness may not be the same issue as equality. 

If person "A" has a dollar (or product of value), and person "B" has a dollar (or product of value), is it equality? Does it continue to be equality if person "A" gained his dollar by stealing, when person "B" gained a dollar by working legitimately for it?
Another example, lets say person "A" has no dollar, but person "B" has 2 dollars. To make both equal, person "B" is forced to give a dollar to person "A". The way in which Person "A" gained that dollar is not equal to person "B" in that example. 

Absolutes are truly hard to come by when looking at concepts like free-market and capitalism because there are approximations to consider. Also the capacity to produce something of value for a free-market by each human-being around each of us is varied, and sometimes severely limited by an assortment of factors such as location, ritual, culture, society, gender, health, age, disabilities, etc.
George N Romey Added Apr 20, 2017 - 2:49pm
All of this free market and fair value argument is now a joke. When you get bundle garbage securities and get a greedy and corrupt rating agency to mark it essentially risk free for the right price thereby fooling potential investors all of the textbook theory and previous writings from economists goes right down the toilet.
Peter Corey Added Apr 20, 2017 - 5:16pm
>Some think a Surplus is evil. But the anticipation of future needs (rainy day resources) is a counter argument.
The anticipation of future needs is not what economics means by the term "surplus." A "surplus" in economics is a stock of supply for which there's no demand because the price has been set higher than the natural market price (i.e., the price that would normally have been co-determined by buyers and sellers). The pool of unemployed (and literally, unemployable) workers that results from government's setting the price of labor higher than the natural market price is one example of a surplus; and that's obviously not an example of labor being deferred in anticipation of future needs.
>the values within a Free-Market is not necessarily equal to a Fair-Market value.
By definition, free-market prices are fair-market prices. When government arbitrarily sets a free-market price higher or lower than it otherwise would be, it is simply playing politics: it's favoring one special interest group over all other groups. To favor one group over another group by means of state compulsion is inherently unfair.
Peter Corey Added Apr 20, 2017 - 5:28pm
>I do not recognise the term 'statism' as a valid concept.
Deny, deny, deny. See no evil; hear no evil. Think only pure, holy, Keynesian, mercantilist thoughts.
"A political system in which the state has substantial centralized control over social and economic affairs."
["I don't care if it's in the Oxford English Dictionary! I don't recognize that this term exists! And if it does exist, I don't recognize that it refers to a valid concept! And if it does exist and does refer to a valid concept, I . . . er, uh . . . I disagree with it! Therefore, since I disagree with it, I have disproved it! Since I've disproved it, it cannot be a valid concept! Since I have disproved it and shown it to be an invalid concept, I have therefore shown that the term doesn't exist! QED!"

Virtue-signaling and denial from one's own echo-chamber is so much fun, wouldn't you agree?]
Peter Corey Added Apr 20, 2017 - 5:58pm
Anarchist David Graeber — who is an anthropologist, not an economist — writes the following:

"In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that technology would have advanced sufficiently by century’s end, that countries like Great Britain or the United States would achieve a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it."
But see:

Economist Tim Worstall comments:

"And here's the point that Keynes didn't quite grasp about what the future would bring: that the decline in working hours would be largely in the unpaid labor of running a household. And that decline more than makes up for the slower decline in those market working hours, the ones done for pay, that the modern world seems to be missing from his prediction. For the UK, roughly, paid working hours went from 48 a week or so to 35 today. Unpaid household working hours went from 60 odd to perhaps 15. We actually have had the reduction that Keynes said we would and which Graeber is shouting has been stolen from us by, umm, well, The Grinch, maybe?
Just to back this up, something from the Boston Fed on recent declines in working hours:
'In this paper, we use five decades of time‐use surveys to document trends in the allocation of time. We document that a dramatic increase in leisure time lies behind the relatively stable number of market hours worked (per working‐age adult) between 1965 and 2003. Specifically, we document that leisure for men increased by 6‒8 hours per week (driven by a decline in market work hours) and for women by 4‒8 hours per week (driven by a decline in home production work hours).'"
See, also:
Working Hours
by Max Roser [cite]
I. Empirical View
I.1 The Decline of Working Hours per Year after the Industrial Revolution

See graph showing the steep decline in paid hours of work per week from 1870 to 2000. In 1870, average hours worked per week in the US were about 62; in 2000, they were about 40, a decrease of about 35.5%.

Also see graph showing steep decline in unpaid household working hours per week from 1900 to 1999. In 1900, average time spent in household work (preparing meals, laundry, cleaning) was about 60; by 1999, it was about 15, a decrease of 75%.

