Help Stop The Payday Loan Debt Trap Scam

“Payday loans” are a Wall Street/financial industry scheme/scam that preys on people with low incomes. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is working on rules to reign this in and protected Americans. They want to hear from you. Please join the fight by clicking here to send a comment to the CFPB in support of a strong rule.


A Last Week Tonight with John Oliver segment on auto lending, which is similar to payday lending.

Loans Used To Be Safe And Boring

The financial industry and the loans they made used to be regular and boring – all about evaluating risk. They would look at a borrower’s financial situation and at the proposed use of the borrowed funds and decide how risky a loan might be, and “price the loan” (come up with an interest rate) accordingly. If the risk was just too high they wouldn’t make the loan at all.

Another thing that “used to be” was the old saying that you couldn’t get a loan unless you didn’t need the money. This actually made sense because getting a loan was supposed to be for a purchase that might be larger than you can handle all at once but that enabled you to increase your ability to pay back the loan. Buying a car meant you could get to work. Buying a house meant you could stop paying rent. A college loan meant you could get a higher-paying job. Expanding a business meant making more money that can be used to pay off the loan. You weren’t supposed to be able to “get in over your head.”

A loan certainly was never about getting money just to get by for another few weeks. (You used to have to go to the mafia for that, and everyone knew you could get your legs broken if you did.) Usury laws made sure people couldn’t legally get in over their heads by limiting the interest rate that could be charged so if a borrower was high-risk the lender couldn’t legally “price the loan” accordingly by charging a high enough interest rate to make it worthwhile.

Then Came Financial Deregulation

With financial deregulation a different, much less boring kind of loan industry sprang up: payday lending. Instead of evaluating risk in order to block loans to people who couldn’t pay the loan back, the payday loan industry tries to find poor, desperate people, dangles loans in front of them, and then traps them into a cycle that drains them of everything.

The “debt trap” is the actual business model, and they say so.

One payday loan CEO said of their “customers”: “The theory in the business is [that] you’ve got to get that customer in, work to turn him into a repetitive customer, long-term customer, because that’s really where the profitability is.”

Another payday lender even put out a training manual for new employees, saying to employees that their job is to push borrowers from one payday loan to the next.

The chairman of the payday lender‐supported Consumer Credit Research Foundation and president of the Payday Loan Bar Association wrote an email saying, “In practice, consumers mostly either roll over or default; very few actually repay their loans in cash on the due date.”

Payday lenders can find lots of desperate people in today’s low-wage America. A survey from Bankrate.com showed that as many as 63 percent of Americans would be strapped to raise $500 if they needed it in a crisis.

There are plenty of people who are “unbanked” (do not have a bank account) or “underbanked” (can’t otherwise get a loan). So they look for another way to get a loan in an emergency or cash a paycheck. According to the 2013 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, “7.7 percent (one in 13) of households in the United States were unbanked in 2013. This proportion represented nearly 9.6 million households.” On top of that, “20.0 percent of U.S. households (24.8 million) were underbanked in 2013, meaning that they had a bank account but also used alternative financial services (AFS) outside of the banking system.”

More Facts And Figures

This year the National Council of LaRaza and The Center for Responsible Lending looked at the situation just in Florida and released a report titled, “Perfect Storm: Payday Lenders Harm Florida Consumers Despite State Law.” According to the report,

● Interest rates average 278 percent.
● In Florida there are more payday loan stores than Starbucks (more than 1,100 outlets vs, 642 Starbucks).
● Payday lenders “stripped” Floridians of over $2.5 billion in fees between 2005 and 2016.
● “Last year, over 83 percent of Florida payday loans were to Floridians stuck in 7 or more loans.”
● “The average borrower takes out more than 8 loans per year.”
● “The economic drain of payday lending is disproportionately concentrated in Florida’s black and Latino communities, and has seen significant growth among senior citizens.”

That was Florida. Here are some national facts from Americans for Payday Lending Reform (a project of People’s Action):

● Thirty-five states allow payday lending with an average of 300 percent APR or more on a two-week loan. [Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/23/13]
● CFPB: 80 percent of payday loans are rolled over into new loans within 14 days. [Yahoo Finance, 8/13/14]
● CFPB: 20 percent of new payday loans cost the borrowers more than the amount borrowed. [Yahoo Finance, 8/13/14]
● An average payday loan claims a third of a borrower’s next paycheck. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 6/13/14]
● CFPB: half of all borrowers took out at least 10 sequential loans. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 6/13/14]
● CFPB: 60 percent of payday loans are renewed seven or more times in a row, typically adding a 15 percent fee for every renewal. [Times Picayune, 5/8/14]
● CRL: the average payday loan customer spends two-thirds of the year in hock to the payday lender. [St. Louis Post Dispatch, 6/18/14]
● 22 percent of monthly borrowers, “largely people whose income is from social security”, remained in debt for an entire year. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3/26/14]
● Only 15 percent of borrowers were able to repay their initial loans without borrowing again within two weeks. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3/26/14]
● CFPB: Three quarters of loan fees came from borrowers who had more than 10 payday loans in a 12-month period. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 8/11/13]

Payday lending is a huge problem. A huge industry has grown with a business model of trapping low-wage people in a debt trap and draining everything they can from them. Yes, low-income workers need some place to turn in a financial crisis. But setting financial predators loose on them is not the way.

Doing Something About It

In various parts of the country, activists are taking the fight directly to the payday lenders, as shown in this video:

On August 1, one-hundred activists from twenty-five states took action on Speedy Loan, a payday lender in Milwaukee, to call on Speedy Loan Corp. owner and president Kevin Dabney to stop trapping families in 500 percent interest debt-trap loans. Monday’s action came midway through the 90-day public comment period on a proposal to issue the first-ever national rules by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to regulate the payday and car title lending industry.

Join the fight! Go to StopPaydayPredators.org and make a comment to the CFPB.

The CFPB is proposing new rules to crack down and protect Americans from these scammers. The bureau has opened up a public comment period.

To dismantle the debt trap, payday lenders should only loan to borrowers who can afford to repay their debt.

You can make a comment to the CFPB in support of a strong rule. From the website:

We can rein in the worst payday lending abuses with a proposed rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Payday lenders are fighting to keep their unfair and abusive practices going. It’s up to us to make sure the CFPB hears loud and clear that we need to stop the debt trap once and for all.

