Monday Morning Thoughts: Labor Day and the Flagging Minimum Wage Campaign

raise-the-wage.councilThis past week, the task force appointed by Sacramento’s Mayor Kevin Johnson made the recommendation that the minimum wage be raised to $12.50 an hour by 2020.   This is significantly lower than minimum wage increases in Los Angeles and San Francisco that will be phased in over five years to take them to $15 an hour – the goal of many activists.

Adding to the controversy is an exemption for “total compensation,” which would allow employers to pay a lower hourly wage if their employee’s total pay is at least $15 an hour. Naturally, that exemption allows restaurants, and other businesses that have employees who earn tips, to pay less.

While restaurant owners spoke favorably of the exemption, unions and groups representing low-income families said it would take advantage of some low-wage earners. Labor groups questioned the legality of the exemption, arguing that no other California city has enacted a total compensation clause in their minimum wage increases.

The mayor was quick to praise the proposal as “a balanced plan,” arguing that “no one received everything they wanted.” However, low-income workers and unions members stormed out of the council chambers yelling “shame” and demanding $15 an hour.

Labor groups believe they have the support of the voters at 58 percent for a $15 an hour minimum wage raised over a three-year period, with support of $13.50 an hour at 70 percent, according to a poll commissioned by those labor groups.

Minimum wage increases have been a somewhat mixed bag. San Francisco increased their minimum wage to $15 in 2018 while LA’s will hit $15 in 2020. The UC system will raise its to $15 by 2017. But other cities have lower increases. Oakland will raise its rate to $12.25 with annual cost of living adjustments, and San Diego will raise its to $11.50 by 2017.

As we have reported in the past, local leaders have been pushing for a $15 an hour minimum wage in Sacramento and Davis. The question now is whether they will go to ballot box.

The Sacramento task force decision comes a week after lawmakers declined to take up a bill that would have raised California’s minimum wage statewide to $13 and tie future increases to inflation. That marks the second straight year that the Democratic-led state legislature has declined to pass a stronger minimum wage hike.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee did not take up SB3 by Sen. Mark Leno. Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez, who chairs the committee, indicating that they will look at a range of options, including setting regional minimum wages.

Senator Leno’s bill seeks to raise the minimum wage to $11 in 2016 and $13 in 2017, then tie it to inflation starting in 2019.

“Any further study or delay of such an increase undermines working Californians who deserve to be paid a living wage. It should not be legal to pay sub-poverty wages in our state, and we must act soon to lift our communities out of poverty and to boost our economy,” Senator Mark Leno said in a statement. “Our intent is to pass our amended version of the bill to the governor’s desk in January.”

In the meantime, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins indicated that California’s minimum wage should go higher. However, she is not sold on the Assembly Bill, stating instead, “We need a path to $15 and beyond.” She is looking towards the Legislative Analyst’s Office to help develop options for increasing the minimum wage.

Despite the setbacks regionally and statewide, the issue of minimum wage and income inequality appears to have legs.

Recently a number of UNITE HERE representatives lobbied the Davis City Council on the issue of wages for hotel workers at a proposed Embassy Suites site.

As Francisco Garcia put it, “I’ve seen the difference between non-union jobs with minimum wage and the good union job I have today.”

He explained, “All we’re asking for is workers at this future Embassy Suite have the right to choose. We just want the owner to agree to not run a campaign of intimidation against them and to respect the majority choice of whether to have a union or not.” He said he was not asking the council to vote yes or no on the project, just to think about the employees to ensure they have labor peace.

While the council could not tie an approval of land use considerations to wages, the council made it clear that they were supportive of labor agreements.

Mayor Dan Wolk stated, “I found what has been said very compelling.” He continued, “The issue of poverty and income inequality are major issues, not just in our state and region, but locally.”

Mayor Wolk made it clear that “all the folks are asking for is the card-check neutrality, the ability to organize. We cannot condition this project tonight on requiring the applicant (to negotiate), but we can send a strong signal.”

“It seems very reasonable to me,” he said. “I’m very supportive of the project but I am very cognizant of the concerns that are being brought up about what the workers are going to earn. These are some of the lowest paid jobs in our society – and we as a council need to be cognizant of that.”

In the meantime, activists continue to push for a local ordinance on minimum wage – and, while they had a setback last year, the momentum continues to grow. In June, a number of speakers pushed for the city to follow the leads of Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and implement a gradually rising minimum wage to reach $15/hour.

The speakers argued that increases in the minimum wage paid in Davis would bring many working poor out of poverty, in addition to stimulating the local economy.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Frankly

    The speakers argued that increases in the minimum wage paid in Davis would bring many working poor out of poverty, in addition to stimulating the local economy.

    The only thing it stimulates is the short-term greed of the selfish and ignorant.

