Monthly Archives: July, 2016

Trump Promises to Restore Jobs in an Industry That Collapsed in the 1950s


Today, Donald Trump spoke in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and promised to restore the jobs of coal miners.

I grew up in Scranton, and he might just as well have promised to restore the jobs of telegraph operators or those in typewriter factories.

The population of Scranton peaked at more than 140,000 in 1930. By 1960, the population had decreased to just over 110,000, and today it is between 75,000 and 80,000. The population decline mirrored the decline of the coal industry, though the production of coal ultimately fell more dramatically than the population.

Scranton remains the largest city in what is known as Pennsylvania’s “Coal Region.” Four substantial deposits of anthracite coal extend throughout a spur of the Appalachians in east central and northeastern Pennsylvania.

From the late nineteenth century through World War II, anthracite coal became the primary heating fuel for homes in the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas…

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“Thucydides” on “Right to Work”


This “over the transom” piece is from a colleague who has chosen the pseudonym “Thucydides.” It owes a considerable debt—is in many respects an homage–to the legendary Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko.


Moose McGillicuddy had just opened his tavern on a quiet weekday morning, wanting to do some cleaning before people began to stop in for lunch. He was having a hot cup of coffee sitting at the bar and reading the Daily Standard.

A headline caught his eye: “Legislator introduces RTW bill.” It was Rep. John Becker, a suburban Cincinnati Republican, wanting to impose RTW on public workers. Moose thought for a minute. Didn’t someone else try to do this? Oh, yeah. Another Cincinnati area Republican, Rep. Tom Brinkman introduced a private sector RTW bill. Geez, thought Moose for a minute, there must be something bad in the water there. “They should drink more beer,” he said…

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Union Busting Is Still an Ugly Business


Writing for University Business, Nick Kalm and Courtney Harper advise universities on how “Strong Messages Can Defuse Campus Unionizing Campaigns.” The authors’ bio note indicates that “Nick Kalm is president and Courtney Harper is senior vice president at Reputation Partners, a communications consultancy that specializes in labor communications for universities and other organizations.” The euphemistic tone of the phrase “labor communications” is indicative of the tone consistently maintained throughout most of the article and, seemingly, of the tone that they are recommending that institutions take.

Although the article never does indicate exactly what types of messaging should be used to counter unionization efforts, it does open by noting that over the past three years, SEIU has organized “more than 10,000 adjunct faculty at more than 40 different schools” and that “if union targets for higher pay are met, U.S. universities’ costs for courses currently taught by adjuncts could increase to…

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Trump is a William McKinley Protectionist, Not a Bernie Sanders Populist


This post was written by Bill Scher for the daily Progressive Breakfast newsletter of the Campaign for America’s Future [], which has become a driving force behind the New Populist Movement.

The group’s report, Organizing to Take Back America: The New Populist Movement, is available at: Prepared by Roger Hickey, the co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, the report identifies twelve key principles underlying this new progressive effort to provide an effective grassroots alternative to the Tea Party movement on the Far Right.

The post is reprinted with the permission of Roger Hickey.


“Whenever you listen to Donald Trump speak about trade, as he did Tuesday in Pittsburgh, always keep in front of your mind that he is peddling a con.

“He slams recent trade agreements by ‘the politicians,’ and promises to negotiate ‘great deals,’ but he never explains what will…

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The Shared Discontent of the Working Class and Recent College Graduates


Writing for the World Socialist, Patrick Martin reports the findings not only of UC-Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez report on recent income growth for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, but also a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce:

“A second report issued this week, by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, examined social polarization within the United States from the standpoint of access to a college education. While 14 million new jobs have been created over the past 68 months (more than five and a half years) of ‘economic recovery,’ it is well known that the vast majority of these jobs are lower paying and more precarious than the jobs they replaced.

The Georgetown study found that these newly created jobs have been filled almost entirely by college-educated workers. Of the 11.6 million jobs created between January 2010 and January 2016, 11.5 million went…

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Trickle-Down Economics in a Half-Decent Economy


Writing for the Washington Post’s Wonkbook blog, Jim Tankersley reports some good news for the American middle class, but it is wrapped inside some continuing bad news about growing income inequality:

“The vast majority of American workers are finally seeing their incomes rise from the depths of the Great Recession, a new analysis from one of the world’s leading scholars of economic inequality suggests. But incomes for the top 1 percent continue to rise substantially faster.

“The analysis of Internal Revenue Service data on pre-tax earnings, from UC-Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez and published by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth think tank, finds incomes increased by 3.9 percent last year for the bottom 99 percent of U.S. families. That’s the strongest growth those workers have seen since 1998, but it’s still not enough to repair all the damage the recession wrought on those workers: As Saez notes, those families on…

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