A billion dollars in the hole

From the Record:

N.J. facing possible $1.1B budget gap over 2016, 2017, official says

New Jersey’s state budget could face a revenue shortage of $1.1 billion over two fiscal years, the state Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office said Tuesday, a dire assessment that came after lackluster income tax collections in the key month of April.

The revenue gap could lead to budget cutbacks or further reductions in the payments Governor Christie has been making in recent years to the state’s financially stressed pension funds for public workers.

Acting state Treasurer Ford M. Scudder and financial analysts from the Office of Legislative Services are scheduled to testify before the Assembly Budget Committee on Wednesday about Christie’s $34.8 billion budget proposal for the coming fiscal year. Experts are also expected to provide lawmakers with an update of New Jersey tax collections in recent months and of broader economic trends.

In total, the OLS is now forecasting that the state will collect $1.1 billion less in taxes than Christie is assuming for the budget that ends in June and for the one now being considered by lawmakers.

In the current fiscal year, OLS forecasts a shortfall of $487 million for the $34 billion budget. That shortfall would have to be balanced with either cuts or more revenue before June 30.

Lawmakers must approve a new, balanced budget before July 1. The proposed $34.8 billion plan Christie proposed earlier this year is off by $622 million, according to the OLS revenue estimates.

The $1.1 billion hole could intensify New Jersey’s budget problems, since Christie would have to find ways to balance the budget for both fiscal years — likely by scaling back some services or further slashing his proposed payments to New Jersey’s troubled pension system.

The revenue shortage could also complicate plans to phase out the estate tax and lower other rates as part of a deal between Democrats and Republicans to raise the gas tax to fund road construction and maintenance projects. The estate tax generates around $400 million for the state budget every year.

Lawmakers received an advance summary of the OLS budget testimony on Tuesday. In the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Record, a budget analyst wrote that OLS had lowered its two-year revenue estimate by $943 million for the current fiscal year and fiscal year 2017, which begins in July, after measuring tax collections for “the important spring filing season.”

Of that $943 million revision, “Almost all (93 percent) … can be ascribed to the recent performance of the gross income tax,” wrote Catherine Brennan, an OLS analyst. The total revenue difference between Christie and the OLS is now at $1.1 billion, she added.

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76 Responses to A billion dollars in the hole

  1. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    $15 minimum wage gains N.J. Senate committee approval

    The state Senate Labor Committee on Monday approved a bill that would gradually increase New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15, the first vote on the way to a showdown with Gov. Chris Christie which is likely to end in a public referendum to sidestep his expected veto.

    The lengthy legislative hearing pitted advocacy organizations, labor groups and workers hoping to lift up low-income employee wages against business and industry associations who warn the hike will force jobs costs and price increases.

    The $15 minimum wage has the backing of state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and state Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) who at separate news conferences Monday said working New Jerseyans deserve a livable wage.

    The proposed update would increase New Jersey’s $8.38 minimum wage by 80 percent. The measure is the product of a deal Sweeney and Prieto reached in February to raise wages. Prieto wanted a new law that would raise the wage all at once, while Sweeney proposed a public referendum to raise wages $1 at a time.

    Under the bill (S15), the minimum wage would hit $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2017, and then by at least $1.25 an hour until 2021. After 2021, annual increases will be tied to changes in the consumer price index.

  2. grim says:

    Also from the Star Ledger:

    New overtime rules could raise pay for 132K N.J. workers

    New U.S. Labor Department overtime rules to be announced Wednesday would make an additional 131,854 New Jersey salaried employees eligible for extra pay, the White House said.

    The rules, which take effect Dec. 1, would require overtime pay after a 40-hour work week for salaried employees earning up to $47,476 a year, or $913 a week, up from the current $23,660, or $455 per week. Hourly workers automatically are eligible for overtime no matter what their pay.

    “The basic bargain was if you help increase the productivity of the outfit you worked for, you got to share in the benefits,” Vice President Joe Biden said on a conference call with reporters to announce the new rules.

    In June 2015, the Obama administration initially proposed raising the salary limit to $50,440 a year, or $970 a week. The final rule would affect 4.2 million workers and increase their pay by $12 billion over a decade. It was pegged to salaries in the South, where wages are lowest.

    The figures will be updated every three years and the threshold is expected to exceed $51,000 with the first update on Jan. 1, 2020, the White House said.

    Because the maximum salary was not raised for decades, the share of full-time salaried workers eligible for overtime has declined to 8 percent today from 62 percent in 1975, the Labor Department said.

  3. D-FENS says:

    All sorts of good news here today.

  4. Comrade Nom Deplume. Citizen, 2nd Class. says:

    [2]

    A nonstory of sorts. One hopes that in a country where minimum wage will be anywhere from 20,200 to 30k, a manager is making at least twice that

  5. The Great Pumpkin says:

    What a great story!

    NJGator says:
    May 18, 2016 at 12:26 am
    Lib 10 – My dad makes sh*t up. The Obamas did move out of the Hyde Park apartment, but only after he was elected to the Senate and made a mint off of his book. They bought the house that I am pretty sure they still own today. And I remember my cousin said something about the how sweet the Obama girls were and how they said their new house was “too big” when they said their goodbyes.

    My cousin , who passed away last year, was an awesome lady who was a talented artist who went back to school and got a PhD in pharmacology after helping put her husband through school and raising her kids. Here’s a little snippet from her 15 minutes of fame 20 years ago.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-10-20/news/9510200218_1_rational-expectations-million-prize-pulitzer-prize

  6. nwnj3 says:

    I suspect this is symptomatic of losing retirees/tax refugees and replacing them with cash earning illegals. Repeat that a few 100k times and it will have an effect.

    Of course the resident idiot would claim it’s a good thing somehow.

  7. Anon E. Moose says:

    Grim [2];

    Welcome to Obamatopia. Congress doesn’t pass laws anymore, some administrative agency under the executive’s thumb just emits some manner of “Dear Colleague” decree. When colleges were instructed (given cover, really, as most were happy to do it) to eject men on the flimsiest of sexual assault allegations; When public primary schools were just instructed to allow access to single sex communal bathrooms on the basis of the individual’s gender self-identification; now businesses are told which employees are or are not eligible for overtime pay, which is different from last week, and is subject to change again at the whim of the liege.

