3/10/21 Power Five

1. How Much Does the Minimum Wage Buy You Then vs. Now – “The biggest expense for most Americans—housing—is unaffordable for people making the federal minimum wage in some areas, especially those where state governments have already increased the minimum wage above $7.25. This wasn’t the case 50 years ago. With a median rent of $117 a month ($809 in 2021 dollars), minimum-wage earners working 40 hours a week in the Atlanta metro area would have more than half of their pretax wages left over to spend on other things. The equivalent worker today would need a roommate or housing assistance at the state or federal level to have any more income for food and other necessities.” Highly recommend viewing the charts.

2. KAWS @ The Brooklyn Museum – “Brian Donnelly, 46, who has worked as KAWS since the mid-1990s, figured that out early on. He got his start colonizing walls and billboards in his native Jersey City with his kinetic graffiti tag, spray painting lettering that alternated between jagged and bloated (the word “KAWS” has no deep meaning; Donnelly chose the letters because he liked the way they looked together). Somewhere along the way, he became a market heavyweight, a favorite of both street-art enthusiasts and high-octane collectors.

3. McKinsey Suffers From Self-Delusion – “One of the best explanations for the triumph of a “solution shop” like McKinsey was co-authored by the late Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School in 2013. When hiring a management-consulting firm, he said, clients do not know what they are getting in advance, because they are looking for knowledge that they themselves lack. They cannot measure the results, either, because outside factors, such as the quality of execution, influence the outcome of the consultant’s recommendations.

4. 5 Pandemic Mistakes We Keep Repeating – “The pandemic has given us an unwelcome societal stress test, revealing the cracks and weaknesses in our institutions and our systems. Some of these are common to many contemporary problems, including political dysfunction and the way our public sphere operates. Others are more particular, though not exclusive, to the current challenge—including a gap between how academic research operates and how the public understands that research, and the ways in which the psychology of coping with the pandemic have distorted our response to it.”

5. The ACA As It Should Have Been – “The pending subsidy boosts do not touch the marketplace’s metal level structure — that is, the out-of-pocket costs in plans available. I have examined two means by which the Biden administration can boost the real actuarial value of plans offered at or below the cost of benchmark coverage: 1) mandate full “silver loading,” which would make gold plans available below benchmark, and 2) change the AV formula by cutting the most expensive enrollees out of the calculation of the “average enrollee’s annual costs.” Even more urgently, the legislation does not touch the family glitch: employees for whom an employer-sponsored single-person plan is deemed affordable by ACA standard, but for whom family coverage is unaffordable, are ineligible for subsidies. That too can be changed administratively — and likely will be.”

Can the Jazz keep the momentum?