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Kevin Williamson: Investment, not union extortion, is what really turbocharges the value of workers’ labor
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Kevin Williamson has an excellent Labor Day-related article in National Review titled “What Makes American Workers Great? It Isn’t Thieving Union Bosses,” here an excerpt:
The good news is that in the real economy, the American labor movement is dead as fried chicken. It’s just waiting to keel over.
The Obama administration and its allies have done everything they can to prop up the labor syndicates, for obvious reasons: They are important sources of donations and manpower for Democratic campaigns — not to mention the occasional act of political terrorism — and they are an indirect source of influence in that the more tightly an industry is under political discipline, the more opportunities there are for political profiteering. The National Labor Relations Board’s improper persecution of Boeing, which had the temerity to go into a place that it owns and act like it owns the place, and the recent risible NLRB franchise decision are acts of desperation. And the union goons should be desperate: Private-sector union membership is steadily declining, down to 6.6 percent of the work force in the latest figures (see chart above).
A world without union bosses is not a world of wicked coal-mine operators exploiting helpless serfs with nobody standing in the way but the Molly Maguires. It isn’t a union that inspires Google to offer such high wages and rich amenities to its employees — it’s Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, etc., each of which would love to drive a fleet of buses over to Mountain View and bring back everybody it could.
“Well, that’s Google,” you might say, “and not everybody has the skills or the talent to work in High Nerdery in San Jose or Austin or to tote a pitch book around lower Manhattan.” True enough, but the same principle applies to pipefitters and machinists and the 244 other labor categories Evan Soltas takes a look at here. His finding? That changes in productivity account for about 74% of changes in wages within any given industry. Workers get paid more because they produce more, not because there’s some coddled predatory halfwit threatening to pass out picket signs.
Detroit is dead. But when Europeans fire up their nifty new turbocharged Honda Type R Civics, they’re enjoying 276 horsepower made in the USA — in a car that isn’t ever going to be sold in the American market. Americans will have to make do with the new NSX supercar, which is built at the same facility in Marysville, Ohio, by highly skilled, highly paid American autoworkers with no UAW bosses around to gum up the works and skim from the paychecks.
Why is Honda so successful in the United States? Last year, automakers announced $1.8 billion in investments in Ohio, and $1.5 billion of that was Honda: $70 million for NSX production here, $123 million for a painting facility there — it adds up. Investment, not union extortion, is what turbocharges the value of labor. There’s a world of difference between what 100 skilled workers with a 20-year-old facility can create and what 100 skilled workers with a state-of-the-art facility can create. Real investment in real capital is what enables economic growth and higher wages.
If you’re unlucky, you’ve heard some speeches this weekend about all the great things the Teamsters and the UAW have done for the American worker, and all the things they want to do. Don’t believe a word of it. You want to do the American worker a favor, then get rid of the interference — the taxes, the regulations, and, yes, the dopey antiquated union rules — that stand between the worker and the factory door. American workers are among the most creative and productive people who have ever lived, and it wasn’t a corrupt Jimmy Hoffa protection racket that made them great. They aren’t weaklings, and they don’t need protection — not from you, not from Donald Trump, not from Bernie Sanders, and not from James P. Hoffa. All they need is a chance to use the talents and the strength God gave them.
On Labor Day in 1941, a Dallas editor coined the term ‘right to work’ – the ‘legal heritage of the free citizen’
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On Labor Day in 1941, Dallas Morning News associate editor William Ruggles (pictured above) wrote an editorial that set an important economic movement in motion – the “right to work.” Ruggles later said in a 1956 speech that he “felt in every fiber of his being” that the right to work was the “legal heritage of the free citizen” and he therefore strongly opposed forced union membership. In his September 1, 1941 editorial, Ruggles proposed that a 22nd amendment to the US Constitution be passed to guarantee American workers the right to work with or without union membership.