    It causes price increases and fewer jobs.

    Low income people already received a huge total compensation increase at taxpayers expense in Obamacare.

    Don’t like what your job pays, then go back to the country you came from or learn to speak English well and go to school to learn something that you can do that pays better.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      It is interesting (and sad) that the Democratic Party has abandoned the working class in exchange for Latino votes. Two new national voices are supporting the working class.

      Our UCD professor Dr. Norman Matloff has taken up the H1B Visa item as a special interest, notes that Presidential candidate Donald Trump has turned up as a staunch support of the American working man which includes his call for closing the border.

      I saw yesterday were a surprising poll says that 25% of African Americans support Trump, and my guess is that this emphasis of his has stuck a chord with them.

      Socialist Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders has also come out against “open borders” as he knows it substantially lowers wages and job opportunities for American workers!

      This discussion of a $15 an hour minimum wage is a red herring.


  2. Anon

    The speakers argued that increases in the minimum wage paid in Davis would bring many working poor out of poverty, in addition to stimulating the local economy.

    Okay, let’s think about this.  Most small businesses, like restaurants, operate on thin profit margins (about 5%).  If the minimum wage is raised, the restaurant owners are either going to cut staff and/or their benefits and/or raise prices so consumers have to pay more for goods and services, add a service charge in place of tips to the bill, etc.  In the ultimate analysis, have workers or consumers really benefitted?


    1. Miwok

      Since these are business and tourist “destinations”, many people who visit simply absorb the cost increases. For the rest of us, we will find other places to go, that do not try to gouge us. That, or not stay in the overpriced rooms. Those small towns sometimes charge 15% or more just for the “room tax”. Restaurants will also suffer.

    2. Topcat

      Okay, let’s think about this.  Most small businesses, like restaurants, operate on thin profit margins (about 5%).  If the minimum wage is raised, the restaurant owners are either going to cut staff and/or their benefits and/or raise prices so consumers have to pay more for goods and services, add a service charge in place of tips to the bill, etc.  In the ultimate analysis, have workers or consumers really benefitted?

      It isn’t just businesses that rely on low wage workers.  There are many non-profits and social service organizations that hire low skilled workers.  These include such organizations as homeless shelters, thrift shops, child care services, and elder care services. A drastic raise in the minimum wage will force these cutbacks, layoffs, and maybe even complete closure of some of these organizations.  Is that really what we as a society want?

  3. Alan Pryor

    Sounds like Frankly is a Donald Trump (or Ted Cruz) wannabe right here in out own little city. He is certainly using their same old tired lies of the priviledged class.

    But let me paraphrase his rantings about low wage workers from an educated economists perspective:

    The only bad thing that higher wages stimulates is the angst of selfish and ignorantly rich employers .

    It causes economic stimulation and more jobs.

    Low wage employers already receive a huge total payroll subsidy at taxpayers expense in Obamacare and food stamps provided to their workers who are not paid a living wage.

    Don’t like that you have to pay a fair wage, then go back to the country you or your ancestors came from where they continue to allow exploitation of workers.”

    1. Miwok

      Reading Press Releases about how much a Chancellor or Doctor gets as a bonus or a raise is really debilitating to the rest of the people around them, even when they put out a similar Press release saying there is “no money” from the State to pay the rest. Then they put out another Press release saying how much giving is up, research funds are up, etc..

      When the Press releases start contradicting each other you start to get a clue. Every so often internal memos leak and they are more of the same.

  4. Miwok

    $15 an hour seems like a raise until you try to buy something with it. This will take the workers out of the heavily subsidized ACA out of the $1 a month rates some of them have (you still have to have $6-10K in the bank), to maybe paying several hundred dollars a month, chewing up any “raise” they achieved.

    All the programs they qualify for at the lower wage they will now have to pay for, no one is talking about that. And the Press Release will crow about the people “they lifted out of poverty”.

    There goes the car and house they want to think they can buy with all this extra money. It is revenue neutral, and designed to be that way.

    1. Miwok

      After checking CoveredCA, a family of four at $15 an hour is    still “may be eligible for MediCal”. I do know for a single person like myself, I am not eligible for much of a subsidy for anything.

    2. hpierce

      @ $15/hour, assuming 2,000 hrs/year, that’s $30k.  Used car, maybe.  Owning a house in CA… probably not.  Renting a SF house, marginal.  Owning a house is not “baseline”.  Having a safe place to live is baseline.  Apartments can meet the baseline.

      Miwok makes a good point, echoed elsewhere.  “Total comp”.  Includes salary, HC, tips (which may or not have inc tax paid), and public benefits (medicare, medi-cal, food stamps, etc.).  Miwok has it right as to “tipping points” where you can actually lose, or just break even, if wages increase.  This is NOT IMO a simple matter.

