Sinfest Forum Index Sinfest
welcome to the fest
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Random News Stories of Note
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 722, 723, 724 ... 784, 785, 786  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Sinfest Forum Index -> General Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Him



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 4171
Location: On edge

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fritterdonut wrote:
Him wrote:
Durr I forgot to include the link that's in the original. Here is the statistical study referred to.


It should be noted however, that that paper is based off a minimum wage increase of 18% ($4.25 to $5.05). The increase that Sawant proposes is a 63% increase ($9.19 to $15).

This of course means that if a business employs 2 minimum wage employees, it will effectively be paying what it would have paid 3 employees (and a bit) to do.

Working a 40 hour work week (full time, 8 hours a day), a minimum wage employee would make $28,800 a year. For perspective, a fresh graduate with a BSc. in Chemistry makes a median salary of $40,000 (Median income for college graduates in all fields: $46,412 a year). That's after 4 years of university and an average student debt of $28,720 in student loans.

Links:
http://cen.acs.org/articles/91/i16/New-Graduate-Salaries.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/10/student-loan-debt-median-income_n_3573683.html
Yeah good point about the student debt and the interest rate taken out on that debt. It's pretty messed up too and effectively acts as a counter-incentive to further education.

Some more numbers: Tuition at public universities has doubled over the past 20 years and increased 71% at com­munity colleges (Demos, 5/3/12). All the while, median household income – about $33,000/year – has not increased in real value since about 1980.

The average college student now graduates with $20,000 in student loan debt (NY Daily News, 5/10/12), and a recent study that tracked 1.8 million borrowers shows a staggering 41% were unable to make pay­ments on time or defaulted. Yet this does not even include pri­vate loans (US News, 3/30/11).

With the current economic crisis causing massive unem­ployment, many are unable to pay back their loans because they can’t find work. Students who graduated after 2009 are three times less likely to find a full-time job than those who graduated in 2006-2008, and 11% of graduates since 2009 are unemployed or not working at all (Huffington Post, 5/10/12).

That was the point you were making right?

As for your example about businesses having to pay two workers the same as they are currently paying three, well you have to look at that in the longer perspective. If you take into account the fact that wages having been stagnant, if you take into account inflation and if you take into account increased commodity prices it paints a slightly different picture. If you like you can also take this into account: As of 2011, Corporate CEO's in America make 340 times what the average worker makes. As a comparison, in 1980, CEO pay was only 42 times more than the average worker.

Call me crazy, but I think if you're working full-time you should be able to, you know, live on that wage. Not be forced to apply for foodstamps etc effectively passing over the cost of the unliveable minimum wage from the corporations to the tax payer. And yeah, like it says in my original link, before you go there, the majority working minimum wage jobs are not teens and I fail to see how working full-time for a wage that can't even cover the basic necessities is ever a "stepping stone" unless you mean it's a stepping stone to poverty.
_________________
A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want? ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
stripeypants



Joined: 24 Feb 2013
Posts: 2786
Location: Land of the Grumpuses

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Increased wages leads to increased spending, so wouldn't most businesses benefit from a rise in the minimum wage?

Also, no sympathy here for small business owners who want to hire people at unlivable wages. None. When it comes to offering health care for employees, I think there should be an assistance program, and perhaps there could be one for wages as well.

Also, since inflation and the price of everything has gone up but we want wages to remain the same, how about this: businesses that pay the bare minimum wages to their workers must honor to all minimum wage earners a discount that makes the price what it would have been before wages stalled. There will have to be some kind of rent discount as well, probably a national stipend.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
mouse



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 16640
Location: under the bed

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mindslicer wrote:
Let's say it only takes two employees to produce a hamburger. A cook to prepare and assemble it, and a cashier to accept payment and provide it to a customer. How many hamburgers would you have to sell in an hour to make $30 to pay them? Note that you have to buy the materials to make the burger, pay utilities, pay a lease on the building, provide health insurance, maybe provide uniforms, have your business insured, and probably some expenses I'm forgetting, so the profit margin on a hamburger is measured in cents, not dollars.

