Seattle plans to raise its minimum wage to $15/hour over the next four years, and Harold Meyerson wonders if this event heralds "the future of collective bargaining." Thing is, though the SEIU played a big role -- through its "close ties" with other community groups and also through its willingness to bargain for workers who would likely never join the union -- labor unions didn't actually negotiate contracts for this minimum wage. And Mayor Ed Murray also played a big role, actually threatening his hand-picked task force of labor and business leaders with a more radical plan if they didn't come up with something they could all live with! How the alleged Alinskyite Barack Obama didn't learn that lesson I'll never know.
Uh oh: assistant EPA Inspector General tells Congress that the EPA's "Office of Homeland (sic) Security" essentially serves as a political arm of the Obama Administration, blocking IG inspections wherever it can. Nobody could have predicted that our government would ever use the "homeland security" meme to discourage investigations into corruption! Except sentient people, that is -- and we also worried that Barack Obama would not only take the lessons of George W. Bush to heart, but apply them more thoroughly. Still, for Darrell Issa (R-CA) to find all that "disturbing," well, where the hell was he last decade?
Ho hum, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that higher state taxes don't make people move away all that often. As anyone who has ever moved would be able to tell you (do anti-tax groups really think rich folks think about nothing else when they decide to move?), but it's nice to have some data behind it. Which the other side doesn't have -- the folks claiming that higher tax rates in Oregon and Maryland must have caused millionaires to move away in 2009 and 2010 were not exactly sitting on a huge pile of address change forms.
Also from the "ho-hum" file: three large health insurance corporations tell Congress that over 85% of their health care exchange enrollees have paid the first month of premiums. As Republicans have been squawking about the "gap" between healthcare.gov enrollees and people actually paying premiums, I suppose now comes the right-wing's insistence that health care corporations are shills for Obamacare, as if no one will ever remember that their main objection to the Affordable Care Act in the first place was that it was "socialism."
Finally, Paul Krugman again plumbs the depths of the American oligarchy in a piece provocatively entitled "Now That's Rich." We learn that the top 25 hedge fund managers made $21 billion last year, and we are reminded -- because how often does the "liberal" media remind us of this? -- that hedge fund managers are speculators, and that speculators trashed the economy in 2008. We are also reminded that when right-wingers talk about "protecting job-creators," they're really talking about folks like hedge fund managers, who don't actually create jobs -- who don't create anything, actually, but wealth for themselves.