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UW silence, ACA sabotage, trickle down (on) Trump, Petty cash

Friday, October 6, 2017




UW Postdocs deliver their sign-on letter to the UW President’s office urging that they support the unionization effort or publicly debate Postdocs.

► From KNKX — UW postdoctoral researchers make move to unionize — Postdoctoral researchers at the University of Washington are taking a step toward unionizing. They’re working with UAW Local 4121, which represents academic student employees at the university. Postdoctoral researchers, also known as postdocs, are people who already have a Ph.D., and conduct research and publish scholarly articles. They’re calling for an election on whether they want to join a union. A UW spokesman said the step toward unionization is a fairly recent development, and that the university did not immediately have a response.

ALSO at The Stand — UW’s 1,200 Postdocs file for union election

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Norpac to lay off nearly 50 mill workers — As Norpac prepares to slash production capacity by nearly a third, the company confirmed Thursday that there could be fewer layoffs at the mill than originally expected. The mill plans to shed less than 12 percent of its workforce — fewer than 50 people — when it idles one of its three paper machines at the end of October.

► From The Stranger — $15 minimum wage failed to prevent staffing crisis in Seattle’s restaurantsThe Puget Sound Business Journal reports that the consensus of “a group of restaurateurs and executives who gathered for a panel last week hosted by Yelp and restaurant marketplace” is that the biggest crisis facing their businesses is not high wages, it is stubborn staffing shortages caused by the booming economy and rising rents. But if you read the UW study, you would think that the main thing bugging “restaurateurs and executives” is the $15 minimum wage. But it sounds like wages in the city need to rise, not fall.

ALSO at The Stand — UW’s minimum wage study tries to flip the script—and reality




► In today’s Columbian — Study compares counties’ tax contributions to state expenditures — For every dollar Clark County residents pay in tax revenue to the state government they get back roughly $1.23 in spending from the state’s general fund. That’s one of the conclusions of a recent study from the state’s Office of Financial Management that compares the amount of revenue the state collects from each of Washington’s 39 counties to the amount of expenditures the state spends in each county. The study ranked counties on how much state spending they receive over how much they contribute in taxes. The study shows that some counties contribute more to state coffers while others receive more in spending than they contribute in taxes.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Check it out. Where did we spend the most while collecting the least? Stevens County, which got $1.92 in spending for every dollar in tax revenue, followed by Yakima ($1.84), Okanogan ($1.83), Mason ($1.80), and Adams ($1.80). All are red (Republican) counties. Who paid the most and got the least back? King County got $0.64 in expenditures for every $1 in taxes. Alas, this has always been the case, but this blue-to-red subsidization will be exacerbated by the Senate Republicans’ successful gambit to boost school funding by increasing property taxes in King County and other populous areas, while cutting property taxes in rural areas.

► From KUOW — Delays, extensions as Western State Hospital struggles to get back on track — Efforts to turnaround Washington’s troubled Western State Hospital are taking longer than expected. The federal government this week granted yet another extension to give the state’s largest mental hospital more time to fix systemic problems.




► In today’s Washington Post — As ACA enrollment nears, administration keeps cutting federal support of the law — For months, officials in Republican-controlled Iowa had sought federal permission to revitalize their ailing health-insurance marketplace. Then President Trump read about the request in a newspaper story and called the federal director weighing the application. Trump’s message in late August was clear: Tell Iowa no. Supporters of the Affordable Care Act see the president’s opposition even to changes sought by conservative states as part of a broader campaign by his administration to undermine the 2010 health-care law. In addition to trying to cut funding for the ACA, the Trump administration also is hampering state efforts to control premiums. In the case of Iowa, that involved a highly unusual intervention by the president himself.

► From AP — Birth control: Trump expands opt-out for workplace insurance — President Donald Trump is allowing more employers to opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women by claiming religious or moral objections, issuing new rules Friday that take another step in rolling back the Obama health care law.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Congress needs a quick fix for CHIP (editorial) — Funding expired Sunday for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a program that ensures about 9 million children in low- to moderate-income families, including about 60,000 in Washington, have access to health care… It isn’t reasonable to let CHIP lapse for any period of time. By the same token, it is reasonable to ask how it will be paid for. The same holds true for the House and Senate as they ponder tax cuts. The president’s proposal comes without commensurate budget offsets.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Apparently, we can’t afford health care for children, but we can afford trillions in tax cuts targeted to corporations and the richest Americans?




