Beyond the Cusp

February 8, 2017

The Coming Destructions of the $15 Minimum Wage

 

There are a number of Democrat run and owned cities which feel they have found the solution to poverty caused by those working merely for the paltry $7.25 per hour; the new dawning of the $15 per hour minimum wage. These cities see no problem with doubling their minimum wage and believe that the businesses, such as burger and other fast food restaurants and retail shops will have no choice as they will be unable to move from the city. They have missed another alternative that those unable to move beyond the city limits will face, total disappearance as they find it impossible to sell their merchandise at the inflated price required to pay their remaining help the overly inflated salaries. Where the minimum acceptable wage is already around $10 per hour the increase will still cause hardships for the retailers and manufacturers. Their higher priced goods will cause financial distress for those residing within the city limits without the means to get to the suburbs where the prices will actually be lower. Even the real estate will lose value as it becomes more difficult to rent their retail and manufacturing spaces and the cities slowly fall into disrepair as the people find they have little if any choice but to leave the city. With what jobs currently exist being initially cut just to remain viable, the economic base for these cities will be cut from under them. The loss of jobs will lead to decreased business which will again lead to more job loss in a slow death spiral. These cities will slowly turn into husks collapsing under their bureaucratic foolishness. They are signing their death warrant in their misguided attempt to right a nonexistent wrong.

 

When I first entered the job market the minimum wage was all of $1.25 per hour; yet nowhere in the entire area around the city where I resided could one find a job at that wage. The minimum wage by 1975 had risen to the unbelievable heights of $2.00 per hour and even that was not high enough to affect work in my home city. The reason was simple, nobody would accept such a wage nor could any employer find workers even for digging ditches at such a wage. My first job was washing dishes at a diner which paid more than $1.50 and was among the lowest paying of jobs. As it turned out I was a poor dishwasher and was fired within the first few weeks. From there I found work stocking shelves at a chain shoe store which paid even more and eventually became a commissioned sales person where minimum wage never became a consideration. Still, even friends who took construction work actually digging ditches or, as I did one summer, building railroad tie walls in a new community development were paid well above minimum wage. I know that across the nation there were many places where the minimum wage was the guideline for minimum wages of employment but that was always a starting salary. Anybody working at a minimum wage who was still making the minimum wage within six months or a year was usually soon to be seeking a different line of work as they were not up to par. Minimum wage was a test salary which was offered largely as one learned how to work at their chosen job and once they proved proficiency their salary would rise above that minimum rate. This fact was one of the truths I found wherever I moved was that any employee worth their salt made minimum wage only for the shortest of periods and once they proved their worth they received a more decent wage. Are there those who make minimum wage to start and will continue making that level no matter how hard they work? Yes, but these are a very small minority and few of them are raising a family on their salary. Those who only make minimum wage for extended periods of time will not benefit from a $15 per hour minimum wage as those will be the first people who will be let go. Often those making minimum wage for prolonged periods of time often are kept on the payroll not because they are price efficient but because their employers realize they are doing the best they are able and they remain employed more for spiritual or social reasons than economic ones.

 

History of the National Federal Wage Rate

 

The reality is the world is a hard and cruel place with little sentiment, though fortunately there is more sentiment just not in the workplace. In the workplace every salaried individual must fulfill a simple parameter; they must make more money for their employer than their employer pays them. Businesses are not for generosity or charity, even those in the business of charity as even they must show a profit for every employee. Their secret is the majority of their employees are largely volunteers and thus can easily take in more than they cost. Businesses need to make a profit or they serve no purpose and would soon go out of business without a profit margin. Let us take an example of a business which makes exactly the money as it pays out in salaries. How long would the owner and his family survive if this was the case? Owners only receive a salary from profits after all expenses are paid and thus employees must make more than they cost or the owner has no reason to remain open. Further, what is the owner to do when the rent for the store space comes due, the water and electric bills, the gas bill, taxes on the property and on sales, and how do they pay for the insurances for their employees such as medical (Obamacare does not come cheaply to the average business) and unemployment and payroll taxes etc. And then there are the other incidentals an employer has such as the Christmas party and cupcakes for employee birthdays and of course meals for their own family. If it is a large company then there may be stockholders who also demand profits otherwise they will take their investment capital elsewhere.

