In today’s daily USPS junk mail delivery, I was deluged (as is everyone these days) by a pile of political flyers. One of the flyers in particular caught my eye – it was entitled “Common Sense MMXIV” (why the Roman numerals? But I digress).
One of the supposed “common sense” proposals listed on this flyer was to “…. enact, as Australia has, a $20/hr. minimum wage”. Since I was not aware that Australia had a $20/hr. minimum wage, I googled this topic and found that in fact Australia does not have a $20/hr. minimum wage (source: http://www.wageindicator.org/main/salary/minimum-wage/australia). What Australia does have is a 16.87AUD/hour minimum which translates (at the current exchange rate) into 14.84USD/hour (AUD and USD are acronyms respectively for “Australian Dollar” and “US Dollar”). Furthermore, there are all sorts of caveats that apply; for example, there’s a schedule of minimum wages (expressed as a percentage of the 16.87AUD/hour baseline) based upon the age of the worker:
|<16 years: 36.8%
|16 years: 47.3%
|17 years: 57.8%
|18 years: 68.3%
|19 years: 82.5%
|20 years: 97.7%
For more on the economics of the minimum wage, I recommend reading the attached article by David Neumark; Dr. Neumark is an economics professor and director of the Center for Economics and Public Policy at the University of California, Irvine.
Who Really Gets the Minimum Wage, by David Neumark.pdf
This week’s IGM Economic Experts Panel statements:
- Employers that discriminate in hiring will be at a competitive disadvantage, if their customers do not care about their mix of employees, compared with firms that do not discriminate.
- Rising market wages are an important reason — over and above any changes in medical technology, social norms or preferences — why family sizes have fallen over the past century in rich countries.
See http://bit.ly/Trzm4k for poll results!
House of Debt – http://bit.ly/1rulBgN
This 1 hour long video (@ http://bit.ly/1rulBgN) featuring Amir Sufi (who is the Chicago Board of Trade Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business) was recorded last Monday evening as part of the Myron Scholes Global Markets Forum at Chicago Booth. Here’s a description of his talk:
“The Great American Recession resulted in the loss of eight million jobs between 2007 and 2009. More than four million homes were lost to foreclosures. Is it a coincidence that the United States witnessed a dramatic rise in household debt in the years before the recession—that the total amount of debt for American households doubled between 2000 and 2007 to $14 trillion? Definitely not. Armed with clear and powerful evidence, Professor Sufi will discuss his forthcoming book, House of Debt, and how it reveals the Great Recession and Great Depression, as well as the current economic malaise in Europe, were caused by a large run-up in household debt followed by a significantly large drop in household spending.”
What College Graduates Regret
This article from The Atlantic is well worth reading; quoting from this article,
“… when asked what they wish they’d done differently in college, “choosing a different major” wasn’t the top answer. The most popular answer, given by half of all respondents, was “gaining more work experience.” Choosing a different major was the fourth most popular response, after “studying harder” and “looking for work sooner.”
The underlying idea behind “Options Away” is quite interesting. I can’t help but wonder why the airlines and/or the various intermediaries such as Expedia and Orbitz haven’t already implemented similar arrangements.
The “insurance” described in the article referenced below is different from traditional travel insurance which requires purchasing a ticket prior to buying the insurance. Here, one can purchase a call option that locks in a favorable fare today without obligating the consumer to actually purchase the ticket.
Options Away: Insurance Against Airfare Hikes
“Options Away… will sell you the right to buy a plane ticket within a certain timeframe at a certain price. If the airfare goes up within your option’s time frame, good for you—you can buy the ticket, paying your optioned fare, and Options Away pays the difference. If the airfare goes down within your option’s timeframe, you simply ignore your option and buy your ticket at its now lower fare. Either way, you’re out the option fee, but you are not obligated to buy the ticket.”