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President Biden will sign an executive order on Tuesday to hike the minimum wage for federal contractor workers to $15 an hour, according to senior administration officials with knowledge of the plans who briefed reporters on Monday. The move will see Mr. Biden deliver on a proposal he made right after taking office to give the contractors the pay hike within his first 100 days on the job. That time window closes on Friday.

The executive action will increase the pay of “hundreds of thousands” of federal contract workers, the White House said, without providing a more specific estimate.

What if the minimum wage grew like Wall Street bonuses?
“These workers are critical to the functioning of the federal government, from cleaning professionals and maintenance workers who ensure federal employees have safe and clean places to work, to nursing assistants to care for the nation’s veterans, to cafeteria and other food service workers who ensure military members have healthy and nutritious food to eat, to laborers who build and repair federal infrastructure,” a senior administration official said.

After 2022, the order will also index the $15 minimum wage for federal contractors to inflation, so it will be automatically adjusted to reflect changes in the cost of living going forward. The order will also eliminate the tipped minimum wage for federal contractors, which currently stands at $7.65, by 2024.

Some opponents to raising the minimum wage overall to $15 an hour argue that it will lead to job cuts. But the executive order was examined by the Council of Economic Advisors, and senior administration officials claim the move will “not lead to reduced employment,” but will “enhance worker productivity” and generate higher quality work by boosting heath and morale while reducing absenteeism and turnover.

A fact sheet provided by the White House, which will accompany the executive order, says all federal agencies will “need to incorporate a $15 minimum wage in new contract solicitations, and by March 30, 2022, all agencies will need to implement the minimum wage into new contracts.”

The president’s order will also compel federal agencies to implement the increased minimum wage into existing contracts when those come up for review for extensions, which often occur on an annual basis.

Don midwest
Don midwest

going from hero to zero when criticizing the dem party

Cindy Sheehan – Glenn Greenwald tweets about the perils of criticizing the establishment

letter posted on DK/TOP —


Don: do you have a link handy?


This actually looks pretty good


House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal has introduced a massive social programs infrastructure package aimed at making enhancements to the child tax credit permanent, expanding paid family leave and boosting access to child care for Americans.

The “Building the Economy for Families Act” comes as the Biden administration is expected to unveil its own American Families Plan and just a day ahead of President Joe Biden’s inaugural address to Congress.

The plan guarantees paid leaves to full-time and part-time workers and permanently expands the child tax credit, which offers families up to $3,600 annually per child in monthly payments. Neal’s plan is an ambitious marker as Democrats on Capitol Hill begin turning Biden’s plans into legislation.

“We must finally acknowledge that workers have families, and caregiving responsibilities are real. Through sensible, but bold investments, we can put workers’ minds at ease and ready our country to come roaring back,” Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, said in a statement. “All while lifting millions out of poverty by permanently extending the hugely popular expansions the Ways and Means Committee made to key tax credits in the American Rescue Plan.”

The plan differs in some ways from Biden’s American Families Plan in that it permanently extends the child tax credit enhancement, while Biden’s plan is expected to extend it just through 2025. The Democrats’ $1.9 trillion rescue plan boosted the credit only for 2021.

Neal’s plan would provide up to 12 weeks of universal paid medical and family leave for full- and part-time workers, including those who are self-employed. Americans would be eligible if they met the same criteria necessary under the Family and Medical Leave Act to take 60 days a year in paid leave, but the leave could not be more than 20 days a month. For a typical worker, the paid leave benefit would replace about two-thirds of wages.

Notably, the program would be run through the Department of Treasury, not the Social Security Administration. Under the Senate’s budget rules, a bill that goes through reconciliation cannot affect Social Security. The change does not necessarily indicate that Democrats will use that arcane budget process to pass their infrastructure bill, but the revision could make it easier to approve the expansion of paid leave using reconciliation, which would allow them to pass the measure without Republican support.

The bill makes permanent the Covid relief bill’s expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for workers without children, nearly tripling the maximum credit and extending eligibility to more people for one year.

