Category Archives: Income Inequality

What We Found in Trump’s Drained Swamp: Hundreds of Ex-Lobbyists and D.C. Insiders


By Derek KravitzAl Shaw and Isaac Arnsdorf. Published 3-7-2018 by ProPublica

When the Trump administration took office early last year, hundreds of staffers from lobbying firms, conservative think tanks and Trump campaign groups began pouring into the very agencies they once lobbied or whose work they once opposed.

Today we’re making available, for the first time, an authoritative searchable database of 2,475 political appointees, including Trump’s Cabinet, staffers in the White House and senior officials within the government, along with their federal lobbying and financial records. Trump Town is the result of a year spent filing hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests; collecting and organizing staffing lists; and compiling, sifting through and publishing thousands of financial disclosure reports. Continue reading


17 Democrats Decried for Sending This Clear Message: “I Work for My Bank Donors, Not My Constituents’

“Voters have seen this movie before. It didn’t work out in 2008 and it’s no wiser today. There is simply no excuse for a Democrat to add their name to Wall Street deregulation.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-6-2018

Senators Tim Kaine and Angus King. Both senators were among the seventeen Democratic caucus members who voted in favor of a financial dergulation bill on Tuesday. “This bill wouldn’t be on the path to becoming law without the support of these Democrats,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) following the vote. Photo: flickr

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are not impressed.

And they were not alone Tuesday as outrage and disgust erupted among consumer watchdogs and progressives after Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and sixteen Democrats joined with 50 Republicans in the U.S. Senate to advance a bill that critics say is just another handout for Wall Street banks—one that also sets the stage for the next major financial meltdown. Continue reading


‘Needless and Ideologically-Driven Cruelty’: Arkansas to Become First State to Implement Trump’s Assault on Medicaid

“In a very real sense, health coverage for millions of Americans who rely on Medicaid could be at risk under the agenda Trump is advancing.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-5-2018

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Seema Verma and Arkansas’ Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson at a press conference on Monday. (Photo: Gov. Asa Hutchinson/Twitter)

The Trump administration is waging a vicious war on Medicaid—a program that provides life-saving healthcare to around 74 million Americans—and its effects will soon be felt in the state of Arkansas.

On Monday, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Seema Verma—who, prior to joining the Trump White House, helped craft Indiana’s punitive Medicaid restrictions—hand-delivered and signed a federal waiver granting Arkansas permission to begin imposing work requirements on the state’s Medicaid recipients, 60 percent of whom already work. Continue reading


‘We Will Stay!’ West Virginia Teachers Vote to Occupy State Capitol Until Demands Met

While some have called the West Virginia teachers’ strike “the most important story in the country right now,” MSNBC and other outlets have almost completely ignored it.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-2-2018

As the demonstrations raged on in the state capitol, West Virginia lawmakers voted against bringing a teacher pay raise bill to the Senate floor for immediate consideration, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported on Friday. (Photo: Jacobin/Twitter)

Though you may not know it from the corporate media’s coverage—or lack thereof—West Virginia teachers are still striking in an effort to win both a pay raise and a permanent fix to their soaring health insurance premiums, and on Friday they voted to occupy the state capitol until their demands are met.

Watch teachers chant “We will stay!” shortly following the vote: Continue reading


After Being Told He’s ‘Full of Sh*t’ at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video

In addition to being called out on his “plutocratic BS,” students in attendance attacked the Treasury chief’s record of foreclosing on tens of thousands of Americans

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-1-2018

After a short lecture, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal at the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations in Los Angeles. (Photo: UCLA)

Trump Treasury Secretary and former Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin isn’t accustomed to facing direct challenges to his wild economic claims or protests over the GOP tax plan he helped craft, and after experiencing both during an event at UCLA’s Burkle Center on Monday, Mnuchin demanded that video of his appearance be suppressed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Mnuchin complained to the audience that he usually only talks to “people who wanna listen to me speak” after students and others attending the event yelled out “I think you’re full of shit” and denounced the Republican tax bill as an attack on “people who are in poverty.” Continue reading


Analysis: Major Corporations Have Spent Just 6% of Tax Cut Windfall on Workers. Guess Where the Other 94% Went.

