The Politics of Privatization: How Neoliberalism Took Over US Politics

Many of us have come across the term "neoliberal," or "neoliberalism" before, but for all its use, few have ever taken the chance to actually explain what it is. An inadequate popular definition has allowed the term to be abused and misrepresented in a variety of ways. Despite these misrepresentations, however, "neoliberalism" is a concept that is very useful for understanding the world we live in today.

In simple terms, neoliberalism is a broad ideology that became popular in political, economic, and governmental circles in the 1970’s and reached its peak in global popularity in the 1980’s. Neoliberalism describes the political paradigm we are in right now, the political conditions of modern society. As the name suggests, it calls for a revitalization of the classical liberal view of economic policy. It's important to understand that "classical liberal" here refers to an older understanding of the word liberal than the one it has in modern America- it is referencing the liberalism of the Enlightenment era, represented by thinkers like Adam Smith and John Locke, not modern social liberalism as embodied by Barack Obama and much of the rest of the Democratic Party. In concrete policy terms, neoliberalism means free trade, low taxes, deregulation, privatization, and balanced budgets.

Neoliberalism represents a shift in the way we look at the world: it entails seeing every aspect of society, even those typically considered civic or community affairs, in the terms of the market economy.

 

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A Statement on Charlottesville

We are saddened and outraged by the display of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville this weekend. It is no coincidence that we see the far-right mobilizing while corporate interests continue to strip poor and working class people of their healthcare and their right to organize; that this happens while cutting public services and giving away massive tax cuts to the rich; that this happens while the budget prioritizes increases to an out-of-control war machine and climate deniers threaten to move us quicker towards a world that is increasingly unlivable for poor and working people. We are saddened, but we are not fooled.

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We Can't Afford to Sit This Out

On Friday, May 5, Republicans rammed through a terrible bill to repeal Obamacare.  Their bill would have disastrous effects on millions in our country.  Although the exact “scoring” of this bill has not been completed, it’s pretty similar to the bill that came before, under which 24 million people would lose their health insurance, 130 million people with pre-existing conditions would be put at risk, and the very wealthy would receive a huge tax cut. 

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Press Release: 80+ Upper-Income New Yorkers Support Expanding Millionaire's Tax

Today, UFE's Responsible Wealth Project released a letter of over 80 upper-income New Yorkers asking Governor Cuomo and the NY Legislature to renew and expand the State's Millionaires' Tax. As New York State braces for proposed federal budget cuts that would have a devastating impact on health care, education and infrastructure investments across the state, an expanded and permanent millionaires’ tax would bring in nearly $6 billion in annual revenue, or over $2 billion more than the current tax– set to expire in 2017– generates. The full press release can be found here, and information on the 1% Plan for NY Tax Fairness can be found here.

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Media Advisory: New Report Examines Racial Economic Divide in US

Media Advisory
1/16/2017 

Media Contact: Mike Leyba, Communications Director, United for a Fair Economy                        mleyba@faireconomy.org              562-266-4357

On Monday, January 16th, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, United for a Fair Economy is releasing the fourteenth annual State of the Dream report, titled “State of the Dream 2017: Mourning in America.” This report features reflections from leaders and advocates that are fighting inequalities everyday, and contains a short, accessible snapshot of where we are as nation on the topics of wages, wealth, health, housing, immigration, and LGBT inclusion. 

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We Deserve Better

If you have young children or grandchildren, you’ve probably had some difficult conversations with them since the election.

My granddaughter Genesis is 9 years old. She was born in this country while her mom was a legal permanent resident. The day after the election, she went about her routine and was on the way to her 3rd grade class. As soon as she got in the car with her mom and little sister, she asked, “Mami, who won the election?”

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Trumped-Up Trickle-Down Economics: A Primer

           Trickle-down economics, a theory that has been disproven numerous times (source), became part of mainstream rhetoric again in a recent debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  Building on a popular United for a Fair Economy blog post first written during the George W. Bush administration, this article will discuss why Trump’s trickle-down economic plan is a farce, much as Reagan’s was. 

