There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.
Here’s this week’s bundle:
GeekWire: Testing Eatsa: A robotic fast food chain that automates ordering and removes human interaction
The Eatsa concept helps restaurants eliminate cashiers, which saves money and arguably reduces wait time. However, some may feel like removing all human interaction from their ordering and eating experience may be a downside. A recent Eater headline described Eatsa as a “soulless lunch option.”
But there is certainly a magical feeling about the whole process. It’s also cheap, healthy, and fast — an attractive option for today’s consumer.
The Lens: Carbon Rule Approval May Spark Tussle
In a required “Concise Explanatory Statement” (CES) issued last week responding to submitted public comments, Ecology does concede for the first time that based on how calculations are made, the costs of the carbon cap rule to employer stakeholders could exceed societal benefits.
New York Times: Who Hates Trade Treaties? Surprisingly, Not Voters
National polls continue to show that Americans either narrowly favor international trade generally, and the so-called T.P.P. specifically, or are split. Younger voters are especially favorable…
A survey last month by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that Americans by 50 to 42 percent said trade agreements had been “a good thing” for the United States. By a narrower 40 to 35 percent, they said the same of the Pacific pact, which would phase out tariffs and set commercial rules between the United States and nations from Canada and Japan to Australia, Vietnam and Chile.
The News Tribune: Seattle has passed a secure scheduling law for food service and retail workers – is Tacoma next?
Only time will tell if the secure-scheduling debate reaches Tacoma.
But if we’ve learned anything from recent history, it’s that sometimes big ideas — such as city mandated sick leave or substantial increases to the minimum wage — can quickly go from pipe dream to reality.
New Geography: Biggest Income Gains in U.S. Accrue to Suburban Cities
The 5.2% increase over the past year was the largest in the nearly 50-year history of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, and does represent some progress. Yet real incomes remain approximately 2.5% below the 1999 peak. This is an extraordinarily long time for incomes not to have risen, a decade longer than the previous modern record (1989 to 1995), according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
And there are some reasons to be skeptical about the dramatic gains, as outlined in a virtually unprecedented report by the economist Gary Burtless of the generally left-leaning Brookings Institution. He suggests that the year-to-year increase may have been much less and that the CPS had been under-reporting annual income increases since 2003. John Crudelle of the right-leaning New York Post notes that recent CPS methodology changes could also have inflated the 2015 increase.