These two employees would also have to train themselves effectively, keep the building clean, receive supplies when delivered, and handle any management issues or you need to find a way to pay more employees.


well, that's pretty much what they do now - at my local fast food places, employees do things like clean the restrooms when the counter isn't busy; it's not like they have a janitorial staff coming in.

according to this, mcdonald's profit margin has been over 19% for the past 3 years that's profit, so it already covers the costs of doing business- rent, supplies, current salaries, etc. now, the question is, what % of that is salaries? if you doubled salaries, salary costs would have to be at least 19% of the cost of the food before they would wipe out all the profit on it, and require an increase in the price of a burger (actually, probably less, since the company is going to be sure it makes a profit one way or another).

so that's the question - what percentage of current total cost is due to low-level employee salaries?
_________________
aka: neverscared!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mindslicer



Joined: 04 Sep 2006
Posts: 1697
Location: North of the People's Republic of Massachusetts

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mouse wrote:
Mindslicer wrote:
Let's say it only takes two employees to produce a hamburger. A cook to prepare and assemble it, and a cashier to accept payment and provide it to a customer. How many hamburgers would you have to sell in an hour to make $30 to pay them? Note that you have to buy the materials to make the burger, pay utilities, pay a lease on the building, provide health insurance, maybe provide uniforms, have your business insured, and probably some expenses I'm forgetting, so the profit margin on a hamburger is measured in cents, not dollars.

These two employees would also have to train themselves effectively, keep the building clean, receive supplies when delivered, and handle any management issues or you need to find a way to pay more employees.


well, that's pretty much what they do now - at my local fast food places, employees do things like clean the restrooms when the counter isn't busy; it's not like they have a janitorial staff coming in.


And how many of those places have only two employees on staff to do all that work?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mouse



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 16640
Location: under the bed

PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i don't actually frequent them enough to keep a good count - you were the one that postulated only two.
_________________
aka: neverscared!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Monkey Mcdermott



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3152

PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The food cost of everything at my restaraunt is 24% at most, more than that and they don't purchase it or sell it , they run labor at 17.5%. It costs them 25cents, or thereabouts per pint of beer they produce there, which is highish for the company because the brewery is crammed in the basement of an old 1900's house. They charge 4.75 a pint.


Their net profits last year were right around 60 million dollars, and they have 1500 employees at 53 locations


Have some numbers for your debate.

Oh and the minimum wage where they operate is 9 dollars an hour give or take 15 cents or so
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Monkey Mcdermott



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3152

PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Incidentally that 17.5% is around half the industry average.

There's a reason the places have a reputation for bad service.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Him



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 4171
Location: On edge

PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh and about that Seattle City Council election:
Late Ballot Trend Continues, Forecast Nail-Biting in November
_________________
A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want? ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dogen



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 10433
Location: Bellingham, WA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, labor is almost always the largest single expense in every industry in which I've worked. Not to say employees don't deserve a living wage - I saw a chart once on the number of hours worked at minimum wage to afford the average rent across time, and how you now need to work something like 77 hours just to pay rent, compared to ~20 in the 1970s. So apparently things used to be different, but I don't know why (and I'm not at home to fetch sources).
_________________
"Worse comes to worst, my people come first, but my tribe lives on every country on earth. I’ll do anything to protect them from hurt, the human race is what I serve." - Baba Brinkman
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Him



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 4171
Location: On edge

PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
Yeah, labor is almost always the largest single expense in every industry in which I've worked. Not to say employees don't deserve a living wage - I saw a chart once on the number of hours worked at minimum wage to afford the average rent across time, and how you now need to work something like 77 hours just to pay rent, compared to ~20 in the 1970s. So apparently things used to be different, but I don't know why (and I'm not at home to fetch sources).

I'd say there are several reasons for this. One of the more obvious would be the relative strength of private sector unions in the 1970's compared to today. This is a pretty damning verdict on the idea of unions as obsolete and the infamous "Trickle Down" theory of neo-classical economists, at least from the point of view of the living standards not just of minimum-wage workers but the majority of the population as a whole.