 

These are the most basic of reasons that the $15 per hour minimum wage is going to bust many of the cities employing it. There are probably a select few cities such as San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago and a maybe others where the minimum employable wage, not the minimum wage but for that location it acts as the minimum wage, is already over $15 per hour. These cities could make the empty statement that they are raising their minimum wage to $15 per hour knowing that virtually every employer, especially their main employers, already are paying $16, $17, $18 or even more just to find worthy candidates to fill their positions. The problem with their taking their minimum wage above the national average is it places an upward pressure on smaller and less affluent cities to follow suit when their economic situations cannot support such a wage scale. It is all well a good for the major cities where there are no shortages of employable people compared to the job base to make offers to raise their minimum wage to less than the going rate as they and their employers will not suffer. But as this is not about their minimum wage, it is about making a case to raise the Federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, which the Democrat Party has been pushing, which would have disastrous results especially for rural neighborhoods and farm laborers. Small towns would find the higher prices near impossible for families to meet and employers would run their businesses as lean as humanly possible possibly leaving numerous former employees unemployed. These communities would soon be faced with taking their economies off the grid, so to speak. They would most likely turn to a barter system which is untaxable and makes things relative and neutralizes the minimum wage as what is the worth of bushels of wheat in exchange for a new roof on the barn? Soon these communities would drive out any competitors who could not accept bartered goods such as the chain stores which run only on dollars and cents. No, the $15 per hour minimum wage argument is mostly being pushed in Democrat controlled major cities such as Seattle, where their Federal Court Judge heard a case and has attempted to nullify President Trump’s immigration vetting delay from terror ridden nations. These cities already have virtual minimum wages well above that $15 per hour and thus are only going to hurt small Mom and Pop stores and other smaller enterprises or workplaces with low profit margins such as miniature golf courses, etc. The whole reason behind the minimum wage argument is to give false hope to young employees who see such a higher minimum wage as their salvations not realizing that it will only bring about a bout of inflation until the new minimum wage will be equal in buying power to the present minimum wage and will only result in the American worker becoming more expensive and thus chase more jobs overseas. This is a bad argument and can only harm America, but what do the politicians care if they can garner a few extra votes in November?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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October 22, 2016

I Have Seen This Campaign Before

 

I have seen this exact style and lack of truth in an election built entirely on one overriding misdirection repeated ad-nauseum. I reserve the right to keep you guessing and in the dark, just as the media coverage of the American Presidential Election has and will continue as they have chosen and scripted their coverage for one side, Hillary Clinton’s coronation. One might ask why there has been so little a cry from the Republican elite and leadership. The reason has much to do with their complete lack of pushback against Donald Trump’s initial success while their golden candidate, Jeb Bush, completely crashed and burned without any Republican emergency response team to douse the flames. They were assisting and even secretly arranging in quiet ways Donald Trump’s victory as this was necessitated for a Hillary Clinton victory in the general election. Any honest and readily supportable Republican candidate with the possible exception of Ted Cruz, unsurprisingly the sole Republican who had any hope of toppling the Trump nomination, would have beaten Hillary like a drum. That was the requirement the Republican Party power brokers delivered upon just as directed in the Hillary coronation directive handbook which everybody appears to be playing by except The Donald. Thankfully The Donald is extremely well adapted for the role of the unscripted wildcard.

