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[VIDEO] Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage is Hurting the Workers It’s Intending to Help

Three years ago, the city of Seattle voted to gradually raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour in the name of human decency and basic fairness. Several cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have done the same thing. Critics argue that boosting wages by bureaucratic diktat leads to fewer hours and jobs for low-income and low-skilled workers.

Now what The Washington Post calls a “very credible” study from researchers at the University of Washington finds that the critics are right. The Post calls this bad news for liberals. But the real victims are low-skilled workers.

The study finds that when wages were increased to $13, employers cut hours by 9 percent. That means that low-skilled workers saw their monthly compensation decrease by an average of $125.

Studies that downplay the effects of minimum wage hikes have mostly focused on teenagers and fast food workers. But the study at the University of Washington paper looks at the impact on workers spanning all ages and all demographics.

The findings may surprise progressives who believe that the only limit to higher pay for workers is the greed and selfishness of business owners. But it doesn’t come as a surprise to those who remain unconvinced that the law of supply and demand can be amended by city councils. Labor is simply another cost for any business, and when the price of something goes up, we tend to buy less of it.

Another takeaway from the study is that if you want to raise the income of low-skilled workers, taxpayers should pay for that burden through direct cash payments or other forms of welfare. Offloading the cost to employers has unintended consequences, even though it’s a lot easier to demonize business owners for being greedy cheapskates than to build a consensus around raising taxes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Socialist Utopia Setback: Seattle’s $13 Minimum Wage Led To Drop Of $1,500 In Income For Low-Wage Earners

Ben Shapiro writes: Remember that time Seattle’s socialist city council member Kshama Sawant pressed for the city to increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour? I actually debated Sawant on the issue; I asked her if she would be in favor of raising the wage to $1,000 per hour. She misdirected from the issue.

Seattle actually ended up embracing $13 per hour, raising the minimum wage from $9.47 in 2014 to $11 in 2015 to $13 in 2016 under the theory that an increase wouldn’t throw people out of work, wouldn’t encourage part-time hiring, and would inflate salaries enough to allow more affordability in the Seattle housing market.

From the dustbin of history: The socialist zombies of Seattle

A new study demonstrates that, as usual, central planning of the economy leads to precisely the reverse of the results the planners seek to achieve.

According to a new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research:

Using a variety of methods to analyze employment in all sectors paying below a specified real hourly rate, we conclude that the second wage increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees’ earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016. Evidence attributes more modest effects to the first wage increase. We estimate an effect of zero when analyzing employment in the restaurant industry at all wage levels, comparable to many prior studies.

In other words, restaurants didn’t fire anybody, they just put them on part-time shifts and cut back their hours. That shouldn’t be a surprise, since that’s precisely what happens every time the government places an extra burden on employers. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] This LA Musician Built $1,200 Tiny Houses for the Homeless. Then the City Seized Them

REASON TV: Elvis Summers crowdfunded $100,000 to build dozens of tiny homes. City officials looking to pass a $2 billion housing plan tried to shut him down.

NPR reports:

Elvis Summers is not part of any nonprofit or government agency. He’s just a 38-year-old guy with a Mohawk and tattooed arms who started a GoFundMe campaign last spring so he could build tiny houses for homeless people to live in. He got the idea after befriending a homeless woman in his neighborhood.

“It just got to me, you know, I’m just like, you know, everybody in this neighborhood knows you, they like you,” he says. “Why does nobody give a crap that you’re sleeping in the dirt? Literally.”

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So far Summer has given out 37 tiny 6- by 8-foot houses, which cost $1,200 each to build. They resemble sheds, painted in bright, solid colors, with solar panels on the roof, wheels to make them mobile and a portable camping toilet.

But recently, city sanitation workers confiscated three of the houses from a sidewalk in South Los Angeles and tagged others for removal.

“Unfortunately, these structures are a safety hazard,” says Connie Llanos, a spokeswoman for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. “These structures, some of the materials that were found in some of them, just the thought of folks having some of these things in a space so small, so confined, without the proper insulation, it really does put their lives in danger.” Read the rest of this entry »


New Flophouses: Chinatown’s Internet Cafes 

Amid a housing crisis, the Lower Manhattan businesses serve as an unlikely safety net, where people pay as little as $7 a night for a roof over their heads.

“It’s like a prison. You have to be high to sleep.”

