New York Assemblyman (and Progressive States board member)
Adriano Espaillat has been doing more than his fair share to stake out
a clear progressive agenda on economic issues this year. From passing
legislation to extend union protections to home day care workers to
sponsoring a bill to hold management accountable for actions that force
Morgan Carroll quickly gained a reputation with both legislators and lobbyists when she won election to the Colorado House. Fighting for health care reform left her with a passion for lobbying ethics rules, resulting in her recent aggressive push for new legislation and for an audit of current lobbying records.
When progressives have control of a legislative chamber, the measure
of their leadership is how they improve the lives of the residents of
their states. But when they are in opposition, the measure of
leadership is how they stand up for principle and highlight the abuses
of rightwing power.
A new Congressional report
by minority staff in the House found that the House and the Senate have
voted 57 times in the last five years to preempt state laws and
regulations. These votes, the authors declare, make clear "that there
exists a wide gulf between the pro-states rhetoric...and the actual
What political observer is not interested in changes in Ohio's
political landscape? The state has a tendency to be decisive in
Presidential elections and is gripped by high-profile races for
Governor and Senator this year. So it is very interesting that
conservatives appear to be edging away from a radical Constitutional
spending cap modeled on Colorado's failed TABOR law.
As voters grow increasingly fed up with corruption in public office, a
number of courageous legislators are taking the lead on issues like
voter-owned elections and lobbying reform. In Colorado, the forces of reform just landed a major victory.
The reality for working Americans is that wages have been largely stagnant for
over three decades. For many workers -- especially those without a
college degree -- pay has actually gotten worse, meaning that this
generation is the first one in American history which is not doing
signficantly better than the previous one. Part of the reason for
these stagnant wages is that inflation was allowed to erode the federal
minimum wage-- its inflation-adjusted value dropping from $9.12 per hour in 1968 down to just $5.15 per hour in 2005.
One of the stated defenses of cutbacks in aid to poor families in the
last decade in the US was the idea that welfare spending traps families
in poverty from generation to generation. But new studies, as detailed in this week's Economist magazine (subscription) show that countries with MORE spending on the poor have LESS persistent poverty than in the US.
Paying terrible wages was never likely to be a route to economic
growth, so it's hardly surprising that research continues to show that
Wal-Mart's growth undermines local economies. The most recent study is in the June 2006 issue of Social Science Quarterly (subscription).