Pine Nuts: Let them eat cake — but $7.25 won’t buy a cake

Detroit City is busted-flat, broke, borasco, but you’d never know it to look at the Detroit Tigers, who came within two games of being in the World Series last week on a $148 million payroll.

Their first baseman alone hauls in $23 million a year. Comerica Park, the Tigers $300 million stadium, was funded in part with $100 million from guess who, the little people, the taxpayers.

And yet Detroit has totally abandoned the Mark Twain branch of the Detroit Public Library. China talks about “de-Americanizing the world,” Detroit just might be the America they are thinking about.

By the way, the 2012 MLB bargaining agreement increased the minimum salary of all MLB players 16 percent from 2011, or $414,000 to $480,000.

Federal minimum wage is $7.25/hr. or about $46 in an 8 hour day after taxes. That amounts to $920 a month. I’m a pretty frugal guy — some say I’m tight as a tick in a dog’s ear — and yet I know I could not make ends meet on $920 a month.

It gives me heartburn to know that there are hundreds of thousands of people in this great land of ours who have to do that every month.

We aren’t the only country experiencing a widening income inequality. Germany is feeling it too. Germany is showing signs of becoming one of the last European countries to establish a minimum wage.

Merkel’s conservatives are being forced by Social Democrats to consider a minimum wage of $11.55 if they are going to continue building a coalition.

I understand the argument against raising the minimum wage, that it’s a zero sum game, which is to say somebody will have to lose their job for somebody else to make more money, but at least that person who is forced out of a job has a chance of getting a job that pays a living wage.

That’s all a person wants at the entry level of any economy is a living wage, and a living wage today, no matter how you slice it, is not $7.25 an hour.

Yet there’s hope in Mudsville. Governor Brown recently signed a bill that will raise California’s minimum wage to $10 an hour within three years. The minimum of $8 an hour will go to $9 next July 1, then to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016.

Residents of Seatac, Washington will have a chance next month to vote on a $15/hr. minimum wage, a minimum wage that might be considered a living wage.

The Dodd-Frank financial reform law requires public companies to compute and disclose the ratio of a chief executive’s pay to that of a typical employee.

This requirement has become a major embarrassment to many companies. A study by the Institute for Policy Studies shows that the pay gap between CEOs and the average American worker has widened, from 195-to-1 in 1993, to 354-to-1 in 2012, and this expanding ratio is showing no signs of abating.

So what are we going to do, let them eat cake? The problem remains — $7.25 won’t buy a cake.

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