News

Palo Alto prepares to raise minimum wage

City Council to consider plan to set local rate at $11 per hour, with a view toward $15 in 2018

Palo Alto is a relative latecomer when it comes to establishing a minimum wage, but a new proposal that the City Council is set to discuss Monday, Aug. 24, looks to place the city ahead of the regional pack.

The council will consider a proposal that would set the local minimum wage at $11 an hour starting in 2016 and put the city on a path to see the figure rise to $15 by 2018. The plan, which was crafted and unanimously endorsed by the council's Policy and Services Committee in April, would align the city with a broader push across the state to raise the minimum wage.

The California minimum wage is set to rise from $9 to $10 per hour in January 2016, though cities from across the state are moving ahead with their own local laws that go beyond this standard.

San Jose voters led the way by adopting a minimum-wage ordinance in 2013, with the hourly rate currently set at $10.30 and tied to consumer price index (CPI) increases. San Francisco followed suit last November with an even more aggressive proposal, one that increased the wage to $12.25 on May 1 and that gradually raises to $15 by July 2018.

Berkeley, Emeryville, Richmond, Oakland, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Diego have all adopted minimum-wage ordinances in recent years, with varying amounts and adjustment mechanisms. In Santa Clara County, the cities of Campbell, Morgan Hill and Santa Clara are now considering such ordinances.

Palo Alto's new law is modeled in many ways after those of its neighbors, namely Mountain View and Sunnyvale. Councils in both cities adopted ordinances last October that set the minimum wage at $10.30, effective July 1 of this year. The ordinances also call for annual adjustments in the minimum wage, based on the CPI.

Mountain View, like San Francisco, has also embarked on the "$15 by '18" path, which Palo Alto also plans to follow.

Though Palo Alto has only recently started exploring a local minimum-wage ordinance, it is moving fast. The topic came up during a debate before last November's council election, with just about every candidate enthusiastically endorsing a higher minimum wage. In February, four council members formally sparked the move in a colleagues memo that proposed a local minimum wage.

Councilmen Marc Berman, Pat Burt, Tom DuBois and Cory Wolbach cited the high cost of living in Palo Alto and noted that if the minimum wages were adjusted based on local cost of living, they "would be considerably higher in Palo Alto and the Peninsula than most elsewhere in the state." The memo called the proposed minimum-wage ordinance "a modest but constructive step toward providing adequate income for all workers."

"Our lowest wage workers perform valued services in Palo Alto and often have to work multiple jobs with long commutes to barely make ends meet," the memo states. "A local minimum wage would be a modest step in supporting these workers who are vital to maintaining the services we value and that are essential to our local economy. In addition, the strength of our community and society relies on maintaining a level of economic fairness and opportunity for all."

While most cities are focusing on their own particular minimum-wage ordinances, others are building coalitions and calling for more coordination. In June, the mayors of Mountain View and Sunnyvale co-wrote a letter to their counterparts in Palo Alto and Campbell (which is also pursuing a minimum-wage ordinance) urging a "joint approach" to reaching the $15-per-hour standard.

"Raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2018 will ... help lift working families out of poverty," Mountain View Mayor John McAlister and Sunnyvale Mayor Jim Griffith wrote in the letter. "With more income, minimum-wage workers would have more spending power and inject more money into the local economy, which would benefit businesses through increased sales and local governments through increased sales-tax revenue."

McAlister also serves on the Cities Association of Santa Clara County subcommittee that focused on the minimum wage and that in June released a report calling for better regional coordination of these efforts.

"A lack of consistency in minimum wage rates creates serious problems for jurisdictions, locations, and employers," the subcommittee wrote, noting that differences in minimum-wage requirements can affect the city's economic competitiveness. "Additionally, jurisdictions have already received reports from employers in Santa Clara County stating that cities without an increased minimum wage are losing quality employees to opportunities in cities with higher minimum wages."

If the Palo Alto City Council embraces the specific recommendations from its committee, the city's minimum wage would hit the $11 mark in January, exceeding the $10.30 levels in Mountain View and the state threshold of $10.

