Economic Justice

Reflections on Wal-Mart

Icon January 2, 2013 - 14:55 By Marquita Hill Published December 2, 2012 by the Roanoke Times at For two quarters, they'd get a raise On “Black Friday” some Walmart employees around the nation, for the first time, held a strike. Walmart workers earn so little that many must resort to public assistance such as food stamps or, if ill, Medicaid. So, you as a shopper may “save” when you shop at Walmart, but you, as a member of the public pay to help many Walmart employees. Meanwhile, the six Walton heirs hold more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of Americans combined. Yet Walmart Corporation scorns efforts to increase employee wages and is ferociously anti-union. Its attitude is that workers should be grateful to have a job. A University of California study calculated that if each person paid an average of 46 cents more each trip to Walmart, this would provide enough to pay the average employee $12 an hour (instead of the current $8.81). If Walmart itself paid half of that 46 cents from its own great profits, it would cost shoppers only 23 cents extra per visit. If boosting Walmart employees into a livable wage range would require so little, why isn’t it happening? Almost every American can understand what fairness means. Why can’t Walmart?

Study: ALEC's Advice to States on Jobs Is Actually a Recipe for Stagnation and Wage Suppression

Icon November 30, 2012 - 15:03 Washington, DC, November 28, 2012--A new study finds that state tax and regulatory policies recommended by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) fail to promote stronger job creation or income growth, and actually predict a worse performance. Since ALEC first published its annual Rich States, Poor States study with its Economic Outlook Ranking in 2007, states that were rated better have actually done worse economically. Those are the key findings of "Selling Snake Oil to the States," a study published today by Good Jobs First and the Iowa Policy Project and freely available online at . It was released at a press conference the same week ALEC holds its annual fall meeting in Washington, DC. "We tested ALEC's claims against actual economic results," said Dr. Peter Fisher, primary author of the study. "We conclude that eliminating progressive taxes, suppressing wages, and cutting public services are actually a recipe for economic inequality, declining incomes, and undermining public infrastructure and education that really matter for long-term economic growth." The study dissects the methodology used by ALEC's lead author Arthur Laffer and his co-authors. It finds that their arguments and evidence range from deeply flawed to nonexistent, consistently ignoring decades of peer-reviewed academic research. Instead, Laffer et al repeatedly engage in methodologically primitive approaches such as two-factor correlations and comparing arbitrary small numbers of states instead of all 50. The study finds that the composition of a state's economy-whether it has disproportionate shares of high-growth or low-growth industries-was a far better predictor of a state's relative success over the past five years. "State corporate income taxes average less than one-fifth of one percent of the average company's costs." said Fisher. "The ALEC/Laffer studies would have state leaders ignore site-location basics and disinvest public goods that benefit all employers." Good Jobs First is a non-profit, non-partisan partisan resource promoting accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families. It was founded in 1998 and is based in Washington, DC. The Iowa Policy Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization promoting public policy that fosters economic opportunity while safeguarding the health and well-being of Iowa's people and environment. It was formed in 2001 and is based in Iowa City.

Margot Dorfman Explains Why Raising Minimum Wage is Good for Economy

Icon August 3, 2012 - 19:50 Posted July 30, 2012  

Housing Costs in Virginia Still Out of Reach

Icon June 14, 2012 - 20:24 Posted by HOME:  June 14, 2012  

Ask Senator Warner for a Budget that Protects Basic Services, not Tax Breaks for the Wealthy

Icon April 23, 2012 - 13:20 In a close vote, the U.S. Senate failed to pass the Buffett Rule, a groundbreaking piece of legislation that would have required millionaires to pay at least the same tax rate as middle class taxpayers. So while the middle and working class will be paying their fair share in taxes, many of the 1% will not. The good news is that Virginia's Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb both voted FOR the Buffet Rule.  Please call Senator Warner at 1-877-676-2759 and thank him for his vote. 

Downie: The President's Plan to Help Virginia's Homeowners

Icon February 27, 2012 - 16:28  What a long road for homeowners. So many have suffered and lost their homes. I personally have watched two of my children fight to keep their homes. Both are upside down in their homes and hoping that this new agreement will help them get back on their feet. It's tough to keep up when your house payments are sky high and your home is worth less and less. Rob's and  Sandy's homes are valued about half what they were in 2008. Both their businesses have been hard bit by the recession also.

Letter to Bank of America: You're on Notice, See you In Charlotte.

Icon February 4, 2012 - 00:12 Today, Virginia Organizing leaders attempted to the deliver the following letter to the Charlottesville branch manager. The mananger kindly refused so the group went to the nearest post office and mailed the following:   February 3, 2012  

Brown: An Afternoon With VP Biden on the SOTU

Icon January 31, 2012 - 03:12 “We can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair shave, and plays by the same sets of rules”—President Obama As a member of the State Governing Board of Virginia Organizing, last Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend a State of the Union Amplification event with members of US Action.