AlterNet.org: Leo Gerard http://servingwww.alternet.org/authors/leo-gerard en Trump's a Walking Example of 'Welfare for the Rich': The GOP Candidate is a Charity Case http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/trumps-walking-example-welfare-rich-gop-candidate-charity-case <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1064477'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1064477" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">When he can’t pay his bills, he dips into the foundation cashbox – other people’s money. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/donald-trump-vine-800x430.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr">Donald Trump puts on a show of being rich. There’s that private jet stamped Trump. He assures everyone, ad nauseam, that he’s really, really rich. But apparently it’s all a sham.</p><p dir="ltr">The Washington Post revealed last week that Trump is a charity case. Over the past several years, he repeatedly turned to a non-profit organization to pay his bills for him – more than a quarter million dollars in bills. (#Sad)</p><p dir="ltr">If Donald Trump really is a $10 billionaire as he repeatedly claims, there would be no reason for him to beg a foundation to foot his bills. It was fine for Trump to exaggerate his personal wealth while he was nothing but a reality TV star firing contestants for fun. But now that he’s a candidate for president of the United States, he’s got real responsibilities. And one of them is to release his tax returns, like every other presidential candidate for <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/09/15/forget-trumps-health-records-his-hidden-business-interests-are-what-really-matter/?utm_term=.8a090b0a888a">the past 40 years</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Before voting, the American people have a right to know whether Trump is lying about his wealth. But not just that, they have the right to know whether Trump remains among Republicans’ <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/sep/18/mitt-romney/romney-says-47-percent-americans-pay-no-income-tax/">reviled 47 percent</a>, the group that the GOP calls “takers,” because they pay no federal income taxes. New Jersey Gaming Commission records show Trump was a taker in <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/12/business/how-much-does-donald-trump-pay-in-taxes-it-could-be-zero.html">1978 and 1979</a>, paying no federal income taxes in either year. Is he still paying nothing? That would make him quite a mooch, a welfare king, taking <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/18/nyregion/donald-trump-tax-breaks-real-estate.html?_r=0">$885 million</a> in tax breaks to construct his gilded buildings in New York and contributing not a cent in federal taxes. The Gipper would not approve.  </p><p dir="ltr">Think Bernie Madoff. The appearance of wealth can be deceiving. Everybody thought Madoff was Midas until FBI agents hauled that Ponzi schemer away in handcuffs. Or think Enron. The corporation looked great. The executives swore it was great. Then suddenly that huge house of cards collapsed.</p><p dir="ltr">So is Trump just another Madoff or Enron? He could settle the question by releasing his tax returns.</p><p dir="ltr">The Washington Post threw a big monkey wrench in Donnie’s “I’m so rich” assertions last week when it revealed that Trump apparently can’t pay his own bills. To buy toys for himself, to pay his legal fees and to make an illegal campaign contribution, Trump has hit up a foundation that he established in his own name, Donald J. Trump, of course. It is, however, a foundation to which he hasn’t given a dime in <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-used-258000-from-his-charity-to-settle-legal-problems/2016/09/20/adc88f9c-7d11-11e6-ac8e-cf8e0dd91dc7_story.html?postshare=2731474382289366&amp;tid=ss_tw">eight years</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead, other people put millions of dollars into the Trump Foundation, expecting it to be spent on charitable causes. The IRS, which grants foundations tax exemptions if they qualify as charities, defines charity this way: “relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.”</p><p dir="ltr">So the donors to Trump’s foundation probably didn’t think that their gifts would be used to pay Donald Trump’s personal bills.</p><p dir="ltr">For example, when Donald Trump wanted a $12,000 helmet <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/07/01/donald-trump-used-money-donated-for-charity-to-buy-himself-a-tim-tebow-signed-football-helmet/?tid=a_inl">signed by quarterback Tim Tebow</a>, and two giant portraits of himself, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-used-258000-from-his-charity-to-settle-legal-problems/2016/09/20/adc88f9c-7d11-11e6-ac8e-cf8e0dd91dc7_story.html?postshare=2731474382289366&amp;tid=ss_tw">one costing $20,000 and the other $10,000</a>, he got the foundation to pay for them. It’s a little hard to see how any of that qualifies as “relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged.”</p><p dir="ltr">Then Donnie got the foundation to pay lots more to cover the cost of some of his legal entanglements.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-used-258000-from-his-charity-to-settle-legal-problems/2016/09/20/adc88f9c-7d11-11e6-ac8e-cf8e0dd91dc7_story.html?postshare=2731474382289366&amp;tid=ss_tw">In 2007, the town of Palm Beach, Fla., agreed to waive $120,000 in fines</a> that Trump owed in a dispute over a flagpole at his Mar-a-Lago Club if he donated $100,000 to a veterans’ group. Instead of taking the money from his own pocket, Trump asked for charity. He got the Donald J. Trump Foundation to pay the veterans.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-used-258000-from-his-charity-to-settle-legal-problems/2016/09/20/adc88f9c-7d11-11e6-ac8e-cf8e0dd91dc7_story.html?postshare=2731474382289366&amp;tid=ss_tw">In a similar case, a man named Martin Greenberg</a> felt wrongly denied a $1 million prize when he hit a hole-in-one during a 2010 tournament at Trump’s course in Westchester County, N.Y. So he sued Trump. He settled for a $158,000 donation to the Martin Greenberg Foundation. Again, Trump ran to the Trump Foundation for the money.</p><p dir="ltr">By the time of these payments, virtually all of the money in the foundation came from other people, most notably <a href="http://fortune.com/2016/09/20/trump-foundations-biggest-donor-ebers/">ticket broker Richard Ebers</a> and pro-wrestling magnates <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-21/why-one-man-gave-money-to-the-trump-foundation">Vince and Linda McMahon</a>, who gave millions.</p><p dir="ltr">So, essentially, Trump used the foundation as a piggy bank to pay his business obligations and to purchase presents for himself.  And because he didn’t pay into the foundation, he was using other people’s money to cover his bills.</p><p dir="ltr">Here’s what he said about “other people’s money” <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/20/politics/donald-trump-foundation-other-peoples-money/">in a speech last week</a>:  “It’s called OPM. I do that all the time in business. It’s called other people’s money. There’s nothing like doing things with other people’s money.”</p><p dir="ltr">The only thing is, paying business and personal bills with foundation money may well be illegal. It’s not called other people’s money. It’s called self-dealing. That’s when people who operate a tax-exempt foundation use its funds to benefit themselves.</p><p dir="ltr">If the IRS determined that Trump Foundation money was spent to benefit Donald Trump, say to pay his personal bills, it could require him to pay penalties and reimburse the foundation.</p><p dir="ltr">The IRS <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/09/01/trump-pays-irs-a-penalty-for-his-foundation-violating-rules-with-gift-to-florida-attorney-general/">already punished the foundation earlier this year</a> for a prohibited $25,000 gift it made in 2013 to a politician, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi while she was deciding whether to investigate Trump University. (She decided not to.) IRS rules forbid foundations from granting political gifts. On its reporting form to the IRS, the Trump Foundation denied making any political gifts, then provided an incorrect name for the group to which it had donated the $25,000.</p><p dir="ltr">This looks an awful lot like Donald Trump has his own personal welfare fund. When he can’t pay his bills, he dips into the foundation cashbox – other people’s money.  </p><p dir="ltr">He might dispute that, claiming he’s a billionaire, but the American people have no way of knowing whether that’s true. Trump needs to come clean. Release those tax returns.</p><p dir="ltr">Recently Donald Trump Jr. said there’d be <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/donald-trump-jr-tax-returns-228198">too many questions</a> if his daddy disclosed his 12,000-page return. The American people have the right to ask those questions about a guy who claims to be a billionaire but can’t seem to find the pocket change to buy his own oversized selfies.</p>  <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1064477'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1064477" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 05:54:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1064477 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor trump Republican Presidents Are a Disaster for the Economy http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/morning-america-delivered-democrats <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1064049'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1064049" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Democratic presidents presided over higher stock market returns and corporate profits, greater compensation growth and productivity increases.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/ff8c3b1586fd5cba5bf87b9be196e9d6117b0f51.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr">Nine years after the Great Recession began during the tax- and regulation-slashing Bush administration, some startlingly good economic news arrived from Washington, D.C., last week.</p><p dir="ltr">The incomes of typical Americans rose in 2015 by <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/14/business/economy/us-census-household-income-poverty-wealth-2015.html">5.2 percent</a>, the first significant boost to middle-class pay since the end of the Great Recession, and <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/09/13/the-middle-class-and-the-poor-just-had-the-best-year-since-the-end-of-the-great-recession/">the largest, in percentage terms, ever recorded by the Census Bureau</a>. In addition, the poverty rate fell 1.2 percentage points, the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/09/13/the-middle-class-and-the-poor-just-had-the-best-year-since-the-end-of-the-great-recession/">steepest decline since 1968</a>.  Also smaller were the numbers of Americans <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/09/13/the-middle-class-and-the-poor-just-had-the-best-year-since-the-end-of-the-great-recession/">without health insurance and suffering food insecurity</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">That sounds good, right? Especially after all it took to pull out of the Bush recession. During the month Bush left office, 818,000 Americans lost their jobs. Unemployment increased to 10 percent before President Obama’s stimulus programs started ratcheting it down to the current 4.9 percent. Now, wages are beginning to rise again. It seems like an event that Ronald Reagan might call morning in America. But not the current Republican nominee. Trump says, <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/05/21/america_is_a_hellhole_and_were_going_down_fast_donald_trump_and_megyn_kelly_have_a_testy_exchange_about_state_of_the_nation/">“This country is a hellhole, and we’re going down fast.”</a></p><p dir="ltr">To hoist America up out of that bogus hellhole, Trump proposes the same tired-and-untrue tax- and regulation-cutting formula that Bush did. The one that actually did drop the country into a hellhole – the Wall Street collapse, massive foreclosures and high unemployment.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump offered yet another tax plan last week – <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/16/us/politics/donald-trump-economy-speech.html?emc=edit_th_20160916&amp;nl=todaysheadlines&amp;nlid=25868490">the third of his campaign</a>. This one, just like Bush’s, lavishes tax cuts on the rich. He would hack the 35 percent business tax rate to 15 percent. He would eliminate the estate tax paid only by the nation’s <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/ten-facts-you-should-know-about-the-federal-estate-tax?fa=view&amp;id=2655">richest 0.2 percent</a>. So, basically, Trump would cut taxes for himself – a 10 billionaire.</p><p dir="ltr">In Trump’s previous tax plan, low-income people, those in the lowest tax bracket, would have paid 10 percent, but now Trump makes them pay more. They’ll have to cough up 12 percent.</p><p dir="ltr">At the same time, Trump said, he’d eliminate all that pesky government regulation that’s getting in the way of business doing whatever it wants. So, for example, he’d abolish that annoying regulator, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That’s the one that just <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/09/business/dealbook/wells-fargo-fined-for-years-of-harm-to-customers.html">fined Wells Fargo $100 million</a>, part of a total of $185 million in penalties, for issuing credit cards and opening accounts without customers’ consent, sham accounts that customers learned about only after they started accumulating fees and damaging credit. Republicans like Trump have tried to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from the day Democrats created it.</p><p dir="ltr">By cutting taxes on the rich and letting businesses run roughshod over consumers, Trump claims he would create <a href="http://time.com/4495507/donald-trump-economy-speech-transcript/">25 million jobs over a decade</a>. This is Reagan and Bush trickle-down economics. It worked great for the rich. They got richer and richer. It never worked for the rest. The rest always do better when there’s a Democrat in the White House, as there is now. The Census report issued last week showing progress on wages is testament to that. But there’s more. Far more.</p><p dir="ltr">Princeton economists Alan Blinder and Mark Watson <a href="https://www.princeton.edu/~mwatson/papers/Presidents_Blinder_Watson_Nov2013.pdf">found in 2013</a> that since World War II, the economy performed significantly better under Democratic presidents, regardless of the measurement used. For example, Democratic presidents average 4.35 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. Under Republicans, it was 2.54 percent.</p><p dir="ltr">Democratic presidents presided over higher stock market returns and corporate profits, greater compensation growth and productivity increases.</p><p dir="ltr">Economist Steven Stoft analyzed 72 years of jobs data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, during which Democrats controlled the White House for 36 years and Republicans for 36 years. He found that 58 million jobs were created under Democrats and 26 million under Republicans. That means Democratic presidents created more than twice as many jobs.</p><p dir="ltr">Significantly, because Trump is telling African-Americans <a href="https://revolt.tv/stories/2016/08/24/heres-answer-donald-trumps-question-blacks-lose-07002fb0e3">how horrible their lives and their communities and their schools are</a>, and how great he would be as a Republican president for them, a study published by the American Political Science Association <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/perspectives-on-politics/article/racial-winners-and-losers-in-american-party-politics/050476ABA7B9BF1526967C6720A2BFD4">found that that over 35 years of Republican presidents</a>, black unemployment rose 13.7 percent. On the other hand, over <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/perspectives-on-politics/article/racial-winners-and-losers-in-american-party-politics/050476ABA7B9BF1526967C6720A2BFD4">22 years of Democratic presidents</a>, black unemployment fell 7.9 percent.</p><p dir="ltr">And here’s another noteworthy fact as Trump runs around claiming he’s going to bring manufacturing back, even though he manufactures his own signature suits and ties and shirts offshore in places like <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/26/politics/trump-clothing-foreign-made/">China and Mexico and Bangladesh</a>: Democrats create manufacturing jobs; Republicans destroy them.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-09-14/manufacturing-jobs-rise-under-democratic-presidents">Bloomberg news service</a> analyzed data from the past eight decades and found manufacturing jobs increased under each of the seven Democrats and decreased under the six Republican presidents.</p><p dir="ltr">Even as employment expanded, manufacturing jobs declined under Republican presidents. The largest losses occurred under Reagan and the two Bushes – an average of 9 percent.</p><p dir="ltr">Republicans are bad for jobs. They’re bad for manufacturing. They’re bad for the GDP in general. Trump’s 25 million job promise? Malarkey.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://thinkprogress.org/trumps-economic-plans-would-result-in-a-long-recession-analysts-say-f7baba634d6d#.26tmfjf0z">Moody’s Analytics looked at his tax, trade and immigration policies</a> and projected they’d cause a recession and eliminate 3.5 million jobs. That was before he changed his mind on taxes again and released the third plan this week, but it’s virtually unchanged from the previous two, other than costing low-income people more.</p><p dir="ltr">Americans should reject Trump’s Republican trickle-down promises that have done nothing for workers in the past but swipe their cash and flood it up in torrents to billionaires like Trump.</p><p dir="ltr">Americans who want a job, a raise, improved GDP, more American manufacturing, better health insurance – just improved security in general – should look to the Democrats. They’ve got a long track record of actually delivering on those promises.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1064049'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1064049" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 10:13:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1064049 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor reagan gop democrats Dishonest Donald: Trump's Foundation Proves That He Can't Be Trusted http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/dishonest-donald-trump-foundation-hasnt-seem-dime-him-years <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1063607'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1063607" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Trump&#039;s latest lies tell an incredible story.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/trump_money.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr">Donald Trump likes to brag on the campaign trail that he’s the best at bribing politicians. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-bragged-that-his-money-bought-off-politicians-just-not-this-time/2016/09/07/00a9d1e4-750b-11e6-be4f-3f42f2e5a49e_story.html">He said, for example,</a> “When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.”  But then when he got caught giving and getting exactly what the hell he wanted, he claimed that’s not what happened.</p><p dir="ltr">Not only that, Trump promises as president he would surround himself with the best advisers. The best! Just like he says he did as a businessman. And he claims he’s a great businessman. The greatest! Well, maybe he forgot about his four bankruptcies that left hundreds of small businessmen and craftsmen unpaid. And maybe he forgot about the fiasco surrounding his namesake foundation illegally giving a “donation” to an attorney general who then decided to drop a fraud investigation against him. The advisers in that case? Not exactly the best.</p><p dir="ltr">Much has been made lately about the Clinton Foundation. But Donny’s got one too. Unlike the Clinton Foundation, to which the Clintons <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/12/clinton-releases-latest-tax-returns-paid-rate-of-43.html">gave $1 million last year</a>, the Trump Foundation <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-portrait-of-trump-the-donor-free-rounds-of-golf-but-no-personal-cash/2016/04/10/373b9b92-fb40-11e5-9140-e61d062438bb_story.html">hasn’t seen a cent from Donny’s pocket since 2009</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Both foundations get lots of money from wealthy donors; the big difference is in how it’s spent. Among the Clinton Foundation focuses are providing access to HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB drugs in developing nations. Among the Trump Foundation programs are those providing gifts to Florida attorneys general considering whether to investigate allegations of fraud against Trump University.</p><p dir="ltr">Though the Trump Foundation gave this illegal “grant” back in 2013, the IRS was alerted to it only recently.</p><p dir="ltr">Like attorneys general in many states at that time, Florida’s Pam Bondi, a Republican, received numerous complaints <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/e16a8223c24048d290883370dc6abe5b/florida-ag-asked-trump-donation-nixing-fraud-case">that Trump University</a> was a scam. Angry students who felt they got short shrift for their tens of thousands in “tuition” wanted Bondi to charge Trump and other university officials with fraud or at least help them get their money back.  </p><p dir="ltr">Bondi’s <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/e16a8223c24048d290883370dc6abe5b/florida-ag-asked-trump-donation-nixing-fraud-case">spokesperson admitted to the Associated Press</a> that Bondi personally asked Trump for a donation at the same time her office was deciding whether to join a lawsuit against Trump University proposed by New York’s Democratic attorney general.</p><p dir="ltr">Bondi got a $25,000 check. And isn’t it funny how quickly after that she decided against joining the lawsuit against Trump?</p><p dir="ltr">That left the individual Floridians who felt cheated to pursue reimbursement on their own. By contrast, in New York, the attorney general went ahead with the suit, representing students in his state that he believes were fleeced by Trump University in a <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/trump-university-its-worse-than-you-think">bait-and-switch scheme</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">When reporters questioned Trump about the $25,000 gift, he denied Bondi talked to him about a contribution. “I never spoke to her about it at all,” <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-bragged-that-his-money-bought-off-politicians-just-not-this-time/2016/09/07/00a9d1e4-750b-11e6-be4f-3f42f2e5a49e_story.html">he claimed</a> at first. But later, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-bragged-that-his-money-bought-off-politicians-just-not-this-time/2016/09/07/00a9d1e4-750b-11e6-be4f-3f42f2e5a49e_story.html">his spokeswoman admitted</a> Bondi asked Trump for the money.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump didn’t take the $25,000 out of his own wallet. He took it from the foundation.</p><p dir="ltr">And see, here’s the problem. Non-profit foundations are prohibited by the IRS from making political contributions. And lying to the IRS about it is worse.</p><p dir="ltr">Here is how Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer for the Trump Organization and treasurer for the Trump Foundation <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-camp-issues-rare-admission-of-error-charity-donation-to-florida-ag-was-a-mistake/2016/03/22/349c8f8c-efb4-11e5-a61f-e9c95c06edca_story.html?tid=a_inl">explained the bungling</a> that led to the foundation paying a $2,500 fine to the IRS earlier this year.</p><p dir="ltr">First, Weisselberg claimed, a Trump clerk was asked to write a check for $25,000 to an organization called And Justice for All, which was Bondi’s political action committee.</p><p dir="ltr">Weisselberg swears that the clerk found a charity named And Justice for All in Utah, which helps people with disabilities, and wrote the check for And Justice for All intending it to go to a charity in Utah.</p><p dir="ltr">And then, he says, the check, somehow, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-camp-issues-rare-admission-of-error-charity-donation-to-florida-ag-was-a-mistake/2016/03/22/349c8f8c-efb4-11e5-a61f-e9c95c06edca_story.html?tid=a_inl">he doesn’t know how</a>, got sent to Bondi.</p><p dir="ltr">And that’s not all, folks!</p><p dir="ltr">Weisselberg blames the next blunder on Trump’s accounting firm. When the firm listed the foundation’s 2013 donations for the IRS, it didn’t list either And Justice for All from Utah or And Justice for All from Florida. Instead it listed an entirely different group, Justice for All from Kansas.</p><p dir="ltr">It was just a typo or something, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-camp-issues-rare-admission-of-error-charity-donation-to-florida-ag-was-a-mistake/2016/03/22/349c8f8c-efb4-11e5-a61f-e9c95c06edca_story.html?tid=a_inl">Weisselberg claims</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">So on the 2013 IRS form, first the Trump Foundation told the federal government that it had not spent money for political purposes, when, in fact, it had spent $25,000 for political purposes. Then it told the IRS it made a grant to a group it had not, in fact, given money to.</p><p dir="ltr">All this fumbling from what Donnie promises will be the very best advisers in the world. The greatest!</p><p dir="ltr">The IRS never would have discovered this on its own. Its staff has been decimated by Republican budget cutting. Republicans don’t want billionaires like Trump to get pinched for tax cheating. So they take care of that problem by eliminating the tax cops.</p><p dir="ltr">It took the legwork of <a href="http://www.citizensforethics.org/">Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)</a>, several <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/9/9/1568265/-Abbreviated-pundit-roundup-Florida-papers-call-for-investigation-of-Trump-Bondi-bribery-scandal?detail=email&amp;link_id=12&amp;can_id=1c1e0ae309f55eef4dee9b975d87eb17&amp;source=email-even-nbc-execs-realize-matt-lauer-was-a-disaster&amp;email_referrer=even-nbc-execs-realize-matt-lauer-was-a-disaster&amp;email_subject=even-nbc-execs-realize-matt-lauer-was-a-disaster">Florida newspapers</a> and the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-bragged-that-his-money-bought-off-politicians-just-not-this-time/2016/09/07/00a9d1e4-750b-11e6-be4f-3f42f2e5a49e_story.html">Washington Post</a> to uncover this.  </p><p dir="ltr">When they did, Donnie denied any of it was done on purpose. Now, don’t forget, Donnie’s the guy who keeps <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-bragged-that-his-money-bought-off-politicians-just-not-this-time/2016/09/07/00a9d1e4-750b-11e6-be4f-3f42f2e5a49e_story.html">saying things like this on the campaign trail</a>: “I’ve given to everybody because that is my job. I gotta give to them. Because when I want something, I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass.”</p><p dir="ltr">In Bondi’s case, though, Donnie denied she kissed his anything. He said they were just friends.</p><p dir="ltr">“I’ve just known Pam Bondi for years,” <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-bragged-that-his-money-bought-off-politicians-just-not-this-time/2016/09/07/00a9d1e4-750b-11e6-be4f-3f42f2e5a49e_story.html">he said</a>. She was a great attorney general, so he sent her $25,000 when she asked for it while she was considering investigating his university and then he concealed the donation through his foundation and she dropped the investigation. Nothing to see here, folks!</p><p dir="ltr">Just like his tax returns. He keeps saying there’s nothing there. He claims he’s told Americans everything they need to know about his finances. But after this whole Bondi affair, it’s probably better to go with a new version of the old Reagan admonition when dealing with the Trump tax returns: distrust and verify by seeing the actual forms.</p>  <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1063607'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1063607" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:44:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1063607 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor trump There's a Steel Crisis...and We Need New Rules to Solve It http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/theres-steel-crisisand-we-need-new-rules-solve-it <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1063175'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1063175" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">All of the dog-eared methods for dealing with this global crisis in steel have failed.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-09-06_at_11.44.39_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr">China is gorging itself on steelmaking. It is forging so much steel that the entire world doesn’t need that much steel.</p><p dir="ltr">Companies in the United States and Europe, and unions like mine, the United Steelworkers, have spent untold millions of dollars to secure tariffs on imports of this improperly government-subsidized steel. Still China won’t stop. Diplomats have elicited promises from Chinese officials that no new mills will be constructed. Still they are. Chinese federal officials have written repeated five-year plans in which new mills are banned. Yet they are built.</p><p dir="ltr">All of the dog-eared methods for dealing with this global crisis in steel have failed. So American steel executives and steelworkers and hundreds of thousands of other workers whose jobs depend on steel must hope that President Barack Obama used his private meeting with <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-09-03/moonlight-stroll-can-t-mask-lingering-tensions-between-obama-xi">China’s President XI Jinping</a> Saturday to press for a novel solution. Because on this Labor Day, <a href="http://www.business-standard.com/article/international/us-president-obama-urged-to-address-chinese-steel-overcapacity-at-g20-oecd-meet-116090200109_1.html">14,500 American steelworkers and approximately 91,000 workers whose jobs depend on steel</a> are out of work because China won’t stop making too much steel.</p><p dir="ltr">A new report on the crisis, titled <a href="http://www.americanmanufacturing.org/page/-/uploads/resources/OvercapacityReport2016_R3.pdf">“Overcapacity in Steel, China’s Role in a Global Problem,”</a> by the Duke University Center on Globalization, Governance &amp; Competitiveness flatly concludes that existing policies to stop China from building excessive steel capacity have failed.</p><p dir="ltr">Since 2007, China has added 552 million metric tons of steel capacity – an amount that is equivalent to seven times the total U.S. steel production in 2015. China did this while repeatedly promising to cut production. China did this while the United States actually did cut production, partly because China exported to the United States illegitimately subsidized, and therefore underpriced, steel.</p><p dir="ltr">That forced the closure or partial closure of U.S. mills, the layoffs of thousands of skilled American workers, the destruction of communities’ tax bases and the threat to national security as U.S. steelmaking capacity contracted.</p><p dir="ltr">Although China, the world’s largest net exporter of steel, knows it makes too much steel and has repeatedly pledged to cut back, it plans to add another 41 million metric tons of capacity by 2017, with mills that will provide 28 million metric tons already under construction.</p><p dir="ltr">None of this would make sense in a capitalist, market-driven system. But that’s not the system Chinese steel companies operate in. Chinese mills don’t have to make a profit. Many are small, inefficient and highly polluting. They receive massive subsidies from the federal and local governments in the form of low or no-interest loans, free land, cash grants, tax reductions and exemptions and preferential access to raw materials including below market prices.</p><p dir="ltr">That’s all fine if the steel is sold within China. But those subsidies violate international trade rules when the steel is exported.  </p><p dir="ltr">These are the kinds of improper subsidies that enable American and European companies to get tariffs imposed. But securing those penalties requires companies and unions to pay millions to trade law experts and to provide proof that companies have lost profits and workers have lost jobs. So Americans must bleed both red and green before they might see limited relief.</p><p dir="ltr">The Duke report suggests that part of the problem is that market economies like those in the United States and Europe are dealing with a massive non-market economy like China and expecting the rules to be the same. They just aren’t.</p><p dir="ltr">Simply declaring that China is a market economy, which is what China wants, would weaken America’s and Europe’s ability to combat the problems of overcapacity.  For example, the declaration would <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/sep/5/china-agrees-steps-toward-reducing-steel-exports/">complicate securing tariffs</a>, the tool American steel companies need to continue to compete when Chinese companies receive improper subsidies.</p><p dir="ltr">The Duke report authors recommend instead delaying action on China’s request for market economy status until China’s economic behavior is demonstrably consistent with market principles.</p><p dir="ltr">The authors of the Duke report also suggest international trade officials consider new tools for dealing with trade disputes because the old ones have proved futile in resolving the global conflict with China over its unrelenting overcapacity in steel, aluminum and other commodities.</p><p dir="ltr">For example, under the current regime, steel companies or unions must prove serious injury to receive relief. The report suggests: “changing the burden of proof upon a finding by the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel of a prohibited trade-related practice, or non-compliance with previous rulings by the WTO.”</p><p dir="ltr">It also proposes multilateral environmental agreements with strict pollution limits. Under these deals, companies in places like the United States and Europe that must comply with strong pollution standards would not be placed at an international disadvantage as a result, and the environment would benefit as well.  </p><p dir="ltr">In addition to the family-supporting steelworker jobs across this country that would be saved by innovative intervention to solve this crisis, at stake as well are many other jobs and the quality of jobs.</p><p dir="ltr">The Congressional Steel Caucus wrote President Obama before he left last week on his trip to Hangzhou for the G-20 Summit asking that he secure the cooperation of China and <a href="http://www.business-standard.com/article/international/us-president-obama-urged-to-address-chinese-steel-overcapacity-at-g20-oecd-meet-116090200109_1.html">pointing out the large number of downstream jobs that are dependent on steel</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Also last week, the <a href="http://www.epi.org/">Economic Policy Institute</a> issued a report titled “<a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/union-decline-lowers-wages-of-nonunion-workers-the-overlooked-reason-why-wages-are-stuck-and-inequality-is-growing/">Union Decline Lowers Wages of Nonunion Workers.”</a> It explained that the ability of union workers to boost nonunion workers’ pay weakened as the percentage of private-sector workers in unions fell from about 33 percent in the 1950s to about 5 percent today.</p><p dir="ltr">The EPI researchers found that nonunion private sector men with a high school diploma or less education would receive weekly wages approximately 9 percent higher if union density had remained at 1979 levels. That’s an extra $3,172 a year.</p><p dir="ltr">Many steelworkers are union workers. If those jobs disappear, that would mean fewer family-supporting private sector union jobs. And that would mean an even weaker lift to everyone else’s wages.</p><p dir="ltr">America has always been innovative. Now it must innovate on trade rules to save its steel industry, its steel jobs and all those jobs that are dependent on steel jobs.</p>  <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1063175'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1063175" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 06 Sep 2016 08:36:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1063175 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor steel labor work workers Trump's a Cheater, and He Sees Other Cheaters Everywhere http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/trumps-cheater-he-sees-other-cheaters-everywhere <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1062799'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1062799" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Trump assumes everyone else is bending the rules like he is.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-08-30_at_12.14.54_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr">Two Republican judges ceded their principles last week to Ohio Republicans intent on suppressing the African-Amerian vote. The Ohio GOP, like its counterparts nationally, has decided that if it can’t win minority voters, it will cheat.</p><p dir="ltr">So over the past decade, Republicans across the country have perpetrated fraud in the form of voter ID laws, limits on early voting, restrictions on voter registration and other onerous requirements that make it difficult for minorities, young people and senior citizens to vote—requirements described as voter suppression in numerous lawsuits filed to overturn them.</p><p dir="ltr">Last week, two George W. Bush-appointed judges said Ohio Republicans could eliminate “Golden Week,” which permits registration and voting to occur on the same day. The third judge on the panel, one appointed by President Barack Obama, dissented, writing that abolishing the week “imposes a disproportionate burden on African Americans.”</p><p dir="ltr">Now along comes Donald Trump claiming the only way he can lose the election is if Democrats cheat at the polls, pointing his finger at Pennsylvania and Philadelphia in particular. The City of Brotherly Love is a filthy den of schemers and scam artists, according to Trump. Pennsylvanians living west of the city line are little better in Trump’s estimation.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump besmirched Pennsylvania’s reputation despite the fact that Keystone GOP officials admitted in a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/pennsylvania-admits-it-no-voter-fraud-problem/2012/07/24/gJQAHNVt6W_blog.html?tid=a_inl&amp;utm_term=.910662673b01">lawsuit</a> won by voting rights groups in 2014 that there was absolutely no in-person voter fraud in the state. None. But that doesn’t matter because when Republicans like Trump cheat, they think everyone else cheats too.</p><p dir="ltr">At an August 12 rally in Altoona, Trump called on his supporters to sign up to stand sentry as poll watchers “in certain areas” which other speakers made clear was Philadelphia. Essentially, Trump was asking rural white residents to travel to Philly, which is 45 percent black, and try to intimidate voters. Good luck with that.</p><p dir="ltr">Here’s what he said: “We're going to <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20160819_Inquirer_editorial__Trump_s_accusation_of_voter_fraud_in_PA_is_offensive.html">watch Pennsylvania</a>. Go down to certain areas and watch and study and make sure other people don't come in and vote five times... If you do that, we're not going to lose. The only way we can lose, in my opinion—I really mean this, Pennsylvania—is if cheating goes on.”</p><p dir="ltr">U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, a Republican from southeast of Pittsburgh, spoke on Trump’s behalf at the event, <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/presidential/Donald_Trump_Hillary_Clinton_cheating_Pennsylvania_Altoona.html">accusing</a> Philadelphians of nefarious deeds:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr">“The people in western and central Pennsylvania have to overcome what goes on down in Philadelphia... The cheating, what they do—we've got to make sure we're doing the job here in central Pennsylvania.”</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">The thing is, there is no cheating. The GOP could find absolutely no case of in-person voter fraud—not one—when it desperately needed one, just one, to justify its burdensome voter ID requirements after they were challenged in a lawsuit by the ACLU of Pennsylvania and other voting rights groups. In the end, the state of Pennsylvania, then completely run by Republicans—governor and both houses of the legislature—stipulated in court that, in fact, there was no in-person <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/pennsylvania-admits-it-no-voter-fraud-problem/2012/07/24/gJQAHNVt6W_blog.html?tid=a_inl&amp;utm_term=.ee15b8b52556">voter fraud</a> in Pennsylvania. So, of course, there was no way the GOP could justify its excessive voter ID requirements that would have <a href="http://articles.philly.com/2012-07-05/news/32537732_1_voter-id-new-voter-id-cards">disenfranchised</a> as many as three-quarters of a million Pennsylvanians.</p><p dir="ltr">This had followed a swirl of publicity around a videotaped statement by GOP leader of the Pennsylvania House, Mike Turzai, in which he announced that the new voter ID law was "<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/pennsylvania-admits-it-no-voter-fraud-problem/2012/07/24/gJQAHNVt6W_blog.html?tid=a_inl&amp;utm_term=.ee15b8b52556">gonna allow</a> Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” That would occur, of course, by disenfranchising people who intended to vote for President Obama’s reelection, including many Philadelphia residents. It would occur by GOP cheating.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2014, Pennsylvania courts <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/18/us/politics/pennsylvania-voter-id-law-struck-down.html">overturned</a> the voter ID law. This year, the Ohio decision aside, that has been the trend of most court rulings. Many judges have cited the disproportionate effect these voter suppression laws have on minorities. And just like in Pennsylvania, the laws’ defenders have failed to provide evidence of the in-person voter fraud that the legislation is supposedly intended to prevent.</p><p dir="ltr">The ACLU and voting rights groups have secured victories in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Texas and North Dakota this year. In July, a federal appeals court <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/30/us/federal-appeals-court-strikes-down-north-carolina-voter-id-provision.html">struck down</a> the North Carolina voter ID law, saying it deliberately “target[ed] African Americans with almost surgical precision” in an effort to depress black voter turnout. As to the lawmakers’ contention that the legislation was needed to prevent in-person voter fraud, the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/30/us/federal-appeals-court-strikes-down-north-carolina-voter-id-provision.html">judges said voter ID</a>, “imposes cures for problems that did not exist.”</p><p dir="ltr">In the Badger State, the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/30/us/federal-appeals-court-strikes-down-north-carolina-voter-id-provision.html">judge wrote,</a> “The Wisconsin experience demonstrates that a preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections.”</p><p dir="ltr">In North Dakota, a federal judge found the voter ID law placed an undue burden on Native Americans <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/north-dakotas-voter-id-law-is-latest-to-be-overturned/">and wrote,</a> “No eligible voter, regardless of their station in life, should be denied the opportunity to vote.” He found that voter fraud in the state has been "<a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/north-dakotas-voter-id-law-is-latest-to-be-overturned/">virtually nonexistent</a>."</p><p dir="ltr">On July 20, a federal appeals court ruled that the Texas voter ID law violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act. This was the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/21/us/federal-court-rules-texas-id-law-violates-voting-rights-act.html?action=click&amp;contentCollection=U.S.&amp;module=RelatedCoverage&amp;region=EndOfArticle&amp;pgtype=article">fourth time</a> in nearly four years that a federal court decided that the law discriminated against black and Hispanic voters. But still, the Texas GOP wants to implement it. They’re the cheaters.</p><p dir="ltr">The North Dakota Republicans are cheaters for trying to prevent Native Americans from voting. North Carolina Republicans are cheaters for deliberately targeting African Americans to prevent them from voting. Pennsylvania Republicans are cheaters for trying to prevent African Americans, students, seniors and other likely Democrats from voting in an attempt to assure Romney a victory and their own re-elections.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump is a cheater as well. He cheated small businessmen and craftsmen repeatedly during his multiple bankruptcies, denying them payment for work they performed for him in good faith. Likewise, Trump reported on his sworn financial disclosure forms to election regulators that the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., was worth <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-much-does-trump-claim-his-golf-courses-are-worth-it-depends-who-needs-to-know/2016/08/21/71828f3a-5f3c-11e6-9d2f-b1a3564181a1_story.html">$50 million</a>, but when it came to paying taxes on the property, he told Palm Beach County it was worth a measly <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-much-does-trump-claim-his-golf-courses-are-worth-it-depends-who-needs-to-know/2016/08/21/71828f3a-5f3c-11e6-9d2f-b1a3564181a1_story.html">$5 million</a>. Similarly, Trump bought $65,000 in jewelry from a New York store, then had an empty box shipped out of state to evade sales tax—in a scam he got <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/time-donald-trump-undersells-tax-time/story?id=39133709">caught</a> at.