    3. Topcat

      And the Press Release will crow about the people “they lifted out of poverty”.

      And the press release will completely ignore the plight of the most disadvantaged people in society who are priced out of the labor market. It’s amazing that the people who present themselves as being concerned about “lifting people out of poverty” are advocating a policy that will harm people at the lowest end of the socio-economic spectrum.

      1. David Greenwald

        I have poured over a number of studies and I don’t think the research is that clear. It is clear that in the short-term some people will lose jobs. However, over the longer term there are considerable upsides in terms of pay and potential for economic growth. Part of the downside of the economy has been the income gap that has grown and the stable wages at the bottom end over the last several decades.

        1. Topcat

          What I think you’re talking about goes beyond wages.

          Yes, on this we agree. If we want to help lift people out of poverty and help the most disadvantaged people in society, then we need to look at much more than simply raising the minimum wage.

      2. Topcat

        …over the longer term there are considerable upsides in terms of pay and potential for economic growth. Part of the downside of the economy has been the income gap that has grown and the stable wages at the bottom end over the last several decades.

        I think that there are much better alternatives to the poverty and income disparity problems than raising the minimum wage.  Take a look at some of the ideas that are out there including:

        * Increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC

        * A guaranteed basic income program

        * Increase availability of Training Programs

        * Increasing The Child Tax Credit

        1. Topcat

          Close the border. Wages and benefits would automatically rise.

          And what about expediting deportation of the millions of illegals already in the country?  Do you suppose that the “Raise the Wage” folks would get behind that cause 🙂

          1. David Greenwald

            How would you remove millions of people from the economy without drastically destabilizing the country?

        2. Topcat

          How would you remove millions of people from the economy without drastically destabilizing the country?

          I was merely wondering if the “Raise the Wage” folks would support this as a way of increasing wages regardless of how much harm it does, which seems to be their goal.

        3. Topcat

          But you’re assuming that’s the only thing they care about.

          Raising the minimum wage seems to be the only thing that the “Raise the Wage” folks talk about.  Perhaps they could elaborate on what they think that the most disadvantaged people in society who are already not employed should do?

        4. Topcat

          It would be very interesting to see an article from the “Raise the Wage” folks about what they propose to do about the millions of people who do not have jobs.  It would also be interesting to see what they have to say about illegal immigration, which we know depresses wages.  And what about getting their views on raising the EITC?

        5. Topcat

          one of the rules for activists is to focus on their core position.  asking them to divert to address an issue of their concern would be self-defeating.

          Yes, I do understand that the “Raise the Wage” folks have a single focus.  My point is that there are many issues that are closely related to wages.  Our economy has many interdependencies and linkages.  There are a lot of interesting policy issues that do relate to wages.  I would also like to see some more honesty about the negative effects that would result in the policies that are advocated.

        6. Davis Progressive

          there are many issues related to wages.  “I would also like to see some more honesty about the negative effects that would result in the policies that are advocated.” there are both risks and likely negative occurrences, i think most people who support increased minimum wage understand that.  i don’t know that it will be a panacea, but i think it will help more people than it hurts.

        7. Topcat

          ….there are both risks and likely negative occurrences,

          Yes, I think it would be interesting to see more discussion of the risks and negative consequences.  As I said before, I would like to see the “Raise the Wage” folks address other issues that closely relate to wage rates for the lower income folks including the most disadvantaged people in society who are not currently employed.

        8. Davis Progressive

          their answer is probably close to mine.  you help low income people by raising wages on the bottom workers and hope that increased purchase power improves the economy enough to offset initial fears by business who are inclined to lay people off initially.

        9. Topcat

          their answer is probably close to mine.

          Yes, I suspect you are right.  It would be interesting to see what the “Raise the Wage” folks thought about illegal immigration and deportation of illegals.  I suspect that they might have some trouble with this issue because they realize that a big supply of low skilled labor tends to put downward pressure on wages.  On the other hand, some of them probably realize that it’s not politically correct in Davis to be against illegal immigration.

  5. Sam

    Raising the minimum wage hurts poor and elderly, and helps the wealthy. Since I have not seen AARP come out against the issue and labor union leaders have been able to convince low wage workers that it is actually going to help them then I do not see where the holdup is for California to go to a $15 per hour minimum wage.

        1. David Greenwald

          They party is not a monolith. There are people like Don Shor, who are small business owners that are Democrats but are opposed. Get outside of the big cities like SF and LA, and the party is more moderate. Look at Bill Dodd, you think he’s going to support $15? No way. They aren’t the majority but they are enough to block that kind of legislation.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          This is mainly a red herring anyway. (See above comment.) Most of those making the minimum wage are young people or those with few skills.

