Workers, parties and a “New Deal:” A comparative analysis of corporatist alliances in Mexico, and the United States, 1910–1940

Source: Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera & Ruth Ann Ragland, Labor History, Vol. 57, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Mexico experienced the twentieth century’s first social revolution, a decade of struggle from which emerged a new political regime – a post-revolutionary authoritarian or single-party state one – with President Lázaro Cárdenas as leader by 1934. This post-revolutionary creation included organized labor and peasants, a strong interventionist state and a hegemonic party. Cárdenas’ U.S. counterpart, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, too, was leading dramatic ‘New Deal’ institutional and political revolution in the 1930s and 1940s that spawned a new order of expanded federal government, a renovated Democratic Party, and new movements and interest groups, notably, labor. Both nations featured the same major actors: the state, political parties, and organized labor. Both presidents calculated that preserving labor alliances was crucial for formation and legitimization of a new political order, for maintaining conditions conducive to private-sector investment and economic growth, and for political and economic crisis management. Labor’s growing role reshuffled corporatist alliances within and between international neighbors. This study places Mexico and the United States in comparative context in the early twentieth century and analyzes elite control and inclusion of organized labor in transformation of political landscapes in two different political regimes – a democratic one couched in an established constitution and a post-revolutionary authoritarian one born of a bloody upheaval.

The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap

Source: American Association of University Women (AAUW), Fall 2016

From the abstract:
Updated regularly with the most current statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap is a commonsense guide that provides key facts about the gender pay gap in the United States. Topics covered in the report include: the definition of the pay gap and its history; the pay gap in each state; the pay gap by age, race/ethnicity, and education; guidance for women facing workplace discrimination; and resources for fair pay advocates.

Feds: We can read all your email, and you’ll never know

Source: Clark D. Cunningham, The Conversation, September 21, 2016

The federal government is getting access to the contents of entire email accounts by using an ancient procedure – the search warrant – with a new, sinister twist: secret court proceedings.

The earliest search warrants had a very limited purpose – authorizing entry to private premises to find and recover stolen goods. During the era of the American Revolution, British authorities abused this power to conduct dragnet searches of colonial homes and to seize people’s private papers looking for evidence of political resistance.

To prevent the new federal government from engaging in that sort of tyranny, special controls over search warrants were written into the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. But these constitutional provisions are failing to protect our personal documents if they are stored in the cloud or on our smartphones.

Fortunately, the government’s efforts are finally being made public, thanks to legal battles taken up by Apple, Microsoft and other major companies. But the feds are fighting back, using even more subversive legal tactics.

Weak Stock Market and Declines in Oil Prices Depressed State Tax Revenues: Declines in State Tax Revenues in the Second Quarter Raise a Yellow Flag for State Budgets

Source: Lucy Dadayan and Donald J. Boyd, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, State Revenue Report, no. 104 September 2016

From the press release:
State and local government tax revenues showed continued slowdown in the first half of 2016, mostly attributable to weak performance of the stock market and steep declines in oil prices. Year-over-year growth in state and local tax was a mere 3.0 percent in the first quarter of 2016, which is a substantial slowing from the 5.4 percent average for the four previous quarters. Overall, state governments have been hit harder than localities by slowing tax revenue growth. Total state tax revenue from all sources grew by 1.6 percent and local tax revenue from major sources grew by 4.4 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

The just-released State Revenue Report (SRR) of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government provides detailed analysis of state government tax revenues in the first quarter of 2016 and provides an overview of preliminary data for the second quarter of 2016. The report also provides state forecasts for fiscal year 2017 for personal income and sales tax collections.

According to preliminary data, state tax revenues declined by 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2016. Declines were widespread, affecting about half of the states. Those declines came at a time when most states had already adopted 2017 budgets. They may leave many 2017 state budgets with holes to fix.

State personal income tax revenues grew 1.8 percent on a year-over-year basis in the first quarter of 2016, down from the 8.1 percent average for the four previous quarters. Overall, 16 states reported quarterly declines in personal income tax collections.