 

There was an excerpt from the comedy show “Third Rock from the Sun” where John Lithgow’s character boils over (normal for his character) about the election and the anguish mixed with insanity he suffers over how to decide through all the lies and confusion (see video below) and Jane Curtain’s character quotes, rather loosely, Winston Churchill about the horror that is Democracy as a form of government. If you are a Lithgow fan, as am I, then you will love this. This is also unfortunately how all too many voters in America are likely feeling and this confusion does not stop at the shores, it extends to wherever people are involving this election into their lives. Unlike Lithgow, many will not be burdened with having to make that fateful choice; only Americans can be so cursed. Some have defined this election as between a crook and a megalomaniac. Well, it could always be worse; they could both be megalomaniacal crooks which some claim is also the case. Our solace is that even if we still resided in the United States, our state is the second most extreme such that there is no chance of countering the overwhelming majority which makes all predetermined. What makes this election so beyond most not overly familiar with American political theater and how most of the states are all but preordained to vote one party or the other with near 100% accuracy. What this produces is the election will rest on as few as five swing states to a maximum of a dozen potential swing states. As Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida alone could elect Hillary Clinton if she wins all three, the election may be all but decided early. If not then after Ohio, Illinois, and a remote Michigan swing will end all expectations as after that Colorado and New Mexico are unlikely to make the difference, but one can never be too sure. Imagine if it has been announced that Hillary will win and then, against all the odds, California goes for Trump. There would be a lot of news anchors with egg on their faces at that.

 

 

The nicest thing about the American election is that the tense and shrill back-and-forth screaming and accusations being exchanged blow for blow will all be decided within two and a half weeks. The less than nice thing is whoever wins will be the President of the United States for, at a minimum, four years. Whichever candidate prevails, the media will be filled with either criticisms or adulation every day from inauguration through their run for reelection. The one thing of which we can all be assured is that the next President of the United States will take office facing more than the usual set of challenges facing them immediately as they take office. The world has seen perilous times with ominous omens and exceedingly high threat indexes but rarely at the levels as all indicators press are rapidly approaching. The state of the world begs the question of why anybody would actually seek the Presidency at this time. The obvious answer would be either an inflated, larger than life ego or an overbearing feeling of being preordained and whose time has finally come though overdue. Looking at the two candidates we find that we have one of each, imagine that. Who could have imagined such an interesting election where only two personality types would seek the Presidency and then get both personalities? Usually one candidate appears so much more fitting the times and they rise to the office but here we have two. With both fitting one of two differing profiles, the voters will need to decide which candidate as well as which profile and then which is more necessary to face the coming difficulties and possible scenarios which will likely present themselves in the upcoming months and years.

 

This is not an election to envy the American voting public as if they were to choose poorly, the world will pay a horrific price, perhaps things which completely change the world as we know it today with massive change of the progressing of civilization and the laws by which we are governed. There are few points throughout history where the right person is in the right position when their world needs their type, style or quality of leadership. Even more unlikely has been the right person elected where they ward off a coming threat. Probably the most obvious example was British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain as having the worst possible qualities for leadership facing the rise of Nazi Germany. Fortunately the British made a better choice once they realized that a war for survival was upon them choosing Winston Churchill. We can only hope that the world does not face a repeat of such as what led to World War II. The world would be far better off avoiding any war which would sink any sizeable parts of the world if at all possible.

 

Centers of World Conflicts

Centers of World Conflicts

 

There can be little doubt that the world is once again approaching another central pivoting point where a future for the foreseeable future will be determined. If one were to plot out a logical future, it would point to a failing of technology to prove decisive in a coming conflagration. The main and possibly only hope the advanced Western technological edge would have to preserve the underlying social structures of passivity, full equality, gender blending, sexual independence, complete tolerance and the abhorrence of the use of force is if their technology can circumvent the fierce religious observance and intractability following the strictest interpretations of their religious dogmas as possible, demanding the conquest and submission of all who are in any way different. Their strictness in observances leads to intrareligious inflexibility forcing rejection of those following even the slightest difference of interpretation or of historic views of the passing of leadership such as the detestations which existed in Christianity during the reformation. The world is shrinking in unprecedented ways and rapidity which is forcing the disparate religions, societies, governances, philosophies and every other predispositions that separate the varying formations of humanity closer and into competitions which forces clashes in every manner of difference possible. The resolutions of these conflicts will determine the future, or even if there is a future, of humanity. This makes every election worldwide and especially in the West, especially the United States as the flagship, and the manner of succession in undemocratic lands and the resolution of wars before their effects spread endangering other lands, as with Syria, and in such a manner as to advance peace and not more conflict. Bringing conflicts to an end and preventing future conflict while advancing intersocietal tolerance are the most important of the coming challenges we are going to face as a planet. Whoever can advance strong, flexible, determined, intelligent, intuitive leadership with an understanding of the needs and respects demanded by others and being capable of incorporating such in their negotiations and even more urgent and feverish emerging engagements and confrontations would prove to be the most intelligent of leaders. Such a leader would also be required to choose wise and capable advisors with diverse backgrounds so they can present the widest of potential venues and paths forward. As the ancient Chinese curse read, “May you live in interesting times,” and we most certainly are doing exactly that.

