Category Archives: Income Inequality

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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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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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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With Attention on Presidential Contest, GOP Goes on Austerity Rampage

One leading Democrat warned Republicans’ spending proposals would “demolish public education” and “let corporate price gouging run rampant.”

By Jake Johnson. Published 7-6-2024 by Common Dreams

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson speaking with attendees at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s 2023 Annual Leadership Summit. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

With much of the public’s attention on the looming presidential election and high-stakes jockeying over who will take on Donald Trump in November, congressional Republicans in recent weeks have provided a stark look at their plans for federal spending should their party win back control of the presidency and the Senate.

The appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins in October, is currently underway, with congressional committees engaging in government funding debates that are likely to continue beyond the November elections.

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Milei’s ‘twin extractivism’ reforms threaten Argentina and the planet

Argentina’s debt will grow as Big Tech extracts data and knowledge, forcing state to abuse nature to pay it off

By Cecilia Rikap. Published 6-28-2024 by openDemocracy

Javier Milei, President of Argentina speaking at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in January 2024. Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr/CC

Argentina’s far-right president Javier Milei secured early this morning his first major win in office, with the country’s lower chamber passing the first of his landmark regressive reforms. Congress’s approval of the so-called Ley Bases, or the Bases Law, came weeks after the bill prompted a 13-hour debate in the upper chamber and a peaceful demonstration outside Parliament that was met with fierce police repression.

The legislation – which is a key part of Milei’s anarcho-liberal government plan – promotes investment in extractive industries, such as forestry, construction, mining, energy and technology. It includes a Large Investment Incentive Scheme (RIGI, by its Spanish acronym) that will grant extractive investment projects worth at least $200m lower income tax, authorise them to import fixed capital and tax only their exports in the first three years.

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‘Unfathomably Cruel’: Billionaire-Backed Justices Rule in Favor of Criminalizing Homelessness

“Maybe the right-wing justices could empathize with the most vulnerable Americans if they spent less time jet-setting on luxury vacations on their wealthy benefactors’ dime,” said one critic.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 6-28-2024 by Common Dreams

Homeless encampment in Downtown Los Angeles over the freeway in 2021. Photo: Levi Clancy/Wikimedia Commons/CC

“SCOTUS just criminalized homelessness.”

So said numerous legal experts and advocates for the unhoused Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing supermajority ruled that local governments can enforce bans on sleeping outdoors, regardless of whether municipalities are able to offer them shelter space.

In a 6-3 decision along ideological lines, the justices ruled in City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson that officials can criminalize sleeping and camping on public property including parks, even when housing options are unavailable or unaffordable.

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Project 2025: How Trump Win Would Imperil Worker Organizing Gains Under Biden’s NLRB

The right-wing agenda “offers a playbook for how an administration could jeopardize the NLRB’s ability to protect organizing workers.”

By Julia Conley. Published 6-20-2024 by Common Dreams

Just before oral arguments in an American Federation of Government Employees’ lawsuit against the Trump administration, AFGE and other unions rally to protest the Trump administration’s anti-union executive orders. in 2018. Photo: AFGE/flickr/CC

With longtime labor lawyer Jennifer Abruzzo at the helm of the National Labor Relations Board, serving as general counsel, the Biden administration has worked to reverse the decadeslong trend in the U.S. of weakened labor laws—achieving a high rate of workers voting to join unions, requiring thousands of workers to be reinstated at their jobs after being illegally fired for organizing, and increasing the number of workers who are eligible to unionize.

But as the Center for American Progress (CAP) warned in an analysis published on Thursday, all that progress and more could be erased if former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee in the November election, were to win a second term in the White House—enabling him to put the right-wing plot Project 2025 into action.

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Corporate Landlords’ Profits Soar as Tenants Drown in Rent Hikes and Fees

“Through-the-roof rent hikes based on greed—not need—have kept many Americans from getting ahead,” said one advocate at Accountable.US.

By Julia Conley. Published 6-12-2024 by Common Dreams

Yn 2002, the Roosevelt began operating as a luxury apartment building (Camden Roosevelt), owned by Camden Property Trust. Photo: NCinDC/flickr.CC

With monthly inflation down to its lowest point in more than two years and heading toward the Federal Reserve’s target, the Biden administration on Wednesday celebrated “welcome progress.”

But an analysis from Accountable.US showed how more than 100 million people who rent their homes in the U.S. are not seeing the benefits of what one Biden spokesperson called “the great American comeback” in their housing costs, particularly millions of people whose homes are owned by corporate landlords.

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