Justin Miller

 Justin Miller is a writing fellow for The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

The Perils of $7.25

Reflections on eight years of a minimal minimum wage

(Photo: AP/Mike Groll) A man listens to a speaker during a rally to raise the minimum wage outside a McDonald's restaurant at the Empire State Plaza concourse in Albany, N.Y in May 2014. O n July 24, 2009 the federal minimum wage was increased from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour, the third and final increment of a bipartisan-backed law passed in 2007. In the eight years since, the United States’ wage floor has remained stuck at that level, the prospects of an increase stymied by congressional inaction and hostile corporate influence. For decades, the federal minimum wage was a rather effective tool for ensuring that workers could earn enough to support a family. Now, its power has been all but eroded. At the minimum’s peak value in 1968, a full-time minimum-wage worker earned about $19,500 in today’s dollars, enough to keep a family of three above the poverty line. Through the early 1980s, the minimum wage remained strong enough to keep a family of two out of poverty. Since then, the minimum...

House GOP Budget Comes Straight from the Trickle-Down Playbook

The Republicans’ budgetary blueprint paves the path for tax cuts for the wealthy, a military buildup, and spending cuts for entitlement programs. 

(Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite) House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, House Budget Committee Chair Diane Black, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden participate in a news conference on Capitol Hill on March 10, 2017. trickle-downers_35.jpg F resh off Senate Republicans’ botched attempt to deliver tax cuts to the rich by gutting Obamacare and Medicaid, House Republicans have unveiled their 2018 federal budget —a plan in the best reverse-Robin Hood tradition of the Republican Party. Overall, House Republicans are proposing to balance the budget by 2027 through more than $5 trillion in spending cuts, chiefly to programs that help low- and middle-income Americans, which would allow them to finance a huge military buildup and deliver tax cuts to the wealthy and to corporations. Even with those cuts, their budget requires deliriously rosy economic growth forecasts to come up with numbers showing a budget in balance. “In...

Trump’s National Anti-Labor Relations Board

The president’s NLRB nominees portend a bleak future for American workers.

(Wikimedia Commons) I n his first seven months in office, President Trump has made quick work undoing a host of Obama-era labor regulations. Now that he finally got around to making two nominations to the National Labor Relations Board, he’s beginning the pernicious, though slow-moving, assault on worker and union rights that typically plays out when the board has a Republican majority. It’s at the NLRB, the independent agency charged with enforcing and interpreting the nation’s labor laws, where Trump will be able to most forcefully reverse President Obama’s workers' rights legacy—a highly vulnerable legacy given that it was confined to leveraging the power of executive-branch departments and agencies. Trump’s NLRB nominees are longtime Republican lawyer Marvin Kaplan and management-side labor lawyer William Emanuel. If they’re confirmed, Republicans would have a 3-to-2 majority. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee is expected to vote Wednesday to confirm both...

GOP Eager to Repeal Rule that Allows Consumers to Sue Conniving Banks

Republicans pretend it’s about dismantling the “administrative state.” But it’s all about market power. 

(Gage Skidmore) U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling speaking at the 2015 Reagan Dinner for the Dallas County Republican Party in Dallas, Texas. trickle-downers_35.jpg A s Lisa Servon writes in her thorough survey for the Prospect ’s summer issue of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s prospects under the Trump administration, “It took Congress 66 years to undo Glass-Steagall in 1999. It may take less than a decade to undo the reforms brought about by Dodd-Frank, including the CFPB.” It may take the Republican-controlled Congress even less time to undo a landmark rule issued Monday by the consumer watchdog agency that will widely forbid mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer contracts. Banks, credit-card companies, and other financial-services firms will no longer be able to force individual consumers into corporate-friendly mandatory arbitration hearings to settle disputes. For instance, Wells Fargo used arbitration clauses as a way to block a potentially gigantic class-action...

As Trump Gears Up for Big Tax Cuts, Seattle Opts to Tax Wealthy

The progressive city is once again paving the way, and strongly rebuking trickle-down economics. 

(Photo: AP/Elaine Thompson) Demonstrators stand together as they wait for a Republican response to a new city income tax on the wealthy that was approved earlier by the Seattle City Council Monday, July 10, 2017, in Seattle. trickle-downers.jpg T he Seattle city council voted unanimously Monday to institute an income tax on the city’s highest earners, providing a stark rebuttal to the current trickle-down debate between President Trump and congressional Republicans over how much they should cut taxes for the rich. The measure will levy a 2.25 percent tax on individuals who make more than $250,000 and joint filers who make more than $500,000. The tax is expected to generate an estimated $140 million in new revenue for Seattle, which leaders say they hope to use to lower the burden of more regressive taxes like the city’s property tax, to plug any holes from potentially diminished federal funding spurred by Trump, and to bolster the city’s public services. “Seattle is challenging the...

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