October 4, 2018

Amazon Raises Wages

“Amazon.com Inc said on Tuesday it would raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour for U.S. employees from next month... The online retailer also said it would now lobby in Washington D.C. for an increase in the federal minimum wage."

Reuters

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From the Left

The left is celebrating the good news, with many crediting the workers’ movement and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for successfully putting pressure on the company and CEO Jeff Bezos.

“The change may... be an attempt to discourage interest in unionizing. Employees at Whole Foods, which Amazon bought last year, are trying to unionize, fearing that the company will scale back their benefits under Amazon’s ownership."

Vox

This is “another major win for the still-growing movement of workers and unions who've been organizing around this issue for years."

Daily Kos

Regarding Sen. Sanders: “The most underestimated tool that a prominent political figure has in times of divided and dysfunctional governance is the bully pulpit... Bernie Sanders grabbed the bully pulpit and refused to let go until Amazon hiked wages."

The Nation

“For months, Sanders has been criticizing the company for paying its workers too little. He went so far as to offer a bill called the ‘Stop BEZOS Act’... A tightening labor market no doubt contributed to Amazon’s decision, but politics... was the main factor. This is how democracy and capitalism are supposed to work."

New York Times

Some, however, ask, “should we really expect our representatives to run around spending all their time and resources on pressure campaigns for every company in America?... Amazon is just one example of what is happening all across the country while nobody is looking... We need leaders in elected office who will be champions for workers and put in place meaningful regulatory changes."

USA Today

“Now that Amazon has responded to its critics on the matter of wages, how will its critics respond to Amazon?... In an era when Republicans control just about every lever of government, what should antitrust progressives do when their industrial nemeses become the most powerful advocates for progressive economics?"

The Atlantic

Minority View: “Nobody is moving to $15 wages because they’ve been watching all the progressive rallies and they’re suddenly getting woke. They’re doing it because it’s the only way to attract workers."

Mother Jones

From the Right

The right sees this move as a strategic ploy, and opposes raising the federal minimum wage.

From the Right

The right sees this move as a strategic ploy, and opposes raising the federal minimum wage.

“The e-commerce giant’s decision to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour will make it harder for traditional retailers to hire the staff they need. The result could be lost sales or, worse, crowded stores without enough staff, sending shoppers online, most likely to Amazon... [Bezos] has been praised for making such a conscientious, worker-friendly decision. But the move may in fact be... a clever way to create even more pain for the competition."

Wall Street Journal

“By pairing its wage hike with a lobbying agenda — a $15 federal minimum wage — Bezos signals that he wants to push the government to regulate its competitors in a practice known as ‘raising rivals’ costs.’ The goal is to undercut competition by mandating higher wages that companies with smaller margins likely can’t afford... The more of those small competitors that Amazon squeezes out, the easier time they have dominating the market and the more profit they make."

Washington Examiner

“Mr. Bezos’s $15 wage would be a lot more praiseworthy if he hadn’t combined it with a plea for government to raise the labor costs of his competitors... If Amazon is already paying [its employees] $15, it’s no competitive sweat for Mr. Bezos to look virtuous for the media and politicians" by lobbying for a federal minimum wage increase.

Wall Street Journal

“Last year the University of Washington released an analysis... of Seattle's decision to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The results were devastating. The study found that increasing the minimum wage had significantly reduced the number of jobs and hours worked by entry-level employees. As a result, these employees saw their annual earnings fall by an average of $1,500 a year."

Fox News

Some suggest that the government, rather than individual companies, should be responsible for workers’ well-being. “American workers do need help... [but] isn't ensuring our fellow citizens reach a sufficient standard of living actually the responsibility of society as a whole? After all, the left doesn't describe national health insurance — which lets employers off the hook for their workers' health coverage — as some sort of massive subsidy to Big Business."

The Week

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

A skull-shaped “Death Comet" will pass by Earth days after Halloween for the second time.

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