San Francisco Becomes First U.S. City To Cross $10 Minimum Wage Line

When the calendar flips over to 2012, minimum wage workers in San Francisco will be making a bit more, as the city becomes the first local in the U.S. with a bottom-line pay rate of more than $10/hour.

Minimum wage workers in San Francisco already earn $9.92/hour, already a sizable amount higher than the California minimum wage of $8.00/hour, itself an improvement on the federally mandated $7.25/hour.

And on January 1, San Francisco’s minimum wage will increase to $10.24/hour.

“It’s a psychological boost,” one local worker, who does double duty as a movie theater usher and a security guard, tells the AP. “It means that I’ll have more money in my wallet to pay my bills and money to spend in the city to help the economy.”

From the AP:

San Franciscans passed a proposition in 2003 that requires the city to increase the minimum wage each year, using a formula tied to inflation and the cost of living. It’s just another way the progressive people of the City by the Bay have shown their support for the working-class in a locale where labor unions remain strong and housing costs are sky high.

Some are concerned that the increase, while not huge, may push some employers — especially in the food business — to cut staff rather than pass the extra cost on to customers.

One restaurant owner tells the AP that between the pay increase, along with the other mandatory benefits and payroll tax imposed by the city, “What I pay for a waiter is more than double what Manhattan pays, it’s more than double what Chicago pays, and it’s four times what Boston pays. And those are … other big, expensive, pro-labor cities. But I pay what they all pay added together for tipped employees.”

SF becomes first US city to top $10 minimum wage []


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  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Congratulations, United States! You’re making a dollar more than the lowest-paying province in Canada!

    • Matthew PK says:

      most full-employed Americans make more than minimum wage. It tends to impact teen workers and the chronically unemployed.
      Non-solution to a non-problem.

      • Akuma Matata says:

        precisely. minimum wage laws actually hurt those the laws are seemingly trying to help — inexperienced folks with relatively fewer marketable skills.

        • Stickdude says:

          You’re not getting the point. The point is not to help those people. The point is to feel good about yourself because you’re “doing something” that appears to help those people.

          • Akuma Matata says:


            • You Are All Wrong says:

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              • Stickdude says:

                If you spent half as much time improving your own lot in life as you spend wishing misfortune on others, you’d be a much happier person.

                Just saying…

              • Matthew PK says:

                People making minimum wage can’t lose their jobs? How does raising minimum wage lower unemployment?

              • penuspenuspenus says:

                Ya! Let’s Occupy stuff together now.

              • Bsamm09 says:

                I hope you finally get arrested because you have been molesting scores of children for years. It is sickening how you live your life and the emotional distress you inflict on others.

                Or maybe this is assuming too much but I guess we are both speculating.

        • Kate says:

          Nope, it’s to stop your competitors from low balling wages in a high cost of living area so you can pay your employees a more humane wage.

        • Such an Interesting Monster says:

          You’re very quick to denounce minimum wage but I don’t hear you offering up any alternatives. Or are those with no skills and little education just supposed to live in boxes on the street while they work 12-hour days, 7 days a week for $2 an hour?

          One result of not having a minimum wage and allowing employers to pay ridiculously low wages would be a massive surge in welfare and food stamp payouts as all these people would suddenly be way below the federal poverty limit. Oh let me guess, you’d get rid of those programs too, right? So we’re back to living in cardboard boxes again, right?

          • Stickdude says:

            So what’s your solution?

            If someone’s skills, for whatever reason, are only worth $2/hr to a potential employer, how does forcing that employer to pay them $10/hr (and thus lose money every hour they work) help them or the employer out?

            • Such an Interesting Monster says:

              If your business model requires $2/hr slave labor you deserve to go under.

              • Stickdude says:

                First, voluntarily working for $2/hr is not the same as slave labor, and I think you’re smart to understand the difference.

                Second, let me rephrase the question since you’re getting hung up on the dollar amount:

                If someone’s skills, for whatever reason, are only worth $9.50/hr to a potential employer, how does forcing that employer to pay them $10.24/hr (and thus lose money every hour they work) help them or the employer out?


                • Such an Interesting Monster says:

                  The goal of minimum wage laws isn’t to help the employer. I would have thought you’d be smart enough to figure that out. In case you haven’t realized it, the employer is the one with the money, not the employees. And while I understand that not all business owners are rolling in dough they still are worth more than their employees, especially if they’re paying them minimum wage. If businesses were openly willing to pay their employees a living wage then we wouldn’t need minimum wage laws. But they aren’t. So we do.

                  And when your options are no employment or $2 an hour employment, then yeah, it’s essentially slave labor. Just ask anyone at a Nike sweatshop.

                  • SideshowCrono says:

                    You miss the point.

                    If an employer measures the overall benefit of a new employee at $9.24 and the law says he has to be paid more than that, say $10.24, it would be a poor decision for the employer to hire the guy. Chances are he probably wouldn’t.

                    Also no one talks about how we, the consumers, generally pay for minimum wage increases, abliet indirectly.

                    • kujospam says:

                      Yes, the whole reason the min wage exists is because of inflation. Which happens when a few people hold most of the money and don’t (in reality) spend it. Economy’s are built around people spending money, and saving little. The problem with saving too much money is inflation happens. More people want more money cause it is in higher demand with less supply. 401ks and Stock market in reality is a saving money, no real money is being spent (Not talking about the brokerage fees). The whole point of trickle down if you truly believed in it was that the Rich MUST spend their money, not save. They have to buy Goods and Services.

                    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

                      Yes, but unfortunately the converse isn’t true, which is why it’s an unfortunate, but unavoidable side-effect. If you remove the minimum wage and that employer now decides that $9 an hour job is “worth” $2 an hour, do you think he’s going to lower his prices across the board and pass that savings onto his customers? Of course not, he’s going to bank it and run off to buy a new McMansion or sports car. He’s certainly not going to start hiring more people unless he’s fully confident that in doing so he could exponentially increase his profits.

                      Remember, businesses don’t exist for the purpose of supporting or fostering the economy. They exist to make certain individuals rich while exploiting others. No one goes into business for themselves and says “yeah, this is gonna be great! I’m gonna hire a bunch of people who really need jobs and fully support my community by paying a ton in taxes”; it’s more like “I’m tired of working for jackasses, so I’m now going to be the jackass that exploits people while laughing all the way to the bank”.

