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Dear Donald, We’re Letting You Go: America’s Final Letter to Trump | Opinion

Robert Mueller’s soon-to-be-delivered report will begin months of congressional investigations, subpoenas, court challenges, partisan slugfests, media revelations and more desperate conspiracy claims by Donald Trump, all against the backdrop of the burning questions. Will he be impeached by the House? Will he be convicted by the Senate? Will he pull a Richard Nixon and resign?…

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Dear Donald, We’re Letting You Go: America’s Final Letter to Trump | Opinion

imageRobert Mueller’s soon-to-be-delivered report will begin months of congressional investigations, subpoenas, court challenges, partisan slugfests, media revelations and more desperate conspiracy claims by Donald Trump, all against the backdrop of the burning questions. Will he be impeached by the House? Will he be convicted by the Senate? Will he pull a Richard Nixon and resign?
In other words, will America fire Trump?
I have news for you. America has already fired him.
When the public fires a president before election day, as it did Jimmy Carter, Nixon and Herbert Hoover, they don’t send him a letter telling him he’s fired.

They just make him irrelevant. Politics happens around him, despite him. He’s not literally gone but he might as well be.
It’s happened to Trump.

The courts and House Democrats are moving against him. Senate Republicans are quietly subverting him. Even Mitch McConnell told him to end the shutdown.
The Fed is running economic policy. California is running environmental policy. Top-level civil servants are managing day-to-day work of the agencies.

Isolated in the White House, distrustful of aides, at odds with intelligence agencies, distant from his cabinet heads, Trump has no system to make or implement decisions.
His tweets don’t create headlines as before. His rallies are ignored. His lies have become old hat.

Action and excitement have shifted elsewhere, to Democratic challengers, even to a 29-year-old freshman congresswoman too young to run.
Don’t get me wrong.

He’s still dangerous, like an old landmine buried in the mud.

He could start a nuclear war.
Yet even America’s adversaries just humor him. Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping give him tidbits to share with the American public, then do whatever they want.

Why did America fire him? If the nation were to write him a letter informing him he’s no longer president, it would go like this:
Dear Mr President,
While we may disagree about the credibility of Michael Cohen, and have different views about what Special Counsel Robert Mueller will ultimately reveal, we agree on practical things—like obeying the Constitution and not letting big corporations and the wealthy run everything.
Your 35-day government shutdown was a senseless abuse of power. So too your “national emergency” to build your wall with money Congress refused to appropriate.
When you passed your tax bill you promised our paychecks would rise by an average of $4,000 but we never got the raise. Our employers used the tax savings to buy back their shares of stock and give themselves raises instead.
Then you fooled us into thinking we were getting a cut by lowering the amounts withheld from our 2018 paychecks. We know that now because we’re getting smaller tax refunds.
At the same time, many big corporations aren’t paying a dime in taxes.

Worse yet, they’re getting refunds.
For example, GM is paying zilch and claiming a $104 million refund on $11.8 billion of profits.

Amazon is paying no taxes and claiming a $129 million refund on profits of $11.2 billion. (This is after New York offered it $3 billion to put its second headquarters there.)
They aren’t breaking any tax laws or regulations. That’s because they made the tax laws and regulations.

You gave them a free hand.
You’re supposed to be working for us, not for giant corporations. But they’re doing better than ever, as are their top executives and biggest investors. Yet nothing has trickled down. We’re getting shafted.

Which is why more than 75% of us (including 45% who call ourselves Republicans) support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed 70% tax on dollars earned in excess of $10 million a year.
And over 60% of us support Elizabeth Warren’s proposed 2% annual tax on households with a new worth of $50 million or more.
You’ve also shown you don’t have a clue about healthcare.

You promised us something better than the Affordable Care Act but all you’ve done is whittle it back.
A big reason we gave Democrats control of the House last November was your threat to eliminate protection for people with pre-existing conditions.
Are you even aware that 70% of us now favor Medicare for all?
Most of us don’t pay much attention to national policy but we pay a lot of attention to home economics. You’ve made our own home economics worse.

