Short takes: Week of January 27

Minimum wage hike would be costly: Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute explains the real cost of raising the minimum wage. Excerpt: "Those who would be harmed by increasing the minimum wage are young people. Half of minimum-wage workers are under 25, and 24% are teens. This group’s unemployment rate is already higher than the 7.3% overall rate. The teen unemployment rate is 21%, and the African-American teen unemployment rate is 36%. The youth unemployment rate is 12%. Despite the stream of rhetoric from the New York Times, it is the unemployment rates of these workers that would rise if the hourly minimum wage rose to $10 or $15."

Income inequality versus wealth inequality: James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute asks: Does Obama know that wealth inequality is lower now than 25 years ago? Excerpt: "It’s a good guess that reducing income inequality will be a major theme in Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address. Wealth inequality, however, probably won’t get a mention. It just doesn’t fit the political script…In 1989, the top 1% owned 37.4% of US net worth. In 2010, that share was actually a bit lower at 35.4%. While wealth inequality increased in the 1980s thanks to the stock market boom, widening stock ownership in the 1990s let the middle-class in on the action."

Not a parody: "Minneapolis seeks more people, not more cars". That’s the headline in the Star Tribune. Excerpt: "Minneapolis leaders want to attract more than 100,000 new residents to the city without adding more cars to the street, further amplifying one of the toughest challenges for planners at City Hall: parking…Parking-free residential developments have popped up in other cities, but several Minneapolis developers said prospective tenants, nervous investors and neighborhood groups still demand ample parking in new buildings." Hopefully the 100,000 new residents Minneapolis hopes to attract are able to fit all of your belongings on the back of a bike, bus, or rickshaw.

AFSCME struggles in Wisconsin’s new era of employee freedom: In the first full year following implementation of Wisconsin’s new collective bargaining reforms, AFSCME members fled their union in astonishing numbers and took their dues with them. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In 2011, the four councils that make up the state organization reported a combined income of $14.9 million. In 2012 that dropped to $8.3 million. Dues revenue dropped 40% to $7.1 million." Act 10 is further evidence that government unions can only thrive with the help of automatic dues deduction. Once that disappears, so do their members.

Quote of the Week: "I'm afraid that the millennials, if you will, are less likely to sign up. I think they feel more independent, I think they feel a little more invulnerable than prior generations. But I don't think we're going to get enough young people signing up to make this bill work as it was intended to financially." – Rep. Jim Moran (D-Virginia)

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