September 6, 2018

"Bernie Sanders wants to punish businesses for hiring poor people."

Comments John, at Facebook, linking to "Sanders rolls out ‘Bezos Act’ that would tax companies for welfare their employees receive" (Marketwatch).

ADDED: From John: "It’s called the 'Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act,' or Stop BEZOS Act. Because politicians expressing their anger at Jeff Bezos for being the richest person in the world is more important than thinking about how our laws will actually affect the poor." But what if he's richest because middle class people are subsidizing his business by helping his employees cover their living expenses? Should we not feel ripped off?

227 comments:

1 – 200 of 227   Newer›   Newest»
hawkeyedjb said...

Yes, it should definitely be illegal to hire anyone on welfare. That solves the problem.

Bernie raises the bar on stupid almost anytime he proposes anything.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

A bill of attainder (also known as an act of attainder or writ of attainder or bill of pains and penalties) is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them, often without a trial.

I'm not saying the Bezos Act is a bill of attainder, but putting a specific person's name in the title of the bill, making it clear your intent is to punish them, is cutting it awfully close.

Henry said...

Profoundly stupid idea.

Medicaid covers a huge number of people with disabilities, both physical disabilities, including blindness, and mental disabilities such as autism and brain trauma. This coverage is not tied to income.

Sanders is going to punish businesses for hiring the blind.

Sebastian said...

You sure you wanna vote for anybody on that side ever again?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

But what if he's richest because middle class people are subsidizing his business by helping his employees cover their living expenses? Should we not feel ripped off?

We're not subsidizing his business. We are subsidizing his employees. We can stop any time we want to, and his business would continue just fine.

Henry said...

There's a huge body of policy effort directed at helping poor people get viable work, even if they lack skills or have handicaps. Food stamps, section 8 housing, and school lunch programs are all designed to provide a safety net to the working poor. Obamacare was sold on the same scheme. The programs are supposed to be designed in such a way that recipients are not penalized by finding a job. This is a direct attack on that idea. Penalizing the employer does not change the nature of the attack.

Ann Althouse said...

This is the sort of thing you propose just to get the underlying idea talked about.

I hope!

Big Mike said...

I’m not saying the Bezos Act is a bill of attainder,

Why not?

At any rate Bezos can stop this piece of foolishness by saying that if it comes to a floor vote he will sell the Post to Donald Trump for a dollar.

traditionalguy said...

That's really funny. Mr Communist himself now demands we stop the greatest capitalist distribution system of consumer goods ever seen. And everyone knows the #1 reason Communism always fails on day 1 is that they have NO distribution sysytem for consumer goods other than the Police State theft backed up by actual murder. ( See, Venezuela and Cuba's distribution systems)

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Big Mike said...

Why not?

Because it targets a set of actions, and Bezos could choose to stop engaging in those actions. Also, it is not declaring Bezos guilty of a crime, it is just taxing those activities it wishes to stop.

Laslo Spatula said...

You want robots? Because this is how you get more robots.

I am Laslo.

rehajm said...

Bernie’s running for President you know. That’s going to be one crowded dais for the first DNC debate. It will be hard to distinguish from the audience- same size.

Freder Frederson said...

Medicaid covers a huge number of people with disabilities, both physical disabilities, including blindness, and mental disabilities such as autism and brain trauma. This coverage is not tied to income.

But remember, Sanders wants Medicare for all, which would alleviate this problem.



I'm Full of Soup said...

I'd like to see the feds and the states issue 1099's for all govt benefits - wouldn't need to be taxable income but it would be useful and interesting to see how much households, neighborhoods etc are getting from all the govt welfare programs. And the govt should issue an annual report with the totals for each program by zip code.

Wince said...

This is not a plan to move people off government income support.

It's a plan that would tend to permanently lock them into welfare programs reimbursed to the government by a low-wage employer.

rehajm said...

Lefties only see a pile of money so they look for a way in.

tim maguire said...

We have minimum wage laws. If it's a problem that employees are on welfare despite earning the legally mandated wage, then we need to look at the legally mandated wage, not the employers who are obeying the law.

Crimso said...

Make no mistake: if we are in fact being ripped off, it is the government doing so. Bezos is merely taking full (and legal) advantage of it. But I don't think the basic idea holds water in the first place.

rehajm said...

Would he be as pissy if these folks were working for him and collecting the lefties proposed guaranteed minimum income?

In Vermont we’d say that boy’s got his trailer wires crossed.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

tim maguire said...

We have minimum wage laws. If it's a problem that employees are on welfare despite earning the legally mandated wage, then we need to look at the legally mandated wage, not the employers who are obeying the law.

Or we need to look at the welfare program.

Tina Trent said...

Walmart helps its employees sign up for food stamps and other welfare programs.

All the big box stores base their employment expenses on the Walmart model. They point to Walmart and say: we have to do it because they do it.

They're not wrong. But it's thus hardly wrong to observe that they are foisting off the expense for their business model on middle class taxpayers.

That's why Walmart and other retailers lobbied for Obamacare too.

It's also why they and the Chamber support poltics that supports open borders. All of these stores use subcontractors who bring in laborers who clearly can't be hired legally. These workers clean the stores and build the stores and maintain parking lots and of course work in agriculture, providing product sold in the stores.

And the farming industry has been foisting off the living costs for those laborers on the middle class since the early 90's, when Bush One screwed the borders pooch. Farm owners get their laborers on as many public welfare programs as possible. A side effect is needing to always get more illegal immigrants when the last bunch figures out how to live off taxpayers without picking crops. Big problem in California and Florida.

But it's not just retail and farms: universities and colleges are some of the worst offenders. How many of the subcontracted cafeteria and janitorial and maintenance workers at any school are on public benefits, or illegal?

The Godfather said...

If we get Medicare for All, doesn’t that mean Bezos couldn’t hire anyone, because everyone would be receiving govt benefits?

Rick said...

Should we not feel ripped off?

If you feel ripped off why would you blame Bezos instead of Sanders (et al) who implemented the policy you characterize as ripping you off?

Rick.T. said...

rehajm said...

"...That’s going to be one crowded dais for the first DNC debate."

Especially with the walkers and scooters used by the leading candidates.

Sebastian said...

"This is the sort of thing you propose just to get the underlying idea talked about.

I hope!"

Keep hope alive.

But the pseudo-socialist Dems and "Independents" are dead serious.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"The Copenhagen Interpretation of Ethics says that when you observe or interact with a problem in any way, you can be blamed for it. At the very least, you are to blame for not doing more. Even if you don’t make the problem worse, even if you make it slightly better, the ethical burden of the problem falls on you as soon as you observe it. In particular, if you interact with a problem and benefit from it, you are a complete monster."

If by some fluke this thing becomes law, the bill that will surely be introduced to repeal it once we've seen the results should be called the Stop Bad Economics Ruining National Income and Employment Act.

Hunter said...

EDH said...
This is not a plan to move people off government income support.

It's a plan that would tend to permanently lock them into welfare programs reimbursed to the government by a low-wage employer.


Considering the cost of welfare benefits to the taxpayer, it could end up being more expensive to hire a low-wage worker than a college graduate. No company is going to spend $22 to employ someone with $10 skills when they could hire a person with $18 skills for $18.

Which means there is not going to be any reimbursement. Just a bunch of permanently unemployable people (who may be working for cash under the table) and the cost of paying welfare benefits to all of them.

Bay Area Guy said...

I'm not a huge fan of Bezos, and I do subjectively think Amazon is getting too big and powerful,

But Bernie Sanders is upset and wants to regulate?

Socialist Vermont Bernie Sanders?

My God - Bezos actually took risks, created enormous wealth and thousands of jobs. And Bernie Sanders has spent his entirely life avoiding work, lounging on the couch, pontificating on the unfairness of market-based economics.

That man is cray-cray....

Hunter said...

If you think about it, this is a way dumber idea than jacking up the minimum wage, which is already a dumb idea.

It's jacking up the minimum wage only on poor people, and jacking it up so high they cannot possibly ever get a job.

The likely effect could be described as economic apartheid. That's not hyperbole, that's just how bad an idea it is.

tim maguire said...

