Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Minimum Wage

New Jersey Governor Ignores Pension Crisis, Wants More Spending

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, January 17, 2018: 

English: Teachers at New College Nottingham pr...

Teachers protesting over proposwed cuts to government pension plans.

While running for governor of New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy was asked what he would do about the state’s overwhelming pension crisis, and he waffled: there’s “no easy answer,” he said. He added that the state would have to do something about the problem. Said Murphy, “The state has to stand up for its side of the bargain. Period. If the state doesn’t, there’s no use in having [any further] discussion.”

Murphy was inaugurated as the New Jersey’s 56th governor on Tuesday and promptly forgot all about the pension tsunami about to engulf the state. Instead he offered both a “wish list” and a “to-do list” for his supporters and Democratic legislators in attendance. His “wish list” contained the usual collection of liberal promises, while his “to-do” list is what he wants the state legislature to bring to his desk within the next 30 days.

His “wish list” was a rehash of his campaign promises — long on generalities but short on specifics — including legalizing marijuana, protecting illegal immigrants from ICE, providing free tuition at the state’s community colleges, eliminating “tax breaks” that large corporations are allegedly unfairly enjoying, investing state funds in more costly “green energy” projects, and paying for it all by raising taxes on those few millionaires still residing in one of the country’s highest-tax states.

He was much more specific with his “to-do” list. He ordered the state’s liberal and heavily Democratic legislators to get off the snide and send him six bills within the next 30 days, each of which, said Murphy, “will be met with a signing ceremony.” Their marching orders from Murphy included new funding for “women’s health” and Planned Parenthood, raising the minimum wage in the state to $15 an hour, mandating “equal pay” for women, requiring employers in the state to provide paid sick leave to their employees, passing laws removing barriers to having illegals vote, and, of course, additional attacks on the state’s more than three million law-abiding gun owners.

He mentioned not a word about the state’s pension crisis, which has been brewing for years and accelerating nearly exponentially. It’s not that Murphy doesn’t know about the crisis or its extent and potential for bankrupting the state. In 2005, acting New Jersey Governor Richard Codey convened a commission to study “the problem,” naming Phil Murphy as its head. In its conclusion, that study urged the state in no uncertain terms to end immediately all “pension holidays” (the skipping of payments to the state’s five pension plans for a period of time), to avoid actuarial “gimmicks” commonly used to make those liabilities appear to be smaller than they actually are, and to eliminate borrowing to pay the state’s contributions. It also recommended a series of reforms, including an end to pension “spiking” (by which employees can sweeten their final payouts as they approach retirement), and raising the age at which plan beneficiaries could retire with full benefits. That last recommendation, which was never implemented, would have raised the full-benefit retirement age from 55 to 60.

So Murphy cannot claim ignorance. He is also certain to know of the accounting chicanery that took place last year, i.e., using the state’s lottery program to help pay the state’s pension contributions. But it was chicanery taken to level of audacity rarely seen even in states as corrupt as New Jersey. Instead of demanding that the lottery’s annual $1 billion proceeds flow into the pension funds’ coffers, the legislature actually transferred the entire program into those coffers and then declared that the future value of those annual proceeds (happily and likely generously estimated at more than $13 billion) was now an asset, reducing (on paper at least) the amount of the unfunded liability.

Moody’s Analytics was not impressed: “The lottery transfer does not change the state’s weak [and] steeply rising pension contribution schedule. [Even after the transfer] there remains considerable risk that the state will be unable to afford rapidly growing pension contributions.”

Also not impressed were two senior fellows at the Manhattan Institute, who just released their study of New Jersey’s pension problems. In January, well before Murphy neatly demurred on even mentioning them, the authors concluded: “It is highly unlikely that New Jersey will generate enough new revenues to meet its pension obligations without severely hobbling the rest of the state’s budget. At the same time, allowing its pension system to continue to accumulate debt by not contributing adequately to it will push New Jersey toward a potentially catastrophic failure of its government pensions.”

At the moment, those five government pension plans have the lowest funding ratio of any state in the union, with a liability estimated to be $124 billion. Those plans are only 30-percent funded currently and declining with each passing day.

But Murphy’s term is for only four years, and if he wins reelection, his tenure ends in eight years. Those plans will likely remain in place, continuing to threaten pensioners who still think they will be getting their benefits, and threatening the state with bankruptcy if it tries to fund them properly. But Murphy will be long gone, proving once again the old adage: Politicians come and go, but the unfunded promises they make live long after them.

