Tag Archives: Income Inequality

‘Good First Step’ as DeVos Forced to Cancel $150M in Student Loan Debt for Thousands Scammed by For-Profit Schools


“It’s disappointing that it took a court order to get Secretary DeVos to begin providing debt relief to students left in the lurch by predatory for-profit colleges.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-14-2018

Photo: CNN screenshot

After a federal judge struck down billionaire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ attempt to gut protections for students scammed by for-profit colleges, the Department of Education announced on Thursday that—because of the court mandate—it is canceling $150 million in student loan debt for around 15,000 defrauded borrowers.

“The Department of Education illegally delayed implementation of the 2016 borrower defense rule, but because our clients in Bauer v. DeVos were willing to fight back, 15,000 students are finally getting the relief they are owed,” said Toby Merrill, director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending, which represented the students leading the legal fight against DeVos. Continue reading

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More Than a Thousand Arrested as Yellow Vests Protests Over Economic Frustration Rage on Across France

“The Gilets Jaunes that you see in the streets,” said one organizer, “they’re being bled dry financially. The wealth gap is getting wider, and we’ve reached a point where there are the very rich and the very poor.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-9-2018

Some 1,220 people were arrested in France on Saturday as more than a hundred thousand took to the streets—leading to a lockdown and armored vehicles pouring into Paris—as part of the “Yellow Vests” or “Gilets Jaunes” movement that initially came as a response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s attempt to raise taxes on gasoline and diesel, which critics warn would primarily impact the working- and middle-class.

The movement’s name comes from many supporters wearing the yellow high-visibility vests that all drivers in France are required to keep in their vehicles. Although Macron’s centrist administration announced last week that it was suspending fuel and electricity hikes for six months, outrage over growing inequality across the country has continued to produce massive protests. Continue reading

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Celebrating a Congress That Looks ‘Like America,’ Ilhan Omar Shrugs Off Right-Wing Islamophobic Rant

“You’re gonna have to just deal.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-7-2018

Reps.-elect Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) at freshmen orientation on Capitol Hill last month. (Photo: @JossieValentin/Twitter)

Incoming Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Friday reminded a right-wing pastor and others who would lament the new cultural diversity of the U.S. Congress that the 2018 midterm elections simply gave Americans—particularly Democratic voters and progressives—the representation they asked for in Washington: the kind that looked like America.

After conservative minister and radio host E.W. Jackson delivered an Islamophobic rant on his show on Wednesday, decrying Omar’s status as one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress and warning that the Capitol is turning into a “institution of Sharia law,” the current state legislator replied simply that the pastor would “have to just deal.” Continue reading

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With Power to Kneecap Bold Demand, Incoming Democratic Tax Committee Chair Says Medicare for All ‘Not Realistic’

“Two decades of generous donations apparently gets you a powerful congressman willing to throw up roadblocks in front of universal healthcare.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-6-2018

Ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) speaks during a news conference on Republican plans to end the state and local tax deduction, on Capitol Hill, October 12, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Photo: C-SPAN screenshot

As progressive House Democrats strategize and push for a vote on Medicare for All legislation as soon as possible, surging congressional and grassroots momentum for single-payer could soon run into a serious obstacle in the form of incoming Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who has denounced Medicare for All as “not realistic” and will soon be in a position to tank healthcare plans that are unacceptable to his insurance industry donors.

“Neal will have near total control over what tax-related policies come to the House floor, including legislation that would create a Medicare for All healthcare system,” noted investigative reporter Eoin Higgins in a piece for Sludge on Wednesday. “Having Neal at the helm of the committee, rather than a more progressive member, makes it much less likely that the House of Representatives will vote on universal healthcare measures.” Continue reading

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In ‘Craven’ Bait-and-Switch Attack on Workers, Michigan GOP Guts Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Proposals

“Imagine hating working-class people this much.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-5-2018

Michigan voters—joined by a “lame duck”—gathered to watch in Michigan’s capital as Republican lawmakers gutted a minimum wage hike and paid sick leave protections. (Photo: @LindsayVanHulle/Twitter)

Three months after ensuring that Michigan voters would not have a say in proposals to hike the state’s minimum wage and provide sick leave to workers, the state’s Republican-led Senate pushed through major changes to the initiatives on Tuesday, effectively gutting legislation that hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents had demanded.