Approaches to Municipal Takeover: Home Rule Erosion and State Intervention in Michigan and New Jersey

Source: Ashley E. Nickels, State and Local Government Review, Online First, Published online before print September 21, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Municipal takeovers proceed by a state declaring that a municipality is in fiscal crisis and placing it in receivership, handing over most local processes to a state-appointed manager. This policy of aggressive state intervention calls into question two principles of local autonomy enshrined in home rule: that allowing local matters to be handled by local authority removes the need for state special legislation and that giving local governments functional autonomy allows them to solve problems without state intervention. This article presents case studies of New Jersey and Michigan to examine differences in home rule protection as well as approaches to municipal takeover.

Schedule instability and unpredictability and worker and family health and wellbeing

Source: Daniel Schneider, Kristen Harknett, Washington Center for Equitable Growth, Working paper series, September 2016

From the abstract:
The American labor market is increasingly unequal, characterized by extraordinary returns to work at the top of the market but rising precarity and instability at the bottom of the market. In addition to low wages, short tenure, few benefits, and non­standard hours, many jobs in the retail and food service industries are characterized by a great deal of instability and unpredictability in work schedules. Such workplace practices may have detrimental effects on workers. However, the lack of existing suitable data has precluded empirical investigation of how such scheduling practices affect the health and wellbeing of workers and their families. We describe an innovative approach to survey data collection from targeted samples of service­ sector workers that allows us to collect previously unavailable data on scheduling practices and on health and wellbeing. We then use these data to show that exposure to unstable and unpredictable schedules is negatively associated with household financial security, worker health, and parenting practices.

The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration

Source: Francine D. Blau and Christopher Mackie – Editors, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2016

From the press release:
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provides a comprehensive assessment of economic and demographic trends of U.S. immigration over the past 20 years, its impact on the labor market and wages of native-born workers, and its fiscal impact at the national, state, and local levels.
Among the report’s key findings and conclusions:

When measured over a period of 10 years or more, the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small. To the extent that negative impacts occur, they are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born workers who have not completed high school—who are often the closest substitutes for immigrant workers with low skills.

There is little evidence that immigration significantly affects the overall employment levels of native-born workers. As with wage impacts, there is some evidence that recent immigrants reduce the employment rate of prior immigrants. In addition, recent research finds that immigration reduces the number of hours worked by native teens (but not their employment levels).
Some evidence on inflow of skilled immigrants suggests that there may be positive wage effects for some subgroups of native-born workers, and other benefits to the economy more broadly.

Immigration has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth in the U.S.

In terms of fiscal impacts, first-generation immigrants are more costly to governments, mainly at the state and local levels, than are the native-born, in large part due to the costs of educating their children. However, as adults, the children of immigrants (the second generation) are among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the U.S. population, contributing more in taxes than either their parents or the rest of the native-born population.

Over the long term, the impacts of immigrants on government budgets are generally positive at the federal level but remain negative at the state and local level — but these generalizations are subject to a number of important assumptions. Immigration’s fiscal effects vary tremendously across states.

Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff

Source: Jerry W. Mansfield, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, RL33895, September 19, 2016

This report is designed to introduce congressional staff to selected governmental and nongovernmental sources that are useful in tracking and obtaining information on federal legislation and regulations. It includes governmental sources, such as, the Government Publishing Office’s Federal Digital System (FDsys), and U.S. Senate and House websites. Nongovernmental or commercial sources include resources such as HeinOnline and the Congressional Quarterly (CQ) websites. The report also highlights classes offered by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the Law Library of Congress.

Corporate tax chartbook: How corporations rig the rules to dodge the taxes they owe

Source: Frank Clemente, Hunter Blair, and Nick Trokel, Economic Policy Institute and Americans for Tax Fairness, September 19, 2016
From the introduction:
In recent years, corporate profits have reached record highs, and so too has the amount of untaxed profits U.S. corporations have stashed offshore: $2.4 trillion. And it is estimated corporations could owe as much as $700 billion on those profits. In short, corporations are dodging more and more of their tax responsibilities. ….

