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CREDIT RATING AGENCY SOUNDING THE ALARM OVER PUSH TO HIKE THE MINIMUM WAGE
GARY B SMITH: I can't see the positives in this. It's going to hurt powerful businesses, small businesses, mediocre businesses, etc., it's a tax. So at the end of the year they either have less profit to grow their business or they can hire less people. The populous view of the minimum wage doesn't work because one, it hurts employment. Studies have shown that there is a correlation with raising the minimum wage and increased unemployment. Two, it discriminates. Those who are out of a job with this are the least skilled, most disadvantaged members of society. The lousy minimum wage idea doesn't even help those who want to be helped.
MARK HANNAH: It is the case that of the 13 states that have independently raised their minimum wage since January, they're seeing more job growth than the rest of the country. So there is an economic argument that says you incentivize people to work and put more money in the pockets of consumers, they go out and spend it. They're injecting that money back into the economy. The business community in Seattle that's advocating against the $15 minimum wage is also advocating for a $12.50 minimum wage which is a lot more than seen at the federal level right now.
TRACY BYRNES: Just because the consumer has more money in his pocket that means the employer has less. So the consumer might be out of a job because the employers are going to turn around and say that they can't keep you on at $15 because they don't have it to give you. This is just a backwards notion of how we're going to increase prosperity in this country.
JOHN LAYFIELD: Mark makes an emotional argument which is what you do when you want to spin something. What Gary B is talking about is correct; 5 percent of people are in poverty because of the minimum wage. The average family that has the minimum wage worker makes $53,000 a year per family. What Gary is talking about is the earned income tax credits; that's the way you fight poverty. Create jobs and you don't have to worry about minimum wage.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: I think there are some psychological benefits. It will incentivize people to get a job because the distance between welfare benefits and working benefits will get wider and they could actually lower those benefits at the same time. There's an inequality problem growing; I think it could create the illusion that it's not as bad if you got a high wage. But with actual numbers, if you raise the cost of labor, we're going to consume less labor. So I think we're going to lose a few jobs with this but there are some other benefits which Mark brought up.
REPORT: GAS PRICES COULD FALL $0.10 TO $0.25/GAL BY END OF THE MONTH
JOHN LAYFIELD: We could bring prices down by having a national energy policy. What the President needs to do is tell the EPA they have to rule now on fracking. How is it safe? How is it not safe? And then continue if it is. How do we have a pipeline policy? Why is the Keystone bought? How does it fit in? We don't know how or if it fits in because we have no national energy policy. The only job creation event on the horizon for the US is energy. We can do so much more to create jobs in this country and be free of foreign fossil fuels.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: You're not supposed to produce all your oil at once. If you did join OPEC wouldn't they tell you to produce a little less and make more profits? Shouldn't we save some of the oil so we have some in 20/30 years when it's only Saudi Arabia and a few other countries like Russia that have all the oil? We're the country that's produced the most of their reserves. So it's not like we're doing a poor job at a producing it. I'd argue we should save some and produce more conservatively so we have some chips in the game when the oil starts running out.
TRACY BYRNES: To John's point, even without a plan, you have horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracking, etc. All this is working; we're at the highest output we've ever been at. We have no guidance and we're still kind of at #1 right now. We're doing fantastic; why not keep the ball rolling with this?
MARK HANNAH: The all of the above energy policy is working. We've got more land being opened up for exploration. I think it's a great thing that America's producing more oil than ever before.
GARY B SMITH: We have an energy policy. It's called "the energy producers are not allowed to export oil policy," typical government red tape getting in the way. To Jonas's point, you don't go to GE and tell them they are selling too many turbines overseas and that they should keep some here so we have them. First of all we don't have a place to put all this oil. Release the oil where the market demands it. That's going to lower the overall price.
RESTAURANT CHAIN FILES TRADEMARK APPLICATION FOR "NO TECH TUESDAY"
TRACY BYRNES: We go out to eat and there's a rule that everyone put their phone in the middle of the table. The first person to grab it pays the bill. The rule is to not touch it; play no games or text. I agree with that but the notion of "no tech" is extreme because you need it for emergency purposes.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: I'm for no cellphone talking but as far as the no email on a Tuesday, you want a work crowd coming there and instead you're going to have the early bird special. As much as it's bad that there's all these devices, the noise of children has gone way down with these gadgets in their hands.
GARY B SMITH: I think it's kind of silly. Is that part of the decision- making "where should we go, Fridays or Applebee's? Oh it's no tech Tuesday so let's go there!" On the other hand, I applaud Applebee's if they think this is going to increase sales and foot-traffic then good for them.
MARK HANNAH: I just want to see what their training program is for waiters that have to go around and slapping people on the wrist for picking up their cellphone. How are they actually going to enforce this "no tech" policy? Are they going to have everybody put their cellphones into a basket as they walk into the restaurant? I think it's an interesting idea.
JOHN LAYFIELD: I think Gary B is right; let the market decide. When Bloomberg banned smoking in NYC, they thought it was the worst thing that could possibly happen to bars but it turned out to be the best thing. I think this does kill the business lunch/dinner as Jonas was talking about but let the market decide. Perhaps they're trying something great here so we'll see.
GARY B SMITH: RELAX IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME! (LZB) RETURNS A 50 percent PRO
JOHN LAYFIELD: (MRO) IS A SLAM DUNK; UP 20 percent IN 1 YEAR
JONAS MAX FERRIS: "CHOW DOWN"! (TXRH) SERVES UP 20 percent GAIN IN 1 YEAR