Friday, February 22, 2013

More Certainty

Caleb interviewed yesterday at the University of Utah.  Exciting!

Even more exciting is that in the interview they told him they are breaking with tradition this year.  Rather than making everyone wait until late March to hear about acceptance, they will be making the decision on Tuesday.  We'll know if we're staying in Utah or leaving the state by the end of next week!


Also, I just went to check my mail and one of my neighbors came out of his apartment with his overgrown locks pulled back by a pretty headband.

I guess I shouldn't judge too much considering I was barefoot in 30 degree weather, with no makeup on.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Lesson in Economics.

I recently saw a headline this week about the possibility of Congress raising the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour.

I am going to give a short lesson on why this is NOT a great idea.  Note that I'm not saying that any of these things that happen are moral or immoral. I am simply saying that this is what will generally happen across the country.  Laws of economics.

First, let's look at a couple of definitions:

Minimum wage:   Merriam-Webster says minimum wage is "a wage fixed by legal authority or by contract as the least that may be paid either to employed persons generally or to a particular category of employed persons."

Easy cheesy, right?

Okay, how about equilibrium?

Equilibrium:  "A state of rest or balance due to the equal action of opposing forces."

In economics, equilibrium is when all the forces of economics balance.  Supply is sufficient for demand.  This applies to all aspects of economics.  When left to itself, this will balance automatically.  Not instantly, but eventually.  If prices are too high and people can do without, people will stop buying.  They will find substitutes for the things they want.  In turn, the company selling products will reduce prices if no one will buy.  Otherwise they will make no profit.

What is the ultimate purpose of any business or businessperson?  Their goal is to make a profit.

Now, if a business' goal is to make a profit, then this means that they need to make more money than it costs to do whatever they do, whether it is to sell a service, a product, whatever.  If they make more money than they spend, then they get a profit.  Get it?  Good.  :)

If the minimum wage increases, things will be good for people.  For a while.  Within a few days, weeks, months (it will be different for every business), the employers will begin to see an increase in their expenses (paying employees).  Eventually, in order to offset costs, their prices will have increase.

Let's see how this would work at, say, Walmart, or any grocery store.  Everyone who is not completely self-sufficient must in some way or another shop at a grocery store.  Most Walmart stores employ between 200-400 people.  It's probably a safe bet that every employee that starts there, without any experience, is at first getting paid less than the proposed $9.00 wage.  At least half of the entire store's employees are getting paid less than that amount.  Most likely. I'm not super accurate.

If they have to pay everybody more, they will have to raise some prices.  Eventually, all the prices will rise, or the service will be cut in order for the individual stores to make at least similar profits as before.  This means that you, the shopper, will be paying more for your groceries.  So you will be keeping less of your pay.  If you own a business, you are likely to raise your own prices to keep up with the demands of costs at home and costs or keeping up your business.  The effect will spread to other businesses as well.  Restaurants will be paying more for the supplies/food to make what they sell, so their prices will increase.  Doctor's visits will become more costly, because even though they are still making a good salary, who is willingly going to decrease their own pay?  Everyone's expenses will increase.

Eventually, the market will reach equilibrium again, and we will be in the exact same boat, with people crying for a minimum wage hike to $11.00 an hour. It won't ever stop.

So what I'm saying is that, yes, it will help people out for a couple months.  But, eventually, things will go right back to the way they are now.  With the higher wages will come higher costs.  This is why we were meant to progress.  We aren't supposed to keep a minimum wage job for the rest of our lives.  Some people do stay working at fast food restaurants for forever, stocking shelves at grocery stores for years and years.  But no one is being forced to stay and do this.  At least no one that I know.  For most people, it is a choice they make on their own.

I'm sure my argument has been less than clear and at times has jumped around.  And it probably sounds very cynical.  But the concepts illustrated here are real.  Want to learn more?  Enroll in an economics course at your local university or college!  Or, you can read this textbook that Mr. McAfee of Yahoo! Research has made available for free.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


This morning I got on and saw the newest weather prediction on

"Hey Caleb, I guess we're gonna have an early spring this year.  Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow.  You know, the groundhog?"

"Oh yeeeeeeeeeeeah! 'Cause today's leap year huh?"


Friday, February 1, 2013

Sometimes I Just Want to Scream

Here are times when I just want to scream:

When the touch screen on the tablet is finicky and keeps deleting my e-mails that I'm trying to write to my professor I grade for.

When the professor I grade for requires me to be on campus in a specified room to grade exams for hours on end on a Saturday but doesn't tell me what time she wants me there until the last minute (still hasn't let me know).

When I go to make peach cobbler and find out that of all the food storage I have, suddenly the peaches ran out.

When I make food in the crock pot and it all burns in a short amount of time on the lowest setting because the crock pot is so fabulous and huge!  It's like it's telling me to have children so that I can make large amounts of food so it will work properly and I'm all "No I don't think I'm ready to have kids yet!  Aren't you aware that I work at Walmart and can't exactly support more people right now?"  And it's like, "Yeah, I know, but I'm still going to burn your food."

When I start talking to kitchen appliances in my head.