          Raising the minimum wage has other “unintended consequences”. Some (not all) business owners will hire less people, innovate, take jobs out of the area, or close shop and invest resources in other ventures. Prices will also rise for those making the minimum wage.

          I just thought of another effect of these measures. Take ObamaCare and how part-time work has increased due to its regulations and taxes. An employee who works 15-20 hours a week will take a lot longer to become experienced or even an expert than someone who works 40 hours a week, and they will probably never make overtime wages.

          1. David Greenwald

            It’s not a red herring. The question isn’t minimum wage, it’s those making between minimum wage and $15 an hour. And it’s also those impacted by the increase in minimum wage. That’s a much larger population.

        3. Sam

          Thanks David. I know that not all elected Democrats push for the same legislation, I am just surprised there are enough to block it.

          TBD, is it really unintended if most people know it is going to happen but still push for it?

        4. TrueBlueDevil

          Sam, good question. Davis and the Vanguard are fairly well educated, so many may be aware of these “unintended consequences”. Young people, even if smart, may not have the experience or knowledge to see 100 yards down the road to see these impacts. Some are blinded by ideology. Some are dishonest and paint a rosy picture where there are winners and no losers.

          I will admit that when Bill Clinton and the Democrats proposed a “luxury tax” on luxury cars and boats, I had no big problem with it, didn’t even really think it through. But it’s only going to affect Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey, right, so who cares?

          Boat sales plummeted by over 50 percent, small companies went out of business, and those that work good-paying blue collar jobs on boats and cars – mechanics, painters, etc. – were hammered. Taxes plummeted as well. They quickly lobbied Congress to rescind this tax. Years later I met boat owners who conducted luxury transactions outside the territorial waters of the US to bypass this tax they saw as “punitive”.

        5. Frankly

          TBD – This is one of many clear pieces of evidence of the failures of the left political view and wrongness of Paul Krugman comsuption-side “economics”.

          Here is a key point though.

          Many smart leftists KNOW that their policity demands to increase taxes (that is what the minium wage increase really is) will result in harm.  What they also know is that incremental change will allow for only gradual harm and thus they can use academic rigor combined with the short attention span of most voters to disassociate cause and effect.

          The boat luxury tax was the classic over-reach.  And leftists hate it… not because it was proven wrong (more harm than good), but because it was not implemented in increments over time where academic defense and deflection could be developed.

          I agree with leftists that the economy and society will reset eventually to a new-normal and over time they will forget cause and effect.  But we are missing the long-view… the trajectory…  the spiral… the end game.   If we raise the minimum wage today like we have in the past, we will have to raise it again and again and again.  And they we see that the US economy has produced fewer and fewer jobs per capita.

          Is that the end game we want… fewer people working because we have demands that no jobs can exist paying below a government mandated minimum?

          California expected 200,000 illegal immigrants to come forward to get their governor Brown driver’s license.  The number was closer to 500,000.   There are many noting that this is eveidence that our government is understating the size of the illegal immigrant population by more than half… that it is possible that the US has an ILLEGAL immigrant population half the population of Germany!

          And these are, on average, people that have only an eight-grade education.

          One way to look at the demand for $15 per hour minimum wage is that it is effectively an illegal immigrant tax.  With so many here willing to work cheaply, wages have fallen for existing Americans.

          But the solution of the political left exacerbates the actual problem… more people unable to find a job that pays them well enough to have a reasonable good life.

          So, what are the long-view, “spiral up progress” solutions? They are those that go against the left ideological view.

        6. TrueBlueDevil

          Frankly, I think this is why we are seeing the rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton finally had her false veneer ripped off with the book Clinton Ca$h and the email disaster, and Trump exploited the fact that the liberal government and press purposefully hide the true illegal immigrant numbers. (Washington DC is a largely Democrat run organism.)

          I speak a little bit of Spanish (poorly), search out Mom and Pop taco trucks and taquerias, have eaten at illegal home-based restaurants, and have been to Mexico and other Latin nations a few times.

          But this tidal wave of illegal immigration has killed the white, brown, and black middle and lower classes, a topic the Left is incapable of analyzing, or unwilling to due to their blind ideological ambitions. I also repeatedly question many liberals ability to practice basic math and common sense. The examples are unending. The Baby Boomers were able to sustain these delusions, but the day of reckoning is coming with monumental debts both locally and nationally. It’s a death spiral, and a reason why some techies I know have moved to Australia, Texas, or back to India.

  6. Topcat

    In the meantime, activists continue to push for a local ordinance on minimum wage……
    The speakers argued that increases in the minimum wage paid in Davis would bring many working poor out of poverty, in addition to stimulating the local economy.

