“Values are not absolute. Life is made up of decisions in complicated situations. If you look at one in isolation, it may sound legitimate…but you have to ask what it means under particular conditions.”
In New York, the minimum wage worker would have to work nearly 20 hours a day to afford rent as defined by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. 20 hours. That’s how many hours a part-time employee works in a week.
The Article: ‘El Chapo’ and the limits of the kingpin arrest strategy by Ioan Grillo in Al Jazeera.
The Text: Until his recent arrest, the world’s biggest drug trafficker, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, ran an enviably profitable business. His emissaries bought kilo bricks of cocaine for about $2,000 each in Colombia and sold them for about $30,000 on the U.S. border. By the time that brick was cut into grams to be snorted in New York nightclubs or cooked into rocks in inner-city Detroit, it was worth over $100,000. With Guzman’s pipeline pumping out tons of this white gold month after month, it’s no surprise that he made Forbes magazine’s billionaires list.
Adding to the cocaine dollars, Guzman’s cartel also moved hundreds of tons of marijuana, which is about as common as daisies in the mountains of Mexico’s Sinaloa state, where he was born. His employees bought chemical ingredients in Asia, cooked them into crystal meth in Sinaloa’s industrial-size labs and sold the finished product across the United States. In addition, the cartel churned out Mexican Mud heroin from the opium that Sinaloans have been growing for the last 100 years. (Sinaloan growers quickly stepped in to fill the demand when the United States prohibited most use of opiates with the 1914 Harrison Act.)
Guzman’s secret to success was simply living next door to the biggest black market for drugs in the world. The White House estimates that Americans spend more than $80 billion a year on illegal drugs, and Mexicans are the biggest suppliers. The narcotics trade sends a gush of greenbacks over the Rio Grande, where they build ostentatious mansions in Sinaloa’s capital of Culiacan, line the pockets of corrupt police officers and turn thousands of poor young men into paid assassins.
So the greedy poor lose out on some monthly crumbs. But in that swift stroke of, err, fiscal conservatism, that means that those extra crumbs won’t be spent at the Walmarts of the world. And guess what, guys? There are a helluva lot of poor people ISO federal-doled crumbs in the US. Around 47 million of them. Your loss.
The Article: A $10.10 Minimum Wage Would Make A DVD At Walmart Cost One Cent More by Bryce Covert in ThinkProgress.
The Text: Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would increase the price of a $16 product at Walmart, such as the typical DVD, by just a cent if all of the extra costs were passed on to consumers, according to an analysis by an economist for Bloomberg News.
Ken Jacobs, chair of the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, estimates that a minimum wage at that level would add $200 million to Walmart’s yearly labor costs, which comes to just 0.8 percent of what it currently spends. That also represents just 0.06 percent of the company’s billions in yearly sales, Jacobs told ThinkProgress, so if the company decided to pass the entire cost increase on to its customers, it would mean an extra penny for a $16 product.
The company may also very well decide not to pass the cost in that way. “It’s likely that some share of that cost would be passed through, but it’s not likely to be one hundred percent,” Jacobs said. An increased wage could increase its sales, as workers would have more money in their pockets to spend on its products, which could mitigate the cost. Bloomberg recently reported that the company is considering supporting a minimum wage increase, given that millions of its customers would “now have additional income,” according to a company spokesperson, although he said the company hasn’t made a decision. A $10.10 minimum wage would give 16.5 million workers across the country $31 billion more in earnings. Given all of that, “That penny per $16 an item may not turn out to be necessary,” Jacobs added.