Saturday, March 01, 2014

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- The New York Times editorial board points out that a higher minimum wage can produce clear economic benefits for businesses as well as for workers:
One 2013 study by three economists — Arindrajit Dube, T. William Lester and Michael Reich — compared the experiences of businesses in neighboring counties in different states and found less turnover in states that had raised the minimum wage. Workers were less likely to leave on their own, and managers were more likely to keep the workers they had on staff to avoid the cost of recruiting and training replacements.

Other studies on the effect of local minimum wage increases in places like San Francisco and Los Angeles have found similar results, according to a recent overview published by the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.
There is another way in which a higher minimum wage helps businesses: by increasing consumer spending. When poor families earn more, they spend more. A group of more than 600 economists, including seven Nobel laureates, recently told President Obama and congressional leaders that an increase in the minimum wage would stimulate today’s weak economy. Even Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, has previously called on policy makers to increase the federal minimum wage. A spokesman for the company recently told Bloomberg News that it was “looking at” supporting the current Democratic proposal.

The argument that a higher minimum wage would hurt business is old and tired. There is clear and compelling evidence that the economy and companies enjoy real benefits when workers are paid more.
- And Tim Stacey suggests that in light of the connections between poor wages, insecure work and poor health as obstacles to future opportunities, governments should be looking for ways to foster jobs which offer some prospect of security - rather than pointing to temporary and precarious jobs as a sign of success.

- Don Cayo reminds us why the Cons seemed to have it right in temporarily nixing income splitting - making Stephen Harper's more recent declaration that he's fully committed to channeling wealth upward all the more inexplicable. And Kevin Milligan notes there's less than meets the eye in Statistics Canada's latest wealth survey, while Andrew Jackson recognizes that younger workers are facing a nasty combination of high debts, high entry barriers to homeownership and low asset levels.

- Carol Goar comments on the false economy the Cons are trying to claim by cutting health services to refugees.

- Finally, Susan Delacourt writes about the systemic damage done to Canada's democracy by the Cons' well-established pattern of using public office solely for their own ends:
The cumulative, long-term effects are emerging though. The ever-growing list of “enemies’ of the government — Liberals, New Democrats, public-service watchdogs, journalists, environmentalists, election officials, charities — expect to find themselves on Harper’s bad side.

But this newest poll shows that a large number of non-political citizens, armed only with their voting rights, may expect to find themselves on the wrong side too.

Our democratic life can go on, whether or not the public likes, respects or even pays attention to the people in power.

But when two-thirds of the public expresses doubts about the fairness of future elections, that’s a problem — not just for Conservatives, but to the institution of government altogether.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:08 p.m.

    No benefits from cutting minimum wage in Greece:

    excerpt: What about employment? Any good news there? Did the huge reduction in minimum wages perform its magic, causing employers to take on a few more workers instead of investing in machinery? Is labour-capital substitution favouring labour over capital goods given the latter’s ‘cheapening’? As the following figure demonstrates, employment is continuing its downward slide, confirming that wage cuts in the midst of a multi-dimensional, cruel recession is bound to fail to instill the ‘confidence fairy’ in employers’ hearts and minds. The lower the minimum wages the more pessimistic Greek employers became that they can find paying customers for the wares that freshly hired employees might produce.

    Sam Gunsch