    “Fundamentally transformed,” indeed.

  8. Comrade Nom Deplume. Citizen, 2nd Class. says:

    Paragraph of the Day:

    “Presumptive nominees Clinton and Trump are equally egregious in their misstatements, if in substantively different ways. Clinton is measured, poised, concentrated and studied when she revises her personal history. Trump just says whatever tiny thought penetrates his prefrontal cortex where inhibitory functioning is obviously kaput, blurting absurdities and bromides.”

    h/t Orlando Sentinel

  9. grim says:

    7 – This will have material positive impact on hiring and employment. While the tool is blunt, and the avenue taken questionable, it will work.

  10. The Great Pumpkin says:

    You also might want to call like it is, people are getting better and better at dodging their tax bill.

    No business pays an honest tax, from the small to the large. They cry and cry about taxes, but sit there and use false rates to back their data. How many actually pay based on what they make? NONE. What they claim they made, is not actually what they made. So much is hidden and you can take that to the bank. For example, someone is a workout instructor, charging 50 dollars an hour. You think they are claiming 50 dollars an hour on their income tax? ROTFL. You think the plumber is paying an income tax on the total money they made? You have some restaurants that only accept cash, gee, I wonder why. It’s a mess, and the only people carrying the tax revenue honestly are workers who get their taxes automatically deducted out of their check.

    nwnj3 says:
    May 18, 2016 at 8:15 am
    I suspect this is symptomatic of losing retirees/tax refugees and replacing them with cash earning illegals. Repeat that a few 100k times and it will have an effect.

    Of course the resident idiot would claim it’s a good thing somehow.

  11. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Like it or hate it, the minimum wage raise will help save this state from the debt. When you raise the minimum wage, you will raise the tax revenue of the state at the same time (inflation), while giving the state a better handle of taking care of the debt.

  12. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Tell it like it is, this will be put on the backs of the workers, whom people claim are taking advantage of the taxpayer. If you look at it, who is taking advantage of who? Worker is getting sh!t on. Don’t claim the worker’s pension costs are overbearing if you don’t even make the payment and allow the problem to get to levels where it can’t be fixed. Wrong in every way.

    “The revenue gap could lead to budget cutbacks or further reductions in the payments Governor Christie has been making in recent years to the state’s financially stressed pension funds for public workers.”

  13. leftwing says:

    1/2:

    LOL, are they proactively trying to tank this State? If you started with a blank whiteboard and said “let me draw up something to blow up the working population” you couldn’t do it better.

    “The proposed update would increase New Jersey’s $8.38 minimum wage by 80 percent.”

    No worries here. An *80%* change in anything doesn’t matter; it’s easily absorbed. Price of gas, home values, global temperatures….if any of them went up 80% who would even notice? Nahhh, increasing the minimum wage 80% won’t have any unintended effects on unemployment…..we’ll just pay everyone more! How great will that be? More disposable income to jumpstart the economy!!

    “New U.S. Labor Department overtime rules to be announced Wednesday would make an additional 131,854 New Jersey salaried employees eligible for extra pay, the White House said.”

    In other news, 19,778 salaried employees earning $35k are fired, with the their immediate managers and underlings working an additional six hours a week to pick up the slack.

    Last one out of this idiot State please turn out the lights……

  14. Anon E. Moose says:

    Pumps-the-Troll-Anon [10];

    You also might want to call like it is, people are getting better and better at dodging their tax bill.

    In no uncertain terms, F— you. Before 2011 NJ was little more than a way station for me, and God willing I won’t be around to see the final collapse. I didn’t build the unsustainable public dole system, or have anything to do with the unkeepable pension promises made by politicians who were elected before I ever moved here.

    Just because I stop in the bar doesn’t mean I owe the house a round; I’ll settle my tab, tip the bartender and waitress, and be on my way. You don’t like it? Too f—ing bad.

  15. leftwing says:

    Eeyore out of the barn and grazing in the pasture today.

    “Of course the resident idiot would claim it’s a good thing somehow.”
    nwnj3, right on cue, post 11: “Like it or hate it, the minimum wage raise will help save this state from the debt. When you raise the minimum wage, you will raise the tax revenue of the state at the same time….”

    10. “It’s a mess, and the only people carrying the tax revenue honestly are workers who get their taxes automatically deducted out of their check.”

    Oh, my little hypocritical pumper. Let’s play a game. Look at line 22 of your tax return. Add back any items that are negative above it, and add back any items subtracted from your W2 to get to the amount shown on line 7 (401k, HSA, etc). That is your new adjusted line 22 amount. From that subtract your actual line 37. Express that difference as a percent of your adjusted line 22 amount.

    THAT is your tax shield. You’re no different than the plumber, restaurant owner, or the corporate you trash, LOL.

    Do that math above, and post the percentage. I dare you, LOL.

  16. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Man, you need to open up your mind. You just don’t get it. You are thinking too concrete and at the basic level of economics. As juice alluded to yesterday, it’s a confidence game man. Stop acting like the world is going to end when it’s not.

    They have raised minimum wages in other places with the same percentages and did the world end? If there were major negative impacts, you would bet the “right” will be all over it. Too bad they don’t have any evidence, only evidence they use is that automation is taking over jobs and that’s not because of the minimum wage. Automation was coming for those jobs no matter what. Truck driver’s job is gone in 5 years, and it has nothing to do with wages and everything to do with self driving technology.

    Btw, the reason govt is raising minimum wage is to create inflation. Inflation makes it easier to pay back debts. Might suck for the debt holder, but it is what it is. The debt can not be payed back any other way, unless they are willing to take a hair cut on what is owed or you monetize their debt by printing money.

    “No worries here. An *80%* change in anything doesn’t matter; it’s easily absorbed. Price of gas, home values, global temperatures….if any of them went up 80% who would even notice? Nahhh, increasing the minimum wage 80% won’t have any unintended effects on unemployment…..we’ll just pay everyone more! How great will that be? More disposable income to jumpstart the economy!!”

