By David Dayen
The ACLU plans to sue Morgan Stanley on behalf of five named plaintiffs (they will seek class action status), for the investment bank's role in fueling what they view as a discriminatory subprime bubble. In doing so, the ACLU will try to pioneer a new legal strategy, by going after the securitizer of the loans instead of the now-defunct originator.
By Tina Dupuy
Wal-Mart is the biggest retailer in the world. It boasts of having 1.2 million Americans on their payroll. Its reported annual profits are around $13 billion. So it’s safe to say since it is so big - and so ubiquitous - and so obviously successful - the government can now stop subsidizing it.
By Jamie Court
Californians finally saw $5 per gallon at their pumps last week. Unfortunately, it's not likely to be the last time.
The Los Angeles Times published my op-ed Friday, "Refueling California," where I detail how sudden price spikes will plague drivers here until we adopt some simple reforms recommended by a state taskforce more than a decade ago.
By Rev. Jim Conn
When a man makes millions a year and pays a paltry tax of 13 percent and then demonizes people too poor or too old to pay any, who's the "moocher?" Well, that's easy, but besides the really rich, those of us who are in the middle class also get lots of breaks. The federal tax code offers tax deductions that support our comfort, while the budget delivers subsidies that underwrite the way we live. Some of these are obvious, some obscure and some buried so deep we don't bother to count them.
By Stacy Malkan
The people's movement for our right to know what's in our food has hit a critical fork in the road: the moment when it's time to ask ourselves and each other - how hard are we willing to fight for our basic right to know what's in the food we're eating and feeding our families?
Proposition 37 is the litmus test for whether there is actually a food movement in this country, writes Michael Pollan in an article in Sunday's New York Times Magazine. It may also be the litmus test for whether there is democracy left in this country.
By Sheila Kuehl
Prop 31 is a collection of seven disparate provisions gathered together by a collection of think-tanks and pundits aimed changing state government procedures. It is primarily the brainchild of an organization called California Forward, which was put together by Common Cause and the Center for Governmental Studies, among others, and funded by five foundations, including the California Endowment. The hope was to find ways to make government more efficient and responsive. However, several critics have opined that Prop 31 doesn't really accomplish the goal, but simply recycles a number of ideas that have been floated through the years without a good deal of empirical evidence on whether or not they accomplish what they set out to do.
By Steve Hochstadt
TV commentators say Mitt Romney won the first presidential debate. He won it on taxes: "I don't have a $5 trillion tax cut … My number one principle is there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit … I will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans … I will not, under any circumstance raise taxes on middle-income families. I will lower taxes on middle-income families." Should we believe that?
By Sheila Kuehl
This is the second in a series of essays analyzing the Propositions appearing on California's November ballot. This essay describes Proposition 38, which amends state statutes (not the Constitution) to increase state income tax for any Californian earning more than $7316 a year, and allocates the increased revenues to K-12 education, state debt and early childhood education. I'll also address what happens if both the tax measures, Propositions 30 and 38, should pass.
By Dan Bacher
The Westlands Water District, regarded as the poster child of government-subsidized corporate agribusiness in California, is apparently posing as the anti-tax, anti-big government "Central Valley Tea Party" in an attack on Restore the Delta's documentary Over Troubled Waters.
In a statement, Restore the Delta (RTD) on October 3 exposed the effort by Westlands, one of the largest beneficiaries of taxpayer subsidies, for "masquerading" as the "Central Valley Tea Party" to instigate opposition to RTD's film documenting the public subsidies of water for huge, unsustainable corporate agribusiness on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
RTD is a well-respected coalition of farmers, fishermen, environmentalists and business owners dedicated to a fair water policy in California.
By Sheila Kuehl
When Governor Brown took office, he erroneously believed he was dealing with the same California Republican party with whom he had worked out so many things in the past. Instead, he was strung along just long enough for the temporary taxes put into place by Gov. Schwarzenegger, which were simply supposed to be extended, to expire. Left with no alternative, the Governor put his version, a continuation of the Schwarzenegger tax increases, out for signature. At the same time, a proposed initiative, cheerfully dubbed the Millionaire's Tax, was circulating and the two seemed destined to do some harm to each other, especially since the provisions of the Millionaire's Tax were polling better. As Sen. Russell B. Long once put it, "Don't tax him and don't tax me, tax that guy behind the tree." That would be the rich, and the 99% seemed very willing to do it.