The Bridge to Prosperity: Reverse Reckless Cuts, Restore Our Infrastructure, and Revive Jobs

The United States is facing a growing infrastructure crisis and a lingering jobs crisis. Most of America’s infrastructure was built in the decades directly after World War II. Each day in America, more than 700 water mains break. Seventeen percent of water pumped by municipal pumping stations never reaches consumers’ faucets – a waste of 2.4 trillion gallons of precious water each year. Potholes on the nation’s roads cost the average family $355 in additional car repairs annually, deficient roads and bridges will cost businesses an estimated $43 billion a year in transportation delays and shipment rerouting, and too many children attend schools with leaky roofs, rattling windows, and decrepit plumbing.

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Is California Keeping People Safe at Work? Labor Advocates Say No

by Elizabeth Grossman (originally posted on The Pump Handle on May 14, 2014)

In 2012, the most recent year for which US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures are available, 375 people died on the job in California  – an average occupational fatality rate of more than one person every day. At the same time, research by Worksafe and other California labor advocates shows that while California’s workforce has grown by about 22 percent in the last 20 years, the number of safety inspectors for the 17 million people employed in the state’s 1.34 million workplaces has decreased by about 11 percent. 

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Close Loopholes, Fix Potholes

America has an infrastructure crisis.

We see signs of it every day: We hit bone-jarring potholes as we drive. We face long detours as bridges are closed for emergency repairs. When water mains break, businesses must temporarily close and homeowners have to boil their water. Too many of our kids attend schools that have leaky roofs and rattling windows.

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Unemployed Americans Kicked Out of Capitol, Forced to Share Their Stories Outside

Six hard-working Americans joined House Democrats gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon to share stories of their struggle to find employment in a rough job market. The event, which was scheduled to take place inside the Capitol as a hearing, was abruptly cancelled by House Republican leadership. This forced the unemployed workers and dozens of supporters to relocate the event at the last moment.

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Western Land Rights Enter Spotlight after Amateur Pundit’s Celebrity

Approximately 245 million acres of land in the United States is publicly managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Close to two-thirds of that land, 155 million acres, is used for livestock grazing, based on permits and leases issued by the BLM.

A small fee, as well as the current system of permits and leases, helps protect American land from overuse, overgrazing, pollution, and helps ensure its continued viability for future generations.

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The Soaring Cost of the Carried Interest Loophole: Hedge Fund Managers' Pay Rose 50 Percent Last Year

The 25 highest-paid hedge fund managers took home $21.15 billion last year, according to just-released numbers published by Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine. David Tepper, founder of Appaloosa Management, topped the list for the second year in a row, earning $3.5 billion in 2013, up 59 percent over 2012. Four of those on Alpha’s “Rich List” took home more than $1 billion in 2013.

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Reimagining Government: Two States Address CEO Pay

One of the rites of spring is the annual publication of CEO pay data. Soaring stock markets last year fattened executive pay checks to levels not seen since before the 2008 financial collapse. The average large company CEO took home $10.5 million last year, up 13 percent from 2012, according to an analysis published by USA Today.

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What We Could Invest In if We Ended Special Corporate Tax Breaks

Services for American families have been under constant attack over the past several years. Head Start slots were cut, Meals on Wheels deliveries were curtailed, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has been squeezed. House leaders have repeatedly insisted the country cannot afford such programs while continuing to push forward hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for corporations. What could we as a nation invest in if we ended these special tax favors?

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Technically Speaking: Making Sense of Discharge Petitions, Cloture and Filibusters

Articles discussing extending unemployment insurance benefits and raising the minimum wage frequently toss around procedural terms.

How many signatures does a discharge petition have, and how many does it need? Why are all these “procedural” votes necessary before anything gets a final up-or-down vote? How does one filibuster? In civics text books, a filibuster seems to require a passionate, hours-long speech that brings all activity in the Senate to a screeching halt, so why doesn’t that seem to happen in practice?

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Emergency Unemployment Extension Expected to Take Back Seat to Tax Extenders

On Monday, the House recess ends, and representatives will be returning to Washington.

Before the recess, the Senate passed legislation to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, supporting the retroactive extension of assistance to job-seekers who are struggling to find employment in a rough job market. In theory, representatives have spent the last two weeks in their home districts interacting with and getting feedback from their constituents, including on long-term unemployment insurance.

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