Use of emergency rooms is a much-debated part of the U. S. health care system. I recently had the chance to experience what it is like going to one of these places with a medical emergency – and in a place where they did not speak my language.
I went with friends on a trip to Portugal and Morocco to take a winter vacation and sample the local cuisine. We spent 10 days in and around Lisbon and then flew to Morocco, destination Marrakesh.
We flew there via an eight-hour layover in Casablanca and found the chance to visit the city irresistible.
President Barack Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union address Tuesday night: low-key compared to other addresses, determined and occasionally defiant.
He touched on many of the priorities being worked on by the Alliance for a Just Society this year, including mentioning that nine million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage. He didn’t mention that 23 states have not accepted Medicaid expansion for their most vulnerable residents.
The President called for immigration reform to be passed, a solution for college graduates trapped by student loan debt, he pushed for a federal minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour.
This is the first in a three-part series by the Alliance for a Just Society, looking at the high cost of student debt for our country and for our future.
Young college graduates are putting their futures on hold as they struggle under the burden of high student debt – and a weak economic recovery that has failed to provide good jobs for them. Young adults in their 20s and 30s are delaying buying houses, cars, furniture or starting families. The implications for every family, and our nation, are huge.
It’s no longer shocking to read news articles about the scandalous behavior of big banks. Readers roll their eyes when they see JPMorgan’s CEO being awarded a total pay of $20 million the same year the bank made repeated headlines for being fined millions of dollars and incurring losses of billions of dollars. Stories like these are so common it’s almost boring.
But a jury in Butte, Mont. – population 34,000 – recently decided they weren’t going to tolerate a second set of rules just for banks. They delivered a $52 million verdict against Comerica, another national bank that was also bailed out by the government, and then refused to help a borrower.
The work of Alliance for a Just Society was very much in evidence earlier this month when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Labor Secretary Tom Perez held a press conference calling for passage of legislation to raise the federal minimum wage.
The legislation, endorsed by the Alliance, would bring the hourly minimum wage up to $10.10 per hour over three years, then index future wage increases to inflation. Federal minimum wage is now $7.25 per house.
Bill Daley, the Washington D.C. lobbyist for Alliance for a Just Society and Main Street Alliance, advocated for the increase, sharing the Alliances latest job and wage gap study: America’s Changing Economy which notes that minimum wage is a “barely surviving” wage and an actual living wage in many parts of country is closer to $16 an hour.
The young minister paused and looked out at the crowd of thousands, then looked back at his notes stacked neatly before him on the podium. He was searching for just the right words – words that would speak to the indignity of poverty and racial inequality; words that would inspire hope in an hour of despair.
Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson announced a War on Poverty in America, more than 46.5 million people in our country, about one out of every seven, still struggle to get enough to eat or have a place to live. The U.S. Census Bureau shows that for people of color, the poverty rate is even higher, with one out of every four people who are black or Latino living in poverty.
Programs like Medicare and Medicaid that were created to fight the War on Poverty have helped millions of people. Strengthening both of those programs continues to be a critical part of protecting families. But the battle plan for keeping families safe and secure also has to include another key element: a significantly higher minimum wage – an actual living wage. Continue reading “Living Wage: A New Battle in the War on Poverty”
Have you heard the latest? Apparently JP Morgan will pay a $2 billion fine because it aided Bernie Madoff by laundering $150 billion for his Ponzi scheme – $1.7 billion will go to the victims and $461 million in fines. But here’s the fun part – criminal prosecution will be deferred and no individuals will be charged.