</p><p dir="ltr">That’s how he can accuse Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, without any evidence at all, of trying to steal the election from him. Because he would do it.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1062799'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1062799" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 30 Aug 2016 09:01:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1062799 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor trump Donald Trump Has the Swag of a Pro Wrestler: He'll Destroy Anything in His Path http://servingwww.alternet.org/election-2016/donald-trump-has-swag-pro-wrestler-hell-destroy-anything-his-path <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1062132'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1062132" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The Oval Office is not a wrestling ring.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/27435263990_8f7566831d_z.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-723574f5-9ded-b33f-3e97-5a84d470b817">Donald Trump has perfected the swagger and boast of a professional wrestler.</p><p dir="ltr">While a guy like World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon is full of fake bluster and brashness for the sake of TV ratings, Donald Trump is the real McCoy: A reckless bully.   </p><p dir="ltr">That violent, provocative behavior makes Trump far too dangerous to get anywhere near nuclear codes. For Americans who want peace and security, not war, this man is too risky to inhabit the White House.   </p><p dir="ltr">That’s what 50 former national security officials whose careers span more than four decades said <a href="https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3007589/Nationalsecurityletter.pdf">in a letter last week</a>. They are Republicans. They include a former director of the CIA, the first director of national intelligence, and two former secretaries of homeland security. They warned that Trump would be treacherous as president.  </p><p dir="ltr">And that was before Trump suggested in a speech last week that “Second Amendment” supporters assassinate Hillary Clinton if she’s elected so she can’t nominate judges to the Supreme Court.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump contended later that he didn’t mean to suggest that gun nuts kill Clinton. But what he said could clearly be interpreted that way. It was irresponsible. And typical of Trump.</p><p dir="ltr">First, Trump glibly repeated the false accusation that Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment, something presidents can’t do, even if they wanted to. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/10/opinion/further-into-the-muck-with-mr-trump.html?emc=edit_ty_20160810&amp;nl=opinion&amp;nlid=25868490&amp;_r=0">Then Trump said this:</a> “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”</p><p dir="ltr">In the context, which is a President Clinton naming judges, Clinton supporters interpreted this as Trump calling on anti-government militia groups, like the one that took over the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/03/us/oregon-wildlife-refuge-protest/">wildlife refuge in Oregon</a> earlier this year, to assassinate a President Clinton to prevent her from selecting judges.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump says anyone who thinks a threat was intended is just being a silly goose. So silly. No threat intended. He asserts that he was just urging Second Amendment supporters to vote against Clinton, even though, obviously, they couldn’t vote against a President Clinton who was already in a position to appoint judges.</p><p dir="ltr">The thing about crazy talk in perilous times is that it can provoke war. A president can say something intemperate or unintelligible to a foreign leader the likes of Kim Jong-un, with nuclear weapons at his irrational fingertips, with devastating consequences for the entire world. A president can refuse to apologize for something rashly uttered and terrorist groups may impose horrible retribution on innocents.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3007589/Nationalsecurityletter.pdf">The letter last week from the 50 former national security advisors</a> warning Americans that Donald Trump would “be a dangerous president and put at risk our country’s national security and well-being” was not the first. It followed one in March signed by 121 Republican national security leaders <a href="http://warontherocks.com/2016/03/open-letter-on-donald-trump-from-gop-national-security-leaders/">saying:</a></p><p dir="ltr">“His embrace of the expansive use of torture is inexcusable.”</p><p dir="ltr">And</p><p dir="ltr">“His admiration for foreign dictators such as Vladimir Putin is unacceptable for the leader of the world’s greatest democracy.”</p><p dir="ltr">And</p><p dir="ltr">“He is fundamentally dishonest.”</p><p dir="ltr">The language in the new letter about Trump is even more damning. It includes:</p><p dir="ltr">“We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless president in American history.”</p><p dir="ltr">“Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be president. In our experience, a president must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads; must encourage consideration of conflicting views; and must acknowledge errors and learn from them. A president must be disciplined, control emotions, and must act only after reflection and careful deliberation. A president must maintain cordial relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their respect and trust.”</p><p dir="ltr">“He continues to display an alarming ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics.”</p><p dir="ltr">Trump pushed some of these national security experts over the edge when he invited Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email server. For others, it was Trump’s abandonment of America’s commitment to NATO. And for still others it was Trump’s assertion that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/31/politics/donald-trump-russia-ukraine-crimea-putin/">“go into Ukraine”</a> although, obviously, he did that two years ago when he seized Crimea.</p><p dir="ltr">Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine expressed her fears about Trump last week as well, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/gop-senator-why-i-cannot-support-trump/2016/08/08/821095be-5d7e-11e6-9d2f-b1a3564181a1_story.html">writing in an op-ed in the Washington Post:</a></p><p dir="ltr">“I am also deeply concerned that Mr. Trump’s lack of self-restraint and his barrage of ill-informed comments would make an already perilous world even more so. It is reckless for a presidential candidate to publicly raise doubts about honoring treaty commitments with our allies. Mr. Trump’s tendency to lash out when challenged further escalates the possibility of disputes spinning dangerously out of control.”</p><p dir="ltr">Trump’s barrages of ill-informed comments include threats of violence when people make statements that he finds upsetting. For example, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/07/29/i-wanted-to-hit-a-couple-of-those-speakers-so-hard-trump-says-of-dem-convention-critics/">here’s what he told a crowd of cheering supporters after he was criticized during the Democratic National Convention:</a></p><p dir="ltr">“The things that were said about me...You know what, I wanted to hit a couple of those speakers so hard, I would have hit them – no, no – I was gonna hit them. I was all set... I was gonna hit this guy so hard, his head would spin. He wouldn’t know what the hell happened.”</p><p dir="ltr">He’s a candidate for the president of the United States, and he talks like a professional wrestler.</p><p dir="ltr">Just like wrestling fans mimic calls for violence from the stars, at Trump rallies, the Trumpeters have taken up his tone. Chants of <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/trump-violent-rhetoric-history-226873#ixzz4H2M0B54l">“hang the bitch” and “kill the bitch”</a> are routine. <a href="https://twitter.com/christinawilkie/status/763076960121556992">“Kill her, kill her”</a> is an increasingly common refrain.</p><p dir="ltr">Such stuff is shouted flippantly by audiences in professional wrestling arenas. The audiences there know everything is fake. They understood when Trump <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMKFIHRpe7I">knocked McMahon to the ground</a> in WrestleMania 23, it was staged. They realize when they call for blood they’re getting ketchup.</p><p dir="ltr">There, it’s a game. But the Oval Office is not a wrestling ring. On the world stage, words matter.  America needs a diplomat in the White House, not a professional wrestler. Too many lives are at stake. </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1062132'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1062132" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 06:50:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1062132 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Labor trump Challenging the Stereotype: Working Class White Guys Against Trump http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/challenging-stereotype-working-class-white-guys-against-trump <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1061215'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1061215" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The press would have you believe that all of the angry white men are Trump supporters.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-08-02_at_11.41.32_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-e7865dbd-4be9-8f75-b45a-b85cb58b5935">As Hillary Clinton’s “Blue Collar Bus Tour,” travels across Pennsylvania and Ohio, I want to tell you about two angry white men I met at the Democratic National Convention last week.</p><p dir="ltr">The press would have you believe that all of the angry white men are Trump supporters. This is the stereotype: They are high school educated, gun-totin’, flag-wavin’, bigots who love the bragging, swaggering bully in Trump. </p><p dir="ltr">But that’s an easy story. Those guys are easy to find. They fill Donald Trump’s stadiums. It’s true they’re out there. But what’s also true is that there’s a huge number of high school educated white men who don’t go to Trump rallies. They aren’t flag waving bigots. These are guys who only carry guns when they are hunting. They’re angry, all right. They’re angry at being associated with Trump.</p><p dir="ltr">Two of them were delegates to the Democratic National Convention last week. Both will be voting for Hillary Clinton and both will be urging their union brothers and sisters to do the same. They are Jim Savage, who is a member and past president of USW Local 10-1, where most members work at Philadelphia Energy Solutions, and Richard Ray, who is a retired member of the USW at Owens-Illinois Inc., having worked at plants in both North Carolina and Georgia.</p><p dir="ltr">For Ray, backing Trump would be antithetical to his life-long commitment to organized labor.</p><p dir="ltr">Ray joined the American Flint Glass Workers union when he got a job with Owens-Illinois Glass Co. in Durham, N.C. when he was 20 years old. Six months later, he was elected shop steward. He held elected union offices for the next 49 years, all the way up to president of the Georgia State AFL-CIO, always in the not-so-union-friendly South. He became a member of the USW when the glass workers and the steelworkers merged.</p><p dir="ltr">Ray devoted his life to helping the group, getting better wages, benefits and working conditions for his union brothers and sisters. The most vital value to union members, he explains, is “we.” The idea, he said, is that everybody helps improve life for everybody: “We are all in it together.”</p><p dir="ltr"></p><div alt="" class="media-image"><img alt="" class="media-image" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/screen_shot_2016-08-02_at_11.43.40_am.png" /></div><p dir="ltr">Richard Ray</p><p dir="ltr">“With Trump, though, it is always, me, me, me,” Ray said. What is most important to Donald Trump is Donald Trump.</p><p dir="ltr">It is true, Ray noted, that Donald Trump is very rich, that he has done very well for himself. For the “me.” But he has also gone bankrupt repeatedly. And when he did, he protected himself at the expense of working guys and small contractors. Trump paid pennies on the dollar to electricians and bricklayers and other skilled laborers. Lots of small contractors in New Jersey lost their family businesses because Trump didn’t pay what he owed them.</p><p dir="ltr">“He is the only one who came out smelling like a rose,” Ray told me. Trump wasn’t thinking of the other guy like a union brother or sister would. He was just thinking of Donald Trump.</p><p dir="ltr">The same is true with Trump’s signature products like suits and ties. Trump could have thought of the “we” and made a little bit less money for himself by manufacturing those products in America. But he didn’t. He makes them off shore with exploited foreign labor.</p><p dir="ltr">And right now Trump could be helping unemployed Americans, caring about the American “we,” but instead he is applying for 78 visas to bring in foreign nationals to work at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.</p><p dir="ltr">Ray told me that, by contrast, when he listens to Hillary Clinton, he hears the opposite. Even her slogan is “stronger together.”</p><p dir="ltr">He noted that when Hillary Clinton left an Ivy League law school, she could have taken a high-paid job with a law firm and just made money for herself, the way Donald Trump did when he left the Ivy League Wharton School. But instead, Hillary Clinton began working for children with disabilities. And she has been laboring to help people ever since, including securing health insurance for low income children when she was First Lady.</p><p dir="ltr">“I don’t think it has ever been about ‘me’ for Hillary Clinton,” Ray told me. “It has always been about we.”</p><p dir="ltr">Ray is a no stereotype southern working class white man voting for Trump. He will be working hard over the next four months to make sure his union brothers and sisters, his neighbors, friends and acquaintances all see that stereotype is as repulsive as he does. </p><p dir="ltr">Savage is no stereotype rust belt working class white man voting for Trump. Vice president of the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, Savage came to the convention as a Bernie Sanders delegate because his mission is economic justice. He said he switched his allegiance to Hillary Clinton easily because she has supported organized labor her entire political life.</p><p dir="ltr">Savage told me that he has fought throughout his life as a labor leader for economic justice and thought that racial justice would just naturally come along with it. But it has not.</p><p dir="ltr"></p><div alt="" class="media-image" style="width: 400px; height: 520px;"><img alt="" class="media-image" style="width: 400px; height: 520px;" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.alternet.org/files/screen_shot_2016-08-02_at_11.42.36_am.png" width="437" height="568" /></div><p dir="ltr">Jim Savage</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><p dir="ltr">“Economic justice doesn’t mean shit if it is only for a certain sector,” he told me last week. This is personal for Savage because he has both white grandchildren and black grandchildren. He wants them all to have the same opportunities. And he wants them to be treated equally in all areas of society.</p><p dir="ltr">He is deeply offended by racist comments Donald Trump has made. And he is deeply offended that people assume that because he is a white working class man that he is a Trump supporter.</p><p dir="ltr">“We need economic justice for all people, for people’s wives and daughters and neighbors,” Savage said. And that is why he is a white, working-class man supporting Hillary Clinton.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1061215'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1061215" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 08:39:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1061215 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor trump working class Donald Trump Is Casting a Dark Shadow Over Voters http://servingwww.alternet.org/election-2016/donald-trump-has-invoked-dark-skies <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1060794'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060794" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">His convention was designed to frighten. It was stoked by hate, rancor, loathing, and condemnation.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_406449925.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-c22d1440-274d-f482-81a0-67987a60e566">The dark and treacherous skies Donald Trump invoked at the Republican National Convention last week have lifted as Democrats begin their meeting in Philly Monday with a healthy dose of optimism.</p><p dir="ltr">The Hillary Clinton team sees America differently. They recognize problems like stagnant wages, unfair trade closing American factories, insufficient support for working mothers, terrorism, and conflict between cops and communities of color. And they have concrete plans to deal with those.  </p><p dir="ltr">The Clinton team has a unifying vision calling for Americans to work together to solve problems and build a better future for everyone. Hillary Clinton believes a good president inspires the best in Americans and motivates them to display their cherished qualities of community, fairness, and equal opportunity.</p><p dir="ltr">And the Clinton team believes Americans should have the choice about whether to join her team. That is why her slogan is: “I am with her.” A person who decides to support her can announce it by wearing that slogan.</p><p dir="ltr">The Trump clan is different. He insists, “I am with you.” That’s a shadow cast over voters whether they want it or not.</p><p dir="ltr">And it’s a dark, dark shadow. His convention was designed to frighten. It was stoked by hate, rancor, loathing, and condemnation. His own hour-long, yell-fest was filled with horror, venom, gloom and egotism. It is not morning in Trump’s America. It is the eve of absolute destruction.</p><p dir="ltr">Be afraid, he said, be very, very afraid. The sky is falling. The world is collapsing. And only Donald Trump, an egomaniacal billionaire reality TV star, can save the country.  </p><p dir="ltr">Be afraid of terrorists apparently everywhere in our midst, he warned. Then he demonized marginalized groups: refugees desperate for safety and a better life in America, unarmed black people seeking more cops willing to serve and protect them too, undocumented immigrants who pick America’s crops and make its hotel beds, and who, statistics show, <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-mythical-connection-between-immigrants-and-crime-1436916798">have a lower crime rate, including violent crime, than native born Americans.</a></p><p dir="ltr">He said the country is threatened by crumbling infrastructure – without mentioning that GOP majorities in Congress have repeatedly refused money to repair it. And he slammed the economy, though it is rising steadily from the depths of the Bush-era Great Recession.</p><p dir="ltr">This occurred at a GOP convention with the lowest number of African-American delegates in a century, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/19/there-are-likely-fewer-black-delegates-to-the-republican-convention-than-at-any-point-in-at-least-a-century/">about 1 percent</a>. On the first night of the meeting, U.S. Rep. Steve King, a Republican from Iowa <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/18/rep-steve-king-wonders-what-sub-groups-besides-whites-made-contributions-to-civilization/">who keeps a confederate flag on his desk</a>, went on MSNBC <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/18/rep-steve-king-wonders-what-sub-groups-besides-whites-made-contributions-to-civilization/">and defended</a> the lack of diversity asking, "where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization" than white people?</p><p dir="ltr">It occurred at a GOP convention where <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/lesbian-delegate-pleas-recognition-lbgt-victims-terrorism-republican-platform">the platform committee refused</a> a gay delegate’s request for support for LGBT people’s right not to be murdered by terrorists, as in Orlando. And though much was made of openly gay Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel speaking at the conclave, the billionaire threw transgender people under the bus during his talk by insisting no one cares about GOP laws discriminating against them by restricting their use of restrooms.</p><p dir="ltr">It also occurred at a GOP convention where the party gave a speaking slot to an actor who tweeted a photo of Hillary Clinton <a href="http://www.joemygod.com/2016/07/19/chachi-heels-scott-baio-flails-sputters-msnbc-host-confronts-clinton-slur-video/">with a vulgar sexual word</a> in the background and a former candidate for the GOP presidential nomination who linked her to the devil because she wrote a thesis in college – 50 years ago – about an author who referred to the devil in an introduction to one of his books.</p><p dir="ltr">It also occurred at a convention where Trump’s hatefulness during the primary came back to him. Trump mocked opponent Carly Fiorina’s face; he called Marco Rubio, “Little Marco,” Jeb Bush, “Low Energy Jeb,” and most memorably, Ted Cruz, “Lyin’ Ted.” Trump also ridiculed Ted’s wife in a tweet and suggested <a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/05/trump-ted-cruz-father-222730">Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">In return, Cruz used his time on the convention stage to make what amounted to an acceptance speech instead of a Trump endorsement. This provoked a situation so volatile that Cruz’ wife, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/21/us/politics/ted-cruz-donald-trump-mike-pence-rnc.html?emc=edit_th_20160721&amp;nl=todaysheadlines&amp;nlid=25868490&amp;_r=0">Heidi, had to be rushed out of the stadium</a> by guards for her own safety as delegates aggressively heckled her.  </p><p dir="ltr">It was a dark and nasty convention, with an ominous and overcast finale. Trump declared in his valedictory that he, and only he, a politically inexperienced reality TV star who gained fame for firing people, could solve everything. “I alone,” <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/22/us/politics/trump-rnc-remarks.html?emc=edit_th_20160722&amp;nl=todaysheadlines&amp;nlid=25868490">he said</a>, “can fix it.”</p><p dir="ltr">He promised to be an iron-fisted, law-and-order, one-man savior, a superman who has utterly no qualifications for the job. <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/full-transcript-donald-trump-nomination-acceptance-speech-at-rnc-225974">Everything is completely horrible</a>, inside the country and out, he asserted. He is a billionaire who lives in a golden tower and who has never in his life had to worry about a lay off or a mortgage bill, who, in fact, repeatedly stiffed working guys and small contractors during his bankruptcies, but, he insisted, he alone would solve everything for the middle class.</p><p dir="ltr">When asked what he hoped voters would take away from his convention, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/21/us/politics/donald-trump-issues.html?emc=edit_th_20160721&amp;nl=todaysheadlines&amp;nlid=25868490">Trump said</a>, “The fact that I’m very well liked.”  He did not hope they would take away a specific Trump plan for on-shoring the manufacturing of Trump signature clothing now made with foreign labor overseas, or, more importantly, bringing back thousands of factories and millions of jobs from low-wage countries like China.</p><p dir="ltr">He didn’t hope they’d take away a specific Trump policy for dealing with ISIS or conflict between cops and communities of color. He knew they would not take away an overriding Trump philosophy for governing. Because he didn’t offer any of that.</p><p dir="ltr">No. Donny just wants to be liked. And to do that, he told Americans they should be terrified and look only to a reality TV star as the slick solution, a guy who insisted, “I am with you,” whether Americans want a name-calling bully shadowing them or not.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1060794'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060794" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 05:53:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1060794 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Labor trump Donald Trump Is a Divider: Why His 'Tough on Crime' Rhetoric Is All Wrong http://servingwww.alternet.org/election-2016/why-donald-trump-divider <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1060396'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060396" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Trump would be the nation’s most self-involved, egotistical president ever.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-07-19_at_11.04.47_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-d3936d36-03af-9491-4269-e93e35c24a4b">The man Republicans will nominate this week as their presidential candidate sees himself as a U.S. generalissimo. Donald Trump would be, he said last week, the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5Wn4tMFYT8">law-and-order president</a>. He would be a tough guy at a time when <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/28/politics/fbi-crime-statistics-report-2014/">crime is down</a>. He would strong arm at a time when reconciliation is required. </p><p dir="ltr">What Trump didn’t say, because he lacks the insight to know it, is that he would also be the nation’s most self-involved, egotistical president ever. Rather than bearing the important mantle of consoler-in-chief after tragedies like those in Orlando, Dallas and Baton Rouge, a President Trump would be tweeter-in-chief, bragging about how he, and only he, had predicted it <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-orlando_us_575d92e6e4b0e39a28addbe6">would happen</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Precious few Americans want a bully as a leader, someone who barks, “You’re fired,” who calls people names, ridicules the physically handicapped, and builds walls between races. Americans want a president who brings people together, who inspires, offers hope and can give solace to the nation in times of crisis. All of that was missing from Trump’s responses to national shocks like the gunning down of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the massacre of five police officers in Dallas, and the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Trump’s reactions showed he’s a businessman with a heart of stone, a man who would widen the divides of this country.</p><p dir="ltr">As the self-proclaimed law-and-order candidate, Trump on Tuesday spoke about the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/07/08/like-a-little-war-snipers-shoot-11-police-officers-during-dallas-protest-march-killing-five/">slaughter</a> of the five officers in Dallas and the wounding of seven others. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5Wn4tMFYT8">He said</a>:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr">“Our whole nation grieves and mourns for the loss of five heroes in Dallas. Law enforcement. These were great, great people. Great people. We pray for their families. We pray for their loved ones. We pray for all the wounded survivors. We pray for our country. So important. The police are not just part of our society. The police are the best of our society. Remember that.”</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Trump went on talking about police. He didn’t mention the two civilians who were wounded, including a black woman, <a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-dallas-mother-20160710-snap-story.html">Shetamia Taylor</a>, who was protesting the Sterling and Castile killings at the peaceful Black Lives Matter rally the night of the officer assassinations and who has repeatedly credited Dallas police with saving her life and the lives of her sons.</p><p dir="ltr">But Trump gave Taylor no time in his speech. He focused on the police, except for a brief mention of the recorded incidents in which police killed two citizens. Trump did not speak of Sterling and Castile as human beings. He didn’t ask for prayers for them or their families. He didn’t discuss the frustration, fear and anger in the black community as interactions between African Americans and police end in death far too frequently—more than 1,000 times last year, with young black men nine times more likely to be killed by police <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/31/the-counted-police-killings-2015-young-black-men">than other Americans</a>. He didn’t mention that only the recordings of these incidents have made the rest of America pay attention to what black people have been saying for a long time.</p><p dir="ltr">Here’s what Trump said about the Sterling and Castile <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewMhP-V1ed8">killings</a>: “It was tough. It was tough to watch. For everybody here, it was tough to watch.” So, to Trump, the problem was the watching. It was a shame Americans had to watch some shocking video footage.  </p><p dir="ltr">The hard thing wasn’t that a Baton Rouge, La., father, known in his community as the "<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/06/us/baton-rouge-shooting-alton-sterling/">CD man</a>" because he sold CDs outside a convenience store, was taken too soon from his children. The hard thing wasn’t that a beloved Minneapolis, Minn., school cafeteria supervisor, who knew all the kids’ names and fed them like a <a href="http://heavy.com/news/2016/07/philando-castile-falcon-heights-minnesota-police-shooting-facebook-live-video-watch-uncensored-you-tube-police-shooting-man-shot-lavish-reynolds/">grandma would</a>, was taken from them too early, shot multiple times, point blank in front of his girlfriend and her toddler.</p><p dir="ltr">The hard thing, for Donald Trump, wasn’t that for the African-American community this was two more names on a wall of horror that includes from just the <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/nicholasquah/heres-a-timeline-of-unarmed-black-men-killed-by-police-over?utm_term=.klP43B1vO#.anEVmpAwK">past few</a> years infamous cases such as Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Laquan McDonald, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Eric Harris and Walter Scott.</p><p dir="ltr">That the hard thing for Trump was the watching is another example of Donald the Divider. He began his campaign by slandering undocumented <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/07/08/donald-trumps-false-comments-connecting-mexican-immigrants-and-crime/">immigrants</a> as drug runners and rapists. He physically <a href="http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/11/26/donald-trump-mocks-reporter-with-disability-berman-sot-ac.cnn">mocked</a> a handicapped reporter. He slammed Muslims by claiming he saw “thousands and thousands” in New Jersey cheering the fall of the twin towers on 9/11, despite the fact that this <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/nov/22/donald-trump/fact-checking-trumps-claim-thousands-new-jersey-ch/">urban lie</a> has been repeatedly debunked. He mocked the appearance of his primary opponent <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/253178-trump-insults-fiorinas-physical-appearance-look-at-that-face">Carly Fiorina</a> and ridiculed a female Fox New anchor who asked him <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/08/07/trump-says-foxs-megyn-kelly-had-blood-coming-out-of-her-wherever/">tough questions</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">President Obama handled the Sterling, Castile and Dallas tragedies very differently. He met with both <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/13/politics/obama-black-lives-matter-meeting/">police officials</a> and Black Lives Matter representatives at the White House. He tried to hear and understand <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/07/13/white-house-meeting-brings-together-police-civil-rights-leaders/87044492/">both sides</a>. He spoke with the <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/12/obama-calls-families-black-men-shot-police/">families</a> of Sterling and Castile and went to Dallas to comfort the families of the slain and wounded officers.</p><p dir="ltr">And in Dallas, <a href="http://time.com/4403543/president-obama-dallas-shooting-memorial-service-speech-transcript/">President Obama said</a>:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr">“Today, in this audience, I see people who have protested on behalf of criminal justice reform grieving alongside police officers. I see people who mourn for the five officers we lost, but also weep for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. In this audience, I see what’s possible.</p><p dir="ltr">“I see what’s possible when we recognize that we are one American family, all deserving of equal treatment, all deserving equal respect, all children of God. That’s the America I know.”</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Obama is a president who speaks of unity. He is a president who offers comfort and hope. He is a president who believes in the best of all Americans and who intends to help bring those qualities forward.</p><p dir="ltr">President Obama also cited the Bible during that speech. He talked about the Lord telling Ezekiel he would give him a new heart, quoting the Lord, “I will remove from you your heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh.”</p><p dir="ltr">Then <a href="http://time.com/4403543/president-obama-dallas-shooting-memorial-service-speech-transcript/">President Obama said</a>, “That’s what we must pray for, each of us—a new heart. Not a heart of stone, but a heart open to the fears and hopes and challenges of our fellow citizens. That’s what we’ve seen in Dallas these past few days, and that’s what we must sustain ... with an open heart, we can worry less about which side has been wronged and worry more about joining sides to do right....We can decide to come together and make our country reflect the good inside us, the hopes and simple dreams we share.”</p><p dir="ltr">Later, <a href="http://time.com/4403543/president-obama-dallas-shooting-memorial-service-speech-transcript/">Obama said</a>, “Hope does not arise by putting our fellow man down. It is found by lifting others up.”</p><p dir="ltr">Donald Trump is excellent at putting people down—he is excellent at slander, at ridicule. He can tweet-slam with the best of ’em. Such bullies are terrific as tyrants. And tyrants are great at gruesome, cracked skull-style law and order.  </p><p dir="ltr">But frankly, Americans need a president with a heart of flesh.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1060396'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060396" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 19 Jul 2016 08:01:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1060396 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Labor trump election Donald Trump: Superhero to Billionaires http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/donald-trump-superhero-billionaires <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1060003'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060003" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The 1 percent have their own personal presidential candidate.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-07-12_at_2.31.06_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-c426f440-e060-0f09-d78d-e4c4edf5b38b">Every teacher, to their disgust, has seen it. When the birthday piñata is broken, one greedy kid elbows his way forward and grabs more than half of the candy for himself. All of the other children share what remains.</p><p dir="ltr">That’s exactly what is going on with income in the United States, according to an analysis released last week by Berkeley wealth researcher Emmanuel Saez. He found the richest 1 percent of families grabbed more than half of all the nation’s income growth between 2009 and 2015.</p><p dir="ltr">And now, the 1 percent have their own personal presidential candidate, a rich man’s hero who will ensure they can continue taking far more than their share of wealth—Donald Trump. He’s not some measly quarter billionaire like Mitt Romney. Trump is a bona fide billionaire, 10 times over. And he’s no stinking nouveau riche Republican. He’s a scion, born to wealth, bred on baby bottles inlaid with gold leaf and infused with arrogance.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump’s tax plan, his refusal to raise the minimum wage, his insistence that American workers make too much money, his anti-union stances, all endear him to his fellow 1 percenters. With pledges like these, Trump plans to guarantee that he, and his billionaire buddies, can continue taking too much.</p><p dir="ltr">They’re taking so much that income inequality is now at the highest level ever recorded in <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2016/07/01/3794970/income-inequality-2015/">American history</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">This is how it actually plays out, <a href="http://equitablegrowth.org/research-analysis/u-s-top-one-percent-of-income-earners-hit-new-high-in-2015-amid-strong-economic-growth/">Saez found</a>. From 2009 to 2015, the income of the richest 1 percent of families grew 37 percent – from $990,000 a year to $1,360,000 a year.</p><p dir="ltr">For the rest of American families, it didn’t go quite as well. Their incomes rose, but by only 7.6 percent. The increase went from $45,300 to $48,800.</p><p dir="ltr">That explains the <a href="https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/2014-report-economic-well-being-us-households-201505.pdf">Federal Reserve report in May</a> that said nearly half of all Americans would not have the resources to pay $400 for an unexpected bill such as a broken leg or smashed fender.</p><p dir="ltr">What is $400 to a 1 percenter? A petty extravagance: A fifth Coach purse. A haircut. An extra bottle of wine at a Manhattan dinner party.</p><p dir="ltr">Donald Trump will ensure the 99 percent stay in their economically stressed place and his fellow 1 percenters continue to consider $400 throwaway cash.</p><p dir="ltr">One guarantee of this for Trump’s fellow fat cats is in his tax plan.  Billionaires like Trump and their heirs, like Trump’s children, would be huge beneficiaries.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump would cut the income tax rate for everyone, but the wealthiest would get the most. He’d reduce the top tax rate of <a href="http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/donald-trumps-tax-plan-great-donald-trump">39.6 percent to 25 percent</a>. And he’d slash the top corporate rate by more than half from <a href="http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/donald-trumps-tax-plan-great-donald-trump">35 percent to 15 percent</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">He would <a href="http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/donald-trumps-tax-plan-great-donald-trump">eliminate the estate tax</a>, which applies only to inheritances of more than $5.4 million. That means his children and those of all other billionaires would inherit without paying taxes, establishing in the United States the wealth dynasties of Britain. No more pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Just languishing yourself by your legacy.</p><p dir="ltr">The cost of ending the estate tax is <a href="http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/donald-trumps-tax-plan-great-donald-trump">$246 billion</a>. Trump hasn’t explained how he’ll pay for that. But since he’s a Republican, there’s no doubt he’ll take it out of programs that benefit the middle class like Medicare, Social Security, education, and veterans’ services.</p><p dir="ltr">Under Trump’s “everybody gets a break” plan, his 1 percenter buddies would get an average annual tax cut of <a href="http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2016/03/donald_trumps_tax_plan_would_cost_12_trillion.php#.V36lv_krK1s">$227,225</a>. That tax cut is nearly five times the entire annual income of the average worker.</p><p dir="ltr">Under Trump’s plan, the 99 percent wouldn’t do quite so well as the 1 percent. Taxpayers who pay the lowest 20 percent would get an average annual <a href="http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2016/03/donald_trumps_tax_plan_would_cost_12_trillion.php#.V36lv_krK1s">break of $250</a>. The middle <a href="http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2016/03/donald_trumps_tax_plan_would_cost_12_trillion.php#.V36lv_krK1s">20 percent</a> would get a tax cut of $2,571.</p><p dir="ltr">That’s something, no question. But $2,571 just doesn’t compare to the $227,225 gift Donny’s golf buddies would get. In fact, the top 1 percent would rake in <a href="http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2016/03/donald_trumps_tax_plan_would_cost_12_trillion.php#.V36lv_krK1s">37 percent</a> of the total value of all of the tax cuts. That’s the 1 percent grabbing too much for themselves again.</p><p dir="ltr">Citizens for Tax Justice and others have calculated that Trump’s tax plan would cost <a href="http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2016/03/donald_trumps_tax_plan_would_cost_12_trillion.php#.V36lv_krK1s">$12 trillion</a> over a decade. That is almost exactly the amount that the Congressional Budget Office estimates the nation will spend in that time for discretionary programs such as defense, veterans hospitals, environmental protection, food safety, education, cancer research, occupational safety and federal emergency management.</p><p dir="ltr">So Trump’s tax cuts would require eliminating those programs entirely or raising other taxes. Since he’s a Republican, he’d probably eliminate all of those programs established by the 99 percent to benefit the 99 percent. He would, after all, be ruling for the 1 percent. He is the billionaires’ champion.</p><p dir="ltr">He’s made no secret of his disdain for the plight of the poor and working people. He said he would not raise the minimum wage. That is $7.25 an hour, an amount so wretched it’s impossible for a worker to survive on.</p><p dir="ltr">But what would Donald Trump know of that? He flies his private jet, with gold-plated <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trumps-homes-cars-planes-and-more-2015-6">seat belts</a>, between his $200 million, 58-bedroom West Palm Beach estate, his $100 million New York City <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/donald-trumps-extravagant-gold-rimmed-nyc-penthouse-is-amazing-pics-20151111">penthouse</a> with a gold- and <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trumps-homes-cars-planes-and-more-2015-6">diamond-encrusted door</a>, and his <a href="http://bedford.dailyvoice.com/politics/presidential-run-puts-spotlight-on-trumps-bedford-estate/553288/">$20 million country house</a> in Westchester, N.Y. He once bought a <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/set-an-open-course-for-the-virgin-sea?utm_term=.nkKJ7YbP1#.uamO6WNVD">$29 million</a>, 281-foot super yacht he dubbed <em>Trump Princess</em> from the Sultan of Brunei. He owns three helicopters, a fleet of cars and a <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trumps-homes-cars-planes-and-more-2015-6">custom-built motorcycle</a> with 24-karat gold parts.</p><p dir="ltr">The guy with the gold bike also said American workers’ wages are <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-wages-are-too-high-2015-11">too high</a>. That’s right, Trump said the laborer who can’t come up with $400 to pay a medical bill is making too much money.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump is a hero to the diamond-encrusted-penthouse-door coterie for his plan to turn the United States into a fiefdom in which billionaires rule for the benefit of billionaires. The previous Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, expressed his disdain for 47 percent of Americans he said were undeserving of a rich man’s attention. Trump intends to ignore the needs of more than twice that many: the 99 percent.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1060003'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1060003" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 12 Jul 2016 11:29:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1060003 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor trump Billionaire Trump Tries to Claim He Is a Steel Worker in the Rust Belt http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/trump-says-hes-steelworker <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1059571'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1059571" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">This is the guy who describes a million-dollar loan from his daddy as “small.&quot;</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-07-05_at_12.38.42_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-c75f2ccd-bbec-3748-5bef-b4c80200964c">Donald Trump stomped into my backyard just days before July 4 and claimed to be a steelworker.</p><p dir="ltr">That’s right. The billionaire, whose manicured little hands routinely slip into lambskin golf gloves but never once donned heavy-duty work mitts, actually claimed to be a steelworker.</p><p dir="ltr">He did it in a speech at a scrap metal processing plant in Monessen, a down-on-its-luck steel town 30 miles south of Pittsburgh, which is home to my union, the United Steelworkers.   </p><p dir="ltr">The guy who brags, “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adMmLMvcS0s">I am really rich</a>,” the man who describes a million-dollar loan from his daddy as “small,” wants to climb out of his private luxury sky box now and sit in the nosebleed seats with the hard-working, blue-collar rust-belters who sweat over mortgage payments. It’s a joke. It’s a British royalist claiming to be an American colonist.