Tim Worstall:

"So, [Graeber's] theory doesn't in fact hold water. Working hours have indeed declined just as Keynes said they would. It's just that we preferred to take the automation, our increased wealth, in less scrubbing of the front doorstep and in more gossiping around the water cooler. And given that we do indeed get to make that choice ourselves, then who is to say that we've made the wrong one?
Thus the rest of his prescriptions are equally wrong. We do not need to upend the system, smash finance capital or any of the other teeming ideas being proffered.
As, actually, a wander down the corridor to the corridor of the economics department would have told him. We are, individually, the best judges of our own utility. And it's long, long, been noted that we do in fact take some portion of our greater wealth as leisure.
We don't in fact have a problem here, so nothing need be done."
Peter Corey Added Apr 20, 2017 - 6:00pm
Trying to learn basic economics from a kooky anarchist-anthropologist like David Graeber is as fruitless (and fruity) as trying to learn basic medicine from your cable-repair guy. He might tell you what you already wish to hear, but you won't learn anything about the subject.
The original paper by Keynes mentioned above is here:
"Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren" (1930)
by John Maynard Keynes,
Peter Corey Added Apr 20, 2017 - 7:33pm
David Graeber is an anarchist kook. He is not an economist.
Looks as if you'll have to deal with Worstall's arguments and links. So far, you closeted egg-sucker, you've done nothing but throw hissy-fits. 
Peter Corey Added Apr 20, 2017 - 8:06pm
>Peter - keep giving John G both barrels!  I'm loving every minute of it!!!
Thanks, Mr. Haluska! Just doing some of the proverbial "heavy lifting" here.
Peter Corey Added Apr 21, 2017 - 4:19am
>Where does money come from?
That's been answered many times above. Try paying attention.
Real money (commodity money) comes from participants in the market, evolving from indirect exchange to a generally accepted medium of exchange. The generally accepted medium of exchange is real money.
Fiat paper money is a money substitute that originally began as a receipt people received when depositing their real money into storage facilities known as "banks" for safekeeping. Instead of redeeming the receipt for the commodity money, then purchasing goods with it, and then having the new holder of the commodity money putting it back into a bank for safekeeping and receiving a paper receipt, the more efficient practice developed of simply exchanging the paper receipt for the goods in question . . . with the tacit understanding of both buyer and seller that the latter could, if he wished, redeem the paper receipt for real money, so that the fiat currency was "backed up by" an equal amount of real money.
Until 1913 in the US, any commercial bank could issue its own paper receipts  — called "bank notes" — to its own depositors, who, in turn, could demand a specified weight of real money (usually gold) in return. Different commercial banks accepted one another's bank notes (even though they were different) by clearing their accounts. What caused trouble was not the fact that each commercial bank could issue its own paper bank notes and then clear their accounts mutually on a regular basis; what caused trouble was the practice of fractional reserve lending, in which different banks would issue bank notes in greater numbers than the real money they had in reserve. They did this for a very understandable (if slightly dishonest) reason: what, really, were the odds of all of their depositors simultaneously redeeming their paper bank notes for real money? Very slim. If it did happen, of course, it would prove that the bank was actually insolvent; lending out more bank notes than it had gold on hand to back them up. The problem was that the different commercial banks were inflating their bank notes at different rates, so it was difficult to clear their mutual accounts. This provided the incentive to create one central bank — the Federal Reserve — to issue only one kind of fiat paper bank note (a Federal Reserve Note) and to inflate the fiat paper currency at one uniform rate.
Peter Corey Added Apr 21, 2017 - 4:24am
The legitimacy of fractional reserve banking was questioned centuries ago and apparently became a legal issue in the UK. The objection to it was based on the legal idea of "bailment": e.g., if you spend a night in a 5-star hotel and ask the concierge to store your wife's jewelry worth $100,000 in the hotel safe, has the net worth of the hotel now increased by $100,000? Of course not. If you give your $1,200 Italian suit to the dry-cleaner's to be cleaned and pressed, has the net worth of the dry-cleaner's increased by $100,000? Certainly not. In both instances, you're simply handing over some item that you own, requesting that a business provide some advertised service (security; cleaning) and then you expect the business to hand your property back to you: safe and intact, or clean and pressed, as the case may be. You certainly don't expect them to lend out your wife's jewelry at interest, or rent out your suit to others for a fee. So objectors to fractional reserve banking claimed that when they deposit paper bank notes in a bank for the sake of making immediate purchases — a demand deposit or "checking account" — they expect the bank simply to hold their paper bank notes for safe keeping until they are called into use; they don't expect the bank to lend out the demand deposits at interest. Again, banks were able to do this (and still are able to do this) because they know that the odds are low of all depositors simultaneously demanding their checking accounts in full. When that does occur, it's called a "bank run", and usually causes the bank to collapse (or to receive a government bailout at taxpayer expense).
In sum:
The market (i.e., private individuals) created real money through the necessities of increasingly complex exchanges. Real money is not imposed on the market from something exogenous to it like government. It evolves on the market, without conscious design.
The market (i.e., private commercial banks) created fiat paper bank notes through the necessities of increased exchanges and increased lending. There can be many different kinds of paper bank notes issued by commercial banks, all of which can exchange against one another just as international currencies still do today.
Government — a non-market institution, i.e., an entity exogenous to the market and its participants — invented and imposed central banking and a single fiat paper currency. To mitigate against people in the market rejecting the fiat money as inherently worthless (which it is), government also issued a legal tender law declaring its own fiat paper to be acceptable for the payment of any debt.