Here is a key paragraph from Ruggles’ 1941 Labor Day editorial:
Now this country may wish to become a vast network of union labor. If so, it is within the rights of a democracy to so decide. But the greatest crisis that confronts the nation today is the domestic issue of the right to work as a member of a labor union, if the individual wishes, or without membership in a union if he so elects.
In his editorial, Ruggles coined a phrase that would “change the labor landscape in America,” according to a story in the Dallas Morning News about Ruggles in 2010 as part of its 125th anniversary celebration.
Here are some excerpts from that article:
“The answer seemed to me to be an amendment to the federal Constitution that would be so clear and unequivocal that no jurist could argue against its meaning,” William Ruggles said later.
Although that constitutional guarantee never materialized, 22 states [now 25] enacted legislation patterned after the Ruggles editorial. Texas passed its right-to-work law in 1947. These laws prohibit agreements between trade unions and employers that make membership and payment of union dues or fees a requirement of employment even if the company is operating under union-negotiated bargaining agreements.
Love them or hate them, economists, historians and lawyers agree that right-to-work laws were the leading factor in the Sun Belt’s success. “Economic growth in places like Georgia and Texas was driven by the combination of the right to work and the cost of labor,” says Al Niemi, dean of the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. “Since the right to work dictated the cost of labor, right to work was the single most important driver.”
MP: Thanks to the movement started by Texas native William Ruggles, the Lone Star State became America’s 11th Right to Work state in 1947 (see state Right to Work timeline here) and has contributed to the state’s economic success. In recent years, the Lone Star State has led the nation in job creation during the recovery from the Great Recession, see chart below. Since 2007, payroll employment in the state of Texas has increased by nearly 1.3 million jobs (and by 12.3%), compared to an increase in payroll jobs outside of Texas of less than 2% over the last 7.5 years. It’s an impressive record of job creation — with only 9.4% of the US population, the “Texas Job Machine” has created 34.5% of the net increase in payroll jobs since 2007.
2015 SAT test results confirm pattern that’s persisted for 40+ years — high school boys are better at math than girls
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The College Board released its 2015 SAT college-entrance test results this week, and the overall results were somewhat disappointing (“ugly” according to AEI’s Rick Hess’s article below), see Washington Post article “SAT scores at lowest level in 10 years, fueling worries about high school” and the National Review article “The New SAT Results Aren’t Pretty,” by AEI scholar Rick Hess, who points out that the “scores on the SAT have sunk to the lowest point since the venerable college-admission test was revamped in 2005.”
As in the past, my main interest in the annual SAT test results is the ongoing gender gap in favor of boys for the SAT math test, and this year wasn’t any different than previous years. Here’s what this year’s SAT math test results show:
1. Continuing an uninterrupted trend that dates back to at least 1972, high school boys outperformed girls on the 2015 SAT math test with an average score of 527 points compared to the average score of 496 for females, see chart above. The statistically significant 31-point male advantage this year on the SAT math test is the same as the 31-point difference last year, and just slightly below the 33.9 point difference over the last two decades favoring boys.
2. For the 121,057 students with SAT math scores in the highest 700-800 point range, high school boys represented 62.3% of those students (75,429) and the 45,628 girls in that group were 37.7% of the total. Stated differently, there were 165.3 boys with SAT math scores between 700-800 points for every 100 girls with scores in that range. For the next highest 100-point range between 600-700 points for the 2015 SAT math test, there were about 121 boys with scores in that range for every 100 high school girls (55% boys vs. 45% girls).
3. The statistically significant difference in math test scores in favor of boys is consistent across all ethnic groups as the table above shows. The smallest difference is a 13-point advantage in favor of boys for black high school students, and the biggest difference is a 33-point advantage for both Hispanic and white students.
Q: How do we explain the persistent gender gap in favor of boys for mathematical aptitude across all ethnic groups, as demonstrated by their consistent out-performance on the SAT math test for more than 40 years?
