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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Notes from the Economy: Prices, Earnings, Unemployment Claims

Notes from the Economy: Prices, Earnings, Unemployment Claims The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released data for inflation and real earnings this morning, while the Labor Department reported on unemployment insurance claims for the past week.

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Looking for Top Notch Interns!

The OMB Watch Fiscal Policy Program is looking for an intern for the fall of 2008. Yup, that's right. This is your chance to get in on the ground floor at one of the most dynamic nonprofit watchdog groups in Washington, DC. We're looking for energetic undergraduate or graduate students who have excellent writing, critical thinking, and communications skills, and who are dedicated to public policy and government accountability (see current intern Josh at right for example).

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Notes from the Economy: Jobless Claims

The Labor Department released its weekly unemployment insurance (UI) claims data this morning.
  • 455,000 workers filed first-time UI claims last week, a jump of 7,000 from the previous week. The number of claims last week had not been seen since March 2002.
  • The four-week average for new UI claims moved up to 419,500, a five-year high
  • The number of continuing claims rose to 3,311,000, also a five-year high
AP: Jobless claims hit highest point since March 2002

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Senators Suggest Making Tax Code Less Offensive

Writing in the New York Times, Stephanie Strom brings yet another instance of how corporations and their enabling political benefactors have clearly had their way with the tax code.

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Notes from the Economy: There's a Deeper Problem than Housing

Former Clinton Labor Secretary and current UC Berkeley professor Robert Reich really nails it on his blog today:

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Notes from the Economy: Employment

Jobs data released this morning show that the economy continued to a seven-month trend of shedding jobs. July's bottom-line job-loss number was mitigated by an increase of 25,000 government jobs; private sector employment dropped by 76,000. Since January, the economy has lost 463,000 jobs. The unemployment rate also moved upward from 5.5 percent to 5.7 percent. In the past year, the unemployment rate has rise 1.0 percent as 1.6 million workers have become unemployed. (click to enlarge)

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Minimum Wage Increases Minimally

The federal minimum wage will increase to $6.55 per hour today, the second bump that is part of a law passed last year to increase the wage to $7.25 by next summer (see this story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). As the AJC correctly points out, the increase will have a significant impact in Georgia, but for more than half the states, it won't do much because the federal government is woefully behind the curve:

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JEC Ranking Member Highlights Troubling Trend in Income Inequality

Joint Economic Committee ranking member Jim Saxton (R-NJ) musters moral fibre to stand up for the downtrodden richest one percent among us to lament the growing burden that increasing shares of income are placing upon this voiceless group. It's true: According recently-released IRS data, while the richest one percent of taxpayers (as measured by adjusted gross income) saw their share of income grow from 20.8 percent to 22.1 percent from 2000 to 2006, they also saw their share income taxes climb from 37.4 to 39.9 in that same time.

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Average Earnings Down for All Workers, Median Earnings Also Down for Full-Time Workers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has issued a pair of data sets indicating that workers are still not seeing real (i.e. inflation adjusted) increases in pay. Yesterday's Real Earnings report, based on data from the payroll reports of private nonfarm establishments of earnings of both full-time and part-time workers holding production or nonsupervisory jobs, shows: Real average weekly earnings fell by 0.9 percent from May to June after

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Growth Nonetheless

President Bush today: The growth [of the economy] is lower than we would have liked, but it was growth nonetheless. GDP is not the only thing that is growing. (click to enlarge) (click to enlarge)

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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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