Category Archives: Income Inequality

‘Cruelty Is the Point’: Trump Takes Aim at Medicaid With Plan That Could Harm Millions

“The president’s war on healthcare knows no bounds.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-24-2020

President Donald Trump speaks during an event on kidney health at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on July 10, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Screenshot: YouTube

The Trump administration is reportedly planning to intensify its assault on Medicaid by granting certain states permission to convert federal funding for the program into block grants, a move critics slammed as a cruel and likely illegal attack on vulnerable people.

Politico reported Thursday that the plan, which could be finalized as early as next week, would allow the 37 states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to seek waivers to convert funding into fixed sums that could limit states’ flexibility to increase spending in response to public need. Continue reading

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Fresh Calls to #RaiseTheWage After Study Shows $1 Increase Could Prevent Thousands of Suicides

The House-approved Raise the Wage Act is among hundreds of bills sitting on the desk of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the self-declared “grim reaper” of progressive legislation.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-9-2020

A study published this week found that raising the minimum wage just $1 could prevent thousands of suicide deaths in the United States. Photo: Wisconsin Jobs Now/flickr/CC

A new study that suggests raising the minimum wage could prevent thousands of suicide deaths in the United States sparked fresh calls for relief from federal lawmakers and cast a spotlight on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard.

“Low-wage employees are in desperate need of a raise, and the Senate’s refusal to pass the #RaiseTheWage Act is keeping vulnerable Americans in harm’s way,” the advocacy group Patriotic Millionaires tweeted on Thursday, linking to NPR‘s report on the study. Continue reading

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Federal Judge Blocks NC’s Voter ID Law, Citing State’s ‘Sordid History’ of Racist Voter Suppression

Judge Loretta Biggs said the law’s provision preventing voters from showing public assistance ID cards to vote was “particularly suspect.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-1-2020

Photo: Pinterest

Civil rights advocates on Tuesday praised a federal judge in North Carolina who struck down the state’s new voter ID law, saying in her ruling that there was likely “discriminatory intent” behind state Republicans’ attempt to force voters to present specific forms of identification at the polls.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs wrote in her ruling that the law, S.B. 824, was the latest example of North Carolina’s “sordid history of racial discrimination and voter suppression stretching back to the time of slavery, through the era of Jim Crow, and, crucially, continuing up to the present day.” Continue reading

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What does ‘A Christmas Carol’ tell us about the meaning of charity?

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business. Charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence were all my business.”

By John Picton. Published 12-17-2019 by openDemocracy

Ebenezer Scrooge as illustrated by Ronald Searle in Life Magazine, 1960. | Flickr/Elizabeth. CC BY-NC 2.0.

 

New adaptations of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella appear on our screens each time the holidays come around. From this year’s brand-new mini-series that’s due to be aired in the UK and the USA to the ever-popular Muppet Christmas Carol, this story is a staple of the season. In it, and after a series of visits from ghostly apparitions, Ebenezer Scrooge changes from a cold miser to a kind and gentle person, but some aspects of the role of charity in this change of heart are lost from modern adaptations.

In the 176-year-old text the call to charity is more demanding than just donating cash. Dickens focuses on personal charity as the assumption of social obligations. After his transformation, Scrooge faces up to his moral responsibilities. Famously, he buys an enormous Christmas turkey for the family of his clerk, Bob Cratchit. But his new-found concern for the Cratchit family goes much further than a single festive meal. He also gives Cratchit a pay-rise. And having been frightened by a premonition of the death of Tiny Tim – Cratchit’s son – Scrooge is said to become like “a second father” to the sickly child. Continue reading

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How undoing ‘Obamacare’ would harm more than the health of Americans

Open enrollment for health care in the ACA marketplaces ended at 3 a.m., Dec. 18, 2019, the same day a panel ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services/AP Photo

Simon F. Haeder, Pennsylvania State University

The Affordable Care Act remains on life support after a panel of federal judges ruled on Dec. 18, 2019 that the law’s individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional.

The decision hobbles the law in ways that are hard to predict politically, particularly in the upcoming election year. It also raises questions for the 20 million people who gained coverage in the marketplaces and all Americans who gained protections through the ACA. Continue reading

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‘They Did it on Purpose’: Protester Crushed Between Police Jeeps Latest Victim of Months-Long Chilean Crackdown on Dissent

The young man was seriously injured but is expected to survive.

