Walmart’s check-cashing service is another way of preying
AN AUG. 5 editorial praised Walmart for providing nontraditional banking options for the “underbanked” in select stores. While offering simple financial services such as low-cost check cashing sounds like a good idea, we are left to wonder what is motivating the largest retailer in the world to enter into this business.
On the surface this looks like Walmart is providing a needed service to the community, but we don’t need to dig deep to see that this is another strategy to increase profits.
While we believe that there is a great need for affordable and accessible banking options, we support offering these services through an established public institution: the US Post Office. This option would address the needs of the financially excluded, provide banking options to working-class communities and communities of color, ease the financial burden of being poor, and ensure that wage earners can provide for their family without being preyed upon by businesses.Ben Jackson, a financial analyst for Mercator Advisory Group, recently told Forbes, “The big strategy is capturing people’s wallets as soon as they are filled. If a customer’s wallet is filled at a Walmart store, then it’s likely the customer will do some incremental shopping there too.” While this motivation may seem different from that of payday lenders that charge outlandish fees, in both cases they are driven by profiting off of low-income consumers.
Director, Tax FairnessOrganizing Collaborative
United for a Fair Economy
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
Putting Reel Economy to Work
Original post by Andy Myers, Community Engagement Coordinator for Working Films.
We’ve recently returned from a week in Boston with our Reel Economy partner, United for a Fair Economy (UFE) for Raise the Roots, the annual conference of the Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative. We kicked off the conference with an sneak peek screening of the dynamic documentary Inequality for All. Starring Robert Reich, it’s being lauded as the Inconvenient Truth of the Economy. We packed the house at The Brattle Theater in Cambridge and the screening was followed by an engaging panel discussion on organizing for progressive state tax policy.
The next day, we led a workshop entitled "From Seats to Streets: Using Film to Move the Masses." We presented case studies that showed how the Reel Economy collective can and is being used to help advance a fair and just economy. Workshop attendees included directors of organizations from all over the country who are a part of UFE’s Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative, a network of 28 member organizations in 24 states that use grassroots power to promote progressive tax reform.
A main focus of the session was on developing specific strategies to put the films to use for state level shifts – we’ve recognized, as has Reich, that this is where change is happening and our work with Reel Economy in the next year with UFE will field test a state level organizing strategy. The workshop participants came up with specific examples of how they can put these films to work at home and envisioned the impact Reel Economy can have.
We’ve already begun some of this work in North Carolina with UFE and Democracy North Carolina, where we are hosting two screenings of Citizen Koch, one in Durham (June 30th) and one in Greenville (June 25th), to spotlight the similarities between the issues in the film (which follows the gubernatorial election and recall in Wisconsin) and the current political climate in NC. Our goal is to support and assist with further building and mobilizing the Moral Monday movement and to advance the work of NC organizations working for economic and social justice.
READ: Andy's follow-up post on the Reel Economy screenings of Citizen Koch in North Carolina.
TFOC Annual Conference-2013
Mark your calendars! The Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative is excited to announce that our annual conference for 2013, will be taking place in Boston on June 4th, 5th and 6th.
June 4th 6:00 PM- 9:00 PM at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square
Advanced Film Screening of Inequality for All 6:00-7:30
Questions and Answers 7:30-8:00
Panel Discussion 8:00-9:00
Featuring: Meg Wiehe from Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, David Gray from Louisiana Budget Project and Brodrick Bagert from Together Baton Rouge
June 5th 9:00 AM- 6:00 PM at 40 Berkeley St Boston, MA
June 6th 9:00 AM- 1:00 PM (TFOC members only)
See the full agenda
We are pleased to announce that we will be having workshops on June 5th presented by the School of Creative Activism, Working Films, Youth of MA Organizing for a Reformed Economy, UFE's Popular Education Team, Responsible Wealth, Progressive Communicators Network, Funders Collabortive for Youth Organizing, and more to be added soon.
The conference is presented by the Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative, a network of state-level grassroots organizations that advocate for progressive and adequate state taxes. The TFOC is a project of United for a Fair Economy, a economic justice nonprofit based in Boston.
This conference will be open to allies and advocates involved in the tax fairness and economic justice movement. This conference is appropriate for community leaders, activists, and organizers, legislators, people concerned with tax policy, people not yet concerned with tax policy, policy wonks, journalists, foundation representatives, people with good ideas, and anyone else who believes in the power of a bottom-up movement.
Webinar: Using Film in Your Economic Justice Campaigns
This webinar explores how to effectively integrate film into economic fairness campaigns. How do social issue documentary films do more than just raise awareness? How can you leverage the story in a documentary film to advance your efforts? How can you effectively rally local audiences around your cause once the lights come up? This Tax Fairness Tune-Up webinar will answer all these questions, and provide a framework on how to use film as an asset to economic fairness campaigns.