Ignorance, note the "if" in my comment.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Democrats want to keep folks poor and dependent on government? I can’t imagine why...

Big Mike said...

BTW, I trust Althouse and Meade will let us know when to stop ordering from Amazon through their portal. Not soon, I hope.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Go into the local Wal-Mart at about 7AM when the night stockers are still there. Believe me, Wal-Mart isn’t exploiting government assistance, they’re supplementing it.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

tim maguire said...

Ignorance, note the "if" in my comment.

I note the if, and my comment still stands. If it is a problem, the problem can be resolved by changing the minimum wage, or by changing the welfare program.

walter said...

"it was named by Sanders the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies, or BEZOS Act. Jeff Bezos is the founder and chief executive of Amazon. (The House version is called the Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2017.)"

Berno used more grey matter diagramming out B E Z O S and assigning word options than he did the details. The Z in particular was quite exhausting. Amazingly, the breakthrough "Zeroing" came from an unpaid intern...and the rest quickly followed.
But as the article says, this has no chance in current Congress.
Just another means to an end...to resist..to persist.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Bernie Sanders is offering President Trump a club with which to beat WaPo owner Jeff Bezos. If he picks it up that will be some real collusion.

Tina Trent said...

I work in a national retail chain after midnight on weekends.

I also worked in social services long enough to understand how all the assistance rackets work.

I know what I'm talking about. Not saying the Bernie bill is good. But the problem is real.

Henry said...

Freder Frederson said...
But remember, Sanders wants Medicare for all, which would alleviate this problem.

And by his BEZOS plan, Amazon will be taxed 100% for it.

Last month Sanders proposed massive new government benefit plan
This month Sanders proposes that businesses be taxed if they hire people on a government benefit plan.

Martin said...

No we should not feel ripped off.

Just as Amazon can set the terms of employment (within the law), so can the government set the terms for public assistance in all its forms.

All of this--the $15 minimum wage (plus benefits in some constructions) and now this, are wars against people getting starter jobs or someone in a household getting a job to supplement the main income, maybe doesn't pay well but has a lot of flexibility.

It's a war on the young and the aspiring working poor.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The main issue that the Progs overlook regarding the Amazon employment issue is that many of the jobs are NOT full time. The hiring of part time workers to fill in for the busy seasons is common in many MANY other industries besides retail.

Some people don't want to work full time. Students, Retirees and less "fixed in place" (traveling/migrant) people.

Other industries never hire full time. Agriculture for instance which is famous for hiring migrants, immigrants, illegal aliens, summer jobs ...again for traveling people.

Are we going to fine the farms and agricultural producers because they just can't hire full time, year round workers.

This is a stupid law proposed by stupid people.

LilyBart said...

Bezos created a empire that brought cheaper goods to people and has employed thousands (at various income levels)

Sanders was kicked out of a commune for being lazy.

gilbar said...

Hunter said: Considering the cost of welfare benefits to the taxpayer, it could end up being more expensive to hire a low-wage worker than a college graduate. No company is going to spend $22 to employ someone with $10 skills when they could hire a person with $18 skills for $18.

so, Sanders (a WHITE GUY from the Whitest of the White States) wants to restrict hiring of people (of COLOR!) on Welfare? And What people (of COLOR!!) are Most Likely to be on welfare?
That's right! PEOPLE OF COLOR!!! Sanders wants laws saying that NO ONE is allowed to hire PEOPLE OF COLOR!!!!
Can we officially change Sanders name to Sir Racist von Genocide?

Henry said...

@Tina Trent -- Excellent points.

I would argue that the expense Walmart is foisting on middle class taxpayers" -- living wage, health benefits -- is one that exists independently of Walmart.

If minimally qualified people do not get jobs, the cost of the safety net still exists.

I understand your point too, that the existence of the welfare programs allows Walmart hire at the lowest wages. The theoretical question is this -- if the poorest people Walmart hires did not get benefits would Walmart be forced to provide higher wages to attract enough workers?

One perverse outcome of Sanders' proposal is that Walmart will be incentivized to hire from the middle class -- teenagers and second-job adults. To hire these middle class employees, Walmart may need to offer higher wages. Unfortunately, those higher wages won't go to the disadvantaged.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The solution to the issue is a tightening job market in an expanding economy where employers have to increase wages in order to retain workers. Which is what is happening right now.

Jupiter said...

Henry said...
"Last month Sanders proposed massive new government benefit plan
This month Sanders proposes that businesses be taxed if they hire people on a government benefit plan."

Hey, somebody has to pay for it.

Nonapod said...

People need to be constantly reminded of what a weapon's grade idiot Bernie Sanders is. It's truly distressing that evidently there's a large cohort of young people who take this guy seriously.

Roy Jacobsen said...

But the pseudo-socialist Dems and "Independents" are dead serious.

Make that pseudo-Democrat and pseudo-Independent socialists.

robother said...

Bern presumably thinks it better to open borders, so that Amazon can hire ever lower wage Third Worlders who aren't eligible for welfare benefits. " To quote another monopolist tech founder: "When one door closes, another opens."

Lucien said...

This bill is obviously racist and sexist: In order to report the number of employees on welfare to the commissars employers will have to keep track of which employees are on welfare (can they even ask, now?).

Once they decline to hire welfare recipients, this will have a disparate impact on (non-Asian) minorities and single mothers.

Women and minorities hardest hit!

Rick said...

"Last month Sanders proposed massive new government benefit plan
This month Sanders proposes that businesses be taxed if they hire people on a government benefit plan."


Notable he did the same thing last year and he'll do the same again next year. When the population isn't covered by a government program his solution is to create one for them to use. When the population is covered by a government program his solution is to create another because people are using it.

The common thread in all of his pursuits is moving decisions formerly made freely to government control. The justification is largely irrelevant.

Matt Sablan said...

So... I get the feeling people should be paid a living wage and all, but, isn't this just going to push employers to stop hiring marginal workers and move towards automation and pushing current employees to do more with less?

I don't think this will have the impacts Sanders hopes it will.

cacimbo said...

In NYC lets say you have a family of four with one parent working part time living in NYCHA - they pay only 30% of income toward rent (which includes gas & electric). Receive food stamps - max of $640 per month. Are on medicaid/schip. So all medicines for children are 100% free. Plus the EITC provides them about $5,000 cash in the form of tax refund/credit. Currently those benefits are worth at least $60,000 a year - probably more. Each time they are given a raise they lose benefits. Sometimes the loss of benefits is greater than the amount of the raise. So it is hard for an employer to incentivize these worker. But the idea that all these companies could give everyone a $60,000 raise is not realistic.

rightguy said...

Free the Amaserfs!

Gabriel said...

@Ann: But what if he's richest because middle class people are subsidizing his business by helping his employees cover their living expenses?

"Middle class" people don't pay enough in income taxes to subsidize anything. UPPER-middle class people do.

People in the top 25% of income paid 87% of federal income tax. The top 25% can't define the bottom of the "middle class" without an abuse of language. The middle 50% of taxpayers ranked by income paid only at most 13% of Federal income tax--that assumes the bottom 25% paid nothing.

That said, that's only Federal income tax. Middle-class people pay a lot of other taxes, not just sales and property and state income taxes but many other taxes which are passed on to them through businesses like Amazon.

Amazon purchases are subject to sales and other taxes. Amazon paid $250 million in state and local taxes in Washington state. Which Amazon passed on to its middle-class customers.

(Washington has no state income tax but a sales tax of about 8% and a B&O tax on businesses which I think is unique. All these are passed on to consumers.)

So if the "middle-class" is subsidizing Amazon employees, they are doing so voluntarily by buying stuff from Amazon.

Wince said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gabriel said...

Should add, that was $250M for 2017, a single year.

More on B&O tax if people are interested:

"The state B&O tax is a gross receipts tax. It is measured on the value of products, gross proceeds of sale, or gross income of the business.

Washington, unlike many other states, does not have an income tax. Washington’s B&O tax is calculated on the gross income from activities. This means there are no deductions from the B&O tax for labor, materials, taxes, or other costs of doing business."

Matt Sablan said...

"But remember, Sanders wants Medicare for all, which would alleviate this problem."

-- How would that fix it? Wouldn't it just mean that they tax Bezos EVEN MORE since EVERYONE, even Bezos, would now be on Medicare?

Tina Trent said...

@Gabriel: right. . .

. . .unless you consider reality and accept that Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security are federal taxes, which they are.

This fantasy of pretending some withholding isn't taxes is just an offensive talking point.

Gojuplyr831@gmail.com said...

Wait a minute. Doesn't the latest leftist hero - Nike - utilize sweat shops and child labor? Hasn't Nike been credibly accused of not paying employees? Is Bernie going to propose a tax on companies practicing labor abuses?

Michael said...

Once again, the Left is prioritizing how "we feel" over the real-world consequences of our actions. Amazon hires people until the marginal cost of an additional employee is equal to their marginal productivity (d'oh). If you raise the cost you will reduce the number hired (mostly through additional automation to increase productivity). How we feel about it has, or should have, nothing to do with the case.

Wince said...

Hunter said...
The likely effect could be described as economic apartheid.


Lenin: “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”

Sanders: "We'll tax the Capitalists to pay for the welfare programs we'll use to subjugate the masses."

lgv said...

"One concern from Bernstein is that it “joins the right in vilifying benefit receipt.” Another is that employers would discriminate against hiring those who they think might trigger the tax."

The first is meaningless. The second is economic reality.

"But what if he's richest because middle class people are subsidizing his business by helping his employees cover their living expenses? Should we not feel ripped off?"

This is also meaningless. He's richest because his company sells a lot of stuff at really good prices compared to the competition and his employees voluntarily took jobs at the wage offered. No one has to buy stuff through Amazon. No one has to work there.

The poorly worded article isn't clear if the tax is on all businesses or those who employ more than 500. Regardless, it will hurt all businesses and all employees who receive assistance.

There should be a tag for what I have call, "Trying to legislate away the laws of economics". It happens every day, never works, but continues to be popular.

Gabriel said...

@Tina Trent:unless you consider reality and accept that Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security are federal taxes, which they are.

Erm, yes I explictly acknowledged other taxes, but thanks:

"That said, that's only Federal income tax. Middle-class people pay a lot of other taxes..."

Caligula said...

The broader context here might be "$15. Minimum Wage vs Better EITC vs nothing."

Sanders favors $15. Minimum, even though, by pricing labor above its economic value, it leads to higher unemployment. He then offers the panacea of "free education!", which ignores the reality that many simply lack the talent to take advantage of it.

Sanders opposes measures like EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit), which provides subsidies for those who work at paid employment that does not pay enough to live on. EITC has the disadvantage of costing tax money, but that's not why Sanders opposes it: he opposes it because he sees this as a subsidy to low-wage employers (even though the payment goes to the employee, not the employer).

If one accepts that the labor many people have to offer is simply not worth a "living wage," and that education (free or otherwise) is unlikely to fix this, then EITC seems superior to a high minimum wage in that it encourages continued attachment to the labor market, which a high Minimum discourages. Which has two benefits: (1) even low-value labor is worth something, whereas idleness is worth nothing; and (2) there's plenty of evidence that a life on the dole is soul-destroying; even low-paid work is psychologically superior.

Adding 'BEZOS!' to the mix is just adds a big demogogic helping of envy. Which used to be considered a sin (e.g., Cain envied Abel) but perhaps now is supposed to be a righteous virtue.

buwaya said...

There was a famous argument in the Philippine Congress in the 50's when a Congressman, frustrated by economic arguments, proposed repealing the law of supply and demand.

In another case it was proposed to outlaw typhoons.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

If it's Bernie's idea, it's a stupid idea.

Seeing Red said...

But what if he's richest because middle class people are subsidizing his business by helping his employees cover their living expenses? Should we not feel ripped off?

Which came first?

Don’t blame him because he had ideas and gumption.

Tina Trent said...

@Henry:

I think about this a lot at 4 a.m. when I'm working alongside people, mostly part-timers, many senior citizens, working so hard for $11 an hour that many of them can't do more than 20-30 hours a week.

I don't have all the answers, but knowing how welfare perverts the underclass and illegal immigration perverts welfare, I'd start by stopping the bleeding. End illegal immigration, de-incentivize employing illegals to the point where it really hurts employers -- and the Chamber, and every county, city, and state that turns a blind eye as they subcontract illegals for roadwork, university groundsmen, etc.

Second, require DNA testing for every birth and require the biological fathers to support their own children. All the time I was working in social services, I never walked into a single household that did not include at least one "unattached male" living off the benefits, sometimes father to one or more children, sometimes not. This is how adult males in the underclass live -- as free riders on welfare (or disability, or social security) benefits people pretend don't go for them.

Those two things would radically change the workforce. It would also result in some economic adjustments and pain, but once adjusted to, it would lead to a more free and more equitable system. Also, more dignity for more people.

One of the things that made me realize I didn't belong on the left was witnessing the effects of the Gingrich/Clinton (in that order) welfare reform in 1996. We got so many women off the rolls. I met many who were lifted out of dependency. It was good for their kids.

If we had included fathers in the work requirements, imagine how many more lives could have been salvaged? I have little respect for Gingrich or Clinton, but this is the good deed that will be their 'onion to heaven,' viz the old folktale.

Bob Boyd said...

"Should we not feel ripped off?"

This line of thinking reminded of the slogan of a famous bar in Alaska called Chilkoot Charlie's: "We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you."

Seeing Red said...

Which came first?

Bezos or tax advantages for encouraging of hiring the poor?

mccullough said...

Perhaps the current state is the best of all possible worlds.

1. If Amazon and Wal-Mart increased wages and benefits for lowest income employees by reducing their profit margin to 1% pre-tax, how much of an increase in age and benefits per each lower income (receive food stamps/Medicaid/ section 8, etc) would it be?

2. If the answer to 1 is “not enough to get them off government assistance (and/or pre-tax profit margin needs to be at least 3% or they are t going to continue operatin), then prices on goods sold will have to go up. How much in order to get employees off assistance?

3. If prices go up, how does that affect purchasing power of lower-income employees? (If price increases of inelasticoffset wage increases then it’s just a wash). Wal-Mart and Amazon aren’t selling Aston Martins. They sell a lot of inelastic goods. (Walmart more than Amazon).

4. Can Amazon and Walmart find even lower cost suppliers to keep price increases to a minimum? Where are these goods made? If they are shipped into the US, where are they coming from? The US Navy ensures the sea routes so that hostile countries and pirates don’t inhibit global commerce. How do we recoup this government assistance? Does the US tax shipping companies enough to fully recoup this cost?

5. Can Wal Mart and Amazon automate their processes more to cut down on labor costs? Will they if the government requires them to raise wages and benefits?


Sanders and other socialists never discuss these or other issues. The models they tout are quite basic and have unrealistic assumptions disproven by how things actually work.

If you want to get Bezos wealth (or Gates or the rest), then just eliminate the charitable deduction (esp from estates) and make alll donations subject to the gift/estate tax limitations. When these guys die with $40 billion in stock, the government can take half off the top and the dead guys can do what they want with the rest.



rhhardin said...

Money taken from the rich doesn't affect their lifestyle. The spend all they want and have extra. Taxing only affects their extra money, which goes to investment.

Investment buys equipment for poor people to work with, raising their productivity and wages.

That's what stops when you tax rich people. Only poor people are punished.

Seeing Red said...

$15 living wage.

That’s a true subsidy from the flyover states to the elite expensive cities.

They want the country to share their pain.

Seeing Red said...

5. Can Wal Mart and Amazon automate their processes more to cut down on labor costs? Will they if the government requires them to raise wages and benefits?


Robots!

Then there’s the illegals....just saying there’s a bigger picture out there.

Seeing Red said...

I thought EITC was basically giving back and a little more of FICA taxes that are taken out.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

I don't work for Amazon, though I am a very happy Prime customer.

I do receive VA benefits. Mainly medical now, though in the past education and mortgages.

Would Sanders include VA recipients?

One important difference: Unlike WIC, food stamps, section 8 etc, VA benefits are earned and a form of deferred compensation. Still, many non-veterans see them as handouts or welfare.

