Open thread July 8, 2014 Dan Crawford | July 8, 2014 9:59 am Tags: open thread Comments (8) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
Just had a “great idea” (they always seem great to me, at first): if the minimum wage is raised to a minimally liveable amount, $15 an hour (FOR WHICH THERE IS NO ECONOMIC RATIONALE NOT TO) …
… then, taxi fares in Chicago will for all practical purposes AUTOMATICALLY have to be raised a dollar a mile because nobody will be willing to drive for slave wages anymore.
Therefore: there is CERTAINLY no economic rationale to not raise meter rates to a humane level RIGHT NOW! Passengers will certainly pay the extra dollar. Right now in Chicago the rate per mile is (adjusted for inflation) half a dollar below what it was in 1981 when I started driving here (retired 10 years ago — in San Francisco) — 50% higher per capita income later.
If (terribly) low taxi wage cities are not willing to add a dollar to the meter now — then — they can stop pretending that they are hesitant to raise the minimum to $15 an hour too quickly for fear of upsetting this that or the other thing. They just don’t care.
Quick Chicago taxi fare history — 1981 to 1997:
One 30 cent increase in the mile rate …
… at which 1990 mid-point the city (a) started building subways to both airports, (b) opening up unlimited limo licenses, (c) and putting on free trolleys between all the hot spots downtown (the Aquarium used to be our second hottest spot after O’Hare) …
… and 40% more taxis!
Another idea: American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Council 31 (AFSCME 31) is signing up taxi drivers in Chicago. One the one hand there is no employer opposition (lease drivers and owner drivers are both the CUSTOMER of the taxi companies). On the other had it is hard to explain the benefits if it is much more impractical to strike. IF 31 GETS OUT IN FRONT ON THE DOLLAR A MILE MORE-TAXI “MINIMUM WAGE”, then, if successful everybody should join. Even if the union doesn’t succeed the first time, the drivers will see something practical coming from the union. Remember there is no employer resistance.
Could happen: today’s slave wage taxi drivers could open the way — psychologically — to quickening the adoption of $15 an hour minimum wage across the country — emphasis on the word “quickening.”
Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn is back in the news attacking “scalawags” whose fraud he claims represent 1/3 of SSDI payments. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/07/07/dems-brace-for-new-gop-assault-on-safety-net/
It has shocked and bewildered me how many otherwise intelligent and capable people have bought into this lie enabled by the likes of 60 Minutes, Frontline, and This American Life .
This particular one has always been amusing to me though. Consider what poor Senator Coburn might actually have to propose to justify his concern for these “gamers” of SSDI. For SSA to properly investigate every potential fraudulent SSDI claimant they would have to…. Hire a significant number of highly paid government bureaucrats! Somehow I don’t think that is actually the solution he is advocating, unfortunately.
But it does sort of beg the question that should be put to all these anti big government types (of either party!): What do you object to more? Expensive and bureaucratic but effective regulation of fraud? Or the cost of the fraud?
These questions have scope way beyond SSDI of course. The essential principles apply to regulation of fraud in finance, the environment, contracting etc. Is “the burden of regulation” more expensive than the larceny it tries to moderate? Really? Even accounting for AIG/Worldcom/Enron/Madoff/Blackwater/General Dynamics size problems?
Rethinking that comment I realize it’s a bit of a false dichotomy. I’m sorry to say that Senator Coburn and I would probably agree that we have the worst case scenario: A lot of expensive regulation that (apparently) manages to enable a lot of fraud.
As much as I love imagining the government hiring a lot of capable forensic accountants to go through every bank, pension fund, and publicly traded corporation I don’t think it will happen.
you confuse the issue. there is no where near a 30% fraud rate.
the reason SSDI is running out of money is because they do spend it to investigate cases… and delay benefits.
the people working on the line doing the investigating are not highly paid. or maybe you were thinking of hiring private detectives at 500 dollars a day plus expenses? for each case.
Coburn, like most congressmen and journalists doesn’t know the difference between 30% (0.3) and 0.3%
Going after SSDI scalawags.
The congress just added 4 more F-35 to the 2015 buy than Obama asked for.
The F-35 is currently grounded because the engines tend to blow up and catch fire when they are attempted to start.
Maybe they ought to look at the waste in the $100B in R&D money thrown at Lockheed for the F-35.
It should be cann’ed.
Then the US can take care of real people.
You got it, Ilsm! NancyO