Tag Archives: Income Inequality

Global Just Recovery Gathering Kicks Off to Harness ‘Collective People Power’ and Create a ‘Better Future for All’

The event is being called “an invitation for us all to build a movement that is massive and that shakes the foundations of power and money and greed that seem to hold all the cards right now.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-9-2021

Organizers circulated a promotional image for the Global Just Recovery Gathering. (Image: 350.org)

A three-day event called the Global Just Recovery Gathering kicked off Friday and is aimed at being “a space to design new pathways for a better future for all.”

“There is nothing we can’t achieve if we pool our collective people power together, and create the forces of change necessary for a just recovery for all,” organizers declare.

The free and virtual event, scheduled with time zones around the world in mind,
features 200 interactive sessions and high-profile progressives including Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, Greta Thunberg, and Nnimmo Bassey. Continue reading

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America gets a D+ for school infrastructure – but federal COVID relief could pay for many repairs

Money from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan could go toward much-needed improvements to crumbling public school buildings. Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Michael Addonizio, Wayne State University

Many kids are attending public schools this spring with the use of COVID-19 safety protocols, including more desk spacing, more frequent cleaning and mandates to wear masks.

But far too many of the school buildings themselves remain dilapidated, toxic and in desperate need of structural improvements.

On average, U.S. public schools are more than 50 years old – and by and large they are not being properly maintained, updated or replaced. The American Society of Civil Engineers graded America’s public K-12 infrastructure a D+ in their 2021 Infrastructure Report Card, the same abysmal grade as in their prior 2017 report.

But help may finally be on the way. Continue reading

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‘Outrageous’: 46 Million Americans Say They Would Not Be Able to Afford Healthcare If They Needed It

“The American model of health reform—throwing money at private insurers—cannot solve it.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-31-2021

Dr. Christina Bastin De Jong, a critical care physician at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, shares a light moment with Jimmy Porter, who was on the mend following a serious bout with COVID-19, on Thursday, Dec. 10. (Photo by Derek Montgomery for Essentia Health)

A new study released Wednesday morning shows that nearly 50 million Americans would be unable to afford quality healthcare should the need for treatment suddenly arise, a finding seen as further evidence of the immorality of a for-profit insurance system that grants or denies coverage based on a person’s ability to pay.

“People can’t afford their goddamn healthcare,” Tim Faust, a proponent of single-payer healthcare, tweeted in response to the new report. “Families spend less on food so they can make insurance payments. This problem is felt by all, but concentrated among poor people and black people. The American model of health reform—throwing money at private insurers—can not solve it.” Continue reading

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Trump Holdovers Accused of ‘Sabotaging’ Effort to Get Checks to 30 Million Social Security Recipients

“President Biden can’t stand for this any longer. He must protect Social Security beneficiaries by firing Saul and Black immediately.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-25-2021

Graphic: SocialSecurityWorks/Twitter

House Democrats and progressive activists are accusing the leadership of the Social Security Administration—currently headed by Trump holdover Andrew Saul—of slow-walking the Biden administration’s effort to distribute direct coronavirus relief payments to tens of millions of seniors and people with disabilities.

In a letter (pdf) to Saul on Wednesday, Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee raised alarm on behalf of “the nearly 30 million Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries who are still awaiting their economic impact payments (EIPs)”—checks approved under the recently passed American Rescue Plan. Continue reading

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Biden Pushes Colombia to Restart Glyphosate Spraying Program

Experts: “The recently announced decision sends an unfortunate message to the Colombian people that your administration is not committed to abandoning the ineffective and damaging war on drugs internationally.”

By Common Dreams  Published 3-20-2021

After a six-year halt, Colombia plans to restart the toxic aerial spraying of glyphosate on coca crops as early as next month—drawing “most welcome” support from U.S. President Joe Biden and sharp criticism from 150 regional experts who wrote to Biden, “your administration is implicitly endorsing former President Trump’s damaging legacy in Colombia.”