                    • jeb says:

                      But then what’s stopping someone else from entering the market and offering that service for cheaper? If there’s a lot of profit to be made, people will flock there and compete.

              • dangermike says:

                Or you need to automate and/or outsource. And lay off the unskilled workers whose tasks can be handled by machines.

                For businesses in markets which can’t bear the higher operating costs, those are the options: redesign for a more efficient process or go bust. In other words, goodbye American manufacturing base and hello lunchtime inflation.

          • Matthew PK says:

            What about instead of spending money to subsidize and persist poverty, we spend the same amount of money teaching people how to escape poverty?

            I’ll tell you why:
            Because the correct, more productive way requires more work, and no politicians are elected by encouraging harder work.

            • Such an Interesting Monster says:

              No, the correct way is to radically adjust the income inequality in this country so that even the unskilled and uneducated can earn enough to support themselves without the need for government handouts.

              There used to be a time in this country that just about anyone that worked a full-time job made enough money to own a home and raise a family. Then trickle down greed set in and here we are — millions of people under the poverty limit and dual-income families that STILL don’t make enough to cover their expenses and mortgages while the fat cats are off shopping for yet another jet, yacht, and mansion while balking at the notion of paying a few extra % in taxes.

              And the reason this will never happen is because every single one of our representatives are in that 1% or are in bed with those that are.

          • dangermike says:

            But here’s the thing: if you run that sort of policy aggressively enough for long enough, what social pressures are you creating? Think of it in darwinistic terms. It is a little known fact that Tasmanian tigers voted themselves a minimum wage because they didn’t want to take the lower wages of canis familiarius. And where are they now…

        • David Doe says:

          citation needed.

          • Akuma Matata says:

            don’t need one. just think about it logically… who are the people most effected by a minimum wage? The relatively inexperienced people and/or people with relatively fewer marketable skills. How does raising the costs of hiring those people give them the experience or skills they need to improve their situation? Answer: It doesn’t.

            • Judah says:

              No, you need one. Otherwise you are stating an opinion, and not a well informed one either.

              • Stickdude says:

                Then give us the informed answer to the question – “How does raising the costs of hiring those people give them the experience or skills they need to improve their situation?”

                And I have yet to see a single citation provided by the pro-minimum-wage camp in this thread. Just a lot of name-calling and disparaging anyone who disagrees with them.

              • Bsamm09 says:

                If you think he is ill-informed when he is right, what does that make you?


              • TasteyCat says:

                Correct. Lack of a citation will never fly in Wikipedia. Unless the majority agrees with you. Then it is gospel.

      • Cat says:

        Not much more.

      • rooben says:

        non problem only if you aren’t a minimum wage worker with a family. Its called empathy.

        • Bsamm09 says:

          It’s a problem no matter what. Wages rise (an input) business will either (ceteris paribus):

          (1) Raise prices — Now everyone who earns more than the minimum wage is worse off

          (2) Lay off workers — Unemployment raises, more benefits are used etc.

          • ihatemypc says:

            (3) Close business in SF, fire everyone without compensation via law loopholes, and move operation overseas where labor and rent far cheaper

            Look at the sewing industry in SF. Once upon a time, the sewing industry thrived in SF, proudly producing “Made in USA” clothing for top name-brand clothing stores. Those days are over and very few of such factories remained. They were once populated all over Harrison and Mission Street area.

            • zippy says:

              That’s certainly not exclusive to San Francisco. You can’t live in the US on 25 cents an hour, but that’s what you can pay workers in sweatshops overseas.

    • thomwithanh says:

      Our taxes are lower

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Not if you include health insurance premiums as a de facto tax.

        • Cat says:

          Of course, if you’re unemployed or a minimum wage earner with a family, you pay little taxes and can’t afford your own health care.

          But I, in my awesome generosity, will pay for your health care, and my health care, too on my meager wages.

          • bravohotel01 says:

            You pay only when I have to go to the emergency room, because I can’t afford preventative care.

            The threshold for getting government-provided care is incredibly low. Unless one is pregnant or disabled, there’s really no way to qualify if you can afford to pay for food,

            • Cat says:

              That’s pretty much what I’m saying: If you’re an average worker in the USA, you’re screwed when it comes to health care. If you’re make below a certain amount, you’ll get help. Above that, you get NOTHING, even though your taxes are paying for others to get health care.

          • tinyninja says:

            Yeppers, Cat.

            It chaps me something fierce that I pay for other people’s health care yet since I’m able bodied, responsible, sane, and not a liar that I don’t qualify.

            All I want is the same level of care a prisoner or unwed mother gets. I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

    • Jack T Ripper says:

      All you are saying is that our poorest are still a buck richer than the poorest Canadian with one really huge difference… They are poor in AMERICA! I’d rather be poor in America than rich in any other country.

      • smo0 says:

        Most wealthy people live in other countries…. think about that and refresh your statement.

      • smo0 says:

        Also, if you’re poor in this country – you’re 10 times more likely to get aid living in impoverished 3rd world nations (thanks to humanitarian assistance) than getting help in the United States.

    • TasteyCat says:

      Tree logging and whale catching are harder than working at a Starbucks.

      High minimum wages may sound like a great idea, but they can be prohibitive. Ireland’s low corporate tax rate attracted a lot of companies, but then they raised their minimum wage to $12/hour. Now no companies want to stick around, and the country is going to hell.

      • fertig says:

        How is 12 dollars an hour really that discouraging to companies? World-wide, I know people compete with countries that allow wages

        • fertig says:

          …that are less than one dollar per hour. But Ireland’s previous minimum wage couldn’t have been that much less. How is a few extra tens of dollars per day per employee be that discouraging?

          • TasteyCat says:

            10 years ago, Ireland’s minimum wage was roughly on par with that of the US. Now it’s 60% more. Granted, much of that can be attributed to the growth of the euro versus the dollar. It’s also not competitive with its neighbors. A hop across the sea to Britain will save you $2.50/hour. Go about 500 miles east from London, and you’ll hit a couple bucks an hour in central Europe. For many businesses, it may still be worth it, but when the competitive advantage disappears, it may be time to start looking at your options.

  2. Velifer says:

    Sign shops, ready your presses! On January 1, prices at all fast food places and other low end goods will be going up by the same percentage as the minimum wage.

