Greece’s only refugee camp – Aljazeera.com (blog)


Aljazeera.com (blog)
Greece's only refugee camp
Aljazeera.com (blog)
Mabel Francisca from South Africa (left) and Jennifer 'Click' from Zimbabwe (right), members of the Melissa Network of Migrant Women in Greece, are dancing to the sounds of an Afghan song after delivering packages to the kids staying at the camp in …

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The Five Worst Ideas Contained in Donald Trump’s Tax Plan

(Image: Greg Skidmore / Flickr)

(Image: Greg Skidmore / Flickr)

Republican front-runner Donald Trump has just released his much-talked-about plan for restructuring the federal tax code. If you listened to his speeches, you might think it was full of benefits for working families and progressive ideas about asking the wealthy to pay their fair share.  However, if you drill down into the details, you’ll see the same tired ideas hidden behind a populist tone and false rhetoric.

Here are the top falsehoods peddled by Trump’s much-touted tax plan:

Trump’s First Untruth: The tax plan does not add to our deficit or national debt.

Reality:

This tax plan would put a gargantuan hole in federal revenues that would send the deficit and debt through the roof. The number crunchers at Citizens for Tax Justice calculated that Trump’s tax plan would cost more than $ 10 trillion over the next ten years. As CTJ President Robert McIntyre put it, “there is no possibility that this plan would not be a gigantic tax cut for the rich and a gigantic revenue loser for the government.”

Trump’s Second Untruth: This tax plan will provide “major tax relief to middle income and most other Americans.”

Reality:

While it’s true that nominal tax rates would be reduced under Trump’s plan, the impact skews heavily towards the wealthy.  The benefit for the bottom 20% is just $ 250 per year while the benefit for the top 1% is a whopping $ 184,000! So yes, technically everyone benefits, but saying this is a greater help to working families over the wealthy is patently false.  The plan would shift even more money towards the very top, which is particularly startling when you consider that the top 1% have captured nearly all new income since 2009.

Trump’s Third Untruth:  This plan will end the preferential tax treatment of hedge fund managers.

Reality:

Trump often talks about closing the carried interest loophole, a particularly insidious loophole that allows hedge fund managers who often make tens of millions of dollars annually to treat their income as capital gains rather than as ordinary income. This means they pay just 23.8% rather than 39.6%, the top regular income tax bracket.  Here again, the devil is in the details and the rhetoric does not match the reality.  While the tax plan does eliminate this egregious loophole, it also reduces the top income tax rate to 25%, meaning the tax hike on hedge fund managers is just 1.2% instead of the 15.8% hike that Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton endorse.

Trump’s Fourth Untruth: The estate tax is “double taxation” and “a lot of families go through hell” to pay it.

Reality:

The estate tax is the most progressive revenue raiser in the tax code, putting a small levy on the intergenerational transfer of immense wealth. Most of the assets impacted by the estate tax have never been taxed as a result of the Trust Fund Loophole that President Obama has proposed closing. The ultimate impact of the estate tax is on the heirs and heiresses to the largest fortunes in the country, not middle class families. In fact, the threshold for paying the tax is $ 11 million for married couples, more money than anyone in the bottom 99% can expect to accumulate. Just two in every thousand households are impacted by the estate tax. So on the estate tax, Mr. Trump is wrong on both accounts. Further, eliminating the estate tax would cost $ 246 billion over the next ten years.

Trump’s Fifth Untruth:  The plan will lead to significant economic growth and job creation.

Reality:

Trump is relying on the same debunked supply-side ideas that George H.W. Bush referred to as “voodoo economics” many moons ago —cutting taxes for the wealthy and hoping it benefits everyone.  As Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback learned the hard way, cutting taxes does not spur economic growth; it simply creates an enormous deficit.  Brownback cut taxes dramatically in an effort to spur growth and instead created major public debt and provoke Moody’s to downgrade its debt rating.  Setting aside the ecological implications of endless economic growth, the idea that tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, will pay for themselves in increased growth is an idea as old as it is wrong.

More details are continuing to come out about this tax plan and these five hardly scrape the surface of the implications of Trump’s tax overhaul.  As new details leak out, remember its not the fancy packaging, or rhetoric, that matters but the impact these reforms will make. And so far, the impact is bad for ordinary Americans and quite good for the millionaires and billionaires of the 1%.

The post The Five Worst Ideas Contained in Donald Trump’s Tax Plan appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Josh Hoxie directs the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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Creative entries for ‘The world on your plate’ contest

We already told you that we received many inspiring and original creations for our ‘The world on your plate’ contest. We decided to share some of these creative entries with you, so you can get an idea of what ‘The world on your plate’ means to other people and maybe you’ll get some fresh inspiration as well!

