Category Archives: Economics

New Interior Chief Bernhardt Reportedly Held Secret Meeting Linked to One of His Predecessor’s Many Scandals

Newly revealed meeting “absolutely epitomizes the ‘swamp’ that Donald Trump promised to drain but is in fact flooding,” one critic said

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-17-2019

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has a long history of lobbying for Big Oil and Big Ag. (Photo: Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck)

It’s only been a week, but newly-confirmed Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s conflicts of interests are already raising questions about his involvement in the very same scandals for which his predecessor is now under investigation.

The Guardian reported Wednesday that Bernhardt, who was confirmed last week over the objections of climate action and conservation groups, met in 2018 with a lawyer for the Schaghticoke tribal nation of Connecticut, which opposed the operation of a new casino in the state by two other tribes. Continue reading

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“Keep It, It’s Yours.” Postal Workers’ Message to Public Denounces Trump Privatization Plan

 “Don’t sell this national treasure to private interests that will charge more for less service,” union says ahead of Tax Day events

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-14-2019

The Tax Day message from the American Postal Workers Union. (Image: APWU with frame)

U.S. Postal Service workers will hold a day of action Monday to reject a Trump White House proposal to privatize the service.

“Our message to the public is quite simple. ‘The United States Postal Service—Keep it. It’s yours!'” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), in a statement. “Don’t sell this national treasure to private interests that will charge more for less service.” Continue reading

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‘I Felt Americans Needed to Know’: Insurance Industry Whistleblower Gives Glimpse of Effort to Crush Medicare for All

“The business model of for-profit health insurance depends on denying care to people who need it. These corporations can’t be reasoned with, only defeated.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-12-2019

“When the people begin organizing against private insurance, the lonely insurance executives turn to their only friends: the elected officials beholden to their cash,” said Medicare for All campaigner and policy expert Tim Faust. (Image: Miami Business School)

In an effort to inform the public about the corporate forces working to crush Medicare for All, an employee at the insurance giant UnitedHealthcare leaked a video of his boss bragging about the company’s campaign to preserve America’s for-profit healthcare system.

“I felt Americans needed to know exactly who it is that’s fighting against the idea that healthcare is a right, not a privilege,” the anonymous whistleblower told the Washington Post‘s Jeff Stein. Continue reading

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‘Huge Victory’: French Court Finds Monsanto Guilty of Poisoning Farmer

“Monsanto needs to realize that we are not going to be silent anymore. We are not going to roll over and play dead.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-12-2019

Protesters attended a demonstration against the chemical company Monsanto in 2016 in France. On Thursday, a /French court found Monsanto guilty of poisoning a farmer. (Photo: Pascal.VanFlickr/cc)

Monsanto was ordered to pay restitution to a French farmer who developed a neurological disease after using its weedkiller—the latest victory for the chemical giant’s former customers who want to hold the company accountable for selling poisonous pesticides.

A court in Lyon, France, ordered Monsanto Thursday to immediately pay Paul François €50,000 ($56,000) for the legal fees he incurred as he fought the company, and said the full amount it would be required to pay him would be announced in an upcoming ruling. François is seeking €1 million ($860,000). Continue reading

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Bolstered by Trump Tax Scam, Number of US Corporations Paying ‘Not a Dime’ in Federal Taxes Doubled in 2018

“Corporations zeroing out their tax bills or paying single-digit federal tax rates mean a substantial loss in federal revenue. Calls to cut critical programs and services in the wake of these corporate tax cuts are absolutely connected.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-11-2019

Steve Mnuchin, Mike Pence and Gary Cohn watching the Senate vote on the 2017 tax bill. Photo: White House

A new analysis out Thursday shows that tax policy under the Trump administration is benefitting large corporations to such a degree that twice as many large companies will pay nothing in federal taxes for 2018 compared to previous years.

The report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which comes less than a week before tax day in the United States on April 15, found that 60 companies—including Amazon, Netflix, Activision Blizzard, General Motors, and IBM—used “a diverse array of legal tax breaks” to bring their federal tax liability to zero. Continue reading

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Trump to Add ‘Tasteless Insult to Injury’ by Promoting Fossil Fuel Deregulation in Shadow of Fatal Chemical Fire

“It’s no surprise that Trump is once again taking an action championed by climate deniers and fossil fuel companies.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-8-2019

A chemical plant fire at 16503 Ramsey Road in Crosby, Texas on Tuesday, April 2. (Photo: Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office)

Just a week after a chemical plant explosion killed one worker and spewed thousands of pounds of dangerous pollutants into the air in Crosby, Texas, President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to visit that city Wednesday to sign executive orders to speed up approval of pipelines and other fossil fuel projects.

