Category Archives: Income Inequality

‘A Burning Indictment of Our Higher Ed System’: Commencement Speaker Pays Off $40 Million in Student Debt

Billionaire’s gift to nearly 400 graduating seniors of Morehouse College earned him praise—but also sparked criticism of the cost of education

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-19-2019

Morehouse College commencement speaker and billionaire Robert F. Smith announced Sunday he is wiping out an estimated $40 million in student debt for nearly 400 graduates. (Photo: Morehouse College/Twitter)

Commencement speaker Robert F. Smith garnered widespread praise Sunday when the billionaire investor announced he will wipe out an estimated $40 million in student debt for Morehouse College’s nearly 400 graduating seniors—but the move also sparked intense criticism of the cost of higher education in the United States.

“Two things are simultaneously true about this story: 1. This is a very cool thing to do,” tweeted Current Affairs editor Sparky Abraham. “2. That this is so cool and necessary and has such a huge impact on the students’ lives is a burning indictment of our higher ed system.” Continue reading

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In Show of ‘Breathtaking Cruelty,’ Trump White House Unveils Plan That Would Evict Tens of Thousands of Children From Public Housing

“Another despicable action by the Trump administration to disrupt communities and separate families.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-10-2019

The Maria Isabel Housing project, in the Bronx. Photo: Jim Henderson (public domain)

Using the federal agency that oversees public housing to wage its latest attack on immigrants, the Trump administration has proposed a rule that critics warn would result in tens of thousands of children being evicted from their homes.

Weeks after announcing it would tighten restrictions on undocumented immigrants who live in public housing, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) unveiled a proposal on Friday which would take away all housing aid from families with at least one member who is an undocumented immigrant. Continue reading

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‘Big Attack on Working People’: Trump Moves to Redefine Poverty in Order to Slash Social Programs and Services for Millions

“A novel way to take healthcare, etc., away from people AND make it look like there are fewer poor people.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-7-2019

The Poor People’s Campaign has mobilized nationally to fight the Trump administration’s attacks on the poor. (Photo: Becker1999/flickr/cc)

The Trump administration on Monday moved to change the definition of “poverty” in the United States in a proposal which combines the president’s attempts to portray the U.S. economy as strong with his repeated attacks on the working poor and their access to government services.

In a regulatory filing, President Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) wrote that it may change how inflation is calculated in order to reduce the number of Americans who are living below the federally-recognized poverty line and are therefore eligible for certain government support services and social programs. Continue reading

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‘We Teach, We Vote!’: 10,000 Teachers Rise Up Against Republican Legislature in Deep Red South Carolina

“For too long we have allowed our schools to go underfunded while taking the blame for the host of issues that come with that.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-1-2019

About 10,000 teachers gathered on the steps of the South Carolina state Capitol in Columbia on Wednesday to demand more school funding, smaller class sizes, and fair pay. (Photo: @ninaturner/Twitter)

Demanding an end to austerity measures that have kept classrooms overcrowded and educators underpaid, about 10,000 teachers, students, and supporters staged one of the largest protests in recent years at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia on Wednesday.

Led by the grassroots group SC for Ed, teachers from across the traditionally deep red state took personal days to stage the walkout. The protest is aimed at forcing the Republican-controlled legislature to fund higher wages and more hiring in order to reduce class sizes and staff schools with support staff. Continue reading

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‘The Statue of Liberty Is Not a Toll Booth’: Outrage as Trump Moves to Impose Fees on Asylum Seekers

“Charging asylum application fees puts a dollar amount on helping migrants escape persecution. It is pure villainy.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-30-2019

In a move immigrant rights groups decried as the White House’s latest inhumane attack on those fleeing violence and persecution, President Donald Trump late Monday ordered sweeping changes to the U.S. asylum system, including restriction of work permits and a fee for asylum applications.

