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Tuesday, September 26, 2017
David Cay Johnston

David Cay Johnston won a 2001 Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of taxes in The New York Times. The Washington Monthly calls him “one of America’s most important journalists” and the Portland Oregonian says is work is the equal of the great muckrakers Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens and Upton Sinclair.

At 19 he became a staff writer at the San Jose Mercury and then reported for the Detroit Free Press, Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and from 1995 to 2008 The New York Times.

Johnston is in his eighth year teaching the tax, property and regulatory law at Syracuse University College of Law and Whitman School of Management.

He also writes for USA Today, Newsweek and Tax Analysts.

Johnston is the immediate past president of the 5,700-member Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) and is board president of the nonprofit Investigative Post in Buffalo.

His latest book Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality an anthology he edited. He also wrote a trilogy on hidden aspects of the American economy -- Perfectly Legal, Free Lunch, and The Fine Print – and a casino industry exposé, Temples of Chance.

Memo To Democrats: Change Campaign Strategy Or Keep Losing

Democrats can win control of the House of Representatives, governorships and many other offices in November if they do just one thing: Stop playing politics the way the Koch brothers and other right-wing billionaires do. A surefire way to make sure Republicans stay in power is to continue pouring most campaign money into costly television […]

September 12, 2014
Watergate: Richard Nixon resigning the presidency amid Watergate scandal, August 9, 1974

What We Lost 40 Years Ago When Nixon Resigned

Four decades ago this weekend, in the living room of Jerry Ford’s high-school civics teacher, I watched on television the end of the Watergate nightmare. What we could not have known then was that we were also at the beginning of a new national nightmare, a much worse disaster that slowly erodes our Constitution, our […]

August 8, 2014

Governor Christie Embraces Theft

Embattled New Jersey governor Chris Christie has come out foursquare for wage theft. As reported Sunday by Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post, Christie met with 200 citizens at the Jersey shore last week and, regarding state worker retirement benefits, declared: “Promises were made that can’t be kept… Welcome to the real world, folks.” Tumulty […]

July 28, 2014

Heritage Tries Its Hand At News, But Forgets The Facts

The Daily Signal,  The Heritage Foundation’s online “news” website, debuted Tuesday, offering up vagaries and unverifiable assertions aplenty, but too few empirical facts and little in the way of attribution. Its first video was a publicist’s dream, a puff piece that no serious news organization would air. What appears in The Daily Signal matters because […]

June 3, 2014
Walmart, Memo Pad, National News, Taxpayers, Government Subsidies, Waltons, Taxes

Walmart On Welfare: Government Subsidies & Taxpayers For The Waltons

Imagine if Walmarts owners, the Waltons, weren’t on the dole and pulled themselves up by their own proverbial bootstraps.

April 14, 2014

NFL’s Defense Of ‘Redskins’ Falls Woefully Short

Using slurs seems a simple issue:  It is morally wrong and offensive. But to Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, “the issue is undeniably complex.” Goodell wrote those words in a very sophisticated and carefully crafted Feb. 27 letter defending the name of the football team in the nation’s capital. The National Memo has obtained a […]

March 6, 2014

Brent Bozell: Media Critic And Fraud

Far-right media critic L. Brent Bozell III is a fraud, the Romenesko blog for journalists revealed after some deft reporting last week. This unmasking should interest every centrist and progressive. Those of us who have been reading Bozell for years were deceived because, as Jim Romenesko revealed, Bozell did not write the columns bearing his byline. […]

February 17, 2014
Income Inequality

AEI Does Itself A Disservice With Obvious Lies

How many Americans think income inequality is our greatest challenge, as President Obama asserts? According to what, at least until now, has been one of the most respected pro-business research organizations in Washington, the number of Americans holding this view totals just 315. The figure of 315 comes from James Pethokoukis, a “scholar” at the American […]

February 10, 2014

National Review Is In Deep Trouble

The late William F. Buckley’s journalistic baby, National Review, is in deep legal trouble. This week it asked subscribers like me for donations to pay lawyers fending off a libel suit. Those legal bills, even before a trial it may well lose, could sink the leading right-wing journal in America, The Week says. Progressives, liberals, conservatives […]

January 31, 2014

Willful Blindness Worsens Inequality

The rich really are getting richer, while the vast majority is getting poorer. All you have to do is look at the official government data to know this. Sadly, though, most of our nationally prominent journalists, especially David Brooks of The New York Times and PBS, do not know this because they neglect to do […]

January 17, 2014
News, Newspapers

Honoring The Word Police

Let us praise copy editors — and mourn their dwindling numbers. Copy editors are to writers as nets are to trapeze artists, saving us from typos, careless mistakes and metaphors so slippery that no reader can grasp their meaning. Today’s Internet is rich with snarky observations highlighting mistakes that, until the last decade, copy editors […]

January 3, 2014

Dying Sooner: America Falls Behind On Longevity

Breaking News Alert – Longevity in America is falling behind the rest of the modern world, where universal health care is ubiquitous and paid time off for illness, child bearing and vacations are common, unlike the United States. Life expectancy at birth in America is now a year shorter than the average of 34 modern countries, while […]

November 21, 2013
hundred dollar bills money

Big Majorities Favor Progressive Tax-And-Spend Policies, Polls Show

A new poll finds clear, overwhelming public support for specific tax increases on big corporations and the rich.

