On the News With Thom Hartmann: Los Angeles Is Considering Taxing Millionaires to Help Homeless People, and More

In today’s On the News segment: Los Angeles is considering taxing millionaires to help homeless people; global unemployment is expected to overtake 200 million people for the first time on record by the end of 2017; a new poll shows that two-thirds of all Americans would struggle to cover a $1,000 crisis; and more.

See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.


Thom Hartman here — on the best of the rest of Economic and Labor News…

You need to know this: A new poll shows that two-thirds of all Americans would struggle to cover a $1,000 crisis. According to this poll by the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, this type of crisis spans all incomes. Three-quarters of people in households making less than $50,000 a year and two-thirds of those making between $50,000 and $100,000 would have trouble coming up with $1,000 to cover an unexpected bill. Even for the country’s wealthiest 20 percent — households making more than $100,000 a year — 38 percent say they would have at least some difficulty coming up with $1,000. William R. Emmons, a senior economic adviser at the Center for Household Financial Stability at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis said, “Many families are still struggling with debt from the housing bubble and borrowing boom. And the recent economic stresses make it much more likely families are going to be fighting basic financial issues.”

The WTO is harming consumers. Here’s how: The Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law was shot down by the WTO because they say COOL is a non-tariff barrier to free trade and it treats Canadian and Mexico’s products “unfair.” Subsequently, due to the WTO ruling, our US cattle producers are forced to pay $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs by Mexico and Canada — unless COOL is repealed. The COOL laws protect Americans by letting them know where the meat was born, raised and slaughtered. If COOL isn’t repealed, not only are our cattle producers facing major fines, but our consumers won’t know where the meat they are buying is coming from! Wow. Do we seriously need a group of secret people telling us what to do or what not to do? In a poll conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center, the results showed the 93 percent of American consumers want to have COOL laws in place. The WTO should not be telling us what to do.

Does the planet need a global Marshall Plan for joblessness? According a recent ILO study, global unemployment is expected to overtake 200 million people for the first time on record by the end of 2017. Mainstream economic theory prefers to call levels of unemployment “natural” and not responsive to policy remedies. They largely ignore the harsh human, environmental and economic costs of unemployment. Research exposes one in five suicides is related to unemployment. The intense negative impact of unemployment on individuals’ mental and physical health is well-established and reported. Not having a job has been found to have deep scarring effects on life satisfaction. Creating a global Marshall Plan for the unemployed would have to address not only by a global safety net, but the global financial institution as well. The task would be YUGE, however, the US could lead the way by re-envisioning the New Deal model for today’s time, the rest of the world will surely follow.

Sen. Franken will oppose the TPP. In the coming months, Al Franken said. “Congress will likely face a vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade deal covering 12 countries and 40 percent of global trade. It’s the largest trade deal the United States has ever negotiated, and would have an enormous effect on workers in every corner of the country. Things like basic protection for workers, strong rules against currency manipulation, and a fair process through which we can hold other governments accountable for unfair trade. I laid out these principles because I know how unfair trade practices can negatively affect many of our industries, including the iron and steel industry that is so crucial to the well-being of the Range. The TPP agreement signed earlier this year falls woefully short of those standards, and I hope others in Congress will join me in voting against this deal.”

L.A. is considering taxing millionaires to help homeless people. The money would help pay for housing and other services for homeless people. Los Angeles county is considering taxing millionaires to help fund efforts to tackle homelessness, according to the L.A. Times. In a board meeting of the L.A. County supervisors on Tuesday, the group voted to pursue state legislation that would impose a tax on personal income over $1 million a year. The money would help pay for housing and other services for homeless people. Looks like Robin Hood has show up in LA. L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said at the board meeting, according to the Patch. “It is a crisis, no one can deny that. It is the most compelling issue confronting us at this time.” A recent poll shows 76 percent of likely voters are strongly supportive of the idea, so it may have a shot at success.

Big Oil could have put a dent in CO2 emissions in the 1970s — but did nothing. According to new documents from the Center for International Environmental Law, the industry chose to prioritize costs over the planet. The new documents show oil companies chose to invest in climate denying instead of on technologies to reduce emissions. Between the 1950s and 1970s, the industry also financed studies into how petroleum products could be used to control the climate. The research included burning oil to clear areas of fog and smog, and constructing massive “artificial heat mountains” out of asphalt to increase rainfall. As early as the 1980s, oil companies were beginning to invest in taller oil rigs that could withstand rising sea levels. Tom Sanzillo, finance director at the Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, told Vice there is a clear potential, perhaps even likelihood, that these documents will result in litigation against oil companies. Sanzillo said. “This looks like it’s pretty serious, and it just seems to get worse.”

And finally, ok folks – Executive Paywatch rankings has some astounding details on our unequal economy:
• The average CEO of an S&P 500 Index company made 819 times a year’s pay for a federal minimum-wage worker.
• CEOs at the 25 S&P companies with the most un-repatriated profits are paid 79 percent more than the other S&P 500 CEOs.
• For every domestic job lost, US multinationals create nearly seven jobs overseas.

If we want to do away with inequality – we are going in the wrong direction.

And that’s the way it is – for the week of May 23, 2016 – on Labor and Economic News….