    • zippy says:

      Why? The cost of labor isn’t the entire cost of the goods sold.

      • Kuri says:

        Weill that stop corporations? No.

      • Velifer says:

        Last time the federal minimum wage went up, my friend at the printers said the Wendy’s signs with new pricing that exactly matched the increase went out the same day the wage went up.

        In a service economy, labor IS the cost, because labor IS the product.

  3. Firevine says:

    Costs to consumers will be going up accordingly, so everyone will be right back to square one.

    • FatLynn says:

      Citation needed.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        If that isn’t true, then why not make the minimum wage $100/hr?

        • FatLynn says:

          His argument is that if minimum wage goes up, prices go up by an equal amount, and we are “back to square one”. I am not arguing that labor costs have nothing to do with prices, just that they are not the only, or even the primary driver of prices in every industry.

          Your slippery slope argument is of course nonsense; obviously if labor costs were increased to the point that they would fundamentally change the cost structure in most industries, the effects would be different.

  4. rmorin says:

    Jan. 1st 2012 –
    San Francisco businesses announce mass layoffs and cuts in hours to minimum wage employees.

    • zippy says:

      If they could have done the same work that they need to get done without those workers, why weren’t they laying them off anyway? I’ve not known many businesses that keep workers on when they don’t need them.

      • HalOfBorg says:

        So – increasing the cost of doing business does NOT cause cuts in hours or staff or benefits?

        What if they COULD afford X number of employees at the old rate, but with the increase it is now X-1?

        • zippy says:

          You’ve never been involved in running a business, have you?

          Businesses have to deal with raises in costs all the time, not just labor costs, but materials too. What do you suppose a hamburger joint does if the cost of hamburger goes up?

          It depends on how elastic demand is for your product. If you sell 1000 hamburgers a day, and you have to raise your price 5% to account for increased costs, whether that be a raise in the minimum wage, or the price of hamburger going up, how many hamburgers will you sell at the new price? If you’ll still sell 1000 hamburgers, why would you lay off the workers you will need to cook and sell those 1000 hamburgers? What if you would sell 995 hamburgers? 900? 1100? (which is possible, sometimes demand goes up when the price goes up, people are not always “rational” because higher price can signal a higher status product to them)

          Sure, if you’re only going to sell 900 hamburgers at the new price, you won’t need as many workers to cook and sell them, you might as well lay the excess off. But I see far too many people simply assuming that the only option when wages go up is to cut hours/lay people off so as to keep wage cost constant. But assuming you make no other adjustments other than to price your goods, it all depends on how elastic demand is for your product.

          Not to mention that I get coupons for local hamburger joints all the time. Is the “price” of their hamburger the $2.99 on their menu, or is it the $1.99 that I could get it with the coupon? What would happen to demand if you “raised prices” simply by sending out fewer coupons? I’m a fairly price insensitive consumer of burgers from local hamburger joints, I don’t decide whether to go get a hamburger based on whether I have a coupon, but I will take one with me if one came in the mail. Sending out fewer coupons won’t affect my demand one bit, it will only affect demand for people for whom the $1 coupon plays a factor in their choice of whether to get a hamburger or not.

          What if you bought a new machine that made it possible for you to cook more burgers per employee, but you hadn’t done so because it wasn’t cost effective at the lower wage? What if with higher wages, your employees could afford to eat your hamburgers more often?

          Running a business is not anywhere near the simple thing that the knee-jerk “raising wages bad for business, Hulk smash” simplistic analysis indicates.

  5. Upthewazzu says:

    It’s a stupid self-perpetuating cycle that “progressives” don’t seem to understand.

  6. Olivia Neutron-Bomb says:

    $0.32/ an hour! OMG financial armageddon is here!!!

    Seriously, grow up, people.

    • Matthew PK says:

      I’m going to tell my boss that we all need a 3% raise, just because. Then, when he asks why, I’m going to say “Seriously, grow up”….

      • Cat says:

        Seriously, I haven’t seen a raise in… years. In the meantime, the cost of everything has gone up at least 3% a year.

    • Big Cheese Make Hair Go Boom says:

      Do you know how big a $.32 per hour increase is with a 1000 man workforce working 40 hours a week? $12,800 per week? $665,600 per year!

      That’s a lot of freaking money. Think about it.

  7. chargernj says:

    So, do prices really go up immediately after minimum wage increases, or is that just an urban legend? Any citations, or do people just assume?

    • Firevine says:

      They go up. They’ve gone up when I was making minimum+ tips delivering pizza (AND hours got cut!), and they’ve gone up in places I patronize.

      Speaking of that pizza gig though; Domino’s corporate doesn’t seem to understand basic math, or at least they didn’t at the time. It was impossible to have the service times they wanted by having drivers only take one delivery at a time, AND the labor costs they wanted by having like, four drivers working on a Friday night. The minimum wage hike from $5.15 to whatever it went to was unnecessarily rough on my boss.

    • FatLynn says:

      No, the cause/effect relationship is not that simple. Are labor costs one factor in pricing decisions? Definitely.

    • Akuma Matata says:

      there will inevitably be some lag — producers don’t necessarily raise their prices immediately following an increase in their costs, but it largely depends on the market for the goods in question. If the cost can be passed along to consumers (low price elasticity), then prices will go up sooner rather than later. If there’s great competition from regions unaffected by the cost increase, then the producers will likely absorb the cost increase and make due with fewer employees.

      Minimum wage rarely leads to increased layoffs, but more frequently leads to reduced hiring, requiring more labor from those already on the payrolls.

      • little stripes says:

        Citations? Sources?

        • Akuma Matata says:

          a BA in economics and

          • Kate says:

            A degree in economics don’t mean diddly. The complete fantasy that comes out of established trained ‘economists’ is more than enough proof of that.

            • Akuma Matata says:

              Which is why, to satisfy people like you, that I provided a second source. Reading comprehension FTW!

              • darcmosch says:

                Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Fallacy, sir. What seems like a cause of increases in price cannot always be attributed to such issues that are grayer than my grandpa’s hair. Leontieff Paradox anyone? You’re not the only one who can say I am economist! With four years of schooling and pretend to understand how the economy works. Hell, the only reason economics even kinda work is because we rely on a half-truth (people are rational) that, if you have spent a day in the real world, is not always true because people buy 3D TVs, Gucci bags and Ralph Lauren polos, even though there are more economical options, so please don’t pretend that you totally get the economy. You have just said hi to it.

