Two Sides of How Businesses are Dealing With Minimum Wage Increases

The Wall Street Journal has a pretty even-handed examination of how increases in the minimum wage has affected businesses in various cities across the U.S., focusing on San Jose, Calif. where locals voted to increase the minimum wage to $10.15 hour in 2012.

MIT’s Living Wage Calculator

Here is a random fun -- okay not "fun", but interesting website that I, um, saw someone post on Reddit. The living wage calculator is a database of estimates for the minimum income necessary to meet your basic needs in different places in the U.S. You can look up your county, find the calculated living wage, and see it broken down my specific expenses.

McDonald’s Suggests Singing Away the Stress of Not Earning Enough Money

Today, Low Pay Is Not Okay, the campaign to increase wages for fast food workers previously pointed out the ridiculousness of the McBudget and the McResources hotline telling workers to sign up for welfare benefits. Today, the campaign has a video out showing other kinds of "advice" listed on the employee McResources site.

The Burger Joint with Excellent Pay and Benefits

In the Seattle Times Thanh Tan writes about Seattle-based burger joint Dick's Drive In, which pays its employees $10 an hour to start with regular merit raises, a 401(k) retirement plan with employer match, up to three weeks of paid vacation, paid time for volunteer service, health and dental benefits, up to $22,000 in scholarships for employees working at least 20 hours a week while attending school, and up to $8,000 in child care assistance.

Restaurant Week With Fair Labor Practices

Here's a spin on "restaurant week," which happens in various cities across the country and allows diners to try prix fixe lunches and dinners at participating restaurants for what is usually a fraction of the price: High Road Restaurant Week.

The State With the Highest Minimum Wage Is Outpacing U.S. Job Growth

From Bloomberg, a look at the minimum wage debate via the state of Washington, which has the highest state minimum wage in the country.

Money for Everyone

Annie Lowrey examines "the basic-income movement" in the NYT Magazine's economics column this week, which is essentially a movement to give all citizens a basic income as a way to eradicate poverty. It's an idea that is in part supported by both conservatives and liberals. The problem, of course, is figuring out a way to fund it, but in theory, it would "replace welfare, food stamps, housing vouchers and hundreds of other programs, all at once."

The Minimum Wage’s Medieval History

On Bloomberg's The Ticker, Stephen Mihm looks at the history of how minimum wages were set by looking at the laws that were put into place after the Black Death ravaged medieval England and laborers were in short supply and in high demand. King Edward III set a maximum wage to prevents serfs from asking for un-serf-like compensation, but the laws governing wages were then used to set a "living wage."

How We Talk About Low-Wage Workers

Sarah Jaffe has an opinion piece in The Washington Post about the way the labor strikes has been covered in the media—often not at all, or placing emphasis on poor, low-wage workers as "some exotic Other rather than our neighbors, our family members and ourselves."

Minimum Wage Numbers, Here and Elsewhere

Bloomberg Businessweek has a fun graphic looking at the minimum wage by the numbers in the U.S. and a few other countries.

How the Public is Subsidizing the Minimum Wage

Over at the Motley Fool, a popular investment news and tips site, Morgan Housel writes that adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage has declined by 30 percent over the course of 40 years, while the percentage of Americans on food stamps rose. This indicates, as we've noted previously, that the public is essentially subsidizing low-wage work.

When San Jose Raised the Minimum Wage to $10 an Hour

In Next City, Nona Willis Aronowitz looks at the story behind the minimum wage increase in San Jose, which jumped to $10 per hour from $8 per hour after the city's residents voted for the increase last November—"the single largest minimum-wage jump in the nation’s history." The story is complicated.