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  Economic Justice Archives  
  124 articles
New Budget Benefits Wealthy, Poor Left Out
THE WHITE HOUSE ( - The Bush administration launched an all-out effort in late January to put a smiling face on what it considers to be its economic accomplishments, despite loud complaints from people stuck on the lower end of the economic ladder that the economic life is actually worse and not better. Literally dozens of administration economic officials went all around the country to say to the American people that Pres. Bush’s economic policies have created jobs and boosted economic growth.
Op-Ed: Tax Breaks for the Wealthy
Gene C. Gerard has taught history, religion, and ethics for 14 years at various colleges in the Southwest and is a contributing author to the forthcoming book "Americans at War," by Greenwood Press. He writes a blog on current politics for the world news website OrbStandard at

On January 1 Congress allowed two tax breaks that benefit the wealthy to become effective. The cuts eliminated current provisions of the tax code that limits the amount of personal exemptions and itemized deductions that Americans with high incomes can take. Over the course of the next five years the tax cuts will cost approximately $27 billion, according to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Ironically, Republicans in Congress, only two weeks before the cuts took effect, voted to reduce domestic spending on programs affecting the poor and the middle class by $39 billion over the next five years.
Winter Brings Bleak Options for Poor-Despite the soaring costs of home heating oil, federal aid has flat-lined. Across New England, state officials scramble for solutions.
BOSTON — Winter has barely begun, and the soaring cost of home heating oil has already forced the poor to cut back on food, medicine and clothing — a plight known in the frigid Northeast as "heat or eat."

Heating oil costs doubled in the last two years and climbed 21% during November and December, the Department of Energy said.

Consumers all over the country are feeling the pinch. But the effect has been most dramatic in New England, where 80% of the nation's heating oil is used and where policymakers are tracking a phenomenon called energy poverty.
When 3 feet of snow fell on the northernmost part of Maine after Christmas, state officials got scores of calls for help.
Told to Go, She Made a Stand
When Michelle Armstead learned in early November that she and some of her neighbors were being thrown out of their Burtonsville apartment complex because they had paid their rents late, she got angry.

"I'm not good enough to live here anymore -- and I've lived here for 10 years?" she wondered. She resolved to make herself heard so that her countdown this evening wouldn't be to eviction. ...
Election of Evo Morales Bodes Well for Africans in Bolivia and U.S.
The position of the organized Afro-Bolivians on the historic election of Evo Morales is implicit in an email received by me on Monday from Monica Rey Guiterrez, director of the Center for Afro Bolivian Development and a very dear friend and recent house guest. “Many of us are happy. Some are worried. We await the changes,” she wrote.
Their Fight Is Our Fight-New York City Transit Workers Need Support
TRANSIT WORKERS in New York City are on an all-out strike for the first time in 25 years against the combined wrath of the city’s economic, political and media establishment.

It’s a battle that has already reverberated across the U.S. as the 33,000 men and women who keep New York’s trains and buses rolling draw a line in the sand for all workers against the relentless attacks of employers on wages, benefits and working conditions.
Following marathon negotiations, leaders of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 announced in the early morning hours of Tuesday that the union had rejected the city’s “final” offer and was on strike effective immediately. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), a state agency that runs the city’s bus and subway system, immediately went to court, and a judge imposed fines of $1 million a day against the TWU.
Leaders: Hispanic Katrina Workers Unpaid
GULFPORT, Miss. -- The head of the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights group visited the hurricane-ravaged Mississippi Gulf Coast on Friday to investigate claims that immigrant workers are living in squalor and being cheated out of wages.

Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, and leaders of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance inspected tent cities where some Hispanic workers have taken shelter.

Many of the workers traveled to Mississippi because of rumors that high-paying construction jobs were available. Most are supporting families back in their native countries or home states.
NJ Threatens to Seize Homes of Elderly Latinos
Washington, Nov 5 (Prensa Latina) Residents of the small city of Haledon, N.J. fear confiscation of their homes by authorities who, in their zeal to use Federal money to improve a major street, want to convert residential areas into commercial zones.
Prensa Latina
MAKING ENDS MEET-The Well-off are bBetter off, but the Ranks of the Poor are Growing, and Middle- and Low-Income Workers Feel Pressure of High Prices

he gap between high-income and low-income Americans is widening, the ranks of the poor in California and nationwide are swelling, and middle-class workers have lost ground compared with the 1970s, several national and state studies show.

