Good news, everyone! Seattle's City Council passed the phased-in $15/hour minimum wage on Monday. Mayor Ed Murray called it a "moderate" proposal because the city won't reach the $15/hour plateau for seven years, and while I don't think it's "moderate," certainly the folks who've been calling cutting Social Security benefits a "moderate" proposal all these years deserve to get some of their own. At least one anti-minimum wage group says it'll sue, decrying the "deliberate attempt to achieve a political agenda" -- as if politicians are only "political" when they actually do something for the people they're supposed to serve.
Declining federal investment over the last thirty-plus years is one reason college students face higher tuition costs and mounting debt, but here's another, put succinctly in the headline: "Colleges Are Buying Stuff They Can’t Afford and Making Students Pay for It." Long story short: public and private nonprofit colleges are themselves massively in hock now, because "(i)n many cases, schools are just borrowing for huge capital investments that help the college market itself, such as gleaming new football stadiums and shiny dorm buildings," so colleges can "attract more students willing to pay higher tuition and fees." And more debt doesn't necessarily mean more revenue in the future -- not when banksters are involved.
Dean Baker shines a light on runaway CEO pay by describing lavish bonus packages "earned" by Coca-Cola executives. These executives decided to pay themselves bonuses "so large relative to total profits" -- that is, $13-$24 billion over two years, when Coke makes about $9 billion in profits annually -- that "there's no way their performance could justify it." Thus does Coke "steal() billions of dollars" from Coke's shareholders, let alone from Coke's workers. As an aside, it is genuinely strange that major Coke shareholder Warren Buffett, who's criticized CEO pay in the past, has had nothing to say about all of this.
Rasmussen Reports poll has Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf absolutely crushing incumbent Republican Governor Tom Corbett, 51-31. One is tempted to say that if the right-leaning Rasmussen has Mr. Corbett down by 20 the spread must actually be larger, but Rasmussen has had a few eye-popping spreads favoring Democrats lately, and Mr. Wolf still has five months to fumble away this race -- by, for example, failing to mention that Mr. Corbett's coal emissions "plan" won't actually reduce coal emissions in urban areas.
Another day, another wonk describing the Florida study asserting that it's actually three times cheaper to house the homeless than to service their needs while they're living on the street. I think, though, that folks who complain about the cost to the taxpayer of putting the homeless up need to have this matter explained to them more viscerally than Mr. Yglesias does -- maybe in a thirty-second ad that shows exactly how much money is magically emptied from their pockets because of how we take care of (or fail to take care of) the homeless now.
Finally, Tea Party Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin proves he's all the way in the establishment now by slamming Tea Party groups for sacrificing electability to purity. He's 100% right that much of what Tea Party organizations do amounts to little more than "donor capture," but he's dead wrong that "the conservative movement may just be maturing a little bit." The Tea Party is many things, but it's certainly not "conservative" -- a better word would be "reactionary."