It would be adjusted every year based on cost of living and it would cover employers who are either subject to the city's business registry requirements, conduct business in Palo Alto or maintain a business facility in the city, according to a new report from the Office of the City Attorney. The city also plans to enter into an agreement with the City of San Jose Office of Equality Assurance to enforce the local ordinance, a similar arrangement to the one that the office enjoys with Mountain View and Sunnyvale.

Palo Alto's proposed ordinance also expressly prohibits retaliation against employees who complain about an employer who doesn't comply with the law. Violators could face an daily fine, an administrative compliance order or, in the most extreme cases, a civil action launched by the city for injunctive relief.

In the lead-up to the final decision, the city is surveying local residents and businesses to get their thoughts on raising the minimum wage (the survey can be accessed at here). The city also asked residents on its online forum, Open City Hall, what they think about the proposal and received 52 responses, with about two-thirds saying they are in favor of the proposal.

Those supporting the change cited the high cost of living in Palo Alto and the need to support people who work here. Barron Park resident Joel Davidson wrote on the forum that at least a $15 wage is "necessary in this area of opulence and high rents and prices." Alexandra Acker-Lyons of Palo Verde concurred and said living in Palo Alto or anywhere near the city is "prohibitively expensive."

Opponents characterized the plan as well-meaning but ultimately misguided. Darryl Fenwith of Downtown North wrote on the city's forum that while it would be nice to find a way to help low-skilled workers live in high-priced areas like Palo Alto, raising the minimum wage could actually hurt workers by "denying them employment opportunities, reducing work hours, or being dismissed from employment." While raising the minimum wage may help some, it would hurt others, Fenwith wrote.

"And really, these conclusions make sense -- employers react to price signals," Fenwith wrote. "In essence, they see a raise in minimum wage as equivalent to a tax on low-skilled workers."

Comments

11 people like this
Posted by Economist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2015 at 8:40 am

Sadly, Darryl Fenwick is likely correct about the effects of a $15 minimum wage. The research is mixed, but mostly shows that small minimum wage increases cost few jobs. However, most economists believe that very high minimum wages, such as $15/hour, would cost a significant number of jobs even in wealthy Palo Alto.

Economists who favor minimum wages often advocate for a minimum that is half the median wage. In Santa Clara county, the median hourly wage is $20/hour. $15/hour is extremely high compared to the median. There's good reason to be afraid for the effects on the poorest and least skilled workers, whose hours will be the first to be cut back.

Minimum wages can help low-wage workers, but the level matters.


8 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2015 at 9:41 am

I read somewhere about minimum wage should also have minimum age attached to it.

A 16 year old flipping burgers or stacking groceries after school should not be paid as much as a semi-skilled worker who is working 40 hours a week in a job they have been doing for several years and have a family to support.


8 people like this
Posted by Nancy Lowe
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 20, 2015 at 10:26 am

Nevermind waiting until 2018 to put it in place, fifteen dollars an hour is NOT a living wage around here!


1 person likes this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2015 at 10:33 am

I have to admit that I don't understand the minimum wage law. If the government wants to dictate peoples' income trajectory, it would seem more effective to legislate a mandatory 10% (or more) increase in prices per year and limit the increase in profits for any business operating within the city boundaries to no more than the rate of inflation. Then in < 10 years everyone would have doubled income, right?


2 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2015 at 10:33 am

Economist - do you happen to know the median hourly wage for Palo Alto, specifically?


12 people like this
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Aug 20, 2015 at 10:41 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

The median hourly wage in our metro area was $28.14 in the first quarter of 2015. For management occupations it was $74.50. For computer related occupations it was $59.05 and for food service it was $10.77.

I do not have data for Palo Alto.


18 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2015 at 10:54 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

Minimum wage should never be so high that people settle upon it and consider it a "career" wage. Minimum wage jobs are meant for unskilled labor -- typically for students, temporary/seasonal jobs or second-income workers. Such jobs aren't supposed to be careers or the vocations of breadwinners.


