More than 3.1 million workers across the nation received a late Christmas gift on Jan. 1, when minimum wages were increased in 21 states. Although the mandated wage hike was welcomed by many workers, they will soon find that their new pay raise will cause more harm than help.
In 1811, British factory workers literally “fought the machine,” protesting against technology under the banner of mythical figurehead King Ludd. Upset about being replaced by more efficient machinery, cost-ineffective factory workers rebelled against the installation of threshing machines and other force-multipliers.
A judge in Sangamon County Circuit Court has blocked a modest reform of Illinois’ pension system for state workers and retirees outside Chicago from taking effect June 1, giving Gov. Pat “Four Counties” Quinn the excuse he’s probably been looking for to block reforms for two of Chicago’s pension plans. (I’ll explain “Four Counties” in a moment.)
A new book by French economist Thomas Piketty on “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has recently caused a major stir on the opinion pages of newspapers and magazines. Piketty has resurrected from the ash heap of history Karl Marx’s claim that capitalism inescapably leads to a worsening unequal distribution of wealth with dangerous consequences for human society.