Tag Archives: GOP

Steve Bannon says Trump-Russia ties are ‘about money-laundering’ — but GOP won’t let Dems investigate

Congressional Republicans in charge of leading Capitol Hill’s investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election are continuing to stymie efforts by Democrats to investigate alleged collusion, according to a new report in Politico.

Despite ousted Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon alleging money laundering in the blockbuster new book Fire and Fury, Republicans won’t allow Democrats to follow the money.

Republican congressional leaders have refused to compel public testimony from Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner. In addition to blocking public testimony, three Democratic lawmakers told Politico that Republicans “also have rejected closed-door interview sessions with several dozen witnesses.”

Most shocking may be Republican efforts to block the investigation of financial documents, which could potentially show a quid pro quo arrangement.

“Those Democrats, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell of California, also said Republicans have blocked their requests for financial documents from key players like Trump Jr., Kushner, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump himself,” Politico reported.

Committee Democrats are also seeking records from Deutsche Bank.

“At the end of the day, we will have done the country a disservice if we conclude the investigation without doing a thorough job, and if we are willing to make an incomplete report to the American people, or worse, one that’s inaccurate, and later have to explain when information comes to the surface why we didn’t care enough to pursue it,” said Schiff, a former federal prosecutor.

“We need the committee to use the compulsory process, but the majority thus far has been unwilling to do so in most cases,” explained Swalwell, a former state prosecutor. “And that leaves some very important questions unanswered.”

“The fact that we have not had any kind of public visibility on ‘follow-the-money issues’ is a very significant deficiency of the inquiry,” Wyden said. “I think Jared Kushner ought to be back answering questions in public. I think Donald Trump Jr. should be back answering questions in public, and we would obviously coordinate with Mueller on that.”

By BOB BRIGHAM/RawStory

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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The GOP Tax Bill Rammed Through Congress on Tuesday Paves the Way to Defund and Dismantle Federal Government Financial experts call it unworkable—and that’s what many Republicans want.

As the GOP tax bill raced through both chambers of Congress Tuesday, hurtling like a runaway train toward President Trump’s desk, Americans should see this GOP effort for what it is in the sweep of history—the Republican dismantling of federal government.

The tax bill’s specifics, with almost all of the benefits going to the very rich, confirm that the GOP’s lock on federal power is as bad as many predicted before the 2016 election. But the tax bill is also Republicans’ opening move to defund government—apart from national security, the military, infrastructure, and corporate welfare.

“The United States Senate should be doing more than providing 83 percent of the benefits in a tax bill to the top 1 percent,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, said during the Senate debate Tuesday. “We cannot go home unless we address the very serious crises facing the working families and the middle class of this country.”

Sanders cited a long list of ignored crises—including some intentionally created by President Trump and the red-run Congress—that show the GOP is bent on destroying social safety nets. That unfinished business includes legalizing 800,000 Dreamers, or young people raised here who are the sons and daughters of non-citizens; funding community health centers that serve 27 million people; funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program serving 9 million children; real disaster relief for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands; fixing a multi-employer pension fund that has 1.5 million retirees at risk of losing 60 percent of their anticipated income; reforming student loan debt for 40 million people; addressing a nationwide opioid epidemic; filling 30,000 vacancies in the Veterans Administration; and funding the Social Security Administration (in 2016, 10,000 people with disabilities died while awaiting review of their benefit applications).

“And on and on it goes,” Sanders said, without citing specifics from the tax bill, such as how its cost, triggering past legislation controlling spending, will cut Medicare’s budget by 4 percent. (Congress still has to pass a 2018 federal budget, which envisions cuts to social welfare programs, science and the environment.)

The thread that ties together this willful neglect is simple. Republicans want to devolve government back to the local level. That’s been the political right’s rallying cry ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt created Social Security in the 1930s and Lyndon B. Johnson created the Great Society’s health safety nets in the 1960s.

The tax bill gives the GOP a way to do this. Most everybody knows the bill’s fiscal benefits accrue to the already rich. But the tax bill has also been called unworkable by academics specializing in tax law.

On Tuesday, before the House passed it, business reporters noted the bill was moving so fast that the IRS would not be able to implement it when it goes into effect. For example, employers won’t know how much to withhold from January payrolls. That “puts the onus on workers to make adjustments later in the year if too much or too little of their money is being withheld,” Patricia Cohen wrote in the New York Times.

