The rich hate unions. Do you wonder why?

Corporations and the rich spend millions of dollars to try to get rid of unions:

In the summer of 2016, government workers in Illinois received a mailing that offered them tips on how to leave their union. By paying a so-called fair-share fee instead of standard union dues, the mailing said, they would no longer be bound by union rules and could not be punished for refusing to strike.

“To put it simply,” the document concluded, “becoming a fair-share payer means you will have more freedom.”

The mailing, sent by a group called the Illinois Policy Institute, may have seemed like disinterested advice. In fact, it was one prong of a broader campaign against public-sector unions, backed by some of the biggest donors on the right. It is an effort that will reach its apex on Monday, when the Supreme Court hears a case that could cripple public-sector unions by allowing the workers they represent to avoid paying fees.

Despite the fact that this hurts Democrats:

A recent paper by Mr. Hertel-Fernandez and two colleagues may foretell what Democrats can expect if Mr. Uihlein and his fellow philanthropists succeed. It found that the Democratic share of the presidential vote dropped by an average of 3.5 percentage points after the passage of so-called right-to-work laws allowing employees to avoid paying union fees. That is larger than Democrats’ margin of defeat in several states that could have reversed their last three presidential losses.

Democrats don’t seem to think that’s a big deal.

And if you think ‘liberal’ papers like the Boston Globe support unions look at the first paragraph of an article about Charter Schools trying to form a union:

Throughout Massachusetts, independently run charter schools have operated without unionized teachers, an intentional move that operators say gives them the flexibility to hire or dismiss teachers of their choosing and allows them to make other changes quickly without negotiating.

But that will likely end at two Boston charter schools.

This is not an opinion piece, it’s straight news. Notice the assumption that it’s the leaders who know what’s necessary, teachers will just obstruct that given the chance.

And the same is true of ‘liberal’ universities such as Tufts or Harvard. The graduate students at Harvard have been trying to form a union for a few years now, but have been stymied by Harvard. And they just decided on their next President, Lawrence Bacow, who vehemently worked against unions while at Tufts–against grad students:

Following a 2000 decision by the National Labor Relations Board to recognize graduate students as statutory employees, in 2002, graduate students at Tufts unsuccessfully attempted to unionize in conjunction with the United Automobile Workers.

“I believe it would be a mistake for graduate students to unionize,” Bacow wrote at the time. “The relationship between faculty member to graduate student is not one of employer to employee.”

They did not succeed until after he left. And he also worked against a union for administrative, technical, and clerical employees.

The Boston Globe has written several stories about Bacow, such as this one but none of them think this is important.

Unions are in almost as much danger as going extinct as right whales.

It takes time to comply

The American with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 but it seems to take some people a long time to comply:

The ADA Education and Reform Act passed on a 225-to-192 vote, with 12 Democrats joining all but 19 Republicans to approve a bill that proponents say is aimed at curbing unscrupulous lawyers who seek profit by threatening businesses with litigation without actually seeking to improve access for the disabled.

The only reason lawyers could sue a business is if they’re not in compliance. So what happens under this bill if a business isn’t in compliance?

Under the bill, those wishing to sue businesses in federal court over an ADA public-accommodations violation must first deliver a written notice to that business detailing the illegal barrier to access and then give that business 60 days to come up with a plan to address the complaints and an additional 60 days to take action.

And, as the ACLU notes, they don’t have to fix the problem in that time,

just for the business to make “substantial progress” towards accessibility.

It could be years before the problem is actually fixed.

Teen Vogue has a good article on this:

Disabled sometimes people have to sue for the right to go to the movies, go grocery shopping, or have a fun night out with friends. Some people claim businesses are being plagued by bogus lawsuits filed by disabled people who are greedy for cash. This ignores a couple of things: Filing suit is expensive, and furthermore, ADA suits only entitle disabled people to legal fees and injunctive relief — addressing the accessibility failure in question. And the legal system already has measures in place to address frivolous lawsuits, up to and including bar action against attorneys who engage in bad faith litigation.

Should the law pass, people would be required to file a written complaint with a violator, who would have 60 days to acknowledge and another 120 to take action before the disabled person could file a suit. While this may be framed as trying to “talk it out” before going to court, disabled people often make accommodation requests repeatedly before filing suit. This isn’t about not making a good faith effort. Instead, it’s a mandatory waiting period for civil rights. “H.R. 620 is just one of the ways the civil rights of disabled Americans are being undermined,” Cortland says.

The Trump budget

Let’s look at some of the highlights of the Trump budget:

For example, the budget would cut $554 billion from Medicare spending over 10 years.

It also would make changes to Medicaid, the health program for lower-income Americans that is funded by the federal government and states. It would create a “market-based health-care grant” that could fund programs in addition to the traditional Medicaid program, a change that would lower Medicaid spending by about $250 billion over 10 years.

One program that would face the biggest reduction is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is a version of food stamps run by the Agriculture Department. The White House proposes cutting $214 billion from the program over 10 years, although Congress often fights about changing SNAP and rarely has enacted changes.

Kevin Drum adds in some more:

The Post Office loses $4 billion, primarily by giving them “the ability to address their expenses—including the cost of personnel.” In other words, by slashing pay and pensions. Low-income energy assistance is eliminated. Foreign aid is cut $5 billion. PBS funding is eliminated. Ditto for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. HUD loses $9 billion, including a $4 billion cut in rental assistance. Etc. etc.
On the mandatory spending side, the budget proposes cuts of $266 billion to Medicare over ten years. SNAP loses $213 billion. Obamacare is eliminated, of course. “Waste and abuse” will generate savings of $187 billion. Farmers lose $47 billion. Subsidized student loans go away, as does the student loan forgiveness program.

