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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

Behind the minimum wage fight, a sweeping failure to enforce the law

"As Democrats make raising the minimum wage a centerpiece of their 2018 campaigns, and Republicans call for states to handle the issue, both are missing an important problem: Wage laws are poorly enforced, with workers often unable to recover back pay even after the government rules in their favor.

"That’s the conclusion of a nine-month investigation by POLITICO, which found that workers are so lightly protected that six states have no investigators to handle minimum-wage violations, while 26 additional states have fewer than 10 investigators. Given the widespread nature of wage theft and the dearth of resources to combat it, most cases go unreported. Thus, an estimated $15 billion in desperately needed income for workers with lowest wages goes instead into the pockets of shady bosses.

"But even those workers who are able to brave the system and win — to get states to order their bosses to pay them what they’re owed -- confront a further barrier: Fully 41 percent of the wages that employers are ordered to pay back to their workers aren’t recovered, according to a POLITICO survey of 15 states.

"That’s partly because, in addition to lacking resources, states lack the tools to go after the landscaping firms, restaurants, cleaning companies and other employers that shed one corporate skin for another, changing names while essentially continuing the same businesses — often to evade orders to pay back their workers."

As millions of Americans live in a different “Skinner box” or social community then you do, they may have a different opinion on the issues of the day.🐭 That doesn’t mean those Americans are evil or corrupt.😃 Instead, they come to value different things differently, and have a perspective that may not match your own.

When you stop attacking others for not sharing your own beliefs,😡 you can become a more wholesome and thoughtful individual, that realizes that different communities have different problems,🐮🏙🏔🏘🚜 and that the solutions best for your area might be unworkable in other communities. Competition often leads to better results.👪 Good ideas get moved forward while old ideas die.🤔

Google Maps: December 2017 US Unemployment

As of December 2017 preliminary numbers, unemployment is lowest in the Midwest and New England, and is generally higher in the West and some states. Unemployment numbers are implemented by each state's Department of Labor using a standardized federal formula but there may be some differences in how each state collects the data.

Data Source: US Department of Labor, Local Area Unemployment Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/lau/

Sensible regulation, combined with the innovations brought on by capitalism, helps to make better products for the American families.💡💡 Are there better ways to make products safer and less polluting, while preserving the quality and affordabilty of services they provide? 🏭I believe there often are — sometimes it poses technological challenges — but we have scientists and engineers that can find good solutions to tough problems.🔬

Many times businesses are risk-adverse, unwilling to change unless the government pushes them. Why take a risk or invest in expensive new engineering if consumers are not demanding it, despite an obvious social good.😣 People want a product that does what they need, they aren’t concerned that much about the externalities. 🚗 Granted, not all new technologies are perfect when they are first adopted, but the markets will help make the technologies better for the consumer.👬

Who Is Garrett Hardin? The Master Ecologist Who Warned Us About Population Growth

"Garrett James Hardin was one of the first thinkers we would call an “ecologist” – arguably, he helped created the movement. His 1968 paper on The Tragedy of the Commons explained that if a shared resource — for example, a forest or a lake — was not centrally managed, its users would tend to destroy it over time as they acted rationally in their own interests. That idea led Hardin to his lifelong unpopular argument against continued human population growth. And as a result, Hardin was a supporter not only of all birth control methods, but also of sterilization. He also stood firmly against most forms of immigration, comparing immigration into a society with limited resources to an overcrowded lifeboat taking on new members. His position caused him to be ostracized by many mainstream political and academic thinkers."

Ski mountains endure record warmth

I am sure in a few years, New York will be installing $100 million steam plants and anhydrous ammonia chiller lines on the state ski slopes and probably providing aid for private resorts. Oh, and don't forget the cost of running natural gas lines to remote locations to fuel the boilers.

That said, I wonder if that is constitutional to build giant steam plants and run miles of chiller lines in forest preserve, despite the constitutional amendment permitting the state-operated ski resorts.