  17. leftwing says:

    16. EEEEE-ooorrrrrre!!!!

    Too dumb to respond to, man.

  18. walking bye says:

    From the times—Hence New Jersey’s concern over Mr. Tepper’s departure. Whatever the reasons for his move, he is leaving for Florida at an especially opportune time for tax savings. Many hedge fund managers have for years used a tax loophole that allowed them to defer taxes on fees they earned through the use of offshore funds. A 2008 federal tax rule, however, requires them to declare those fees by the end of 2017 and pay any necessary federal, state and local taxes

  19. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Yes, and the 25 year old worker can say the same exact thing, but it’s law that they must contribute to something where the govt hasn’t paid into for over 20 years.

    “Just because I stop in the bar doesn’t mean I owe the house a round; I’ll settle my tab, tip the bartender and waitress, and be on my way. You don’t like it? Too f—ing bad.”

  20. The Great Pumpkin says:

    19-

    I’m sure the young workers wishe they could say the same thing as you, but they don’t get a pass on paying like you do. You are complaining about a pension debt that has become so large BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T PAY INTO IT AND NOW YOU ARE ON YOUR HIGH HORSE COMPLAINING ABOUT THE DEBT YOU HAD A ROLE IN CREATING. What are you bit!ching about, when you clearly haven’t contributed much, if anything, to the pension, while having your taxes subsidized by the worker’s pension. Yes, that’s right, the workers pension has been subsidizing NJ tax payers since the 90’s. Wish you could see it this way, but it’s obvious you only care about yourself.

  21. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Show me evidence that the 15 dollar minimum wage has led to the “sky is falling’ mantra that you believe.

    leftwing says:
    May 18, 2016 at 10:26 am
    16. EEEEE-ooorrrrrre!!!!

    Too dumb to respond to, man.

  22. Comrade Nom Deplume. Citizen, 2nd Class. says:

    [9] grim

    “7 – This will have material positive impact on hiring and employment. While the tool is blunt, and the avenue taken questionable, it will work.”

    I think that the effect will be much more muted then you assume. While logic would dictate that increasing the overtime cost for employees would result in businesses scaling back on overtime and hiring more bodies, most evidence points to the contrary. There are marginal costs per employee that tend to be fixed; if you increase headcount, you increase those marginal costs, which may be greater then the overtime you would pay. In the past, when faced with identical cost scenarios, businesses tended to pay more overtime rather then add to headcount.

    And under this administration, that was marginal costs have only increased and dramatically so.

  23. leftwing says:

    It’s your State, man (minimum wage laws are at the State level, and last time I looked they don’t print their own currency).

    I’m with Anon. NJ is a pit stop for me. Prior to 1987, I never set a foot in this State and if you exclude an occasional short visit in the summer and a temporary six months after I was married and before we moved I did not arrive here until 2003. And as soon as my Class of 2019 blue-ribboner graduates I am out.

    You’re the one who cares about your and the neighbors’ manicured lawns and the state of the permanent infrastructure. So go ahead, double down on the trifecta of good news of today: jack the minimum wage 80%, budget around having 140k managers earn more money simply by White house fiat, and hit those pension payments while $1B in the hole annually.

    Truly does not matter me, LOL. I will be long gone when your property taxes push through 4% of assessed, the tax rate on high earners (meaning you, btw) hits double digits, the pension fund goes bankrupt, and your home values crater because of the above locking you into a lifetime of bliss in your suburban paradise.

    I have zero problem taking my side of the trade on that one. Do you?

    You’re staring down the barrel of a howitzer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A732Cuuo2tI

  24. Comrade Nom Deplume. Citizen, 2nd Class. says:

    [21] pumps

    “Show me evidence that the 15 dollar minimum wage has led to the “sky is falling’ mantra that you believe.”

    It’s called Google. Try it.

    Even supporters of the $15 minimum wage admit that it will cost net jobs. They feel however that it is a price worth paying to improve the lot of those who retain their jobs, and since they are Democrats, they know that transfer payments will make the remainder “whole”.

    My prediction is that it will hasten the pace of automation, reduce overall employment in the minimum wage sectors, increase illegal employment, and result in much higher youth unemployment. And I have not seen any research to rebut that.

  25. Comrade Nom Deplume. Citizen, 2nd Class. says:

    [23] left

    I’m already out and no plans to go back. I turn 54 this week and I’m thinking of taking the DE and PA bar exams for sh1ts and giggles, but also because my most valuable bar membership has been NJ and that’s too thin a reed

  26. leftwing says:

    Happy Birthday Nom, LOL. Did not realize we were so close in age with you actually a couple years my senior ;).

    I’m jealous, a lot to like where you are. No regrets, but if I had it to do over again I would have gone a professional trade route, specifically one that was reasonably portable – lawyer, accountant, vet, dentist, etc.

    Love what I did, but it requires being tethered to a financial entity with substantial capital most of which are still actually pretty geographically concentrated.

  27. The Great Pumpkin says:

    That’s right, workers can avoid taxes like a business can. Sure. The only workers getting over on the system are the one’s getting paid cash, but then again, the business owner employing the cash worker is the one really making out. My brother owns a plumbing business, so don’t try to sell me bs. Have a bunch of friends who own local businesses, so I hear straight from their mouths how they avoid taxes. Can an engineer get paid in cash, or better yet, 7o% of his pay on the books, and the other 30% in cash? Nope, forced to pay taxes the minute he gets paid. NO WAY TO HIDE INCOME WHEN THEY TAKE IT OUT OF YOUR CHECK.

    “10. “It’s a mess, and the only people carrying the tax revenue honestly are workers who get their taxes automatically deducted out of their check.”

    Oh, my little hypocritical pumper. Let’s play a game. Look at line 22 of your tax return. Add back any items that are negative above it, and add back any items subtracted from your W2 to get to the amount shown on line 7 (401k, HSA, etc). That is your new adjusted line 22 amount. From that subtract your actual line 37. Express that difference as a percent of your adjusted line 22 amount.

