Minimum Wage and Economists

Back in October of 2006, the Economic Policy Institute released a paper that made lots of headlines.  The title of the paper was “Hundreds of Economists Say: Raise the Minimum Wage”.  In it, 659 economists signed on for support of raising the minimum wage to $7.25 which is apropos of the current debate in Congress over just this issue.

The Econ Journal Review has just released a fascinating (if you’re an economics geek) paper which sent a questionaire to the 659 signatories of the first paper asking them about their support of raising the minimum wage.  95 of the signatories completed the questionaire and the results are very interesting.  The survey was broken into to broad mechanisms, labor-market and socio-political.  Almost all of the support for raising the minimum wage fell into the socio-political bucket, i.e. a moral, philosophical reasoning vs. an economics reasoning.

The survey was meant to increase discussion between economists on this issue and the responses to the survey are fascinating.  Regardless of where you fall on the “Raise the minimum wage” issue, I highly recommend reading it.  Once done, you can get some great commentary in the comment thread for the article over at Marginal Revolution.

A Uniquely 21st Century Problem

K recently asked me about our money situation is, where things stand and where we are going. I told her that we probably wouldn’t buy much stock any time soon because I don’t believe the economy is in good shape at all and that 2007 will be bad news economically, specifically in relation to what I believe is an impending housing collapse.

At the time, I didn’t have any real concrete proof but when I read articles like this one, I feel pretty secure in my analysis. We, as a nation, have become so accustomed to carrying debt, specifically unsecured, high-interest debt that it is hardly possible to think of what might happen if that debt came due. When you back that debt by drawing equity from your house, the risks are unimaginably high should something bad happen either to you personally or to the economy and housing market.

When people who make a quarter of a million dollars a year carry 33% of their income in credit card debt not to mention a second mortgage, something is very very wrong. This economy is no different from past ones and eventually, that debt will come due. This is not some Brave New World where debt has no consequence. Eventually, the housing ATM spree we’ve gone through over the past 5 years will come back to kill us.

Executive Decision

I’ve decided that people on the Interweb are all idiots and morons and that people should really just agree with whatever I say and we’d all be happier.  Is that so hard to understand?

More seriously, why is it so difficult to have an intelligent conversation with people on the web?  What about human nature makes ad-hominem attacks completely acceptable in a comment thread?  I know there have been studies on this and the lack of empathy with a faceless opponent but it still bugs me.  Have the decency to assume intelligence.

Lego Genius

This is quite possibly the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen built with Legos. And yes, that’s pretty short list but still. Someday, Amercia won’t be the leader in technology if that’s any indication.