3 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2015 at 12:02 pm

Fast food restaurants are likely to automate as much of their operations as possible in order to reduce the impact of this ill-considered intrusion into the private sector’s business by the elected officials who, of for the most part, have no idea how business works, or how labor costs impact profitability, as well as the cost of goods and services offered by businesses.

A Burger Flipping Robot:
Web Link

Fast Food Company Develops Robots
Web Link

McDonald’s Is Days From Opening Restaurant Run Entirely By Robots – NETV:
Web Link

While most restaurants will not be able to automate as completely as McDonald’s—it’s hard to believe that there won’t be efforts made to automate many small businesses which will be adversely affected by these government mandated cost increases.

These forced labor costs are likely to have negative impacts on minimum wage workers in the near future.


5 people like this
Posted by Caleb
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 20, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Long article Gennady, but you never bring up the elephant in the room. Why is council exempting unionized workers from the new minimum wage law?


7 people like this
Posted by Rainer
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 20, 2015 at 12:53 pm

What am I missing in this “discussion”? Oh yeah, data!

We all know that the Palo Alto Powers to be do not like data for policy discussions, as the City Council demonstrates every time there is a problem with a new monster office complex and the traffic and parking increase it entails. Nothing ever results in significant impact, as being ordered by the construction industry. Everything gets a negative mitigation declaration, or the impacts are so minor that not even that is required. You only have to wait 2 sec longer on Oregon Expressway according to the County Congestion Management Program (CMP), the City says, and the City Council swallows, even so the ordinary citizen knows those 2 seconds have to added to the 5 minutes you already have to wait stuck in rush hour at Oregon. Since everything is based on the CMP and an opaque City Traffic Model (have you been able to see it?) quoted in the developers traffic impact report, legally everything is good.

Good, you wonder, because the most often used data, the Trip Manual by the Institute of Traffic Engineers is full of spurious assumption, on the one hand, and full of warnings in small print about what to head and take into account in addition to the readily available traffic curves. There are also Federal Highway Administration Reports which really shred the usual way those ITE curves are being used for in City projects to pieces (see for example: Best Practices for Traffic Impact Studies, Oregon-FHA, Web Link).

Fortunately for the minimum wage discussion the charlatans in the City Administration apparently have not gotten their marching orders from business in time, so they did not have the usual full throated arguments handy, including the time honored warning of the lawsuits coming based on the "takings" clause in the constitution (in Palo Alto this clause can be used for anything, just look at recent draft ordinances for retail protection, Web Link page 10.)

So we can use real data from the US Department of labor with impunity, without the warnings of the City Attorney: Web Link

What a relief, why don't you look a little bit.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Dr. Levy - thank you for the relevant information.


3 people like this
Posted by Norman
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 20, 2015 at 1:35 pm

From the Carpe Diem Blog on actual effects of minimum wage hikes now and to come:

Accommodation jobs in LA are down 2,200 while the rest of the state is up.

Restaurant jobs in Seattle are down 1,200 vs the rest of the state which is up.

Anyone that is for the minimum wage increasing must answer where that increase in salaries will come from. Santa is not coming to town. Some people will have less if others will have more. It's the mature way to think about this.


1 person likes this
Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 20, 2015 at 2:47 pm

The minimum wage is a very bad idea. One consequence is that unskilled workers which can't produce more than the minimum-wage equivalent will not be hired. They will not be allowed to work and develop their skills to justify a higher wage.
Palo Alto doesn't need to go along with the herd. We could be a free-market zone--to the extent the state and federal governments allow it.


5 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 20, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

If people really believe there is no negative impact to raising the the minimum wage why only raise it to $15. If you want people to be able to afford to live here, raise it to $50. The only difference is that at $50, more jobs leave more quickly, more businesses leave earlier, and the impacts are more obvious. But at $15, all those things still happen, just to a less obvious degree.

When a business is forced to cut an employee (or two or three) because the minimum wage goes up, who do you think gets fired? The least skilled, most junior person - the same person who probably needed the job the most. Hey at $15, do you need to take a chance on someone from the opportunity center? Or now that you are paying more are you instead going to hold out for someone a little more skilled and experienced with a slightly better resume?