Walmart Voluntarily Raises Its Minimum Wage

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 12, 2018: 

The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, announced on Thursday that it was voluntarily raising its minimum wage for new workers to $11 an hour starting next month. Included in the announcement were staged bonuses that will be paid to present workers based on their time with the company. Also included was a vast improvement in maternity benefits, with full-time hourly workers receiving 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paternal leave. Parents who adopt will get the same benefits plus a check from Walmart for $5,000 to help cover their adoption costs.

This is on top of the wage increases announced by the retailer in 2015 to be staged in over the next three years.

What’s notable is that this is taking place ahead of

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Minimum Wage Increases in 2018 Putting People Out of Work

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 3, 2018: 

According to Mic, the left-wing internet and media company that caters to millennials, Seattle “is quickly becoming one of the most interesting cities in the country for political observers.” The city boasts having an avowed socialist on its city council and proved his influence through its $4.8 billion budget in 2014 that is “loaded with a number of initiatives that illustrate how Seattle is making strides toward becoming a testing ground for boldly progressive policies.”

That salute to Seattle’s progressivism was published in 2014, and little has changed in the city council’s ideology. It now boasts a minimum wage of $15.45 an hour, with predictable effects: total wages paid to lower-income people has gone down, not up. A study just released by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) explained:

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18 States Raise Minimum Wage in 2018

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 2, 2018: 

Faith, Fraud & Minimum Wage

Faith, Fraud & Minimum Wage

Through new legislation, successful ballot measures or inflation adjustments built in to previous statutes, some 4.5 million people should see increases in their paychecks in the New Year. Ten of those states — Maine, Vermont, Washington, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, California, Colorado, Arizona, and Hawaii — are seeing increases as the result of legislative or ballot measures. The other eight — Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, and South Dakota — will see so-called “automatic” increases in their minimum wage laws in 2018.

Most new minimum wage legislation is phased-in through gradual increases, declaring loudly the hypocritical claim that such increases won’t affect employment. It’s like feeding nightshade to a victim in such small doses that he doesn’t even notice — until he’s dead.

Take Washington State for example.

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Bah Humbug: The Left Is Unhappy with Year-end Bonuses Paid Following Tax Reform

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 27, 2017:  

Within hours of passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) on December 20, major American companies began announcing year-end bonuses, salary increases, and plans to expand capital investment. This was an unexpected but pleasant surprise to many, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, who tweeted: “It’s only been a few hours … and companies are already announcing new investments into the US economy & raises for their employees.”

Senator Tim Scott, Republican conservative from South Carolina, called its passage “a tremendous victory,” adding that it’s an “early Christmas present for the American people.”

Details of raises, bonuses, and capex expansion plans poured out of Comcast

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Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson Owes the American People an Apology

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, October 23, 2017:

English: Official congressional portrait of U....

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Florida)

Florida Democratic Congressman Frederica Wilson claimed that President Donald Trump’s call to the widow of an American serviceman living in her district was “horrible” and “insensitive.” She claimed President Trump told the widow that the soldier “knew what he signed up for,” as if he were somehow responsible for his own death. She later added that the president couldn’t remember the soldier’s name. Trump denied the assertions, saying there were multiple people in his office who could verify his version of events. The gist of the conversation was that Trump apparently told the widow that her husband was very brave man who knew what he faced yet did it anyway. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said in reply to Wilson, “It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me.… I thought at least that was sacred.” And then he directed his ire at that congresswoman, saying that Wilson was part of “the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise.”

It must have been an off-news day for the anti-Trump mainstream media because it jumped on the original story, making it headline news for days afterward. Too, they were delighted to

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At Least Papa John’s Pizza Arrives Fresh, Warm, and Tasty

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 26, 2017:

Democrats are so upset over the Democrat Party’s new slogan that some demanded that its originator be fired immediately. The slogan, unveiled by Democrat Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer in the New York Times on Monday, is: “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.” This was birthed after months of intense mental analysis of last November’s loss to Donald Trump, and it was, according to many, stillborn. The Gateway Pundit massaged Papa John’s Pizza logo on its website, showing Nancy Pelosi beneath the banner, and below, instead of “Papa John’s” was “Dems: Still Pelosi.” It’s worth clicking on it. (See Sources below).

Other Democrats were less charitable.

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Democrats’ New Slogan Channels Papa John’s Pizza

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 24, 2017:

English: Charles Schumer, United States Senato...

