Tag Archives: pandemic

US Unemployment System ‘Wholly Unprepared’ as Fed Risks Throwing Millions Out of Work

“If another wave of job losses does indeed hit, the unemployment safety net isn’t ready to cushion the blow without significant improvements,” warns the co-author of a new study.

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-1-2022 by Common Dreams

People’s Unemployment Line protest in Philadelphia, 2020. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

With the Federal Reserve poised to induce mass layoffs in its ongoing campaign to curb inflation, a study published Tuesday warns the notoriously fragmented U.S. unemployment system is nowhere near ready to handle another surge in jobless claims, potentially spelling disaster for the millions of people who could be thrown out of work next year.

Authored by Andrew Stettner and Laura Valle Gutierrez of The Century Foundation (TCF), the new analysis notes that “the share of jobless workers actually receiving UI benefits has shrunk dramatically” since federal benefit increases expired last year. According to TCF, just 26.8% of jobless workers were receiving state unemployment benefits in the 12 months that ended in August 2022, a sharp decline from the 76% rate through early 2021. Continue reading

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‘A Brazil of Hope’ as Leftist Lula Defeats Far-Right Bolsonaro in Presidential Runoff

The Workers’ Party candidate, who completed a remarkable political comeback less than three years removed from a prison cell, tweeted one word following his win: “Democracy.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 10-30-2022 by Common Dreams

Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Photo: Daya Laxmi Shrestha/Twitter

“A huge blow against fascistic politics and a huge victory for decency and sanity.”

That’s how RootsAction director Norman Solomon described Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Sunday presidential runoff victory against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, the culmination of a most remarkable political comeback for a man who was languishing behind bars just three years ago.

With 99% of votes counted via an electronic system that tallies final results in a matter of hours—and which was repeatedly aspersed by Bolsonaro in an effort to cast doubt on the election’s veracity—da Silva led the incumbent by more than two million ballots, or nearly two percentage points. Continue reading

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Republican Policies Are Killing Americans: Study

“Changing all policy domains in all states to a fully liberal orientation might have saved 171,030 lives in 2019,” researchers estimate, “while changing them to a fully conservative orientation might have cost 217,635 lives.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 10-26-2022 by Common Dreams

Main Street, Mount Hope, West Virginia. Photo: Tim Kiser/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The Republican Party’s regressive policies are not just unpopular, but a new study out Wednesday suggests they are also deadly to those who live under them.

Working-age mortality rates have been rising for decades across the United States, but premature deaths are more pronounced in states where “conservative” policies predominate and less common in states that have adopted more “liberal” policies, according to peer-reviewed research published in PLOS ONE. Continue reading

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‘Imminent Danger’: Millions Set to Lose Medicaid, Food Benefits Once Public Health Emergency Ends

“When the public health emergency ends, many individuals and families will experience the cumulative impact of losing access to both Medicaid and SNAP,” advocates warned.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-19-2022 by Common Dreams

Logo: Public Domain

In less than three months, millions of people across the U.S. could be kicked off Medicaid and see their food benefits slashed if the Biden administration declines to further extend the federal public health emergency that was first declared at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced an extension of the public health emergency (PHE) until January 11, but it’s not clear whether the administration is planning another renewal—leaving millions of households concerned about their health coverage and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Continue reading

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‘Believe Him,’ Say Critics, as McCarthy Signals GOP Plan to Attack Social Security, Medicare

“The future of Social Security and Medicare is on the ballot this November,” said one advocate. “Republicans, led by Kevin McCarthy, are united in a plot to reach into our pockets and steal our money.”

By Julia Conley  Published 10-18-2022 by Common Dreams

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Progressives on Tuesday warned that U.S. voters should take House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans at their word when they threaten to enact cuts to Social Security and Medicare despite the cost-of-living crisis that already has Americans struggling to afford healthcare and other essentials.

