Demand CurveWe will find ways to meet the supply:

 

More than half of the cigarettes for sale in New York are smuggled into the state illegally – the highest percentage in the country, according to a recent report from the Tax Foundation.

According to the non-partisan research group, increased excise taxes on cigarettes to discourage smoking have, in fact, created lucrative incentives for black market trafficking between states.

According to the report, 56.9 percent of the cigarettes sold in the Empire State are brought in from other states. New York state has the highest cigarette taxes in the country – a whopping $4.35 a pack. If you live in New York City, it’s another $1.50 per pack, bringing taxes to $5.85 per pack, with the overall cost of a pack in the city in the $12 to $15 range.

 

 

1 percentTalking to a friend today and the concept of the 1% came up.

Who are the 1%:

  • Roughly 80 percent of millionaires in America are the first generation of their family to be rich.
  • Roughly a third were entrepreneurs or managers of nonfinancial businesses.
  • Nearly 16 percent were doctors or other medical professionals.
  • NYU sociologist Dalton Conley says that “higher-income folks work more hours than lower-wage earners do.”
  • The top 1 percent pay 36.7 percent of all federal income taxes
  • They earn just 16 percent of all income

Fast Food Minimum Wage

One of my favorite arguments against the minimum wage is that so very few people earn it.  And those that do make the minimum wage are learning much more than the value of any money they might be making.

In short, working for free is darn near worth it at some level – think my young child who would prefer the experience over the money.

Anyway, it turns out that I am not ALWAYS right:

“I personally think we need to get more workers involved and shut these businesses down until they listen to us,” perhaps even by occupying the restaurants, said Cherri Delisline, a 27-year-old single mother from Charleston, South Carolina, who has worked at McDonald’s for 10 years and makes $7.35 an hour.

Now, to be strictly honest making $7.35 is earning more than the Federal minimum (South Carolina has no State minimum wage) but I will stipulate that after 10 years a dime doesn’t make a difference.

But here’s the rub – why is Ms. Delisline still working at McDonald’s ten years on?  In the last ten years what has she done to increase her marketability?  This, especially in light of the fact that she has, in essence, never been given a raise?

Another example:

“I don’t think $15 will make me rich. … I just want an apartment for my family and be able to have my kids in their own room, to not have to wait for the washing machine or the bathtub, and I don’t want to be behind on bills if I take time off or get sick,” said Salgado, who earns minimum wage after 12 years with the company.

Twelve years making minimum wage – how is that possible?

** Though notice that mandatory 35% wage cut die to Obamacare **

What set of circumstances has taken place that prevents even modest skill improvement that would warrant a raise or a change in jobs/careers?  How much more valuable would these young ladies time be spent learning than protesting?

Finally, whatever the case that may be preventing an ever increasing career progression, there are other life decisions that are being made that is not helping but only compounding the problem:

Delisline said she and her four girls live with her mother…

Nancy Salgado of Chicago said she and her two children…

Given that an individual is making the minimum wage, the idea that they would make the decision to start a family is incredulous.

 

14. July 2014 · 2 comments · Categories: Minimum Wage · Tags: ,

Minimum WageLately Seattle made waves by implementing a minimum wage law that will give the city the highest minimum wage in the nation.

The intentions are sincere – the law is cruel.

This is what will happen:

Meet the robot replacement that will be “hired.”

Research is picking up for such automated replacements for fast food employees — doubtless spurred on by the current massive proposed increases in the minimum wage (and all the related costs tied to wage — social security, workers comp, unemployment compensation, etc.)

There is compensation beyond wages – and by raising the threshold to entry, Seattle is providing a disservice to its residents.

ImmigrationIt has become clear that the United States’ immigration policy is busted.  My thoughts below.

There are two bedrock principles that absolutely need to be made clear.  These beliefs are a priori to the conversation of immigration in general and the immigrant in specific.

I – Laws

America is a nation founded on laws.  These laws need to be enforced.  When the law has served its purpose and no longer is applicable – that law needs to be changed.