5 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 20, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

If you want to hear the reality about impact, not the self congratulatory nonsense that leads to this kind of policy, this is what was said last week on the Wendy's quarterly earnings call.

CFO Todd Penegor said of the pressure to pay higher wages and said that “we continue to look at initiatives and how we work to offset any impacts of future wage inflation through technology initiatives, whether that’s customer self-order kiosks, whether that’s automating more in the back of the house in the restaurant. And you’ll see a lot more coming on that front later this year from us.”

CEO Emil Brolick said, “our franchisees will likely look at the opportunity to reduce overall staff, look at the opportunity to certainly reduce hours and any other cost reduction opportunities, not just price. You know there are some people out there who naively say that these wages can simply be passed along in terms of price increases. I don’t think that the average franchisee believes that.”


3 people like this
Posted by Rogue Trader
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 20, 2015 at 4:33 pm

I just want the decision to be very carefully thought out. There are certainly a lot of "feel good" aspects, but there are also likely to be a lot of unintended consequences.

This includes a probable decrease in the amount of jobs offered. This is likely to be especially noticeable during the next inevitable economic slowdown, when employers will be quicker to jettison more expensive labor.

Stephen Bronars, Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago, writes "The first wave of minimum wage increases appears to have led to the loss of over 1,100 food service jobs in the Seattle metro division and over 2,500 restaurant jobs in the San Francisco metro division. These estimates are likely to be conservative"

Web Link

This article from a University of Michigan Economics professor has a very interesting chart that shows many countries in Europe (surprisingly) do not have a minimum wage law - and these countries have a much lower overall unemployment rate and youth unemployment rate compared to those countries with minimum wage laws.

Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 20, 2015 at 4:41 pm

@Caleb -- the unions recognize that "wages" and "compensation" are different animals. Do Dr Levy's median numbers include FICA, Calif SDI, health and dental, life insurance, sick leave, vacation, overtime premiums, retirement benefits, 401k matching funds, company-provided meals, education assistance, commuter passes, and employee discounts? Not to mention stock options for those computer-related or management occupations.

Employees should be allowed to bargain away some of their "wages" for other types compensation, especially when there are tax advantages. It would make more sense to legislate a minimum compensation rather than a minimum wage. Except the greatest compensations are unquantifiable, as in on-the-job training and the work experience itself.


4 people like this
Posted by Blurb on Public Radio
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2015 at 4:50 pm

A few weeks ago, on the "CA Report" on KQED-FM, an interviewee reported that to afford the median priced rent in SF, an hourly employee would need to earn AT LEAST $25/hr and have 2-3 roommates. The median SF rent was then stated by the interviewer to be $4000/mo!

Basically, these 3-4 theoretical renters would have very little money left over for food and other necessities at $25/hr apiece!


4 people like this
Posted by Commentator
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 20, 2015 at 4:52 pm

"A 16 year old flipping burgers or stacking groceries after school should not be paid as much as a semi-skilled worker who is working 40 hours a week in a job they have been doing for several years and have a family to support."

Agreed. The latter worker should be paid substantially more than minimum wage.


6 people like this
Posted by jerry99
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 20, 2015 at 5:06 pm

The politicians are crazy. My uncle was an uneducated man. He had a family and worked a full time job on the Chrysler assembly line, an evening job at a warehouse stacking crated and loading trucks, and worked as a house painter on weekends. And he would die before he ever took a dime from the government.

[Portion removed.]

Let everybody go to work and work as many jobs and as many hours as they can. This 1$ lunacy will keep young teenagers from getting jobs and starting to work in the workforce. Mostly a union based effort to increase union membership again.

Lunacy, what else would you expect from the left wing City Council.


7 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 20, 2015 at 5:16 pm

I think we should be on a fast track to at least $25/hour. I have never supported low wages at the bottom of the service sector...such low wages allow fast food joints, like Jack-In-The Box, to continue their plantation ways, and the rest of us have to live next to those plantations. The plantation owners always live somewhere else. Honest, hard working people should get at least $25/hr., period. In order to achieve this, the border MUST be locked down, ala Donald Trump. E-Verify must be enforced. Employers, in violation, MUST get jail time, with public shaming...this includes all those who hire labor through contractors...you know who you are, PA liberals.


