Category Archives: Economics

USDA Sued Over Organic Standards

By MCNS Staffcoverart

The Organic Trade Association is suing the USDA for not implementing new organic livestock and poultry standards, which were originally set to go into effect on March 20.

US president Donald Trump’s executive order freezing all pending regulations for 60 days delayed implementation until May 19. But the USDA has again delayed implementation until November 14, blaming policy and legal issues warranting further review.

The implementation may be delayed further though. The USDA has asked for and opened a 30-day public comment period, in which citizens can give opinions on whether to let the rule become effective, suspend it indefinitely, delay it or withdraw it.

“We are standing up on behalf of the entire organic sector to protect organic integrity, advance animal welfare and demand the government keep up with the industry and the consumer in setting organic standards,” Laura Batcha, OTA executive director and CEO, said of the lawsuit.

The USDA delay falls in line with recent efforts by the Trump administration to roll back Obama administration progressive advancements.

In 1990, the Organic Foods Production Act established a baseline for organic requirements and established the National Organic Standards Board to regulate it. Organic food advocates have worked to reduce what they see as ambiguities in the legislation incrementally.

In addressing these ambiguities, it has taken 14 years, with input from farmers, scientists, government policymakers and economists, for the National Organic Program to give more definition to the law.

The legislation requires minimum indoor and outdoor space per animal, and sets many more specifics for animal healthcare and even slaughter. It also gave a set amount of time for companies to change their operations to adhere to the new standards without losing their organic certification. The USDA approved these rules and the Obama administration signed the legislation.

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SC Senator Accused of Jiving for Tax Reform

By Free Radical

Tim Scott pictured without his handkerchief.

Tim Scott pictured without his handkerchief.

Last week, Congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump unveiled portions of their new, ambitious tax reform plan. The GOP has talked up the tax revamp and ran ads for months. Yet this past week, in what seems like an attempt to get African-American buy-in, the party listed its lone Black senator, Tim Scott to rally support for the measure.

Yet, the ad has largely backfired. Scott unveiled his support for the reform measure in a video tweet reading “I like to put it very simply: We want to helpings you #KeepYoMoney.” – @SenatorTimScott#TaxReform.

Scott’s tweet was met with immediate backlash. Critics accused the GOP for appealing to imagined Black stereotypes and offensive slang.

Other observers have disparaged Scott not so much for the style of his delivery but more so for the substance of the tax reform. It has been pointed out that wealthy Americans and businesses will actually have the greatest chances to keep “their” money.

The potential revamp drops the tax rate of Americans earning the highest wages from 39% to 35% and the current corporate rate from 35% to 25%. The plan would also eliminate the current estate tax which only applies to people with assets of more than $5.5 million.

Scott does not hold an enviable position as the only Black senator in the overwhelmingly White and conservative Republican Party. He has had a number of guffaws with African-Americans and has experienced difficulties assuring this community he is not a puppet for White interests.

After criticizing Trump for his controversial statements on the Charlottesville race riots, he had a meeting with the president three weeks ago that was largely inconsequential.

While his criticism of Trump has been muted, he did rebuke individuals who don’t salute the US flag last wee, staring, “Every man, woman, child in this country should stand for the national anthem. That should go without question.”

Scott and his Republican colleagues will have a huge hurdle to cross for the tax reform to pass. No major tax restructuring has occurred in decades. The GOP will need more than catchy slogans to change this precedent.

Black Median Wealth to Hit Zero by 2053

By Free Radicalindex

According to a new jointly released report by the Institute for Policy Studies and Prosperity Now, African-American median wealth is scheduled to drop to zero by 2053 if current trends continue.

The report shows that from 1983 to 2013, Black median wealth declined from $6,800 to $1,700.00. During this time frame, Whites have seen their median wealth increase, jumping nearly $15,000 to $116,800 in 2013.

African-Americans were especially hit hard by the Great Recession which erased nearly three decades of wealth expansion. The number of Black homeowners dropped from 48% in 2005 to 42% in 2016. At 42%, Black homeownership rates were lower than both Whites (72%) and Latinos (46%).

The report estimated that Blacks will lose 17% of their median wealth by 2020 if current trends continue. And in 2024, Whites will own 99 times more wealth than African-Americans. By 2053, Black median wealth is scheduled to drop to zero. Latino median wealth, which has also steadily declined in previous decades is set to reach zero by 2073.

While devastating to communities of color, this declining wealth can have grave implications for the rest of the nation. People of color are predicted to compose a majority of the US population by 2043. Their economic misfortunes will result in reduced wealth for the entire nation if current trends continue. This has already been the case as median wealth in the US has dropped from $78,000 to $64,000 in 2013.

The Institute for Policy Studies and Prosperity Now recommend that to reverse these trends, the US must modify its tax code which currently subsidizes the wealthy; strengthen the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to safeguard low income families; and create new, innovative programs like children’s savings accounts, automatic enrollment retirement accounts, a federal job guarantee, and a racial wealth divide audit of government policies.

To read their report, click here.

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MICDS Expels Racist Student

indexBy MCNS Staff

According to local reports, Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS) has announced as of Thursday, September 07, that students who engaged in racist social media interactions will no longer be part of their community.

“It was determined that none of these students can remain in our community because their conduct violated our most deeply held values, was contrary to our Mission and harmed our community in significant ways,” Head of School Lisa Lyle wrote in an online announcement to the MICDS community. The announcement is entitled “Disciplinary Update and Action Steps Moving Forward.”

The Thursday announcement came days after the racist comments came to light.

Freshman students of the private, co-ed college preparatory school were discovered on a group chat of a social media application called SnapChat. In the conversation, the students used the n-word several time and talked about applying to the KKK.

An addendum outlining next steps that MICDS will take following this racist incident was linked to the announcement. To read about those next steps, click here