Terrance Heath

What I Learned From My Minimum Wage Job

Sen. Rand Paul mocked President and Mrs. Obama for wanting their daughters to experience working for minimum wage. My own experience taught me “the value of work,” and to value the workers for whom earning a paycheck isn’t always fun, stimulating, or fair. In a Parade magazine interview last month, President and Mrs. Obama said they wanted their daughters to experience working for minimum wage, to  “get a taste of what it’s like to do that real hard work.” President Obama added that there is value in learning that “[G]oing to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair. But that’s what most folks go through every single day.” Via Chris @ Flickr.

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Isaiah J. Poole

GOP Plays “Snake Line” Politics With The Child Tax Credit

Talk about the need to get above “the snake line”: A perfect example of how House Republicans operate in the realm where snakes slither and inject their poison is about to unfold this week on the House floor. The House is about to take up what Republicans call an “improvement” of the child tax credit. As is usually the case with the conservative extremists who dominate the House, when it says it is about to “improve” something, that’s the signal that for a lot of struggling families, things are actually about to get worse. Meanwhile, the “improvement” will be for the already well-off. That’s exactly what’s about to happen if the House changes to the child tax credit become law.

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Dave Johnson

Let’s Get Our Politics Above The Snake Line

We’ve got to make our way to higher ground. We’ve got to get our politics above the snake line. Click here to support Rev. William Barber’s Freedom Summer project. People came to Netroots Nation to see Senator Elizabeth Warren speak, and discovered Rev. William Barber when they got here. If you are not yet tuned in to Rev. Barber you absolutely have to watch this speech (or a speech the prior week, at the American Federation of Teachers convention; I actually recommend watching both.

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Dave Johnson

5 Giant Un-American Corporations Trying to Bolt U.S. to Avoid Taxes

Corporations get enormous benefits that regular “persons” do not. One of the biggest is limited liability. This means that the shareholders are not liable for the debts of the corporation. A corporation can get in a lot of trouble, financial and otherwise, and then just close up shop, divide its assets to its creditors, and the shareholders can just walk away losing only the money they originally put in. While it might be a “person” to certain members of the Supreme Court, there is no person to be made to work off the debt or to put in jail. Corporations also enjoy lower tax rates than people do.

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Leo Gerard

Shiftless Corporations Renounce America

Early last week, the drug firm Mylan stomped on the Stars and Stripes as it ditched America for the Netherlands. Then, on Friday, the drug company AbbVie similarly renounced America. For 30 pieces of silver, it will become Irish. Medical device maker Medtronic deserted America for Ireland last month. The pharmacy chain Walgreens recently announced it may be next. It plans to dump the land of the free for the bows and scrapes of royal subjects. Walgreens is willing to prostrate itself before Queen Elizabeth because the British corporate tax rate is lower. Anything for money, right AbbVie? These firms will still park their assets and staff and sales in America.

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Dave Johnson

Corporate Tax Deferral, Inversions And The Destructive Result

Our anti-government, anti-tax policies have seriously benefited the few gazillionaires who are paying to promote and propagandize these policies, but this is seriously costing the rest of us, our economy and our country. We the People are being looted and it is time to put a stop to it. I’m writing this from Michigan, where the roads are just awful. I mean, you can’t believe how awful if you haven’t been here; they haven’t been fixing the roads, and it’s at the point where they are not just bad, and not just bumpy and falling apart, but they are downright dangerous. I have hit holes that are beyond just potentially ruining your rim or breaking an axle, but could maybe set off the air bags. It isn’t just the roads; it’s the schools and the courts and everything else.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Sanders For President? NPR Asks Sanders, Borosage Responds

http://ourfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/onpoint_0721_bernie-sanders-borosage.mp3 In this interview Monday on NPR’s “On Point,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) laid out his argument for a potential presidential bid, and Campaign for America’s Future’s Robert Borosage outlined the agenda that Democrats should adopt to rebuild its majority. Sanders says in the interview that he is thinking about running, contingent on whether he can engage working people “in a grassroots political revolution” to address the institutional forces that dragged down the middle class in recent years. “If I think I can, I will run.” Later in the program, Borosage pushes back against the idea that the focus of a Sanders candidacy would be a disaster for Democrats.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Two Campaigns This Week For A “Fair Paycheck” For Low-Wage Workers