This is all standard monetary history.
I assume that answers your question, shit-for-brains.
Peter Corey Added Apr 21, 2017 - 5:03am
>There is no such thing as a 'free market'. Markets are constructs of men.
Unintelligible gibberish. "Man-made" and "free" are not antagonistic ideas.
>You HAVE claimed that Tim Worstall is an economist. HE IS NOT.
One doesn't have to be a professor of economics in academia to be an economist. Worstall is a business and economics writer with a degree in economics from the London School of Economics (actually, he attended London University and got the degree from LSE). That puts his knowledge of the subject several notches above the Utopian musings of an anarchist anthropologist like David Graeber who appears to know nothing at all about the subject.
Regarding the reduction of working hours, see data at:
"The researchers Michael Huberman and Chris Minns published estimates of weekly work hours going back to the late 19th century. This data – shown in the following visualization – shows that over this time working hours have steeply declined. Full-time workers in these countries work 20 or even 30 hours less every week than in the 19th century."
"As productivity in the household increased working hours in the household declined.
In 1900 the average household spent 58 hours a week on these chores [meal preparation, laundry, cleaning). In 1975 it was down to 18. For 2015 I have relied on data from the American Time Use survey to calculate that the weekly work hours spent on these three chores for a household of one man and one woman is 7:42 hours.
This chart shows how over the course of the 20th century more and more household appliances became available in more and more households."
* * *
[How's your cognitive dissonance coming along, JohnJohnGeeGee?]
Lee Webster Added Apr 21, 2017 - 10:07am
Some of this has reinforced, and some has reminded me of the competing strategies throughout history towards developing civil societies.
The moralistic good intentions however, often get us in trouble by not seeing clear enough of all the consequences.
I tend to favor the claims made by Peter, but do also see John's concerns for the down trodden. 
If there has to be a set Minimum Wage, then it should be done on the State level, not on the Federal level.
George N Romey Added Apr 21, 2017 - 10:34am
I'd go for a state level and I would bet money that states would have a higher wage than federal because its the states that deal with people being paid so low they need government services to live.
Carole McKee Added Apr 21, 2017 - 1:10pm
Lee: State level minimum wage set makes more sense. 
When minimum wage increases, the cost of everything goes higher. It may not need to, but it does. So eventually, the raised minimum wage is not enough. My first office job right out of high school earned me a weekly paycheck of $60. Minimum wage was $1.25 then. Out of that $60/week, I was able to pay rent, have a car payment, buy clothes, pay for gas, and still go out Friday night. So as wages went up, so did the cost of living.
In my opinion, an employer is supposed to pay you a fair wage for the work you do--not for what you need.
George N Romey Added Apr 21, 2017 - 2:00pm
Carole what is a fair wage for the work you do?  Who decides?  Is it fair or not?  I'm sure that if Wal Mart could wave a magic wand and pay its store employees $5 an hour it would.  Is that fair?
Carole McKee Added Apr 21, 2017 - 2:32pm
You're right. They would. In all fairness, I have watched those employees work, and they really do deserve a better wage than the minimum. 
But, George, here's the thing: I believe those who are pushing for a higher minimum wage are going about it the wrong way. No employer cares what you spend your paychecks on. No employer cares about your home life or lifestyle. So arguing that employees can't live on the minimum wage doesn't do any good. Anybody who pays bills knows it's not a livable wage. It makes more sense to prove that the job is actually worth more than the wage being offered.
I remember when I worked as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist. We used to take turns pulling weekend and evening call. All of the diagnostic departments got paid $2/hr for every hour we held the pagers, and time and a half if we were called in. They called us all to a meeting one day and announced that our call money was going to be cut from $2 to $1 an hour. I listened to people complain to the administrator. "I pay my wife's car payment out of my call money," "I pay my daycare with call money," and so on. I watched the face of the administrator and saw how he couldn't have cared less how we were affected by the decision. And that's pretty much how companies feel.
George N Romey Added Apr 21, 2017 - 2:39pm
Carole people who say things haven't change and its always been this way are full of it. In the summers of 1979 and 1980 I worked in a steel factory during college summer and holiday breaks.  I was making $10 an hour which would translate to near double today if not more. Yet despite 30 years business experience and an MBA I make less now than when I worked that summer job. And by the way, even though that company was feeling the recession pinch in 1980 they hired me on for the summer and made a commitment to all employees of no layoffs. The Company simply just made less profit for the year and the executives forgo a bonus for the year. Compare that to now.  Corporate America won't stop until we all are poor.
Carole McKee Added Apr 21, 2017 - 2:59pm
Oh, it can be done, George. Any decent sized company can pay their employees more than they do. They don't because of one thing: GREED. The bottom line is all that matters--to the CEO, the stockholders, the owners. By the way, my oldest brother worked in a steel mill, out of high school, in 1966. His wage then was about the same as the minimum wage today. He strutted around like a rich man until they laid him off after 59 days of work. On day 60, he would have been in the union, and his pay would have increased. So he went to the service, came out, went to college, and became a multimillionaire.
I think one of the problems people face today is that the opportunities that were once there, are gone. Coming up with something that fulfills a need is what makes a person successful. But with everything we have at our fingertips, a person has to be really creative. Not that it can't happen. It's a matter of thinking deeply. Electricity, the telephone, and the safety pin are already invented, as are movie theaters, fast food restaurants, shopping malls, and everything else we no enjoy. Coming up with an original concept to sell is not easy any more. Neither is bringing an innovative idea to a job interview. 