We’ll give you official notice you’re fired on 3 November 2020, if not before. Until then, you can keep the house and perks, but you’re toast.
Respectfully,
America.
Robert Reich is the chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies.

He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations and Beyond Outrage and, most recently, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary Inequality for All. His latest documentary, Saving Capitalism, is streaming on Netflix.

Reich ‘s new book, The Common Good, is available now.
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The House just passed a bill to close the gender pay gap

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, center, and Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), right, and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), are seen in the Capitol. DeLauro is the author of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which passed this week. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call House Democrats easily passed the Paycheck Fairness Act on Wednesday — their latest in a long series of…

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The House just passed a bill to close the gender pay gap

imageHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi, center, and Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), right, and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), are seen in the Capitol. DeLauro is the author of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which passed this week. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call House Democrats easily passed the Paycheck Fairness Act on Wednesday — their latest in a long series of attempts to make sure women and men are paid equally. The final vote was 242-187.

Democrats were joined by seven Republicans. To give you a sense of how long bill author Rep.

Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has been fighting for this cause, she first introduced the bill in 1997.

“Very simple concept: Men and women in the same job deserve the same pay,” DeLauro told Vox. “It used to be this was the fringe; it was a women’s issue, ‘Why do we have to deal with it?’” A gender pay gap has long existed; women who work full time in the United States make, on average, 82 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make.

And data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the gap has actually widened in the past four years. House Democrats last passed DeLauro’s bill when they were in the majority in 2009 (it failed the next year in the Senate).

Now back in the majority, they have a rare opportunity to pass a bill that has struggled to gain momentum in both chambers when it’s come up. Even though DeLauro and labor experts say a pay equity bill should be bipartisan, the Paycheck Fairness Act has languished out of the spotlight when Republicans have been in power. Democrats are hoping the momentum of the #MeToo movement and a historic number of women in Congress will give this idea new life. “This is historic. Rosa has been introducing this bill forever,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the House Democratic Caucus on Tuesday, according to an aide present. “But public sentiment — public, social media, and all the rest — with help us with this.

” What’s in the Paycheck Fairness Act The Paycheck Fairness Act essentially works to close loopholes in the landmark Equal Pay Act of 1963, which required that men and women receive equal pay for equal work. As Vox’s Alexia Fernández Campbell wrote , that bill didn’t exactly work as intended. Progress has been hampered in a number of ways: There are several reasons for the pay difference.

Women are less likely to negotiate pay, and more likely to be penalized when they try.They are also more likely to choose career fields that pay lower salaries and are often pushed out of the highest-paying professions in the country, which reward workers who put in long hours — schedules that disproportionately hurt working mothers . But after taking education, occupation, and work hours into account, researchers say that discrimination could explain about a third of the pay gap .

A 2013 study by the American Association of University Women found that women get paid 6.6 percent less than men in their first jobs, even after considering factors such as job location, occupation, college major, and number of hours worked. The Equal Pay Act says employers can’t differentiate salary based on gender unless a number of factors — including seniority, merit, and work level — come into play. On its face, it makes sense; a new entry-level employee would not be paid the same as a higher-level employee with more experience. But over the years, women found out they were making far less than male colleagues with the same experience and job titles. The most well-known example is Lilly Ledbetter , who sued her employer Goodyear Tire after finding out male managers with less experience were getting paid more money that she was as a female manager.

Ledbetter’s crusade resulted in the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2009. That law changed the Civil Rights Act so that workers could sue for fair compensation up to 180 days after receiving a discriminatory paycheck from their employers — rather than when the salary decision was made. DeLauro’s Paycheck Fairness Act tries to push back on lingering inequity in three key ways. Perhaps most importantly, it would ban employers from asking candidates how much they made in previous jobs. It would also get rid of employer rules that keep workers from talking about their salary information, so that women could ask how much their coworkers are making and find out if they’re underpaid. Third, the bill would require employers to be much more transparent about how much they’re paying workers.

