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How much would it cost consumers to give farmworkers a significant raise? A 40% increase in pay would cost just $25 per household

Economic Policy Institute offers context for wage increases for farmworkers:

How much would it cost consumers to give farmworkers a significant raise? A 40% increase in pay would cost just $25 per household

The increased media coverage of the plight of the more than 2 million farmworkers who pick and help produce our food—and whom the Trump administration has deemed to be “essential” workers for the U.S. economy and infrastructure during the coronavirus pandemic—has highlighted the difficult and often dangerous conditions farmworkers face on the job, as well as their central importance to U.S. food supply chains. For example, photographs and videos of farmworkers picking crops under the smoke- and fire-filled skies of California have been widely shared across the internet, and some data suggest that the number of farmworkers who have tested positive for COVID-19 is rivaled only by meat-processing workers. In addition, around half of farmworkers are unauthorized immigrants and 10% are temporary migrant workers with “nonimmigrant” H-2A visas; those farmworkers have limited labor rights in practice and are vulnerable to wage theft and other abuses due to their immigration status.

Despite the key role they play and the challenges they face, farmworkers are some of the lowest-paid workers in the entire U.S. labor market. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that it would not collect the data on farmworker earnings that are used to determine minimum wages for H-2A workers, which could further reduce farmworker earnings.

This raises the question: How much would it cost to give farmworkers a significant raise in pay, even if it was paid for entirely by consumers? The answer is, not that much. About the price of a couple of 12-packs of beer, a large pizza, or a nice bottle of wine.

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Daylight spending more than you have

by David Zetland

Daylight spending more than you have

Some countries are changing their clocks this week while others will do so next week.

These changes are labeled “daylight saving” (DS) even though the number of daylight minutes stays the same. Marketing at its finest!

Indeed, there’s abundant evidence that this twice-annual ritual is useless or even harmful. As I’ve written before, it would be a triumph of global collective action to  get rid of DS and even better to move the entire planet to one time (UTC) as a means of reducing numerous problems with time zones, at a cost of losing some anachronisms (“lunch at 12 noon” as opposed to “lunch at midday”).

But let’s look into the psychology and goals of DS.

First, are you saving an hour by setting the clock forward in the Spring and then spending that hour when you set it back in the Fall, OR are you borrowing an hour in the Fall and repaying it in the Spring? In either case, there’s zero interest paid or received in this +1 – 1 = 0 or -1 + 1 = 0 calculation. So that’s why the concept is a lie.

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September housing construction: another very positive month

by New Deal democrat

September housing construction: another very positive month

Yesterday September housing permits and starts were reported. Permits made yet another 10+ year high. This bodes very well for the economy in 2021, if the pandemic can be contained.

Sorry about the delay. Seeking Alpha didn’t get around to publishing it until this morning. Here’s the link.

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The Guardians of the Financial Galaxy

by Joseph Joyce

The Guardians of the Financial Galaxy

The rapid expansion of the pandemic and the ensuing economic and financial collapses brought about responses by policymakers, including actions undertaken on an international basis. The Federal Reserve acted together with other central banks to ensure that an adequate supply of dollars was available to support dollar-based financing outside the U.S. Similarly, the IMF moved rapidly to provide financial support to its members. These national and international institutions constitute a “two tier” system in international finance that occupies the role of lender of last resort.

International cooperation has occurred before, and Michael Bordo of Rutgers University gives an account of these efforts in a new NBER working paper, “Monetary Policy Coordination an Global Financial Crises in Historical Perspective.” During the Bretton Woods era, central banks cooperated to sustain the fixed exchange rate system. In 1962, the U.S. established bilateral currency swaps with foreign central banks, which provided dollars to be used in support of their exchange rates.

The swaps continued in the 1970s after the termination of the Bretton Woods regime as policymakers sought to control the volatility of exchange rates. During the early and mid-1980s there were episodes of coordination of foreign exchange market intervention by central banks as governments in the advanced economies sought to stabilize the value of the dollar. But these occurred less frequently in the late 1980s as inflation fell in most of these countries and foreign exchange market intervention became less common.

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Weekly Indicators for October 12 – 16 at Seeking Alpha

by New Deal democrat

Weekly Indicators for October 12 – 16 at Seeking Alpha

 My Weekly Indicators post is up at Seeking Alpha.

What was most noteworthy about the past week is the confirmation that consumer spending, so far, has continued to hold up even as emergency Congressional assistance has been terminated for a month and a half.

As usual, clicking over and reading will bring you up to the moment on all of the important economic data, and will reward me with a penny or two in my pocket for putting the information together for you.

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