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Saturday, August 18, 2018

A Rundown of All the Ways Trump Is Overseeing an All Out, Under-the-Radar Attack on Workers

A Rundown of All the Ways Trump Is Overseeing an All Out, Under-the-Radar Attack on Workers // Working In These Times

Amidst headlines about porn stars and bromance with Russian President Vladimir Putin, it can be hard to track the many ways the Trump administration is hurting workers in the United States. The Supreme Court's Janus ruling that struck a blow to unions' ability to collect membership dues held a brief spotlight in the national news churn. But in a more-quiet fashion, the Trump administration already has been slowly dismantling worker protections, especially those enacted under the Obama administration.     


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The rise of neo-fascism: Martin Wolf : How we lost America to greed and envy : "Mr Trump is the logical outcome of a po...

The rise of neo-fascism: Martin Wolf : How we lost America to greed and envy : "Mr Trump is the logical outcome of a po... // Grasping Reality with Both Hands: The Semi-Daily Journal Economist Brad DeLong

The rise of neo-fascism: Martin Wolf: How we lost America to greed and envy: "Mr Trump is the logical outcome of a politics that serves the interests of the plutocracy...

...He gives the rich what they desire, while offering the nationalism and protectionism wanted by the Republican base. It is a brilliant (albeit unplanned) combination, embodied in a charismatic personality that offers validation to his most passionate supporters. Will Trump's protectionism do many in his base any good? No. But, in their eyes, he is a real leader, at last. Who lost "our" America? The American elite, especially the Republican elite. Mr Trump is the price of tax cuts for billionaires. They sowed the wind; the world is reaping the whirlwind. Should we expect the old America back? Not until someone finds a more politically successful way of meeting the needs and anxieties of ordinary people.



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The fantasy wv "comeback"

Social Security Lifts 1.7 Million Children Out of Poverty

Social Security Lifts 1.7 Million Children Out of Poverty // Center on Budget: Comprehensive News Feed

Eighty-three years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. To mark the occasion, we've updated our backgrounder on Social Security, a vital program to which nearly every American contributes and from which nearly every American ultimately benefits.


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Friday, August 17, 2018

Eastern Panhandle Womns March Podcast: Sandra Lynch and Christina Vogt

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Sandra Lynch and Christina Vogt introduce Womens Equality Day 

August 26, 2018, 1:00 to 2:0 PM 
War Memorial Park
Martinsburg, WV

Our celebration of our Constitution's 19th Amendment 
confirming the right of women to vote.

Recommended Dress: Wear White (with touches of gold and purple) to honor the suffragettes that came before us. Period Dress Encouraged

Sponsors: West Virginia National Organization of Women and West Virginia Womens March

West Virginian Women from Planned Parenthood, West Virginia Free and other organizations, local candidates and students will be joining us to speak aut voting, healthcare and reproductive rights.

For more information contact,  or 304-300-5030.

Sandra Lynch can be reached at Facebook
Christina Vogt can be reached at Facebook:

Elizabeth Warren Proposes a Second New Deal [feedly]

Warren's New New Deal

Elizabeth Warren Proposes a Second New Deal

Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks in Woburn, Massachusetts, on August 8, 2018.

When Bernie Sanders offered up his definition of socialism in a speech at Georgetown University in 2015, he basically equated it with the governmental programs created by the New Deal. Sanders cited Social Security, and New Dealer Lyndon Johnson's three-decades-later follow-up, Medicare, as the primary U.S. examples of publicly funded universal programs that provided older Americans with income and access to health care. That, said Sanders, was a tradition he sought to renew, by creating single-payer health care for all, free public university educations, and a host of other programs.

The historic ground on which Sanders took his stand was the experience of the United States when New Deal programs were most effectual. Before they'd been eroded by the financialization and globalization that commenced in the 1970s, FDR's New Deal gave the nation its one and only period of broadly shared prosperity.