A single unaffordable payday loan is one loan too many. The proposed rule gives a “free pass” to payday lenders to make six bad loans, allowing lenders to sink people into a dangerous debt trap before the rule kicks in. The CFPB was right to base their proposal on the standard that borrowers should be able to repay their loan, but that standard must be on every loan, from the first loan. The CFPB should also enact protections to prevent lenders from stringing people along by ensuring a 60 day break between loans and limiting ‘short term’ loans to 90 total days of indebtedness per year.

The payday lending industry is spending millions on a disinformation campaign that includes flooding the CFPB with comments from customers coached to write industry-friendly statements. We need to push back against the industry. Please leave a comment now for the CFPB in support of a strong rule.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

President Tells Congress TPP Is Coming Their Way. What Will Clinton Do?

One day after presidential candidate Hillary Clinton strongly underscored her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a speech in Detroit, President Obama officially started the clock on a lame-duck congressional vote on that agreement.

Politico has the story, headlined “Obama puts Congress on notice: TPP is coming“:

The White House put Congress on notice Friday morning that it will be sending lawmakers a bill to implement President Barack Obama’s landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement — a move intended to infuse new energy into efforts to ratify the flatlining trade pact.

The submission of the draft Statement of Administration Action establishes a 30-day minimum before the administration can present the legislation, but it is unlikely to do so amid the heated rhetoric of a presidential campaign that has depicted free trade deals as major job killers.

Here is the timeline, as described by Politico:

Once Congress reviews the draft statement, the administration can move forward with sending lawmakers a final statement and the draft of the implementing bill itself, which will describe the actual changes to U.S. law to comply with the rules of the trade agreement.

After that, the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees could hold “mock markups” of the bill (because under trade promotion authority, Congress is not actually allowed to tinker with the agreement or its implementing legislation itself, but it can ask the administration to do so). But given the tenor of the elections, the entire process could be pushed into a crowded lame-duck legislation session, which would mean no time for the mock markups and, instead, a lot of deal-making between the White House and congressional leadership to move the bill before Clinton or [Donald] Trump take over on Jan. 20.

So, the countdown to a lame-duck vote on TPP is officially underway.

Sanders Pledges To Do Everything He Can To Stop A Lame-Duck Vote

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) pledged to do everything he can to stop it. The Hill has that story:

“It is now time for the leadership of the Democratic Party​ in the Senate and the House to join Secretary Clinton and​ go on the record in opposition to holding a vote on this job-killing trade deal during the lame-duck session of Congress and beyond,” Sanders, a former White House contender, said in a statement Friday.

… Sanders, pledging to do “everything I can” to block the trade deal, added Friday that he is “disappointed” the Obama administration is “pushing forward” with TPP.

“[They] continue pushing forward on the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that will cost American jobs, harm the environment, increase the cost of prescription drugs and threaten our ability to protect public health,” he said.

Clinton Has More To Do

With Sanders pledging to do everything he can to stop a lame-duck vote on TPP, Clinton’s statement of opposition, no matter how strong, will not be seen by TPP opponents as doing enough. At some point she has to break with President Obama and fight Bernie-style to stop it. That requires more than words. She hasn’t yet called on Democrats to vote against TPP and didn’t call on Obama to withdraw it.

Her problem is credibility. Too many do not believe she is not really opposed, only saying so to get votes. For example, Ian Fletcher, writing in “It’s Alive! Obama Moving Forward with TPP After All” at The Huffington Post:

There had been some speculation – and hope – that soaring public opposition to the pact had put it on indefinite hold, but no.

Hillary Clinton, despite pretenses to the contrary, fairly clearly supports this thing, so this is no surprise.

Some See Good Signs

Dierdre Fulton, writing at Common Dreams, quotes Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s (PCCC) Adam Green saying that Clinton “signaled she will personally work to kill” TPP,

Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Adam Green, who said in a release on Thursday afternoon: “These were Hillary Clinton’s strongest words yet against the TPP. For the first time, Clinton signaled she will personally work to kill the corporate-written TPP if it comes up after the election in an unaccountable lame-duck Congress. President Obama will hurt Democratic chances of success this November—and help Donald Trump’s chance of winning blue-collar voters—if he does not heed Clinton’s signals and take the TPP off the table before the election.”

Fulton also quotes Democracy for America’s (DFA) Charles Chamberlain:

DFA executive director Charles Chamberlain agreed that Clinton’s stated opposition on Thursday was “the strongest we’ve heard from her to date and will undoubtedly help build the support necessary to kill this miserable trade deal once and for all.”

“However,” he added, “it’s now more important than ever that the country and President Obama hear specifically from Secretary Clinton that a vote on the job-killing TPP during a lame duck session of Congress must not happen.”

Clinton Likely To Win, But Then What?

Even though Clinton is likely to win the election, she will still need wide support to govern. If TPP comes up and passes in the lame-duck session – even though the deed is on Obama – it will kill good will and trust because many progressives will feel betrayed. This will embolden Republicans to oppose everything, as they have done under Obama. TPP passing gives Clinton a very bad send-off into the presidency.

Obama has now started the TPP clock for a lame-duck vote. This guarantees the fighting will not stop on Election Day. It is not enough for Clinton to say she is against TPP; that doesn’t stop it. What stops it is work, putting herself on the front line, calling Democrats and twisting arms and making deals to persuade members of Congress to vote against it. At some point it will have to be Obama vs. Clinton if TPP is to be stopped.

Clinton and the rest of us need to get the 28 Democrats who supported the “fast track” trade promotion authority (TPA) to oppose a vote after the election. These 28 are: Terri Sewell (AL-07); Susan Davis (CA-53); Sam Farr (CA-20); Jim Costa (CA-16); Ami Bera (CA-07); Scott Peters (CA-52); Jared Polis (CO-02); James Himes (CT-04); Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23); Mike Quigley (IL-05); John Delaney (MD-06); Brad Ashford (NE-02); Gregory Meeks (NY-05); Kathleen Rice (NY-04); Earl Blumenauer (OR-03); Kurt Schrader (OR-05); Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01); Jim Cooper (TN-05); Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15); Eddie Johnson (TX-30); Henry Cuellar (TX-28); Beto O’Rourke (TX-16); Gerald Connolly (VA-11); Donald Beyer (VA-08); Rick Larsen (WA-02); Suzan DelBene (WA-01); Derek Kilmer (WA-06); Ron Kind (WI-03).