Employers would have to share salary data with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, so that body could watch out for potential discriminatory practices. As Fernández Campbell noted, that’s gotten significant pushback from businesses that would like to keep that salary data private. And DeLauro said she’s heard complaints in the past from male lawmakers asking why they had to deal with a “women’s issue.” “Women self-select to get less money! Those were the arguments I heard,” DeLauro said.

But her bill doesn’t get at another important root cause of the gender pay gap: the economic impacts of motherhood. As Vox’s Sarah Kliff wrote, Princeton University economist Henrik Kleven found that mothers in Denmark (a country with a robust social safety net) saw their earnings take a significant hit after they had a child. Kleven compared the salaries of mothers to childless women and to men and found that “childbearing accounts for 80 percent of the gender wage gap in Denmark.” As Kliff wrote : Kleven finds a sharp decline in women’s earnings after the birth of their first child — with no comparable salary drop for men.

The cumulative effect is huge: Women end up earning 20 percent less than their male counterparts over the course of their career. His study is among a growing body of research that suggests what we often think of as a gender pay gap is more accurately discussed as a childbearing pay gap or motherhood penalty. Why it’s taking so long for Congress to do something about the gender pay gap It’s the 11th time DeLauro has brought up this bill, and its second time passing the House of Representatives. A number of things have hampered the bill’s progress, most notably the number of years Democrats spent out of the majority.

But other impediments include delays while the courts figured out how to interpret the original 1963 law, according to Vasu Reddy, senior policy counsel for the National Partnership for Women and Families. Many judges interpreted the clause “any factor other than sex” in the 1963 law very broadly, she added. “Problems don’t become apparent until you’ve had these bad rulings by the courts,” she said. “Civil rights evolved over time. I think there’s just been more awareness of different issues around equal pay.” DeLauro, Pelosi, and other Democrats recognize the time is ripe to press the issue again.

Equal pay for equal work is having a renewed moment, especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement and high-profile Hollywood actresses going public about getting paid far less for big films than their male co-stars. But the problem is far more widespread, disproportionately hurting female and nonwhite workers.

“We are in a different environment,” DeLauro said. “We’re looking at the intersection of where the public is on men and women and the workforce, and we’re looking at a body that is over 100 women who are here. Equal pay for equal work is now the center of public discourse today.” It’s unclear whether the bill has a path in the Senate.

But with the most diverse House class in history, advocates are feeling optimistic that something can get done eventually. “I think there have been gaps in understanding around women’s experience that this new and diverse Congress can begin to close,” said Victoria Budson, executive director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School..

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House Democrats pass equal pay for equal work act

Ten years after President Barack Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, House Democrats voted Wednesday to approve the Paycheck Fairness Act, delivering one of the cornerstone pieces of their “For the People” agenda to the Republican-led Senate. The vote passed 242-187, primarily down partisan lines, as the full Democratic caucus voted…

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House Democrats pass equal pay for equal work act

imageTen years after President Barack Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, House Democrats voted Wednesday to approve the Paycheck Fairness Act, delivering one of the cornerstone pieces of their “For the People” agenda to the Republican-led Senate.
The vote passed 242-187, primarily down partisan lines, as the full Democratic caucus voted in favor of the bill and seven Republicans crossed the aisle to support it.
Stressing that while there has been progress towards pay equality in recent years, Democrats renewed the push for equal pay for equal work because women still earn just 80 cents to the dollar a man makes for the same work.
Lily Ledbetter, the plaintiff in a landmark employment discrimination case, was on-hand to join Democrats at the bill’s introduction on Jan. 30, urging Congress “to step up again.”
“I’m here because equal pay for equal work is an American value,” Ledbetter said.

