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. 

More ...

If You Think the GOP Is 'Refocusing' on the Wealth Gap, I've Got a Bridge to Sell You

Robert Creamer Political organizer, strategist and author

The New York Times reported last week that in the closed-door Republican Senate Caucus retreat, Republican Leader Senator Mitch McConnell "encouraged the Republican troops to refocus policy on the stagnant middle class."

That would be like asking the wolves of the world to stop hunting and refocus on cultivating asparagus.

But, of course, McConnell didn't really mean he wanted his fellow Republicans to do something about the wealth gap. He wanted them to look like they were doing something about the wealth gap while they actually deliver the goods for the owners of the Republican Party.

The Republican Party, after all, is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the .01% and doing something meaningful about the gap in wealth and income in America -- revitalizing the middle class -- requires taking wealth and income that is now being siphoned off by the .01% and giving it to the people who earned and created it -- the vast majority of ordinary Americans.

More ...

The High Cost of Tom Price’s Radical Agenda

Terrance Heath

Terrance Heath Online Producer, Campaign for America’s Future

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) is the new chair of the House Budget Committee. Just who is Rep. Tom Price? What will his conservative economic ideology cost us?

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was arguably the most famous, and perhaps most-photographed, House Budget Committee chair in a long time. Maybe ever. Now, Ryan will apply his blue-eyed earnestness and “aw shucks” manner to pushing right-wing tax policy on the House Ways and Means Committee. Georgia’s Rep. Tom Price is stepping into Ryan’s shoes at the Budget Committee, as part of the GOP’s all-white, all-male slate of committee chairs.

Besides being a southern transplant from Michigan, a former orthopedic surgeon, and a fan of both Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, Price is a fervent believer in a conservative economic ideology that will lead Republicans to undermine a recovery that hasn’t even reached most Americans.

More ...

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.

More ...

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.”

More ...

The Public Can Decide to Provide Public Service for Itself

The Public Can Decide to Provide Public Service for Itself

Union Matters