It may well be that Clinton is waiting until after the election to begin actively working, calling and twisting arms and making deals to kill TPP. Perhaps she feels she can ward off Trump’s accusations that she is only saying she is opposed for votes. Perhaps she is engaged in a balancing act between risking credibility on TPP and not wanting to alienate Obama and his supporters. But after the election, the political game will be about establishing a coalition that supports her, and that means no TPP.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

Clinton Should Tell Obama To Withdraw TPP To Save Her Presidency

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but is having trouble convincing people to believe her. Imagine the trouble Hillary Clinton will have trying to build support for her effort to govern the country if TPP is ratified before her inauguration.

According to Politico’s Wednesday Morning Trade, the Obama administration is launching a “TPP blitz” push to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker last week said the administration is planning at least 30 trade events by the end of the month. That effort, similar to last year’s “all of Cabinet” push for trade promotion authority, is expected to shift to Capitol Hill in September when lawmakers return from their summer break.

In spite of the opposition of much of the public, both presidential candidates, all of labor, almost all Democrats, all progressive-aligned consumer, human rights, environmental and other organizations and even the Tea Party right, what is happening here is that Wall Street, the multinational corporations, most Republicans and unfortunately President Obama are preparing to insult democracy by pushing to ratify TPP. This undermine’s Clinton’s credibility while campaigning for election, and if it passes it harms her ability to govern if she is elected.

There is something Clinton can do to bolster her credibility on the TPP. Clinton on Thursday is giving an economic speech near Detroit. This speech is an opportunity for Clinton to put this behind her for good. She should loudly call on President Obama to withdraw TPP now, and call on Democrats to vote against the TPP if he does not do that.

Progressive groups are asking her to do just that, calling people to sign a petition telling Clinton: “Lead against lame-duck vote on TPP.”

Clinton Opposes TPP, But …

Clinton has stated her opposition to TPP, but has not asked Democrats to join her in opposition, particularly during the “lame-duck” session of Congress that follows the election. This is one reason that Clinton continues to have a credibility problem on TPP.

Donald Trump repeatedly tells audiences that Clinton isn’t really against TPP; she is just saying it for votes. He says she will “betray” us. This is Trump in his Monday “economy” speech in Detroit:

The next betrayal will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Hillary Clinton’s closest friend, Terry McAuliffe, confirmed what I have said on this from the beginning: If sent to the Oval Office, Hillary Clinton will enact the TPP. Guaranteed. Her donors will make sure of it.

Along with McAuliffe, who is the governor of Virginia, Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue has said she will reverse herself. And it was Clinton delegates who blocked putting specific TPP opposition in the Democratic platform. So yes, there is a credibility problem.

Dan Balz, writes about her problem at The Washington Post, in “Clinton has yet to respond to Trump’s attack on globalism“:

Clinton came out against the agreement last year to put herself in alignment with Sen. Bernie Sanders … But in doing so, she put herself at odds with the views enunciated by her husband, Bill Clinton, when he was president, and raised questions about whether her change of heart was mere political expedience.

Which is why her position on trade and global economics has remained suspect to those on the left…

Balz asks:

What does Clinton really think about this aspect of economic policy? How do her views today square with what she has thought and advocated during her public career? …

Those are issues about which she has so far been relatively silent. … Trump has presented her with a challenge; is she is prepared to take it up?

… In her responses to Trump’s Detroit speech, Clinton did not address what the GOP nominee said about trade. It’s difficult to believe that was an oversight.

… Does Clinton not owe the public a fuller explanation of her views on a topic that her rival has made central to his candidacy?

Passing TPP Would Destroy Clinton Presidency Before It Starts

Polling shows that Clinton continues to have a problem with “unfavorables” and credibility with the electorate. As of now it appears Clinton will almost certainly win the election – maybe even in a blowout. But this will not necessarily be due to overwhelming support of Clinton. Instead it will be at least partly because of the ugly words and actions of her reprehensible opponent. After the election, much of the public will likely remain divided, looking for signs that things will be OK after all under a Clinton presidency.

Imagine if TPP does come up for a vote in the lame-duck session and passes. The public, particularly progressives, will certainly feel betrayed. It will also bolster the opposition, who will say, “I told you so” because of Trump’s predictions of a betrayal on TPP. If that happens, it won’t matter that Clinton has said she opposes TPP. People will feel she just said it to get votes, and now that the election is over…

This is a terrible recipe for beginning a presidency of a divided country.

Progressive Groups Asking Clinton To Lead Opposition To Lame Duck TPP Vote

The Hill has the story on how progressives intend to “pressure Clinton on TPP ahead of economic speech“:

Progressive groups are urging Hillary Clinton to publicly announce that she opposes a lame-duck session vote on the Obama administration’s Pacific Rim trade deal.

After initially supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Clinton reversed after Bernie Sanders made his opposition to the deal one of the cornerstones of his insurgent campaign for the presidency.

On Wednesday, the grassroots liberal groups Democracy for America and CREDO will begin circulating petitions urging Clinton to go further by making a public statement “urging the White House and Democratic congressional leadership to oppose any vote on the TPP, especially during the post-election lame duck session of Congress.”
The groups would like Clinton to make that declaration in her policy address on the economy this Thursday outside of Detroit.

Buzzfeed rounded up some statements from progressive leaders, beginning with Democracy for America’s Robert Cruickshank:

“Right now, Donald Trump is running around the country using the specter of a lame-duck vote on the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership to divide Secretary Clinton from the millions of voters who agree with her that this disastrous trade deal has to be stopped,” Robert Cruickshank, a senior campaign manger at Democracy for America, told BuzzFeed News in a statement.

CREDO’s Murshed Zahee also weighs in:

“Now we need her help to stop it from being jammed through Congress in a lame duck session. A personal and public statement from Secretary Clinton in opposition to a lame duck vote would provide huge momentum in the fight to stop the TPP once and for all,” CREDO’s political director Murshed Zaheed said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

Sign The Petition

You can add your own voice to this effort to get Clinton’s help stamping out TPP by adding your name to this CREDO petition:” Tell Sec. Clinton: Lead against lame-duck vote on TPP“: “Make a public statement urging the White House and Democratic congressional leadership to oppose any vote on the TPP, especially during the post-election lame-duck session of Congress.”

