Author Archive

‘Tis the Season (Back by popular demand…)

Note: The following post is an opinion expressed solely by the author and is not necessarily supported by anybody else on the planet. First, let me start by saying I love the free market – whether it be the marketplace of ideas, opinions or goods and services.  The marketplace of ideas and beliefs is especially […]

News on the Retirement Savings Front

The Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) released a report in November on the state of individual retirement plans, based on data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances.  Most reports on retirement savings these days (or any type of savings for that matter) are doom and gloom, with three overarching themes:  1) People aren’t saving […]

Will Minimum Wage Hikes Help Red States or Hurt Them?

Last night voters in four “red” states approved minimum wage increases over the next few years.  The highest wage on the ballot was in Alaska, which will increase to $9.75 an hour by 2016 (indexed to inflation).  One on hand, it should be up to states to decide what their wages will be.  They have a better idea of how […]

A Rarely Mentioned Reason for the Wealth Gap

When Janet Yellen starts talking about income inequality, it is evident the topic is not going away anytime soon.  In addition to the differences in income earned by the top and bottom 20 percent, however, there are differences in overall wealth (assets).  Wealth disparities are not addressed as often as income disparities, since wealth goes beyond labor […]

Los Angeles Planning to Hike the Minimum Wage for Hotel Employees

Just when I thought the granola state could not get any nuttier, here comes a city-council approved plan (to be subject to a final procedural vote and the mayor’s signature), to hike the minimum wage for employees of large hotels to $15.37 an hour. The law would apply to hotels with 300 or more rooms […]

What’s In a Wage?

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its quarterly report (June 2014) on the cost of employee compensation.  The average hourly wage for U.S. workers in the private sector was $21.02.  Broken down: The average hourly wage for private sector full-time workers in all industries was $24.04.  For part-time workers it was $12.37. The average […]

More Evidence: Unemployment Benefits Hurt the Unemployed

In an earlier post, I highlighted a study from the Federal Reserve concluding that the extension of unemployment benefits through December 2013 may have prolonged unemployment. Several previous studies over the past decades have suggested this same effect of unemployment benefits.  To add to the body of evidence, a study just released from the House […]

Headlines That Are Not Screaming “Economic Recovery!”

Working Part Time – But Not by Choice (St. Louis Fed) 36 Percent of Adults Lack Retirement Savings, Including Many 65 or Older (Los Angeles Times) Five Years of Weak Wages (ABC News) From April to July 2014, the number of employed youth 16 to 24 years old increased by 2.1 million to 20.1 million […]

Finally! A Proposal That Would Foster Entrepreneurship in Texas

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running for governor in this fall’s election, has proposed a measure that would eliminate occupational licensing for jobs that do not directly impact the health and safety of consumers. Of all the proposals designed to help poor and lower-income people, this one deserves major kudos. It does not […]

The “Stop Disability Fraud Act of 2014″

Yesterday, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security introduced a bill to combat Social Security Disability fraud.  Yay!  The “Stop Disability Fraud Act of 2014” is a result of some very high-profile cases involving massive disability fraud rings, and the fact that a record 11 million (see my […]