Commentary

Apparently, everything but racist policing killed Mike Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner on Staten Island.

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Unfortunately for voters, the $3.7 billion spent over the most recent election cycle did not come with a gift receipt. Despite being rung up as the most expensive midterm in US history, nearly two-thirds of Americans sat out the election -- the lowest voter turnout in more than 70 years.

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Recently re-elected Governor Andrew Cuomo likes to complain that he's "a progressive Democrat who's broke." Here's a simple way to raise millions of dollars and make the economy safer at the same time: a small tax on financial transactions. Politically impossible? Not in New York, where Governor Cuomo could lead the way to reinstate New York's Stock Transfer Tax, which remains on the books but currently is not collected.

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Nearly half of the nation's employers investigate job applicants' credit histories as a condition of employment.

As a result, New Yorkers struggling with debt -- medical bills, school loans or car payments -- are often shut out of jobs. This unfair barrier to employment can be dismantled by outlawing employment credit checks.

Democratic Council Members Brad Lander of Brooklyn and Debi Rose of Staten Island have introduced a bill that would ban such checks in hiring except when required by state or federal laws. The measure is supported by 40 council members.

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I spent the days leading up to the grand jury announcement to not indict Darren Wilson trying to write about anything but my feelings. “How do I feel?” was a new and dangerous question.

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It's been over a month since 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers, Jr. was killed by a St. Louis police officer. Details offered of the moments that led up to his death are today still sparse and sometimes conflicting. An investigation is underway, but there are already a few aspects of the incident that should raise questions.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo has claimed that he’s “a progressive Democrat who’s broke.” But in his most recent executive budget, he proposes ending a little-known tax that could make all the difference. For the last century, New York State has had a stock-transfer tax, which taxes nearly every stock trade. Since 1981, it’s been instantly rebated—no money is actually collected—leaving potential revenue on the table even as financial profits skyrocket.

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In the wake of the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after the Aug. 9 shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson, there has been a focus on racial disparities in representation. A recent study found that while people of color make up 37.2 percent of the U.S. population, they account for only 10 percent of elected officials at the federal, state and county levels. By contrast, white men, who make up 31 percent of the population, account for 65 percent of representatives.

With Election Day approaching on November 4th, Americans are faced with a perennial question: to vote or not to vote? In the last midterm election, in 2010, only 47 percent of the eligible population voted. Voting patterns typically break down along clear demographic lines: Non-voters tend to be low-income, young and people of color, while those who vote tend to older, whiter and richer than the population at large.

Last week, AT&T agreed to pay $80 million to customers who had been overbilled for charges they had not authorized. This was an all-too-rare case of a perpetrator brought to book: In recent decades, Americans have increasingly been hit with fees they know nothing about, which have contributed to a crisis of consumer debt. We must hope we are entering a new era of regulatory activism that will shine a light on hidden fees.

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