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

Trump Trade Position Is Opposite Of What People Think It Is

One of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s stronger economic appeals to working-class voters is his position on trade. Trump understands that people are upset that “trade” deals have moved so many jobs out of the country and he offers solutions that sound like he is saying he will bring the jobs back so wages can start going up again.

But a deeper look at what he is really saying might not be so appealing to voters.

Trump says the U.S. is not “competitive” with other countries. He has said repeatedly we need to lower American wages, taxes and regulations to the point where we can be “competitive” with Mexico and China. In other words, he is saying that business won’t send jobs out of the country if we can make wages low enough here.

Trump even has a plan to accomplish this. He has said the way to make U.S. wages “competitive” is to pit states against each other instead of using China and Mexico to do that. He has said, for example, that auto companies should close factories in Michigan and move the jobs to low-wage, anti-union states. After enough people are laid off in one state, he has said, “those guys are going to want their jobs back even if it is less.” Then companies will be able to “make good deals” to cut wages. He says that companies should continue this in a “rotation” of wage cuts, state to state, until you go “full-circle,” getting wages low enough across the entire country. Then the U.S. will be “competitive” with China and Mexico.

Yes, Trump Actually Said These Things

Trump discussed this in an August 2015 interview with The Detroit News headlined, “Trump suggests moving some car production from Michigan.“ In the interview, the subject of moving jobs out of the country because other places offer lower wages, “free or nearly free land on which to build, and fewer regulatory hurdles” came up. “Trump suggested one way to stop automakers’ expansion to Mexico is by moving some production out of Michigan to lower-wage states.”

He said U.S. automakers could shift production away from Michigan to communities where autoworkers would make less. “You can go to different parts of the United States and then ultimately you’d do full-circle — you’ll come back to Michigan because those guys are going to want their jobs back even if it is less,” Trump said. “We can do the rotation in the United States — it doesn’t have to be in Mexico.”

He said that after Michigan “loses a couple of plants — all of sudden you’ll make good deals in your own area.”

Trump has made similar arguments on other occasions. That same month The Washington Times reported, in Donald Trump: ‘Having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country’, that Trump said the following, using the same state vs. state argument (emphasis added).

Saying the United States needs to be able to compete in a global economy, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Thursday having a low minimum wage isn’t a bad thing for the country.

“… I think having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country.”

… “It’s such a nasty question because the answer has to be nasty,” Mr. Trump said. “You know, we’re in a global economy now. It used to be people would leave New York state and companies would leave New York state or leave another state and go to Florida, go to Texas, go to wherever they go because the wages … you know, all sorts of different things.”

“Well now, it’s not leaving New York or New Jersey or wherever they may be leaving — now they’re leaving the United States, and they’re going to other countries because they’re competing for low taxes and they’re competing for low wages and they’re competing for all sorts of things …”

“So what’s happening now is people are shopping, companies are shopping. … They’re shopping their companies to [other] places, and we can’t have a situation where our labor is so much more expensive than other countries that we can no longer compete.”

Mr. Trump said if he wins the White House, he would “make us so competitive as a country.”

Again, in November 2015, The New York Times reported, in “Donald Trump Insists That Wages Are ‘Too High’“:

“We are a country that’s being beaten on every front, economically, militarily. There is nothing we do now to win,” said Mr. Trump, adding at another point that “our wages are too high.”

… “Our taxes are too high. Our wages are too high. We have to compete with other countries.”

Again and again, Trump says U.S. taxes, regulations and wages are too high for American companies to “compete.”

Trump repeated the same argument in his “Economic Speech” Monday at the Detroit Economic Club, saying that high taxes and regulations make America uncompetitive so businesses move away. He left out his – and every other Republican’s – position on wages.

Run The Country Like A Business?

Trump talks about how he is a “businessman” who is a great “negotiator.” He wants to run the country like a business.

But people who run businesses always push for lower taxes, fewer regulations and lower wages. Trump used to talk openly about his desire to cut all three, in order to make America more “competitive” with Mexico and China. Lately he only promises to radically cut taxes and regulations on businesses. Of course, he has learned to keep quiet about his desire to cut the third leg of that argument, wages.

But Trump is, after all, the Republican candidate. He is, after all, a businessman. He has, after all, openly expressed his wish to bring American wages down in the past and even voiced his plan to pit states against each other to accomplish that.

So we should, after all, understand that a Republican businessman who has made it clear that he thinks wages need to go down does not suddenly have the best interests of American workers at heart. He is also a politician, and in this one instance he has learned to keep his mouth shut, at least when it comes to his argument that wages are too high. That doesn’t mean his argument has changed.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

The Latest Lie: “We Are Going To Raise Taxes On The Middle Class”

Another presidential campaign means it’s time to bring back the “Latest Lie” series.

And here’s the latest lie. Campaigning in Nebraska Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said, “Well, we’re not going there, my friends. I’m telling you right now we’re going to write fairer rules for the middle class. And we aren’t going to raise taxes on the middle class.”

Now Donald Trump is running an ad with a doctored transcript that says Clinton said, “And we are going to raise taxes on the middle class.”

Caitlan MacNeal explains at TPM, in “Trump Campaign Video Misrepresents Clinton’s Position On Taxes“:

The Clinton campaign told PolitiFact that Clinton said “aren’t,” not “are.” And a transcript of Clinton’s prepared remarks uses the line, “We aren’t going to raise taxes on the middle class.”

CBS News reported that when the video is slowed down, it becomes more clear that Clinton said “aren’t.” And several reporters agreed with that.

Here is the Trump ad, you can clearly hear her say “aren’t” – but even so everyone knows what she meant:

Nice. Changing a word in a speech to make it sound like Clinton said the opposite of what she actually said. Will people fall for that?

Remember when President Obama said that businesspeople didn’t get there on their own, they had help, that they didn’t build the roads, bridges and other public facilities that they used for their success? Then Republicans took the quote out of context, claimed he said businesspeople “didn’t build that,” meaning they didn’t build their businesses. They actually built an entire campaign around that lie. Well, here they go again.

How many more days until this is over?