The argument I'm making here is of course that the idea of benevolent corporations is bunk and that no gains in living standards will be made unless worker's push back in an organized fashion, ie a labour movement. But there are also deeper structural issues at hand, the idea of corporations as wilfully malevolent or greedy (the opposite of benevolent) doesn't quite paint a full picture because it still deals with the issue in an essentially moralist fashion. Corporations having profit as their sole motive is not a moral choice made in boardrooms and by CEOs but an essential function of corporations themselves. This function itself puts corporations at odds with not just their employees, but for instance the interest of voters to be able to freely and in an informed fashion elect a democratic government.

This isn't some far out conspiracy theory, the fact that corporations buy politicians and have a tight grip on media is pretty much an open secret. But they do so, not out of some inherent evil, but out of simple profit interest. Not saying moral outrage isn't justified but it loses sight of the fact that corporations could not do this in any other way. As profit margins decrease corporations are compelled to use any means possible to stop this from happening, from attacking wages and working conditions to deregulating the financial system.

Hold up a minute, did I just say as profit margins decrease? Yes, yes I did. Again the profit motive does not come out of greed, or just out of greed, but because over time corporations are are unable to keep their profits coming in at a maximum. One simple factor here is that as profits increase at the cost of wages eventually the system goes into an over-production crisis. In other words as wages drop consequently people have less money to spend to purchase products. But any Keynesian could have told you that. And the Keynesian solution would just be to attempt to reverse this process by increasing wages and using the state budget to stimulate the economy but this offers no long term solution, because...

the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. Admittedly that is some pretty complex stuff and right at this moment the wikipedia article will have suffice as I don't have time to break it down further, or put it in relation to the Great Depression or the current economic crisis.

Because today my nieces are having a birthday party and I'm leaving in like 15 minutes.

But I do have time for this little thing though, assuming the Keyenisian solution is unable to solve the fundamental problems of the system, why do I still argue in favour of seemingly Keynesian measures like wage increases or public spending?
Because of the political implications. If the fast-food worker's manage to successfully win their demands for union rights and an increase in minimum-wage even without solving the fundamental problem what it does is it proves the strength of workers acting together and that concessions claimed impossible by the economic and political establishment are possible to push through if one puts collective force behind the demand.

This is how every single concession were won and as concessions are won not only does this increase the living conditions for people but also the political confidence and consciousness. Winning concession gives the potential basis for organization of the masses of workers and poor and through that organization, through that unity of action, is ultimately the only way to arrive at a solution to the fundamental problem. In other words the problem that is capitalism.

For instance it was not accident that the Arab Spring happened in 2011, the underlying economic causes are plain to see, looking at the economic situation for worker's and poor preceding the events. If one looks at the demands of for instance the Tunisian revolution, “bread, freedom, national dignity” also turned into the famous "the people want to bring down the regime". The economic crisis turned into a political crisis.
_________________
A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want? ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sojobo



Joined: 12 Jul 2006
Posts: 2431

PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Him,

I agree with you that unions are far from obsolete. I agree with you that "trickle down" was absurd. I agree that policy should never be based on considering corporations benevolent, although I expect there are a few that are. I really like your effort to alter the habit of criticizing the morality of the behaviour of corporations to criticizing the structures that cause the behaviour. I approve of achieving your goals of worker empowerment under the aegis of Keynesian fixes.

But. I don't think your discussion of profits is correct.

1) You seem to treat Marx' argument as having wider scope than it claims for itself. The tendency of profits to fall is in reference to increased capital purchases. You seem to be treating it as saying that corporations struggle against a constant state of decay.

2) You present the reduction in profit rate as some sort of crisis, as though you were talking about total profit, rather than profit rate. It doesn't take a genius like Marx to see that a company making 10% on it's capital has probably exhausted all of the investments it calculates as having a 10% rate of return, and will have to move on to 9% IRR investments if it wants to keep going. I think every rational business decision-maker knows this instinctively, and it isn't really that threatening.
_________________
"To love deeply in one direction makes us more loving in all others."
- Anne-Sophie Swetchine
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Him



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 4171
Location: On edge

PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sojobo wrote:
Him,

I agree with you that unions are far from obsolete. I agree with you that "trickle down" was absurd. I agree that policy should never be based on considering corporations benevolent, although I expect there are a few that are. I really like your effort to alter the habit of criticizing the morality of the behaviour of corporations to criticizing the structures that cause the behaviour. I approve of achieving your goals of worker empowerment under the aegis of Keynesian fixes.

