Bill Scher

All Pro-Immigration GOP Senators Have Won Their Primaries

Three Republican Senators up for re-election this year, Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) voted for the bipartisan immigration reform bill despised by the anti-immigrant right-wing. And as of last night’s victory by Sen. Alexander, all three won their Republican primaries. Thankfully, this fact was noted by the Washington Post today. Yet the overall media coverage of the immigration triumph pales in the comparison to the media scapegoating of immigration — and the subsequent Republican panic — when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary, despite the lack of evidence that immigration was the cause.

Continue Reading...
Terrance Heath

Wingnut Week In Review: Rand On The Run

Sen. Rand Paul turned tail and ran away when confronted by undocumented DREAMers. But the GOP has a “Latino problem” it can’t run from, and right-wingers seem determined to make it worse. Sen. Paul was with fellow-Republican Rep. Steve King in Iowa when undocumented DREAMers Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas confronted King on his immigration stance. King stood his ground, but Paul dropped his burger and scampered away. Sen. Paul later explained to Fox News that he wasn’t running away. He just suddenly had somewhere else to be. Right away, obviously. It’s fair to say that Republicans have given up on the Latino vote, whether they realize it or not.

Continue Reading...
Jeff Bryant

‘Better Than Republicans’ Not Good Enough For Education

A common admonition progressives have gotten used to hearing over the years is to support more conservative Democratic candidates because “Republicans are worse.” This admonition makes some sense in electoral politics, when, in most cases, progressives face a ballot box decision where they have to choose the “lesser evil” instead of someone who wants to do something really horrible like roll back government policies to what was in favor a hundred years ago. Elections, after all, are societal constructions where you’re forced to make a choice between only two candidates, usually. To not vote at all forfeits your right to have a say-so in the matter. And few Americans get the opportunity to vote for third-party candidates who have viable shots at winning.

Continue Reading...
Richard Eskow

How Big Is a $16 Billion Bank Fraud Settlement, Really?

Preliminary reports say that a $16 to $17 billion settlement will soon be announced between the Justice Department and Bank of America. That would break the record for the largest bank settlement in history, set less than a year ago by a $13 billion agreement between Justice and JPMorgan Chase. The numbers that accompany these deal announcements always seem impressive. But how large are they, really? That depends on your point of view. The Big Picture Bankers fraudulently inflated a housing bubble. They became extremely wealthy as a result, but the U.S. housing market lost $6.3 trillion in value when the bubble burst. It had only recovered 44 percent of that lost value by of the end of 2013, according to Zillow’s data. That’s more than $3 trillion still missing from American households.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

Young And Low-Skilled Workers Aren’t Being Hurt By Minimum Wage Hike

The right-wing argument that we shouldn’t increase the minimum wage because doing so especially hurts the job prospects of young and low-skilled workers is not standing up to scrutiny. The latest evidence comes from two University of Delaware economists who have looked at employment trends in the 13 states that have raised their minimum wage above the federal minimum since 2011. Their paper concludes that for two groups most likely to be affected by a minimum-wage increase – workers under age 19 and adults without a high-school diploma – the differences between their employment prospects in states that raised their minimum wage and in states that didn’t “are not statistically significant.” The bottom line: “There is no evidence of negative employment effects due to increases in state minimum wages,” the report said.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

June Trade Deficit: Still Enormous, Humongous – And Unsustainable

The U.S. Department of Commerce has released U.S. trade figures for June. The numbers show some improvement from the previous month, but the trade deficit is still humongous. The overall monthly U.S. international goods and services trade deficit declined 7% to $41.5 billion in June, down from $44.7 billion in May (revised). The trade deficit subtracted 0.61 percentage point from growth in the April-June period. Imports of consumer goods were down $1.3 billion. Imports of automotive vehicles, parts, and engines were down $1.1 billion. Imports of industrial supplies and materials were down $500 million. Imports of capital goods were down $300 million. Petroleum imports dropped to a 3-1/2 year low, falling to $27.4 billion, from $28.3 billion in May. Exports of consumer goods were up $400 million from May.

Continue Reading...
Emily Schwartz Greco

The Class War Goes Retail

By Emily Schwartz Greco and William A Collins For the first time since 1997, the U.S. economy just added at least 200,000 jobs per month for six months running. GDP grew at a 4 percent annual clip between April and June. The percentage of Americans who describe the economy as “good” has climbed to the highest level of President Barack Obama’s presidency. Who wouldn’t rejoice over these happy milestones on the bumpy road to a real recovery? Wall Street. On July 31, within hours of the release of a bunch of sunny indicators, stocks sank more than they had on any day since early February. The decline wiped out all gains the S&P 500 stock index had racked up over the month. Global instability contributed to the sharp drop, but so did investors’ fretting over indications that workers are finally getting higher wages and more benefits.

