Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

New Rules

New Rules

Some of the biggest banks in the world are expected to plead guilty to felonies this week.  Felonies! They are scandalous crimes, too: fraud and antitrust violations.

Finally, America will see members of the class that crashed the economy dressed in black and white suits that are hardly the Brooks Brothers pinstripes to which they’ve grown accustomed.  

Oh, wait, no. The New York Times says these felons will just pay some fines and go about their business of playing roulette with the world economy. Of course they won’t face prison like normal criminals. They’re bankers! Members of the exclusive Too Big to Jail Club. They’re protected. Just like millionaires and CEOs are. A CEO can, for example, be fired for failing to produce but still get $21 million in severance, then lose a well-financed race for U.S. Senate and still be considered a viable presidential candidate. That’s because the rules are written for them. The economy currently is constructed to ensure their enrichment. 

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Be “the Wave” That Sweeps Away TPP

Jim Hightower

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

Suddenly, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is in the news!

After years of negotiating the TPP behind closed doors, the corporate and governmental elites who’ve drafted this Declaration of Corporate Dependence are now demanding that our congress critters rubber-stamp it, pronto. Most Americans have never even heard of it, and that’s not by accident. In fact, all you need to know about TPP is that the Powers That Be don’t want you to know anything about it – what it is, what’s in it, where came from… nothing.

Trust us, they’re now saying, for this is a phantasmagorical free trade agreement that’ll deliver a 7-course dinner to everyone! “Trust Us?” I’d sooner trust a pack of coyotes with my last lamb chop! In fact, every bit of that 7-course dinner – the Dom Pérignon, truffled pâté, Beluga caviar, Chateaubriand, Cabernet Sauvignon, chocolate soufflé, Grande Marnier – goes to the corporate elites who effectively dictated this thing. They were part of the insider process that intentionally kept you and me from having a seat at the negotiating table. As the age-old adage puts it: “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

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Making the Economy Work for the Many, Not the Few -- Step 1: Raise the Minimum Wage

Robert Reich

Robert Reich Former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Professor at Berkeley

Making the Economy Work for the Many, Not the Few -- Step 1: Raise the Minimum Wage

A basic moral principle that most Americans agree on is no one who works full time should be in poverty, nor should their family.

Yet over time we've seen significant growth in the "working poor" -- people working full time, sometimes even 60 or more hours each week, but at such low wages that they remain impoverished.

What to do?

One step is to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. This is winnable. A powerful movement is fighting for $15 an hour and they're winning new laws in cities and states, and forcing companies to raise wages.

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Workers and Wages Aren’t a ‘Cost,’ We’re an Investment

Workers and Wages Aren’t a ‘Cost,’ We’re an Investment

Reading last month’s Politico Morning Shift column, this sentence stood out in a short piece on Wisconsin Republicans’ efforts to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law: “That’s an 80-year law requiring that workers on construction jobs for local and state governments be paid a wage that the state determines to represent the prevailing norm—a calculation that tends to raise labor costs.” The bias in that construction is pretty simple, and it's one that is often repeated by journalists despite it being a very clear anti-worker frame: Workers are a “cost” and not an investment and not the part of a business that does the work that creates the company’s profits. In other words, this common construction says workers are a pesky obstacle instead of the source of revenue a company needs to survive and grow.

When was the last time you heard a reporter refer to CEO pay as a “labor cost,” despite the fact that for many companies these massive payouts are much bigger than the amount any prevailing wage law might increase worker pay? When was the last time you heard other common costs such as buying machines to build products or raising investment capital, as a similar type of burden? When was the last time we talked about worker compensation as an investment that grows a business? When was the last time you heard about how hiring workers and compensating them well increased profits for a company, when the evidence is pretty clear that such a thing happens all the time?

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Minimum Wage: What Employers Pay When They Don't Acknowledge Workers as Human Beings

Minimum Wage: What Employers Pay When They Don't Acknowledge Workers as Human Beings

Union Matters

Fantasy Politics

Bashing liberals is a time-honored sport on the far right.  Bashing the Clintons can therefore legitimately be compared to fantasy baseball.  In each of these, one can construct one’s own reality, related to facts no more than one wishes.

A major-league example of Clinton bashing is the book Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweizer, founder of the Government Accountability Institute.  Mr. Schweizer is a conservative with a history of getting it wrong.  According to Media Matters, his most recent work continues that tradition.

Right-wing snark of recent years, like the purple-heart Band-Aids that mocked John Kerry’s Presidential candidacy in 2004, has often been funded by uber-wealthy conservatives.  In the case of Clinton Cash, the folks behind the screen are, apparently, the Koch Brothers.

These siblings are no slouches when it comes to keeping conservative causes afloat; their efforts have included bankrolling the campaign to prevent the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.  Operating as they do so far under the radar, the Koch Brothers’ efforts to distort the information that underlies our electoral process might seem almost impossible to overcome.  But they’re mot.

Not even the Koch Brothers have enough money to outstrip the votes of millions of motivated Americans.

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