Points of View: The CBO published a report on the anticipated effects of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The R's stopped reading when they came to a passage they could claim said the increase would cost half a million jobs. Too bad they didn't read on to the part that said the increase would benefit 16.5 million people and raise nearly a million folks out of poverty and increase low-income workers' pay $31 billion. Oh, and the CBO said that 500,000 lost jobs was a guess and it might be as low as zero.
Odds: Spanish unemployment, bad loans and suicides are at their all time highs, so naturally Spanish bonds are at record lows – just above the rate Uncle Sam has to pay. What could go wrong?
Peaceful Assembly: A few days ago Kazakhstan had to bring out the tanks to calm the people who were complaining about the government's devaluation of their currency. In Kiev the police are using armored personnel carriers to convince protesters to go home before Mr. Putin gets really upset. In Bangkok, the Thais are so upset with the government that they pulled more than $1 billion from the Government Savings Bank in a single day and still had time to engage the police and military in running battles. And in Venezuela right wing mobs have taken to the streets in opposition to the government. The US has been dodging questions about how much aid and direction is being provided to the rioters. Maybe it's something in the water.
Baby Steps: In the last quarter, household debt increased 2.1%, to $11.52 trillion, the biggest increase in six years. Student loans now total $1.8 trillion and the delinquency rate is also at an all-time high. The Fed thinks this is all a good idea; they've been trying for the last several years to get people to spend more than they can afford.
An Unrefreshing Pause: Coca-Cola reports their 4Q income was down 8.4% y/y as sales in both North America and in “emerging markets” shrank. The company plans to cut $1 billion in costs by 2016. No estimate was given as to how many thousands of jobs will be cut.
Napalm In The Morning: The rejection of the UAW by Volkswagen's Chattanooga workers is seen by non-combatants as a victory for those who would treat American workers like disposable tissues, as fearful Tennesseans declined to take part in deciding workplace management and safety issues. The primary factor in the 30-year stagnation of US wages and the increase in the idea of the disposable employee has been the death of the unions. Is this the end of the road for the worker in America?.
Say Amen: Kansas wants to let teachers beat students to and beyond the point of leaving bruises, while the Georgia legislature wants them to be able to pray while being beaten.
Porn O'Graph: Why does this matter?
The Parting Shot: