UBI revisited

As unemployment continues to break records every month I along with many, sometimes surprising, others contemplate the possibility of Universal Basic Income. Universal basic income, is the idea that the government guarantee a transfer payment (often suggested of $1000) to all citizens of a country with no preconditions. The idea has always had a strange following of small government types, leftwing progressives, and social conservatives that rarely come together around an idea. Small government types like the idea of replacement for the government bureaucracy of transfer payments. Social conservatives like it, as a way to replace welfare with a more universal system Continue reading UBI revisited

Honey, The Market Shrunk Our House: The Journey of Micro-Apartments in Seattle

While visiting my boyfriend a few weeks ago at Seattle University, a shocking facet of the city’s housing crunch was brought to my attention. As we walked through Capitol Hill’s bustling streets, looking for a place to eat dinner, he pointed out a building just a few blocks from his school, where he had heard the studio apartments were built with no wall separating the toilet and shower from the main room. How horrible, I thought. The demand for affordable housing has left Seattle’s low-income residents living in prison cells. Some investigation into this issue has shown that Seattle is Continue reading Honey, The Market Shrunk Our House: The Journey of Micro-Apartments in Seattle

Some Miss Out on Minimum Wage

Many states have been following the push to increase the minimum wage, with the hope of increasing the standard of living, and make the minimum wage a “living wage.” Yet many workers are still missing out on wage hikes because they work for tips. Many state minimum wage laws provide some sort of exemption from workers who receive tips. There is a minimum wage, and a “tipping minimum wage,” where the minimum wage for employees whose income partially comes from tips is typically lower than the minimum wage for employees who don’t get tips. In fact, only seven states mandate Continue reading Some Miss Out on Minimum Wage

The Minimum Wage Movement

New developments in the debate of minimum wage increase have revealed themselves and this time it’s the whole state of California to become apart of this movement. I have discussed in one of my previous posts about the predicted advantages and disadvantages of hiking up the minimum wage. As I previously reported, San Francisco and Los Angeles were among the cities to be outlining plans to drastically increase the minimum wage over the next few years. San Francisco was one of the cities to pioneer the way for minimum wage increase as citizens voted in Proposition J in 2014 which Continue reading The Minimum Wage Movement

Priorities and Minimum Wage Increase

Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have all made steps to increase minimum wage. Now Tacoma seems be following suit as well and the community is in a buzz. On October 8th, I joined fellow Sound Economics writer Jesse Kreutzer and University of Puget Sound professor Andrew Monaco on a trip to Pacific Lutheran University for a public debate about the recent addition to the 2015 November ballot in Tacoma. The debate contained both sides of the argument, #PLU15NOW and #PLUNO15. The side in favor was research analyst, Vince Kueter and PLU senior debater Angie Tinker. Both were speaking in Continue reading Priorities and Minimum Wage Increase

Abolish the minimum wage? A debate.

Quick share on Monday am, on our semester theme of the minimum wage: Here’s a link to a public debate on the minimum wage hosted a couple of years ago by NPR’s Intelligence^2 Debates. The audio recording of the 50-minute Oxford-style debate addresses the motion “Abolish the minimum wage.” and a winner is determined by polling audience members before and after the debate. James Dorn (Cato Institute) and Russ Roberts (Hoover Institution at Stanford University) argue in favor of the motion, while Jared Bernstein (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) and Karen Kornbluh (former U.S. ambassador to the OECD) side Continue reading Abolish the minimum wage? A debate.

Should Tacoma increase its minimum wage to $15/hour? A live debate!

On October 8th at 7pm, colleagues at Pacific Lutheran University will hold their latest installment of the Ruth Anderson Public Debate, where two teams (one expert and one student debater each) will engage in a debate on the subject of increasing the minimum wage in Tacoma to $15 an hour. Sound Economics will be there covering the debate live, and we encourage those economically-minded readers to attend if you can! If you cannot attend, follow the debate on Twitter; a small handful of questions for the debaters will be selected from Twitter submissions. In the weeks leading up to the debate, Continue reading Should Tacoma increase its minimum wage to $15/hour? A live debate!

Inequality matters… but so do the details.

A lot of public attention has been paid recently to economic inequality, from the Occupy Movement’s “We are the 99%” to more recent debates over hiking the minimum wage. Sometimes lost in this discussion are important questions such as which inequalities matter most and how they vary throughout an individual’s lifetime. Sociologist Mark Rank and a co-author looked beyond the static distribution of income into the mobility of individuals throughout their lives within the income distribution. Their results suggest that income distribution is more complex than the oversimplified picture of “one-percenters,” as if they were a relatively fixed collection of Continue reading Inequality matters… but so do the details.

Fast Food Wages Part II

This post is a follow up to Tom’s contribution on November 5th about “Why Fast Food Wages Really Matter,” where he pointed out that “over 50% of fast food workers are enrolled in at least one public assistance program.” A few months ago, McDonald’s—the prototypical fast food industry player—posted some advice to employees on their website: “If you’re hungry, break your food into pieces. You’ll eat less and still feel full.” In the same vein, McDonald’s has also encouraged employees to consider food stamps to supplement their pay. These observations raise Tom’s question all over again: “Is that really worth Continue reading Fast Food Wages Part II

More Evidence on the Effects of Raising the Minimum Wage

Following up on Collin’s article “$15 Minimum Wage.. It’s Happening Now”, the CBO has recently released it’s report on the economic impact of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. A New York Times Economix Blog article pulls a few nuggets from the report: -An estimated 16.5 million low-wage workers will see their wages increase as a result of the minimum wage increase. -900,000 people who are currently impoverished will move above the poverty threshold. -Raising the minimum wage will reduce low-wage employment by roughly 500,000. The article even questions the employment loss estimates as being too high, noting that the most precise Continue reading More Evidence on the Effects of Raising the Minimum Wage