Campaign Coordinator, Working Films
Andy holds a B.A in film studies, with a focus in documentary film and a minor in environmental studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. A longtime proponent of connecting film with activism, he has coordinated various national campaigns, which leverage the narrative in social issue documentaries to advance the efforts of organizations with shared goals.
Karin Hayes & Victoria Bruce
Recipients of the duPont-Columbia University Award for excellence in broadcast journalism for their first film, The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt (HBO/Cinemax). Their most recent film We’re Not Broke premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for the Grand Jury Award.
President of 371 Productions/BizVizz
An award-winning filmmaker and the president of 371 Productions. He has been working in documentary production since 1/92. His latest film, As Goes Janesville, is a documentary about how a town tries to reinvent itself amid the loss of their century-old GM plant and Wisconsin’s civil war over unions. The film’s storyline about corporate transparency inspired him to create BizVizz. He’s busy right now developing new technology and media projects for the common good. Before making his own films, Brad associate produced FRONTLINE’s Peabody award-winning presidential election year special, Choice ’96, and Lumiere Production’s PBS series, "With God on Our Side: The History of the Religious Right."
March 2013: UFE Training of Trainers Coming to North Texas
Our Popular Economics Education Team is hosting UFE's renowned Training of Trainers Institute in March 2013 near Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (details below). We invite organizers, activists, educators, students, and others across the U.S. who want to join and advance the movement for a just economy.
Transformative education—which includes reflection, thoughtful analysis, and learning from each other—is vital to the success of any movement for social and economic justice. In order to challenge the status quo, we first need to make sense of the roots of the Great Recession and, more broadly, the ways in which our economic system creates and perpetuates class, race, and gender inequality.
Working toward a shared understanding of how we got here and a shared vision for the future will help us to build a cross-race, cross-class movement for an equitable, democratic, and sustainable economy.
UFE's Training of Trainers Institute explores the causes and consequences of inequality and provides participants with tools to inform their communities and inspire political action.
Thursday, March 14 – Sunday, March 17, 2013
On-site check-in from 3:00–6:00 p.m. on March 14, 2013; The Institute ends at 1:30 p.m. after lunch on March 17.
CLICK HERE TO APPLY!
Shady Lakes Ranch Conference Center
Cleburne, TX. Shady Lakes Ranch is 30 miles south of Fort Worth; one hour from the Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) airport. We will help to arrange low cost transportation to and from DFW.
ABOUT THE INSTITUTE:
Jeannette Huezo and Steve Schnapp, UFE's Senior Education Coordinators, will train you in how to lead UFE-style popular economics education workshops that demystify the economy and creatively educate, inspire, and mobilize people to take political action.
It is right for you if you are:
- An organizer, leader, activist, teacher, or trainer engaged in campaigns for economic or social justice, or
- If you are seeking to improve your training and facilitation skills in order to more effectively present information and engage people in dialogue about the economy.
You will learn about:
- National economic trends, the rules and policies that contributed to the Great Recession & the jobless recovery;
- The impacts of economic policies in terms of race and gender;
- Some history about popular resistance to economic inequality in the U.S.;
- Strategies to advance economic recovery by closing the economic divides; and
- Principles and practices of popular education.
You will have opportunities to:
Work in small groups to plan and practice leading either UFE's or original popular economics education workshop activities;
- Receive constructive feedback on how to effectively present workshops and lead productive discussions on economic inequality;
- Discuss how to best adapt UFE's materials to your communities and constituents;
- Practice responding to challenging questions and difficult workshop situations; and
- Network, build solidarity and open doors for collaboration with others working for economic justice.
- Participants should arrive at the Conference Center on Thursday, March 14, between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m.; program begins after dinner on Thursday and concludes after lunch on Sunday.
- Sessions will be conducted in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings.
- Breaks will be provided throughout the day to allow participants to reflect and network with other participants.
The program includes presentations of creative and engaging activities from UFE's workshops, including:
- The Growing Divide - The Roots of Economic Security
- Closing the Racial Wealth Divide
- Bankers, Brokers, Bubbles, and Bailouts
- Immigration and the Growing Divide
Space is limited and preference given to applicants who are able to attend the full Institute. Some materials, including a detailed agenda for the Institute and short readings will be sent to all registrants prior to the training to help participants prepare for the Institute.
Registration fee is $500, which includes the Institute fee, materials, meals, and room/board (double occupancy). Transportation is NOT included. However, We will help to arrange low cost transportation to and from the Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) airport.
We offer a reduced fee to organizations sending two or more participants.
Partial scholarship is available to participants from low-income communities and/or resource-limited organizations. If you require financial assistance to attend the Institute, you need to complete a scholarship request form after submitting this application and paying your deposit.
A minimum $25 deposit is required with your application. A payment of at least 50% of the fee must be paid two (2) weeks prior to the Institute. Payment in full is due one week before the start of the Institute.
CLICK HERE TO APPLY!
