Today I read that the new Republican majority Congress is going to make its first priority approving the Keystone XL Pipeline – a gift to TransCanada and the Koch brothers, both corporate despoilers of the environment and a project that will provide, after the temporary jobs required during its construction terminate, maybe 35 permanent jobs. And its second priority appears to be the repeal of the President’s partial fix for US immigration policy. I think that those who hoped for anything more substantial from this congress than the last, the least productive in history, are going to be disappointed. Along with these are stated intentions to weaken clean water and air regulations to favor their corporate campaign funders.
When I think of the problems facing our country and how little has been done to solve them I get very angry. Our Congress is totally broken and unable to do anything. Why we elect these incompetents, send them to Washington, pay them well, provide them with luxurious office space in modern buildings, pay for huge staffs and provide a extensive menu of perks for them, is beyond me, when we receive so little in return. And now with Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate, we can be sure that the problem will not improve and will likely get even worse, since both leaders have indicated that their overall main objective is to “fight Obama” for the next two years.
The media is full of stories about why our lawmakers are so unable to do their job. Certainly the armies of well paid lobbyists running all over Washington pushing their agendas are a major cause. Another is the flood of corporate money pouring into the system to fund campaigns and to essentially buy congressmen and their votes. Our lawmakers represent corporations and special interests – not the American people they are supposed to represent.
But what concerns me the most is what is not getting done. The problems our country faces are serious, myriad, increasing, and are not being addressed. Months, years, and even decades go by and still nothing is done to address them. What follows is a list of a few of the gravest problems facing our country which have not been addressed by the last Congress and will likely not be addressed by the present. I am wondering too how many of these needs will be listed by President Obama in his upcoming State of the Union address. This list of issues that follows is neither comprehensive nor in any particular order.
Immigration. This issue has been on the table for several years. The US is a nation of immigrants and we must act to solve the border crisis, to provide an orderly way to naturalize people already here and to provide an effective way for newcomers to earn citizenship. What the President has done unilaterally helps but does not solve the problem. Congress needs to act, not “fight Obama” on the immigration issue.
Highway Trust Fund. The Highway Trust Fund is going broke because the Federal gasoline tax has not been increased since 1993. Congress came up with a jury-rigged temporary solution last year which is in reality no solution at all. And a recent honest effort in the Senate to raise the tax by 12 cents per gallon over the next two years went nowhere. We need to raise the gasoline and diesel fuel tax in order to repair and maintain our roads, highways and bridges. Right now, winter 2015, fuel prices have plummeted and we have a rare opportunity to increase these taxes and replenish the Trust Fund while inflicting little pain. But I seriously doubt that Congress will have the courage and common sense to act since the fossil fuels lobby remains a formidable obstacle .
Minimum Wage. The minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in 1968, when adjusted for inflation, should be at least $10.90 today. Everyone who works full time should be able to make a decent living. Nobody should have to work full time for less than a living wage, especially in this fabled “richest country in the world”. And virtually every study shows definitively that raising the minimum wage will not affect job growth. Ideally the minimum wage should be around $15 per hour. All corporations and businesses should be required to pay a living wage of at least this amount to all employees….period.
Climate Change. Obviously, with the overwhelming scientific consensus about climate change, we needed to act quickly a long time ago to limit the discharge of carbon into the atmosphere and the burning of fossil fuels which is responsible for the bulk of that carbon. An increase in gasoline and diesel fuel taxes mentioned above, to a level similar to those in European countries would help by significantly reducing consumption. And in the meantime, efforts to create energy from renewable sources should be doubled. With so much of Congress in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry and key Congressional committees run by simpletons, not nearly enough has been done. Instead it appears that our new Congressional leaders are simply going to “roll back” much of what little has already been done to preserve this planet for our children and grandchildren.
Inequality. Wealth and income inequality in the US have become obscene over the last several decades. The rich have become many times richer and the middle class has been decimated by a tax system that has clearly been tailored to favor the wealthy. The federal income tax needs to again become radically more progressive, as it was in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, when the highest incomes were taxed as high as 91 percent. Capital gains must be taxed as normal income. Unions must be strengthened and a cap placed on CEO remuneration. I pay a sales tax when I buy a shirt, yet millions of dollars of financial instruments are bought and sold every day – with no sales tax applied. A financial transactions tax would not only help federal and state budgets but would slow the rapid growth of our feckless finance industry. And finally, our safety net should be strengthened, not weakened. Every single working person in this “richest nation on earth” should be guaranteed a decent job and income sufficient to properly support a family as well as provide a secure and respectful retirement. A radically adjusted minimum wage law as noted above should be an integral part of this effort.