“And it’s time that we have American reality.


(Alex Wong/Getty Images) U.

S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks as other House Democrats listen during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 30, 2019.

Women who work full time in the United States are paid on average 80 percent of what men are paid, according to a 2018 study by the American Association of University Women, an advocacy group that promotes equity and education for women and girls.
The analysis also found that disparities are even sharper among Latinas, at 54 percent, and black women, at 63 percent, and range by state from a low of 70 percent in Louisiana and Utah to a high of 89 percent in New York.
The political firepower that Democratic women possess heading into the 2020 presidential campaign continues to grow. There is a record number of women expected to seek the Democratic nomination and a record 102 women serving in Congress, but there is still a majority of white men serving in Congress.
“It’s historic,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said of the bill. “And that it should happen at a time when we have over 100 women serving in the House of Representatives — that it should happen in the same Congress that we will also observe the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Amendment to have women have the right to vote: it’s all very historic. It’s all about progress.


(Alex Wong/Getty Images) Women’s equality activist Lilly Ledbetter speaks as U.

S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi, right, and other Democratic Congressional members listen during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol, Jan.

30, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Ten years ago, women earned just 78 cents to each dollar a man earned at the same job.
If enacted, the bill would end so-called pay secrecy, ease workers’ ability to individually or jointly challenge pay discrimination and strengthen the available remedies for wronged employees, according to the bill’s sponsors.
The measure would strengthen and close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by holding employers accountable for discriminatory practices, ending the practice of pay secrecy, easing workers’ ability to individually or jointly challenge pay discrimination, and strengthening the available remedies for wronged employees, according to its author, Rep.

Rosa DeLauro.

“Today, we can make a difference for working women and their families. The biggest economic challenge of our time is that Americans are in jobs that do not pay them enough to live on. This will be the first bill that the majority is passing to address that economic need for families,” DeLauro, D-Conn., said during debate on the bill.

“Paycheck Fairness puts gender-based discrimination sanctions on equal footing with other forms of wage discrimination by allowing women to sue for compensatory and punitive damages,” she said. “It better protects employees from being fired for sharing their salary with co-workers.

It establishes a grant program to provide salary negotiation training for girls and women. And, it ensures employers are not reliant on wage history when they hire an employee.”
There are 45 Democratic cosponsors on companion legislation in the Senate, though the bill is unlikely to advance any farther given the Republican majority.

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Maryland minimum wage: State passes $15 minimum wage bill

Workers rally for a $15 minimum wage outside the Maryland State House on March 13, 2019, in Annapolis, MD. Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images Maryland just became the sixth state to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. On Thursday, lawmakers managed to override Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a minimum…

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Maryland minimum wage: State passes $15 minimum wage bill

imageWorkers rally for a $15 minimum wage outside the Maryland State House on March 13, 2019, in Annapolis, MD. Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images Maryland just became the sixth state to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. On Thursday, lawmakers managed to override Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a minimum wage bill. Maryland’s current minimum wage is $10.

10, and the new policy willgradually raise the wage floor to $15 by 2025.

Hogan had blocked the bill earlier this week, claiming that such a change would “ devastate ” the economy. But it was clear early on that he would be unable to stop the national momentum building around a $15 minimum wage. Democrats control both chambers in Maryland’s General Assembly, and passed the wage hike bill with a veto-proof majority. On Thursday, they overwhelming voted to override Hogan’s veto by 96-43 in the House and 35-12 in the Senate.

Maryland is now the third state to phase in a $15 minimum wage so far this year, and the sixth overall. In February, New Jersey and Illinois did so, too. While Hogan’s veto was not surprising (he has always opposed a $15 minimum), it’s a striking position in a state where the $15 minimum wage is so popular with voters in Maryland and across the country . The law will benefit about 573,000 workers in Maryland who currently earn less than $15 —about 22 percent of the state’s workforce, according to the National Employment Law Project . Advocates for the wage hike didn’t get everything they wanted in the bill.