John Henry

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

It seems to me that Jeff Bezos and Amazon have been at the forefront improving worker pay.

Not so much by paying unskilled people more for doing unskilled work but by eliminating the need for the unskilled people. They bought so many Kiva robots for their warehouses that they wound up buying the company.

So now, a lot of the entry level jobs have been automated. As this happens, the jobs that remain or new jobs that are created, will be more skilled and higher paying.

See also McDonalds and their automated kiosks to replace counter help.

John Henry

SeanF said...

lgv: The poorly worded article isn't clear if the tax is on all businesses or those who employ more than 500. Regardless, it will hurt all businesses and all employees who receive assistance.

The federal government is (allegedly) limited by the Constitution. The only way they can regulate businesses is via the Inter-state Commerce Clause. As such, any federal laws can only be applied to businesses which engage in interstate commerce. Local mom-and-pop businesses which don't do any business across state lines are not bound by the ADA, for example.

They use the 500-or-more-employees figure as a proxy, figuring that such a law could only be challenged by a business that a) employs 500+ people; and b) doesn't do any kind of business across state lines. Is it even possible for such a business to exist?

tl;dr - the law only applies to businesses with 500+ employees.

Gabriel said...

@rhhardin:Taxing only affects their extra money, which goes to investment.

I have it on good authority that the rich do only these things with their money:

Splurge on gold-plated toilets (which require no labor to build and so benefit no one)
Light cigars with $100 bills
Convert their money to Krugerrands, fill a swimming pool with them and dive in them

Robert Cook said...

"All of this--the $15 minimum wage (plus benefits in some constructions) and now this, are wars against people getting starter jobs or someone in a household getting a job to supplement the main income, maybe doesn't pay well but has a lot of flexibility.

"It's a war on the young and the aspiring working poor."


You think people making minimum wage are just young people getting "starter jobs," or people supplementing their household's "main income" by getting a second job? For many working people in this country, the minimum wage job they work is their only job and is their household's main income.

Minimum wage was not created as a way to stipulate low wages for high school kids getting an after school job, it was created as a way to guarantee that all working people were paid a "living wage," a wage sufficient for workers to afford their basic expenses, including rent and food. Relative to inflation, minimum wage has shrunk over time in terms of its purchasing power.

To the degree huge, wealthy employers such as Amazon and Walmart increase their profit margins by not paying living wages to their employees, they are ripping off taxpayers by using us to subsidize their corporate expenses.

Of course, Profit is God so whatever any corporate criminals do to maximize their profits is sacrosanct, and is not to be questioned or criticized, even if, as is often true, we are on the hook for those ill-gotten profits.

Gabriel said...

@Sean F:As such, any federal laws can only be applied to businesses which engage in interstate commerce.

Oh you poor lamb.

Wickard v Filburn, 1942: A wheat farmer growing wheat for his own use tried that argument, and lost.

"The Court reasoned that Congress could regulate activity within a single state under the Commerce Clause, even if each individual activity had a trivial effect on interstate commerce, as long as the intrastate activity viewed in the aggregate would have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. "

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Socialists are idiots.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandinande said...

"If I ever get really rich I hope I'm not mean to poor people, like I am now."


"The Court bullshitted that, er, reasoned that Congress could regulate activity ... viewed in the aggregate would have a substantial effect on interstate commerce."

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Blogger Laslo Spatula said...

You want robots? Because this is how you get more robots.

I am Laslo.


Not just robots, Laslo, but all types of automation. While the share of robots in automation is increasing, it is still a small part of manufacturing automation.

For example, one of my clients makes screws, plates and other parts that hold bones together. 30-40 years ago it would have taken a skilled machinist, a lathe and a mill and perhaps a grinder to make one of these screws. It would have taken perhaps an hour or so per screw.

Now, a semi-skilled machinist operates 2 CNC machines that do the entire screw in about 2 minutes. The machinist does very little other than make sure the machine is kept loaded, check part tolerances as the come out of the machine and so on.

A well-paid engineer writes the programs that control the machine. But only 1-2 engineers for over 100 machines.

These machines probably cost less than $100,000 each.

International Manufacturing Technology Show ( imts.com ) is in Chicago next week at McCormick if anyone wants to see all the latest, coolest, technology. I'll be there all week. Like a kid in a candy store.

John Henry

Gabriel said...

@cook:For many working people in this country, the minimum wage job they work is their only job and is their household's main income.

Please offer a percentage. "Many" is a weasel word. From BLM:

"Minimum wage workers tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up about half of those paid the federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers (ages 16 to 19) paid by the hour, about 8 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with about 1 percent of workers age 25 and older."

" The percentage of hourly paid workers with wages at or below the federal minimum differed little among the major race and ethnicity groups. About 3 percent of African American or Black workers earned the federal minimum wage or less. Among White, Asian, and Hispanic workers, the percentage was about 2 percent."

So minimum wage is for a tiny portion of workers, most of whom are young. Does not mean they're not worthy people and don't deserve whatever can be done for them, but it is not necessary to make sweeping changes on their account.



is their household's main income.

Excluding benefits, of course...

mccullough said...

Cook,

I appreciate the sincerity of your views. You always comment in good faith.

Do you think there is a max profit margin a company should have? Does it depend on the industry they are in?

What is Amazon’s profit margin the last five years? What is Walmart’s?

If they were lowered to 1%, how much could employees wages/benefits be increased, do you think?

I’ve seen some analysis of Walmarrt’s numbers. Their profit margins are about 3%. If they took the profit margin to zero and used all the money to increase lowest paid employees, I think it’s about $1 an hour or so wage increase. (Wal mart has over 1 million workers).

I share your concerns about greed but seeing Cuba, Russia, and Venezuela, their systems are way worse.

Ray - SoCal said...

Excellent comment by Laslo!

100% agree on the more robots.

$15 minimum wage is doing the same.

The true minimum wage is zero.

rcocean said...

I think they should pass a billionaire tax, confiscating all wealth over $10 Billion.

Oh no, says the dumbo conservatives. Why, I'm a friend of the billionaires. We buddies.

No, they aren't your friends. Dummy.

Gabriel said...

@mccullough, Cook:I appreciate the sincerity of your views. You always comment in good faith.

I'd second that, Robert. I do think you have wrongly characterized who is on minimum wage and how prevalent it is, but I do not think you are being deceptive.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Cook said..
To the degree huge, wealthy employers such as Amazon and Walmart increase their profit margins by not paying living wages to their employees, they are ripping off taxpayers by using us to subsidize their corporate expenses.


These are entry level jobs and if you want Amazon and Walmart to pay employees more, then they need to raise prices on the goods they sell.

rehajm said...

Socialists are idiots. It is unfathomable we constantly have to relitigate this philosophical debate over and over despite the overwhelming evidence that Socialism sucks.

I guess it’s too compelling an argument that nothing is ever your fault and government will always take care of you.

Unknown said...

If a bill were proposed to subsidize employers to help welfare recipients obtain gainful employment or on-the-job training, how many billions of dollars could be budgeted to spend on it?

Jeffrey Tarter said...

Amazon--and a great many other employers--have wide swings in their workload. They hire people to work on a seasonal or project basis, or even for a few hours a week (e.g., driving a school bus). Trying to force employers to treat all employees as full-time, 9-5 workers simply won't work, especially in retail, construction, agriculture, and other major industries that serve on-demand markets. But somehow the policy suggestions always assume that these workers will be helped by treating part-time workers as if they have a single long-term employer--a Walmart or an Amazon, or the farmer with an apple orchard that needs pickers for two weeks every year.

At the same time, part-time workers often do run into dry spells when there's no work to be found. These people aren't "poor" in the traditional sense, but they certainly need *some* kind of bridge help. It's not obvious what form that help should take, but at least the policy makers should have a clearer picture of the problem they're trying to solve.

rehajm said...

Raise the cost of hiring workers and you get fewer workers as companies improve porductivity of existing workers, automate and change the mix of jobs.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

how much does McDonalds pay, starting, in Madison?