But it wasn't just the programs FDR signed into law that did the trick. It was also one further bill that didn't expand government's capacities and responsibilities as such, but simply gave workers power: the National Labor Relations Act. By enabling workers to join unions without fear of dismissal, the NLRA facilitated the growth of unionization to the point that just over one-third of the nation's workers were unionized and thereby wielded sufficient power to affect corporate behavior. In the three decades following World War II—the three decades of unions enforcing worker power—median worker income rose in tandem with productivity, and CEOs made on average 20 times what their average employee made.

That world has long since vanished into the mists of time and financialization. As I noted in my Tuesday email, profit margins (that is, the share of revenue going to profits) reached an all-time high in the last quarter, while wages, when factoring in the rise in the cost of living, actually declined.

Comes now Elizabeth Warren, like Sanders, seeking to re-create the New Deal's creation of a vibrant middle class—but in this instance, not through an updated version of governmental social provision, as Sanders suggested, but through that other dimension of New Deal success: bolstering worker power. This week, Warren introduced a new bill, the Accountable Capitalism Act, which seeks nothing less than the compelled conversion of American corporations from their current creed of maximizing shareholder value to the friendlier confines of benefiting all corporate stakeholders.

To this end, she proposes two fundamental changes. The first is to end corporate chartering by the various states, replacing it through requiring corporations with more than $1 billion in yearly revenues to be federally chartered, and to have those charters redefine the corporations' mission so that they benefit not just shareholders but their employees and communities as well. The second change she proposes is to require corporations to have 40 percent of their boards of directors elected not by their shareholders but by their employees. In this, she's following the lead of her colleague Tammy Baldwin, who introduced a bill earlier this year that required corporations to set aside one-third of their board seats to employee representatives. And both senators are following the lead of the Germans, where a 50-50 split of board membership between owner and worker representatives has long been required by law.

As Warren noted in an op-ed she wrote for the Wall Street Journal yesterday, over the past 35 years the financialization of the American corporation has meant that shareholders now extract more funds from corporations than those businesses devote either to investment in their own enterprise or wage increases for their workers. (University of Massachusetts economist William Lazonick, the doyen of share-buyback scholars, documented these developments in a piece he wrote for the summer issue of the Prospect.)

Warren, then, is seeking to reinvent the "corporate conduct" side of the New Deal, much as Sanders wants to reinvent its social-rights dimension. This is not to say either is opposed to the other's endeavors: Warren, for instance, supports Sanders's Medicare for All bill, among other similar proposals. Both also support the next iteration of labor law reform, which would renew the promise of the NLRA by restoring workers' rights to associate and bargain.

As Vox's Matt Yglesias has noted, Warren's proposal is sure to rouse the tsunami-force ire of corporate executives and, not to put too fine a point on it, the greedy rich. But, like Baldwin before her, Warren has plainly calculated that if and when this becomes a battle for public support, it's a fight she can win. Baldwin, after all, put her bill forth this year, despite facing a re-election campaign in a purple state. Some polling that Yglesias cites suggests there's majority support for putting workers on corporate boards. My hunch is that even as many working-class Trump supporters voted against "right to work" in Missouri last week, many working-class Trump supporters in Baldwin's Wisconsin, Warren's Massachusetts, and all across the country would support giving workers more say over corporate decisions. Perhaps Warren's new bill will prompt Pew and Gallup to poll on this issue. The results, I suspect, would stiffen Democrats' spine when proposals like Warren's come before them once they retake power.

As I've written frequently here at the Prospect and in my columns for The Washington Post, co-determination has been a major factor in Germany's ability to maintain world leadership in manufacturing, preserve its middle class, and limit CEO pay—a whole raft of achievements that have eluded the financialized United States. In tandem with expanding social provision, curtailing Wall Street, restoring progressive taxation, and rebuilding worker power, it could just give this nation a new birth of equality and prosperity.

