There are loopholes in the laws that allow employers to take advantage of their workers and avoid paying them or giving them benefits that they by rights are owed. As our economy changes in the face of automation, the gig economy, and new corporate employment schemes, we need to focus not just on how employees are treated, but on who counts as an employee at all.
This week, barely noticed amidst all other, bigger headlines in Washington, the Senate confirmed a Labor Secretary who will be a disaster for working people. A corporate lawyer by the name of Eugene Scalia, with an anti-labor, anti-worker record longer than the list of labor complaints against the Trump organization, will be the country’s top authority on protecting workers and fighting for labor rights. In … Continue reading Meet the New (Anti) Labor Secretary
One afternoon in Georgia, a man lifted a $2 can of beer from a corner store. He was quickly caught, prosecuted, and ordered to wear a $1,000 ankle monitoring device as part of a plea deal – at his own expense. The man, already impoverished, sold his plasma to try and make the minimum payments. When he fell behind, the court jailed him for not being able … Continue reading In Revenue Shortfalls, Don’t Fine the Poor – Tax the Rich
We know that algorithms can be used to institutionalize and credentialize injustices, but just recently the Trump administration proposed new rules to allow mortgage lenders to be exempt from claims of racial discrimination if they use algorithms.
If you’ve kept pace with the news recently, then you’ve been reading a lot over the last few weeks of horrific conditions in which some people in this country are being held: babies without diapers, children without beds, parents separated from their kids. Honestly, I am having trouble typing the keys on my keyboard because I am so disgusted thinking about it. The Trump administration, … Continue reading Money Shouldn’t Buy A Different Kind of Justice
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Maryland and North Carolina’s gerrymandered district maps. More precisely, it ruled that it did not have the ability to pass judgment on whether or not a map is excessively gerrymandered along partisan lines. Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in the court’s opinion that the maps were “blatant examples of partisanship,” but the 5-4 conservative majority fell … Continue reading Republicans Split Votes, Supreme Court Splits Hairs
From time to time, a news story about a very wealthy individual doing something very kind with their money goes viral. Billionaire Robert F. Smith recently paid off the student debt of the entire Morehouse College class of 2019. Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani, paid off student lunch debts for an entire Rhode Island school district. Last year, Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario pledged to donate … Continue reading Rich People’s Charity Won’t Save The World
The legacy of slavery and years of segregation have left a colossal wealth gap between white and black families that disadvantages Black Americans to this day. Slavery might be over, but millions of Black Americans are still feeling its effects.
When Donald Trump campaigned for President he promised to get rid of the carried interest loophole, saying that ‘hedge fund managers are getting away with murder.’ A year later he said he’d get rid of this loophole that’s been “so good for Wall Street investors”. Now, yet again, Trump has promised that he will close the carried interest loophole after enshrining it into law under … Continue reading When Are You Removing the Carried Interest Loophole, Mr. President?
Last week, former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal bemoaning popular support for progressive policies that seek to expand the social safety net to support millions of Americans, arguing that these people don’t understand the “true cost” of such policies and that Republicans need to “make the case for freedom.” Let’s make that case for freedom. It starts by … Continue reading Who Has Freedom in the American Economy? Increasingly, Just the Rich
Opportunity Zones are a great idea — if your goal is to ensure that rich real estate investors never need to pay any taxes at all.
As the 2020 primaries heat up and candidates search for a way to distinguish themselves in such a large field, one issue has transformed into a key debate of the campaign: how to tax the rich to ensure a more equitable, prosperous society. Many of the candidates have bold tax plans, from Senator Sanders’s bill to expand the estate tax to Senator Booker’s baby bonds … Continue reading 2020 Contenders Embrace the Wealth Tax
In reading about the massive college admissions scandals this week, a truth struck me that I hadn’t consciously been aware of before. Yes, compromising the proctors and cheating on the standardized tests is bad. Bribing the coach to admit your child as an athletic recruit, when they don’t even play sports, is bad. Yes, many of the actual students involved were probably not aware of … Continue reading Pearls of Wisdom: “For college admissions, $50,000 is a scandal, $50 million is a celebration.”
On Monday, President Trump released his 2019 budget proposal, a plan that outlines a series of massive cuts to vital public programs in the ludicrously titled “A Budget for a Better America.” While this is just a list of funding ideas that mean nothing without Congressional approval, it outlines Trump’s vision for our economic future – one that allows us already wealthy people to get … Continue reading Budget for a Nightmare America
For years, opponents of raising the federal minimum wage have argued that we don’t need to raise the minimum wage because most low-wage workers are just teenagers trying to earn a little spending money. We’ve known that’s not true for years, but as the fight for $15 ramps up across the country, a new study shows just how far from reality that “common knowledge” really … Continue reading Adults and Breadwinners, Not Teens, Benefit Most from Raising Minimum Wage
This tax season, millions of Americans will be receiving smaller refunds from the IRS, or worse, a bill. At the same time, two of the most profitable companies in the country are not only avoiding paying taxes altogether, but one is receiving a federal rebate check of hundreds of millions of dollars. Both corporations and individuals are subject to federal income taxes. For those individuals … Continue reading Why Are You Paying More Tax Than Amazon and Netflix?
Recently, Senator John Thune introduced legislation (again) to repeal the estate tax. The estate tax, which is one of the few safeguards left against dynastic wealth in this country, was last adjusted just 13 months ago to make it even more generous to the children of millionaires and billionaires. Now, the introduction of yet another estate tax repeal bill raises the question: can Republicans do … Continue reading Eliminating Estate Tax Means Yet Another Tax Cut for Millionaires
Last week, Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed an “ultra-millionaires tax” as part of her 2020 platform. As someone closer than the average American to being affected by the tax should it become a law, I’m eager to see it succeed, and wish it had been presented sooner– for our country’s sake. In Sen. Warren’s plan, net worths over $50 million would be taxed … Continue reading Senator Warren is Right: America Needs a Wealth Tax
Many commentators thought it was hilarious (if a bit scary) that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested that furloughed federal workers should not need to go to food banks and charities, as they could just get loans against their income, knowing that it would would eventually be paid. While this may have made perfect sense to someone with as much money as Secretary Ross, it’s clearly … Continue reading Yes, Secretary Ross, the Rich are Different
This week, Senator Mitch McConnell authored a piece in the Washington Post where he falsely portrayed HR 1, the House Democrat’s sweeping anti-corruption, pro-democracy reform bill, as a partisan attack on political freedom. In the process, McConnell revealed just how little he or his Republican colleagues actually care about the core tenets of our democracy, and how blatantly he’s willing to lie to preserve whatever … Continue reading Why is Senator Mitch McConnell Against Improving Our Democracy?