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

Did You Know That AARP Is A Paying Member Of ALEC?

Here is a real shocker. AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) has been a paying member of the notorious right-wing, Koch-tied lobbying organization American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) since at least 2014.

Yes, that AARP, once known for protecting the interests of senior citizens and fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare. Yes, that ALEC — an organization dedicated to, among so many other things, privatizing Social Security and Medicare, and getting rid of public-employee pensions. AARP apparently joined ALEC even as many corporations were fleeing thanks to exposure of ALEC’s reprehensible actions.

Just wow.

Nick Surgey and Calvin Sloan exposed the story at the Center for Media and Democracy’s ALEC Exposed site, “REVEALED: AARP IS FUNDING ALEC”:

AARP, the non-profit seniors organization that exists to promote the financial security, pensions and healthcare of those over 50, is secretly funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization whose bills have acted against the interests of ordinary Americans, including retirees and their families.

The Center for Media and Democracy has learned that AARP has recently joined ALEC, and that it is a named sponsor of the ALEC annual meeting taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana from July 27-29, 2016.

Why does this matter?

Michael Hiltzik, Columnist at the LA Times, explains why this matters in “Why is AARP cozying up to the right-wing group ALEC while big corporations flee?”:

Among the policies that have been promoted by ALEC are several that arguably undermine the interests of seniors and retirees, AARP’s core constituency. ALEC has pushed for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which has saved Medicare enrollees millions of dollars by closing the Medicare drug benefit “donut hole.” It has opposed Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. It has targeted public pensions, pushing to cap benefits and shift workers toward defined contribution plans, which layer more market risk on individual workers’ shoulders.

ALEC’s right-wing, corporate agenda is all about privatizing Social Security, gutting pension plans, turning Medicare over to insurance companies and pushing laws that would make prescription drug prices even higher for seniors.

Talk about selling out your constituency. Just wow.

Many companies dropped ALEC after the organization’s right-wing ties were exposed by CMD. These companies include Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft. (Click here for a list.) And then AARP apparently decided this all sounded good, and joined up.

Is This Even Legal?

Hiltzik’s column contains a revealing statement from AARP,

AARP’s statement acknowledged that it paid a fee to ALEC in 2016 to provide “an opportunity to engage with state legislators and advance our members’ priorities from a position of strength at ALEC’s annual meeting. AARP added, “given that Republicans control one or more chambers in 39 of the nation’s 50 state legislatures, we believe having a seat at the table at the ALEC annual meeting was necessary to our mission of representing the interests and needs of people 50-plus and their families.”

AARP says it paid a fee to “engage” with legislators and get “a seat at the table.” Paying the fee gives them a “position of strength.” This statement reveals how ALEC is set up as a “pay-to-play” corruption operation; the organization charges companies a fee for access to legislators, companies pay a fee so they can influence legislators, conservative legislators show up so they can be influenced. The public loses out on every side of that pay-to-play triangle of corruption.

Really? Paying a fee for an opportunity to engage with legislators? Or the other side of that equation, charging a fee? If this blatant corruption is legal at all, it is what is known as “lobbying.” But ALEC is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 charity that is prohibited from lobbying or engaging in politics at all. (Never mind a license for corruption.) Various complaints have been filed with the IRS, but nothing happens… Just wow.

Get Active

CMD has a petition you can sign: Tell AARP to Dump ALEC!

For decades, ALEC has plied state legislators with disinformation about Social Security, climate change, and other issues along with bills and resolutions that undermine Americans’ financial security and our future.

Please sign the following letter (and if you are a member of AARP, please also contact the organization directly and ask that they DUMP ALEC).

Also, Social Security Works is an organization that “leads the fight every day to expand and protect our Social Security system.” They want you to click this: No organization that claims to represent retirees should be anywhere near ALEC, let alone funding them. Join us in calling on AARP to immediately end its financial support of ALEC and repudiate the group.

FYI: About CMD

The Center for Media and Democracy investigates and exposes corruption. You might know CMD for ALEC Exposed, which brought ALEC to public attention. You might know them for PR Watch, which keeps an eye on how corporations use “spin.” They also operate the SourceWatch wiki.
However you know them, they do great work. Check them out.

And click through to read the entire piece exposing AARP’s membership in ALEC as well as Michael Hiltzik’s column the LA Times. They both contain so much more in-depth information than is included here.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

Strong Rules Needed On Abusive Debt Collection Practices

I have been hounded for months by a company attempting to collect money for a gym membership that I canceled more than 15 years ago.

I was paying $150 a year for the membership before I correctly canceled the membership in writing. That “fitness center” was bought by a national chain that is known for hounding people for unpaid memberships, even if the membership has been canceled and nothing is actually owed.

In my case, they say I owe $2,500, but they will “settle” for less. And I can’t stop the calls.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is now proposing new rules that would put a stop to this kind of behavior and give consumers who have been victimized options for relief.

The CFPB is a new agency of the government that protects regular people from scams, frauds and abuses by the financial industry. The bureau came about as part of the minimal Dodd-Frank re-regulation of Wall Street and the rest of the financial industry following the 2008 crash.

One such often-abused financial scheme is debt collection. It’s an entire industry. Many people don’t know that there is a market where “debt buying” companies can actually buy “bundles of debt.” A company can actually purchase a “portfolio” of old debts like loans, installment car or store loans, even gym membership contracts that have been written off because a company has decided it is just too much trouble and expense to try to collect.

Instead of just giving up, though, the original lender “sells” the debt for pennies on the dollar to companies that specialize in doing nothing but collections. The collection company is all set up with “boiler rooms” full of people and phones, where they have refined techniques to hound the debtor, trying to collect what they can.

Often the collection companies don’t even verify that the debt is even legitimate.

Another scam is “fraudulent service” where the debt company falsely claims they served papers on a debtor, and when the debtor doesn’t show up in court they get a judgment allowing them to garnish paychecks and extend the legal period for collecting debt.

A January report titled “Unfair, Deceptive & Abusive: Debt Collectors Profit from Abusive Tactics,” by the Alliance for a Just Society, which is now the People’s Action Institute, looked at 75,000 debt-collection consumer complaints filed with the CFPB over two years. These complaints showed that debt collectors routinely harass people, even if they don’t even owe anything. And it is happening to a lot of people.