A disturbing new picture of low- and middle-income family finances is emerging from U.S. Census studies and from analyses of census and other data by the California Budget Project, the Brookings Institution, UC Berkeley researchers and organizations studying specific demographic or geographic groups.
Major Quake Would Alter The Face Of San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rebuilding San Francisco after a major earthquake would change its human face, hastening gentrification and driving out poor and elderly residents, experts and city officials warn.

Experts say there's a 62 percent chance a quake with a magnitude of 6.7 or higher will hit the San Francisco Bay area within several decades -- or tomorrow. Thousands of homes would be rendered uninhabitable, displacing up to 300,000 residents, almost half the city's population, according to some projections.

Since Hurricane Katrina left thousands homeless along the Gulf Coast, there's been renewed interest in how San Francisco would fare in a massive earthquake.
A Shameful Proclamation

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Published: September 10, 2005

On Thursday, President Bush issued a proclamation suspending the law that requires employers to pay the locally prevailing wage to construction workers on federally financed projects. The suspension applies to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

By any standard of human decency, condemning many already poor and now bereft people to subpar wages - thus perpetuating their poverty - is unacceptable. It is also bad for the economy. Without the law, called the Davis-Bacon Act, contractors will be able to pay less, but they'll also get less, as lower wages invariably mean lower productivity.

New York Times
Katrina's Silver Lining

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As a colleague of mine says, every crisis is an opportunity. And sure enough, Hurricane Katrina has given us an amazing chance to do something serious about urban poverty.

That's because Katrina was a natural disaster that interrupted a social disaster. It separated tens of thousands of poor people from the run-down, isolated neighborhoods in which they were trapped. It disrupted the patterns that have led one generation to follow another into poverty.

It has created as close to a blank slate as we get in human affairs, and given us a chance to rebuild a city that wasn't working. We need to be realistic about how much we can actually change human behavior, but it would be a double tragedy if we didn't take advantage of these unique
New York Times
Living Paycheck to Paycheck Made Leaving Impossible
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 3 -- To those who wonder why so many stayed behind when push came to water's mighty shove here, those who were trapped have a simple explanation: Their nickels and dimes and dollar bills simply didn't add up to stage a quick evacuation mission.

"Me and my wife, we were living paycheck to paycheck, like most everybody else in New Orleans," Eric Dunbar, 54, said Saturday.

Hurricane Katrina survivor Paul Metzler pulls his boat along Paris Street in Chalmette, about seven miles east of New Orleans.

Hurricane Katrina brought unprecedented destruction to the Gulf Coast. View the Post's multimedia coverage of the disaster ad its impact upon countless residents of seven states. (David J. Phillip - AP)

He was standing on wobbly, thin legs in the bowels of the semi-darkened Louis Armstrong Airport, where he had been delivered with many others after having been plucked by rescuers from a roadway.

He offered a mini-tutorial in the economic reality of his life
Poor Residents Trapped Long Before Katrina
To hear Edward Myers explain it, many of New Orleans' residents were trapped in the ruined city long before Hurricane Katrina.

A real estate lawyer who moved to New York from New Orleans 43 years ago, Myers is struggling to answer the question an entire country is asking: Why didn't so many of the people in New Orleans just leave before Katrina struck?
Life in the Bottom 80 Percent

Economic growth isn't what it used to be. In 2004, the economy grew a solid 3.8 percent. But for the fifth straight year, median household income was basically flat, at $44,389 in 2004, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. That's the longest stretch of income stagnation on record.

Economic growth was also no elixir for the 800,000 additional workers who found themselves without health insurance in 2004. Were it not for increased coverage by military insurance and Medicaid, the ranks of the uninsured - now 45.8 million - would be even larger. And 1.1 million more people fell into poverty in 2004, bringing the ranks of poor Americans to 37 million.
New York Times
U.S. Poverty Rises for 4th Year in Row
With the Midwest leading the way, the nation's poverty rate went up in 2004 for the fourth straight year even as the U.S. economy strengthened, the Census Bureau said Tuesday.