One possible explanation for the fact that high school boys consistently score higher on average than girls on the math SAT test and outnumbered girls by 1.65-to-1 for test scores on the high end (700-800 points) in 2015, would be that high school boys are better students on average than high school girls and are better prepared in mathematics than their female classmates. But that explanation would be false, based on College Board data for students taking the 2015 SAT test:
4. For 2015 SAT test-takers, high school girls had superior overall academic high school records compared to boys: females represented 55% of the students in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes (Table 11), 59% of the students graduating with an A+ grade point average were female (Table 12), and high school girls graduated with a higher overall average GPA of 3.45 compared to a 3.31 average GPA for their male counterparts (Table 12).
5. High school girls were over-represented in advanced AP/Honors math classes (54%) compared to boys (46%), and also in advanced AP/Honors science classes by 56% to 44% (Tables 14 and 15).
6. For those high school students taking four years of high school mathematics, girls were over-represented (55%) compared to boys (45%), and more of the students studying natural sciences for four years were female students (54%) than male (46%).
Bottom Line: Even though female high school students are better prepared academically than their male classmates on many different measures, both overall and for mathematics specifically, female high school students score significantly lower on the SAT math test, and the +30-point differences in test scores favoring males has persisted for generations and exists across all ethnic groups. At the high-end of math performance, high school males significantly outperformed their female peers on the 2015 SAT math test by a ratio of 1.62-to-1 for scores between 700 and 800, and that outcome has persisted for many decades.
Despite the persistent, statistically significant differences in math performance by gender on the math SAT test that have continued for generations, we hear statements like this: “There just aren’t gender differences anymore in math performance,” according to University of Wisconsin-Madison psychology professor Janet Hyde, who says further that “parents and teachers need to revise their thoughts about this. Stereotypes are very, very resistant to change, but as a scientist I have to challenge them with data.” Given the significant and persistent gender differences in SAT math test scores that have persisted over many generations across all ethnic groups, the scientific data about gender differences in math performance would seem to present a serious challenge to Professor Hyde’s frequent claims that there are no gender differences in math performance.
Further, the fact that women are underrepresented in STEM occupations and hold only 26% of STEM jobs according to a 2013 Department of Commerce report certainly isn’t because female students are being discouraged from studying math and science in high school. In fact, the evidence shows that females are excelling in math and science in high school – they outnumber males in AP/Honors math and science courses, and are more likely than their male counterparts to take four years of math and science courses.
Further, compared to boys, high school girls get better grades on average, and are far more likely to graduate in the top 10% of their high school classes, and are much more likely than boys to attend and graduate from college and go on to graduate schools. By all objective measures, girls have essentially all of the necessary ingredients that should result in greater representation in STEM fields like engineering and computer science except perhaps for one: a huge, statistically significant and persistent 30-point gender gap on the SAT math test in favor of boys that has persisted for more than 40 years. If there are some inherent gender differences for mathematical ability, as the huge and persistent gender differences for the math SAT test suggests, closing the STEM gender degree and job gaps may be a futile attempt in socially engineering an unnatural and unachievable outcome.
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Are entry-level minimum, wage workers trapped in dead-end burger-flipping jobs and a lifetime of poverty? That seems to be one of the false narratives that generate support for the increasingly popular $15 an hour minimum wage laws (passed and proposed) around the country. But the reality is much different — through hard work and perseverance, almost any worker can move up from an entry-level, minimum wage job to a management position and sometimes even end up as an owner of their own franchise or company. For example, 75% of Walmart’s management team started as hourly employees, including: a) its current Executive Vice-President Charles Redfield, who joined Sam’s Club in 1988 as a cashier while attending college and b) its current Executive Vice-President Julie Murphy who began her career with Walmart in 1985 as an hourly employee.
