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Seattle Employers Cut Hours After Latest Minimum Wage Rise, Study Finds

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      'A Seattle law that requires many businesses to pay a minimum wage of at least $13 an hour has left low-wage workers with less money in their pockets because some employers cut working hours, a study released on Monday said.

      'Low-wage workers on average now clock 9 percent fewer hours and earn $125 less each month than before the Pacific Northwest city set one of the highest minimum wages in the nation, the University of Washington research paper said.

      'Even so, overall employment at city restaurants, where a large percentage of low-wage earners work, held steady.

      'Seattle, which has a booming economy and a strong technology sector, is midway through an initiative to increase its minimum wage for all employers to $15 an hour. The city is at the forefront of a nationwide push by Democratic elected officials and organized labor in targeting $15 for all workers.

      '"Most people will tell you there is a level of minimum wage that is too high," Jacob Vigdor, a professor of public policy at the University of Washington and director of the team studying the increase, said in a phone interview. "There is a sense that as you raise it too high, then you get to a point where employers will really start cutting back."

      'Many companies reached that point after Seattle, a city of nearly 700,000 residents, raised the minimum to $13 an hour for large employers beginning Jan. 1, 2016, according to the study.

      'Seattle's labor market held steady when the minimum rose to $11 from $9.47 on April 1, 2015, the university found in a study released last year.

      '"Raising the minimum wage helps ensure more people who live and work in Seattle can share in our city's success, and helps fight income inequality," Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement in response to the study, which the city commissioned.'

      https://www.yahoo.com/news/seattle-employers-cut-h...

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      Move By UK Supermarkets Threatens To Bring Fairtrade Crashing Down

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          "When four Sainsbury’s executives met farmers from some of Africa’s biggest tea-growing co-operatives in a hotel in Nairobi last month it should have been a mutual celebration of Fairtrade, the gold standard of ethical trading and the world’s most trusted and best-known food certification scheme.

          "But instead of backslapping at the Pride hotel, the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade products precipitated the greatest crisis in the scheme’s 25-year history by telling the 13 major tea groups and their 228,000 co-operative members that it intended to drop the globally known Fairtrade mark for their produce, and replace it with the phrase “fairly traded”.

          "In place of the strict rules devised by farmers’ groups working with independent development experts to guarantee consumers that small-scale farmers are being rewarded with decent pay and bonuses, the £23bn-a-year retailer said it planned to set up its own in-house certification scheme, set new ethical standards and introduce a different way to pay the groups.

          "From next week the company will no longer label its Gold, Red and other bestselling own-brand teas as “Fairtrade” but will call them “fairly traded”. Officially it is a pilot but the suspicion is that Sainsbury’s will then roll out the new standard across other products including bananas and coffee.

          "To add to the woes of the Fairtrade brand, it was revealed last week that Tesco will move all its own-label coffee from Fairtrade to another ethical certification scheme, the Rainforest Alliance. According to the Grocer, an industry magazine, this is likely to happen in 2018 and follows a similar announcement by the retailer earlier this year that it will do the same with its own-brand tea.

          "The farmers at the meeting with Sainsbury’s, mostly from Malawi, Rwanda and Kenya, were nonplussed. “Why change a system that has worked well for 25 years for both poor farmers and large supermarkets?” asked one. Had not the supermarket reaped tens of millions of pounds’ profit and huge moral kudos by pioneering Fairtrade and inviting customers to pay a bit more for their produce?"

          https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/201...

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          Why Auto-, Credit Card,- And Student Debt Are Worse Than Housing Debt

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              in the USA, not everywhere else

              In 2007 guests on CNBC were saying that weakness in the housing market wasn't a big deal. Now housing has become unaffordable for most people because they have lousy jobs with low pay. Rents rise in the areas where there is work. Sure, you can move to a place where rent is cheap, but is there work there? Nobody wants a two- hour commute each way, unless there's wyfy on the train maybe. Bedsides, if you have a low pay job, the commute would be too costly.

              Now there are many housing bubbles, in the USA, Canada. China, etc etc etc. The only debt I've heard about that you can walk away from is US housing debt. Private debt is dangerously high. Economic shocks will cause an avalanche of NPLs - non performing loans, which wil hurt the banks.

