Open thread May 28, 2013 Dan Crawford | May 28, 2013 7:24 pm Tags: open thread Comments (3) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
yesterday i posted Midway: message from the gyre, which is the trailer from Chris Jordan’s upcoming film, MIDWAY…he’s a photographer who’s been out on that island documenting the damage to the wildlife refuge, & specifically the albatrosses, from our discarded plastic, since 2009…
FROM MY EMAIL YESTERDAY TO A CHICAGO LABOR ACTIVIST (from Restaurant Opportunities Center in Chicago):
Tomorrow I start writing what I hope will be a “doozey” on the minimum wage. First, let me explain what I have been doing lately. I’ve spent two months crossing the country with email: hitting top newspapers in almost every state (47) with a long message, “Open letter to Oakland mayor Jean Quan — the only law that can end gun violence”, pushing my big obsession — the only way back — legally mandated sector-wide labor agreements. I figured journalists could digest something long. And hitting every state legislator with an email address (except New Hampshire state reps: all 400!) with, first, earlier versions of my $15/hr minimum wage pitch and then the “black hole theory” — which latter I started sending that to both papers and legs once I dreamed it up. May have sent out 14,000 altogether. AT&T kept cutting me off for suspected spamming — finally figured out how to restart (wait 6 hours first for a bad one — don’t do more than 200 in an hour or be cut off for an hour).
My “doozey” will take a phrase that a professor hit me with: “marginal productivity.” I had to look it up too. Without bothering with the “technicalities” (I’m more salesman than tech) I am going to ask — after some tech explanation:
did LBJ consult the concept marginal productivity when he raised the minimum wage to $10.75/hr (adjusted and rounded);
did Congress consult marginal productivity when it failed to raise the minimum wage for the next 5 years (’69-’73);
or for 8 years in a row (’82-’89);
or for 4 years in a row (’92-’95);
or for 9 years in a row (’08-’06);
for for now going on 4 years?
Not impressed? That is because you are a female — you don’t need to be coaxed that doubling the minimum wage is not an impossbily big step. ??? Males are so slaved to checking in with group — even the top progressive economists — that they will not consider anything too novel, too different for one second — no matter how much sense it might make in the logical abstract. How else are we going to cooperate going after small animals with big sticks — can’t think too independently!
Egro, my open letter to female mayor Jean Quan — trying to get her to approach my favorite (mostly male) economic faculty up the road in Berkeley (my California driver’s license says I live up that same road) on the subject of sector-wide labor agreements.
The “doozey”: whisks away the concept of any (scary) established economic order — portrays just years of sleepy forgetfulness. Then, comes the lock: I point out that double indexing LBJ’s minimum wage to inflation and per capita income growth ($20.20/.hr) leaves today’s federal minimum wage at just 36% of that — maybe not even that much to fix, just fill in part of what’s missing (enough to get to $15/hr?). Don’t expect this to impress you because you — an instinctive individual gatherer — can think for yourself.
Want to get somewhere with the male animal on doubling the minimum wage: first, supply the magic numbers, the “black hole theory” — and — then, have fast food workers make a scene for $15/hr all across the nation, anywhere and everywhere you can (the absolutely needed social signal). Last I heard they are making a stink in Missouri.
[VERY LATE THOUGHT — possibly to be included with the “doozey”]
Even according to Malthusian theory — from the pre-industrial world where per capita output could not expand every year: all other things held equal, the federal minimum wage would have dropped only a third as US population grew by half (200 million to 300 million). Instead by early 2007 the federal minimum wage had dropped almost in half.