+
Economist says that the U.S. minimum wage should be $26 and proves it with a simple chart
via New America / Flickr

Over the past decade, activists have been fighting for the U.S. to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. The $15 threshold, which is more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25, is seen by many as a "living wage."

Some states have higher minimum wages than the $7.25 standard, with California being the top at $14. However, 21 still linger in the $7.25 zone.

Given such paltry wages, it's no wonder why the U.S. is currently having a "labor shortage." Maybe it'd be more appropriately labeled a wage shortage?


A dramatic new report from Dean Baker, the founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, shows that if the federal minimum wage had kept up with U.S. productivity, it'd be at a staggering $26 an hour.

Baker is an economist who received his B.A. from Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan. His work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, London Financial Times.

via Center for Economic and Policy Research

The federal minimum wage was first established in 1938 and Congress repeatedly raised the amount to correspond with U.S. productivity. In 1968 it was the equivalent of $12 in today's dollars. However, since 1968, U.S. productivity has dramatically increased, but the minimum wage has remained relatively stagnant.

"Furthermore, a minimum wage that grew in step with the rapid rises in productivity in these decades did not lead to mass unemployment," Baker wrote. "The year-round average for the unemployment rate in 1968 was 3.6 percent, a lower average than for any year in the last half-century."

If Congress had kept the minimum wage to match productivity we'd live in a much different world.

"Think of what the country would look like if the lowest paying jobs, think of dishwashers or custodians, paid $26 an hour," Baker speculates. "That would mean someone who worked a 2000 hour year would have an annual income of $52,000. This income would put a single mother with two kids at well over twice the poverty level."

However, Baker argues that such a dramatic, overnight shift would result in an economic disaster because we've "restructured the economy in ways that ensure a disproportionate share of income goes to those at the top."

Baker cites several examples of how the economy has been restructured, including "government-granted patent and copyright monopolies" that have inflated the cost of drugs, medical equipment, and software which would "all be relatively cheap in a free market."

Baker says that CEOs are vastly overpaid because "the corporate boards that most immediately determine CEO pay are largely selected by the CEO and other top management." So a lot of the company's money is wasted in CEO compensation when it could be spread amongst the rest of the employees.

He also believes that the financial sector benefits people who make "little or no contribution to the productive economy." Specifically, he says that the banking industry charges people tens of billions in fees when we could just as easily have digital bank accounts with the Fed.

Baker thinks that we can get back to a country where wages match productivity and the changes we'd need to make to get there are worthwhile.

"It would be a great story if we could reestablish the link between the minimum wage and productivity and make up the ground lost over the last half-century," Baker concludes. "But we have to make many other changes in the economy to make this possible. These changes are well worth making."

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

Keep ReadingShow less