Federally Financed Elections. If there is one thing we need to do it is to get money out of politics. Presently we are losing our democracy to millionaires and billionaires. Big money has bought both our congress and our presidency. Our Congress clearly represents corporations and special interests, not the people. If it wanted to, Congress could vote today to federally finance national elections. And the states could be required to also finance elections at the state and local levels. But if money were out of politics the “revolving door” between government and corporate service would close so despite its power to change how elections are financed, Congress will do nothing and leave it to grass roots power to try to change. Actually, when I think about it, almost all of the issues mentioned in this article would not be an issue at all if money were removed from politics.
Healthcare. “Obamacare”, although a step in the right direction, is fraught with problems and contradictions, the major one of which was aptly illustrated in Michael Moore’s documentary “Sicko” – that of allowing corporations and profit to be part of the solution. Health insurance companies want to make money, grow and increase profit and the only way to do this is to pay less to the insured. These corporations’ only role is to collect money from employers, individuals and the government and pass it on to the doctors and hospitals providing the care, but….a big chunk of this money goes to overhead, profit, shareholders and CEO’s. Why, when this function could be performed much more efficiently by the government, as it is in western European countries? A single payer program like those existing in almost all other advanced countries, needs to be established. A final note – government has usually provided services for the “public good” – like highways, police, the military, fire protection, water, sewage, education and so on. Healthcare is also a public good and should be provided by the government in the same way, not by profit-making private corporations.
Voting rights. Congress must act to protect voting rights in every state. The plethora of actions by state legislatures and the recent action by the Supreme Court to weaken voting rights must be reversed. Congress, our national legislature, must take action to make voting easier across the country rather than allow all these efforts to make the exercise of this fundamental right more difficult. Our constitution guarantees the vote, through, however, some very confusing language. Now our Federal government must act to take regulating this process out of the hands of the states and establish standard rules and procedures for voting across the entire country, including cancelling the outmoded Tuesday for election days and establishing a national election holiday. In short, Congress needs to pass legislation to make voting easier across the entire nation. Voter participation in US elections is disgraceful and we need to do everything we can to increase voter turnout. Perhaps voting should be made mandatory as it is in other nations – maybe then people would make it their business to find out all they could about candidates. In short, Congress needs to do everything it can to make voting easier and fairer and dramatically increase participation.
Taxes. Tax reform has been trumpeted as an objective of our new Republican majority Congress which, reading between the lines, means reducing taxes on the wealthy and reducing corporate taxes. In 1952, 32 percent of Federal revenue came from taxes on large corporations; today it is less than 10 percent and one out of four corporations pays no corporate income tax, in fact many end up collecting millions in refunds from the IRS. What really needs to be done is to close all corporate tax loopholes, require corporations to pay what they should and ignore all the Republican malarkey about “crushing corporate taxes”. And Congress needs to make the Federal income tax truly progressive like it was in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. Right now, despite Republican claims of “crippling” personal income and corporate taxes, US federal tax revenues are proportionately lower than those of any other developed country. Furthermore, Republican controlled states are steadily phasing out progressive state income taxes in favor of regressive sales taxes. Although a state issue, Congress needs to address and reverse this trend. A recent article in the New York Times discussing how this issue affects the poor stated, “… in 2015 the poorest fifth of Americans will pay on average 10.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes, the middle fifth will pay 9.4 percent and the top 1 percent will average 5.4 percent.” Congress needs to address our system of taxation, period.
Foreign Policy. Our foreign policy needs attention on a number of different fronts. First, our unequivocal support of Israel needs to be reexamined. Sending arms to Israel is in fact a violation of US law, according to the “Leahy law”. Similar support of Egypt needs to be reconsidered since Egypt is also a serial violator of human rights. With the security and control of thousands of nuclear weapons at stake, we need to maintain an acceptable relationship with Russia so we do not slide back into a dangerous cold war posture. And an unstable Pakistan, a nuclear power as well, needs our nurturance and support. Overall, we need to rethink our hundreds of military bases around the world and rely on diplomacy more than the military to solve problems. Also, we need to reach an accommodation with Iran – this nation has not invaded another country nor has it started a war with anyone else. Our position regarding Iran is a direct reflection of Israel’s nefarious influence on US foreign policy. Finally, we have to craft a foreign policy that is based on reason and not on fear – the 9/11 fallout that has resulted in blinding ourselves to the real threats to our nation’s security.
