08/11/2020

News

The $15 Minimum Wage Is Turning Hard Workers Into Black Market Lawbreakers

As Reason chronicled in a feature story in our July 2016 issue, the real world impact of the unionization drive, the lawsuits, and the $15 minimum wage has been mainly to push car washes to automate and to close down. Two years later, there are more unintended consequences. The $15 minimum wage is fostering a […]

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Everything You Know About State Education Rankings Is Wrong

You probably think you know which states have the best and worst education systems in the country. If you regularly dip into rankings such as those published by U.S. News and World Report, you likely believe schools in the Northeast and Upper Midwest are thriving while schools in the Deep South lag. It’s an understandable […]

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Firefighter Earned $300K in Overtime by Working More Hours Than Actually Exist

Los Angeles firefighter Donn Thompson had a busy year in 2017. If his pay stubs are to be believed, he literally never stopped working. Data obtained by Transparent California, a project of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, show that Thompson pulled down $300,000 in overtime pay during 2017, on top of his $92,000 salary. Over […]

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California Gov. Jerry Brown Calls Gas Tax Hike Foes ‘Freeloaders’

California’s newly passed transportation package will nearly double drivers’ gas taxes. Don’t like that? Then Gov. Jerry Brown thinks you’re a freeloader. “The freeloaders—I’ve had enough of them,” Brown announced in Orange County earlier this month. “Roads require money to fix.” Without an increase in the gas tax, he argued, Californians might have to drive on gravel.

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Energy Poverty Is Much Worse for the Poor Than Climate Change

Some 1.2 billion people do not have access to electricity, according to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2016 report. About 2.7 billion still cook and heat their dwellings with wood, crop residues, and dung. In its main scenario for the trajectory of global energy consumption, the IEA projects that in 2040, half a billion people will still lack access to electricity and 1.8 billion will still be cooking and heating by burning biomass.

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Slow Economic Growth: It’s the Regulations, Stupid!

Another way to think about what an 0.8 percent lower growth rate means is to consider that from the trough of the Great Recession in 2009 when real U.S. GDP had fallen to $14.335 trillion until the first quarter of this year when it was $16.492 trillion implies a growth rate of 2.02 percent annually. If the growth rate had actually been 2.82 percent, U.S. GDP now would $17.415 trillion, about $1 trillion more than it is. If growth had increased at 3.4 percent per year (the 1990s rate) since 2009, U.S. GDP would now be $18.115 trillion.

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$15 Minimum Wage Follies in California and New York

In an even more recent analysis for the Federal Reserve, Neumark asked how effective raising the minimum wage is at reducing poverty among those low-wage workers who remain employed. He found that if wages were simply raised to $10.10 per hour, as favored by President Barack Obama, with no changes to the number of jobs or hours, only 18 percent of the total increase in incomes would go to workers in families living in poverty. . . How can that be? Neumark points out that the relationship between being a low-wage worker and being in a low-income family is fairly weak. First, in 57 percent of poor families, no one has a job, so no one gets any wages at all. Second, other workers have low incomes because they work low hours, not because they have low wages. Neumark notes that 46 percent of poor part-time workers have hourly wages above $10.10 and 36 percent above $12 per hour. Finally, many low-wage workers are secondary workers who live in well-off families—teens, for example.

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How Regulators Quietly Drive Up Costs

That means that regulators are not just setting ground rules for the insurance industry. They are determining the actual prices that are charged and paid. So when new regulations are approved, they often drive up the cost of doing business and drive down profitability. It creates pressure for insurers to come back to the department and seek rate hikes, distorts the insurance market, leads to fewer consumer choices and erodes the state’s business climate. It crushes competition, which is the real way to drive down rates for insurance and everything else.

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