Category Archives: Income Inequality

Cheaper solar power means low-income families can also benefit – with the right kind of help

Solar power is becoming more common for households at all income levels. These homes in Richmond, California, went solar with the help of GRID Alternatives. GRID Alternatives, CC BY-ND

Galen Barbose, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Eric O’Shaughnessy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Ryan Wiser, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Until recently, rooftop solar panels were a clean energy technology that only wealthy Americans could afford. But prices have dropped, thanks mostly to falling costs for hardware, as well as price declines for installation and other “soft” costs.

Today hundreds of thousands of middle-class households across the U.S. are turning to solar power. But households with incomes below the median for their areas remain less likely to go solar. These low- and moderate-income households face several roadblocks to solar adoption, including cash constraints, low rates of home ownership and language barriers. Continue reading

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Google Workers Form Union to ‘Promote Solidarity, Democracy, and Social and Economic Justice’

The tech titan “has a responsibility to its thousands of workers and billions of users to make the world a better place,” two of the union’s leaders wrote. “We can help build that world.”

By 

The Googleplex (Google headquarters) in Mountain View, CA. Photo: The Pancake of Heaven!/CC

Decrying numerous policies and practices they say violate Google’s “don’t be evil” founding principle, more than 200 of the Silicon Valley tech giant’s workers on Monday announced they are forming a union, a move that was applauded by progressive lawmakers and labor advocates nationwide.

The Alphabet Workers Union (AWU)—named after Google’s parent corporation—says it “strives to protect Alphabet workers, our global society, and our world,” and to “promote solidarity, democracy, and social and economic justice.” It will operate as part of the Communications Workers of America and will be open to all 120,000 of the company’s employees.

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7 ways women of colour resisted racism this year

Women are leading anti-racist activism around the world, from Black Brazilians running for election to Germany’s migrant rights movement. #12DaysofResistance

By Sophia Seawell  Published 12-30-2020 by openDemocracy

Anti-Racism Protest in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. June 8, 2020. Photo: Andrew Mercer/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The murder of George Floyd in May this year triggered uprisings against and conversations about racism in countries across the world. It felt as though the Black Lives Matter movement – founded in 2013 by three Black women in the US – had gone global on an unprecedented scale.

And while racism is an issue that transcends borders (White supremacy was, after all, a colonial project), it takes on different forms in different contexts. What constitutes racism in Canada may look quite different from racism in India or Brazil. Continue reading

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What If Jesus Had Been Born in the American Police State?

Today, Jesus’ anti-government views would certainly have resulted in him being labeled a domestic extremist by law enforcement agencies.

By John Whitehead. Published 12-22-2020 by MintPress News

A church is Southern California put up a nativity display that shows Jesus, Mary, and Joseph being detained at the border.

The Christmas story of a baby born in a manger is a familiar one. The Roman Empire, a police state in its own right, had ordered that a census be conducted. Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary traveled to the little town of Bethlehem so that they could be counted. There being no room for the couple at any of the inns, they stayed in a stable (a barn), where Mary gave birth to a baby boy, Jesus. Warned that the government planned to kill the baby, Jesus’ family fled with him to Egypt until it was safe to return to their native land

Yet what if Jesus had been born 2,000 years later? Continue reading

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In ‘Emblematic Parting Blow,’ Trump Moves to Take $700 Million Per Year Out of Tipped Workers’ Pockets

“This rule change will make tipped workers even more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse,” said Saru Jayaraman of One Fair Wage. “What workers need now, more than ever is a full, fair minimum wage.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-23-2020

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

 

Just hours before President Donald Trump surprised millions by pushing for enlarged stimulus checks in the new coronavirus relief package, his administration on Tuesday added to its extensive record of anti-worker policymaking by finalizing a regulatory change that enables employers to dispossess tipped workers of more than $700 million per year.

