“Each place I worked at is unique,” he says. “But they are no different in terms of pay.”
Patrick still works at Chipotle. After three years, he has gotten a raise of 80 cents. He now makes $8.80 per hour, the most money he has made in his life. He is allowed to work up to 35 hours per week, but is usually assigned fewer, and he is never assigned enough to live on. If a worker gets 40 hours per week, he tells me, the manager could lose his bonus. Patrick feels sorry for the managers, some of whom sympathize with his plight. They are often not paid more than the workers and load up on hours to compensate.link
Moran replied that actually, average wages at Chipotle are already $9. A move to $10 would have an effect “but not too significant.” The numbers back that up — restaurant-level margins in the fourth quarter were a healthy 25.6%.
Chipotle is renowned for quickly moving workers from starting pay levels into higher paying management jobs. Starting pay for “crew,” the people who make the burritos, averages about $10.50 an hour ($21,000 a year) with benefits, according to some reports; $8.50 an hour by others. The company says 98% of its managers, some of whom earn six-digits, start as crew. It’s not unheard of to find a 20-something who was on the line five years ago to be working as a Chipotle “restaurateur,” a position with an average annual pay of about $99,000.
The Mexican food chain said Thursday that it would raise prices for the first time in three years as its popularity continues to soar....Steve Ells, Chipotle's co-CEO, said during a conference call with analysts that price is not the main reason customers visit its restaurants anyway. "Most of the value comes from the experience,"...and if needed, he said Chipotle still had the leeway to further raise prices without scaring off customers...The decision comes as higher costs for beef, avocados and cheese have pressured profit margins for the chain, with net income for the first quarter coming in below Wall Street expectations.
There are historical factors for why the military compensation mix skews toward the non-cash side, but from a normative standpoint, should it be so? Well, we know that putting a large number of people in front of enemy fire is going to make providing healthcare for them more expensive, and this problem only gets worse as we've gotten better at turning fallen warriors into wounded warriors. I think everyone realizes that letting service members sink or swim in the public health insurance market is not in the best interests of anyone involved, so it makes sense to have the taxpayers on the hook to care for active duty service members, veterans, etc. for all medical care resulting from their service to the country. If you're out there serving us, you should never want for medical care pertaining to that service.
This should, in my opinion be non-negotiable, and permanent -- never something that can be taken or traded away in exchange for other kinds of compensation, though I'm sure some of the libertarian persuasion would disagree, on the basis that someone who can get what they think is a better deal should be free to do so, and not be restricted by the government's monopoly ownership of the armed forces. Nonetheless, I suspect there's pretty wide (perhaps unanimous?) agreement around the table here that this level of benefits -- which I will refer to as "Level 1" benefits here -- is a good thing, and that veterans earned these benefits by doing dangerous and difficult jobs. So let's take that as a given.
Beyond care for injuries directly related to the performance of the job, we taxpayers also provide a generous lifetime subsidy for the veteran's healthcare, above and beyond that required to care for medical conditions resulting from their dangerous line of work. There are many obvious reasons why this extra level of subsidy (which I'll call "Level 2" benefits) makes sense from a macro perspective, starting with the fact that the judgement of what falls under "work-related" isn't always rendered properly, sometimes due to stinginess on the part of the guarantor, sometimes due to the inherently fuzzy nature of finding the root causes of medical conditions, and sometimes because of "fog of war" circumstances where someone may not be able to prove that they were exposed to harm (e.g. agent orange, Gulf War Syndrome, etc.) Probably a combination of all of these, really, and probably some other factors I'm not considering.
It's this second category where I think the benefits go from "non-negotiable basic responsibility of the taxpayers" to the kind of thing where we have to, through public policy, arrive at an agreement on the correct size and scope of that subsidy.
Instead, we're back to that employer/employee cost/benefit analysis, where the generous benefits (compared to those available at other jobs they might qualify for) were part of the employee's decision to join. Yes, the service member "earned" them in the sense that they accepted them in lieu of cash, but so to do many other public and private sector workers, and those benefits are rarely considered sacrosanct in the way that some are trying to characterize this same type of subsidy to service members.
I sincerely wish the left could have a conversation about macroeconomics that didn't rely on vilifying the wealthy and jokes about taking their stuff.
Treat wage theft as a criminal offense
Harsher penalties, including prison time, should be on the table more often when willful wrongdoing is proved. Thieves caught stealing thousands of dollars from someone’s home can go to jail; the same should be true for thieves caught stealing thousands of dollars from someone’s paycheck.
The US sourcing so many goods from places like China and emerging economies indicates that we're anything but pulling the ladder up behind us. In fact, it's allowing those economies to experience more economic prosperity than they ever have.
Prosperity which is overwhelmingly being experienced by the wealthy, connected business owner class and creating a relatively small middle class to act as managers and administrators for the wealthy, and producing sweatshops and poverty in the rest of the economy. If the best that free trade can do is create a small number of oligarchs and the kind of poverty for the masses seen in those "emerging economies" you cite, while enriching wealthy first-world business owners even further with the sweat and blood of the working class of less developed nations, I'd call that a pretty shitty deal for everybody who isn't a part of the business owner class.
Congress has also provided very low-cost health care to military retirees, a benefit that didn't exist when current retirees enlisted. In 1995, Congress created TRICARE, a health care plan for working-age retirees and their families who were unable or unwilling to use the free medical facilities on military bases. The enrollment fee was set at $460 a year for a family and was supposed to be adjusted every year to reflect the growth in health care costs. For the next 18 years, the enrollment fee was not adjusted by a single dime. Finally, in 2013, it was raised by $60 a year.
If the annual enrollment fees had been adjusted with medical inflation, as intended when TRICARE was created, the fees would be over $1,000 a year instead of the current $547.68 for a family. TRICARE is also far cheaper than average employee contribution for private insurance, saving the average working-age retiree about $4,100 a year currently. Over the past 18 years, a working-age retiree enrolled in TRICARE prime would have saved tens of thousands of dollars in health care expenses compared to private insurance – costs that have been picked up by the government.
Before 2001, when a retiree turned 65 and became eligible for Medicare he or she was no longer eligible for TRICARE. Any expenses not covered by Medicare would be the responsibility of the individual retiree. But in 2001, again under pressure from the military lobby, Congress created TRICARE for Life, which has no co-pays or deductibles, no annual fees and covers all expenses not paid for by TRICARE. Since 2001, the Pentagon has paid more than $70 billion for this plan. In fiscal year 2011, civilian seniors paid an average of $3,563 in out-of-pocket costs after Medicare Part B premiums. TRICARE for Life beneficiaries paid about $850 – a savings of $2,700 annually for retirees.
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