Monday, July 27, 2015

Economists have no idea what the $15 / Hr minimum wage will bring. Oh, and men still suck but maybe not as much - What I am reading 7/27/2015

NY Times - Raising Floor for Minimum Wage Pushes Economy Into the Unknown -

  the sheer magnitude of the recent minimum wage increases sets up an economics experiment the country has rarely if ever seen before.
“There could be quite large shares of workers affected, and research doesn’t have a lot to say about that,” said Jared Bernstein, a former White House economist now at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities who generally favors higher minimum wages. 
....
The closer the minimum wage is to the median wage — the amount earned by workers in the middle of the pay scale — the greater the likely impact, for better or worse, though the effect of singling out one industry is unclear.
Based on projections from government data, the proposed $15 minimum wage for fast-food workers could represent more than 60 percent of the wage of a typical New York City worker 
...
Such a ratio lies at the outer limit of the country’s historical experience with the minimum wage, at least before the recent increases in cities like Seattle and Los Angeles, most of which have yet to be fully phased in.
...
Even when they don’t lead to job losses over all, minimum wage increases can be disruptive, driving a number of operations out of business even as they give rise to a largely offsetting increase in new businesses and jobs.
The businesses best suited to the higher-wage world often lean more heavily on machines than their competitors or derive greater economic benefits from paying their workers a higher wage.

The upshot is that a minimum wage increase of this size is unprecedented.  As the Economist pointed out such a rise could well lead to job losses due to increasing automation or just plain business closure.  Having worked minimum wage jobs myself I am sympathetic to the idea of wanting the wage raised but it does no one any good if paying workers becomes so economically burdensome that it leads to layoffs instead.

Wired - Clinton: The Tyranny of Quarterly Earnings Hurts Innovation -

Throughout, the former Secretary of State pushed for a return to the kind of long-term strategic thinking that yielded breakthrough technologies like the transistor and the PC. “What if Xerox had decided its Palo Alto research park wasn’t doing enough to boost share prices in the short term?” Clinton asked. “A young Steve Jobs would never have visited, and the personal computer revolution might not have happened.”
I rarely agree with Hillary Clinton on anything but this is something I have been railing against for years, and there are examples scattered throughout Kurulounge. (To clarify, I agree with her on the dangers of short term thinking, I don't know enough about her solution yet)

The Register - New study into lack of women in Tech: It's NOT the men's fault - 

No, the reason that young women don't train in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) areas - and thus, don't find themselves with jobs at tech companies, in IT etc - is quite simply that they mostly don't know enough maths to do those courses.
...
Our own Tim Worstall chipped in recently on this subject, suggesting like Ginther that girls perhaps get steered out of maths - and thus out of engineering, tech and the tough sciences - well before any STEM people get a look at them.
"Really it happens a lot earlier than college,” says Ginther.
I don't know what the answer is to this.  I do know that the authors of this study are in for a hell of a backlash as soon as it gets widely publicized.  On a personal note, my niece is a whiz at math I think she is taking classes two grade levels above hers in school and she does well in science but whenever anyone tries to talk to her about any sort of STEM field she has absolutely no interest, and believe me she has been encouraged about those types of fields her entire life.  

SANS - The Era Of Cyber Liability: Appeals Court Overturns Neiman Marcus Dismissal (July 23, 2015)  - 

On Monday, July 20, the US Court of Appeals reinstated a liability case against Neiman Marcus for potential damage to consumers from the data breach that exposed data for 350,000 Neiman Marcus customers. The company acknowledged that at least 9,200 of those accounts were later used for fraud. This appears to be the first time an appeals court has recognized the actual damage associated with consumers having to research and repair credit card accounts after data breaches.

Good.  This is what it will take to get business to take protection of customer data seriously.  Make breaches cost the company far more than properly securing the data would have.







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