“Once again, he’s hell bent on persecuting the most vulnerable and gives access to lifesaving refuge only to those who can afford it,” tweeted advocacy group Voto Latino. Continue reading

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Demanding Medicare for All, Nurses Use Band-Aids to Plaster GoFundMe Pages to Big Pharma Headquarters

-“Nobody should have a GoFundMe account to pay for their healthcare, and we’re here to make sure that that stops.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-29-2019

Nurses use Band-Aids to attach GoFundMe pages to the headquarters of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in Washington, D.C. (Photo: National Nurses United/Twitter)

Hundreds of nurses and their allies from across the country rallied Monday outside the headquarters of the pharmaceutical industry’s top lobbying group and plastered the GoFundMe pages of Americans “suffering in an immoral healthcare system” to the building’s walls and windows.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, spends tens of millions of dollars a year lobbying on a variety of healthcare issues, and it is currently bankrolling efforts to crush Medicare for All. Continue reading

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Latest ‘Wake-Up Call’ of Climate Emergency as Historic Cyclone Hits Still Reeling Mozambique

As aid groups call for global assistance, campaigner says unfolding disaster “is a tragedy that points to the bigger crisis that humanity is faced with.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-26-2019

Screenshot: Weather Channel

Urgent calls for international aid and climate action mounted Friday after the stongest cyclone to ever hit Mozambique made landfall just weeks after another powerful storm ravaged the impoverished African country.

“The families whose lives have been turned upside down by these climate-related disasters urgently need the generosity of the international community to survive over the coming months,” Mark Lowcock, the United Nations humanitarian chief, said in a statement (pdf). Continue reading

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Bolstered by Trump Tax Scam, Number of US Corporations Paying ‘Not a Dime’ in Federal Taxes Doubled in 2018

“Corporations zeroing out their tax bills or paying single-digit federal tax rates mean a substantial loss in federal revenue. Calls to cut critical programs and services in the wake of these corporate tax cuts are absolutely connected.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-11-2019

Steve Mnuchin, Mike Pence and Gary Cohn watching the Senate vote on the 2017 tax bill. Photo: White House

A new analysis out Thursday shows that tax policy under the Trump administration is benefitting large corporations to such a degree that twice as many large companies will pay nothing in federal taxes for 2018 compared to previous years.

The report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which comes less than a week before tax day in the United States on April 15, found that 60 companies—including Amazon, Netflix, Activision Blizzard, General Motors, and IBM—used “a diverse array of legal tax breaks” to bring their federal tax liability to zero. Continue reading

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As GOP Deploys ‘Nuclear Option’, New Reports Detail Damage Done By Trump’s Far-Right Takeover of Judiciary

“In just under two years on the bench, these narrow-minded elitist judges have already harmed workers, consumers, voters, immigrants, reproductive rights, and many more.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-3-2019

Mitch McConnell, Brett Kavanaugh, Mike Pence and Jon Kyl before Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Photo: Office of the Vice President [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As Senate Republicans rammed through a rules change enabling faster approval of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, two advocacy groups released reports on Wednesday showing the far-reaching and long-lasting damage his confirmed federal judges have already had on the nation.

People for the American Way (PFAW) and Alliance for Justice (AFJ) both published studies Wednesday about Trump’s success in appointing 92 judges to district courts, federal appeals courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court—with PFAW writing that the president’s effort to remake the judicial branch in his own image could be disastrous for a number of marginalized groups. Continue reading

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Citing ‘Conscience Shocking’ Conduct, Federal Judge Reinstates Former Gov. Snyder in Flint Water Lawsuit

City residents, said the judge, “could have taken protective measures, if only they had known what the Governor knew. Instead, the Governor misled them into assuming that nothing was wrong.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-1-2019

Screenshot: Fox 17

A federal judge on Monday—who agreed that allegations of “conscience shocking” conduct claimed by plaintiffs were “plausible”—reinstated Michigan’s former Governor Rick Snyder as a defendant in a class action lawsuit by the victims of the water crisis in the city of Flint that first captured national headlines in 2014.

After earlier removing Snyder from the suit, brought by city residents harmed by the poisoning of the municipal water supply, U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy reversed that decision as she noted the plaintiffs had shown the allegations against Snyder and his fellow co-defendants “plausibly describe ‘conscience shocking’ conduct” as the people of Flint were stripped of 14th Amendment protections from bodily harm or injury. Continue reading

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