            • hansolo247 says:

              Perhaps, but what he stated is pretty much in line with any School of economic theory. His answer wasn’t political, and was very well thought-out.

              BA Econ here, too.

              I would agree that the crap coming out of most economists is just that…crap. It doesn’t mean the underlying theories are wrong, just the testing of them. For that reason, I’m an Austrian.

        • arcticJKL says:

          I believe PHRoG is what one refers to as a primary source.

    • PHRoG says:

      From back in my high school days of McD’s, I went through two minimum wage hikes and was responsible for changing the prices the evening before the hikes went into effect. So at least in one instance, yes they increase prices instantly.

  8. Stickdude says:

    If raising the minimum wage to $10.24/hr allows Mr. Theater Usher to “help the economy”, just imagine what raising it to $102.40/hr could do!

    (I still haven’t seen a coherent economic explanation as to why one arbitrarily-chosen number – $10.24/hr – is good, but a different arbitrarily-chosen number – $102.40/hr – is not good)

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      You need an economist to explain the difference between making $10.24/hr and $102.40/hr?

      • Stickdude says:

        Humor me

        • David Doe says:

          Because the minimum wage has a direct link to costs associated with living. If you raise the wage for basic labor by a little, say I dunno the average cost of living increase, it doesn’t unbalance the system and it puts a little money in the pockets of those who actually will spend it to live. If however you raise it by 1000% it it totally screws everything up. Of course you would need to be a total fucking moron to not know this in the first place, or a libtard.

          • Stickdude says:

            Are you guys capable of stringing two sentences together without resorting to personal attacks and namecalling? One side posts links to actual studies of the effects of the minimum wage, the other side calls anyone who disagrees with them “total fucking morons”.

            • Thespian says:

              Unfortunately, Stick, I don’t think they are capable of it. It’s what has become of political discourse in this country, from both sides of the aisle. The purpose of debate has ceased to be the honest exploration of an issue, and has become merely a way to declare who “wins” and “loses.” When the other side presents an argument to which you have no logical response, what are you to do? You can’t simply cede the point; you’d then be the “loser.” So, you go for an emotional volley of insults and epithets.

          • TuxthePenguin says:

            Actually, even raising it a bit will cause prices to increase. You’re just trying to play those immaterial amounts to game the system. But instead of getting an increase in inflation at each step, they’re small enough that for a while, no one adjusts. But at some point, the laws of finance and economics win out and the system does adjust… in a large way that annoys everyone. I’ve read a few who say this is worse than a constant inflation in that everyone gets used to the more disposable income to the point that when the increased costs arrive, they’re harder put to cut back expenses to cope.

        • Judah says:

          Ok, sure.

          It costs money to live. Minimum wage allows people to not die and still work (overly simplified), but you get the idea.

          Raising the minimum wage $1 means they still have to do the same work, but they are less in poverty. This raise is easily absorbed by legitimate businesses, where the cost of labor is part of normal overhead.

          Raising the minimum wage by $100 (or whatever arbitrary high number) makes the cost of labor too high for a business to exist, unless it is already overly profitable. For example, large banks could easily support a minimum wage that high for their janitors. Fast food places couldn’t, which is why the minimum goes up, they in turn raise prices. Their overhead in labor cuts into their margins. That isn’t the case with all businesses.

          Additionally, minimum wage is no longer a closed system. None of the studies of minimum wage have really taken into account the global market place, or adjusted for inflation. Most of them are sponsored by large economic organizations (like the FED) with a vested interest in doing away with the idea of minimum wage, because lowering overhead is profit.

          • Stickdude says:

            Raising the minimum wage by $100 (or whatever arbitrary high number) makes the cost of labor too high for a business to exist, unless it is already overly profitable.

            So you agree that there exist businesses which could be profitable if the cost of labor was less than $100/hr, but would not be profitable otherwise?

            Would you also agree, then, that there exist businesses that would be profitable if the cost of labor less than $50/hr but not profitable otherwise?

            What about $20/hr?

            Why is that the case? It’s because each employee provides a certain amount of value to their employer. If the value they provide is greater than the amount they’re paid, the employer makes money and can stay in business. If I provide $125/hr in value, my employer can pay me $100/hr and still make money. If I provide $250/hr in value and my employer still only pays me $100/hr, someone else can offer me $200/hr – my new employer is still making money, and I get more money in my check each month – we both win.

            But what happens if my skills are such that I can only provide $8/hr in value? If my employer is allowed to pay me $7/hr, they can still make money and I have a chance to learn the skills that will make me more valuable over time. If they’re forced to pay me $10/hr, I never get hired in the first place and I miss out on the chance to learn more valuable skills.

            • dangermike says:

              The concept is right, but the figures are way off. If you create $125 of value to your employer, your actual wage would end up being (in all likelihood) around $30-40, with an additional $20-30 going to your various benefit packages and of course at least $20 or so for income tax, social security, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, etc. Your overall compensation package, liability coverages, and overhead might come up to the $100 mark but you simply wouldn’t see anywhere near that amount.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        He’s asking if the idea of a minimum wage is so great, why not make the minimum wage $100 per hour?

    • Akuma Matata says:

      That’s because no such explanation exists.

      I’ve also wondered why the gov’t should have the right to interject itself into the voluntary exchange of labor and compensation and have received no logically consistent explanation.

      • puTTY says:

        You’re right. Fast food chains should just be able to puchase their minimum wage workers outright, just like in the old south.

        • Akuma Matata says:

          For cripes sake I said VOLUNTARY. Slavery was the antithesis of voluntary.

          • zippy says:

            Actually, much of the legal justification for the slave trade was the notion that those slaves had gone into slavery voluntarily, either on their own or by someone who had legal rights over them, such as a parent. Early in the slave trade, many of the slaves were purchased from their African owners, where they had become slaves through being unable to pay debt incurred due to crop failures or other expense that threatened the ability to make a living (either their own debt or their legal guardian, usually a father, husband, brother, etc.), and thus gave up themselves or family members as collateral.

            The slave trade was so lucrative that various schemes were hatched to increase the number of people falling into debt slavery, by hook or by crook. Even this could not furnish enough slaves to satisfy the trade, so various justifications came about for simply catching people (such as is depicted in the miniseries Roots), while still having a very convoluted justification that somehow they had legally “volunteered” to become slaves.

