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Mark Perry

Mark Perry

Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.

Articles by Mark Perry

What was that again about trade wars being ‘easy to win,’ especially if China pledges to ‘fight to the end’? – Publications – AEI

7 hours ago

AEI
What was that again about trade wars being ‘easy to win,’ especially if China pledges to ‘fight to the end’?

1. From today’s Wall Street Journal editorial board:
The trouble with trade wars, like shooting wars, is that once they start you never know how they’re going to end. The enemy gets a vote, and sometimes events escalate in ugly fashion (see cartoon above). Take Friday, which saw China retaliate for Donald Trump ’s recent tariffs, Mr. Trump blow a gasket, markets tank, and Mr. Trump impose even more tariffs.
Stocks took that news in stride. They then rose modestly after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in his annual Jackson Hole remarks that the central bank would “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.” But then Mr. Trump began tweeting like a bull in a china

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Asking the correct question – Publications – AEI

9 hours ago

AEI
Asking the correct question

A couple examples below of asking the wrong question.
Wrong Question No. 1: What is the cause, explanation, or origin of poverty?
Reason it’s the wrong question? Because human history is a story of abject poverty that has been the natural state of mankind for many, many thousands of years (see chart above) and therefore no explanation is needed or necessary to understand the historical origins of poverty.
Thomas Hobbes famously described the natural state of mankind in the 17th century as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” More recently, Jonah Goldberg in his 2018 book Suicide of the West wrote that “The natural state of mankind is grinding poverty punctuated by horrific violence terminating with an early death. It was like this for a very, very

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Bonus quotation of the day on how Asians disrupt and undermine the narrative of white privilege…. – Publications – AEI

11 hours ago

AEI
Bonus quotation of the day on how Asians disrupt and undermine the narrative of white privilege….
…. is from Vincent Harinam and Rob Henderson’s article in Quillette “Why White Privilege Is Wrong—Part 1“:
What gives white privilege a patina of empirical credibility are its statistical comparisons between blacks and whites. However, these statistics are often decontextualized, omitting base rates and key group comparators. As Thomas Sowell points out, “The mere omission of one crucial fact can turn accurate statistics into traps that lead to conclusions that would be demonstrably false if the full facts were known.” Take mortgage approval rates, for example.
In 2000, data from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights showed that 44.6 percent of black applicants were turned down for mortgage

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Quotation of the day on how flawed measures of inflation understate wealth and improvements in consumer well-being – Publications – AEI

13 hours ago

AEI
Quotation of the day on how flawed measures of inflation understate wealth and improvements in consumer well-being
…. is from Phil Gramm and John F. Early’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal “Americans Are Richer Than We Think“:
When corrected for documented price overstatements, real average hourly earnings from 1975 to 2017 are shown to have risen some 52%, not 6%—an additional $6.77 an hour. Real median household income increased 68%, not 21%—$17,060 more annually. Gross domestic product grew 253% rather than 216%—$6,312 of additional output per capita. Productivity expanded 142% rather than 117%—$10 of additional value for every hour worked. And published poverty incidence fell by almost half. Combined with the 67% drop in poverty that comes from accounting for all government

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Video of the day: ‘All My Loving (Beatles Parody)’ by Remy – Publications – AEI

1 day ago

AEI
Video of the day: ‘All My Loving (Beatles Parody)’ by Remy

From Reason.tv, in the video above Remy discovers the hysterical, shrieking crowds are here for the entitlements.
HT: Steve Hayward at the Powerline blog who comments:
Remy has outdone himself. With the Democratic Party devoting itself to providing free everything to everybody, Remy and the Reason TV crew did up this dead-perfect Beatles parody. Pair it up with “Taxman,” which will come back into fashion in 2021 if we get stuck with President Warren.
 
Video of the day: ‘All My Loving (Beatles Parody)’ by Remy
Mark Perry

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How green is Saint Greta’s ark? Er, not very….. – Publications – AEI

3 days ago

AEI
How green is Saint Greta’s ark? Er, not very…..