And yet it still increases the deficit by a lot:

The White House projects a large gap between government spending and tax revenue over the next decade, adding at least $7 trillion to the debt over that time. In 2019 and 2020 alone, the government would add a combined $2 trillion in debt under Trump’s plan.

And even to get that they assume very rosy projections that are unlikely to happen.

On the one hand this budget is meaningless since the recently passed budget doesn’t follow this plan, on the other this tells us what the Trump administration wants: massively increase defense spending even though the US easily has the largest defense budget in the world already; cut almost all domestic spending, especially that which goes to the non-rich and science; pass large tax cuts that mostly go to the rich and big corporations even if it explodes the deficit.

 

Trump weighs in on MeToo, sides with harassers

A couple of men working for the Trump administration have resigned after their ex-wives claimed they abused them, I wonder what President Trump thinks?

‘‘Is there no such thing any longer as due process?’’

‘‘Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone.’’

‘‘We certainly wish him well. It’s obviously a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House and hopefully he will have a great career ahead of him,’’ Trump said. ‘‘It was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad.’’

I guess he’s not said about the women? Of course, Trump has been accused several times himself so it’s not surprising which side he’s on.

Trump administration thinks Equifax breach no big deal

So a breach at Equifax meant the personal files on 143 million people was stolen, but it doesn’t seem to be a priority to the CFPB under the Trump administration:

But Cordray resigned in November and was replaced by Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s budget chief. The CFPB effort against Equifax has sputtered since then, said several government and industry sources, raising questions about how Mulvaney will police a data-warehousing industry that has enormous sway over how much consumers pay to borrow money.

Three sources say, though, Mulvaney, the new CFPB chief, has not ordered subpoenas against Equifax or sought sworn testimony from executives, routine steps when launching a full-scale probe. Meanwhile the CFPB has shelved plans for on-the-ground tests of how Equifax protects data, an idea backed by Cordray.
The CFPB also recently rebuffed bank regulators at the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency when they offered to help with on-site exams of credit bureaus, said two sources familiar with the matter.

Now Equifax is being investigated by every state attorney general so they’re going to get punished, but shouldn’t the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau be working to protect the finances of consumers? Of course, Mulvaney thinks the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also there to protect the finance companies so maybe he’ll open an investigation into people whose files were stolen–we wouldn’t want them to do something that might hurt Equifax.

Not being PC is treason for Trump

President Trump really doesn’t like it when people don’t genuflect his way:

President Donald Trump mocked Democrats Monday for their stony reactions during his State of the Union speech last week, saying that it was even “treasonous.”

“They were like death and un-American. Un-American. Somebody said, ‘Treasonous.’ I mean, yeah, I guess, why not,” he said to laughter.

“Can we call that treason? Why not,” he added. He made the remarks during a speech at a manufacturing plant in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country that much,” he said, adding it was “very, very sad.”
Trump’s comments came less than a week after he delivered his State of the Union address in which he preached the virtue of bipartisanship.
If you’re not a Trump sycophant then you’re in-American. And just for fun:

Trump’s remarks came during a free-wheeling, highly partisan speech he gave at a factory in Cincinnati on Monday. The speech was billed as official government business, meaning taxpayers footed Trump’s expenses rather than the Republican Party, which is supposed to cover costs when the president is on political business.

The White House insisted the event was not political, even as Trump traveled with Rep. Jim Renacci aboard Air Force One. Renacci, a Republican whose Akron-based district is across the state from Cincinnati, is vying to challenge Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2018.

So, he was calling Democrats un-American during a speech where he was bending the rules just a touch. Nice symbolism.

Trump administration admits it cares more about Payday lenders than people

I assume the next step will be to rename the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

The Trump administration has stripped enforcement powers from the leaders of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unit responsible for pursuing discrimination cases, part of a broader effort to reshape an agency it criticized as acting too aggressively.

In 2013, it led the CFPB case that resulted in Ally Financial, one of the nation’s largest automobile lenders, paying $98 million to settle charges that it systematically allowed minorities to be charged more for car loans than whites. Ally was accused of discriminating by charging 235,000 minority borrowers higher rates. On average, black, Hispanic and Asian American customers paid between $200 and just over $300 more for auto loans than whites who were equally creditworthy, federal officials charged.

By the way, conservatives think that was a bad result.

In another sign of the CFPB’s light touch under the Trump administration, the agency has recently taken several steps to dial back pressure on payday lenders — one of the chief targets of the CFPB during the Obama administration. Mulvaney has called for a review of wide-ranging rules finalized by the CFPB last year targeting the billions of dollars in fees collected by payday lenders. The agency also called off a four-year investigation into World Acceptance, a South Carolina-based lender that targets subprime borrowers, and dropped a lawsuit against a group of four online payday lenders associated with an American Indian tribe.

Payday lenders are among the worst of the worst:

Without explanation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has dropped a lawsuit in Kansas it had filed a year ago against four payday lending companies.

The agency had alleged in its lawsuit that the four companies charged interest rates of 440 percent to 950 percent, beyond what several states allow for consumer loans.

Mulvaney definitely wants to change the name:

‘‘We are government employees,’’ he wrote. ‘‘We don’t just work for the government, we work for the people: those who use credit cards and those who provide them.’’

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau works for those who provide credit cards?

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