Posts tagged ‘Labor Unions’

The Economic Case For Immigration Reform


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  • 16 Nov 2012 06:09 PM

    The Economic Case For Immigration Reform


    At this week’s presser, Obama said he wanted to introduce immigration reform “very soon after [his] inauguration.” Julia Preston sums up the president’s plan:

    Mr. Obama made clear he intends to push for broad-scope legislation that would include a program to give legal status to an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country…. Mr. Obama said he also wanted to strengthen border security, punish employers who systematically hire unauthorized workers, and make visas available for farm workers and immigrants working in science and technology. 

    The above chart is from a 2010 Center for American Progress report (pdf) that projects immigration reform could add a potential $1.5 trillion to the US GDP over 10 years. Jordan Weissmann unpacks it:

    [The report’s] calculations are based partly on the impact of the Reagan administration’s 1986 immigration reforms, which gave legal status to about 3 million undocumented individuals. That, in turn, gave those workers leverage to bargain with their employers for higher paychecks, while giving them an incentive to learn English so they could advance in the workplace. … Extrapolating from that history, CAP believes that giving today’s 11.3 million undocumented immigrants a route to citizenship could increase their collective earning power by as much $36 billion a year.

    Free Exchange highlights similar findings:

    Even a modest … easing of restrictions could be very rewarding. Lant Pritchett of Harvard University estimates that just a 3% rise in the rich-world labour force through migration would yield annual benefits bigger than those from eliminating remaining trade barriers. The incorporation of women into the rich-world workforce provides an analogy: this expanded the labour supply and the scope for specialisation without displacing the “native” male workforce.

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Harris-Perry on poverty: ‘Those aren’t numbers. Those are people’



Harris-Perry on poverty: ‘Those aren’t numbers. Those are people’ (via Raw Story )

MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry debut a new regular segment Sunday focusing on poverty, which she noted many people did not want to touch, even as the national poverty rate remained at 15 percent of the population last year, or just over 46 million people, with 21.9 percent of them being minors. “…

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Obama Urging An Immediate Tax Cut For The Middle Class



Obama urges immediate tax cut deal for middle class (via AFP)

US President Barack Obama urged Congress Saturday to immediately extend a tax cut for middle-class Americans, arguing the move will give 98 percent of families and 97 percent of small businesses the certainty that will lead to faster economic growth. "This is something we all agree on," the president…

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Obamacare Won’t Get Repealed States Must Now Act



Obamacare won't be repealed. States now must act. (via The Christian Science Monitor)

Mitt Romney declared many times during his campaign that he’d “repeal Obamacare on day one” of his presidency. But as House Speaker John Boehner said this week, “the election changes that.” The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – “Obamacare,” as everyone now calls it –…

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Census Bureau clarifies poverty numbers – U.S. News


Census Bureau clarifies poverty numbers – U.S. News.

Officials at the U.S. Census Bureau moved Friday to clarify widely reported figures meant to estimate the number of Americans living in poverty.

Dueling Census reports – one based on official poverty estimates that was released just last week and another based on an experimental calculus used in November – differed from one another by 20 percentage points regarding the number of people viewed as living in poverty. The widely reported figure showed that one out of two Americans are in poverty or are low-income. Other Census figures put the figure closer to one out of three Americans.
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That’s because the experimental measure, a supplement to the official poverty figures meant to take into account such factors as whether a family is receiving food stamps and how much people pay in taxes, uses a poverty level of $24,343 for a family of four instead of the $21,113 used by the official measure.

Read the original story on NBCLosAngeles.com

In expensive states like California and New York, the supplemental measure classified families making as much as $32,869 as impoverished.

However, Kathleen Short, the Census Bureau economist who spearheaded the supplemental report, said it would be wrong to extrapolate from those numbers that Americans are falling into poverty at greater rates.

In fact, she said, the experimental calculation indicated that poverty among children is actually lower than the official poverty rate shows.

On Thursday, reports in multiple news outlets suggested that people making roughly twice the poverty level under the experimental program were “scraping by” and should be considered low-income.

The Census Bureau does not support that interpretation of the data, Short said.

“Below 200 percent of the poverty threshold is the lower end of the distribution,” Short said. “But we would not call it low-income per se.”

A number of news reports on Thursday correctly said that more people fell under the definition of living in poverty under the experimental calculation, but then went on to say that people making twice that would be considered low-income.

However, the practice of using such figures as “150 percent of poverty” or “200 percent of poverty” to determine whether people were of moderate or low income is a practice that grew up around the older, traditional method of identifying poverty, which uses a lower threshold.

More from NBC4 on the Census reports: Assessing poverty

In parts of California under the supplemental approach, a family that owns its own home and earns about $66,000 per year would be earning 200 percent of the poverty level, and not necessarily be considered low-income.
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NBC4, relying on figures and analysis from the Los Angeles office of the Census, reported the newer, official poverty figures on Thursday, and questioned reports that used the supplemental figures.

A widely distributed news story by the Associated Press (and published by msnbc.com) relied on the supplemental report.

