12.19.2001 | John Burbank | Remember Feb. 28 and the Puget Sound earthquake? It seems years ago that the 6.8-magnitude tremor cracked the Capitol dome. Earthquakes show us our smallness in the big picture of life. And earthquakes don't distinguish between rich and poor. It is nature's way of telling us that we are all in this together. Similarly, our preparation for and response to natural disasters are not possible with a winner-take-all mentality. People lived through the Puget Sound earthquake because we as a society, through our governments, made sure that our buildings and roads were secure. Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
12.05.2001 | John Burbank | I have a simple message for the Chicago-based Boeing Co.: Before you lay off more workers in the Puget Sound area, how about having all the management staff take a 15 percent across-the-board pay cut? Wouldn't that show some shared concern with the workers receiving pink slips? The Boeing execs certainly can afford it. Boeing's CEO, Phil Condit, made over $18.5 million in 2000. Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
11.21.2001 | John Burbank | In the middle of the Civil War, Lincoln called for this National Day of Thanksgiving, not a day of national mourning. It was a day to give thanks and to anticipate and appreciate a more peaceful and more just future. This year we too can give thanks for the promise that is borne out of the ashes of Sept. 11. We do mourn for the victims of terror. But we cannot let terror win. Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
11.04.2001 | Becky Kavoussi | To the Editor of The News Tribune: You did a great job of deceiving your readers on Halloween. Richard Davis' column on Initiative 773 and smuggling is totally suspect. Your paper and Davis irresponsibly failed to mention at least two critical background points that readers should know. Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
01.01.2001 | John Burbank | It should not have come down to this, and it shouldn't have even been a partisan issue. In fact, in the Senate, 50 Democrats joined 50 Republicans to unanimously pass a bill to federalize the airport security screeners. But over in the House, the Republican leadership decided to protect companies that have histories of security violations rather than ensure that our nation's airports are safe.Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
10.24.2001 | John Burbank | Last year at this time, Washington citizens voted overwhelmingly for Initiative 728 to spend more state money on public education. What has that meant for the citizens of our state? By enacting I-728, the people voted to reduce class size and increase educational quality. I-728 gave local school boards the decision-making power to translate these goals into local programs and priorities. It mandates that each school board hold a public hearing to gather ideas and input about the needs for boosting quality education programs. Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
10.10.2001 | John Burbank | We already have in Washington a state-subsidized health plan, the Basic Health Plan, which provides basic coverage to low-income working people whose employers do not provide health care coverage. Workers pay on a sliding-scale basis, with the state subsidizing the remaining cost. A family of four with a pre-tax income of $33,000 a year has to pay a premium-share of $180 a month in order to cover a mom and a dad aged 45. Already 125,000 people are covered through this program. So why not extend it to laid-off workers? Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
10.05.2001 | Becky Kavoussi, EOI and Robert Crittenden M.D., M.P.H. | Washington is hurtling toward an economic crisis, but it may not be the one you know about. Our 10th, eighth and even fifth-graders are becoming addicted to cigarettes at an alarming clip, spelling chronic illness and premature death for thousands. At the same time, more than 750,000 of our working friends and neighbors are without health insurance and the numbers are growing. These are festering problems just waiting to erupt. And when they do, Washington will be faced with avoidable health care costs exceeding $1 billion each year. Initiative 773 gives us the opportunity to dramatically improve the health and health care of the people in our state through a 60-cent increase per pack of cigarettes. Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
09.26.2001 | John Burbank | We are all patriots, all victims, all Americans. No matter how much or how little money we make, we are all targeted by the terrorists. More than 700 of the victims in the World Trade Center were Muslim. In the carnage they were joined with Jews, Christians, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists. And now we, the people, cannot be caught in the headlights of fear. We must strive to shape the future in the image of what we want to defend and what we want to leave for our children.. Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
09.13.2001 | John Burbank | Last week I got my "Notice of Status and Amount of Immediate Tax Relief" from the IRS. My tax check was on its way - $600! I read through the notice carefully. It said that this tax cut provides long-term tax relief for all Americans who pay income taxes. Note that it does not claim to provide tax relief to all Americans who work. But it does provide tax relief to nonworking Americans - those who are wealthy and don't have to work. Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
08.29.2001 | John Burbank | As Americans, we share bedrock values of work and family. And the new welfare enables us to honor those values, by creating pathways to jobs and wage ladders, while ensuring some amount of family security. The Community Jobs program is one of the shining new examples of welfare reform. Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
08.15.2001 | John Burbank | Thank goodness I'm not retiring now; the stock market's fall over the past few months would eat up more than my contributions. I don't think I have been stupid in my investment choices. In fact, the average 401(k) savings account lost money in 2000. It is pretty predictable: When the market is doing well, most individual investors make money. And when the market tanks, so do our individual accounts. It is a simple law of averages that should make people shiver at the prospect of dismantling Social Security.Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
08.01.2001 | John Burbank | A funny thing happened to liberals last year. They took a page out of the military's playbook and scored a touchdown. For years child advocates and early childhood education specialists have witnessed the success of the military's child-care program and bemoaned the lack of comparable programs in the civilian sector. And then someone had an idea: If it is good for the military, it may be good for the rest of us. Full Column | »
07.18.2001 | John Burbank | We all know about Florida, where a couple of hundred votes and thousands of disputed ballots determined a presidential election. But have you ever heard of David Harrison, Joyce McDonald, Adrienne Thompson and Lois McMahan? All are legislators who could have been if the vote totals had swung just a percentage point in their favor in Pierce and Kitsap counties last November. And all are victims of the winner-take-all system of voting we take for granted here. It is something for our legislators to consider as they debate a new system of voting.Full Column | Tacoma news Tribune »
07.04.2001 | John Burbank | About once a year my job takes me to Washington, D.C. During every visit I always take time to walk over to the Lincoln Memorial. I read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address carved on one wall, and the Second Inaugural Address carved on the other. Every time I am awed by the statue of Lincoln and search his eyes, his face, his whole being carved in stone. We still have a long way to go on the path to full equality. Just remember Florida last November, where, by random chance or malicious mischief, African Americans were turned away from voting by the thousands. Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
06.20.2001 | John Burbank | Last night outside the local grocery store, I ran into a couple of signature-gatherers. As we all know, this is the time of year for initiatives to the people to show if they can make it onto the ballot with enough signatures. So with two decisions, one to not sign and one to sign, I exercised my basic right as a citizen of Washington State. As our state constitution states, "The first power reserved by the people is the initiative."
