Johnson, Dave

Dave Johnson is the founder and principal author at Seeing the Forest, a web magazine investigating how the right is beating the Democrats. He is a fellow at the Commonweal Institute, a Board of Directors member of Media Transparency, an advisor to The Philanthropy Network, and a member of the Netroots Advisory Council of the Drum Major Institute. This article originally appeared on Seeing the Forest and is republished with permission.

Walmart Says Its Element TVs Are "Assembled In USA" - But They Aren't

By Dave Johnson

Walmart runs commercials about how great they are for American workers, in part because they sell TVs manufactured by Element Electronics that are supposedly "Assembled in the USA." (Wait...isn't the "Walmart model" of selling cheap goods from China the reason everyone is so desperate for American-made goods?)

Want to Cut Food Stamp Spending? Raise the Minimum Wage

By Dave Johnson

Today, President Obama will give a speech on his plan to grow the economy and the middle class. On Thursday, fast-food workers will strike in 100 cities and stage protests in 100 others to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union without interference from employers. Here’s something to consider: raising the minimum wage cuts government spending on Food Stamps and other programs.

The Minimum Wage

SEC Finally Moves Rule Requiring Disclosure Of "Pay Ratios"

Dave JohnsonBy Dave Johnson

The 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act included a provision requiring publicly traded companies to report the “pay ratio” — the ratio of CEO compensation to worker compensation in that company. Corporate lobbying groups have been fight this rule tooth-and-nail. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today (finally) proposed specific rules that will make this actually happen.

A Corporate Tax Idea That Fixes Lots Of Problems

Dave JohnsonBy Dave Johnson

Here is one thing Congress could do that would create more jobs, boost the economy and reduce both the budget deficit and the trade deficit. This one thing would not only provide a big boost now, but would provide an ongoing boost from now on. Congress should modify the “deferral” tax loophole that lets companies dodge their taxes by moving and keeping profits “out of the country.”

Jobs Emergency Hollowing Out The Middle Class

By Dave Johnson

We have a jobs emergency that is hollowing out the middle class. Some say automation is the cause of our high unemployment and that it will get worse. Others say there are other structural problems and that our high unemployment is a "new normal." Perhaps these are contributing to the problems. But let's do the things that we know we can do and need to do today, and then we can talk about how to restructure our economy to help us deal with these changes.

The Discussion

The Real Reason Apple Can't Make Your iPhone in America

By Dave Johnson

We used to make things here, and then came free trade and then China opened up, and we moved a lot of manufacturing there, especially electronics. We say Apple here, because Apple is the most obvious, and because the supposed values of Apple conflict dramatically with what we now know about the working conditions of the people who make their products. But we mean ALL OF THEM.

We used to think that China got so much business because labor was cheap. The elites, benefiting from that, said take advantage of the low prices, and our workers can move on to better, more productive pursuits.

Of course, intentionally undercutting the wages of our own workers was bad enough. And using that as a wedge to break unions was bad enough. But the story of our trade deal with China is much worse than that.

Student Loan Bill Filibuster - How Was It Reported

By Dave Johnson

Republicans filibustered a bill yesterday to keep student loan interest rates from doubling. If the public understands that this bill keeps interest rates from doubling and that Republicans filibustered this bill, they can decide whether they approve or disapprove and act accordingly. They can decide who to hold accountable. Will the public receive this information?

Democracy Depends On Public Receiving Accurate Information

Democracy depends on an informed public that is able to receive accurate information. This way the public can make decisions that are based on the facts, and can hold their elected representatives accountable. This is why our Constitution guarantees a free press. The first amendment in the Bill of Rights says, "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of ... the press." Of course, then it's up to the press to remain free and unencumbered.

New Super-PAC Threatens to Destroy Candidates Who Side With the People Over Wall Street

By Dave Johnson

A new super-PAC with the purpose of destroying elected officials who oppose the interests of the super-PAC’s founders rather than focusing on electing candidates who favor their interests demonstrates how the movement conservatives on the Supreme Court have fundamentally altered our system.

A super-PAC is a political action committee with no limits on personal or corporate contributions and no limits on the amounts it spends. This system of unlimited corporate –and billionaire – spending for and against candidates was enabled by the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United that said corporations are “people” and the use of corporate money to influence elections is “speech.”

Should Be Made In America!

By Dave Johnson

We need to rebuild our country, and we need to do it with steel and supplies that are made in America. It actually costs taxpayers more to "save money" by outsourcing then it saves because of the "safety net" costs from lost jobs and factories. A new campaign launching Monday is going to use billboards to make this point to local officials who might outsource these projects. I attended the launch event.

New Campaign To Fight For Buy American When Using Tax Dollars

Cuts and Consequences - How Budget Cuts Hurt The Economy

By Dave Johnson

Is smaller government really better for the economy?

Conservatives chant that taxes and government "take money out of the economy" and we need to "cut and grow," meaning if government spending is cut way back the economy will grow as a result. Europe's conservatives are also forcing cuts in the things their governments do for regular people, claiming "austerity" will bring "confidence" that grows their economies.

How is this experiment working out? What are we learning about the effect on the larger economy when government is cut?

What Does Government Do?

Almost everything the government does is because it needs to be done. We need roads, bridges, schools and colleges, dams, courts, police and fire departments, water management, etc. (We can discuss the need for military spending another time.)