1. Suus Pessers went out on the streets, looking for people that knew more about the origins of the banana she was eating:

2. Krista van der Steeg wrote a nice blog about traveling and food (click to enlarge):

Blog De wereld op je bord - Krista van de Steeg

3. Stefan Petrutiu filmed his search for the meaning ‘The world on your plate’:

4. Merel de Herder portrayed her favourite food as a Yin Yang symbol, because she is convinced that her food should have a sustainable balance: Yin and Yang

Merel de Herder

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Maxyne Leermakers used tomatoes for a very tasty lasagne with a flavour explosion guaranteed (click to enlarge):

Maxyne

As we’ve already announced, Daisy Scholte sent in the most original entry and will join us on a trip to Morocco to meet tomato pickers. Stay tuned to read and see more of her trip to Morocco!

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Help Us Rename Our ‘Collaborative Consumption’ Category Because It No Longer … – TechCrunch


TechCrunch
Help Us Rename Our 'Collaborative Consumption' Category Because It No Longer
TechCrunch
For years, TechCrunch has had a “Collaborative Consumption” category, which included companies like Airbnb, Uber, etc. But as time passes, and more and more 'on-demand' companies move from 1099 to W2, the term 'collaborative consumption' begins to …

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HomeNewsEPA, Labor Broaden Pesticide Protections for Farm Workers – AgWeb


AgWeb
HomeNewsEPA, Labor Broaden Pesticide Protections for Farm Workers
AgWeb
Based on the information released by EPA and Labor on Monday, the rules appear likely to have the largest impact on fruit and vegetable farms that rely on migrant labor. "The regulation seeks to protect and reduce the risks of injury or illness
EPA Updates Pesticide Rules for FarmworkersiFreePress.com (blog)
EPA Overhauls Rules for Pesticide Use on FarmsJewocity.com (press release) (blog)

all 200 news articles »

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Mending Our Welcome Mat

At the Canadian border, there were no wire fences or soldiers with guns. The biggest decision Rose’s family had to make was whether or not to identify themselves as Jewish when they registered with American immigration services.

It was a huge, potentially life-threatening decision for Jews fleeing pogroms in Western Europe.

My ancestors were lucky — they got out in the first decade of the 1900s, when things were bad but ghettos weren’t yet being replaced by concentration camps. My family had their papers and knew to mark “Druid” under the religion category on the immigration form, a darkly humorous way of hiding their identity.

No one accused them of terrorism or forced them to take an oath of loyalty. Rose grew up feeling like she belonged in her adopted country.

Other Jews who sought shelter in America weren’t as lucky. Between 1933 and 1945, the United States only took in 132,000 Jewish refugees. Washington refused to raise or even meet its quota as the mass extermination of Jews in Europe claimed 6 million lives.

Horrifying images are finally bringing today’s refugee crises into focus. A photo of a drowned toddler in the Aegean. Terrified Syrian refugees huddled behind barbed-wire fences in Hungary. Numbers inked on the arms of children who managed to survive the passage to Europe, eerily echoing the Holocaust.

These images resonate on a profound level with descendants of Jews who fled European anti-Semitism. Many people of different backgrounds are connecting on some level with this crisis.

Except the U.S. government.

Since 2011, the Obama administration has granted asylum to scarcely 1,500 Syrian refugees, even as over 4 million have fled. While the government has signaled that it will welcome an extra 30,000 global refugees in 2017 — bringing its total for all groups up to 100,000 that year — that will barely make a dent. Far smaller nations are making far larger commitments.

For a nation of immigrants and the world’s largest economy, we’ve become about as welcoming as a desert cactus.

Each wave of immigrants in this country has faced staunch opposition. The Irish, Scottish, Italians, Germans, Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese, Salvadorans, Greeks, Mexicans, Haitians, Cubans, and other nationalities all endured discrimination, threats, and racist protests when they arrived. Each passing decade brings new groups of people for the xenophobes to hate, and for officials to impose an immigration quota upon.

I cried when I first visited the Statue of Liberty. I was about six years old and Rose was in her 90s, frail and with the mind of a child.

The Statue of Liberty seemed so huge and powerful up close — I was scared to climb up the stairs inside, but I did get a good look at the statue’s famous inscription: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free…”

This is the powerful, emotional message on our favorite monument to our nation of immigrants. It’s time for us to get serious and live up to that inscription. There are too many tired, poor, huddled people still yearning to be free for us to ignore them now.

The post Mending Our Welcome Mat appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Olivia Alperstein is an editorial assistant at OtherWords, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.

