Category Archives: Austerity

‘So Awful’: Military Returns to Streets in Chile as Unrest Simmers

The president’s suspension of the public transporation fare hike has not stopped protests.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-20-2019

The Chilean Army on the streets. Photo: Javier Valdés/Twitter

Demonstrators in Chile continued their “pots and pans” protests Sunday following a week of unrest that saw hundreds arrested and the military patrolling the streets for the first time in decades.

A curfew and state of emergency are still in effect in Santiago and several other cities, The Associated Press reported.

Video posted below from online outlet El Monstrador shows a protest Sunday in Santiago’s Plaza Ñuñoa: Continue reading

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Demanding ‘Education Justice and Equality,’ Striking Chicago Teachers Call on Mayor to Put Campaign Promises In Writing

“We mean business. It’s got to be about shifting and transforming the infrastructure of inequity.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-19-2019

Photo/: Midwest Unrest/Twitter

On Friday, the second day of the Chicago Teachers Union strike, union leaders said that contract negotiations have seen some progress but that teachers and Chicago Public Schools have more work to do before achieving “educational justice” for the city’s 300,000 public school students—not just raises for teachers.

Before heading into negotiations Friday morning, CTU President Jesse Sharkey said the city offered $8 to $10 million to reduce class sizes—an improvement over the $1 million it initially offered. Continue reading

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As UN Faces ‘Worst Cash Crisis’ in a Decade, Trump Demands Other Countries Pay Up While US Owes Over $1 Billion

A spokesperson for the U.N. chief warns the intergovernmental organization “runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-9-2019

Donald Trump speaks at the UN General Assembly, 2018. Photo: White House

With a Wednesday morning tweet, U.S. President Donald Trump cast a global spotlight on the United Nations’ multimillion-dollar funding crisis and the over $1 billion in budget payments the United States owes the world body.

In response to a CBS News report that United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres sent a letter Monday to the 37,000 employees at the U.N. Secretariat notifying them of the deficit, Trump tweeted, “So make all Member Countries pay, not just the United States!” Continue reading

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IRS: Sorry, But It’s Just Easier and Cheaper to Audit the Poor

Congress asked the IRS to report on why it audits the poor more than the affluent. Its response is that it doesn’t have enough money and people to audit the wealthy properly. So it’s not going to.

By Paul Kiel. Published 10-2-2019 by ProPublica

Charles Rettig testifying at his confirmation hearing on June 28, 2018. Screenshot: C-SPAN

The IRS audits the working poor at about the same rate as the wealthiest 1%. Now, in response to questions from a U.S. senator, the IRS has acknowledged that’s true but professes it can’t change anything unless it is given more money.

ProPublica reported the disproportionate audit focus on lower-income families in April. Lawmakers confronted IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig about the emphasis, citing our stories, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Rettig for a plan to fix the imbalance. Rettig readily agreed. Continue reading

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Joni Ernst Wants to Cut Social Security Behind Closed Doors

Republicans, Democrats and Independents, of all ages, races and genders, overwhelmingly agree. We understand that Social Security is more important than ever. We overwhelmingly reject any cuts to its modest benefits.

By Nancy J. Altman. Published 9-6-2019 by Common Dreams

Congress should address our nation’s looming retirement income crisis by increasing Social Security’s modest benefits. (Photo: Courtesy of AFGE, Flickr | CC 2.0)

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) just said out loud what Republican politicians usually only talk about in secret meetings with their billionaire donors: The GOP wants to cut our earned Social Security benefits—and they want to do it behind closed doors so that they don’t have to pay the political price.

At a recent town hall, Ernst stated that Congress needs to “sit down behind closed doors” to “address Social Security.” She vaguely asserted, “A lot of changes need to be made in this system going forward.” But, she complained, if these changes were proposed in public, she would be accused of pushing “granny over a cliff.” It is not hard to figure out what “changes” she has in mind. Continue reading

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Bolstering Call to Expand Social Security, New Reporting Reveals How Corporations Are Offloading Pensions

Not only are pensions being offered less, existing pensions are being transferred to insurers, with employees suffering consequences

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-7-2019

Economists “warn that rarely, if ever, can people replicate the security of a pension,” said Karen Friedman, executive vice president and policy director of the Pension Rights Center. (Photo: 401kcalculator.org)

New reporting showing companies’ scrapping of pension plans has gone into overdrive means that Social Security must be expanded, an advocacy group said Wednesday.

“Expanding Social Security is important for today’s retirees,” Social Security Works said in a tweet, “but even more important for tomorrow’s.

The shift from traditional pensions to 401(k) or similar retirement plans—a change panned as an inequality-fueling disaster—isn’t new. “But lately,” reported Axios, “those changes are happening even faster.” Continue reading

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As Rosselló Resigns, Renewed Protests Demand ‘Real and Radical Change’ Instead of Continued Austerity and Corruption

“We didn’t demand the resignation of a corrupted government, for having another equally corrupted. We are demanding a real alternative.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-3-2019

Stepping down after mass protests over alleged corruption and leaked messages in which he denigrated women and LGBTQ people, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello appointed his secretary of state to succeed him—but elation over the success of the recent protests gave way to more demonstrations against the new governor.

Hundreds of Puerto Ricans marched to the governor’s mansion Friday night, decrying the appointment of Gov. Pedro Pierluisi as an illegitimate continuation of Rossello’s policies. Continue reading

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Police Fire Tear Gas and Rubber Bullets at Protesters Demanding Puerto Rico Gov. Rosselló Resign

“We are rising up because we deserve better.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-18-2019

Photo: @beowulf_cr/Twitter

Police deployed tear gas and fired rubber bullets at protesters in Puerto Rico’s capital city of San Juan late Wednesday on the fifth consecutive day of mass demonstrations to demand the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

The Miami Herald reported from the scene as hundreds of protesters and police faced off on the colonial streets outside La Fortaleza—the governor’s mansion—in the neighborhood of Old San Juan. Continue reading

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In Show of ‘Breathtaking Cruelty,’ Trump White House Unveils Plan That Would Evict Tens of Thousands of Children From Public Housing

“Another despicable action by the Trump administration to disrupt communities and separate families.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-10-2019

The Maria Isabel Housing project, in the Bronx. Photo: Jim Henderson (public domain)

Using the federal agency that oversees public housing to wage its latest attack on immigrants, the Trump administration has proposed a rule that critics warn would result in tens of thousands of children being evicted from their homes.

Weeks after announcing it would tighten restrictions on undocumented immigrants who live in public housing, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) unveiled a proposal on Friday which would take away all housing aid from families with at least one member who is an undocumented immigrant. Continue reading

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‘Big Attack on Working People’: Trump Moves to Redefine Poverty in Order to Slash Social Programs and Services for Millions

“A novel way to take healthcare, etc., away from people AND make it look like there are fewer poor people.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-7-2019

The Poor People’s Campaign has mobilized nationally to fight the Trump administration’s attacks on the poor. (Photo: Becker1999/flickr/cc)

The Trump administration on Monday moved to change the definition of “poverty” in the United States in a proposal which combines the president’s attempts to portray the U.S. economy as strong with his repeated attacks on the working poor and their access to government services.

In a regulatory filing, President Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) wrote that it may change how inflation is calculated in order to reduce the number of Americans who are living below the federally-recognized poverty line and are therefore eligible for certain government support services and social programs. Continue reading

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