Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Notes on the history of inequality and minimum wages

American babies are 76 per cent more likely to die before they turn a year old than babies in other rich countries, and American children who survive infancy are 57 per cent more likely to die before adulthood, according to a sobering new study published in the journal Health Affairs.
American teens aged 15 to 19 are 82 times more likely than teens in other rich countries to die of a gun homicide.
You have to say, the Republican agenda is working.

Meanwhile, here in Canada, how is it that the operators of Tim Hortons franchises have a union -- the Great White North Franchisors Association -- to negotiate with the boss, but the workers cannot seem to have a union to negotiate with the franchisors?

And if markets are supposed to work, how is it the franchise system establishes that the boss gets to set the prices while the franchisors have to pay the (rising) wage costs?  Is the role of retail franchising in creating poverty a bug in the system, or more of a feature?

The $15 minimum wage, coming into force in Alberta and Ontario but bidding to be a national trend, has provoked furious criticism among business lobby organizations.  But economic analysis seems to be conclusive that increasing working people's incomes to meet a living wage is good for the economy, increases retail activity, stimulates business, etc.  The business groups seem so transparently dependent either on scare anecdotes or on the kinds of "studies" in which the press releases have been drafted before the research is commissioned, that the protests of the lobbyists seem to do more to reduce business credibility than to shift policy. In Ontario, at least, Kathleen Wynne seems to be building her re-election program on wrong footing these critics.

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