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Election roundup: It's the economics, stupid

Mike Ross says he's with the striking fast-food workers:

This morning, I stood with striking fast food workers in support of their efforts to fight for higher wages. I want to make Boston the best city in America in which to do business, but I also want to make sure that all of those businesses pay a living wage and treat their employees fairly. Strong communities are filled with people who can provide for themselves and their families.

It's unacceptable when businesses retaliate against employee organizing or if they force employees to rely on Commonwealth benefits instead of paying those workers a fair, living wage to begin with.

Rob Consalvo says he's with the Liberty Mutual workers having their retirement benefits cut, says he would seek to block further tax breaks for the company unless it rescinds them, writes the insurer's CEO:

When Liberty Mutual came to the City Council in 2010 asking for tax assistance to build a new $300 million office in the Back Bay, I supported your request because I believed your company had every intention of being a good neighbor, but this isn't how we should treat people in Boston.

I hope you will reconsider this action and reinstate the benefits your employees deserve. If not, I cannot in good conscience support any requests from Liberty Mutual for assistance from the City of Boston in the future.

Dan Conley says he would work to get better paying jobs for Boston residents, in part by changing the "Boston Residents Jobs Policy," under which large construction projects are supposed to hire at least 50% Boston residents and at least 25% minority and 10% women workers to increase those numbers and to try to actually enforce the quotas and would work with local employers and unions on more job training for Bostonians.

He says he'd also focus on neighborhood jobs by removing some of the hoops people now have to go through to start businesses in the city and to create "a revolving loan and equity investment fund" for new small businesses.

Conley says he'd also work with Councilor Ayanna Pressley to regain control of Boston's liquor licenses.

Bill Walczak has a petition site where you can "sign" a request to have the Suffolk Downs issue decided citywide on either Nov. 5 (what the site says) or the Sept. 24 primary (what Walczak's press releases say).

Marty Walsh vows to double the number of early-education seats in local schools within four years:

There is no greater equity issue than ensuring that all students start kindergarten with foundational skills and ready to learn. The achievement gap begins before current universal public schools are part of a child's day. It is up to us- as legislators, teachers, parents, and Bostonians - to create a City in which this is possible for every single child in every Boston neighborhood.

John Barros is pro-arts.

Planned Parenthood has a guide to candidates for mayor, at-large city council, and District 9, based on questionnaires it sent out.


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So every mayoral candidate supports every issue that Planned Parenthood asks about, except for the two that didn't respond and the one guy that usually doesn't respond says he's against almost everything.

I'm in favor of rainbows and sunny days.

Candidates - do you agree?

We'll give you an asterisk if you support snow days.

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You guys were warned, here and asked to reconsider here, both times by Shirley Kressel. I looked a bit at lobbyists' relationship to this issue here. Alas twas all for nought!

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Wow! David James Wyatt is a real person! Who knew?

I saw his picture on some campaign literature that came in today's mail!

Oh yeah, the piece of mail was for Golar-Ritchie's campaign. Clever cover, too, about 11 men and 1 woman. Has pix of all the mayoral candidates.

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Mike Ross' stupid economics hurts him and the people he professes to support. For more, read the op-ed piece on the minimum wage in today's WSJ...or any of hundreds of similar writings.

Such a feel-good idea, with horrible unintended consequences.

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I'll bite.

Your understanding of minimum wage economics is approximately at the level of an economics freshman who just started a first course in micro. The issue turns out to be far more complex than that. Here's a good paper for you to start with in case you, or others, would like to learn more:


The employment effect of the minimum wage is one of the most studied topics in all of economics. This report examines the most recent wave of this research – roughly since 2000 – to determine the best current estimates of the impact of increases in the minimum wage on the employment prospects of low-wage workers. The weight of that evidence points to little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage. The report also reviews evidence on a range of possible adjustments to minimum-wage increases that may help to explain why the measured employment effects are so consistently small.

And, Brad Plumer wrote a popular economics article on the same topic, but which may be easier to follow:


What happens when the minimum wage goes up? In theory, this should be simple. A hike in the minimum wage raises the cost of low-wage workers. That should make firms less likely to hire those people. Unemployment should rise. Basic Econ 101, right?

Except that the real world seems to be much murkier. Yes, a number of studies have found a link between a higher minimum wage and higher unemployment. But many others, such as this recent paper from U.C. Berkeley that exploited differences across state borders, have found no effect at all. Quite often, hiking the minimum wage by a buck or two doesn’t appear to worsen unemployment in any noticeable way.