Several progressive members of Congress this week are working on two fronts to highlight and ultimately improve the plight of low-wage workers. Some are participating this week in the “Live the Wage Challenge,” in which they commit to trying to live within a weekly budget of $77, what a minimum-wage worker (in states at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour) would have left after paying taxes and housing costs. Others are preparing to co-sponsor a bill scheduled to be introduced today by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) that would give workers more rights to have predictable work schedules, cracking down on practices that among other things make it difficult for low-wage part-time workers to go to school or to get a second job.

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Terrance Heath

America’s Border Crisis of Conscience

Sixty bodies lie in a heap on the floor of a morgue that receives the corpses of children under 10 and as young as 2. It’s the body count for just one day, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. How can we in good conscience send children back there? We just did. The first planeload of mothers and children has returned to San Pedro Sula — the most violent city in the world, in the most violent country in the world. The murder rate in Honduras is the highest of any country in the world, at 90.4 per 100,000 people. In San Pedro Sula, the murder rate is 169 per 100,000 people – nine times the murder rate of Chicago. Every day, more children are among the dead. In Honduras’ second largest city, San Pedro Sula, police investigate a shooting October 30 in which at least 14 people were found dead. Gangs now rule 40 percent of Honduras.

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Dave Johnson

Manufacturing a Middle Class with Quality Jobs

The main presenter at Saturday’s Netroots Nation panel “Manufacturing a Middle Class with Quality Jobs” was Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), representing Flint. Get to know about this guy – he is an absolute rock star. He is sharp, funny and, most important, he is right on top of things. He “gets it” about manufacturing, trade, inequality and the need to invest in building a sustainable economy that provides good-paying jobs and benefits so we can have a thriving and prosperous middle class and ladders up into that middle class for people. Also on this panel were moderator Joe Sudbay, who we know from AmericaBlog, Laura Clawson from Daily Kos, Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing and Durwin Royal (another rock star), President of United Steelworkers Local 4134, representing more than 1,200 union members in East Texas. Rep.

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Richard Eskow

Snakes and Ladders at Netroots Nation

At the emotional high point of this year’s Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, Rev. William Barber II concluded his roof-raising opening-night invocation by asking, “Can I be a preacher for three minutes?” “My son is an environmental physicist,” Rev. Barber said, “and he told me, ‘Daddy, if you ever get lost in mountainous territory … don’t walk out through the valley but climb up the mountain to higher ground.” The reverend spoke of the “snake line,” above which dangerous reptiles cannot live. “Reptiles,” Barber intoned, “are cold-blooded. They can’t survive up there.” “In America,” he said, “we’ve got to get our policies above the snake line! We’ve got to get to higher ground.” Barber was just warming up. “There are some snakes out here!” he continued.

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Bill Scher

Why Democrats Are More United Than Republicans (And Why That’s Good)

36,120 Virginia Republican primary voters just tossed out the House majority leader, a sign that the GOP civil war continues to simmer. But earlier this month, conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat opined that it’s the Democratic coalition that is a fractured mess, held together by a roll of duct tape otherwise known as Hillary Clinton: “the post-Obama Democratic Party could well be the Austro-Hungarian empire of presidential majorities: a sprawling, ramshackle and heterogeneous arrangement, one major crisis away from dissolution … [Clinton] might be its Franz Josef — the beloved emperor whose imperial persona … helped keep dissolution from the empire’s door.” That does not ring true. Signs of long-lasting Democratic unity abound. Democratic Unity, By The Numbers Unlike Republican Reps. Eric Cantor and Ralph Hall (and possibly Sen.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Ideology Takes A Toll On Transportation – And A Pushback Is Brewing

President Obama’s announcement Thursday of an executive order that would facilitate public-private partnerships for transportation projects is the latest in a years-long series of efforts to coax more private sector funding for public goods. One benefit these deals offer is a way for politicians to dodge tough choices about how to pay for the transportation network the public uses. But they are no panacea. That’s the hard lesson Texas is learning, and it’s fueling a populist rebellion against the ambitious plan by Gov. Rick Perry to have largely privately built and administered private toll roads crisscross the state, which would enable him to be true to his small government, anti-tax ideology.

