Budget

The War on Poverty at 50

President Lyndon Johnson

The Right has long cited President Johnson’s War on Poverty as proof that “guv-mint” has no place in providing for “the general Welfare,” that the “free market” must rule as the master of American society. But there are real lessons to be learned from the past half century, writes Alice O’Connor.

Obama’s Not-So-Terrible Year

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, attends a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: Official Washington is giving a big thumb down to President Obama’s performance in 2013. But his diplomatic breakthroughs in the Middle East and even some of his troubles with Obamacare and the NSA could ultimately make the year a historic turning point, says Robert Parry.

Big-Money Politics Gains Ground

Anti-government crusader Grover Norquist.

The Right’s “war on government” – or perhaps put more accurately, its “war for unbridled corporate power” – continues to rack up victories, routing reformers who have tried to block big-money dominance of democracy, writes Michael Winship.

Overcoming Political Immobility

French President Charles de Gaulle in 1961.

The American Republic is facing a crisis of political immobility caused by Tea Party extremism overcoming the traditions of compromise that date back to the Founding. History has troubling lessons for such moments, but there are signs of hope, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

America’s Real-Life ‘Hunger Games’

hunger-games-catching-fire

Congressional Republicans are eager to ladle more subsidies onto agribusinesses while slashing, if not eliminating, food stamps for the poor, a twisted version of America’s own “Hunger Games,” writes Michael Winship.

The Case for a Higher Minimum Wage

Eight girls sewing by hand on material held in their laps, during a sweatshop inspection in Chicago, Illinois. 
(Photo credit: Chicago Historical Society)

The Tea Party claims to represent average Americans but its anti-government zealotry lines up with the interests of big-business elites, such as opposition to an increased minimum wage, a plan that would help millions of average Americans, writes Lawrence S. Wittner.

The Future in a Dazzling Shanghai

The skyline of Shanghai, China. [Photo credit: Carl Lovén on Flickr]

The biggest winner from the U.S. government shutdown and near credit default may be China as it pushes for a “de-Americanized” world economy, a future on display in a dazzling Shanghai, writes Beverly Deepe Keever from Shanghai.

Guns But No Butter

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin

The Right’s war on the poor rages on, driven in part by the belief that racial and ethnic minorities are getting much of the help. Yet, as food stamps are slashed, Congress lavishes money on military projects that are judged wasteful or useless, John LaForge writes.

Taxing the Movement of Money

The symbol of the Internal Revenue Service.

If U.S. budget gridlock had not ground rational thought to a standstill, creative options for revising the tax code might be possible, such as a tax on stock transactions to raise money and discourage micro-second trades. Another option would be a toll tax on money movement, as ex-prosecutor William John Cox suggests.

Blaming the Poor for Poverty

A classic photo of a poor mother and children in Elm Grove, California, during the Great Depression. (Photo credit: Library of Congress)

Unrestrained free markets destroy the middle class, push working people down the economic ladder and concentrate wealth at the top. But promoters of this hyper-capitalism, who dominate the U.S. media debate, simply blame the poor for poverty, as Lawrence Davidson explains.