I'm pretty confident that Mike Ross understands this issue a lot better than you do. Also, he's running for Mayor of Boston, not Mayor of Wall Street.

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Ask Mike Ross if he supports the minimum wage being applied to all the unpaid interns in the entertainment industry. He will run a new record in the Boston Marathon to get away from you and that question.

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First, I'm not a troll -- unless the proper definition of a troll is one who has registered in and participated in a forum less than a year. If this is so, then, well, see you in September on my one-year anniversary.

Second, regarding "Your understanding of minimum wage economics is
approximately at the level of an economics freshman who just started a first course in micro," how were you able to determine that from my brief post? Is it my mention of WSJ (gasp!), or simply that you disagree with my comment?

Third, regarding "The issue turns out to be far more complex than that," yes, I know it's complex, as does an endless string of economists on either side of the issue. But any issue is far more complex than any comment on practically any forum. That doesn't mean I'm going to write a dissertation on the topic.

Fourth, what Mike Ross is after here is votes, nothing more.

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  1. Being a troll has nothing to do with registering or not -- although I appreciate you having taken the time to register.
  2. I took a bit of poetic license in imagining the kind of person who subscribes to such a shallow view of minimum wage economics. I probably thought the same way as you do when I was 18 years of age and voting Libertarian. Later, I learned better.
  3. This is what you said at first:
    Mike Ross' stupid economics hurts him and the people he professes to support.

    But this is not compatible with your follow-up comment of "yes, I know it's complex." Calling the idea "stupid" and also

    Such a feel-good idea, with horrible unintended consequences

    implies that you were quite certain about its effects. And now you seem to be retracting that. In any case, the available literature and empirical research makes your (formerly) hard-line attitude look very foolish.

  4. Of course he's looking for votes. That's his job. Standing up for a better wage is not only good politics, it seems to be good economics in this case, supported by research. Having those two goals coincide is nice to see.

I've a bad habit of responding to comments which make false statements about economics. I guess I shouldn't bother, but oh well.

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Thanks for the troll definition, "the content makes the troll." It really promotes debate of any sort. /sarcasm

If I said the same thing on some forum quite different from UH, am I a troll there?

Is UH somehow only for those leaning left and maybe a handful of moderates?

I took a bit of poetic license in imagining the kind of person who subscribes to such a shallow view of minimum wage economics.

"Shallow view" is in your imagination. To me, it's my opinion, stated briefly. No dissertations from me; good luck with continuing yours if you choose to do so.

I was stating an opinion which you now characterize as certainty. Now, you come in not with an opinion about economics, but the certainty that I've made "false statements" about economics. Yet there is plenty of literature on both sides.

It's called disagreement. There goes your certainty out the window.

Over and out.

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You called someone "stupid" and said there would be "horrible, unintended consequences" to the idea.

I responded to that by citing empirical research literature which contradicts your opinion. Furthermore, the paper I cited conducts a survey of other work on the issue, so it covers as much ground as can be reasonably expected.

What I cited has nothing to do with my personal feelings. And it has nothing to do with my political leanings. This question has been studied extensively, and the old-fashioned, simple-minded view that you put forth has been debunked in many cases. Thanks to extensive scientific research, we now know that raising the minimum wage cannot be dismissed summarily as "stupid", and can even be broadly beneficial.

You may offer your opinion as much as you want. But don't be surprised when someone calls you out on your bullshit. Whining about it doesn't make a difference. Maybe this is what surprises you about UHub: there are people here who are informed about the issues, and are unafraid to stand up to bullies like you.

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I called no one stupid.

I've put forth an opinion, not BS, here. No whining and no bullying, either.

Maybe this is what surprises you about UHub: there are people here who are informed about the issues,...

Not in the least.

Your imagination, poetic license, insinuations and (yes, I'll finally say it now) continual, sometimes subtle put-downs are all too much.

I'm done.

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Now, usually I agree with you on alot of issues, but to say (paraphrasing here), "Oh, it's nothing noticeable," would seem dangerous to me. I mean, hey, turning up the pot of water a degree or two causes little harmful effect on the frog - it seems to handle it well enough. But there is no gain here, at least, in the long term, to increasing minimum wage.

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I know it seems counterintuitive, but that's why they do the science. The paper discusses the limitations of these results, as well. Also, I think it's relevant to note that the minimum wage was higher 50 years ago, in real terms, than it is today.

For the record, this has nothing to do with my opinion. I'm responding based entirely on the research that I have read. I don't benefit from a minimum wage hike personally. Indirectly, I suppose I benefit from better economic conditions, and I am happy to see needless suffering prevented, of course.

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