The new regulation (pdf)—long sought by the restaurant industry—expands tip pools “from front-of-the-house employees alone to include back-of-the-house employees” in the handful of states where servers receive the standard minimum wage. It also relaxes limits on the amount of nontipped work that can be done by tipped employees earning a subminimum wage, which exists in all but eight states. Continue reading

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‘This Is Atrocious’: Congress Crams Language to Criminalize Online Streaming, Meme-Sharing Into 5,500-Page Omnibus Bill

“These types of decisions should never be made in closed-door negotiations between politicians and industry or rushed through as part of some must-pass spending package.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-21-2020

Photo: Frank Oppong/Twitter

Lawmakers in Congress are under fire from digital rights campaigners for embedding three controversial changes to online copyright and trademark laws into the must-pass $2.3 trillion legislative package—which includes a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill and a $900 billion Covid-19 relief bill—that could receive floor votes in the House and Senate as early as Monday evening.

The punitive provisions crammed into the enormous bill (pdf), warned Evan Greer of the digital rights group Fight for the Future, “threaten ordinary Internet users with up to $30,000 in fines for engaging in everyday activity such as downloading an image and re-uploading it… [or] sharing memes.” Continue reading

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The TPP Was All but Dead, Now DC Think Tanks Are Quietly Urging Biden to Bring It Back

Former officials are practically begging Biden to revisit the controversial trade agreement, arguing that “China must be isolated.“

By Alan Macleod  Published 12-18-2020 by MintPress News.

Photo: Lorena Müller/CC

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was dead and buried. But now, with the imminent arrival of the new Biden administration, many of the most influential policy groups in Washington are quietly trying to resurrect it.

Writing for the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC), Joshua Eisenman, the organization’s Senior Fellow in China Studies, argues that it is “time to revisit the TPP,” which has now been rebranded as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).  Last month, China signed a far-reaching trade agreement with most of the countries of south and east Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand. For many in Washington, this is a warning sign that the Pacific region is slipping out of U.S. control. Continue reading

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‘This Is His Top Priority’: McConnell Advances Another Trump Judge as Covid Relief Bill Remains Unfinished

“As a government shutdown looms, and as the pandemic rages on across America, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to push through Trump’s judges until the very end.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-19-2020

Photo: THE WORLD NEWS/Twitter

Having kept the Senate in session over the weekend to complete work on a nearly $1 trillion coronavirus relief package and an omnibus government funding bill, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Saturday moved to advance yet another of President Donald Trump’s right-wing judicial appointees as the desperately needed stimulus legislation remained unfinished.

The Republican-controlled Senate’s vote to limit debate on Thompson Michael Dietz, a Trump nominee to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, came as Majority Whip Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) suggested that coronavirus relief talks could spill into Monday as negotiators struggled to resolve a number of outstanding issues. Continue reading

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‘Republican Party Doesn’t Give a Damn About You’: McConnell Admits Direct Checks Only Included to Help GOP Win in Georgia

“Given that this conversion only came after ‘Kelly and David got hammered,’ no one should be fooled—or let him get away with it.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-17-2020

Screenshot: ABC News

After opposing another round of stimulus checks for months in the face of deteriorating economic conditions and widespread suffering, Republican congressional leaders have finally agreed to include direct payments in a coronavirus relief package that could be approved by the end of the week.

During a private GOP conference call Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) provided a straightforward and revealing reason for the sudden change of heart: “Kelly and David are getting hammered.” Continue reading

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Wall Street Titan Gloats Over Pandemic Profits From Rentals as Eviction Tsunami Looms

“Blackstone was a huge winner coming out of the global financial crisis, and I think something similar is going to happen,” said the private equity firm’s billionaire CEO Stephen Schwarzman as millions brace for eviction.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-15-2020

Diane Yentel of the National Low Income Housing Coalition said that the consequences of congressional inaction on housing relief “will be deadly and costly—for children and families, for communities, and for our country’s ability to contain the pandemic.” Stephen Schwarzman photo: World Economic Forum/flickr/CC

As the December 31 expiration date on the CDC’s federal eviction moratorium nears in the midst of the surging Covid-19 pandemic and freezing weather, an estimated 30 to 40 million working-class households in the United States are bracing for the possibility of eviction—but at least one Wall Street investor looking to capitalize on the crisis is bragging about what he sees as a golden opportunity to expand his real estate empire.

“You always have winners and losers—Blackstone was a huge winner coming out of the global financial crisis, and I think something similar is going to happen,” said the billionaire CEO Stephen Schwarzman. Continue reading

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