George N Romey Added Apr 21, 2017 - 3:08pm
Carole I can tell you that original, creative and critical thinking are a thing of the past in Corporate America.  Its why innovation is dead as well as social mobility.  New business creation is down significantly from prior decades.  Banks would rather lend money to companies to buy back their stock.  Productivity which was rising for years is now falling.
This is why so many people are sitting on the sidelines or in job far below what they can offer.  Your brother came of age and of wealth in a very special time in America.  Those days are gone and I doubt they will be back without the system first imploding and then being rebuilt.
Carole McKee Added Apr 21, 2017 - 3:25pm
I'm in agreement with all that you've said. So where do we go from here? It seems there is no way to go 'up' any more, so do we wait for a fall?
Lee Webster Added Apr 21, 2017 - 10:45pm
Carole & George,
I agree that it seems innovations have been in the doldrums.  In part, it is because too much has been spent on the 'Information Age' at a point when we ought to be transitioning to the next era.  There are people getting rich building Apps for Android, IPhones, Apple, and Windows products.
Very hard to see what is the next big advancement that will help to springboard the economy and opportunities for a maximum number of people.  I still think that a robust program of rebuilding the infrastructure will recreate & enhance the type of optimism necessary towards making the jump to the next advancement and new era.
Carole McKee Added Apr 22, 2017 - 12:09pm
Lee: Yes, rebuilding the infrastructure is a must. The jobs it would create would be significant.
George N Romey Added Apr 22, 2017 - 2:26pm
Lee & Carole you must understand the corporate state wants an impoverished and desperate workforce.  They want no part of a resurrection of good American jobs and social mobility.  If they wanted this it would have been made so years ago.  Remember Wall Street firms were immediately made whole by the Fed having the Treasury digitize $4 trillion to buy the worthless bonds at book (not market) value.  When Wall Street gets in trouble there is a Manhattan Project implemented immediately. For the American people we are simply told to go pound sand.  An infrastructure program that would return the US to full employment, provide us with a 21st century infrastructure and restore great things like social mobility could start tomorrow.  The politicians refuse because their big money donors have told them no way.
Carole McKee Added Apr 22, 2017 - 2:47pm
George: No, I do understand that. Our government no longer does what the American people want, or even cares. It is all about the big money donors. What I can't fathom is why people still vote for these people. The majority of this country is not big money. So how do they keep getting elected?
George N Romey Added Apr 22, 2017 - 2:59pm
Carole they are easily fooled.  Have you read some of the posts just here on WB?  These people actually think either Trump or Clinton would solve problems. Neither would.  Its why I voted for Jill Stein.
Even with Bernie Sanders and his talk I believe he would have end up towing the line and he throwing his support to Clinton rather than joining Stein pretty much proves my theory. 
Sadly even if Americans do have a change of heart it would take 6 to 8 years to change Washington.  I do not think we have that long. 
Carole as a nation we want to desperately believe we are living like we did 20 years ago.  Twenty years ago the overwhelming majority of Americans felt the country was moving in the right direction and the future would be better.  Today is the polar opposite yet we as a nation continue to support a system that has no concern for the average citizen. 
Lee Webster Added Apr 22, 2017 - 10:51pm
George, I try to be open to a variety of perspectives regarding politics and the direction of our nation, but generally, I want to be optimistically-pragmatic.  It is not a mystery that the power to control things are in the hands of a few no matter which form of government there is developed.  It seems most true that people see life through their own experiences more than through the perspectives of other people.
Peter Corey Added Apr 23, 2017 - 12:39am
>If there has to be a set Minimum Wage, then it should be done on the State level,
How would a state-level minimum wage prevent state-level disemployment from occurring? I don't understand your reasoning.
"If there has to be legislation abolishing the law of gravity, then it should be done on the state level, not the federal."
??? City level, state level, or federal level, you can't legislate away the law of gravity because it's inherent in matter. City level, state level, or federal level, you can't legislate away the law of supply and demand because it's inherent in a division-of-labor economy. Minimum wage is an attempt to legislate away a basic law of economic reality.
Peter Corey Added Apr 23, 2017 - 12:41am
>I still think that a robust program of rebuilding the infrastructure will recreate & enhance the type of optimism necessary towards making the jump to the next advancement and new era.
From where will government get the money to build new infrastructure?
Peter Corey Added Apr 23, 2017 - 12:46am
> I suggested you read Graeber's book on the history of money
Graeber is an anthropologist who knows zero about economics. 
Much better is a classic little monograph on the subject by economist Murray Rothbard. See:
"What Has Government Done to Our Money?"
Peter Corey Added Apr 23, 2017 - 12:51am
>The jobs it would create would be significant.
Pop quiz:
If you tax one dollar from the pockets of 100 citizens in the private sector and then pay one worker in the public sector a wage of $100 for a day's work digging holes in the ground for telephone poles, is the economy richer by one job?
Is it poorer by one job?
Is it in the same place economically as it was before the taxation and the spending?
Peter Corey Added Apr 23, 2017 - 12:53am
>We have electronic money systems.
Doesn't change a thing in the analysis. Fiat currency is fiat currency whether paper or electronic.
Lee Webster Added Apr 23, 2017 - 9:53am
Your questions/My Response:
Q 1. "How would a state-level minimum wage prevent state-level disemployment from occurring? I don't understand your reasoning."
ANS - The reasoning is that hopefully some state will abolish the Minimum Wage requirement while others will increase it.  It would eventually be clear over time that jobs and living standards in these opposing environments will be plain to see.  This is similar to how some states now DO NOT force Union membership fees on workers, while other allow such practices.  
