A few well-written words can convey a wealth of information, particularly when there is no lag time between when they are written and when they are read. The IPS blog gives you an opportunity to hear directly from IPS scholars and staff on ideas large and small and for us to hear back from you.
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Baltimore Nonviolence Center
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Dollars and Sense blog
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FOE International blog
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March 25, 2013 · By
The Institute for Policy Studies invites you to IPS's 50th Anniversary Celebration and Reunion highlighting bold and progressive social movements over the last 5 decades. From October 11th-13th, 2013, we will host a weekend of events in Washington, D.C. honoring progressive activists and activism and envisioning a plan for the future.
We will begin with an opening "reunion" reception to celebrate IPSers from the past, present and future on Friday, October 11, 2013. This will be a great opportunity for old friends to reconnect and for the extended IPS family to come together. On Saturday and Sunday, we will hold an “Ideas into Action” Festival featuring workshops, forums, and artistic expressions as well as a bazaar for our progressive partners and allies to feature their work. The celebration will culminate with a VIP dinner at Busboys and Poets and an interactive gala at the historic Union Station on Sunday evening with over 600 people, including notable progressives from major social movements in the past 50 years and rising young public scholars and activists of today.
The Theme of the 50th Anniversary Celebration and Reunion is "The Next 50 Years" and all events will be intergenerational with an emphasis on the next generation of public scholars and a bold, progressive future.
October 11th, 2013
IPS Reunion Reception
October 12th-13th, 2013
Ideas into Action Festival
October 13th, 2013
IPS Sustainable Dinner
October 13th, 2013
50th Anniversary Gala
Purchase Tickets (early-bird rates going fast!)
Together, we can bring together the IPS community for a truly amazing weekend! Please also stay abreast by joining our IPS Community: Celebrating 50 Years on Facebook.
If you would like to help with planning and preparation or know of IPSers we should be contacting, please email Joy Zarembka, Associate Director, at email@example.com or call 202-787-5244.
February 27, 2013 · By Robin Broad and John Cavanagh
Cross-posted from the Yes! Magazine blog.
You are celebrating your birthday at your favorite restaurant and you’ve just ordered a tasty, locally grown organic meal. You savor the food, while feeling good that you are contributing to a better world. What could be better?
Well, for starters: the conditions of the people serving and busing your table.
Most don’t make a living wage. Indeed, most of your servers work for the same minimum wage they’ve gotten for 22 years: $2.13 an hour. That’s right: no increase for a generation. Therefore, most workers have no choice but to work if they’re sick because nine out of ten don’t receive paid sick leave. Yes, if you are reading this now because you’re sick at home, you may well have caught your disease from a sick restaurant employee who had no choice but to work.
There is a new chilling-yet-ultimately-hopeful book that tells the story of the millions who toil to serve us in restaurants: Behind the Kitchen Door. It is hopeful because its dynamo author, Saru Jayaraman, and dozens of courageous restaurant workers created a group that is fighting for their rights: the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC).
February 27, 2013 · By Emily Schwartz Greco
This week in OtherWords, Jo Comerford likens the imminent across-the-board budget cuts to a truck careening toward a brick wall and Jill Richardson explains what’s wrong with an ingredient found in most liquid soaps that Americans use.
Below you’ll find links to our latest work. If you haven’t already subscribed to our weekly newsletter, please do.
- A Global Spotlight on Voter Suppression / Ron Carver
Heinous schemes to limit the right to vote keep appearing in state legislatures.
- We’ve Got to Get Out of That Place / Usha Sahay and John Isaacs
Rather than prolonging the quagmire in Afghanistan, Obama should take this opportunity to finally to honor his commitment to bring our troops home.
- Why Use a Bludgeon When a Calculator Will Do? / Jo Comerford
Some lawmakers have an almost-mythical resistance to raising revenue at a moment when affluent individuals and big corporations have the lowest tax burden in more than half a century.
- Give the Post Office a Break / Donald Kaul
If the Postal Service were run like Congress, postal workers would only show up on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays — except when they were on vacation, which would be a lot.
- A Triumph of Sewage and Stench / Sam Pizzigati
It takes more than a nice cruise ship buffet to make a billionaire.
- We’re All Guinea Pigs / Jill Richardson
I don’t want to expose the most precious people in my life to an endocrine disruptor.
- The Organized Sports Racket / Jim Hightower
Big sports teams toss unwise investments to taxpayers and let them fumble.
- What Post-Racial America? / Emily Schwartz Greco and William A. Collins
It will take more than President Barack Obama’s tenure to vanquish American prejudice and racial injustice.