For more information:
Contact Jeannette Huezo ([email protected], 857-277-7881) or Steve Schnapp ([email protected], 857-277-7868).
Post-Election Shout-Outs: Learning From State-Level Wins
Amid all the post-election excitement, we also want to celebrate the amazing work of some of UFE’s Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative (TFOC) partners and other contributors in the state progressive tax movement.
In New Hampshire, our allies prevented a constitutional amendment to ban the state’s income tax. This is a huge win, and it’s one that can be looked to by other states facing regressive policy initiatives. Much hard work is still to be done in the Granite State, but we’re optimistic. That a broad and diverse coalition was able to come together to stop this measure bodes well for positive change in New Hampshire.
Oregon also enjoyed two exciting victories. TFOC partner organizations Tax Fairness Oregon and Our Oregon worked hard to save the Oregon estate tax from repeal. They won a resounding victory for fairness, and ensured that hundreds of millions of dollars would continue to flow to vital services in the Beaver State. As well, measure 85, which eliminated the Corporate Kicker Tax passed with ease, and will allow for much needed revenue for Oregon’s public education system.
Since 2004, conservative activists, led by the corporate-conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), have tried with all their might to enact Taxpayer Bills of Rights (TABOR) measures in 30 states. Florida's TABOR, which would have limited public investment and revenue, while requiring a supermajority to override these limits, would have severely hamstrung the state's ability to fund vital services for Floridians. In state after state, voters have turned down this extreme measure, and this year, Floridians joined in that rejection! This was made possible by amazing organizing efforts, combined with voter education and mobilization to stop such a restrictive and economically harmful measure.
Here are a few things we can all take away from these inspiring election day triumphs:
- To achieve victory you have to educate, not just by telling the voters why they should be for or against a measure, but by also learning from them how these measure affect them and their communities.
- Organizing still works, even on the less-than-sexy matters of fiscal policy and ballot measures. Effective partnership-building contributed greatly to these successes. Don’t go it alone. We’re stronger and louder when we pool our resources and work together.
- There is still a tremendous amount of work required to establish fair, progressive tax structures in states across the country. While much of the focus over the next few months will be about federal taxes and budget issues, we can’t forget that the tax fairness movement has to continue at all levels of government.
These statewide election day victories can be models for what’s possible in your state and beyond. We congratulate all of those involved in those efforts and are excited to help keep building momentum for tax fairness and a more just and equitable economy.
Save Oregon's Estate Tax!
Tax Fairness Oregon, a member of UFE's Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative, needs your help today. They need 600+ signatures of Oregon voters to place a statement of opposition to Kevin Mannix’s effort to repeal the Oregon estate tax in the November voters' pamphlet.
Signatures from you and others in your community will help Tax Fairness Oregon get the following statement placed at no cost so they can use those resources for other important work:
Millionaires can pay taxes — Vote "NO" on Measure 84
- Only the 730 richest Oregon families would benefit from Measure 84.
- Vote "NO" on MEASURE 84
- Millionaires would pay as little as $0 tax if Measure 84 passes.
- Vote "NO" on MEASURE 84
Millionaires too can pay their fair share of taxes.
Vote "NO" on Measure 84.
(Signed by more than 600 friends of Tax Fairness Oregon)
Click here to download a petition form (pdf). Print the forms and carefully follow the enclosed instructions.
Please aim to fill two sheets with gathered signatures or just send in your very own signature. All gatherers and signers must be registered Oregon voters.
Don't forget to sign and date the bottom of the signature sheet before mailing the form to:
Tax Fairness Oregon
Petitions must be submitted in Salem by 5:00 p.m. next Tuesday, August 14. You are also welcome to personally deliver your signature sheets to the address above by noon on Tuesday.
Oregon's estate tax has been in place for 109 years without hurting Oregon businesses and family farms. It is a fair and sensible policy that provides the state with revenue for schools, infrastructure, and other shared priorities. And, it has the added benefit of helping to combat economic inequality. Learn more about Measure 84 >>
Oregon can't afford to give special tax breaks to those who don't need them, especially during this moment of economic hardship.
Please vote "NO" on Measure 84 on November 6.
VIDEO: Reflections on Popular Economics Education
Now THIS is how you create a movement. Newly minted Popular Economics Educators reflect on their experience at UFE's most recent Training of Trainers Institute, held June 21-24th in Baltimore.
Popular education is an education that is "of the people." Rather than the traditional lecture format of traditional schooling, popular education creates an environment where people learn by reflecting, talking, and thinking together.
United for a Fair Economy has been a leader in training hundreds of Popular Economics Educators across the country to facilitate learning in communities most impacted by economic inequality. Several Training of Trainers Institutes (ToTs) are held throughout the year in various parts of the country.
You can learn more, request a workshop, or stay in the loop about our next Training of Trainers Institute by joining our mailing list.
UFE's Training of Trainers Institute: A Reflection from United for a Fair Economy on Vimeo.