Your right-wing uncle telling you about wages going up under our President? Well, Dean Baker reminds us that state minimum wage hikes and our Federal Reserve's low interest rates are actually driving recent wage increases. You know that high minimum wages cause wage hikes at the low end, but you may not know that low interest rates have helped drive unemployment down -- and Mr. Baker says that "low rates of unemployment give workers the bargaining power necessary to secure real wage gains." Naturally our President says minimum wages should be lower, though, admittedly, he also thinks interest rates should be lower. But low interest rates have been Fed orthodoxy since 2008, so we can safety say he deserves very little (if any!) of the credit for what gains we're making in this economy.
If you've been following Nestlé's attempts to gobble up as much public water as it can and then sell it as bottled water at an absurdly high profit, you'll be interested to hear that the Michigan state court of appeals has ruled that Osceola Township can block Nestlé from expanding its bottled-water operation within town limits, because bottled water is most emphatically not an "essential public service" or a "public water supply." I was a little surprised that any legal eagles at Nestlé would make such ludicrous claims -- even as part of a see-what-sticks effort -- until I learned that a lower Michigan court had approved them, and I note that the court of appeals also said that a bottled water operation might be "essential" in a place with no water, which I'm pretty sure could be stretched by some judicial activist to mean any of the many areas of desert in America.
Big pharma executives tell OHSU researchers that prices for MS drugs go up so damn much go up purely for profit-making reasons. Also, you can only gouge patients in America, since (to quote one exec) "(i)n the rest of the world, prices decline with duration in the marketplace," and prices never go down because then people would think "we're less effective, (that) we think less of our product." You do hear the quiet part out loud more than you used to even 10 years ago, when it seemed (to me, at least!) we heard the quiet part out loud all the time. Maybe big pharma execs are tired of pretending they're anything but thieves, not that I expect their behavior to change.
From the "How Do They Always Find Someone Even Worse?" file: Interior Secretary David Bernhardt wants to reduce fees oil and gas drilling corporations pay to drill in shallow Gulf of Mexico waters. It's not just the stench of an Interior Secretary lowering fees on corporations for which he used to lobby, or the horror that we could have another Spillageddon in the Gulf like we had in 2010 -- it's the fact that these are our waters and we, the public, deserve to make more money if our government is going to be so foolish as to allow more drilling in the Gulf. It's like they have literally no idea that they're supposed to serve the American people.
U.S. House Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS) apparently listed a UPS store as his official residence, which just so happens to have had the effect of allowing him to vote in a different Topeka City Council district than the one in which he otherwise would have voted. Has the Fox News Channel "accidentally" identified him as a Democrat yet? After all, ONLY TEH LIBRULZ COMMITZ TEH VOTER FRAUDZ!!!!!
Finally, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has suspended her campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination, citing a lack of money to keep campaigning. I don't actually think it's correct to say that "she struggled to define a clear rationale for her candidacy" -- actually, I think she was completely successful in "defin(ing) a clear rationale for her candidacy," since that rationale was "I'm here to trick the liberals into thinking I'm going to run this country the way they'd want me to when I'm really going to run it however my big donors tell me to." If I'm right, then it's heartening that Democratic voters have rejected that rationale, at least as far it manifested in her -- and almost two months before the Iowa caucuses, no less!
UPDATE. An alert reader pointed out that I'd gotten our President's position on interest rate cuts entirely wrong; I've corrected the first paragraph above as a result.