The New Yorker’s John Cassady noted the bill is likely to bring in less revenue than projected, because it will launch an avalanche of new loopholes to exploit.

“What isn’t yet fully appreciated is how porous and potentially unstable the rest of the tax code will be after the bill is passed,” he wrote. “With a corporate rate of just 20 percent, and a big new break for proprietors of unincorporated businesses and certain types of partnerships, the new code will contain enormous incentives for tax-driven restructurings, creative accounting, and outright fraud. Every tax adviser and scammer in the country will be looking for ways to reclassify regular salary income.”

Cassady noted these contortions are destined to undercut federal revenues, which many Republicans welcome as an avenue to shrinking the federal government.

“The shortfall in tax revenues could be enormous. Perhaps that is what Republicans want to happen,” Cassady said. “Undoubtedly, there are some in the Party who would like to see the tax base decimated, the I.R.S. crippled, and the federal government forced to slash spending on domestic programs, particularly entitlement programs. But, for anybody who believes in a properly functioning government, a rational, clearly defined tax system is essential. The Republican reform doesn’t meet that standard.”

But today’s Republican leadership doesn’t want a functioning government outside the security state, military and infrastructure that buoys corporate America.

It’s hard to know what they are thinking as one looks ahead to the 2018 elections. If the GOP doesn’t want to talk about character—which seems to be the ascendant issue, as seen by Roy Moore’s loss in Alabama and the widespread backlash against male predatory sexual behavior, driven by suburban women who are voting in droves this year—then all the Republicans can point to is their tax bill. While the GOP’s opponents will emphasize intentionally widening inequality, don’t be surprised if Republicans recast their only major legislative achievement in 2017 as a victory against the phantom enemy they love to hate: big government.

Unfortunately, as Sanders pointed out on the Senate floor Tuesday, millions of Americans are getting hurt and are going to be hurt by this needless legislation and similar moves that are sure to follow.

By Steven Rosenfeld/AlterNet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

The GOP’s Favorite Weapon to Hijack Our Elections Voter suppression doesn’t always work, as Democrats learned in Alabama, but Republicans will be back—and they have some new tricks up their sleeves.

The historic African American turnout that propelled Democrat Doug Jones to victory in Alabama’s Senate special election overcame decades of voter suppression in that state and around the country.

But GOP-authored voter restrictions continue to pile up, and increasingly Republicans are branching beyond such familiar tools as voter ID rules to an even more aggressive suppression tactic: Voter purges that wipe voters from the rolls altogether. Done in the name of combating fraud, such purges have stripped hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, New York, and elsewhere, prompting a rash of lawsuits by voting rights advocates who say eligible voters are being disenfranchised.

In January, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that challenges Ohio’s practice of initiating the voter purge process for voters who have simply failed to show up to vote over a single election cycle. The case, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, hinges on whether Ohio’s law violates the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which bars the removal of a voter from the rolls “by reason of the person’s failure to vote.”

“I am deeply concerned that if the Supreme Court sides with Ohio in this case, we will see states taking a copy-cat approach, and taking steps to gut the NVRA and gut the voter rolls across the country,” says Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. In October, a lawsuit initiated by the Lawyers’ Committee forced the New York City Board of Elections to admit that it had broken state and federal laws by removing more than 200,000 voters from the city rolls before last year’s presidential primary.

Voter purges are nothing new, but the practice is drawing fresh notice for several reasons. The Ohio case asks the Supreme Court for the first time to closely scrutinize the voter removal language in the NVRA, which election lawyers say is not crystal clear. Kicking voters off the rolls in the name of combating fraud is also emerging as a key Trump Administration priority.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the de facto head of the president’s election “integrity” commission, sought to require proof of citizenship for voter registration in his home state, and may be trying to replicate that effort across the nation. The commission has demanded exhaustive voter data from the states, triggering several lawsuits, and possibly signaling a national effort to match state lists with federal databases.

