Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Voodoo Trickle Down Be Damned

Voodoo Trickle Down Be Damned
Share of global wealth of the top 1% and bottom 99% respectively; the dashed lines project the 2010–2014 trend. By 2016, the top 1% will have more than 50% of total global wealth. Graph by Oxfam.

Reaganomics, the plot to appease the rich and condemn the rest, got its comeuppance last week in President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

The President asked: “Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?”

That’s the trickle down economy he’s talking about. And when he said, “spectacularly well,” that understated the great fortune of the very few.  Oxfam, the international federation working to end poverty, reported just before the speech that if nothing changes over the next two years, the top 1 percent will hoard more wealth than that held by the entire remaining 99 percent of humans on earth.

President Obama made it clear he has no intention of accepting such economic damnation for the vast majority of Americans. He proposed an alternative to Ronnie’s scheme. President Obama called it middle class economics. Though its intent is to create opportunity, prosperity and security for the working poor and middle class, it’ll be a hard sell. That’s because Americans have been force fed that voodoo, greed-is-good, grovel-before-the-rich financial philosophy for so very long. 

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What Congress Isn’t Seeing When the Government Spends

Dean Baker

Dean Baker Co-Director, Author, Center for Economic and Policy Research

What Congress Isn’t Seeing When the Government Spends

The U.S. House of Representatives recently adopted a new rule that requires lawmakers to take long-term macroeconomic effects into consideration when deciding how to vote on tax and spending bills. In theory, this could show that tax cuts, particularly for billionaires, boosts the U.S. economy, since expectations of paying fewer taxes would encourage people to work a little harder, leading to more growth that would help offset revenues lost from tax cuts.

There is some truth to the logic behind this type of forecasting — what policymakers call ‘dynamic scoring.’ But this approach put forth by the House has little to do with the way the economy actually works. True, lower tax rates do give workers somewhat more incentive to work and save, but serious analysis shows that the impacts of this incentive is small. This was the conclusion that the U.S. Congressional Budget Office reached in 2005 when it examined this issue under economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin. In a model that examined the effects of a 10% reduction in all federal individual income tax rates, the economy was slightly larger in the first five years after the tax cut and slightly smaller in the five years that followed. In this case, using dynamic scoring showed the tax cut costing more revenue than in the methodology the CBO currently uses.

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Today’s GOP: Too Much “Rand” and Not Enough “Paul”

Richard Eskow

Richard Eskow Writer, Host, "The Breakdown;" Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

It’s tough to be disabled in America. It’s tough anywhere, of course. But, as Rebecca Vallas notes: “According to the OECD, the U.S. disability benefit system is the most restrictive and least generous of all member countries, except for Korea.”

And nowhere else in the developed world is there a political party which routinely stigmatizes, mocks, and slanders disabled people the way Republicans do in this country. Sen. Rand Paul’s recent comments were typical of the calumny Republicans routinely heap upon the disabled – or, for that matter, on anyone in need of assistance.

In case you haven’t heard, the Presidential hopeful told a New Hampshire audience that more than half of the people currently receiving Social Security disability insurance don’t deserve it. Sen. Paul said that “… everybody in this room knows somebody who’s gaming the system,” adding:

“I tell people that if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn’t be getting a disability check. Over half the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club. Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts? Everyone over 40 has a back pain.”

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New GOP Congress Rushes Big Favors to Wall Street

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

New GOP Congress Rushes Big Favors to Wall Street

If members of the brand-spanking new, Republican-controlled Congress are at all confused about why We the People consider them just another load of bovine excrement, they should look at their bill called "Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens."

Only one day after being sworn in, the GOP introduced this deceitfully-titled bill as its top-priority, must-pass piece of economic legislation. But forget jobs and small business – those are just gauzy shams to hide the fact that this bill is nothing but a thank-you gift to the party's sweethearts on Wall Street!

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A Blue-Ribbon Panel’s Inequality Blindspot

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

The Commission on Inclusive Prosperity, a project of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for American Progress, has just released what journalists like to call a “blue-ribbon panel report.”

This commission certainly rates — by any standard — as “blue-ribbon.” The commissioners range from Larry Summers, a former treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, to current and former high-ranking treasury officials in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia.

Also serving on the panel: the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, assorted transatlantic business and labor leaders, two influential journalists, and various top-flight academic analysts.

A distinguished collection, in other words, of public policy heavyweights. But not a random collection. Most of the Commission’s panelists appear to circle in the Bill and Hillary Clinton orbit. The report they’ve produced, a New York Times analysis observes, amounts to “the first draft” of an agenda for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

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Time for Middle Class Economics

Time for Middle Class Economics

Union Matters

The History of Mr. Block Voting Against His Interests

After an election, have you ever found yourself scratching your head, wondering why it seems that working people vote for candidates that do not represent their interests?  Well, that feeling is nothing new.  Back in 1912, Ernest Riebe of the Industrial Workers of the World created a comic strip character, Mr. Block. 

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