Like this comment
Posted by @jerry99
a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2015 at 6:19 pm

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 20, 2015 at 6:43 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Enforcement of E-VERIFY & I-9 CHECKING FIRST! Jail time for employers who do not use an EASIER WAY to insure our CITIZEN KIDS and others get these new minimum wage jobs!
An actual estimate ( no real hard figures yet ) states that a minimum wage should be at $22.50-$25.00/hour to afford living in the SFBA sector. Denver Downtown is around $15.00/hour to afford a loft area apartment with walk to bus stops and no automobile spaces unless you work out a deal with management or a separate parking garage facility. It is MUCH CHEAPER to live in a surrounding area and take RTD LIGHT RAIL or EXPRESS BUS to the DOWNTOWN AREA.
I know, we have an EXPRESS downtown bus stop 500' from our front door in Evergreen, CO where my wife worked in the City/County Building in Downtown Denver. The buses and Light Rail trains were always full.
Remember, TRANSPORTATION costs have to be figured into that Minimum Wage calculation. When you have a dysfunctional VTA, those transportation costs go UP.
I know, TANSTAAFL applies; that money has to come from somewhere. The " under the table " employees get full checks with no government " bites " taken out. Since the I-9 and E-Verify laws are already non-enforced, why not just take the risk of " under the table " wages for ANYONE, including the ILLEGAL ALIENS instead of willing US CITIZEN teenagers?
At the risk of bringing in more people: $150k-$190k gets you a complete stand alone house in Highlands Ranch. It does not cost you $150-$200 a night on the town. If you want to play at being a New Yorker, you can get the view from a skyscraper apartment. With an underground parking garage for your BMW for bicycle and ski weekend trips only 30-90 miles away.
Please leave your California bad driving habits there!


Like this comment
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 20, 2015 at 6:53 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Blurb on Public Radio - You said, "3-4 theoretical renters would have very little money left over for food and other necessities at $25/hr apiece!"

3 roommates making 25/hr would collectively be making over $12,000 a month After taxes, assume that's $9,000. If the median rent is $4,000, that leaves them $5,000 for food and other necessities.


11 people like this
Posted by Tripp'in
a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2015 at 7:16 pm

@ Slowdown

"3 roommates making 25/hr would collectively be making over $12,000 a month After taxes, assume that's $9,000. If the median rent is $4,000, that leaves them $5,000 for food and other necessities."

What year are you living in? These three roommates have $5000 leftover after paying rent. That is $1666.66 per month per person for the entire month.I guess that you have not been to the grocery store lately.Furthermore, what about cell phone bills,car payment,health insurance,child care, etc.........

Dude, this is not 1957.


Like this comment
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 20, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Tripp'in - sorry, I guess they have to cut back on chablis and caviar.

The average american spends $150 a week on food. Assume a bay area premium, and call it $800 a month )unfortunately, that doesn't cover any meals at NOPA or Chez Panisse). Healthcare is $150, if they don't already get it at work. They pay the high rent to live in SF so they don't need a car. They still have ~$700 for a phone, uber, and some weed. Only a coddled millennial would call that a tough life.


7 people like this
Posted by Tripp'in
a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2015 at 8:38 pm

@ Slow Down
Where are you getting medical insurance for $150 a month? What are you smoking? Or better yet, what kind of prescription medication are you on?

Typical Palo Alto mentality.

P.S. Not many millennials smoke weed anymore,they can't afford it!


6 people like this
Posted by DevilsAvocado
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 20, 2015 at 9:09 pm


If we did the magical experiment of paying everyone in the country the same amount of money, I'd bet we've have major problems for a few months, maybe a year, and then things would get done better, quicker and cheaper.

The law and the economy are great things, but they have been bent to support injustices of the past and make it impossible to address many, many issues.