Equal Rights. Congress needs to move immediately to establish equal rights for everyone in this nation, including equal pay for equal work and abortion rights for women. Everyone in this country, no matter their sex or sexual orientation needs to be treated equally. And this includes being able to marry whom you love and women being able to control their own bodies.
Infrastructure. We need to immediately begin a massive infrastructure repair and modernization program, which would include not only our deteriorating roads, highways and bridges supported by fuel taxes as noted above but also our electrical grid and internet infrastructure as well. This would not only put many thousands of people to work again but would improve the economy as well.
Regulation of Corporations and Wall Street. With most of both houses of Congress in thrall to corporations and banks, it is highly doubtful, short of a revolution, that anything will be done. But not to limit and regulate big corporations and big banks will ultimately doom our economy and our democracy. The passage of Dodd-Frank was to be a partial solution to this problem, but the banks and corporations have wasted no time in chipping away at this law’s already too flimsy provisions. If we lived in an ideal world, Congress would immediately pass another Glass-Steagall Act to keep banks out of the casino business and get them back to lubricating the economy with loans to businesses and consumers. It would also break up the too-big-to-fail banks and ask the Justice Department to take action against their too-big-to jail executives. I find it incredible that after the savings and loan scandal of the 1980’s when regulators made over 3000 criminal referrals, producing over 1000 felony convictions that the far worse crisis of 2008 has produced the conviction of but one low level banker, virtually guaranteeing that the same criminals will cause another crisis in the future. Furthermore, corporations and banks should not be allowed to park money or move company headquarters offshore to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. The constant conservative refrain about “too much regulation” or “regulation is choking business” is absolute nonsense. If anything, American business needs more regulation, not less, and by this I do not mean the piles of needless paperwork that plague small business, which could and should be lightened, but the damage to the environment, the tax loopholes, the collusion, the lobbying, the abuse of workers and the focus on profits at any cost that make banks and corporations an insult to this country and its people.
Education. As a professional educator that has logged 45 wonderful years in the field of public and private education, I am extremely upset with the test and profit driven enterprise my sweet chosen profession has become. Our Congress has joyfully joined the assault on public schools in favor of “choice”, meaning vouchers, charter schools and for profit schools. Education is a public enterprise for the public good in which private profit-driven corporations have no place. Congressional action could reverse this trend and restore public schools to the lofty democratic stature they once had. Those “experts” in the media and in government who think that the latest education “reforms” like vouchers, choice, home schooling, charter schools and more testing will result in real improvement and genuine advances in achievement are in for a rude surprise. Unfortunately this revelation will occur too late to save a couple of generations of students subjected to these “reforms” from the disastrous results of a narrowed curriculum, strangled creativity and spontaneity in teaching and learning and limited fine arts offerings resulting from testing and profit-driven education. Unfortunately our president and his secretary of education have continued down the same disastrous trail blazed by George Bush and his No Child Left Behind debacle. Congress needs to act to restore public education to the proud position it once held in our democracy.
Workers Rights. First of all the right to organize must be provided and maintained for all workers. Unions must be strengthened and a fair day’s pay for a day’s work needs to be guaranteed. Corporate profits in the US have increased dramatically and need to be shared with workers, as well as stockholders. Also, the US, surprisingly is the only advanced nation that does not mandate paid maternity and family leave. In addition, and equally shameful, it is the only advanced nation that does not mandate sick leave or vacations. This wanton disregard for the welfare of workers is shocking and should concern our lawmakers. Also as mentioned above, women should earn equal pay for equal work, and equality in salary and rights should apply as well to LBGT employees. Finally, a decent and honorable retirement for all workers should be guaranteed through strengthening and expanding social security. The progressive weakening of collective bargaining, aided and abetted by our corporate-funded congress, particularly in the Reagan years, was a horrible mistake, not only contributing to the weakening and shrinking of our middle class but also destroying the balance in our economy described by the great economist John Kenneth Galbraith as “countervailing power” – the balance among government, corporations, trade groups and unions that is as essential in a modern capitalist economy as basic competition, still ideally exemplified in European countries where strong union power is supported as a public and economic good.
