Chart: minimum wage in cost-of-living-adjusted dollars

Updated 2021. Originally posted 2013

There has been a lot of talk lately about the minimum wage and how it ought to be raised. It has been claimed that minimum wage workers are making less now than ever and that the nation is in a critical race to the bottom where workers on the low end of the spectrum are getting squeezed harder and harder.

This raises the question of the historical minimum wage in the United States. Is it really lower now than it ever has been? Did America once have a minimum wage that elevated workers from poverty?

Broken promise

I used to make it a point to write a post for America’s Independence Day. It was an exercise in affirming what it means to me to live in America. I’ve let that go over the past few years for a variety of reasons. I just haven’t been expressing myself in writing so much because discourse itself feels broken in this so-called post-truth era. But I’ve been thinking about it for a few days and I do have something to say, so here I am again.

There's no idle gossip in braille

A recent Medium article suggests that it doesn’t matter whether Facebook is broken up, or implements radical changes, or is replaced by a different platform. The author, Colin Horgan, says that it’s not necessary at all. He is partly right.

He’s right that we don’t need Facebook to fill the roles it does. He’s wrong when he says we don’t need those things at all.

90 minutes without my phone

Scott Berkun retweeted a challenge suggested by Mike Davidson today: to see how long one could go without one’s phone. The idea intrigued me — conventional wisdom says that these devices are distracting and corrosive to sanity. Also, I didn’t want to admit that I was too chicken to try. I soon found that it is not quite as simple a proposition as it sounds. Just figuring out how to do it raises questions about the different kinds of dependence that electronic devices might come with.

If downloading was free everyone would be doing it

Part two in a series of two or more of topics relevant to the Network Neutrality debate

I’m shocked that I need to explain this, but prices are determined by supply, demand, and sellers’ decisions about the best ways to optimize supply and demand. Over time they are determined by nothing more than these.

«Unlimited» is fraud

Part one in a series of two or more of topics relevant to the Network Neutrality debate

Imagine a pizzeria. Let’s call it Monochromatic Pizza because that’s a terrible name for a pizza joint1 and with luck I won’t anger the proprietors of any actual pizza places. Let’s say Monochromatic Pizza makes pretty good pizza. Maybe it isn’t the best in town, but you’ve been there before and you like their pizza.


A thing to be done.

Yes, you guessed it. This is the singular of agenda. And yes, its use is somewhat archaic. OED calls it «now rare» and Chambers doesn’t list it at all. Agenda’s modern usage is clearly singular; one looks at the agenda before beginning a meeting, and someone promoting political views is said to have an agenda.

But it is at least useful to understand agenda as a list, as opposed to simply «that which someone wants done». It’s a list, a set. And this is why it is grating (though not incorrect) to hear references to «agendas», especially when these agendas belong to a single person.

Listen, snowflake. Star Trek has always leaned hard to port

There’s a new Star Trek series premiering tonight on CBS. Already Twitter is awash1 with critics complaining that Star Trek is no longer Star Trek, that it has turned into a propaganda vehicle for the «social justice warriors» who are pushing an anti-American, pro-globalist, diversity-loving agenda. See the IMDB reviews, too.


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