The mayor of Mount Vernon, NY, a city of around 70,000 citizens just north of New York City, has been charged with several felonies, essentially for stealing money from his own campaign committee. Mayor Richard Thomas also spent tens of thousands of dollars raised for his inauguration on personal expenses, but that is apparently not illegal. New York State law clearly prohibits using money raised … Continue reading Elected Officials and Outside Income — Not a Good Match
With passage of the 13th and 14th amendments, America created two of the greatest loopholes in the country’s legal code. Immediately following their introduction, the language of the amendments led to Jim Crow, convict leasing, and chain gangs. Over 150 years later, we are seeing further harmful results of these laws in states that disenfranchise felons. Thankfully, some states are beginning to examine their policies … Continue reading Florida is being Forced to Reform its Voting Rights Restoration System
There are vast differences between the lives of a rich person and a poor person. As someone who finds himself in the former category, I know that the majority of these differences privilege my experiences and opportunities over the other. In a truly democratic and safe society, these benefits should stop once the criminal justice system enters into the equation, but this is not the … Continue reading Do Millionaires Worry About Going to Jail?
With so many contentious aspects of the omnibus being highlighted in the news cycle, it’s easy to ignore the seemingly innocuous touting Trump has done in the aftermath of the legislation’s passage. Unfortunately, the president’s musings over enacting a presidential line item veto is not simply hot air, and while many presidents have called for one before, the proposal has never been as potentially detrimental … Continue reading Trump Wants to Take Even More Power From Congress
Many Americans’ first time hearing of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) may have been last March, when a partial tax return showed that it was chiefly responsible for the taxes Trump owed in 2005. Now, only 200,000 filers will be required to pay the tax, which is significantly fewer than the over 5 million who qualified before the Republican tax scam passed in December. So … Continue reading The Alternative Minimum Tax is No Longer as Effective as It was
For far too long, state and congressional districts have been mapped according to party lines. This may no longer be the case in Wisconsin. In 2016, a federal court in the state ruled that the Republican-crafted map was unconstitutional after Democrats received a majority of the statewide votes in 2012 and 2014, but just 39 out of 99 seats in the state legislature. For the … Continue reading Democracy Under Siege in Wisconsin
Whether it’s the monied bail system, the corruption of officers and prosecutors, or the financial interests of for-profit prisons, there are economic and institutional powers that require a consistent flow of offenders and non-offenders to be put behind bars and forever marred by the label “convict.” At the moment, a plurality of states disenfranchise citizens, sometimes for life, due to their criminal history. We would … Continue reading New Jersey Might (Finally) Do Something About its Practice of Disenfranchisment
Our country and all subsequent American generations are sitting on a massive time bomb that will ultimately explode and take the United States of America, as we know it, with it. This time bomb is our National Debt! For some reason, the “fiscally responsible” party, the Republicans, only seem concerned with the debt when a Democrat is in the White House or in control of … Continue reading A Ticking Time Bomb that Boomers are Leaving Behind…..
Are you afraid? I cannot believe that you, members of the NRA, are not shaken to the core by the relentless occurrence of mass murders in this country. Whether you are moved by frustration, anger, or humaneness, isn’t it time for you to do something about it? To be blunt, you have the power! If you really are the five million NRA members who … Continue reading Dear NRA Members
The Department of Labor (DOL) recently proposed a new rule that would allow employers to take their workers’ tips, so long as they pay them the minimum wage. If finalized, this rule could cost workers $5.8 billion annually. For workers who rely on tips to make up the difference on their $2.13/hr wage, this would be an economic disaster. Women would be affected most, as … Continue reading Tip Stealing: the Latest Attack on Low-wage Workers
On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the extraordinary achievements and everyday contributions of women across the world and throughout time. When given equal access to education and opportunities, women improve the world around them. Unfortunately, a number of obstacles disproportionately disadvantage women worldwide, and public policy in the U.S. is no exception, particularly given the absence of federally mandated paid family and medical leave. When … Continue reading By the Next International Women’s Day, We Could (and Should) Have Paid Family and Medical Leave
The separation of church and state in our country’s federal and state governments is one of the most appealing aspects of our democracy. Without it, millions of Americans would be forced to follow legislation created with their neighbor’s God in mind, and church donations could be funnelled to candidates, unfettered. The resulting legislation would ultimately infringe on the rights and liberties of many non-believers or … Continue reading The Importance of the Johnson Amendment
Last December, when Republicans passed their tax bill full of perks for their donors and corporations, another loophole dodged scrutiny and remained in the tax code. The stepped-up loophole, sometimes called the stepped-up basis loophole, is a huge advantage for families not quite rich enough to qualify for the estate tax (which has been raised to $10 million for an individual). Even estates which are … Continue reading How the Stepped-up Loophole Creates an Escalator to Riches–For Those Who are Already Wealthy
My last post lamented the messaging woes of progressives in combating the right’s attacks on Big Government and all that entails for the middle and working class who depends on it. Here, I will attempt to provide a solution in order to begin making headway in the midterms. First, we must take responsibility for our struggles with messaging. Rather than rolling over, we should … Continue reading The Rich Kid’s Tax… Let’s Call it What it is
While it is important that we always speak clearly, concisely, and accurately, it is far more important that we be heard. That we are listened to and that people pay attention, and maybe, just maybe, they see and agree to our points. This might rub some the wrong way, but if a message does not have an audience, then what is the value in delivering … Continue reading Big Government is NOT bad, Big Government is Essential!
On February 24th, 2018 Chair Morris Pearl spoke at the Working People’s Day of Action rally in New York City. Below are his thoughts. I’m standing on the podium at the Working People’s Day of Action. It’s twenty minutes before call time and there are already at least a thousand people here. Hospital workers from local 1199. Teachers from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). … Continue reading Working People’s Day of Action
A careful read of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission would appear to indicate that the only way to preserve our democracy is to avoid any means of disproportionate influence — which the Supreme Court (SC) has failed to do. My first blog on the Citizens United decision argued that a gross imbalance of money on one side of two … Continue reading Is it Time For the Public Financing of Elections?
It seems like every other day a new threat to our democracy is uncovered and overwhelms the news cycle. Gerrymandering, however, is one such threat that has done damage for decades. Finally, it might be nearing its end, at least in Pennsylvania. Gerrymandering is the practice of trying to garner a political advantage through the outlining and reshaping of voting districts. The practice gets its … Continue reading Gerrymandering: Some Promising News from Pennsylvania on Strategies to Take Back the House in 2018
Since the Citizens United vs Federal Elections Committee ruling over 8 years ago, the amount of money in politics has grown exponentially. Contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA) are no exception. With the alarming number of mass shootings taking place in this country, it’s time we take a closer look at what we are sacrificing as a country by allowing these contributions to continue … Continue reading Money, politics, and the NRA
In his second year as president, Trump has unveiled an infrastructure plan that heavily relies on public-private partnerships. The president plans to invest just $200 billion in federal spending, expecting the rest of the $1.5 trillion he invisions for the project to come from state and local governments, as well as the private sector. In order to engage the private sector in infrastructure spending, the … Continue reading Nickel and Diming the Working Class