Charles Schumer

The Democrat Party’s new slogan, rolled out on Monday by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (shown, D-N.Y.) in the New York Times, sounds an awful lot like the slogan of Papa John’s Pizza (“Better Ingredients, Better Pizza, Papa John’s.”) The new official slogan of the party, according to Schumer, is “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.”

A closer look reveals old, tired, stale, and tasteless ideas of a party that not only has lost its way, but has lost a majority of Americans along the way. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll revealed that

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When Will the Luddites Ever Learn?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 10, 2017: 

Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine

Two Oxford University professors, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, wrote back in 2013 that the robotic revolution would overtake and virtually displace human workers in broad expanses of U.S. industry. Those occupations most at risk include loan officers (98 percent chance of being replaced by a robot), receptionists and information clerks (96 percent), paralegals and legal assistants (94 percent), retail sales people (92 percent), taxi drivers and chauffeurs (89 percent), and fast food cooks (81 percent).

At the bottom of the list are elementary school teachers and physicians and surgeons (0.4 percent chance), lawyers (4 percent), musicians and singers (7 percent), and reporters and correspondents (11 percent).

They found that almost half of those currently employed in the United States were in their “high risk” category, defined as jobs that could be automated “relatively soon, perhaps over the next decade or two.”

Two other college professors, this time from the University of Redlands, California, decided to take the Oxford study and apply it to American cities with more than 250,000 workers. They concluded that

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Robots and Kiosks (and Amazon) are Making Jobs Reports Irrelevant

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 7, 2017:

MarketWatch

MarketWatch

Malcolm Frank is one of those rarest of futurists: He sees what’s coming and writes clearly about what to do about it. In his What to do When Machines do Everything: How to get Ahead in a World of AI, Algorithms, Bots and Big Data, Frank discusses the massive upheavals businesses are going through as they try to keep up and stay profitable.

One issue he doesn’t discuss is how to measure the new economy’s output.

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Blockbuster Study: Seattle’s Minimum-wage Increases Cost Low-wage Workers $125 a Month

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 26, 2017:  

A study commissioned by Seattle’s city council just came back with results they didn’t want to hear: Their efforts to raise wages of the city’s lowest-paid workers are instead costing them about $125 a month. This is thanks to their employers cutting their hours in response to the law raising the minimum wage from $10.50 an hour to $13 an hour in 2016.

Mark Long, one of the authors of the University of Washington (UW) study, said:

If you’re a low-skilled worker with one of these jobs, $125 a month is a sizeable amount of money. It can be the difference between being able to pay your rent and not being able to pay your rent.

In addition, the UW study concluded that, thanks to the minimum-wage increase, some 5,000 low wage jobs in Seattle were never created.

All of which makes perfect economic sense:

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Illinois Governor calls for “Unity,” Offers “Compromise” that is a “Capitulation”

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, June 23, 2017: 

When politicians call for unity, they usually mean “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.” In the case of Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner (shown)’s Tuesday night closed door compromise offer to intransigent Democrats to get them to agree to a budget before the June 30 deadline was called a capitulation by The Wall Street Journal:

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Illinois Governor Gives Tax Increases to Placate Democrats Before Deadline

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 22, 2017: 

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (shown), speaking briefly to a closed session at the state house on Tuesday night, urged “unity” in solving the state’s staggering and rapidly accelerating financial problems. Those present reported afterward that the governor declared, “Failure to act [on his budget proposal] is not an option. Failure to act may cause permanent damage to our state that will take years to overcome.”

The state has already suffered massive damage.

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Baltimore Mayor Vetoes Minimum-wage Bill After Doing “Research”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 3, 2017:

During her election campaign for mayor of Baltimore last fall, Democrat Catherine Pugh (shown below), along with dozens of other Democratic politicians, supported the “Fight for 15” to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Last week, she had the opportunity to fulfill that promise when the Baltimore city council passed a bill doing just that. But, after doing “some research,” Pugh changed her mind and her position, saying instead that “I am vetoing this bill.”

One wonders just what her “research” uncovered that was persuasive enough to cause her to change her mind, go against the grain, veto the bill, and incur the wrath of the progressives on the city council. Perhaps she had a conversation with

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Restaurants Add “Labor Surcharge” to Tabs to Cover Minimum-wage Increases

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 13, 2017:

English: This is actually Tom's Restaurant, NY...