A new Maclver Institute (the “free market voice for Wisconsin”) video series “Raising Up Wisconsin: How Minimum Wage Jobs Turned Into Family Supporting Careers” helps to counter the false narrative that minimum wage workers are trapped in dead-end jobs by highlighting three examples of Wisconsin entrepreneurs who started washing dishes and flipping burgers, and now manage, own and operate their own fast food restaurants. The trailer for the series appears above, and the first profile video “Maggie’s Journey from Minimum Wage to Ownership” appears below. New videos will be released over the next month, and will be featured on CD as they become available.
Detroit public schools are failing academically and financially, but their teachers and administrators get high marks
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The table above shows the composite “college readiness rates” for Detroit and Michigan high schools by ethnic group based on the results of ACT tests that were taken by high school juniors during the 2013-2014 school year (data available here from the Michigan Department of Education). In the city of Detroit, 2,623 high school juniors took the four-subject ACT test (reading, science, math and English) last year, and based on their ACT scores in the four subjects, only 93 of those students, or 3.5% of the total, met or exceeded the minimum level of academic achievement to be considered “college ready” in all four subject areas. Of the 2,276 black Detroit high school students who took the ACT test last year, only 66 (and 2.9%) met the benchmark to be considered college ready in all four subjects.
In comparison to Detroit, the overall composite college readiness rate in Michigan was 20% last year – out of 105,777 high school juniors statewide who took the ACT test, 21,146 met or exceeded the benchmark scores to be considered “college ready” for all four subjects. The statewide college readiness rates for both Asians (43.9%) and whites (23.5%) were much higher than the readiness rates for those groups in the city of Detroit (17.5% for Asians and 5.8% for whites). Although Michigan’s statewide college readiness rates don’t seem that impressive, they are certainly significantly better than the results in Detroit, which is “the nation’s lowest-performing urban school area,” according to Michigan governor Rick Snyder.
And it’s not just the academics that are sub-standard and failing in the Detroit Public School (DPS) system — its finances are in complete disarray as well. Again according to Gov. Snyder, “Detroit Public Schools has accrued $483 million in accumulated operating debt that is growing each day, and combined capital and bond debt of $1.54 billion.” Further, DPS is burdened with an estimated $1.2 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, and the district was $53 million behind in pension payments last spring according to the Detroit News last March, “costing the cash-strapped district $7,600 a day in interest penalties — the equivalent of one child’s annual state funding grant. Based on minimal payments, the Detroit school district would be $81 million behind in mandatory pension contributions by July 1. The cost is exacerbated by $78,000 in fees for each month DPS remains delinquent — depriving the city schools of the equivalent of one teacher’s annual salary and benefits.”
So it seems pretty clear that the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) is the poster child for an urban school district that is academically and financially bankrupt, and one that is clearly failing the students, parents, and taxpayers of the city and state. So what kind of ratings do you think the DPS teachers and DPS administrators deserve? Or let me re-state the question: What kind of ratings do you think the DPS teachers and administrators actually received last year? If your answer was “mostly highly effective” you can go to the head of the class.
According to a report today from Tom Gantert at Michigan’s Mackinac Center:
There was just one bad apple among the 171 members of the Detroit public school district’s leadership corps, if the district’s most recent evaluations of its principals, superintendents and administrators are accurate. Despite being called “the nation’s lowest-performing urban school area” by Gov. Rick Snyder earlier this year, just one of its 171 managers was judged to be “ineffective.” The evaluations are for the 2013-14 school year, the most recent year available.
There were 96 officials given the highest rating of “highly effective [56% of the total];” 68 were rated “effective” [40%], while six were deemed to be “minimally effective.” Plus the single “ineffective” administrator. The Michigan Department of Education defines “administrators” as superintendents, assistant superintendents, administrators, principals and assistant principals.
And according to their most recent performance evaluations, the DPS teachers are rated as being even more effective than the district’s administrators. Mackinac Center’s Tom Gantert reported back in May that eight of every ten DPS teachers were rated as being “highly effective” teachers — more than twice the 38% state average for teachers in Michigan who were given that rating.
