connecting the dots on a growing divide

Polly Cleveland: Whose Water? Ours! How to End California’s Water Crisis

The California Constitution says the water belongs to the people. Yet the state gives water almost free to agriculture–resulting in enormous waste and dire “shortages” during droughts. If the state were to charge for water, that would end the water crisis–and solve California’s fiscal crisis too.

Polly Cleveland: Increasing the Minimum Wage Can Actually Create Jobs—If It’s Enforced

Back when I studied economics, we “proved” in class that a minimum wage causes unemployment. But that proof depends on assuming a perfectly competitive market. Big low-wage employers like Wal-Mart have substantial market power; they can deliberately under-staff operations to force down wages. In that case, a minimum wage increase can actually create jobs–if it can be enforced.

Polly Cleveland: The Affordable Care Act Will Raise Wages

The new Congressional Budget Office report projects that the Affordable Care Act will lead to a decline in full-time equivalent workers of 2.5 million. This is people voluntarily deciding to work less–like mothers with small children, or workers in poor health or close to retirement. That should mean higher wages for the remaining workers.

Salvatore Babones: China’s Third Plenum Endorses the “Decisive” Role of the Market — Unfortunately for China

Making the market “decisive” means that the Chinese government has decided to place profits before people — and even before that previously invincible talisman, economic growth.

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