“You mean corporations aren’t using the bulk of their tax cuts to create jobs and boost workers’ wages like Trump promised? Weird…”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer  for CommonDreams. Published 2-28-2018

White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Screenshot: YouTube

Almost everyone—nonpartisan commentatorseconomists, and even President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser—predicted that corporate shareholders and CEOs, not workers, would be the primary beneficiaries of the Republican tax law, and several recent analyses have shown that prediction to be right on the money.

While many corporations immediately launched aggressive PR campaigns crediting the tax plan Trump signed in December with new “investments” in employees, a study by the nonprofit group JUST Capital published on Wednesday found that the sensational headlines touting worker bonuses obscured the fact that the vast majority of the law’s benefits have gone straight to the pockets of wealthy shareholders. Continue reading


New Report Details How Americans Who Have Debt Held by Collection Agencies Can Get Thrown in Jail

New ACLU publication looks at how “debt collection industry uses prosecutors and judges as weapons against millions of Americans who can’t afford to pay their bills.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 2-21-2018

“Consumers have little chance of justice when our courts take the debt collector’s side in almost every case—even to the point of ordering people jailed until they pay up,” says report author Jennifer Turner. (Photo: Bill Smith/flickr/cc)

Threatened with arrest for a case involving a few dollars in debt held by a collection agency?

This is not a science fiction, nor a scenario from the United States more than 185 years ago when debtors prisons were still allowed. Rather, it’s a part of the current justice system where, in states across the country, state courts and local prosecutors abet debt collectors in arresting and jailing some of the tens of millions of Americans who have debt held by private collection agencies.

The injustice is laid out in new report from the ACLU, “A Pound of Flesh: The Criminalization of Private Debt.” Continue reading


Consumers are biggest losers of Trump’s ongoing war on regulations

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Some worry Mick Mulvaney is putting banks before consumers as head of the CFPB. Reuters/Yuri Gripas

Jeff Sovern, St. John’s University

President Donald Trump has been waging a war on regulation since he got into office on the ground that government red tape costs the economy billions of dollars a year.

Among the victors in this battle have been energy companies, banks and the president himself, who recently promised he’s “just getting started.” Perhaps the biggest losers, however, have been consumers.

The best illustration of this is the neutering of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which began immediately after Mick Mulvaney stepped in as interim director in November. Continue reading


‘Crisis No One Is Talking About’: GOP Threatens Healthcare of 26 Million People

Sens. Sanders and Baldwin demand urgent action as thousands of community health centers face uncertain future without federal funds

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 2-3-2018

Millions of Americans may not be able to easily access healthcare if Congress continues to withhold funding from community health clinics. (Photo: Pixnio/Flickr/cc)

While the Republican-controlled Congress finally approved funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program in late January after it lapsed in September, lawmakers have failed to renew funding for thousands of community health centers, which also expired in the fall—a move that “has quietly created a new healthcare crisis for 26 million Americans.”

“If Congress doesn’t fund community health centers,” Vox‘s Sarah Kliff details in a report published Friday, “thousands are expected to close.” Continue reading


‘Kicking Off Black History Month,’ Trump Guts CFPB’s Ability to Curb Racial Discrimination by Banks

“These changes threaten effective enforcement of civil rights laws and increase the likelihood that people will continue to face discriminatory access and pricing as they navigate their economic lives.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 2-1-2018

Mick Mulvaney press conference about President Donald Trump’s budget plan. Screenshot: YouTube

In a move immediately condemned as yet another “shameful” effort by the Trump administration to roll back civil rights and reward big banks, the White House reportedly “stripped” a key Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) office of the power to take action against financial firms accused of breaking laws against racist lending practices.

Instead of enforcing anti-discrimination laws and penalizing criminal banks, the CFPB’s Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity will now be focused on “advocacy, coordination, and education,” according to an email sent to bureau employees by White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, who was installed as the CFPB’s acting director by President Donald Trump over objections of consumer advocates.  Continue reading