According to data filed with the Michigan Department of Education, 2,542 DPS teachers (79%) were rated “highly effective,” 541 teachers (17%) were rated “effective,” 73 teachers (2%) were rated “minimally effective,” and 52 teachers (2%) were rated “ineffective.” The percentage of teachers rated highly effective by DPS was twice the state average of 38 percent in 2013-14, the latest year statewide data is available.
MP: The Detroit Public School system apparently exists in a bizarre, upside-down and reverse Lake Wobegon world — academically, it’s the nation’s worst-performing urban school district, where only 6% of its high school students are proficient in math, only 4% are proficient in science, and only one-third are proficient in reading. Financially, DPS has to be the worst-performing urban school district in American history. And yet, more than half (56%) of the current DPS administrators are rated “highly effective” and a large majority (79%) of the district’s teachers are rated “highly effective.” In other words, the students in Detroit public schools are way, way below average, but all of the teachers and administrators are way, way above average. How can that be? It could only happen in a government-run public school monopoly, staffed with unionized teachers and administrators – in other words, an unrealistic fantasy world like Lake Wobegon — one that is totally divorced from reality, competition, accountability and common sense.
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Consider an imaginary economy with two types of workers: two-armed and one-armed. Two-armed workers are the large majority, while the one-armed workers are a small minority. For most manual tasks and some service-related jobs, suppose the one-armed workers are realistically less productive than their two-armed counterparts for: a) agriculture jobs like manually picking vegetables and fruits, b) construction and maintenance jobs like carpentry, electrical wiring, roofing, window washing, shoveling snow, moving construction materials, painting, tuning pianos, etc. and c) some service-related jobs like word processing, cutting hair, physical therapy, massage, cooking, dish-washing, busing tables, moving furniture, stocking shelves, etc. Further suppose that research shows that one-armed workers are about 25% less productive on average than two-armed employees and that difference in productivity is reflected in market wages – one-armed workers are paid 25% less on average than their two-armed counterparts.
Suppose further that the imaginary economy’s current minimum wage law reflects the differences in worker productivity with a $10 an hour minimum wage for two-armed workers and a $7.50 an hour minimum wage for the less productive one-armed workers.
But along now come progressive politicians and labor unions in this imaginary world who object to the two-tiered minimum wage law because it allegedly discriminates against one-armed workers. Out of a sense of fairness, compassion, and social justice, politicians and labor unions demand a single $10 an hour minimum wage for all employees regardless of their productivity and “arm status.” Suppose that on behalf of their one-armed constituents, politicians successfully enact a single $10 an hour minimum wage that applies to all workers.
Q: What are the predictable outcomes of such a minimum wage law for the one-armed workers in this imaginary economy who the law is intended to help? Here are four such outcomes:
1. One-armed workers now find themselves priced out of the entry-level labor market and employers will only hire two-armed workers at $10 an hour. The main advantage that one-armed workers had before – being willing to work at a 25% discount compared to two-armed workers for entry level positions – has been taken away from them.
2. To paraphrase Milton Friedman, the $10 an hour minimum wage law described here is most accurately described as a law saying that employers must now discriminate against one-armed workers. Employer demand for one-armed workers will fall significantly, and fewer one-armed workers will be employed. Because fewer one-armed workers are employed, the unemployment rate for one-armed workers will increase.
3. For one-armed workers who are able to keep their entry-level jobs (or find a job) at the new higher uniform $10 an hour minimum wage, they may find that their hours have been reduced, and/or that their previous fringe benefits (employee discounts, reduced-cost or free food if they work at a restaurant, free uniforms, tuition benefits, paid holidays, etc.) have been reduced or eliminated as employers try to offset the 33.3% increase in their monetary labor costs to employ one-armed workers (that is not accompanied by an increase in worker productivity).
