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?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?