Q 2. "From where will government get the money to build new infrastructure?"
ANS - Haven't you learned about past history of the Jobs Creation Programs, the CWA (Civil Works Administration) of the New Deal that was done towards getting millions of people off the bread-lines into jobs?  It was helpful for many during the depression era that there was the FERA (Federal Emergency Relief Administration) created.  We should do something similar now.
Lee Webster Added Apr 23, 2017 - 10:11am
I once sat in to listen to a former Fed Reserve chairman of another country who nearly became president of that country.  It was interesting to hear how various people think about the powerless populations within their own countries in reference to economics.  Sometimes in nature there is a enormous urge for winner-takes-all thinking.  Having run profit and not-for-profit orgs has shown me that there are hard lessons and much cut throat actions.
Peter Corey Added Apr 23, 2017 - 11:57pm
>Haven't you learned about past history of the Jobs Creation Programs
Yes, we've all read the history of these programs. Did they actually create jobs that produced something useful for people? Or were they just disguised low-productivity "dole" programs that were basically trying to rationalize handing out welfare checks to people in need?
You're saying we need such dole programs today in the US? Are we currently experiencing a Great Depression? Do we currently have 25% of the workforce unemployed as we did in the 1930s?
> the CWA (Civil Works Administration) of the New Deal that was done towards getting millions of people off the bread-lines into jobs?
Intentions are one thing; results are another. The CWA was a dole program for 3.6 million unemployed workers. It created no lasting, productive jobs.
>FERA (Federal Emergency Relief Administration) created.  We should do something similar now.
We're not in an emergency situation as we were in the 1930s. Loss of jobs then was caused by a sudden contraction of the money supply after many years of inflating it, which was then further aggravated by pro-labor, anti-competitive policies implemented by FDR (see link below). Loss of jobs now is mainly caused by increases in productivity from advances in technology. It's a completely different situation, and inviting the unemployed onto a handout program (even if the handout requires that they plant trees or paint bridges) will slow down the appearance of new jobs that would otherwise absorb this potential workforce. Do you want new productive jobs to appear quickly? Or are you trying to delay the future and extend low-productivity jobs from the past?
We're 17 years into the 21st century. New Deal wealth redistribution and dole programs come from 1930s-style thinking about economics. Such programs did little then to improve the economy and would do even less now.
FDR's policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate
Peter Corey Added Apr 24, 2017 - 12:27am
>Complex credit systems have been around for thousands of years and there is no evidence of any sizable 'barter economy' ever existing
Tom makes cabinets for a living and wants a pair of shoes. He buys a pair for $200.00 from James the cobbler. James needs a new kitchen cabinet, so he buys one for $200.00 from Tom. Money, or checks, or credit cards, was simply the medium of exchange. In fact, one cabinet exchanged for one pair of shoes.
Tom makes cabinets for a living and wants a pair of shoes. He buys a pair for $200.00 from James the cobbler. James needs a new pair of slacks, so he spends that $200.00 on a pair of pants from Bill the tailor. Bill needs a new kitchen cabinet, so he buys one for $200.00 from Tom. 
Every producer's supply has changed hands. Money was not only the facilitator of this triangular exchange, but money itself must fist have started off as something they all recognize as being valuable. Historically, pieces of paper with ink on them and engravings of dead politicians are not considered valuable, unless the paper itself were redeemable for something else (gold, silver, etc.).
Exchange of goods is the logical basis of economic activity whether or not it's the empirical basis.
That pi = 3.1415 . . . is the logically necessary outcome of the ratio of two things that have no counterpart in empirical reality: a perfect circle (which doesn't exist and never has) divided by a precise diameter (which doesn't exist and never has).
Your problem is not just that you know little about economics. Your problem is ultimately philosophical: you're ignorant of the difference between a logically necessary truth and an empirically contingent one.
Economics is more like geometry: it starts off with logically necessary truths regarding valuation, exchange, etc. If a physical measurement of a circle's circumference and a diameter yield a number like 3.152, it doesn't mean geometry is wrong or that it's an empirical science like weather forecasting. Same with economics. 
wants chickens and buys a pair from James doesn't need shoes; instead, he wants socks. So Tom needs to find someone else on the market who has socks and is willing to trade them for shoes; then Tom can trade the socks he just obtained for James's chickens
Peter Corey Added Apr 24, 2017 - 4:59am
>Money came from credit you doofus. Not from barter.
(Yawn) More irrelevant anthropology from highly biased anarchist David Graeber, who revealingly claims that the Austrian economist Carl Menger basically "added some mathematical equations" in his Principles of Economics to the arguments of Adam Smith in the latter's Wealth of Nations. As a matter of fact, there are no mathematical equations at all in Menger's book, which set the standard for later Austrian economists (Bohm-Bawerk, Mises, et al.) in their reliance on theory, logical deduction from axioms of human action, and verbal explanation, rather than mathematical analysis relying on assumptions of function/inverse-function, infinite divisibility (calculus), and most importantly, static equilibrium. So much for Graeber's intellectual honesty in criticizing an author whose major work he obviously never read.
For more on how Graeber has let his anarchism and anti-capitalist bias influence his anti-economics ranting in his own book on money, credit, and debt, see the following:
"Is Barter a Myth?"
George Selgin
"Have Anthropologists Overturned Menger?"
Robert Murphy
An Austrian economist criticizes Graeber's interview.’s-response-my-article
David Graeber's ungracious response to Robert Murphy's article
Robert Murphy's reply to David Graeber's response.
>I have a degree in economics
Get your money back. You wuz robbed.
Peter Corey Added Apr 24, 2017 - 5:13am