4. Overall, many one-armed workers will be unable to find work at the $10 an hour minimum wage, and will therefore not be able to gain the skills, on-the-job training, and work experience that would allow them to move up to higher-paying jobs that require previous work experience. In other words, many one-armed workers would face significant adverse, long-term consequences from the single $10 an hour minimum wage law that could last for decades.
Bottom Line: In the fable above, we can replace “one-armed workers” with different terms like “immigrant workers” or “entry level workers” or “unskilled workers” or “minority workers” or “teenage workers” or “limited experience workers” to understand how those real-life workers – even with two arms – are (or will be) harmed by the $15 an hour minimum wage laws that are becoming increasingly popular in the US. As Milton Friedman observed many decades ago, and as this fable helps to illustrates, programs like a $15 minimum wage that are designed to help the poor and disadvantaged always have effects exactly the opposite of those their well-intentioned sponsors intend them to have. Just like the one-armed workers in the fable above would be harmed by the well-intentioned minimum wage law, unskilled, limit-experienced workers today, especially minorities, will be harmed by a $15 an hour minimum wage.
The main point of the fable above is also illustrated graphically below in these two cartoons by Detroit News cartoonist Henry Payne (reprinted with his permission).
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In 1942, economist Joseph Schumpeter described “creative destruction” as a “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.” There probably hasn’t been a better example of Schumpeterian creative destruction in the last decade or more than the recent ascendance of app-based ride-sharing services like Uber (and Lyft, Sidecar, Gett, Via, etc.) challenging traditional, legacy taxi cartels in cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago and more than 160 other US cities. Market-based evidence of the gale of creative destruction in the transportation industry is displayed in the two charts above. The top chart above shows how the increasing popularity of ride-sharing apps like Uber has caused the price of New York City individual taxi medallions to collapse by at least 37%, from a peak of more than $1 million in August 2013 to only about $650,000 in recent months (based on advertised asking prices here, not actual sales).
Further evidence of the “Uber effect” is displayed in the bottom chart above, showing the collapse in the stock price of Medallion Financial Corporation, from $16.45 in November 2013 to below $7 per share in the last few days. Medallion Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: TAXI) is a NYC-based specialty finance company that originates, acquires, and services loans that finance taxicab medallions. Just as the sky-high taxi medallion prices have been significantly eroded due to competition from the upstart ride-sharing services, so has the value of Medallion Financial Corporation’s stock price been significantly dropping. After tracking the SP&500 Index closely for many decades, the share price of Medallion Financial has fallen by a whopping 58% from its November 2013 peak, during a time when the S&P 500 has increased by 7.1%.
As the traditional, legacy taxi industry continues to collapse under the Schumpeterian forces of market disruption, the taxi cartels like the one in NYC are asking for taxpayer bailouts, or at least taxpayer-supported guarantees for taxi medallion loans. Consumers are the obvious winners from the creative destruction in the transportation industry – we now have more choice, better and faster service, friendlier drivers, cleaner cars, and maybe most importantly — lower prices. Traditional taxi drivers and medallion owners, after being protected from competition by government regulations for many generations, are the obvious losers from the “Uber effect.” Medallion prices will continue to fall as the taxi cartels continue to crumble and collapse.
Q: Should we feel any sympathy for legacy taxi drivers and taxi medallion owners who were once part of a powerful government-enforced cartel/monopoly? Do they deserve any help from taxpayers as victims of Hurricane Joseph (Schumpeter)? Not according to Don Boudreaux who wrote this yesterday on the Cafe Hayek blog:
A temptation is to feel sorrow or pity for taxicab-medallion owners whose personal wealth, insofar as it has been based on these medallions, is now plummeting. Do not feel any sorrow or pity for these medallion owners. The wealth they are now losing to competitive forces was the product of government-imposed unnecessary restrictions on competition – restrictions that, for 78 years now, have artificially reduced the supply of taxi services in New York City and artificially raised the prices that taxi customers had to pay. Against the concentrated pain now being suffered by these former monopolists we must weigh the dispersed pain suffered by taxi customers in Gotham from 1937 until the arrival of Uber.