Continue Reading...
Robert Borosage

Should Populists Declare Victory?

Should populists declare victory and go home? Despite money-drenched politics, Washington gridlock, the richest few capturing virtually all the income growth in the economy and corporations deserting the country to avoid taxes, the fanciful notion that populists have captured the Democratic Party is gaining popularity in the political chatter of the idle summer months. Politico argues that “an ascendant progressive and populist movement” is “on the verge of taking over the party.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, electric on campaign trail and in social media, is touted as “Wall Street’s nightmare” and a potential challenger to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Hillary’s supporters respond with a hearty embrace, arguing that there’s no notable issue difference between Hillary and Warren.

Continue Reading...
Terrance Heath

The “Perfect Storm” Behind Toledo’s Toxic Tap Water

On Saturday morning, 500,000 Toledo, Ohio, residents woke to an urgent warning that their tap water could make them very, very sick. Toledo’s water crisis is over, for now, but the “perfect storm” that created it rages on. Mayor D. Michael Collins lifted the tap water ban on Monday, but that doesn’t mean Toledo residents — or the other 11 million Americans who get their drinking water from Lake Erie, or the 25 million who live near the Great Lakes — can rest easy. The factors that caused the crisis remain unaddressed. Why couldn’t Toledo residents trust their tap water? The culprit is a toxin called microcystin, released by cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. Microcystin is pretty nasty stuff. It causes stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, and fever if ingested. It can cause severe liver damage. It causes rashes, hives, and blisters on the skin.

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

More Pushback On Multiple Fronts Against TPP and Fast-Track

In a Detroit News op-ed this week, Michigan Republican Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land separated herself from most Republican lawmakers and voiced opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement currently being negotiated. Her op-ed included this: I am discouraged by the direction of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. I am concerned that the Trans-Pacific trade agreement would let exported products from some countries, like Japan, enter the U.S. market easily, but our domestic goods and products would face obstacles entering their markets. If the Trans-Pacific trade agreement does not ensure reciprocity in market access, it should be postponed. If other nations will not agree to fair practices, we should not become free trade agreement partners with them.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Another Immigration Victory In a GOP Primary That No One Told You About

David Brat’s Republican primary defeat of Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.) was widely attributed to a groundswell of right-wing anti-immigrant fervor, despite the fact that Cantor had taken the lead in blocking immigration reform, and despite the fact that their congressional district is strongly for immigration. Meanwhile, the media ignored the immigration triumphs in the Republican primary season: the easy victory for Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), who actually voted for the bipartisan Senate bill, and for Rep. Renee Ellmers (N.C.), who called a nationally syndicated conservative talk show host “ignorant” for her refusal to support any immigration reform. Yesterday we had a third triumph ignored by the media: Rep.

Continue Reading...
Roger Hickey

Victory for Americans: Walgreens Won’t “Invert” to Avoid U.S. Taxes

Demonstration at Walgreens store in Chicago led by Citizen Action/Illinois and National People’s Action Yesterday afternoon the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch reported the news: “Walgreen Stock Tumbles on Report It Won’t Invert.” Citing unnamed sources (and Sky News), the bulletin reported that Walgreens has decided not to “invert” the company’s nationality to become a Swiss company, and thus lower its U.S. tax bill as it completes its takeover of the pharmacy chain Alliance Boots. This news represents a victory for a powerful alliance of citizen action groups, united under the banner of Americans for Tax Fairness, who have been sending a strong message to Walgreens that, if the company did not renounce plans to abandon the U.S., Americans would abandon Walgreens stores.

Continue Reading...
Kitty Lan

Lawmakers Showcase Using ‘Womenomics’ To Rebuild The Middle Class

Cheryl Harrington’s story is the coveted “American Dream” story. She is the daughter of immigrant parents who set up two small bakeries in Boston, where she learned the business by spending almost every moment of her childhood helping to bake holiday cakes, pies and cookies. Her dream has long been opening a bakery of her own. When her younger son graduated from college in May 2011, Harrington decided it was time for her to finally pursue that dream. Cheryl opened Shortcake Bakery in Hyattsville, Md., a 20-minute drive northeast of the U.S. Capitol, just over two years ago. She welcomed 50 customers on her first day. “Owning your own business is an amazing experience,” Harrington said with a wide smile earlier today as a crowd surrounded her at the bakery that included House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.).

Continue Reading...
Dave Johnson

Perhaps We Need Corporate ‘Loyalty Oaths’

Several American corporations are using a tax loophole scheme called “inversion” to get out of being American corporations obligated to pay American corporate tax rates. They buy or merge with a non-U.S. corporation (usually located in a tax haven), pretend they are a subsidiary to that corporation and renounce their U.S. “citizenship.” That’s almost the only thing that changes. Their U.S. executives, employees, facilities and customers remain where they are, along with the benefits and protections they get from our courts, education system, military, infrastructure and all the other things we pay for through taxes. They just stop paying various taxes to help pay for those things. Walgreens announced today that they will not “invert” and become a non-U.S. corporation.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

Why Did Rand Paul Run Away?

