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Kansas Anti-Poverty Task Force Recommends Stronger Families, Weaker Safety Net

The Kansas government’s campaign against child poverty will rely on reducing Kansans’ access to safety net programs and redoubling state efforts to encourage old school family values, according to a report from Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) Task Force on Reducing Childhood Poverty. Of the nine specific ideas listed as “Recommendations” in the report, three involve … [Read more...]

Tax Reform Advocates Make Their Case At Tax-Evading FedEx

A legislative listening tour meant to make the case for comprehensive tax reform will stop on Monday at a giant corporation that’s paid a 4.2 percent tax rate on over $9 billion in profits over the past five years. The tax reform tour, which is the brainchild of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-CA), features a mix of … [Read more...]

Bank of America Pays $39 Million To Settle Gender Discrimination Case

Bank of America will pay $39 million to settle claims it discriminated against women in its investment advice division, the company announced Friday evening. It is the bank’s second major settlement over employee discrimination claims in two weeks. The money will be divvied up between roughly 4,800 women who worked at Bank of America and its subsidiary Merrill Lynch from 2007 onward. The … [Read more...]

Three Signs Of The Havoc The Bankruptcy Process Is Wreaking On Detroit

Since Detroit declared bankruptcy in July, the legal process has been rapid. Judge Stephen Rhodes recently moved up the start date of the hearing to determine the city’s eligibility for bankruptcy from late October to September 18, which means it will have taken just 90 days to go from the initial filing to the crucial eligibility hearing. Here are three of the strangest stories indicating … [Read more...]

Europe Finally Emerges From Record-Long Recession

The record 18-month recession is officially over in the Eurozone, as growth in France and Germany overwhelmed ongoing contractions elsewhere in the area during the second quarter of the year. Data released Wednesday show that as a whole, the 17 economies that use the euro expanded by 0.3 percent from April to June. Germany recorded 0.7 percent GDP growth and France notched a 0.5 percent growth … [Read more...]

New Fraud Evidence Shows Trillions Of Dollars In Mortgages Have No Owner

Thanks to forged documents, banks can’t prove that they own trillions of dollars in mortgages, according to recently unsealed court documents relating to a lawsuit the government decided to settle out of court for $95 million in 2012. The evidence gathered by Lynn Szymoniak, a Florida resident who fought off a wrongful foreclosure after three years of legal wrangling, could invalidate … [Read more...]

Detroit Emergency Manager: ‘The City Was Dumb, Lazy, Happy, And Rich’

Detroit is solely responsible for its current situation because “the city was dumb, lazy, happy, and rich” for many years, according to emergency manager Kevyn Orr. The unelected lawyer’s explanation for the city’s insolvency ignores the national and regional forces at play over decades. In reality, the city was battered by large socioeconomic forces it could hardly influence, according to the … [Read more...]

Past City Bankruptcies Show There Is No Blueprint For Detroit Retirees

Even with a half-dozen municipal bankruptcies from the past 15 years as a guide, there is no clear precedent to steer expectations among Detroit’s retirees as the Motor City’s bankruptcy filing proceeds. Cate Long, the municipal financing expert for Reuters, reviewed six insolvent cities around the country and found they don’t provide much of a road map. Despite being less than one thirtieth the … [Read more...]

Administration Used Dramatically Inflated Statistics To Defend Mortgage Fraud Efforts

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder The Obama administration’s yearlong investigative push on mortgage fraud produced just one fifth of the criminal charges and identified just one quarter of the victims claimed by Attorney General Eric Holder in a 2012 speech, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) announced late Friday. The news that the administration radically overstated its prosecutorial … [Read more...]

Congressman Fear Mongers On Minimum Wage: ‘You Guys Wanna Pay $20 For A Hamburger?’

Bringing the minimum wage back up to the buying power it had in 1968 would more than quadruple the price of fast food, according to Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). When a constituent asked Mullin for his take on the push to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour at an Afton, Oklahoma town hall meeting last Thursday, Mullin responded with a question of his own: “You guys wanna pay $20 for a … [Read more...]

Austerity Has Now Shrunk The Greek Economy By A Quarter Since 2008

Greece’s economy contracted at an annual rate of 4.6 percent from April to June, according to data released early Monday. Together with first quarter GDP, the numbers mean the Greek economy is shrinking at a 5.1 percent rate so far in 2013. All told, the austerity-plagued country’s output is now 23 percent smaller than it was at the beginning of 2008, Reuters noted. That massive, ongoing … [Read more...]

Investigation Of Banks’ Role In Price Rigging Escalates With New Subpoenas

Regulators have ordered an aluminum company to preserve three years of documents that may be relevant to an investigation into price rigging in the markets for metals, Reuters reported Monday. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) subpoena is the latest signal of heightened regulatory scrutiny of financial firms’ role in the physical commodities markets, three weeks after a New York … [Read more...]

GDP Report: Sequestration Continues To Drag On Economic Growth

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 1.7 percent from April to June, above the consensus expectations of economists, government analysts reported Wednesday. Reuters’ survey of economists had predicted quarterly growth of 1 percent, with some warning the growth rate might have been as low as 0.4 percent. The preliminary number released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is subject to … [Read more...]

Big Banks Targeted For Rigging Electricity Markets

U.S. energy regulators announced a $410 million fine against JP Morgan Chase for rigging electricity markets on Tuesday. It is the second such penalty the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has levied in two weeks. Barclay’s is fighting that previous FERC penalty, but JP Morgan has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $285 million and return $125 million in wrongful profits without either … [Read more...]

President Obama To Call For Corporate Tax Reform To Finance Jobs Spending

(Credit: Politico) In a speech Tuesday pressing for Congress to invest in jobs programs that target the middle class, President Obama will propose changes to the corporate tax code to fund those investments. The proposal will also feature some form of a fee on offshored corporate cash, Bloomberg reports. Details of Tuesday’s speech aren’t yet clear, but the reforms Obama has proposed in the … [Read more...]

Top Michigan Republican Backs Detroit’s Retirees

Attorney General Bill Schuette (R-MI) CREDIT: Photo: AP Michigan’s Republican Attorney General said over the weekend that he will defend retiree interests in bankruptcy court, calling the state constitution “crystal clear” on pension protections. The announcement came days after his office successfully argued the opposing side of a legal dispute around the same state constitutional … [Read more...]

Bank Profits Have Bounced Back From Post-Recession Lows

The financial industry is on the verge of becoming the largest sector in the S&P 500 Index, the latest indicator that the banking and trading business has recovered quickly and fully from the economic collapse it caused in 2008. Bloomberg reports that financial companies now comprise 16.8 percent of the index, nearly twice the industry’s post-crisis share of the list. That means the industry has … [Read more...]

Low-Wage Worker Strikes Hit New Cities, Bringing The Total To 9

Fast food workers strike in New York in May (Credit: Salon) New strikes in the fast food and retail industries are hitting Kansas City and Flint, MI on Monday, joining their counterparts in a half-dozen other cities in walking off the job over unlivable wages. The industry that has seen the majority of U.S. job growth since the recession is under increasing pressure to raise pay and allow its … [Read more...]