The number of Americans without health insurance increased from 45 million to 45.8 million in 2004, the bureau said, although the number of people with health-care coverage grew by 2 million.
'We Never Fought to Make a Few Black People Wealthy'
South Africa's transition to democracy over the past decade has proved a disaster for the country's poor, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said on Monday.
Speaking in Cape Town's City Hall at the launch of a grassroots coalition to tackle poverty in the province, he harshly criticised the government's failure to stem job losses in certain sectors.
No Raise for Minimum Wage Workers
Efforts to raise the national minimum wage, which has stagnated for eight years, were stalled yet again on July 12, when the House of Representatives refused to consider (223-191) an amendment to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour over the next two years.

Decrying the vote, Rep. George Miller, D. Calif., a co-sponsor of the amendment, said, "Real wages are declining for the first time in a decade. Gas prices hit an all-time high this week. Healthcare and educational costs are soaring. And in the face of all this hard news for workers, what does Congress do? It refuses to raise the minimum wage.... When is Congress going to show American workers the respect they have earned?"

According to a report issued by Americans for Democratic Action, titled Income and
Young, Gifted, and Jobless: Hip Hop Culture and Youth Unemployment
Youth unemployment in the black community has long been a subject of discussion, but rarely the subject of public discussion.

But questions like, “What is it about urban youth that turns employers off?” and “Is it a discriminatory issue or do today's youth simply lack required skills to gain/keep employment?”  These questions and more were brought to the foreground in a recent panel discussion entitled “Young, Gifted, and Jobless: Hip Hop Culture and Youth Unemploymend” held at Oakland City Hall two weeks ago.
Oakland Post, News Report
CAFTA Divides Bay Area Latinos
OAKLAND — Although President Bush finally got to sign a free-trade pact with six Latin American countries Tuesday, the reaction of local Latinos, community leaders, activists and businesspeople shows why the House moved it to his desk on an extremely close 217-215 vote.

The Central American Free Trade Agreement is designed to eliminate tariffs and trade barriers between the United States and Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the Dominican Repub-

lic. It promises expansion of regional opportunities for workers, manufacturers, consumers, farmers, ranchers and service providers in all countries involved.

Some critics of the treaty, known as CAFTA, view it as a bad deal. They say it will worsen working and health conditions in Central America and eventually lower wages for working-class residents of the United States.
Oakland Tribune
Boyle Heights Seeks Balance Amid Change-Redevelopment Plans Include Upscale Condos, but Activists don't want Poor Residents and Small-Business Owners to be Forced Out.
In a hulking, tattered apartment building on Mott Street in Boyle Heights, four families share one bathroom and one stove.

It is a lifestyle without dignity, said Guadalupe Lopez, whose family — nine in all — squeezes their beds, clothes, television and other belongings into two rooms on the second floor.

"We are people, human beings," she said. "To have to live like this is unbearable."
A nanny by day, Lopez, 46, is a housing advocate at night, chanting "El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!" (The people united will never be defeated) at community meetings demanding better housing for the working poor.
Blacks, Latinos Lag in Tech Jobs
By Chris Cobbs | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted June 23, 2005

Pamela McCauley-Bell, a teen mother who went on to become the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in engineering in the state of Oklahoma, often visits youngsters in Orlando-area schools, community centers and churches to sell them on a career in science and technology.

"I want to engage their minds so that they don't see bouncing a basketball as the only way to make enough money to wear designer clothes or buy a house for their mom," said McCauley-Bell, who owns a technology firm and is also a motivational speaker and an engineering professor at the University of Central Florida.

"It gets their attention when they see a black woman in sunglasses and red lipstick driving a Jaguar with a license tag that reads, 'LOVMATH.' "

Orlando Sentinel
Report: Social Security Plan would Hurt Latinos
WASHINGTON -- Latinos receiving Social Security benefits would be hurt by President Bush's Social Security privatization plan, according to reports released Tuesday by a think tank that focuses on how federal policy affects low-income families.

The studies by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained that Latinos get more in Social Security benefits for each dollar they pay than nonLatinos, whites or blacks because they are often among those who disproportionately benefit from the program based on income, lifespan, disability rates and number of children.

Bush's plan would reduce benefits for all workers but put a burden especially on the 1.2 million elderly Latinos who receive Social Security benefits, the reports found. For the majority of these beneficiaries, the payments constitute more than half of their income.
Greely Tribune
SAN FRANCISCO: Newsom Backs Sweatshop Labor Ban, Ordinance is Part of Plan to Stop Abuse of Workers
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Jumping into one of the toughest moral dilemmas of the international economy, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced his support Monday for a campaign to eliminate worldwide sweatshop labor abuse.