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-21-2019

Twenty-year-old Oscar Ignacio Pérez Cortéz was pinned between two police jeeps on Friday. He is expected to survive but sustained serious injuries. (Photo: Archivando Chile/Telegram)

The ongoing protest movement in Chile has had success—the country’s constitution is expected to be rewritten as a concession from President Sebastien Pinera to demonstrators—but still faces a harsh crackdown from government security forces, who in a series of assaults Friday fired projectiles at crowds and crush one young man between two armored jeeps, causing him serious injury.

Twenty-year-old Oscar Ignacio Pérez Cortéz was pinned between two police jeeps—called by protesters zorrillos, or “skunks”—on Friday when one of the vehicles slammed the young man into the side of the other. Continue reading

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‘A National Disgrace’: Trump Proposes Social Security Change That Could End Disability Benefits for Hundreds of Thousands

“Donald Trump and his advisers know that this will kill people, and they do not care. Every current and future Social Security beneficiary must band together to defeat this horrific proposal, or else all of our earned benefits will be next.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-16-2019

Graphic: Government Accountability Office

Activists are working to raise public awareness and outrage over a little-noticed Trump administration proposal that could strip life-saving disability benefits from hundreds of thousands of people by further complicating the way the Social Security Administration determines who is eligible for payments.

The proposed rule change was first published in the Federal Register last month but has received scarce attention in the national media. Last week, the Social Security Administration extended the public comment period on the proposal until January 31, 2020. Continue reading

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In Final Hours, COP 25 Denounced as ‘Utter Failure’ as Deal Is Stripped of Ambition and US Refuses to Accept Liability for Climate Crisis

“The only thing more disastrous than the state of UN climate negotiations at COP 25 is the state of the global climate.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-14-2019

Youth activists occupying the COP 25 space in protest against the inaction and slow response of governments failing to address the #ClimateEmergency. Photo: Climate Action Network International/Twitter

After the COP 25 climate talks on the Paris climate agreement went into overtime Friday night amid a stalled agreement on wealthy countries’ contributions to greatly reducing their climate-warming carbon emissions, civil society groups and climate scientists were shocked by the weak language that emerged from the late-night talks on Saturday.

The latest text includes an “invitation” for countries to communicate their mid-term and long-term climate plans, and the majority of delegations, which attempted to push countries including the U.S. towards ambitious climate targets, were unable Saturday to sway the U.S. away from language regarding carbon markets. Continue reading

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As NLRB Delivers ‘Victory’ to McDonald’s, Docs Reveal Fast Food Giant’s Dirty Anti-Union Tactics

“The owner class will buy up every lever of power they can… But in the end we will win because together we are unstoppable.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-12-2019

Workers and allies demanding a $15 an hour wage stage a protest outside a McDonald’s restaurant. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr/cc)

A lengthy Bloomberg article spotlighting President Donald Trump’s long affinity for McDonald’s—which preceded a major decision from a federal agency that involved the fast food giant—revealed Thursday morning that thousands of previously unreported company documents and internal emails expose how “corporate executives monitored developments as managers helped orchestrate a years-long anti-union response across the U.S.”

Bloomberg reviewed McDonald’s internal records and reported that the company’s “tactics, which were discussed by and, at times, coordinated by regional executives of the company, included gathering intelligence from a cashier who attended a union meeting as a mole, circulating names of suspected pro-union workers, and coaching a franchisee on how to avoid hiring union sympathizers.” Continue reading

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‘Despicable’: Internal Emails Reveal Water Contractor Knew About Lead Risks in Flint Months Before City’s Public Confirmation

“I think anyone has to ask themselves how the story in Flint would be different five years later now if Veolia had made those private concerns public.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-10-2019

Photo: George Thomas/flickr/CC

Internal emails reported on Tuesday by The Guardian and MLive reveal that executives at a water company contracted to assess the water system in Flint, Michigan privately expressed concerns that residents “might be at risk of being poisoned by lead in their tap water months before the city publicly admitted the problem in 2015.”

The emails, obtained by the watchdog group Corporate Accountability, came to light through a lawsuit filed in the Genesee County Circuit Court by the Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat who took office in January. The state’s suit accused the company, Veolia, of “professional negligence, negligence, public nuisance, unjust enrichment, and fraud.” Last month a state judge threw out all but the unjust enrichment claim. Continue reading

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