However, this bill does not continue the enhancements to Affordable Care Act premium subsidies that his committee included in the coronavirus rescue package. Some Democrats have been pushing to make the augmented subsidies permanent in the families plan.



Neal on Tuesday is releasing what he’s calling the Building an Economy for Families Act, which would create a new entitlement of 12 weeks’ leave through a public program administered by the Treasury Department, existing comprehensive state paid-leave programs, or employers providing high-quality benefits. The trick, as with anything in Congress, will be paying for the program. Though Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida have been supportive of tax credits to pay for child care, a leave law would require a huge amount of government support. Republicans are unlikely to support raising taxes (probably by eliminating Trump-era cuts) in order to pay for a leave program, but Democrats are unlikely to support cutting existing programs to redirect funding, as Republicans want. So where’s the money going to come from? “As chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, I’m not going to tell you,” Neal said with a laugh, reflecting the wariness of Democrats to give opponents a target to fire at before building support for the bill. I asked Neal if he’s optimistic that the paid-leave bill he wants could get Republican votes. “I am going to make every effort to get their support,” he said gingerly.

While campaigning for president, Biden advocated for a policy that would guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, plus seven days of sick leave and tax credits to help families pay for child care. The proposal also included paid leave for survivors of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault. “Biden will pay for this national paid leave program,” a statement on his website explained, “by making sure the super wealthy pay their fair share in taxes.” Advocates committed to the issue have avoided criticizing Biden for waiting until now to make good on those promises, wary, as many liberals have been, of taking shots at the new president. They seem to have gotten their way: the $1 trillion proposal Biden is expected to lay out tomorrow night will reportedly include a $225 billion plan for leave, but the White House is approaching the rollout carefully. A White House aide, requesting anonymity to discuss internal discussions, would only say that Biden “has been clear about his support for permanent paid family and medical leave. It was President Biden who included emergency paid leave in his rescue plan; and it was President Biden who signed into law an extension of a paid leave credit so that more families right now have access to paid leave.”’




President Biden, in an effort to pay for his ambitious economic agenda, is expected to propose giving the Internal Revenue Service an extra $80 billion and more authority over the next 10 years to help crack down on tax evasion by high-earners and large corporations, according to two people familiar with the plan.

The additional money and enforcement power will accompany new disclosure requirements for people who own businesses that are not organized as corporations and for other wealthy people who could be hiding income from the government.

The Biden administration will portray those efforts — coupled with new taxes it is proposing on corporations and the rich — as a way to level the tax playing field between typical American workers and very high-earners who employ sophisticated efforts to minimize or avoid taxation.

Mr. Biden plans to use money raised by the effort to help pay for the cost of his “American Families Plan,” which he will detail before addressing a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

That plan, which follows his $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, is expected to cost at least $1.5 trillion and will include universal prekindergarten, a federal paid leave program, efforts to make child care more affordable, free community college for all and tax credits meant to fight poverty.

The administration also aims to pay for the plan by raising the top marginal income tax rate for wealthy Americans to 39.6 percent from 37 percent and raising capital gains tax rates for those who earn more than $1 million a year. Mr. Biden will also seek to raise the tax rate on income that people earning more than $1 million per year receive through stock dividends, according to a person familiar with the proposal.

Administration officials have privately concluded that an aggressive crackdown on tax avoidance by corporations and the rich could raise at least $700 billion on net over 10 years. The $80 billion in proposed funding would be an increase of two-thirds over the agency’s entire funding levels for the past decade.

The administration is expected to portray the $780 billion it expects to collect through enhanced enforcement as conservative. That figure includes only money directly raised by enhanced tax audits and additional reporting requirements, and not any additional revenue from people or companies choosing to pay more taxes after previously avoiding them.


How about raising the tax rate to 90% for the ultra rich? Maybe we will be able to get rid of a few worthless leeches like Zuckerberg and Bezos.


