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The DeFazio Bill: Reducing the Financial Industry’s Tax on Retirement Savings

Representative Peter DeFazio, along with seven House co-sponsors, introduced the “Wall Street Tax Act” today. This bill would impose a tax of 0.1 percent of sales of stocks, bonds, options, and other derivatives. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it would raise almost $800 billion over the course of the next decade. This would be more than enough to cover the entire food stamp budget over this period. It would be almost enough to fully replace the annual research spending of the...

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“Brazil is Broken”: Bolsonaro, COVID, and the Looming Return to Austerity

As the New Year begins and Brazil officially passes 200,000 COVID deaths, far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro announced with his characteristic bluntness: “Brazil is broken. I can’t do anything.” While blaming the media for exaggerating the threat of the coronavirus, Bolsonaro complained that COVID had prevented him from further pursuing the structural adjustments and austerity policies that characterized the pre-COVID phase of his presidency. At the same time, Bolsonaro’s...

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Even In the Face of Coup Attempt, NYT Continues Propaganda for Upward Redistribution Through Trade

I have repeatedly raised the point that media accounts routinely use the term “free trade” when they can more accurately say simply “trade” or trade policy. It is amazing to me that this practice continues. We saw it yet again in a NYT article on how many Republicans continue to be faithful to Trump even after last week’s coup attempt. The article told readers: “Anthony Sabatini, a Florida state representative, described Ms. Cheney and other Republicans who...

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Family Benefits in US Fall Further Behind

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Debt and Deficits, Yet Again

With a Democrat in the White House, the season of the deficit hawk has returned. So, it’s worth going through the old arguments just to remind everyone that the best response to these people is ridicule. It looks like President Biden will propose a robust stimulus package of well over $1 trillion. According to press accounts, the package is likely to include another check for $2,000. (I believe it is supposed to $1,400 above the $600 in the last package.) It is likely to include a refundable...

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A Big Jump In Gas Prices Pushes Overall CPI Up 0.4 Percent In December

(This is a compilation of Dean Baker’s quick-take analysis over Twitter. Follow @DeanBaker13 on Twitter to get his quick-take analysis of government data immediately upon release.) The pandemic has led to a real flip in price trends. Rent, medical care, and education had been sectors with higher inflation. This is no longer the case; now food and cars see the highest inflation. This will likely flip back when the pandemic fades, although slower rental inflation could last. A big jump in gas...

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PREVIEW: What to Look for in the December Consumer Price Index

The resurgence of the pandemic had a major impact on the economy last month, as we saw in the December jobs report. This means that we are likely to see some of the pandemic-specific price effects that occurred in the spring, although they will not be as pronounced, since the December hit was nowhere near as large as the impact of the spring shutdowns. Food Most obviously, we are seeing more store-bought food and fewer restaurant meals. In the spring, this led to a sharp rise in the price of...

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Pandemic-Caused Plunge in Restaurant Jobs Leads to First Job Loss Since April

The pain from the recession is heavily concentrated among the long-term unemployed. The economy lost 140,000 jobs in December, all of which can be attributed to a plunge in restaurant employment of 372,000. Other sectors highly sensitive to the pandemic, such as hotels and recreation, also lost jobs. The unemployment rate and employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) were both unchanged at 6.7 percent and 57.4 percent, respectively. The resurgence of the pandemic further heightened the two-track...

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