Isaiah J. Poole

The Achilles’ Heel Of Paul Ryan’s Latest Antipoverty Program

There is at least one fatal flaw in Rep. Paul Ryan’s kinder, gentler version of how conservatives would change federal antipoverty programs: The proposal at the center of his vision, as are the conservatives in whose hands Ryan would entrust it, would be neither kind nor gentle. The core of Ryan’s latest proposal to remake the nation’s safety net programs in a conservative mold, “Expanding Opportunity in America,” would be to combine 11 major federal programs into a single block grant to the states. Those programs would include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (best known as “food stamps”), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (“welfare”), several housing subsidy programs, child care assistance, low-income heating and weatherization assistance, aid to dislocated workers and the Community Development Block Grant.

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Thom Hartmann

The Rise of the Bankster Landlord

It’s time to put an end to the financialization insanity that’s hurting average people, destroying the American dream, and turning our economy into one big giant casino. One of the most startling trends to come out of the wreckage of the 2007-2008 financial crisis is the explosion of Wall Street firms buying up and renting out property all across the country. The housing glut and foreclosure crisis that was, for most Americans, the symbol of the devastation caused by the worst economic downturn of our lifetimes, was, for Wall Street a wonderful business opportunity. A study from the Center for American Progress estimates that in the five plus years since the crash, “institutional investors [i.e.

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Sam Pizzigati

Narcissists Gone Wild! Excessive Compensation Can Ruin A CEO’s Judgment.

Narcissists don’t happen to be particularly nice people. They preen. They grab. And they never ever really feel our pain. Extremely self-centered people, some fascinating new business school research shows, also don’t make for particularly effective corporate CEOs. This new research — conducted by business school analysts at the University of Southern California and the University of Arizona — examines the impact of CEO narcissism on corporate tax policies. That impact turns out to be fairly robust. The corporations that America’s most narcissistic CEOs run seem to be prone to engaging in highly risky corporate tax-avoidance maneuvers.

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Dave Johnson

House Republicans Blocked Critical ‘Make It In America’ Bill

This week one more example of Republican obstruction occurred – blockage of an important “Make It In America” bill – and one more time not a single corporate media outlet reported it. The House Republican leadership on Tuesday blocked a bill to secure for American companies critical minerals used in the production of energy-efficient products, renewable energy systems, electronics and other technologies. The result is companies – and the Defense Department – continue to be forced to turn to China to make or obtain critical electronics components. The China Problem Put simply, China undermined most of the world’s other sources of these strategic minerals by such practices as underpricing, putting them out of business. Once an industry leaves a country it becomes enormously difficult to start it up again. The supply chain is gone. The expertise is gone.

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Richard Eskow

Chiding CEOs at Walgreens and Other Corporate Defectors

Walgreens is the pharmacy that, at least according to its website, can be found “at the corner of Happy & Healthy.” If its executives have their way, however, it may soon be found near the intersection of Ziegelackerstrasse and Untermattweg in Bern, Switzerland. By acquiring the much smaller Swiss company that is located near that corner, the American company can dodge millions in American taxes. What would that mean for the 4,200 employees who work at Walgreens headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois? Probably nothing, as Deerfield’s local newspaper (a branch of the Chicago Sun-Times) explains. “Inversion,” as these maneuvers are called, doesn’t actually mean a company moves anything. Like the Panamanian flag fluttering on a second-class freighter, all it tells you is that a vessel for hire has found a new and more compliant registry.

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Kitty Lan

Latinos Want A Progressive Economic Agenda, New Poll Says

Latinos remain pessimistic about the economy, but they continue to believe in the possibility of the American Dream and support greater government intervention to achieve economic stability, according to a poll released this week by the National Council of La Raza and Latino Decisions. This poll highlights the economic agenda that candidates would need to advance this fall in order to win the support of this crucial portion of the “rising American electorate” – people of color, women and young people who were the base for President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 election victories. The poll reveals that, even though we’re five years into recovery from the 2007-2008 recession, many Latino registered voters still feel the effects of the recession and remain worried about their futures.

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Thom Hartmann

Rich Rats Hijacked Our Democracy

Rich brat billionaires and giant transnational corporations have hijacked our political system. CNN is reporting that Shelly Adelson, the same man who dropped a cool $150 million during the 2012 election cycle to defeat President Obama, is now talking about spending tens of millions more in the 2014 midterm elections. According to CNN, sources inside the Republican Party have said that Adelson is prepared to make as much as a $100 million “investment” in the 2014 midterms, trying to help Republicans win back control of the Senate. And make no mistake about it; when rich people or corporations put money into politics or politicians, it’s an investment, and they’re expecting a financial return, whether it be in lower taxes or fewer regulations.

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Emily DiVito

Workers Speak Out Against Work Schedule Abuse And Retaliation

When American women have no control over their own work schedules, they have no control over their own lives. Mary Coleman of Wisconsin knows this first-hand. She was working the night shift at a Milwaukee Popeye’s restaurant, a time slot notoriously unpopular for its exhausting hours. When she asked her manager for a transfer to the day shift, she was denied, lied to, and then penalized for even asking. Coleman’s manager told her that there were no more shifts available during daylight hours that she could have. But just weeks later, five new employees were hired to Popeye’s, all of whom were given day shifts. Simultaneously, Coleman’s hours were dramatically cut. She now only works two days a week. That is not nearly enough to live on.

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Robert Borosage

Hillary’s Sister Souljah Moment

The 2016 election is two-and-one-half years off, but already Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, is getting pummeled. Her book tour, designed to provide soft interviews burnishing her record as secretary of state, has been plagued by missteps. She’s criticized for having no “big idea,” for being out of touch after earning enough in the last year to be part of the .001 percent, even for underwhelming book sales. Her foreign policy hawkishness has stirred the embers of progressive doubts. Worse, she seems on the wrong side of the divide between the Wall Street and the Warren (after Sen. Elizabeth Warren, darling of progressives) wings of the Democratic party. The adversarial press seems a lot more “ready for Hillary” than Hillary is for the fray. Hillary remains the prohibitive favorite for the presidency in polls that measure little beyond name recognition.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Poll Suggests Democrats Need New Populism Message To Keep The Senate

If Democrats want to keep control of the Senate this fall, a new Democracy Corps memo says that it will have to target a progressive populist message to single women and the “rising American electorate” that acknowledges that the economy remains rigged against working people. “Unmarried women are, perhaps, the most important target for Democrats across this Senate battleground,” says the memo, which is based on a survey of 1,000 likely 2014 voters in 12 battleground states. In these states – Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina and West Virginia – Democrats are being held back by “a serious underperformance with unmarried women” during this cycle when compared to their support for President Obama and Democrats in 2012.

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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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admin

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. Also appearing on the program is public policy professor Elaine Kamarck, a leading “New Democrat.” What was amazing was Kamarck’s agreeing with Borosage on so much of the populist message. She agreed Democrats have to reform the banks, address inequality, tax the rich, invest in jobs, infrastructure and education. Even on the signature New Dem issue of trade, she agreed with Borosage that we need to rebuild manufacturing and stop exporting jobs. There was not total agreement, though.

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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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