In an interview with Punchbowl News Tuesday, the California Republican outlined plans to use the expected fight over the raising of the debt ceiling next year as leverage to pass several austerity policies and block additional aid for Ukraine, as well as blocking pandemic-related spending. Continue reading

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Governments are blocking abortion info online. Here’s how we’re fighting back

How rights group Women On Web is resisting digital attacks on reproductive rights

By Venny Ala-Siurua  Published 10-14-2022 by openDemocracy

 

Screenshot: Women on Web

More and more people are looking on the internet for information about sexual and reproductive health and accessing these services online. For young people, the internet is an important, if not the only, resource for this information. This is why criminalising and restricting abortion is not the only way to attack abortion rights today. Limiting or banning information about abortion or putting out deliberately confusing material can have a devastating impact on abortion access.

Since 2005, Women on Web, where I am the executive director, has used the internet and digital technology to break down the barriers. We have provided more than 100,000 safe medical abortion services. Our website offers comprehensive and easy-to-read information about abortion in 27 languages and our multinational helpdesk team has responded to more than a million emails in 16 different languages in the past 17 years. Continue reading

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1 in 3 of World’s Poorest Countries Spend More on Debt Repayments Than Education

“There is clearly a moral imperative for the world to act now to ensure that all children are in school and learning,” says a new report from Save the Children. “But there is also an economic imperative.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 10-11-2022 by Common Dreams

School kids in northern Zimbabwe, Africa. Photo: Trey Ratcliff/flickr/CC

A report published this week by Save the Children revealed that 1 in 3 of the world’s poorest nations spend more on paying off debt to wealthy countries and investors than on educating its own children.

The U.K.-based charity’s report—entitled Fixing a Broken System: Transforming Education Financing—shows that 21 out of 70 low- and lower-middle-income countries with available data spent more on external debt repayment than on education in 2020. According to the publication, interest payments are expected to account for an average of 10% of the annual budget in this category of countries by 2024, up from 7% in 2015. Continue reading

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Number of Ultrarich Hits All-Time High as Someone Dies From Hunger Every 4 Seconds

“Those with the power and money to change this must come together to better respond to current crises and prevent and prepare for future ones,” a coalition of charities asserted.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 9-20-2022 by Common Dreams

A Somali woman and her severely malnourished child wait for medical assistance from the African Union Mission in Somalia. Photo: UN

As a new analysis revealed that the global ranks of the superrich soared to a record number, a coalition of charity groups said Tuesday that hundreds of millions of people around the world are hungry—and that someone starves to death every four seconds.

At least 238 international and local charities from 75 countries signed an open letter noting that “a staggering 345 million people are now experiencing acute hunger, a number that has more than doubled since 2019.” Continue reading

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15,000 Minnesota Nurses Launch Historic Strike to Put ‘Patients Before Profits’

“We feel like this is the only thing we can do,” said one nurse. “Hospitals tell us it’s our fault, but we’ve been actively involved and getting nowhere.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-12-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: TakeAction Minnesota/Twitter

About 15,000 nurses in Minnesota walked off the job on Monday for a historic three-day strike after months of failed contract negotiations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) last month voted overwhelmingly in support of what the union says is the “largest private sector nurses strike in U.S. history.”

Nurses with MNA argue that hospital executives who make millions of dollars per year “refuse solutions to short-staffing, retention, and better patient care.” Continue reading

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America is in the middle of a labor mobilization moment – with self-organizers at Starbucks, Amazon, Trader Joe’s and Chipotle behind the union drive

A revised movement on the backs of young workers?
Calla Kessler for The Washington Post via Getty Images

 

John Logan, San Francisco State University

Labor Day 2022 comes smack bang in the middle of what is increasingly looking like a pivotal year in the history of American unions.

The summer has seen a steady stream of workforce mobilizations. Employees at Trader Joe’s locations in Massachusetts and Minneapolis both voted to unionize. Meanwhile, restaurant chain Chipotle saw the first of its stores unionize, following a vote by workers at an outlet in Lansing, Michigan. Continue reading

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