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Low-wage employers are the real ‘welfare queens’

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The federal minimum wage of $7.25 is now worth 30 percent less than it was in the 1960s, after adjusting for inflation. It is quite literally a poverty wage — if you support a child, working full-time at the federal minimum will land you $650 below the federal poverty line; supporting two kids will put you more than $4,000 beneath it.

We’ve noted before that low-wage employers shift some of their labor costs onto the backs of taxpayers by encouraging their workers to apply for public benefits. These employers are the true “welfare queens,” their profits indirectly subsidized by the public, which allows them to keep prices artificially low. We’ve argued in the past that this is one of several reasons why conservatives who oppose spending on the social safety net should favor raising the minimum to a point where workers can get by on their own labor.

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A report released this week by the Economic Policy Institute quantifies just how much taxpayers would save by raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, as Barack Obama has proposed. The full report can be downloaded at the Economic Policy Institute’s website. Here’s an infographic that summarizes its findings:

minimumwagesafetynet-infographic


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2020 Election

Trump appears to have fraudulently manipulated financial markets yet again

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

It was a busy week for the regime, as Trump and his team work tirelessly to manage the political fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, but it seems like he made time for some fraud.

In March, global oil prices crashed as a result of a dispute between Russia and the Saudis, dragging down stock markets and making it unprofitable to extract shale oil, which accounts for almost two-thirds of crude oil production in the U.S.

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Trump administration quietly guts COVID-19 paid leave provision that already excluded 75 percent of workers

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The Trump administration has quietly issued new guidance that will exempt many small businesses from having to provide some workers with paid leave during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Labor issued a temporary rule Wednesday that effectively exempted businesses with fewer than 50 workers from being required to provide 12 weeks of paid leave for workers whose children are suddenly at home from school or child care under the coronavirus stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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2020 Election

How a general strike might play out in the United States

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The idea that pandemic-related economic insecurity might spur a general strike has been trending among pundits and the public in the past week. Such a labor action, which would imply a complete shutdown of all industries as all workers cease showing up to work, would be historically unprecedented, a prominent historian told Salon.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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