Category Archives: Economics

Civil Rights Commission Calls for End to Subminimum Wages for People With Disabilities

“Paying workers with disabilities a subminimum wage is discrimination—plain and simple—and it’s way past time we repeal this outdated policy.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-17-2020

NYC DOT joined the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities in the first ever Disability Pride NYC Parade on Sunday, July 12, 2015. Photo: NYC DOT/flickr/CC

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ recommendation that Congress repeal Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act—which allows employers to pay employees with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage—was praised Thursday by numerous Democratic lawmakers.

According to the USCCR’s report—titled “Subminimum Wages: Impacts on the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities” (pdf)—there are over 1,500 “sheltered workshops,” separate work centers where employees with disabilities are “not integrated into a broader community or work setting,” in the U.S. that employ over 100,000 people. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Everyone in America Should Be Outraged’: McConnell Quietly Rams Through More Lifetime Trump Judges While Blocking Covid Relief

“It’s outrageous that McConnell continues to prioritize the Trump court takeover amid the pandemic. Enough.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-16-2020

Mitch McConnell. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

As Covid-19 relief for jobless and hungry Americans, collapsing small businesses, and state and local governments languishes in the Senate GOP’s legislative graveyard, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday further advanced his years-long project of dragging U.S. federal courts to the right by ramming through three more of President Donald Trump’s lifetime judicial nominees and teed up votes on several others.

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, noted on Twitter that the latest confirmations came four months to the day after the Democrat-controlled House passed the Heroes Act, a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that McConnell dismissed as an “unserious liberal wish list” and blocked from receiving a vote in the Senate. Continue reading

Share Button

USDA and Meatpacking Industry Collaborated to Undermine Covid-19 Response, Documents Show

Hundreds of emails obtained by Public Citizen and American Oversight offer a rare inside look at the meat industry’s power and access to the highest levels of government.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-15-2020

Some critics have called keeping meat processing plants open during the Covid-19 pandemic a “death sentence” for workers.. Screenshot: CBS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.

The documents (pdf), which the groups obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, reveal that a week before President Donald Trump issued his controversial executive order in April to keep meatpacking plants open—overriding closure orders from local health officials—a leading meat industry lobby group drafted a proposed executive order that was strikingly similar to Trump’s directive. Continue reading

Share Button

Bye Bye, Big Oil? BP Admits Demand May Have Already Peaked, Predicts Growth of Renewable Energy

Welcoming news that oil demand may never recover to pre-pandemic levels, Greenpeace noted that “a #GreenRecovery will hasten its demise.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-14-2020

BP’s annual report on the future of energy, released Monday, says demand for oil may have peaked last year and projects significant growth in renewables over the next three decades. (Photo: tolkien1914/flickr/cc)

As communities worldwide face off against and file suit over the devastating impacts of a climate crisis notably driven by fossil fuel giants, BP on Monday gave just the latest signal that the dirty energy industry is dying—admitting that global demand for oil may have already peaked while projecting significant growth in renewables over the next few decades.

The new edition of BP’s annual Energy Outlook features three potential transition scenarios to 2050, the year by which the British firm says it intends to deliver its net-zero ambition. The forecast, Reuters reported, “underpins chief executive Bernard Looney’s new strategy to ‘reinvent’ the 111-year old oil and gas company by shifting renewables and power.” Continue reading

Share Button

Oregon Can’t Fight Wildfires Because Its Helicopters Were Sent To Afghanistan

Many of Oregon’s largest firefighting aircraft are not available because the Department of Defense has sent them to Afghanistan to fight in the 20-year-old war.

By Alan Macleod. Published 9-11-2020 by MintPress News

Screenshot: KGW8

More than half a million Oregonians have been forced to flee their homes, as wildfires continue to ravage the West Coast of the United States. Amid record-breaking temperatures, the wildfires, which have charred one million acres of land, have caused the sky to turn a terrifying shade of red, with many comparing it to Mars, hell, or the apocalypse. Air quality in Portland, the state’s largest city, is currently the lowest in the world, below even that of infamously polluted cities like Delhi and Beijing.