For example, it won’t eliminate the lower wage for tipped workers, which is $3.

63, and future changes to the minimum wage aren’t tied to inflation. The bill also continues to let businesses pay agricultural workers less than the minimum wage, and allows employers to pay young workers less, too. But the push for a $15 wage is gaining support across the country, and has even reached Congress. For the first time ever, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are considering a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour — another sign that the public pressure is paying off. It all started with frustrated McDonald’s workers in Illinois Passing the $15 minimum wage bill is still a major win for the fast-food workers whose movement helped 5 million workers get pay raises in 2019 .

Within five years , they’ve transformed an improbable proposal into a popular policy — one that would address, in part, the slow wage growth American workers are experiencing. The workers’ movement, called Fight for $15, organized strikes and rallies all across the country. But they saw little success until 2016, when California became the first state to hike hourly wages to $15, followed by Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, DC.

Business groups, meanwhile, are not happy about the fight for $15. And neither are their Republican allies in Congress. They’ve long pushed back against any effort to raise the wage floor at the federal level, claiming it would destroy small business and trigger massive job losses. But it’s getting harder and harder for Republicans to justify their view that free-market capitalism — the idea that when the economy grows and unemployment is low, employers will be forced to raise wages — will take care of everyone.

Workers who already earn $15 an hour still struggle to raise a family, so it’s no wonder that workers who earn less sometimes end up living on the streets . On top of this, Americans want the government to raise the minimum wage. Poll after poll shows widespread support , even among Republican voters. And a majority of voters want it increased to $15 an hour. That may explain why Thomas Donohue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce, recently toned down his usual criticism of efforts to raise the minimum wage, saying the chamber is “ going to listen .” Even McDonald’s, long criticized by labor activists for paying low wages at franchises, said this week that the company would no longer lobby against efforts to raise the minimum wage. The idea that raising the minimum wage is actually bad for workers is getting harder to support, as a growing body of research discrediting that claim emerges.

What research says about the impact of raising the minimum wage There are few topics US economists have researched more than the impact of raising a minimum wage. Their findings have varied over the past 30 years, but there are two things most mainstream economists now agree on . First, they agree that raising the minimum wage increases the average income of low-wage workers, lifting many out of poverty (depending on how big the raise is). Second, raising the minimum wage likely causes some job losses. The remaining disagreement revolves around how extreme the job cuts would be.

Some research suggests hundreds of thousands of American workers could lose their jobs with a modest increase to the minimum wage. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economist at the conservative American Action Forum, has pointed to a 2014 study from the Congressional Budget Office which estimates that a $10.

10 federal wage floor could lead to about 500,000 lost jobs because higher labor costs would lead some employers to scale back their staff. Other research concludes that increasing the minimum wage has an insignificant impact on employment, or none at all. The best way to evaluate the different conclusions is to analyze all the research findings together — what scientists call a “meta-analysis.” And the most recent ones suggest that the most likely impact on employment is minimal. For example, a 2016 study by economists at Michigan State University crunched data from 60 research studies on the minimum wage in the United States since 2001. They concluded that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage would likely reduce overall employment from 0.

5 percent to 1.2 percent. Another meta-analysis comes in the form of a new research paper by economists at the University of Massachusetts, University College London, and the Economic Policy Institute. They studied data from 138 cities and states that raised the minimum wage between 1979 and 2016.

The conclusion is that low-wage workers received a 7 percent pay bump after a minimum wage law went into effect, but there was little or no change in employment. In a 2018 working paper , soon to be published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics , economist Arindrajit Dube shows that raising the minimum wage significantly reduces the number of families living in poverty. For example, he concludes that a $12 minimum wage in 2017 would have lifted 6.2 million people out of poverty.

This growing body of research has helped lawmakers across the country argue for a $15 minimum wage. Maryland residents are the latest to win their case..

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