TOP BILLING FOR ‘MIDDLE-CLASS ECONOMICS’ – Oxfam released new findings that the richest 1% will own more than 50% of the world’s wealth by 2016. This inequality is especially evident for the one in five low-wage workers in the U.S. whose employers don’t provide them with paid sick leave, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) … Meanwhile, 75% of Americans–including 53% of Republicans–now support raising the federal minimum wage to $12.50 an hour … NELP Executive Director Christine Owens: “The American people are way ahead of lawmakers on this issue” … On Tuesday, President Obama agreed: “The verdict is clear: middle-class economics works.”
… SPEAKING OF WHAT WORKS: Citizens for Tax Justice lauded President Obama’s proposed capital gains tax reforms, calling the program “a major and welcome move toward greater fairness in our federal system” … The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities CRUNCHED THE NUMBERS HERE.
READ: “Raise the Millionaires Tax” by Patriotic Millionaire Jerry Fiddler and Rep. Jan Schakowky (D-IL) and “Obama’s Smart Economic (and Political) Calculus: Tax the Rich” over at The Nation.
A NEW CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT– Black children born in 2001 are 5.5 times more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts, according to new data by EPI. This information comes in the wake of thousands of protesters taking to the streets last week to reclaim Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as well as the NAACP launch of a countdown to the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” and the Selma-to-Montgomery March. READ: “Where Do We Go from Here?: Mass Incarceration and the Struggle for Civil Rights”
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BEFORE SCOTUS — Alliance for Justice President and Top Wonk Nan Aron outlined the stakes of the upcoming marriage equality cases that the U.S. Supreme Court will review this session: “Seventy percent of Americans now live in marriage equality states, and marriage bans on the basis of sexual orientation should be considered relics of a discarded past.”
The American Civil Liberties Union will be co-counsel in one of these four cases … READ “Looking at Marriage Cases Before High Court, and the Next ‘Campaign’ for LGBT Equality” over at the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and SIGN a petition from Human Rights Campaign HERE.
KEEP CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS OUT OF THE COURTS – The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, a case in which the Brennan Center for Justice, Demos, and others filed an amicus brief. Brennan Center Counsel Matthew Menendez: “Allowing prospective judges to put a hand out to lawyers and litigants who may later appear before them in court may make people think twice about whether a ruling was influenced by the law or by the contents of a litigant’s pocketbook.” READ: “Don’t Strike Down Judicial Campaign Rule”
ANTI-CHOICE DEJA VU — RH Reality Check released new findings that the 22 anti-choice bills filed in six states this year are all identical or substantially similar to previously proposed bills–the bulk of which originated from four anti-choice organizations. READ the full report HERE and TRACK legislative threats to reproductive health through their open database HERE.
DISMANTLING DODD-FRANK– Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) slammed House Republicans for passing the misleadingly-named “Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act”: “House Republicans are opening the 114th Congress by putting the profits of mega-banks over investments in hard-working Americans.” READ an open letter from Americans for Financial Reform opposing the bill HERE and GET THE REAL STORY from Sunlight Foundation HERE.
MILLENNIAL LETTERS – The Truman National Security Project and the Foreign Policy Initiative partnered with World Affairs this week to relaunch “Millennial Letters,” a series of articles responding to major challenges and opportunities facing the United States. LEARN MORE about the series HERE and READ the two most recent posts, centered around the President’s State of the Union address: “Obama’s Tough Diplomacy Bolsters American Leadership” and “Bipartisan Focus on SIVs Needed.”
THE STATE OF MONEY IN POLITICS — The Brennan Center for Justice is hosting “The State of Money in Politics” on Monday, January 26 in New York. The event will feature Fordham Law School Associate Professor and Top Wonk Zephyr Teachout, Free Speech for People Board Chair Jeff Clements, and Commissioner of the Federal Election Commission Ellen Weintraub. RSVP HERE.
FROM THE WONK WIRE …
… A HISTORY OF RACIST REDLINING: Roosevelt Institute Fellow and Top Wonk Mike Konczal and ThinkProgress Policy Editor Bryce Covert connect racial wealth disparity in America to policies that promote housing segregation.
Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.
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