In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 19, 2014 / 19 Iyar, 5774

Debate about minimum wage needs to get real

By Mitch Albom

JewishWorldReview.com | I've worked for minimum wage. Many times. Selling programs. Frying chicken. Janitor. Factory worker. Ice cream scooper.

In each case, I saved the money and put it toward college and grad school. What I lacked, I borrowed in loans . With my degree, I eventually got a good job and paid those loans back.

Had they increased the minimum wage by 40% — as many are proposing now — I would have had more money.

But I would have gone to college anyway. I'd have borrowed what I needed. It wouldn't have lifted me "out of poverty."

And therein lies the problem.

Actually just one of the problems.

The minimum wage debate is the equivalent of stretch pants. It takes on the shape of the user. President Barack Obama says raising it will lift people out of poverty. Big Business says it will cost folks their jobs. Small Business says it will close them down.

And poor people say, "Bring it on!"

Then again, research shows that poor people, surprisingly, are less affected than you think. Because a huge percentage of poor Americans aren't working at all.

Now, before we dissect who is right or wrong, let us agree to throw studies out the window. Because you can find a study to make every argument in this debate.

Case in point: The White House's Council of Economic Advisers did a briefing this year that said raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour could be done with no job loss. Hurray!

Then the Congressional Budget Office released a nonpartisan report that said such a move would result in 500,000 fewer jobs. Boo!

Two reports. Same government. Get it?


In such cases, it's best to try common sense. Common sense tells you that $7.25 an hour doesn't get you much these days. Common sense also tells you that businesses , especially big chains like McDonald's, are in it for profit. And if you chop their profit by raising labor costs, they are not going to sit there and sigh, "Oh, well."

They are going to 1) raise prices to regain that profit or 2) lay off workers to do it. The first will result in higher costs for those who eat there — including many poor people. The second will create unemployment.

Multiply this by a zillion examples and you see that while some will be making more, others may make nothing and pay higher prices. Even the government's own Congressional Budget Office study (I know, it's a study, but you're going to want something besides my logic) says the increase to $10.10 an hour would lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty, but cause 500,000 to lose their jobs.

No matter where you stand, that's bad math.

Now, let's use common sense on who benefits from minimum wage hikes. A perception is that all minimum wage workers are industrious single moms trying to run a household or earnest but low-educated men working 40 hours to put food on the family table. The facts don't bear this out.

Many minimum wage workers are more like I was. More than half are under 24. Most are white. Nearly 50% work in food prep or serving. And two out of three are part-time.

A recent Forbes article by an economics professor, Jeffrey Dorfman, said it well: "The reality is that families in poverty very rarely have a full-time worker in the family; in fact, only 7% of the time. People are not in poverty because the minimum wage is too low. People are in poverty because they are not working or not working enough. They need jobs."

Ironically, some suggest that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour (as certain U.S. cities are trying) actually would attract more workers living above the poverty line, thus nudging out the very poor such a hike was designed to help.


Now, having said that, let's apply common sense to how minimum wage workers are treated. Recent walkouts at fast-food chains are protesting not just wages, but practices such as making employees sign for no hours guaranteed, but availability whenever called. That's unfair. A low wage should not mean low treatment.

The government could do something about that. It could also make sure the minimum wage rises with inflation. And it could increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is tied to how much you earn and your family size, so that the benefits go to the people who truly need it.

Common sense says a family of four should live above the poverty line if a member has a full-time job. But common sense also says in today's world, it's almost a luxury to have one breadwinner per family.

Common sense says higher wages put more money in the economy — but not if jobs are lost because of it. Common sense says the marketplace sets its own rules; yet we all know businesses are greedy by nature.

All of this would be solved if multinational corporations got together and said, "You know, we make enough. We can trim our profits for the common good."

Wake me up when that happens. Until then, this argument will go on, stretching to fit whoever is making it.

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Mitch Albom Archives