Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Labor

How to Read That Productivity/Wage Gap Chart We’re Always Seeing

You’ve probably seen this chart before. It’s everywhere now. I’ve used it more than a few times over the years. It’s the chart from the Economic Policy Institute that shows that while US productivity has continued to increased over the last few decades, real inflation-adjusted wages haven’t kept pace:

I’ve seen two bad misreadings of this chart lately, and I want to clear them up.

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Trump Plans to Let Restaurateurs Confiscate Employees’ Tips

I had the misfortune of reading about a newly proposed Trump administration regulatory change. These regulatory changes happen constantly, but most of them fail to draw the heavy press and public attention that say, net neutrality has and does. It seems these regulations are least likely to get attention when the groups they harm are small and economically and politically weak. This latest regulation hits tipped employees especially hard, and its design is insidious and deeply misleading. Here’s how it works.

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National Self-Determination is Overrated

I have a new piece out for Current Affairs about the importance of political unions in the 21st century. Here’s the link:

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/11/national-self-determination-is-overrated

The original title was “In Praise of Unionism: What the European Left Can Learn From America,” but we souped it up a bit. It’s a bit longer and more comprehensive than the stuff I usually do here. The folks at CA are delightful to work with. They’re putting out some really terrific long-form pieces that dig into things more deeply than a lot of what we see on the web these days.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Bar Metaphor Is Really Stupid

A friend of mine recently sent me this clip of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempting to defend President Trump’s “Cut Cut Cut” tax plan with an elaborate bar metaphor. Let’s call it the “Allegory of the Tab”:

A couple days later, my dad told me he heard someone bring this up, as if it were some kind of serious argument for Trump’s plan. I can’t let this stand. The Allegory of the Tab is too reductive, too simplistic, too brain-dead to pass without a post exclusively and entirely about how dumb it is.

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Why Trump Cannot Bring Jobs Back With Tax Cuts

When I talk to President Trump’s supporters about how they anticipate the president will bring back lost manufacturing jobs, I tend to hear the same argument over and over. It goes something like this:

  1. Trump will cut corporate tax and other taxes that primarily hit investors.
  2. Firms and investment will return from abroad to take advantage of the low tax rates.

It is possible to demonstrate that this is false. Here’s how to do it.

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