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Gold, income and a weighty decision

By Dian Vujovich

So much to point out. So little space. So below is a quick look at a tiny bit of what’s going on.

•Gold. The glittery stuff, according to some experts, say its price ought to rise given what’s going on with the devaluation of the yuan in China. At the close yesterday, Aug. 13, the spot price was $1,115.10, according to Bloomberg. The 52-week range: Low 1,077.40; high 1,319.33.

According to the World Gold Council, during the first half of 2015, demand for gold jewelry in India and China was down 8 percent and over the past three years down 14 percent.

• Pay checks. For openers, Equilar research shows that annual CEO pay in 2014 reached a median $10.3 million among S&P 500 companies.

And then there is Mr. Z. Data from July shows that the 31-year old Mark Zuckerberg has a net worth of $34.8 billion making him one of three billionaires around with a net worth higher than his current age.

For those concerned that raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour will drive companies and our economy into the depths of depression or worse, read this from an August 8, CNBC.com story on that subject: “The Labor Department reviewed 64 studies on minimum wage and found “no discernable effect on employment.” And, contrary to popular belief, relatively large wage hikes like those recently passed in Seattle, San Francisco, Massachusetts and Los Angeles, are not unprecedented. For example, the federal minimum wage jumped from 40 cents an hour in 1949 to 75 cents in 1950, an 88-percent increase over just one year. Yet, despite the usual warning from the Chicken Littles at the National Association of Manufacturing that the hike would prove “a reckless jolt to the economic system,” unemployment plummeted, from 5.9 percent in 1949 to 2.9 percent in 1953…”

Full story is here: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/12/billionaire-new-york-should-raise-minimum-wage-to-15-an-hour-commentary.html .

•Rent hikes. Zillow reports that renters making a median income (not sure of what that amount is) show those folks spent 30.2 percent of their income on rent during the second quarter of this year. Look back one year and the percent was a tad lower at 29.5 percent. But, from 1985 to 1999 it averaged under 25 percent—- 24.4 percent.

Hum, wonder what impact a $15 an hour full-time salary would have on those percentages?

• And on a lighter note, maybe. The next time you’re in Uzbekistan, sure hope you don’t mind being weighed. Turns out if you’re going to fly Uzbekistan Airways that airline is going to begin pre-flight weighing of its passengers along with their carry-on luggage. Word is the authorities are doing this for research purposes and data will be kept secret.

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