Category Archives: Austerity

‘A True Danger to the Public Post Office’: DeJoy Moves to Consolidate USPS Facilities

“How many post offices will be closed?” asked one union official. “How many clerks and drivers will lose jobs?”

By Jake Johnson  Published 8-27-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: C-SPAN

Postal union officials are sounding the alarm about the potentially damaging impacts of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s effort to consolidate post offices across the U.S. as part of his widely condemned 10-year plan to reshape the public mail agency.

Government Executive reported Friday that “more than 200 post offices and other U.S. Postal Service facilities are set to shed some of their operations as soon as this year as the mailing agency seeks to consolidate those functions at larger buildings, according to documents shared by management.” Continue reading

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Despite Housing Crisis, Mississippi May Return Up to Millions in Federal Rent Aid to DC

“For them to suggest people like me aren’t working? It’s a slap in the face,” said one woman affected by the end of the pandemic assistance program. “It’s very insulting and degrading.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 8-15-2022 by Common Dreams

Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves.
Photo: Tate Reeves/Facebook

Tate Reeves, Mississippi’s Republican governor, faced intense criticism Monday as the poorest U.S. state ended participation in a federal rent assistance program that helped shield tens of thousands of people facing eviction during the economic upheaval of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Invoking former U.S. President Ronald Reagan—whose administration eviscerated the social safety net and turbocharged economic inequality—Reeves tweeted that “today in Mississippi, we are ending RAMP, a federal program that incentivizes people not to work by using taxpayer dollars to pay for up to 15 months of free rent and utilities.” Continue reading

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‘Five-Alarm Crisis’: US Has Shortage of 300K Teachers, School Staff

To stay in their profession, said a union leader, educators need “professional respect” including fair pay and the right “to make teaching and learning decisions for their students.”

By Julia Conley  Published 8-12-2022 by Common Dreams

National Education Association president Becky Pringle on Thursday warned that the U.S. teacher shortage has spiraled into a “five-alarm crisis,” with nearly 300,000 teaching and support positions left unfilled and policymakers taking desperate—and in some cases, questionable—measures to staff classrooms.

Pringle told ABC News that teachers unions have been warning for years that chronic disinvestment in schools has placed untenable pressure on educators as they face low pay and overcrowded classrooms. Continue reading

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Our global economic system is broken. Are we headed for a mass revolt?

How long can billionaires continue to amass wealth while the world’s poorest struggle to buy food?

By Paul Rogers  Published 5-28-2022 by openDemocracy

Screenshot: The Today Show

While it has long been blatantly obvious that the global economic model is not working for all, the rate of accumulation of wealth by a small minority is now breathtaking – if not totally obscene.

With the situation only being worsened by the economic impact of the Ukraine War – which has come on top of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – could we be headed for mass revolts sparked by a desperate need for change? Continue reading

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Corporate Donations Poured Into Manchin’s PAC Ahead of Final ‘No’ on Build Back Better

“This is the way things work when democracy has been weakened,” argued one progressive organization. “The powerful get special access to our government, while we’re told, ‘Sorry, we can’t help you.'”

By Jake Johnson.  Published 12-22-2021 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: ABC News

New federal disclosures reveal that major corporations poured donations into West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s political action committee in the weeks leading up to his pivotal announcement Sunday that he would oppose the Build Back Better Act, a stance that progressives argue is motivated by the senator’s deference to special interests.

CNBC reported late Tuesday that Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show that donors to Manchin’s Country Roads PAC raked in 17 contributions from corporations in October and 19 in November as he pared back and repeatedly threatened to tank Democrats’ $1.75 trillion social spending and climate legislation. Continue reading

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Low-Income Americans to Congress: ‘I Am the Cost of Cutting Build Back Better’

“We need to stop asking, ‘How much does a bold Build Back Better agenda cost?’ and instead ask, ‘How much does it cost not to Build Back Better?'” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-28-2021

With President Joe Biden and many congressional Democrats bowing to right-wing party members’ demands to gut their once far-reaching agenda to tax corporations and the wealthy to fund expanded public benefits and climate action, low-income people from across the United States convened in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to say that “I am the cost of cutting the Build Back Better plan.”

“We need to stop asking, ‘How much does a bold Build Back Better agenda cost?’ and instead ask, ‘How much does it cost not to Build Back Better?'” Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach, said during Wednesday’s rally, which was organized by the Poor Peoples’ Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, an effort that he co-chairs. Continue reading

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Unemployment Benefit Cut-Off Will Slash Annual Incomes by $144 Billion: Analysis

“By failing to extend unemployment benefits, Congress and the White House will harm working people struggling in the pandemic.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-17-2021

People’s Unemployment Line protest in Philadelphia, 2020. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

The decision by Congress and the Biden administration to let pandemic-related unemployment programs expire earlier this month will slash annual incomes across the U.S. by $144.3 billion and significantly reduce consumer spending, the Economic Policy Institute estimates in an analysis released Friday.

Drawing on recent research (pdf) examining the 26 states that prematurely ended the emergency unemployment insurance (UI) programs, EPI argues that the “best available evidence” indicates the benefit cut-offs thus far have resulted in “all pain and no gain.” Continue reading

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Democrats Urged to Reject Latest GOP Attempt to Hold Social Security ‘Hostage’

“Lindsey Graham and his fellow Republicans will stop at nothing to cut the American people’s earned Social Security and Medicare benefits.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-21-2021

Senator Lindsey Graham. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday said he would be willing to vote to raise the federal debt ceiling in exchange for a policy that could result in cuts to Social Security and Medicare, a proposed trade-off that progressive advocacy groups implored Democrats to reject.

With members of Congress staring down an August deadline to increase the debt limit—the amount of money the federal government is legally permitted to borrow to meet its financial obligations—Graham (R-S.C.) told Bloomberg that he could bring himself to vote yes on a debt ceiling hike if Democrats agree to legislation establishing commissions tasked with crafting Social Security and Medicare “reforms.” Continue reading

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‘It’s Not Up to Him,’ Respond Critics as DeJoy Says He Plans to Remain Postmaster General for a ‘Long Time’

“DeJoy is daring Senate Democrats to do something about him.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-24-2021

Screenshot: C-SPAN

Update:

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said during a House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday that he intends to remain in his role “for a long time” and added, “Get used to me.”

But critics were quick to note that how long DeJoy remains postmaster general is ultimately up to the Postal Service Board of Governors, which is composed of up to nine Senate-confirmed officials who have the authority to remove and replace DeJoy. The postmaster general does not serve a fixed term. Continue reading

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