“We did not misunderstand the data,” AP spokesman Jack Stokes said in an email. “The AP story was vetted by the Census Bureau in Washington.”

However, Short said that she did not agree with the news service’s conclusion that the report showed one out of two Americans to be low-income or impoverished.

Short stressed that the supplemental measure was a work in progress, and that it should not be considered a replacement for the official poverty rate.

The AP’s calculations were correct, Short said, “but I’m not agreeing with any adjectives that are placed on being in that category.”

“In fact we stressed the Census Bureau does not have a definition for low income.” Short said

In the supplemental report, “we’re not characterizing what it’s like to be below 200 percent of the poverty line,” Short said. “We don’t have any information to characterize what that would be like.”

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5 ways the Republican party is destroying America – Orlando liberal | Examiner.com


5 ways the Republican party is destroying America – Orlando liberal | Examiner.com.

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Ever since President Obama was elected president in November of 2008, the Republican party has taken a hard turn to the right of the political spectrum. With chants of “socialism” and outrageous claims about President Obama’s birth certificate and religion, the Republican party is more conservative today than it has been in its history. Whether it’s their constant obsession to widen the wealth gap to their views on social issues, the Republican party has tunnel vision when it comes to the future of the United States.

Conservatives see a light at the end of the tunnel and they will make sure that everyone follows their path. As the election inches closer, it’s important to look at the ways the Republican party plans to take over the United States and mold the country to fit their core ideology. The list could be endless, and over time another article will be released, but in the meantime lets take a look at five ways the Republicans plan to destory America.

1. Taxes – Ever since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the United States tax system has completely changed. With the term “supply side economics,” the promise was made that if we drastically cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans that they will in turn, take those same tax cuts and create jobs. The problem with this system is that, while it looks promising on paper, it doesn’t translate in reality. Former president, George H.W Bush called supply side economics “voodoo economics” and talked about its weaknesses. Known throughout the country as “Reaganomics,” when the wealthy received their tax cuts they didn’t create jobs in the United States, but instead took advantage of weak trade policies and created jobs in other countries. Countries like China, India and Pakistan were places that American companies were moving their jobs because for every Union worker that asked for $20 dollars an hour, there was a person in another country doing it for less than a $1.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), from the time Ronald Reagan became president until 2007, income at the top 1%, adjusted for inflation, increased by 281% compared to only a 25% increase for the middle 20% of Americans. President Bush came into office in 2001 and was handed a surplus by President Clinton. With the surplus in hand, Bush gave it back to the American people, but primarily to the most wealthy, adding over $3 trillion to the national debt over the last decade. As the wealthy continue to count their money, average Americans have to watch theirs and hope they can pay the bills.

2. Trade – One of the biggest reasons that Americans have struggled to find work over the years is that millions of jobs are being created in other countries. While Republicans claim that the reason jobs are being sent over seas is that union workers have demanded wages that were too high, the reality is that there is another reason. There is truth that many union workers have a demand for a high rate of pay, but fair wages is a necessity when it comes to living in the United States. From the businesses side, there is a case to be made that creating jobs in a third world country could benefit the company because of the low wages that are paid, however, the other side is more realistic.

Currently, while companies are paying criminally low wages in other countries to turn a profit, bonuses throughout the higher-ups in these companies are hitting a record high. If these companies brought jobs back to the United States, the workers would then take their pay and invest it back into the country and the economy. These companies don’t just benefit from cheap labor, they also use the tax code to line their pockets. Many companies receive tax cuts for creating jobs in other countries, which just increases the likelihood of jobs not returning.

President Obama has stated he wants to end tax cuts for companies who ship jobs to other countries and instead give those tax breaks to companies who create jobs in America.

3. Religious Freedom and Civil Rights – Conservatives say that they love the constitution and hold it close to their heart. With a bible in one hand and the Bill of Rights in the other, conservatives claim they are the only ones who know how to run the country. The problem with these statements is that from the opening line of the First Amendment, their claim of religious dominance is shown to be false.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

If you take a look at the first ten words of the First Amendment, it states that the United States will make no law respecting an establishment of religion. So while the country respects everyone’s right to believe what they want, there will be no law that is made to fit a particular religious belief. With the recent debate about contraception and birth control dealing with Catholic organizations, religious freedom is back on the front lines.

Conservatives claim that President Obama and liberals are trying to strip away the First Amendment and religious freedom and force secular beliefs in America. The problem is that President Obama, a Christian himself, is just following the law of the land. The president isn’t forcing Catholic businesses to use contraception, but just make it available to women who want it if they choose, just like all the other businesses in the country.

As the contraception issue was going on, LGBT rights have also come back. Prop 8 in California, the ban on gay marriage, was ruled unconstitutional at the same time same-sex marriage was being legalized in Washington. Once again radical religious conservatives have claimed that letting gay and lesbian Americans marry will undermine the morals of America and break away from their Judeo Christian values. Religious conservatives also take their argument to the classroom by attacking science. 97% of all scientists accept and agree with the theory of evolution, but religious conservatives want to force a faith-based religious belief into public schools.

