Category Archives: Economics

Student Loan Payments Paused for Millions Amid Court Fight Over Relief Plan

While praising the Biden administration’s move “to stave off this reckless attack from extremist politicians and judges,” advocates stressed that “broad-based debt cancellation is the only solution.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 7-19-2024 by Common Dreams

Image: The Prospect/CC

The Biden administration responded to an appellate court temporarily blocking one of its student debt relief programs by pausing payments for the 8 million borrowers already enrolled—a move welcomed by advocates, even as some called for further action.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona acknowledged in a statement that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling against President Joe Biden’s Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan “could have devastating consequences for millions of student loan borrowers crushed by unaffordable monthly payments if it remains in effect.”

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CFPB Aims to Protect Workers From Paycheck Advance Fees

“The CFPB’s actions will help workers know what they are getting with these products and prevent race-to-the-bottom business practices,” said the director of the bureau.

By Julia Conley. Published 7-18-2024 by Common Dreams

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra. Screenshot: CNBC

With inflation rising in recent years, driven by corporate greed according to numerous analyses, the number of people in the U.S. who have relied on paycheck advance products has skyrocketed—but a rule introduced Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is aimed at ensuring that lenders who provide these products are transparent with financially struggling workers about the fees they can incur.

The CFPB proposed a rule clarifying that paycheck advances, sometimes marketed as “earned wage” products, are consumer loans and are therefore subject to the Truth in Lending Act.

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Sightings of Uncontacted Tribe Spur Calls to End Logging in Peruvian Amazon

“This is a humanitarian disaster in the making—it’s absolutely vital that the loggers are thrown out, and the Mashco-Piro’s territory is properly protected at last,” said the director of Survival International.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 7-16-2024 by Common Dreams

Mashco-Piro people gather on a riverbank in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest in this July 2024 photo. (Photo: Survival International)

A leading rights group on Tuesday called for loggers to be “thrown out” of a remote part of the Peruvian Amazon following recent sightings of people belonging to what is believed to be the world’s largest uncontacted Indigenous tribe.

London-based Survival International published video and photos of dozens of Mashco-Piro people taken near the village of Monte Salvado in southeastern Peru near the Brazilian border. The group said that in recent days, more than 50 Mashco-Piro have appeared near the village, which is inhabited by the related Yine people. A group of 17 Mashco-Piro were also recently sighted near the neighboring village of Puerto Nuevo.

 

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Targeting Corporate Landlords, Biden to Unveil National Rent Control Plan

“The rent is too damn high—and rent control is a real fix,” one group said, praising the proposal.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 7-15-2024 by Common Dreams

Rent control rally in Seattle, 2019. Photo: Seattle City Council/flickr/CC

As former U.S. President Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination and announced his running mate on Monday, Democratic President Joe Biden prepared to unveil a proposal that would cap annual rent increases at 5% for tenants of major landlords.

After Biden briefly previewed the proposal during a press conference last week, The Washington Post reported on the planned announcement Monday, citing three people familiar with the matter. The Associated Press separately confirmed the plan.

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Teamsters President Urged to Cancel Republican Convention Speech

One Teamsters official warned the union leader’s scheduled appearance “only normalizes and makes the most anti-union party and president I’ve seen in my lifetime seem palatable.”

By Jake Johnson. Published 7-12-2024 by Common Dreams

Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien testified at a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) in 2023. Photo: Teamsters

Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien is facing mounting internal pressure to cancel his planned speech to the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next week, with the union’s vice president at large accusing the labor leader of kowtowing to a viciously anti-worker party and a GOP presidential hopeful whose first four years in the White House were marked by open attacks on the labor movement.

John Palmer, the Teamsters’ vice president at large, wrote in an op-ed in New Politics earlier this week that O’Brien’s scheduled appearance at Donald Trump’s invitation “only normalizes and makes the most anti-union party and president I’ve seen in my lifetime seem palatable.”

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Biden Proposes New Protections From Oil and Gas Drilling in Western Arctic

While applauding the proposal, climate advocates said they would “keep fighting to ensure there’s no new oil extraction on a single acre” of the region.

