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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What Portion of Our Collective Wealth Are We Willing to Invest So People Can Succeed?

That is the question President Obama posed at the Georgetown University Catholic-Evangelical Summit on Overcoming Poverty on May 12. It was a fascinating discussion -- not least because it was a discussion, with the president exchanging views with two scholars and replying to questions by moderator E.J. Dionne of theWashington Post. The president acknowledged the growing awareness of inequality and poverty. He challenged us to see that over decades, we have been disinvesting in shared institutions (like education) that lift people out of poverty. He agreed with the premise of one of the panelists, Robert Putnam, whose new book Our Kids describes the "withdrawing from the commons" occurring across the nation. Where in decades past affluent, working class and poor children might all have attended the same public school, all able to participate in school sports and music programs, today's communities are far more segregated by class as well as race. The well-off are less likely to send their children to a public school, and fewer have the equalizing experience of sports teams and band because strapped school districts now charge hefty fees to participating students, shutting out some struggling families.

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Sequestration Report Highlights Detriments of Budgeting by Crisis

Across-the-board budget cuts in fiscal year 2013 affected the ability of agencies to serve the public. In response to these automatic cuts – triggered by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and a lack of consensus regarding changes in spending and revenue policies – agencies were forced to retrofit their budgets to fit these constraints mid-year.

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Politically Driven Fiscal Crises Create Self-Inflicted Economic Wounds

The current political game of chicken that threatens to shut down the government or, even more seriously, could lead to an unprecedented U.S. default on its debt in mid-October is harmful for everyday Americans and businesses. Even getting close to a default can rattle markets, leading to increased borrowing costs for the U.S. and thus higher interest payments, crowding out resources for needs such as infrastructure, education, and scientific research. Economic disruptions caused by political battles in Washington only put more roadblocks in the way of an economic recovery.

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Center for American Progress Report Challenges Austerity

The Center for American Progress (CAP), an organization that is generally supportive of Obama administration policies, has decided to part ways with the administration on the need for continued deficit reduction. In a new report, "It's Time to Hit the Rest Button on the Fiscal Debate," the organization argues that it is time to shift from deficit reduction to growing the U.S. economy.

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As Austerity Shrinks Government Budgets, Contractor CEO Pay and Public Costs Set to Rise

In the midst of shrinking federal spending on infrastructure, scientific research, Head Start, and other government programs, the costs of government contractor executives' salaries and compensation are set to soar unless Congress takes action. This is another example of how current government policies transfer resources to the wealthy and away from the programs that broadly support and grow a vibrant middle class.

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Why Non-Defense Discretionary Spending Keeps Getting Cut

The biggest difference among the three budget plans that official Washington is currently considering is spending for non-defense discretionary programs, which includes education, infrastructure, food safety, environmental protection and other essential public investments the public says it wants government to continue to make. A chart created by the Congressional Budget Office – shows the differences between President Obama and Senate Democrats’ budget plans versus the House Republican spending blueprint.

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Without Austerity, More Americans Would Have Jobs

As if Americans needed anymore confirmation that austerity is holding the economy back, The New York Times this week reported that the consensus among private financial analysts – as well as by the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Federal Reserve and others – is that sequestration and earlier spending cuts are translating into fewer jobs and a worse economy for the nation overall.

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Hang Together or Hang Separately: The Battle Against Austerity

Sequestration's automatic spending cuts were back in the news over the past few weeks. For a brief time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had to furlough employees, leading to nationwide flight delays. At roughly the same time, a researcher exposed major flaws in one of the key texts serving as an intellectual buttress to global austerity policies. While those fighting against economically damaging austerity measures received a boost from these events, many fiscal policy battles and pitfalls still lie ahead.

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President's Budget Carries Outsized Economic and Political Risks

On April 10, President Obama released his proposed budget for the 2014 budget year. Unlike in the past, this year's budget came very late, after both the House and Senate had passed their respective budget plans. The president's plan is being billed by some as a compromise between the House and Senate.

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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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