Most people think of McD as paying minimum wage. But, 3 years ago, about 40 miles north of Madison, McD had signs offering about $10/hr for 16 year olds and $11 for 18 year olds no experience. This June, we stopped in a McD in Framingham Mass. They had a big banner outside "We are hiring, Starting Pay $13/hr" (I have a picture)

So I wonder how much of this is a real problem and how much is a made up problem?

In any event, under President Trump it seems like it is largely be self-correcting. Last week unemployment claims were the lowest in 50 years.

Apple, Google and a couple others have dropped the college requirement for recruits. They are hiring financial managers, one position I noticed, without degrees.

Soooo much winning. Sanders and Dems hardest hit.

John Henry

Richard Dolan said...

Sounds like John is channeling his inner Maggie Thatcher.

But this seems a bit incoherent: "But what if he's richest because middle class people are subsidizing his business by helping his employees cover their living expenses? Should we not feel ripped off?" It would only be a 'subsidy' if the 'middle class' were paying some expense that the business would otherwise have to pay. Nothing requires Bezos to do so, assuming (as I do) that he complies with whatever minimum wage laws are applicable in each jurisdiction. The economic reality probably works in the opposite way: if Bezos' business were required to pay more that the labor is worth to his business, he would have an incentive to replace labor with automation, and no doubt is already doing a lot of that (for just that reason), To the extent Bezos is employing labor that is marginally inefficient compared to the cost of automation, the better argument is that he is subsidizing the welfare state by absorbing a cost that would otherwise fall on the government (the cost of fully supporting those economically suboptimal workers).

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...


Blogger Matthew Sablan said...

pushing current employees to do more with less?

there is some of this but there is a lot more looking at the workplace and seeing what is being done that is unnecessary and eliminating it.

For example, in one plant, in the course of their job, operators walk several miles a day chasing parts and materials. That is a lot of time spent no-productively.

I helped this plant figure out out to reorganize the staging of parts and materials to minimize this walking. To the employee, walking is working. Probably physically harder than operating the machine. Cut out the walking and the employee can spend more of their time making product (money) which means they are more valuable and will, eventually, get paid more.

So not doing more with less but doing less work. (Being lazy, as I call it. www.changeover.com/lazy.html )

John Henry

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Bezos is worth something like $220,000,000,000

YET HE ONLY PAYS LESS THAN $2,000,000 PER HEAR IN TAXES!!!!

WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE??????


John Henry

Robert Cook said...

"These are entry level jobs and if you want Amazon and Walmart to pay employees more, then they need to raise prices on the goods they sell."

Well, there you go. They should raise their prices. They undercut their competitors to the degree that many small businesses in the same space must close up shop. That puts self-supporting local business owners out of business, and they and their employees out of jobs. As businesses close and their stores sit empty and unrented, property values drop and local tax revenues are reduced.

All so we can get a few dollars off a book or a pair of pants.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...


Blogger rcocean said...

I think they should pass a billionaire tax, confiscating all wealth over $10 Billion.

Wouldn't that require a Constitutional amendment?

Good luck with that.

John Henry

Matt Sablan said...

"All so we can get a few dollars off a book or a pair of pants."

-- It isn't just that; there are a lot of people, without Walmarts or other things, are just not going to be able to afford to buy certain things. There are also a lot of small businesses that survive just fine against the Walmarts.

The slightly lower price of Walmart does a lot less to harm small businesses compared with the distortion in regulations pushed by big businesses and supported by governments at various levels. If you want to help small businesses, stop stabbing them in the back with unnecessary regulations designed to favor larger businesses, while complaining that Walmart can make things cheaper when you've passed laws designed to favor them.

Michael K said...

For example, in one plant, in the course of their job, operators walk several miles a day chasing parts and materials. That is a lot of time spent no-productively.

When I was in training for surgery, my chief was big on time and motions studies. We learned all about Taylor and brick laying.

One of his favorite terms was "therblig" which was Gilbreth's term for the smallest measurable action. His name backwards.

When I retired after back surgery, I went back to school to study quality improvement. I thought I would have a second career but quickly learned that no one in health care was interested in quality. Except some doctors and they don't matter anymore.

DB said...

"Should we not feel ripped off?" Bezos isn't the one taking our money. It's the government! We dare not blame the obvious culprit I guess; that would be too unsophisticated. And, obviously, Amazon is not alone in employing folks who receive welfare benefits. It's done by big employers and mom and pops too.

Matt Sablan said...

Would government funded work-study programs require the school/university to be taxed?

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Blogger Michael K said...

I thought I would have a second career but quickly learned that no one in health care was interested in quality. Except some doctors and they don't matter anymore.

My current book project is a new, collected, edition of John McConnell's 4 book series on quality.

I was once a project advisor to an industrial engineering student whose masters project was operating room turnover. That is, how much time it takes between the end of one surgery to the beginning of the next (A lot). This is my main focus for industry so it was a natural fit.

In the event, he wound up getting more interested in the scheduling systems and programming so he wound up with another advisor. But in the meantime, I had learned a bit about the process of OR prep. It is a mess, taking hours.

Sensing a business opportunity, I talked to some hospital administrators here and in the upper 50. I even offered to work for free.

NONE were interested in improving turnover. They just did not see it as a problem that ORs were unused 50% of the time. They preferred to build new ones. One acquaintance, who is in manufacturing and a believer in what I do is on the board of a chain of non-profit hospitals in NJ. He tried to stir up some interest with no results.

Rather discouraging, to say the least.

OT but if you are interested in quality and productivity in healthcare Atul Gawunde is doing some interesting work in the area. His book "The Checklist Manifesto" is excellent for all industries.

John Henry

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Also OT but if you really want to learn about lean manufacturing and elimination of non-productive work the place to start is with the founder of the Toyota Production System, Henry Ford.

His autobiography My Life and Work (1923) is, in my opinion, the single best book ever written on lean manufacturing by a wide margin.

Out of print in English for more than 80 years. Never out of print in Japanese.

John Henry

Shouting Thomas said...

Cook, the commie, wants to run other peoples' businesses.

What could go wrong?

wholelottasplainin said...

rcocean said...
I think they should pass a billionaire tax, confiscating all wealth over $10 Billion.

******************

OK, let's imagine that "they" did. Imagine further that such a confiscation would be constitutional , which it would not be.

Poof! That wealth goes to the gummint, which does....what with it?

Why, they spend it on....welfare...boondoggles....or even worthy government functions.

But then what? That $$ is gone, and.....those billionaires know there's no incentive to start new businesses, because any profit or new wealth created will be confiscated.

(or maybe the government will take over the businesses and run them. Good luck with that!!
You might as well rename the USA as New Venezuela.)

Result? General impoverishment of the American economy as growth drops to nearly nothing.

But otherwise....great idea,. rocean!

Big Mike said...

All so we can get a few dollars off a book or a pair of pants.

I always took you for a limousine liberal, Cookie, and you certainly share the limousine liberal attitudes. If you knew any really poor people you’d understand that those couple dollars on a pair of pants can be a very serious issue for them.

Bruce Hayden said...

"One of his favorite terms was "therblig" which was Gilbreth's term for the smallest measurable action. His name backwards."

Fond memories there of the book detailing them raising their kids: "Cheaper by the dozen". My major in B School was Operations Research (OR), to which this sort of thing belongs too, but I also think that I got it in a Management class. It all was fun, but I never really used it, and wish, in retrospect that I had taken more Finance classes instead.

But that did get me to thinking. I have been complaining for years that I should have gone the Fiinance route for my MBA, and not OR, which I never used. Well, why not find some online classes that will teach me what I need to know here. I have the time now, so it is no longer a either/or situation.

rehajm said...

In any event, under President Trump it seems like it is largely be self-correcting

It is not 'self-correcting' it a direct response to Trump policies- reducing the insanity of unproductive regulation and lowering both corporate and individual tax rates. It freed up capital and labor to do more productive things.

Bay Area Guy said...

@Cook,

"For many working people in this country, the minimum wage job they work is their only job and is their household's main income."

Let's assume this is true. How and why is this the case?

My 16-year old has a part-time job working at a Farmers Market on weekends. Sweet kid, no major skills, gets minimum wage.
If he dropped out of high school, he could easily get full time, unskilled work at minimum wage. If he got no pay raises, nor promotions for the next, say, 10 years, well, something would be off.




Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
buwaya said...

I did a Finance MBA.
Is useful, a bit, for internal accounting budget wars.

I also did some OR in my MBA and BSME.

MadisonMan said...

If he dropped out of high school, he could easily get full time, unskilled work at minimum wage. If he got no pay raises, nor promotions for the next, say, 10 years, well, something would be off.

If you are doing the same job for 10 years, how much of a raise over those 10 years should you expect?

Learn new things, and become more valuable to your -- or any -- employer and your wages will go up.

Sigivald said...

As McArdle once pointed out, to paraphrase, you can't both have a welfare state and then get mad when people take the benefits.

"We want all these benefits, but not if it lets meanies be meanie mean" is ... well, the sort of thoughtful analysis and pragmatism I'd expect from the likes of Sanders.

(Re. above, the Gold Standard is dead, permanently. Let it go.

Not that you can't have deficit spending even with a gold standard; the gold standard is about currency, not debt.

The whole point of debt is that it's a debt, not wealth you actually have.

Debt is not, in fact, really about "confiscating wealth" - it's about living beyond your means.

That it eventually destroys wealth is a side-effect, not the target.

If Greenspan actually said that, I'm shocked that he'd speak so loosely about it.)

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stevew said...

Meanwhile Senator Warren wants to take control of any business that has the misfortune of growing above $1B in revenue. His and Her proposals that sound to me like socialist voter fly paper.

-sw

stlcdr said...

So, would an employer be obligated to ask if an employee was on welfare and if so, terminate them? Also, interview questions would ask wether a prospective employee is on welfare.

Seems like it would keep welfare recipients on welfare...as Ann says, hopefully this is just a stunt to get people talking about the issue; and come up with real solutions.

As an aside, if Amazon is paying minimum wage or above, then amazon isn’t the problem. If a law is passed, don’t be surprised if companies and people follow that law.

Geoff Matthews said...

Wouldn't the most sensible idea be to limit low-skilled immigration? If Bezos (or whoever) needs to compete for labor, then they'll have to pay more, or treat them better (or both).
Is that really such a bad idea?

SeanF said...

Gabriel: Oh you poor lamb.

I knew I should've said "..which can be construed to be..." or "...which can be pretended to be..." :)

Seeing Red said...

Cook,

"For many working people in this country, the minimum wage job they work is their only job and is their household's main income."


What are they getting in benefits?

Matt Sablan said...

"So, would an employer be obligated to ask if an employee was on welfare and if so, terminate them?"

-- There are certain kinds of government benefits that employers CAN'T ask about. For example, if a family is getting some sort of benefit for young children, or the like, since they can't ask about whether you plan to have kids/are pregnant right now. So, would it just show up in the company's tax bill, and they'd have no idea who they owe the tax for?

Bob Loblaw said...

But what if he's richest because middle class people are subsidizing his business by helping his employees cover their living expenses? Should we not feel ripped off?

The whole argument is economically illiterate. These people are getting paid what their labor is worth. I worked in logistics for years, and we tailored our systems for people with a sixth grade education. Sometimes that was too high. If the government stopped "cover[ing] their living expenses" they'd still be in the same job, just living in a more abject kind of poverty.

We're not subsidizing Amazon. We're providing welfare for Amazon's (and many other business's) employees. It's not the same thing.

Howard said...

Trump Cult whiplash Alert.

First, Bezos should be fucked because he ripping off the American Taxpayer via the US Mail sweetheart deal Dronald will Fix: Huzzah Huzzah

Next, Bezos should be fucked because he ripping off the American Taxpayer via the US welfare system Bernie will Fix: Booo Boooo

tim in vermont said...

”For many working people in this country, the minimum wage job they work is their only job and is their household's main income."

Their bargaining power would increase were they not required to compete with illegal aliens, and “many” compared to what?

rehajm said...

Minimum wage earners are a very small part of the work force and workers earning minimum wage seldom stay at minimum wage for long once they've demonstrated work ethic and acquired even a modest base of new skills. The notion of the family breadwinner chronically stuck working at labor minimum is largely a myth.

tim in vermont said...

Trump Cult whiplash Alert.

I don’t get it, what is it that we think again? I can never keep up with the thoughts you guys put into the heads of people who don’t hate Trump...

GrapeApe said...

What the heck? Has he lost is dang mind? Not that he had much of one with which to begin this conversation.

Howard said...

Isn't Universal Basic Income the future because robots and AI.

Howard said...

Green Mountain Tim: I have never accused you of thinking

gilbar said...

Sigivald said...
As McArdle once pointed out, to paraphrase, you can't both have a welfare state and then get mad when people take the benefits.

that's why, in the Olden Days; you had to sign a poverty oath, and go to live on the county poor farm if you wanted benefits.
Social stigma, boring food all kept people at work
all things that the Dems, in their infinite wisdom, decided were BAD

GrapeApe said...

Not a fan of Bezos, but folks vote with their credit cards and that’s how we run things. Life moves forward and not always in a way we like.

tim in vermont said...

The notion of the family breadwinner chronically stuck working at labor minimum is largely a myth.

Wait a minute, Robert Cook was about to define “many”!

tim in vermont said...

Green Mountain Tim: I have never accused you of thinking

Of course not. It’s a lot more fun to build straw men and knock them down than to consider the thoughts of people who don’t think exactly the same way you do!

rehajm said...

and “many” compared to what

Some quick and dirty BLS data:

Dec 2017- Civilian labor force 160.6 million, 80.4 million of those were wage earners, 542,000 aged 16 or over worked for minimum wage, 1.3 million below federal minimum

IOW, roughly one percent of the work force is at or below min wage.

gilbar said...

someone said: they should pass a billionaire tax, confiscating all wealth over $10 Billion.
and someone else said: Wouldn't that require a Constitutional amendment?

of COURSE NOT! the Constitution is a LIVING DOCUMENT, all it would take would be 5 people to decide that a 100% tax is allowed by the commerce clause.

That's why i say GOD Bless Trump!!!

tim in vermont said...

OW, roughly one percent of the work force is at or below min wage.

It would be interesting to see what the number is for 21 and older American citizens or legal immigrants.

tim in vermont said...

Then look at the number that are heads of households with children.

Seeing Red said...

1.3 million below federal minimum

Where do servers fall? They don’t make minimum wage, do they?

What about piecemeal work?

Infinite Monkeys said...

But what if he's richest because middle class people are subsidizing his business by helping his employees cover their living expenses?

Is he not paying competitive wages? Do similar jobs pay more?

Rick said...

For many working people in this country, the minimum wage job they work is their only job and is their household's main income.


This is such bullshit. There are very few jobs where successful employees aren't moved above minimum after a few months, usually 3 or 6. Employees making minimum after years of employment are overwhelmingly likely to be either (1) partially disabled or (2) job hoppers who continually quit and thus restart the process. This last group largely consists of addicts and attitude problems.

becauseIdbefired said...

Isn't the problem too generous welfare and too many workers? It seems to me these have allowed many jobs to exist that simply should not, or to allow price competition that is artificial, as it is based on taxpayer subsidies.

Shut down the borders, limit welfare more strongly, and let the wages rise to their true market value. Yes, inflation, but I would rather pay the true cost of a good or service using my discretion than have the government pick winners through subsidies. Heck, it might even be healthier for us, as many fast food restaurants would shut down as we discover the true cost of a hamburger.

Plus, all those jobs are going to go away in any event, due to automation, as the Democrats tell us. Best to plan for that future now.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Blogger Howard said...

First, Bezos should be fucked because he ripping off the American Taxpayer via the US Mail sweetheart deal Dronald will Fix: Huzzah Huzzah

Could you explain this "sweetheart deal", Howard?

Isn't Amazon paying the same rate on postage that you or I, or LL Bean, or Sears or anyone else would pay if shipping the same volume?

You sound even more economically illiterate than Bernie Sanders

What do you think will happen to the Post Office if and when Amazon starts replacing them with their own service? A large part of the POs expense is fixed and Amazon's volume, even at standard volume discounts, underwrites that fixed cost.

2 months ago every Walgreen's in the country became a dropoff point for Fedex. Want something shipped Fedex but won't be home to get it? Ship it to your local Walgreens.

