Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

GOP Fraud: “It’ll Pay for Itself”

GOP Fraud: “It’ll Pay for Itself”

Remember the Republicans’ claim that their tax scam slashing rates for the rich and corporations would magically pay for itself?

Here is how that works: a rich guy walks into a Mercedes-Benz dealership, gets behind the wheel of a $112,400 GP Coupe, and drives away yelling to the salesman, “Don’t worry. It’ll pay for itself.”

It’s nothing but a fraud.

Well, that’s what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said this week, anyway. Without blatantly labeling the GOP tax cut as a con, the CBO did say that it would in no way, not ever pay for itself. It would, the CBO warned, dramatically raise the national budget deficit, year after year, for at least a decade.

Republicans, the party of public hand wringing over deficits, deliberately created this gob-smackingly huge one. Privately, Republicans are the party of glee over deficits. That’s because they use them as an excuse to slash and burn programs cherished by the vast majority of Americans such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Yes, Grandma, that tax cut Republicans gave to fat cats means you’ll be eating cat food.

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Arizona teachers vote to go on first statewide strike

Casey Quinlan Think Progress

Arizona teachers plan to go on strike next week.

After three days of voting, on Thursday, Arizona Education Association (AEA) and Arizona Educators United (AEU), a coalition of educators, administrations, and education support professionals, announced that teachers won’t be coming into work on April 26.

According to AEA President Joe Thomas, 78 percent of school employees supported a walkout.

Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced a proposal last week to raise teacher pay by 20 percent by 2020, but teachers said it doesn’t address larger issues with cuts to education funding since the recession or large classroom sizes. Parents have also chimed in to say that they oppose a proposal that does not include a long-term solution.

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Colorado teachers go to the Capitol to demand more education funding

Casey Quinlan Reporter, Think Progress

Colorado teachers joined others across the country in demanding more education funding and higher teacher pay on Monday.

About 400 Colorado teachers decided not to come into school to attend a rally at the Capitol and lobby lawmakers. Teachers want higher salaries, more education funding, and reforms to the state pension system. According to a recent Colorado Education Association (CEA) survey of more than 2,200 members, teachers spend $656 on average for school supplies and snacks for kids. Teachers sometimes cover students’ field trips and school lunches.

“I’ve taught for over 34 years and it’s getting worse instead of better. We spend more and more of our own money to do things,” Poudre School District teacher Charlie McNamee told KDVR.

Englewood school district cancelled Monday classes since 150 teachers said they weren’t coming into school. Teachers have also planned walk-ins in other areas of the state to draw attention to the lack of resources in many Colorado schools.

Teachers say they want lawmakers to invest $150 million in public education, to protect retiree benefits, and oppose a proposal that would raise the retirement age from 58 to 65. Republican lawmakers proposed a bill that would increase contributions to the state pension fund and would cut public employee benefits.

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Let Us Praise Trump’s Incoherence.

Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner Co-Founder and Co-Editor, The American Prospect

So now Trump, having bashed the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a wrongheaded product of the despised Barack Obama, wants to join it after all. Or maybe he doesn’t.

The TPP was a lousy deal. It was mainly about helping big U.S. multinationals, and did little or nothing for labor and environmental rights. And despite the latter-day spin about the TPP containing China, it did nothing to restrain China’s predatory trade practices. Further, the United States already has trade deals with all of the major member countries of the TPP.

But the large farm lobby and its allies in Congress have been putting pressure on Trump to back off the trade-war talk, and TPP is emblem of a more establishment sort of trade agenda. Based on past behavior, we have no idea whether Trump will change course. He says whatever pops into his head based on the issue du jour.

This, of course, drives his advisers crazy. There is a serious schism between the trade hawks—led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and economic adviser Peter Navarro—and the traditional globalists around Trump, now including economic chief Larry Kudlow, Treasury Secretary (and Goldman man) Steve Mnuchin, plus Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

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Evidence shows collective bargaining—especially with the ability to strike—raises teacher pay

Lawrence Mishel

Lawrence Mishel Fellow, EPI

Some recent media reports on a new academic study by political scientist Agustina S. Paglayan give the impression that the paper’s findings reflect badly on teachers unions. This is a misreading, however, of the study and of its implications. A key issue lost in the press accounts is that the study is, first and foremost, an historical analysis, examining the effects of the expansion of state collective bargaining rights for teachers between 1959 and 1990. Given the historical focus, the study excludes the experience of the last three decades, where the evidence clearly suggests that collective bargaining raises teachers pay.

But, even with respect to just the historical period studied, the paper’s conclusions are much more nuanced than the press reports suggest. A central conclusion, which has been overlooked in media accounts, is the author’s view that the reason that teachers unions might not have been effective in raising expenditures on education (including teachers’ pay) in the early days of expanding collective bargaining rights is because the laws that allowed collective bargaining often simultaneously restricted the ability of public-sector unions to strike. What the law gave with one hand, it often took back with the other. To illustrate the point, the paper shows that in states where public-sector workers had both the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike, collective bargaining did appear to increase expenditures on education.

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The Real Deal on Trump’s Trade Tantrums

Robert Borosage

Robert Borosage Co-Director, Campaign for America's Future

“Trade wars are good, and easy to win,” tweeted Donald Trump when he threatened to slap tariffs on China and other nations he accused of “assaulting our country” last month.

Stock traders were spooked as China promised to retaliate. Commentators across the political spectrum warned of job losses, price increases, economic peril, and trade wars.

Progressives like Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren showed more sense, praising Trump for challenging China’s mercantilist policies, as did Conor Lamb, the surprise Democratic victor in the House special election in Pennsylvania.

Just because Trump denounces our “lousy trade deals” doesn’t mean Democrats have to defend them.

In fact, a majority of House Democrats has led the opposition to our corporate trade policies. Democrats torpedoed Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership, long before Trump became president. They’ve demanded the renegotiation of NAFTA, and the Korean Free Trade Accord.

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Tax Day Fact

Tax Day Fact

Union Matters

SEC Must Tame the Wolves of Wall Street

From the AFL-CIO

Future retirees stand to lose one-quarter of their retirement paychecks because of corrupt financial advice.

Advocates have been fighting for decades to close a loophole that allows investment brokers to give self-serving advice. On Wednesday the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a new rule that doesn’t go far enough to protect the interests of working people. The SEC should go further and require brokers to act with integrity.

A new proposed rule on investment advice would leave working people vulnerable to bad actors on Wall Street, and the AFL-CIO will fight for a stronger rule before it’s finalized or demand it to be scrapped altogether.

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