I'm always amazed though when it comes to this minimum wage issue how compassionate and caring Conservatives magically become in their concern only for the poor! I like George Carlin's take on that about all Conservatives care about is the kid being born ... after that tough luck, you're on your own.

Face it, until this country has an actual living wage we are not the leaders of the world, we're behind. How can every other developed country be wrong to have universal health care, and we continue to preach that lie. The US has some catching up to do.


2 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 20, 2015 at 9:20 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@DevilsAvocado - From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs, right? You don't have to imagine a magical experiment, it has been tried, and it doesn't work very well. No one is stopping you from starting a business and giving every employee the exact same salary.

Opposing minimum wage isn't about "just caring for the poor", it is about basic economics, and caring for everyone, the poor who get hurt, the business owners who get hurt, and the consumers who get hurt. The only winners are democrat politicians who use the issue to buy a few more votes, and push a few more constituents into servitude via welfare.


1 person likes this
Posted by Tripp'in
a resident of another community
on Aug 20, 2015 at 9:38 pm

[Post removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 20, 2015 at 10:36 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Tripp'in - Hey, maybe we agree on something! Obamacare is a scam, is too expensive, and caused premiums to go way up for the people you seem to be concerned about. Nonetheless, you are wrong about the price, go check CoveredCA yourself. Single person household, 50k income, not pregnant, not blind, not disabled, 20 years old, $127 for CCHP HMO, $146 for Kaiser,HMO $150 for Blue Cross, PPO.

The sad thing is that better plans could be had for ~$100 before Obamacare. That should be a lesson in unintended consequences as we now try to manipulate wages.


Like this comment
Posted by DevilsAvocado
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 20, 2015 at 11:59 pm

Slow Down:
>> @DevilsAvocado - From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs, right?

I didn't say that. But the point of my previous post is that it makes a lot more
sense that what we have today that gives everything and future everythings to
a small rather antisocial minority that thinks they are so great, because they tell
us so, but have really made a mess of everything from which is it a bit cloudy
as to whether we can get out of it.

>> You don't have to imagine a magical experiment, it has been tried, and it doesn't work very well.

Uh, really, where has it been tried? Is that like how Christianity has been tried,
or Democracy has been tried? The fact is that almost every country has some
mix of social efforts and private efforts that are supposed to work together. The
places we think of as more modern, civilized and with a better lifestyle all have
more socialist aspects to them, and are all doing better in most social metrics,
and a lot of economic metrics than we are. I'm not bashing the US or capitalism,
just saying in order to be better we need to break the stranglehold of money on
our politics. Raising the minimum wage is about the least we can do. A living
wage or negative income tax might help as well.

In our country the private efforts just seem to want to break free of this country
so they can unite with other countries to drag us back, instead of forward in the
direction every other developed country is going in. Money in politics is poison,
and much as we all find redistribution problematic, when that is the only thing
that is left it looks reasonable.

Where you do get off thinking you can drop two slogan lines that may have had
some traction in the McCarthy era, but in today's more educated and sophisticated
view we know is BS meant to maintain the status quo power structure.

If you hate socialism os badly, I expect you to go drive on your own roads, OK?

Let's make raising the minimum wage about an experiment. You seem to think
it will destroy Western Civilization, and I think it will help ... so, in a year, come back
here and I'll accept your apology that the sky did not fall.


1 person likes this
Posted by Devil'sAvocado
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 21, 2015 at 12:14 am

> The sad thing is that better plans could be had for ~$100 before Obamacare.

Basing the cost of health insurance on young healthy people is totally unreasonable,
not to mention ridiculous. ObamaCare gives you a lot of stuff you could not get from
a $100 policy before ObamaCare. The market for a healthy 20 year old is not
exactly any kind of average or median.

I was 20 a while ago now, and those minimal policies are very minimial, at least
ObamaCare forces the companies to cover things at some minimum standard.
It is a start and it has done more and better than anything the Republicans have
done or still even talked about.

Bernie Sanders is right, health care in this day and age needs to be a right.

Second, ObamaCare was cut to shreds. If you want to know about why it is not working
so well read "America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix
Our Broken Healthcare System" by Steven Brill. It has no teeth, and the insurance
companies love that we are forced to buy insurnace and intend to extort us all by
raising their prices since Obamacare has nothing to say about that.

You might also take a look at another good book, "How Markets Fail: The Logic of
Economic Calamities" by John Cassidy, which explains why health care and other
efforts are not really suited for the profit motive.

Instead of recycling McCarthy's memes from the 50's crack and book and get
updated, learn something.


Like this comment
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 21, 2015 at 12:54 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

@ DevilsAvocado - You weren't just advocating a minimum wage, you said if we paid, "everyone in the country the same amount of money, I'd bet we've have major problems for a few months, maybe a year, and then things would get done better, quicker and cheaper." That kind of wage control has been tried by communists, like the unified wage system under Mao. It didn't lead to things getting done better and quicker and cheaper, it lead it to a backwards starving mess.

Feel free to check back 2018, that's when the $15 would kick in. The sky won't fall, but there won't be any more minimum wage employees living in Palo Alto on their phat wages. There will be fewer minimum wage employees than there would have been. i won't ask for an apology, but you can go to the people actually affected in the unemployment & welfare office and tell them that at least the minimum wage made you feel better about yourself.

btw, I like roads. That's the government doing its job, not socialism. On the other hand, the government setting wages for private businesses, is getting close to socialism. Like many socialist policies, it ends up hurting the people it is supposed to help.


Like this comment
Posted by Devil'sAvocado
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 21, 2015 at 2:21 am

Oh, you took that as a serious suggestion?

No, I was not "advocating" paying everyone the same,

I merely said we would probably have a better outcome than we do today.
That is not the same, sorry you did not get that, I assumed you could
filter out a little tomfoolery. There is no serious way to have that discussion
or plan that work to transition to anything other than what we have now.

>> That's the government doing its job, not socialism.

That's the problem with your position, socialism has no meaning to
you other than to use it as an attack at Liberals.


6 people like this
Posted by Rest of World
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2015 at 7:42 am

Most of the R O W has universal healthcare, with only a few exceptions ( though China is a BIG one).

Almost all of the R O W had government paid higher education, even for studying abroad ( only four exceptions, which are in West Africa).

What the bleep is wrong with the U.S.? No wonder we have lost our place in the world, and the respect of the R O W!


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Target in Mountain View is remodeling. They are taking out about half of their checkouts and replacing them with self serve checkouts. Walmart and Safeway nearby have both already done so.

This is what minimum wage causes. The checkout clerk I spoke with is worried about her job disappearing!


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Posted by Rainer
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 21, 2015 at 10:05 pm

Rainer is a registered user.

@RagueTrader

did you notice that the favored professor of yours repeated the same exaggeration and untruth about 10 times.
Did not become any more true!


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Posted by Fried Miltonman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 22, 2015 at 5:53 pm

>> Target in Mountain View is remodeling. They are taking out about half of their
>> checkouts and replacing them with self serve checkouts. Walmart and Safeway
>> nearby have both already done so.
>> This is what minimum wage causes.
----^^^^

What do you mean by "This".

You want to regulate automation in such a way as to preferentially employ at
low wages people who mostly do not even come from this country originally?

The thing is that in order to "preserve this union", we need to keep up in the
social aspects which have been denigrated to the effect that we have such
inequality, and which also tends to sustain racial and class problems.

We did great in the 50's and 60's with schools, but when those schools
began to be democratized the wind fell out of the effort for the most part,
except in above average income places.

Small things that make big differences work just as much on the pubic
sector as they do in the private sector, such as vaccines. Whether the
vaccinee or the public pays for a vaccine, it is still a public effort.

So is minimum wage. Somehow we see that when a disaster happens
and people cannot maintain their lives and systems without help
government help is fine and dandy, but in the everyday disaster that is
our controlled crash of an economy the people who slowly slip out of
the system are rationalized away.

If nothing else the minimum wage debate is good to have around just
to see what happens over time and educate people.

The argument is made, seriously by some, that the idea of a minimum
or living wage is made absurd by the supposedly clever argument of
asking why not raise the minimum wage to $100/hr or a million!