I suspect that when this gets up and running and all the kinks worked out, the PO will lose a lot of Amazon's business to Fedex.

Then we'll hear folks like you complain that the USPO needs the Amazon business to be viable.

Are you OK with Bezos paying only $3mm in taxes, Howard? I've not heard you complain about that.

John Henry

Leland said...

Next, Bezos should be fucked because he ripping off the American Taxpayer via the US welfare system Bernie will Fix: Booo Boooo

Nope, more like "HAHAHHAH, look at Bernie screwing over his base while attacking Bezos"

MayBee said...

If you are just out of high school or just out of college, and you make minimum wage or work part time and you don't live in the same state as your parents or your parents buy Obamacare through the exchanges, you are going to be on Medicaid or highly subsidized health insurance. That isn't Bezo's fault. That's the way it was set up.

rehajm said...

Seeing Red said...
1.3 million below federal minimum Where do servers fall? They don’t make minimum wage, do they? What about piecemeal work?


Servers can be paid below minimum provided wage plus tip income meets or exceeds federal minimum. The BLS below minimum number includes a number of different types of workers like some kinds of commission work, farm workers if you are related to the farmer, seasonal and recreational workers (amusement parks), certain student labor (like certified work/study programs), some certified disabled workers programs, your paper boy. There's more that I can't recall...

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

Please stop trying to help working people. Just let us work. The ACA was bad enough- we can't work 40 hours anymore. Leave us alone.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...


Blogger Seeing Red said...

Where do servers fall? They don’t make minimum wage, do they?

What about piecemeal work?


Some servers make so much that they used to pay the restaurants for letting them work there as independent contractors.

But currently, they must be "employees" of the restaurant and they are subject to minimum wage laws just like anyone else. The restaurant pays less than min wage but it is made up by tips.

If they were not making at least min wage and probably more they would go over to that $10+ per hour that McDonalds pays in many parts of the country.

Don't know what piecemeal work is but if you mean piecework, the employer must always pay at least min wage. If they don't make enough pieces, the employer must pay min anyway. Plus time and a half for OT, SS, WC, UE and other stuff.

John Henry

elkh1 said...

If he pays the minimum wage?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

If that's your conception of subsidy Professor then you're subsidizing his business even more by allowing millions of low-wage workers to immigrate into the nation each year. Absent those workers the Bezos' would have to compete for a much smaller labor pool and would have to offer substantially higher wages.

Stop subsidizing rich guys and fattening their business' bottom lines by supporting liberal immigration policies/policies designed to allow large number of low skilled workers to be a part of the national labor market.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I have lived on "the poor side of town". Food stamps, medicaid, et al. Even the opportunity for a part time job paying not so great wages was a godsend. A way to climb up the ladder.

Soooo. If you are a person with some ambitions and have fallen on hard times and taken advantage of the social welfare programs available, you are now double screwed.

Any employer will be reluctant to hire you for an entry level unskilled part time job, which could eventually work into something better. Instead of becoming an employee you are now a financial liability and will continue to be unemployed. Your chance to actually get OUT of being a dependent on the State is now taken away.

No chance to learn new job skills. No way to build a resume. No chance of working your way up in a company and get OFF of welfare. Instead you are now a permanent dependent on the government.

Of course. This plan is on purpose. You need a dependent, subservient class of peons who are grateful for crumbs, who have had all ambitions taken away, so that they will continue to vote the "correct" way and keep YOU in power.

Howard said...

It's like it never happened

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/06/trump-claims-amazon-is-ripping-off-post-office-but-its-complicated.html

bagoh20 said...

Get rid of welfare for people who have the means to support themselves which virtually any American can do today, unless they are seriously handicapped. If these people couldn't get the free stuff, they would find a way to earn the money to buy it like true adults do.

Bezos isn't the problem. He's solving problems, saving us money and time, and improving our lives. The problem is we are drowning in bleeding hearts. Stop helping us, becuase it's ruining us.

bagoh20 said...

"Bernie Sanders wants to punish businesses..."

Who don't the socialists want to punish, becuase everyone gets hurt by their stupid thoroughly disproved ideology. There are only two way to be a socialist. You need to be either stupid or evil.

jeremyabrams said...

These jobs are low paying because of illegal immigration. If 11 million people with Professor Althouse's skill set came in to the U.S. and were employable, her salary would nosedive. Same for me and anyone. And the working poor are the least able to endure this.

bagoh20 said...

I never met a person on welfare who really needed it. I'm sure there are some, but not many, and nobody who is capable enough to get a job at Amazon needs a handout to survive. I bet they have cell phones, cars, big TVs, drugs and alcohol". I've been poor enough at times to not be able to afford any of those. You get a job, then another one, and three if needed, but you don't expect other people to carry your ass with 4% unemployment.

Gahrie said...

Last week unemployment claims were the lowest in 50 years.

And was almost completely ignored. Could you imagine the paeans that would have been written if this had occurred under a Democratic president? Of course it probably would never happen under a Democratic president...….

Rick said...

NONE were interested in improving turnover. They just did not see it as a problem that ORs were unused 50% of the time. They preferred to build new ones. One acquaintance, who is in manufacturing and a believer in what I do is on the board of a chain of non-profit hospitals in NJ. He tried to stir up some interest with no results.

Rather discouraging, to say the least.


I wonder how much the medical revenue model causes this lack of interest. Medicare sets fees based on detailed analyses of the costs and time associated with performing a task. While third parties (insurance companies, etc) don't pay those amounts directly the information is public and thus part of expectations and negotiations. If hospitals become much more efficient Medicare responds by reducing their rate per procedure.

Robert Cook said...

"Last week unemployment claims were the lowest in 50 years."

So? What do you think that means? It doesn't mean actual unemployment is the lowest it's been in 50 years (or the converse, that employment is higher than it's ever been, (as I think Trump claimed).

Counted as "unemployed" are all those who have simply stopped looking for work, many simply because they are discouraged at having failed to find work after prolonged searches. Also, one can remain unemployed past the point when one has exhausted all of one's unemployment benefits. There are plenty of involuntarily non-working people who are not included in unemployment statistics. (This has been a deceptive tactic of Washington for a number of years now, and precedes the current administration.)

I'm Full of Soup said...

If Bernie wants to tax Bezos for govt benefits paid to his employees, the govt will need to issue some type of annual summary for each person. The report itself would be an eye opener so I say let's do the report first. But Dems will never agree to letting the taxpayers know how much we spend on welfare programs.

I'm Full of Soup said...

If it precedes the current administration Cookie, what is your point other than so what?

Robert Cook said...

"I never met a person on welfare who really needed it."

Your experience does not encompass all of reality. The couple of people I've know who've been on welfare really needed it, and what they got was barely enough to meet their immediate needs.

Both of them stopped taking welfare when they were in situations that allowed them do do so.

Robert Cook said...

"If it precedes the current administration Cookie, what is your point other than so what?"

The point, obviously, is: don't use statistics put forth by any administration to prove how "good" your guy is doing or how "bad" the other guy did.

TestTube said...

The primary problem with progressivism is that the vast majority of bold, innovative, new, progressive ideas are awful.

For progressivism to work, you need a system that quickly, ruthlessly, continuously, and unsentimentally tests and weeds out this vast majority of bad ideas. A capitalistic private sector is pretty good at this.

Unfortunately, the secondary problem with progressivism is stubbornly clinging to one some variant of socialism or communism, or some other -ism that relies on a powerful central planning authority.

I'm Full of Soup said...

IOW so what.

I tend to agree with you- administrations are free to change how they count stuff etc like the Obama admin did with deportees.

More transparency could fix our reluctance to believe govt reports.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"I never met a person on welfare who really needed it."

Cook said: Your experience does not encompass all of reality. The couple of people I've know who've been on welfare really needed it, and what they got was barely enough to meet their immediate needs.

Both of them stopped taking welfare when they were in situations that allowed them do do so.


Yes. My point exactly. Given the chance to get employment, new job skills, ability to advance....many people will jump at that chance.

HOWEVER, if we are going to punish businesses for hiring poor people/on welfare, the likelihood that the business will put itself into a financially negative position to do that is slim to none.

