A temporary payroll tax cut was allowed to expire recently, meaning that payroll taxes are now removing an extra 2% from everyone's paychecks. Every corporation in the business of selling things to non-rich Americans is freaking out, because they expect their customers to cut back on spending now. The working class has just seen its take-home pay reduced by 2%; working class people will now have 2% less to spend on food, and clothes, and toilet paper, and everything else. It may be true that letting the payroll tax rise was foolish in the short term. It is definitely true that payroll taxes in general are, as constructed, a bad idea.
A hedge funder is making noise about bringing down the salaries of executives at Morgan Stanley. Good. The government sure hasn't been successful at holding down corporate executive salaries, so maybe the market should work its magic—let hedge funds squeeze a few extra percentage points of profit in return for holding down the paychecks of the bosses of the banks they invest in. A worthwhile deal for the public. And a vindication of capitalism's mythical self-regulatory powers!
Democracy is not very hard to understand. Its simplicity is a big part of its appeal. One citizen, one vote. Even representative democracy, necessary for unwieldy, far-flung populous nations like ours, is pretty easy: the candidate who gets the most votes wins. Representatives represent the will of the people.
A former household staffer and tutor for Rupert Mudoch and Wendi Deng's children is speaking out for the first time about the relentless nightmare that is working for the Murdochs: Screaming tantrums, nannies discarded by the side of the road on a whim, no benefits, unpaid overtime, young girls body-shamed by their mother—and near abandonment for workers injured on the job.
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker made his name with a coldblooded campaign to destroy public sector unions. Pro-union Wisconsinites tried to recall Walker; they failed. This has led to some gloating and speculation from the usual suspects (Rich Lowry, nice blazer, hair boy) that the death knell has formally sounded for unions in America.
An important part of being a successful American citizen these days is tempering your expectations. Calmness. Deep breaths. Freedom from all forms of desire. So when you hear, for example, that your economically devastated city won't see a return to pre-recession employment levels for another decade, you'll be able to take that news with poise, rather than with a stroke.
Attorney general Eric Holder has come out in favor of reduced sentences for thousands of people currently imprisoned on nonviolent crack cocaine convictions. (A recent law corrected the insane sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine; Holder is simply recommending that the new sentencing guidelines be applied to some people already in jail.) That's a great first step. Then can we let out all the other drug war victims, too?
Break out the picket signs, the corporate scabs, and the Woody Guthrie songs, because it's time for all the proletarians in the Time Warner building to unite for a good old-fashioned boycott! Of the exclusive, employee-only Park Cafe! According to a righteously angry email being passed among CNN employees on the 7th floor, "on April 1 (Next Tuesday) prices are going up, frequent diner cards are being eliminated and the place will now close an hour earlier at 2:30p every day. If ever a situation called for a BOYCOTT... THIS IS IT!" By god, I can almost hear Samuel Gompers and Big Bill Haywood clawing their way out of their graves to rush to these employees' assistance! So what are the workers fighting to protect? An inside tipster describes the Park Cafe's democratic atmosphere: