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Series | Student Debt Slavery: Bankrolling Financiers on the Backs of the Young, Part 1

Students graduating at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 2011. (Butch Dill / AP)

The exponential rise in college costs occurred only after the government got into the student loan business in a big way.

Ellen Brown, Truthdig

Dec 26, 2017 | The advantages of slavery by debt over “chattel” slavery—ownership of humans as a property right—were set out in an infamous document called the Hazard Circular, reportedly circulated by British banking interests among their American banking counterparts during the American Civil War. It read in part:

"Slavery is likely to be abolished by the war power and chattel slavery destroyed. This, I and my European friends are glad of, for slavery is but the owning of labor and carries with it the care of the laborers, while the European plan, led by England, is that capital shall control labor by controlling wages." Brown is an attorney, chairman of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including "Web of Debt" and "The Public Bank Solution."

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Tallying the Damage of Trump's Presidency in 2017


Donald Trump on Inauguration Day. Patrick Semansky/AP

Though the tax bill was the only piece of major legislation Trump was able to get passed this year, the 45th president got plenty done.

Tessa Stuart, Rolling Stone

December 27, 2017 | Last week, after the mad dash to pass the GOP tax bill and last-minute scramble to fund the government, President Trump finally had a moment to pause and reflect on his first year in office. And, as he does when he has a thought, he tweeted about it: "So many things accomplished by the Trump Administration, perhaps more than any other President in first year. Sadly, will never be reported correctly by the Fake News Media!"

The thing is: he's not entirely wrong. It's true the tax bill was the first and only piece of major legislation he was able to get passed this year – an almost unimaginable reality, considering his party has control of both chambers of Congress – but even without many actual bills to his name Trump has gotten quite a bit done this year. Starting with his very first act in office.

Tessa Stuart is a contributor to Rolling Stone.

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Let's Think Big: The Tax Reform We Need

  • Here's how we could raise more money from those who have the most and invest it social insurance, public investments, and safety nets that would make the vast majority of Americans richer.
  • Related: Series | The Facts on Tax Reform, Parts 1-3 Democracy Editor's Note: In the wake of the Republicans’ passage of their tax plan in both houses of Congress, we decided to ask a number of progressive policy experts and thinkers a simple question: When the day comes that the Democrats have control of the White House and Congress, what kind of major tax reform should they pass and why?

We started this project in early December and will post a series of such pieces in the coming weeks. Click here to read the rest of the essays from our series on “The Tax Reform of Our Dreams.” Today, Thea Lee, the incoming president of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), and Hunter Blair, EPI’s budget analyst, weigh in.

Thea Lee and Hunter Blair, Democracy / Portside 

December 15, 2017 | Progressive tax reform needs to raise enough revenue to honor our current commitments to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other social insurance programs, as well as to finance expanded public investments and income supports that ensure opportunityfor all. Rising inequality and the threat of “secular stagnation” make a solid foundation for the case that this revenue should be raised progressively, as taxing wealthy households with large savings does not drag heavily on growth of aggregate demand. Net tax cuts for high-income households and corporations won’t help our demand problem.

A number of specific progressive measures are available that can raise revenue, many of them included in recent years’ editions of the budget proposalsforwarded by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), with some technical assistance from the Economic Policy Institute. They can largely be grouped into four (often overlapping) buckets: broadening the tax base, enacting more and higher top marginal rates, taxing capital and wealth, and taxing economic “bads.”

Thea Lee is the incoming president of the Economic Policy InstituteHunter Blair is the Economic Policy Institute’s budget analyst.

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