    THAT is your tax shield. You’re no different than the plumber, restaurant owner, or the corporate you trash, LOL.

    Do that math above, and post the percentage. I dare you, LOL.”

  28. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Typical user. Used nj services to raise his family and make his money, but bashes the state to no end. Hopes for the destruction of jersey. Why did you move here in the first place? Why?

    “I’m with Anon. NJ is a pit stop for me. Prior to 1987, I never set a foot in this State and if you exclude an occasional short visit in the summer and a temporary six months after I was married and before we moved I did not arrive here until 2003. And as soon as my Class of 2019 blue-ribboner graduates I am out.”

  29. Anon E. Moose says:

    Anone-Plumpy-Troll [21]

    Show me evidence that the 15 dollar minimum wage has led to the “sky is falling’ mantra that you believe.

    “Early evidence from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Seattle’s monthly employment, the number of unemployed workers, and the city’s unemployment rate through December 2015 suggest that since last April when the first minimum wage hike took effect: a) the city’s employment has fallen by more than 11,000, b) the number of unemployed workers has risen by nearly 5,000, and c) the city’s jobless rate has increased by more than 1 percentage point”
    http://bit.ly/1QqZf9O

    I know, I know… you just couldn’t see it coming. Or it is the fault of mean nasty business owners being greedy?

  30. Anon E. Moose says:

    Con’t [29];

    Hey Plumpy, you like Paul Krugman, don’t you? What does he have to say about raising the minimum wage?

    “So what are the effects of increasing minimum wages? Any Econ 101 student can tell you the answer: The higher wage reduces the quantity of labor demanded, and hence leads to unemployment. This theoretical prediction has, however, been hard to confirm with actual data. … the centrist view is probably that minimum wages “do,” in fact, reduce employment, but that the effects are small and swamped by other forces.”

    Further comment from Tim Worstall you might take to heart:
    >…the Low Pay Commission in my native UK for example. They agree that raising the minimum wage causes unemployment and they raise it anyway because they think that the other benefits are worth it. Sure, we can disagree with that conclusion but at least they’re not trying to deny reality.<

    http://onforb.es/23WgVHb

  31. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Minimum Wage Mythbusters
    Myth: Raising the minimum wage will only benefit teens.

    Not true: The typical minimum wage worker is not a high school student earning weekend pocket money. In fact, 89 percent of those who would benefit from a federal minimum wage increase to $12 per hour are age 20 or older, and 56 percent are women.

    Myth: Increasing the minimum wage will cause people to lose their jobs.

    Not true: In a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders urging a minimum wage increase, more than 600 economists, including 7 Nobel Prize winners wrote, “In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market. Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.”

    Myth: Small business owners can’t afford to pay their workers more, and therefore don’t support an increase in the minimum wage.

    Not true: A July 2015 survey found that 3 out of 5 small business owners with employees support a gradual increase in the minimum wage to $12. The survey reports that small business owners say an increase “would immediately put more money in the pocket of low-wage workers who will then spend the money on things like housing, food, and gas. This boost in demand for goods and services will help stimulate the economy and help create opportunities.”

    Myth: Raising the federal tipped minimum wage ($2.13 per hour since 1991) would hurt restaurants.

    Not true: In California, employers are required to pay servers the full minimum wage of $9 per hour — before tips. Even with a 2014 increase in the minimum wage, the National Restaurant Association projects California restaurant sales will outpace all but only a handful of states in 2015.

    Myth: Raising the federal tipped minimum wage ($2.13 per hour since 1991) would lead to restaurant job losses.

    Not true: As of May 2015, employers in San Francisco must pay tipped workers the full minimum wage of $12.25 per hour — before tips. Yet, the San Francisco leisure and hospitality industry, which includes full-service restaurants, has experienced positive job growth this year, including following the most recent minimum wage increase.

    Myth: Raising the federal minimum wage won’t benefit workers in states where the hourly minimum rate is already higher than the federal minimum.

    Not true: While 29 states and the District of Columbia currently have a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum, increasing the federal minimum wage will boost the earnings for nearly 38 million low-wage workers nationwide. That includes workers in those states already earning above the current federal minimum. Raising the federal minimum wage is an important part of strengthening the economy. A raise for minimum wage earners will put more money in more families’ pockets, which will be spent on goods and services, stimulating economic growth locally and nationally.

    Myth: Younger workers don’t have to be paid the minimum wage.

    Not true: While there are some exceptions, employers are generally required to pay at least the federal minimum wage. Exceptions allowed include a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for young workers under the age of 20, but only during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer, and as long as their work does not displace other workers. After 90 consecutive days of employment or the employee reaches 20 years of age, whichever comes first, the employee must receive the current federal minimum wage or the state minimum wage, whichever is higher. There are programs requiring federal certification that allow for payment of less than the full federal minimum wage, but those programs are not limited to the employment of young workers.

    Myth: Restaurant servers don’t need to be paid the minimum wage since they receive tips.

    Not true: An employer can pay a tipped employee as little as $2.13 per hour in direct wages, but only if that amount plus tips equal at least the federal minimum wage and the worker retains all tips and customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. Often, an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage. When that occurs, the employer must make up the difference. Some states have minimum wage laws specific to tipped employees. When an employee is subject to both the federal and state wage laws, he or she is entitled to the provisions of each law which provides the greater benefits.

    Myth: Increasing the minimum wage is bad for businesses.

    Not true: Academic research has shown that higher wages sharply reduce employee turnover which can reduce employment and training costs.

    Myth: Increasing the minimum wage is bad for the economy.

    Not true: Since 1938, the federal minimum wage has been increased 22 times. For more than 75 years, real GDP per capita has steadily increased, even when the minimum wage has been raised.

    Myth: The federal minimum wage goes up automatically as prices increase.

    Not true: While some states have enacted rules in recent years triggering automatic increases in their minimum wages to help them keep up with inflation, the federal minimum wage does not operate in the same manner. An increase in the federal minimum wage requires approval by Congress and the president. However, in his call to gradually increase the current federal minimum, President Obama has also called for it to adjust automatically with inflation. Eliminating the requirement of formal congressional action would likely reduce the amount of time between increases, and better help low-income families keep up with rising prices.

