New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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In Local News...Payday Loan Interest Rates Capped!

The DC city council has capped payday loan rates...via DMIblog. The D.C. Council voted 12 to 1 yesterday to approve legislation that would require payday loan stores to charge the same annual percentage rate as banks and credit unions, a limit that the payday lending industry says will put them out of business in the city.

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Poverty and the Media

Over a three year period (that included the Hurricane Katrina disaster), did the ABC nightly news run more stories about Michael Jackson or poverty? If you guessed Michael Jackson, you'd be right. See FAIR's study on poverty stories on network news shows for more.

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We here at the BudgetBlog would like to know what you think of our blog. Please take a moment to fill this short reader survey and give us your thoughts.

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What Do Americans Think About Inequality? Addendum

Studying public opinion on economic inequality can make you both hopeful and cynical. On the one hand, we sincerely don't like extreme and rising inequality, for uniquely American reasons. But on the other, we support legislation -the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts being most notable- that make society even more unequal. And we don't support a lot of legislation that would level the playing field.

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Greenstein Op-Ed Criticizes Samuelson's Sloppy Use of Poverty Data

You may recall a couple of weeks ago Bob Samuelson wrote a column blaming illegal immigration for the apparent lack of progress in fighting poverty.

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Unions Improve Low-Wage Work

From Inclusion and CEPR, a great report on how unions can raise incomes and benefits for low-wage workers. Unionized workers in low-wage jobs made 16 percent more than non-unionized workers, and were 25 percent more likely to get health insurance, and 25 percent more likely to get a pension. And that matters a lot: These union effects are large by any measure. To put these findings into perspective, between 1996 and 2000, a period of sustained, low unemployment that helped to produce the best wage growth

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Martin Feldstein is resigning as the head of the National Bureau of Economic Research, which as I understand is the commanding heights of the economics profession. To get your head around how he and his peers think, take a look at this excerpt from an address he wrote a few months ago: So economic policy changes occur as the ideas of the economics profession change and as those ideas become more widely diffused. By the late 1970s, many economists had abandoned their old Keynesian views as a result both of experience — especially the poor economic performance of the late 1960s and the

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JEC Press Release Touts Flawed Inequality Measure

Doing the work of his moneyed constituency, Joint Economic Committee ranking member Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ) issued a press release this week proclaiming that inequality in American remains unchanged since 2001. Citing the Census Bureau's latest Gini Coefficient, a numerical measure of income inequality, Saxon warns Congress about enacting any legislation aimed at curbing inequality.

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The Washington Monthly has two interesting articles on how to reduce the cost of health care- and at the same time, expand coverage and improve quality. Proof once again that there are humane and just ways to deal with the long-term fiscal gap. Jason Furman, of the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project, testified to Congress on the real "dynamic" affect of the regressive Bush tax cuts- they'll be a net loss for three-quarters of all taxpayers, who'll be burdened with paying them off in taxes and benefit cuts over the long haul. In other words, tax cuts don't pay for themselves- people do.

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Americans Dislike Rising Inequality, Contrary to Popular Belief

It is commonly assumed that Americans do not oppose increasing inequality. After all, a consensus among social scientists exists that most Americans favor equality of opportunity over equality of outcome, and the public has supported welfare state retrenchment and regressive tax cuts, both of which increase inequality. However, this belief may be a misinterpretation of American values and policy preferences.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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