</p><p dir="ltr">Remember those colonists? They were a motley crew of farmers and fur trappers and blacksmiths of different religions, cultures, languages and states. On July 4, 1776, they declared their independence from the tyranny of royalists. They demanded freedom to govern themselves in the best interests of the majority. They refused to continue to serve at the pleasure and profit of the crown and men of inherited wealth, title and privilege.</p><p dir="ltr">Now the United States has its own royalists, men like Donald Trump who inherited wealth and use it to influence politics for their personal financial benefit. And since the wrong-headed Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, billionaires like Trump have gained even more power as political puppeteers because they’re free now to bathe candidates in gold.</p><p dir="ltr">Money is indirect – though pretty darn effective – control over politicians. If Donald Trump is elected President, though, the 1 percent will gain direct control. They’ll have their own billionaire in the White House.</p><p dir="ltr">Here is what <a href="http://time.com/4386335/donald-trump-trade-speech-transcript/">Trump said about himself when he visited Monessen</a>:</p><p dir="ltr">“Globalization has made the financial elite, who donate to politicians, very, very wealthy. I used to be one of them. I hate to say it, but I used to be one.”</p><p dir="ltr">No, Donald Trump didn’t used to be one of them. He remains one of them. He is still a billionaire. He still produces Trump Collection clothes and trinkets overseas, in places like China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Mexico, Turkey and Slovenia. Trump still takes personal financial advantage of globalization. And he still donates to politicians. This time, it’s mostly his own campaign.</p><p dir="ltr">But Trump can’t get elected relying on votes from only 1 percent of the population. He needs a few more than that. And that’s why he’s styling himself as a steelworker.</p><p dir="ltr">Get a load of <a href="http://time.com/4386335/donald-trump-trade-speech-transcript/">this statement he made</a> after praising the legacy of steelworkers in Monessen and condemning politicians for failing to stop foreign mills from dumping illegally subsidized steel in the American market, a persistent practice which has shuttered U.S. steel mills and killed U.S. steelworker jobs:</p><p dir="ltr">“For years, [politicians] watched on the sidelines as our jobs vanished and our communities were plunged into Depression-level unemployment.”</p><p dir="ltr">Our jobs vanished? Donald Trump, I serve steelworkers. I know steelworkers. Steelworkers are friends of mine. Donald Trump, you are no steelworker.</p><p dir="ltr">Our communities were plunged into Depression-level unemployment? No rust-belt steelworker has ever seen Donald Trump before he wanted something from them – their vote. Dog-eared rust-belt towns aren’t Donald Trump communities.</p><p dir="ltr">He lives a little more upscale, in West Palm Beach, where he owns an estate valued at more than <a href="http://fortune.com/2016/03/16/donald-trump-mar-a-lago/">$200 million</a> and New York City, where he owns a penthouse valued <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/donald-trumps-extravagant-gold-rimmed-nyc-penthouse-is-amazing-pics-20151111">at $100 million</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">After Monessen, Trump went to Ohio <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/06/28/trump-tpp-trade-deal-pushed-by-special-interests-who-want-to-rape-our-country/?wpisrc=nl_politics&amp;wpmm=1">where he gave another speech about trade, including this statement:</a></p><p dir="ltr">"The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country. . .That's what it is, too. It's a harsh word – it's a rape of our country. This is done by wealthy people that want to take advantage of us and that want to sign another partnership."</p><p dir="ltr">It’s done by “wealthy people” Trump said, as if he were not one of them, as if Donald Trump were not a billionaire.</p><p dir="ltr">It’s done to take “advantage of us,” Trump said, as if the man who brags about being a billionaire were a victim, as if he were a blue-collar worker who had lost his job when his factory was off-shored.</p><p dir="ltr">In fact, it is the opposite. It is Donald Trump off-shoring jobs. It is Donald Trump taking full advantage of globalization. It is Donald Trump, to this day, putting profit before patriotism.</p><p dir="ltr">Even as he condemns NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, Donald Trump is taking full personal financial advantage of all of those trade deals. He wants to build a wall, but he makes <a href="http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/melanie-hunter/donald-trump-i-never-disputed-some-my-clothing-line-was-made-mexico">his suits in Mexico</a>. He vilifies China, but that’s <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/08/news/economy/donald-trump-trade/">where he manufactures his neckties</a>. He produces other Trump Collection products in slave-wage, high-pollution countries like <a href="http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2016/jun/27/thomas-perez/tom-perez-erroneously-tags-all-trump-products-made/">Vietnam and Indonesia and Bangladesh</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">He could have manufactured them in America. He could have created American jobs. It’s not impossible. Trump <a href="http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2016/jun/27/thomas-perez/tom-perez-erroneously-tags-all-trump-products-made/">comforters and cologne</a> are produced in the United States. But he chose to produce the vast majority of Trump merchandise overseas with foreign workers.</p><p dir="ltr">One of the men who helped Trump go overseas recalls the process. Jeff Danzer, who was vice president of a company hired by Trump a decade ago to find a manufacturer of signature clothing, told the Washington Post that Trump had qualifications, but <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-decries-outsourced-labor-yet-he-didnt-seek-made-in-america-in-2004-deal/2016/03/13/4d65a43c-e63a-11e5-b0fd-073d5930a7b7_story.html">he never specified that he wanted the clothing made in America.</a></p><p dir="ltr">Trump wasn’t concerned about blue-collar workers or rust-belt towns then. His only patriotism was to his own pocket.</p><p dir="ltr">And that’s where it remains. The vast majority of the factories that produce Trump merchandise, and the jobs associated with them, remain off shore.</p><p dir="ltr">He’s no steelworker. No steelworker would manufacture overseas after watching his brothers and neighbors and friends lose jobs because of off-shored factories and unfairly traded imports. No steelworker would betray fellow workers that way.</p><p dir="ltr">But Donald Trump doesn’t know what that kind of betrayal would feel like because he has never been a blue-collar worker. His soft hands have never felt the rough insides of work gloves. Donald Trump is the birthright financial elite. He is a billionaire royalist trying to take over America.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1059571'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1059571" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 05 Jul 2016 09:29:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1059571 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor trump Donald 'You’re Fired!' Trump, Kills Jobs http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/trump-will-kill-american-jobs <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1059157'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1059157" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">American workers are left unemployed and billionaire owners like Trump get a few extra bucks.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-06-28_at_11.51.29_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-5577fead-97b2-881c-ec6e-c7a082f92c60">After mouthing off in ways that had the effect of repeatedly shooting himself in the foot, Donald Trump tried to recover last week by puffing himself up as the jobs candidate.   </p><p dir="ltr">“When I see the crumbling roads and bridges, or the dilapidated airports, or the factories moving overseas to Mexico or to other countries, I know these problems can all be fixed,” <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/23/us/politics/trump-speech-clinton.html?action=click&amp;contentCollection=The%20Upshot&amp;module=RelatedCoverage&amp;region=EndOfArticle&amp;pgtype=article">Trump told a New York audience,</a> “Only by me.”</p><p dir="ltr">That would suggest Trump knows how to create infrastructure and manufacturing jobs. American jobs. Good-paying jobs. It suggests he appreciates the value of workers’ contributions to an enterprise. And that he understands the daily struggles of non-billionaires. This proposition is utterly ridiculous. The name Donald Trump is synonymous with the words “You’re fired!” He made money by brutally, publicly taking people’s jobs from them. And he clearly enjoyed it.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump’s most recent victim was was Corey Lewandowski. This employee didn’t suffer the indignity of a televised firing on “The Apprentice.” But Trump did have <a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/06/corey-lewandowski-trump">his guards visibly escort his former campaign manager out of Trump Tower last week</a>. This after Lewandowski’s experienced guidance helped Trump, a political novice, defeat <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/elections/2016-presidential-candidates.html">16 seasoned Republican contenders</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">When Trump got what he wanted out of Lewandowski, he threw the guy out. Trump showed no appreciation for the guy’s contribution to the enterprise. Trump exhibited no sense of loyalty. That is exactly the kind of corporate callousness and betrayal that has embittered American workers for the past two decades.</p><p dir="ltr">Workers give their all, go above and beyond to help make corporations like Nabisco and Carrier highly profitable. Then greedy corporations turn on those dedicated workers, close U.S. factories and move production to places like China and Mexico. American workers are left unemployed and billionaire owners like Trump get a few extra bucks.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump practices this corporate model. He manufactures Trump Collection <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trump-admits-gear-made-china-labels/story?id=13472355">products overseas</a>. He makes <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/6/21/1541028/-Transcript-of-Hillary-Clinton-in-Ohio-Trump-Shouldn-t-Have-His-Hands-On-Our-Economy">Trump ties in China</a>. He stiches Trump suits in <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trump-admits-gear-made-china-labels/story?id=13472355">Vietnam and Mexico</a>. He produces Trump furniture <a href="http://www.trumphomebydorya.com/pages/trump-home-press-releases">in Turkey</a>. He <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/6/21/1541028/-Transcript-of-Hillary-Clinton-in-Ohio-Trump-Shouldn-t-Have-His-Hands-On-Our-Economy">fabricates Trump picture frames in India</a>. He constructs Trump barware in Slovenia.</p><p dir="ltr">That’s more money for Trump, true. But it’s not creating American jobs.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump doesn’t care about the slave-wage workers producing his products overseas or the minimum-wage workers unable to scrape by in the United States. When asked if the federal minimum wage of $7.25 should be raised <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-wages-are-too-high-2015-11">because nobody can live on that little money</a>, Trump said no.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump was born with a silver gaffe in his mouth, raised in luxury, set up in business by his father and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html?_r=0">bailed out by his daddy</a> when he stumbled. He has no idea what living on the minimum wage of $290 a week means. He once had to live on a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html?_r=1">strict budget of $112,500 a week.</a> That occurred as he neared bankruptcy 26 years ago.</p><p dir="ltr">Not only that, the billionaire said <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-wages-are-too-high-2015-11">Americans’ wages, which have been stagnant for decades, are too high</a>. Trump thinks the truck driver or mechanic or welder who earns $52,000 a year in 2016 is making too much money. But, of course, Trump knows what scrimping is. He once had to live on $112,500 a week.</p><p dir="ltr">The same day Trump fired Lewandowski, Moody’s Analytics, a subsidiary of the credit rating and research agency Moody’s Corp., released a report authored by four economists predicting an economic and jobs disaster if Trump is elected president.</p><p dir="ltr">Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi, who has worked for both Democratic and Republican politicians, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/22/business/economy/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-moodys-report.html?mabReward=CTM&amp;module=WelcomeBackModal&amp;contentCollection=The%20Upshot&amp;region=FixedCenter&amp;action=click&amp;src=recg&amp;pgtype=article">told the New York Times that he and the other authors found Trump’s policies,</a> “will result in a lot of lost jobs,  higher unemployment, higher interest rates, lower stock prices.”</p><p dir="ltr">If Trump is elected and achieves all of his proposed policies, the economists projected that he would plunge the country into an economic downturn that would be longer and deeper than the 2008 Great Recession and destroy more than 3.5 million jobs.</p><p dir="ltr">That is the opposite of a jobs president.</p><p dir="ltr">On Friday, when the world learned that Britons had voted to exit the European Union, Donald Trump hailed the result as a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/06/24/in-scotland-trump-celebrates-brexit-vote/">“fantastic thing.”</a></p><p dir="ltr">“I think it’s a great thing that happened,” <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/06/24/in-scotland-trump-celebrates-brexit-vote/">he said</a>, as financial markets worldwide plunged on the news, and the value of the British <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/25/business/international/brexit-financial-economic-impact-leave.html">pound plummeted to depths not seen since 1985</a>, far below its worst during the Great Recession.</p><p dir="ltr">The value of the Euro also dropped, and the <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/dow-jones-industrial-average-free-fall-after-brexit-vote-rocks-global-financial-2386294">American stock market suffered as well</a>, with the Down Jones Industrial Average <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/24/us-markets.html">falling 610 points, the eighth largest loss ever</a>.  </p><p dir="ltr">Bad stock market news is not good for jobs. And when the pound loses value, British workers get hurt.</p><p dir="ltr">But it’s good for Donald Trump. And that’s all he had in mind. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/06/24/in-scotland-trump-celebrates-brexit-vote/">He told reporters Friday:</a> “When the pound goes down, more people are coming to <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/06/24/in-scotland-trump-celebrates-brexit-vote/">Turnberry</a>, frankly.”  He was referring to foreign visitors taking advantage of the currency devaluation to visit his golf course in Scotland.</p><p dir="ltr">Even if Brexit drives Europe back into recession and millions once again lose their jobs and their homes, the rich will still play golf at Turnberry. And that’s more money for billionaire Trump. That’s foremost in Trump’s mind.</p><p dir="ltr">Worse than Brexit for the global economy would be a President Trump. That’s according to the <a href="http://www.eiu.com/public">Economist Intelligence Unit</a>, (EIU) one of the leading firms analyzing threats to the global economy. <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35828747">EIU ranked a Trump</a> presidency riskier to the global economy than Britain leaving the European Union – and in just one day, that event left global markets utterly shaken.</p><p dir="ltr">Donald Trump definitely has expertise. It is self-promotion. It is financial self-interest. It is firing people. It certainly is not promoting American workers’ interests, raising their wages or building an economy that would generate family-supporting jobs.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1059157'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1059157" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 28 Jun 2016 08:46:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1059157 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor trump Billionaire Trump Fleeces Workers, Small Businesses http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/trump-isnt-friend-small-businesses <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1058691'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1058691" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The terrible tale of Trump casinos in Atlantic City illustrates his relationship with money, workers and small business.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-06-21_at_10.56.31_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-197461b2-736e-c41e-a928-97a3c32bd9a9">Using rape-and-pillage corporate practices favored by Wall Street, Donald Trump made himself billions while swindling and bankrupting untold numbers of hourly workers and small businesses.</p><p dir="ltr">In recounting his “deal-making” experience, Trump says the important thing is that he made a buck, that he came out rich. He ignores <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/09/donald-trump-unpaid-bills-republican-president-laswuits/85297274/">the father of five who lost his business</a> when a Trump casino didn’t pay for cabinets. He discounts the minimum wage workers that a Trump resort cheated out of <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/09/donald-trump-unpaid-bills-republican-president-laswuits/85297274/">hundreds of dollars of overtime</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">And that, Trump says, is how he’d run the country. Trump said that as president <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/us/politics/donald-trumps-idea-to-cut-national-debt-get-creditors-to-accept-less.html">he’d treat the nation’s creditors</a> the way he did the creditors in his repeated business bankruptcies, forcing them to accept pennies on the dollar owed. Somebody loses. But it’s never billionaire Trump. When Americans elect a president, they want a leader who will look out for the little guy, not take advantage of him. Exploiting the little guy – and everybody else – to make a buck for himself is Donald Trump’s M.O. That’s not presidential.</p><p dir="ltr">The terrible tale of Trump casinos in Atlantic City illustrates his relationship with money, workers and small business. His casino companies went to bankruptcy court four times. Tradesmen, small businesses and creditors weren’t paid. But Trump made out like a bandit. And he’s mighty proud of it.</p><p dir="ltr">“Atlantic City fueled a lot of growth for me,” <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html">he boasts</a>. “<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html">The money I took out of there was incredible.”</a></p><p dir="ltr">He <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html">told the New York Times repeatedly</a> that it wasn’t the bankruptcies that mattered; what was really important was that Donald Trump made a lot of money.</p><p dir="ltr">What he said is true: he prospered on the backs of botched casino projects. Even as his three Atlantic City casinos failed, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html">a New York Times investigation found</a> Trump shifted personal debts to the casino companies and collected millions of dollars in salary, bonuses and other payments.</p><p dir="ltr">At one point in 1990, as the Trump empire in Atlantic City neared collapse and Trump was failing to pay his debts to small businesses, Trump’s lenders made him sell his airline and his yacht. And they put him on a budget for personal and household expenses. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html">It was $450,000. A month</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Still, Trump repeats: <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html?_r=1">“The money I took out of there was incredible.”</a> The stock and bond holders in his bankrupt casino corporations can’t make the same brag. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html">They lost $1.5 billion.</a></p><p dir="ltr">The small businessmen and women who Trump fleeced after they completed their work in his casinos aren’t bragging either.</p><p dir="ltr">Steven P. Perskie, who was New Jersey’s casino regulator in the early 1990s during Trump’s time there, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html">told the New York Times</a>, of Trump, “He put a number of local contractors and suppliers out of business when he didn’t pay them. So when he left Atlantic City, it wasn’t, ‘Sorry to see you go,’ It was, ‘How fast can you get the hell out of here?’”</p><p dir="ltr">Beth Rosser’s father was among those unpaid contractors. His company, Triad Building Supplies, nearly collapsed when the Trump Taj Mahal went into bankruptcy. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html">He waited three years</a> for what Trump owed him and then got only 30 cents on the dollar.</p><p dir="ltr">“Trump crawled his way to the top on the back of little guys, one of them being my father,” <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html">Rosser told the New York Times</a>. “He had no regard for the thousands of men and women who worked on these projects,” she said.</p><p dir="ltr">Her father’s company was one of <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/09/donald-trump-unpaid-bills-republican-president-laswuits/85297274/">253 subcontractors that performed work like installing walls, plumbing and lighting at the Taj Mahal, mom and pop shops that Trump failed to pay $69.5 million</a>, according to an audit in casino commission records.</p><p dir="ltr">The vice president of another one of those companies, Marty Rosenberg of Atlantic Plate Glass, told USA Today that Trump was offering the small businessmen less than a third of what he owed them. Trump’s breach of contract and the long wait for any kind of payment <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/09/donald-trump-unpaid-bills-republican-president-laswuits/85297274/">cost some of these tradesmen their companies</a>, everything they’d built up in their lives.</p><p dir="ltr">But not Donald Trump.  “<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/nyregion/donald-trump-atlantic-city.html">The money I took out of there was incredible,”</a> he bragged to the New York Times.</p><p dir="ltr">It wasn’t just the casinos. Pillage is Trump’s business model. Trump has been embroiled in <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/09/donald-trump-unpaid-bills-republican-president-laswuits/85297274/">hundreds of lawsuits</a> for refusal to pay contractors and workers at his projects across the country.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump’s Doral golf resort in Florida, for example, denied payment to two painting contractors. It finally settled one claim. <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/09/donald-trump-unpaid-bills-republican-president-laswuits/85297274/">But it owes Juan Carlos Enriquez</a>, owner of The Paint Spot, $30,000. Enriquez sued and won. When Trump still didn’t pay, the judge ordered foreclosure of the resort.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump’s attorneys, of course, filed a motion to delay the sale. So Enriquez still hasn’t been paid. That’s what it’s like when a small businessman challenges billionaire Trump.</p><p dir="ltr">Occasionally, the little guys defeat the Goliath, though. Forty-eight servers at Trump’s Miami golf resort won a suit against him last month for failing to pay overtime. The settlements <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/09/donald-trump-unpaid-bills-republican-president-laswuits/85297274/">averaged $800 for each worker</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">USA Today found similar cases at Trump facilities in California and New York where hourly workers, bartenders and wait staff sued. The workers allege violations ranging from Trump supervisors refusing breaks to management denying servers their tips.  </p><p dir="ltr">Trump has no qualms about cheating professionals either. A real estate broker, Rana Williams, sued him in 2013 alleging that <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/09/donald-trump-unpaid-bills-republican-president-laswuits/85297274/">he shorted her $735,212 in commissions</a>. She told USA Today the cheat was <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/09/donald-trump-unpaid-bills-republican-president-laswuits/85297274/">“based on nothing more than whimsy.”</a> They settled in 2015. In her deposition, Williams, who had worked with Trump over two decades, said it wasn’t the first time he denied her or others their contracted rate.</p><p dir="ltr">Americans expect their president to protect their jobs, their savings, their futures. Donald Trump’s business track record shows he has no experience with all that. And no interest in it. He’s always been in business to make even more billions for himself, no matter who got hurt. It’s the same with the presidency. He’s not in the race to make America great. He’s in it to make Donald Trump feel great.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1058691'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1058691" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 21 Jun 2016 07:47:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1058691 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor trump Small Mind, Not Small Hands, Disqualifies Trump http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/small-mind-not-small-hands-disqualifies-trump <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1058316'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1058316" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Donald Trump is, in fact, small minded.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-06-14_at_12.08.53_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-6f80322b-4faa-12a8-2cbd-f881ca60d390">Donald Trump threw a temper tantrum when labeled a small-hands man because he believes everything about him is huge: big wealth, big wall, big mouth.</p><p dir="ltr">There’s some evidence he thinks expansively about business because he built a billion-dollar empire out of what he called a <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/donald-trump-father-loan-1-million-dollars-215154">“small” $1 million loan</a> from his father, an <a href="http://www.politifact.com/florida/article/2016/mar/07/did-donald-trump-inherit-100-million/">inheritance of at least $40 million</a> and repeated help from bankruptcy courts.</p><p dir="ltr">But to suggest he’s a big thinker would be an epic stretch. At an event last week, for example, he called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) the <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/06/donald-trumps-pee-pee-problem.html">“PPP,”  then referred to it as the “PP.”</a> Finally, later, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/06/trump">he got the name right</a>. So much for his deep knowledge of the job-killing trade proposal that manufacturing workers are so fiercely fighting.   </p><p dir="ltr">Donald Trump is, in fact, small minded. He recently pointed out a black audience member, a man who does not, in fact, support Trump, and called him <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2016/06/06/7ed101b2-2c15-11e6-9b37-42985f6a265c_story.html">“my African-American,”</a> as if Trump owned him. Trump launched his campaign by calling undocumented immigrants from Mexico criminals and rapists. Trump ridiculed a physically disabled reporter.  He mocked the face of a female primary opponent.  He’s a small-tent guy. Only rich white male Christians like him fit in.  That, frankly, is un-American. And certainly unbefitting a person who is supposed to represent the best interests of all Americans.</p><p dir="ltr">The enormity of Donald’s small-mindedness arose again when he trumped up the allegation that no judge could fairly resolve the allegations against him in the Trump University fraud lawsuit unless the jurist was a Trump twin.</p><p dir="ltr">First, Trump accused the sitting jurist, Gonzalo P. Curiel, a federal judge from the U.S. District Court in San Diego, of being biased against him because, according to Trump, Curiel is <a href="http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-trailguide-05272016-trump-trashes-judge-overseeing-1464393140-htmlstory.html">“Mexican.”</a></p><p dir="ltr">It’s “common sense” Trump asserted that a “Mexican” judge would be prejudiced against him because Trump has proclaimed that he’s going to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.</p><p dir="ltr">Then, Trump doubled down, <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/donald-trump-it-s-possible-muslim-judge-would-be-biased-n586161">asserting that a Muslim judge also could be biased against him.</a> That is because Trump called for banning all Muslims from entering the United States – <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/742096033207844864"> a call he reiterated Sunday</a> after the slaughter at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando.</p><p dir="ltr">Finally, one of Trump’s spokespeople, Katrina Pierson, suggested that a female judge also might treat him unfairly, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/15/us/politics/donald-trump-women.html?_r=0">after his long, public history of sexist behavior and comments</a> about women, including <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/07/politics/donald-trump-rosie-odonnell-feud/">calling them</a> fat pigs, dogs, slobs, disgusting animals and losers, often on Twitter.</p><p dir="ltr">This really narrows it down for Donald. To him, the Trump University case judge must be a rich white Christian man born in New York and bred in exclusive private schools.  Like Donald.</p><p dir="ltr">Judge Curiel doesn’t fit that bill.  He is one four children of Mexican immigrants. He attended a Catholic high school and public colleges. </p><p dir="ltr">Not born to wealth and glamour like Donald, Judge Curiel was the son of a blue-collar worker, Salvador Curiel, a Steelworker, a member of my union, the United Steelworkers, USW Local 1011.  Salvador worked at U.S. Steel and later a unit of Youngstown Sheet &amp; Tube in East Chicago, Ind. One day in December of 1964, Salvador left work at the mill, went home and died of a heart attack.  His youngest son, the future judge, was just 11.</p><p dir="ltr">Gonzalo P. Curiel was born in Indiana, where his father worked. Not Mexico.  Under the terms of the U.S. Constitution, that makes him an American. Just as American as Donald Trump, whose <a href="http://www.newsmax.com/TheWire/donald-trump-things-you-may/2015/06/15/id/650573/">mother was an immigrant.</a> Apparently, Donald Trump’s mind is too small to grasp that.</p><p dir="ltr">In addition, in the Trump University case, apparently Trump can’t grasp the fact that if he gets the rich white male judge he wants, that may not work for the many different plaintiffs. Maybe there’s a plaintiff of Mexican descent who prefers to keep Gonzalo P. Curiel. Maybe there’s a woman claimant who wants a female judge. Maybe there’s a Muslim petitioner who wants a Muslim judge.</p><p dir="ltr">Frankly, it would be better to have a Presidential candidate wise enough to know why litigants can’t choose their jurists.</p><p dir="ltr">In addition, it would be great to have a Presidential candidate sage enough to know when to shut up because, frankly, he got a great deal. Donald attacked Judge Curiel because he was mad that the jurist, at <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/28/politics/trump-university-donald-trump-documents/">the request of the Washington Post</a>, released some documents in the fraud case.</p><p dir="ltr">That meant a little bit of information got out. It would have been a few days of bad press except Trump’s malicious assaults on the judge supersized the news value. What would have been far worse for Trump is the actual trial, possibly weeks of embarrassing daily coverage of former Trump University students testifying to a calculated swindle by the GOP Presidential nominee.   </p><p dir="ltr">The plaintiffs asked Judge Curiel to schedule the trial for July or August. The judge could have set it to begin July 18, directly conflicting with the GOP Convention. He could have waited until late August when the Republican campaign would be gearing up for the fall. </p><p dir="ltr">Instead, Judge Curiel scheduled it for Nov. 28, long after the election will conclude. He spared Trump the awkwardness and humiliation of a trial during his campaign. And Trump thanked Judge Curiel by impugning his ability to be fair based on his heritage.</p><p dir="ltr">That is smallness.</p><p dir="ltr">America is a big country and needs a big president.</p><p dir="ltr">America needs a president with a big brain, capable of understanding complex constitutional, international and economic issues. America needs a president with a big heart and big arms, one who embraces the vast differences in race, religion, national origin, heritage, abilities and disabilities, gender and sexual identity that make the American melting pot great.</p><p dir="ltr">Donald Trump is too small to be that man.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1058316'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1058316" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 14 Jun 2016 08:55:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1058316 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Election 2016 Labor trump The Buck Never Stops at Donald Trump: He Takes No Responsibility for His Actions http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/trump-able-deflect-all-responsibility <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1058029'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1058029" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">This is the way Donald Trump rolls.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_406449925.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-6bfd67c7-359d-b09e-7611-8d3d26ae8e57">Way back in January, Donald Trump got himself a ton of prime publicity on the backs of veterans. He organized a benefit that he said was for them. But really he did it because he didn’t feel like debating other GOP presidential candidates that night.</p><p dir="ltr">At the event, he boasted that he’d raised $6 million, including $1 million that would come from his own pocket. Not too shabby, as he would say. But when reporters asked him later where the money went, including whether Donald had, indeed, donated $1 million, he told them he didn’t have to account for the funds.</p><p dir="ltr">This is the way Donald Trump rolls. He takes no responsibility for his actions. He refuses to be held to account. He collects donations for veterans but won’t disclose the money trail. He’s so delinquent on paying his taxes, dozens of municipalities must sue him to get what’s owed. He urges supporters to beat protesters at his rallies, then denies inciting violence. Donald Trump believes he should always be praised and never held liable, no matter what he does.</p><p dir="ltr">And that includes pledging cash to veterans and not actually paying it. It’s great to conduct a fundraiser and promise money. It’s much better to actually fork over the donations to the veterans groups so they can help returning servicemen and women.</p><p dir="ltr">At the fundraiser in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 28, Trump <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/05/24/four-months-later-donald-trump-says-he-gave-1-million-to-veterans-group/?tid=a_inl">announced to the crowd</a>, “We just cracked $6 million! Right? $6 million.” That included his gift. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-said-he-raised-6-million-for-vets-now-his-campaign-says-it-was-less/2016/05/20/871127a8-1d1f-11e6-b6e0-c53b7ef63b45_story.html?tid=a_inl">He told the gathering</a>, “I don’t want to be called a politician. All talk, no action – I refuse to be called a politician. Donald Trump gave $1 million. Okay?” That made it sound like he’d already written the check.</p><p dir="ltr">But he hadn’t.</p><p dir="ltr">In May, Trump told a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/05/24/four-months-later-donald-trump-says-he-gave-1-million-to-veterans-group/?tid=a_inl">Washington Post reporter asking for an account</a>ing of the money, “Why should I give you records? I don’t have to give you records.”</p><p dir="ltr">That was followed by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski lying about it, telling the Washington Post that Trump had ponied up his share.</p><p dir="ltr">“The money is fully spent. Mr. Trump’s money is fully spent,” <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-said-he-raised-6-million-for-vets-now-his-campaign-says-it-was-less/2016/05/20/871127a8-1d1f-11e6-b6e0-c53b7ef63b45_story.html?tid=a_inl">Lewandowski told the Post on May 21</a>. Though, Lewandowski added, only $4.5 million, not the promised $6 million, was raised.</p><p dir="ltr">Ok, fine. But where did all that money go, the Post wanted to know. Lewandowski said that was nobody’s business.</p><p dir="ltr">“He’s not going to share that information,” <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-said-he-raised-6-million-for-vets-now-his-campaign-says-it-was-less/2016/05/20/871127a8-1d1f-11e6-b6e0-c53b7ef63b45_story.html?tid=a_inl">the campaign manager said.</a></p><p dir="ltr">So if Trump is president, maybe he’ll say, “I don’t have to give you records,” or “I am not going to share that information,” about how he spent tax dollars or how he deployed troops or how he failed to force Mexico to pay for that “big, beautiful wall.”</p><p dir="ltr">Unable to find veterans groups that received the money, the Post took to Twitter to seek them out. The question, basically, was: Did any veteran, anywhere get a dime from that fundraiser that Donald used to envelop himself in all that big, beautiful publicity?</p><p dir="ltr">Twitter-azzi Trump took that goad. That very evening, four months after the fundraiser, he called a veterans group that had given him an award and promised them his $1 million. The Trump check is <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/02/upshot/putting-donald-trumps-1-million-for-veterans-in-context.html?nlid=25868490&amp;src=recpb">dated the next day, May 24,</a> when he held a press conference to attack reporters who had tried to hold the candidate accountable for distributing to veterans the money he promised them.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump contradicted his own campaign manager who said $4.5 million was raised, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jWb1v8lnjw">contending it was $5.6 million</a>. And he contended that he never promised $6 million.</p><p dir="ltr">“I didn’t say six,” <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-said-he-raised-6-million-for-vets-now-his-campaign-says-it-was-less/2016/05/20/871127a8-1d1f-11e6-b6e0-c53b7ef63b45_story.html?tid=a_inl">he asserted</a>, despite <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jWb1v8lnjw">video evidence</a> in which he clearly says $6 million.</p><p dir="ltr">The presumptive Republican nominee for president doesn’t think he’s responsible to stand behind his words even when he says them to millions of people on national television.</p><p dir="ltr">Not only does Trump refuse to be answerable, he jumps to blame others when things go wrong. <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/01/donald-trump-lawsuits-legal-battles/84995854/">That was the conclusion USA Today came to</a> after reviewing the 3,500 legal actions he filed or that were filed against him over the past three decades, an unprecedented number for a presidential candidate.</p><p dir="ltr">“While he is quick to take credit for anything associated with his name, he is just as quick to distance himself from failures and to place responsibility on others,” <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/01/donald-trump-lawsuits-legal-battles/84995854/">the paper wrote after analyzing the lawsuits.</a></p><p dir="ltr">In the mountain of litigation are suits that demonstrate Trump’s refusal to accept responsibility for even the most basic of civic duties – paying taxes.  </p><p dir="ltr">Trump is a tax shirker. To build his Trump towers and casinos, he uses public highways and bridges and municipal inspectors and licensing agencies that other citizens pay for with their tax dollars, but he doesn’t pay until sued by local governments in courts – also paid for with the tax dollars of the non-delinquent.</p><p dir="ltr">New York placed liens on Trump properties for unpaid taxes at least 36 times. Local governments across the country where Trump owns golf courses and casinos wrangled with Trump over his property taxes, including one case where he <a href="http://www.lohud.com/story/news/2015/09/03/trump-seeks-90-percent-tax-cut-briarcliff-golf-club/71520582/">spent $45 million</a> to upgrade a 140-acre golf course and 75,000-square-foot clubhouse, then claimed the property was worth <a href="http://www.lohud.com/story/news/2015/09/03/trump-seeks-90-percent-tax-cut-briarcliff-golf-club/71520582/">only $1.4 million</a> for tax purposes. In addition, his companies have been involved in more than 100 tax disputes.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump wants to run the government but doesn’t feel he’s accountable for paying the taxes necessary to run the government or, for example, to cover the cost of federal benefits for those veterans he claims he loves so much.</p><p dir="ltr">He’s just never responsible. Just like he claims he’s never liable for the violence that keeps breaking out at his rallies. It happened again in San Jose last week.</p><p dir="ltr">When protesters began appearing his speeches, <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/03/11/from_knock_the_crap_out_of_him_to_i_certainly_dont_condone_that_at_all_watch_trump_directly_contradict_himself_on_violence_against_protestors_at_his_rallies/">he said things like this on Feb. 1</a>: “Knock the crap out of him, would you? Seriously, okay, just knock the hell, I promise you I will pay your legal fees.”</p><p dir="ltr">Then he <a href="http://www.salon.com/2016/03/11/from_knock_the_crap_out_of_him_to_i_certainly_dont_condone_that_at_all_watch_trump_directly_contradict_himself_on_violence_against_protestors_at_his_rallies/">denied that inflamed violence</a>. Nope. Not him. He didn’t do it.  </p><p dir="ltr">He’s the opposite of the man who was the first Republican president. That was Abraham Lincoln. When confronted with adversity, President Lincoln took responsibility.  Lincoln often shouldered blame when others were at fault. The Edwin Stanton incident is a good example.</p><p dir="ltr">After Gen. George B. McClellan’s failure in 1862 to use his greater force to take Richmond, Va., then the Southern capital, the press and public blamed the devastating loss on War Secretary Stanton. Many demanded Stanton’s dismissal. It would have been easy for Lincoln to throw Stanton under the bus and replace him.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead, Lincoln gave a speech saying that as commander in chief, he was responsible for the defeat. Lincoln said he was answerable for all union losses, no one else.</p><p dir="ltr">By contrast, when the union army would win a battle, Lincoln was the first award credit to the troops and the general.</p><p dir="ltr">It’s a measure of the man. In good times, Lincoln generously gave others recognition. In bad, he said the buck stopped at his desk.</p><p dir="ltr">In all times, Trump says he is really, really great, greater than anyone else, and the buck never, ever stops at his big, beautiful desk.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1058029'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1058029" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 09 Jun 2016 07:41:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1058029 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor trump Donald Trump's Hiding Something in Those Unreleased Tax Returns http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/donald-trumps-hiding-something-those-unreleased-tax-returns <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1057454'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1057454" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Dodgin’ Donald knows a legitimate presidential candidate must release tax returns.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-05-31_at_9.38.56_am_for_web.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-651f4649-0709-a844-399a-836444be339d">Donald Trump scorns traditional presidential candidate standards. The Donald doesn’t do what’s expected. And he certainly doesn’t do what he tells other candidates they must do.</p><p dir="ltr">If Donald doesn’t feel like debating, he stiffs his opponents and grabs attention doing something different. If he finally realizes there’s no way to force Mexico to pay for that “big, beautiful wall” he promised ad nauseam, <a href="http://politicsnow.buffalonews.com/2016/05/17/trumps-promise-of-wall-is-virtual-and-deportations-are-rhetorical-collins-says-in-news-interview/">he converts it to a virtual barrier</a>, a mere video-game blockade.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/live/new-hampshire-primary-2016-election/donald-trump-new-hampshire-winner-will-show-his-tax-returns/?version=meter+at+0&amp;module=meter-Links&amp;pgtype=article&amp;contentId=&amp;mediaId=&amp;referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F&amp;priority=true&amp;action=click&amp;contentCollection=meter-links-click">And when he pledges to release his tax returns</a>, then changes his mind, he simply comes up with <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/13/opinion/trump-and-taxes.html">an excuse not to do it</a>. That’s Dodgin’ Donald.  