    Myth: The federal minimum wage is higher today than it was when President Reagan took office.

    Not true: While the federal minimum wage was only $3.35 per hour in 1981 and is currently $7.25 per hour in real dollars, when adjusted for inflation, the current federal minimum wage would need to be more than $8 per hour to equal its buying power of the early 1980s and more nearly $11 per hour to equal its buying power of the late 1960s. That’s why President Obama is urging Congress to increase the federal minimum wage and give low-wage workers a much-needed boost.

    Myth: Increasing the minimum wage lacks public support.

    Not true: Raising the federal minimum wage is an issue with broad popular support. Polls conducted since February 2013 when President Obama first called on Congress to increase the minimum wage have consistently shown that an overwhelming majority of Americans support an increase.

    Myth: Increasing the minimum wage will result in job losses for newly hired and unskilled workers in what some call a “last-one-hired-equals-first-one-fired” scenario.

    Not true: Minimum wage increases have little to no negative effect on employment as shown in independent studies from economists across the country. Academic research also has shown that higher wages sharply reduce employee turnover which can reduce employment and training costs.

    Myth: The minimum wage stays the same if Congress doesn’t change it.

    Not true: Congress sets the minimum wage, but it doesn’t keep pace with inflation. Because the cost of living is always rising, the value of a new minimum wage begins to fall from the moment it is set.

    https://www.dol.gov/featured/minimum-wage/mythbuster

    Comrade Nom Deplume. Citizen, 2nd Class. says:
    May 18, 2016 at 10:41 am
    [21] pumps

    “Show me evidence that the 15 dollar minimum wage has led to the “sky is falling’ mantra that you believe.”

    It’s called Google. Try it.

  32. leftwing says:

    27. DO THE MATH. And tell us.

    Or are you afraid to, and hence the resort to emotionally charged ‘arguments’ like ‘typical user’?

    C’mon, the spread between your actual taxable income (line 43, not line 37 as I previously wrote) and ‘adjusted’ total income (line 22 with the addbacks). In percent.

    What is your personal tax shield plumpy? Cough it up baby!

  33. leftwing says:

    31. LOLOL.

    Plumpy, you remind me of those junior equity research analysts we had to work with. Theory, citations, and gorging script coming out the butt. They could write forever, but at the end of the day it wasn’t their money.

    I’ve made my assessments and backed them with cash. You do the same.

    I’ll swing by ten years from now and see how that 80% minimum wage increase, the increased overtime threshold, and the pension plan (non)funding is working out for you.

    I know where this train is going, and I don’t need to waste everyone’s time posting innumerable conflicting timetables, schedules, compass directions, and mapquest links to try to figure it out.

  34. D-FENS says:

    UC Berkeley Touts $15 Minimum Wage Law, Then Fires Hundreds Of Workers After It Passes

    http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/uc-berkeley-touts-15-minimum-wage-then-fires-hundreds-of-workers-after-it-passes/

  35. D-FENS says:

    California minimum wage hike hits L.A. apparel industry: ‘The exodus has begun’

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-garment-manufacturing-la-20160416-story.html

  36. D-FENS says:

    $15 minimum wage forces Wendy’s to replace some workers with self-serve kiosks

    http://www.wilx.com/home/headlines/Wendys-to-replace-workers-with-self-serve-kiosks-379768881.html

  37. D-FENS says:

    McDonald’s Will Replace Jobs with Kiosks: Ex-CEO Says $15 Wage “Will Trigger Massive Layoffs”

    http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/mcdonalds-will-replace-jobs-with-kiosks-ex-ceo-says-15-wage-will-trigger-massive-layoffs_04282016

  38. D-FENS says:

    I could go on…

  39. The Great Pumpkin says:

    The minimum wage debate can’t be looked through small lens. For example, in your data, how many of those jobs were already going to be shipped to a low cost country or automated? How many jobs did the minimum wage actually impact?

    Let me put it this way, the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation. Low level wages across the board have not kept up with inflation. They are already artificially low compared to historical avgs and based on the cost of living, but how come those jobs have still been shipped or replaced by technology? From the 90’s to 2010, the minimum wage barely rose, how come the jobs still were shipped at an historic pace?

    Remember, I’m not an idiot. I’m not taking the position that raising the minimum wage will eliminate poverty. I’m not taking the position that you can solve economic problems by raising the minimum wage to 30 dollars. Raising the minimum wage to extreme levels without justification is just as bad as lowering the min wage to .50 an hour. Based on avg cost of living in areas like sf, 15 dollars is not outrageous.

    If cost of living is high, why can’t the labor reflect it? It makes no sense to have an extremely high cost of living and paying someone 8 dollars an hour. It’s like expecting to maintain the cost of living of the U.S. with Chinese wages. NOT HAPPENING.

    Anon E. Moose says:
    May 18, 2016 at 11:19 am
    Anone-Plumpy-Troll [21]

    Show me evidence that the 15 dollar minimum wage has led to the “sky is falling’ mantra that you believe.

    “Early evidence from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Seattle’s monthly employment, the number of unemployed workers, and the city’s unemployment rate through December 2015 suggest that since last April when the first minimum wage hike took effect: a) the city’s employment has fallen by more than 11,000, b) the number of unemployed workers has risen by nearly 5,000, and c) the city’s jobless rate has increased by more than 1 percentage point”
    http://bit.ly/1QqZf9O

    I know, I know… you just couldn’t see it coming. Or it is the fault of mean nasty business owners being greedy?

  40. The Great Pumpkin says:

    D, these jobs were always going to be replaced by automation. To think otherwise is crazy. To blame min wage on automation taking over is crazy. To blame min wage on jobs getting shipped overseas is crazy. Blame efficiency or greed, but don’t blame the minimum wage.