HENCE, those people who want to get off of public assistance, get employment and stop taking welfare will be limited in their options, if not completely blocked.

Progs always claim to 'mean well' and somehow it always turns out awful.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Progs have no common sense and don't understand what motivates the average person to go to work and work hard. IOW, they don't get basic economics - My proof is dopey, uninformed, misguided Barack Obama.

Bay Area Guy said...

When I was in high school, I started doing yardwork at people's homes for $7.00/hour. That was good money then (35 years ago). Fast forward 5 or 6 years, when I got my first job after college, in an office, my first salary was $8.00/hour. That was a bit low, and didn't feel good about it. While I liked the work, I was pretty much broke. So, I started looking for something better.

The point is, when you're young, it's good to have low-paying jobs. It spurs you to move up and move out.

rcocean said...

Look, you can be all full of ambition and willing to work hard etc. - but the jobs have to be there.

And not be taken by some illegal alien who'll work for LESS than Minimum wage.

Huge numbers of "hard workers" wanted to work during the Depression - but there were no jobs.

rcocean said...

Plenty of Tech workers at disney wanted to "Work hard" and earn a living.

Then Disney decided to import some H-1B's from India who'll work for 50 cents less.

Then they got fired.

But maybe they can train for a better job, unlike computer programming.

Fernandinande said...

A bill of attainder

Can you get them on Amazon?

Bilwick said...

Bernie Sanders . . . the Stupid is strong in this one.

Rick said...

Huge numbers of "hard workers" wanted to work during the Depression - but there were no jobs.

How does promising to tax any company which creates low paying jobs create low paying jobs? The issue you're discussing is not the subject. The question is not "what don't we like". The question is what can be done to improve our circumstances?

n.n said...

Punish cities that promote high density population centers.

Stop Bad Politicians by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act

Punish anti-native groups that prevent emigration reform.

Stop Bad Activists by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act

Punish Pro-Choice groups that carry out cruel and unusual punishment and summary abortions.

Stop Bad Humanitarians by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act

Punish Businesses, Groups, and Individuals that indulge in diversity (i.e. color judgments including racism, sexism).

Stop Bad Actors by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act

And so on and so forth.

n.n said...

As for Bezos, let's see if his margins survive nexus. Same for others (e.g. Nike) that play fast and loose with labor and environmental arbitrage.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Howard said...
Trump Cult whiplash Alert.

First, Bezos should be fucked because he ripping off the American Taxpayer via the US Mail sweetheart deal Dronald will Fix: Huzzah Huzzah

Next, Bezos should be fucked because he ripping off the American Taxpayer via the US welfare system Bernie will Fix: Booo Boooo


Why would a Trump supporter get whiplash? Are you under the impression that Trump supporters agree with Bernie's economic analysis?!?

It's like it never happened

Not all of us spend our days chasing the laser pointer dot.

Gahrie said...

So? What do you think that means? It doesn't mean actual unemployment is the lowest it's been in 50 years

The accuracy or worth of the statement wasn't my point...my point was how this information was received by the media. Whether or not you or I value the statistic, the media does. If this information had been favorable to the Left, it would have been widely celebrated. Since it was favorable to the right, it was almost completely ignored.

Howard said...

"Don't believe these phony numbers," Trump told supporters early last year. "The number is probably 28, 29, as high as 35 [percent]. In fact, I even heard recently 42 percent."

conveniently memory-holed just like the amazon usps scam

tim in vermont said...

IiB, you are engaging with Howard as if he were somehow interested in honest discussion. Good luck.

Howard said...

Blogger Ignorance is Bliss said...
Not all of us spend our days chasing the laser pointer dot.


That's exactly how Trump keeps you minions in his personality cult distracted.

Howard said...

Tim: Thanks for the trigger warning. I keep forgetting you snowflakes can't handle uncomfortable. I'll try and include more of those.

tim in vermont said...

That’s exactly how Trump keeps you minions in his personality cult distracted.

What does Trump have to do with the linked story? It’s something that the Democrats want to pass if they take control, from what I can tell. I didn’t see Trump’s name in it. My guess is that he is living rent free in your head, making it spin. Don’t blame us.

tim in vermont said...

Now you’re not even trying Howard.

I keep forgetting you snowflakes can’t handle uncomfortable.

Maybe you could explain how Trump is involved in the linked story.... Naah!

Ken B said...

And when I called you ignorant of market economics you had a snit and demanded an apology!

Michael K said...

NONE were interested in improving turnover. They just did not see it as a problem that ORs were unused 50% of the time. They preferred to build new ones. One acquaintance, who is in manufacturing and a believer in what I do is on the board of a chain of non-profit hospitals in NJ. He tried to stir up some interest with no results.

Key observation. I practiced 30 years in a for-profit owned mostly by doctors although real estate developer was a general partner.

We organized a trauma center, using some lean practices and ended with OR usage for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

After I retired, the hospital was bought by a non-profit run by nuns. I would not allow myself to be hospitalized there now.

Long story. They loved Obamacare and fraud is a daily routine there.

Skookum John said...

I don’t share Cook’s concerns about “greed”. I don’t share any leftist’s concerns about “greed”. Greed to me is when one group of people gets to tell another group, by law, that you shall work and we shall sit and eat. No one is greedier than a leftist who wants to enlist government goons to steal other people's money. Least of all a businessman who wishes nothing more than to keep what he honestly earned.

RigelDog said...

Yes, it's such a shame that these greedy corporations like Amazon and Walmart are costing the government so much money in social welfare programs. Imagine how much money the government would save if Amazon and Walmart didn't employ anyone at all!

Howard said...

Tim Tim Tim. The democrats don't want to pass it, it's Bernie Sanders over-playing his hand. I never said Trump had anything to do with story, just his everr loyal cadre of purse dogs who drool everytime dear leader twats. Back when Trump was targeting Amazon, many of the Ever Trumphers here and elsewhere were in joyous support of Bezos getting bitched slapped by the heavy hand of the full faith and credit of the Federal Armory and Treasury. Now that the Anti-Trump has targeted Bezos, it magically becomes a bad socialism government over-reach idea. I guess it musta touched a sensitive nerve with you.

Howard said...

Greed is hardwired. Can't eliminate it, it must be channeled. That's why blended economies work best. One-sided all socialist or anarchist results in greed being used by the powerful for deprivation.

Michael K said...

Now that the Anti-Trump has targeted Bezos, it magically becomes a bad socialism government over-reach idea. I guess it musta touched a sensitive nerve with you.

Howard, sometimes I agree with you and sometimes you just sound loony.

That's why blended economies work best. One-sided all socialist or anarchist results in greed being used by the powerful for deprivation.

No, they don't. I keep suggesting you guys read Bastiat. Free market economies are not "Anarchist"

Those are all Democrats, like those in Berkeley,.

RigelDog said...

I don’t share any leftist’s concerns about “greed”}}}}
Me either. I read a fascinating essay about the current concept of "greed" that asked why greed is now always defined as an immoral desire for excess MATERIAL goods, and yet is never tied to an immoral desire for excess POWER. In fact, who ever hears someone excoriated for wanting "too much" power; the concept does not even seem to exist. Take Obama as an example: "at some point, you've made enough money." Well, at what point Mr. President have you acquire enough power? You weren't satisfied after winning state legislator; you were greedy for more. You weren't satisfied after winning the US Senate; you were greedy for more. And after donning the mantle of the most powerful man in the world for 8 years, you do not appear to be done with your quest for still more power! We need a word to express the idea that someone is endlessly greedy for more power and that it's a gross moral failing.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

OT: I just heard kamala's line of questions to Kavanaugh. What and embarrassing disgrace of ignorance and stupidity. wow.

tim in vermont said...

That’s what I thought Howard. You are just sort of an idiot.

tim in vermont said...

Greed is hardwired. Can’t eliminate it, it must be channeled.

Human freedom must be stamped out due to ineradicable defects in human nature. Or, more likely Howard thinks we will all be “free” to do the stuff Howard approves of.

Howard said...

that's right tim. you want 100% human freedom, move to Afghanistan

tim in vermont said...

You can move to North Korea.

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