Donald Trump is a rich guy, a billionaire 10 times over, or so he claims. And rich guys in America don’t follow the rules that working guys must. In fact, fat cats like Donald celebrate breaking the rules. And that’s why he won’t release his income tax returns. What Dodgin’ Donald doesn’t want workers to find out from those forms is that while they paid the IRS every week, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-income-tax-returns-once-became-public-they-showed-he-didnt-pay-a-cent/2016/05/20/ffa2f63c-1b7c-11e6-b6e0-c53b7ef63b45_story.html">he paid nothing</a>. Or next to nothing.</p><p dir="ltr">Dodgin’ Donald knows a legitimate presidential candidate must release tax returns. Every major party candidate since 1976 has done it. Richard Nixon even did it while under IRS audit. Hillary Clinton released <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/12/us/politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-tax-returns.html?_r=1&amp;version=meter+at+0&amp;module=meter-Links&amp;pgtype=article&amp;contentId=&amp;mediaId=&amp;referrer=&amp;priority=true&amp;action=click&amp;contentCollection=meter-links-click">forms for every year back to 1977—39 of them.</a></p><p dir="ltr">When the last Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, dragged his feet, probably because he knew his returns would expose him to be a quarter-billionaire paying an unacceptably paltry 14 percent, Donald Trump went on Fox News to prod him. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2016/05/11/donald-trump-breaks-with-recent-history-by-not-releasing-tax-returns/?version=meter+at+0&amp;module=meter-Links&amp;pgtype=Blogs&amp;contentId=&amp;mediaId=&amp;referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F&amp;priority=true&amp;action=click&amp;contentCollection=meter-links-click">“Mitt has to get those tax returns out,”</a> Trump said.</p><p dir="ltr">But what was good for Mitt apparently is not for Donald.  Maybe that’s because Donald’s more than 10 times richer, so he feels like he can break 10 times the presidential campaign rules.</p><p dir="ltr">Releasing returns is not mandatory. But as far as voters are concerned, it is. That’s because the documents reveal more about candidates than easily broken campaign promises. The documents show the level of candidates’ charitable giving, taxes paid, and levies evaded through maddening loopholes exclusive to CEOs, hedge fund managers and billionaires.</p><p dir="ltr">In Mitt’s case, the taxes paid level—14 percent—annoyed many voters who felt a quarter-billionaire <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/23/mitt-romney-house-hidden-room">who owned five homes</a> should be paying at a higher rate than a bricklayer or nurse’s aide who had a hard time with the monthly mortgage bill for just one home.</p><p dir="ltr">With the IRS information, voters can decide if the candidate, who will be the tax collector in chief, is likely to cut even more special tax deals for millionaires and billionaires at the expense of workers. Voters can see if the candidate pays his fair share or if he’s a shirker likely to help other rich guys shirk.</p><p dir="ltr">On the stump, Trump contends he’s a candidate of the people, cussing out CEOs for exploiting tax loopholes. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-income-tax-returns-once-became-public-they-showed-he-didnt-pay-a-cent/2016/05/20/ffa2f63c-1b7c-11e6-b6e0-c53b7ef63b45_story.html">“They make a fortune. They pay no tax,” he told CBS, “It’s ridiculous, okay?”</a></p><p dir="ltr">But the only Trump federal tax returns that are public <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-income-tax-returns-once-became-public-they-showed-he-didnt-pay-a-cent/2016/05/20/ffa2f63c-1b7c-11e6-b6e0-c53b7ef63b45_story.html">show that he made a fortune and paid no tax.</a> For two years, 1978 and 1979.</p><p dir="ltr">Submitted to New Jersey gambling regulators as part of an application for a casino license, the returns show Dodgin’ Donald exploited the very loopholes he condemns now—provisions that allow developers to report negative income, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-income-tax-returns-once-became-public-they-showed-he-didnt-pay-a-cent/2016/05/20/ffa2f63c-1b7c-11e6-b6e0-c53b7ef63b45_story.html">in this case $3.8 million.</a></p><p dir="ltr">And it’s not just the federal government Trump stiffs for taxes. He’s in a dispute with the New York town of Ossining over the value of the 18-hole, 140-acre Trump National Golf Course there.</p><p dir="ltr">Ossining says the course is <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-team-revises-golf-amid-tax-controversy/story?id=39155939">worth $14.3 million</a>. Trump told the town that the course and its 75,000-square-foot clubhouse, where a <a href="http://www.lohud.com/story/news/2015/09/03/trump-seeks-90-percent-tax-cut-briarcliff-golf-club/71520582/">membership is reported to cost $250,000</a>, is <a href="http://www.lohud.com/story/news/2015/09/03/trump-seeks-90-percent-tax-cut-briarcliff-golf-club/71520582/">worth only $1.4 million</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">That would mean his <a href="http://www.lohud.com/story/news/2015/09/03/trump-seeks-90-percent-tax-cut-briarcliff-golf-club/71520582/">$471,000 tax bill to the town</a>, county and schools would be cut 90 percent to a mere $47,000 a year. If he gets away with it, the club’s neighbors will have to pick up the $424,000 that billionaire Donald won’t be paying.</p><p dir="ltr">Recently, however, on campaign disclosure forms, Dodgin’ Donald reported the golf course, on which he spent about <a href="http://www.lohud.com/story/news/2015/09/03/trump-seeks-90-percent-tax-cut-briarcliff-golf-club/71520582/">$45 million</a> including construction of the clubhouse a decade ago, is worth a lot more. On those forms, he said the course is worth <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-team-revises-golf-amid-tax-controversy/story?id=39155939">$50 million.</a></p><p dir="ltr">And Donald is no chump about taking money directly from taxpayers. When he built the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-income-tax-returns-once-became-public-they-showed-he-didnt-pay-a-cent/2016/05/20/ffa2f63c-1b7c-11e6-b6e0-c53b7ef63b45_story.html">the city gave him a $400 million tax subsidy</a> over 40 years. That’s $400 million he didn’t pay and other taxpayers did.</p><p dir="ltr">But that’s not all. The Grand Hyatt deal required his partnership team to return a portion of the hotel profits to the city. A <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-team-revises-golf-amid-tax-controversy/story?id=39155939">1989 audit found that his team understated the profit</a> and deprived the city of nearly $3 million. The city auditor at the time, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-team-revises-golf-amid-tax-controversy/story?id=39155939">Karen Burstein, said Trump approved the accounting</a> decision that shortchanged the city. <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-team-revises-golf-amid-tax-controversy/story?id=39155939">“This wasn’t just business thinking,” she said, “This was an example of extraordinary flim-flammery.”</a></p><p dir="ltr">Donald has been nothing but dodgy on tax transparency for years now. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/05/12/trumps-false-claim-that-theres-nothing-to-learn-from-his-tax-returns/">Way back in 2011</a>, he said he’d hand over his tax returns if President Barack Obama released his long form birth certificate. President Obama came through. America’s still waiting on Trump. But, remember, there are special rules for billionaires like Dodgin’ Donald.</p><p dir="ltr">In February, after Trump won the New Hampshire primary, he said <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/live/new-hampshire-primary-2016-election/donald-trump-new-hampshire-winner-will-show-his-tax-returns/?version=meter+at+0&amp;module=meter-Links&amp;pgtype=article&amp;contentId=&amp;mediaId=&amp;referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F&amp;priority=true&amp;action=click&amp;contentCollection=meter-links-click">he planned to release his tax returns “probably over the next few months.”</a> Like everything else about Trump, he assured the public that his returns were oversized. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/live/new-hampshire-primary-2016-election/donald-trump-new-hampshire-winner-will-show-his-tax-returns/?version=meter+at+0&amp;module=meter-Links&amp;pgtype=article&amp;contentId=&amp;mediaId=&amp;referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F&amp;priority=true&amp;action=click&amp;contentCollection=meter-links-click">“They’re very big tax returns,”</a> he said. But, he cautioned, that didn’t mean he paid his fair share as a billionaire, assuring the audience they <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/live/new-hampshire-primary-2016-election/donald-trump-new-hampshire-winner-will-show-his-tax-returns/?version=meter+at+0&amp;module=meter-Links&amp;pgtype=article&amp;contentId=&amp;mediaId=&amp;referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F&amp;priority=true&amp;action=click&amp;contentCollection=meter-links-click">would be surprised by how low his tax bill</a> was.</p><p dir="ltr">When it was clear that Trump would be the Republican nominee, reporters began to press Trump to fulfill his promise to disclose the returns. Then he conjured the excuse that he couldn’t do it because he was being audited—even though Nixon had unveiled returns while audited, and the IRS said it was fine to publicize returns during the accounting process.</p><p dir="ltr">Unable to get the documents, “Good Morning America” <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/05/13/donald-trump-is-setting-a-new-standard-for-lack-of-transparency/">host George Stephanopoulos asked Trump to divulge the most basic bit of information, his tax rate.</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/05/13/donald-trump-is-setting-a-new-standard-for-lack-of-transparency/">“It’s none of your business,”</a> Trump replied.</p><p dir="ltr">It is, in fact, George Stephanopoulos’ business. It is the American people’s business when Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president of the United States. Voters have the right to know if Donald dodged taxes every year, just like he did in 1978 and 1979, while he routinely used public services like bankruptcy court that other taxpayers faithfully paid for with their IRS payments.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1057454'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1057454" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 31 May 2016 06:37:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1057454 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Election 2016 Labor labor work election economy Really, Really Rich Trump Is No Workers’ Champion http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/really-really-rich-trump-no-workers-champion <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1056669'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1056669" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The GOP candidate has history of insensitivity toward the plight of minimum wage workers. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/5440384453_4669d0096b_z.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-f5bdb796-bf68-ca18-878f-dc893eccb927">Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee Donald  “I am really, really rich” Trump is, according to Forbes, <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/donald-trump-worth-4-5-billion-forbes-article-1.2378654">the 121st richest person in America</a>. So, yes, he is really, really rich.</p><p dir="ltr">He loves the perks of being really, really rich, like flying to campaign events <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/23/politics/donald-trump-airplane-details/">in one of his own private</a> jets, which means he blithely skips those annoying airport security lines that non-billionaires must endure. He enjoys <a href="http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/08/the-absolute-trumpest-121328#ixzz48MrrW6Xv">kicking back</a> in one of <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/donald-trump-vast-portfolio-private-homes-article-1.2305847">his five houses</a>, including the 58-bedroom Mar-A-Lago mansion, where the <a href="http://www.jeffrealty.com/blog/2015/11/ben-carson-vs-donald-trump-the-tale-of-two-houses/">$600,000 annual property taxes</a> are three times the entire cost <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/home-sales-average-price/">of an average American home</a>. And, of course, Trump relishes the power he has to tell workers, “You’re fired.”</p><p dir="ltr">Born into wealth, Trump attended private schools and <a href="about:blank">inherited $40 million</a> when he was just 28 years old. He didn’t spend summers volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in Appalachia. He didn’t take a gap year to put that fancy private school education to use tutoring inner city kids. So, frankly, it’s easy to understand why he opposes raising the minimum wage. This guy who was born with a really, really silver spoon in his mouth doesn’t have a clue what living on $7.25 an hour means.</p><p dir="ltr">Like all robber barons, Trump can’t spare a dime. He made that clear in the November Fox News debate. Trump said $7.25 is too much, too high a wage for the guy working two minimum-wage jobs to keep a roof over his widowed mother’s head or the single mother working 60 hours a week at two fast food joints to support her child.</p><p dir="ltr">Fox moderator Neil Cavuto asked Really Really Rich Trump if he was sympathetic to protesters demanding the minimum wage be raised.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/donald-trump-wages-too-high">“I can’t be,”</a> Trump said.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/donald-trump-wages-too-high">“Taxes too high, wages too high,”</a> Trump said later to explain his position that America couldn’t compete against other nations if U.S. workers are paid a living wage.</p><p dir="ltr">To put that in perspective, the annual income of a minimum-wage worker laboring full time for a year without a single sick day or vacation day is $15,080. That is $920 short of the <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/inside-donald-trumps-mar-lago-estate-equality/story?id=37307428">$16,000 in annual fees</a> required of members at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Club in Florida.</p><p dir="ltr">But Trump thinks wages are too high. He has no idea what a $7.25-an-hour life is.</p><p dir="ltr">After the debate, in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Trump went further, making it clear, that as a rich man, he didn’t care, either, that all <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/">workers’ wages had stagnated for years even as their productivity steadily rose</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">No worker should get a raise, he told “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/11/11/donald-trump-insists-that-wages-are-too-high/">“Our wages are too high.</a> We have to compete with other countries,” the really, really rich man told Brzezinski.</p><p dir="ltr">The guy born to wealth and privilege said that the skilled electrician who is still paying off his trade school loans and who goes out in ice storms to repair lines for $58,000 a year is paid too much. The rich guy whose father handed him a $1 million loan to start his business says that the woman who scrimped and strived to be the first in her family to graduate from college and now works as an emergency room nurse saving lives makes too much at $68,000 a year.</p><p dir="ltr">Their wages are too high, Trump said. Gotta cut ‘em to compete with China. A race to the bottom is what Trump has in mind. For working people, that is. Not for really, really rich guys like him. They’re exempted, of course. Like they’re exempted from those annoying airport security lines.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump’s reasoning is the same as Mitt Romney’s. Remember Mitt “<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mitt-romney-says-corporations-are-people/2011/08/11/gIQABwZ38I_story.html">Corporations are people, my friend</a>” Romney? The two rich guys have the same values. That is, they value corporations over people.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump explained shortly after the November debate that he intended to stiff the working poor because business was more important to him. He would stand strong against raising the minimum wage, he said, because <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/donald-trump-wages-215812#ixzz48NJO9pbi">“our country is losing business.”</a></p><p dir="ltr">Trump didn’t say that CEO million-dollar paychecks should be cut. He didn’t say the <a href="http://www.ips-dc.org/deep-end-wall-street/">tens of billions</a> handed out in Wall Street bonuses should be eliminated. No way. Those are the perks of his buddies, the rich guys he hangs out with at Mar-A-Lago. He specified only that the pay of poor people was too high.</p><p dir="ltr">All that big money at the top could actually be meaningful to minimum-wage workers. For example, in 2014, the $28.5 billion in bonuses handed out on Wall Street <a href="http://www.ips-dc.org/deep-end-wall-street/">was twice the annual pay for the 1 million</a> Americans who worked full-time at the $7.25 minimum wage.</p><p dir="ltr">The <a href="http://www.ips-dc.org/deep-end-wall-street/">167,800 Wall Streeters</a> who grabbed those billions actually did pretty crappy work too. Wall Street profits declined <a href="http://www.ips-dc.org/deep-end-wall-street/">4.5 percent</a>. That’s the kind of job that would get a minimum-wage worker fired, not rewarded.</p><p dir="ltr">So when the rich like Trump do badly, they get more money. When low-wage workers faithfully perform their jobs, Trump says, “Give them less money!”</p><p dir="ltr">Now that the really, really rich guy is the presumptive nominee, however, he’s double-talking. On <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-may-8-2016-n570111">NBC’s “Meet The Press,”</a>he told Chuck Todd that he’s become sympathetic to minimum wage workers, but he’s not going to do anything about their plight. <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-may-8-2016-n570111">Here is what he said:</a></p><p dir="ltr">“I have seen what's going on. And I don't know how people make it on $7.25 an hour. Now, with that being said, I would like to see an increase of some magnitude. But I'd rather leave it to the states. Let the states decide.”</p><p dir="ltr"></p><div alt="" class="media-image" height="571" width="372"><img alt="" class="media-image" height="571" width="372" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://httpwww.alternet.org/files/screen_shot_2016-05-17_at_11.50.20_am.png" /></div><p dir="ltr">So, ok, it’s hard. Some minimum wage workers are <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/24/politics/congress-living-wage-homeless-capitol/">homeless</a>. They work, but <a href="http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/07/31/fast-food-economy">sleep on the street</a>. Virtually all survive only with the help of taxpayer-funded <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/13/business/economy/working-but-needing-public-assistance-anyway.html">public benefits</a> like food stamps, Medicaid and public housing. So they’re the victims of scorn, despite laboring full-time.</p><p dir="ltr">Maybe it’s not right. But a President Donald Trump is not going to lift a finger to help minimum wage workers. If workers happen to live in a state that wants to let corporations exploit employees, a President Trump wouldn’t intervene to save workers’ day.</p><p dir="ltr">This is a really, really rich guy completely oblivious to the anxieties of American families – including the ultimate nightmare of a boss shouting, “You’re fired!” This is a guy who told a reporter that <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/03/01/donald-trump-cites-his-100000-a-year-golf-resort-as-proof-of-his-efforts-on-equality/">no one has done as much for equality</a> as he has because he opened his Mar-A-Lago Club to everyone – a club requiring a $100,000 initiation fee – a fee <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/16/news/economy/census-poverty-income/">nearly twice the average annual earnings</a> of an American worker.</p><p dir="ltr">This is not a man of the people. This is no working man’s champion. Just like Mitt, this is a really, really rich guy for rich guys.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1056669'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1056669" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 17 May 2016 08:38:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1056669 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor labor working work trump donald trump Want to Know if the TPP Will Be a Disaster? Just Look at the Korean Trade Deal http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/want-know-if-tpp-will-be-disaster-just-look-korean-trade-deal <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1056200'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1056200" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">U.S. exports to Korea have been flat since the deal.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-05-10_at_11.07.45_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-60dc7ad7-9b2f-ddc6-df08-b195c643f2ec">On the fourth anniversary of the Korean trade deal, its lofty promises have been revealed as putrid pie in the sky:  More jobs lost. No exports gained.</p><p dir="ltr">Just like NAFTA, just like China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), free traders swore that the Korean deal would shower jobs and economic prosperity down on America.  </p><p dir="ltr">It didn’t happen. Actually, the exact opposite did. In all three cases, the schemes enticed corporations to close American factories and offshore work. That enriched CEOs and shareholders. But it impoverished <a href="http://www.epi.org/blog/fast-track-to-lost-jobs-and-lower-wages/">millions of American workers</a> and bankrupted communities.</p><p dir="ltr">Now, a backlash is evident in the groundswell of support for insurgent presidential candidates on both the left and right who denounce these failed free trade policies. This is an uprising against a quarter century of Washington, D.C., based free-trade boosterism. Its first victim should be the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive scheme between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries. </p><p dir="ltr">“It’s gonna be great!” That’s what the TPP groupies keep saying. Just like the NAFTA junkies did. Remember when the free traders breathlessly said letting China in the WTO would open up its market of a billion consumers to U.S. manufacturers? Instead, tens of thousands of American factories have closed and China is selling its iPhones, televisions and steel to American consumers.</p><p dir="ltr">The deal with Korea is the most recent example of just how badly free traders hurt American workers and communities. The promise from free trade promoters was that the Korean deal would expand U.S. business opportunities and <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/fact_sheet_overview_us_korea_free_trade_agreement.pdf">“support” 70,000 American jobs</a>. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimated exports to Korea would <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/fact_sheet_overview_us_korea_free_trade_agreement.pdf">rise by at least $10 billion</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">None of that happened. U.S. exports to Korea have been flat for the entire four years. Meanwhile, imports from Korea <a href="http://www.epi.org/blog/u-s-korea-trade-deal-resulted-in-growing-trade-deficits-and-more-than-95000-lost-u-s-jobs/">rose 26.8 percent</a>. As a result, the U.S. <a href="http://www.epi.org/blog/u-s-korea-trade-deal-resulted-in-growing-trade-deficits-and-more-than-95000-lost-u-s-jobs/">trade deficit with Korea more than doubled</a> in just four years. </p><p dir="ltr">That means American workers lost jobs. Instead of Americans manufacturing commodities, Koreans did. Then the goods were shipped to the United States duty free under the deal that was supposed to be so great for American workers.</p><p dir="ltr">Robert E. Scott, senior economist and director of trade and manufacturing policy research at the Economic Policy Institute, calculated that in just four years, that <a href="http://www.epi.org/blog/u-s-korea-trade-deal-resulted-in-growing-trade-deficits-and-more-than-95000-lost-u-s-jobs/">trade deficit with Korea cost 95,000 Americans their jobs</a>, mostly in manufacturing.</p><p dir="ltr">Free traders bragged at the time the Korean deal was signed that it would finally give American car and parts manufacturers access to the Korean market. And if an increase of <a href="http://www.epi.org/blog/u-s-korea-trade-deal-resulted-in-growing-trade-deficits-and-more-than-95000-lost-u-s-jobs/">less than $1 billion worth of vehicle and parts</a> exports to Korea over four years is access, then it’s a success. By contrast, imports of <a href="http://www.epi.org/blog/u-s-korea-trade-deal-resulted-in-growing-trade-deficits-and-more-than-95000-lost-u-s-jobs/">Korean cars and parts to the United States increased by $10.6 billion</a> over the same period. Frankly, that’s ten times more successful. For Korea.</p><p dir="ltr">That’s not the kind of news that devastated former car and car part manufacturing towns like Flint and Ypsilanti, Mich., want to hear after that 70,000-job promise made by those Korean free trade deal pushers. It’s certainly not good news either to devastated steel towns like Duquesne and Monessen, Pa., where the metal for cars and car parts was once forged.</p><p dir="ltr">The abject failure, the upside-downness of the Korean deal, is illustrated by these two statistics: The U.S. trade deficit with all nations over the past four years declined slightly, <a href="http://www.citizen.org/documents/Korea-Four-Year-Data-Release.pdf">by 5 percent</a>. At the same time, the trade deficit with <a href="http://www.citizen.org/documents/Korea-Four-Year-Data-Release.pdf">Korea surged up 115 percent.</a></p><p dir="ltr">Clearly, something is very, very wrong with the Korean deal. And with NAFTA, which is still sucking manufacturers like Carrier over the border to Mexico, <a href="http://www.indystar.com/story/money/2016/02/10/carrier-move-indy-unit-mexico-eliminate-1400-jobs/80181804/">a corporate desertion announced in February</a> that will cost 2,100 American workers their jobs at two Indiana plants. </p><p dir="ltr">And, similarly, clearly something is wrong with China’s entry into the WTO, considering that U.S. Steel Corp. just filed a petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission asking it to outlaw all Chinese steel because of numerous violations, including five Chinese military officials hacking into the corporation’s computers to steal trade secrets.</p><p dir="ltr">All of the free trade schemes had the same bad effects. But each time a new one is proposed, like the TPP, its cheerleaders say, “No, no, trust me, this one is the one. This time it’s going to be great!”</p><p dir="ltr">Dean Baker, co-director of Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), and CEPR economist David Rosnick <a href="http://cepr.net/publications/reports/trade-and-jobs-can-we-trust-the-models">suggested a reason for this</a>. The free traders keep using the same rosy, but broken model to predict results from proposed trade deals.</p><p dir="ltr">That rosy model claims that gains to the U.S. economy from the TPP would be 0.5 percent of GDP when the impact of the agreement is fully realized in 2030. By contrast, another model by different economists found that the deal would cause a loss in GDP of .54 percent by 2025 and cost the United States 448,000 jobs. Frankly, based on experience from NAFTA, China and the Korean deal, the second, less-perky model seems much more realistic.</p><p dir="ltr">And that’s what Baker and Rosnick pointed out. They compared the projections from the rosy model to what actually happened. They found <a href="http://cepr.net/publications/reports/trade-and-jobs-can-we-trust-the-models">the model failed</a>, both for Korea and NAFTA. That raises serious questions about why anyone is using it to predict rosy results for the proposed TPP deal.</p><p dir="ltr">The first step toward achieving trade deals that work for American workers is admitting that what’s going on now has failed. The process is flawed beginning with who sits at the bargaining table – that would be corporate lobbyists, not laid-off auto workers from Flint. Every one of the TPP’s <a href="http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/11/05/tpp-trade-deal-hits-5544-pages-longer-obamacare-plus-rubios-gang-eight-cheap-labor-amnesty-bill/">5,544 pages</a> should be shredded. Then negotiators, including all stakeholders, can concentrate on seeking fair deals under which American workers, American communities and American businesses all prosper.  </p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="460" src="http://www.epi.org?p=106479&amp;view=embed&amp;embed_template=charts_v2013_08_21&amp;embed_date=20160505&amp;onp=106506&amp;utm_source=epi_press&amp;utm_medium=chart_embed&amp;utm_campaign=charts_v2" width="100%"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1056200'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1056200" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 10 May 2016 08:01:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1056200 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor tpp south korea labor work working Should the US Outlaw Chinese Steel Imports? http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/should-us-outlaw-chinese-steel-imports <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1055783'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1055783" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">U.S. Steel just requested an unusual intervention. Here&#039;s why.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-05-03_at_12.21.13_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-246758e2-7765-c449-2b1f-8c9ccf0f2474">Forged with the despicable dividend of stolen trade secrets, priced with monopoly collusion, then traded with fraudulent labeling to dodge U.S. duties, steel from China violates every principle of capitalism. That’s in addition to defying both U.S. and international trade laws.</p><p dir="ltr">It’s outlaw steel. And last week, U.S. Steel Corp. asked the U.S. government to outlaw its import.</p><p dir="ltr">U.S. Steel requested this unusual intervention after China hacked into its computers, ripped off trade secrets, then used those secrets to directly compete with U.S. Steel in the American market. China is flooding the international market with excess, government-subsidized steel. That is closing mills and killing jobs from <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2015/09/03/rising-chinese-steel-exports-continue-to-wreak-havoc-on-global-steel-industry/#50d7fc98418b">South Africa</a> to <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/mar/29/tata-set-to-announce-sale-of-uk-steel-business-port-talbot">Great Britain</a> to <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-steel-imports-inflame-campaign-rhetoric-1461576603">North America</a>. The United States can choose to ignore this. It can become a weakling, reliant on other nations for steel, including some, like China, that clearly are not allies. Or, the United States can act now, as U.S. Steel demands, to secure America’s industrial strength and independence.</p><p dir="ltr">U.S. Steel is the largest integrated steel company headquartered in the United States. Integrated means that it does everything from mine ore, convert iron to steel and finish steel into sheets and plates and beams. Last year, it <a href="http://www.nwitimes.com/business/local/u-s-steel-lost-billion-last-year/article_992f7c27-6e86-50c2-9c1e-8652ad199ff6.html">lost $1.5 billion</a>, even as it slashed costs by closing operations in Fairfield, Ala.; Gary, Ind.; Keewatin, Minn.; and Granite City, Ill., and furloughing more than 5,000 blue and white-collar workers.</p><p dir="ltr">As U.S. Steel’s petition to outlaw steel imports from China explains, there’s no amount of cost-cutting American steel companies could do to keep up with the illegal activity that’s supporting the steel industry in China.</p><p dir="ltr"></p><div alt="" class="media-image" height="576" style="width: 600px; height: 436px;" width="793"><img alt="" class="media-image" height="576" style="width: 600px; height: 436px;" width="793" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.alternet.org/files/screen_shot_2016-05-03_at_12.16.33_pm.png" /></div><p dir="ltr"><em>Graph showing Chinese steel exports rising while prices declining. Source: U.S. Steel pleading</em></p><p dir="ltr"> </p><p dir="ltr"> </p><p dir="ltr">The petition puts the racketeering in three categories.  There’s price fixing conducted through a government-established cartel called the China Iron and Steel Association. There was the theft of trade secrets that took U.S. Steel a decade to develop. And there is a scheme to duck U.S. trade duties imposed on Chinese steel involving shipping the steel to another country, such as Malaysia, and claiming it was produced there.</p><p dir="ltr">The petition to outlaw imports starts to read like a spy novel when it gets to the part describing the scam that Chinese steel distributors established to elude American duty payments.</p><p dir="ltr">Investigators knew something was fishy with Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam because steel shipments from these countries spiked after 2009 when the United States imposed duties on a certain type of steel pipe, Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) from China.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2009, none of these countries shipped more than 5,000 metric tons of OCTG to the United States. But the following year, Taiwan suddenly sent 50,000 metric tons. By 2012, Vietnam shipped 200,000 metric tons.</p><p dir="ltr">Straw buyers started talking to distributors of steel from China and got some fascinating responses. It’s all documented in the U.S. Steel pleading to the U.S. International Trade Commission.</p><p dir="ltr">The straw buyers asked the steel distributor for a price, then expressed concern that the quote was too high. The distributor would then offer to lower the price by duping U.S. customs officials by routing the steel through a country like Indonesia or Malaysia or Thailand, where the steel would be marked as made there – sometimes without ever leaving the original ship. That was the cheapest option.</p><p dir="ltr">The straw buyer would ask for documentation that the steel actually was produced by a specific company in China. The distributor often would offer to email the straw buyer a certificate from the company in China.  That, U.S. Steel asserts, means the companies in China were in on the scam.</p><p></p><div alt="" class="media-image" height="515" width="410"><img alt="" class="media-image" height="515" width="410" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.alternet.org/files/screen_shot_2016-05-03_at_12.18.24_pm.png" /></div><p><em>Chart shows allegations in U.S. Steel filing against specific Chinese companies.</em></p><p dir="ltr"> </p><p dir="ltr">U.S. Steel’s petition includes copies of the email offers. Here’s a sample:</p><p dir="ltr">“We load the casings from China mainland, and deliver to port Klang, Malaysia. Then our agent will reloaded the casing into new containers, to transport to H[o]uston. Meanwhile, they will change the documents in the name of one exporting company in Malaysia. Also they will issue the certificate of origin to certify the casings are from Malaysia origin. Thus, there will no high anti dumping duty for the customer.”<br /><br />It’s not just one example. This is not a piddling case. The document includes nine instances of distributors offering to falsify documents and “trans-ship” for some of the largest steel companies in China including Baosteel, Hebei, Ansteel, Shandong, Wuhan, Shougang and Benxi.</p><p dir="ltr">The largest of these companies operate with the benefit of state-imposed collusion. The U.S. Steel petition describes how the government established the China Iron and Steel Association and required the biggest companies to participate. Its purpose is to help companies control the price of raw materials, share cost and capacity information and regulate prices, including prices of products exported to the United States. All of this, of course, enables them to destroy competitors.</p><p dir="ltr">If this sounds like a bunch of U.S. railroad and oil magnates sitting in smoke-filled rooms establishing monopolies before the Sherman Antitrust Act was passed in 1890, that’s exactly what it’s like. And that’s exactly why U.S. Steel says China’s monopoly steel should be blocked at the border. Commodities manufactured in connection with a Sherman Act conspiracy may be denied entry into the United States.  </p><p dir="ltr">Then, of course, there’s the outright theft of trade secrets from U.S. Steel by the government of China. Throughout 2010, the Chinese government subjected U.S. Steel to cyber-attacks. Then in 2011, government hackers in China hijacked information from U.S. Steel on advanced high-strength steel used in the auto industry.</p><p dir="ltr">Companies in China had been unable to develop this technology and were under pressure from their domestic car companies to get it. So their government stole it for them. After the theft, one of the largest steel companies in China, Baosteel, used the trade secrets to produce the specialized steel and export it to the United States in direct competition with U.S. Steel.Two years ago, the U.S. government criminally charged five Chinese military officials with economic espionage and other offenses for hacking into the computers at U.S. Steel. In addition, the government indicted the Chinese military officials with stealing trade secrets from the computers of the United Steelworkers (USW), Allegheny Technologies, Alcoa, Westinghouse Electric and SolarWorld.</p><p dir="ltr">China wants to maintain civil peace and high employment by <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2015/09/03/rising-chinese-steel-exports-continue-to-wreak-havoc-on-global-steel-industry/#20dff3f1418b">running its mills at rates that could not be sustained</a> in a country that must worry about markets and profits. China will do anything to continue that. When duties were imposed because of China’s illegal subsidies, it contrived “trans-shipping” to defraud duty collectors. To kill competitors, it formed a cartel. When it couldn’t match quality, it stole secrets. There’s no way to stop this but to stop all of it. The United States needs a vibrant steel sector for economic and national security. Outlaw Chinese steel.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1055783'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1055783" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 03 May 2016 09:07:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1055783 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor steel us labor work workers GOP: It’s OK for Corporations to Kill Workers http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/gop-its-ok-corporations-kill-workers <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1055312'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1055312" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Republicans will do whatever it takes to ensure that corporations can sicken and kill workers with impunity.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_52183720.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-de35ccfe-535d-9d16-f985-f3939f61003d">Alan White couldn’t shout jubilation from the rooftop on March 25 when he heard that the U.S. Department of Labor, after decades of trying, <a href="https://www.osha.gov/silica/">had finally issued a stricter rule</a> to limit exposure to potentially deadly silica dust in workplaces.</p><p dir="ltr">He was happy, all right. After all, he’d worked with the United Steelworkers (USW) to get the rule adopted. It’s just that he knew shouting would induce his silicosis coughing.</p><p dir="ltr">Within days, though, indignation replaced his jubilation. White, who’d been sickened by the debilitating, irreversible and often fatal disease at work in a foundry, watched in disgust as Republicans attempted to overturn the rule that the Labor Department said could save more than <a href="https://www.osha.gov/silica/">600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases</a> of silicosis annually.</p><p dir="ltr">Last week, GOP House members conducted a hearing to further their case against saving those lives. They did that just days before Workers Memorial Day, April 28, when organized labor renews its solemn pledge to strive for workplace safety rules and <a href="http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Job-Safety/WorkersMemorialDay">formally commemorates those who have died on the job in the previous year.</a></p><p dir="ltr">The totals aren’t in for 2015 yet, but the year before, <a href="https://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonstats.html">4,679 workers died on the job</a>. That’s nearly 90 a week, 13 a day, seven days a week. Twenty-eight members of my own union, the USW, died on the job since Workers Memorial Day 2015.</p><p dir="ltr">But the GOP position is clear. Republicans will do whatever it takes to ensure that corporations can sicken and kill workers with impunity. If the argument is that workers’ lives and lungs must be sacrificed to ensure that foundries and fracking operations and construction companies can make bigger profits by releasing silica particles under 40-year-old standards now considered dangerous, then the GOP will take the side of CEOs who value workers as trivial.</p><p dir="ltr">These politicians would leave workers like Alan White to be victims of this sneaky, silent killer. Silica, which is in sand and rocks, is released during industrial processes that involve cutting and blasting and cleaning silica-containing materials, such as concrete, tile and brick. <a href="https://www.osha.gov/silica/">About 2 million American workers inhale the tiny crystalline particles</a> in levels high enough to threaten their health, almost always without knowing it. The dust <a href="http://www.progressivereform.org/13RulesSilica.cfm">causes workers’ lung tissue to swell and become inflamed</a>. Over time, that causes <a href="http://www.progressivereform.org/13RulesSilica.cfm">scarring, and the lungs stiffen</a>, making it hard to breathe.</p><p dir="ltr">That condition, called silicosis, increases the worker’s risk of <a href="https://www.osha.gov/Publications/silicosis.html">bronchitis, tuberculosis and lung cancer</a>. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) calculated that the previous exposure limits, which were set more than 40 years ago, were <a href="http://www.progressivereform.org/13RulesSilica.cfm">so inadequate that thousands of workers died every year even though their employers were complying with the law</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Alan White’s doctors determined his impairment to be 66 percent three years ago. They described it as progressive massive fibrosis of the lungs. At the age of 51, it means his life is circumscribed. “I went waking around the park and got passed up by a group of elderly women, say in their 70s, like six of them, who were running and talking. I can walk. But I can’t really talk while I am walking. I am sitting still and talking on the phone and getting out of breath,” he told me.</p><p dir="ltr">He must be careful about simple chores, like removing lint from the dryer filter. “I can’t just swipe at it because it will make me cough for 10 minutes,” he explained. If he tries to carry a basket of laundry up the 28 stairs, he may be able to make it, he said, “but then I can’t breathe. It is like am breathing in as much as I can and I am not getting enough air.” Anyone who has suffered asthma or has been held under water too long knows the panic that induces.</p><p dir="ltr">This crept up on White. He began work in the foundry at what is now called Aurubis in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1995. He stayed in the foundry for 16 years, but with the amount of overtime he worked, averaging 60-hour work weeks and often more than that, he estimates that it was the equivalent of 20 years.</p><p dir="ltr">There is silica-containing brick in the foundry furnace. When workers like White cleaned it with air chisels and crowbars, silica would fly into their environment without their knowledge.</p><p dir="ltr">White said the employer fitted him for several types of respirators and masks when he was hired, but told him he would need only the dust mask in the smoky foundry area. He believes now, too late, that he should have been wearing a particulate filter.</p><p dir="ltr">A decade after White started the job, he noticed he was slowing down and was tired a lot. He attributed it to aging and tried to lose weight and eat better.</p><p dir="ltr">In December of 2008, he developed a cough. It lingered through the winter and early spring. In April, just after he turned 44, he went to a doctor who heard something when he listened to White’s lungs and sent him for an X-ray.</p><p dir="ltr">The technician looked at the pictures and said to him, “I will be right back. Don’t move.” She brought in the doctor. “You know it is serious when they bring the doctor right in,” White said.</p><p dir="ltr">That doctor gave him the name of an expert who ordered a CAT scan. “He put the film on the wall and turned on the light. He knew right away what it was. He said, ‘This is silicosis.’”</p><p dir="ltr">White’s daughter was 19. He wondered if he would live to see her marry, to meet his grandkids.</p><p dir="ltr">At Aurubis, White is a member of the USW, and one of his doctors knew a USW health and safety expert and linked up the two. That’s how White got involved in the USW campaign to strengthen the silica rule. White testified at hearings, seeking stronger standards to prevent other workers from suffering as he has. And he has met U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, who cites White’s case as an example of why decreasing silica exposure is so important.