    What the proponents of a drastic increase in the minimum wage consistently fail to talk about is what happens to the least skilled people in society who will be priced out of the labor market.  This includes people with mild disabilities, people with criminal records, people who lack basic job skills, people with poor interpersonal skills, and people with poor language skills.

    I suppose that the “Raise the wage” folks just don’t care about the people who will be unemployable at the higher wage rates that they advocate. They just don’t care that these people will be unable to find legal employment.

  7. TrueBlueDevil

    Not only has Seattle lost 1300 restaurant jobs with the modest state increase to $9.47, there are some reports that some customers have lowered their tips as they believe the $15 per hour minimum wage is already in effect.

    Title: Minimum wage effect? January to June job losses for Seattle area restaurants (-1,300) largest since Great Recession

    “In June of last year, the Seattle city council passed a $15 minimum wage law to be phased in over time, with the first increase to $11 an hour taking effect on April 1, 2015. What effect will the eventual 58% increase in labor costs have on small businesses, including area restaurants? It’s too soon to tell for sure, but there is already some evidence that the recent minimum wage hike to $11 an hour, along with the pending increase of an additional $4 an hour by 2017 for some businesses, has started having a negative effect on restaurant jobs in the Seattle area.”

    “The chart below shows that the Emerald City MSA started experiencing a decline in restaurant employment around the first of the year (when the state minimum wage increased to $9.47 per hour, the highest state minimum wage in the country), and the 1,300 job loss between January and June is the largest decline over that period since 2009 during the Great Recession (data here). The loss of 1,000 restaurant jobs in May following the minimum wage increase in April was the largest one month job decline since a 1,300 drop in January 2009, again during the Great Recession. In contrast to the January-June loss  of restaurant jobs in the Seattle area: a) restaurant employment nationally increased by 130,700 jobs (and by 1.2%) during that same period (data here), b) overall employment in the Seattle MSA increased 1.2% and by 21,800 jobs (data here) and c) non-Seattle MSA restaurant employment in Washington state increased 3.2% and by 2,800 jobs (data here)….”

  8. Frankly

    If it is a common belief in the Democratic Party that it will lift low wage workers out of poverty and stimulate the economy then why do they oppose it?

    Democrats are torn between knowing it will cause harm to the most vulnerable and also knowing that raising the minimum wage will increase payroll taxes and income taxes and reduce the government expense for some social benefits… thus increasing funds that Democrats will use to spend on more services to those harmed by their policies… thus causing more dependency that results in reliable Democrat votes.

    Ironically Democrat support the massive flood of poor and uneducated immigrants from Latin America, and Democrats also protect the crappy educaton status quo… and lastly, Democrats are supportive of business-crippling taxes and regulations… all of which lead to an over-supply of low wage workers and an under-supply of jobs… thus driving down wage rates.

    Leftist ideology is always a spiral downword… the difference is only the severity of the slope.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      I think this is one reason why Donald Trump has been shown getting 25% of the black vote in recent polls. Can’t you smell the charges of racism blooming …???

      This is where and why Ronald Reagan nabbed the “Reagan Democrats” voting block – many working class Americans.

      At least we now have Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump revealing the decades-long hypocrisy of the Left / Democrats, most easily highlighted by a wide-open border.

      Technology and other issues haven’t helped… the majority of the call center workers I have spoken to recently reside in the Philippines and Mexico. (For example, cable TV and cell phone provider.) I don’t recall this being the case 10-15 years ago.

      1. Frankly

        Today the US could bring back more manufacturing jobs.  However, it is true that technology is a factor in lower job numbers.  In fact, the technology factor is possibly the MOST important of all the criteria we debate about jobs and wages.

        But technology has a secret… it is expensive to implement and maintain.  The hardware and software is getting cheaper, but not the human resources required to manage it.

        So, small business… you know that part of the economy that accounts for 65% of all job growth/turnover… relies more on human labor rather than technology.  It is only those larger companies that can justify the cost of automation technology from economies of scale.

        But our government tax and regulatory climate is hostile to small business while large companies can afford to hire all the experts and lobyists needed to overcome the business-hostile tax and regulatory climate.

        I just read that China is choking off industrial business to try and force their economy to more innovation and tech. China will fail on the latter because they don’t have the legal infrastructure for protecting intellectual capital, and also the Chicoms don’t provide the level of certainty that foments the type of free creativity that the US benefits from.  But the US has the clear opportunity to bring back more manufacturing jobs.

        However, the political left will not allow it.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          They kill jobs and then want to create programs to help the people who they put on the unemployment line.

          You are correct. With our bountiful energy supplies, we could return some manufacturing jobs to the US, but this conflicts with the religion of Global Warming.

    1. Frankly

      The modern Democrat Party is controlled by the liberal wing.  So, today “Democrats” are the same as “leftists”.

      Old Kennedy Democrats are right-leaning independents in considerating of today’s Democrat Party.