But. I don't think your discussion of profits is correct.

1) You seem to treat Marx' argument as having wider scope than it claims for itself. The tendency of profits to fall is in reference to increased capital purchases. You seem to be treating it as saying that corporations struggle against a constant state of decay.

2) You present the reduction in profit rate as some sort of crisis, as though you were talking about total profit, rather than profit rate. It doesn't take a genius like Marx to see that a company making 10% on it's capital has probably exhausted all of the investments it calculates as having a 10% rate of return, and will have to move on to 9% IRR investments if it wants to keep going. I think every rational business decision-maker knows this instinctively, and it isn't really that threatening.

I am now back home from the birthday party, stuffed with pizza and cake and a bit worn out from hours of playing police and thieves. My nieces, Mathilda and Cornelia, just turned 5 and 3 respectively and they have a seemingly endless energy. Also Mathilda has established a Kafkian Police State, not only was I arrested and detained without hearing any charges but I was shot dead. Multiple times.

Anyway, yes the part on TRPF was easily the most rushed part. And while I feel I have a fair grasp on the economics, I have read Capital and I have studied political economy (including relevant excerpts from Capital III) in an academic fashion as part of a 2 year course. That was 2 years ago so I may be a bit rusty but crucially it was all in Swedish. For the first time in about 10 years I feel myself hitting against the language barrier. So in order to avoid making any mistakes on that basis I'll try to keep this as simple as possible as well as using the wikipedia article as a direct point of reference.

The Wikipedia article lists counteracting factors to the TRPF, two of them are: more intense exploitation of labour (raising the rate of exploitation); reduction of wages below the value of labour power (commonly referred to as the "immiseration thesis").

^That right there was pretty much what I was trying to get at.

In addition I think it is undeniable that TRPF also plays a part in the present economic crisis (and the ones before and after it), while it may be in stagnation and a lull at the moment I highly suspect we are headed for a "double dip" scenario. Or worse.

I believe what we have witnessed in the crisis so far particularly in 2008, while not arguing that the TRPF is the only factor driving the crisis, is a destruction of capital (austerity, bankrupcy, slashing social services, slashing wages, attacking working conditions etc) as a way to counteract the TRPF but that this is only postponing a greater crisis not avoiding it. Another reason I'm a socialist pretty much. The crisis has put so much in the open.
_________________
A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want? ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Feiticeira



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 1774

PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I have taken in to account that even though the girl was 13, the prosecution [says] she looked and behaved a little bit older…. On these facts, the girl was predatory and was egging you on…”

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Him



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 4171
Location: On edge

PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Feiticeira wrote:
"I have taken in to account that even though the girl was 13, the prosecution [says] she looked and behaved a little bit older…. On these facts, the girl was predatory and was egging you on…”


Barrister who called 13-year-old sex abuse victim 'predatory' is barred from similar cases
"Separately, the Office for Judicial Complaints said it would be considering complaints against the judge in the case, who appeared to accept the prosecutor’s comments when sparing the girl’s 41-year-old abuser jail."

What's really sad is that this is more surprising than the comments themselves.
_________________
A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want? ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Darqcyde



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 10089
Location: A false vacuum abiding in ignorance.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A more realistic look at the current state of U.S. labor (well the retail part):

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/worker-wages--wendy-s-vs--wal-mart-vs--costco-155815763.html



All of these are highly profitable, billion-dollar publicly traded companies.
_________________
...if a single leaf holds the eye, it will be as if the remaining leaves were not there.
http://12ozlb.blogspot.com Now in book form: http://amzn.to/14E6OFy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Sinfest Forum Index -> General Discussion All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 722, 723, 724 ... 784, 785, 786  Next
Page 723 of 786

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group