              Collectively it doesn't matter whether you can walk away or the banks get bailed out with fiat money. The debt is still there, and it will cause pain one day. What was that about death and taxes? Let me rearrange that and add an ingredient: There are taxes to pay all the time, debt eventually, and after all that, death may not seem so bad...

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              Oil Out Of Control

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                  There isn't a way to control markets all the time, just like what Abe Lincoln said about fooling the people. The oil price keeps on falling going into the driving season, and gasoline storage is increasing! People can't afford holidays, pure and simple. Rattling the war sable or actual war should make the oil price spike, but even that doesn't change the long term fundamentals of supply and demand.

                  A lot is being said about supply, but serious analysis of demand is AWOL...

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                  America's Newest Grocery Store Chain Has An Advantage That Should Terrify Walmart

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                      'The German supermarket chain Lidl just opened its first US stores last week, and it's already dominating America's largest grocer, Walmart, on prices.

                      'Lidl is about 9% cheaper than Walmart, according to a price check on a basket of 20 items by Jefferies analysts.

                      'The price check also revealed that Lidl was 3% cheaper than its German rival Aldi and 16% cheaper than Food Lion.

                      'This new competition is likely to put added pressure on US grocers to lower their prices at a time when food deflation is already weighing down margins.

                      'In addition to low prices, the Lidl store also offered a premium shopping experience with impressive customer service and an attractive store design that seemed to come straight from US shoppers' most beloved grocery chains like Publix and Costco, according to the Jefferies analysts.

                      '"The retailer seemed to steal certain aspects from various retailers, such as hints of Publix (employees were extremely friendly and even escorted the elderly around in wheelchairs), Costco (random sample stations, concrete floors, display cases on pallets and still in shipping packaging), and insert any specialty grocer name here (wood grain decor, vibrant signage, and a respectable bakery/ethnic/organic offering)," they wrote.

                      'Lidl has more than 10,000 stores worldwide and plans to open 100 in the US by next summer. Its entrance into the US market will cause disruption for years to come, according to Jefferies.

                      '"Our findings show not just aggressive discounts, but also a far more favorable shop vs. its German peer Aldi," the analysts wrote. "Given the results, Lidl's plans for 100 units by summer 2018, continued Aldi expansion, and what reactions we have already seen from competition, the hard discounter threat is real and could prove highly disruptive over the next several years."'

                      https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/german-grocery-...

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                      The Credit Impulse And Money Velocity

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                          and G. Edward Griffin and the Fed

                          Only very recently I learned what the credit impulse is. I already knew that money velocity is the circulation of money which drives the economy. The credit impulse is the creation of loans, which are an important part of the money circulation and creation of economic activity. The bad news is that both are slowing down, especially in China. That would be normal in a sound money economy, but disastrous in a fiat system where there is nothing if more debt isn't created.

                          Today I heard Mr Griffin explain the difference between fiat and sound money, and loan creation using either. What used to happen pre-Fed was that money had to be created by activity and saved and then lent. Not so in our Fed and central bankster era. Money gets created out of nothing and pumped into the economy, pushing up asset prices and debasing the currency, benefiting the banksters and others in the financial ueber-elites while impoverishing the rest of society. Creating money like that is fraud, and we mere mortals would spend a lot of time in jail if we tried to do the same. Griffin wrote "The Creature from Jekyll Island", not horror/science fiction, but about something much worse, the creation of the Fed.

                          I'm so glad that others have spent decades studying important subjects and are now passing it all on to us. Griffin gets a bad rap on Wikipedia. Lower down on the YouTube thread I saw that he was talking about the Masons, which I didn't listen to. My reading and listening is definitely cafe-style, finding pieces that I need to complete my understanding of the world...

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                          Trump's Biggest Lies About Coal

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                              Trump's Biggest Lies About Coal

                              Why the jobs aren't coming back


                              “He barely gets what mining is. He may well think it’s just running up to things that he wants and yelling ‘MINE!’”

