Saturday, March 21, 2020

We may freely roam in our private car bubbles

It occurs to me that you can freely roam in your private car bubble during a shelter-in-place order.  That sounds indistinguishable to me from taking a stroll or a bike ride.  For a lot of people -- the elderly in particular -- it may be the only way they can get out and about just for the sake of getting out.  If you may drive to a park to take a walk, why may you not drive back and forth to a park just for the ride?

I may be just getting over a pretty mild case of the virus myself.

I had planned to come out of my gated garage in Chicago to utilize the McDonald's drive thru across the street for lunch everyday (my usual lunch).  But instead I always find myself taking a short jaunt to a McDonald's a mile away -- a nice relief.  Getting around a bit in our closed car bubbles may be just the thing to help us tolerate movement restrictions as this thing drags out -- to avoid temptation to break the "prohibition."

You can take your whole family out for the same old Sunday ride around as long as they live with you -- and stay buttoned up.
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There should be strict work rules in place to protect workers who have to handle money and credit cards all day.  Hand washing facilities should be placed right at the work spot so they can sanitize immediately when they leave the work place.  I'm worried about the kid in the McDonald’s drive thru window. I was thinking about sanitizing my credit card but I am guessing he of she is going to do 50+ an hour X 8 hour shift.
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Another common sense thing would be some mechanism to allow people who have passed through the illness and are beyond the transmission to others phase to be returned to circulation so to speak -- if there is some scientific/bureaucratic way to do it.  Might possibly get things rolling back to normal a hell of a lot sooner -- and more smoothly transitioned.  Make everyone feel a lot better to watch the world coming back -- start tomorrow.  I know there is some process by which you can tell whether someone has achieved immunity -- may be just a question if possible to manufacture enough I guess.

This latter could be done at the local level -- prodding the federal to get moving.  Bring the economy back for the price of some ID badges?  Use the state driver's license facility?  Got nothing else to do.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

$15 minimum wage = what unionized market would pay at very bottom

Were the US labor market fully unionized, the lowest negotiated hourly wage would probably clock in at around $15. *   Setting same as the minimum wage in that fair and balanced market would not make a lot of difference.
In the case of a no minimum wage and no unions at all market, labor would be subject to subsistence-plus pricing -- each bit of extra employee ability is rewarded with a bit more pay – w/o reference to how much consumers might actually fork over.
In today’s actual US labor market the federal minimum pays about half what my theoretical unionized market above pays at bottom -- $7.25 – with next-to-no unionized private firms, compared to other rich economies – 6.2% (and dropping).  Simply raising the federal minimum wage to $15 would mostly subject labor to $15-plus pricing – would mostly not provide labor across-the-board with the mechanisms to collectively extract the max the consumer market would be willing to pay.

Today’s US labor market 40 percentile wage is about $15.  Raising the minimum wage to $15 would only assure 40 percent of earners what a thoroughly unionized market might pay at very bottom -- not accomplishing much if we are serious about building (rebuilding) a fair and balanced US labor market.  

Should Republicans win back the house while holding on to the senate and white house they must certainly foist a ratchet down labor law – like the one they had in the hopper last congress, requiring union recert/decert elections at every private (non-gov) workplace where union membership has rolled over 50% since last certification.

Assuming the Democrats take back the senate next year, why (oh why?) shouldn’t they enact a ratchet up/ratchet down labor law – requiring periodic union cert/recert/decert elections at every private workplace as SEIU lawyer Andrew Strom has put forth?

* A fairly robust guesstimate: 1968 federal minimum was $12 – at half today’s per capita income -- meaning consumer support was there.