Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Minimum Wage Hurts Poor People?

How Effective Is the Minimum Wage at Supporting the Poor? 

 Thomas MaCurdy
Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract: The efficacy of minimum wage policies as an antipoverty initiative depends on which families benefit from the increased earnings attributable to minimum wages and which families pay for these higher earnings. Proponents of these policies contend that employment impacts experienced by low-wage workers are negligible and, therefore, these workers do not pay. Instead proponents typically suggest that consumers pay for the higher labor costs through imperceptible increases in the prices of goods and services produced by low-wage labor. Adopting this "best-case" scenario from minimum-wage advocates, this study projects the consequences of the increase in the national minimum wage instituted in 1996 on the redistribution of resources among rich and poor families. Under this scenario, the minimum wage increase acts like a value-added or sales tax in its effect on consumer prices, a tax that is even more regressive than a typical state sales tax. With the proceeds of this national value-added tax collected to fund benefits, the 1996 increase in the minimum wage distributed the bulk of these benefits to one in four families nearly evenly across the income distribution. Far more poor families suffered reductions in resources than those who gained. As many rich families gained as poor families. These income transfer properties of the minimum wage document its considerable inefficiency as an antipoverty policy.

Make Room

So, men were once supposed to give their seat to a woman.

But that was condescending and infantilizing.  So now men are jerks for not making room for women.

Of course, men are perfectly happy to say "Excuse me" and just sit down.  The guy will scoot over.  But women think they shouldn't have to ask, and should be treated special without asking.

Maybe we should have a norm that men should be more considerate of women.  But of course THAT would be creepy, if a guy makes room for a woman but doesn't make room for a guy.

This was interesting, I thought.  A woman who had spread her stuff out on the seat got mad when a guy sat down.  Because he should ask first.  Though he did ask first, and her headphones were too loud to hear.  She injected race into it.  Or was race really the deciding factor? (She does make a good point:  if a black man touched a white woman's purse, cops would be called.  I had not considered that, and that's why you have to read stuff...) 

The narrower point is that guys generally ask people to make room, and it is more like a command.  Make. Room.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Controlling For Cause, Variance of Lifespan Still Higher for American Blacks

Why Lifespans Are More Variable Among Blacks Than Among Whites in the United States 

 Glenn Firebaugh et al.
Demography, December 2014, Pages 2025-2045

Abstract: Lifespans are both shorter and more variable for blacks than for whites in the United States. Because their lifespans are more variable, there is greater inequality in length of life — and thus greater uncertainty about the future — among blacks. This study is the first to decompose the black-white difference in lifespan variability in America. Are lifespans more variable for blacks because they are more likely to die of causes that disproportionately strike the young and middle-aged, or because age at death varies more for blacks than for whites among those who succumb to the same cause? We find that it is primarily the latter. For almost all causes of death, age at death is more variable for blacks than it is for whites, especially among women. Although some youthful causes of death, such as homicide and HIV/AIDS, contribute to the black-white disparity in variance, those contributions are largely offset by the higher rates of suicide and drug poisoning deaths for whites. As a result, differences in the causes of death for blacks and whites account, on net, for only about one-eighth of the difference in lifespan variance.

Wow. A Decisive Refutation

Spiderwoman is sexualized on a comic book cover?  I had missed the controversy.  But you don't have to!

The rant.

The video....NSFW, for language, mostly.

LAGNIAPPE:9 other "Feminist fails."  I'm not sure it is fair to single out "Feminist fails" this way, when there are so many other cases of indignation overload over the past year.  Still, these are some good ones. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Woodhouse Holiday Show: "Oh, God. It's Mom."

So, there's a documentary, one that has gotten some attention, about the Woodhouse brothers.  It's "A Woodhouse Divided."

Now, we have known the Woodhouses (Woodhi?) for some time.  Dallas, especially, is a regular at events I have attended for years.  Dallas was NC Director for AFP, as noted in this NYTimes article from 2009 on the brothers.

Anyway, last night we were heading to the annual Christmas party (it's a private party, not paid for with public funds, and it is rather emphatically a CHRISTMAS party, rather than a "Holiday Party" or "Winter Solstice Celebration," if that matters) of our friends Art and Kathy Pope.  (If you don't know who Art Pope is, then here

They arrange for off-site parking, because it's a big shindig.  Very nice, terrific food, lots of interesting people.  Including, as it turns out, on the bus on the way over, the clan Woodhouse.  We got to meet Joyce, matriarch of the clan.  And heard about an incident this week we had missed.

Here is the story.  Here is the video.  Millions of views.  Better than anything you could have contrived.

Dallas put it well:  "Oh, God.  It's mom."

It was a pleasure to get to talk to Joyce.  She is a pistol.  And she's fed up with all this bickering.  You go, Mom!