By Julia Conley. Published 7-13-2024 by Common Dreams

Teshekpuk Caribou in the National Petroleum Reserve in northwest Alaska. Photo: Bureau of Land Management/flickr/CC

Indigenous groups in Alaska were joined by climate advocates on Friday in welcoming the Biden administration’s proposal to expand protections from oil and gas drilling in the Western Arctic, though some groups emphasized that the federal government should not stop with the newly announced effort.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it was opening a 60-day comment period regarding a potential expansion of areas protected from drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A), also known as the Western Arctic.

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Lawmakers Move to Bar Foreign-Owned Corporations From Spending on US Elections

A new bill “closes a glaring loophole opened up by the Supreme’s Court disastrous Citizens United decision which allows U.S. companies primarily owned by foreign entities to funnel money into our elections,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin.

By Edward Carver. Published 7-11-2024 by Common Dreams

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund owns stakes in several major U.S. companies including Uber. Such companies have been allowed to spend freely on elections since 2010, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizen United. Photo: Ivan Radic/flickr/CC

Democratic lawmakers on Thursday introduced bills to the U.S. Senate and House seeking to ban corporations that are at least 5% foreign-owned from federal elections spending, drawing praise from advocacy groups.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) introduced the Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act to the Senate and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) reintroduced the same bill to the House, with each version gaining co-sponsorship by progressive lawmakers such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

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Bipartisan Group of Senators Announces Deal to Ban Stock Trading in Congress

“If you want to serve in Congress, don’t come here to serve your portfolio, come here to serve the people,” said a Democrat leading the effort.

By Edward Carver. Published 7-10-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: Senator Jeff Merkley/X

A small, bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Wednesday announced a proposal to ban trading of individual stocks by members of Congress and certain of their immediate family members, drawing praise from watchdog groups.

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) brought forth the bill, which would tighten rules on holdings of individual stocks and establish what Merkley described as “huge” penalties for noncompliance—the equivalent of a member’s monthly salary, or 10% of the value of the improper investment, whichever is greater.

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‘All of Our Tricks Worked’: Spoof ExxonMobil Ad Nails Just How Easy It’s Been for Big Oil

“Do you have any idea how easy it is to get you off our backs with a little bullsh*t about your responsibilities to the planet?”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 7-9-2024 by Common Dreams

Exxon Knew – Divest rally at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX on May 25, 2016 . Photo: 350 .org/flickr/CC

A new parody ExxonMobil advertisement released Tuesday by a group founded by Adam McKay—the Academy Award-winning writer and director of the blockbuster doomsday climate comedy Don’t Look Up—mocks humanity for letting Big Oil get away with causing one of the biggest existential threats of all time.

“There’s a world we all want to live in again. A world where the air is pure and crisp and clean and fills your lungs with joy. A world where you can drink water from any river or creek and your house will still be there tomorrow if it rains,” the narrator of Yellow Dot Studio’s latest parody video says in the two-minute clip. “Here at Exxon, we believe in that world, and we’re working hard to make sure that our customers believe that we believe in that world.”

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Led by Left Coalition, French Election Shows ‘How You Defeat the Far Right’

France’s left-of-center parties held off a far-right advance in the country’s parliamentary elections by building a progressive platform and forming strategic alliances, their supporters say.

By Edward Carver. Published 7-8-2024 by Common Dreams

Supporters of La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) part of The Nouveau Front Populaire coalition, celebrate the election results. Screenshot: CNN

Political figures from across the world congratulated France’s left-of-center coalition following parliamentary elections on Sunday in which it gained the most seats of any group, outperforming the far-right party that many feared would take control of the National Assembly, in what The Washington Post called “one of the greatest political upsets in recent French history.”

In the second and final round of voting, the Nouveau Front Populaire (NFP) won roughly 180 out of the 577 seats in the assembly, far from a majority but more than President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist coalition, which won about 160, or Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National (RN), which won about 140 or 145.

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