From the AFL-CIO: China rigs trade subsidies, millionaires request higher taxes, OWS speech rights, and a proposed financial transactions tax and more….


China Rigs Subsidies, Manipulates Currency

The new U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission report on China should be a “wake-up call” for the United States, says Scott Paul, director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM). Click here to read the full report[.]

In sum: China is rigging trade using subsidies and currency manipulation, has barriers to bringing in U.S. goods and is forcing American companies to hand over proprietary technology. The result is our huge trade deficit is getting even worse. China also is acting more like it could become a national security threat.


Millionaires to Congress: ‘Tax Me More!’

As the congressional Super Committee struggles to meet next week’s deadline for a plan to find $1.2 trillion in budget savings over the course of the next decade, some millionaires are targeting Capitol Hill with an unlikely message: Tax us more.

Earlier this week, we reported that Republican members of the committee proposed permanently extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, a move that AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka dubbed “Robin Hood in reverse.”

At an ad hoc hearing on job creation, sponsored by the Congressional Progressive Caucus today, members of the group Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength testified to advocate for a more progressive tax structure that would ultimately tax them more. The alternative to continuing to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy will likely mean cuts in programs vital to the well-being of working people, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.


Hoeganaes Corp. Didn’t Act Before Deadly Fires

GALLATIN, TN – A federal investigation into flash fires that killed five people this year at a Gallatin metal powders plant found that multiple reports of earlier small fires did not spur the Hoeganaes Corp. to try to mitigate the hazard.

It also found workers were given no training to help them understand the dangers they faced.

And it found the Gallatin Fire Department did not recognize the iron dust accumulated on surfaces around the plant as a fire hazard when it inspected two weeks before a May accident that killed three.


Why Do Cigarette Boxes Have More Free Speech Rights Than Protesters?

New York City’s Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park were chanting, “Whose park? Our park,” as they were being evicted.

But according to the New York City judge who signed an order hours after the police raid saying the encampment had to go, the legal question came down to the question of whose speech rights were being taken away.
It was not the OWS protesters, but the speech rights of the owners of a “privately owned public space,” New York Supreme Court Judge Michael Sullivan ruled.
In other words, from Judge Michael Sullivan’s perspective, the whole point and value of the OWS message was beside the point – and utterly irrelevant under the U.S. Constitution.
The park itself was no different than the side of a cigarette box, which, ironically, also apparently has new First Amendment protections.


Crash Tax: Wall Street Should Pay Reparations to the 99%

Wall Street waged war on the American economy and middle class with its reckless gambling.

It wasn’t Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac that crashed the economy. It wasn’t the federal government. It wasn’t hapless homeowners who were sold mortgages they couldn’t afford. It was Wall Street financiers that aggressively sought and bought mortgages to package and sell as derivatives, which the banks could wager on.

So it’s time for Wall Street to pay reparations. It’s time for a crash tax, a tiny sales tax on Wall Street transactions, the revenues from which would pay for Main Street restoration. It’s time for the 1 percent to repay the 99 percent, for Wall Street to share in the sacrifices necessitated by its rogue behavior.

The levy, sometimes called a Tobin Tax after the American economist and Nobel Laureate James Tobin, who endorsed it in the 1970s, is far from shocking or novel. A financial transaction tax is advocated by a huge range of groups and individuals, from billionaires to conservative heads of state. Thirty nations, including Great Britain and Switzerland, already tax some financial transactions. The United States imposed a similar tax from 1914 to 1966. In addition to raising revenue in a time of government deficits worldwide, the tax would suppress the very kind of risky speculation that got the global economy into this mess.


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