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(NPR)   Amazon's German employees are demanding higher wages, a union contract, and other considerations. And we know how well Germany treats malcontents   (npr.org) divider line 63
    More: Interesting  
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1030 clicks; posted to Business » on 01 Sep 2014 at 12:53 PM (51 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-09-02 01:36:29 AM  

WhyteRaven74: jjorsett: Interesting that the woman in the story says she's old, mostly disabled, and otherwise unemployable, but feels entitled to higher pay.

Or you can look at it in terms of, it's the one job she can do, should make sure it provides properly for her.


I can sympathize with her, but I wouldn't expect my employer to give me a raise just because I need it. Your worth to a company is how much having you on the payroll contributes to the bottom line.
 
2014-09-02 01:44:46 AM  

meyerkev: Today's the first day that I've been off since August 17th, which is one of 6 days I'd been off since um... mid-June.  And I only get this because it only took me about 2 months to become Wally (Except that I do actually do work.  But just that general "I would like to have a life at some point, so I'm out when I'm out and up yours" way of thinking.  I've got a coworker who works until 3 AM every night and he's just crazy).  They paid for me to go to Dublin for training for 3 weeks, but I had to take time off to go see my sister in Paris* over the weekend.  (Also, note to self: If you buy plane tickets on 3 days warning over 4th of July weekend, it will cost you $800 to fly to Paris and back.).


I had a job offer from an Amazon subsidiary a couple of years back. I took a look at glassdoor reviews and decided I prefer my sanity and am not quite ready to join the Borg collective. Good to see my choice validated. I might not make as much as I would have there (although that's quickly reaching parity), but at least I get to spend all day in my underwear on my couch!

Stone Meadow: Where do you find the money?


In Q2 of 2014, the nominal US GDP was about $17.3 trillion dollars. The effective corporate tax rate averaged out to about 12.6% (this according to the GAO http://money.cnn.com/2013/07/01/news/economy/corporate-tax-rate/. This is in stark contrast to the many shill articles claiming the US has one of the highest effective rates on the planet. At 12.6, we're just slightly above the Carribean). There is a LOT of wiggle room there. For example, according to YCharts, US corporate revenue in June of 2014 was about $1.35T. 12.6% of that is $170.1B. Raising the effective corporate tax rate to 15% nets an additional $30+B per month. $30B per month divided by the 300,000,000 people in the US gets you another $100 per month. But that's a paltry tax hike. Let's jump it up to 20%. This might seem like a massive hike, but we'll offset it with some initial automation credits, and the rest of the difference will come in payroll savings. So at 20% effective corporate tax rate, we're talking 270B per month in corporate taxes collected. That's an extra 100B per month. That's an extra $333 per person per month.

But that's not enough to live on, right? Right! So we need to find other savings. How about SS? With a guaranteed minimum income, we don't really need it anymore. So we take all that SS money and we throw it in with the general income fund. That adds another $250 per month per person. We're up to about $600 per person per month now. Still not quite enough to live on, but getting closer. We could take money from Medicare and Medicaid and let people buy their own insurance, but not sure that would be a good idea. We could slash defense spending, as we should anyway. There's no reason a nation surrounded by water on two sides and friendly neighbors on the other two needs a standing army. We could project force just as effectively by eliminating the Army, slashing the Navy and Airforce, and using Marines if we ever need to put boots on the ground anywhere. This has the advantage of keeping us out of conflicts we have no business being in. We can probably get another $100 per person per month out of this. So now we're up to $700 per person per month. That's not a ton of cash, but is enough to live on adequately in most parts of the country. I'm writing this from Monroe, LA, where I can rent a house for $400 a month. Split that between two or three people, and you're talking about a quarter to a third of your income going to housing, which is a pretty good ratio to stick by, anyway.

But let's say we want to provide more than just the absolute bare essentials. The effective federal tax rate on the top quintile in the US is currently 24% (including payroll and other taxes). Increasing this a few percentage points, for example by having a higher "extremely high earner" bracket can net us another $100 or so USD per person per month. We're up to about $800 pp/pm. But children don't really need the full amount. Life doesn't cost twice as much for a couple with two children as it does for a couple with no children. With a flat per person structure, our fund is currently divided as 2,102,400,000,000 for adults, and 777,600,000,000 for children. We can give minors under the age of 18 half of what we give to adults. That's an extra $1,296 per year. So we're at just about $1000 per person per month for adults, and $500 per children. We can also penalize people who want to have large families but can't afford to do so. Let's say that only the first two children qualify. It's hard to estimate this impact, and it's late, so I don't have the numbers in front of me. I doubt this would add significantly to the bottom line, but it would keep people from starting child farms to make extra money.