— Harry Jumonji

At the beginning of the millennium, the internet cafe was a beacon of the future. But now, amid a lack of affordable housing and a surge in homelessness in New York City, these vestiges of the dot-com boom have become an unlikely safety net, where people pay as little as $7 a night for a roof over their heads. On any given evening in the few remaining 24-hour cybercafes in Manhattan’s Chinatown, chairs are filled with the exhausted bodies of those who have lived there for weeks or months — or by some accounts, even years.

A man tried to get some rest at Freedom Zone Internet Cafe while others surfed the web and played games through the night.

A man tried to get some rest at Freedom Zone Internet Cafe while others surfed the web and played games through the night. Niko Koppel

“It’s like prison,” said Harry Jumonji, describing the tense environment of Freedom Zone on Eldridge Street, where he had been staying with his girlfriend for months. “You got to be high to sleep.” Read the rest of this entry »


Paul Sperry: Obama Administration Collecting Personal Data for a Secret Race Database

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Paul Sperry writes: A key part of President Obama’s legacy will be the fed’s unprecedented collection of sensitive data on Americans by race. The government is prying into our most personal information at the most local levels, all for the purpose of “racial and economic justice.”

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“The FHFA will also pry into your personal assets and debts and whether you have any bankruptcies. The agency even wants to know the square footage and lot size of your home, as well as your interest rate.”

Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school — all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites.

Obama Big brother

“FHFA will share the info with Obama’s brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which acts more like a civil-rights agency, aggressively investigating lenders for racial bias.”

This Orwellian-style stockpile of statistics includes a vast and permanent network of discrimination databases, which Obama already is using to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income 51PlZCT6QLL._SL250_housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.

[Order Paul Sperry’s bookThe Great American Bank Robbery: The Unauthorized Report About What Really Caused the Great Recession” from Amazon.com]

Big Brother Barack wants the databases operational before he leaves office, and much of the data in them will be posted online.

So civil-rights attorneys and urban activist groups will be able to exploit them to show patterns of “racial disparities” and “segregation,” even if no other evidence of discrimination exists.

Obama is presiding over the largest consolidation of personal data in US history.blinking-computer

Housing database

The granddaddy of them all is the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing database, which the Department of Housing and Urban Development rolled out earlier this month to racially balance the nation, ZIP code by ZIP code. It will map every US neighborhood by four racial groups — white, Asian, black or African-American, and Hispanic/Latino — and publish “geospatial data” pinpointing racial imbalances.

The agency proposes using nonwhite populations of 50% or higher as the threshold for classifying segregated areas.

[Read the full text here, at New York Post]

Federally funded cities deemed overly segregated will be pressured to change their zoning laws to allow construction of more subsidized housing in affluent areas in the suburbs, and relocate inner-city minorities to those predominantly white areas. HUD’s maps, which use dots to show the racial distribution or density in residential areas, will be used to select affordable-housing sites.tape-recording

“The FHFA has offered no clear explanation as to why the government wants to sweep up so much sensitive information on Americans, other than stating it’s for ‘research’ and ‘policymaking.'”

HUD plans to drill down to an even more granular level, detailing the proximity of black residents to transportation sites, good schools, parks and even supermarkets. If the agency’s social engineers rule the distance between blacks and these suburban “amenities” is too far, municipalities must find ways to close the gap or forfeit federal grant money and face possible lawsuits for housing discrimination.

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Civil-rights groups will have access to the agency’s sophisticated mapping software, and will participate in city plans to re-engineer neighborhoods under new community outreach requirements.

“By opening this data to everybody, everyone in a community can weigh in,” Obama said. “If you want affordable housing nearby, now you’ll have the data you need to make your case.”

ObamaOrwell

Mortgage database

Meanwhile, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, headed by former Congressional Black Caucus leader Mel Watt, is building its own database for racially balancing home loans. The so-called National Mortgage Database Project will compile 16 years of lending data, broken down by race, and hold everything from individual credit scores and employment records.

Mortgage contracts won’t be the only financial records vacuumed up by the database. According to federal documents, the repository will include “all credit lines,” from credit cards to student loans to car loans — anything reported to credit bureaus. This is even more information than the IRS collects.

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The FHFA will also pry into your personal assets and debts and whether you have any bankruptcies. The agency even wants to know the square footage and lot size of your home, as well as your interest rate. Read the rest of this entry »


In 5-4 Vote, Supreme Court OKs Liability for Unintentional Housing Discrimination

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Under the Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 holding in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, you can be held liable for housing discrimination even if you never intended to discriminate.