That’s what it was during the Eisenhower administration. JFK was the one who lowered it to 70% and Reagan lowered it considerably after that.



In a collaboration with St. Louis Public Radio’s “We Live Here,” St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jia Lian Yang and Lauren Brown spoke with U.S. Rep. Cori Bush about two pieces of environmental legislation that she proposed in her first few months in office.

The Democrat represents Missouri’s 1st District, which takes in St. Louis and parts of St. Louis County. She was first elected last year, toppling longtime incumbent Lacy Clay, and is the first Black woman to ever represent a Missouri congressional district.

Here’s what Bush talked about on the show:

Her legislation that would prompt federal agencies to map out environmental issues. It’s a proposal that she’s working on with Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, that’s similar to what President Joe Biden laid out in a recent executive order.

Whether overhauling or getting rid of the filibuster would help get some of her environmental legislation across the finish line. She also talked about whether some of her Green New Deal for Cities could make it into Biden’s infrastructure legislation.

Bush, who was a supporter of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, detailed how her office has collaborated with the White House over the past few months. She said that she’s received a warm welcome in Congress, notably getting high-profile assignments on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.



But in another sense, AOC’s mode of politics remains sui generis. Like others in her generation, she has a gift for social media. With 5 million more followers than Pelosi, she uses Twitter to “clap back” at Republicans, amplify movement demands, and intervene in debates on the left; she conducts crash courses on policy and parliamentary procedure on Instagram while cooking dinner; and she streams herself playing video games and discussing Britain’s National Health Service. These methods of addressing, educating, and agitating voters have inspired comparisons to influencer and celebrity culture. AOC has many more fans than she has constituents, and she is dedicated to serving their psychic—if not always political—needs as well.

But to dismiss AOC’s tweets and Instagram stories as mere exercises in vanity or pandering is a mistake (one often buoyed by sexism). She has become what the scholar Paolo Gerbaudo calls a “hyperleader,” using digital platforms to form affective bonds with her base and beyond, which compensates for the failure of more traditional forms of political organization (e.g., parties, unions, and so on) to generate collective identities. (In Gerbaudo’s schema, Donald Trump, Italy’s Matteo Salvini and Beppe Grillo, Spain’s Pablo Yglesias, and even Bernie Sanders are hyperleaders as well.) AOC’s facility with new and various social media, her charm and authenticity, her instinct for virality and catharsis, and her sympathetic performances of emotional vulnerability have made her one of the most effective hyperleaders of our time.

This hyperleadership has paid dividends for the left—spreading its message far and wide; infusing redistributive policy ideas with warmth, intimacy, and urgency; and inspiring thousands of young people to participate in social movements. (Not to mention that AOC’s celebrity has almost certainly pushed Schumer to embrace a far more progressive agenda.) But it should be noted that the left’s reliance on hyperleadership signals a larger deficit: a dearth of political structures and associational bonds that have historically enabled the left to both obtain and hold power. As Chris Maisano writes in Jacobin, “digital parties” attempt to “reverse engineer” left party-building: Instead of creating working-class social organizations before seeking state power, they rush a hyperleader into government “as fast as possible” and then use that position to consolidate a “base of support outside the state.”

An appreciation for the brittleness of this framework, I think, helps account for the suspicion AOC sometimes meets from rank-and-file leftists. Hyperleaders earn loyalty and affection by vanquishing our enemies in symbolic acts of domination, or else by empathetically enacting our own sense of victimhood. When the bonds linking leader to movement are primarily emotional, rooted in a sense that she is her followers’ champion—an embodiment of their political desires, as opposed to a democratically accountable representative of their political program—the slightest conciliatory gesture, no matter its strategic logic, can resemble a betrayal.