- Declaring Victory in Afghanistan / Khalil Bendib cartoon
In February 1913, exactly a century ago, the Sixteenth Amendment gave Congress a constitutional green light to levy a federal tax on income. Later that same year, lawmakers made good on that opportunity. An income tax has been part of the federal tax code ever since.
So what can we learn, as progressives, from this first century of income taxation?
Steeply graduated income tax rates can help societies do big things.
A half-century ago, America’s federal income tax rates rose steadily—and quite steeply—by income level, with 24 tax brackets in all. On income roughly between $32,000 and $64,000, in today’s dollars, couples in the 1950s faced a 22 percent tax rate. On income that today would equal between $500,000 and $600,000, affluent Americans faced a tax rate of 65 percent. The highest 1950s tax rate, 91 percent, fell on annual income that would today exceed $3.2 million.
Today, our federal tax rates rise much less steeply. The current top rate? The “fiscal-cliff battle” earlier this winter raised the top federal rate on individual income over $400,000 from 35 to 39.6 percent, less than half the 91 percent top rate in effect through the Eisenhower years.
Those high tax rates in the middle of the 20th century made a huge difference. The revenue these tax rates generated funded new government programs like the justly celebrated G.I. Bill. Within a single generation, the United States went from a nation two-thirds poor to a nation two-thirds middle class. Americans saw the difference that government can make—and felt that difference personally.
Most Americans today, by contrast, don’t expect much from their government. And for good reason. Most of us around today haven’t seen our government undertake any major new initiative improving the quality of the lives we lead. In this low-expectations political environment, conservative lawmakers demand endlessly lower income taxes for everybody, at every opportunity, and mainstream liberals dare not even hint at raising taxes on “middle class” incomes under $250,000.
But back in our steeply graduated tax-rate past, politicians did dare talk about higher taxes, and middle class Americans didn’t much mind paying those taxes—for two reasons. They saw big results from the tax dollars they paid. They also knew that America’s wealthiest were sacrificing at tax time, too.
We don’t do big things in America anymore. But we could, if we made paying taxes politically palatable again. Steeply graduated income tax rates helped work that magic a half-century ago. They could work that magic again.
Read the rest of this article on The American Prospect's website.
February 22, 2013 · By Miriam Pemberton
This strange animal called sequestration is certainly wreaking havoc with our customary ideological boundaries.
If you’re an advocate, Iike I am, for revamped federal priorities that shift resources from a bloated Pentagon budget toward neglected domestic priorities, your take on this animal can’t be simple. You say cutting everything indiscriminately is a bad way to run a government (this view is nearly universal). You oppose the cuts in the domestic budget that will leave us with fewer food safety inspectors, medical researchers, Head Start teachers, and airport baggage screeners on the job. But you can reel off long lists of ways to cut waste in the Pentagon budget to the levels prescribed by sequestration, and show that these cuts will leave us completely safe.
But you also know that the whole conversation is focused on the wrong topic. It’s past time to shift this conversation away from austerity and toward investment to create jobs, as clear majorities of voters said in November was what they wanted.
Now let’s look at the Washington Post’s blogger who says he writes “from a liberal perspective,” Greg Sargent. On Wednesday he went at the Republican position on sequestration, wielding a new report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. The report found that the single most important cause of increased income inequality in recent years is the favored tax treatment given to capital gains and stock dividends — i.e. what the rich have used to get richer.
The Democrats, as Sargent points out, want to change this, taxing the rich and using the proceeds to replace the sequester cuts. The Republicans want to stick with sequestration and keep this favored treatment for the rich.
But all of this puts the Republicans, says Sargent, in the position of “openly conceding that the sequester will gut the military.” It’s a concession that Sargent appears to be taking at face value. Or at least not calling into question.
Gut the military? That’s what the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been saying any chance they get. Sequestration would “invite aggression,” says lingering Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. It will “put the nation at greater risk of coercion,” says the Joint Chiefs Chair, Martin Dempsey. When asked at a recent congressional hearing which nation might coerce us, though, he couldn’t say.
In fact, sequestration will not “gut” our military. Our military budget has nearly doubled since 2001. Sequestration would take it back to the level it was in 2007 — when we were still fighting two wars. Adjusted for inflation, it would leave that budget higher than its Cold War average — when we had an adversary that was spending roughly what we were on its military. Now, as Michael Cohen notes in The Guardian, the closest thing to a peer adversary we have is China, and we are spending more on research and development of new weapons than the Chinese are spending on their entire military. We spend more on our military, in fact, than the next 14 countries put together.
After the longest period of war in our history, we are due for a defense downsizing. Sequestration would create a shallower downsizing than any of the previous postwar periods since World War II. We can do this, and we should. We need the money for other things.
As sequestration threatens to confuse us all, let’s be sure to stay clear on that, at least.