July 29, 2016 |
The scene downstairs at Del Frisco's steak house was the kind of party that was busting out all across Center City this week. If you know the right people. And where to look. On this Tuesday afternoon, it was the Congressional Black Caucus being feted, with an assist from Philadelphia City Council members. Wine glasses clinked. Smooth jazz flowed from a band playing before a glittery curtain, illuminated in shades of red, white and blue. Servers with trays of hors d'oeuvres struggled to push through.
July 26, 2016
Few conditions are more divisive and frustrating than income inequality. Even as rising profits and productivity have produced higher incomes for more affluent Americans, many middle- and lower-income families are struggling. That disparity resonated with voters in the primaries and caucuses leading up to this week's Democratic National Convention. Executive pay is 276 times the average worker's pay. Meanwhile, average wages have steadily lost buying power since 1979 because they have not kept pace with the cost of living.
July 26, 2016 |
Amid all the talk of inequality and economic insecurity, the discussion on the left has been strangely divided. One side says: Raise wages so millions of hard-working Americans can pay their bills. From the other camp: Build savings, especially for retirement, so seniors don't go broke or depend almost entirely on Social Security. The connection between wages and income vs. wealth-building and retirement security is obvious. You need decent wages for even a small nest egg, and wages must not only meet present needs but be enough to allow for savings.
June 7, 2015 |
A Protestant bishop from Philadelphia will join clergy from around the country next week in a visit to the Vatican to meet with advisers to Pope Francis to discuss how the pope's message of inclusion applies to race relations in the United States. Bishop Dwayne Royster, head of Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER), said the group wants to convey to the Vatican how low wages, criminalization, immigration, detention, and police brutality have hurt families in the U.S. "One of the things we're trying to say to the pope very clearly, and convey to his advisers, is, in the U.S., when you talk about any justice issue, race is at the center of it," Royster said.
May 23, 2014 |
AFEDERAL JUDGE has ruled that 26 Occupy Philadelphia protesters who were rounded up near City Hall on the final night of their 2011 encampment can move forward with a lawsuit alleging that cops falsely arrested them and violated their civil rights. But U.S. District Judge Berle Schiller tossed out part of the suit, including a charge that police used excessive force during their arrests that ended the lengthy protest on Nov. 30, 2011. City officials had ordered the demonstrators, part of the nationwide Occupy movement protesting income inequality and other issues, out of Dilworth Plaza so that the current $50 million renovation project could begin.
January 29, 2014
FIFTY years ago, Lyndon Johnson used his first State of the Union address to declare a war on poverty. At that time, 19 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line. Thanks to the programs created during Johnson's war - including Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps and Head Start, among others - poverty was cut by one quarter over three years. Today, at 16 percent, the poverty rate is just three percentage points below 1964's high-water mark; the United States now has 11 million more people living in poverty than it did 50 years ago. Tonight, during his State of the Union address, President Obama is expected to deliver what many might consider a system upgrade - version 2.0 of the war on poverty.
January 23, 2014 |
A week before President Obama is to deliver his State of the Union address, Sen. Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania is joining a growing chorus of Democratic legislators calling on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. In a wide-ranging conference call with reporters Tuesday that focused on income inequality, Casey reiterated his support for the Fair Minimum Wage Act, a bill introduced last year that he cosponsored. Supported by Obama and other Democrats, the bill would raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current $7.25.
September 13, 2013 |
IT TURNS out that the much-ballyhooed economic recovery of 2012 sailed right by the middle class in a golden-hulled mega-yacht, leaving most of us to fight off drowning from its massive, champagne-frothed wake. A new report from top researchers found that last year was the worst 12 months for U.S. income inequality since 1928 - the year before the Wall Street crash that kicked off the Great Depression. The millionaires and billionaires of the "1 Percent" saw their earnings spike by roughly 20 percent in 2012, the researchers found, while the other 99 percent of Americans brought home a paltry 1 percent pay hike, on average.
January 25, 2013
I LISTEN to presidential speeches with an ear to the parts about personal finance. In President Obama's second inaugural address, he made a few interesting points. The first came when he said, "For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. " I immediately wondered: Do we as a nation really understand this? I don't think so. If we did, I wouldn't receive numerous emails from people criticizing programs that help those who fell into the housing sinkhole.
November 28, 2012
GOP, follow Stevens' example Will Pennsylvania ever produce another Republican leader on par with Thaddeus Stevens ("'Lincoln' lays bare messy reality of process," Sunday)? Stevens' adamant promotion of equality and opportunity contrasts starkly with the present state GOP. Whether it is the voter-ID law that would disproportionately impact communities of color, or the push to replace public schools with charter schools, we have clearly regressed from the civil rights standards set by Stevens.