November 12, 2013
NYT New York Times Donald Trump

Obamacare Penalized By Flawed Reporting In The New York Times

News flash – there is no penalty for failing to get health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. This news flash is prompted by a headline atop the front page of The New York Times Monday morning: “Talk of Penalty is Missing in Ads for Health Care.” Reporter Anemona Hartocollis […]

November 11, 2013

Job Creation: The Latest Taxpayer-Funded Scandal

Republican governors are actually creating jobs, and sometimes big-paying jobs. However, these are not jobs for you or your neighbors, but for their friends — also known as campaign donors — a new report shows. These newly created jobs do not manufacture products. They don’t even provide a service. Well, technically they do — serving […]

October 23, 2013

Same Job, Same Size Budget Equals Less Pay for Women

Hey, married men – wake up! Your working wives are getting shorted on pay and that means your family has less money than it should. A new report on pay, made public today by Guidestar USA  proves discrimination against women is pervasive. The new report compares men and women with the same positions at similarly sized […]

September 16, 2013

Failed Policy — The 401(k) Shrinks In A Growing Economy

Disturbing new evidence that government policies are propelling us toward a poorer future turns up in a first-ever government examination of retirement savings plans like 401(k)s. The report, from the Internal Revenue Service, shows that even though the economy is improving, the number of workers saving out of their paychecks for old age is shrinking. […]

September 5, 2013
payday loans

Making ‘Too Big To Fail’ Banks Help Poor Borrowers

Predatory lenders are folding fast in New York State, thanks to a savvy banking regulator who takes his duty to protect the public as seriously as his duties to the financial industry — and knows how to use the law to get quick action. Nine of 35 predatory lenders closed their operations in the Empire […]

August 29, 2013

Washington Post Sale Ushers In A New Age Of Publishing

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post — a newspaper no one knew was for sale — on Monday, in a move with enormous implications for not just the news, digital, and retail industries, but for the future of democracy in America. The Washington Post sale makes it much more likely that The New York Times, […]

August 5, 2013

Corporate Tax Rates Plummet As Profits Soar

Individual income tax payments have been rising fast since the economy began to recover, even though wages have hardly budged. But the same isn’t true for taxes for most corporations. For the vast majority of America’s 5.8 million corporations, profits soared in 2010 — up 53 percent compared to 2009 — when the recession official […]

July 16, 2013

Wages Fall At Record Pace

Breaking news alert! Wages fell at the fastest rate ever recorded during the first quarter of this year, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Hourly wages fell 3.8 percent in the first quarter, the biggest drop since the BLS began tracking compensation in 1947. Productivity rose half a percentage point. The result was that […]

June 20, 2013

Labor’s Share Plummets, Capital’s Share Soars: New Fed Data

Powerful new data shows just how badly American workers are faring in the 21st Century, as corporate profits soar ever higher. Labor and capital share in the nation’s economic output, but an awful trend line for working people appears in data released Wednesday night by the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis. Dean Baker, the […]

June 6, 2013

Inequality Rising — All Thanks To Government Policies

A revealing new examination of the top 1 percent in a variety of countries brings into focus how the American government’s tax, union bargaining, inheritance and other rules widen the growing divide between those at the top and everyone else. Four economists found that such wealthy and technologically advanced countries as Japan, France and Germany have […]

May 31, 2013

Separate But Unequal: Apple Defers Its Taxes, You Foot The Bill

The richest of the rich are different from you and me because instead of paying taxes, Congress lets them pay interest. This little-known difference was on full display before the Senate Permanent Investigations subcommittee this week, though you would hardly know that from the news reports of testimony by Apple CEO Tim Cook and his […]

May 23, 2013

A Waning Voice In The Village

The firings of three longtime Village Voice writers remind us what an innovative, irascible and entertaining paper the tabloid was for five decades and how, like much of the rest of the press, it now slouches towards irrelevance for our culture and our democracy. Theater critic Michael Feingold and food critic Robert Sietsema were fired, […]

May 21, 2013