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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Can Trump’s Koch-Funded Appointees Stall America’s Clean Energy Momentum?

Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who also has received generous contributions from the Kochs over the years, tapped Fisher to conduct a study to assess if federal support for renewable energy threatens baseload power generators — nuclear and coal plants — and undermines electricity grid reliability.

May 20, 2017
Trump, Intelligence Deficit

Trump Appointee Could Open Federal Land To Oil And Gas Companies

President Donald Trump is appointing an oil and gas industry lobbyist to help run the Interior Department — just as the agency is facing criticism from a federal watchdog over the ways it helps fossil fuel firms evade environmental rules.

May 11, 2017

Bernanke Says Trump Tax Cut A Bad Idea

President Donald Trump has proposed a massive tax cut that would lower the corporate rate to 15 percent from 35 percent, reduce the number of individual tax brackets, and eliminate the alternative minimum tax as well as the inheritance tax, subscribing to the discredited theory that tax cuts for the rich trickle down through the economy.

May 8, 2017
Donald Trump CNN

Another GOP Tax Plan For Millionaires

As he ran for office, Donald Trump repeatedly reminded audiences that he was “really, really rich,” but assured voters that as president he would be a working man’s champion, a blue-collar Superman. He said he would stop corporations from offshoring manufacturing jobs with a border adjustment tax on imports. He would end trade cheating and declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in office. He would launch within his first 100 days a $1 trillion infrastructure improvement program to create millions of jobs fixing the nation’s airports, bridges and roads.

May 4, 2017

Trumpcare Would Give Rich Republican Politicians A Tax Break

To help pay for coverage, the original Affordable Care Act in 2013 implemented a Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT), which slapped a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for the wealthiest Americans. The tax covers couples making over $250,000 a year and single people making over $200,000 a year, so not many people end up paying it: only 3.4 million out of 147 million tax returns filed in 2014 paid the tax, or 2.3 percent of all filers, according to the Center for Tax Justice.

May 4, 2017

As Trump Budget Plans Fade, Republicans Brace For War With Each Other

“Instead of fighting for President Trump’s conservative budget priorities, they have surrendered to the Democrats once again,” Ken Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general who heads the Senate Conservatives Fund, said of congressional Republican leaders. Democrats are elated over the $1.07 trillion budget deal, which reads almost like an Obama administration blueprint.

May 3, 2017
US Flag

Populism Is Not About Mobs, Anti-Government Rants Or Opinion Polls

If a political pollster asked whether I consider myself a conservative or a liberal, I’d answer, “No.” Not to be cute — I have a bit of both in me — but because, like most Americans, my beliefs can’t be squeezed into either of the tidy little boxes that the establishment provides. I’ve observed that the true political spectrum in our society does not range from right to left, but from top to bottom. This is how America’s economic and political systems really shake out, with each of us located somewhere high or low that spectrum.

May 3, 2017

NIH To Get A $2 Billion Funding Boost As Congress Rebuffs Trump’s Call For Cuts

Congress has rebuffed President Trump’s proposal to cut $1.2 billion from the National Institutes of Health budget in the current fiscal year. Lawmakers instead are boosting NIH funding by $2 billion, under a spending agreement reached late Sunday night. The deal does not address funding for 2018, when Trump has called for a dramatic $5.8 billion budget cut for the NIH, which funds medical research across the country.

May 1, 2017
Mexico, Trump, Wall

The Press Struggles To Finally Break Its “Populist” Habit For Trump

Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus announced that Trump’s “populist revolution” is “already over — at least for now.” The Week agreed that Trump is “beating a hasty retreat from populism.” And even The New York Times, which has been an aggressive promoter of the “populist” meme, recently noted that Trump, “has stocked his administration with billionaires and lobbyists while turning over his economic program to a Wall Street banker.”

May 1, 2017

Economist Shows Why Escaping Poverty Is So Difficult In America

In order to get out of poverty, you have to basically be extremely lucky for almost 20 years, according to a new book The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, by economist Peter Temin. So many deep-seeded factors have lead to the economic and wealth inequality in the U.S. today (from slavery through to the new Jim Crow prisons crisis of today, to technological shifts, to globalization, corporatization and so much else) that few Americans stand a realistic chance of ever changing their economic status.

April 30, 2017
Trump TV Ratings

The Great Job Exodus Is Upon Us: Trump’s Promise To Save American Labor Is Already A Bust

One of the many impossible promises Donald Trump made on the campaign trail was that he, and he alone, would be able to stem the tide of American jobs moving overseas. Though it was on its face a lie as unbelievable and untenable as all the other lies, it only further solidified Trump’s “America First” bonafides with his base.

