Thom's blog

Privatize the profits. Socialize the pollution.

You don't have the right to know you're being poisoned. At least, not in Wyoming. Yesterday, County District Judge Catherine Wilking ruled against environmental groups fighting to make public the list of toxic ingredients used in hydraulic fracking fluid. According to Judge Wilking, Wyoming's state oil and gas supervisor was authorized to withhold the information, because the list of chemicals is considered a trade secret.

Can the House and Senate budgets find common ground?

Minutes before 5am, early Saturday morning, members of the Senate did something they haven't done in four years - they passed a budget. The $3.7 trillion dollar outline for 2014 passed with a 50 to 49 vote, and it includes $100 billion in stimulus spending and raises $975 billion in new revenues over the next decade. Now the challenge will be to reconcile the Democratic Senate budget with Paul Ryan's austerity plan in the House.

Economic terrorism is no way to run a country.

Republicans are already plotting their next opportunity to take our nation hostage. At his weekly press conference, John Boehner said the GOP will refuse to raise the debt ceiling in May, if the president doesn't agree to more spending cuts. President Obama already agreed to cuts in the fiscal cliff deal totaling $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

Get ready for another derivative meltdown.

Despite gridlock in Washington, a new effort to loosen Wall Street regulations and water down the 2010 Dodd Frank Act is getting bipartisan support in Congress. Republican Representatives Patrick Henry and Scott Garrett are backing the measure, as is Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore. Moore justified her support by saying the plan is only meant to relieve regulatory burdens on companies that do business with big banks.

We all deserve a vote!

Next month, the Senate will vote on gun control legislation, but provisions that the majority of voters support won't be in the bill. Yesterday, California Senator Diane Feinstein's assault weapons ban was pulled from the legislation, despite a Pew Research poll showed 55% of Americans support the ban.

Is it time for a $33 minimum wage?

No matter how you calculate it, minimum wage has flat-lined over the past 50 years. That's the finding in a 2012 study from the Center for Economic Policy Research. The study reads, “By all of the most commonly used benchmarks – inflation, average wages, and productivity – the minimum wage is now far below its historical level.” If wages had kept up with productivity gains since 1968, it would be nearly $22 dollars an hour.

Could a tax on Cyprus bank deposits bring down E.U. banks?

When you think European financial crisis, you think Greece, or Spain, or Italy. But economic trouble in the small island nation of Cyprus is causing a serious panic throughout Europe. Because of Cyprus banks' exposure to the financial troubles in neighboring Greece, the island nation's banks need a bailout.

Is 'The American Dream' a fantasy for younger workers?

For generations, the American ideal has been that each successive generation becomes more prosperous and successful than the one before it. But unfortunately, that's no longer the case. A new study from the Urban Institute indicates that, while American wealth as a whole has doubled over the last 25 years, younger people have fallen behind as a group.

Do you want the CIA & NSA to have unlimited access to your financial records?? Well.. Obama does.

The Obama Administration wants to hand over access to your financial records to the CIA, NSA, and other law enforcement agencies. According to a new report from Reuters, a Treasury Department plan gives spy agencies full access to more raw financial data then ever before, under the guise of national security.

Compromise... with a side of stimulus.

Today Senate Democrats will introduce a plan to replace the sequester, and the propose $100 billion in stimulus spending. Senate Budget Committee Chairperson Patty Murray will present the plan, which reduces the deficit by $1.85 trillion with a balanced approach of 50-50 spending cuts and new revenues.

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