The People’s Action Institute report shows the need for the CFPB to crack down on the abuses by this industry. And that is exactly what the CFPB is now proposing to do. CNBC has the headline: “US consumer agency seeks to overhaul debt collection industry.”

The U.S. watchdog for consumer finances unveiled on Thursday a major proposal to toughen regulation of the multibillion-dollar debt collection industry, with a focus on keeping agencies from pushing people to pay debts they do not owe, informing borrowers of their rights and cutting down on calls to debtors.

“Today we are considering proposals that would drastically overhaul the debt collection market,” said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray in a statement. “This is about bringing better accuracy and accountability to a market that desperately needs it.”

… Roughly 13 percent of consumers have a debt currently in third-party collection, with an average amount of $1,300, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows.

The New York Times’ Dealbook looks at some of the abuses, in” Debt Collectors’ Abuses Prompt Consumer Agency to Propose New Rules“:

Some 77 million people — roughly one in three adults with a credit report — have a delinquent debt in collections, according to an estimate by the Urban Institute.

… Susan Macharia, 39, an administrative worker who lives in Buena Park, Calif., said she was blindsided in January when she got a call from a collector saying that her wages would be garnished unless she paid off a $10,000 credit card debt that she allegedly ran up in 2003.

A debt so old would normally be beyond the statute of limitations, and legally uncollectable, but the company had a copy of a 2006 default judgment that was entered against her when she failed to respond to a collection lawsuit.

But Ms. Macharia, who opened her first credit card account just three years ago, had no recollection of being notified of a lawsuit, and she was living in Atlanta when the papers were said to have been served on her in California. …

While Ms. Macharia tried to figure out how to contest the debt, the collector began garnishing nearly $800 a month from her paychecks.

It’s about time the government starting acting like a government again. Meanwhile Republicans in Congress are trying to gut the CFPB’s effectiveness because the bureau cracks down on scams like these.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

Latest Senate Food Workers Victory Highlights Perils of Privatization

The long-abused cafeteria workers of the U.S. Senate, who risked their jobs to fight to earn a living wage only to have the private contractor that runs the cafeteria renege on an order to increase their pay, won a key victory this week.

The Labor Department declared that the contractor had engaged in wage theft from 674 of its workers, deliberately misclassifying them so that they would earn less than their actual work entitled them to earn. The contractor also forced employees to do unpaid work “off the clock.” As a result, the multinational conglomerate Restaurant Associates and a subsidiary will have to give the workers back pay totaling $1,008,302.

Roll Call has more details, in “Senate Food Service Vendor Ordered to Pay $1 Million in Back Wages“:

Senate food service vendor Restaurant Associates and its subcontractor, Personnel Plus, improperly classified workers in order to pay them for lower-wage positions and required them to work overtime without compensation in violation of federal and local labor laws, the agency said in a news release. The contractors also failed to pay required health and other benefits.

“Workers in the restaurant industry are among the lowest-paid workers in our economy,” said the department’s Wage and Hour Division Administrator David Weil . “Most struggle to afford life’s basic expenses and pay their bills; they shouldn’t have to deal with paychecks that don’t accurately reflect their hard work and the wages to which they are legally entitled.”

The Privatization Scam

“Privatization” transfers something that We the People publicly own for OUR benefit, and hands it over to private interests so a few can make a profit for THEIR benefit. The scheme is sold with claims that privatization “saves money” because the private contracting company is “run like a business.” The bet is that no one will think through just how a private company might “save money” when they have to “run like a business” and make a profit that government doesn’t have to make.

Of course what happens is the private company “saves money” by laying off the government employees and hiring them back or replacing them at minimum wage with no benefits, then transferring the wage and benefit differential into a few pockets at the top of the company. But guess what? Now those workers make so little they qualify for government benefits, other poverty programs are strained, local stores are selling less, homes are foreclosed so local property values drop, the tax base is reduced … so the government didn’t “save money” at all, it just cut its own revenue and shifted spending from one part of the government to another – all at the expense of working people. And the money that was “saved” went into a few private pockets.

Beyond impoverishing workers with low wages, there are even worse ways private corporate contractors “save money,” such as cutting service, cutting quality, cutting corners, fighting unionization – all of which hurt the public that is supposed to be served. Plus, because it is “run like a business,” contracting corporations cut some of those corners by doing things like committing outright wage theft.

The Privatized Senate Cafeteria

In 2008 the U.S. Senate “saved money” by privatizing its food services. At the time California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said, “There are parts of government that can be run like a business and should be run like businesses.”

The Senate cafeteria was, indeed, “run like a business.” The company paid low wages, fought against unionization efforts and engaged in various schemes to keep the workers down. After a while things got so bad that workers had to work two, even three jobs just to get by. Some of the workers were even homeless. In April 2015, the Washington Post reported on that:

For a week’s work at the Senate cafeteria — sweeping floors, mopping bathrooms, cleaning dishes, composting leftovers, transporting laundry — he says his take-home pay is about $360. And while he takes enormous pride in serving the country’s public servants, he is not sure these public servants are returning the favor.

“Our lawmakers, they don’t even realize what’s going on right beneath their feet,” he says. “They don’t have a clue.”

The usual ways to “run like a business” were not enough for the Senate cafeteria contractors. SO they added another way to “run like a business”: wage theft. When after months of protests the Senate cafeteria workers secured a wage agreement from Restaurant Associates, with the help of Good Jobs Nation and members of the Senate who voiced support for the workers, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the company immediately worked to undermine the agreement by reclassifying Senate cafeteria jobs so that the workers ended up not getting the wage increases the agreement called for. The jobs themselves did not change; Restaurant Associates changed what the jobs were called in order to justify not increasing the workers’ pay.

If This Is Happening Literally Right Under The Senate’s Nose …

The Huffington Post has a great quote from Joseph Geevarghese, director of Good Jobs Nation. “This is symptomatic of a larger problem,” Geevarghese is quoted as saying. “If federal contractors believe they can get away with breaking federal laws right under the nose of lawmakers, imagine what they’re doing all across the U.S., where workers don’t have access to power and access to the media. I would argue that what we’re seeing in Washington is just the tip of the iceberg.”

