Daily Clips: August 24th, 2016

Texas has highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world: “Pro life” policies.

The feudal origins of property tax: Property tax was first instituted by William the Conqueror in 1066, and King James “made sure that this system traveled overseas with the first settlers at Jamestown, so that he could partake in the profits of exploration of the new land.”

Why didn’t the Founding Fathers, who were looking to unshackle themselves from the norms of European monarchy get rid of property tax? In short, they needed the cash.

Berkeley put a tiny tax on sodas. Consumption went down 21%: How can you not be excited by these findings? Such good news. The long-term impact on obesity is still unknown, but this is a great first step.

Cost of U.S. healthcare now 800% higher per person than it was in 1960, even when adjusted for inflation

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Remember the High Costs of Unpaid Sick Leave When You’re Voting This Fall

The Other Washington guests Jessyn Farrell and Bill Marler.

The Other Washington guests Jessyn Farrell and Bill Marler.

This fall, Washington state will vote on Initiative 1433. Many Washingtonians know that a “yes” vote on 1433 will raise the state minimum wage to $13.50 by the year 2020. But fewer people know that 1433 also provides up to seven days of paid sick and safe leave for workers per year.

This is so important. Over a million Washington workers have no access to paid sick leave, which means that a missed day of work results in the disappearance of one-fifth of a weekly paycheck for those who work 40 hours a week. Many minimum-wage workers simply can’t afford that kind of a hit to their weekly pay; an unpaid sick day could mean the difference between paying rent or driving up credit card debt yet again. And many of these workers are in the food service industry, which means that when they show up to work sick, they put all their customers’ health at risk.

For the latest edition of our podcast, The Other Washington, we talked with 46th District State Representative Jessyn Farrell about why she supports paid sick and safe leave. She makes a great case for the initiative to provide sick leave for food service workers, but she also makes a strong, personal case for family leave: Farrell was born with a quarter-sized hole in her heart, and the economic impact of that birth defect was hugely consequential in her family.

We also talked with food safety lawyer Bill Marler about the nearly quarter-century he’s spent fighting companies that make customers sick. Marler is one of the world’s leading experts on foodborne illnesses, and he provides a compelling case for allowing sick workers to stay home. The tiny amount that employers like Chipotle are saving by not providing sick leave is insignificant when viewed in comparison to the millions—even billions—that companies pay out to sickened customers after protracted legal battles.

We hope you’ll enjoy this latest episode of The Other Washington, though—just being honest, here—you might not want to listen to it while you’re on your lunch break. And remember to vote yes on Initiative 1433 when your ballots arrive in the mail this fall.

Daily Clips: August 23rd, 2016

Tax cuts for the rich aren’t needed in today’s economy: If you are a believer of supply-side economics, you are probably a fan of wealth accumulating at the very top. You probably believe it is best when these “job creators” are unconstrained by the burdens of civilization and are allowed to use their wealth creatively. That economic view, however, is remarkably inept (for a variety of reasons) and borders on sinister, as Bruce Bartlett points out:

When asked about the newly announced Trump tax plan and the deficit, Bartlett told us by email that all Republican tax cuts ‘are designed to lose revenue’ and ‘create deficits,’ despite any statements made to the contrary.

‘Then when deficits emerge, they must always be dealt with only by cutting spending,’ Bartlett writes. ‘If tax increases are necessary they will be in the form of sales taxes paid largely by the poor.’

David Brooks waxes lyrical about spirits or something: Brooks’ reflex for relating any problem to a lack of spiritual or self-awareness is truly mesmerizing. In his latest column, he wonders if American leadership has failed not because of quantifiable outcomes like increased partisanship, but instead because our leaders don’t have a “sense of vocation.” What exactly does that mean? Nothing, really. He does take a swipe at Hillary Clinton though, because, you know, she’s evil. And her opponent isn’t a lunatic who needs to be lambasted.

Oregon collects $25.5 million in marijuana taxes since start of the year. Here is how some of the tax revenue will be spent: “40 percent will go to the state’s Common School Fund, 20 percent to mental health, alcoholism and drug services, 15 percent to Oregon State police, and 10 percent for city law enforcement…”

US new-home sales climb to best level since late 2007: Obamacare is continuing to decimate the American economy.

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Daily Clips: August 22nd, 2016

Why Hillary Clinton might win Georgia: The GOP is so screwed.