….. is the title of an article by Michael St. George in the Conservative Woman, here are some “money quotes”:
Last Wednesday, in a blaze of unremittingly fawning publicity and uncritical adulation of which even Moses descending from Mount Sinai with the tablets bearing the Ten Commandments would have been envious, the good ship Mazilia – or, as I prefer to call it in view of its almost quasi-religious mission, ‘Greta’s Ark’ – set sail from Plymouth bound for New York, carrying no less a personage, if you believe the Green hype, than putative Savior of the World, diminutive, pig-tailed ‘climate activist’ Greta Thunberg, aged 16 (pictured above).
……
Precisely how green is the Blessed Greta’s planet-saving maritime odyssey? Initially, let’s

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Title IX updates: Clemson closed, new investigations open at Univ. of Minnesota and Rochester Institute of Technology – Publications – AEI

3 days ago

AEI
Title IX updates: Clemson closed, new investigations open at Univ. of Minnesota and Rochester Institute of Technology
Here are some updates on my efforts to advance civil rights for all in higher education by exposing the clear double-standard for enforcing Title IX’s clear prohibition of discrimination based on sex, whether it’s discrimination against females (strictly enforced) or males (often not enforced).
1. The District of Columbia Office for Civil Rights (OCR) closed my Title IX complaint against Clemson University after it agreed to open three of its traditionally single-gender, girl-only, no boys allowed programs to students of all gender identities, including several summer STEM camps that I described here. The resolution with Clemson was reported by The College Fix (“Clemson

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Wednesday afternoon links – Publications – AEI

3 days ago

AEI
Wednesday afternoon links

1. Charts of the Day I and II (above) shows the old “stagflation” measure that is the sum of the unemployment rate and the inflation rate on a monthly basis from January 1960 to July 2019 in the top chart, and the bottom chart shows the 10-year Treasury rate. Those three variables (unemployment rate, inflation rate and long-term interests) are the key components of the Federal Reserve’s “dual mandate,” which is actually a triple mandate of achieving the following three goals through the Fed’s monetary policy: 1) maximum employment, 2) stable prices (inflation), and 3) moderate long-term interest rates.
According to the data, 1) the US unemployment rate is low and stable at a 50-year low of 3.6-3.7%, 2) annual inflation is low and stable for both the CPI

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On the overblown and unnecessary concern about ‘excessive’ pay for top CEO talent in an increasingly globalized world – Publications – AEI

4 days ago

AEI
On the overblown and unnecessary concern about ‘excessive’ pay for top CEO talent in an increasingly globalized world

In yesterday’s The Gartman Letter (subscription only), Dennis made the following comments about “excessive” CEO pay:
EVEN WE FIND THIS DANGEROUS:
We here at TGL are old guard Libertarians, believing in small government, low taxes, less regulation and above all else, free markets. Wages are to be set, not by government, but by the free and open exchange of labor for production and income. We find minimum wage legislation abhorrent just as we find tariffs and trade wars even more so. But even we find somethings sometimes go overboard and such is the high and rising dichotomy between the salaries/bonuses/et al. being paid to America’s CEO and other C-suite inhabitants and

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Quotation of the day on the credibility problem of global warming alarmists…. – Publications – AEI

5 days ago

AEI
Quotation of the day on the credibility problem of global warming alarmists….
….. is from the Issues and Insight editorial “‘Global Temperature’ — Why Should We Trust A Statistic That Might Not Even Exist?“:
The global warming alarmists, who have seized and now control the narrative — because, like a child who won’t stop crying for a toy he can’t have, they refuse give up — have a credibility problem. Actually, they have several. The public will eventually forget about them all, though, just as it has overlooked the mistakes by those who predicted other catastrophes that never arrived, such as Y2K, the new Ice Age, acid rain, mass human starvation, overpopulation, peak oil, and the Silent Spring. After all, humans have been watching Doomsday prophets fail throughout history. They’ve

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Backfire economics: Consumers are and will be paying higher prices due to Trump’s tariffs/taxes on Americans – Publications – AEI

5 days ago

AEI
Backfire economics: Consumers are and will be paying higher prices due to Trump’s tariffs/taxes on Americans

From CNBC:
The average American household will be down $1,000 per year thanks to the newest round of tariffs on Chinese goods, according to J.P. Morgan. The firm estimates the average annual tariff cost per household will increase from $600 from the first two rounds of tariffs. The new tariffs are scheduled to begin Sept. 1 and in mid-December.
“What distinguishes China Phase III tariffs from preceding tariffs is the impact to Consumption and Capital goods whereas previous tariffs focused more on Intermediate goods,” J.P. Morgan head of U.S. equity strategy Dubravko Lakos-Bujas said in a note to clients. “This suggests that the expected consumer impact should be larger in the

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Bonus quotation of the day on race and identity politics….. – Publications – AEI