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                              Pundit Post

                              Texas Companies Tie Worker Shortages To Immigration Fears

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                                  I find this article very sad. Illegals desperately want to work and they work at jobs that, according to Oscar Martinez's experience at his drywall company, that "The Americans I hire can't last in this job more than half a day." If Americans cannot abide those jobs, who will perform them? Illegals are vital to many many businesses and agriculture. Without them, these businesses find themselves struggling. It makes no sense to deport the people who clearly want the work simply because they are illegal. That is, after all, why so many of them risked their lives to come here in the first place.


                                  _____________________________________________________________________

                                  'Though construction is in high demand in Texas' booming capital city, Oscar Martinez's drywall company is suddenly struggling.

                                  'One-third of the approximately 20 employees Martinez uses to build new homes and commercial spaces have recently fled the state, spooked by a combination of a federal immigration crackdown by the Trump administration and a tough anti-"sanctuary cities" law approved last month by Texas' Republican-controlled Legislature.

                                  '"I took a big hit since my workers started hearing crazy stories about being deported, and they panicked," said Martinez, who relies on immigrants in the U.S. illegally for labor and has failed to find replacements for the physically grueling, precise work.

                                  '"The Americans I hire can't last in this job more than half a day," Martinez said.

                                  'Similar fears have sent shockwaves through many sectors of the U.S. economy. In most cases, demographers and economic experts say it's too early to quantify the full impact of workforce shortages fueled by immigration fears, but anecdotal evidence is widespread.

                                  '"I've heard from growers, construction, and the service industry about a destabilization of the workforce in Texas and around the country," said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a Washington-based immigrants' rights advocacy group. "It's definitely happening more in states that are considering major immigration enforcement policies."

                                  'The issue is particularly pronounced in Texas because it's a conservative state and has one of the largest populations of immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally. Texas' new law has exacerbated more general fears among immigrants about immigration policies becoming stricter nationwide under President Donald Trump.'

                                  https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/texas-companies...

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                                  This Self-driving Grocery Store Has No Employees

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                                      "The idea of a fully automated grocery store with no human employees might sound strange (or very appealing, depending on just how much you hate interacting with people), and now, Shanghai residents can visit one for themselves. The Swedish company Wheelys is testing a mobile grocery store with no staff -- and it can drive itself.

                                      "In order to shop at Moby, you first have to download an app to your phone. That's what gets you through the door, which is otherwise kept locked. You then walk through the store -- which is very small, fitting a maximum of four people at once -- and place your purchases into a smart basket. When you're ready, you simply walk out the door. You're automatically charged for the food you purchased. It's a concept that Amazon has been working on, but Wheelys may beat the retail giant to market. What's more, the solar-powered Moby is designed to restock itself automatically, driving to a warehouse, while another identical unit takes its place.

                                      "While Wheelys is testing its first Moby store in the bustling city of Shanghai, these autonomous, unmanned stores could also prove very useful in small, rural towns where grocery shops have closed, as well as urban food deserts. "I grew up in the countryside in Northern Sweden," said Tomas Mazetti, one of Wheelys' founders, to Fast Company. "The last store closed there in the 1980s sometime, and after that, everyone just commuted into the city, but that takes an hour. A little piece of the village died. Now, suddenly, in a place like that, the village can team up and buy one of these stores. If the village is really small, [the store] can move around to different villages.""

                                      https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/self-driving-gr...

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                                      Here Are The Changes Legislators Want To Make To The Voter-approved Mass. Marijuana Law

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                                          "House leaders will unveil a bill Wednesday that would more than double the total tax on recreational marijuana and give municipal officials — instead of local voters — the power to ban cannabis shops and farms.


                                          "The voter-passed initiative called for up to a 12 percent total tax on recreational marijuana in Massachusetts. But under the House proposal, which is expected to be voted on Thursday, it would be taxed at a total of 28 percent.


                                          "The legislation marks an extraordinary break with the 1.8 million Massachusetts voters who legalized marijuana through last year’s ballot.


                                          "However, the House bill wouldn’t change some basics of legalization. Adults 21 and over could still grow up to 12 marijuana plants per household. And they could still possess, use, and purchase the same limited amounts of marijuana. Under the bill, retail stores would also still be on track to open in July 2018."

                                          http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/06/13/house-...

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