…. This intentional erosion of the U.S. corporate income tax base has real consequences. Rich multinational corporations avoiding their fair share of U.S. taxes means that domestic firms and American workers have to foot the bill. It also means that corporations are not paying their fair share for our infrastructure, schools, public safety, and legal systems, despite depending on all of these services for their profitability.

This chartbook details the extent of corporate tax avoidance.

Key findings include:
• Corporate profits are way up, and corporate taxes are way down. In 1952, corporate profits were 5.5 percent of the economy, and corporate taxes were 5.9 percent. Today, corporate profits are 8.5 percent of the economy, and corporate taxes are just 1.9 percent of GDP.
• Corporations used to contribute $1 out of every $3 in federal revenue. Today, despite very high corporate profitability, it is $1 out of every $9.
• Many corporations pay an effective tax rate that is one-half (or less) of the official 35 percent tax rate.
• As of 2015, U.S. corporations had $2.4 trillion in untaxed profits offshore. Another study, looking at S&P 500 companies, found they held $2.1 trillion as of 2014. This roughly five-fold increase from $434 billion in 2005 stems largely from anticipation of a tax holiday.
• Just two industries—high-tech and pharmaceutical/health care—hold half the untaxed offshore profits.
• Just 50 companies hold over 75 percent of untaxed offshore profits. Ten companies hold 39 percent of these profits. Just four companies—Apple, Pfizer, Microsoft, and General Electric—hold one-quarter of all untaxed offshore profits.
• About 55 percent of U.S. corporate offshore profits are in tax-haven countries. Corporations pay an average tax rate of between just 3.0 percent and 6.6 percent on profits in tax havens.
• U.S. corporations pay very low tax rates—6 percent to 10 percent, mainly to foreign governments—on all their offshore profits. A tax break known as “deferral” allows them to delay paying U.S. taxes until the profits are repatriated to the parent corporation in the United States.
• The U.S. Treasury will lose $1.3 trillion over 10 years—about $126 billion a year—due to the deferral of taxes on offshore profits.
• Income shifting—making profits earned in the United States look as if they were earned offshore—erodes our corporate tax base by over $100 billion a year. U.S. corporations increasingly manipulate transfer pricing and bilateral tax agreements to make their U.S. profits appear to be earned in tax havens.
• Corporations owe up to $695 billion in U.S. taxes on their $2.4 trillion in offshore profits. Having paid just 6 percent to 10 percent in taxes to foreign governments, they owe between 29 percent and 25 percent in U.S. taxes, based on a 35 percent tax rate with foreign tax credits.
• President Obama has proposed taxing the current stock of offshore profits at 14 percent (less foreign taxes paid), which could give corporations a tax cut of $500 billion on their offshore profits. (Republicans propose an even bigger tax break.) A 14 percent tax rate would raise just $195 billion. This is $500 billion less than the up to $695 billion they owe. That’s a tax cut of up to 72 percent for the country’s worst tax dodgers.
• Some large multinationals adept at tax dodging would receive huge tax breaks under Obama’s plan. Apple would get a tax break of $36.5 billion, Microsoft $20.7 billion, and Citigroup $7.1 billion (based on the profits they had stashed offshore at the end of 2015).
• U.S. corporate offshore profits are not “trapped” overseas. Companies can invest these untaxed profits in any U.S. firm, deposit them in any U.S. bank, or use them to purchase any government security as long as it is not directly invested in the U.S. parent. A congressional study found that 46 percent of the offshore profits of 27 companies were invested in the United States in 2010. And, of course, nothing stops them from simply returning profits home—except for a desire to not pay taxes.
• Corporate reorganization here in the United States likely further erodes the corporate tax base by $100 billion a year. In the United States, the business sector has substantially reorganized as pass-through entities in search of lower tax bills.