On the same day as the commission’s June data request, the Justice Department demanded details from 44 states on how they are complying with the NVRA, prompting speculation that the administration plans to fish for an opening to sue states with messy voter rolls. The Justice Department has also reversed course in the Ohio case before the Supreme Court. Under President Obama, Justice sided with civil rights advocates challenging the Ohio law. Trump’s Justice Department is now backing Ohio, arguing that the state’s voter law is needed to keep the rolls accurate and promote the integrity of elections.

This reversal is highly unusual, says Justin Levitt, a  Loyola Law School professor who served in the department’s Civil Rights Division, which at the time opposed the Ohio law. The NVRA permits states to initiate removing voters from the rolls if election officials have evidence that the voter has moved, says Levitt. But the Ohio law allows the state to initiate action on the basis of non-voting alone, raising the “significant concern,” he argues, “that states will be free to toss people off the rolls without any evidence that they have become ineligible.”

The nation’s voter lists are notoriously error-riddled, and Levitt acknowledges that maintaining accurate rolls is in everyone’s interests. But cleanup efforts must be careful and precise, says Levitt, who likened the process to surgery. The multi-state “Crosscheck” program championed by Kobach, for example, matches up state voter lists without adequate controls, and misidentifies large numbers of voters as registered in more than one state. A more reputable data sharing project known as the Electronic Registration Information Center allows states to check their records against numerous government databases, resulting in fewer errors.

“It’s the difference between surgery in an operating room with a best-of-class surgeon, and surgery by your neighbor with a chain saw,” says Levitt of the difference between ERIC and Crosscheck. Indiana, one of 30 states to participate in Crosscheck, enacted a law that clears election officials to remove from the rolls anyone flagged by Crosscheck as registered in more than one state, prompting Common Cause Indiana and the ACLU to sue.

Civil rights advocates have also pushed back hard against an intimidation campaign by the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a conservative group headed by anti-fraud activist J. Christian Adams, who serves on the Kobach commission. His group has sent threatening letters to state election officials, demanding the right to inspect voter rolls that it claims are inaccurate. A coalition of civil rights groups last month set out to counter what it called “an alarming voter purge campaign,” urging election officials to reject the group’s efforts and offering guidance.

This month, Adams told members of American Legislative Exchange Council, which has helped states write voter restriction laws: “Voter ID is an important thing, but it’s yesterday’s fight.” The bigger threat today, Adams told ALEC conferees, is “aliens who are getting on the rolls and aliens who are voting.” Registration, required in every state except North Dakota, is “the gateway” to voting, notes Levitt. Republicans appear bent on closing that gate.

By Eliza Newlin Carney/Alternet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Doug Jones Would Have Won by Tens of Thousands More Votes If Participation Hadn’t Been Blocked and Undermined An extraordinary Twitter thread explains how GOP Secretary of State John Merrill deprived many of their right to vote.

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones was elected to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday by a mere 21,000 votes. That margin would have been much larger if Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, a strident partisan Republican, would have taken steps to inform his state’s voters than thousands of ex-felons were eligible to vote under a 2017 state law. But Merrill didn’t do that, as an extraordinary Twitter thread by Danielle Lang explains. Lang is an attorney with the Campaign Legal Center, a bipartisan-led Washington-based voting rights law firm that has fought for expanded rights for years, especially across southern states. Her remarkable thread is below.
Steven Rosenfeld

1. Folks, a few thoughts on the extraordinary turnout among black voters in last night’s #ALSEN special election and about how much greater it could have been.

2. Here are the numbers on the photo ID law:118,000 registered Alabama voters do not have a photo ID they can use to vote; Black and Latino voters are about twice as likely as white voters to not have ID. Last night’s #ALSEN election was decided by under 21,000 votes.

3. While in AL in November, I personally ran into several voters w/o ID who thought there was no point in registering for that reason.

4. And just as the #Alabama legislature put this new ID hurdle in place, it closed down DMVs in the black belt.

5. But not to worry, AL SOS Merrill thinks only voters who try harder should be able to vote: “As long as I’m secretary of state of Alabama, you’re going to have to show some initiative to become a registered voter in this state.” Cool. (But I didn’t even come here to talk about the voter ID law. I’m not the expert on that case but @RossDeuel and my friends at @NAACP_LDF are.)

6. I’m here to talk about Alabama’s outrageous locking out of people with convictions (disproportionately people of color) from the electoral franchise.

