Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nice Graphic showing the results of a recent poll on Americans attitude about cutting Federal Govt spending in light of the upcoming mandatory budget cuts. Interesting results!!!

Here are the results of a very recent Pew Research Poll on Americans attitude toward cutting Federal Spending in light of the looming "sequester".

While not a perfect correlation, Americans want to cut spending on the things we spend the least amount on and want to increase spending on the things where we already spend the most.

The 4 major areas that consume a preponderance of the Federal budget (Social Security, Medicare and Healthcare (Medicaid) and Defense) and really overwhelm the other spending categories show the public has little stomach for reducing those programs.

Pretty amazing that 30% or more people want to increase spending in just about all the categories. 

Pew Research Poll February 2013

Nice map showing State by State comparison of Minimum Wages. Why does it vary from State to State? Find out why HERE.

I think there is some confusion regarding the way the minimum wage is set in the US.

The Federal Government, through the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, sets a uniform minimum wage which applies to all 50 US States.   Currently that is $7.25 per hour. It is lower for some other classes of workers (see excerpts below the map for examples).

However, each individual State has the discretion to set it ABOVE the Federal mandate if they so desire.  This map shows a State by State comparison of the prevailing minimum wage.

There are LOTS of interesting exceptions to the minimum wage law.  Here is a link to the Dept of Labor FAQ page that explains these exceptions.
There are LOTS of interesting exceptions to the minimum wage law. Here is a link to the Dept of Labor FAQ page that explains these exceptions.

Here is the most common one I hear from students:

What is the minimum wage for workers who receive tips?
An employer may pay a tipped employee not less than $2.13 an hour in direct wages if that amount plus the tips received equal at least the federal minimum wage, the employee retains all tips and the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. If an employee's tips combined with the employer's direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference.
Some states have minimum wage laws specific to tipped employees. When an employee is subject to both the federal and state wage laws, the employee is entitled to the provisions of each law which provide the greater benefits.

What minimum wage exceptions apply to full-time students?
The Full-time Student Program is for full-time students employed in retail or service stores, agriculture, or colleges and universities. The employer that hires students can obtain a certificate from the Department of Labor which allows the student to be paid not less than 85% of the minimum wage. The certificate also limits the hours that the student may work to 8 hours in a day and no more than 20 hours a week when school is in session and 40 hours when school is out, and requires the employer to follow all child labor laws. Once students graduate or leave school for good, they must be paid $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.

Must young workers be paid the minimum wage?
A minimum wage of $4.25 per hour applies to young workers under the age of 20 during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer, as long as their work does not displace other workers. After 90 consecutive days of employment or the employee reaches 20 years of age, whichever comes first, the employee must receive a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.

Other programs that allow for payment of less than the full federal minimum wage apply to workers with disabilities, full-time students, and student-learners employed pursuant to sub-minimum wage certificates. These programs are not limited to the employment of young workers.

Hans Rosling as a "Myth Buster" on the issue of Child Mortality Rates. Worth a couple of minutes of your time.

Here is Hans Rosling "clarifying" the issue of historical Child Mortality Rates around the world. 

This is really terrific!  Watch and Learn.  The world is getting BETTER in so many categories of quality of life. Yes, even for the most poorest amoung us.

One easy graph that illustrates all you need to know about the future of Retail Stores and Employment in that sector.

Here is a bar chart showing the decline in jobs in various "brick and mortar" retail stores.  "Brick and mortar" is a metaphor for physical stores that you can walk into and buy stuff.

Keep in mind, this is the decrease JUST SINCE 2001!

Source: EMSI
What is the cause of this decline?

Almost everything sold in a physcal stores represented by the above retail categories (some more than others) can be found in one of these devices you can hold in the palm of your hand.

Take a moment to look at your phone and list the things it can do (while in the palm of your hand) that in a prior and relatively recent time you had to have a separate and distinct device to perform that same task.

This is an example of an economic game-changer that is the result of "distruptive technology" (also known as disruptive innovation):
""A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in the new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market.""
This comes at a cost.  "Brick and Mortar" stores produce jobs locally.  The Smartphones produce DIFFERENT jobs and don't have the local, physical retail impact that the Best Buys, Barnes and Nobles, Office Depots, Virgin Record Stores, of the world do.

Luddites of the World are weeping...
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