"The term Indian Trade describes the people involved in the trade. The products involved varied by region and era. In most of Canada the term is synonymous with the fur trade, since fur for making beaver hats was by far the most valuable product of the trade, from the European point of view. Demand for other products resulted in trade in those items: Europeans asked for deerskin in the Southeast coast of the United States, and for buffalo skins and meat, and pemmican on the Great Plains. In turn, Native American demand influenced the trade goods brought by Europeans.
Economic contact between Native Americans and European colonists began in the 16th century and lasted until the late 19th century. Although the relationship between Europeans and Indians was often marred by conflicts, many tribes established peaceful trade relations with the new colonists during the early stages of European settlement. From the 17th to the 19th century, the English and French mainly traded for animal pelts and fur with Native Americans."
This trade was all barter exchange, as was inter-tribal trade:
Trade among tribes of the Plains
"A general misperception of Native American enterprise and trade continues today. On the Wikipedia page on Indian Trade, the discussion centers on Native American interactions with the English at the Jamestown colony in Virginia, general information about tribes involved in the Canadian-Missouri fur trade, and explains how some California tribes gathered slaves for the Spanish. The page omits any references to or examples of tribe-to-tribe trade.
Indians of the southern and northern Plains traded with each other for thousands of years. Flint points 13,000 years old, chiseled from the Texas quarries, have been found in eastern New Mexico. Quarried stone from the Obsidian Cliffs near Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyo. in Yellowstone Park, traveled to the the Ohio River Valley around 100-350 CE.
Archeological artifacts do suggest, however, that native-to-native trade expanded over time. Emory Dean Keoke and Kay Marie Porterfield, authors of the Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World, say that the Hohokam tribe, centered in present day Arizona, traded seashells, which they had acquired from the Mojave tribe, for buffalo hides from various southern Plains tribes. “By between 500 and 200 B.C., North American Indians had established a vital network of trade.”
Wyoming, however, was home to at least two enterprising tribes, the Crow, and particularly the Shoshone, who had their own trade fair, the Shoshone Rendezvous.
We know little about this event, including its exact location. The recognized authority on the Shoshone Rendezvous, Smithsonian ethnologist John C. Ewers, wrote in the early 1950s that the most likely location was in “in the river valleys of southwestern Wyoming west of the South Pass—“a description that would also fit the later, better-known fur trade rendezvous of 1825-1840.
Ewers’s main source is Canadian fur trader M. Charles McKenzie’s narrative, “The Mississouri [sic] Indians. A narrative of four trading expeditions to the Mississouri, 1804, 1805, 1806, for the North-West Company.”
Tribes, aiming for handsome profit, would buy items from the either the Mandan/Hidatsa Center or the Dakota Rendezvous and transport them to southwest Wyoming each spring.
Relying on McKenzie, Ewers notes that in June 1805, the Crow traded 250 horses to the Hidatsa, who offered 200 guns in exchange. The next year the Hidatsa offered 200 guns to the Cheyenne, hoping to receive at least that many horses in exchange. Normal markups were 100 percent; the Crow sold horses to the Mandan and Hidatsa at twice the price they had paid at the Shoshone rendezvous. The river tribes doubled the prices again when trading with others, like themselves, on the upper Missouri."
Peter Corey Added Apr 24, 2017 - 5:56am
The Economic Organization of a P.O.W. Camp