7. Hundreds of thousands of people in Alabama either couldn’t vote yesterday in the #ALSEN election or thought they couldn’t vote bc of AL SOS’s failure to communicate the law.

8. Here’s a long but important timeline. In 1901, #alabama created a criminal disenfranchisement law designed to disenfranchise blacks. They said as much right in the record.

9. They chose to disenfranchise ppl with crimes “involving moral turpitude” b/c that standard was mushy enough to let their friends vote while disenfranchising blacks for violations of the “black code” crimes they made up.

10. In 1985, the Supreme Court struck down the moral turpitude phrase as racially discriminatory because duh. But in 1996, the #AL legislature put the “moral turpitude” standard BACK INTO THE LAW.

11. From 1996 to 2017, there was absolutely NO standard for what convictions were disqualifying. There was no set list of crimes that “involved moral turpitude” and individual registrars county to county decided who got to vote. Many treated ALL felonies as disqualifying.

12. Remember how the standard was chosen in the first place because it could be applied to hurt minorities? (And by the way, Alabama is one of only 12 states that still permanently disenfranchises anyone after their convictions are complete and their time is served.)

13. Americans of all political stripes overwhelmingly support letting people vote after they have completed their sentences (although apparently #RoyMoore does not).

14. Since disenfranchisement based on registrars’ whims is not constitutional, we sued in September 2016: Thompson v. Alabama

15. In May 2017, Alabama passed a law finally defining what convictions take away your right to vote. And while it’s a long list, it excludes some important ones like most nonviolent drug crimes. #progress !

16. But then, for reasons I still can’t attribute to anything but indifference to certain voters, the AL SOS refused to take basic steps to inform voters with past convictions of their rights.

17. The current Alabama voter registration form requires people to sign under penalty of perjury that they have not been convicted of a “disqualifying felony” and then NOWHERE describes what felonies are disqualifying.

18. There are likely thousands of voters that were previously told by their registrars that they could not vote b/c of their conviction but under the 2017 law clearly are eligible. The SOS refused to notify these people of their rights.

20. We took them to court and continue to fight that issue but the court did not order them to act for these elections. So we and SO MANY others — Pastor Glasgow @anvoo2 @ACLUAlabama @LSAlabama — did Secretary Merrill’s job for him the best we could. We’ve been helping train community leaders on the law so they can register eligible people with past convictions to vote.

21. We created a toolkit for folks to use to navigate the law. Here is one voter that voted for the first time yesterday in the #ALSEN election. He had been blocked for decades from voting because of convictions in his youth.

22. B/c of the hard work of so many advocates, a lot of new voters were able to cast ballots yesterday in the #ALSen election. But this was in spite of Secretary Merrill’s failure to clear up the confusion his office created after decades of arbitrary disenfranchisement.

23. Just think of how many more voters he could have reached if he’d used his office to make sure every voter understood her rights. We have a list of over 75k voters that were previously denied the right to vote bc of past convictions. the myth that these individuals arent interested in voting is just false.

24. I’ll close by saying that the 2017 law, despite the confusion, was progress but it did not fix the problems in Alabama. Alabama is still one of only a handful of states that permanently disenfranchise people for past convictions. The list of “disqualifying” crimes is still long and includes many low level theft crimes that sweep tens or hundreds of thousands of individuals into its net.

25. Again, this law likely continues to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Alabama citizens. Yesterday’s election was decided by less than 21k votes.

By Steven Rosenfeld/AlterNet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Defiant Bannon vows to ‘pour gasoline’ on his war with the GOP establishment: report

A new report suggests that Breitbart boss Steve Bannon is unbowed by the humiliating defeat of his chosen candidate, Roy Moore, in the Alabama Senate race.

A “source close to Bannon” tells Bloomberg TV reporter Kevin Cirilli that the former Trump political strategist is as determined as ever to wage war against the Republican establishment, which includes plans to run multiple insurgent primary challengers against GOP incumbents in 2018.

“This doesn’t stop Steve’s war against the establishment, all it does is pour gasoline on top of it,” the source tells Cirilli.
Kevin Cirilli

@kevcirilli
Source close to Bannon re: #AlSen: “This doesn’t stop Steve’s war against the establishment, all it does is pour gasoline on top of it.”
7:43 AM – Dec 13, 2017
241 241 Replies 164 164 Retweets 327 327 likes

The right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial page on Wednesday called out Bannon for his decision to back Moore’s campaign, and warned Republican donors and voters against supporting Bannon-backed insurgent candidates in the future.