The Washington Post report, “Senate workers will get $1 million in back pay after Labor Department probe,” highlights a wider need this wage theft ruling points to: a “Model Employer” policy of contracting with employers that pay good wages and recognize workers’ right to form a union. In the Post, Geevarghese notes that “the truth is the Labor Department cannot investigate every federal contractor in the U.S. – we need a systemic solution, not just case-by-case fixes.”

Democratic Platform Demands “Model Employer”

The 2016 Democratic Party Platform calls for an executive order “or some other vehicle” directing the U.S. Government to spend taxpayer dollars on “Model Employers” and not on corporations that violate workers’ rights. From the platform:

Democrats support a model employer executive order or some other vehicle to leverage federal dollars to support employers who provide their workers with a living wage, good benefits, and the opportunity to form a union without reprisal. The one trillion dollars spent annually by the government on contracts, loans, and grants should be used to support good jobs that rebuild the middle class.

Sign This “Model Employer” Petition

Good Jobs Nation is calling next president to adopt a “Model Employer” policy of contracting with employers that pay good wages and recognize workers’ right to form a union. The organization is asking people to “Sign the Petition: the U.S. Must Stop Doing Business With Corporate Cheaters.

From the petition web page:

“Currently, the federal government is America’s leading low-wage job creator, funding more poverty jobs than McDonald’s and Wal-Mart combined. 60% of federal contract workers are women and 88% are women of color working contracted jobs in areas like food service, janitorial work, or landscaping.

A Model Employer Executive Order would begin to reverse the federal government’s low-wage contracting policies by providing as many as 21 million people– 8 million workers and their families who rely on low-wage jobs in the federally supported economy – with good jobs that provide a path into the middle class.”

Click here to sign the petition.


Isaiah J. Poole contributed to this article.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

Republicans Want To “Make America Work Again”? That Would Be Real Change

Tuesday was “Make America Work Again” day at the Republican National Convention. But this day wasn’t about making America work again for working people. This was, as always with conservatives, all about tax cuts for the rich and corporations, deregulation of oil and coal companies (and other paying corporate clients) and austerity cuts in the things government does to make people’s lives better.

There was nothing about how to actually make America “work again.”

Truth is, the economy has added 14.8 million private-sector jobs since the big Bush/Republican downturn of 2008.

Nonetheless, “Make America Work Again” day is described this way in the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) convention schedule announcement:

The Obama years have delivered anemic economic growth, the lowest labor-force participation rate in 38 years, and job-killing regulations and legislation like Obamacare. These policies are crushing middle-class families, and a Hillary Clinton presidency would merely be an Obama third term that would deliver the same poor results. Donald Trump is a successful businessman with a solid record of creating jobs and the experience we need to get America’s economy up and running … and get Americans working again.

The Speeches

Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White, describing himself as a “fight promoter” (which is an appropriate description for the speakers at this Republican convention) began with an endorsement of Trump, saying, “He’s that guy, he shows up,” because Trump helped him promote fights as a business. “I’ve been in the fight business my whole life and Donald Trump is a fighter.” Nothing about how to make America “work again.”

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson gave a negative speech about Hillary Clinton and “Benghazi,” not about how to make America “work again.”

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey also gave a negative speech about Clinton’s email server and “Benghazi.” Nothing about how to make America “work again.”

Businessman Andy Wist from Brooklyn, who has a waterproofing company, said that after eight years of President Obama he doesn’t see the American Dream. Donald Trump “is a leader … He will make America work again.” He didn’t say how.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson said, “Benghazi.” Also, “ISIS.” And “We shouldn’t have to live in fear” while stoking the fear… Nothing about how to make America “work again.”

Chris Cox of the National Rifle Association (NRA) spoke about how “you have to be able to protect yourself and your family.” Fear. “Imagine a young mother at home with her baby when a violent predator kicks the door in.” Fear. Nothing about how to make America “work again.”

Golfer Natalie Gulbis said that Trump helped her open a Boy’s and Girl’s club and told her to be fearless. Nothing about how to make America “work again.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, known as the master of obstruction, said the cost of living has been rising out of people’s reach. “Emails.” “Benghazi.” “Hillary lies.” “Repeal Obamacare.” “Keystone pipeline.” “Defund Planned Parenthood.” He also pledged to continue to obstruct by not allowing a vote on Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Nothing about how to make America “work again.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is best known for his austerity budgets, the practice of literally taking money out of the economy to kill jobs and growth. His budgets demand cuts in Social Security, even privatizing Medicare. Ryan’s budgets make it impossible to invest in America. Ryan and Republican worldview, government spending bad, austerity.

Ryan said that Democrats are offering “a third Obama term brought to you by another Clinton.” He said the Democratic Party convention will be a “four-day infomercial of politically correct moralizing,” and then “from now to November we will hear how many ways progressive elitists can find to talk down to the rest of America.” He offered “a reformed tax code that rewards entrepreneurs.” He offered the poor “the dignity of having a job” but not how to accomplish that. Ryan said very little else about how to make America “work again.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said “enough of feeling less safe and less secure.” “Iran.” “ISIS.” “Chaos spreading across America and across the globe.” He said that “in a Republican agenda our enemies will fear us.” He called up the ghost of Ronald Reagan. Nothing about how to make America “work again.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, known for blocking bridges and killing badly-needed infrastructure projects like the Hudson rail tunnel, launched into a harsh, negative attack of Clinton’s record and character. “Emails.” “Dismal record as Secretary of State.” “Violence and danger in every region that has been infected by her flawed judgement.” “ISIS.” “She never fights for us.” Christie said nothing about how to make America “work again.”

Tiffany Trump said her father’s “desire for excellence is contagious” and that he has always helped her be the best version of herself. Her father takes pride in all that she has done. He wrote “sweet notes” on her report cards. “Small loving acts help an enormous amount in times of grief.” Her father “is someone who will never tell you to lower your sights or give up your dreams.” “A man I am so proud to call my father.” Nothing about how to make America “work again.”

Dr. Ben Carson said we are one nation under God. He said Hillary Clinton has as a role model someone who acknowledges Lucifer. “Think about that.” He also said nothing about how to make America “work again.”

Sajid Tarar of American Muslims for Trump? What? No, he didn’t say anything about how to make America “work again.”

