Category Archives: Economics

Study of Minimum Wage Shows Mixed Results

By Free Radical

A recent study by Washington University scholars shows that raising the minimum wage has had both positive and negative ramifications for local economies. These issues are of importance for cities such as St. Louis that are in the middle of contentious debates over raising worker pay.

In a working paper, the scholars looked at six states that raised their minimum wages between 2010 and 2015. They found that workers who received a wage increase were no more likely to be fired than workers who did not receive one. This is key as opponents often argue that raising a minimum wage will lead to workers losing their jobs. This position has been derided as paternalistic because most workers who make a minimum wage desire a higher pay. With the study, this excuse for not raising the minimum wage is seen not only as paternalistic, but also inaccurate.

The study, however, also found that businesses hired fewer workers a year after their respective states raised their minimum wage rates.

The research was conducted by Washington University business professors Radhakrishnan Gopalan and Barton Hamilton and graduate students Ankit Kalda and David Sovic.

St. Louis and Missouri is currently embroiled in a fight to secure its recent minimum wage hike. In 2015, St. Louis passed an ordinance to raise its pay floor to $11 an hour by 2018. Though the law was challenged by business groups, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld it earlier this year.

However, last month Missouri legislators voted to prevent local municipalities from raising their minimum wage. The measure is currently awaiting Governor Greitens’s signature or veto.

Homeownership Maintains Decades Old American Inequality

By Free Radical

econpic (3)When thinking of “entitlement” programs, many people immediately think of food stamps, social security, or possibly Medicaid. A recently published nytimes.com long form article by Pulitzer Prize winning writer Matthew Desmond, argues that one of the largest forms of government aid does not go to the poor, but rather to middle class and wealthier homeowners.

The mortgage interest deduction, or MID, allows homeowners to deduct mortgage interest on their first and second homes. In 2015, a whopping $71 billion was spent on the MID alone, making up more than half of all federal homeowner subsidies which totaled $134 billion.

Desmond argues that the MID policy exacerbates inequality in the US. Because tax deductions are

MO Shifts Medicaid Patients to Private Sector

By Free Radical

Nearly 240,000 Missouri state Medicaid patients were moved to private sector companies last week.

Nearly 240,000 Missouri state Medicaid patients were moved to private sector companies last week.

Last week, Missouri transferred nearly 240,000 of its state-provided Medicaid program to private insurance companies. The new program, MOHealthNet requires individuals who are not elderly, disabled or blind to use one of three private sector businesses: WellCare, United Health Group, or Centene Corporation.

The program was offered to only 54 Missouri counties previously. Now it is offered throughout the entire state.

The program’s supporters argue that it is more cost-effective as the state pays one of the three insurance companies a flat fee for each patient. Prior to the program’s implementation, the state paid for

Shea Moisture Receives Backlash Over Controversial CommercialShea Moisture Receives Backlash Over Controversial Commercial

By Free Radical

Shea Moisture has been accused of alienating its fan base with its most recent commercial.

Shea Moisture has been accused of alienating its fan base with its most recent commercial.

Shea Moisture has been the target of intense derision over what many members of the natural hair community allege as tone deaf advertising.

 

A recent commercial spot featured a lighter skinned Black woman, a blonde White woman, and a White woman with red hair. All three discuss what they call “hair hate” where they were ridiculed for their hair texture.

 

Black Twitter, in particular, responded with a variety of critiques. Many, however, centered on the fact that Black women have served as the backbone of Shea Moisture’s customer base but are underrepresented in the commercial.

 

Furthermore, while brands such as Shea Moisture have grown popular due to White supremacist “hair hate,” which normalizes European hair styles and textures, darker-skinned Black women with coarse hair textures were not represented in the ad.