    D-FENS says:
    May 18, 2016 at 12:53 pm
    McDonald’s Will Replace Jobs with Kiosks: Ex-CEO Says $15 Wage “Will Trigger Massive Layoffs”

    http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/mcdonalds-will-replace-jobs-with-kiosks-ex-ceo-says-15-wage-will-trigger-massive-layoffs_04282016

  41. D-FENS says:

    RE…the minimum wage and inflation…It has, in fact, exceeded inflation.

    There’s a pretty graph on this link from Pew research center if you have a short attention span…

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/23/5-facts-about-the-minimum-wage/

  42. D-FENS says:

    http://money.cnn.com/interactive/economy/minimum-wage-since-1938/

    When the federal minimum wage first became law in 1938, it was 25 cents. Adjusted for inflation, that would be worth $4.19 today. Scroll over the chart to see historical minimum wage amounts, and their corresponding values in today’s dollars.

    The Great Pumpkin says:
    May 18, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Let me put it this way, the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation.

  43. D-FENS says:

    Since I can’t speak slowly over a blog comment section on the internet…I’ll type in all caps so that you understand…

    IF THE COST OF LABOR EXCEEDS THE COST TO OPERATE A KIOSK…BUSINESSES WILL USE A KIOSK…

    You should care…unless you want people to be unemployed…maybe you do in fact want them to be unemployed?

    The Great Pumpkin says:
    May 18, 2016 at 12:58 pm
    D, these jobs were always going to be replaced by automation. To think otherwise is crazy. To blame min wage on automation taking over is crazy. To blame min wage on jobs getting shipped overseas is crazy. Blame efficiency or greed, but don’t blame the minimum wage.

    D-FENS says:
    May 18, 2016 at 12:53 pm
    McDonald’s Will Replace Jobs with Kiosks: Ex-CEO Says $15 Wage “Will Trigger Massive Layoffs”

    http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/mcdonalds-will-replace-jobs-with-kiosks-ex-ceo-says-15-wage-will-trigger-massive-layoffs_04282016

  44. The Great Pumpkin says:

    D, this is a bunch of propaganda. The school is in huge debt, these people were losing their jobs no matter what, but hey, let’s blame minimum wage because it fits our ideology.

    “Coincidence? Not really.

    Last year, University of California President Janet Napolitano announced plans to boost its minimum wage to $15 at the start of next school year, independent of the state law. Since UC Berkeley was already in financial trouble — it ran a $109 million deficit last year and is projecting a deficit of $150 million this year — number crunchers there had to have factored in the higher mandated wage when making their layoff decisions.”

    D-FENS says:
    May 18, 2016 at 12:35 pm
    UC Berkeley Touts $15 Minimum Wage Law, Then Fires Hundreds Of Workers After It Passes

    http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/uc-berkeley-touts-15-minimum-wage-then-fires-hundreds-of-workers-after-it-passes/

  45. D-FENS says:

    What about this? Is this propaganda? The basis of your argument is that the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation.

    D-FENS says:
    May 18, 2016 at 1:02 pm
    http://money.cnn.com/interactive/economy/minimum-wage-since-1938/

    When the federal minimum wage first became law in 1938, it was 25 cents. Adjusted for inflation, that would be worth $4.19 today. Scroll over the chart to see historical minimum wage amounts, and their corresponding values in today’s dollars.

  46. The Great Pumpkin says:

    If you go back 50 years, every economist would agree that raising the minimum wage would be a disaster. You would get 100% approval. Why have so many changed their tune? Because economics is not a one way street. Different times, different problems. Different cures are needed for different ills. Economics was never meant to be a one way street, even though some people treat it like that. So using examples of why raising the minimum wage is so bad from the past, might be 100% correct for that time and place, but for today, it doesn’t apply. You need to understand this if you are too understand the minimum wage issue in the context of the economic problems of today.

    “Myth: Increasing the minimum wage will cause people to lose their jobs.

    Not true: In a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders urging a minimum wage increase, more than 600 economists, including 7 Nobel Prize winners wrote, “In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market. Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.””

  47. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Oh great, let’s cherry pick and use data from one of the worst economic times in our history. Do you know how bad the economy was in 1938? Do you know how bad wages were getting beat down in 1938 with all the unemployment leading to deflationary symptoms? Do you realize that 1938 was the first year they implemented the minimum wage to get the economy going? They could not raise it drastically at that time, but they did what they could to put a floor on labor prices to prevent us from going into a deflationary spiral.

    D-FENS says:
    May 18, 2016 at 1:17 pm
    What about this? Is this propaganda? The basis of your argument is that the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation.

    D-FENS says:
    May 18, 2016 at 1:02 pm
    http://money.cnn.com/interactive/economy/minimum-wage-since-1938/

    When the federal minimum wage first became law in 1938, it was 25 cents. Adjusted for inflation, that would be worth $4.19 today. Scroll over the chart to see historical minimum wage amounts, and their corresponding values in today’s dollars

  48. D-FENS says:

    You’re hopeless

  49. D-FENS says:

    At it’s peak…the MOST the minimum wage was worth…adjusted for inflation was $10.86

  50. grim says:

    Anybody interested in running the blog go-forward?

  51. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Yes, at a time when there were a lot more low level jobs. Like I said (if you read my posts above), what worked at one time, doesn’t mean it will work today.

    I have a question that might help you get the point about minimum wage. If we lowered wages to a 5 dollar an hour floor, do you think more jobs will be created? How about 2 dollar an hour floor?

    Guarantee, those jobs will never come back on their own.

    Not for nothing, no one in their right mind would waste their time with a 5 dollar an hour job in a high cost of living area. You are completely wasting your time. You can’t even do anything with the money. Make 40 dollars a day pre-tax on 8 hrs of work, and then have to pay a minimum of 1,000 a month for rent? Even if you don’t pay taxes, work for cash instead, you will make 1280 after four weeks of work. Wow, 280 dollars in spending money left over for four weeks?

    Let’s be realistic. If you got rid of the minimum wage, these jobs would still be leaving for overseas or automation. Stop lying to yourself by claiming the minimum wage caused these jobs to go.

