Raising Minimum Wage is a Failure of Government

It is hard not to be sympathetic to parents who are trying to raise their families while working a minimum wage job as the Reuter’s article
U.S. fast-food workers protest over pay, hundreds arrested demonstrates, especially those who do that as an alternative to going on welfare. Not that there’s something wrong with using welfare – so long as its of very limited duration to help people back on their feet. Continue reading Raising Minimum Wage is a Failure of Government

Far Fewer Living-wage Jobs in Oregon Come Back Than After Great Recession

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley gave Oregonians some stark news on December 4 at the Human Resources Coalition of Oregon meeting:

Sixty percent of the jobs we lost in the recession of 2008 were living-wage jobs,” he said. “Of the jobs we’ve gotten back, only 40 percent are living-wage jobs.

Oregon PolitiFact found his statements to be true, though I found their description of middle income jobs a bit disturbing:

…approaching income percentiles where you stop qualifying for assistance or safety-net programs.

That’s basing your definitions on top of the definitions supplied by those programs what qualifies you for certain programs, all of which have different requirements that may have additional modifications based on non income factors like gender and race. So is the definition based on when all Oregonians no longer for any programs? If that’s actually true then the lowest income is not all that low.

The key point here though are the numbers of jobs added that are not living wage jobs, that are then considered employment. To be a true financial contributor to the state, you either have to have a living wage, or be a dependent in the household of someone who is bringing in a living wage for a family. Without those things, you cannot pay your taxes, your necessary bills or contribute to the economy. Continue reading Far Fewer Living-wage Jobs in Oregon Come Back Than After Great Recession

Hipsters on Food Stamps: Why You Shouldn’t Hate Them

The Oregonian shined a light on the amount of fraud in SNAP / food stamps qualifications and usage and proposed measures to clean it up – Should Oregon pay $1.5 million to put photos on food stamps, welfare cards? Lawmakers consider fraud reduction options. It just so happens I just finished reading Salon’s Hipsters on food stamps an article that appeared back in 2010 about young, college educated folks who qualify and purchase food that you wouldn’t consider a frugal buy. Continue reading Hipsters on Food Stamps: Why You Shouldn’t Hate Them

Why Cover Oregon Fails is Why Most Government Tech Fails

OregonLive’s Cover Oregon: Health exchange mired in unexpected delays; what went wrong? tries to explain what went wrong with the Cover Oregon website launch. But really, you could do a postmortem on most government web projects and you’d have the same bullet list – changing specifications, out of control budgeting and a lack of real comprehension of real world implementation. Continue reading Why Cover Oregon Fails is Why Most Government Tech Fails

Job Polarization Wiping out Middle Income Workers

The Oregonian article ‘Job polarization’ leaves out middle-income wages: Oregon Politics reminds us what happens when our ideals are so widely different from our goals.

Low cost manufacturing goes away and doesn’t come back. We’ve known about this for a long time, so we need to stop kidding ourselves. There is no avoiding mass production is becoming more and more mobile.  Factories are better able to be retooled to make different things, and there is always more cost you can shave off of production by moving to the lowest priced labor pool. It is a waste of time for Oregon to pursue these because, like the SolarWorld debacle illustrates, just favoring a green focused industry isn’t enough. Continue reading Job Polarization Wiping out Middle Income Workers