Newsom teamed up with Supervisor Tom Ammiano and dozens of activists to announce a proposed ordinance to bar the city government from buying products made under abusive labor conditions.

The ordinance, which Ammiano said would be introduced today in a Board of Supervisors meeting, appears to have unanimous support on the board, and Newsom and Ammiano predicted it would be quickly approved and signed into law.
Is Your Home Safe?
Wilhelmina Dery has lived in the same New London, Conn., house since she was born 87 years ago. Now she'll have to move because the town says it would be better to give her land to a different owner. That's the gist of a very troubling decision served up Thursday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

By a 5-4 majority, the court has greatly weakened the protection offered by the 5th Amendment against the improper taking of private property by the government.
How will proposed changes to Social Security affect Asian Americans?
Interview by Elena Ong, IMDiversity Special Contributor

Ong's analysis and a sidebar of background of information follows the Q&A.

Q: Congressman Honda, as an Asian Pacific American male, why is Equal Pay important to you?

A: It’s amazing to me that, in the 42 years since President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, women today still receive fewer wages than men for the same work.

I first became aware of this gross inequity when I was a San Jose City Council, and I have been working to resolve pay disparities ever since.

It’s worth noting that Asian American and Pacific Islander women currently earn approximately 80 percent of what men earn.

Equal pay isn’t just a women’s issue; when women get equal pay, their family incomes rise and the whole family benefits.

My own mother always taught me that fairness was a family value – I think equal pay is about fairness for everyone.”

Asian American Village/
Penhaul: Why the 'Original Ones' Protest in Bolivia

These men and women have been toughened by years of hard labor harvesting potatoes and herding llamas on the high-altitude plains or toiling deep in Bolivia's veins -- the nearly exhausted tin, gold and silver mines.

Most are Indian -- Aymara or Quechua. Look deep into their dark eyes and you can see their roots stretch back to before Inca times, long before the Spanish invasion some 500 years ago. They call themselves the "original ones."