R.A. Radford
From Economica , November, 1945

Very soon after capture people realized that it was both undesirable and unnecessary, in view of the limited size and the equality of supplies, to give away or to accept gifts of cigarettes or food. "Goodwill" developed into trading as a more equitable means of maximizing individual satisfaction.
We reached a transit camp in Italy about a fortnight after capture and received 1⁄4 of a Red Cross food parcel each a week later. At once exchanges, already established, multiplied in volume. Starting with simple direct barter, such as a non- smoker giving a smoker friend his cigarette issue in exchange for a chocolate ration, more complex exchanges soon became an accepted custom. "
Cigarettes soon became the universal medium of exchange, i.e., money in this POW camp, and prices of items were listed in terms of numbers of cigarettes.
The entire debate over Graeber's anthropological/historical statements on money, credit, and debt, remind me of analogous statements by developmental psychologists on the issue of language acquisition and how infants putative "acquire" (as opposed to "learn") their first language; for however it was that an infant acquired its mother tongue, adults seeking to learn a 2nd language already have a mother tongue, and thus, their route to learning a 2nd language can never be the same as that used by the infant. A modern learner might correctly claim that in order to "learn" a 2nd language, he must know the structure of the language: the grammar, the spelling, the pronunciation, the vocabulary, etc.; while the psychologist would object, "Not at all! Learning structure is not how the infant mind went about it!" That might be true, but so what? The adult, by definition, no longer has an infant mind, and must at some point grapple with conceptual things like "structure."
By analogy with language, Graeber claims that barter is a late-comer to economic activity, appearing in history only after money economies collapsed — presumably from exogenous catastrophes (political upheaval, natural disaster, war, etc.). Thus, people who are now strangers to one another — but who had prior experience operating in a money economy — might resort to barter as the closest substitute for money, which has now been denied to them by reason of circumstance.
Assuming the truth of the argument, it is nonetheless irrelevant to the analyses of economists. 
Just as the adult learner of a second language must consciously grapple with something he never had to grapple with as an infant learner of his first language — structure — so, too, would prisoners in a POW camp have to first grapple with the structure of exchange — exchange ratios in barter, then more rationalized ratios of goods in terms of some highly desired, highly salable good (money) as a simplifying tool of value-measurement. As Robert Murphy put it, if you did not have a medium of exchange in which you could quote all prices, you would have to quote large numbers of ratios in terms of all other goods. E.g., if you had a micro-economy of 20 goods and 1 medium of exchange, you couldn't just quote 20 prices in terms of the 1 medium of exchange; you'd have to have (21x20)/2 ratios, or 210 different price quotations.
It's clear that good-for-good exchange (barter) is the underlying logical structure of a money economy — in the same way rules of grammar and syntax are the structure of a 2nd language, despite whatever method we might have used in our psychological pre-histories to acquire our 1st language — given the fact that we already know about money. That the pre-history of money MIGHT have evolved out of feelings of mutual moral indebtedness derived from gift-giving and gift-receiving in tight-knit tribes, families, or small villages as a way of measuring such feelings of indebtedness is irrelevant to a situation such as what Germany should have done or not done after its hyperinflation of the 1920s.
Seems to me that Graeber is useless to economic analysis whether his anthropological hypothesis about the history of money is true or false.
Peter Corey Added Apr 24, 2017 - 6:22am
>Now go fuck yourself, you ignorant cock sucker
Spoken like a true Keynesian . . . for it's well known that John Maynard Keynes was a committed, enthusiastic, lifelong, homosexual.
Yes, he was married to a Russian ballerina, who was almost certainly his beard. Rumor had it that she was also a spy for Lenin (but that's for another post).
Keynes was an on-again/off-again "partner" to gay painter, Duncan Grant. They were both members of the Bloomsbury Group, many of whose members were also gay (male and female).
Interestingly, Keynes kept a "sex diary" in which he recorded details of his trysts.
"As a young man he tabulated his exploits in two diaries. The first is a complete list of every sexual partner he had, usually by initials or nickname – DG for the artist Duncan Grant, “Tressider” for JT Sheppard – and on some occasions, when it was nothing more than a casual hook-up, by description: “Lift boy of Vauxhall” was in 1911, and “Jew boy” was in 1912. And he maintained this record with great sincerity and honesty – a dry spell is duly noted as a dry spell, and a year abundant with sexual partners is recognized as such. It’s also clear from this diary that Duncan Grant, whose initials appear often over the years, was a long term partner of sorts, even if their relationship was sporadic.
The second diary contains an elaborate code referring to the specific activities performed during these exploits. This is the more interesting one, because no one has been able to crack the code thus far. This diary is tabulated to the calendar rather than to specific people, suggesting that it is Keynes’ record of his own acts, and perhaps even a rating of his own performance or his satisfaction from the act. There are mainly three categories here: C, A, and W, and Keynes maintains a detailed account of the frequency of each one of them during specific periods of time. 
No one knows for sure what C, A, and W are, but there is speculation galore – W for wanking? C for cruising? Copulating? Some people have even tried to arrive at inferences by comparing the numbers under each category. For instance, high frequencies of C correlate with low frequencies of W throughout the diary, suggesting that C is in fact copulation and W is wanking, because (and obviously this is a matter of opinion) when there is plenty of copulating, there’s little need for wanking. But then again, it’s possible C just stands for cocksucking."
* * *
And to think Carlyle once claimed that "Economics is the Dismal Science"! Seems pretty colorful to me. 
By the way, I've heard that the code letters "JG" appear several times throughout this second diary. Do they stand for, "Jerked-off Garrulously", perhaps? Or maybe they just stand for, "John G"; but if so, why wouldn't they appear in the first sex diary? Who knows. It's fun to speculate, though.
Peter Corey Added Apr 24, 2017 - 7:12pm
>What difference would that make?
I never said it made any difference.
>And I'm a post-Keynesian
A post-Keynesian. So does that mean you're into animal buggery, too?
John Maynard Keynes smiles.
Peter Corey Added Apr 26, 2017 - 8:41pm
Regional Science and Urban Economics

Cross-state differences in the minimum wage and out-of-state commuting by low-wage workers

by Terra McKinnish

• The federal minimum wage hike compressed cross-border minimum wage differentials.
Low wage workers responded by commuting out of states that increased their minimum wage.
Results are consistent with a disemployment effect of minimum wage increases.

