New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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The Heavy-Handed House Spending Bill

In the early hours of Feb. 19, the House passed a continuing resolution (CR) that is intended to keep government running for the remainder of the fiscal year. The bill contains not only drastic spending cuts, but would also implement a series of funding restrictions that would block the federal government from carrying out certain policies. While President Obama has said he will veto the legislation if it reaches his desk, it sets an unconstructive tone for Congress with provisions that would adversely impact people in need, undermine job growth, and seriously impair the ability of government to protect the public.

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Environmental and Public Health Safeguards Under Siege in House Spending Bill

The House-passed fiscal year 2011 spending bill would stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from limiting greenhouse gases from certain sources, halt standards for air and water pollution, and set other conditions on the agency that will complicate its efforts to protect the environment and public health. Other health and safety agencies are also targeted in the bill.

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A Government Shut Down, One Way or the Other

The 2011 budget has turned into a game of hot potato. With a short-term extension of the current budget increasingly unlikely, it appears as though those holding the decisionmaking authority on March 4 at 11:59 pm, when the current continuing resolution expires, will be forced to make an unpopular decision: passing draconian Republican cuts or forcing the government to shut down.

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Handicapping the Future

As part of his scheme to cater to business interests, President Obama yesterday appointed Intel CEO Paul Otellini to the President's Council on Jobs and Competiveness. The appointment of a corporate leader to such an advisory panel isn't particularly surprising, given that Obama has been bending over backward to make sure the opinions of Big BusinessTM are heard in the White House (you know, because they're soooo underrepresented). What is surprising is that Otellini has a blind spot for honest appraisals of economic policy.

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House Republicans Take Chainsaw to the Budget

While much of the national attention recently has been on President Obama’s fiscal year 2012 budget proposal, the House of Representatives is still looking backward to FY 2011. Last Friday, House Republicans unveiled a new and improved budget plan, one containing $60.9 billion in cuts from the FY 2010 budget ($65.5 billion cut from non-security discretionary, $4.7 billion increase for security spending). The new plan is an update to one released just days earlier, one which the party’s conservative faction rejected. These conservatives pushed for a full $100 billion worth of cuts from Obama’s FY 2011 budget (which as I said last week was a terrible baseline), and in a matter of days, the conservatives got them. And the new budget is full of bad news.  

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Is our Country Broke?

Why do I thirst for an Orange Julius when I look at this picture?

At a news conference yesterday morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), shrugged off criticism that his party's proposed spending cuts would cost thousands of federal workers their jobs, saying, "In the last two years, under President Obama, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs. If some of those jobs are lost, so be it. We're broke." Boehner has rightly been criticized for the first and second parts of his comments, but what about the last part?

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GOP Not Cutting Defense Spending ... but It Should Be

How about cutting that second engine, Boehner?

Over the weekend, House Republicans began a coordinated campaign to defend the caucus' "$100 billion" worth of proposed cuts to the fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget. Since the proposal's release, Republicans have been taking flak for targeting non-security discretionary programs, which only make up about one-sixth of federal spending. When asked about this on the various Sunday talk shows, Republican leaders demurred, claiming defense spending is also on the chopping block. They're not telling the truth.

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House Budget Fail?

It's been an action packed week in Congress as the House tries to put together a $1.06 trillion spending bill to fund the operations of the federal government for the remaining seven months of the 2011 fiscal year. A divided Republican House caucus may be on their way to a huge tactical blunder that could result in a government shutdown or the failure of staying true to their pledge to massively cut federal spending.

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Why Baselines Matter

If you were diligently reading the news yesterday about the new House budget proposal, you might have been a little confused. It seemed like news outlets couldn’t agree on how much the House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan for the FY 2011 budget actually cut:

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House GOP Learns Cutting Spending is Hard

Remember back in September of last year, when the House Republicans released the “Pledge to America,” stating their agenda should they win the House in coming election? If not, here was one line which stuck out to us: “we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone....” Now that they are in control of the House, Republicans are quickly working to make good on that promise. Today, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released their new spending plan for fiscal year 2011, which contains cuts of... $35 billion. Looks like it isn’t quite as easy to cut spending as the new House majority thought.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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