</p><p dir="ltr">But U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., chairman of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, is intent on sending the silica standard back 40 years.</p><p dir="ltr">Walberg <a href="http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=400612">noted in a press release</a> that the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) concedes that 30 percent of the jobsites it tested did not comply with the previous silica standard.</p><p dir="ltr">So, Walberg said, the Labor Department’s <a href="http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=400612">first priority should be enforcing that old standard</a>, not creating new, tougher standards that would protect workers better. “If OSHA is unable – or unwilling – to enforce the current limit for silica exposure, why should we expect the results under these new standards to be any different?” <a href="http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=400612">he asked.</a></p><p dir="ltr">That, of course, disregards the 70 percent of workplaces that apparently did comply with the law and likely will obey the new regulations to protect their workers. It also deliberately ignores the fact that the Republican-controlled <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2015/08/18/congressional-budget-proposals-slash-osha-funding-push-back-on-silica-exposure-standard-these-cuts-and-these-riders-are-unconscionable/">Congress has continuously cut funding for OSHA</a>. Walberg condemns the safety police – OSHA – for failing to enforce the law after slashing the funding that would have enabled the safety police to enforce the law.</p><p dir="ltr">But Walberg also is contending that as long as one thing is broken, nothing can be fixed until that one thing is completely repaired. So, for example, as long as banks are being robbed by guys in ski masks, in Walberg’s world, the government should not outlaw cyber account theft. As he put it, “why should we expect the results under these new standards to be any different” when police haven’t stopped the ski mask thieves from breaking into vaults?</p><p dir="ltr">Alan White described the Republicans’ behavior as shameful. “It just shows the lack of understanding of what workers go through.”</p><p dir="ltr">White, who still works at Aurubis, but in shipping, where he can use a golf cart to get around when he needs to, also said he doesn’t understand why some corporations devalue human life: “At our facility, we buy copper and zinc and tin. Copper is a couple dollars a pound, tin is a few dollars a pound.</p><p dir="ltr">“Anyone who tries to take that out of the plant and to a scrap yard to make a few dollars can get fired. Just like you protect your raw materials, the people who do the work to make that raw material into a finished product must have some importance and protection.</p><p dir="ltr">“Why not show the same consideration for your human resource to make sure they are not injured?”</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HAByIIzQSuU" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1055312'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1055312" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 09:17:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1055312 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor gop labor work workers republicans American Workers Crushed Under China’s Deliberate Overproduction http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/american-workers-crushed-under-chinas-deliberate-overproduction <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1054924'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1054924" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">American steel is made in the most efficient, cost-effective mills in the world by the most skilled, productive workers anywhere.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-04-20_at_11.00.43_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-7db90566-342f-6d1a-8b66-bede72fe6633">I went to Washington, D.C., last week to ask trade experts and lawmakers to stop the relentless, lawless, callous dumping of Chinese steel, aluminum, paper, rubber, glass, chemicals and other products, which has closed mills, killed jobs, destroyed lives, devastated American communities and imperiled national security.</p><p dir="ltr">American steel is made in the most efficient, cost-effective mills in the world by the most skilled, productive workers anywhere. That’s a fact. It’s a fact that steel executives testified to last week in hearings conducted by members of Congress and trade law enforcers. We want the trade enforcers and Congress to stop the dumping and to force China to dramatically cut its steel production because China has kept none of its promises over the past seven years to voluntarily do so. In fact, it has <a href="http://www.usw.org/publications/april2016-ustr/OvercapacityReport_R1_review.pdf">continuously increased production</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">China makes way, way too much steel. In 2015, it produced <a href="http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/releases/2016/usw-president-calls-on-congress-to-take-action-on-steel-crisis-two-members-lauded-for-initiatives">100 million tons</a> more than it needed. It did that to keep its citizens employed, its mills running and its country free of civic unrest.</p><p dir="ltr">That would be fine if China just put all of that extra steel in a warehouse somewhere. But it dumped that <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-08/china-imports-more-iron-as-steel-exports-top-100-million-tons">100 million tons in overseas markets in 2015</a>. Production of that steel <a href="http://www.usw.org/publications/april2016-ustr/OvercapacityReport_R1_review.pdf">was subsidized</a> by the Chinese government in ways that violate international trade rules, so the price was artificially low. And China <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/finance/251534-time-to-take-action-against-chinese-currency-manipulation">suppresses the value of its currency</a>, further falsely reducing the cost of the steel.</p><p dir="ltr">Even the most efficient mills in the world can’t compete with a country. So they shut down.</p><p dir="ltr">On Tuesday, Sam Pantello, a maintenance mechanical technician at EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel in Pueblo, Colo., told the U.S. Trade Representative that 260 of his fellow workers are laid off and EVRAZ is running at 65 percent capacity all because of Chinese dumping.  <a href="http://www.usw.org/testimony/ustr-april2016/Sam-Pantello_USTR-Steel-Hearing-.pdf">Here is what he said:</a></p><p dir="ltr">“We produce high-quality steel cost-effectively and efficiently and are the only manufacturer of steel rail west of the Mississippi. And yet, because of steel dumping, I have co-workers out of a job, worrying about making their next mortgage or car payment, and that just isn’t right.”</p><p dir="ltr">This didn’t happen overnight. China has been ramping up production of steel and aluminum and other commodities for over a decade. It ships the excess overseas. That floods international markets, artificially depressing prices worldwide. That bankrupts factories and mills that operate on Western free market principles, causing unemployment and shattering communities. The devastation has occurred across the United States, Great Britain and Europe.</p><p dir="ltr">Everyone is affected, from the guy who digs the iron ore out of the ground to the guy who sells burgers to workers leaving the mill on shift change. Dan Pierce, a diesel mechanic at the U.S. Steel Keewatin Taconite mine in Hibbing, Minn., explained this to the U.S. Trade Representative. Because so many steel mills are partly or completely shut down, the demand for taconite, which is processed into iron ore pellets, is slim. U.S. Steel closed the Keewatin Taconite mine last May and laid off nearly all of the 360 workers, including Pierce.</p><p dir="ltr">“Not being able to work for the past 11 months has put stress on me, my family and my friends as we wrestle with the uncertainty of if, and when, I will be able to return to work. Our family has had to hold off on home repairs and cut back on groceries and eating out. When we do this, and you multiply it by all of the other workers going through the same things, it means local businesses suffer as people make less trips to places like the Super One Foods or the Erikson lumberyard. Everything in the [iron] range depends on the mining companies running. When they’re shut down, it affects everyone, from daycare providers to local car dealerships to hospitals,” <a href="http://www.usw.org/testimony/ustr-april2016/Dan-Pierce_USTR-Steel-Crisis-Hearing-.pdf">Pierce explained.</a></p><p dir="ltr">The effect of China dumping its excessive production into the world market is massive layoffs, both in the United States and in Europe. <a href="http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2016/04/11/2003643659">Last week Britain demanded that China rein in its overcapacity</a> after <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/12140812/Tata-Steel-slumps-to-loss-as-Chinese-imports-bite.html">Tata Steel</a> announced it was placing its partly closed <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/mar/29/tata-set-to-announce-sale-of-uk-steel-business-port-talbot">British mills on the auction block</a>, putting 15,000 jobs at risk.  </p><p dir="ltr">In the United States, 13,500 steelworkers hold layoff notices, and earlier this month, <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/news/article.asp?docKey=600-201604070619KRTRIB__BUSNEWS_841_52993-1&amp;ex=true&amp;ticker=ZCC:CN">750 U.S. Steel white-collar workers learned they’d lose their jobs too</a>. The crisis has hit aluminum just as hard. Five years ago, 14 aluminum smelters ran in this country. Now there are five. Another is slated to close in June. If it does, 6,500 aluminum workers will have lost their jobs. These are good, family-supporting jobs with benefits and pensions.  This is China exporting unemployment.</p><p dir="ltr">Tim Davis, a crane operator at Cascade Steel Rolling Mills in McMinnville, Ore., told the U.S. Trade Representative what it means to lose that kind of job. His mill makes rebar, coiled steel wire and flat bar. Because of dumped coiled wire and rebar, Cascade is running on reduced days and furloughed 70 workers, including Davis.</p><p dir="ltr">“Cascade Steel isn’t just a job to me. It helped raise me. The paychecks my dad received from working there when I was growing up allowed me to participate in sports while I was in school, paid for our family vacations and ensured that I had a roof over my head and food on the table. I want that for my family. I want to know that as long as I work hard to provide for my family that they can have the same childhood I did thanks to my dad working hard at Cascade Steel.</p><p dir="ltr">“I am proud to follow in my father’s footsteps in the manufacturing industry, and I would hope that my children would be proud to follow us if that is what they choose to do, but for that to happen, there needs to be an American manufacturing industry around for them to do so, and at the current rate of American factories closing their doors for good, I’m concerned they won’t have that option.</p><p dir="ltr">“At this pace, the only option my kids will have is college, the military or working at a retail store that was built with foreign materials, selling foreign-made products, and then bagging purchases up in foreign-made bags,” <a href="http://www.usw.org/testimony/ustr-april2016/Tim-Davis-USTR-Steel-Crisis-Hearing-Worker-Testimony-RH-edit.pdf">he told the Trade Representative.</a></p><p dir="ltr">Since 2009, China has repeatedly acknowledged that it makes too much steel and promised to stop. But it doesn’t. It just makes even more. <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com.au/chinas-steel-industry-is-racking-up-enormous-losses-2016-1">Even at a loss.</a></p><p dir="ltr">Again in January China said it would cut production. This time by 100 million tons by 2020. That is not nearly enough and not fast enough. But then just last month, China’s Baosteel, a major state-owned company, announced that it would <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/mar/31/china-steel-giant-to-raise-output-by-20-in-grim-outlook-for-tata">increase production by 20 percent this year.</a></p><p dir="ltr">To put China’s excess in perspective, the 100 million tons it overproduced in 2015 is more than the total amount of steel forged in the United States, and the <a href="https://www.worldsteel.org/dms/internetDocumentList/bookshop/2015/World-Steel-in-Figures-2015/document/World%20Steel%20in%20Figures%202015.pdf">United States is the third-largest producer</a> of steel in the world. In 2000, China had just slightly more steelmaking capacity than the United States, but since then, it increased so dramatically that now China has 1.2 billion tons of capacity. That is more than 10 times the capacity of the United States, <a href="https://www.worldsteel.org/dms/internetDocumentList/statistics-archive/yearbook-archive/Steel-statisitical-yearbook-2000/document/Steel%20statistical%20yearbook%202000.pdf">where production declined over that period.</a></p><p dir="ltr">China’s capacity now exceeds that of the <a href="http://www.usw.org/publications/april2016-ustr/OvercapacityReport_R1_review.pdf">United States, Japan, the European Union, and Russia combined</a>. That means every mill in the United States, Japan, Russia and the European Union could shut down, all of those workers could lose their jobs, all of those communities could crumble and China would reap the benefits by exporting all of its steel and further expanding its industry.</p><p dir="ltr">If those countries rolled over and let China do that.</p><p dir="ltr">David Clark, a maintenance utility worker at the U.S. Steel Fairfield Tubular Operations in Alabama, previewed for the U.S. Trade Representative what such a China takeover could mean. Much of the Fairfield works shut down in August, and 1,000 steelworkers were laid off. The local union has set up a food bank to help families get by. “My community is struggling,” <a href="http://www.usw.org/testimony/ustr-april2016/David-Clark-USTR-Steel-Crisis-Hearing-Letter-and-Testimony-RH-edit.pdf">he told the trade officials.</a></p><p dir="ltr">“The outlook is bleak for the business in our town. All of the suppliers in the area have been forced to cut positions. Some local gas stations have ceased 24-hour operations as the traffic at shift changes went away. And retailers are leaving the city. Shortly after the closure, Walmart and other retailers left the city of Fairfield, and the loss of sales tax revenue has placed the city in dire financial situations. It has gotten to the point where the city council in Fairfield is debating closure of the police department and the suspension of other city services in order to survive.”</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.usw.org/testimony/ustr-april2016/David-Clark-USTR-Steel-Crisis-Hearing-Letter-and-Testimony-RH-edit.pdf">Clark said</a> what every steelworker told the trade officials and what we all told Congress: “No U.S. steelworker should have to lose a job to allow unfairly traded steel into this country.”</p><p dir="ltr">The corporate officials asked the U.S. Trade Representative and Congress to act to save an industry vital to national security. I told the same officials to stop swallowing false promises of change from China and impose broad-based import restraints, take comprehensive, enforceable measures to reduce global overcapacity and definitively declare that China does not qualify as a market economy under U.S. law.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.usw.org/testimony/ustr-april2016/Tim-Davis-USTR-Steel-Crisis-Hearing-Worker-Testimony-RH-edit.pdf">Davis, the laid off crane operator from Oregon, talked about government’s failure to act in a way that Americans who care deeply about their country can really understand:</a></p><p dir="ltr">“I implore this committee to consider the true cost of allowing terrible policies and bad trade agreements to continue destroying the very thing that made this country what it is. We became the strongest, most powerful country in the world because American blue-collar workers carried us there on their backs on their quest to achieve the American Dream. Each and every unfair trade deal we jump into is destroying the legacy that our forefathers created with sweat on their brow and calluses on their hands.”</p><p dir="ltr">***</p><p dir="ltr">U.S. Trade Representative, free trade, fair trade, China, overcapacity, steel, blue collar workers, American Dream, steel, aluminum, U.S. Steel, Tata Steel, taconite, subsidy, currency manipulation, EVRAZ, Cascade Steel Rolling Mills, Baosteel,</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1054924'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1054924" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 20 Apr 2016 07:58:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1054924 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor steel america factory labor workers work working Pensions: For CEOs Only http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/pensions-ceos-only-0 <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1054550'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1054550" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Over the past three decades, corporations virtually eliminated secure pensions—except for wealthy executives</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/images/AFP/photo_1322711611014-1-0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Grandma skips meals. Her house is always cold. She barely skimps by, subsisting on just Social Security because of a bunch of pension-killing CEOs and self-dealing financial “advisers.”</p><p>The U.S. Labor Department offered some rules last week to help grandma with half the reason she’s got no pension or 401(k) retirement account to help pay those heating bills. The regulations will require financial advisers to put their clients’ interests first, instead of their own.</p><p>That’s good, but working people wouldn’t be messing with flim-flam financial advisers if corporations hadn’t squirmed out of providing traditional pensions and stuffed all of the money instead into the pockets of CEOs. Over the past three decades, corporations virtually eliminated secure pensions, forced workers into risky, self-pay plans and handed hundreds of millions in tax-free retirement benefits to the top dogs. Pensions aren’t dead; they’re just exclusive now.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://www.alternet.org/files/screen_shot_2016-04-13_at_5.21.35_pm.png" style="height: 380px; width: 600px;" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><p>The McKesson Corporation provides a perfect example of this. McKesson froze its employee pension in 1996, and barred workers who were hired after that from participating. By contrast, several years later, McKesson established an executive retirement account for CEO John Hammergren. It put $114 million in there for him, which when added to Hammergren’s other McKesson pension benefits, gives him a total of $145,513,853.</p><p>Since Hammergren became McKesson president and CEO in 2001, the company has quadrupled revenues and provided shareholders with more than a 17 percent compounded annual return. Nice work, Hammergren – and 76,000 other dedicated McKesson employees!</p><p>Still, apparently, that highly productive work wasn’t good enough for McKesson to unfreeze the retirement account for its loyal employees, just good enough to line Hammergren’s pockets with gold.</p><p>McKesson does provide its workers with the opportunity to put their own money in a 401(k) plan. Until the new Labor Department rules take effect next year, they can hope a financial adviser won’t cheat them on investment of that money.</p><p>The average McKesson employee has $83,778 in a 401(k), which is nearly 7 times what the typical American worker has saved at retirement. That will get the McKesson employee a monthly check of $472 to help pay the heating bill, somewhat less than the $819,000 monthly check Hammergren will get from his pure gold nest egg.</p><p>The secure pension that grandma and grandpa once received was called a defined benefit pension. Each hour a worker labored, he or she earned a contribution by the employer into a fund that would pay this benefit on retirement. It was deferred compensation.</p><p>Defined benefit pensions, safer conditions, and, of course, better pay, were among the many workplace improvements hard won by 5,000 strikes involving 4.6 million American union workers in the years after World War II. Before the war, in 1940, only 15 percent of private sector workers had defined benefit pensions. By 1960, 41 percent did.</p><p>That number rose to 46 percent in 1980. But then progress stopped. In 1981, Republican President Ronald Reagan broke the air traffic controllers union by replacing striking workers. That sent a signal for the first time since Democrat FDR paved the way for unionization in 1935 that the government would support corporations that destroyed unions, corporations that crushed the ability of working people to collectively bargain to improve their lives.</p><p>Corporations responded by doing everything they felt they could get away with to obliterate unions of working people. In 1980, about 23 percent of private sector workers were union members. Today, it’s 6.7 percent.</p><p>No wonder only about 13 percent of private sector workers have defined benefit pensions now, back down to where it was in 1940, before all those workers got organized, before all those strikes.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://www.alternet.org/files/screen_shot_2016-04-13_at_5.22.51_pm.png" style="height: 300px; width: 600px;" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><p>Instead of secure defined benefit pensions, corporations stuck workers with those 401(k) plans instead. “You’ll love ‘em,” the corporate bosses said, “You can take ‘em with you when we push you out the door.”</p><p>Those plans, and Individual Retirement Accounts, IRAs, are the ones where workers get cheated, where they think the financial adviser is helping them because all the signs in the office windows proclaim baloney like, “Clients First!” The “adviser” never mentions to the worker that the mutual fund he’s recommending not only is low yield but also pays the adviser huge commissions for every sucker he signs up.</p><p>The Obama administration estimated that cheating, self-dealing and conflicts-of-interest cost workers $17 billion a year. That should be $17 billion more in workers’ retirement accounts. Every year.</p><p>The amount a worker can put in his 401(k) is limited. It’s $24,000 a year for workers older than 50. And to their credit, some corporations match worker contributions.</p><p>By contrast, there’s no limit on what CEOs can sock away tax free in their super special retirement accounts.</p><p>That limitlessness is clear in this figure: The 100 biggest CEO retirement funds add up to $4.9 billion.</p><p>That $4.9 billion is equal to the entire retirement savings of 41 percent of American families, 50 million families, 116 million people.</p><p>And if that’s not bad enough, there is also fact that the massive pile of CEO pension money is tax-free. That means workers make up the difference – workers must pay more taxes because CEOs pay less.</p><p>Here is just one example of the cost to taxpayers for a CEO. Glenn Renwick, CEO of Progressive Insurance, put $26.2 million in his tax-deferred account in 2014. That saved him $10 million in federal taxes. That $10 million came instead from workers who reliably paid up every week with IRS deductions directly from their paychecks. Of course, that left them with less to invest in 401(k) accounts.</p><p>Progressive’s Flo can change the price with her Name Your Price Tool, just like Obama’s Labor Department changed the pension adviser rules. And the U.S. government can change the grotesquely unfair rules under which CEOs like Progressive’s Renwick get special pension tax treatment.</p><p>The government could also strengthen the ability of workers to organize and, as they did in the 1950s, stand together and collectively bargain for better pay and pensions. Then, grandma could retire with dignity and heat her house.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1054550'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1054550" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 14:20:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, OurFuture.org 1054550 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Economy Labor pensions benefits retirement economy labor ceos Retirement Income Is Getting Worse for Most, Unless You Are a CEO http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/retirement-income-getting-worse-most-unless-you-are-ceo <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1054412'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1054412" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The Obama administration estimated that cheating, self-dealing and conflicts-of-interest cost workers $17 billion a year.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-04-12_at_10.40.46_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-3344ce23-0ae6-6476-6183-1e9238bca6f9">Grandma skips meals. Her house is always cold. She barely scrimps by, subsisting on just Social Security because of a bunch of pension-killing CEOs and self-dealing financial “advisers.”</p><p dir="ltr">The U.S. Labor Department offered some rules last week to help grandma with half the reason she’s got no pension or 401(k) retirement account to help pay those heating bills. The regulations will require financial advisers to put their clients’ interests first, instead of their own.</p><p dir="ltr">That’s good, but working people wouldn’t be messing with flimflam financial advisers if corporations hadn’t squirmed out of providing traditional pensions and stuffed all of the money instead into the pockets of CEOs. Over the past three decades, corporations virtually eliminated secure pensions, forced workers into risky, self-pay plans and handed hundreds of millions in tax-free retirement benefits to the top dogs. Pensions aren’t dead; they’re just exclusive now.</p><p dir="ltr">The McKesson Corporation provides a perfect example of this. McKesson <a href="http://foreffectivegov.org/files/two-retirements.pdf">froze its employee pension in 1996</a>, and barred workers who were hired after that from participating. By contrast, several years later, McKesson established an <a href="http://foreffectivegov.org/files/two-retirements.pdf">executive retirement account</a> for CEO John Hammergren. It put $114 million in there for him, which when added to Hammergren’s other McKesson pension benefits, gives him a total of $145,513,853.</p><p dir="ltr">Since Hammergren became McKesson president and CEO in 2001, the company has <a href="http://www.mckesson.com/about-mckesson/our-company/executive-officers/john-h-hammergren/">quadrupled revenues and provided shareholders with more than a 17 percent compounded annual return</a>. Nice work, Hammergren – and <a href="http://www.mckesson.com/about-mckesson/key-facts/">76,000 other dedicated McKesson employees</a>!</p><p dir="ltr">Still, apparently, that highly productive work wasn’t good enough for McKesson to unfreeze the retirement account for its loyal employees, just good enough to line Hammergren’s pockets with gold.</p><p dir="ltr">McKesson does provide its workers with the opportunity to put their own money in a 401(k) plan. Until the new Labor Department rules take effect next year, they can hope a financial adviser won’t cheat them on investment of that money.</p><p dir="ltr">The <a href="http://foreffectivegov.org/files/two-retirements.pdf">average McKesson employee has $83,778</a> in a 401(k), which is nearly seven times what the <a href="http://www.nirsonline.org/index.php?option=content&amp;task=view&amp;id=768">typical American worker has saved at retirement</a>. That will get the McKesson employee a monthly check of $472 to help pay the heating bill, somewhat less than the $819,000 monthly check Hammergren will get from his pure gold nest egg.</p><p dir="ltr">The secure pension that grandma and grandpa once received was called a defined benefit pension. Each hour a worker labored, he or she earned a contribution by the employer into a fund that would pay this benefit on retirement. It was deferred compensation.</p><p dir="ltr">Defined benefit pensions, safer conditions, and, of course, better pay, were among the many workplace improvements hard won by 5,000 strikes involving 4.6 million American union workers in the years after World War II. Before the war, in <a href="http://foreffectivegov.org/files/two-retirements.pdf">1940, only 15 percent of private sector workers</a> had defined benefit pensions. By <a href="http://foreffectivegov.org/files/two-retirements.pdf">1960, 41 percent did</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">That number rose to <a href="http://foreffectivegov.org/files/two-retirements.pdf">46 percent in 1980</a>. But then progress stopped. In 1981, Republican President Ronald Reagan broke the air traffic controllers union by replacing striking workers. That sent a signal for the first time since Democrat FDR paved the way for unionization in 1935 that the government would support corporations that destroyed unions, corporations that crushed the ability of working people to collectively bargain to improve their lives.</p><p dir="ltr">Corporations responded by doing everything they felt they could get away with to obliterate unions of working people. In 1980, about <a href="http://www.unionstats.com/">23 percent</a> of private sector workers were union members. Today, it’s <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm">6.7 percent</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">No wonder only about <a href="http://foreffectivegov.org/files/two-retirements.pdf">13 percent of private sector workers</a> have defined benefit pensions now, back down to where it was in 1940, before all those workers got organized, before all those strikes.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead of secure defined benefit pensions, corporations stuck workers with those 401(k) plans instead. “You’ll love ‘em,” the corporate bosses said, “You can take ‘em with you when we push you out the door.”</p><p dir="ltr"></p><div alt="" class="media-image" height="312" width="740"><img alt="" class="media-image" height="312" width="740" typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/screen_shot_2016-04-12_at_10.37.41_am.png" /></div><p dir="ltr">Those plans, and Individual Retirement Accounts, IRAs, are the ones where workers get cheated, where they think the financial adviser is helping them because all the signs in the office windows proclaim baloney like, “Clients First!” The “adviser” never mentions to the worker that the mutual fund he’s recommending not only is low yield but also pays the adviser huge commissions for every sucker he signs up.</p><p dir="ltr">The Obama administration estimated that cheating, self-dealing and conflicts-of-interest cost workers $17 billion a year. That should be $17 billion more in workers’ retirement accounts. Every year.</p><p dir="ltr">The amount a worker can put in his 401(k) is limited. It’s $24,000 a year for workers older than 50. And to their credit, some corporations match worker contributions.</p><p dir="ltr">By contrast, there’s no limit on what CEOs can sock away tax free in their super special retirement accounts.</p><p dir="ltr">That limitlessness is clear in this figure: The 100 biggest CEO retirement funds add up to <a href="http://foreffectivegov.org/files/two-retirements.pdf">$4.9 billion</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">That $4.9 billion is equal to the entire retirement savings of 41 percent of American families, 50 million families, 116 million people.</p><p dir="ltr">And if that’s not bad enough, there is also fact that the massive pile of CEO pension money is tax-free. That means workers make up the difference—workers must pay more taxes because CEOs pay less.</p><p dir="ltr">Here is just one example of the cost to taxpayers for a CEO. Glenn Renwick, CEO of Progressive Insurance, <a href="http://foreffectivegov.org/files/two-retirements.pdf">put $26.2 million in his tax-deferred account in 2014.</a> That <a href="http://foreffectivegov.org/files/two-retirements.pdf">saved him $10 million</a> in federal taxes. That $10 million came instead from workers who reliably paid up every week with IRS deductions directly from their paychecks. Of course, that left them with less to invest in 401(k) accounts.</p><p dir="ltr">Progressive’s Flo can change the price with her Name Your Price Tool, just like Obama’s Labor Department changed the pension adviser rules. And the U.S. government can change the grotesquely unfair rules under which CEOs like Progressive’s Renwick get special pension tax treatment.</p><p dir="ltr">The government could also strengthen the ability of workers to organize and, as they did in the 1950s, stand together and collectively bargain for better pay and pensions. Then, grandma could retire with dignity and heat her house.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p><p dir="ltr"></p><div alt="" class="media-image" height="535" width="754"><img alt="" class="media-image" height="535" width="754" typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/screen_shot_2016-04-12_at_10.36.12_am.png" /></div><p dir="ltr"> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1054412'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1054412" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 12 Apr 2016 07:35:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1054412 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor pensions money cash GOP Hate Exacts a Toll http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/gop-hate-exacts-toll <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1053969'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1053969" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Republican front-runner Donald Trump is the all-star for hate spewing.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-04-05_at_10.47.35_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-442a1ea7-e6e3-ba7f-5488-e048e7ab1108">For years, Republicans have kept a gambit going where they gin up hate for political gain.  </p><p dir="ltr">They condemn marriage equality. They throw a hissy fit about what bathroom transgender people use. They try every dirty trick in the book to prevent black people from voting. They blame undocumented immigrants for crime and unemployment. They actually suggest armed patrols of American Muslim communities.</p><p dir="ltr">And then something unexpected happened. Corporations started getting squeamish about all that hate. Big, burly, traditionally GOP-donating corporations! Corporations warned some governors that they’d withdraw investment if the states didn’t reverse gay-bashing legislation. And now corporations are telling Republicans they’re not so sure they’ll pony up for the 2016 GOP convention because they don’t want to be associated with the Republican candidates’ hate mongering. Hate may have brought the GOP a load of publicity but it lost the party a bushel of bucks.</p><p dir="ltr">Republican front-runner Donald Trump is the all-star for hate spewing. He launched his campaign by slandering Hispanic people, saying of immigrants, “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”</p><p dir="ltr">Both Trump and rival Ted Cruz promised bigoted followers they would round up 11 million undocumented immigrants and deport them, forcibly separating American-born children from their Mexican national parents, who frequently labor long hours at below-minimum-wage jobs, pay taxes and scrupulously steer clear of any kind of trouble for fear of being deported.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump scored a hateful twofer when he insulted a rival who was the only woman in the GOP field, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/253178-trump-insults-fiorinas-physical-appearance-look-at-that-face">Here’s what he said:</a> “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”</p><p dir="ltr">And then, if that wasn’t offensive enough to women, he got himself into a long-running feud with Fox News host Megyn Kelly <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/08/politics/donald-trump-cnn-megyn-kelly-comment/">after she asked him about his descriptions of women as</a> “pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.” Trump <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/08/politics/donald-trump-cnn-megyn-kelly-comment/">ultimately responded by accusing Kelly</a> of having blood “coming out of her eyes – blood coming out of her wherever,” as if she were hormonal, not asking him legitimate questions based on concern about his temperament to be president.</p><p dir="ltr">Trump and Cruz are neck-and-neck for fostering unfounded suspicion of American Muslims. After the bombings in Paris, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/07/politics/donald-trump-muslim-ban-immigration/">Trump said he’d ban all Muslims</a> from entering the United States, and earlier he’d called for surveillance of mosques and establishing a database of all Muslims in the United States. In the wake of the Brussels attack, <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/tv/cruz-defends-proposal-to-patrol-muslim-communities-were-not-targeting-muslims/">Cruz called for armed patrols</a> of American Muslim communities.</p><p dir="ltr">Even supposedly mild-mannered John Kasich is not immune, recently criticizing the black community for failing to solve its own infant mortality problem like, he claimed, white people did. <a href="http://thedailybanter.com/2016/03/john-kasich-just-made-the-most-insanely-racist-statement-of-this-entire-campaign/">Here’s what he said</a>: “And the [black] community itself is going to have to have a better partnership with all of us to begin to solve that problem of infant mortality in the minority community, because we’re making gains in the majority community.”</p><p dir="ltr">But, of course, nobody beats Trump for offending African Americans. This is the guy <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/cnn-anchor-jake-tapper-donald-trump-david-duke-kkk-2016-2">who declined three opportunities in a row to renounce</a> an endorsement by white nationalist and former KKK leader David Duke.</p><p dir="ltr">Now, however, the consequences of such hate are visible in greenbacks. A study by Visit Indy, Indianapolis’ convention and tourism organization, found that Indiana lost at least <a href="http://www.advocate.com/religion/2016/1/26/indiana-took-60-million-hit-after-passing-antigay-law">$60 million after lawmakers passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act</a> last year giving businesses the right to discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds. That research showing the hateful law cost the state real money may have helped dissuade lawmakers from passing a more stringent version of the legislation this year.</p><p dir="ltr">Georgia just got the same financial punch in the gut for an attempt at legalizing LGBT discrimination. The legislature passed a law allowing faith-based groups to deny services to gay people, the way many southern states adopted laws a century ago permitting businesses to turn away black people.</p><p dir="ltr">Corporations gave Georgia’s discriminatory law the same reception they did Indiana’s. <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/25/news/companies/georgia-religious-freedom-bill/">Salesforce, Disney, Unilever, Intel and Georgia Prospers,</a> representing 480 companies, including Coca-Cola, Delta, Home Depot, UPS, and Marriott all denounced the legislation. Some threatened to reduce investment in the state, and media companies threatened to stop filming there.</p><p dir="ltr">Finally, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal calculated exactly how much hate meant to Georgia’s pocketbook and <a href="http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2016/03/28/breaking-nathan-deal-will-veto-georgias-religious-liberty-bill/">vetoed the legislation last week</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Now, some corporations aren’t so sure they want to be associated with Trump-Cruz-Kasich hate-show at the Republican National Convention.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/31/us/politics/donald-trump-republican-national-convention.html?_r=0">Apple, Google and Walmart</a> are among the firms assessing their plans for sponsorship at the $64 million convention. Trump has said there will be riots if he is not chosen as the party’s nominee, and Cleveland has sought bids for 2,000 sets of riot gear. The Walmart smiley face filmed as a backdrop for riot police wielding batons to bloodied protesters’ heads probably would not work well with the “live better” part of Walmart’s new business slogan.</p><p dir="ltr">Coca-Cola, one of the companies that gave Georgia a hard time for attempting to legalize discrimination against LGBT people, slashed the amount it donated to the GOP convention this year. It was $<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/31/us/politics/donald-trump-republican-national-convention.html">660,000 last time</a>. This year <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/31/us/politics/donald-trump-republican-national-convention.html">it’s $75,000</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Coke has <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/31/us/politics/donald-trump-republican-national-convention.html">declined to explain</a> the cut. But there’s no doubt that an organization called Color of Change made an impact. Color of Change sponsored a petition drive demanding that Coke and other companies renounce the GOP event because sponsoring it would be endorsing Trump’s “hateful and racist rhetoric.”</p><p dir="ltr">Apparently some corporations, particularly consumer product companies, don’t want to be associated with hate. It’s just too costly.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JfDbGcnIJns" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1053969'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1053969" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 05 Apr 2016 07:42:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1053969 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor gop hate republicans GOP Senate Disses American Voters http://servingwww.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/gop-senate-disses-american-voters <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1053029'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1053029" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Republicans are refusing to accept the decision of 65 million Americans.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2016-03-30_at_11.29.17_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-b770f142-9eca-9175-c725-7083d95d7005">Senate Republicans are flipping off the President of the United States by refusing to conduct a confirmation hearing for his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.</p><p dir="ltr">By doing this, the majority party in the Senate is saying it doesn’t acknowledge that Barack Obama is the legitimate, twice-elected U.S. President with the right and duty under the U.S. Constitution to nominate justices to fill vacancies on the high court.</p><p dir="ltr">Just as significantly, by doing this, Republicans are refusing to accept the decision of 65 million Americans who went to the polls in November of 2012 and re-elected Barack Obama as U.S. President. President Obama is the <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-01-03/final-tally-shows-obama-first-since-56-to-win-51-twice">first commander in chief since 1956</a> to win 51 percent of the vote twice. Republicans are thumbing their noses at those citizens, the majority, who voted for President Obama. The GOP is expressing deep derision for the American democratic process by obstructing the duly elected President of the United States from fulfilling his Constitutional obligations.</p><p dir="ltr">Before the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s body was cold<a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/mitch-mcconnell-antonin-scalia-supreme-court-nomination-219248#ixzz43BU7sJhp">, truly, less than an hour after his death was announced,</a> Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell placed self-serving politics above grace, sympathy and constitutionality. Forsaking public expression of condolence to Scalia’s widow and nine children, McConnell announced instead that Republicans would prevent the sitting President, who at that point still had a year minus three weeks and three days left to serve in office, from naming a replacement for Scalia.</p><p dir="ltr">Rather than “I wish to send my deepest sympathies,” <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/mitch-mcconnell-antonin-scalia-supreme-court-nomination-219248#ixzz43BU7sJhp">McConnell said</a>:</p><p dir="ltr">“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”</p><p dir="ltr">That’s because Republicans don’t like the guy the American people used their voice to choose to be the current president. So Republicans want to give the American people another chance to do what Republicans want them to do.</p><p dir="ltr">Ignoring McConnell’s attempt at power-usurping, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/17/us/politics/obama-supreme-court-nominee.html">President Obama last week nominated</a> Chief Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Merrick B. Garland to fill Scalia’s vacancy.  </p><p dir="ltr">Part of the reason for President Obama’s choice is that he knows some Republicans like Garland. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/03/16/the_republicans_who_voted_for_merrick_garland_in_1997_are_against_him_now.html">voted to confirm Garland’s appointment</a> to the appeals court in 1997 and said in 2010 that Judge Garland <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/17/opinion/merrick-garland-for-the-supreme-court.html?emc=edit_ty_20160317&amp;nl=opinion&amp;nlid=25868490&amp;_r=1">would be a “consensus nominee” to the Supreme Court</a> who would be confirmed with bipartisan support. Earlier this month, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/17/opinion/merrick-garland-for-the-supreme-court.html?emc=edit_ty_20160317&amp;nl=opinion&amp;nlid=25868490http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/17/opinion/merrick-garland-for-the-supreme-court.html?emc=edit_ty_20160317&amp;nl=opinion&amp;nlid=25868490">Sen. Hatch said that if President Obama wanted a real moderate</a>, he would nominate Judge Garland, but predicted, wrongly as it turns out, that the President wouldn’t do it.