Raising Minimum Wage Now

Most politicians agree that the minimum wage should be raised.  Even corporate America is beginning to support raising the minimum wage.  And, of course, most Americans support raising the minimum wage.

Raising the minimum wage alone is not the solution to solving the economic inequality problem.  But, sitting back and doing nothing certainly isn’t going to help.  And, with all of the support, why hasn’t it happened yet.

Income for the typical household has fallen 2.4% since 1999.  Of the 10 occupations that the Labor Department projects will produce the most jobs in the coming decade, five pay a median wage of less than $12 an hour.  Raising the minimum wage can increase the income floor for the growing group of American families that rely on minimum wage jobs.

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Why Is It Okay For The Wealthy To Steal?

Fact – Wells Fargo stole money from its customers. It opened fake accounts and stole millions of dollars from ordinary Americans.

Fact – The six highest paid executives at Wells Fargo have been paid approximately $190 million over the past three years, all while the company was stealing from ordinary Americans.

Fact – Wells Fargo’s profit during the last three years was $67.9 billion.

Warren Buffet owns 10% of Wells Fargo.  Two other large holders own another 10% of Wells Fargo. Continue reading

Beware the Benevolent Dictator

A benevolent dictator is certainly better than an awful dictator.  But, it is still a dictator.  There is a trend where companies claim to serve some public interest (your interest) by classifying themselves as a benefit corporation or claiming to be a part of the sharing economy.  The unfortunate danger is that in either case, these companies will continue to further the trend of a few people taking advantage of everyone.

Particularly, when companies rely on the crowd or the community to build success, they are typically claiming to be a benefit corporation.  These companies recognize that they need the community to build out their business model.  And, despite their claim to be a benefit corporation, their focus is to benefit a handful of wealthy people who own the company and to put themselves in a position to control the crowd and build wealth for themselves.

Likewise, companies relying on the community continue to claim a social benefit by promoting a sharing economy.  But, again, it is just a few people who control who shares what with who.  And, their focus is making sure that the few people who own these companies can share the vast majority of the income generated.

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Technology – Even if it Kills Me

Science fiction movies portray two different futures.  In one future, mankind lives in a beautiful utopia.  There are flying cars, shiny buildings and people wear really clean clothes. The other future is much more bleak.  People are struggling to survive.

Not unlike the movies, technology is going to define our future.  We dream of a future where robots do all the work and we live spectacular lives.  The reality is that our robots, or our technology, can drive our incomes down and further income inequality.

In Singapore, self-driving taxis began carrying passengers last week.  This week in Pittsburgh, passengers can be picked up by one of Uber’s self-driving cars. Uber expects to have 100 self-driving vehicles on the road by the end of 2017.

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