“The Alabama result shows that Mr. Bannon cares less about conservative policy victories than he does personal king-making,” the editors wrote. “He wants to depose Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader even if it costs Republicans Senate control. GOP voters, take note: Mr. Bannon is for losers.”

Trump and GOP Tax Cut Is Handing Corporations Like Ford a Giant Incentive to Move Offshore Giant corporations got what they wanted out of Republicans on taxes, now they’re lobbying the Trump administration hard to retain their NAFTA privileges.

Ford hit Michigan and its auto workers with some crappy holiday news. Instead of building a $700 million electric vehicle factory in Michigan as promised in January, Ford will construct the plant in Mexico.

Ford reneged on its promise to Michigan workers just days after the Senate passed a tax plan intended to end levies on corporate profits made at factories offshore – in places like Mexico. News of the letdown also arrived just days before new negotiations on a revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are to begin in Washington, D.C.

Ford and other giant corporations got what they wanted out of Republicans on taxes, dramatically lower levies on domestic profits and total elimination on foreign profits. That makes Mexico an even more attractive manufacturing site for them than NAFTA did. So now they’re lobbying the Trump administration hard to retain the privileges that NAFTA bestowed on them. If they win that argument, they’ll have secured double incentives to offshore.

Trump administration officials don’t sound like they’re buying the corporate line, however. And they shouldn’t. NAFTA has cost Americans nearly a million jobs as thousands of factories migrated to Mexico. As he campaigned, President Trump promised untold numbers of factory workers and their families across the nation’s industrial belt that he would fix or end NAFTA to keep jobs and industry in America. He needs to keep that promise.

That means elimination of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) scam that allows corporations to sue governments in secret courts presided over by corporate lawyers when legislatures pass laws corporations don’t like. That means standing strong on the Trump administration demands that the new pact expire in five years if it’s not working and that a substantial portion of automobiles – including Fords – be made in the USA to attain duty-free status. It means strong protection for workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain. It means substantially raising the Mexican minimum wage, which now stands at $4.70. That’s for a day, not an hour.

What it really means is prioritizing the needs of workers over the demands of corporations, something that was not done the first time around by NAFTA negotiators. As it stands now, NAFTA places all of the jeopardy on the shoulders of workers and communities while substantially eliminating normal business risks for corporations.

The jeopardy NAFTA created for workers is that its corporate-friendly provisions prompt employers to close American factories that sustain both workers and communities and move them to Mexico. This exodus of American manufacturing to Mexico has continued apace this year, even as the Trump administration began renegotiating NAFTA, probably because corporations assume they’ll get everything they want in the end. They have, after all, always done so in the past because they are, after all, massive political campaign donors and lobby firm patrons, while hourly workers are not.

Bloomberg reported in October, for example, that firms whose function it is to help corporations move factories from the United States to Mexico had a boom year in 2017, with one reporting it had done more offshoring this year than in any during the previous three decades.

Mexico is alluring because of its dirt-cheap wage rates, the paucity of environmental enforcement and the ISDS scam that lets corporations sue the government if Mexico would regulate in a way some CEO claims would crimp his profits.

The ISDS along with NAFTA’s unlimited lifespan reduce risk for corporations. Normal business decisions in capitalist systems involve some jeopardy. A chemical company could, for example, invest in developing a new pesticide, but then lose when the government bans the product after determining it kills babies as well as bugs.

NAFTA provides corporations with investment protection because it ensures they’ll get their profits even if a government changes regulations. ISDS enables corporations to sue to recoup money the corporations supposedly would have made if the government hadn’t issued new laws or regulations. The corporate-run court can order a country’s citizens to pay tens of millions to the corporation.

Some say this government-financed investment insurance corrupts capitalism. Among the significant people who have is U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. He said corporations are insisting the government absolve CEOs of political risk. CEOs are using ISDS as a guarantee rather than buying risk insurance or factoring political risk into economic decisions about whether to move.

Lighthizer said businessmen have literally told him the administration cannot change ISDS because corporations wouldn’t have invested in Mexico without it. “I’m thinking,” he said, “‘Well, then, why is it a good policy of the United States government to encourage investment in Mexico?’”