    D-FENS says:
    May 18, 2016 at 2:03 pm
    At it’s peak…the MOST the minimum wage was worth…adjusted for inflation was $10.86

  52. The Great Pumpkin says:

    No need to get upset with my posts.

    If the minimum wage debate was a one way street, there would be no debate. So no need to get upset with my posts. It’s all discussion.

  53. D-FENS says:

    52 – They’re entry level jobs…not careers.

  54. Mike says:

    51 For $15.00 an hour?

  55. The Great Pumpkin says:

    “But again, it’s a long-run solution. Consider the blog post on San Francisco housing costs published Saturday by Eric Fischer, an Oakland, California, data artist and software developer, which has been getting a lot of deserved attention this week.

    San Francisco has the nation’s highest rents, with the median one-bedroom apartment in the city going for $3,560 in April (in Houston the median was $970). Fischer wanted to figure out why rents had gotten so high in the city. He compiled median rent data from 1948 through 2015, first using the San Francisco Housing Study DataBook’s survey of apartment rents for the years 1979 through 2001, and then perusing ads in the San Francisco Chronicle and Craigslist to get numbers for the other years.

    He found that after falling in the late 1940s and early 1950s, San Francisco’s median rent has risen at a 6.6 percent annual pace since 1956. That’s 2.5 percent on top of inflation — which means that rent has quadrupled in real terms.

    One interesting discovery Fischer made was that rent control, instituted in San Francisco in 1979, didn’t have a discernible impact on the trajectory of rents. What did? Fischer built a model that was able to explain most of the variation in rents in terms of changes in San Francisco’s housing inventory, wages and employment. Over time, then, it’s the interaction of supply and demand that drives rents. And since the mid-1950s, when San Francisco ran out of large tracts of vacant land to develop, supply has been constrained.

    According to Fischer’s model, getting real rents back to where they were in 1981 — a year he picked because that’s when an anti-development journalist he cites moved to the city, and real rents were about one-third of current levels — would require:

    A 53 percent increase in housing supply (200,000 new units)
    A 44 percent drop in Consumer-Price-Index-adjusted salaries, or
    A 51 percent drop in employment

    Huge drops in salaries and employment would be terrible. And while a San Francisco with 53 percent more people could be perfectly nice (its population of 1.2 million would be about the same as Milan’s and Prague’s, and its population density would still be markedly less than Brooklyn’s), getting there in just a couple of years would be miserable. More important, it would also be impossible.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-05-18/want-cheap-rents-build-expensive-housing-then-wait

  56. D-FENS says:

    I’m not upset…just bewildered. I have a hard time believing you’re a functioning adult. Are there others like you?

  57. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Go into majority of fast food places today, look nothing like the 90’s. All high school kids in the 90’s, and now you see all adults. Look at wendy’s on rt 23 in wayne, all adults, not one kid working there. Look at wendy’s in pompton lakes, all adults, not one kid working there.

    D-FENS says:
    May 18, 2016 at 2:31 pm
    52 – They’re entry level jobs…not careers.

  58. Comrade Nom Deplume. Citizen, 2nd Class. says:

    [31] pumpkin

    The Department of Labor? Seriously?

    What you cited to was a fluff piece written in order to help advance the administration’s political agenda. It contains all of the analysis and academic value of an Internet meme .

    I deal with DOL on a regular basis and from my experience, it is the most politicized agency in the federal government. It makes the DOJ and IRS look like paragon of virtue and fairness. The only person in Washington who lies more than the attack poodle is the secretary of labor.

  59. Fast Eddie says:

    Why do all of you insist on attempting to have a serious discussion with someone who is punking you?

  60. Comrade Nom Deplume. Citizen, 2nd Class. says:

    [59] redux

    My god, I read that POS and I want YOu to give me two minutes of your life for reading it. What an utter piece of garbage. If I could sue the Feds for hurting my sensibilities with it, I’d volunteer to be the class representative.

    How did you ever make money? That’s what i want to know. Because u find it hard to believe that you get paid to analyze anything.

  61. Comrade Nom Deplume. Citizen, 2nd Class. says:

    [60] Eddie

    I think that we should change the word to “pumpkining”

  62. Fast Eddie says:

    Nom [62],

    You know what the scary part is? That someone who has all this time is wasting it on a blog. All…. day…. long!

  63. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Here we go with the attacks on the individual instead of the argument.

  64. The Great Pumpkin says:

    I’m screwed for at least 3 hrs, but I will give you a response later on.

    Comrade Nom Deplume. Citizen, 2nd Class. says:
    May 18, 2016 at 3:15 pm
    [59] redux

    My god, I read that POS and I want YOu to give me two minutes of your life for reading it. What an utter piece of garbage. If I could sue the Feds for hurting my sensibilities with it, I’d volunteer to be the class representative.

    How did you ever make money? That’s what i want to know. Because u find it hard to believe that you get paid to analyze anything.

  65. Ragnar says:

    Nom,
    I’m making a rare exception to my non-participation in this forum to note the two month anniversary of my absence, and to mention how liberating it is to not subject myself to the Pumpkin’s unrelenting ignorance.
    I haven’t died like JJ might have, rather I’ve shrugged off the burden of arguing with a terminal moron. When I started reading this blog, it was a value for value situation. Grim created something special, and others contributed a great deal to the discussions. Grim still starts the day off well, but nearly every day seems to move into a downward spiral. While some people here offer value, and I regret abandoning our discussions, there are too many value-negators on the board for this place to offer a net positive experience. If non-worthless people who don’t already have a contact with me would like to reach me, send your contact info to Grim, and maybe he’d be kind enough to forward me your contact request.

  66. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Rags, you are one bitter individual. Rand had taught you well. Taught you how to hate life and hate anyone that doesn’t think like you. Rand has taught you how to hate all, but the individual.

    Can you answer one last question. If raising the minimum wage is causing the United States to lose jobs (your position), will lowering the minimum wage or eliminating it lead to job creation? Will it even slow down the automation of jobs or offshoring of jobs? You know the answer.

  67. leftwing says:

    60/66, Eddie and Rags: You’re correct. I broke my self imposed ban on responding to Pumps to my detriment, and keep stirring him up. Apologies.

