Here’s some good news and bad news about the economy. The good news is, the median American household income is up, the highest it’s been since pre-recession 2007. The bad news? Not surprisingly, not all American households are created equal. Despite the growing trend of prosperity among family groups and a (somewhat disputed) wave of general economic growth since the end of the recession, the gains have not been distributed fairly to black Americans. In fact, the wage gap is growing between black and white Americans, and today, the gap is the widest it’s been in 40 years.
JPMorgan Chase, like so many corporations, is trying to have its cake and eat it under the Trump administration. In the last few weeks, it has invested time, public relations’ efforts and money in presenting itself as a defender of human rights. But the $2 million Chase pledged to fight racism is a drop in the ocean compared to the potential yield from its massive investment in the private prison system: one of the starkest manifestations of racial injustice in the U.S. today, profiting primarily from the detention of immigrants seeking a new life in the U.S.
That is the takeaway from a dramatic new report, “The Road to Zero Wealth,” co-authored by the Institute for Policy Studies and Prosperity Now. It finds America’s racial wealth gap is larger than thought and deepening. Ironically, the report comes as working-class whites who feel economically adrift helped elect a president and Congress to prioritize their community—as opposed to reviving everyone in a sinking middle class.
Most of us are willing to help out those who are less well off. Whether it comes from religious belief or a sense of basic decency we feel are an obligation to provide the basic necessities of life for the poor. But how would we feel about being taxed $1,000 a year to provide six figure salaries to people in the financial sector? Although no candidate to my knowledge has ever run on this platform, this is the nature of the retirement system the federal government has constructed for us.
“The devastation left by Hurricane Irma was far greater, at least in certain locations, than anyone thought,” President Donald Trump said in a Twitter comment, adding that “amazing people” were working hard. Teams of emergency workers rescued more people from flooded communities, repaired roads, cleared debris and started restoring power to millions of residences and businesses.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Florida Power and Light (FPL) CEO Eric Silagy announced Sunday evening that more than 2 million households and businesses in South Florida would not get power restoration for weeks. FPL Vice President of Communications Rob Gould also told ABC News that affected areas will see a “wholesale rebuild” of the electrical grid, which could be considered the “longest restoration in U.S. history.” FPL serves more than 10 million customers across Florida.
When the Aztecs founded Tenochtitlán in 1325, they built it on a large island on Lake Texcoco. Its eventual 200,000-plus inhabitants relied on canals, levees, dikes, floating gardens, aqueducts and bridges for defense, transportation, flood control, drinking water and food. After the Spaniards conquered the city in 1521, they drained the lake and built Mexico City over it.
The Canadian Royal Mounties have offered to ride to the rescue of beleaguered American workers. It doesn’t sound right. Americans perceive themselves to be the heroes. They are, after all, the country whose intervention won World War II, the country whose symbol, the Statue of Liberty, lifts her lamp to light the way, as the poem at the statue’s base says, for the yearning masses and wretched refuse, for the homeless and tempest-tossed.
Democrats, who have been virtually powerless since Trump became president and Republicans maintained control of Congress this year, found a surprising new ally during a White House meeting with leaders of both parties. “We essentially came to a deal, and I think the deal will be very good,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he headed to North Dakota to promote tax reform. “We had a very, very cordial and professional meeting.”
Blustering about a trade war with a key ally in a dangerous confrontation is insane. What’s it about? It could reflect a sadistic impulse to exact pain when people are down. It could be an exercise in “base” cultivation, stoking the uninformed belief that free trade is a kind of foreign aid, a one-way street benefiting foreigners at the expense of Americans. It could be he has no idea what he’s doing.
The disaster in Houston has put many conservatives on the defensive. Houston was their urban model. Developers could put almost anything anywhere, which lowered the cost of living. By unfavorable comparison, “elite” coastal cities that regulate development have relatively high housing costs. But it’s an extreme creed that portrays regulation as the enemy of investment. In the real world, smart regulation can protect investments.
Most Americans today know that Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968, but few know why he was there. King went to Memphis to support African American garbage workers, who were on strike to protest unsafe conditions, abusive white supervisors, and low wages — and to gain recognition for their union. Their picket signs relayed a simple but profound message: “I Am A Man.”
Watching helplessly as flood waters rose was not an option for Brandon Parker. This Texas refinery worker and member of the United Steelworkers union has a jacked-up Suburban and a friend with a boat. There was no way he was going to let family members, neighbors or strangers drown. Like Parker, many union members couldn’t sit still through the storm. One drove her high-riding pickup truck two hours to find baby formula for co-workers rescued from their roof with a newborn. Another used his pickup truck to rescue people whose cars got caught in fast-moving water.
So it came as a surprise to hear Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatening state interference in the workings of supply and demand. Some sellers have been using the disruption caused by Hurricane Harvey to raise prices on goods and services (such as bottled water and hotel rooms) that are suddenly more valuable than they were before. But Paxton is not having it.
Trump has shown some hesitation to undo the order, expressing sympathy for those protected by it. But a group of state attorneys general, who view the program as an example of illegal executive overreach, have given him an ultimatum: End DACA by Tuesday or defend it before a judge who blocked a similar program in 2014 that would have protected undocumented parents.
“In the Houston metro area alone, there is more than $325 billion in residential value at risk,” Simmons said in an interview. “Most damage to residential property will be flooding and if people don’t have flood insurance they are on their own.” (Most don’t, in part because the floodwaters reached so far beyond established danger zones.)
With the shutdown of oil refineries and chemical plants, impaired roads and ports, and widespread damage to homes, businesses and cars, the economic toll from Hurricane Harvey is now being estimated as the second-costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, trailing only the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Nearly 8 million Obamacare policyholders who now receive federal subsidies to help defray the cost of their health insurance could lose that support and see premiums rise by 20 percent starting next January if the Trump administration stops those “cost sharing reductions” in 2018, two congressional fiscal agencies reported Tuesday.
Donald Trump is a businessman who has routinely hired foreign guest workers to staff his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, claiming it’s impossible to find Americans to do the work. But his administration now wants to shut out foreigners who fill comparable jobs, which he now insists Americans would be happy to take. Consistency is not a Trump obsession.
When President Trump ordered federal agencies to form teams to dismantle government regulations, the Transportation Department turned to people with deep industry ties. One appointee had previously lobbied the department on behalf of American Airlines.
The U.N. Security Council on Saturday unanimously approved a sanctions resolution that the United States said was the strictest imposed “on any country in a generation,” banning North Korea from exporting many of its most lucrative products, ranging from coal to iron ore to seafood and even some of its artwork.
Faced with competition, some pharmaceutical companies are cutting deals with insurance companies to favor their brand-name products over cheaper generics. Insurers pay less, but sometimes consumers pay more. Adderall XR, a drug to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a case in point.
This week, the Trump administration took the rare step of declaring Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a “dictator,” freezing his assets and banning Americans from doing business with him. It looked like a big deal. Phones pinged with alerts, and cable news channels carried the announcement live.
However, a new body of research reveals another major barrier, previously missing from most studies: People living with disabilities also face extra costs of living.