April 29, 2017
Executive Orders, Trump, Immigrant

Trump’s Tax Cuts Ignore History And Arithmetic

But despite over 40 years of making the argument, the GOP has never confronted one salient point: The Laffer Curve has no numbers. Even if the theory is correct—and experience demonstrates it is not—the curve itself proves that there is a point where tax cuts become irresponsible, causing deficits to explode.

April 28, 2017
California, Trump, Ethics

Trump’s Tax Plan Could Cost Government $6 Trillion

The president will be “pretty broad in the principles” of tax reform that he lays out with more details coming in the summer, his director of legislative affairs, Marc Short, told the Associated Press. But what it boils down to is major hikes in the amount people can deduct from their taxes and large cuts for small businesses and corporations.

April 26, 2017
Trump is ripping us off

Why Trump Shutdown Threat Is A No-Win For Republicans

Republicans, Democrats and outside experts agree that there’s little political logic to the Trump White House’s threat to shut down the government this week because it insists funding for a border wall be included in the budget. Yet that’s exactly the scenario the White House appears to be entertaining as it holds a hard line on funding negotiations.

April 24, 2017

America Is Regressing Into A Developing Nation For Most People

In a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Peter Temin, professor emeritus of economics at MIT, draws a portrait of the new reality in a way that is frighteningly, indelibly clear: America is not one country anymore. It is becoming two, each with vastly different resources, expectations and fates.

April 22, 2017

Will Trump’s Order Help US Tech Workers Or Not?

“It’s weaker than it could have been,” Ron Hira, a political scientist at Howard University and longtime H-1B critic, told me. “Some things can be done through policy guidance, policy memos and regulation writing.” On the other hand, Hira was pleased that Trump at least acknowledged the problem, something his predecessors had not done.

April 20, 2017
House Democrats walk out on the East Front on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., after their sit-in over gun-control law. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Drive The Wedge, Democrats

Obama wasn’t importing anybody. But otherwise King was right. Naturalized immigrants, or their natural-born children, would likely over time vote Democratic. A raw political power move, maybe. This was astute political analysis underneath a layer of racism.

April 19, 2017

British Prime Minister Calls For Early Election

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Tuesday she will seek an early election on June 8. Three weeks after officially launching the process for Britain to exit the European Union, May said opposition parties are threatening to derail the process and that parliament is not coming together in the same way as the nation.

April 18, 2017
Time Travelers

With Marches, Progressives Enter Tax Reform Fray

Tax policies “lack a certain sexiness as a cause,” one of the march’s national organizers, Maura Quint, concedes. But she and others on the executive committee are hoping that the progressive anger over Trump and his lack of transparency can help launch the discussion about tax fairness and economic justice, issues that are implicit in the debate over how to structure the U.S. tax code.

April 15, 2017

How Can We Stop Banksters From Robbing Us?

It turns out that being “a paragon of big-banker virtue” is not at all the same as being a virtuous human being. Banker elites don’t get paid the big bucks by “doing what’s right,” but by doing what’s most profitable — and that means cutting corners on ethics, common decency and the golden rule.

April 12, 2017
Bannon, Breitbart, Trump

Steve Bannon Failed His Father, Not AT&T

But where was Steve Bannon — Marty Bannon’s big shot son, a former Goldman Sachs banker and now political adviser to Donald Trump — when he unloaded his life savings at the bottom of the market? Apparently not calling home and saying, “Dad, don’t sell your stock now.” Instead, the younger Bannon exploited his father’s financial trauma to sell his doctrine of economic nationalism — a mishmash of emotions that blames everyone but oneself.

March 16, 2017
Obama, Trump, Economy

How Trump Is Claiming Credit For Obama’s Successes

Since almost immediately after his inauguration as 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump has been claiming credit for what he sees as a miraculous recovery in the nation’s economy. But how much credit is actually due to his administration?

March 13, 2017
Unions, Right To Work

The Red-State Trend That’s Coming To A Blue State Near You

When the AFL-CIO and other critics of right-to-work laws describe them as “right-to-work-for-less” laws, they aren’t merely being rhetorical; research demonstrates that right-to-work promotes inferior working conditions.

March 12, 2017
Disaster capitalism, corporations, war

How Corporations Make A Killing Out Of Catastrophe

In his new book, Antony Loewenstein analyzes not only how natural disasters and war can be vehicles for capitalist policies, but how corporations push their neoliberal agenda and rake in enormous sums of cash, from immigration, refugee detention, prisons, and discoveries of natural resource reserve

March 12, 2017
Working class, Trump, Con

Will Wage Growth Be Trump’s Great White Whale?

You’ll see plenty of headlines about how earnings have “accelerated,” but that’s only if you’re a hawk, a nitpicker-in-extremis, or you earn so much money that money is an abstraction.

March 11, 2017