    2. Miwok

      It is always amazing to me that most of the Democratic criticism of the President is he is not far enough Left, and has done little of what he promises, a la Bernie Sanders.

      Pundits say Hillary IS that far Left, but cannot show it until elected. So we play the shell game until someone votes. Honesty used to be a virtue, not any more.

      1. David Greenwald

        I don’t think anyone governs to the more extreme (left for liberals, right for conservatives). You can’t really. First, they have to appeal to their base, especially during the primaries. Second, to govern, you have to be able to get both parties on line. Obama is more conservative as president than candidate. Bush was more liberal as president than candidate. Etc.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Not really. Take California. We are a liberal dominated state that now has massive debts across the board, Governor Brown has had a super majority, and even with our struggling economy and hundreds of billions in debts, he continues to float more tax and spend measures for kooky ideas. Besides, the liberal base has moved more left. He has even sold us a $80 Billion train to nowhere, which will cost multiples more, and he and his party have placed a “bullet train” along the longer, slower, vastly more expensive route!

          Obama is more conservative as president? Can you please give me 3 or 5 examples of this David?

          Obama passed the largest new social program since Social Security (ACA).

          Obama passed a record “stimulus” bill of $900 Billion (which didn’t work).

          Our President has subverted the Constitution on such matters as immigration using “executive orders”.

          Obama has released tens of thousands of criminals from jail.

          President Obama has now done an end-around on the Treaty with Iran, where he simply gives it a new name, and instead of requiring a 2/3 vote to approve it, by his executive fiat it requires a 2/3 vote to defeat it (almost impossible).

          How is any of this “more conservative”? Sounds like a radical too me.

          I don’t think Dr. Ben Carson or Bernie Sanders would look to make $200 Million off of their position when they leave office. I can’t say the same for Obama.

          1. David Greenwald

            “Obama is more conservative as president? Can you please give me 3 or 5 examples of this David?”


            Appointed Wall Street folks as economic advisors rather than more liberal economic advisors
            Went with ACA rather than Universal Health Care
            Extended Patriot Act, Surveillance Programs
            Didn’t close Guantanimo
            continued the suspension of habeas corpus for terror subjects
            went back on a promise to adhere to Geneva convention on detaineees

        2. Frankly

          So, because Obama did not side 100% with hard left demands it proves that he is not liberal in his policies?  Give me a break.

          As a Senator, Obama had one of the MOST liberal voting records of all Senators.

          Obama has done a good job hiding his liberal bent as President through the use of his cabinet and executive orders.  Also, given the magnitude of Obamacare, it should not just be counted as one policy decision.  It, in and of itself, brands Obama as left of center… especially given that he rammed it through without any GOP support and with a majority of American voters polled as disliking the legislation.  Then next on the list are all the new EPA regulations and Obama’s anti-industrialization moves.  No moderate would adopt his extreme position to do more harm to the economy over the justification of man-made global warming.  Last, there is his foreign policy.  Liberal all the way.

          1. David Greenwald

            For one thing you don’t appear to be tracking the string of comments well. It started with a comment that Hilary would run right and govern left. I responded that typically people are forced to govern to the middle of where they ran and then True Blues asked for examples, so I provided them.

            Critics of Obama would pointed out he twice promised to do much more on Global Warming then he did either in his first term or second term. But the main point is that it appears you didn’t follow the conversation track.

          2. Don Shor

            given the magnitude of Obamacare, it should not just be counted as one policy decision. It, in and of itself, brands Obama as left of center…

            Left of center = single-payer. Obamacare was modeled on the relatively centrist market-based approach (e.g. Romneycare), with expansion of Medicaid as a single payer component.
            The Progressive Caucus was very upset that single-payer was taken off the table before negotiations even started.

            Last, there is his foreign policy. Liberal all the way.

            Not really. He’s been relatively interventionist.

          3. David Greenwald

            Not only interventionist, but willing to use force, drones, surveillance – definitely not liberal.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          For the record, Obama has blocked the Keystone pipeline (for Warren Buffett?), dumped billions in subsidies on failed solar projects, and is shutting down coal plants at a record pace. I believe he has also committed us to painful, possibly impossible goals which will all have to happen after her leaves office (typical).

          But then he sends Billions to foreign nations to help them pump oil, and dlys around the US on Air Force One so he can play golf. Hypocrisy?

        4. TrueBlueDevil

          Frankly, don’t forget Obama failed to get any support from the GOP, another reason it is so unpopular.

          He also lied about his Mother’s medical history / battles, lied about the costs of the ACA, and lied about the ability to keep your own doctor. He also lied about doctors doing costly amputations and such. Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals tactics?

          1. David Greenwald

            You keep shifting the point of discussion here. You asked me to name 3-5 examples. Instead of acknowledging that I did, you have moved the goalposts.

