There is an intimate connection between campaign contributions, lobbying and legislators’ decisions on bills to support and to oppose. But our elected legislators are not supposed to publicly acknowledge these connections. Is there a solution to this not-so-subtle corruption of public decision making? Yes!
These days, the Fourth of July seems mostly to be about barbecues, beer and fireworks – all for the celebration of freedom. That’s the popular narrative for the birth of our country. But the truth is, the United States had many parents.
We should be bracing ourselves for highly visible and well argued elections throughout our state. But as is turns out, in two-fifths of all these elections, either the Republican party or the Democratic party has failed to field candidates.
Growing economic inequality compounds racial and gender inequities and deepens divisions in our society and democracy. We all lose – with less innovation, economic vibrancy, and cultural richness – when so many are denied the opportunity to reach their full potential and pursue their dreams. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Imagine living in a relatively small nation, where per capita income is $11,000 less than in Washington state, and the only natural resources are timber, water and ice. People pay a 31 percent tax on personal income in excess of $82,000, a value-added tax of 14 percent on food and restaurants, and 24 percent on most other goods. Yet they are, by many measures, better off than most Washingtonians. How?
Today President Obama makes up for four decades of neglect of middle wage workers by both Republican and Democratic administrations. That's thanks to a new federal rule on how and how much employers pay workers. This new rule will result in workers gaining literally thousands of dollars more in earned income in our state.
Legislative consideration is usually a slow and deliberative process, for good reason. The Boeing package was pushed through in a special two-day session, called for just that reason and paid for by the taxpayers of our state -- to the tune of $305 million that went to bulk up the stock buyback for Boeing shareholders. That is a disservice to the citizens of this state.
What is the value of work? Is it what you get paid? Economists trained to embrace the private market simply equate the value of your work with your wage. It's simple, easy to understand…and wrong.
It's too bad paying taxes feels like such a solitary activity, because it's really a community endeavor. I think of it like a potluck buffet: everyone brings a little something to the table, and as a result we all have more to choose from. Is this “potluck buffet” perfect for me personally? Not always. But it works for my fellow citizens pretty well.
Sen. Ted Cruz has one thing correct about the founding fathers. They did craft the constitution to act as chains to bind. But these chains bound slavery to liberty, enforced servitude to free labor, and agricultural production to plantation elites.
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