The 2009 federal minimum wage increase, which compressed cross-state differences in the minimum wage, is used to investigate the claim that low-wage workers are attracted to commute out of state to neighboring states that have higher minimum wages. The analysis focuses on Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs) that experience commuting flows with one or more neighboring state. A difference-in-differences-in-differences model compares PUMAs that experienced a sizeable increase or decrease in their cross-border minimum wage differential to those that experience smaller change in the cross-border differential. Out-of-state commuting of low wage workers (less than 10 dollars an hour) is then compared to that of moderate wage workers (10–13 dollars an hour). The results suggest that an increase in own state's minimum wage, relative to neighbor's, increases the frequency with which low-wage workers commute out of the state. The analysis is replicated on the subset of PUMAs that experience commuting flows with more than one neighboring state, so that the estimates are identified entirely within PUMA. As a whole, the results suggest that low-wage workers tend to commute away from minimum wage increases rather than towards them.
Peter Corey Added Apr 27, 2017 - 3:56am
Graeber's Debt: When a Wealth of Facts Confronts a Poverty of Theory
Julio Huato
Peter Corey Added Apr 27, 2017 - 3:09pm
Where Keynes Went Wrong
(and Why World Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts)
by Hunter Lewis
Peter Corey Added Apr 29, 2017 - 12:11am
>shills for bankers
And Keynes, Robinson, Samuelson, Krugman, are shills for the Fabian Society of socialists. See the society's notorious stained glass window revealing its true agenda:
An image of the world being hammered from the top with sledgehammers (the figure on the right appears to be George Bernard Shaw, a member of the Fabian's); socialism imposing its will on humanity by coercion. Above the hammered world is a shield with a coat-of-arms in the image of a wolf in sheep's clothing, which is a give-away regarding socialism's true agenda:  it might look innocent on the outside, but it's a predator on the inside.
Carole McKee Added Apr 29, 2017 - 12:02pm
Wow. This is no longer a discussion. It's become a war.
Peter Corey Added Apr 30, 2017 - 1:03am
>Do you think capitalism is a natural phenomenon?
Of course not. And written language is not a natural phenomenon but a product of human artifice and ingenuity.
And the social habit of excusing oneself in order to visit the loo and use a flush toilet instead of urinating and defecating on the kitchen floor of one's neighbor (as you insist on doing) is also not a natural phenomenon but a product of artifice and ingenuity.
I'm not a tree-hugger. The word "natural" doesn't automatically equate to meaning "good."
You really are stupid in a very special kind of way. If there were a special Olympics for stupidity, you'd be awarded a silver medal. ("Duh, but if I'm as stupid as you claim, why wouldn't I be awarded the gold medal, eh?") That's easy to answer: because you are SO FUCKING stupid, that you can't even manage to get the highest award in stupidity, OK? That's how stupid you are.
Peter Corey Added Apr 30, 2017 - 1:10am
>It's become a war
The battle didn't just begin. The battle has simply been joined.
There always has been war between sound economists (who know that goods are wealth) and monetary cranks like John Law and John Keynes (who believe pieces of paper with engravings of dead political leaders are wealth).
Have one person take a suitcase of consumable goods to a desert island and see how long he survives; then compare that to another person who takes a suitcase of paper money to a desert island and see how long he survives. Are the goods wealth? Or are the pieces of paper?
That we live in a division-of-labor society in which each person specializes in one kind of labor and exchanges his product for someone else's goods via pieces of paper with dead politicians on them doesn't alter the fact that it's goods that are wealth, not the pieces of paper, which are just nominal claims to wealth; not wealth itself.
Carole McKee Added Apr 30, 2017 - 1:50pm
Yeah, but do economists, or any professional, for that matter, sling insults and call call people names just to get their point across? Except Donald Trump, of course. He's living proof that money doesn't buy class.
Carole McKee Added May 1, 2017 - 11:56am
I'm not sure I made any comments about inflation. Maybe I did. But let me explain something to you: Just because someone's thinking isn't the same as your, does not make that person a moron. You sound just like my deceased father-in-law. He thought he was the smartest man in the world, and everybody else was stupid. Well, the smartest man in the world couldn't hold a job.
But this is what I'm talking about. I have been in many meetings over the years, and yes, there were different opinions, and many disagreements. But nobody ever called anyone a moron, or stupid, or an idiot. It's called respectful. Anything less is unacceptable.
Peter Corey Added May 1, 2017 - 8:06pm
>You sound just like my deceased father-in-law.
You're half-right, Carole. JohnJohnGooGoo actually is deceased. And eve when he was "alive" in the purely vegetative sense, he had been brain-dead for decades.
It's apparently a prerequisite for being a Post-Keynesian.
Victor Crain Added May 1, 2017 - 8:22pm
Carole, I've cut back participation in this thread because I got tired of reading sophmoric drool. This thread embodies the art of name dropping without saying anything.
Carole McKee Added May 2, 2017 - 12:49pm
Slinging insults and calling people names is totally unprofessional and juvenile. I could never respect you or anything you say. You have no credibility. Only a person of low intelligence uses intimidation tactics such as insulting others and calling people names. It's a definite sign that you are covering for the fact that you're not too bright. (Just like Donald Trump.) It also proves that you have no class, no social graces, and no manners.
Carole McKee Added May 3, 2017 - 10:55am
So, John, what is your purpose when you enter these discussions? It's obvious that it's not the topic itself. It seems your only purpose is to insult people, call people names, and start arguments. Are you sexually frustrated? Have you no friends or family? Maybe you have a chemical imbalance. Normal people do not conduct themselves this way. Have you talked to a professional?
I'm pretty sure that most of the people in this discussion are sick of you.
Carole McKee Added May 4, 2017 - 11:28am
And you think getting at the truth is through insults and name-calling? And who do you think, in these discussions, can provide you with the truth? You see, these are just discussions. People sharing some facts and some opinions. The truth is somewhere out there, but it's not here.