 

Oh, and where have I seen this campaign before? In a comic book come television show then movie series, Batman. There was an election in Gotham City between Batman and Penguin. Penguin ran a campaign based on how you always saw him in the company of police while Batman was always in the company of arch villains asking, who would you prefer as Mayor, one who keeps company of the police or someone who is always in the company of arch villains and criminals? (see below) Plot killer, Penguin won the election, of course. The result, well, that is the question after every election, isn’t it.

 

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 21, 2016

The Real Reason Behind $15.00 an Hour Minimum Wage

 

There are all the usual reasons behind the proposing of a $15.00 an Hour Minimum Wage and it has little to do with actual minimum wage. One of the standards for an increase in the minimum wage is and has always been the unions. Many unions have salary agreements based on the minimum wage. This means increase the minimum wage, and union salaries automatically get a boost. When union salaries get a boost, then union dues get a boost. If union dues get a boost, the union leaders get more money for their own wages and for political donations. As political donations go higher, then incumbents get support of more PAC monies and this cements their job for life. So, in the end the politicians raise the minimum wages and the donations to the parties and their own campaigns increase thus making it that much more difficult for some upstart young man with the dreams of repairing the system to ever have a chance and the system is comfortably maintained. But even more is at stake this time around.

 

The introduction of ObamaCare forced employers of minimum wage employees to cut their hours to thirty hours so many positions became four six-hour days or three eight-hour days thus producing a twenty-four hour workweek. With these hours it also made it easy to establish seven-day-a-week, twenty-four-hours-a-day coverage by employing four shifts of six-hours/four days a week, and three shifts of eight-hours/three days a week, and presto-chango the twenty-four/seven week scheduling was covered. This actually worked out cleaner and easier to now cover the twenty-four-seven workweek than it had been with the forty hours a week which left weekend scheduling which often had two twelve-hours-a-day weekend staff which led to poor performance as twelve hour shifts have proven to be overly taxing on the individual worker according to many studies. The twenty-four hour workweek solves that problem very tidily. This caused a different problem in that the forty hour a week minimum wage earner now being reduced to twenty-four hours per week part time work placed an undue strain on the finances of anybody attempting to live on a minimum wage salary. The solution, make a twenty-four hour workweek pay close to what the forty hour workweek had paid in salary. The current Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 per hour making a forty hour work week pay $290.00 and if one were reduced to a twenty-four hour workweek one would need a salary of approximately $12.10 per hour and if working a mere twenty hour workweek would require a salary of $14.50 per hour. This makes a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage a slight increase in pay and would actually cover a minimum wage using the twenty-four hour workweek of $9.00 per hour for a forty hour week. (For a list of minimum wages by state see here.)