These are the same corporate honchos who object to a five-year sunset clause for a new NAFTA, he said. They want a free eternal warranty on the provisions of a deal they describe as the world’s greatest. Lighthizer’s response is that if the deal is so great, why would the government choose to end it after five years? What are they really worried about?

The worry may be that those CEOs know NAFTA is great for their bottom line but not for the workers who elected Donald Trump President.

They know NAFTA was drafted by CEOs for CEOs. Its priorities were determined by corporate bigwigs behind doors closed to the public. Corporations designed it at the expense of workers and ordinary citizens, Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize winning economist, said in an op-ed in the Guardian newspaper this week.

It often seems, he wrote, “that workers, who have seen their wages fall and jobs disappear, are just collateral damage – innocent but unavoidable victims in the inexorable march of economic progress. But there is another interpretation of what has happened: one of the objectives of globalization was to weaken workers’ bargaining power. What corporations wanted was cheaper labor, however they could get it.”

U.S. corporations like Ford got it by writing a trade deal that gave them market-distorting profit protections, then abandoning their dedicated American workers and moving to Mexico where they could pay $4.70 a day and pollute unfettered.

President Trump has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA if his negotiators can’t get new reasonable terms that protect American manufacturing and American workers.

That is right. It’s appropriate that corporations like Ford sustain the actual risk of offshoring rather than workers bearing it all.

By Leo Gerard / AlterNe

Posted by The NON-Confomist

Veterans Day Passes and Not a Peep From GOP Congress About Helping Low-Income Vets Raising the minimum wage would help one in five vets; instead, the GOP eyes Medicaid cuts affecting one in 10.

As Veterans Day recedes and Republicans in Congress take up tax reform purportedly to help everyday Americans, it is worth noting that one in five veterans would benefit by raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

While that is not on the table in Congress, the GOP’s bill-writing legislators envision funding their tax cuts by cutting $1 trillion from state-run Medicaid over the next decade. Medicaid is the public health program used by about 10 percent of the nation’s vets, helping those who are poor or don’t live near Veterans Administration facilities. The Republican-led Congress is yet again showing its preference to do little to help poor Americans, including former soldiers who served in the military and are at the low end of the income spectrum for veterans.

“Of the 9 million veterans in payroll jobs across the country, approximately 1.8 million would get a raise if Congress raised the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024, as was proposed earlier this year in the Raise the Wage Act of 2017,” wrote the Economic Policy Institute’s David Cooper and Dan Essrow. “This means that despite their service to the country, the intensive training that they have received, and the access to additional education provided to veterans through the GI Bill, 1 out of every 5 veterans is still being paid so little that they stand to benefit from raising the minimum wage.”

The veterans who would benefit from raising the minimum wage are in their 30s, approaching middle age, EPI’s experts noted.

“The stereotype that only middle-class teens working after school would benefit from raising the minimum wage is false. Yet this stereotype breaks down even more dramatically when considering the veterans who stand to benefit from a higher minimum wage,” they wrote. “Of the veterans who would get a raise, nearly two-thirds are age 40 or older, over 60 percent have some college experience, and nearly 70 percent work full time.”

Other studies of veterans’ post-service work have found women veterans tend to earn less than their male counterparts. The factors that account for these wage disparities include gender, educational attainment, work experience, length of military service, race, marital status, number of offspring, work history and region of the country where they live. Other studies, such as a VetVotes.org report on eroding prevailing wage standards in construction, have found changes in state law “disproportionately hurt veterans.”

These various studies suggest the federal government is not doing all it can to help ex-service members lead fiscally stable lives—even as one-third of veterans end up in government or public service jobs.

“The fact that so many former servicemen and women would benefit from raising the minimum wage is a reminder that labor standards like the minimum wage protect all workers—even those whose courage, training, and sacrifice should guarantee them a good job,” EPI’s experts said. “Unfortunately, Congress has let the federal minimum wage erode to the point where, adjusted for inflation, workers at the federal minimum wage are paid less today than during the Vietnam War. There is no reason why the federal minimum wage could not be significantly higher than it is today; Congress simply needs to act.”

By Steven Rosenfeld / AlterNet

Posted by The NON-Conformist