The issue of religion in public school is a two-part problem. Churches don’t pay taxes and because of this, they can run their private schools and manipulate the curriculum to fit their ideology while doing the minimum to fit the national educational standards. While private schools have the right to work with the churches, they shouldn’t be able to have a say in the public sector since they don’t pay a dime towards it. Religious freedom should be protected and every American has the right to believe what they want, but at the same time those beliefs should not make their way into the public.

4. War and Foreign Policy – Once President Bush came into office in 2001 and handed over $3 trillion in tax cuts over the last decade, America also went to war with not one, but two countries. While the war in Afghanistan is more debatable, the war in Iraq was proven to be based on a lie, or “bad intelligence”. The United States has spent trillions of dollars in Iraq while private companies like Halliburton have made a gigantic profit. Thousands of American lives and Iraqi civilians have been taken all at the cost of the American taxpayer. While President Obama has completed one of his promises from the campaign trail and ended the war in Iraq, he is also starting to pull out troops of Afghanistan. The problem is that if a Republican takes over the White House they have all made it clear that they will have a quick trigger finger when it comes to going to war with Iran. The majority of American people have spoken and they don’t want to be involved with another war, the cost in both dollars and human life is just too much.

5. Financial Reform – The biggest reason for the financial meltdown in 2008 was because the entire industry was given too much slack. Like a teenager given the entire house to themselves for the weekend, only bad things can come of it. During the Reagan administration, as the wealthy saw their tax rates dropped from 70% to 28% within eight years and union workers found themselves without a job, another industry saw a change. With the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 signed into law, banks found it easier to do business and hurt the American people in the process. Allowing big banks to merge and set their own interest rates, bankers felt like it was Christmas. While the banks and wall street found it easier to make money, the American people struggled. With tax cuts and deregulation on the move, Reagan tripled the national debt, raiding the Social Security trust fund at the same time in an attempt to cover up the massive loses. As the years went on, Wall Street reform was never seriously on the table, whether it was President George H.W Bush or President Clinton, there was never enough being done to tackle the problem.

In the 1990s, the economy started to pick up again, President Clinton finally raised taxes on the most wealthy, bringing in the revenue needed for the government to perform the duties it had promised. Not all was sunshine and rainbows however, in November of 1999, with a Republican controlled House and Senate, President Clinton buckled and signed into law the repeal of Glass-Steagall act that had helped refrain big banks from over taking the market.

As America moved on, less than a decade later the economy collapsed. Too much power concentrated in the hands of a select few will be over come by natural human greed every time and that’s what happened in 2008. In 2010, President Obama signed into law the “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act” which eased the pain on consumers and started to put more of the responsibility back to the big banks. Following the anger of the American people towards the bank bail out of 2008, the Wall Street reform bill put an end to future tax payer bailouts of big banks. The bill passed was a start, but much more is needed before we get back to where the country needs to be.
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Senate Republicans Ask JP Morgan CEO For Marching Orders: ‘What Do You Think We Need To Do?’ | ThinkProgress


JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon appeared before the Senate Banking Committee today to discuss the bungled trade that has cost his bank billions and reignited interest in the Volcker Rule, which is meant to rein in risky bank trading. During the course of the questioning, Dimon denied that he had called new bank capital requirements “anti-American,” which he had, and explained that he would be happy to get an apartment in Washington, D.C., so that Congress could consult him on financial regulations.

For the most part, the questions Dimon faced were not of the tough variety. In fact, Republicans on the committee were more interested in asking Dimon how Congress could make regulation more accommodating to the banks. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) even asked “what should the function of our regulators be?” Here are several other examples of Republican senators asking Dimon how he’d like his bank to be regulated:

SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN): We’re here quizzing you. If you were sitting on this side of the dais, what would you do to make our system safer than it is and still meet the needs of a global economy like we have?

SEN. MIKE CRAPO (R-ID): Many people say our primary focus from our perspective in terms of policy should be to make sure the banks are properly capitalized. Should that be our primary focus and what other areas of oversight would be the most effective for us in terms of our regulatory structure?

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R-SC): I would like to come away from the hearing today with some ideas on what you think we need to do, what we maybe need to take apart that we’ve already done, to allow the industry to operate better.

SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS): And you said something else that really sort caught me by surprise, and that was this testimony that nobody got all the parties in a room with people in your industry — Democrats, Republicans, and folks affected — and talked about what was needed and what really needed to be fixed. Did I hear you correctly there? Did you volunteer to be part of that conversation?

Watch it:

Just a few senators, including Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), took the opportunity to press Dimon on what went wrong at JP Morgan. If nothing else, the bank’s trading disaster makes the case for strengthening the Volcker Rule so that banks can’t gamble with taxpayer-backed money.

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Senate Republicans Ask JP Morgan CEO For Marching Orders: ‘What Do You Think We Need To Do?’ | ThinkProgress.