Wages & Prices

By Tom Blumer | September 8, 2014 | 10:21 PM EDT

The Obama administration-prepared koolaid delivered to the Associated Press's economics writers on Monday must have been extraordinarily concentrated.

How else can you explain how the AP's Christopher Rugaber could have written the following — "The U.S. job market has steadily improved by pretty much every gauge except ... Pay" — without doubling over with laughter? No, Chris. The reason pay hasn't improved is because a whole lot of other "gauges" aren't where they should be.

By Tom Blumer | August 13, 2014 | 1:46 PM EDT

This morning, the Census Bureau, in its advance report on retail sales, revealed that seasonally adjusted July sales were "virtually unchanged" from June. Expectations were for a 0.2 percent gain, supposedly with "solid upside" potential. Oops. June's result stayed at its previously reported 0.2 percent increase.

Reuters did the "U-word" honors this time out: "U.S. retail sales unexpectedly stalled in July, pointing to some loss of momentum in the economy early in the third quarter." Someone needs to tell the wire service's Lucia Mutikani that no increase means no momentum. Over at the Associated Press, Josh Boak tried the deadpan approach.

By Laura Flint | August 8, 2014 | 11:15 AM EDT

Friday’s Morning Joe panel made sure to express how it was “disappointed” that a Minnesota restaurant had the audacity to put a “minimum wage fee” on its receipts after the state hiked the wage requirement. While Joe Scarborough acknowledged that “it's hard” for “small business owners running restaurants” he had no sympathy for the restaurant, which had received shocking blowback from its customers for simply specifying why it increased the bill by 35 cents.

The former congressman and MSNBC host, who reportedly earns $99,038 a week for his morning show, stated that he “understand(s) the difficulty of any extra burden” an increase in minimum wage exerts on small businesses. However, he concluded that “with the minimum wage as low as it historically is, you may not want to advertise your contempt for raising it a little bit on the bill.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]

By Kyle Drennen | August 7, 2014 | 2:45 PM EDT

On Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie noted a restaurant in Minnesota that found "a unique way to offset the added expense" of the state hiking its minimum wage: "The Oasis Café is now including a 'minimum wage fee' on bills. You see it right there on the bill. Totals 35 cents....the cafe's owners say this wage hike is going to cost them $10,000 a year, this is their way of protesting it..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Guthrie touted: "Now complaints are piling up on the cafe's Facebook page. One man says, 'Look, if you can't afford to pay your employees, then you shouldn't be in business.'" Fill-in co-host Carson Daly chimed in: "I'd rather not know. Hike a cost here or there, get your 35 cents and don't tell me."

By Tom Blumer | July 31, 2014 | 5:17 PM EDT

In a Thursday report on why many Americans are still unimpressed with the U.S. job market, Associated Press reporters Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak made a rare admission that "Finding a steady full-time job has become harder" than it was before the recession.

The AP pair then contended that "the trend might also reflect a lasting shift among restaurants and coffee shops," but found an "expert" who only acknowledged that such employers are trying to be more careful in their spending. Although they mentioned Obamacare as a reason why pollied Republicans are dissatisfied with the economy, Rugaber and Boak never cited the healthcare law as a possible factor in the significant move to employ part-timers, even though Investor's Business Daily has compiled a list of 429 employers "with strong proof that ObamaCare's employer mandate is behind cuts to work hours or staffing levels." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

By Laura Flint | July 22, 2014 | 5:30 PM EDT

Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert did Nancy Pelosi a solid by giving her a platform to promote her effort to energize Democrats to come out in force this November to return the Speaker’s gavel to her grasp.

In the process he also sparked a nationwide run on mind-bleach with a crude joke involving a nude John Boehner. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]

By Tom Blumer | July 16, 2014 | 1:39 AM EDT

Paul Krugman at the New York Times and other fever-swamp leftists who, incredibly, are operating under the assumption that the economy has experienced an acceptable if uneven "recovery" during the five years since the recession ended are celebrating what they believe was an epic live "embarrassment" of Rick Santelli at the hands of Steve Liesman at CNBC on Monday.

A Google search shows that Mediaite ("CNBC Reporter Torches Rick Santelli"), New Republic ("CNBC's Rick Santelli Was Embarrassed on Live TV"), Talking Points Memo ("Watch CNBC's Tea Partier Get Told How Wrong He's Been"), Business Insider ("Steve Liesman Issued A Devastating Line To Rick Santelli"), and of course Vox ("Watch Steve Liesman demolish Rick Santelli's inflation fearmongering") are all piling on. Following the jump, I will show that Santelli only claimed to have been right about the direction of the economy for the past five years, after which Liesman changed the subject and hogged the microphone:

By Laura Flint | July 10, 2014 | 4:45 PM EDT

MSNBC is not limited to televised displays of liberal bias. On the economics page of MSNBC.com, reporter Ned Resnikoff published an article earlier today entitled “Gap between minimum wage and tipped wage hits record high.” The All In with Chris Hayes contributor cited a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) claiming that tipped workers make a “significantly lower than the overall median wage” and “experience poverty at much higher rates than the overall workforce.”

Of course, Resnikoff forgot to mention that the EPI “receives much of its funding from organized labor.” That fact was added later in a “clarification” note under the original article.

By Jeffrey Meyer | July 2, 2014 | 11:50 AM EDT

July 2 marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act and on Wednesday CBS This Morning used the event to highlight liberal labor activist Dolores Huerta. 

CBS correspondent Michelle Miller began her 5 minute report by gushing over Ms. Huerta and described her as someone who “co-founded the United Farm Workers union with Cesar Chavez, fought for feminism with Gloria Steinem and battled for social change.” [See video below.]

By Kyle Drennen | June 23, 2014 | 11:25 AM EDT

Promoting an upcoming White House summit on working families during an interview with President Obama aired on Monday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell lobbed a series of softballs on the issue, starting with: "I know you said in your State of the Union, 'When women succeed, America succeeds.' What's the single most important thing you think you can do to help working women?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Obama seized the opportunity to spew talking points: "Well, the question is not just what can I do, but I think what we as a society need to do. And this is an issue that's near and dear to my heart. I was raised by a single mom....And now I've got two daughters. So I want to make sure that their able to balance family life and the workplace much better..."

By Clay Waters | June 22, 2014 | 8:47 AM EDT

Timothy Egan, the liberal New York Times reporter turned ultra-liberal columnist, flashed hostility to Wal-Mart (and capitalism in general), as well as a broad ignorance of economics in his latest Sunday Review column, "Corporate Daddy."

For some time now, Republicans in Congress have given up the pretense of doing anything to improve the lot of most Americans. Raising the minimum wage? They won’t even allow a vote to happen. Cleaner air for all? They may partially shut down the government in a coming fight on behalf of major polluters. Add to that the continuing obstruction of student loan relief efforts, and numerous attempts to defund health care, and you have a party actively working to make life miserable for millions.

By Ken Oliver-Méndez | June 3, 2014 | 6:13 PM EDT

Liberals have long been used to dominating the narrative in news coverage of wage and poverty-related issues. The liberal perspective, in terms of what policies best represent the interests of  workers and the economy as a whole, sometimes goes entirely unchallenged.

A welcome exception to the rule occurred during the June 2 edition of Noticiero Univisión, however, when correspondent Liliana Escalante included the perspectives of a reputable economist and a Latino small business owner, both of whom clearly pointed out the negative, job-killing consequences of legislation in California that would raise that state’s minimum wage from its current $8 to $11 an hour beginning January, 2015.