Economy


Why Is Washington Cutting Safety Nets Now?

By Robert Reich

So how to explain this paradox?

As of November 1 more than 47 million Americans have lost some or all of their food stamp benefits. House Republicans are pushing for further cuts. If the sequester isn’t stopped everything else poor and working-class Americans depend on will be further squeezed.

We’re not talking about a small sliver of America here. Half of all children get food stamps at some point during their childhood. Half of all adults get them sometime between ages 18 and 65. Many employers – including the nation’s largest, Walmart – now pay so little that food stamps are necessary in order to keep food on the family table and other forms of assistance are required to keep a roof overhead.

California's Missed Opportunity to Help The Unemployed

By Claudia Viek


California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity

This legislative session, California missed an opportunity to create a Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program that would have created 5,200 new businesses and 15,000 new jobs - from the ranks of the unemployed. Furthermore, the State missed the opportunity to receive $5.3 million in federal funds committed to run the program.

AB 152, Self-Employment Assistance program (Yamada) would have allowed the unemployed to keep their benefits while starting their own businesses. However, the bill didn’t make it out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee because the Employment Development Division (EDD) estimated that the cost of the program would exceed the $5.3 million available from the federal government.

AB 10: Time is Ripe for California to Raise the Minimum Wage

By Martin J. Bennett

The New York Times recently characterized the economic recovery that officially began in 2009 as a "golden era for corporate profits." Indeed, corporate profits doubled between 2008 and 2011 and reached a record high.

However, these increased profits have fueled inequality and come at the expense of worker compensation. Profits are now a larger share of total national income, and wages and benefits are a smaller share than at any time since the 1960s.

Over the last four decades productivity gains have overwhelmingly accrued to business and not labor. The Economic Policy Institute calculates that between 1973-2011 productivity increased by 80 percent, but median hourly compensation by only 11 percent.

End Enterprise Zone Abuse: Support Gov. Brown's Good Jobs Proposal

By Steve Smith

You've probably seen the stories by now: Enterprise zone tax breaks, which are supposed to provide incentives for good jobs, are instead going to strip clubs and low-wage mega corporations like Walmart.

The current enterprise zone program is shrouded in secrecy, with virtually no accountability or transparency. Study after study shows the program is a massive failure, wasting $750 million a year without doing much of anything to create new jobs.

The IRS's Real Scandal

By Robert Reich

"This systematic abuse cannot be fixed with just one resignation, or two," said David Camp, the Republican chairman of the House tax-writing committee, at an oversight hearing dealing with the IRS. "This is not a personnel problem. This is a problem of the IRS being too large, too intrusive, too abusive."

An Alternative to Austerity? Thousands Say "Tax Wall Street"

By Chuck Idelson
National Nurses United

They came, they danced, they marched, 2,000 people spirited and strong, Robin Hood's merry band of men and women, through the streets of Washington April 20.

Ending up astride a prominent government building, christened with a new name and a naming ceremony. No more U.S. Treasury, now, the banner declared, "The U.S. Treasury. A Citigroup Subsidiary. Jack Lew, Inc., CEO."

"We could end AIDS, reverse climate change, fund jobs and health care. Who do you work for Secretary Lew?" asked Jennifer Flynn, managing director of Health GAP (Global Action Project). "You work for the people, not Wall Street."

What Senators Saw at the U.S.-Mexico Border

By Michael Dear

Four U.S. Senators came to visit the Arizona border. Hosted by John McCain, Republican of Arizona, they were members of the so-called 'Gang of 8' - a bipartisan group currently drafting proposals for comprehensive immigration reform.

During their visit, the senators reportedly witnessed a migrant trying to scale the border wall before being apprehended by authorities. Such drama! (And such a coincidence...)

But being on the line does provoke fresh insights. "You can read and you can study and you can talk but until you see things it doesn't become reality," said Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, who was touring the border for the first time.

April Is the Cruelest Month As the Economy Crawls Along

By Robert Reich

Bad news on the economy. It added only 88,000 jobs in March - the slowest pace of job growth in nine months.

While the jobless rate fell to 7.6 percent, much of the drop was due to the labor force shrinking by almost a half million people. If you're not looking for work, you're not counted as unemployed.

That means the percentage of working-age Americans either with a job or looking for one dropped to 63.3 percent - its lowest level since 1979.

The direction isn't encouraging. The pace of job growth this year is slower than its pace last year.

What's going on? The simple fact is companies won't hire if consumers aren't buying enough to justify the new hires. And consumers don't have enough money, or credit, or confidence to buy enough.

Sen. Jerry Hill Announces New Legislation to Reform Flawed "Enterprise Zone" Corporate Tax Giveaway

By Rebecca Band

Imagine a system that gives companies enormous tax breaks for firing workers - and then forces those jobless workers to pay for those tax breaks themselves.

It might sound outrageous, but in California, that's the reality. Just ask Joan Beighley, who worked at VWR in Brisbane for 14 years before her job was eliminated when her employer decided to take advantage of the state's wasteful "enterprise zone" (EZ) corporate tax giveaway program. Thanks to this flawed program, VWR is able to collect up to $37,000 for each worker the company fired and replaced when they shut down their Brisbane facility and relocated to Visalia - even though no new jobs were created, and the jobs in Visalia pay a fraction of what the Brisbane workers earned for the same work.

Why Isn't There a War on Easter?

By Tina Dupuy

Why haven't these clever secularists tried to take over Easter just like they've allegedly hijacked Christmas? What's taking them so long?

Bill O'Reilly deciphered the secret scheme to de-Christian Christmas. On his Christmastime program last year he said, "I absolutely agree 100 percent that the diminishment of Christianity is the target and Christmas is the vehicle because the secularists know the opposition to their agenda - legalized drugs is in that as well - comes primarily from the Judeo-Christian traditionalist people."