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Beware of that Empty Word “Reform”!

“Reform” has become an empty word into which different sides pour different meanings, while inequality is something everyone talks about, and nobody does anything about. Unlike the weather, inequaIity is something we can do something about, and our unfair tax system is one place to start by distinguishing tax fairness and tax “reform.”

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Gas Prices Low – So Raise the Gas Tax Now

The Transportation bill that usually had broad bipartisan support is stalled in Congress. Our roads won’t be repaired; public transit won’t be funded; states will be starved for transportation funds; millions of jobs will be lost. All because Republicans in Congress are averse to increasing taxes to pay for anything at all, and too many Democrats are playing along.

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Iraq is No Reliable Ally

What a hash we’ve made of the Middle East! Why does the American government alone think the Iraqi government and army can effectively help combat the murderous Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)? And why do we think we should meddle in every country’s internal politics?

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The Outrage of “Tipped Wages”

Chances are that most people think waiters and waitresses endure a minimum wage of $7.25, so our 20% tip might help lift them out of poverty. Wrong! 

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Why You Should be Asking Where Candidates stand on the EITC and the Child Tax Credit

Each of us should question where all candidates for federal office stand on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). These are benefits received by low-wage working families. Especially if Congress fails to raise the minimum wage, the EITC and CTC are both vital to prevent low-wage working families from drowning. Unless Congress acts to make the EITC and CTC permanent, it will expire in 2017, leaving 17 million people, including 8 million children, deeper in poverty.

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Congress Needs to Act Now to Halt Corporate “Inversion” Schemes

Walgreens wants to renounce its U.S. “citizenship” and become a Swiss firm. Pfizer has been attempting to become a U.K. firm. Mylan, a long-time stalwart of the Pittsburgh economy(who’s CEO was recently named “Patriot of the Year”) wants to become a “citizen” of the Netherlands. Chicago-based AbbVie is paying $54 billion to buy Shire, so that it can become an Irish company. Corporate "inversion" is a growing problem!

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ACA's Winning Outcomes

Now that Affordable Care Act (ACA) is in full effect, we are beginning to see genuine results.  This controversial piece of legislation now covers 9.5 million people who did not previously have health insuranceNow that Affordable Care Act (ACA) is in full effect, we are beginning to see genuine results.  This controversial piece of legislation now covers 9.5 million people who did not previously have health insurance.  Even though Republicans still want to repeal the law, millions of Americans are benefiting from the new health care law. 

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The Moral Crisis at the Border

The recent influx of unaccompanied children apprehended at the border is one of the greatest moral tests ever faced by the United States. So far, we’re failing.

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The ACA Backlash is Ridiculous and Costly

Republicans are still doing everything in their power to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Just to show their disapproval of the ACA, Republican governors are coming up very similar plans to the Medicaid expansion, and simply calling it by a different name.  States are now suffering economically by the GOP’s continued efforts to undermine the ACA.  When will it stop?

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What’s Lost in States Refusing to Expand Medicaid?

To date, 24 states have refused to take advantage of the opportunity that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides for extending Medicaid coverage. Either through legislative or gubernatorial refusal, these states are turning down huge federal subsidies, and depriving millions of their citizens from getting access to health insurance coverage.

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It's Now Your Boss' Business

The recent Hobby Lobby ruling from the Supreme Court is the latest example of an unnerving trend in the United States: corporations are being treated like people, only better. Hobby Lobby challenged the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate that required employers to offer insurance plans that cover contraceptives for their employees. Five of the justices (all males) ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, saying that closely-held corporations cannot be forced to violate their sincere religious beliefs which, in the case of Hobby Lobby, condemn the use of contraceptives.

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A Forgotten Women's Issue

Everyday 5 women are killed by guns in the United States; 70% are by their intimate partners. At this moment in time, 12,000 convicted stalkers can walk into a store and pass a background check to buy a gun.

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Improve the Finances of the Poor and the Postal Service

What if there was a way to improve the finances of the Postal Service, preserve and create good jobs for working class Americans, and provide much needed banking services for those who are currently at the mercy of unscrupulous payday lenders and loan sharks?

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A Raise in the Minimum Wage is Long Overdue

With the United States struggling with inequality and stagnant poverty levels, there is undoubtedly a need for us to give working-class people the raise they deserve. Wages have increased for executives by over 900% since 1978, while workers have only seen a 10% raise over the same amount of time.

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How close is the United States to having a Single-Payer System?

 Even though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a wonderful step towards a single-payer system, it is nowhere close to an actual universal health care plan that covers all Americans.  America is behind the times with their healthcare system. 

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Invest in Students

Last week Senate Republicans managed to block consideration of a bill that would ease the financial burden of student loan debt for millions of people. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s bill would have allowed an estimated 25 million people to refinance their debt payments to less than 4%, the rate that is given to current students. If the law had been passed, it would have used the Buffett Rule to cover the government costs of lower interest rates, by requiring millionaires to pay a tax rate of at least 30%.

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Americans Need a Raise

Most Americans need a pay increase. In a timely and welcome initiative, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has launched a new effort to focus the nation’s attention on the need to make wage growth an urgent national policy priority.

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Vermont Sets Pace for State Minimum Wage Rates

Vermont has become the seventh state to pass an increase in the minimum wage this year. Under the legislation, the minimum will rise from its current level of $8.73 per hour to $10.50 over the next four years. Vermont will then be the state with the highest statutory minimum wage in the nation—unless, of course, recent trends continue and more states add to the momentum for increasing the wage rate.

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Fast Food Workers Strike for Better Pay and Union Rights

America’s workers need a raise. This is especially true for fast food workers who toil at the very bottom of our economic pyramid, taking home minimum or near minimum wages. This Thursday, May 15, fast food workers in up to 150 cities are planning to go on strike.

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Proposal Would Provide Relief from Excessive School Testing

High-stakes testing mania has become so pronounced in our public schools that test preparation is crowding out all sorts of other components of a well-rounded education, such as physical education, recess, music art, and foreign languages. Teachers are being held accountable for student test scores, even though research demonstrates that teachers have very little control over the results.

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