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Bill Scher

Warren 2014 Is More Important Than Warren 2016

Over at Politico Magazine today, I analyzed the meaning of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s busy 2014 schedule, stumping and raising money for a wide range of Democratic candidates on the ballot this November. Many speculate this has something to do with 2016, but she has repeatedly and emphatically denied any presidential bid. Instead, people should pay attention to what she is saying on policy matters, how she is saying it, which candidates are following her lead, and gauging how well her message works on the trail. She is pioneering an “us-versus-them” argument that fingers “Wall Street” as the obstacle to progressive reform, an approach that’s subtly different from what President Obama is delivering on the stump.

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Dave Johnson

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Tells Netroots: “Push Back And Fight Hard”

Senator Elizabeth Warren took her fight against a rigged system to the Netroots Nation gathering in Detroit Friday morning, saying that she is fighting back, and if We the People “push back and fight hard, we can win.” Outside the hall, people were passing out “Ready for Warren” hats and signs. Inside the hall, the hats and signs were everywhere. Fighting back against a rigged system was the theme of Warren’s rousing speech to Netroots. She began by briefly telling the story of how the about Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) came to be. She had the idea for the agency, started talking about it, people told her it was a great idea and badly needed, but said to her, “Don’t do it because the biggest banks in the country will hate it and you will lose.” She said they had that half right.

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Terrance Heath

Wingnut Week In Review: Plane Paranoid

Thank heaven for American wingnuts’ short attention span. The apparent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over the Ukraine gave us a respite from the usual sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic rantings. A brief one, but a respite nonetheless. Fox News pundits Geraldo Rivera and Todd Starnes seized the opportunity to blame Russian president Vladimir Putin — and of course President Obama — only to get spanked by fellow Fox Newser Greta van Susteren. Fox News contributor Charlie Gasparino and Wall Street Journal reporter Simon Constable got into an argument when Gasparino blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for what was thought to be a crash. “You’re so goddamn dumb,” Gasparino said when Constable suggested waiting for confirmation before assigning blame.

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Kitty Lan

Equal Pay For Women Would Mean A More Secure Retirement For All

The link is simple and clear: Women earn less than men in the workplace – almost $450 billion less in total each year nationwide – resulting in lower Social Security payments after retirement. The pay discrimination against women not only hurts their current well-being and future security, but also means tens of billions less in revenues to fund Social Security. U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Social Security Works co-hosted a telephone press conference call today, releasing SSW’s research on how closing the gender pay gap can improve women’s Social Security benefits and strengthen the program’s finances. The conversation was also joined by Ben Veghte, Research Director at Social Security Works, and Stephanie Connolly, legislative and policy associate at Social Security Works. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was passed 51 years ago.

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Terrance Heath

Arrested for Being Too Poor To Afford Child Care

Debra Harrell was trying to do the best she could. Harrell lives in North Augusta, South Carolina, and has a nine-year-old daughter. She works at McDonald’s. During that the school year, Harrell’s daughter has some place to go during the day. Harrell can go to work, assured that her daughter in a safe place. Harrell can’t afford to put her daughter in daycare during the summer. So she started taking her daughter to work with her. It wasn’t an ideal solution for either of them. For a 9-year-old, sitting in McDonald’s for hours is mind-numbingly boring. Harrell couldn’t leave her daughter home alone without  constantly worrying about the child’s safety. Besides, it’s illegal Bringing her daughter to work at least assured the child’s safety.

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Bill Scher

The Republican Immigration Position Just Got More Ridiculous

Today Speaker Boehner warned that Congress may not be able to pass legislation to help address the influx of Central American child migrants, because too many Democrats are unwilling to alter the 2008 human trafficking law, and give President Obama’s Border Patrol agents expanded power to return unaccompanied minors home without judicial reviews. I’ve previously explained here and at The Week that Boehner’s position is startlingly hypocritical. For months he said he could not pass comprehensive immigration reform because President Obama could not be trusted to enforce any border security provisions. Then last week he effectively declared he wanted to pass legislation that trusted Obama to enforce border security provisions.

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