II – We Are a Nation of Immigrants

America is Exceptional.  Not only are we a nation that tolerates immigrants we are a nation that cherishes immigrants.

With that said it is critical that we acknowledge the need for national borders and rules for passage across them.  Here are my reasons why an individual could cross into America:

  1. Citizenship – If an individual wishes to become a citizen of The United States of America she should be allowed to enter and begin that process.
  2. Resident – If an individual wishes to live and work in America but not become a citizen he should be allowed to enter and live his life.
  3. Foreign Worker – If an individual wishes to live in her home nation but work in America she should be allowed to enter and work.
  4. Student – If an individual wishes to attend an institution of higher learning he should be allowed to enter and go to school.
  5. Refuge – If an individual wishes to seek safe haven until she can return to her native country she should be allowed to enter.

In each of the above examples, the initial process should be extraordinarily clear, straightforward and easy.  Basically consisting of validation that the individual is not:

  • Wanted for a crime in his home country
  • On a Terror Watch list
  • Carrying an infectious disease

Satisfy that and come on in!

 

 

Big Data

President Obama is going to change the law regarding how students who take out Federal loans can pay that loan back:

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama will issue an executive action on Monday aimed at making it easier for young people to avoid trouble repaying student loans, a White House official said on Sunday.

The president will sign an order directing the secretary of education to ensure that more students who borrowed federal direct loans be allowed to cap their loan payments at 10 percent of their monthly incomes, the official said.

I would humbly like to make a recommendation.  Namely, that we extend this loan repayment forgiveness effort to students who actually earn a degree that is useful.

No Art Appreciation.  No Language Arts.  No Renaissance Art.

We need people pursuing degrees that:

A – We need

B – Have a reasonable chance at resulting in a job

Wanna go to school to satisfy curiosity or take up a hobby?  Power to ya.  But if you want me to pay for it – make it something we are in desperate need of:

There will be a shortage of talent necessary for organizations to take advantage of big data. By 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.

We need Quants.  And we pay Quants a TON of money.

Go be one of those!

 

 

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Global Warming

I am open to the fact that the world may be warming.  I would expect that spaceship earth experiences many climate  trends defined by a global cooling or a global warming.  Further, I’m sure that this has been the case since the dawn of earth’s existence.  We’ve seen ice ages and tropical conditions shape the globe for ages.

I’m sure that it’s possible the globe is warming over time.

However, it doesn’t seem to have been warming in the recent time measured by science:

Global Warming.NoneFrom ClimateDepot:

According to the RSS satellite data, whose value for April 2014 is just in, the global warming trend in the 17 years 9 months since August 1996 is zero. The 212 months without global warming represents more than half the 423-month satellite data record, which began in January 1979. No one now in high school has lived through global warming.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult too convince skeptics that man is significantly contributing to the changing climate.

VA

Is it just me or is there a simple common sense solution to the Veteran’s Affair disaster?

Consider the 2015 budget:

The President’s 2015 Budget includes $163.9 billion for VA in 2015.

Then use the VA’s number for vets:  Call it 22 million.

Last, the average cost of insurance:

As of February 24, 2014, the average premium for an individual health plan selected through eHealth without a subsidy was $274 per month…

So, do the  math.

$274 a month is $3,288.  Across 22  million vets you get $75,000,000,000.

Double the price of the plan and you STILL are $14 billion to the good.

 

Money

Much ado has been made of the rising income gap and the perceived shift in power.

A note:

Eighty-six percent of today’s millionaires did not consider themselves wealthy growing up (“self-made”), while only 14 percent said they grew up wealthy (“born-wealthy”). Key findings include:

Of those who are self-made, their top sources of assets included investments/capital appreciation, compensation and employee stock options/profit sharing. Those who were born wealthy were more likely than the self-made group to cite inheritance, entrepreneurship and real estate investment appreciation as an asset source.

Better than 5 in 6 of America’s wealthy created their own wealth.  And the method they used was work.