Commentary

Like many New Yorkers, Hazel B. of Queens struggled to get by after she was laid off from her job as an accounts receivable administrator. A single mother of two, Hazel relied on credit cards to make ends meet while she looked for work.

Finally, she found a job opening that looked promising. She went on two interviews and took a test given by the potential employer. She believed she had performed well, but then word came back that Hazel would not be hired because of negative information in her credit report.

Krugman speculates that they see this as a morality play wherein the rich are obviously the virtuous heroes (being rich and all) and the plebes are a bunch of lazy, immoral parasites who refuse to carry their weight. I think he's probably right, but I'm going to speculate further that for many of them this is a result of guilt at their own gargantuan selfishness and greed. I can only imagine that it's hard to live with yourself when you're taking more and more of the wealth that humans create while everyone else is falling behind.

In the past few years, there has been a disturbing push in a number of states toward limiting the right to vote and raising barriers to participation in democracy. Not in Connecticut. When it comes to ensuring an inclusive and fair democracy that guarantees every voice is heard, our state has been a real leader and taken important steps forward.

Analyzing the enduring economic effects of youth unemployment, a new report by Demos outlines a serious job crisis, especially those with less education and individuals of color.  Surveying a full year of U.S.

Washington frets endlessly over the problems that Social Security and Medicare, both of which are projected to exhaust their trust funds in the coming decades, might cause the budget. But two new reports underscore the serious problems they might solve for the country.

Take Social Security. For years, pension experts have spoken of the “three-legged stool” of retirement savings: Social Security, employer pensions and private savings. In recent years, however, that stool has begun to wobble, and today, Social Security is basically the only leg holding it up.

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At moments, ”The Lessons of Watergate” conference held a couple of weeks ago in Washington, D.C., by the citizen’s lobby Common Cause, was a little like that two-man roadshow retired baseball players Bill Buckner and Mookie Wilson have been touring. In it, they retell the story of the catastrophic moment during the bottom of the last inning of Game Six of the 1986 World Series, when the Mets’ Wilson hit an easy ground ball toward Buckner of the Red Sox, who haplessly let it roll between his legs. That notorious error ultimately cost Boston the championship.

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It's no secret that state governments need all the revenues they can get. Five years after the financial crisis, states are still struggling to close huge budget gaps, forcing harsh ongoing cuts to education, infrastructure, and social services. This is not a moment for states to be letting billions of dollars in revenue slip through their fingers every year by failing to tax online sales. In fact, exempting Internet purchases from sales taxes has never made sense.

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As was vividly demonstrated in the 2012 election, immigrant communities are increasingly a major political and civic force. A record 10 percent of the electorate in 2012 was Latino, up a percentage point from 2008, and the Asian-American share of the electorate rose to 3 percent, still small but historic. Both groups overwhelmingly voted for President Obama, in even larger proportions than they did in 2008, proving themselves to be potent voting blocs.

You know the old saying, “He who pays the piper calls the tune?” Well, today in New York politics, the already-wealthy and powerful are paying to run state campaigns, and once candidates get into office, these donors get to call the tune. While not all of our elected officials are swayed by the power of big money, the system makes it hard for average New Yorkers to be heard in Albany.

It’s too late for Tonisha Howard, the mother of three in Milwaukee who was fired for leaving work to be with her hospitalized two-year-old. And forFelix Trinidad, who was so afraid of losing his job at Golden Farm fruit store in Brooklyn that he didn’t take time off to go to the doctor—even after he vomited blood.