Pretzel Logic: CEO Admits He Didn’t Know What He Was Talking About When He Advocated a $15.00 Minimum Wage


By Robert Wenzel

Bill Phelps, co-founder and chief executive officer of the California-based Wetzel’s Pretzels franchise, was a prominent advocate for the Golden State’s $ 15 a hour minimum wage for several years, but has recently changed his opinion, reports the Washington Examiner. He now says that the rate — which has only just reached $ 11 — is already squeezing his businesses and hurting workers, and he worries things will likely get worse as minimum wage rises to the $ 15 level.

The CEO in 2016 wrote a pretzel twisted advocacy of a higher minimum wage in an op-ed for Forbes where he said, get this, “I’ve paid very close attention to our business as California has raised the minimum wage over the past couple of years. And what I found was stunning. When California increased the state minimum wage from $ 8 to $ 9 an hour in July 2014, our same-store sales doubled in the next two weeks and stayed that way for six months. When the minimum increased again in January of this year to $ 10, the same thing happened; our same-store growth rate more than doubled.”

But now with the minimum wage at $ 11.00  he says, ” I see a change happening now. I think fast food in general is flat to declining and you’ve got wage increases and the operators are getting squeezed.”

“I was very bullish on the minimum wage increase. It was working really well for us. It was working okay for the fast food industry but there is no question you are going to have to see a reduction in the number of restaurants that are out there. You are going to see a reduction in service. And you are going to see more people going to technology to reduce labor costs,” Phelps said.

“I see it — and everyone else I talk to in the restaurant business sees it — as a huge challenge. It is a total squeeze on the franchisees and I think it is going to result in less jobs, less restaurants and less service. That’s how I see it today,” Phelps said in a phone interview with the  Examiner.

“I see the next wave of increases as these cities and states go from $ 11 to $ 15 as being hugely problematic. And that’s where the issue is,” Phelps said. He said that states such as California would likely see a growing chorus from business to halt the increases. He said he was willing to do some lobbying himself, if necessary. “My concern is that by the time we react it’ll be too late.”

Phelps said that at Wetzel’s, and the entire fast food industry, automation of stores was one avenue that is being strongly looked at.

It is certainly a twist from 2016 when Phelps wrote:

Numbers don’t lie. Increasing the pay of millions of Californians has not increased unemployment.

I understand business owners being concerned about an increase in labor costs. But the new wage will be phased in over six years – reaching $ 15 in January 2022 – giving them time to adjust…

Workers in California and other states are looking forward to consistent pay increases in the future. And I’m looking forward to continued growth for our business.

This article was originally published at

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Barack and Michelle Obama Talking with Netflix About Providing Shows

The ObamasNext Up for Us …Netflix?!

3/8/2018 6:49 PM PST

Breaking News

Barack and Michelle Obama are reportedly saying screw politics and are joining an increasingly popular trend — getting their own show on Netflix!

The 44th President and former First Lady are in talks with the streaming service to “produce a series of high-profile shows” and provide exclusive content on a global level … according to the NY Times.

The focus of the shows will apparently be on highlighting inspirational stories, but there are other ideas as well. One is having Barack moderate conversations about topics that dominated his time in the White House … like health care and climate change.

The terms of the deal are reportedly in advanced stages, but one thing seems clear — the Obamas’ content will not be used to bash President Trump or their critics.

That might be a bummer for a large portion of Neflix’s 118 million subscribers.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

No One Is Talking About the Drug Crisis Killing Black People

As the number of deaths from drug overdoses continues to skyrocket, attention from the White House, state legislatures, and the media is focused on opioids and the white men driving the crisis. But according to a study published last week in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, African Americans are facing their own overdose death epidemic, fueled by cocaine. 

Using death certificate data from between 2000 and 2015, researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Drug Abuse tracked the drugs involved in fatal overdoses and separated out the numbers by race. The data is imperfect, because multiple drugs can be listed on a single death certificate, and the study didn’t track drug interactions. As a result, it is impossible to parse whether someone with, for example, both cocaine and opioids in their system died from the cocaine or because, say, their drugs were laced with fentanyl, a powerful opioid increasingly making its way into the drug market. But the authors’ findings are otherwise crystal clear: black Americans are dying from cocaine-related overdoses at rates similar to the rate of whites fatally overdosing on prescription opioids and heroin, a trend most apparent among older black people.

It’s true that, overall, opioids are killing far more people than is cocaine—53,332 died of opioid overdoses in 2016 compared with 10,619 who died from cocaine that year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent data. Last year, the number of Americans who died from drug overdoses increased by 21 percent from 2015, with deaths due to fentanyl and heroin leading the pack.

Still, the authors say, the cocaine epidemic among the black community is often ignored. “These deaths are an important, long-term public health problem that is often overlooked,” the study says. “Strategies to combat the U.S. prescription opioid and heroin epidemics remain critical for all racial and ethnic groups. However, additional efforts focused on the prevention of cocaine-related deaths … are needed.”  

In October, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the opioid problem “the deadliest drug crisis in American history.” The same month, President Donald Trump’s opioid commission released its final report recommending Congress fund state grant programs to tackle the crisis. The report came on the heels of Trump declaring the epidemic a public health emergency rather than a national emergency as previously promised. The move was criticized by public health experts because it only gives the administration access to a fund totaling, at the time of the president’s announcement, to $ 57,000. Declaring the epidemic a national emergency would have unlocked millions in federal funds to combat the crisis.

Meanwhile, little attention is being paid to the other drugs involved in rising numbers of overdoses. According to Kassandra Frederique, the New York state director at the non-profit Drug Policy Alliance, part of the reason that cocaine-related overdoses are overlooked is because the people most affected are people of color. “Race has shaped our larger conversation around drugs and how we’ve invested in certain sources,”she told Mother Jones. “You see that race is still very much playing a role.”

Here are the study’s key findings: 

  • Across age, gender, and racial groups, cocaine-related deaths peaked between 2004 and 2007, declined from 2008 and 2011, and rose again between 2012 and 2015. Meanwhile, opioids account for more than three in five overdose deaths, and deaths from opioids have more than quadrupled since 1999, increasing each year since then, according to CDC data 
  • Between 2012 and 2015 (the most recent period studied), the rate of cocaine-related overdose deaths among black men was 7.6 per 100,000 people a year. For white men overdosing on prescription opioids, the rate was 7.9.
  • The rate of cocaine-related overdose deaths among black women was actually higher than the rate of white women dying from heroin: 3.1 versus 2.7 per 100,000 people a year.
  • Overdose deaths among Hispanic people were also increasing, though much rarer. The increases were largely due to heroin, particularly among Hispanic men.
  • According to Dave Thomas, one of the study’s authors, there were too few overdose deaths among Asian Americans to draw conclusions about deaths by drug type.  

Crime and Justice – Mother Jones