Two Years after the S&P Downgrade; Fast-Food Workers Want to SuperSize Wages

Two Years after the S&P Downgrade (Yahoo! Finance)

It was just two years ago today that the S&P’s credit rating for the United States downgraded from AAA to AA+ , marking the first time in U.S. history that the country’s debt crisis was that dire. Memories of the 2008 financial crisis seemed to creep back into consciousness — every major newspaper splashed headlines about the credit downgrade — TIME magazine fittingly characterized it as “The Great American Downgrade.” But aside from all this economic confusion from a few years ago, it’s appropriate to ask this question now — where are we today? Far better. The 10-year Treasury Yield is yielding 2.63%, and the S&P 500 has gained 52% since 2011. “We never did go bankrupt, we probably were not really that close,” says Jim Paulsen of Wells Capital Management. “We kind of plodded along with growth before and since then we’re now back to where we were in the bond market and a lot higher in terms of earnings, the stock market, employment and everything else.”

Fast-Food Workers Want to SuperSize Wages (CNBC)

Fast food workers are protesting, demanding better pay, the right to unionize and a more than doubling of the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15. “We work hard for companies that are making millions,” Terrance Wise, a Kansas City fast food worker with two jobs, said. “We’re not asking for the world. We want to make enough to make a decent living. We deserve better. If they respect us and pay us and treat us right, it’ll lift up the whole economy.” But will higher wages spur job creation and better wages? The restaurant industry argues that a raise to a $15 minimum wage could lead to business closings and fewer jobs. In addition, the cost of living varies greatly around the country, with many states having higher minimum wages than the federal rate.