Bright, shiny objects: Rubenstein, Trump, minimum wage’s nickel



screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-9-37-44-pmAlice Rogoff, owner of the Alaska Dispatch News and wife of billionaire private equity investor David Rubenstein, famously served President Barack Obama caribou, moose, oysters, fresh-plucked Alaska greens,  and berries she picked, when he visited her Anchorage home in 2015.

Her husband, on the other hand, just met with President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday.

Alice and David are, after all, the ultimate power couple.

Rubenstein, who lives in Bethesda, MD, while Alice lives in Alaska, is co-founder of The Carlyle Group. He flew his Gulfstream jet to Mar-a-Lago, Fla. to meet with Trump. He spends a lot of time on his jet — some 1,100 hours a year, it’s reported by The Washington Post.

The Carlyle Group manages $178 billion in investments. Rubenstein is also a known philanthropist, and has been close to the Obama Administration.  A lifelong Democrat who got his start working in the Carter Administration, he didn’t reveal what the meeting with Trump was about. Through Carlyle’s spokesperson Christopher Ullman, he only said it was private.

Perhaps Rubenstein prevailed upon Trump to undo the Obama Administration’s shutdown of the Arctic? It would be a shrewd move, since Carlyle has developed strong private equity interests here. His company also manages 5 percent of the Alaska Permanent Fund.

In May, Rubenstein made a case that Donald Trump had a strong chance of winning the electoral map.

“It’s going to be a hard-fought campaign and it’s not going to be decided until the very end,” he predicted.



Come Sunday, Alaska’s minimum wage will be $9.80 an hour. That’s one nickel more than it is today, or another 40 cents a day for many workers.

Nineteen states will see an increase in their minimum wages, including Washington and Massachusetts, both of which will bump to $11 an hour, the highest in the country.

California’s will be higher than Alaska’s by 20 cents.

Voters in Arizona, Maine, Colorado and Washington approved minimum wage hikes this past year. Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and South Dakota, will simply see automatic increases due to being indexed to inflation.

Look to the Democrat-run majority in the Alaska House to offer a bill that raises Alaska’s minimum wage even further. At its fall meeting, the Alaska Democratic Party State Executive Committee passed a resolution favoring $15 an hour.

A similar bill was sponsored by retiring Sen. Johnny Ellis during the past legislative session, but it died.



Juneau Police Department is launching a “Year of Kindness” initiative, starting with barbecues on Saturday, Dec. 31, 1-3 p.m., at Douglas Island’s Sandy Beach and Sunday, Jan. 1, noon – 2 p.m., at the Auke Village Recreation Area. It’s potluck and participants are encouraged to write down negative things on a piece of paper and then burn the paper in the bonfire. Perhaps Juneauites can write down the  number $4,200,000,000 and burn it, symbolic of the way the State’s operating budget is burning through Alaska’s savings accounts.

The kindness event is so newsworthy it made The Washington Post. 

Of course, the Alaska Legislature has not yet arrived for the season, and after that, all bets are off: It could be more like The Year of Living Dangerously.