Thursday, January 8, 2009

Imagine Sisyphus Happy

In a post back in December I looked at some IATSE history and road scales. Then I found Working Life by the Labor Research Association. Jonathan Tasini had a column about wages not keeping up with productivity or inflation. Since I already had a reference point for IATSE I thought I'd see how we have done.

1917 $45
2008 Adjusted for inflation $759.73
2008 $30hr or $1200wk is fairly typical

Considering where we started from, over all, pretty good.

1917 $45
1974 Adjusted for Inflation $173
1974 $280

Through the Depression, WWII and after, it looks like we were doing pretty well for ourselves. Beating inflation, getting ahead, buying homes, and educating our kids.

1974 $280 (from an hourly rate for a grip, $6.70 hr)
2008 Adjusted for inflation $1,227.34 or $30 an hour.

The last quarter century we've just been keeping even and stopped getting ahead.

But then if minimum wage had kept up with inflation from it's start in 1938 when it was .25, it would be only be $3.85. Oh wait. In NY State, it's $7.15.

It's a good thing we had cheap credit and jobs for our wives or we might have been in trouble.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Broadway Saves Wall Street

What's so funny about an amusement tax?

So the Gov wants to tack on 4% to tickets and Hizzoner wants to tack on another 4%. “Everybody's gettin' inta da act!” For this they did away with term limits?

This is what happens when you gross close to a Billion a year. A victim of our own success.

Why not a luxury tax like baseball has. Figure out what the average ticket price is for each house and then average that across all the legitimate houses. Let's say the hypothetical number is $86.50. Tickets below $86.50 or whatever remain tax-free. Any tickets above that are taxed incrementally until tickets that are priced at twice the average are taxed at 25%. Tickets above twice the average are then taxed at a steeper rate until those people who are buying hot tickets are paying the highest taxes. If you can afford a $450 ticket to a Broadway show then taxes aren't really important to you. If you're a school group buying tickets in the upper balcony, that 8% may be the difference of you seeing your first Broadway show or not.

When pigs fly!