FROM Gabriel Thompson
Income Inequality, Economic Anxiety and the Minimum Wage Fast food workers are back on the streets in 100 cities today. Walmart saw strikes on Black Friday. Yesterday, in a speech about the economy, President Obama said "the defining challenge of our time" is the decline of upward mobility, and called for a hike in the minimum wage. It's all about income inequality, a growing trend since before Great Recession. Instead of upward mobility into the Middle Class, many newly created jobs don't give workers enough to live on — even when they're full-time. We look at reality in some American workplaces and at the politics of restoring the American Dream.
Is Temporary Employment the New Normal? It used to be a given that a rise in temporary employment was a sign of economic recovery and that permanent hiring would not be far behind. In recent months, temporary hiring is on the rise, but the old pattern does not seem to be holding. Employers are not only keeping their temps longer, they're even using them for professional jobs and executive positions. The consequences could be very different at different ends of the income scale. We look at the potential consequences, which may be very different for blue-collar workers than they are for professionals or in the executive suites.
Is Temporary Employment the New Normal? It used to be axiomatic that a rise in temporary employment was a sign of economic recovery and that permanent hiring would not be far behind. In recent months, temporary hiring is on the rise, but the old pattern does not seem to be holding. More temps are being hired and they're being kept longer, but fewer employers are making them permanent. So there's flexibility for the employers, but instability for the employees. Temps are now being hired for high-skilled professions -- from engineering to finance to information technology — even at the executive level. Will temporary work be a permanent feature of the new economy? Will some workers choose nomadic careers while others struggle to fend for themselves?
House Republicans release their Obamacare replacement As two House committees take up "repeal and replacement" of "Obamacare," there may be life left in the Affordable Care Act after all. Even Republicans are divided, and proposed changes won't make good on President Trump's promise to provide "health insurance for everybody."
Is America turning its back on the world? President Trump has made no secret of his contempt for the United Nations — and he's not alone. But, will proposed cuts in US contributions be counterproductive to America's role in the world and to national security?
Nationalism's appeal on both sides of the Atlantic Nationalism, Populism, concerns about immigration and outright racism are part of election campaigns from the US to Europe. We hear how today's election in Holland reflects the recent past and may forecast the future.
Trump's travel ban and the long-term agenda The Trump Administration's revised travel ban may be good news for some visa holders and others, but it's still being challenged as unconstitutional. Some reporters call it the beginning of a long-term effort to change the demographic make-up of the United States.