A Thought on Amazon’s Choices

Amazon.com has made its selection (-s, plural as it turns out) for its alternate corporate headquarters: Arlington County, VA’s Crystal City and New York’s Long Island City, with a booby consolation prize—or a scrap bone—tossed to Nashville, TN.

I have a couple of thoughts about this.

San Antonio, in Texas, had misgivings and declined to play Amazon’s game.

“Blindly giving away the farm isn’t our style,” wrote San Antonio officials in an open letter to Mr Bezos.

Others openly groveled and kissed the ground on which Amazon officials walked when those worthies deigned visit.

The Wages of a Minimum Wage Law

Recall Seattle’s 2015-2016 minimum wage law that mandated a rise in minimum wage from $9.47/hr to $12 for small businesses and $13 for large businesses.  The University of Washington early on published a study that demonstrated a drop in hours worked by low-wage workers of some 9% with a resulting decrease in actual income for those low-wage earners—ones least able to afford the cut—of some $74/mo.

New, updated numbers are in, reflecting in particular tracks folks with jobs at the time the mandated minimum wage went up.

The Dangers of Welfare

These are illustrated by a Letter to the Editor in Friday’s Wall Street Journal.  The letter-writer wrote of a pay raise his company gave its employees and a bit of Panic of 2008 history:

Despite high unemployment rates [during the Panic], we still struggled to find well-qualified employees. We were competing against the federal government’s repeatedly extended subsidy for unemployment programs. We interviewed dozens of people who flatly told us they were only interviewing to obtain another log entry to remain qualified for unemployment benefits, and that they didn’t need to work for us when they could get paid almost the same to not work at all—for 52 weeks or more.

College?

I’ve written before about whether college is for everyone.

Some empirical evidence appears in a Wall Street Journal piece about last week’s unemployment number.

Peerfit Inc is growing, adding 80 staffers to its original 20 in just the last year and increasing their wages 5%-10% in the same period.  CEO Ed Buckley has noted the difficulty in finding “good people.”  Then he added this kicker:

When we first started, everyone we were hiring had a four-year college degree.  Now the skill set [of vocational hires] is sometimes even sharper than their counterparts coming out with a four-year college degree.

Ignorant Voters

Recall the erstwhile tax on job creation that the Seattle city government passed a while back, and then repealed.  The tax would have charged businesses making more than $20 million in annual revenue a per employee tax of $275.  Although, in response to business and public outcry, the city repealed the tax a couple months later, the commentary of the tax’s chief supporter is illuminating.  Seattle City Councilwoman Lorena González, the lead proponent of the jobs tax:

Jobs

French President Emmanuel Macron had the effrontery to say to a heretofore unsuccessful job seeker that, were the latter not absolutely set on a job in his chosen career field, the man easily could find work in France.  And the man wouldn’t even have to relocate very far.  The Left is in an uproar over Macron’s arrogance in saying an obvious truth.

The jobseeker, an aspiring gardener, said to Macron at an Elysee Palace open house,

I’m 25 years old, I send resumes and cover letters, they don’t lead to anything[.]

Macron’s terrible advice?

He Didn’t Build That

Our economy had the awe-uninspiring growth rate of 2% per year during ex-President Barack Obama’s (D) time in office.  Now, the Census Bureau has reported that

  • [r]eal median household incomes rose 1.8% to $61,372 between 2016 and 2017
  • the overall poverty rate dropped 0.4 per centage points to 12.3%
  • poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics fell to 21.2% and 18.3%, respectively, the lowest in more than 45 years
  • the share of people earning less than $15,000 declining 0.3 per centage points

Obama didn’t build that.  Those folks also think they’ve reached the point where they’ve made enough money.

Government Diktat

California style.  That state has passed a law.

The law requires a company to appoint one woman to its board of directors by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 a five-member board would need to have two women, while boards with six or more directors would need three. The Legislature, always alert to possible micro-aggressions, defines female as “an individual who self-identifies her gender as a woman, without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”

(One wonders whether the law would be satisfied by a male Board member self-identifying as a woman for the purpose of Board-related activities.  [/snark])

A Minimum Wage

David Neumark, an Economics Professor at the University of California, Irvine, thinks he has an idea on how to implement “fairly” a minimum wage.  Unfortunately, his idea isn’t even good enough to be bad satire. He wants to

provide a tax credit of 50% of the difference between the prior minimum wage and the new minimum wage for each hour of labor employed. It would phase out at wages above the new minimum wage and, as wage inflation erodes, the value of the new minimum wage.

Irony

Her name is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, NY), a candidate for the House of Representatives.  Recall that Ocasio-Cortez is an ardent supporter of minimum wage laws, and as a start wants the minimum to be $15/hr.  New York City already has mandated that minimum wages in the city rise to $15/hr by the end of this year.

She went by her favorite coffee shop, The Coffee Shop in Union Square (which employs 150 folks), over the weekend to shoot the breeze because, she says, she used to work there. Then she discovered the place is closing this fall…because it can’t afford the rising labor costs on top of high rent and high regulation costs.