Continue reading

Share Button

The American West Is Burning But Trump Hasn’t Mentioned Historic Wildfires in ‘Any Way, Shape, or Form’ for Nearly 3 Weeks

“President Trump’s silence and complete disregard for the millions of people at risk is horrifying,” said one climate advocate.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9/10/2020

Photo: Forest Service NW/Twitter

Climate action advocates and journalists are calling out President Donald Trump’s silence for nearly three weeks, as historic wildfires have torn across the western United States, devastating communities that were already struggling in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and related economic crisis.

Both CNN and the group Climate Power 2020—which works to put the Trump administration on defense for ignoring scientists and serving polluters—pointed out Thursday that the president hasn’t publicly addressed the climate change-fueled fires “in any way, shape, or form” since August, despite attending dozens of events. Continue reading

Share Button

“Touted as ‘Essential’… Treated as Disposable”: Labor Day Anger as Migrant Farm Workers Toil Inside Wildfire Evacuation Zones

“For the workers, their hands were forced by a combination of circumstances as toxic as the ash that falls over the region’s famous vineyards.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-7-2020

Photo via salud-america.org

This Labor Day, immigrant and worker’s rights advocates are sounding the alarm in response to reports of migrant grape pickers, many of whom are undocumented, being forced to work in fire evacuation zones by California growers in a situation critics say demonstrates how some of those deemed “essential” at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic have been rendered “disposable” in the face of a record-setting heat wave and extremely dangerous conditions.

While the threat of flames and smoke was strong enough in Sonoma County to provoke the relocation of area residents, “the county agriculture commissioner invited workers to continue laboring in the fields, doling out evacuation-area access passes to dozens of agricultural producers,” Alleen Brown reported for The Intercept. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Full Frontal Attack on Rule of Law’: Trump Sanctions Top ICC Officials Probing US War Crimes in Afghanistan

Human rights advocates blasted the move as “another brazen attack against international justice” that “is designed to do what this administration does best—bully and intimidate.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-2-2020

The Trump administration on Wednesday announced sanctions targeting International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, the court’s prosecution jurisdiction division director. (Photo: ICC)

Human rights advocates the world over condemned the Trump administration on Wednesday for imposing sanctions on two top officials at the International Criminal Court—just the latest act of retaliation for the Hague-based ICC’s ongoing investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by U.S. forces and others in Afghanistan during the so-called War on Terror.

“The Trump administration’s perverse use of sanctions, devised for alleged terrorists and drug kingpins, against prosecutors seeking justice for grave international crimes, magnifies the failure of the U.S. to prosecute torture,” said Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “The administration’s conjuring up a ‘national emergency’ to punish war crimes prosecutors shows utter disregard for the victims.” Continue reading

Share Button

‘The Corruption Is Bottomless’: Documents Reveal Chair of Postal Service Board Is Director of McConnell-Allied Super PAC

“Can the GOP’s takeover of USPS be any more blatant?”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-1-2020

Robert Duncan, former chairman of the Republican National Commiteee, was appointed to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors by President Donald Trump in 2017. (Image: Rep. Carolyn Maloney/Screengrab of Republican National Convention)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s deep and longstanding ties to U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors chairman Robert Duncan are coming under heightened scrutiny after corporate paperwork filed Monday listed Duncan as a director of a major GOP super PAC closely aligned with the Kentucky Republican.

The new filing (pdf) with Virginia’s State Corporation Commission—an independent regulatory agency that oversees political action committees—names Duncan as one of three directors of the Senate Leadership Fund, a massive super PAC that has spent nearly $18 million in support of Senate Republicans thus far in the 2020 election cycle. Continue reading

Share Button

Exposing Trump’s Payroll Tax Deferral as ‘Wage Theft,’ Treasury Signals Millions of Workers Will Earn Less in 2021 Under Plan

“Like Donald Trump’s other economic executive orders, this will not provide actual relief to workers.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-29-2020

Photo: skeeze from Pixabay

Days after the payroll processor for the federal government—one of the nation’s largest employers—announced it would implement President Donald Trump’s plan to defer payroll taxes for the rest of 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department indicated that employers will be responsible for paying the deferred taxes next year.

The plan is scheduled to go into effect September 1, and companies that take part will be required to collect the taxes their employees owe from the last four months of this year at the beginning of 2021—after the general election, which Trump hopes to win with claims that he’s strengthened the economy and helped workers. Continue reading

Share Button