On March 2nd, the Biden administration welcomed Colombia’s decision to restart its aerial coca eradication program in Biden’s first annual 2021 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: “The government of Colombia has committed to re-starting its aerial coca eradication program, which would be a most welcome development.” Continue reading

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Congress Urged to Take ‘Immediate Action’ to Stop Debt Collectors From Snatching Relief Checks

A legislative fix is needed, said one observer, to prevent “a flood of new judgments from debt collectors to siphon stimulus funds out.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-14-2021

Screenshot: C-SPAN

Direct payments from the newly approved coronavirus relief package began landing in people’s bank accounts with striking quickness this weekend, but a glaring shortcoming of the American Rescue Plan caused by the arcane procedural tool that Democrats used to pass the bill could prevent checks from reaching many vulnerable households.

Unlike the Covid relief bill that Congress passed through regular order in December, the new $1.9 trillion legislation does not include protections barring debt collectors from hoovering up the checks and using them to pay off people’s private debts—which, as The American Prospect‘s David Dayen put it, makes the American Rescue Plan “also a cash cow for debt collectors.” Continue reading

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Advocates Sound Alarm Over Quiet Trump Era Move That Could Further Privatize Medicare

“The Biden administration should immediately kill this toxic legacy of the former president.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-13-2021

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the Trump administration. Photo: Paul Morigi/flickr/CC

A little-noticed scheme hatched in the late stages of the Trump presidency has consumer advocates and universal healthcare proponents warning about a creeping attempt to further privatize Medicare—an effort the Biden administration is being urged to stop in its tracks.

On December 3, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—then under the leadership of Seema Verma—unveiled an innocuous-sounding proposal titled the Geographic Direct Contracting Model (Geo) with the purported goal of delivering “Medicare beneficiaries value through better care and improved quality.” Continue reading

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Warning Against ‘Democratic Version of Ajit Pai,’ Groups Call for FCC Pick Without Telecom Ties

“Americans desperately need a return to an FCC that is an empowered advocate for the public, not the telecom industry.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-11-2021

FCC chairman Ajit Pai, seen here at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference, on Monday backed the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

A coalition of nearly two dozen progressive advocacy groups launched a new campaign Thursday calling on President Joe Biden to fill the one remaining vacancy at the Federal Communications Commission with an official who is—at minimum—completely unconnected to the powerful telecom industry and fully dedicated to restoring net neutrality protections.

“The Biden administration has said getting people online during the pandemic is a top priority, and if that’s the case we need a real champ appointed to the FCC, ASAP—someone who isn’t beholden to big telecom companies because they used to work for them. The last thing we need is some Democratic version of Ajit Pai,” said Caitlin Seeley George of Fight for the Future, referring to the former Verizon attorney who served as Trump’s FCC chair. Continue reading

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Biden Signs Two Executive Orders to Advance Gender Equality on International Women’s Day

“Let us recommit to the principle that our nation, and the world, is at its best when the possibilities for all of our women and girls are limitless.”

By Jenna McGuire, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-8-2021

Photo: Narih Lee/flickr/CC

On Monday—International Women’s Day—President Joe Biden signed an executive order to establish the White House Gender Policy Council to address gender equality and human rights of women and girls and “ensure that every domestic and foreign policy we pursue rests on a foundation of dignity and equity for women.”

“We know that governments, economies, and communities are stronger when they include the full participation of women—no country can recover from this pandemic if it leaves half of its population behind,” read a statement released by the White House on the new Gender Policy Council. Continue reading

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‘It’s Like Nobody Cares’: After Two Weeks Without Running Water, Jackson, Miss. Pleads for Help

“Water is a basic necessity and it just brought a lot of frustration, anger, and disappointment,” said one of the city’s residents. “If you don’t know when it’s coming back, what is being done to help us?”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-2-2021

City Council President Aaron Banks carries bottled water at a local distribution center in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo: Screengrab from ABC 16 WAPT News)

“It’s been two weeks and I know families with infants who don’t have water. The city needs help. I’m thankful my water is trickling out enough to flush my toilet but dang. This just needs to be fixed at this point. It just needs to be fixed.”

That’s what Jamario Townsend, a resident of Jackson, Mississippi, recently posted on the city’s Facebook page, according to reporting by The Daily Beast. Tens of thousands of people in Jackson have lacked reliable access to running water for roughly two weeks and remain under a boil-water alert since a pair of mid-February winter storms damaged the capital city’s outdated water system, prompting renewed calls for major investments in upgrading infrastructure. Continue reading

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