Seattle, the capital of the fight for living wages.
Seattle, the capital of the fight for living wages. Charles Mudede


The Report About How $15 an Hour Is Hurting Seattle's Poor Will Get Lots of Attention Today: It's already the top story at the Seattle Times, and has gone national, with the Washington Post calling the study "very credible." The fact that those words were put in the headline should startle your bullshit alerts. First of all, the study came out of the University of Washington, an institution that has no real economists but instead a bunch of women/me who were taught and currently teach the usual neo-classical nonsense that many people mistake for being all of economics—which has many different schools and kinds of thinkers outside of the neo-classical box.

The thing to keep in mind is that the neo-classical school has always argued, even against the facts, that there is some magical equilibrium for full employment. And the only reason it is repressed is because of some external interference, some busy body, like the government. Leave the markets alone (meaning, let wages fall), and the equilibrium will be reached. John Maynard Keynes thought he defeated this way of thinking with his Depression-era masterpiece The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money; and he did, for the most part. But it came right back in 1970s, and has been with us ever since. The UW might actually be one of the most stubborn major institutions when it comes to neo-classical economics, and so you can expect a stupid report of this kind to pop out of it.

But if you need to read anything about the UW report, it is this paragraph, which is buried in the Seattle Times story:

Michael Reich, a UC Berkeley economics professor who was lead author on the Berkeley report, said he found the UW team’s report not credible for a number of reasons.

He said the UW researchers’ “synthetic” Seattle model draws only from areas in Washington that are nothing like Seattle, and the report excludes multisite businesses, which employ a large percentage of Seattle’s low-paid workforce. The latter fact was also problematic, he said, because that meant workers who left single-site businesses to work at multisite businesses were counted as job losses, not job gains in the UW study.

Reich also thought the $19 threshold was too low, and he said the UW researchers’ report “finds an unprecedented impact of wage increases on jobs, ten times more than in hundreds of minimum wage and non-minimum wage studies. … “There is no reason,” he said, that Seattle’s employers of low-paid workers “should be so much more sensitive to wage increases.”

Jacob Vigdor, a UW public policy professor and one of the authors of the UW report, stood by the team’s findings.

You can read Heidi Groover on the Berkeley report here.

Mike McGinn Recommends Turning 5th Avenue into a Transit Only Street: It's not a bad idea, and he is right to point out that dedicating this street to bus traffic is not about ideology; it's about rationality. Nevertheless, one wonders why McGinn didn't do this thing when he was mayor. Downtown traffic was already very bad back then.

Seattle Almost Had Its Hottest June Day On Record: KOMO reports that the "only other times it's been this warm in June was on June 30, 1995 and June 9, 1955." Portland also experienced record-breaking temperatures. On Sunday, the heat in that city reached 101 degrees. It's getting hot in here.

Black Lives Matter Protesters Blocked Seattle's Pride Parade for 30 Minutes: Each minute represented one year in the short life of Charleena Lyles, who was shot on June 18 by two officers of the Seattle Police Department. The BLM intervention appears to have been respected, and once its time was up, the parade resumed.

Ex-Boyfriend Shoots Current Boyfriend and Then Shoots Himself He died right there and then. The current boyfriend did not. He was taken to Harborview with life threatening injuries. The incident occurred at a house in Sea-Tac. The girlfriend of the man fighting for his life in the hospital resides in this house. She and he were at home when the ex knocked on the door. He allegedly entered, got into a fight with current boyfriend, pulled out a gun, shot him, and then aimed the pistol at the seat of his being and blew his brains out. He was declared dead at the scene. Sergeant Cindi West of King County Sheriff's Office provided the summary of this incident.

Boeing Workers in South Carolina Factory Are Informed that Their Jobs Are Making the Company Less Competitive: As a consequence, their jobs must pay the ultimate sacrifice for the greatest good that is known to the church of the market: being competitive. Indeed, the workers should be proud that they are contributing to this good. They should leave the plant filled with feelings of joy. This is how things are done in the land of the free. This is the religion of neo-classical economics. Being beaten by a competitor is a great sin. It is a condition that's as far from God as you can imagine.

Passengers on Air Asia X Flight Felt Closer to God In a Tight Situation: Not long after it left Perth, Australia for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the jet plane started shaking. It shook like "a washing machine" for two whole hours. At one point, the pilot recommended that passengers pray for their lives or afterlives. The situation was that tight. The plane, however, was able to return the solidity and certainty of the ground in Perth. They were, to use the words of the rap duo Mobb Deep, "the shook ones." What must also be considered in all of this is the fact that one of the rappers of Mobb Deep, the recently late Prodigy, was a Hegelian. He understood the German philosopher's deep respect for the Absolute Master (death). To be a shook one is, to use the words of Hegel, to have "trembled in every fiber of [your] being, [and felt] everything solid and stable [be] shaken to its foundations."

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The Reason Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Appointed the CEO of a Student Loan Company to Run the Government's Student Loan Agency: "Wayne A. Johnson has 30 years of experience in the private sector and is going to be a tremendous asset to the Department and to FSA's customers [...] Wayne knows this industry inside and out and has seen first-hand the benefits of serving students and helping them meet their financial and educational goals. This is just another reason why we are so excited to have him on the team as we work to put students' needs first."

The Reason Vice President Pence Wants To Kill Obamacare: To establish a health care system "based on personal responsibility, and free-market competition..." The priests of neo-classical economics could not agree with you more, Mr. VP. Amen to that.

SCOTUS Says Trump's Muslim Ban Is For Those Who Do Not Have a Bona Fide Relationship with Someone in the US: And so the Muslim ban goes up at the same time the GOP is preparing to bring down health insurance for millions of Americans.

2021 Social Justice Film Festival: ACTIVATE | REFUGE Online
Screening 50+ films that inspire and demand community action, October 7-17 at