            There is a reason why people refer to jobs that keep one barely making it as “wage slavery”. Most people who don’t live in that world don’t realize the legal and illegal methods that employers use to keep employees from being able to get out of that trap, all while maintaining the fiction that it’s “voluntary” when the alternative is to starve or freeze, much as the debt traps that people who ended up as slaves fell into were “voluntary.”

            • Cor Aquilonis says:

              Stop with your historical literacy! /s

              Fun tricks I’ve seen used by management to manipulate low-income workers:

              – Keep them just under full time, so they can’t claim benefits, but blow smoke about hiring them full time so they keep hope and stay in the position. This happens to temps and retail all the time.

              – Schedule so that there are usually regular shifts, but throw in just enough split shifts or or shift changes so that it’s impossible to complete a semester of college classes. Disregard your employees distress.

              – Make sure you call in employees frequently but unpredictably. If they don’t show at your whim, cut their hours for the next two weeks so that they miss a few bills, but not enough that it makes sense to find another job. That will teach them. Extra credit if you do that a few times in a row so that they come close to losing their benefits.

              – If an employee shows interest in bettering themselves and eventually leaving your employ, make sure you give them some extra “nasty work that has to be done before you leave today” less than a half-hour before they have to leave. It’s passive aggressive enough to punish them but avoid being called out on it.

      • Kate says:

        Um because it works?

        Let me guess, you went to school in the midwest.

        • Bsamm09 says:

          How does it work exactly?

        • Stickdude says:

          Yes, I agree that it’s just easier to attack the other side (“A degree in economics don’t mean diddly”, “Let me guess, you went to school in the midwest”, etc) than it is to back up your position with facts. Those little games may have served you well in the liberal cocoon you called college, but they won’t get you too far in the real world.

          I’m asking a serious question – if a minimum wage of $10.24 is good, why isn’t a minimum wage of $102.40 even better? And please try to come up with an answer more substantial than “Um because it works?”

        • Akuma Matata says:

          Kate, is that a reply to me? To answer your question, no I didn’t go to school in the Midwest. And what about the minimum wage “just works”?

          • dangermike says:

            Because if they don’t get paid $10/hour, it’s goign to hurt their feeeeeeeelings!

            • LadyTL says:

              It’s not going to hurt my feelings but since I can’t afford to move, it is going to keep me on government assistance or keep me living with my parents who are subsidizing my living expenses.

              • SideshowCrono says:

                So instead of forcing the government to subsidize people’s existence, its better to force companies to pay individuals more then thay are worth? That way its just a different entity subsidizing an individual who should be concentrating on acquiring new skills instead.

                • LadyTL says:

                  I have plenty of skills what I don’t have is job history to use those skills. Should I stay in school forever because there is not enough jobs for all the people who need them in this country (US)? I am skilled in multiple fields but if no one is hiring even at current minimum wages as well as so many people having to have two or more jobs to pay the bills since minimum wage in this country barely pays living expenses for one person much less a family, I am left in the cold despite months of job searching.

                  • dangermike says:

                    The job history is objective proof of the skills. It’s easy to say, I just changed my own oil and serpentine belt so I have the skills of of a mechanic and should be making $30/hr fixing cars. But that’s not the way it works. You start at the bottom, prove your worth, then move up. Then you prove your worth at a higher position, then move up. etc. etc. The problem is, we live in a generation where too many people think they deserve as much as anyone else for no other reason than that someone else gets that much. It’s what I call the participation trophy effect. And yes, it stems from not wanting to hurt feelings.

                    • LadyTL says:

                      I understand having to work from the bottom but those bottom jobs just are not there. When almost every entry level job is asking for years of experience because of so many people looking for work, how is anyone supposed to get job experience for the entry level jobs?

                    • dangermike says:

                      And therein lies the catch-22. Employees are investments. Their value has to justify their cost. Employers want to see the experience listed as a justification for the minimum amount they have to pay. This means, basically, since you’re not allowed to work for less, you have to work for little-to-nothing through internships or volunteer work or you have to pay to receive the experience through education. If the law requires a minimum hourly wage of above the value the average minimum-wage worker’s skill set can produce, there will be fewer jobs available. Unskilled unemployed people should be the most vehement anti-minimum-wage proponents anywhere.

                      Compare it to rent control. If you want to find a rent controlled apartment, it will take years. The price is held lower than the market will bear so the supply goes into extreme shortage. In places like New York and Santa Monica, it’s not uncommon to have to wait out the deaths of present tenants. With minimum wages, the price of labor gets pushed up past what the market would bear and there becomes a large surplus of workers (or, depending on perspective, a shortage of jobs). The bigger the gap in value gets, the more pronounced the shortage will be.

      • zippy says:

        It’s not very voluntary when the alternative for the employee is to starve. There is a lopsided power dynamic in favor of the employer, especially when employing people with few resources to challenge unfair or illegal business practices.

      • chargernj says:

        It’s not entirely voluntary because homesteading and living off the land aren’t really viable life choices for most people. Even starting a business isn’t really a reasonable solution for most people. So people HAVE to work & they are dependent on the current employer/employee dynamic. .

    • exconsumer says:

      When an employable person acquires new skills, a job does not magically pop into existence that will match the value that person is now able to bring to a company. Competition can and does drive up wages, but it’s not magic. Sure, you can move to get a new job, or start or own business, or get another degree, but there are costs to those actions that not everyone can afford. As such, if a business built on low wages elects to continue to pay low wages rather than redesign their business model for overqualified applicants, the market does not immediately drive them out of town. They might just go right on ticking, with a bunch of underpaid employees. So, low paying employers can perpetuate themselves. That being the case, how low a wage to we as a society risk perpetuating? I don’t think it should be just above zero, I think it should bear some relationship to a living wage, but not so high that it has an enormously adverse effect on prices. So that’s why as an advocate of the minimum wage, I wouldn’t advocate one as high as $100 an hour.

      • Stickdude says:

        First of all, thank you for making your points without resorting to personal attacks or name-calling. That’s like a breath of fresh air.

        Sure, you can move to get a new job, or start or own business, or get another degree, but there are costs to those actions that not everyone can afford.

        First, if the employee acquires skills that are more valuable to their current employer, the current employer could always give them a raise and/or promotion – options not included in your post. Is it possible that they acquire enough skills to “outgrow” their current employer? Of course – that’s why people switch jobs.

