Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Donald Trump: Welfare King

Donald Trump puts on a show of being rich. There’s that private jet stamped Trump. He assures everyone, ad nauseam, that he’s really, really rich. But apparently it’s all a sham.

The Washington Post revealed last week that Trump is a charity case. Over the past several years, he repeatedly turned to a non-profit organization to pay his bills for him – more than a quarter million dollars in bills. (#Sad)

If Donald Trump really is a $10 billionaire as he repeatedly claims, there would be no reason for him to beg a foundation to foot his bills. It was fine for Trump to exaggerate his personal wealth while he was nothing but a reality TV star firing contestants for fun. But now that he’s a candidate for president of the United States, he’s got real responsibilities. And one of them is to release his tax returns, like every other presidential candidate for the past 40 years.

Before voting, the American people have a right to know whether Trump is lying about his wealth. But not just that, they have the right to know whether Trump remains among Republicans’ reviled 47 percent, the group that the GOP calls “takers,” because they pay no federal income taxes. New Jersey Gaming Commission records show Trump was a taker in 1978 and 1979, paying no federal income taxes in either year. Is he still paying nothing? That would make him quite a mooch, a welfare king, taking $885 million in tax breaks to construct his gilded buildings in New York and contributing not a cent in federal taxes. The Gipper would not approve.  

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Who Says America Doesn’t Need Unions?

Jim Hightower

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

In their ongoing, all-out assault to crush labor unions, corporate forces have fabricated a cultural myth to undermine popular support for labor: Unions, they insist, are no longer needed. They tell us that in today’s entrepreneurial economy, workers must compete with each other not cooperate.

Before swallowing that wad of hornswoggle, let’s revisit Flight 1549. As it took off from New York City in 2009, the jet hit a flock of geese, lost all power, and had nowhere to try a crash landing. But Capt. Sully Sullenberger knew what to do: Use the Hudson River as a landing strip! Amazingly, it worked! Dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson,” the lives of all 150 passengers were saved.

But no supernatural powers were at work – Captain Sully himself is not only a member of the Airline Pilots Association, but also served on that union’s national governing committee and was its former safety chairman. Indeed, he and the APA union have had to fight airline chieftains who keep trying to cut back on the safety training programs that teach crews how to save lives.

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The Missed Opportunity On Trade – And What We Must Do Next

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

The candidates discussed “trade” for a few minutes during the first presidential debate on Monday. Once again the opportunity for a meaningful dialogue on an important issue slipped away. Where do we go from here?

That was the subject of a teleconference Wednesday night between activists from around the country and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). The call was titled “Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership: bad for workers, bad for democracy, bad for People and the Planet.”

On the call, Sen. Merkley said that we have to “stop this gigantic trade deal, we have to stop it dead in its tracks.”

Merkley said to the activists on the call that they “have to be incredibly attentive during this period,” because even though the TPP is now opposed by top congressional leadership as well as both major presidential candidates, the tremendous pressure from multinational corporations on Congress could change that and tilt key members toward passage.

“We have to have a force inside the Congress and a grassroots force outside creating pressure and you all are that outside grassroots force. Because it is only with that attention and pressure that the swing votes will move,” he said.

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Trump Digs in on Why Refusing to Pay Taxes Makes Him ‘Smart’

Bryce Covert

Bryce Covert Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

At the first presidential debate earlier this week, Republican nominee Donald Trump seemed to admit that he doesn’t pay anything in federal income taxes. But he’s spent the days since lying about what he said.

Speculating about why Trump has refused to release his tax returns during the debate, Democratic rival Hillary Clinton said, “Maybe he doesn’t want the american people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes.” She noted that when Trump was made to hand over tax returns over the years, “they showed he didn’t pay any income tax.”

Trump broke in to say, “That makes me smart.”

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Union Matters

Election 2016: Members Speak Out

Jason Fernandez
U.S. Steel Granite City


Jason Fernandez, 34, of Troy Hill, Ill., a father of two children, is among 2,000 USW members who were laid off from U.S. Steel’s idled Granite City mill, known for high-quality hot-rolled, cold-rolled and coated sheet steel products that have been targeted by unfair trade. The mill was idled last December because of a weak market hurt by cheap subsidized imports. The shutdown is supposed to be temporary.

“This election is important for the labor movement, for the preservation of the labor movement. I believe we need someone like Hillary Clinton to keep the labor movement going for my future.”

Fernandez said he supports Hillary Clinton because he likes her positions on trade, including her renunciation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and believes she would stop right-to-work legislation from becoming national.

“We need her to keep foreign trade at bay, at least. In Granite City, bad trade deals directly affect the people I work with, people I have grown up with. It’s now affecting them to the point where they are losing their homes and their cars. They have to look for financial help.

“There is fear of the unknown. Our facility is on temporary idle so there’s no end in sight right now.”

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Double Standard

Double Standard