Under the original minimum wage proposal, the state’s minimum wage would have gone up from $9.25 to $12 per hour by 2022—but workers will have to wait until 2030 under the GOP’s version of the bill. Tipped workers’s wages will go up to only $4 from $3.52 per hour by that time under the Republican proposal. Continue reading

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Hospital Letter Urging Patient to Start ‘Fundraising Effort’ to Pay for Heart Treatment Seen as Yet Another Reason America Needs Medicare for All

“‘You can’t have a heart unless you do GoFundMe for 10K’ is not a just system.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-24-2018

Photo: USAF

As progressive lawmakers and healthcare experts have frequently pointed out in recent months, few growing trends have laid bare the fundamental immorality and brokenness of America’s healthcare system quite like the rise of GoFundMe and other crowdfunding platforms as methods of raising money for life-saving medical treatments that—due to insurance industry greed and dysfunction—are far too expensive for anyone but the very wealthiest to afford.

Providing the latest example of this horrifying trend, a Michigan woman seeking a heart transplant publicized a letter she received from the Spectrum Health Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Clinic—named after the late father-in-law of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos—informing her that she is “not a candidate” for the procedure “at this time” because she needs a “more secure financial plan” to afford the required post-operation immunosuppressive medication. Continue reading

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‘A Staggeringly Bad Idea’: Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would ‘Kneecap the Progressive Agenda’

“This is a very bad idea, House Democrats. It makes no sense whatsoever to give Republicans veto power over progressive legislation.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-16-2018

Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

Nearly three-quarters of the American public and a historic number of Democratic lawmakers support Medicare for All, but the House Democratic leadership is considering using its newly won majority to impose a rule that would “recklessly betray” the grassroots forces that put them in power by making single-payer and other progressive priorities impossible to enact.

According to a list of Democratic proposals obtained by the Washington Post, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)—who is currently fighting back against efforts to prevent her from becoming House Speaker—is pushing for a rule that would “require a three-fifths supermajority to raise individual income taxes on the lowest-earning 80 percent of taxpayers.” Continue reading

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‘It Keeps Getting Uglier’: As True Costs of HQ2 Scam Emerge, Public Housing and School Offices Getting the Boot to Make Room for Amazon

“The fact that massive public subsidies are helping eliminate affordable housing units is just the latest reason this bad deal needs to be torn up and thrown away.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-16-2018

“The taxpayer costs of these two deals is high, both in absolute terms and on a per-job basis, contrary to Amazon’s artful spin. Together, we believe they exceed $4.6 billion,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First. (Photo: Street Easy

After learning that New York taxpayers will be forced to finance a helipad for Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, it’s possible many believed Amazon’s sweetheart headquarters deal with the Empire State couldn’t get any worse.

But as additional details of the agreement continue to pour in—and as experts estimate its true cost to taxpayers—critics are warning that it the deal is looking increasingly awful for ordinary New Yorkers. Continue reading

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#HQ2Scam Hashtag Lifts Off After Cities Reveal $2.1 Billion in Tax Giveaways for Amazon

City councilor among those who doesn’t understand why “a company as rich as Amazon would need nearly $2 billion in public money for its expansion plans at a time when New York desperately needs money for affordable housing, transportation, infrastructure, and education.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-13-2018

Critics say Amazon has contributed to rising housing costs in Seattle as well as heavy traffic and income inequality. (Photo: Kiewic/Flickr/cc)

While business-friendly politicians applauded Amazon’s decision to establish two new headquarters in New York and just outside Washington DC, local officials, residents, and critics of the “race to the bottom” the $800 billion corporation held in its search for new office locations denounced the move on Tuesday, decrying the effects the new headquarters will likely have on the chosen cities.

After a 14-month-long process in which Amazon pitted cities against one another in a competition to see who would offer the company the most enticing tax incentives and other perks, the neighborhoods of Long Island City in Queens, New York and Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia were named as Amazon’s new second and third homes. Continue reading

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Trump NLRB moves to restrict unions right to picket

 

Hotel workers picket outside the Marriott Waterfront in Baltimore, Maryland, in October 2018.
Photo: Unite Here Local 7/Facebook

By Bill Aiman. Published 10-22-2018 by Fight Back! News

A recent ruling of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said that janitors who were picketing for better working conditions were not protected from unfair labor practices committed by their employer. The Board ruled that the janitors, who were being contracted by a building management company, were engaged in secondary picketing. With a Trump-appointed NLRB, workers fighting for rights on the job will be facing new challenges.

The janitors were working for Rafael Ortiz, under a company called Ortiz Janitorial Services (OJS), which was hired by Preferred Building Services to fulfil a contract with Harvest Properties in San Francisco. The workers had reached out to SEIU Local 87 and the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition (SFLWC) to help them organize for higher wages and an end to sexual harassment on the job. Continue reading

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