Thursday, July 2, 2015

The living wage: a view from the corporate top and a win in Flagstaff

The fundamental attribution error (FAE) is defined as "the tendency to overestimate the effect of disposition or personality and underestimate the effect of the situation in explaining social behavior." The Psychology Today blog continues: "In other words: When we see someone doing something, we tend to think it relates to their personality rather than the situation the person might be in."

The FAE is committed daily, moment by moment, by GOPlins when they lay the blame for being poor on the poor. Here is an example from The Nation (h/t Jerry Stoops).

Being a low-income American comes from being paid a low income.

It seems like a basic point, but it’s one Andy Puzder needs to review. Puzder is CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc., which employs more than 20,000 people and worldwide owns, operates, and franchises more than 3,300 fast food restaurants, including Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

In a recent op-ed, Puzder made the specious claim that the social safety net "can lock [people] into poverty."

He argues that "these programs have the unintended consequence of discouraging work rather than encouraging independence, self-reliance and pride," and that, because of government assistance, his low-wage employees across the United States are refusing promotions and additional hours "for fear of losing public assistance."

What Puzder forgets to point out is that it is poverty wages—poverty wages paid by institutions like Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. to many of their 20,000-plus employees— that force families to turn to nutrition and housing assistance, and other government-supplemented work supports, just to get by.

You think that's bad? Here is the real sin.

... people like Puzder make more in one day ($17,192) than one of his minimum wage employees would earn after working full-time for an entire year ($15,130).

This system was created by people like Puzder and political leaders who, like him, blame the very people who are just trying to make ends meet. But we have the power to change how the system works.

Not surprisingly, the road to change doesn’t involve taking away supports from the people who need them most. It involves creating good jobs for the people who need them most; jobs that provide a fair wage and benefits—that give people options rather than forcing them to choose between bad and worse.

We can start by stipulating "a fair wage." In Arizona, Flagstaff is leading the way.

AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona does the legal analysis on the win by the Flagstaff Living Wage Coalition.

The Flagstaff Living Wage Coalition said late Monday it had reached an agreement with the attorney general’s office that would nullify a 2013 state law taking away the right of communities to set minimum wages.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Mark Brnovich confirmed that the parties had filed a stipulated judgment and are waiting for a signature by the judge in the case.

According to a statement by the coalition, the judgment declares that A.R.S. § 23-204, which was passed by the Legislature in 2013, and prohibits counties, cities and towns from regulating employee compensation and benefits, violates the Voter Protection Act. In 2006, Arizona voters passed Proposition 202, which gave local governments the ability to regulate compensation and benefits. This week’s judgment will clarify that Legislature cannot override voter initiatives.

The Meanie makes the point that if the Lege really wants some uniformity, it can amend the law to stipulate a higher minimum wage. But that might force the Lege to admit that poor folks are not poor because of any character defect; poor folks are poor because of the crappy wages paid by companies and the suppressive policies of legislatures.

No comments:

Post a Comment