This dispersed pain is much harder to see than is the concentrated pain now being suffered by medallion owners. This reality, however, does not make this dispersed pain less real or significant than it would be were it more concentrated and more visible. This dispersed pain was suffered for decades, every minute of every day, by tens of millions of ordinary people seeking surface transportation in New York City. Every taxi rider in NYC, from 1937 until today, paid a price higher than the forces of competition would yield. This higher price was the product of an unholy alliance between medallion owners, taxi drivers, and New York City political officials. This higher price was the bitter fruit of cronyism.
And this dispersed pain, spread out over nearly eight decades and over tens of millions of people, while much less visible than is the concentrated pain suffered now by medallion owners, is in total much greater than is the concentrated pain. The taxi-medallion system was a clever cronyish method of hourly picking the pockets of unfortunate millions in order to line the pockets of a fortunate few. And while many of the fortunate few did indeed win genuine fortunes as a result of this corrupt system, a great deal of the money picked hourly, day after day and decade after decade after decade, from the pockets of innocent people was transferred to no one: it was simply wasted on supply restrictions.
In a related post about Uber and the great taxicab collapse Jeffrey Tucker wrote:
Now if this model can be applied to all other government-created monopolies, we might see genuine progress toward a truly competitive economy. After all, it turns out that the free market is the best anti-monopoly weapon ever developed.
Exhibit A: As just one example of how the free market and cutthroat competition is an effective regulatory mechanism and an anti-monopoly weapon, the on-demand transit service Via (shared rides in premium vehicles in Manhattan for only $5) is challenging Uber (and Lyft and Gett) and traditional taxis and buses offering an app-based transportation service that is “smarter than the subway, better than the bus, cheaper than a taxi.” See NY Times article “Like Taking a Luxury Bus: Via, a Ride-Share App, Offers Manhattan Trips.”
Related: A friend of my mine in DC lost his house keys last night. After unsuccessfully checking everywhere that he might have left them, he remembered that he had used Lyft earlier in the evening. He called his Lyft driver (driver contact information is always part of a Lyft or Uber ride), who found my friend’s keys in his car and offered to deliver them to my friend’s location. If my friend had used a traditional taxi and left his keys in the car, he probably would have never been able to find the driver and would have never been able to retrieve his keys!
To paraphrase what Don said at the end of his post “Hail Uber and Lyft! (But don’t hail a cab in NYC or DC.)“
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A $15 an hour minimum wage would actually hurt those it’s designed to help, like recent immigrants and other low-skilled, limited-experience workers?
From a recent op-ed in the Washington Post by Mirta Gutierrez, now the executive chef at Tortilla Coast Restaurant in Washington, DC (“A $15 minimum wage would hurt entry-level workers“):
I am an immigrant who started at the bottom with nothing. I became an executive chef who understands the kitchen and an accountant who understands the numbers of running a business.
Today, I see many young people coming into the restaurant business with the same aspirations. But I am frustrated by those who come in with a sense of entitlement. Rather than seeking experience and skills, they are seeking shortcuts. I explain to them that nothing in life comes free; they need to work hard and learn the business so that when it is time for them to fly, they will be ready.
As a poor immigrant, would a $15 minimum wage [now proposed for Washington, D.C.] have helped me? Absolutely not. No restaurant owner would hire someone without experience, skills or English at such a high wage. I would never have made it to that first rung on the career ladder.
When I was hired in my first job, I was given something much more than a high starting wage; I was given the opportunity to learn, gain skills and grow. I was also given the mobility to advance unlike anything I had ever experienced. I am not alone. Growth in restaurant ownership among minorities and women outpaced growth in the overall restaurant industry in the past 10 years. More than 80 percent of restaurant owners started in an entry-level position. Fifty-nine percent of first-line supervisors/managers of food preparation and service workers last year were women, 19 percent were of Hispanic origin and 13 percent were African American.