Affordable College Education. Germany just set a marvelous example for the world by erasing the last few vestiges of tuition in its system of higher education because Germany “does not want the attainment of a university education to be a function of family wealth”. How remarkable, how wonderful for German families and young people, underscoring the very different prospects for college students in the United States, where getting a college degree is still very much a function of family wealth. Despite extolling the virtues of getting an education, our government has done very little to provide universal opportunity for higher education. Making loans more available is not the answer, when students finally graduating are trying to start a productive adult life with the albatross of huge debt hanging around their necks. Isn’t the fact that education debt outstrips credit card debt now a red flag demanding that we act? Steadily increasing higher education costs and the corresponding increase in education debt coupled with decreases in family savings rates are national problems that require a national (read Congressional) solution.
Cuba. We are about three decades overdue in recognizing Cuba as a fellow nation and exchanging ambassadors. I am happy to recognize that President Obama has finally acted to end this childish multi-decade tantrum that has isolated this nation and needlessly slowed its development. Maybe now, as the doors open wide, we can discover how to run a fair and efficient national healthcare system unsullied by corporate profit.
Restore investment in research. The last several budget battles in Washington have resulted in government support of basic research being drastically cut. This has not only hurt basic research in engineering and the sciences but has thrust much of it into the private sector, where private spending to plug the hole will mean that many scientific advances will become the property of private corporations and serve corporate profits more than the public good. Congress has to restore money for research that has been cut in the “sequester” and in general across the board cuts if we desire to maintain any kind of scientific leadership in the world.
Reduce the “Defense” Budget. The US spends more on defense than the next eight countries combined. This bloated black hole of incredible waste, fraud and abuse, needs to be cut and drastically reduced. This budget pays for the “American Empire” of over 1000 military bases spread across the world, including over 200 in Germany (why?) and about four thousand here at home. The Pentagon also maintains resort hotels, ski resorts and more than 230 golf courses overseas. It also funds America’s ill advised and futile efforts at “nation-building” which featured roomfuls of “bricks” of cash to buy the favor and support of locals in Iraq and Afghanistan. It continues to buy outmoded and outdated weapons systems at huge cost including planes and aircraft carriers that will never be needed in any present or future conflicts. Plus the Pentagon continues to maintain a “mini” state department all of its own and weighs in heavily on foreign and domestic policy decisions. All this spending and waste while countless domestic needs go unmet and unfilled must be halted. Experts have noted that the US military budget could be easily cut by one third without threatening the nation’s safety. Our national legislature needs to take some action.
Gun Control. How many more Columbines, Tucsons, Auroras or Newtowns will we need before we do anything? How many more bloody bodies and grieving loved ones do we need to goad our useless Congress to do something? A majority of Americans favor gun registration and background checks, as do a majority of sportsmen who support responsible ownership of guns. Yet because of the influence of the National Rifle Association and its army of lobbyists, we can’t get anything done. We now have nine guns for every ten Americans in our country – what for – hunting? Protection? Protection from what? A scholarly review of the Second Amendment by law professor Michael Waldman traces the genesis of the Second Amendment from its original intent, to its present day interpretation of guaranteeing that every American can own a gun, an interpretation that because of the flood of NRA propaganda, is unfortunately now accepted by most Americans. The NRA, which was formed after the Civil War to improve citizens’ marksmanship, used to concentrate solely on hunting, sportsmanship and safety. After being taken over by right wing zealots in the 1970’s, its primary focus is now not only maintaining Second Amendment “rights” but also disastrously extending “carry” rights into all public areas including bars and churches. As a recent example of NRA antics, several South Carolina legislators, also ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council, funded by the Koch brothers) members are presently sponsoring a bill which would require a “Second Amendment Day” in all schools, replete with poster contests and awards, and also would require that teachers at all levels spend at least three weeks studying the Second Amendment. Congress needs to reflect the will of the people and act immediately to at least require background checks and licensing and a powerful groundswell of common sense needs to limit the influence of the NRA.