 -- via my feedly newsfeed

Something Not Rotten in Denmark [feedly]

Something Not Rotten in Denmark

To be or not to be a socialist hellhole, that is the question. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Last weekend, Trish Regan, a Fox Business host, created a bit of an international incident by describing Denmark as an example of the horrors of socialism, right along with Venezuela. Denmark's finance minister suggested that she visit his country and learn some facts.

Indeed, Regan couldn't have picked a worse example — or, from the point of view of U.S. progressives, a better one.

For Denmark has indeed taken a very different path from the United States over the past few decades, veering (modestly) to the left where we've veered right. And it has done just fine.

American politics has been dominated by a crusade against big government; Denmark has embraced an expansive government role, with public spending more than half of G.D.P. American politicians fear talk about redistribution of income from the rich to the less well-off; Denmark engages in such redistribution on a scale unimaginable here. American policy has been increasingly hostile to organized labor, and unions have virtually disappeared from the private sector; two-thirds of Danish workers are unionized.  

Conservative ideology says that Denmark's policy choices should be disastrous, that grass should be growing in the streets of Copenhagen. Regan was, in effect, describing what her employers think must be happening there. But if Denmark is a hellhole, it's doing a very good job of hiding that fact: I was just there, and it looks awfully prosperous.

And the data agree with that impression. Danes are more likely to have jobs than Americans, and in many cases they earn substantially more. Overall G.D.P. per capita in Denmark is a bit lower than in America, but that's basically because the Danes take more vacations. Income inequality is much lower, and life expectancy is higher.

The simple fact is that life is better for most Danes than it is for their U.S. counterparts. There's a reason Denmark consistently ranks well ahead of America in measures of happiness and life satisfaction.

But is Denmark socialist?

The libertarian Cato Institute says no: "Denmark has quite a free-market economy, apart from its welfare state transfers and high government consumption." That's some qualification.

It's true that Denmark doesn't at all fit the classic definition of socialism, which involves government ownership of the means of production. It is, instead, social-democratic: a market economy where the downsides of capitalism are mitigated by government action, including a very strong social safety net.

But U.S. conservatives — like Fox's Regan — continually and systematically blur the distinction between social democracy and socialism. In 2008, John McCain accused Barack Obama of wanting socialism, basically because Obama called for an expansion of health coverage. In 2012, Mitt Romney declared that Obama got his ideas from "socialist democrats in Europe."

In other words, in American political discourse, anyone who wants to make life in a market economy less nasty, brutish and short gets denounced as a socialist.

And this smear campaign has had a predictable effect: Sooner or later, if you call any attempt to improve American lives "socialism," a lot of people will conclude that socialism is O.K.

A recent Gallup poll found that majorities both of young voters and of self-identified Democrats prefer socialism to capitalism. But this doesn't mean that tens of millions of Americans want the government to seize the economy's commanding heights. It just means that many people, told that wanting America to be a bit more like Denmark is socialist, end up believing that socialism isn't so bad, after all.

The same may be said for some Democratic politicians. Much has been made of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, not just because of her upset primary victory, but because she's a self-proclaimed socialist. Her platform, however, isn't socialist at all by the traditional definition. It's just unabashedly social-democratic.

And that puts her in line with the rest of her party. Whenever I read articles questioning what Democrats stand for, I wonder if the writers are paying any attention to what candidates are saying about policy. For today's Democratic Party is actually impressively unified around social-democratic goals, far more so than in the past.

True, there are differences over both policy and rhetorical strategy. Should the push for universal health coverage involve Medicare for all, or simply the right for everyone to buy into an enhanced Medicare program? Should Democrats simply ignore Republican slander of their social-democratic ideas, or should they try to turn the "socialist" smear into a badge of honor?

But these aren't very deep divisions, certainly nothing like the divisions between liberals and centrists that wracked the party a couple of decades ago.

The simple fact is that there is far more misery in America than there needs to be. Every other advanced country has universal health care and a much stronger social safety net than we do. And it doesn't have to be that way.

 -- via my feedly newsfeed