“In coming to the location of a deadly fossil fuel-related explosion to sign an order that would gut states’ power to protect residents from the hazards of oil and gas pipelines, Trump is adding tasteless insult to the injury he is inflicting on our planet,” Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement. Continue reading

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‘Disorder by Design’: Aid Group Details How Trump Has Manufactured Crisis at the US-Mexico Border

“Cutting aid, closing borders, and returning thousands to unsafe and unstable countries is bad policy and bad strategy.”

By  Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-5-2019

A new report published Friday by the International Rescue Committee offers policy solutions for the crises in Northern Triangle countries. (Photo: IRC)

Following recent outrage over President Donald Trump’s decision to slash aid to Central American countries, a new report out Friday details how his administration has “manufactured” a crisis at the southern border and offers policy solutions for how the U.S. can better address the flood of asylum-seekers from the region.

The report—titled Disorder by Design: A Manufactured U.S. Emergency and the Real Crisis in Central America (pdf)—was published by the New York-based International Rescue Committee (IRC) and relies on first-hand accounts from beneficiaries, partners, and staff on the ground in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Continue reading

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As GOP Deploys ‘Nuclear Option’, New Reports Detail Damage Done By Trump’s Far-Right Takeover of Judiciary

“In just under two years on the bench, these narrow-minded elitist judges have already harmed workers, consumers, voters, immigrants, reproductive rights, and many more.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-3-2019

Mitch McConnell, Brett Kavanaugh, Mike Pence and Jon Kyl before Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Photo: Office of the Vice President [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As Senate Republicans rammed through a rules change enabling faster approval of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, two advocacy groups released reports on Wednesday showing the far-reaching and long-lasting damage his confirmed federal judges have already had on the nation.

People for the American Way (PFAW) and Alliance for Justice (AFJ) both published studies Wednesday about Trump’s success in appointing 92 judges to district courts, federal appeals courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court—with PFAW writing that the president’s effort to remake the judicial branch in his own image could be disastrous for a number of marginalized groups. Continue reading

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Citing ‘Conscience Shocking’ Conduct, Federal Judge Reinstates Former Gov. Snyder in Flint Water Lawsuit

City residents, said the judge, “could have taken protective measures, if only they had known what the Governor knew. Instead, the Governor misled them into assuming that nothing was wrong.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-1-2019

Screenshot: Fox 17

A federal judge on Monday—who agreed that allegations of “conscience shocking” conduct claimed by plaintiffs were “plausible”—reinstated Michigan’s former Governor Rick Snyder as a defendant in a class action lawsuit by the victims of the water crisis in the city of Flint that first captured national headlines in 2014.

After earlier removing Snyder from the suit, brought by city residents harmed by the poisoning of the municipal water supply, U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy reversed that decision as she noted the plaintiffs had shown the allegations against Snyder and his fellow co-defendants “plausibly describe ‘conscience shocking’ conduct” as the people of Flint were stripped of 14th Amendment protections from bodily harm or injury. Continue reading

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Trump Admin Complementing Israeli Effort to Give Nuclear Weapons to Saudi Arabia

Already seven of the 10 countries in the world with the highest military budgets are in the Middle East. The development of nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia has many speculating that it could mark the beginning of an even more dangerous era for the war-torn region.

By Alan Macleod. Published 3-29-2019 by MintPress News

Photo: White House/flickr

U.S. President Donald Trump’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, has secretly approved the sale of nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, Reuters revealed this week. Saudi Arabia is reportedly attempting to construct at least two nuclear power plants as part of its effort to diversify its energy sector and its economy as a whole. As part of this plan it has accepted bids from Russia, South Korea and the U.S. for the lucrative contract. Perry’s approval is known as a Part 810 authorization, which allows energy companies to begin the process of planning and starting preliminary work in anticipation of the closing of a formal deal in the future.

While the Saudi proposals are presented as civilian and do not mention nuclear weaponry, U.S. approval and sale of nuclear technology has been seen by many as a prelude to the development of a Saudi nuclear weapon, which could potentially spark a nuclear arms race in the region. Riyadh has long coveted atomic weaponry and has considered developing its own in its quest to maintain military dominance in the region. “If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit” Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the United States, told the Guardian in 2011, noting that the kingdom may feel “compelled” to pursue the option in the future, if tensions with Iran remain high. Continue reading

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