Trade Agreements. NAFTA has been a disaster for American manufacturing jobs and for the middle class, as this corporation-brokered agreement sent millions of jobs overseas. A snake oil sales job sold NAFTA to the US public as a “shot in the arm” for the American economy but the agreement has benefitted corporations, not American workers or the American economy. The same dishonesty and subterfuge now characterizes corporate efforts to “fast track” another disastrous agreement – the Trans Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement, or TPP, backed by none other than our own Democratic (read ”Corporate Democrat”) president. This agreement, if passed and approved by Congress will mean the loss of thousands more jobs, more corporate destruction of the environment and will even allow corporations to sue foreign governments if corporate privilege and profits are threatened. And, amazingly, all these negotiations are being conducted behind closed doors. TPP can be stopped by our Congress and it can insist that the negotiations be transparently conducted in the open. But what will result ultimately I am sure, in this corporation owned and corporate run Congress, is TPP’s safe passage and a corresponding augmentation of corporate power and additional reduction of the power of American labor.
Strengthen Environmental Regulations. Another announced intention of our new Republican-controlled Congress is to gut the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. Again, our lawmakers hasten to do the bidding of their corporate masters. Naomi Klein’s new book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” makes it crystal clear that capitalism and environmental stewardship are antithetical and contradictory. Exploitation and plunder of the environment are essential to corporate growth and profit, and growth and profit are the objectives of capitalist economies. It is crystal clear that we need to change our economic systems or suffer the consequences. To me, fracking seems to be the perfect example of corporate environmental abuse – it is very profitable to obtain more oil and gas by poisoning our air with massive releases of methane and our water with the huge injections of poisonous chemicals into our precious earth. Congratulations to the states that have outlawed fracking and God help those that have not. Congress needs to protect the Clean Water and Air Acts and dramatically extend their scope.
Close Guantanamo. This moral, legal and ethical outrage should have been closed long ago and its occupants tried in Federal court and properly sentenced or released. To hold these so called “worst of the worst” in captivity with no charges and no trial will be forever a disgrace to this country and has long served as the most effective of magnets for the recruitment of more jihadists. Congress could close Guantanamo tomorrow but the latest nonsense from the Senate triumvirate of John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Kelly Ayotte about the Paris slaughter being a reason to keep these people detained without trial for even longer will likely keep the open wound of Guantanamo festering for the foreseeable future.
Strengthen the IRS. This government agency, much hated and maligned but very necessary, has had its budget cut 17 percent over the last five years. Why, when the job becomes more difficult and the number of taxpayers grows? These cuts are the result of sequester games and little paybacks from Republicans resulting from the IRS questioning the tax status of certain Tea Party organizations (Democratic party groups were targeted as well). Despite what we think of the IRS, our system of voluntary reporting requires the regulation, the oversight and the audits of a healthy tax agency and to further weaken it is foolish. These cuts need to be restored by Congress and consideration needs to be given to increasing the budget.
Rein in Drug Companies. If there is any area that needs more regulation it is our billion dollar drug companies. These companies, who concentrate more on profit than health, are allowed to run roughshod over rules and regulations because of their generous funding of our senators and congressmen. As primary examples of the “revolving door” between corporations and the agencies that are supposed to regulate them, in this case the FDA, we continue to see bad drugs and ineffective drugs foisted upon the medical community at ever inflated prices. The trend of our drug giants is to create minor variations on existing drugs and create new uses for them, some potentially dangerous (see the history of J & J’s dangerous new use for Resperdol), and thus generate new floods of profit. I mean how many more drugs do we need for erectile dysfunction? Or COPD? Or atrial fibrillation? These corporations also concentrate on drugs that people will have to take the rest of their lives, which are much more lucrative than the “quick knockout” kind of disease drug. Right now, Big Pharma spends 19 dollars on advertising and promotion for ever one dollar for researching new drugs. Why have no drug companies come up with a cure for Ebola? “Not profitable” is clearly the reason. The really big money has been in the statin drugs, which you have to take until the day you die. Statins lower cholesterol but do not prevent heart attacks. Some drug company executives have had the temerity to suggest that statins should be put into drinking water. Drug companies need to be regulated, directed, cut off at the knees, beaten and humbled and need to start working for the health of Americans, not for profit. And Congress could do this, if members were not bought by the 2.7 billion dollars the industry spent on lobbying last year, far more than any other industry.