Western economies and their minimum wages: This study looks at minimum wages and their relation to a country’s median wage. Predictably, one can see that the US has let the purchasing power of their minimum wage descend since 1980:

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How the first liberal Supreme Court in a generation could reshape America: Dylan Matthews’ latest is a brilliant piece of historical work, correctly pointing out that “over the past half-century liberals have been playing defense as an organized and well-planned movement of conservatives has limited the scope of rights trumpeted by liberals.” His analysis rings true. For the past fifty years, the American conservative movement has largely been a reactive. They gain support through saying “no” to progress. See abortion, women’s rights, voting rights, welfare reform, gay marriage, minimum wage. The list could go on.

But finally progressives have an opportunity to have the SCOTUS on their side. As Matthews notes, “Scalia’s vacancy and Kennedy’s coming exit have opened the door for liberals to rethink American law in dramatic ways.”

Twenty years since welfare “reform”: Our own Hanna Brooks Olsen writes an incredibly detailed review of welfare reform. Read it.

Daily Clips: August 19th, 2016

Obamacare hits a bump: Krugman looks at the ACA since it took full effect in January of 2014. Private insurance companies, he notes, “are now finding themselves losing money, because previously uninsured Americans who are signing up turn out to have been sicker and more in need of costly care than we realized.”

That intuitively makes sense. And as a result, some insurers have hiked premiums and some (like Aetna) are pulling out of the ACA. That is a problem. Especially because private insurers don’t want the government to offer a public option. Krugman asks, “But if these insurers aren’t actually interested in providing insurance, why not let the government step in?”

A good question, Paul.

Donald Trump is the least of the GOP’s problems: I don’t agree with all of the author’s premises, but this point in particular I found to be compelling:

Trump is desperately trying to fashion a new reactionary politics out of the bits and pieces that are now left to it: a white nationalism that draws its animating energies from its hostility to a black president, immigration, and Islam. But the evidence is increasingly clear that that kind of politics simply does not possess enough appeal to propel him or any other similar candidate to the White House.

Why women are no longer catching up to men on pay: It turns out that “wage gains have gone disproportionately to people working longer hours” and the people working longer hours are primarily men.

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Daily Clips: August 18th, 2016

Aetna threatened to quit Obamacare…even though their market cap has tripled since 2012: Have they no shame?

The Breitbart alt-right has taken over the GOP: 

Trump lives in a Breitbart fantasy world, and he’s now invited Bannon to personally decorate that world for him. The GOP establishment, too weak and cowardly to oust Trump earlier, risks displacing the true, constitutional conservatives for whom the party has been a natural political home, and now it looks prepared to ride the Trump train, next to alt-righters, all the way into the electoral ravine.

The Class of 2016’s labor market: Here are some of the key findings from EPI’s report:

  • “Members of the Class of 2016 currently have better job prospects than the classes of 2009–2015.”
  • “For young college graduates, the unemployment rate is currently 5.6 percent (compared with 5.5 percent in 2007), and the underemployment rate is 12.6 percent (compared with 9.6 percent in 2007).”
  • “Young male college graduates earned 8.1 percent more in 2016 than in 2000, while young female college graduates earned 6.8 percent less than in 2000.”

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Daily Clips: August 17th, 2016

Crazy story of the day: A drunken racist brutally murders a Lebanese man. And America hardly blinks.

Breitbart chief now the head of Trump’s campaign

I-1491 (Extreme Risk Protection Orders) has over 60% support: The WA ballot initiative is looking in very good shape as we approach Labor Day.

Secure scheduling gets strong support in Seattle: Workers from REI and Starbucks spoke “passionately on behalf of a “secure scheduling” proposal last night – a good sign for the proposed law which intends to protect Seattle workers “from erratic schedules.”

How America grew…unequal: Two new books look at American inequality and argue that “the engine of economic growth was not investment by the few, but consumption by the many.”

Daily Clips: August 16th, 2016

“News is a misleading way to understand the world”: So says Steven Pinker in a recent interview with Vox, which more or less paraphrases his sensational book, The Better Angels of Our Nature. In it, Pinker argues that never before has human violence been less prevalent in our society.

Ryan seeks to restore GOP’s elite-focused agenda: The speaker’s populist messaging can’t hide the true reality of his extractive, trickle-down policies.

Trump may cost the GOP a generation of voters: Oh, boo hoo.

Should we be concerned about the fall in money velocity?

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