So, with some relatively minor changes, we've given everyone in America just slightly less than minimum wage. With the median gross rent in the US being about $880 per month, this still makes it a little tough to live. However, if you take out the large metropolitan areas, this number drops significantly. Mobile home park investment websites, for example, list the average rental rate you can expect to make at about $600 per month for a doublewide. An investment in no-frills high-rises can likely lower this number dramatically. So if you assume you should pay about a third of your income in rent, that means that two people can easily afford a $600 per month apartment. Add a child and we're up pretty close to the national median of $880.

And this is just the guaranteed income. Nothing will be stopping people from seeking employment while receiving it. In fact, you can actually have a top cut-off and save a little money. If, for example, you say no one in the top quintile of earners (about $239,000 before-tax in 2010) can collect the GUI, you add another $2,500 to everyone's income below you. Then lets say that people in the 4th quintile only receive half the money. Suddenly, you add another $2k or so to everyone below them. All of a sudden, everyone making an average of $65k or less has a guaranteed income of at least the minimum wage. And we haven't even touched the capital gains rate. Or state funding for welfare programs.

So with a few minor tweaks to the tax rates, we elevate a huge chunk of the population out of poverty, elevate another huge chunk from lower class to at least lower middle class, solved the higher education crisis (17-22 year olds can now use their $15,000 per year to go to school. That will pay all or most of an undergrad tuition at most state schools), created a new class of consumers, and streamlined the entire welfare system. More importantly, this has the potential to create a serious flourishing of entrepreneurship and the arts. The main reason most people don't go into business for themselves is that they are terrified of losing a steady income stream and being unable to care for their families. Same with the arts. Eliminating this fear goes a long way towards allowing people to follow their dreams, rather than following the safe career path. I know I would have gone into business for myself a lot sooner had I known that my ass was covered for the first year or so. I would have started my second business much sooner had I had an extra lump sum of $15,000 handed to me.

It's a shame that this will never happen, though, because how dare anyone get free money.

/sorry if some of this math is off. It's late, I've been travelling for what feels like weeks without stop, and work has kicked my ass lately
 
2014-09-02 01:58:48 AM  

jjorsett: Interesting that the woman in the story says she's old, mostly disabled, and otherwise unemployable, but feels entitled to higher pay.


Well, that's the essence of European Soshulism. "You do the very best you can, and get a living wage for it, even if it's not that much." As opposed to a much better system of "you better be in top shape from start to the end, and after we chew you out, you may go die in a ditch".

Now, obviously, productivity somewhat suffers in European Soshulism. But those pesky commies do not think productivity is the end of all goals. Fancy that.
 
2014-09-02 03:38:04 AM  

WhyteRaven74: jjorsett: Interesting that the woman in the story says she's old, mostly disabled, and otherwise unemployable, but feels entitled to higher pay.

Or you can look at it in terms of, it's the one job she can do, should make sure it provides properly for her.


According to the article, wages start at 1,631 euros per month [about $2,150] and go up to 2,348 euros [$3,100].
She's worked there for 13 years so I'm assuming she's making more than 2,000 euros. That's a living wage anywhere in "rural" Germany.
Now the difference between "living" and "proper" wages is dependent on each individual. She seems to be 61 and disabled so I'm thinking the state is already chipping in.

Her beef seems to be that her job is classified as "logistics" rather than "retail". I'm not an expert in German labor law, but if you're moving crates of stuff around a warehouse, you're logistics.
 
2014-09-02 04:37:42 AM  
And we know how well Germany treats malcontents

Pretty well?  They're doing a much better job than the United States is, that's for sure.
 
2014-09-02 05:12:46 AM  

neaorin: WhyteRaven74: jjorsett: Interesting that the woman in the story says she's old, mostly disabled, and otherwise unemployable, but feels entitled to higher pay.

Or you can look at it in terms of, it's the one job she can do, should make sure it provides properly for her.

According to the article, wages start at 1,631 euros per month [about $2,150] and go up to 2,348 euros [$3,100].
She's worked there for 13 years so I'm assuming she's making more than 2,000 euros. That's a living wage anywhere in "rural" Germany.
Now the difference between "living" and "proper" wages is dependent on each individual. She seems to be 61 and disabled so I'm thinking the state is already chipping in.