</p><p dir="ltr">Despite Hatch’s prior support for Garland, the Senator has not called on McConnell to schedule the confirmation hearings that are the next step in a normal nomination process. No, like McConnell, Hatch wants to wait to see if he likes the voice of the American people in November better than when they spoke in 2008 and 2012.  </p><p dir="ltr">The assertion from McConnell and fellow Republicans that the “American people should have a voice” is doubly duplicitous coming from the party that has spent the past five years trying every trick in the book to deny large swaths of Americans their right to express their voice at the ballot box with all manner of voter-suppression legislation.</p><p dir="ltr">It is Republicans trying to make students and old people and poor people jump through ridiculous and onerous hoops to exercise their sacred right as citizens to vote. Apparently Republicans don’t want to hear these people’s voices, probably because so many are the voices of Democrats.</p><p dir="ltr">The truth about this let-the-American-people-have-a-voice gambit slipped out of the mouths of indiscreet Republicans after President Obama nominated the moderate Judge Garland. <a href="http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/273255-hatch-open-to-lame-duck-hearing-for-garland">Hatch</a> and <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/courts-gop-senate-confirmations-nominees-219850%20http:/www.politico.com/story/2016/02/courts-gop-senate-confirmations-nominees-219850">Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake are among the GOPers</a> who revealed that they might hold confirmation hearings for Judge Garland after the Presidential election.</p><p dir="ltr">Not if a Republican is elected, of course. But if the American people choose Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, either of whom is likely to nominate someone far more liberal than Judge Garland, then the Republicans would immediately go for the moderate Garland.</p><p dir="ltr">If the GOP Senators did that, they would be ignoring the voice of the American people – people who had just voted for someone more liberal. That would be the voice of the American people that McConnell proclaimed was so very, very important before Justice Scalia’s body was cold.</p><p dir="ltr">The court McConnell is playing with is crucial to working people. Before Justice Scalia died, for example, there was every expectation that his conservative bloc was going to outlaw fair share fees paid by workers in the public sector who choose not to join their union but who benefit from services provided by collective bargaining. This is a case called <a href="http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/18869/when_scalia_died_so_did_friedrichs_and_an_anti-union_grand_scheme">Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.</a></p><p dir="ltr">Private sector unions like mine knew that conservative groups would come after us next. Their intent is to starve workers out. If right wingers and their corporate backers can deprive labor organizations of fees for services provided, then workers won’t have the money they need for good research before collective bargaining or good lawyers to represent them in grievances against employers. Then big corporations win every time. And workers fall further and further behind.  </p><p dir="ltr">Now, however, Friedrichs will likely end in a 4-4 stalemate, reverting back to the lower court ruling, where the conservatives eagerly agreed to lose in their excessive hurry to get their appeal before their sure-bet Scalia. In the end, they outsmarted themselves.</p><p dir="ltr">The U.S. Constitution states that the President “Shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint. . . judges of the Supreme Court.” It doesn’t say, “except when the President is a Democrat and the majority in the Senate is Republican.” It doesn’t say, “except in Presidential election years.”</p><p dir="ltr">In fact, the Senate has confirmed six Supreme Court justices in election years since 1912. In the most recent case, when Republican President Ronald Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy, a majority <a href="http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/273217-mcconnell-grassley-voted-against-garland-in-1997">Democrat Senate confirmed him, unanimously,</a> in the Presidential election year of 1988.</p><p dir="ltr">Antonin Scalia prided himself in being a strict Constitutionalist. If McConnell wants to stop the late justice from spinning in his grave, then the majority leader needs to order the Senate to perform its Constitutionally-mandated job by conducting a confirmation hearing for Judge Garland followed by a vote on his nomination to the Supreme Court.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HOjeMlEjbvg" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1053029'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1053029" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 22 Mar 2016 07:44:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1053029 at http://servingwww.alternet.org The Right Wing The Right Wing senate gop republicans right How Asian Imports Continue to Damage American Manufacturing http://servingwww.alternet.org/economy/how-asian-imports-continue-damage-american-manufacturing <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1052144'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1052144" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">What&#039;s killing steel jobs today destroyed car and auto part manufacturing for decades — imports. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_103035632.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Last year, free trade hammered Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, located between Detroit and Flint, killing manufacturing, costing jobs and crushing dreams.</p><p>It’s not over, either. Another 11th District company, <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/documents/wda/VISALUS_510502_7.pdf">ViSalus Inc., told the state</a> it would eliminate 87 jobs as of last Saturday, <a href="http://www.freep.com/story/money/business/michigan/2016/01/15/layoffs-lawsuits-once-hot-direct-sales-firm-visalus/78793328/">slicing its staff by nearly 400 since 2013</a> when ViSalus was the second-largest direct sales firm in the state.</p><p>The numbers are staggering. The <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/trans-pacific-partnership-currency-manipulation-trade-and-jobs/">Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a report</a> last week showing that America’s $177.9 billion trade deficit in 2015 with the 11 other countries in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal caused 2 million job losses nationwide.<iframe frameborder="0" height="460" src="http://www.epi.org?p=101154&amp;view=embed&amp;embed_template=charts_v2013_08_21&amp;embed_date=20160304&amp;onp=101693&amp;utm_source=epi_press&amp;utm_medium=chart_embed&amp;utm_campaign=charts_v2" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>This trade deficit reduced jobs in every U.S. congressional district except two, EPI said, but Michigan’s 11th had the ignoble distinction of suffering more as a share of total employment than any other district in the country. It <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/trans-pacific-partnership-currency-manipulation-trade-and-jobs/">was 26,200</a> jobs. Just in 2015. It was tech workers in January and teachers in July and tool makers in August and auto parts builders in October.<iframe frameborder="0" height="460" src="http://www.epi.org?p=101131&amp;view=embed&amp;embed_template=charts_v2013_08_21&amp;embed_date=20160303&amp;onp=101693&amp;utm_source=epi_press&amp;utm_medium=chart_embed&amp;utm_campaign=charts_v2" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Manipulation of money killed those jobs. It works like this: Foreign countries spend billions buying American treasury bonds. That strengthens the value of the dollar and weakens foreign currencies. When a country’s currency value drops, it acts like a big fat discount coupon on all of its exports to the United States. And it serves simultaneously as an obscene tax on all U.S. exports to that country.   </p><p>Among the TPP countries, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan are known currency manipulators, and Vietnam appears to be following their example. <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/trans-pacific-partnership-currency-manipulation-trade-and-jobs/">EPI found that currency manipulation</a> is the most important cause of America’s massive trade deficits with TPP countries. Trade deficits mean products are shipped to the United States rather than made in the United States. The math is simple. A drop in Asian currency means a drop in U.S. jobs.</p><p>EPI looked at what types of imports the 11 countries sent the United States last year to determine what types of industry and jobs America lost as a result. The overwhelming majority was motor vehicles and parts. That’s why Michigan was the biggest loser of all of the states. The auto sector was followed by computer and electronic parts ­– including communications, audio and video equipment – and primary metals – including basic steel and steel products.</p><p>In addition, EPI found job losses in industries that serve manufacturers, like warehousing and utilities, and services like retail, education and public administration.</p><p>Each of these kinds of losses occurred last year in Michigan’s 11th district, located in the heart of America’s car manufacturing country in southwestern Oakland County and northwestern Wayne County, where Detroit is parked just outside the district’s lines.</p><p>In January, in Michigan’s 11th, Technicolor Videocassette of Michigan, Inc., a subsidiary of the French multimedia giant Technicolor SA, <a href="http://www.mlive.com/business/detroit/index.ssf/2014/01/technicolor_videocassette_of_m.html">laid off 162 workers in Livonia</a>. That same month, what was once a vibrant chain of cupcake stores called Just Baked shuttered several shops, putting an untold number of bakers and clerks in the street, <a href="http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/177522-story">some with last paychecks that bounced</a>.</p><p>In February, the <a href="http://www.theoaklandpress.com/article/OP/20160115/NEWS/160119660">Sam’s Club store in Waterford closed</a>, throwing 122 in the street. Waterford municipal official Tony Bartolotta called it another <a href="http://www.theoaklandpress.com/article/OP/20160115/NEWS/160119660">“nail in the coffin”</a> for the township’s east side.</p><p>In April, Frito-Lay <a href="http://www.al.com/business/index.ssf/2015/10/frito-lay_closes_birmingham_wa.html">told 17 workers</a> that they’d lose their jobs later that year when it closed its Birmingham warehouse.</p><p>In July, 231 teachers in the Farmington Public Schools learned they would not have work in the new school year. One of them, 25-year-old Val Nafso, who grew up in Farmington, <a href="http://www.theoaklandpress.com/article/OP/20150714/NEWS/150719788">told the Oakland Press</a>, “I hope things change where people who are passionate about teaching can enter the profession without 1,000 people telling them “Don’t do it...get out now.”</p><p>In August, DE-STA-CO, a 100-year-old tool manufacturer, told Michigan it would end production in Auburn Hills, <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/2015/08/06/destaco-layoffs-auburn-hills/31237111/">costing 57 workers their jobs</a>.</p><p>In October, Waterford <a href="http://www.theoaklandpress.com/article/OP/20151013/NEWS/151019796">laid off 39 firefighters</a>. The township had received a $7.6 million grant in 2013 to hire them, but just couldn’t come up with local funds to keep them. That happens when factories close and bakeries shut down. Township officials told concerned residents they’d looked hard at the budget, “We started projecting out for 2017 and it flat lined,” <a href="http://www.theoaklandpress.com/article/OP/20151013/NEWS/151019796">Township Supervisor Gary Wall told them.</a></p><p>Later that month, <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/documents/wda/FTE_WARN__001_504400_7.pdf?">FTE Automotive USA Inc</a>., an auto parts manufacturer, told Michigan it would close its Auburn Hills plant and lay off 65 workers.</p><p>In the areas around Michigan’s 11th, horrible job losses occurred all last year as well, which makes sense since EPI found 10 of the top 20 job-losing districts in the country were in Michigan.</p><p><a href="http://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/ford/2015/04/23/ford-cuts-shift-michigan-assembly-plant-focus-cmax/26251933/">Ford laid off 700 workers</a> at an assembly plant in Wayne County in April. GM eliminated a second shift, <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/documents/wda/GM_-_Lake_Orion_Assembly_Plant_504052_7.pdf?">furloughing 468 workers at its Lake Orion</a> Assembly Plant in Oakland County in October.</p><p>Auto supply company <a href="http://www.freep.com/story/money/business/michigan/2015/09/29/su-dan-shut-plants-lay-off-131/73027074/">Su-Dan announced in September</a> it would close three factories in Oakland County by year’s end, costing 131 workers their jobs.</p><p>In October, a division of Parker Hannifin Corp. in Oxford, Oakland County, that manufactured compressed air filters told its 65 workers they wouldn’t have jobs in 2016. “There’s a lot of people there that are paycheck to paycheck, and it’s going to hurt them,” Michelle Moloney, who worked there 25 years, <a href="http://www.clarkstonnews.com/Articles-News-c-2015-08-17-259221.113121-sub14475.11-Parker-Finite-facility-closing-next-year-layoffs-have-begun.html">told a reporter from Sherman Publications</a>.</p><p>The threat of the TPP is that it does absolutely nothing to stop this job-slaughter. Lawmakers, public interest groups, manufacturers, and unions like mine all pleaded with negotiators to include strong provisions in the deal to punish currency manipulators. They didn’t do it.</p><p>They included some language about currency manipulation. But it’s not in the main trade deal.  And it’s not enforceable.</p><p>Swallowing the TPP would be accepting deliberately depressed currency values in Asian trading partner countries and a permanently depressed economy in the U.S. car manufacturing heartland.</p><p>It’s the TPP that should disappear. Not Detroit. </p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1052144'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1052144" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 08 Mar 2016 09:54:00 -0800 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1052144 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Economy Economy Labor trade steel jobs economy imports inequality Murdering American Manufacturing: "Strictly Business" http://servingwww.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/murdering-american-manufacturing-strictly-business <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1051210'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1051210" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Thousands of workers lose their jobs as companies chase cheap labor. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/united_technologies.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>In the week before Valentine’s Day, United Technologies expressed its love for its devoted Indiana employees, workers whose labor had kept the corporation profitable, by informing 2,100 of them at two facilities that it was shipping their factories, their jobs, their communities’ resources to Mexico.</p><p>A few workers shouted obscenities at the corporate official. Some walked out. Others openly wept as United Technologies shattered their hopes, their dreams, their means to pay middle-class mortgages.</p><p>Three days later, 1,336 workers at Philadelphia’s largest remaining manufacturer, Cardone, learned that company planned to <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-phillydeals/Cardone_still_shifting_jobs_to_Mexican_border.html#f3g4MBk8jYaqGgyz.99">throw them out too and build brake calipers in Mexico</a> instead. Two weeks earlier, a Grand Rapids, Mich., company called <a href="http://woodtv.com/2016/02/02/dematic-moving-gr-manufacturing-plant-to-mexico/">Dematic did the same thing</a> to its 300 workers.</p><p>No surprise. In the first decade of this century, America lost <a href="http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2011/nov/07/betty-sutton/betty-sutton-says-average-15-us-factories-close-ea/">56,190 factories</a>, 15 a day.</p><p>Republican presidential candidates talk incessantly of building a physical wall to keep impoverished Mexican immigrants out of America. What they fail to offer is an economic barrier to prevent the likes of United Technologies and Cardone and Dematic from impoverishing American workers by exporting their jobs to Mexico. </p><p>The president of Carrier, owned by United Technologies, gathered the Indianapolis factory employees, skilled workers who earn an average of $20 an hour, and informed them that the corporation planned to kick them to the curb but expected them to perform to the highest standards until Carrier opened a new plant in Monterrey, Mexico, where <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-carriercorp-layoffs-idUSKCN0VP2R6">workers will be paid $3 an hour</a>.</p><p>Carrier President Chris Nelson told the group, “This was an extremely difficult decision.”</p><p>Such difficulties for poor, poor United Technologies! It was making a nice profit at its Indianapolis and Huntington factories. But it was not the big fat profit it could pocket by paying Mexican workers a mere $3 an hour, providing $3 an hour worth of benefits, and doing it all in the nation with <a href="http://fortune.com/2015/11/11/chart-work-week-oecd/">the longest work weeks among the 36</a> countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.</p><p>It would be “extremely difficult” for United Technologies to abandon Indiana after the corporation grabbed <a href="http://indianaeconomicdigest.com/Main.asp?SectionID=31&amp;SubSectionID=135&amp;ArticleID=82974">$530,000 from the pockets of hard-working Hoosiers</a> over the past nine years as the state’s economic development agency forked over taxpayer cash to the corporation.</p><p>It would be even more “difficult” to turn its back on America considering that United Technologies grabbed <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431585/carrier-move-big-government-failure">$121 million</a> from a federal tax credit program established specifically to ensure that green manufacturing jobs remained in the United States. Carrier took <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431585/carrier-move-big-government-failure">$5.1 million of those tax credits</a> in 2013.</p><p>“This is strictly a business decision,” Nelson told the jeering workers. It wasn’t because of anything they had done. It was just that Mexico allows corporations to exploit its people in ways that America does not. Its minimum wage is 58 cents an hour, while the United States requires at least $7.25. For now, at least. Some GOP president candidates <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/12/politics/donald-trump-explains-wages-too-high-comment/">(Donald Trump)</a> have said they think that’s too high.</p><p>The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ensnared Mexican and American workers in a race to the bottom. And the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade deal among 12 countries instead of just three, would place American and Mexican workers in an even worse competition. They’d vie for jobs with forced and child labor in places like <a href="http://www.aflcio.org/content/download/174525/4153892/file/1628_TPPLaborRightsReport.pdf">Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam</a>.</p><p>Under NAFTA, cheap American grain shipped to Mexico without tariffs destroyed peasant farming. And that prompted migration north. Meanwhile, American factories saw desperate Mexicans willing to work for a pittance, a government unwilling to pass or enforce environmental laws, and because of NAFTA, no tariffs when the goods were shipped back to the United States. That propelled factory migration south.</p><p>Before NAFTA, the United States had a small trade surplus with Mexico. That disappeared within a year, and now the annual trade deficit is <a href="http://www.joc.com/sites/default/files/u48801/Mexico-coverstory_cb_bw.jpg">approximately $50 billion</a>.</p><p>Though it has been 22 years since NAFTA took effect, <a href="http://www.aflcio.org/content/download/174525/4153892/file/1628_TPPLaborRightsReport.pdf">a report issued last week</a> by the AFL-CIO says, “Labor abuses in many cases are worse now than before NAFTA. . . In short, NAFTA has contributed to labor abuses, not improvements.”</p><p>The report says the Mexican government fails to enforce labor laws and refuses to ensure that workers can form independent labor unions to try to protect their own rights. In fact, the report says, “The human and labor rights situation in Mexico is rapidly deteriorating.” </p><p>As a result, workers are powerless and completely at the mercy of corporations. So corporations like United Technologies can pay them $3 an hour and get away with it. This is not good for Mexican workers. And it’s not good for American workers.</p><p>The AFL-CIO report makes it clear that the TPP would worsen the situation because it would give corporations like United Technologies the option of moving to places like Vietnam where they could pay trafficked workers and child laborers $1 an hour. Or less.</p><p>Just like with NAFTA, there’s nothing enforceable in the TPP that would stop the labor abuses. It would facilitate corporations forcing workers from Indianapolis, Philadelphia and Monterrey, Mexico, into competition with 14-year-olds laboring 60-hour-weeks for $1-an-hour in Malaysia.</p><p>Just like United Technologies, these corporate CEOs would say it was “strictly business” to offshore American mills, industry that had served as city centers for decades, even centuries, factories so synonymous with towns that the communities took their names like Ambridge (American Bridge) and Hershey, which, by the way, laid off workers at its Pennsylvania home in <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2007/feb/16/business/fi-hershey16">2007 and opened a chocolate plant in Monterrey, Mexico.</a></p><p>The AFL-CIO investigation of the TPP determined that it would do nothing more than increase corporate profits while sticking workers – in the United States and elsewhere – with lost jobs, lower wages and repressed rights.</p><p>For 22 years NAFTA has destroyed subsistence farming in Mexico and good, middle class factory jobs in the United States. Maybe corporations have made out like bandits. But the banditry should be stopped for the heartache it has caused on both sides of the border.  </p><p>As Carrier President Nelson told the Indianapolis workers, members of my union, the United Steelworkers, that he was taking their jobs from them so that shareholders and corporate executives could make a few extra bucks, the workers protested. Nelson kept saying, “Quiet down. Let’s quiet down.”</p><p>That’s exactly the opposite of what American workers and communities should be doing. They should shouting from rooftops, “No TPP!”  For the love of American manufacturing, they should be yelling bloody murder.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Y3ttxGMQOrY" width="420"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1051210'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1051210" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 23 Feb 2016 07:22:00 -0800 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1051210 at http://servingwww.alternet.org News & Politics Labor News & Politics unions labor manufacturing trans-pacific partnership nafta One Percenters Get Their Own Special Social Welfare Deal http://servingwww.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/one-percenters-get-their-own-special-social-welfare-deal <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1050758'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1050758" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Now the wealthy want access to charity, and Karl Rove is ready to provide it. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/citizens_united_1.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>One percenters have it all: extra houses, extra cars and even an exclusive legal defense called “affluenza” to keep them out of jail if they kill someone.</p><p>But until last week, they felt unfairly denied access to the benefits of social welfare organizations like United Way, Habitat for Humanity and the like. Now, these are rich people, so they wanted special social welfare groups, ones that would solely benefit rich people. And that’s exactly what they got, thanks to the Internal Revenue Service.</p><p>The IRS declared that an association called Crossroads GPS is a <a href="http://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/02/13039/irs-gives-grants-karl-roves-dark-money-group-social-welfare-certification">nonprofit social welfare group</a>. That makes Crossroads GPS a sibling to agencies like Little Sisters of the Poor, the American Red Cross and the Humane Society. Except that Crossroads, spawned by Republican strategist Karl Rove, spends every clandestine million dollars it collects to benefit the rich, not to help hurricane victims or homeless veterans or abandoned puppies.</p><p>The IRS took five years to review the Crossroads GPS application for nonprofit social welfare status. This seems very odd since Crossroads GPS spent every donated dollar—<a href="http://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/02/13039/irs-gives-grants-karl-roves-dark-money-group-social-welfare-certification">about $330 million</a>—on politics, either to fund its own campaigns to smear liberal candidates and causes or to fund other <a href="http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2016/02/how-crossroads-gps-beat-the-irs-and-became-a-social-welfare-group/">organizations</a> devoted to smearing liberal candidates and causes.</p><p>Most Americans would need only five minutes to determine such a group is about politics, not social welfare. As a political group, it should not receive the tax breaks that are justly awarded to organizations that serve society by mentoring foster kids, delivering hot meals to elderly shut-ins, and protecting animals from abuse.</p><p>But now, because of the IRS decision, Crossroads GPS doesn’t have to pay taxes on the hundreds of millions it spends to influence elections for the benefit of the one percent. But probably more important to Crossroads GPS, it can keep its fat cat donors’ names secret because nonprofit social welfare groups are donor disclosure exempt as well as tax exempt.</p><p>For actual social welfare groups, this may come from the admonishment in the New Testament that, “when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you.” But Crossroads donors don’t give a damn about charity. Their only interest is self-interest. They are attempting to elect politicians who will implement policy to further enrich the rich.</p><p>They don’t want to sound a trumpet about their bribes—sorry, political gifts—because they don’t want anyone to know who they are. For these donors, there could be repercussions if the public discovered them.</p><p>For example, if the CEO of a corporation whose primary customers were Latinos gave millions of dollars to a presidential candidate who said undocumented immigrants are rapists and drug dealers, the stock might suffer. But now the CEO can surreptitiously slide money to Crossroads GPS with the absolute assurance that his name will never be revealed. Also, some of this dark money is drawn <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/12/mitch-mcconnell-budget-bill-campaign-finance">directly from corporate coffers</a>, not CEO pockets. Stockholders may be generally unhappy with the amount of corporate money spent on politics but would be enraged if they knew it went to groups they loathe like Crossroads GPS.</p><p>One percenters expect a return on these political investments and have made that increasingly clear. Here’s what Republican lobbyist and donor <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/30/us/politics/big-donors-seek-larger-roles-in-presidential-campaigns.html">Theresa Kostrzewa</a> told the New York Times, “Donors are demanding a lot these days, man, and they want answers and they want results...Donors consider a contribution like, 'Well, wait, I just invested in you. Now I need to have my say; you need to answer to me.’”</p><p>Tens of millions of dollars secretly “invested” with Crossroads GPS will buy a few answers. <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/who-are-mystery-mega-donors-funding-karl-rove-eight-figure-donations-crossroads-gps-wont-tell">Three clandestine</a> Crossroads GPS donors in 2012 gave more than $10 million each. Fifty-three secret donors gave more than $1 million.</p><p>Five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court set this in motion with the democracy-killing Citizens United decision, which handed the one percent license to buy elections. In October, the New York Times reported one result is that not since before the Watergate scandal have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a presidential campaign. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/11/us/politics/2016-presidential-election-super-pac-donors.html">The total</a>, the Times found, was $176 million from just 158 one percenters and their companies.</p><p>That was the reported money from the reported donors. The American public will never know the rest of the story on “nonprofit social welfare” groups’ political spending.</p><p>Even before Crossroads GPS, the <a href="http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2016/02/how-crossroads-gps-beat-the-irs-and-became-a-social-welfare-group/">IRS had granted</a> social welfare status to virtually every political group that sought it, from the right-wing Koch network to the liberal David Brock American Bridge 21st Century Foundation. The decision on Crossroads GPS is significant only because of the group’s enormous wealth.</p><p>In the last presidential election, right-wing dark money groups like Crossroads GPS <a href="https://www.propublica.org/article/irs-grants-nonprofit-status-to-dark-money-group">spent $125 million</a> and liberal groups spent $35 million. The IRS tried to write rules governing these groups, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did the bidding of right-wingers and inserted in last year’s spending bill two provisions to stop that. One of his <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/12/mitch-mcconnell-budget-bill-campaign-finance">provisions prohibits</a> the IRS for the next two years from issuing rules defining social welfare. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/12/mitch-mcconnell-budget-bill-campaign-finance">The other blocks</a> the Securities and Exchange Commission from forcing corporations to disclose their donations to dark-money groups.</p><p>So thanks to Mitch, one percenters can continue for at least two more years to depend on their dark money to feed politicians like foie gras geese, with every expectation of the same rich return.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Acri0U3TAE8" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1050758'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1050758" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 16 Feb 2016 07:41:00 -0800 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1050758 at http://servingwww.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics crossroads gps karl rove habitat for humanity corporate welfare Affluenza How TPP Would Hollow Out the US Even More http://servingwww.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/how-tpp-would-hollow-out-us-even-more <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1050379'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1050379" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">TPP would weaken American manufacturing. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/uncle_sam_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>A century ago, Carl Sandburg dubbed Chicago the <a href="http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/2043">City of Big Shoulders</a>: “hog butcher for the world, tool maker, stacker of wheat, player with railroads and the nation’s freight handler; stormy, husky brawling.”</p><p>All of this was true of America itself as well: Nation of big shoulders. The United States was a brawny country that would intervene to help win World War I and later quickly retool factories to serve as munitions mills to win World War II.  Now, though, as America’s tool makers and freight car builders are furloughed, their factories shuttered and offshored, America is wasting. Ill-conceived free trade deals are reducing it to a nation of stooped shoulders.</p><p>The newest proposed deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), signed in New Zealand last week by representatives of its 12 member states, would further enfeeble American manufacturing. The first of the ilk, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), devastated U.S. manufacturing. Allowing China into the World Trade Organization and the bad trade deals that followed NAFTA all pummeled American manufacturing when it was already down.</p><p>From cookies to car parts, factories fled America for places like China and Mexico. There, corporations pay workers a pittance and pollute virtually penalty-free. CEOs and shareholders roll in the resulting royal-sized profits. Meanwhile, formerly middle-class American workers and their families suffer. Communities bereft of sustaining mills collapse. And the United States atrophies, losing more and more of those once-bulky industrial shoulders.</p><p>NAFTA crushed 300 decent middle class workers in Grand Rapids, Mich., last week. They make <a href="http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2016/02/union_members_could_not_compet.html">automated conveyor systems for a company called Dematic</a>. Represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, they earn between $11.55 and $24.26 an hour. That means the best paid among them receive the median wage for a U.S. worker.</p><p>Soon, however, they’ll have no wages. That’s because they can’t compete with the $1.50 to $1.70 per hour paid to workers in Monterrey, Mexico. Several weeks ago, Dematic told the workers it would move the factory to Mexico unless the UAW came up with a better offer.</p><p>The workers voted unanimously not to <a href="http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2016/02/union_members_could_not_compet.html">submit a counter proposal</a>. It’s illegal in the United States for workers to labor for $1.50 an hour. So the company, founded in Grand Rapids in 1939, will sever its American roots, shed its American workers and squat in Mexico.</p><p>It will follow a well-beaten path. Grand “American” brands <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/IndustryInfo/story?id=6867472&amp;page=1">Hershey’s</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/11/14/142309098/company-towns-after-the-company-leaves-town">Whirlpool</a> and <a href="http://www.themadeinamericamovement.com/jobs/nabisco-to-cut-chicago-jobs-send-some-work-to-mexico/">Nabisco</a> and <a href="http://www.chattanoogan.com/2008/4/3/125124/La-Z-Boy-Whirlpool-Moving-Hundreds.aspx">La-Z-Boy</a> and many others all closed American factories, laid off American workers and opened plants in Mexico. GM, Ford and Chrysler all built plants in Mexico. Car factories in Mexico produced about one in five vehicles made in North America in 2014, <a href="http://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/2015/06/13/auto-investment-plants-jobs-us-canada-mexico-nafta/27551801/">double the rate from a decade earlier.</a></p><p>In the first 10 years of this century, <a href="http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2011/nov/07/betty-sutton/betty-sutton-says-average-15-us-factories-close-ea/">America lost 56,190 factories</a>. That’s an average of 5,619 a year. Or 15 a day. </p><p>Not all of them moved to Mexico or offshore. But many did. And when they did and shipped their cars or Hershey bars back to the United States, that contributed to the nation’s ever-ballooning and increasingly dangerous trade deficit. The trade deficit in manufacturing hit <a href="http://www.4-traders.com/news/Alliance-for-American-Manufacturing-Manufacturing-Deficit-Hits-Record-High-Showcasing-Why-America--21808486/">$831.4 billion last year, up 13.2 percent from 2014</a>.</p><p>This is the opposite of what NAFTA-pushing politicians promised. And it’s the opposite of what TPP-pushing politicians are promising now.</p><p>TPP peddlers have no credibility. The TPP, like NAFTA, provides no protection for American manufacturing or American workers like those at Dematic – other than retraining money for some thrown out of their jobs.</p><p>U.S. workers are guaranteed a minimum wage of at least $7.25 an hour, but steps away, just across the border, Mexican workers are not. Dematic can pay them $1.50. A<a href="http://democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/sites/democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/files/documents/TPP%20Issue%20Analysis%20Labor%20FINAL.pdf">report on the labor provisions of the TPP</a> issued last week by the minority staff of the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives explains why.</p><p>The Mexican government facilitates “company unions,” which are run by corporations in their interests. Napoleon Gomez Urrutia, the leader of Los Mineros, one of the very few true worker-run unions in Mexico, is forced to live in exile in Canada because the Mexican government first falsely charged him with crimes then said it couldn’t guarantee his safety if he returned.</p><p>Although Mexico claims that it has established a panel to review that nation’s deeply flawed labor justice system, Gomez pointed out to the Ways and Means Committee that the government neglected to include on the panel even one worker representative. It’s not likely, then, that any meaningful labor reform will result, he told the committee.</p><p>The TPP contains weak plans to help countries like Vietnam and Malaysia improve conditions so that Americans workers aren’t placed in competition with forced and child labor there. But the proposed trade deal contains no strategy at all under which Mexico would meet its supposed commitments to improve labor conditions. </p><p>So it’s likely manufacturers in Mexico will continue to pay workers there about <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2016/02/04/the-tpp-worlds-largest-trade-pact-finally-gets-signed/#7bd9ac9d4062">20 cents for every dollar a U.S. worker earns.</a> The House Committee report warns, “The lower costs resulting from the lack of worker rights and protections [in Mexico] create a powerful incentive for corporate decision-makers to relocate manufacturing plants and factories across that border.”</p><p>NAFTA and the TPP are giant greenbacks for multinational corporations. CEOs close U.S. factories, destroy the lives of American workers and collect bigger profits as a result of the less-than-subsistence wages they pay foreign labor.</p><p>Meanwhile, NAFTA, the TPP and the rest of the free trade schemes are sapping U.S. industrial strength, shipping it overseas. They’re emasculating America.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BUCcTc0VRxA" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1050379'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1050379" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 08:47:00 -0800 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1050379 at http://servingwww.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics trans-pacific partnership manufacturing news politics Donald Trump: The Answer to Curses http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/donald-trump-answer-curses <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1050029'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1050029" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Trump validates cursing the nation’s marginalized and accusing them of emptying workers’ bank accounts. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/trump_image.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Donald Trump dares to say out loud what many people secretly think.</p><p>It’s a dark secret some people never share because they know it’s so offensive. Sometimes they say it only when they feel safe, when they’re among like-minded family members or with friends trying to drown financial fear in mugs of beer.</p><p>Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, <a href="http://workingamerica.org/frontporchfocusgroup">talked to white workers in hardscrabble communities in Pennsylvania and Ohio</a> over the past two months and found “huge,” as Donald Trump would put it, support for the Republican frontrunner, even among Democrats. Backers said they admired Trump for speaking his mind. What they really meant was that Trump spoke their minds. As one woman put it, “He says what most of us are thinking.”</p><p>Americans are cash-strapped and fearful. They’ve been working hard, following the rules and falling behind. They’re looking for someone to blame. That’s when they think of “the other,” the black guy, the brown guy, the woman, the Muslim, the gay, the person they don’t really know, the person a little different from them who they suspect must have taken their job or promotion or opportunity.</p><p>Like a preacher of prejudice, Trump validates cursing the nation’s marginalized and accusing them of emptying workers’ bank accounts. Trump tells workers to point a finger at undocumented immigrants. He sermonizes excluding desperate refugees based on religion. This high priest of hate urged “Trumpeters” to stomp a Black Lives Matter activist seeking equal rights.</p><p>Fight among yourselves! Fight among yourselves, he urges.</p><p>Trump was born a one percenter. He went to an exclusive private school and college. His rich daddy gave him a big fat business loan to get him started. He benefited from <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/sep/21/carly-fiorina/trumps-four-bankruptcies/">multiple bankruptcies</a>, the use of low-paid <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/they-say-they-arrived-in-the-us-illegally-now-theyre-working-on-trumps-dc-hotel/2015/07/06/9a785116-20ec-11e5-84d5-eb37ee8eaa61_story.html">undocumented workers on his construction projects</a>, tax breaks, tax havens and special rules and deals for the super-rich. Wealth created by the productivity of laborers like those Working America interviewed in Pennsylvania and Ohio flowed up to him. He got richer; their wages stagnated. Now, he’s a billionaire telling them that dirt poor Hispanics caused their problems. He says, “Don’t blame private-jet-owning one percenters like me! Blame those struggling immigrants!”</p><p>It’s a topsy-turvy Trump world.</p><p>It is a world, however, where workers’ economic anxieties are totally legitimate. For three decades after World War II, as worker productivity increased, so did their compensation. <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/">Productivity rose 97 percent; wages 91 percent.</a> This was a time of shared prosperity.</p><p>The good times ended in the early 1970s, however. From 1973 to 2013 hourly compensation of the typical worker grew just <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/">9 percent while productivity jumped 74 percent</a>.</p><p>People like Trump, the already wealthy, benefitted from the difference. They took for themselves virtually all of the wealth that flowed from productivity growth. This terminated shared prosperity and spawned grotesque income inequality.</p><p>It is the real reason for worker anxiety.</p><p>If pay had kept pace with productivity, the average income of the middle 60 percent of American households in 2007, just before the Great Recession, would have been $94,310 – instead of the $76,443 it actually was, according to calculations by the <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/">Economic Policy Institute</a>. That extra $18,000 a year would have staved off foreclosure for millions. But workers didn’t get that money; the wealthy like Trump did.</p><p>So, instead, Americans bailed out Wall Street and Wall Street foreclosed on their homes. And now Trump urges Americans to blame everything on immigrants. And Muslims. And Black Lives Matter.</p><p>Since the 1970s, as workers produced more but got virtually nothing in their paychecks to show for it, the rich like Donald Trump grew fabulously, outrageously, repulsively richer. The anti-poverty charity Oxfam reports annually on the growing chasm between The Donalds and the downtrodden.</p><p>In 2010, for example, it determined that the world’s 388 richest people had as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population.</p><p>This year, <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2016-01-18/62-people-own-same-half-world-reveals-oxfam-davos-report">it found that 62 super-rich people</a> had accumulated sufficient wealth to equal everything owned by the poorest half – 3.6 billion humans.</p><p>Oxfam explained part of what happened is that since 2010, the poor lost $1 trillion in wealth while the super-rich 62 gained $542 billion. That’s not just a little trickle of money dripping from the pockets of billions of poor people into the tax-sheltered secret bank accounts of the repulsively rich. It is a raging torrent.</p><p>Donald Trump, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/12/politics/donald-trump-explains-wages-too-high-comment/">a billionaire who opposes raising the minimum wage</a>, now at the poverty level of $7.25 an hour, is holding himself out to working people as the man who will stand as a dam against that torrent. By building a wall to keep out immigrants.