US. Manufacturing Workers Underpaid; Be Cautious in Raising Minimum Wage

“Why U.S. Manufacturing Workers are on Food Stamps and Medicaid,” by David Kiley in Forbes.com —{With My Commentary} http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkiley5/2016/05/10/why-u-s-manufacturing-workers-are-on-food-stamps-and-medicaid/#63cc7e0f7b89

Highlights of David Kiley’s Article

“A new study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley shows that over one-third of manufacturing workers in the U.S. are on some form of public assistance. The percentage shoots up to 50% when temporary manufacturers are factored in.”

“Not only do politicians frequently talk about the importance of strengthening manufacturing in industrial states like Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but state governments typically come up with huge incentive packages to companies for locating a new manufacturing facility in their state. But the University notes that manufacturing jobs are costing tax-payers $10.2 billion.

The report analyzed utilization rates and costs in the five largest means-tested public benefit programs for which data is available: Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), food stamps (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), and basic household income assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF).”

“The UC-Berkeley researchers report that the largest classification of temporary manufacturing production workers—assemblers and fabricators—earn a median wage of $10.88 an hour, while those hired directly by the companies make an average of $15.03.”

“That manufacturing employees make about the same as retail workers on average is surprising to many. But as companies have been off-shoring more and more of these jobs to Mexico, China and other low-wage countries, fewer manufacturing jobs are unionized, and even the unions have negotiated lower wages in many cases in exchange for keeping jobs in the U.S.

In the U.S., experienced United Auto Workers members, for example, make an average $28 an hour, while new hires, known as “Tier 2,” workers start at $15.78. UAW members have not had a raise in a decade. Autoworkers make $8.24 an hour in Mexico and $4.10 in China, according to Center for Automotive Research data.”

“These wages are staying constant–and falling in some cases compared with where they were a decade ago–while the costs of living are not. According to the Consumer Price Index, prices of staple expenses have kept climbing during the last decade-beef is up 56%; fresh vegetables are up 28%; milk is up 14%. Healthcare costs have climbed faster than inflation in that time. The average cost of a new car has climbed 20%. And so on.”

“According to Emmanual Saenz, an economics professor at UC-Berkeley, says income inequality has been steadily rising since the 1970s and is at its greatest level since 1928. Saenz defines “income” as pre-tax cash market income — wages; dividends, interest, rent and other returns on invested capital; business profits; and realized capital gains. Excluded are Social Security payments, unemployment benefits and other government transfer payments, which are more substantial today than before the Great Depression.”

My Take:

“For me, this article serves a reminder to be cautious when raising the minimum wage. The manufacturing population is skilled. What if their wages didn’t go up simultaneously with the unskilled minimum wage crowd? Furthermore, the cost of living varies dramatically from state to state. The full $15/hour minimum wage goal sounds great for New York, California, Washington D.C., Alaska, and Hawaii. What if U.S. manufacturers that paid (or started paying) better wages got some sort of tax break? Looking forward to feedback. Let’s have some centrist (especially left-centrist) dialogue!”

By J. D. Meyer

 

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Pew Poll Shows 59% of Americans Oppose US-Mexico Wall; So Do I

Pew Poll: 59% of Americans Oppose US-Mexico Wall, by Sandy Fitzgerald http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/pew-poll-americans-oppose/2016/04/02/id/721972/#comment-2673685684

The poll of 2,254 adults, conducted March 17-27, found:

  • 59 percent overall oppose the wall
  • 38 percent overall support it
  • 67 percent of Republicans approve it
  • 86 percent of Democrats oppose it

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump has centered much of his campaign agenda around building a strong wall between the countries, and the poll reveals that most of his supporters back that plan:

  • 84 percent of Donald Trump’s supporters favor a wall;
  • 64 percent of Ted Cruz’s supporters want a wall and 42 percent do not;
  • 53 percent of John Kasich’s supporters oppose a wall and 45 percent approve of one.
  • 91 percent of Bernie Sanders’ voters oppose it;
  • 83 percent of Hillary Clinton’s supporters oppose a wall.

My Take
“I am opposed to The Wall & forcing Mexico to pay for it. Why risk another war, let alone with our neighbor? We’re major trading partners. More migrants move to Mexico rather than the US for several years–often returning home. The U.S. needs to speed up the process for legal status, especially agriculture workers…….. The braceros program (1942-1964) was a guest worker program that freed countless Americans to battle the Axis in WW II. Cinco de Mayo, aka. The Battle of Puebla, was a surprise defeat of France by Mexico in 1862. It marked the end of France financing the Confederacy!……… Furthermore, we have water treaties between the U.S. & Mexico, concerning the Colorado & Rio Grande Rivers–mostly from 1944………. Mass deportation would be very expensive, not fiscally conservative. How would the round-up be conducted? Would paratroopers drop into taquerias, Mexican grocery stores, and K-12 school parking lots that have a large ESOL population? Don’t make the USA Neo-Fascist!”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 by J.D. Meyer