This is the kind of argumentative improvised explosive device that
Conservatives have developed to kill any political discussion anywhere
they want any time.

This is just a self-evident dishonest argument kind of like saying if
you open a business all you have to do is to raise your prices high
enough and you can retire in a week. Open a restaurant and charge
a million dollars per meal, or a bar and charge a million dollars a
drink.

This shows the continual disingenuousness and dishonesty of the
con side on this minimum wage debate. Sure, these are rich people
with fancy educations that taught them fancy ideas, that in many cases
we how have to look back and see were wrong and clean up after, but
of course they can talk.

This is why we have economists, well - the real economists, not the
propagandists who barely make it through economics training. This is
why economics is a giant subject these days that intersects with
physics and psychology and we have scientists who study and model
the world.

All the reasonable models that apply in average cases all say the
raising the minimum rage in the ranges that it has previously been done
have either helped or not hurt any economy it has been tried in.

Just imagine what even an open-minded Conservative would say if
someone merely suggested an experiment of creating an experimental
living wage economy or seeing what happened in a local area when a
minimum wage has been raised a little above normal. and keep good
measurements. Something a leading superpower like the United
States could and should want to try. Do it in front of the world and
let people see the results.

Conservatives' mindsets these days are propagandistic to shore up
old thinking, they are even interested in experimental and theoretical
data and models that might go agains them. Why? Basically it is
kicking away the ladder, twisting a basic system that mostly works
into a more and more corrupt and unjust system over time.

In short, it is the same old status quo establishment that had
Galileo on his knees apologizing for tying to tell the Pope that the
planets revolve around the Sun. I've got to think that even though
we seem not to have gotten there yet that someday we must get to
a place where people have enough general education know how to
dispel bad arguments without wasting time on them.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2015 at 6:41 pm

FM

Try explaining that to the clerks in Target, Walmart and Safeway who have either lost their jobs or had their hours reduced.

I don't understand your argument, and I am sure they won't either.


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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 22, 2015 at 7:10 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

FYI: Kaiser Permanente is no longer the same HMO " back in the good old days " that I had. In other states, the doctors and the people serving the new Kaiser Offices are far more ignorant than the SFBA based Kaiser HMO I used to like. Kaiser paid for their greed in Texas back in 1997; that is why a Kaiser HMO is no longer welcome in Texas. Read thekaiserpapers for details.

Unfortunately, Kaiser is offering this similar substandard care as the new model for HMOs under Obamacare. I was lucky because I was treated by Stanford doctors while on MediCal. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Jacqui
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 22, 2015 at 10:30 pm

We've just moved here from Australia where the minimum wage for casuals is about $15.75 an hour, adjusted each year for cost of living.. It hasn't done the economy any harm and on the whole it helps to ensure that everyone gets a living wage. I am glad I am living in a community that is addressing this issue and the faster you can move to $15 an hour and fixing it to changes in the cost of living everyone will benefit.


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Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 22, 2015 at 10:56 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Jacqui - You can't say it has done no harm in Australia because you have no idea what market wages would be or what the unemployment rate would be if there had been a lower minimum wage.

Australia has been blessed with a commodities driven economic boom. But the unemployment rate has gone up every years since 2011, and is actually higher now that it was after the big unemployment spike during the 2008 recession. It is also now higher than it is here in the US.

But this isn't about the economy (which is more tied to mining and china than the minimum wage), it is about the minimum wage limiting opportunity for people on the margin trying to enter the workforce. The "economy" can look fine whether youth or indigenous employment is 10% vs 15%. Those numbers don't represent meaningful dollars, but they do represent meaningful people who are excluded from work.



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Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 22, 2015 at 11:19 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Fried Miltonman - "raising the minimum rage[sic] in the ranges that it has previously been done"

So do you think raising the minimum wage from $9 to $15 is in the range previous hikes? It isn't.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 23, 2015 at 11:17 am

Sounds inflationary. What if inflation goes like the late seventies and we're back where we started? (Except everyone moves into a higher tax bracket.)


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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