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Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Urgent Stock Market Message

More State Regulations and Higher Minimum Wage

Politics / US Politics Feb 28, 2018 - 04:38 AM GMT



Disputing that the economy is healthy has been an occupational job for decades. Still the government unemployment stats paint a picture that full employment is upon us. Undercounting the permanently discouraged may just be the largest category of growth that goes under reported. However the empirical data for the real causes and disincentives of both the employer and employee are usually glossed over. No doubt the shift in actual job requirements are constantly changing, but the effects of switching the ground rules makes some state governments non-competitive with other jurisdictions.

The New York Law Journal digs into the weeds to illustrate a proposed regulation that cannot help improve the plight of labor in 'No Help Wanted': The Regulation and Elimination of Retail Positions outlines an absurd example of governmental interference.

"The proposed call-in regulations provide the following: (1) employees who report to work for a shift that was not scheduled at least 14 days in advance will be entitled to an additional two hours of call-in pay; (2) employees whose shifts are cancelled within 72 hours of the start of that shift will be entitled to at least four hours of call-in pay; (3) employees who are required to be on-call and available to report to work for any shift will be entitled to at least four hours of call-in pay; and (4) employees who are required to be in contact with their employer, within 72 hours of the start of a shift, to confirm whether or not to report to work for that shift will be entitled to four hours of call-in pay."

As for the Hard facts of Washington's minimum wage law and new paid sick leave law in 2018, forcing pay scales that put small businesses in uncompetitive jeopardy cannot build a sound economy.

Initiative 1433 is fairly new Washington state mandate that eventually raises Washington’s minimum wage to $15 an hour and makes paid sick-leave mandatory for all businesses. So here’s what you need to know as an employee and as an employer:  

The minimum wage applies to all jobs, including agriculture.

Employers must pay employees age 16 and older at least $11.50 per hour in 2018.

Employers are allowed to pay 85 percent of the minimum wage to employees under age 16

Seattle, Tacoma, and the City of SeaTac currently have higher minimum wage rates.

The local rate applies if it is higher than the state minimum wage rate.The initiative does not change overtime pay requirements.

The minimum wage will increase annually over the next three years: $11.50 in 2018, $12 in 2019, and $13.50 in 2020.

Starting Jan. 1, 2021, minimum wage increases will be calculated by L&I using a formula tied to the rate of inflation (based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers).  

Whether placing regulations on work conditions or raising pay remuneration, the prospects for growing a healthy private sector is overloaded with excessive burdens. The mindset that fosters this intervention is a prime determinate why jobs are lost. Employers must have confidence that they can turn a profit to engage in commerce. This axiom goes unacknowledged by legislators, bureaucrats and low information workers who scream for more money, while margins are diminished for their bosses. 

Basic economic illiteracy that drives the attitude that regulatory conditions are immune to destructive commercial consequences is fundamental and conflicts with any correct understanding of what makes a business work. 

However, applying this position to all businesses equally often works against the desired functioning of the entire economy. How governments treat monopolist corporatists, who are usually protected enterprises, requires a comprehensive approach. Monopoly power and the decline of small business: big business vs democracy, growth & equality approaches this dilemma thusly. This report presents three compelling reasons to bring a commitment to fair and open markets for small businesses back into antitrust enforcement and public policy more broadly: 

1. Small businesses deliver distinct consumer and market benefits, and in some sectors provide more value and better outcomes than their bigger competitors. And they often achieve these superior results because of their small scale, not in spite of it. 

2. An economy populated by many small, independent businesses produces a more equitable distribution of income and opportunity, creates more jobs, and supports an expansive middle class. 

3. Small-scale enterprise is compatible with democracy, while concentrated economic power threatens our liberty and our ability to be a self-governing people. 

States and the Federal governments need to devote their attention to breaking up the monopolists instead of requiring small business owners to pay wages that are not sustainable for their markets or margins. If the vitality of middle class prosperity is ever to return, retail businesses must be supported to keep them financially viable. 

The mega brick and mortar predator, Walmart saw a recent collapse of 10% in their stock price. Even their announcement that they would Raise U.S. Wages, Provide One-Time Bonus and Expand Hourly Maternity and Parental Leave, did not help. The Amazon effect may just be too much for the marketplace to contend with. 

An anti-trust breakup of the Bezos' empire is far more called for than efforts to legislate work hour schedules or imposing artificial wage requirements. Expansion and growing the economy must be based upon producing and servicing our consumption needs and desire built with domestic labor. That means creating more jobs within the business sector. 

Additional federal tax reductions targeted at small business needs to be added in the Trump agenda. A level playing field may never be achieved, but a much needed improvement in lessening the risks for perspective entrepreneurs must become central for long term healing of the economy. 

Encourage the job drop outs to regain their upward mobility by improving the velocity of business activities. This is the best method to increase the hiring of employees that business owners can realistically afford. 

James Hall


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