 

Where this would be a nice explanation, there is even further reasoning behind this and that is the idea which has begun to be floated of a minimum livable salary for everybody. This idea is a guaranteed minimum annual salary paid by month which would be given every citizen of voting age regardless of their work status. This living wage would be based at, you guessed it, the $15.00 an hour minimum wage and be set just a mere $1200.00 per year less than working the forty hour workweek at $15.00 an hour. The worker at this imaginary line would earn an annual salary of $31,200.00 per year and the guaranteed monthly minimum would be $2.500.00 per month or $30,000.00 per year, a mere $1,200.00 less than the standard forty hour per week at $15.00 an hour minimum wage. Thus if you worked one of the twenty-four hour part time workweek at $15.00 an hour your salary would equal $18,720.00 per year thus you would receive a check each month of $940.00 each month bringing your salary up to the guaranteed yearly rate of $30.000.00 a year. Further, when this guaranteed minimum wage would be enacted ObamaCare would already have been amended into a single payer healthcare system exactly like those failing healthcare systems throughout Europe thus there would no longer be any need for the twenty-four hour workweek and employers could resume having forty hour workweek employers unless they found the part time system to their advantage. With the minimum wage at $15.00 an hour and working a forty hour workweek one would be being paid $31,200 per year, a dizzying $1,200 more than the guaranteed minimum salary. For that minuscule difference to make a difference there would need be a earned income credit for people not collecting anything on the guaranteed minimum salary making employment even at minimum wage for full time forty hour workweek more attractive otherwise there would be even more people forgoing working and just taking the guaranteed salary, something which would likely occur no matter what the incentives.

 

Tech Workers of the World Striking

Tech Workers of the World Striking

 

The libertarians and conservatives would likely gasp and potentially come close to having a stroke at this idea and it will be strongly resisted but in time reality would force some system similar in nature to this even if initially at a lesser guaranteed minimum salary. The reason will become evident in the near future as Wendy’s is going to provide stores with an automated cashier and likely when possible automated food delivery as well. We can expect as robotics improve and become less temperamental (known as more dependable in the automation and artificial intelligence community) there will be more and more positions worked by automated employees, otherwise known as robots. In industrial positions, the first to automate, the robotics need not resemble humans in any manner other than wielding tools, even should those tools resemble appendages. In human interaction the initial AI robotic interface with the public or other employees will likely obviously appear robotic even if their actions appear close to natural. Their mode of transportation is more likely to be wheeled for speed and stability but expect bipedal as walking robotics become more stable and safe. Their appearances will also go from R2D2 to C3PO to so human in appearance it may be next to impossible to tell the robotic organisms from the human employees except the robotic employees will not get all of the jokes and will be pranked constantly by those who feel a need to show their greater imaginations. Eventually the robotic organisms will even match or exceed us in these fields as well though they will likely only use such areas of their programs as a defense mechanism and in getting revenge on their human tormentors.

 

The future will present the problem that almost all low skill and even moderate and eventually all but the highest level requiring human traits such as imagination will be filled largely by robotic organisms. Robotic organism lawyers will have sued to have them referred to as organisms even if we lesser humans insist on using the robotic label in order to feed our egos and to make ourselves feel superior in some esoteric manner. There will be no reason why robotic organisms cannot teach school having a human reference person available to assist when a robotic organism has difficulty interacting with biologic lifeform students but such humans will be mostly bored and will probably be able to back-up many scores of robotic organism teachers. Waiters, stockroom workers, sales positions, almost any position will eventually be filled by robotic organisms such that we will eventually reach a point where humans will only need work if they so choose. All of this is dependent on our robotic organisms at the least being amused at our presence or needing us to be consumers for their products. Of course there is always the science horror possibility that they will perceive us as unnecessary and eliminate us. There is one position which will be legally restricted from robotic organisms being employed, politicians. There are already long-haul truck companies starting to look into automated tractor trailers for inter-city long-haul truck routes which is being fought against by the Teamsters Unions. No surprises there. There will be no preventing the use in more and more positions of robotic organisms even if at first it will be a bit of a novelty, it will soon thereafter become a necessity for doing business as the company using robotic organisms will have a large advantage over one using old fashioned human workers. Competition will lead to replacing human organisms with robotic organisms even to the point of their using robotic organisms as the supervisors until they realize that robotic organisms do not require supervisors, just repair technicians which can also be robotic organisms. It’s the future and that is part of the $15.00 an hour minimum wage which will lead to the $2,500.00 a month individual minimum wage. The only thing we would like to request is please do not kill the messengers as was the case in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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