► In today’s Washington Post — The GOP tax plan just cleared a major hurdle. Here are 3 major ones that remain. — Just weeks ago, the fate of a House budget measure remained in doubt. The chamber voted 219 to 206 to approve the spending blueprint, and the party needs to bottle that unity to move forward.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Eighteen House Republicans crossed party lines to vote alongside all Democrats against this budget resolution, but none of them were from Washington state. GOP Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse and Dave Reichert all voted in lockstep with the Trump administration on this one.

► From Pew Research — More Americans favor raising than lowering tax rates on corporations, high household incomes — About a quarter of U.S. adults (24%) say tax rates on corporations and large businesses should be lowered, as proposed in the Republican tax plan, while roughly twice as many (52%) say corporate taxes should be raised. As for higher-income households just 24% say taxes on incomes over $250,000 should be reduced; 43% say they should be raised, while 29% favor keeping them the same.

► From the EPI — Republicans’ tax plan gives the top 1 percent of households a $207,000 tax cut; Bottom 20 percent get $50 — Despite repeatedly claiming they would provide a “middle-class tax cut,”  the Tax Policy Center confirms that the Republican tax plan amounts to nothing but an enormous tax cut for rich people — just like every single Republican plan before it. TPC found that by 2027, the Republican tax cut would deliver 80 percent of its benefits to the top 1 percent, households that currently have incomes of roughly $730,000 or more. The top 1 percent of tax filers would receive a $207,060 average tax cut. In comparison, the bottom 20 percent of earners will receive only a $50 average tax cut.

► From HuffPost — Is this White House aide trying to sink a deal on DACA? — As lawmakers seek to negotiate a deal to give legal status to young undocumented immigrants, one of President Donald Trump’s senior policy advisers, Stephen Miller, seems to be pursuing a strategy to torpedo the negotiations.

► From AFL-CIO Now — NAFTA negotiations still need improvements — On Sept. 27, the United States, Canada and Mexico finished the third round of the NAFTA renegotiation talks. The negotiations are still being held behind closed doors. The public does not have access to the negotiating texts. This means we know few details—and the devil is always in the details when we’re talking trade. That alone means there is cause for concern: Transparent and democratic negotiations are the AFL-CIO’s #1 recommendation for creating a fair and progressive trade policy.


► From HuffPost — Robert Mueller’s Russia probe reportedly looking into the ‘pee tape’ dossier — Mueller’s investigators have spoken to Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the scandalous dossier containing explosive, unverified allegations regarding Trump and his associates. Among other things, it alleges that Russian officials are sitting on damaging information about the president, including accusations that Trump hired “a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him” while staying in a hotel suite in Moscow that was under surveillance by Russian intelligence.

EDITOR’S JOKE — You know the difference between a chickpea and a garbanzo bean? Trump has never had a garbanzo bean on his face.




► In today’s NY Times — Armed with a new approach, Las Vegas first responders rushed into chaos and gunfire to save lives — Fire departments traditionally have waited in shootings until police declare it safe for medics to treat victims. But when a concert outside the Mandalay Bay hotel was attacked, Nevada officials applied lessons from shootings in other states and sent medics in to work while police formed protective bubbles.

EDITOIR’S NOTE — These are our everyday heroes.

► In today’s NY Times — U.S. lost 33,000 jobs in September as hurricanes roared through — Hurricanes appeared to knock down payroll totals, yielding the first monthly decline in employment in seven years, though economists expect a rebound.




► This week we lost another great musician. The Entire Staff of The Stand’s favorite story about the great Tom Petty is how he stopped the record distribution company MCA from milking his fans for an extra buck. In 1981, he was about to release Hard Promises and MCA announced “superstar pricing” of $9.98 — alongside Steely Dan’s Gaucho and the Olivia Newton-John/Electric Light Orchestra Xanadu soundtrack. (?!) It was a dollar more than the usual list price of $8.98 and Mr. Petty no likey. He complained loudly in the press and ultimately threatened to rename his new album Eight Ninety-Eight before MCA backed down on the price increase. Here Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform at their 2002 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. R.I.P., Mr. Petty.


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