Her beef seems to be that her job is classified as "logistics" rather than "retail". I'm not an expert in German labor law, but if you're moving crates of stuff around a warehouse, you're logistics.


Logistics, where your job can be described as "I pick things up, I put them down." in the voice of a certain Austrian actor.
 
2014-09-02 06:22:18 AM  
They dont' have contracts, they have "work agreements", at least that's what our company tried to tell us when we tried to get representation by an evil "union" here in the states.
 
2014-09-02 07:24:09 AM  

Lusiphur: meyerkev: Today's the first day that I've been off since August 17th, which is one of 6 days I'd been off since um... mid-June.  And I only get this because it only took me about 2 months to become Wally (Except that I do actually do work.  But just that general "I would like to have a life at some point, so I'm out when I'm out and up yours" way of thinking.  I've got a coworker who works until 3 AM every night and he's just crazy).  They paid for me to go to Dublin for training for 3 weeks, but I had to take time off to go see my sister in Paris* over the weekend.  (Also, note to self: If you buy plane tickets on 3 days warning over 4th of July weekend, it will cost you $800 to fly to Paris and back.).

I had a job offer from an Amazon subsidiary a couple of years back. I took a look at glassdoor reviews and decided I prefer my sanity and am not quite ready to join the Borg collective. Good to see my choice validated. I might not make as much as I would have there (although that's quickly reaching parity), but at least I get to spend all day in my underwear on my couch!

Stone Meadow: Where do you find the money?

In Q2 of 2014, the nominal US GDP was about $17.3 trillion dollars. The effective corporate tax rate averaged out to about 12.6% (this according to the GAO http://money.cnn.com/2013/07/01/news/economy/corporate-tax-rate/. This is in stark contrast to the many shill articles claiming the US has one of the highest effective rates on the planet. At 12.6, we're just slightly above the Carribean). There is a LOT of wiggle room there. For example, according to YCharts, US corporate revenue in June of 2014 was about $1.35T. 12.6% of that is $170.1B. Raising the effective corporate tax rate to 15% nets an additional $30+B per month. $30B per month divided by the 300,000,000 people in the US gets you another $100 per month. But that's a paltry tax hike. Let's jump it up to 20%. This might seem like a massive hike, but we'll offset it with some initial automation...



Eh, you don't need a cutoff that's begging to be turned into a political football. Just make the payments taxable as ordinary income.

Baron Harkonnen: And we know how well Germany treats malcontents

Pretty well?  They're doing a much better job than the United States is, that's for sure.



WARNING: MALCONTENTS MAY BE UNDER PRESSURE
 
2014-09-02 07:27:23 AM  

Stone Meadow: You want a GUI for all adults? There are 300+ million legal residents in the US. To give each person $6500 will add a cool $2 trillion to a federal budget that has not yet hit $4 trillion.

[www.aaas.org image 579x433]

Where do you find the money?


$1.2 trillion by the fact that SS and Medicaid are not obsolete.  The rest by replacing a portion of the standard deduction with the fact that everyone is getting GMI already.

Easy.
 
2014-09-02 08:29:48 AM  

semiotix: lohphat: Amazon is just as bad as WalMart when it comes to poor wages and sweatshop management style.

They're different kinds of awful. Wal-Mart is more oriented towards doing it for the lulz, being shiatty for shiattiness' sake. "Hi, sorry to wake you at 12:00 A.M., but we've scheduled you for the 2 A.M.-4 A.M. cleaning shift, so you'll need to leave now if you want to catch the three buses you'll need to make it on time. Also, we've got you schedule to work 8 A.M.-noon today too, and while you won't officially be required to work off the clock between 4 and 8, it's worth saying that you'll be physically locked in the building until the store opens at 7:30."

Whereas Amazon, I think, genuinely wishes you well--they're just aware that 99.8% of human beings will have one or more major joints ground into pulpy, cartilaginous oblivion by the physical demands of the Amazon warehouse before six months are up. So when they fire you for not being able to make the steadily increasing quota, it's nothing personal. In fact, I think they probably feel they're doing you a favor. It was painful watching you try to lift those boxes without aggravating your hernia!

/yes, they're both doing it for the money above all else, but there are different flavors


Amazon is willing to act like a dick to increase their bottom line. Walmart acts like a dick even when it starts costing them money.
 