            Simply put, trickle-down economics is the idea that tax cuts on businesses and the wealthy will cause wealth to “trickle down” to everyone else.  The idea was particularly popular during the Reagan administration, when it was also known as “voodoo economics.”  Many people forget that humorist Will Rogers actually came up with the term “trickle down” to criticize President Herbert Hoover’s policies during the Great Depression (source).  But working people aren’t laughing about the disastrous consequences of these policies.

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Chris Christie's Millionaire Tax Meltdown

You may not have heard, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie continues to prove that he’s a millionaire’s best friend– at least when it comes to taxes. Read UFE's newest article here.

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Open Letter to Gov. Chris Christie & the NJ Assembly about the Estate Tax

We are among the wealthiest New Jerseyans. We value the quality of life in our state. We believe New Jersey should have top-notch public schools and universities, well-funded public services, hospitals, parks, and public transportation, all paid for through a progressive federal, state and local tax structure.

We agree that New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure is in dire need of improvement, long overdue for adequate funding, so we applaud our elected officials’ intention to replenish the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. These infrastructure improvements benefit all of our citizens, but especially those at the lowest economic rungs who stand to pay less in transportation costs and car repairs. But this new revenue should not be paired with tax cuts for the wealthy.

At current levels, each signatory below would pay the estate tax in New Jersey. As citizens who are among the wealthiest 5% of residents in our beloved state, we have both the means and the responsibilityto contribute more to the needs of our state. We strongly object to the proposal to eliminate New Jersey’s estate tax on people like ourselves as part of the transportation bill.

The estate tax is not only an important source of revenue, but is also our only tax on accumulated fortunes, the bulk of which have never been subject to capital gains taxation. It would be a travesty to give a tax break to a small cohort of wealthy families (including ourselves) at the expense of adequately funding schools, health care, public infrastructure and other pressing needs in the state.

Eliminating New Jersey’s estate tax after 100 years would be a short-sighted mistake. We urge Governor Christie and the legislature to REMOVE this provision from the Transportation Trust Fund bill (S-2411; A-12). A more responsible plan would be to raise the exemption level to $2 million per person, which would exempt 78% of current estates but preserve 72% of the roughly $300 million in annual revenue from the estate tax. 

Signed,

Diane Abel, Bloomfield • Elizabeth Bates, Princeton • Ira Belsky, Franklin Lakes • Theodore Chase, Jr., Princeton • Jun Choi, Edison • William Corwin, Princeton • Elizabeth Counselman, Princeton • David Drukaroff, Lakewood • Wilma Emmerich, Princeton • Grover Furr, Bloomfield • Eliane Geren, Princeton • Elizabeth Gibson, Princeton • Steve Gold, Caldwell  Carol Golden, Princeton • Ed Gracely, Sicklerville • Brian Greenberg, Shrewsbury • Lonnie Hanauer, West Orange • Stephanie Harris, Hopewell • Joann Held, Pennington • Fred Hillmann, Union • Matthew House, North Brunswick • Jeffrey Keefe, Lakewood • Pat Kenschaft and Frederick Chichester, Upper Montclair • Shelley Krause, Princeton • James Litvack, Princeton • Carleton Montgomery, Medford • Diane Riley, Madison • Beth and Andrew Rothman, Princeton • Eric Schoenberg, Franklin Lakes • Jane Silverman, Princeton • Robert Steinbaum, Montclair • Kevin Walker, Collingswood • Karl Walko, Audubon • Torry Watkins, Hightstown • David B. Wilson, Jersey City • Susan N. Wilson, Princeton • Francis Wood, Mendham

You can sign this letter by clicking here.

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Add Your Name: NJ Gov. Christie, PRESERVE THE ESTATE TAX!

NJ_Legislators__KEEP_THE_ESTATE_TAX.-3.pngLast Friday, Governor Christie announced that he and legislative leaders had reached a long-overdue agreement to replenish New Jersey's Transportation Trust Fund. Under the agreement, the earned income tax credit (EITC) would be strengthened, and sales taxes would be lowered. But the accord also includes a poison pill, which is the complete elimination of New Jersey's estate tax. If your household net assets are over $675,000 and you live in New Jersey, please add your name to the list of people telling Gov. Christie to PRESERVE THE ESTATE TAX!

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