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Child Farmworkers Banned From Handling Pesticides, But Not Tobacco – BuzzFeed News


BuzzFeed News
Child Farmworkers Banned From Handling Pesticides, But Not Tobacco
BuzzFeed News
But while the new prohibition on children under 18 handling pesticides is undoubtedly good news for the country's youngest farmworkers, labor activists argue that many will continue being exposed to another serious health risk: nicotine, from the

and more »

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France carries out airstrikes in Syria for first time, targeting Islamic State … – Minneapolis Star Tribune


Minneapolis Star Tribune
France carries out airstrikes in Syria for first time, targeting Islamic State
Minneapolis Star Tribune
France has fired its first airstrikes in Syria as it expands military operations against Islamic State extremists, President Francois Hollande's office announced Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. The office said that "France has hit Syria" based on information
France carries out first airstrikes against ISIS in SyriaRT
France Says Its Airstrikes Hit an ISIS Camp in SyriaNew York Times
France makes first air strikes against Isis in SyriaCNBC
NBCNews.com -CNN -Yahoo News
all 921 news articles »

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Dorothy Day Economics

Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa (Photo by Jim Forest/Flickr)

Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa (Photo by Jim Forest/Flickr)

It was heartening and surprising to hear Pope Francis lift up the legacy of Dorothy Day in his speech before Congress. “Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints,” said Francis before both houses of Congress.

Perhaps this was the most subversive part of his speech — celebrating a little-known figure and thus reviving interest in what Dorothy Day stood for. And if we truly heed the teachings of Dorothy Day, we would radically transform our society and economy.

I first met Dorothy Day in the kitchen of Mary House, the Catholic Worker soup kitchen on New York City’s Bowery district. More important, I worked for decades along side people deeply shaped by Dorothy in the Catholic worker movement.

I first read The Catholic Worker newspaper, founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, when I was 16 and working at a summer camp. It had a huge personal impact on me. Within two years, I was living at a Catholic Worker house in Worcester, Massachusetts called the Mustard Seed, serving soup to homeless men.

At the core of Dorothy Day’s life was a commitment to the “works of mercy”: feeding the hungry, caring for the homeless and those in need. But she was also outspoken about the systemic inequalities, the dangers of predatory capitalism, and wealth idolatry.   She drew from Catholic social teachings, including personalism, subsidiarity, and nonviolent economics.

The Catholic Worker movement was forged in the social upheaval of the early 1930s and the Great Depression. Dorothy, a radical journalist, converted to Catholicism to the puzzlement and wonder of her former comrades on the Left. Yet she was frustrated her entire life by the institutional church and its reticence to stand with the poor as Jesus called his followers to do.

She and her cofounder, a French peasant named Peter Maurin, called for a “personalist revolution” — an idea rooted in the Gospel, that people should be responsible for one another. Instead of creating a large beneficent state to feed the hungry, it was everyone’s personal responsibility to help the needy. She believed government had a role as last resort, but at the core, we are all responsible for one another. In this, Dorothy stood by the principle of subsidiarity, that problems should be solved as locally as possible. Only when local communities and systems fail, should we look to higher forms of government.

For Dorothy Day, nonviolence was not simply related to war — about which she was an outspoken opponent — but an entire economic philosophy. She was the first person I heard talk about “nonviolent economics,” the idea that we should look at the violence caused by economic systems and structures. “Our current forms of economic ownership — of land, housing, capital and exploitation of labor — further injustice and violence,” she said. She believed that “there is a social mortgage on capital,” that society has a claim on private wealth, since it comes from the commons.

When asked about her program for change, Dorothy argued we should “build a new society in the shell of the old.” She would resonate today with the work of the local new economy movement, creating worker cooperatives and anchored enterprises inside the shell of the corrupt Wall Street economy.

I saw Dorothy speak near the end of her life. She was in her late 70s, and her face was thin and white. She sat primly in a white rain jacket, a scarf around her hair. She spoke with intense dark eyes, unsmiling, as she responded to the interviewer’s questions with carefully chosen words. It was fresh, radical, ironic and unvarnished.

Dorothy had a deadpan way of speaking about great injustice. She quoted from the lives of saints and radical political theory, yet sprinkled in literary references to James Joyce and Dostoyevsky. Her direct manner of talking about rich and poor — from an intimate knowledge of both — broke the cultural taboo of talking so frankly about class. Robert Ellsberg, a former editor of The Catholic Worker told me, “She always talked like that, whether she was talking to a large group or one-on-one.”

Before the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis spoke of Dorothy Day and celebrated her in his comments about inequality and climate change, calling for an “integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.”

Some suspect that Pope Francis may be laying the groundwork for the canonization of Dorothy Day, but we don’t need saints to combat inequality, eliminate poverty, and address the climate crisis. By lifting up Dorothy Day, Pope Francis is reminding us that each of us have a personal and civic responsibility to reverse extreme inequality and build an ecologically sustainable economic system that serves the common good.

When people said to Dorothy Day that she should be sainted, she had a straightforward answer: “No thanks. I don’t want to be dismissed so quickly.”

I think what she meant was, “I’m human, I’m nothing special. Anyone can do what I’m doing. Why not you?”

The post Dorothy Day Economics appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and directs IPS’s Program on Inequality and the Common Good. He is an expert on U.S. inequality and author of several books, including Economic Apartheid in America: A Primer on Economic Inequality and Insecurity, co-authored with Felice Yeskel. (New Press, 2005).

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