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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House Budget Plans Do Not Reflect Americans' Views on Public Investments

Sequestration's automatic cuts to federal spending are beginning to sting in communities across the country, and two of the four major congressional budget plans put forth this year are at odds with public opinion on specific areas of public investments, according to a Center for Effective Government analysis. As the Pew Research Center found in a pre-sequestration poll in February, most Americans say they support maintaining or increasing funding for specific federal programs, including education, Social Security, and Medicare.

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Americans' Views on Spending Versus Federal Budget Plans

President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request is at odds with the majority of Americans’ views on Social Security, according to recent Pew Research Center polling of some 1,500 Americans. Obama has proposed to modify how regular Social Security benefit increases are calculated by switching to a "chained" Consumer Price Index (CPI) to determine the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), which would lead to benefit cuts for Social Security recipients over time. Social Security is extremely popular with 87 percent of Americans who support maintaining or increasing spending in this area.

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Battle Lines Await an (Unlikely) Budgetary "Grand Bargain"

With Congress and the Obama administration still divided over tax revenues, the possibility of a "grand bargain" on another major deficit reduction package seems increasingly small.

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Environmental Protections Threatened by Sequestration and Funding Cuts

Federal agencies have started feeling the impact of the across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration, that went into effect March 1. Plans to furlough employees and cut programs are underway at many of the agencies charged with issuing and enforcing public health and safety standards. For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these additional funding cuts will further drain already decreasing resources and impair the agency's ability to protect our air, water, and health.

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Undoing Sequestration

Across-the-board federal spending cuts, called "sequestration," have begun. What can be done to undo this damaging budget policy? One of the primary barriers to fixing sequestration is that it is playing out much like the metaphor of a boiling frog. According to the metaphor, if a frog is placed in a pan of boiling water, it will quickly jump out. But if it is placed in a pan of water that is room temperature, and then only slowly heated to a boil, the frog will not notice the danger and will be slowly cooked to death.

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Sequestration Standoff

As March 1 approaches, across-the-board federal spending cuts, called sequestration, appear almost certain to occur. Republicans and Democrats are not negotiating to resolve the looming crisis. Neither seems sufficiently motivated to compromise.

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New Bowles-Simpson Deficit Plan Emphasizes Spending Cuts

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairs of a presidentially appointed bipartisan commission that failed to reach agreement on a deficit reduction plan in 2010, released a new plan on Feb. 19 to reduce the federal deficit by an additional $2.4 trillion over the next ten years.  Most of the proposed new deficit reduction is achieved through spending cuts.

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Democrats Release Plans to Prevent Sequestration

On Feb. 14, congressional Democrats unveiled legislation that would cancel across-the-board spending cuts, called sequestration, which are currently scheduled to begin on March 1. The two bills include $120 billion in alternative spending cuts and revenue increases to offset the cost of canceling sequestration.

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The Wall Street Sales Tax

As policymakers in Washington, DC continue to debate our nation's budget priorities, some of the options currently being considered are cuts in Social Security benefits, education and health programs, important investments in transportation infrastructure and health research, and anti-poverty programs, among many others.

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CBO Report Reveals Economic Damage Done by Deficit Reduction

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), released Feb. 5, reveals that the federal budget deficit is now on track to drop below $1 trillion for the first time in several years. It is expected to drop further for several more years without any additional efforts at deficit reduction. However, this drop has been bought at a significant cost, including substantially reduced economic growth and higher unemployment.

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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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