        Second, if the benefit of those actions (higher wages) outweighs the costs, why wouldn’t the employee do that? That’s why most people don’t work minimum wage jobs forever – they eventually acquire skills that are more valuable to a different employer, and they find an employer more willing to pay them what they’re now worth.

        They might just go right on ticking, with a bunch of underpaid employees.

        How do you define “underpaid”? If an employer is willing to pay $X, and the employee is willing to work for $X, is that employee being underpaid?

        but not so high that it has an enormously adverse effect on prices

        What is an “enormously adverse effect on prices”? Let’s agree for the sake of argument that a 10x increase in the minimum wage would have an adverse effect on prices. What about a 3x increase? Would that have an adverse effect on prices? The new minimum wage in SF is just a hair higher than 3x the $3.35/hr I made in my very first job.

        • zippy says:

          First, if the employee acquires skills that are more valuable to their current employer, the current employer could always give them a raise and/or promotion – options not included in your post. Is it possible that they acquire enough skills to “outgrow” their current employer? Of course – that’s why people switch jobs.

          There aren’t very many employers who just give employees raises out of the goodness of their hearts. They give employees raises in order to retain the employee against other competition. If, for some reason, the competition is made ineffective, because of barrier costs (costs of moving, as an example), then the employer can keep an employee at a lower wage. The employer can also spike the employee’s ability to move to a new job by badmouthing the employee to other prospective employers. While that is illegal, it’s very rare for unorganized minimum wage workers to be able to mount an effective legal challenge to such practices, or other practices like wage fixing or wage theft.

        • LadyTL says:

          I would say underpaid would be when an employee has skills that would get them say a $10 job but because of current economic pressures, high competition for the same jobs or lack of job history despite actually being capable of the job, they are forced to take a $8 job so they can pay their bills and not end up homeless.

    • darcmosch says:

      Ah hah, the scarecrow theory, a classic fallacy used by many, usually in comparison to Hitler! While I congratulate you on not immediately jumping into the abyss, I would like you to go back and read the statements from people who are for a higher minimum wage. Which one said $100+ for a minimum wage? I certainly did not see any. Why don’t you bring the conversation down to the level it should be at. $10/hr. is not unreasonable when banks are busy giving their CEOs pool s of money. With how little things cost from China, most medium to huge size businesses can probably afford a bit of a larger payroll. Hey, why don’t we take some of the burden off and let the government deal with health care?

      Like all of you anti-min wage increasers say, businesses cannot afford all these costs, so take some cash away from the rich and provide some services to the less well-off so that they don’t need $10 an hour to just afford utilities, rent and healthcare.

      Oh and don’t give me the bs that they shouldn’t have bought X when they couldn’t afford it because people are not machines and need some of the pleasantries in life. I will clarify because I know that some will jump off the deep end: a weekend away with the kids, a decent new TV, etc.

  9. jono_0101 says:

    honest question, doesnt it seem probable that a lot of employers will use this as their low paid employees “raises” for the year, and it will hurt the really good workers that should be getting bigger raises, while overpaying people who arent good workers and dont really deserve it?

    • impatientgirl says:

      Only for the employers who are afraid to fire or lay off their under-performers, or who’s hands are tied by unions. If not, they’ll be cutting some people completely I bet.

    • moonjest says:

      Yes, I think so. IMO, this is part of the reason why the middle class is shrinking. Arbitrary minimum wage increases squeeze the pay rates for new and experienced people to within a few dollars of one another. When I worked for a year as a vending machine tech for Coca-Cola, I was amazed to find out that the experienced shop techs that had been with the company for 10-15+ yrs were only making $2-3 more than me and were basically capped. The only raises they received, if any, were measly cost of living increases ($0.25/hr or less). And you can bet an employer’s pay caps for a given job aren’t increasing at the same rate as minimum wage.

  10. Hotscot says:

    And yet it’s still a sanctuary city…

  11. CharlesFarley says:

    If $10 is good, $11 must be better!

  12. Wheels17 says:

    Abstract of “Minimum Wages and Employment”

    We review the burgeoning literature on the employment effects of minimum wages – in the United States and other countries – that was spurred by the new minimum wage research beginning in the early 1990s. Our review indicates that there is a wide range of existing estimates and, accordingly, a lack of consensus about the overall effects on low-wage employment of an increase in the minimum wage. However, the oft-stated assertion that recent research fails to support the traditional view that the minimum wage reduces the employment of low-wage workers is clearly incorrect.

    A sizable majority of the studies surveyed in this monograph give a relatively consistent (although not always statistically significant) indication of negative employment effects of minimum wages. In addition, among the papers we view as providing the most credible evidence, almost all point to negative employment effects, both for the United States as well as for many other countries. Two other important conclusions emerge from our review.

    First, we see very few – if any – studies that provide convincing evidence of positive employment effects of minimum wages, especially from those studies that focus on the broader groups (rather than a narrow industry) for which the competitive model predicts disemployment effects. Second, the studies that focus on the least-skilled groups provide relatively overwhelming evidence of stronger disemployment effects for these groups.

    My bold.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Damn you!!!!! But here’s the link for the whole thing.

    • Fumanchu says:

      People with a brain have long known that is much better for everyone to employ 10 people at $2 an hour then 2 people at $10 an hour. Also, the higher the minium wage the more it shuts out people that are new to the job market and other things such like that that are out of the workers control.

      • LadyTL says:

        Actually when wages are lower than living standards for the area it shuts out more workers as one worker will hold more jobs to keep a roof over their head and food on their table. So when one person NEEDS two or three jobs to get by that shuts out more workers from having those jobs.

  13. Marlin says:

    $10hr in SF, what does that get you, a double wide fridge box?

    $10hr in SF is nothing. Even after the housing crash the cost there is still crazy.

    • Akuma Matata says:

      They should have made the minimum wage $100/hr instead. That would have fixed everything.

      • shadowboxer524 says:

        It’s kind of amazing that when you give people an extreme example, only then do they think, “Well, hey, that money has to come from somewhere!” But when it’s a small amount, it’s some sort of mystical altruism with no negative effects.

    • Earl Butz says:

      I cannot imagine what kind of shit life you’d have living in SF making $10/hr. This is a city where, if you’re making $100k/yr, you are not making enough to afford a house outside of Hunter’s Point.

      I still miss everything awesome about living there but I was not willing to be a highly skilled, highly compensated serf living in a one-bedroom apartment. With no parking.

    • Matthew PK says:

      Do you think there are of a lot of single-earner families working for $10 an hour and living in San Francisco?

  14. Buckus says:

    He pays a living wage? The nerve of those employees, expecting to be able to live on that wage without working three jobs!

    • Cat says:

      “I’ve created thousands of jobs in New York while I’ve been Governor!” ~ George Pataki, former NYS Governor.

      “I know! I’m working THREE of them now!” ~ Cat.

    • CharlesFarley says:

      And what happens when one of the jobs goes away due to the increased employment expense…3 becomes 2. Try that math out.

      • Stephmo says:

        And what happens when increased spending power for low-cost goods increases at these places since income at this level is typically spent?

        • Akuma Matata says:

          imagine how many more low cost goods they could buy if the min wage were $100/hr. Keep following your logic and let me know where you end up.

      • Stephmo says:

        And what happens when increased spending power for low-cost goods increases at these places since income at this level is typically spent?

    • bluline says:

      What is a “living wage” and why are employers responsible for paying one? A job is worth what an employer is willing to pay, nothing more, nothing less. It has nothing to do with how much money is needed by the person holding the job. For instance, a single person living alone doesn’t need as much to live as a person with a family of four. By the “living wage” argument, a person’s pay should be based on how many bodies they have to support, not on what the job is actually worth. And that’s simply stupid. By that logic the father in the Duggar family should be earning 20 times what a single person should be earning, no matter what the job is.

      • Such an Interesting Monster says:

        Spoken like someone who makes far too much money and/or resents having to actually pay their employees to work for them.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          Exactly. Because people forget that a market consists of buyers and sellers. But for so many ‘baggers, only buyers of labor seem to matter. Sellers don’t matter a bit. Like all those farms where the farmers complained the food rotted without undocumented migrants to pick it. The farmers ignored that the sellers of labor deemed the wages and terms of employment to be unacceptably cheap, and that’s why they wouldn’t work on those farms.

          • Matthew PK says:

            No problem, we’ll just subsidize the farmer’s loss of production; thus solving the problem forever.

          • Such an Interesting Monster says:

            Had they offered to pay $15-$20 an hour I’m sure they would have gotten plenty of people willing to do the job. So in this case, the market did speak loud and clear: we will not do this kind of job for $7.25/hour. So instead of actually offering a fair wage for what is well-known as a difficult back-breaking job they chose to let their crops rot and take the loss.

            Yet somehow the media manages to turn it all around and make the farmers look like the victims. Poor, poor farmers. It must be hellish to actually have to pay people a fair wage so that you can make the big bucks.

            • Stickdude says:

              Don’t you think for a second that if the farmers could have offered $15/hr to harvest crops and still made enough money to stay in business, they would have preferred to do that over letting the crops rot?

              Or are you saying the farmers just let the crops rot out of spite?

              • Such an Interesting Monster says:

                Actually that’s exactly what I’m saying. I watched a report where a farmer was blathering on about how he lost $250,000 worth of crops cause he couldn’t find anyone willing to work for $7.25 an hour to pick them. When he was asked why he didn’t offer more money in an attempt to entice people to do the work his response was “well why should I have to do that when the immigrants worked for so little”. Orly?

                Not only that, but he even balked about having to pay minimum wage to any new employees apparently because even that was significantly more than what he was paying his former, presumably illegal, workers.

                So for this idiot it was barely acceptable to pay his workers minimum wage and absolutely unacceptable to pay his workers a single dime more even if it meant losing a quarter of a million dollars.

                And this right here is exactly why we have minimum wage laws. Cause of jackasses like this that would happily and gladly pay their desperate-for-work employees $2 an hour while he whistled all the way to the bank.

                • surreal estate says:

                  You do realize that farm labor has been exempt from minimum wage laws from the very beginning?

                  • Such an Interesting Monster says:

                    Yes, but in this case the guy was *offering* minimum wage in order to entice new workers, whereas before he was paying significantly less.

            • wackydan says:

              Wrong. For decades farms have relied on migrant illegals for cheap labor. When that labor was scared off there was no labor pool for those farmers – Period. They could offer $10-$20 an hour and not be able to get enough head count because last I knew there is no bus service to the deep burbs where you might see a small farm, much less rural america…. So they could offer all they wanted, but nobody was going to show up for only one or two week’s of work picking/sorting whatever crop it was… Please don’t over simplify it by suggesting they weren’t willing to pay higher wages.

              • wackydan says:

                Lastly, what I forgot to add was that the farmer’s crops are already priced for harvest well in advance of that harvest. The contract was set. So in some cases, the contract cost/revenue would not have justified the farmers raising wages significantly to attract labor.

        • Stickdude says:

          Spoken like someone who has never had to meet payroll in their life. Amirite?

          • Such an Interesting Monster says:

            As I said upthread in response to a similar burp by you, if you’re business model requires slave labor then you need a new business model, not cheap labor.

            Business seem to forget the only reason they have any money coming in at all is because they have people working for them. Expecting your employees to work for $2 an hour while you drive around in your fancy Lexus just isn’t going to fly. Yet I know far too many bosses who would try to do just that in a heartbeat, and who think it’s some kind of privilege to work for them for minimum wage and no benefits. Guess what, it’s not.

            • madmallard says:

              View must be pretty good from the cheap seats.

              If the wage is too low, nobody will take the job, and the business will either have to work its existing employees harder, lower total output, or other compensation mechanism to continue operating.

              Either way, why do you think you need the power of law to force the business to up the cost of employing someone in a relationship that has nothing to do with you?

              While we’re at it, can you satisfactorily answer the following for me? Are all jobs on this Earth within California’s borders worth paying $10 and hour?

              • Such an Interesting Monster says:

                Yeah, you’re not going to like my answer. Anyone that works a 40 hour week should be paid enough money to live on. That means their own home (owner or rental), a car, food on the table, and clothes on their backs without having to rely upon social welfare programs.

                So if in order to do that in California it requires paying people $10 and hour, then yes, every single job in California is worth at least $10.

                I find it absolutely ridiculous that some people advocate being able to exploit their fellow human beings like this. It’s really saddening. Why do you think people deserve to work and not make enough money to exist? Sorry, but businesses are NOT more important than people.