Indian musicians spur on their fellow marchers with tunes from traditional instruments -- the banjo-like sound of the charango, a small guitar usually made from an armadillo shell, or the zampona, a reed flute that seems to echo the wind blowing across the Andes.
Why Pensions are Becoming Even Scarcer
Chritian Science Monitor
A Gut Punch to the Middle
New York Times
Falling Fortunes of Wage Earners
Tax Activists: Big Business Must Pay Its Fair Share
Pacific News Service, News Report
ACORN Brings Message to Liberty Tax Headquarters and Owner’s Home: “Stop Refund Loan Rip-Offs!”
Laboring Over Organized Labor
NNPA, News Analysis/ncmonline
GU Activists Go Hungry To Help Janitors
Bill of Rights for Nannies, Domestic Workers, Filed in NY
Filipino Express/
Senate OKs Tougher Bankruptcy Rules: More People Would Have to Repay Debt
U.S. Embassy in Manila Makes $36M in Visa Applications
Filipino Express, News Report
Thirty-One States and DC Take Action on Minimum Wage
The Black Commentator
Fed Chief Urges Cutback in Scale of 2 Big Lenders
Can Labor Go Beyond Diversity Lite?
The Black Commentator
Domestic Workers Call for Justice
Filipino Express, News Feature/
Blacks Decry Bush’s Deep Cuts in Health, Education and Housing
Black America
Senate Rejects Workers' Rights Amendment to Class Action Bill
Alliance for Justice Dismayed by Senate's Passage of the Class Action Fairness Act (S. 5)
Mexico to Pay Braceros
Enlace, News Report/
Blocked from Owning Land, Locke Residents Finally Realize their Dreams
World Journal, News Report
Tensions Simmer as Namibia Divides Its Farmland
New York Times
Students to Bear More of the Cost of College
New York Times
Stark Contrasts Among Asian Americans Found: The Group’s Average Family Income Tops the Overall U.S. Figure. But While Indians Prosper, Cambodians, Laotians and Hmong Struggle.
Workers Of The World Are Uniting
More U.S. Home Buyers Fall Prey to Predatory Lenders
USA Today
Minimum Wage Gets Raise
Los Angeles Goes 'Sweat' Free
Eastern Group Publications/
Wealth Gap Between Whites and Minorities Grows
Labor Needs "that Vision Thing"
21st Century Wage Depression
Corporate America Is Trying To Steal Our Future  
Wealth Gap Widens For Blacks, Hispanics, Significant Ground Lost After Recession
Battle for Survival Pits S.F. Hotels Against Workers: Low-Paid Employees Get a Brief Moment in Spotlight as They Battle for a Living Wage
Detroit's Plan for 'African Town' Stirs Racial Tension
The Changing Face of Poverty: This is an Issue that Bush and Kerry Don't Want to Talk About Because it Touches a Politically Explosive Subject: Immigration
2 Week Strike Called at 4 SF Hotels
SA and Namibia Face Zimbabwe's Land Fate
House and Senate Vote to Protect Overtime Pay
Homelessness Soars In Black and Asian Communities
Guardian Unlimited
Barriers to Latino Home Buying
Class Issues Drive D.C. Campaigns
Protestors Greet Start of GOP Convention with Poor People’s Marches  
Kerry, Greenspan differ on Social Security
45 Million Americans Uninsured, Census Bureau Says
Report: 1.3 million more Americans in poverty
AFL-CIO Snubs Million Worker March
Mbeki's Plan for Land Redistribution Brings Angry Response from Whites
Migrant Farmworkers Win Victory
Black Women on Tail End of Economic Recovery
Again, Africa Is Spurned
Immigrants Get Discrimination Settlement
Children’s Defense Fund Outraged Over Flawed Priorities In Tax Breaks Passed By U.S. House
60 Senators Sign on to Farmworkers Bill
Housing Subsidies for the Poor Threatened by Cuts in U.S. Aid
New York Times
Most Hispanics Don't Collect Thousands Earned in Tax Credits
Uneven Job Outlook for Ethnic Communities
La Opinion, The Sun Reporter, India Times,
Laundry Workers Get Hahn's Help in Living Wage Suit
U.S. Slave Descendants Claim Damages Against Lloyds
New York Times
Justices to Examine Practices That Hurt Older Workers
Top Court to Hear Case on Aborignal Resources
Hispanics and the Bottom Rung
Almost Half of Black Men in New York Unemployed
Allstate Insurance Fined by California for Credit History Use
Workers OK Grocery Pact to End Strike
Hispanic Unemployment Rate Going UP
USA Today
Reparations Activists Working to Prevent Major Bank Mergers
States May Cut Health Care
The Standard
Free Trade Area of the Americas Fizzles
El Tecolote/Pacific News Service
Congresswoman Barbara Lee Calls on Congress to Extend Federal Unemployment Benefits
Black News Online
Middlemen in the Low-Wage Economy
Children of Hispanic Immigrants Suffered In Economic Downturn
What Recovery? Young Black Men Still Without Jobs
Ranks of 'Working Poor' Grow in Los Angeles
Eastern Group Publications, News Report/NCM
'Banking While Black' Hurts Homeowners
USA Today
Bush's Proposal Could End Overtime Pay for Millions of Workers
Filipino Vets Protest Schwarzenegger’s Proposed Cuts
Phillipine News/NCM
President Urged to Reconsider Cuts to Overtime Pay
Rich and Poor Schools Unite Against State
NCLR Applauds Inclusion of Study to Look at Credit Scoring and its Potential Impact on Latinos' Access to Affordable Credit
Losing in Overtime
Who's The Boss
Wealth Gap Hits Hispanics in US
In Rejecting Affirmative Action Case, Court Also Exposes Conflict Among Justices
Banks Missing Out On Key Market: Indian Country
Illegal Immigrants Arrested In Raids Sue Wal-Mart
Organizations Vow to Support Workers on Strike
Leadership Vacuum Blamed For Failed Projects In Black Community
US Poverty Rising as Economy Shows Signs of Growth
Class Divides U.S. Latinos
El Norte Digest
Uproar Over Lack of Jobs in San Francisco
San Francisco Bay View
In Victory for Workers' Rights, Senate Votes to Protect Overtime
Hispanics Finally Break the T.V. Barrier
USA Today
Economics Special: Navajo Entrepreneur Overcomes Adversity
'Freedom Rides' Planned for Immigrant Rights
The Miami Herald
U.S. H1-B Visa Ban to Hit 65,000 Indians
Central Chronicle
Taco's Tomato Pickers on Slave Wages
The Guardian (UK)
Stakes Is High
The Nation