For now, however, hyperleadership appears to be the only game in town. The number of committed socialists in Congress is paltry. Even the expanded “Squad,” now featuring fellow DSA members Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush, cannot pass Medicare for All on its own. And those on the left should probably be grateful that the one of the most prodigious hyperleaders of our era is on their side. The question is whether the inchoate and largely parasocial bonds uniting AOC and her millions of followers can be translated into more durable political structures—new party forms or labor movements. It’s not Ocasio-Cortez’s responsibility to square that circle, and certainly not to do it alone. As Freedlander’s book contends, the AOC generation is composed of millions of men and women like her, ordinary people eager to lead the country out of the abyss.


This is an ok read. I don’t care for leftist criticism of Ocasio-Cortez being painted so superficially. Not taking a line on significant progressive objectives is much more problematic than “the slightest conciliatory gesture.”


Doomsday from Ryan Cooper


The basic strategy goes like this. First, win control of state legislatures, then gerrymander the state district boundaries such that it’s virtually impossible to lose, and add further protection with vote suppression laws making it harder for liberals to cast their ballots. Then, leverage control of the state legislatures in a post-census year to gerrymander the congressional district boundaries and gain a large advantage in the national House vote. This was exactly what happened after the previous census in 2010, when a fortunately-timed Republican wave victory allowed them to cement a roughly 4-5 point handicap in House elections and control of the chamber for eight years, along with control of dozens of state legislatures.

Today in Michigan, gerrymandering means Republicans enjoy a 3.4-point handicap in the state House and a 10.7-point handicap in the state Senate; in Pennsylvania, it’s a 3.1-point handicap in the House and a 5.9-point handicap in the Senate; and in Wisconsin, a 7.1-point handicap in the House and a 10.1-point handicap in the Senate.

Though some of those 2010-vintage gerrymanders have been eroded or taken down through the courts, new ones will be attempted in every state Republicans control this year that do not have nonpartisan redistricting commissions (which is most of them). As Ryan Grim estimates at The Intercept, a fresh hardcore House gerrymander would likely net the GOP 15-20 House seats — easily enough to let them take the majority, if the 2022 electorate looks anything like 2020. And thanks to the conservative hammerlock on the Supreme Court, the new gerrymanders and vote suppression measures are virtually guaranteed to be blessed as “legal” (in conservative jurisprudence, something is constitutional if it benefits Republicans).

It’s impossible to gerrymander the Senate, of course, but luckily for Republicans that chamber is inherently gerrymandered due to the large number of disproportionately white, low-population rural states that lean conservative. The swing seat in the Senate is biased something like 7 points to the right.

If the GOP can win the House and Senate in the 2022 midterms, and if they retain control of a handful of swing-state legislatures, then they will be in a perfect position to steal the presidency in 2024.

If they succeed and take full control of the federal government, it would be a trivial matter to rig the electoral system such that Democrats cannot ever again win national power. Similar to the strategy their ideological ancestors used to create Jim Crow, they could simply pass a bunch of facially neutral laws that make it exceptionally difficult to vote in cities or other liberal bastions, and then get their partisan judges on the Supreme Court to rubber-stamp it all as super constitutional, no really.

One will search in vain for any sense of urgency among elected Democrats to deal with this authoritarian threat. So-called moderates like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are not only so far unwilling to get rid of the filibuster to pass voting rights protections, they are also still pretending like Republicans are good faith negotiators, like some man insisting a shark is just misunderstood while his leg is halfway down its throat. If they don’t black in and reckon with the parlous state of American institutions, and get behind strong protections for voting rights and a ban on partisan gerrymandering at a minimum, 2020 might be the last competitive election in United States history.


sounds like dems do in their primaries. “Bernie won’t win.” Hill

seriously, gerrymandering should be illegal but look at our courts. both parties helped get it here in their grasping for money and power.

like i said, from here, it looks like gone, gone, gone. good thing today is finally an ocean day! i skipped a week and i need it!


and no direct mention of machines.


More gloom and doom. Sure am sick of reading it.


Our State legislature has been under one party rule since Snott Walker, only the Exe branch has an open election where anyone can win. The 2 senators would be included. The house seats are gerrymandered as well. Begun the map war has in Wi…



Hey Tucker



Another Christian hypocrite. 💩


Santorum as well