                • Akuma Matata says:

                  “That means their own home (owner or rental), a car, food on the table, and clothes on their backs without having to rely upon social welfare programs.”
                  And if an individual agrees to a given compensation, what right do you have (moral or otherwise) to get intervene and tell those individuals that *you* don’t agree to the terms of their employment agreement?

        • Akuma Matata says:

          who are you to determine how much money is “far too much”?

      • Bsamm09 says:

        “A job is worth what an employer is willing to pay, nothing more, nothing less.”

        I understand what you are saying but if an employer is willing to pay “X” but no one accepts the job, it is not worth “X”. The employer is purchasing labor but the worker doesn’t have to sell his labor if he doesn’t want to.

        • bluline says:

          Exactly. If no one takes the job, then it’s probably priced too low and the employer needs to reevaluate what he’s willing to pay until someone accepts it. It’s like consumer prices. If a product is priced too high, the seller usually must accept a lower price in order to move it. But the concept of a “living wage” is ridiculous on its face because different people have different needs in order to “live.”

        • dangermike says:

          I can’t speak for the previous poster but you are correct. Wages are mutually decided by what a potential employer is willing to pay and what any from a pool of employees are willing to get paid. I would have to guess that the grandparent post might have been alluding to the fact that In the present market conditions, employers generally have more power to set wages since there are droves of unemployed willing to take any openings.

      • Kate says:

        People have to eat. If there’s nothing but extremely low paying jobs around, that’s what they will try to get in order to survive. Essentially you end up with slave labor because people will do anything to survive and a lot will starve.

        That’s not exactly what we want for the US, although lots of 3rd world countries follow this model. All you have to do is look at the lessons of the depression. It’s best to set it on the cusp of keeping people from living in boxes and removing all the businesses that need low end service labor.

        • Akuma Matata says:

          “If there’s nothing but extremely low paying jobs around, that’s what they will try to get in order to survive.”

          I think we can both agree that the primary target of the minimum wage laws are those workers with relatively less experience and relatively fewer marketable skills. If I’m a worker at that level (and I once was), I’d be more inclined to take a job with less pay in an effort to gain experience and improve my skills so that I can command more money in the future vs not getting a job at all because the cost to the employer is too great to hire me in the first place.

          Minimum wage laws effectively lock out those workers the laws themselves were designed to help. Thank the law of unintended consequences.

          • LadyTL says:

            So does a wage below living standards. When one person has two or three jobs, that shuts out even more people from getting jobs to get experience.

  15. Bsamm09 says:

    The worst effects of minimum wage increases is the redistribution of wealth that it tends to facilitate.

  16. brinks says:

    When minimum wage goes up, the next highest paid group of hourly employees (usually lower level supervisors) gets a wage freeze, and new ones hired in get paid less than their peers. I’ve seen it happen again and again. Entry-level workers make out and those that have received raises and promotions get screwed.

  17. ARP says:

    Question- why do most first world countries have minimum wages and many (most) third world countries do not? If min. wages only harm the economy, why aren’t third world nations roaring ahead of us evil liberal nations? Why isn’t Germany, France, Australia, etc. in the toilet? It appears that most first world nations have either minimum wage or heavy union representation.

    • Akuma Matata says:

      “If min. wages only harm the economy, why aren’t third world nations roaring ahead of us evil liberal nations?”
      Because wages are only 1 piece of the puzzle. It’s generally accepted that countries which respect property rights are far more prosperous than those who don’t. Most 1st world countries became that way because property rights provide an incentive to invest and improve. Minimum wages (in the US at least) are a product of the last 100 years or so, and actually hinder the employment prospects of those the laws were designed to help (those with relatively fewer skills and relatively less experience).

  18. HalOfBorg says:

    This story was in our local paper with comments from a guy who was so happy “He’d have more coin”. He works as an usher at a theater. Maybe at a theater that will soon have 1 less usher – and he has less coin?

  19. CosmosHuman says:

    I was making $24.50 an hour as a social worker with 18 years of experience.

  20. Solkanar512 says:

    Funny, Henry Ford figured out why high wages were a good thing… I wonder why so many have forgotten.

    By the way, there are plenty of highly skilled and experienced people working minimum or near minimum wage jobs – because the economy sucks and all the work they can get is a Walmart greeter. Those folks who are inexperienced or have few skills? Those folks are truly screwed.

    By the way – if a high minimum wage is so terrible, lets look at my home state of Washington. Highest state minimum wage in the nation at north of $8/hour. Why is it that Forbes regularly ranks the state in the top 5 to do business in year in and year out? Why are there so many high paying jobs here? Why does our population keep growing and people keep moving here?

    If you’re going to claim that the minimum wage is bad, I’m going to need to see *peer reviewed* papers, not shit from think tanks.

    • Darury says:

      Did you miss the part about wages only being part of the equation? Having lived in other parts of the country, I’ll vouch for the fact that workers in the midwest tend to have stronger work ethics than other parts of the nation.

    • SideshowCrono says:

      Henry Ford was a pioneer of operational design for car manufacturing so his cost structure allowed for big increases in wages. Cost structures these days are for more competitive due to a variety of factors.

      Simple fact of the world is that if you value something above its worth for too long, horrible things tend to happen. Assets are misappropriated the whole thing just falls apart at some point. Just see tech stocks, mortgages, tulips, etc and etc; labor is no different.

  21. Midnight Harley says:

    I just got a raise to $8.00…I need more money myself >>;

  22. okt says:

    High labor costs is what caused the industrial revolution.

  23. Bullmoose says:

    When I was a server a few years ago they raised minimum wage a quarter, so to balance it out, the restaurant just chopped a day off everyones schedule. I went from making $300 a weekend to $200, oh but my check increased by $8 every two weeks.

  24. soj4life says:

    What is interesting in this article is that it mentions that San Fran wait staffs make min wage before they get any tips. Kind of weird with the story a few months back that they want a mandatory 25% put onto each bill. If they are getting min wage already, they should only get 5 – 10%, like how they do it in the EU and UK.

  25. DragonThermo says:

    Hopefully some businesses will either go out of business, move out of SFO, lay off workers, or at least not hire new workers. Good job, Left Coast, for keeping the unemployment rate at double digits all in the name of “fairness”.