Logan, you have to wash the street fruit before you eat it! You don't know where it's been!
@Lily Rowan I think that what CL means is that in order to have valid opinions about Chinese food, one must have experienced real Chinese food in China. Personally, I like both traditional Chinese and American-Chinese food, and think authenticity in food is overrated. Do people walk around saying that burritos aren't delicious because they are an American-Mexican innovation, and aren't authentic enough? It gets absurd after a while.
@stuffisthings I feel like this is the most salient fact in any discussion of ANY public benefits ("welfare" or Social Security or what have you) and it is almost never said.
If demand were high enough, companies would train people to do the jobs they need. These positions are going unfilled because our economy is under-producing in general, like Japan in the '90s.
@Morbo There is a graph on this webpage from the Council on Foreign Relations (it's part of a longer report) that tracks the percentage change in income for each quintile since 1979. Not exactly the same, but it gives a similar picture of skyrocketing inequality since the 70s: http://www.cfr.org/united-states/income-inequality-debate/p29052#p2. Here are tables showing the GINI coefficient (basically a ratio that measures income inequality in different countries) for the US from the early part of the 20th century until today. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ray-brescia/reducing-income-inequalit_b_764477.html Unfortunately none of these graphs are as stark or well-made as the video above, which I think is why they have less traction with the public, but if you are interested in whether income and wealth inequality has gotten worse in recent decades the answer is yes - it has.
If anyone is interested in reading a pretty accessible report on how awful guest worker programs are in the US, the Southern Poverty Law Center has just released a 2013 report on them: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/publications/close-to-slavery-guestworker-programs-in-the-united-states. It has pictures and stories and stuff, so don't be afraid that it's all dour graphs and data sets.
@boringbunny It's probably for the best not to index the minimum wage to COLI or inflation, since we don't know what the ideology of central bankers will be in 30 years. I think if we could convincingly make the case that central bankers of the future will prefer low inflation to full employment and growth, as they do right now, then indexing wouldn't be so bad, but we can't know for sure. This is a tough one for me, because I'm also a big pinko who knows that indexing would help workers to keep a greater share of the surplus they produce, but I'd be concerned about getting in a stagflation situation like the 70s. I think minimum wage vs EITC is sort of a political economy problem. The minimum wage is something everyone understands in a way that EITC expansion isn't - EITC looks more like a "handout", even though there's no meaningful difference. Also, because EITC works through the tax code while minimum wage is self-enforcing, a lot of people who qualify for EITC don't get it while most people do get at least minimum wage pay. An increase in EITC AND the min wage would be good.
@BCarlson No, the amount of extreme welfare fraud is pretty low. Also, the number of people on welfare is actually pretty low, compared to the number of Americans with low incomes. There are anti-fraud units for the same reason there are firefighters in every little county across the country - it's a good idea to have them even if the problem is rare. The other reason that there is so much anti-fraud work in welfare is basically because of people like you: a lot of Americans believe people on welfare are parasitic, undeserving and sub-human and so welfare offices do a lot of work just trying to give themselves political cover from being stripped of further funding. Anti-fraud units are one such form of cover.
@Mike Dang I believe you! You seem like a cool guy, as much as it is possible for me to evaluate something like that through the internet. My point was actually much better encapsulated by the public defender above; that is, people who were protesting the hard line against the theft were mostly talking about whether the guy needed the coffee in order to survive, which is natural. But even beyond that, the criminal justice system is so brutal (both in its immediate effects and its long-term consequences) that I'd say we should be trying to keep people who commit minor harms out of it if possible, regardless of whether or not they are an authentic Jean Valjean. PS, Asian raised-Catholic-but-not-really-involved-anymore solidarity.
You did the right thing, Logan. It's not even rationalizing based on his background - it's just a bag of coffee. If a dude in a $2000 suit stole a bag of coffee from a Starbucks, I MIGHT say something in passing to an employee but I wouldn't really believe a theft like that would warrant doing much about it. Maybe banning him from the store in the future, I guess. Property rules exist to serve humans, folks. They don't have meaning independent of our social judgment. Also, holy bejeebus Mike Dang, I can't believe you even contemplate calling the cops on people smoking weed in a park. Good lord.