6 days ago

AEI
Bonus quotation of the day on race and identity politics…..
… is from Heather Mac Donald writing in today’s Wall Street Journal (“Trump Isn’t the One Dividing Us by Race“):
Mr. Trump rarely uses racial categories in his speech or his tweets. It is the media and Democratic leaders who routinely characterize individuals and groups by race and issue race-based denunciations of large parts of the American polity.
…..
America’s universities deserve credit for this double standard. Identity politics dominate higher education: Administrators, students and faculty obsessively categorize themselves and each other by race. “White privilege,” often coupled with “toxic masculinity,” is the focus of freshmen orientations and an ever-growing array of courses. Any institutional action that affects a

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Quotation of the day on demonizing those who fail various tests of PC purity as inherently wicked…. – Publications – AEI

6 days ago

AEI
Quotation of the day on demonizing those who fail various tests of PC purity as inherently wicked….
…. is from Andrew Sullivan writing in the New York Magazine (“The Limits of My Conservatism“):

Subject young white boys to critical race and gender theory, tell them that women can have penises, that genetics are irrelevant in understanding human behavior, that borders are racist, or that men are inherently toxic, and you will get a bunch of Jordan Peterson fans by their 20s. Actually, scratch that future tense — they’re here and growing in number.
Many leftists somehow believe that sustained indoctrination will work in abolishing human nature, and when it doesn’t, because it can’t, they demonize those who have failed the various tests of PC purity as inherently wicked. In the end, the

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Backfire economics: Trade war updates – Publications – AEI

6 days ago

AEI
Backfire economics: Trade war updates

1. Jake Tapper interviewing White Trade advisor Peter Navarro today on CNN: “You and the administration keep saying the entire burden of these tariffs and this trade war is being borne by China.”
Peter Navarro: “And that is absolutely true. We have seen absolutely no evidence in the price data. It’s not showing up in the consumer price index. They’re not hurting anybody here. They’re hurting China.”
2. “Trade war has already added 5% to typical U.S. shopping basket”:

Analysis from financial consultants Gordon Haskett Research Advisors shows cost increases already have taken hold in a typical shopping basket of 76 regular items from Target and Walmart. Target’s shopping basket cost roughly 5% more in June than it did in October 2018, Gordon

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Quotations of the day on racism – Publications – AEI

6 days ago

AEI
Quotations of the day on racism
1. Beto O’Rourke:
Our country was founded on racism—and is still racist today. In Arkansas, I said why I believe there’s no denying this reality; and why it’s on all of us to change it.
2. Brit Hume (in response to Beto O’Rourke):
In fact, no country on earth has done more to overcome racial prejudice both in law and practice. Indeed, racism today is nearly universally rejected in America, which is why the left tries so hard to pin the label on its political opponents.
3. Jeff Jacboby (in response to Bret Hume)
Exactly right. That’s why the left works overtime to paint every conservative, every non-PC dissenter, every honest critic as a racist. Its political power depends on claiming the moral high ground, especially when it comes to race. The honest

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Animated chart of the day: Oil production in America’s Big Three oil fields (Bakken, Eagle Ford and Permian Basin) – Publications – AEI

7 days ago

AEI
Animated chart of the day: Oil production in America’s Big Three oil fields (Bakken, Eagle Ford and Permian Basin)

The animated “bar chart race” visualization above shows the average daily oil production in America’s “Big Three” oil fields — the Permian Basin in west Texas, the Eagle Ford Shale in south-central Texas and the Bakken Formation in North Dakota (and Montana) — on a monthly basis from January 2007 to August 2019 (EIA data here).  A few observations:
1. Oil production in the Permian Basin topped 1 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time in May 2011, 2 million bpd in July 2016 (a little more than 5 years later), 3 million bpd in February 2018 (less than 2 years later) and 4 million bpd in April 2019 (a little more than a year later).
2. Eagle Ford’s oil output

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Bonus video of the day: 3D illusion – Publications – AEI

8 days ago

AEI
Bonus video of the day: 3D illusion

The arrow illusion above is by mathematician and sculptor Kokichi Sugihara. It can’t point left! Reason? It’s 3D-printed with a bunch of curves our brains don’t register. Freaky!