How We Got Here: Obstruction And Sabotage

When President Obama took office the country was losing 850,000 jobs a month. Democrats controlled the House and Senate at the beginning of 2009 and with three Republicans votes — Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania — broke a Republican filibuster to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, known as the “stimulus.” This chart shows what the stimulus accomplished:

But after the stimulus passed the Republican strategy since 2009 has been to vote as a unified block to obstruct and sabotage anything that might make the economy better, and then campaign for office on themes of government not working, and the economy not getting better. And here they are, using “Make America work again” as a theme at the convention. Calculated. Cynical.

May, 2014: Obama: GOP has filibustered 500 bills.

Here are just a few of the things they obstructed: (Note that the corporate media likes to say “the Senate” when Republicans filibuster bills.)

September, 2010: Bill on outsourced jobs fails Senate test, (“a Senate bill designed to end tax breaks for U.S. companies that move jobs and manufacturing plants overseas.”)

October, 2011: Republicans Vote to Keep Teachers, First Responders Off the Job (rehire 400,000 teachers, firefighters, paramedics and police officers.)

November, 2011: Senate blocks $60 billion infrastructure plan, another part of Obama jobs bill

March, 2012: ‘Phantom filibuster’ blocking path forward for highway bill, says Reid

August, 2013: Bipartisan Transportation and Housing Bill Filibustered

October, 2013: Government shutdown over funding ObamaCare. This had a direct cost of $24 billion, reduced fourth-quarter GDP growth from 3 percent to 2.4 percent.

April, 2014: GOP Filibusters Minimum Wage Hike

July, 2014: Republicans Again Filibuster Bring Jobs Home Act (stop tax breaks for moving jobs and production facilities out of the country.)

January, 2015: Sanders’ Solar Bill Blocked by Senate Republicans, (10 million solar home power systems.)

March, 2015: $478B Infrastructure Bill Blocked by Senate GOP

July, 2015: Senate blocks progress on highway bill

And for a finishing touch, just this month the Congress left for the summer, having done nothing to fight the Zika Virus or help with mosquito control.

Republican Platform Blames Obama For Results Of Obstruction

With the economy right where Republicans wanted it, their 2016 (draft) platform proposes “solutions.” The section “Rebuilding the Economy and Creating Jobs” begins with an anti-government screed: “Government cannot create prosperity, though government can limit or destroy it.”

It calls for a “pro-growth tax code.” This is codespeak for “tax cuts for the rich,” also known as “trickle-down economics.” The idea is that you redistribute society’s money to a few at the top, and they will use the money to give jobs to the peasants. But after Bill Clinton raised taxes the economy boomed, and after ‘W’ Bush cut taxes the economy tanked. Really tanked. Now Republicans want to do more of that. Go figure.

A 2012 study by the Congressional Research Service, titled “Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945,” looked at the history of tax cuts and economic growth and concluded, “Analysis of such data suggests the reduction in the top tax rates have had little association with saving, investment, or productivity growth. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution.”

Repeat: Cutting top tax rates does not increase growth, but does increase inequality. Also known as “look around you at what has happened since Reagan.”

Then the platform calls for “A Competitive America.” By “competitive” they do not mean reducing the power of monopolies or breaking up the big banks. No, it calls for reducing high corporate tax rates and “regulatory burdens and uncertainty.” On top of that, it calls for a territorial” corporate tax system so corporations that move jobs, production and profit centers out of the country won’t have to pay any taxes at all. On top of that, Trump has called for letting corporations off the hook with an extremely low tax rate on “deferred” taxes on profits held in offshore subsidiaries. Corporations owe more than $620 billion in taxes on these profits, but would get to keep most of that. What about honest corporations that didn’t dodge their taxes using offshore subsidiary schemes? Too bad for them. And the government? It might be owed $620 billion-plus. But too bad, the Wall Street shareholders get to keep it.

Next up, “A Winning Trade Policy.” It’s hard to argue with this entire section that begins, “International trade is crucial for all sectors of America’s economy. Massive trade deficits are not.” The platform calls for trade agreements that protect U.S. interests and U.S. sovereignty and tough enforcement of violations of existing agreements, saying, “we cannot allow foreign governments to limit American access to their markets while stealing our designs, patents, brands, know-how, and technology. We cannot allow China to continue its currency manipulation, exclusion of U.S. products from government purchases, and subsidization of Chinese companies to thwart American imports.” It calls for transparently negotiated agreements in the interests of American workers.

Then a section sponsored by Wall Street, “Freeing Financial Markets.” It blames the 2008 crash on “the government’s own housing policies.” It demands repeal of the Dodd-Frank law regulating Wall Street, and abolishing the “dictatorial” Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which protects consumers from financial fraud. (Trump has said he would “absolutely” repeal Dodd-Frank. Of course, he said that last year at the same time he said the economy was going to “burst”… which didn’t happen.)

What passes for housing policy calls for “a comprehensive review of federal regulations, especially those dealing with the environment, that make it harder and more costly for Americans to rent, buy, or sell homes.”

In “America on the Move” the platform calls for an end to mass transit programs and “repeal of the Davis-Bacon law, which limits employment and drives up construction and maintenance costs for the benefit of unions.” It calls for public-private partnerships (privatization) as a means to fix roads and bridges. It calls for privatization of Amtrak and ending federal support for high-speed rail. It calls for getting rid of unions in the Transportation Security Administration.

The platform calls for a return to “a metallic basis for U.S. currency.”

It calls for getting rid of laws that protect workers’ right to join unions, saying unions “limit workers’ freedom and lock them into the workplace rules of their great grandfathers.” It calls on states to enact Right-to-Work laws. It calls for eliminating the federal minimum wage.

Finally the platform elsewhere calls for just abolishing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Note – the only mention of manufacturing in the entire Republican platform is part of its complaint that unions are “designed to fit a manufacturing workplace” which is representative of a “1930s economy” of the past. (Unless you count an NRA-sponsored line condemning lawsuits against gun manufacturers.)

If You Want To Really Make America Work Again

Americans for Tax Fairness says:
“Congress should make U.S. corporations pay the $700 billion they owe in taxes on their $2.4 trillion in profits stashed offshore.

That kind of revenue would help us invest in our country’s future – creating economic opportunity for all of us and millions of good-paying jobs by improving schools, making college affordable, rebuilding crumbling roads and bridges, building a green energy economy, researching new medical cures and so much more!”

Click the image to share on Facebook:

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.