2014-09-02 08:31:31 AM  

jjorsett: WhyteRaven74: jjorsett: Interesting that the woman in the story says she's old, mostly disabled, and otherwise unemployable, but feels entitled to higher pay.

Or you can look at it in terms of, it's the one job she can do, should make sure it provides properly for her.

I can sympathize with her, but I wouldn't expect my employer to give me a raise just because I need it. Your worth to a company is how much having you on the payroll contributes to the bottom line.


Germany (and much of Europe in general) looks at things a little differently than in America.
 
2014-09-02 11:06:10 AM  

neaorin: WhyteRaven74: jjorsett: Interesting that the woman in the story says she's old, mostly disabled, and otherwise unemployable, but feels entitled to higher pay.

Or you can look at it in terms of, it's the one job she can do, should make sure it provides properly for her.

According to the article, wages start at 1,631 euros per month [about $2,150] and go up to 2,348 euros [$3,100].
She's worked there for 13 years so I'm assuming she's making more than 2,000 euros. That's a living wage anywhere in "rural" Germany.
Now the difference between "living" and "proper" wages is dependent on each individual. She seems to be 61 and disabled so I'm thinking the state is already chipping in.

Her beef seems to be that her job is classified as "logistics" rather than "retail". I'm not an expert in German labor law, but if you're moving crates of stuff around a warehouse, you're logistics.


I used to be a retail worker, overnights at Walmart.  My job included unloading trucks, moving stuff around back, stocking shelves, and assisting customers*.  My job was overnight frozen foods (which is the 2nd highest paid department, overnight produce was highest; both departments had to bust ass and work faster and more productive than any other department in the store (we'd unload a pallet of icecream in 15 to 20 minutes, other departments would take 40-60 minutes on a similar sized pallet.

If any of our pallets were on the floor for more than 30 minutes (ice cream) or 40 minutes (general frozen goods), we would have to wait two hours before we could bring them back out and start again...needless to say, teamwork was key in getting our job done.  Because of that, we normally finished a full pallet in 15 minutes and all our work in 4 or 5 hours and then dick around until it was time to go home (hard to dick around for 5-6 hours on a 10 hour shift).  Once a night I'd take a good 30 minute weed break in the top of the frozen goods freezer.  It was -30 below 0F (-45 in the ice cream freezer) in there and no manager ever walked in ever....EVER.  I needed something to do, so I'd climb up top, smoke a bowl, and label our pallets for the next night or climb down and arrange stuff so it would be easier and faster to unload our trucks the next night.

I'd still have that job if I wasn't a dumbass (fark you, it was a good paying job for my area...$11.50 an hour and various benefits).  I'd probably be an assistant manager or manager by now (it was 10 years ago and I was inline to become the next department manager only six months in....yes the pothead that got stoned at work every night was the most prompt and fastest worker on the entire floor and up for promotion over the other two guys that had been in the department for 2-4 years (except for the other pothead in produce..that dude was fast).  I was also paid more than the other two guys as well...I suppose I'm a better negotiator for my job than they were, also had two promotions in 6 months...I quit at 7 -- got tired of the other two guys in my department hitting on me and eye raping my nightly and management not caring because they were both really good employees, and good employees are hard to come by.

*One night my truck was running a few hours late and an old guy needed assistance reading labels.  I walked through the store in every department with him and up until he went to checkout.  When done, the overnight assistant manager said I wasn't supposed to help customers outside of my department and asked why I was.  When I replied that I had nothing to do until my truck came in (better use of my time rather than standing around waiting; we weren't allowed to help other departments until our work was done; frozen is a priority department) as well as that I personally get offended when other Walmart employees pass the buck when I'm a customer and how that leads to bad customer service (he reluctantly agreed with that); he never questioned me when I was assisting customers outside of my department ever again....In fact, my first raise was two weeks later and he's the manager that signed off on it.

I'd like that job back.  It was easy and it paid the bills...not much more, but it was better than nothing.
 
2014-09-02 04:27:16 PM  

Monkeyfark Ridiculous: Eh, you don't need a cutoff that's begging to be turned into a political football. Just make the payments taxable as ordinary income.


Since this is all make-believe, I'd rather include the cut-off and give a little bit more to people that need it more. But again, this is all a crazy pipe-dream that will never happen.

It also shocked me in looking over the numbers here that the US federal budget only comes out to about 25% of GDP. Even with state budgets, it's still under 28%. I would have thought a huge, civilized, first-world country would need at least 30% or so of GDP to be government expenditures. Where the hell is all this money going?
 
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