Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues



Pres. Biden and the Minimum Wage

At yesterday’s discussion, I mentioned that I had made my first request to The Fact Checker at the Washington Post. And it was, in fact, checked.

Here’s the text of my original form:

Impact of Minimum Wage Hike

Made by Joe Biden
StatementAll the economics show that if you do that [increase the minimum wage to $15], the whole economy rises.”
Source for StatementVideo clip (this comment at 01:17)
CommentJoe isn’t specific about what “the economics” are, but “All” is pretty specific.   Here’s a link to a July 2019 CBO report on minimum wage effects: As I read Table 1 (pdf page 7) of that report, a $15 minimum wage would increase the “real income” (see definition below the table) of families up to three times the poverty threshold, but would decrease the annual real income of “All families” by $8.8 billion (2018 dollars).   I don’t consider an action that costs Americans $8.8 billion per annum to support his statement that “the whole economy rises.”   And “all” is a very strong statement, that would lead viewers/listeners to believe that there is really no doubt as to the overall economic effect of a $15 minimum wage.

And here’s a PDF of the WaPo article. I would have given it three Pinocchios, but reasonably people may differ.

I also sent (in the same email) a request for fact-checking the hourly wage corresponding to the “poverty wage level.” Here it is:

Poverty Wage Level

Made by Joe Biden
Statement“Look, no one should work 40 hours a week and live below the poverty wage. And if you’re making less than $15 an hour, you’re living below the poverty wage.“
Source for StatementVideo clip (this comment at 01:32)
CommentJoe’s math is wrong. See the table below.
Sen. Joe Manchin, in a recent interview, took the position that someone working 40 hours/week, 50 weeks/year should be able to support a household of three at the poverty level, and that he thought $15.00/hour was too much. By the math below, to meet his standard, a $10.86 minimum wage would meet the test.
Poverty guidelines source:; actual worksheet (above) attached.

Although I recognized that my second request (whether $15/hour is the cusp of the “poverty wage”) is closely related and may be getting stale, the [I believe incorrect] statement was reiterated yesterday by Jen Psaki, so I’ll bring that to Mr. Kessler’s attention as well. Repetition breeds belief…(or something like that).

Monday: Broadband

The pandemic has underscored the usefulness (dare I say “utility”?) of Internet access for getting together—and learning—under social distancing restrictions.

But Internet access and, especially, “broadband” speed, is spotty at best in rural and semi-rural Maine. And lots of other areas of the country. Over the years, there have been lots of programs to motivate further build-outs of networks and to provide discounted Internet access pricing to those who cannot afford the “retail” prices.

Monday, we’ll discuss where we stand as a nation, as a state, and as a community. And what can and should be done to accelerate and democratize Internet access.

Study up on the Rural Electrification Administration (formed in 1935)—there are lots of parallels and visit the Peninsula Utility for Broadband site for current, local information.

Feb. 1: Biden, Russia, Foreign Policy

For this coming Monday, we agreed to discuss the Biden Administration’s posture toward Russia, starting with the poisoning and imprisonment of Alexei Navalny.

We’ll undoubtedly turn to, or otherwise work into the discussion, U.S. foreign policy in other global arenas.

Here’s an article, “Biden, Blinken and the Blob,” provided by Peter Sly to set the tone. The author is from the Quincy Institute, a seemingly unlikely collaboration between George Soros and Charles Koch.

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