Two months ago, Sen. Rand Paul declared, “I say everywhere I go I am for immigration reform.”. Everywhere, with the exception of the Barefoot Bar in Okoboji, Iowa, when caught between anti-immigrant bigot Rep. Steve King and two undocumented immigrants who came to America as children. Once one of them introduced herself by saying, “I’m a DREAMer,” Paul practically leapt from the table, never to return. King, however, was unafraid and stuck around to argue. Why did Paul run and King stay? Because King is proud of his anti-immigration stance and doesn’t care who knows it. In contrast, Paul’s immigration position is an incoherent mess. Paul desperately wants to prove he can simultaneously appeal to the right-wing whites already in the Republican camp and newly attract young and Latino voters to the party.

Continue Reading...
Richard Eskow

Tom Friedman, Globalization’s Man in Madagascar

Thomas Friedman recently filed an editorial from, and about, Madagascar. In a new piece for Salon, we point out the flaws in his thinking – flaws that mirror his shortsighted and trend-infatuated view of the domestic economy. Friedman is an ideal exemplar of neoliberalism’s latest dress-up game, one that costumes an inequitable worldview with misdirection, trendiness, and gimmicky ideas. We wrote: Global wealth inequality is, in fact, a major challenge to environmental protection. The poverty of local peoples makes the preservation of environmental resources a luxury they feel they cannot afford, since such resources are typically either edible, drinkable or sellable. This is an understandable position, and it’s why eco-policing an impoverished majority will always be a losing battle.

Continue Reading...
Leo Gerard

Let’s Sue the GOP

House Republicans last week overwhelmingly endorsed suing President Barack Obama for delaying part of the Affordable Care Act, a law Republicans hate and condemn and voted 50 times to repeal. So, really, the president did exactly what the GOP claims it wants. But they’re suing anyway. On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Republicans last week prevented repair of a law that 99.99 percent of Americans hate and condemn and would vote 50 times to repeal, given the chance. The GOP blocked a bill that would have ended tax breaks bestowed on corporations for offshoring factories and jobs. Only one Senate Republican voted for the Bring Jobs Home Act – the bill that would have replaced corporate reprobate rebates with rewards for firms that move factories back to America.

Continue Reading...
Isaiah J. Poole

The Fed Should Be Worrying About ‘Miss Effy,’ Not Inflation Ghosts

http://ourfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Fed-unemployment-EPI.mp3 Rev. Reuben Eckles is worried about what the Federal Reserve is going to do next. He has a lot of reasons to, in fact – members of the New Day Christian Church in Wichita, Kan., where he is pastor. The decisions that Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and her board of governors make over the next few months could determine whether many of his members will be able to get of a cycle of unemployment, underemployment and poverty. At a media conference call last month sponsored by the Economic Policy Institute, Eckles told the story of a 60-year-old woman people in the church call “Miss Effy.” He described her as “a beautiful woman who loves to take care of people” who had worked at a Boeing plant there until it was closed in 2012.

Continue Reading...
Sam Pizzigati

Inside Our Profoundly Unequal ‘New Normal’

The Commerce Department released some revised figures on America’s economy last week. Previous numbers, Commerce researchers noted, had overestimated the share of the nation’s income going to workers and underestimated the share going to America’s asset-rich. “Everything’s coming up roses for people who own a chunk of American capital,” observed Brookings Institution economist Gary Burtless after the new stats emerged. “What we’ve seen in the economic recovery is inequality on steroids. The market is giving wealthy people a very good run.” That “very good run” has actually been lasting a very long time. Since 1982, the income share of America’s top 1 percent has more than doubled, from 10.8 percent in 1982 to 22.5 percent in 2012. Americans down below those top 1 percent heights, meanwhile, haven’t been on much of a run at all. They’ve been falling.

Continue Reading...
Bill Scher

9 House Republicans Who Risked Their Seats By Voting To Deport DREAMers

Last month I listed the “16 House Republicans Who Could Lose For Blocking Immigration Reform” incorporating incumbents who are in districts that “professional congressional handicappers … deem to be competitive races, and where according to Latino Decisions poll analyst David Damore the Latino population is significant enough – exceeding or approaching the incumbent’s 2012 margin of victory – to influence the outcome of the election.” Since then, that list has shrunk to 13 as Reps. John Kline, Frank LoBiondo and Scott Rigell are no longer considered to be competitive races according to two of the three main professional handicappers.

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 416