</p><p>It is rules like a poverty-level minimum wage that make guys like Donald Trump richer. He can pay $7.25, which is too little to live on, to Trump hotel maids, who then must rely on food stamps and Medicaid to feed their children and keep them healthy. The hotel workers could be condemned as welfare mothers. But it’s Trump who is the beneficiary. Employers who provide inadequate pay and benefits expect American taxpayers to make up the difference. Then the rich employers pocket the profits.</p><p>And Trump has promised to keep it that way. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/12/politics/donald-trump-explains-wages-too-high-comment/">He actually said American wages are too high.</a></p><p>Despite that, when Working America canvassed 1,689 people on their front porches, it found Trump had more support than any other candidate at 18 percent.</p><p>The canvassers found workers to be deeply fearful about the economy and eager to engage in conversation, often for extended lengths of time.</p><p>That does not bode well for The Donald who loves to talk at people – and to summarily fire them – but who hardly has a reputation as a great listener.</p><p>And some workers were repulsed by the billionaire’s rhetoric. One Ohio man told canvassers, “Trump is a clown.” Another said he was afraid Trump could “start a war with his mouth.”</p><p>Fifty-three percent of those interviewed remained undecided about a Presidential candidate and two-thirds of Trump supporters said they were willing to reconsider.</p><p>That is the answer to workers’ prayers.</p><p>***</p><p> </p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rxLttE06-BU" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1050029'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1050029" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 10:41:00 -0800 Leo Gerard, AlteNet 1050029 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Election 2016 Labor News & Politics Video minimum wage income inequality oxfam economic policy institute united steelworkers usw working america afl-cio great recession one percent undocumented immigrants Government Run Like a Business Poisons Kids http://servingwww.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/government-run-business-poisons-kids <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1049584'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1049584" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The lead poisoning of Flint children by a government based on Republican business values is no surprise.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_366517343.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The people of Michigan hired themselves a GOP businessman to be governor in 2011. And what they got was children poisoned by public water in Flint.</p><p>That is, what they got was a government run based on GOP business values.</p><p>To line the pockets of CEOs and shareholders, corporations cut corners in ways that frequently end up injuring workers and the public. Think of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster where safety violations <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/01/444909203/trial-begins-for-former-massey-ceo-over-2010-mine-disaster">killed 29 workers</a> or the <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/takatas-u-s-employees-flagged-reporting-issues-over-air-bags-1448411043">Takata airbag fatalities</a> that occurred despite workers voicing safety concerns or the nine deaths and 714 illnesses caused by salmonella-contaminated peanut butter <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/20/us/peanut-butter-salmonella-trial/">knowingly sold by Peanut Corporation of America</a>.</p><p>So, really, the lead poisoning of Flint children by a government based on Republican business values is no surprise.</p><p>Last week, in his state of the state address, GOP Gov. Rick Snyder, formerly a venture capitalist, apologized to the people of Flint who have been drinking water tainted with a known, potent neurotoxin since April of 2014. And then Snyder said, “I will fix it.”</p><p>Lead poisoning is irreversible. It can’t be fixed. In addition, now, <a href="http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/01/flint_water_crisis_casts_shado.html">two outbreaks of Legionnaires Disease</a> that sickened 87 and killed 10 have been linked to the foul water. There’s no fixing dead people.</p><p>The GOP businessman-governor also said in his state of the state address last week: “Government failed you.” That’s exactly what Republicans want. They want government to fail so that they can justify crushing it, eliminating much of what it does for people and turning over the rest to private business, which profits by cutting corners the way Peanut Corporation of America did.</p><p>Then, when it all falls apart like it did in Flint, it’s amazing how quick those Republicans put their hands out for a federal bailout. That’s what Snyder did. He’s a venture capitalist, after all. That’s the Wall Street way.</p><p>Michigan didn’t have to poison Flint’s children. That was a values choice. And Republican Gov. Rick Snyder values big business more than little children.</p><p>Immediately after Snyder got elected, he gave his corporate buddies a big fat tax break and raised taxes on individuals, including poor people and pensioners. <a href="http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/raw-data/2014/10/04/michigan-taxes-snyder/16683967/">An analysis by the Detroit Free Press in 2014</a> showed individuals were forking over a total of $900 million more a year. By contrast, businesses paid $1.7 billion less annually after Snyder cut their tax bills.</p><p>If corporations had paid their fair share in taxes over the five years that Snyder has been in charge, Michigan would have an additional $8.5 billion to help struggling cities like Flint afford clean water and struggling school districts like Detroit afford decent education. But giving businesses a tax break was more important to GOP businessman Snyder.</p><p>Long before Snyder took office, Flint fell into financial trouble as the auto industry abandoned it. But the Republican governor’s administration appointed the emergency manager who decided to disconnect Flint from a safe public water source and draw instead from the Flint River to save between $1 million and $2 million a year.</p><p>Almost immediately, the people of Flint began complaining. The Flint River water was yellow, orange or brown. It tasted and smelled bad. It caused <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/us/flint-michigan-lead-water-crisis.html?_r=0">rashes</a> and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/08/us/reassurances-end-in-flint-after-months-of-concern.html">nausea</a>. It <a href="http://www.wnem.com/story/26785625/gm-says-no-to-flint-water">produced so much corrosion at a GM plant</a> that the factory switched to another water source.</p><p>The public water that had been piped to Flint homes from Lake Huron for nearly <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/us/flint-michigan-lead-water-crisis.html?emc=edit_th_20160121&amp;nl=todaysheadlines&amp;nlid=25868490">five decades</a> had been treated to prevent metals in the pipes and pipe joints from leaching out. The water from the Flint River was untreated, even though it is more corrosive. So lead and iron leached into the water drawn by Flint residents. Both metals are dangerous.</p><p>The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/">no safe blood lead level</a> in children. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQzbRVAhfMo">Iron pulls chlorine out</a> of water, allowing bacteria to thrive. This <a href="http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2016/01/professor_says_flint_river_cou.html">creates a particularly fertile environment for Legionnaires because that bacteria</a> needs iron to grow.</p><p>Smelly, foul-tasting orange and brown water was good enough for Flint residents as far as the Snyder administration was concerned. Beyond ignoring the concerns of Flint residents, officials within his <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/23/us/flint-water-crisis-michigan-governor-rick-snyder.html?emc=edit_th_20160123&amp;nl=todaysheadlines&amp;nlid=25868490">administration</a> aggressively <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/us/flint-michigan-lead-water-crisis.html?emc=edit_th_20160121&amp;nl=todaysheadlines&amp;nlid=25868490">mocked and belittled</a> them.</p><p>Last year, in February, the <a href="http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2015/10/emails_show_feds_told_state_of.html">U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) warned</a> Michigan state officials that lead and other contaminants were leaching into the untreated Flint water. The state did nothing. In June, an EPA regulations manager <a href="http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2016/01/epa_official_says_he_was.html">reported that the state appeared to be deliberately testing the water</a> in a way that would seriously understate the levels of lead.</p><p>Instead of intervening immediately to stop the poisoning, state officials argued Michigan wasn’t required <a href="http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2016/01/epa_official_says_he_was.html">to treat the water to fix the problem</a>. Months later, when independent studies confirmed high levels of lead, state officials reacted initially by <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/23/us/flint-water-crisis-michigan-governor-rick-snyder.html?emc=edit_th_20160123&amp;nl=todaysheadlines&amp;nlid=25868490">denying the results</a>.</p><p>That’s definitely a government run on GOP-business values failing the people. Just like Peanut Corporation of America.</p><p>One of those independent studies was conducted by pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. Last September, she found a <a href="http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/01/flint_water_crisis_casts_shado.html">spike in blood lead levels</a> in Flint children, some three times higher than those in earlier routine tests.</p><p>Among the poisoned is 4-year-old Gavin Walters, who lost 27 pounds after the water switch and who sometimes seemed unable to pronounce words he knew, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/08/us/reassurances-end-in-flint-after-months-of-concern.html">his mother, LeeAnne Walters, told the New York Times.</a> “He is going to deal with the side effects of this for the rest of his life,” Ms. Walters said. “I don’t think there’s a word angry enough to describe my anger.”</p><p>Last fall, after the state couldn’t deny the results of the independent studies anymore, Snyder’s administration agreed to come up with <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/19/meet-rick-snyder-the-governor-at-the-center-of-the-flint-water-crisis/">most of the $12 million</a> needed to restore Lake Huron water to Flint. Had the state given Flint $12 million three years ago, the children of Flint would not have been poisoned.</p><p>Then last week, Snyder asked state lawmakers to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/us/flint-michigan-lead-water-crisis.html?emc=edit_th_20160121&amp;nl=todaysheadlines&amp;nlid=25868490">allocate $28 million</a> to help Flint. And he appealed President Obama’s denial of his request to declare Flint a federal disaster area and give him $96 million to fix it.</p><p>The President said <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2016/01/17/snyder-appeal-obama-flint-disaster-declaration/78944416/">federal law limited what he could do</a>. He awarded Flint $5 million in response to what could be legitimately described as a federal emergency. But he could not make a disaster declaration because <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2016/01/17/snyder-appeal-obama-flint-disaster-declaration/78944416/">the calamity was man-made.</a></p><p>This was not a Hurricane Katrina or Super Storm Sandy. The tragedy in Flint was a choice. This was a values decision about what was important. Giving a break to big business was the top priority for venture capitalist Snyder. Operating a shoddy government, over-taxing pensioners and poisoning Flint’s children was the result.</p><p>And now Snyder is demanding a $96 million federal bailout. Just like Wall Street. When those capitalists mess up, then all of a sudden they think government works.</p><p>***</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gbaK1EPpZxg" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1049584'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1049584" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 07:19:00 -0800 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1049584 at http://servingwww.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics Gov. Rick Snyder michigan flint wall street bailout upper big branch Takata Peanut Corporation of America Detroit Free Press new york times united steelworkers usw lead poisoning Legionnaires Disease GM plant Michigan Environmental Protection Agency U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha Here's a Recipe to Bring Joy to Workers This Holiday Season http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/heres-recipe-bring-joy-workers-holiday-season <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1047834'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1047834" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Workers need to earn enough money so that they can afford gifts and charitable donations.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/christmas_2015_graphic.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><div><p>The spirit of the season is generosity. Eight toys for Hanukkah. A partridge in a pear tree and 11 other quirky presents. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday.</p><p>It’s the thought that counts. And the thought is good-hearted. That’s why the season works so well.</p><p>To keep it all rolling happily along, however, workers need to earn enough money so that they can afford gifts and charitable donations. With wages stagnant for decades, that’s increasingly difficult.</p><p>In keeping with the figgy-pudding and potato latke traditions of the holidays, here’s a recipe for delivering joy to workers so that they can spread holiday merriment:</p><p><strong>Ingredients</strong></p><p>1 measure outlawing scabs<br />1 measure banning lockouts<br />1 measure raising minimum wage to $15 an hour<br />Knead in trade law enforcement<br />Filter out currency manipulation<br />Top it all with campaign finance reform</p><p><strong>Directions</strong><br /><br />Start by combining legislation forbidding both scabs and lockouts. These are two weapons corporations use to ratchet down wages, ruining workers’ holidays.</p><p>Right now, for example, Sherwin Alumina and ATI have locked out their loyal workers and replaced them with scabs. That’s thousands of workers forced to walk picket lines and depend on USW lockout assistance and food pantries for holiday meals rather than donating to them.</p><p>Prohibiting lockouts and scabs would slightly shift the balance of power toward workers. That’s completely justified considering corporate profits <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/05/business/economy/corporate-profits-grow-ever-larger-as-slice-of-economy-as-wages-slide.html">are at record levels</a> while wages are walking backward, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/16/news/economy/census-poverty-income/">lower now than in 2007</a>.</p><p>Next, add to the mix a raise to the minimum wage. No one who works full-time should live in poverty. The current $7.25 minimum, moribund for six years, is a Dickensian disgrace, a Bob Cratchit-level degradation.</p><p>Increasing the wages of workers at the bottom to $15 an hour will force up the pay of everyone else as well. All workers benefit. Happier holidays for all.</p><p>Trade law enforcement must be blended in next. Failure to immediately punish trade law violators has pummeled commodity producers – like aluminum and steel. Mills are closed. Thousands of workers are laid off. No merry holiday for them. Or their communities.</p><p>Several foreign countries, but particularly China, illegally prop up their exporting manufacturers. Not only that, they’re also overproducing, flooding the world market and crashing prices.</p><p>Workers need laws enabling the government to impose punitive tariffs before American mills close and families suffer. In addition, the government must file and prosecute trade cases to defend American industry, not force labor unions and manufacturers to do it.</p><p>The next step in this recipe is pulling currency manipulation out of the international market. Ending this underhanded <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/professional/blog/yuan-drop-lifts-anti-china-currency-manipulation-bill/">trade cheat</a> is crucial</p><p>Countries including Japan and China deliberately devalue their currency in order to automatically discount the price of their exports, so every day is Black Friday for their international customers. Making matters worse, this scheme simultaneously marks up the cost of products that U.S. manufacturers try to sell in currency-manipulating countries.</p><p>This makes for very bad holidays in places like Ashland, Ky., where AK Steel shut down its blast furnace earlier this month and <a href="http://www.wowktv.com/story/30769732/ak-steels-ashland-works-plant-to-begin-shut-down-thursday-layoffs-to-follow-friday">laid off hundreds of workers</a>. They <a href="http://www.wowktv.com/story/30769732/ak-steels-ashland-works-plant-to-begin-shut-down-thursday-layoffs-to-follow-friday">join about 4,000</a> Steelworkers at plants in Illinois and Alabama threatened with holiday layoffs.</p><p>The last ingredient, campaign finance reform, makes the whole recipe possible. Nothing will happen without it.</p><p>In a democracy, each citizen should have equal influence over lawmakers. The wealthy and fat-cat corporations shouldn’t get special access and treatment because they’ve given millions to candidates. The only way to stop that is to outlaw massive political bribes.</p><p>Gifts should be to loved ones and charities, not to politicians. If gargantuan campaign “presents” aren’t stopped, workers won’t be able to afford Christmas gifts because politicians will continue to ignore their needs and, as a result, their wages will continue to atrophy. Then the holiday season will not work well for anyone.</p><p>Workers need to make this holiday recipe happen. It would bring joy to their world.</p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ByhKM8NBK2E" width="560"></iframe></div><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1047834'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1047834" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 23 Dec 2015 07:27:00 -0800 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1047834 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor Video currency manipulation China Japan trade law enforcement steel aluminum food pantry campaign finance reform ATI Sherwin Alumina scabs lockout minimum wage exports trade violation How the GOP Is Diverting Our Attention Away from the TPP http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/how-gop-diverting-our-attention-away-tpp <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1047386'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1047386" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Americans’ anger should be directed at the proposed trade deal, not at Muslims or Hispanics. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/burn_the_tpp_graphic.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Middle America is smoldering. For too long, average citizens worked harder and produced more, yet corporations cut pay and benefits, off-shored community-sustaining factories, killed family-supporting jobs and crushed opportunity.</p><p>GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump stokes that fire by urging Americans to blame anyone but corporations and corporate honchos like himself. One-percenter Trump and his fellow GOP candidates exhort average Americans to hate and fear Muslims, Syrian refugees, Black Lives Matter activists and undocumented immigrants.</p><p>This is a divisionary tactic. The intent is to split workers into small sub-groups so they lose strength in numbers. And it’s a diversionary tactic. The ungodly wealthy like Trump, who have taken for themselves all the economic gains from increased worker productivity, finger someone other than one-percenters as the culprit for middle-class wage stagnation and provoke workers to fight among themselves.</p><p>Division and diversion help the one percent capture government, securing policies that further enrich the rich, like trickle-down economics under which no benefits ever actually descend, bailouts for Wall Street but not Main Street and job-destroying trade deals like NAFTA and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In a real democracy, one where government serves the 99 percent, the smoldering in America would be piles of discarded TPP texts.</p><p>Burning it was advised last week by the Labor Advisory Committee on the TPP, a group established by Congress that includes representatives of every major labor union and labor coalition in America, among them mine, the United Steelworkers (USW). In a 120-page report, the committee detailed exactly how the proposed TPP would injure working Americans and foster the closing and off-shoring of vital American industry, such as steel, aluminum and vehicle manufacturing.</p><p>TPP negotiators should start over, the Labor Advisory Committee said. They should produce a deal that puts workers first, not corporations and the one percent.</p><p>Unlike labor groups, giant multinational corporations, especially those like <a href="http://tppcoalition.org/about/">Nike</a> and <a href="http://tppcoalition.org/about/">WalMart</a> that exploit slave-wage labor overseas, love the TPP proposal. They hype it using diversion. Look, the U.S. Coalition (of massive corporations) for the TPP says, <a href="http://tppcoalition.org/?location=pa">here’s a map</a> showing how much each U.S. state exports to the 11 other Pacific Rim countries in the proposed deal.</p><p>It’s classic hocus-pocus. What the map fails to show is how much each state imports from the 11 countries. And that’s the problem.</p><p>When imports exceed exports, creating a trade deficit, Americans lose jobs. That’s exactly what happened under NAFTA. <a href="http://www.citizen.org/documents/NAFTA-at-20.pdf">That deal cost more than 845,000</a> U.S. workers their jobs as their factories closed or moved south of the border and consumers then bought goods manufactured in Mexico rather than in the United States.</p><p>The same thing happened after the United States agreed in 2001 to allow China into the World Trade Organization. The resulting trade deficit eliminated or displaced <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/the-wal-mart-effect/">3.2 million American jobs</a>.</p><p>Every time one of these trade deals is proposed, corporations eager to replace American factory workers with <a href="http://www.globallabourrights.org/reports/dirty-toys-made-in-china?can_id=2afebca4e8fa876fc483c6f145ccd2dd&amp;source=email-dirty-toys-made-in-china-disney-hasbro-and-mattel-must-act&amp;email_referrer=dirty-toys-made-in-china-disney-hasbro-and-mattel-must-act&amp;email_subject=dirty-toys-made-in-china-disney-hasbro-and-mattel-must-act&amp;link_id=0">long-hour, low-wage foreign</a>laborers promise exports will rise. And often they do. But imports rise much more. And as more stuff is shipped to the United States, American factories close. American workers lose their jobs. And the American middle class shrinks.</p><p>The Labor Advisory Committee urged TPP negotiators to include strong, enforceable measures in the deal to prevent this pattern from recurring. They didn’t.</p><p>In fact, under the TPP, American workers would lose protections. For example, as it is now, the U.S. government can specify that tax dollars go to create jobs in the United States under the Buy America and Buy American programs. When the federal government builds a new highway or helps fund a sewage treatment plant, it has the right to specify that the steel and concrete be made by American workers in the United States.</p><p>The TPP would limit that. Under the TPP, American tax dollars spent on public projects could go to create jobs in Vietnam or Malaysia or Brunei. That means more American jobs lost. But look away, multinational corporations say. Don’t think about those disappearing opportunities.</p><p>The TPP also would thrust middle-class Americans into a wage race to the bottom by pitting them against foreign workers paid pennies per hour and against child and forced laborers. The TPP would, for example, allow Vietnam to do absolutely nothing for five years about violations of workers’ rights in certain areas while the country immediately receives the benefits of tariff cuts on its products exported to the United States. That would put American workers in competition with those in Vietnam earning an <a href="http://www.thanhniennews.com/society/vietnams-minimum-wage-to-increase-1418-per-month-in-2015-29590.html">average of $150 a month.</a></p><p>But look away, stateless multinational corporations say. Don’t think about the fact that, after inflation, the vast majority of American workers’ wages have <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/stagnant-wages-in-2014/">flat-lined or fallen since 1979</a>, and the TPP would, clearly, worsen that terrible trend. Don’t worry, multinational corporations say, the TPP would require nations to establish and enforce minimum wages. Don’t think about the fact that the TPP fails to set any sort of standard, enabling a country to institute a minimum wage of 5 cents an hour. Or less.</p><p>The Labor Advisory Committee sought to protect American workers by asking the TPP negotiators to include strong measures to stop currency manipulation and to require a high percentage of a product to be manufactured within a TPP country for it to be exempt from tariffs when exported to the United States.</p><p>The negotiators did neither. That’s no surprise since they were formally <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-wallach/wto-orders-sanctions-unle_b_8748594.html">advised by 500 corporate lobbyists</a>. Instead of increasing the percentage of a product that must be manufactured in a TPP country, the deal would lower it when compared to the standards in previous trade pacts.</p><p>Rather than penalizing currency manipulation, the TPP would do nothing more than evaluate the practice that countries like</p><p>Japan and Vietnam use to artificially lower the price of their products while raising the price of American-made exports.</p><p>The multinational corporations that want to manufacture in low-wage, low-environmental-protection foreign countries say: Look, there’s something about currency manipulation glommed onto the bottom of the TPP. It’s not part of the main deal, doesn’t include strong language and isn’t enforceable. But, look away. Check out that guy who speaks broken English standing on the street corner trying desperately to get work as a day laborer.</p><p>The Labor Advisory Committee wants average Americans to look directly at this bad trade scheme and the self-dealing corporations pushing it. The measure of trade success should be improving broadly shared prosperity, increasing family-supporting jobs and raising middle-class wages. Corporate profits should rise as well. But the first priority, in a democracy, should be people, not corporations.</p><p>The proposed TPP fails this test. Americans’ anger should be directed where it’s deserved. Not at Muslims or Hispanics. But at any politician who would vote to approve this proposal to further lower their wages, destroy their jobs and diminish their economic opportunity.</p><p align="CENTER"><strong>***</strong></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yKXjuCeRWqk" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1047386'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1047386" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 15 Dec 2015 11:36:00 -0800 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1047386 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Economy Labor News & Politics trans-pacific partnership tpp nafta North American Free Trade Agreement minimum wage Labor Advisory Committee on the TPP world trade organization donald trump Syrian refugees Black Lives Matters U.S. Coalition for the TPP currency manipulation Buy America buy american The 1 Percenters Are Stuffing Their Pumpkin Pie Holes on Thanksgiving http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/1-percenters-are-stuffing-their-pumpkin-pie-holes-thanksgiving <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1046311'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1046311" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">They intend to gorge themselves until there’s nothing left for workers.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/thanksgiving_turkey.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>This Thanksgiving, in dining rooms across America, the turkey will be smaller, the stuffing more meager, the pumpkin pie sliced thinner. Gratitude will be given. But roiling just below the surface, for far too many families, <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/business/middle-class-couples-struggling-with-accelerating-costs-b99358782z1-277012251.html">will be economic anxiety.</a></p><p>The vast majority of working Americans haven’t seen a <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/">real raise in 35 years.</a> Meanwhile, every year, their health care costs rise. Their employers eliminate pensions. And their kids struggle with rising <a href="http://money.cnn.com/infographic/economy/heres-why-the-middle-class-feels-squeezed/">college or technical school tuition and debt</a>. Workers worry whether they will ever be able to pay the bills.</p><p>By contrast, on the other side of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the richest 1 percent are supersizing their feasts. For example, three families <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/hunteratkins/2015/11/18/at-45k-americas-most-expensive-thanksgiving-dinner/">will spend $45,000</a> – each – for Marie Antoinette-style meals, gold flakes and all, at the Old Homestead Steakhouse in New York City. That’s up by $10,000 from the restaurant’s Thanksgiving <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/old-homestead-serve-45k-thanksgiving-feast-article-1.2439624">fare for eight</a> last year. It’s more, for one meal, than <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/wkyeng.nr0.htm">the average American worker earns in a year.</a></p><p>The 1 percent can spend $45,000 for a Thanksgiving supper because they’re gobbling up <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/sunday-review/americas-productivity-climbs-but-wages-stagnate.html">virtually all of the income from workers’ productivity increases.</a> And now they’ve launched a new assault on workers. It’s a lawsuit called Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA). The 1 percent hopes it will prevent public service workers like teachers from joining together to collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions. If the $45,000-Thanksgiving-dinner crew wins the case, they’ll go after private-sector labor organizations next. They intend to gorge themselves until there’s nothing left for workers.</p><p><em><strong>The Marie Antoinette $45,000 Thanksgiving includes <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/hunteratkins/2015/11/18/at-45k-americas-most-expensive-thanksgiving-dinner/">two turkeys</a>. Because when would one, 20-pound free-range, organically raised bird at $75 a pound ever be enough?</strong></em></p><p>The Friedrichs case is about power. Individual workers don’t bargain for raises with gigantic multinational corporations and government agencies. They beg.</p><p>But when workers band together and seek raises as a team, they gain for themselves the power necessary to negotiate. That’s intolerable to 1 percenters. And that’s why they’re backing the Friedrichs case – to seize that negotiating power from workers.</p><p>Defending their right to collectively bargain are public service workers – the likes of firemen, teachers, social workers and public health nurses. The labor organizations these workers belong to try to ensure that they receive living wages and decent retirement benefits.</p><p>But just as importantly, public service workers also use their collective voice to negotiate in the public interest, including improving response times for paramedics and lowering social worker caseloads to allow adequate time to investigate child abuse allegations.</p><p>Public school teachers, who spend an average of <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/nicoleleinbachreyhle/2014/08/19/teachers-spend-own-money-school-supplies/">$500 a year</a> out of their own pockets for classroom supplies, routinely bargain to secure the smaller class sizes that parents want, to protect the recess breaks that elementary students need and to preserve arts and music education.</p><p>In addition, significantly, <a href="http://www.communitiesinschools.org/about/publications/publication/national-survey-american-teachers">a study last spring showed</a> that more than half of teachers have used their own money to help students experiencing crises, to get them clothing or to feed them.</p><p><em><strong>The Marie Antoinette $45,000 Thanksgiving includes <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/hunteratkins/2015/11/18/at-45k-americas-most-expensive-thanksgiving-dinner/">gravy made with Pappy Van Winkle</a> bourbon, which goes for $4,900 a bottle. Because when would $9 worth of cooking sherry ever be good enough?</strong></em></p><p>The paychecks of all workers are on the line in the Friedrichs case because if the 1 percent succeeds in stripping rights from public service workers, it will go after those of everyone else.</p><p>This creates great economic risks, not just for union members, but for non-union workers and their children.</p><p>As it is now, a union member earns, on average, <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/feb/07/thomas-perez/labor-secretary-thomas-perez-says-union-members-ea/">$200 more a week</a> and receives better benefits than a worker who is not in a labor organization. If the 1 percenters succeed in robbing private sector as well as public service workers of their bargaining rights, then the wealthy will gain clout to eliminate that union advantage and eventually to suppress all wages.</p><p>When union members lose, all workers lose. That’s because their ability to secure better wages pressures employers whose workers aren’t organized to raise their pay too. In addition, a study released earlier this year showed that the children of union members as well as the children of non-union members who live in high union density communities <a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/report/2015/09/09/120558/bargaining-for-the-american-dream/">experience greater upward mobility.</a></p><p>That means entire communities benefit from the work of labor organizations. And entire communities would suffer if the 1 percent can weaken or destroy them.</p><p><em><strong>The Marie Antoinette $45,000 Thanksgiving includes whipped sweet potatoes festooned with <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/hunteratkins/2015/11/18/at-45k-americas-most-expensive-thanksgiving-dinner/">$1,600-an-ounce</a> Royal Osetra caviar. Because when would the <a href="http://www.gourmet-food.com/gourmet-caviar/royal-osetra-caviar-1000551.aspx?gclid=Cj0KEQiApruyBRCFqoDu1pbk9rkBEiQAF8EFdbScUGL_WAm3XuKnOClaeS2Fli5W6XokNu61gwYO7GAaAuxz8P8HAQ">red-light-special</a>, $115-an-ounce can of fish eggs ever be acceptable?</strong></em></p><p>Providing the big bucks to push the Friedrichs case is the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), which is bankrolled by 1 percenters and right-wing organizations. Its name is significant. It wants to isolate workers, render them individuals rather than members of teams acting concertedly to win benefits for all.</p><p>The name of the group opposing CIR is noteworthy as well. It is <a href="http://americaworkstogether.us/">America Works Together</a>. It supports workers’ right to jointly seek advancement of all members of the group. Of course, labor organizations like the National Education Association (NEA), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and my union, the United Steelworkers (USW), are members of America Works Together.</p><p>But the coalition also includes civil rights, faith, legal and health organizations. <a href="http://americaworkstogether.us/who-we-are-2/">Among them are</a> the Alliance for a Just Society, Coalition on Human Needs, Interfaith Worker Justice and The Main Street Alliance.</p><p>America Works Together is an alliance of alliances advocating for the right of American workers to form alliances. It’s a symbol of the idea it supports – that community creates power.</p><p><em><strong>The Marie Antoinette $45,000 Thanksgiving final course is pumpkin ice cream decked with <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/hunteratkins/2015/11/18/at-45k-americas-most-expensive-thanksgiving-dinner/">24-carat gold flakes</a> and a $4,200 bottle of private reserve rum-infused eggnog sauce.</strong></em></p><p>That’s dessert for the 1 percent.</p><p>The 99 percent is seeking just deserts before the U.S. Supreme Court so that workers will retain the right to organize and collectively bargain for wages that will enable them to provide not a garish Marie Antoinette meal but a simple <a href="#imgrc=tig5eJgqBHISCM%3A&amp;usg=___4c0CTc6m7Ghom9Wb0koz3ZueT0%3D">Norman Rockwell</a> Thanksgiving for their families.</p><p>***</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JH2rCMBK1YE" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1046311'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1046311" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 06:27:00 -0800 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1046311 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Economy Labor Video thanksgiving norman rockwell marie antoinette 1 percent 99 percent unions usw united steelworkers America Works Together Main Street Alliance Interfaith Worker Justice Coalition on Human Needs Alliance for a Just Society seiu Service Employees International Union National Education Association Friedrichs v. CTA Friedrichs Center for Individual Rights Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade The Terrible Legacy of Unenforced Trade Laws http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/terrible-legacy-unenforced-trade-laws <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1045919'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1045919" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The American aluminum industry is desperate for relief from a flood of illegally subsidized aluminum imports from China.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/china_trade.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Over the past several weeks, as Alcoa and Century cut aluminum production nationwide, James Markus, a 23-year-veteran aluminum worker, acutely felt the pain of those laid off.</p><p>That’s because just two years ago, in October of 2013, Markus and 750 fellow aluminum workers <a href="http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2013/10/04/ormet-shutting-down.html">lost their jobs at Ormet</a> when the Hannibal, Ohio, smelter closed. He struggled for a year to retrain and get new work and witnessed friends and acquaintances foundering. Now he’s confronted with the images of thousands more aluminum workers and their families facing those same hard times.</p><p>What makes it all worse is that it’s unnecessary. The shutdowns, production curtailments and layoffs could have been averted. The American aluminum industry needed help, which it didn’t get. The industry is desperate for relief from a flood of illegally subsidized aluminum imports from China. Many American aluminum workers like Markus would still be employed if the United States proactively enforced international trade regulations and if U.S. law permitted trade sanctions before companies and workers suffer terrible losses.</p><p>Markus is bitter that federal officials did not intervene to save Ormet. “Many politicians on the national level in this country have turned a deaf ear and blind eye toward working people,” he said.</p><p>Five months after Ormet closed, Alcoa <a href="http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news05/alcoa-will-permanently-close-massena-east-end-smelting-at-west-plant-and-lay-off-up-to-500-workers-20151102">shuttered its Massena East Plant</a> in New York. But hope remained because Alcoa said it planned a $600 million modernization that would restore work there.</p><p>Seven months after that, in October of 2014, <a href="http://www.usw.org/act/campaigns/sherwin-alumina-lockout">Sherwin Alumina locked 450 members</a> of the United Steelworkers (USW) union out of its Gregory, Texas, plant. It’s now operating at a severely diminished capacity with no incentive to restore the USW workers and full production while artificially cheap Chinese aluminum overwhelms the U.S. market.</p><p>Eight months later, in July of 2015, <a href="#dKl8sHFsuTJivCGy.97">Century said it would never reopen its Ravenswood</a> plant in West Virginia. That meant none of the 650 workers who lost their jobs when it closed in 2009 could ever return to work there.</p><p>The following month, Century reported that it <a href="http://www.wdrb.com/story/29886350/century-aluminum-to-idle-plant-in-hawesville-causing-more-than-500-layoffs">would idle its Hawesville, Ky., aluminum plant,</a> costing 565 workers their family-supporting jobs.</p><p>Last month, <a href="#ehezjeP1dH9yktBo.97">Century said that by year’s end</a>, it would cut a third of its aluminum production at its Sebree, Ky., plant, throwing 150 workers out of their jobs and that it may close its Mt. Holly, S.C., aluminum smelter, putting <a href="#4gUzyJZvJU3XZjzd.97">600 workers on the street</a>.</p><p>Then, early this month Alcoa announced <a href="http://www.yourmetalnews.com/another+1,500+u.s.+aluminum+workers+lose+jobs:+china+is+destroying+american+families_123260.html">1,500 of its workers would lose their paychecks</a> because it was closing or cutting production at three smelters. Two are in Washington state and the third is Massena West in New York.</p><p>In addition, Alcoa said it would <a href="http://www.wwnytv.com/news/local/Breaking-News-Alcoa-Closing-Its-Massena-Smelting-Plant-339558072.html">permanently close the Massena East plant</a>, dashing hopes for modernization and restoration of jobs.</p><p>This relentless cutting and closing has devastated thousands of skilled workers and their families. Markus talked about how the shuttering affected workers at his plant: “It was frustrating for many of them because they did not have a skill or trade outside of the work that they did at Ormet. That made it hard for them to find a job in our area where they could maintain the same level of income for their families.”</p><p>While these American workers suffer, China subsidizes its aluminum industry to protect its citizens from job loss. International law forbids export of government-subsidized products because their artificially low prices would warp the market in the receiving country and damage industry there. But market analysts and Century officials say that is exactly what China is doing.</p><p>Century’s president and chief executive, Michael Bless, said China is flouting international law. Its overproduction, illegal subsidies and dumping of aluminum in the U.S. market caused the collapse of the U.S. industry. Speaking specifically of the Sebree plant, <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/rising-chinese-production-keeps-lid-on-aluminum-prices-1447186082">he said its</a> “continued production is now in jeopardy due to unfair Chinese trade behavior.”</p><p>The financial securities firm <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/rising-chinese-production-keeps-lid-on-aluminum-prices-1447186082">Nomura reported</a> that Chinese aluminum producers benefit from opaque tax credits or cheap loans made by local governments on the condition that the companies sustain production and employment.</p><p>The American industry is not the only victim of this practice. Producers in India are complaining about China as well. Abhijit Pati, chief executive officer of Vedanta Group’s aluminum business, <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/rising-chinese-production-keeps-lid-on-aluminum-prices-1447186082?alg=y">told the Wall Street Journal</a>, “Due to a rise in imports from China domestic [Indian] producers are getting choked. There is tremendous subsidization of aluminum production in China.”</p><p>In a market where <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/rising-chinese-production-keeps-lid-on-aluminum-prices-1447186082?alg=y">aluminum prices are hovering just above a six-year low</a>, China has raised capacity, production and exports. China increased production <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/rising-chinese-production-keeps-lid-on-aluminum-prices-1447186082">18 percent year-to-date</a> and increased exports <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/rising-chinese-production-keeps-lid-on-aluminum-prices-1447186082">by 14.4 percent</a>. This has contributed to the low prices. And the low prices triggered the American shutdowns.</p><p>China has seized ever-increasing portions of the global market since the turn of the century, when its production accounted for 11 percent. Now, China produces <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/rising-chinese-production-keeps-lid-on-aluminum-prices-1447186082?alg=y">half of the world’s aluminum</a>, and it’s not stopping. Already this year <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/rising-chinese-production-keeps-lid-on-aluminum-prices-1447186082?alg=y">it added 3 million tons</a> to its annual smelting capacity and may add another million tons before year’s end. While American producers close.