The Economy is Bad. Congress Needs to Fix It

It’s been a big week for economic news. From drama in Congress over the Build Back Better negotiations to continued economic strife affecting working Americans to new tax benefits offered to the rich, our economy is steadily moving in further favor of the wealthy, and the federal government appears ill-equipped to rise to the occasion.

This week, we’ll look into how our current economy, policies, and tax code all serve to enrich the rich at the expense of average Americans.

Workers Should Not Be Sacrificed in a Misguided Effort to Tame Inflation by Joseph Stiglitz & Dean Baker

Between supply chain shortages, skyrocketing inflation, and slowing wage growth, our economy is looking as rocky as ever, and ordinary Americans are the ones suffering the most as a result. While everyone feels the effects of this to some extent, the solutions currently being implemented, like interest rate hikes, disproportionately harm poor and middle-class Americans. But if workers, who make up the vast majority of Americans, are the sacrificial lambs to appease market forces, how “beneficial” can those solutions be? If we want to curb inflation, especially inflation that results from supply-side issues, we need to ensure that our solutions do not come at the cost of our nation’s workers. Strengthening our social safety nets, giving workers’ unions adequate bargaining power, and keeping price-gouging corporations in check to prevent exploitation are all ways we can help our citizens weather this storm.

Some House Democrats threaten to revolt against a Manchin-approved spending plan if a tax cut for the rich isn’t included by Joseph Zeballos-Roig

President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill has faced its fair share of roadblocks in the Senate from Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Their stonewalling has left this spending plan in the air for over a year. Now, just as Democrats in the Senate are getting Joe Manchin on board with a new version and reviving what was thought to be a dead bill, House Democrat Josh Gottheimer, a shameless stooge for his wealthy donors, is trying to hold the legislation hostage to force Democrats to pass a tax cut for the rich. Josh wants to see the plan eliminate the deduction cap on State and Local Taxes (SALT). He’s willing to take down the entire thing if he doesn’t get what he wants, even though removing the SALT cap would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest people in Gottheimer’s state.

IRS Gives Wealthy Families More Time to Shelter Assets from Estate Tax by Ashlea Ebeling

America’s current estate tax is a great deal for our country’s rich, and it just got even better. The 2017 Trump tax cuts already gave the rich the ability to pass on over $11 million tax-free to their heirs, but the IRS just made it even easier for them to avoid paying estate taxes. The agency recently extended the time frame someone can file to shelter their assets to five years after death, giving the ultra-wealthy more opportunities to find loopholes and exemptions to avoid paying their fair share. Yet again, the tax tools that the average citizen has access to pale in comparison to those given to the rich.

What the latest jobs report means by Madeleine Ngo

The wage boom we saw late last year is now a bust for workers. Over the last several months, as inflation has skyrocketed, wages have been unable to keep up, negating any gains that workers have made. The most recent jobs report shows that wage growth has slowed even as inflation continues to rise. While some say this is good news because it means we’re avoiding a “wage-price spiral” that would make inflation worse, that’s a poor consolation for workers falling further behind. We can’t think of any reason why American workers – who have struggled with inadequate wages for years – making less could be considered a good thing. Our economy should work for everyone, and if the American people are disproportionately suffering in our current economy compared to the rich, we need to ensure we care for them as well.

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