Mapping the Gap Between Minimum Wage and Cost of Living in U.S. Counties and Cities – CityLab

The minimum wage peaked in 1968 at $8.54 per hour, after adjusting for inflation. The current $7.25 is far too low for the 3 million hourly workers who earn at or below that threshold, and certainly not at par with the wage hikes instituted by other countries with similar economic trajectories.Here’s The Economist on America’s embarrassingly low minimum wage:

Source: Mapping the Gap Between Minimum Wage and Cost of Living in U.S. Counties and Cities – CityLab

China, Japan and Europe Are Flashing Economic Warning Signs – The New York Times

Even before the recent plunge in commodity and stock markets, the world economy was weak. But recent data from China, Europe, Japan and other countries suggest that growth is slowing more sharply than many analysts had anticipated. That puts the burden on policy makers in these countries to come up with more credible ways to bolster their economies.

The most worrying signs are coming from China, the world’s second-biggest economy. After two decades of rapid growth, China’s economy is decelerating and its leaders are failing to strengthen it — by, for instance, decreasing its reliance on investment and putting greater emphasis on consumer demand. In a sign of how quickly business activity is falling, exports declined more than 8 percent in July from June and auto sales were down more than 6 percent compared to a year earlier. Gross domestic product grew at 7 percent in the second quarter, the slowest pace in six years.

via China, Japan and Europe Are Flashing Economic Warning Signs – The New York Times.

Inside Amazon: The Horrors of Capitalism

SEATTLE — On Monday mornings, fresh recruits line up for an orientation intended to catapult them into Amazon’s singular way of working.

They are told to forget the “poor habits” they learned at previous jobs, one employee recalled. When they “hit the wall” from the unrelenting pace, there is only one solution: “Climb the wall,” others reported. To be the best Amazonians they can be, they should be guided by the leadership principles, 14 rules inscribed on handy laminated cards. When quizzed days later, those with perfect scores earn a virtual award proclaiming, “I’m Peculiar” — the company’s proud phrase for overturning workplace conventions.

via Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace – The New York Times.

A wealthy oligarchy of donors is dominating the 2016 election – The Washington Post

THE UNITED States may be turning a corner in presidential politics. Although the election itself is more than a year away, the latest reports to the Federal Election Commission show that a wealthy oligarchy of donors has come to dominate campaign finance, particularly in the crowded Republican contest. Fewer than 400 families are responsible for almost half the money raised in the campaign so far, according to an analysis by the New York Times. This class of wealthy patrons, some with new fortunes and others of long-standing, is throwing money into campaigns, not of all which will end happily. But the preeminence of this clan of tycoons so early in the season is not a good sign.

via A wealthy oligarchy of donors is dominating the 2016 election – The Washington Post.

Hillary Clinton’s Mega-Donors Are Also Funding Jeb Bush – The Daily Beast

For some wealthy donors, it doesn’t matter who takes the White House in 2016—as long as the president’s name is Clinton or Bush.

More than 60 ultra-rich Americans have contributed to both Jeb Bush’s and Hillary Clinton’s federal campaigns, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data by Vocativ and The Daily Beast. Seventeen of those contributors have gone one step further and opened their wallets to fund both Bush’s and Clinton’s 2016 ambitions.

After all, why support just Hillary Clinton or just Jeb Bush when you can hedge your bets and donate to both? This seems to be the thinking of a group of powerful men and women—racetrack owners, bankers, media barons, chicken magnates, hedge funders (and their spouses). Some of them have net worths that can eclipse the GDPs of small countries.

via Hillary Clinton’s Mega-Donors Are Also Funding Jeb Bush – The Daily Beast.

Oligarchy Of Super PAC Megadonors Have Conquered American Politics

WASHINGTON — A new oligarchic era of American politics came into full view on Friday, as super PACs disclosed fundraising details showing billionaires bankrolling the 2016 presidential race to an unprecedented degree.

The unlimited-money super PACs account for one-third of all federal election funds raised in the first half of 2015 — up from 4 percent at this time in the last presidential election. Three-quarters of all super PAC money came from more than 500 wealthy donors, corporations and unions in contributions above $100,000. More than half the money in the presidential race so far — to super PACs and to campaigns — came from donors who have given at least $100,000.

For the first time in more than a century, the majority of funding for a presidential election is coming in six-figure or larger checks from corporations and the wealthiest Americans. The presidential campaigns, limited to a maximum of $5,400 from a single donor, raised a combined $128 million. Super PACs supporting those candidates pulled in $260 million, with $208 million from those giving $100,000 or more.

via Oligarchy Of Super PAC Megadonors Have Conquered American Politics.

Tax havens: Super-rich ‘hiding’ at least $21tn – BBC News

A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion (£13tn) hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study.

The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined.

The Price of Offshore Revisited was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, for the Tax Justice Network.

Tax expert and UK government adviser John Whiting said he was sceptical that the amount hidden was so large.

Mr Whiting, tax policy director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said: “There clearly are some significant amounts hidden away, but if it really is that size what is being done with it all?”

Mr Henry said his $21tn is actually a conservative figure and the true scale could be $32tn. A trillion is 1,000 billion.

via Tax havens: Super-rich ‘hiding’ at least $21tn – BBC News.