</p><p>To block China from dumping its illegally subsidized aluminum into the U.S. market, Century and the USW are working together in the <a href="http://chinatradetaskforce.com/">China Trade Taskforce</a>. It is asking the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to investigate reports of <a href="http://www.aluminum.org/news/aluminum-association-releases-statement-dupr%C3%A9-analytics-report">misclassified Chinese aluminum exports</a> evading U.S. import duties and illegally subsidized Chinese exports. The group is simply asking the U.S. government to enforce international trade law, which would preserve the American industry and American jobs.</p><p>Markus, who was 55 when he lost his job at Ormet, does not understand why trade officials haven’t intervened already. Too many workers, too many families have suffered.</p><p>When Monroe County, Ohio, lost Ormet, which had been its largest employer, nothing filled the void. Markus saw region’s economy fade. Small businesses on both sides of the Ohio River near the plant shut down. And, he noted, the people who had owned or worked in those shops lost their jobs too.</p><p>This is the legacy of bad trade and badly enforced trade laws.</p><p>**</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/M7GrLuf_uFw" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1045919'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1045919" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 08:12:00 -0800 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1045919 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Economy Labor News & Politics Video century Alcoa Ormet China free trade fair trade trade enforcement united steelworkers usw Ravenswood Sherwin Alumina Michael Bless Nomura wall street journal Abhijit Pati Vedanta Group China Trade Taskforce U.S. Trade Representative The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Another Deadly Trade Deal http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/trans-pacific-partnership-another-deadly-trade-deal <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1045551'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1045551" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">It cannot be permitted to kill more Americans who want so desperately to work.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_97689110-edited.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Americans who once earned family-supporting wages working in factories, foundries and mills across this country began destroying themselves at a shocking rate five years after implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).</p><p>That’s because such deals – schemes exactly like the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement released last week – encouraged corporations to offshore manufacturing, decimating decent American jobs and the lives of decent American workers.</p><p>Unemployed, desperate and despairing, <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/11/boomers-deaths-pnas/413971/">these once-middle-class workers are killing themselves</a> at unconscionable rates with guns, heroin and alcohol-induced cirrhosis. To such workers, the TPP would mean more tragedy, more death. The opposite is true for CEOs, shareholders and Wall Street financiers. To them, the TPP would mean even more luxury, more wealth. Trade schemes like the TPP further rig the economy in favor of the already-rich and against the hard-working rest.</p><p>Two Princeton economists last week <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34714842">published a study</a> showing that white, middle-aged Americans with high school diplomas or less education are dying at a faster rate than they did before NAFTA. They began suffering diminished life expectancy in 1999.</p><p></p><div alt="" class="media-image" height="270" width="480"><img alt="" class="media-image" height="270" width="480" typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/large/public/story_images/mortality_rate_graph.jpg" /><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --><div class="field field-name-field-caption field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Purple dashed line shows rising death rate for white men aged 45 to 54 with high school diplomas or less education. Red line is black mortality rate for same age group; green line is Hispanic; teal is caucasian.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-image-source field-type-text field-label-inline clearfix"><div class="field-label">Photo Credit: </div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">c/o Leo Gerard</div></div></div> </div><p>That stands in stark contrast to all other age and ethnic groups, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Europeans, whose health and life expectancy have improved.</p><p>The typical killers, diabetes and heart disease, didn’t take these white Americans aged 45 to 54. It was suicide, drug overdoses and alcohol abuse.</p><p>Before 1999, the mortality rate for this group, as for the others, had been declining. Since then, their rising rate means, “half a million people are dead who should not be dead,” <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/a-group-of-middle-aged-american-whites-is-dying-at-a-startling-rate/2015/11/02/47a63098-8172-11e5-8ba6-cec48b74b2a7_story.html">said study co-author Angus Deaton</a>, a 2015 Nobel Prize winner. That is close to the number of Americans killed by HIV-AIDS.</p><p>Unlike AIDS, this has been a silent epidemic, unexposed until the report by <a href="The%20New%20York%20Times%20reports%20that%2090%25%20of%20people%20who%20tried%20heroin%20in%20the%20last%20decade%20were%20white.">Deaton and co-author Anne Case</a>. The cause of the self-slaughter, the researchers suggested, is financial strain.</p><p>Bread winners couldn’t pay their bills and couldn’t foresee a future when they could. That is because jobs in manufacturing and construction – jobs that had provided middle-class incomes for workers without college degrees for decades – disappeared.</p><p>Between 1997, three years after NAFTA took effect, and 2014, the country lost more than <a href="http://www.epi.org/blog/fast-track-to-lost-jobs-and-lower-wages/">5 million manufacturing jobs.</a> The vast majority, according to the Economic Policy Institute, vanished as a result of growing trade deficits with countries that the United States signed so-called free trade and investment deals with.</p><p><a href="http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2011/nov/07/betty-sutton/betty-sutton-says-average-15-us-factories-close-ea/">Just since 2001, 56,000 American factories</a> closed. Corporations moved many of these to low-wage, low-worker-safety, low-environmental-protection countries with which the United States has so-called free trade deals enabling the companies to sell the foreign-made products in America with little or no tariffs or duties.</p><p>The TPP, the largest so-called free trade deal ever, encompassing a dozen Pacific-Rim countries including forced and child labor violators <a href="http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/countries/2015/243403.htm">Brunei</a> and <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-23631923">Vietnam,</a> would send even more American industry and jobs overseas.</p><p><a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/several-u-s-industries-applaud-trans-pacific-partnership-1444078117">The Wall Street Journal calculated</a> that the TPP would increase the U.S. trade deficit in manufacturing, car assembly and car parts by $55.8 billion a year by 2025. Using the U.S. Department of Commerce estimate of 6,000 jobs lost for every $1 billion in trade deficits, the TPP would cost another 330,000 American manufacturing workers their jobs, their income, their hopes. Maybe their lives.</p><p>That 330,000 probably is a low-ball estimate because the TPP negotiators secured no enforceable protections for American workers. For example, the TPP would provide no way to compel partner countries to stop manipulating their currencies to gain competitive advantage over American manufacturers. <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/stop-currency-manipulation-in-the-trans-pacific-partnership-millions-of-jobs-at-stake/">Countries like Japan, Singapore and Malaysia</a>, all TPP partners, lower the value of their currencies to make their exports cheaper in the American market and American exports to theirs more expensive. Ford Motor Co. opposes the TPP for this reason.</p><p>Similarly, the TPP fails to include enforceable methods to stop foreign labor abuses including poverty wages and violations of collective bargaining rights. This facilitates the race to the bottom on wages. Corporations move factories overseas because they can’t get away with paying Americans the <a href="http://www.thanhniennews.com/society/vietnams-minimum-wage-to-increase-1418-per-month-in-2015-29590.html">90 cents an hour</a> that is the average wage in Vietnam.</p><p>Also, disastrously, the TPP would lower the content requirement for cars and auto parts to be considered produced in a TPP country. NAFTA set the figure at <a href="http://www.cbp.gov/trade/nafta/guide-customs-procedures/provisions-specific-sectors/automotive-products">62.5 percent for cars</a>. That meant 37.5 percent of a car could be manufactured in China, shipped to Mexico for assembly and the car deemed made in Mexico for tariff purposes.</p><p>The TPP would <a href="http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2015/10/05/tpp-fosters-fears-for-domestic-auto-industry">reduce the domestic content percentage to 45</a>, so that 55 percent of a vehicle – more than half – could be manufactured in China and the car still considered made in a TPP country and benefit from zero tariffs when shipped to the United States.</p><p>In addition, the TPP’s proposal to immediately eliminate U.S. tariffs but allow TPP partners to sustain theirs for years would lure U.S. factories offshore. That’s because it means corporations would have to pay tariffs to ship American-made goods to TPP partners, but they would pay none if they move manufacturing to a TPP country and export to the United States.</p><p>Another way the TPP would send American work overseas is by ending the Buy American preference. The trade deal would allow any TPP partner to bid on federal contracts, so American tax dollars would be spent to create jobs in TPP countries like Mexico and Malaysia instead of in the United States.</p><p><a href="https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150605/11483831239/revealed-emails-show-how-industry-lobbyists-basically-wrote-tpp.shtml">Literally hundreds of lobbyists</a> were given a seat at the secret TPP negotiating table, resulting in these rules favoring multi-national corporations. For decades, the regulations for international commerce, for so-called free trade, have lined the pockets of the already wealthy and emptied those of workers thrown out of their jobs.</p><p>It was cruel enough that America countenanced for decades so-called free trade that cost millions of U.S. manufacturing workers their source of family-supporting income. But now that it’s clear that bad trade schemes also cost workers their lives, the TPP must be stopped. It cannot be permitted to kill more Americans who want so desperately to work.</p><p> </p><p>***</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XDWPUs58goU" width="560"></iframe></p><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1045551'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1045551" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 10 Nov 2015 08:06:00 -0800 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1045551 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Economy Labor News & Politics nafta North American Free Trade Agreement tpp trans-pacific partnership middle class princeton AHIV-AIDS Anne Case Angus Deaton economic policy institute brunei vietnam child labor forced labor Malaysia Japan singapore currency manipulation Ford Motor Co. domestic content tariffs Made in America free trade Retirement Insecurity for Workers, But Decadent Pensions for CEOs http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/retirement-insecurity-workers-decadent-pensions-ceos <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1045196'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1045196" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">It results from the persistent demand by CEOs and other 1 percenters that all wealth get deposited in their pockets. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/retirement_insecurity_graphic.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Workers received a terrifying message last week, one far more bone-chilling than Halloween ghouls or Freddie Krueger. It was this: Retirement security is only for CEOs, not for workers.</p><p>Two sources delivered this frightening news. One was a dozen Republican presidential candidates insisting during last week’s debate that Social Security be slashed. The other was a new report detailing how corporations killed worker pension plans while simultaneously gilding CEO retirement accounts.</p><p>There’s a simple explanation for this ill-treatment of the vast majority. It results from the persistent demand by CEOs and other 1 percenters that all wealth get deposited in their pockets. That means grotesquely fat paychecks, perks and pensions for them and no raises and no retirement for workers whose labor creates corporate profits. That means CEOs and 1 percenters paying Social Security taxes at a much lower rate than workers do, hobbling the program. The uber-wealthy get away with this because politicians, particularly Republicans, are their indentured servants. Billionaires bankroll their campaigns and get exactly what they want in return.</p><p>Federal rules facilitate CEOs amassing pensions worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Workers can’t contribute more than <a href="https://401k.fidelity.com/public/content/401k/home/vpcontributionlimits">$24,000 a year to their 401(k) retirement plans</a>, but corporations can stash <a href="http://www.foreffectivegov.org/two-retirements">unlimited cash in special CEO retirement accounts</a> – and then get a tax break for doing it!</p><p>A <a href="http://www.foreffectivegov.org/two-retirements">report issued last week</a> by the Center for Effective Government and the Institute for Policy Studies details the disparity in CEO and worker pension treatment. Titled <a href="http://www.foreffectivegov.org/two-retirements">“A Tale of Two Retirements,”</a> it notes that the 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion. That equals the entire old-age savings of 41 percent of all American families.</p><p>These 100 CEOs have awarded themselves the same amount of pension money that <a href="http://www.foreffectivegov.org/two-retirements">116 million Americans</a> have scrimped and saved for retirement.</p><p>Among those 100 high rollers, the guy with the most mammoth retirement account is David Novak, who moved this year from CEO of YUM Brands to executive chairman. YUM, which owns the low-wage restaurant chains Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC, handed Novak a $234 million pension.</p><p>For Novak, that’s a <a href="http://www.foreffectivegov.org/two-retirements">pension check totaling $1.3 million</a> every month until the day he dies. A million a month!</p><p>In the meantime, YUM <a href="http://www.foreffectivegov.org/two-retirements">stopped providing pensions to new hires in 2001</a> and owes its workers’ pension fund <a href="http://www.foreffectivegov.org/two-retirements">$310 million</a>.</p><p>This is typical corporate misconduct. YUM poured $234 million into Novak’s retirement fund. But the corporation just can’t seem to find the $310 million in owes the pension account for thousands of its dedicated workers.</p><p>The guy whose pension ranks number five on the list is John H. Hammergren, CEO of McKesson. The corporation has handed him a $145.5 million pension fund, which means he can <a href="http://www.foreffectivegov.org/two-retirements">collect $819,243 a month</a>.</p><p>Though that’s less than what YUM gave Novak, McKesson bested YUM in one area. <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323998604578565491579124154">It denied pensions to new hires beginning in 1996,</a> five years before YUM did.</p><p>Hammergren, whose average annual pay is <a href="http://www.forbes.com/lists/2012/12/ceo-compensation-12_John-H-Hammergren_ESV7.html">$50 million</a>, was a new hire at McKesson <a href="http://topics.wsj.com/person/H/John-H-Hammergren/1024">in 1996</a>. Though he wasn’t named CEO until years later, clearly, he got himself a special exemption from that no-pension for new hires rule. CEOs don’t follow the rules.</p><p>Then there’s Marilyn Hewson, the female CEO with the largest pension account. Lockheed Martin deposited $60 million in her retirement fund, enough to give her a monthly check totaling $341,649.</p><p>Hewson’s corporation eliminated pensions <a href="http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/article3863848.html">for newly hired salaried workers in 2006</a> and newly <a href="http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-07-01/features/sns-mct-striking-lockheed-workers-say-they-had-to-take-a-20120701_1_lockheed-workers-pension-issue-lockheed-plant">hired union workers in 2012</a>. Then, last year, it announced that it would begin <a href="http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/article3863848.html">freezing the pensions of 48,000 salaried workers starting in 2016</a>.</p><p>That’s retirement luxury for CEO Marilyn Hewson; retirement poverty for Lockheed Martin workers.</p><p>While corporations stash more and more in the accounts of CEOs like Hewson, they’ve slashed more and more from workers, like those whose labor makes profits for Lockheed Martin. In the early 1990s, 35 percent of private sector workers received a defined benefit pension plan at work. Now it’s 18 percent. Today, nearly half of all workers have no access at all to any retirement plan at work, no defined benefit pension, no 401(k). Those with a 401(k) have paltry savings, an average of $18,433, only enough to provide a retirement check of $104 a month – somewhat less than Novak’s $1.3 million a month.</p><p>Because so many corporations have decided only CEOs need pensions, a huge portion of the nation’s elderly relies heavily on Social Security. <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/research/social-security/policy-basics-top-ten-facts-about-social-security">For 24 percent</a> of the approximately <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/basicfact.html">40 million senior citizens</a> who receive Social Security, it is the sole source of retirement income.</p><p>It amounts to <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/basicfact.html">$1,335 a month</a>, about $16,000 a year, barely enough to pay for food, shelter and health care.</p><p>Yet Republicans running for President want to cut it. Or they want Americans to work longer before getting it. Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Chris Christie have all said Americans should be forced to work past age 65. They’re demanding 66-year-old roofers and carpenters and iron workers continue to carry heavy loads and climb scaffolds and ladders. They’re just fine with 66-year-old tire builders and steelworkers and refinery workers being forced to stand all day operating body-battering machines.</p><p>At the debate last week, Sen. Marco Rubio said he’d protect Social Security for his mother but not for younger people. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who left the company with a <a href="http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1848501_1848500_1848417,00.html">$40 million golden parachute when she was fired,</a> said the <a href="http://www.nextavenue.org/the-gop-debates-truthiness-on-money-issues/">government should do nothing to help workers</a>.</p><p>Sure. She was fine with the government giving Hewlett-Packard tax breaks that padded her pay and pension. Now that she’s got her $40 million, she thinks the government should do absolutely nothing for working people’s pensions or for the 40 million Americans who depend on Social Security.</p><p>The obvious fix for Social Security is to require the wealthy to pay the tax on all of their income, just as middle class and low-wage workers do. As it is now, the rich pay the tax only on the <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/maxtax.html">first $118,500 they earn.</a> They don’t pay a cent of the tax on the rest. No matter how many millions they pull down.</p><p>The obvious fix for pensions is to require corporations to provide for workers the same kind of benefits they gift wrap for top executives and to end the exclusive tax breaks given CEO pensions.</p><p>Fiorina and other fat cat CEOs believe they’re special and shouldn’t have to follow the same rules or pay the same taxes as workers. American workers will continue to suffer retirement insecurity until they stop electing politicians who are indentured servants to 1 percenters and CEOs like Fiorina.</p><p>***</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lHAcy4SNVbo" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1045196'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1045196" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 03 Nov 2015 12:00:00 -0800 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1045196 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor News & Politics Video social security carly fiorina hewlett-packard Yum Brands Center for Effective Government Institute for Policy Studies A Tale of Two Retirements David Novak McKesson John H. Hammergren Marilyn Hewson lockheed martin 401(k) defined benefit pension ted cruz rand paul chris christie marco rubio Middle-Class Joe (Biden) Expresses Middle-Class Angst http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/middle-class-joe-biden-expresses-middle-class-angst-0 <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1044780'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1044780" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Biden made it clear that had he run for President, restoring equal opportunity for access to the middle class would have been his mission.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/joe_biden.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>As Vice President Joe Biden announced his decision last week not to run for President, he talked about dreams denied, possibilities foreclosed.</p><p>He wasn’t speaking of his own aspirations, though. He conveyed absolutely no bitterness about relinquishing the potential to serve as President.</p><p>Instead, he voiced deep concern about an America where too many believe, based on experience, that hard work does not pay, that dreams are delusions likely to be dashed.</p><p>For the next President, building the economy and protecting the homeland are vital, of course. But just as crucial is restoring the belief that America is a place where work is justly rewarded and everyone who works hard can attain – without back-breaking debt – a middle-class life that includes home ownership, health insurance, a reasonable retirement and higher education for the kids.</p><p>When Joe Biden was a boy, Americans cherished the certainty that in the United States hard work paved the way to the middle class. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzU2Xr2JeV0">Here’s what he said</a> about it: “I’ve always believed that what sets America apart from every other nation is that we, ordinary Americans, believe in possibilities — unlimited possibilities. Possibilities for a kid growing up in a poor inner-city neighborhood, or a Spanish-speaking home, or a kid from Mayfield in Delaware, or Willow Grove in Pennsylvania – like Jill and I – to be able to be anything we wanted to be; to do anything – anything – that we want. That’s what we were both taught. That’s what the President was taught. It was real.”</p><p>Notice the past tense. He said it <em><strong>was</strong></em> real. Not it <em><strong>is</strong></em>real.</p><p>Biden made it clear that had he run for President, restoring equal opportunity for access to the middle class would have been his mission.</p><p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/22/us/politics/transcript-of-joe-bidens-remarks-on-not-running-for-president.html?action=click&amp;contentCollection=Politics&amp;module=RelatedCoverage&amp;region=Marginalia&amp;pgtype=article">This is what he said</a>:</p><p>“When I was growing up, my parents, in tough times, looked at me and would say to me and my brothers and sister, ‘Honey, it’s going to be O.K.’ And they meant it. They meant it. It was going to be O.K. But some of you who cover me, I say go back to your old neighborhoods. Talk to your contemporaries who aren’t as successful as you’ve been. There are too many people in America today, too many parents who don’t believe they can look their kid in the eye and say with certitude, ‘Honey, it’s going to be O.K.’ That’s what we need to change.”</p><p>For it to be O.K., the link between productivity and pay must be restored. Workers need a raise. They’ve deserved a raise for 30 years.</p><p>For three decades after the end of World War II, <a href="#introduction-and-key-findings">pay for the vast majority of American workers rose in tandem with productivity</a>. This enabled the majority of families to live middle-class lives on the paycheck of one adult worker. It allowed families to send their children to trade school or college. It provided hope for a better future for everyone who worked hard and played by the rules.</p><p>But pay <a href="#introduction-and-key-findings">stopped rising in concert with productivity increases in the mid-1970s.</a> Wages have virtually stagnated since then. Families retained a middle-class lifestyle only by sending two adults to work, borrowing against assets like homes and financing college with crippling amounts of debt.</p><p>Families that worked very hard and played by every rule saw no progress. Some went backwards, losing jobs and homes in the great recession, which was a catastrophe for the middle class caused by the recklessness of 21<sup>st</sup> century robber barons – Wall Streeters.</p><p>In the meantime, the already rich got richer as they took for themselves all the benefits of bailouts and all of the gains from increased productivity. Now, income inequality rivals that during the days just before the Great Depression. And now there’s deep-seated fear among the non-rich majority. Too many believe: “Honey, it’s not going to be O.K.”</p><p>They know that government has rigged the game in favor of the very rich, who use fractions of their fortunes to pay lobbyists and provide millions in strings-attached campaign contributions. Biden said that’s got to end: “We have to level the playing field for the American people.”</p><p>That happened during the Great Depression, and it can again.</p><p>Government achieved a major leveling with legislation in the 1930s. It established the 40-hour work week by requiring overtime pay for hours worked beyond 40, outlawed child labor, created the minimum wage, strictly regulated banks, created Social Security and encouraged workers to band together in labor unions to negotiate for better wages and working conditions.</p><p>Every hour of every day since then, however, Republicans have fought to reverse these gains. They’ve restricted workers’ ability to form unions and collectively bargain. They’ve blocked a raise in the federal minimum wage for six years, meaning that these workers toil 40 hours a week in jobs that don’t pay them enough to support themselves. They’ve tried to stop an increase in the number of people who qualify for overtime pay. They want to cut, gut and privatize Social Security.</p><p>All of this has gouged the confidence of the middle class. Workers wonder: Will it ever be O.K again?</p><p>That is a tragic loss for Americans. As Biden said, it’s the loss of something very special, the very soul of this country.</p><p>The measure of America’s success, Biden said, will be restoring the ability of every parent “to look at their kid in tough times and say, ‘Honey, it’s going to be O.K.’ — and mean it.” America has done that before. It can be done again now by a government that focuses on the well-being of the vast majority. It should be the priority of every candidate for President, even though Middle-Class Joe will not be among them.</p><p>***</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ufpsxQwPP1Y" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1044780'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1044780" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 27 Oct 2015 08:05:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1044780 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Labor News & Politics joe biden middle class great depression great recession labor unions united steelworkers usw minimum wage productivity social security child labor National Labor Relations Act Wagner Act Trans-Pacific Partnership: Foie Gras for Corporations, Dead Rats for Workers http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/trans-pacific-partnership-foie-gras-corporations-dead-rats-workers <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1044032'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1044032" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">For American workers, the deal is not good.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/tpp_rat-edited.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Some terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the 12-nation trade proposal completed last week, are so repulsive that the New Zealand trade minister who helped negotiate the scheme described accepting them as swallowing dead rats.</p><p>Here’s what New Zealand Minister Tim Groser said: “On the hardest core issues, there are some ugly compromises out there. And when we say ugly, we mean ugly from each perspective – it doesn't mean ‘I've got to swallow a <a href="http://m.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&amp;objectid=11522953">dead rat</a> and you're swallowing foie gras.’ It means both of us are swallowing dead rats on three or four issues to get this deal across the line.”</p><p>There’s no reason for the United States to swallow a trade deal filled with rotten rodent terms. Previous so-called free trade deals have killed American factories and hundreds of thousands of family-supporting manufacturing jobs. Based on that terrible experience, American workers know for sure that if the scheme contains any foie gras, it’ll be served on silver platters to corporations while workers are force-fed rats.</p><p>For workers, the TPP’s dead rats are supersized versions of the ones in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Korean free trade agreement (KORUS) and the agreement to allow China into the World Trade Organization. NAFTA covered only the United States, Mexico and Canada. The TPP would encompass four times that many countries – the United States, Mexico, Canada and nine other nations, which together account for <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/06/business/international/the-trans-pacific-partnership-trade-deal-explained.html?ref=first-draft">roughly 40 percent of global GDP and one-third of world trade</a>.</p><p>Errors in such a deal would produce dangerously massive effects. And NAFTA, on which the TPP is based, is deeply flawed.</p><p>NAFTA provisions prompted corporations to move auto, auto parts, electronics, appliance and other factories from the United States to low-wage, low-environmental-protection Mexico. Twenty years later, <a href="http://www.citizen.org/documents/NAFTA-at-20.pdf">an analysis by Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch</a> showed that NAFTA cost Americans at least 845,000 jobs. And the study’s authors said they believe that number is low by hundreds of thousands because it includes only workers who qualified for Trade Adjustment Assistance, the federal aid for workers who can prove globalization cost them their jobs.</p><p>The TPP would encourage a new round of offshoring to countries with even more deplorable pay and environmental protections. And it would drive down U.S. wages by pitting American workers against those in Vietnam making less than <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/10/06/the-future-of-trans-pacific-trade/the-trans-pacific-pact-would-kill-jobs-and-consumer-protection">65 cents</a> an hour and against forced and child laborers in <a href="http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/malaysias-palm-oil-industry-cited-for-using-child-labour-says-us">Malaysia</a> and <a href="http://www.aflcio.org/content/download/150491/3811471/file/TPPreport-NO+BUG.pdf">Brunei</a>.</p><p>Every time one of these deals is signed, its cheerleaders contend enforcement of new and improved labor and environmental standards will prevent U.S. job losses and wage reductions. That’s what TPP backers are swearing now. But, based on experience, that’s nothing but a big fat rat.</p><p>Another rodent in the TPP stew is currency manipulation. Like China, TPP signatories <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/stop-currency-manipulation-in-the-trans-pacific-partnership-millions-of-jobs-at-stake/">Japan, Malaysia and Singapore</a> exploit this tactic to lower the price of their exports. In August, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/11/business/international/china-lowers-value-of-its-currency-as-economic-slowdown-raises-concerns.html?_r=0">China deliberately and sharply devalued its currency</a> as its economy cooled and its stock market sank. That artificially lowered the price of the steel, tires, paper and other products that Chinese factories had overproduced for export. And it artificially increased the price of American products exported to China. That costs Americans their jobs.</p><p>Last year, the Economic Policy Institute estimated that as many as <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/stop-currency-manipulation-and-create-millions-of-jobs/">5.8 million American jobs</a> could be created if the U.S. took steps to stop currency manipulation by a group of 20 countries, including China. Earlier this year, Congress specified that ending currency manipulation should be a negotiating objective for the TPP.</p><p>The negotiators responded by establishing in the TPP a set of <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/06/us-trade-tpp-obama-currency-idUSKCN0S02OY20151006">principles for measuring currency manipulation.</a> As if measuring it could stop it. Because currency manipulation can cut thousands of dollars from the cost of a foreign-made car sold in the United States, <a href="http://www.freep.com/story/news/2015/10/05/ford-others-say-trade-deal-lacks-currency-protections/73372996/">Ford Motor Company told Congress</a> it should reject the TPP.</p><p>In addition to the currency rat, auto companies, auto workers and members of my union, the United Steelworkers, who manufacture auto parts, are having a hard time swallowing the TPP’s lowered domestic content rules.</p><p>To qualify for tariff-free treatment under free trade agreements, items manufactured from many parts, as cars and trucks are, must meet domestic content standards. That’s to prevent a country from importing all of the parts, or even partly manufactured chunks, from non-participating countries that violate the agreement’s rules and simply assembling them and labeling the products domestically produced.</p><p>Under NAFTA, the domestic content standard is <a href="http://www.cbp.gov/trade/nafta/guide-customs-procedures/provisions-specific-sectors/automotive-products">62.6 percent</a>, though the way the rule is enforced <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/03/us-trade-tpp-autos-exclusive-idUSKCN0RW2JV20151003">just over half of a vehicle must be manufactured domestically</a>. TPP would lower that number to <a href="http://insidetrade.com/inside-us-trade/tpp-rule-origin-45-vehicles-caveats-35-45-auto-parts">45 percent for vehicles and as low as 35 percent for parts</a>. That big fat rat means more auto parts and larger portions of vehicles would be manufactured in non-participating, currency-manipulating, poverty-wage countries and, ultimately, fewer U.S. jobs and factories.</p><p>The TPP would richly reward gigantic multinational corporations that already have moved or plan to move U.S. factories to low-wage, low-standard TPP countries. The deal is fabulous for these corporations because it eliminates tariffs on items made in participating countries and shipped to the United States, thus increasing profits. The subsistence-wage workers whose hands produce those products won’t see any of that extra money, and that’s the big fat rat they’d have to swallow while the multinationals and their shareholders guzzle foie gras.</p><p>The TPP provides corporations in participating countries with another monstrous serving of foie gras. That’s the ability <a href="http://www.citizen.org/investorcases">to sue a country when a corporation contends its laws reduce expected future profits</a>. Corporations won’t even have to sue in normal public courts with the juries and judges established by the people of that country. The TPP awards corporations their own special private courts. And if multinationals win there, taxpayers will be forced to pay unlimited sums to compensate corporations for their alleged loss of prospective profits caused by laws citizens pass to protect themselves.</p><p>In the final days of TPP negotiations, as New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser tried to obtain terms dealing with his country’s concerns, former Prime Minister Helen Clark said it would be unthinkable for New Zealand to withdraw <a href="http://m.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&amp;objectid=11522953">“provided the deal was good.”</a></p><p>For American workers, the deal is not good. It’s a big fat dead rat. America should withdraw. Congress should reject the TPP.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Jeh-14A8Rbc" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1044032'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1044032" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 13 Oct 2015 18:18:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1044032 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Economy Labor News & Politics Video tpp trans-pacific partnership free trade fair trade new zealand Zealand Minister Tim Groser North American Free Trade Agreement nafta KAFTA world trade organization economic policy institute public citizen Global Trade Watch ford motor company Helen Clark Message to the Gov't From the Corporations: Give Us Money to Improve Workers' Wages http://servingwww.alternet.org/labor/message-govt-corporations-give-us-money-improve-workers-wages <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1043624'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1043624" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The government wasn’t created to spend taxpayers’ dollars to reward corporations that have stifled worker wages.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_127785641-edited.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Republicans and the rich guys who imposed on American workers <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/10/09/for-most-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/">35 years of stagnant wages</a> now offer a prescription for easing this pain!</p><p>Their solution for robber-baron-level income inequality is not the obvious: Give workers raises. They don’t want to increase the minimum wage, which would eventually push up pay for everyone else as well. They don’t intend to provide paid sick leave or decent pensions or fewer unstable contract jobs. They have no intention of strengthening unions so workers can collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions.</p><p>Instead of any of those straightforward measures, rich guys and corporate-owned Republicans assert that the solution is more free stuff for corporations! The government, they say, should provide that free stuff. The government, the very organization they deride and despise and denounce as incompetent and deserving of nothing but cutting and shrinking and destroying! Yes, they actually contend that very same government should take the taxes paid by workers and give that money to corporations to improve worker wages and working conditions!</p><p>This rich guy, Peter Georgescu, chairman emeritus of the PR firm Young &amp; Rubicam, said <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/opinion/sunday/capitalists-arise-we-need-to-deal-with-income-inequality.html">in a New York Times op-ed in August</a> that he feared the current grotesque level of income inequality would provoke major social unrest or oppressive tax levies on the rich – unless the rich did something about it right away. To avert restoration of the higher income tax levels that the rich paid from 1935 to 1985, Georgescu recommended that the federal government give money to businesses to raise the wages of workers earning less than $80,000 a year.</p><p>That’s right. He says the government should subsidize corporations. The government should give them free stuff. Welfare. The government, in his estimation, should pay corporations rather than simply requiring them to use some of their massive profits, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/05/business/economy/corporate-profits-grow-ever-larger-as-slice-of-economy-as-wages-slide.html">now at the highest level in 85 years,</a> to adequately compensate the workers whose labor created those profits.</p><p>Making the government pay is a popular position among Georgescu’s wealthy peers and GOP politicians. They don’t want the government to protect the environment or negotiate for lower pharmaceutical prices for senior citizens on Medicare or provide <a href="http://obamacarefacts.com/2015/03/16/obamacare-enrollment-numbers-as-of-march-2015/">16 million</a> Americans with insurance through the Affordable Care Act. They do want the government to hand money to corporations, though.</p><p>Just weeks ago, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, announced he’d use this corporate freebie scheme to provide paid sick and maternity leave. The United States <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/29/upshot/rubios-plan-for-paid-leave-depends-on-the-kindness-of-business.html">is the only major industrial country</a> in the world without a federal policy requiring paid sick and maternity leave. Rubio <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/09/25/marco-rubio-proposes-tax-credit-to-spur-paid-family-leave/?_r=0">called the absence of paid leave</a> “one of the greatest threats to family today.”</p><p>Even so, he wouldn’t actually require corporations to provide it.</p><p>Instead, he’d have the government fork over workers’ tax dollars to corporations that institute paid sick leave. Under his plan, workers would pay corporations for what corporations should already be doing to diminish this threat to the family.</p><p>Earlier this year, billionaire Warren Buffett <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/better-than-raising-the-minimum-wage-1432249927">recommended in a Wall Street Journal op-ed</a> that instead of forcing corporations to pay decent compensation by raising the federal minimum wage, the government should use tax dollars to increase workers’ income.</p><p>This revered king of capitalism wouldn’t require corporations to pay for the services that workers provide. Don’t be ridiculous! Instead, Buffett contends the government should pay! That is, taxpayers would pay.</p><p>His plan differs from Georgescu’s and Rubio’s only in that Buffett would send money directly from the government to the worker instead of to a corporation. Rather than better pay, Buffett says workers should get larger earned income tax credits. <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/better-than-raising-the-minimum-wage-1432249927">Here’s what he wrote</a>, “The process is simple: You file a tax return, and the government sends you a check.”</p><p>That way, the GOP can continue to condemn these workers as lolling on the government dole.</p><p>Under Georgescu’s and Rubio’s plans, corporations would file tax returns and the government would send them checks. But one percenters and GOP politicians never denounce that as corporations lolling on the government dole. That’s because they believe corporations are entitled to it. It’s a corporate entitlement.</p><p>This raises the issue of the role of government. Republicans contend that government is too big, that it does too much. They demand constantly that it be cudgeled and cut. But not the parts that kowtow to corporations. Those, the GOP says, should be puffed up and pampered. To them, government was created to serve corporations. If benefits from that happen to trickle down to citizens, Republicans consider that a bonus, but certainly not the main point of anything government does.</p><p>This is odd, though, from the party that so loves to declare its undying love for conservative interpretation of the U.S. Constitution because that document says the government is for people, not corporations.</p><p>Here, for example, are the Constitution’s first few words: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”</p><p>It does not say, “We the corporations of the United States, in order to form more profitable entities, establish unfettered capitalism, suppress the rights of workers, appropriate foreign assets as desired for corporate growth, promote general profitability, and secure the blessings of unbridled capitalism to corporations and their shareholders, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”</p><p>The government of the United States wasn’t created to spend taxpayers’ dollars to reward corporations that have stifled worker wages for more than three decades. The government of the United States was, however, created to promote the general welfare by raising the minimum wage, mandating paid leave and strengthening labor unions.</p><p>***</p><p> </p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/F8VIimpNxZU" width="560"></iframe></p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1043624'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1043624" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:46:00 -0700 Leo Gerard, AlterNet 1043624 at http://servingwww.alternet.org Labor Economy Labor News & Politics republicans robber baron Peter Georgescu Young & Rubicam new york times wall street journal usw united steelworkers union labor union minimum wage paid sick leave paid maternity leave marco rubio medicare affordable care act warren buffet