The “Food Industrial Complex”. Our overweight and unhealthy nation is a daily reminder of a serious food problem in our nation, a problem that Congress could easily address. This problem is not one of scarcity – farmers produce an abundance of food. The problems, as most of us know, are in ways the food is produced. Our profit-driven corporate industrialization of food production has resulted in inhumane conditions for growing food animals, widespread use of antibiotics to counter the disease resulting from these condition and inappropriate diets many animals are fed. The same industrialization of food production has also resulted in a plethora of processed foods stuffed with sugar and chemicals to enhance taste, texture and freshness. Reading ingredient labels on foods today is a frightful exercise in deciphering and interpreting, as well as pronouncing. Food production is concentrated in fewer and fewer companies – the bulk of the world’s food is produced by 10 companies and over 75 percent of the meat in the US is supplied by four companies. With the political and corporate (usually synonymous) power wielded by such corporations they pretty much do what they want. Our “food industrial complex” has presented many other issues that need to be addressed, among them the reckless use of pesticides and genetically modified crops. Congress has the duty to protect our food supply and needs to act.
Regulate the US Security Apparatus – CIA, FBI, NSA. The recent revelations by whistle-blower Edward Snowden have underscored once again the need to rein in the power and secrecy of our outsized and frightening security and intelligence apparatus. Secrecy in the name of security has gone much too far. The money we spend on these agencies far outweighs their limited usefulness and questionable success. The growth of the CIA into a quasi-army violating the borders of sovereign nations and killing hundreds of civilians with its flocks of drones is great cause for concern. The FBI’s practice of entrapment to prevent dubious acts of “terrorism” that likely would never even have been contemplated were it not for the exhortation and temptation enthusiastically proffered by out of control agents needs to stop. And all of these agencies need to cease violating the privacy rights of our citizens with the uncontrolled collection of phone and email data. Congress must examine and reevaluate the role of these dangerous agencies and accordingly proscribe their activities in order to protect our civil rights and our democracy.
Modernize the US Constitution. Why is the US Constitution such a holy document that it cannot be modernized to fit a modern country with problems very different than its authors envisioned? This document was not delivered to us by God, despite the picture, venerated by conservatives, showing Jesus presenting it to the Founding Fathers. I know perfectly well that Congress itself cannot revise the Constitution, but it could certainly speak out on the need, if congressmen or senators had the courage, and thus make it an easier task. Retired Justice John Paul Stevens has spoken out on this need forcefully in his book “Six Amendments” and it’s time a few active justices spoke out as well. There is no other democracy in the world that does not adjust its constitution from time to time to accomodate changing conditions and needs. We need to do the same. The need for amendments addressing individual gun ownership, voting rights, corporate power, protecting the environment and keeping money out of politics come readily to mind.
Energy Policy. As noted earlier in this article under the Climate Change heading, we need to rein in the fossil fuel industry and adopt a “leave it in the ground” policy. To make this happen we need to increase support for renewable energy far above what we provide now. It’s incredible that one of the most gray, cloudy and dreary countries in the world, Germany, is far ahead of us in utilizing renewable energy sources. In fact cloudy Germany is much further ahead in using solar energy that our sunny states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and California. There will not always be fossil fuels in the ground, but there will always be the tides, the wind and the sun. Congress needs to act to increase support of renewables, reduce support of coal and oil and help “leave it in the ground”.
Looking back over this list, which as noted earlier is not comprehensive, I am amazed to consider that positive resolution of most of these issues is favored by an overwhelming majority of Americans. That our pathetic Congress represents corporations and special interests, not the American people, should be obvious. Equally obvious should be what to do about the problem. Money is the problem in Congress as well as in our Presidency and all elections throughout our national, state and local governments.
It is amazing that over two recent days in the US’s major newspaper, the New York Times, were six articles addressing much of what I have written above, and none were reassuring. Here were the headlines:
In New Congress, Wall St. Pushes to Undermine Dodd-Frank Reform
2014 Was the Hottest Year on Earth in Recorded History
Study Finds Local Taxes Hit Lower Wage Earners Harder
2 ½ Years after Aurora Theater Rampage, Colorado Braces for the Trial
Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says
Why Drugs Cost So Much
And a piece by a New York Times columnist that I read often begins:
“The police killing unarmed civilians, horrifying income inequality, rotting infrastructure and an unsafe “safety net”. An inability to respond to climate, public health and environmental threats. A food system that causes disease. An occasionally dysfunctional and even cruel government. A sizable segment of the population excluded from work and subject to near-random incarceration.
You get it. This is the United States, which, with the incoming Congress, might actually get worse.” (Mark Bittman, NYTimes 12/13/14)
Our Congress needs to get busy.