        5. Frankly

          Not only interventionist, but willing to use force, drones, surveillance – definitely not liberal.

          The measure of the ideology of a President is primarily though his rhetoric (and in Obama’s case… fomenting class envy, demonizing financial prosperity, and advocating wholesale wealth redistribution), and secondarily through his policy.

          And when Obama says “There is no greater threat to America today than climate change.” he is branding himself as a very good liberal.

          Compare Obama to any past Democrat President and he comes up way left.


          1. Don Shor

            I think your comment says more about your politics than theirs.
            Carter, Clinton, and Obama are very similar with respect to the liberal/conservative spectrum of their times. Obama is certainly not “way left” of those modern Democratic Party presidents. What has happened is that Republicans and conservatives have become much more conservative in the last two decades. You are far, far to the right of the average conservative I interacted with twenty years ago.
            Jimmy Carter was considered conservative by Democratic party standards at the time, when Kennedy challenged him from the left. Now his policies are considered very liberal.
            On health care Obama essentially completed what Clinton tried to start. Obama’s economic policy advisers are basically carbon copies of Clinton’s. Obama is more interventionist than Carter was, much more like Clinton was with respect to Bosnia. What changed with respect to foreign policy, again, is the impact of the conservatives and neo-con’s that began to have impact during the second Reagan and Bush 1 terms, and came into full dominance in the first six years of the Bush 2 administration.
            It isn’t that Obama is more liberal than his predecessors. It’s that you and the people you talk to are much more conservative.

        6. TrueBlueDevil

          Sorry David, I felt that Frankly had more or less covered the bases, so I was trying to be nice and not beat a dead horse.

          You wrote: “Appointed Wall Street folks as economic advisors rather than more liberal economic advisors” – I’m sure he has lots of advisors,like Valerie Jarrett (parents communists), and he’s probably sidling up to the Wall Street folks to get $$upport now, and when he retire$. I hope he doesn’t go the ClintonCa$h way, but I fear he will, which is rather distasteful.

          David: “Went with ACA rather than Universal Health Care” – even a young Obama was on the record that this was just a pit stop on the way to single payer. He could barely pass the ACA, he had to lie for years on multiple issues, and buy off Congressmen and use a back door method to pass the ACA into law. Single payer would never have passed. BTW, if its so great, why won’t Congress enroll in it?

          David: “Extended Patriot Act, Surveillance Programs” – even a broken clock is correct 2x a day.

          David: “Didn’t close Guantanimo” – tricky, nowhere to put the enemy combatants, I’m glad he didn’t. In the grand scope of things, a smaller issue. Adding $7 Trillion in debt, an economy that sputters, and not handling our debt / deficit issues are far more important. He kicked the can down the road like many others, and our children will pay the heavy, heavy price.

          David: “continued the suspension of habeas corpus for terror subjects”
          “went back on a promise to adhere to Geneva convention on detaineees” – maybe there was some short term memory issues due to all of the medicinal usage, or maybe he knows a lot more than we do, so while he sidles up to the Muslim Brotherhood in the White House, at least he is making some minimal effort to keep us safe.

  9. Topcat

    The California minimum wage went from $8.00 to $9.00 on July 1st, 2014.  It is going up again from $9.00 to $10.00 on January 1st, 2016.  That’s a 25% increase in less than 2 years.  That amounts to a pretty hefty increase in a short time.  And yes, before anyone brings it up, I do know that the rate was at $8.00 for 6-1/2 years.

    1. David Greenwald

      I think the tradeoffs are interesting, but not conclusive:

      But increasing the minimum wage may have impacts beyond adding more money to employees’ pockets. A Purdue University study released in July 2015 suggests that paying fast-food restaurant employees $15 an hour could lead to higher prices. Prices at those businesses could increase by an estimated 4.3%, according to the report.

      Earlier studies have indicated that some businesses will cut jobs to pay employees more. In February 2014, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued a report, “The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income,” that explores two scenarios: Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 or to $9.00. The report concludes that there are distinct trade-offs. Under the $10.10 scenario, there would likely be a reduction of about 500,000 workers across the labor market, as businesses shed jobs, but about 16.5 million low-wage workers would see substantial gains in their earnings in an average week. Under the $9.00 scenario, the labor force would see a reduction of 100,000 jobs, but an estimated 7.6 million low-wage workers would see a boost in their weekly earnings. – See more at:

      1. Sam

        It is not going to do any good to raise the minimum wage if prices rise and negate the increase in buying power of those wages. In the past that is what has happened, so it is reasonable to believe that it will happen this time too.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Where did those numbers come from? Hypothetical?

          We also have to calculate the full opportunity costs: the tens of thousands who will lose their jobs, won’t gain skills, and may be become the chronically unemployed.