Bonus video of the day: 3D illusion
Mark Perry

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Video of the day: Visualizing the history of the world – Publications – AEI

8 days ago

AEI
Video of the day: Visualizing the history of the world

The video above is from the Visual Capitalist and “attempts to integrate the histories of all major civilizations known by historians into a single, epic video,” year by year. It takes 19 minutes to watch the entire video, but it’s quite fascinating, entertaining and educational! Enjoy!
Video of the day: Visualizing the history of the world
Mark Perry

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Exports are the goods and services we have to give up to get imports, which means exports are a cost, NOT a benefit – Publications – AEI

8 days ago

AEI
Exports are the goods and services we have to give up to get imports, which means exports are a cost, NOT a benefit
Over at the Cafe Hayek blog, in a series of posts Don Boudreaux has been patiently and repeatedly trying to explain to several of his readers and correspondents in a series of blog posts the simple and straightforward concept that “exports are costs.” Here are the links to three of Don’s posts and some excerpts:
1.  On Exports Being Costs
That exports are costs is proven by this fact: people export only because, and only insofar as, they expect to get in exchange for their export earnings things of value. Because all exporting will stop if people come to expect that they will no longer be able to convert their export earnings into real goods and services, people thereby

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Quotation of the day on blaming the problems of black people on racial discrimination…. – Publications – AEI

9 days ago

AEI
Quotation of the day on blaming the problems of black people on racial discrimination….
…. is from George Mason economics professor Walter E. Williams:
Here are my questions to those who blame racial discrimination for the problems of black people: Is it necessary for us to await some kind of moral rejuvenation among white people before measures can be taken to end or at least reduce the kind of behavior that spells socio-economic disaster in so many black communities? Is it a requirement that we await moral rejuvenation among white people before we stop permitting some black youngsters from making education impossible for other black youngsters? Blacks were not the only people discriminated against in America. While Jews and Asians were not enslaved, they encountered gross

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Venn diagram of the day on the gobbledygook that is Tariff Man’s trade ‘policy’ and the gullibility of his supporters – Publications – AEI

10 days ago

AEI
Venn diagram of the day on the gobbledygook that is Tariff Man’s trade ‘policy’ and the gullibility of his supporters

The Venn diagram above was inspired by Don Boudreaux’s post on Cafe Hayek featuring an email from his intrepid college Veronique de Rugy, reprinted below in its entirety:
President Trump explained yesterday that he would delay the new wave of tariffs on China to December 15th as to not derail Christmas shopping in America. That implies that he understands that the tariffs—import taxes—he has been imposing on imports from all over the world are paid in large part by American consumers not exclusively, or even mainly, by the Chinese and other foreigners, as he has been claiming for some time.
It also means that Trump understands that the extra $69 billion Uncle Sam has

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Quotation of the day on how prosperity is the solution, not the problem…. – Publications – AEI

10 days ago

AEI
Quotation of the day on how prosperity is the solution, not the problem….
…. is from Matt Ridley:
Why are wolves increasing all around the world, lions decreasing and tigers now holding steady? Basically, because wolves are in rich countries, lions in poor countries and tigers in middle income countries.
via Steve Forbes who comments about Ridley’s tweet: “Here’s a countervailing fact you’ll rarely hear: Prosperity is good for the environment—and for saving endangered animals. Matt Ridley is a welcome—and much needed—tonic for these unduly pessimistic times.”
Quotation of the day on how prosperity is the solution, not the problem….
Mark Perry

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New Carpe Diem economic news and data quiz – Publications – AEI

11 days ago

AEI
New Carpe Diem economic news and data quiz

It’s time for another Carpe Diem Economic News and Data Quiz. Test your knowledge of recent economic news, quotations and data, most featured in recent CD posts, with this new 15-question quiz below. You need 50% correct answers to pass the quiz, and you’ll see the correct answers at the end.
Good luck!
Loading Carpe Diem Economic News and Data Quiz, August 2019

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New Carpe Diem economic news and data quiz
Mark Perry

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Quotation of the day is on the subordination of academic excellence to the moral imperative of greater diversity…. – Publications – AEI

12 days ago

AEI
Quotation of the day is on the subordination of academic excellence to the moral imperative of greater diversity….
…. is from Yale University law professor Anthony Kronman’s interview with Inside Higher Ed:
Anthony Kronman is no fan of current thinking in American higher education. Affirmative action? Renaming of buildings that honored those who embraced slavery? Political correctness, according to Kronman. And in case you didn’t guess, he doesn’t much like political correctness, either.
Kronman addresses these and other policies he finds fault with in The Assault on American Excellence (Simon & Schuster). He is a professor at Yale University’s law school and was its dean from 1994 to 2004.
He responded to questions about his new book via email.
Q: You note the expense at Yale and

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The federal minimum wage doesn’t really matter anymore . . . – Publications – AEI

13 days ago

AEI
The federal minimum wage doesn’t really matter anymore . . .

