Isaiah J. Poole

Lifelong Wage Warrior Larry Mishel Takes On Trump’s Tax Scam

The Economic Policy Institute produced this video to celebrate the career of outgoing President Lawrence Mishel. It was presented at a party in his honor December 13 at the Service Employees International Union offices. Lawrence Mishel, the outgoing President of the Economic Policy Institute, is finally – after 30 years at the progressive economic research organization – seeing one of his wishes come true. Leaders in both major political parties are talking about wage stagnation, and how to address it. “I’ve always wanted to elevate the concerns about people’s paychecks as the salient economic issue,” he said in an interview in his downtown Washington office.

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Jeff Bryant

Is Betsy DeVos About To Pump Up The School-To-Prison Pipeline?

It now looks like the Trump administration’s repeal of Obama-era guidelines allowing transgender students to use the school bathroom of their preference was just the beginning of a long list of regulatory reversals including efforts to ensure school discipline practices don’t discriminate against students by race or disability and disproportionally push students into a school-to-prison pipeline. Recently, Politico broke the news that officials in Trump’s department of education led by Secretary Betsy DeVos seem ready to scrap Obama-era guidance that compel schools to end zero-tolerance discipline policies and curb widespread tendencies to use out-of-school suspensions disproportionally on black and brown school children and students with disabilities.

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Sam Pizzigati

The Grand Tax ‘Bargain’ Is Just a Bigger Bonus for the Rich

Did you ever bargain with an auto dealer over the price of a car? Most of us have, at one time or another, so we know how this drill works. The car has a sticker price. We want a lower price, so we make an offer. Sometimes the dealer doesn’t budge. More typically, dealer and buyer agree on a price somewhere between what the dealer demands and the buyer desires. Humans have been haggling like this since the dawn of time. This give and take, making compromises, almost seems hard-wired into our human DNA. But plutocracies like the contemporary United States are rewiring that historic human code.

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Jeff Bryant

Why Republicans Are Rebooting the For-Profit College Industry

A controversial rewrite of the Higher Education Act that just passed out of committee in the House of Representatives in a strict party-line vote will likely reboot floundering for-profit colleges and revive the scandals associated with this industry should it clear intact the full House and Senate.

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Richard Eskow

Charles Barkley’s Wise Words to Democrats on Alabama

Before he became one of the great basketball players of his time, Charles Barkley was a son of the Alabama soil.  He went home to help Doug Jones pull off his upset victory against Roy Moore in this week’s special Senate election. Here’s what he had to say on CNN after Jones was declared the winner: This is a wake-up call for Democrats. Democrats, I told Mr. Jones this, and I love Doug, they’ve taken the black vote and the poor vote for granted for a long time. It’s time for them to get off their ass and start making life better for black folks and people who are poor. They’ve always had our votes and they have abused our votes .. This is a wake-up call for Democrats to do better for black people and poor white people. Professional Democrats were not nearly as insightful.

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Isaiah J. Poole

The Grassroots Won Alabama’s Senate Race

Democrat Doug Jones won his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama Tuesday night against Republican Roy Moore in one of the most closely watched elections of the year. But the real winners of this election are the thousands of voters who came together into a movement to meet the challenge of keeping a homophobe, racist and accused pedophile out of the U.S. Senate. Black Votes Matter volunteers in Dothan, AL “What this represents is a turning point; it’s not just a Senate seat,” said Stephanie Guilloud, co-executive director of Project South, a grassroots organizing group based in Atlanta.

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Miles Mogulescu

Bending the Arc of History Towards Justice in Alabama

“Deep in my heart, I do believe, that we shall overcome some day.” Songs were integral to the civil rights movement. And no song was as iconic as “We Shall Overcome.” It inspired a generation of civil rights warriors, was sung at rallies, churches, marches, concerts, and by the SNCC Freedom Singers, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez to close the Newport Folk Festival in 1963. And no places were as iconic to the civil rights movement as Selma and Montgomery Alabama. It was in Montgomery that Rosa Park first refused to give up her seat in the front of the bus to a white man, sparking the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott that brought a 26-year old preacher named Martin Luther King to national prominence and inspired a mass movement for justice.

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Kenneth Glasgow

Making Every Vote Count in Alabama and Beyond

There’s a lot at stake in Alabama right now; every vote counts. That’s why we’ve been going door to door to let folks know they have the right to vote, and get them out to the polls. In Alabama, more than a quarter of a million people have been disenfranchised because of felony convictions. Most of them – over 200,000 – have the right to vote, they just don’t know it yet. That’s why we’re working to get the word out. Pastor Kenneth Glasgow and voter registration volunteers in Dothan, Alabama How do I know this? I’m formerly incarcerated myself. After fourteen years behind bars, I had to fight to get my own right to vote back. When I did, I was so proud I wore my voter registration card around my neck.

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Richard Eskow

Democrats Need More Democracy, Not Less

Two political scientists wrote a recent op-ed in the New York Times, which ran under the headline, “Is the Democratic Party Becoming Too Democratic?” It’s an interesting thought. Unfortunately, the commentary appears to cherry-pick facts and figures to reinforce the ideological and personal biases of its authors, Julia Azari and Seth Masket. Their argument is weak on the science and wrong on the merits – that is, to the extent that a coherent argument can be teased out of their commentary. But the authors’ provocative question deserves a fair hearing.

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Lauren McCauley

Mainers Brave Storm to Challenge Sen. Collins to Vote “No” on Tax Bill

Despite freezing temperatures and the season’s first significant snowfall, hundreds of people from across New England turned out Saturday to demand that Senator Susan Collins finally listen to the will of the voters and reject the Republican tax overhaul. Photo credit: Kittery Democrats An estimated 250 people marched across the Memorial Bridge on Saturday. The line of protesters marched across Memorial Bridge, which connects Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Kittery, Maine, behind a banner which read: “Sen. Susan Collins, You Are Wrong.” Former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank told the crowd he was “blown away” by the size and commitment of the group, which after the march held a rally in Kittery’s John Paul Jones Park, where they heard speeches from Frank and other local leaders including Kittery Democrats chair Kathleen Marra, and state Reps.

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Jeff Bryant

Republicans Declare War On Higher Education

The GOP’s tax rewrite hits higher education hard, but new legislation House Republicans are crafting will likely go even farther to worsen the damage. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the House education committee recently gave a preview to its new legislation, a long overdue reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). Like recent tax bills passed by the GOP-controlled House and Senate, this proposed rewrite of HEA will have the effect of further constricting learning opportunities for students, adding to the costs students and families take on for education, and steering more public money for learning to private businesses.

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Miles Mogulescu

Can Democrats Do More to Stop the GOP Tax Cuts?

I just received an email from Joe Biden’s SuperPac urging me to resist the disastrous Republican tax bill by donating to Biden to help defeat the Republicans in 2020. It’s one of several solicitations I’ve received from Democratic candidates and Party-affiliated organizations asking for money to fight the tax bill after it already passed the House and Senate, and seems well on the way to final passage. I hope there’s an outside chance that changes in the Conference Committee can persuade two Republican Senators to ultimately vote it down. And yet resistance to the tax bill by Congressional Democrats has seemed timid and tepid, when compared their full-court press against repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

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Leo Gerard

Offshorers Demand: No Taxes, No Risk

Ford hit Michigan and its auto workers with some crappy holiday news. Instead of building a $700 million electric vehicle factory in Michigan as promised in January, Ford will construct the plant in Mexico. Ford reneged on its promise to Michigan workers just days after the Senate passed a tax plan intended to end levies on corporate profits made at factories offshore – in places like Mexico. News of the letdown also arrived just days before new negotiations on a revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are to begin in Washington, D.C. Ford and other giant corporations got what they wanted out of Republicans on taxes, dramatically lower levies on domestic profits and total elimination on foreign profits. That makes Mexico an even more attractive manufacturing site for them than NAFTA did.

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Emmanuel Cleaver

Why We’ve Got To Fight For Housing

I grew up extremely poor. We were so poor, our dog ran away to the dog pound; he turned himself in! I lived in this house with my momma, my daddy and my three sisters for seven years. There is no running water, there is no electricity; my grandmother lived in the house next door. It still stands; I took my children down so they could see it. And this is just outside downtown Dallas, Texas. The only reason I’m showing that to you is because I was elected mayor of Kansas City, and one of the things I did when I became mayor was concentrate on housing. And I am offended when anybody starts putting down poor people. This is a two-room shack that I lived in, and everybody on our committee knows, you start talking about poor people, you’re going to get a reaction from me.

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Isaiah J. Poole

We Have A Housing Emergency. Here’s How We Face It

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, led by former brain surgeon and not-qualified-to-run-a-federal-agency Ben Carson, has found itself making an uncomfortable admission: Under Donald Trump, the nation’s homelessness problem is getting worse. HUD put a partly sunny headline on its press release, but the news that follows is not good: “Homelessness crept up in the U.S.” by close to 1 percent in 2017, with local communities reporting that in particular “the number of persons experiencing long-term chronic homelessness and Veterans increased.” At the same time as this report came out, community leaders from across the country had gathered for a “People’s Hearing on Housing,” less than two miles away from HUD headquarters in Washington. They hadn’t yet read the agency’s report, but they did not have to.

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Sam Pizzigati

GOP Tax Cuts Hardwire Inequity for Poor and Middle Class

The U.S. Senate has now passed the most significant tax “reform” legislation since 1986. The legislation, most pundits believe, will likely become the new law of the land within weeks. What will that mean? We already have all sorts of numbers from reputable researchers on who will now see really big savings on their tax returns (the rich) and who won’t (everybody else). We also have official — and sobering — congressional research estimates on what the GOP tax changes, once put in place, will mean for the nation’s economic growth and the federal budget deficit.

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Tim Wilkins

The People’s Hearing on the Housing Crisis

The nation’s housing crisis has reached emergency levels. Instead of meeting the challenges of the crisis, elected officials are supporting a budget and tax scam that will only aggravate the situation for low-income and working-class people and communities of color. More than 100 people from cities, suburbs and rural communities around the country have traveled hundreds of miles to Washington, D.C. to tell Congress members in person about the terrifying struggle they face trying to afford housing. They are joined at a live hearing by Congress members including Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). Participants attending the hearing are from People’s Action organizations in New York City, Buffalo, New Jersey, Wisconsin (Milwaukee and Wausau), Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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Richard Eskow

“Every Darn Penny”: The GOP’s Philosophy on Death and Taxes

Republican Senator Charles Grassley tells the Des Moines Register his party’s plan for deep tax cuts to the rich “recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.” Perhaps Sen. Grassley is replaying an old record from his youth. “Cigarettes, whiskey, and wild wild women,” sang the Sons of the Pioneers in 1947. “They’ll drive you crazy, they’ll drive you insane.” So much for that newfound Republican populism we’ve been hearing so much about. So why, Senator Grassley, can’t we all just be rich, like you? Every Darn Penny Working people don’t have much to spend on entertainment nowadays, because it takes “every darn penny they have” just to survive.

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Isaiah J. Poole

A Newly Elected Democratic Socialist On How to Win in Trump Country

“I’d like to think of myself as ordinary,” says Ross Grooters as he describes his life in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, an eastern suburb of Des Moines. But then he corrects himself. “Most people’s passions or enjoyment are not going out and doing activist things, so that’s where I’m not an ordinary Joe.” Indeed, it has been a long, strange trip for Grooters. After growing up as an “Air Force brat” in a conservative California family in the 1980s, this November, Grooters was elected to the Pleasant Hill City Council as a card-carrying member of the Democratic Socialists of America, having run on an openly left-wing platform. Grooters’ victory this year came in a town that in 2016 voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by a five-point margin, showing that even in a Republican-leaning area, socialists can win elections.

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Robert Borosage

It’s Time To Change More Than Trump

Every day, the media feasts on Trump’s lurid antics. Don’t fall for it. He’s a distraction, the clown show. And while he’s barking outside the big top, the GOP is inside, cutting away at our economy and the very essentials of our public life. The tax bill Republicans are trying to ramrod through the Congress provides a clear reminder that the real threat we face is a rabidly ideological GOP, now in full control of all branches of government, in Washington and in 26 states. Now, virtually unified Republican caucuses in both Houses are on the verge of passing truly grotesque tax legislation that will give more than 60 percent of its benefits to the richest 1 percent in the nation, while raising taxes on nearly all working families. Rule By Tweet Trump tweets out anti-Muslim videos from a far-right British hate group, earning condemnation from our closest ally.

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