By Julia Rock and David Sirota
“The vast majority of people never trade stock and have no interest in trading stocks or can’t afford to trade stock because if they lose money — which they probably will — and are living paycheck to paycheck, the idea of throwing more money into the stock market on the promise of maybe realizing outsize gains... that’s just a cynical marketing ploy.” - Journalist Edward Ongweso Jr, as told to Jacobin
- New York Lawmakers Are Taking On Dark Money
- How Rich Hospitals Profit From Patients In Car Crashes
- Democrats Need To Restore Democracy
- Joe Manchin, King Of The Senate
The image of Lucy and the football is a good way to understand Democrats and the promised $2,000 checks — the party promised the checks immediately, but now seems intent on pulling the ball away at the last minute, expecting Charlie Brown to laugh. But millions of struggling middle-class families who were deceived probably won’t find it funny.
The Washington Post, HuffPost and Bloomberg are reporting that Democrats may limit full $1,400 survival checks to individuals earning less than $50,000 and couples earning less than $100,000. A bipartisan group of senators is also now pushing an amendment to “ensure upper-income taxpayers are not eligible” for checks. At least one Democratic senator, Ron Wyden of Oregon, has said he opposes the new proposed income limits.
Biden’s original proposal would send full checks to individuals earning up to $75,000 and married couples earning up to $150,000 — the same income limits Congress has used for previous rounds of checks.
The proposed changes, which are being discussed in the name of “targeting” payments to those who need it, could affect checks for millions of people who have previously received COVID economic impact payments.
Under the new terms being debated, about four in ten Americans could be excluded or receive partial checks, according to census data. Roughly 36 percent of U.S. households earn more than $100,000 — and some of the 29 percent of American households earning between $50,000 and $100,000 are single households.
- MANCHIN THREATENS TO BLOCK $15 MINIMUM WAGE: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said this week he doesn’t support Biden’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would give more than a third of workers in his home state of West Virginia’s workforce a raise of an average of nearly $4,000 per year.
- VACCINE DISTRIBUTION: Within the U.S., distribution of the COVID vaccine has been flawed, in part due to a lack of outreach to marginalized communities. Pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens have done a poor job of this type of outreach, while unions are doing a much betterjob. Globally, rich countries are hoarding COVID vaccines and blocking a World Trade Organization resolution that would waive patents to increase production. Meanwhile, drug companies are trying to keep information about vaccine pricing secret, The Daily Poster reported this week.
- SMALLER UNEMPLOYMENT ADD-ON: Senate Democrats are "coalescing around" President Joe Biden’s plan to give unemployed workers an extra $400 per week in unemployment benefits, according to HuffPost. The COVID relief legislation Congress passed last March included a $600-a-week boost to unemployment benefits.
- AUDIT THE RICH, PLEASE: Netflix claimed $65 million worth of “uncertain” tax breaks in 2020, tax expert Matthew Gardner noted on Twitter, meaning that Netflix believes it might not be eligible for those tax breaks if it gets audited. But years of Republican efforts to defund the Internal Revenue Service means that Netflix might not face an audit, because it is much cheaper to audit poor people than the wealthy and corporations. Fully funding the agency could increase tax revenues by more than $1 trillion over the next decade.
- BEZOS BUSINESS: For the three years since the Republican’s corporate tax cuts were passed in 2017, Amazon has paid an effective income tax rate of 4.3 percent, far lower than the statutory corporate tax of 21 percent. Meanwhile, a columnist at the newspaper that Jeff Bezos owns gave a defense of the 2017 tax cuts yesterday under the guise of fact-checking, The Daily Poster reported this morning.
- UTILITY CORRUPTION: As the U.S. begins to decarbonize its energy grid, utility companies may turn to state and local governments for bailouts. But after a massive corruption scandal involving a statewide utility in Ohio, it has become clear that these bailout negotiations must have safeguards against dark money and corruption, according to a new Brookings report.
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