    64, Pumps: If only there were an argument, there is only keyboard Tourettes.

    Ooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh see ya! (hat tip to Chi).
    No responses for you!

  68. The Great Pumpkin says:

    65- Nom, this is the bottom line. I don’t care about the negatives because I believe those jobs are gone no matter what.

    Like most changes, there are people for and against it. So let’s take a look at what the major opinions are regarding the Pros & Cons of raising the federal minimum wage.

    FIRST UP – THE PROS

    Boost the Economy – The thought process here is that by raising the minimum wage, workers that previously were barely making ends meet will be able to spend more money on goods and services that they previously couldn’t afford. Which means more money to go around for everyone.

    Create Jobs– If those workers are now spending more, then businesses are going to be busier, and will need to hire more workers as a result.

    Less People on Welfare Programs– Low-income families and individuals have to rely on government-sponsored programs to fill in the gaps that their low wages don’t. So by increasing their wages, there will be less people relying on these programs.

    Less Employee Turnover – People that get paid enough to live off of are happier and more satisfied with their jobs, and will be more likely to stay with an employer for longer.

    Inflation – Every year, the cost of living increases, but the minimum wage has only been raised 3 times in the past 30 years. So it’s past time for it to happen.

    NEXT – THE CONS

    Layoffs – If an employer has a tight budget, they won’t be able to afford raises across the board for all of their employees. As a result, they will have to lay off employees to stay within their budget.

    Increased Prices – Another tactic employers may be forced to us is a price increase to attempt to afford to pay their workers. If this happens, then the goods and services that low-wage workers could afford wouldn’t be much different than they were before the increase.

    Fewer Hirings – If businesses are forced to pay employees more per hour, then they can’t afford to hire as many new employees either.

    More off-shore hirings – Another option is to outsource more jobs out of the country where workers will work for way less than $15 an hour.

    Impact Varies by State – There are already a large number of states that have imposed a minimum wage higher than the federal limit. So the amount of increase will vary pretty drastically from one state to the next if the federal law is applied.”

  69. The Great Pumpkin says:

    67-

    One more thing rags. So let’s eliminate the minimum wage and compete with automation and offshoring. A few problems. First, American cost of living must be reduced dramatically to be able to have wages like Vietnam. All prices must drop significantly along with all salaries. So how exactly will this come about?

    You see, it’s easy to complain about the minimum wage, but it’s much easier economically to raise the minimum wage to stay in line with the cost of living than it is to lower wages to compete with offshoring and automation.

    Why should we waste our time trying to compete with offshoring and automation? It’s pointless. We are not in the position to compete. So raise the wages for the jobs that can’t be replaced so they are more in line with our cost of living; get people off welfare and at the same time create demand in the economy with their new purchasing power.

  70. The Great Pumpkin says:

    “There are more angles to the issue than just economics, but even if we only look at the economics, the picture isn’t clear.

    Consider this: Take two similar neighboring US states. Take a low-paid job. Increase that job’s minimum wage in one of the states. Based on classical theory, you wouldn’t expect employment for that job to go up in the state where the minimum wage was increased. But that’s exactly what happened in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

    Alan Krueger (one of the most respected economists alive) and David Card wrote a seminal paper on this topic:

    Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

    The paper conducts a difference-in-difference comparison of fast food restaurants in New Jersey and Pennsylvania before and after an increase of the minimum wage in New Jersey while minimum wages in Pennsylvania were unchanged.

    Changes in minimum wages:
    Pennsylvania: $4.25 per hour –> stayed at $4.25 per hour
    New Jersey, April 1, 1992: $4.25 per hour –> increased to $5.05 per hour

    Changes in employment:
    Pennsylvania: 23.3 FTE (full-time employees) per store –> 21.2 FTE per store
    New Jersey: 20.4 FTE per store –> 21.0 FTE per store

    For a more accessible synopsis, there is a good New York Times piece from 1993:

    Conversations/David Card and Alan Krueger; Two Economists Catch Clinton’s Eye By Bucking the Common Wisdom.

    I really like this part:

    “Economists have this theoretical structure,” Professor Card said. “The big selling point was an elegant framework that let you make logical predictions. But it’s like a Greek tragedy — our strength is also our weakness. A large number of people believe that the equations really work and that you don’t have to investigate the facts.

    ‘Let’s Not Assume’

    “The idea used to be that if the data didn’t fit the theory, there must be something wrong with your data. Now there’s a younger generation that says ‘Let’s not assume the answer.’ ”

    Labor economics is a complicated field and there’s a bunch of other considerations, e.g. people’s perception of fair pay, threshold pay to activate people to go to work, whether the wage increase is passed onto customers or simply added to cost for the employer, etc.

    For example, it could be that prices for fast food is inelastic at that price point, meaning customers don’t mind paying a bit more for the same stuff without reducing demand. That would mean that the employer’s cost isn’t raised at all despite a higher minimum wage. Just one theory.

    The paper isn’t conclusive on the issue of minimum wages, but that’s just how good economic research typically is.”

  71. The Great Pumpkin says:

    You won’t read what I posted and I understand why. You think there is a clear right answer on this issue. You therefore call me idiot or moron because you do not understand this. Your mind is unable to grasp that there is no right or wrong answer, it only thinks in absolutes.

    It depends on the situation and the circumstances. So why would you call me an idiot or a moron for taking the position that raising the minimum wage under the current situation and circumstance might be a good thing for the economy?

  72. [40] The minimum wage debate can’t be looked through small lens brains.

  73. 3b says:

    did I read this right today is grim thinking of packing it in on the blog??

  74. Alex says:

    Grim,

    If you need some time off from this blog that is understandable. By all means take the time you need. I just hope you’re aware that you have provided a great voice for this community to express themselves, toss around and share ideas and information and have in some sense created a family. We’ve all learned and gained insights from those who contributed to your blog (some more than others). But there is still much more to be gained in the future from this blog and it’s posters and readers, and we need you to lead the way, when you are willing and able. Thanks Grim.

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