06.06.2001 | John Burbank | What is both remarkable and unremarkable about the Fort Lewis track team is that it is completely integrated, with black, white, Hispanic and Asian American kids, coaches and parents. And although I don't make it a habit of asking people their name, rank and serial number, I bet the team parents and coaches are both officers and enlisted personnel with a pretty broad spectrum of income among them. The point is, the team works, both on and off the track.Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
05.08.2001 | Marilyn Watkins | George W. Bush promised us a commission on Social Security, and now he’s given us one. But this is one campaign promise he should have broken. Social Security is highly successful and solidly financed. Carving Social Security into individual private accounts as Bush and his carefully screened commission want would be disastrous for working families and for our nation as a whole.Full Column | EOI »
04.15.2001 | John Burbank | Smoking or non? That refrain may be standard in every restaurant in the state, and the people shivering in the doorways of office buildings as they grab a smoke appear to be dwindling. But it only took a trip to my local drugstore to come face to face with the $100 million a year spent on tobacco advertising in our state and what that really means. Full Column | Tacoma News Tribune »
03.01.2001 | Laura Paskin | Notably absent from the 2001 annual report of the Social Security trustees is the doom-and-gloom language required to “save” Social Security. The data remains remarkably the same from this year to last. After years of hearing about the need to plug the leaks in Social Security, why are we seeing a softening of the hard line? It’s simple: to make way for Bush’s tax cuts. Full Column | EOI »
03.01.2001 | Marilyn Watkins | George W. Bush addressed the nation and the next morning the ground shook, longer and harder than most of us living on Puget Sound had ever experienced. Now, I don’t mean to imply any kind of divine judgment. But the earthquake does remind us of certain truths that Bush tried to obscure with his rhetoric, and those truths point towards very different values than the ones Bush expressed. Full Column | EOI »
02.01.2001 | John Burbank | On Jan. 1, the state raised the minimum wage with a cost-of-living adjustment to $6.72 an hour. This automatic adjustment was the result of the 1998 initiative in which the voters of our state voted 2-to-1 to increase the minimum wage. As Americans, we value work, but the minimum wage devalued work. The voters realized that and passed the minimum-wage initiative in every county in the state.
01.01.2001 | John Burbank | On my recent work trips, I had the chance to talk with two taxi cab drivers, one from Jamaica and another from Ghana, who are emblematic of the American Dream. They came to this country with nothing, they worked hard, their children went to public schools and are now attending public universities. They have, in many ways and in their own eyes, made it. It is anecdotes like these that should move progressives from fighting against the “myth” of the American Dream to acknowledging and embracing that dream. Full Column | EOI »
12.19.2000 | Marilyn Watkins | Ask any working parent what they want this holiday season, and chances are you’ll hear a resounding refrain of “more time.” Balancing work and family is a constant challenge. As difficult as it is on a daily basis, the finely crafted juggling routine totally breaks down when a family member is stricken ill, when a new child enters the family, or when an aging parent faces a terminal illness. In times like these, workers need time off from work without the risk of losing their jobs and losing their family's economic security.
12.03.2000 | Marilyn Watkins | In his premature victory speech, George W. Bush proclaimed a national consensus on “saving Social Security.” By doing so, Bush announced his intention to quickly dismantle the program, threatening one of the basic protections for American workers and their families and beginning a massive government handout to Wall Street. It's time for everyone who cares about the economic security of America's working people to raise their voices in defense of our most important and successful program. Full Column | Seattle Union Record »
12.01.2000 | John Burbank | Recently I participated in a conference labeled, “Independent Politics in a Global World.” In a microcosm, this conference embodied all that is wrong with the American left. It is worthwhile to dissect these wrong things to learn how we, as pragmatists, can and should proceed with our work.Full Column | EOI »
12.29.1999 | John Burbank | This week, Seattle is ground zero in the battle for control of the global economy. Labor unions, environmentalists and citizen-action groups are in the streets to protest proposals to expand the unilateral decision-making power of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The participants in WTO's forum must begin to address the imbalance between multinational corporate power and the economic security of families across the nation and here in Washington.Full Column | Seattle Times »
08.15.1999 | John Burbank and Edith Rasell | The political debate over "saving" Social Security has become much more complicated and confusing to the public than is warranted. Politicians are busy creating mind-numbing schemes to fix Social Security when the problem itself is simple.
work is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License
from the Economic Opportunity Institute. Liquid layout thanks to Matthew James Taylor.