“Stop calling it fair housing law. If it was ever a matter of fairness, it isn’t now,” writes catoinstitute Senior Fellow Walter Olson.

Learn more


How Much Renters Need to Make to Afford a Two-Bedroom Apartment in Each State

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 reports: A recent poll conducted by The National Low Income Housing Coalition compared the average renter’s wage in each U.S. state to the wage needed to afford an average two-bedroom apartment.

The Out of Reach study, which came out in May, found that there are a considerable number of states where average workers simply cannot afford to rent two-bedrooms.

Image Credit: The National Low Income Housing Coalition

Image Credit: The National Low Income Housing Coalition

City Lab notes:

  • The average American needs to earn $19.35/hour to afford a two-bedroom rental unit.
  • The average hourly wage earned by American renters is $15.16. That’s 2.5 times the federal minimum wage.
  • The median hourly wage of the average American worker is $17.09.

American-dreamers

This graph shows the states with the largest gaps between average hourly wages and wages needed to rent two-bedrooms.  Read the rest of this entry »


#BaltimoreRiots: Burning Building was to be 60-Unit Affordable Housing for Seniors

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Pastor Hickman: burning building was to be 60-unit affordable housing for seniors. “It hurts my heart,” he says.

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CBS/DC reports: A massive, 3-alarm fire is emitting smoke and large flames in Baltimore Monday night as the city is still trying to stop riots following Freddie Gray’s funeral.

WNEW’s Cameron Thompson reports the fire has engulfed what was supposed to be a senior center under construction at Lanvale St. and Chester St.

Southern Baptist Church was building the center to provide 60 affordable apartments and behavioral counseling for seniors.

“We’re going to rebuild. We’re going to come back strong from this,” says the church’s pastor Donte Hickman

The fire is one of many the Baltimore City Fire Department is trying to battle as riots erupted throughout the city.

Mayoral spokesman Kevin Harris says the fire was related to the riots, while Baltimore’s deputy fire chief says the department is “99 percent sure” it is linked to the riots.

No one was believed to be in the building at the time.

Source: CBS DC


Headline of the Day: ‘Naked Man Drinks Jack Daniels, Sleeps on NYC Subway’

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A naked man, of robust proportions, was spotted riding the New York City subway sporting only a pair of sneakers and socks.Unknown

 “He was just really drunk. He would swig it and then nod out. He must’ve taken four swigs in four stops. He was oblivious…” 

— Peter Davis, an editor at the Daily Front Row

Onlookers say that in between gulps of Jack Daniel’s on the train, he dozed off.

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The NY Post reports that Peter Davis, an editor at the Daily Front Row fashion magazine, snapped a photo of the naked man. “He was just really drunk. He would swig it and then nod out. He must’ve taken four swigs in four stops,” he told the New York paper. “He was oblivious. He kind of looked at me when I took the picture, but he didn’t seem to care.”

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REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The incident took place on the E-train according to The NY Post, though Davis’ tweets say it was the A-train…

(read more)

Sun News 


JPMorgan Deal Sets Aside Potentially Billions For Acorn-Clone Activist Groups

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But wait… you can’t just take the penalty money and hand it out to your friends, can you? According to the breakdown from Investors.com, apparently you can.

Extortion: Just when we thought its post-crisis probe of banks couldn’t get more corrupt, the Obama administration has cut radical Democrat groups in on the record $13 billion JPMorgan Chase subprime loan deal.

On Page 5 of “Annex 2” of the recently released consent order, you’ll find this little gem: The Justice Department mandates that JPMorgan fork over any unclaimed or unpaid consumer damages to a nonprofit group that finances Acorn clones and other shakedown groups.

They stand to reap millions. The “consumer relief” portion of the deal by itself totals $4 billion.

If the government “determines that a shortfall in that obligation remains as of Dec. 31, 2017,” the agreement states, “JPMorgan shall make a compensatory payment in cash in an amount equal to the shortfall to NeighborWorks America to provide housing counseling, neighborhood stabilization, foreclosure prevention or similar programs.”

Potentially billions could be distributed to Democrat activists through NeighborWorks, a government-funded “affordable housing” group that supports a national network of left-wing community organizers operating in the same vein as Acorn. Read the rest of this entry »