Instead of increasing their menu prices in response to increased minimum-wage levels, restaurant owners are burying their increased labor costs at the bottom of each tab. The increase, between three and four percent, only comes after the customer has completed his meal. The increase also increases the tip customers leave behind as most customers leave a gratuity based on the check’s total. This is going to raise the average customer’s check, which has already increased by nearly 11 percent since 2012, close to five or six percent.

Some restaurant and fast-food owners aren’t burying the increase but are instead calling attention to it so that customers know that they’re the ones actually bearing the brunt of the forced increase in the minimum wage. Sami Ladeki, the owner of six Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill restaurants in San Diego and eight others across California, used to call it a “California mandate” but removed it after getting a call from the city attorney. Ladeki, who says he makes a profit of around one percent charging $12 to $14 a pizza, told the Wall Street Journal:

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Study: $15 Minimum Wage Would Force McDonald’s to Increase Prices 38 Percent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 20, 2017:

English: The official logo.

James Sherk, a Hillsdale graduate and now the Bradley Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, found that if a $15 minimum wage is enforced across the country, fast food prices will jump far more than initially thought. A 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, currently priced at $4.49, would jump to $6.20. A Starbucks Grande Mocha Frappuccino would increase from $4.56 to $6.29, while a 6-inch turkey sub at Subway would cost $5.87, up from $4.25. A Whopper Meal from Burger King would jump to $8.96 from $6.49.

A CrunchWrap Supreme, Crunchy Taco and large drink from Taco Bell would cost $8.27, up from $5.99; a Wendy’s Son of Baconator Combo, currently $6.69 would cost $9.23; a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich Combo, priced at  $5.95, would cost $8.21; and a Pizza Hut Medium Hand-Tossed Cheese Pizza, on today’ menu at $11.95, would jump to $16.55.

That’s a 38-percent increase, far higher than many old-school economists have concluded, and it puts the lie to union claims that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would result in a transfer of wealth from rich business owners to low-paid workers. Sherk’s analysis concludes that there would be a transfer, but it wouldn’t be from the business owners: It would be from their customers.

First, those owners with a McDonald’s franchise aren’t rich and they’re not likely to become rich. Ed Rensi, who worked for McDonald’s for 30 years, ending up as the company’s CEO in 1991 and retiring in 2007, told Forbes:

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The Broken Promise of Minimum wage laws

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 20, 2017:

The promise is that by requiring businesses to pay their employees $15 an hour, the net result is that everyone will live better. The low-paid people will have more money to spend, the upward “ripple” effect on other higher-paid people in the organization will also have more money to spend, the economy will grow, there will be more jobs hiring people who will then have more money to spend, and so on into the woodwork.

This was the claim by that “poverty” expert, former Senator Teddy Kennedy whose family’s wealth extended backwards for generations, who said that

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Venezuela’s Dictator Fires Head of Central Bank; Inflation at 1,600 Percent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 23, 2017:

Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela’s Marxist dictator, Nicolas Maduro (shown), fired the head of his country’s central bank on Friday. Without fanfare or any public statement from either Maduro or his banker, Nelson Merentes, the firing is the latest move by the president to place the blame for the collapse of his country anywhere but where it belongs: on his socialist policies.

For months The New American has tracked the retrogression of a country which was once one of the leading economies in South America to a banana republic where people are starving, sick people are dying for lack of care, and a black market has replaced a once-thriving free economy. Last June, the New York Times was finally forced to admit the cause:

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Venezuela: Some Lessons Must be Learned Over and Over Again

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 23, 2017:

George Santayana most famously said: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” But he wasn’t the only one. Aldous Huxley put it this way: “That men do not learn very much the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.” Said Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.”

There’s a lesson being taught to the hapless and now helpless citizens (shown above) of Venezuela. It’s a lesson so often taught but not learned that one may, with great confidence, predict the final outcome.

On Friday Venezuela’s Marxist dictator, Nicolas Maduro, fired his banker,

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Trump’s Labor Secretary: Fast-food Magnate Is Anti-Minimum Wage

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 9, 2016:  

CKE Restaurants

When President-elect Donald Trump nominated Andy Puzder, the head of CKE Restaurants (Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.), on Thursday, he called him the “ideal candidate,” stating, “Andy Puzder has created and boosted the careers of thousands of Americans, and his extensive record fighting for workers makes him the ideal candidate to lead the Department of Labor. Andy will fight to make American workers safer and more prosperous by enforcing fair occupational safety standards and ensuring [that] workers receive the benefits they deserve. [In addition] he will save small businesses from the crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations that are stunting job growth and suppressing wages.”

Puzder is ideal in more ways than one.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.