. . . is the title of a recent Wall Street Journal article. Here’s an excerpt:
The federal minimum wage is poised to become an irrelevant labor policy.The national pay floor of $7.25 an hour hasn’t been adjusted for a decade, the longest it has ever gone unchanged. And with Washington policy makers polarized on the issue, there is little chance the level will be increased soon.
Meanwhile, 29 states representing about 60% of the workforce have set their minimum wage higher. Dozens of large employers — including Walmart Inc., McDonald’s Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. — have pledged to pay employees well more than $7.25 an hour, while the tight labor market is causing firms of all sizes to raise pay. And a handful of high-cost

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Quotation of the day on radical egalitarianism in higher education and the revolt of the mediocre many against the excellent few . . . – Publications – AEI

13 days ago

AEI
Quotation of the day on radical egalitarianism in higher education and the revolt of the mediocre many against the excellent few . . .
. . . is from Bret Stephens op-ed in the New York Times — “Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Excellence“:
Anyone who has followed the news from college campuses over the past few years knows they are experiencing forms of unrest unseen since the late 1960s. Now, as then, campuses have become an arena for political combat. Now, as then, race is a central issue. Now, as then, students rail against an unpopular president and an ostensibly rigged system. Now, as then, liberal professors are being bullied, denounced, demoted, threatened, sued and sometimes even assaulted by radical students.
But there are some important differences, too. None of today’s students

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Title IX update: OCR opens investigations against UC-Berkeley and Rice University – Publications – AEI

16 days ago

AEI
Title IX update: OCR opens investigations against UC-Berkeley and Rice University

In response to my requests for federal civil rights compliance reviews, the San Francisco and Dallas Offices for Civil Rights (OCR) recently opened investigations against two more universities for offering, promoting,  sponsoring, and hosting single-gender, female-only programs that potentially violate Title IX‘s prohibition of sex discrimination:
1. The University of California-Berkeley is being investigated by the San Francisco OCR for the following single-gender, girl-only programs:

The Girls in Engineering (GiE) Camps is a series of four summer camps at UC-Berkeley that have historically openly discriminated based on gender, openly excluded some students from participation in those programs based on

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Animated chart of the day: Economic freedom in Venezuela vs. China, Cuba, USA and the world average, 1995 to 2019 – Publications – AEI

17 days ago

AEI
Animated chart of the day: Economic freedom in Venezuela vs. China, Cuba, USA and the world average, 1995 to 2019

The animated “bar chart race” visualization above shows the trends over time from 1995 to 2019 in the annual Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom for the US, China, Venezuela, and Cuba along with the world average score. According to the Heritage Foundation, its Index of Economic Freedom is:
Based on 12 quantitative and qualitative factors, grouped into four broad categories, or pillars, of economic freedom:

Rule of Law (property rights, government integrity, judicial effectiveness)
Government Size (government spending, tax burden, fiscal health)
Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom)
Open Markets (trade freedom, investment

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Quotation of the day on why conservatives are so happy and leftists are so miserable ….. – Publications – AEI

18 days ago

AEI
Quotation of the day on why conservatives are so happy and leftists are so miserable …..

….. is from a Facebook post by Evan Sayet, political commentator, comedian, and author of “KinderGarden of Eden: How the Modern Liberal Thinks” and “Apocali Now!”:
One reason conservatives are so happy and Leftists are so miserable is that capitalists need friends. They need business partners and investors, trading partners and customers so satisfied they come back again and again. The socialist needs enemies. There must be people who hate him and oppress him. If he’s not hated and oppressed then socialism doesn’t exist.
If he can’t find any such hatred, he’s forced to make it up. “Dog whistles” – he knows what you’re REALLY saying — and “micro-aggressions” are all invented nonsense because this

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Canary in the coal mine? NYC small businesses struggle to survive $15 minimum wage hike: ‘They’re shutting down’ – Publications – AEI

18 days ago

AEI
Canary in the coal mine? NYC small businesses struggle to survive $15 minimum wage hike: ‘They’re shutting down’

New York City businesses have been struggling with higher labor costs brought about by the new $15 an hour city minimum wage that went into effect at the end of last year for “large employers” of 11 employees or more. That’s the third minimum wage increase in three years, and is an increase of more than 36% over the last two years from the $11 an hour minimum wage at the end of 2016, and a whopping increase of 107% since 2013 when the minimum wage in New York State (and NYC) were determined by the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. The current state minimum wage outside of NYC is $11.10 an hour, so employers in the city are faced with paying a large 35% wage premium compared

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