        2. Sam

          The report looks how prices would change when increasing the cost of labor only in fast food restaurants. The 4.3% increase assumes no increases in other labor. That is an unrealistic assumption.

          At what point in history has an increase in the minimum wage actually increased the buying power of an unskilled worker?

        3. Topcat

          Why not? If the prices rise 4% but the wages rise 50%? It seems like it would do a lot of good.

          It’s not that simple.  A drastic increase in the minimum wage will have a lot of unintended consequences.  There has been a lot of discussion about this, but it seems that it is still not understood.

          Employers will need to adjust to their increased costs. Price increases are one way to do this.  Cutting back worker hours is another.  Laying off workers is another.  Substituting automation for workers is still another.

          There will be some cases where organizations that are operating on tight budgets or thin margins will simply go out of business.  There will also be cases where proposed businesses decide that they can’t operate with the increased costs and so they will simply never start up.

          It is too complicated to go into all the economic analysis here, but all of these have negative consequences for customers or employees.  Anyone who is interested in these effects should take an economics course.

          As I have pointed out before, a drastic increase in the minimum wage hurts the most disadvantaged people in society the most.  People with marginal job skills will simply not be able to find jobs at the new higher mandated rate.  This is the major point that should be discussed any time a discussion about raising the minimum wage comes up.


          1. David Greenwald

            You keep using “drastic” without defining it. All of these plans phase in the increase over time.

        4. Topcat

          You keep using “drastic” without defining it. All of these plans phase in the increase over time.

          Rather than debating semantics, I am more concerned about how we, as a society, can find ways for our most disadvantaged people to become productive citizens.  Many of the people I am concerned about are not currently employed and so an increase in the legal minimum wage does not affect them except that it makes it much more difficult for them to find employment.

          I think that you and I would both like to see a society that provides a good life for our most disadvantaged people.  We just have different visions of how to achieve that.

          1. David Greenwald

            I’m not debating semantics, I’m trying to understand your point with “drastic”

            Your last sentence is probably true. However, I think the calculation is that if you raise wages, it might cost short-term some jobs, but it might be a reasonable trade off if a group of people have a better standard of living and then if that happens, it improves the economy and more people benefit.

          2. Don Shor

            From most sources I have read, the earned income tax credit puts money in the hands of the poor more efficiently and effectively, without the adverse impacts on small businesses and lower-skilled employees.

        5. Topcat

          From most sources I have read, the earned income tax credit puts money in the hands of the poor more efficiently and effectively, without the adverse impacts on small businesses and lower-skilled employees.

          Yes, That’s correct.  Increasing the EITC would be a much more effective way of lifting people out of poverty without the adverse effects of increasing the minimum wage.  It’s too bad that the “Raise the Wage” folks won’t talk about the EITC.

        6. Topcat

          …but it might be a reasonable trade off if a group of people have a better standard of living and then if that happens, it improves the economy and more people benefit.

          Here’s where I have to respectfully disagree.  As I have said before, the most disadvantaged people in society have great difficulty finding work as it is.  Raising the minimum wage does nothing to help them.  In fact, as you have pointed out, it will result in job losses.  It will also result in some organizations cutting back, going out of business, or not starting new business.  Rather than the economy improving, it does the exact opposite.

          If we are truly concerned about lifting people out of poverty, then we need to be looking at ways of creating more jobs and more opportunity.  Many people need more training and mentoring on good work habits and skills. We need more help for people with mild disabilities to find useful things to do. We need programs to help those with criminal records to rejoin the work force. We need programs to help people with substance abuse issues to overcome their problems.

          Let’s start talking about ways to help the most disadvantaged people in society to become productive citizens.  It’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be cheap, but I do think it’s important if we want a prosperous future.

          1. David Greenwald

            What I think you’re talking about goes beyond wages. I think we’re talking education and job training – and I’m fine going there, but I do still think wages are part of the equation.

    2. Topcat

      I think the tradeoffs are interesting….

      Yes, I think the tradeoffs are interesting.  I also understand basic economics and I have some experience with organizations that employ lower skilled employees.  It is pretty clear that many low skilled people have trouble finding and keeping employment.  I’ve seen people with mild disabilities who have had a terrible time finding employment.  I’ve seen people with poor work habits get fired for things like not showing up for work on time and getting into nasty arguments with co-workers or customers.

      I am  concerned about how we, as a society, can get the lowest skilled people into productive work.  This is the discussion that is being ignored by those who keep pounding the table for an increase in the minimum wage.

  10. Frankly

    A great quote I read today related to this debate about a minimum wage hike:

    Liberals opine for a generous civilization without doing the things required to be a prosperous one.  And this primarily is why liberalism fails.

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