Category Archives: Income Inequality

60 Days Into 2024 and Millionaires Are Already Done Paying Into Social Security

“Ninety-four percent of Americans contribute to Social Security all year long, but the wealthy stop paying after their first $168,600 in wage income.”

By Jake Johnson. Published 2-29-2024 by Common Dreams

Image: Public domain

Most Americans contribute to Social Security year-round, but U.S. millionaires will stop paying into the critical program on March 2—just over two months into 2024.

That’s because Social Security’s payroll tax doesn’t apply to earned income above a certain level. For 2024, the cut-off is $168,600, and capital gains—such as stock appreciation—are not subject to the payroll levy at all. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and the world’s richest man, pays nothing into Social Security because he doesn’t take a salary.

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Childcare Crisis Grips US as IRS Chief Says Wealthy Tax Dodgers Cost $150 Billion a Year

“If we can afford to spend over $1 trillion on tax breaks for the top 1% and large corporations making record-breaking profits, we can afford to provide working class families with the childcare they desperately need.”

By Jon Queally. Published 2-25-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: Learning Policy Institute: Laura E. Hernández/CC BY-NC 4.0

A survey of early childhood educators and caregivers released Sunday shows the post-pandemic collapse of federal funding is fueling a national crisis for young children and their families as centers suffer and out-of-pocket costs soar.

The findings of the survey—titled “We Are NOT OK” and put out by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)—resulted from questions posed to over 10,000 professionals in the early childhood education sector.

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Record 50 Million Children Now Displaced as Wars, Climate Crisis Rage

“When children lose their homes, they lose almost everything: their access to healthcare, education, food, and safety,” one advocate said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 2-20-2024 by Common Dreams

Children in the area of Shangil Tobaya, Sudan. Photo: United Nations Photo/flickr/CC

The 10 biggest global crises—including Israel’s war on Gaza—forced more than 10 million children to flee their homes in 2023.

That figure likely puts the total number of displaced children at more than 50 million, a new record, Save the Children said in an analysis published Tuesday. The number of children displaced worldwide has also more than doubled from around 20.6 million in 2010. While the number of displaced people overall reached a record 114 million in October 2023, children are being pushed from their homes at an even faster rate than adults and face unique vulnerabilities.

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In ‘Direct Attack’ on Labor Movement, Amazon Backs Claim NLRB Is Unconstitutional

“So now capital, unable to hold back labor any longer, is arguing that the NLRB’s very existence is unconstitutional,” said one law professor.

By Julia Conley. Published 2-16-2024 by Common Dreams

Workers at Amazon & everywhere have a right to safety and a union Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

Amid a recent surge in unionization and other workers’ rights victories, wealthy U.S. corporations have fired union organizers, surveilled employees as they voted on forming a collective bargaining unit, and closed store locations to penalize labor leaders—but a court filing by Amazon on Thursday suggested a new tactic as the e-commerce giant seeks to dismantle the federal agency tasked with protecting employees.

Fighting accusations from prosecutors at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that Amazon illegally retaliated against warehouse workers who unionized, the company submitted a legal filing arguing that the board itself is unconstitutional.

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Under Pressure From Angry Students, GOP Gov Reverses on Federal Summer Meals Funding

“It only took literally everyone in the entire state telling him that he was being a monster,” said one political scientist, “for him to do the absolute easiest thing and feed hungry kids.”

By Julia Conley. Published 2-13-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: USDA/Public domain

As the deadline rapidly approached for state governments to accept federal funds for summer food assistance for children, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen announced Monday that conversations with students from around the state had convinced him to take the funding—leaving just 14 Republican-led states still refusing the aid.

At a news conference, the GOP governor—who previously said he didn’t “believe in welfare” and would be forgoing $18 million for the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT) program—said he had changed his mind after “an evolution of information” about how young people across Nebraska would be affected by his decision.

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Bombings Kill Dozens in Pakistan on Eve of Contentious Elections

As Pakistanis prepare to head to the polls with the country’s most popular politician behind bars on dubious charges, human rights groups sounded the alarm on a wide range of election-related repression.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 2-7-2024 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: YouTube

Dozens of Pakistanis were killed Wednesday in two bombings targeting political offices on the eve of highly contentious parliamentary elections from which the country’s most popular leader—who is jailed on what critics say are politically motivated charges—is banned.

The blasts both occurred in the southwestern province of Balochistan, homeland of the nomadic Baloch people, who also inhabit a large swath of southeastern Iran and southern Afghanistan. Government officials said the first bombing, which targeted independent candidate Asfandyar Khan’s office in the Pashin district, killed 18 people. A second blast approximately 80 miles away then killed at least 12 people at the Qilla Saifullah office of the Sunni fundamentalist Jamiat Ulema Islam party, which has close ties to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

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Ohio Pastor Charged for Opening Church to Homeless People in Freezing Weather

“This is actual religious persecution of a Christian by the state,” said one journalist. “An actual violation of religious liberty.”

By Julia Conley. Published 1-19-2024 by Common Dreams

Image: Dad’s Place/Facebook

Outrage spread Friday after the story about a pastor in Ohio who was arrested and charged for opening his church to homeless people when extreme cold weather struck his town gained national attention.

Chris Avell, the pastor of an evangelical church called Dad’s Place in Bryan, Ohio, pleaded not guilty last Thursday to charges that he broke 18 restrictions in zoning code when he gave shelter to people who might otherwise have frozen to death.

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Analysis Shows How Corporate Profits Drive Inflation—Even as Business Costs Go Down

“It’s one thing for corporations to pass reasonable increased costs to consumers,” said one analyst. “It’s another for them to line their coffers by exploiting Americans who are just trying to get by.”

By Julia Conley. Published 1-18-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: Pixabay

Inflation has eased over the last two years, and with supply chains no longer struggling to keep up with demand and companies’ business costs stabilizing, an analysis out Thursday asks: Why haven’t American households seen the benefits of a more secure economy, with the prices of consumer goods and services falling?

The answer, said economic justice think tank Groundwork Collaborative, is that high prices linked to the coronavirus pandemic were never just the result of higher labor and production costs—but were partially caused by corporations’ deliberate price gouging.

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With Overdraft Fee Crackdown, ‘CFPB Is Doing What It Was Designed to Do’

“The CFPB is proposing clear, enforceable rules that will reduce overdraft fees and save Americans billions, closing another lucrative regulatory loophole banks use to prey on consumers,” said one advocate.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 1-17-2024 by Common Dreams

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra testified on a semi-annual report of his agency before the House Financial Services Committee on Nov 29, 2023. Screenshot: C-SPAN

In a move cheered by progressive advocates, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday proposed a new rule limiting how the nation’s biggest banks can charge overdraft fees.

The CFPB said its proposal “would close an outdated loophole that exempts overdraft lending services from long-standing provisions of the Truth in Lending Act and other consumer financial protection laws.”

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‘Don’t Just Quote Him’: US Agencies, Politicians Under Fire on MLK Day

“It’s that day of the year where people who don’t know anything about MLK, and would hate him if he were alive today, post the one or two MLK quotes they know.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 1-15-2024 by Common Dreams

Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking against the Vietnam War, St. Paul Campus, University of Minnesota on April 27 1967 Photo: Minnesota Historical Society/CC

U.S. politicians, agencies, and departments provoked intense criticism on Monday—Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States—for sharing select quotes from the civil rights icon while ignoring his messages about important issues including militarism, poverty, and racism.

King—who was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee—would have celebrated his 95th birthday on Monday.

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