John Steele Gordon, Commentary:
[Steve Coll] also leaves out the fact that very, very few people earning the minimum wage are the sole breadwinners of a family of four. Most are entry-level employees, often teenagers, with no developed skills. Most people who take a job at the minimum wage are earning above that level within a year, having learned marketable skills.
To be polite, Mr. Coll is being tendentious.
P.S. Meanwhile, as part of its “new focus on inequality,” the New York Times ran a feature on “Life on $7.25 an Hour” and chose to profile someone whose lifestyle includes three cars and a NYC residence bought for more than $500,000. [SmarterTimes] And the Washington Post awards President Obama two Pinocchios for his comments on what economists think.
Following the example of California voters, Evergreen State voters were turning down the measure by a 45-55 margin at latest count [KING]. Less happily, the town of SeaTac south of Seattle will now experiment with a $15 minimum wage [same], and those in New Jersey are inscribing an indexed minimum wage into their state constitution. [Star-Ledger] Voters in Westchester County, N.Y. chose to retain County Executive Rob Astorino, whose battles with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have been chronicled in this space. [White Plains Patch]
More: Quirky soapmaker Dr. Bronner used its own product labels to crusade for the unsuccessful GMO bill. Thank you, Citizens United, for protecting its freedom to do so! [Caleb Brown]
Caleb Brown interviews me for a Cato podcast on the Administration’s new home-companion overtime rules, which could drive many elderly and disabled persons into nursing homes. Earlier here and here.
Had you heard that disabled-rights activists have staged demonstrations in Washington, D.C. to protest a new Obama administration initiative? Not only that, but the disabled-rights activists are right.
At issue is an awful scheme by the Obama Labor Department, newly headed by Secretary Thomas Perez, to abolish most of the “companionship exemption” to federal wage and hour laws, which has up to now reasonably recognized that serving as a live-in or semi-live-in paid attendant to a sick, elderly or disabled person is not really the same sort of thing as working twelve-hour days on a factory assembly line. I’ve got a new post at Cato at Liberty looking at some of the consequences we can expect from making it far more expensive to provide a kind of round-the-clock care that often keeps people out of nursing homes. More: Bloomberg.
Some background on the controversy, beyond the links in the Cato post: National Council on Disability (a federal disability-advocacy agency that was not entirely prepared to toe the line in favor of the new regs); Stephen Miller, Society for Human Resource Management; Kaiser Health News; Disability Law (“disability rights groups… fear that substantially raising the cost of personal assistance services without increasing Medicaid reimbursements will force people with disabilities into nursing homes”); PHI and Direct Care Alliance (promoting regs); National Association for Home Care and Hospice and more (commercial group opposed); ADAPT (disability rights group opposed).
More reactions: Bill McMorris/Free Beacon, Jon Hyman, Trey Kovacs/Workplace Choice.
…you need to read Megan McArdle’s column (via David Henderson). And Ira Stoll points out that some workers you see at Costco might be getting lower wages than you think.
“Paying to Learn Nothing = Legal; Paying Nothing to Learn = Illegal” [Andrew Coulson, Cato, contrasting internship ruling with the general lack of a legal or political remedy against educational institutions should you "go into serious debt [but] learn nothing of value”; more on the absence of “educational malpractice” relief; earlier here, etc.]
Gee, thanks, lawsuit-filers: “Internships can be the key to the start of a successful career, but the positions are getting harder to find because a lot of employers are now nervous to offer them.” [KHOU] A New York attorney has filed a much-publicized series of suits seeking class action status to represent unpaid interns at organizations including Harper’s Bazaar magazine and the Charlie Rose show. [Atlantic Wire]
Relatedly or otherwise, a federal judge has dismissed the class action filed by social activist Jonathan Tasini alleging that the Huffington Post was violating the rights of its unpaid bloggers by basing a profitable media platform on their work. [Reuters, AP]
Deputy Headmistress has some thoughts.
A few odds and ends:
- The University of North Carolina system is debating whether students’ rights to free speech, in a public forum explicitly reserved for free speech, include “hate speech”. To my shame as a UNC alum, I link to a Duke professor who gets it right;
- Ted Frank is a modest man. He hasn’t pointed you to this (non-pdf, easy to read) article on his role as an objector to the sham Grand Theft Auto class action settlement (the article was linked here some time ago, but it was in inconvenient format – readers interested in games, class actions, or lawyerly self-dealing should review it);
- Will Barack Obama seek to relax or repeal federal marijuana laws? Esquire thinks so. I think he lacks the guts. We’ll see who’s right. (Via Crime and Federalism);
- Bathroom sex, cops, wrestling, and catfighting lawyers! Note that not all lawyers who brawl are sexy;
- 20% of Americans think Dick Cheney is the worst Vice President in history. Ergo, at least 20% of Americans have never heard of dueling assassin Aaron Burr;
- Upstate New York Judge orders “living wage” of $13.11 per hour (!) for parking attendants. Unintended consequences ensue;
- Stray thought: if you haven’t seen When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions, you should. It was the best documentary I watched this year.
While I’ll be blogging tomorrow, I suspect that many of you won’t be reading. Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Ecstatic Eid, Joyous Kwanzaa, a very late Merry Diwali for Hindu readers, and for the secular among us, Happy Holidays.