Over 1600 Washingtonians, including wealthy investors and small business owners, just argued for a progressive tax on untapped wealth to make Washington’s economy stronger and more inclusive.

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Erica Williams testifies remotely during the public hearing for HB 1496 on Thursday, February 11th, 2021.

Yesterday, Washington’s House Finance Committee held a hearing to discuss HB 1496, a bill that would enact a progressive tax on the untapped wealth of Washington’s richest citizens to raise revenue for communities that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Like all hearings in the pandemic, the meeting was held virtually — you can watch it in full online, if you’d like.

But unlike most remote hearings, a remarkable number of Washingtonians took part in the process, with an astounding 1662 Washingtonians signing in to show their support for the institution of a tax on wealth from extraordinary capital…


A new report lays out five policies that the Washington State Legislature can pass to address our economic woes. Only one rebuilds an economy for everyone.

This week, Washington state lawmakers gathered in Olympia to determine how the state will recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The decisions they make in this legislative session will shape the health of our economy for the next decade. It all comes down to this question: will our leaders invest in the economy, or will they slash spending in a knee-jerk attempt to balance the budget?

The choice between investments and cuts will affect virtually every facet of Washington state’s economy. When eviction bans are lifted, will families be thrown on the street with a black mark on their credit histories…


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For nearly half of the USA, the minimum wage increased on January 1st. Not even the trickle-down business lobby could turn that into bad news.

Happy Minimum Wage Day! Every January 1st, new minimum wage increases go into effect in states and cities around the country. As USA Today notes, 2021 delivered a bumper crop of higher wages for workers: “Twenty states and 32 cities and counties…are set to raise their minimum wages on or about New Year’s Day.” The Hill explains what those raises look like: “New Mexico will see the largest jump, adding $1.50 to its hourly minimum and bringing it up to $10.50. Arkansas, California, Illinois and New Jersey will each increase their minimum wages by $1.”

Here in Washington state, the…


WA Gov. Jay Inslee’s new budget learns from the mistakes of past recessions and starts to prepare the state for recovery.

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Governor Inslee, modeling good mask-wearing behavior.

Yesterday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee unveiled his budget proposal for 2021 through 2023. Budget announcements don’t usually make for riveting political theater, but yesterday’s speech gathered far more attention than usual because of its unique historical context. Inslee wasn’t simply announcing a few tweaks on the continuation of business as usual. He was laying out his plan for how Washington state will combat the pandemic and rebuild from the disastrous economic downturn that accompanied the arrival of COVID-19.

Not every political leader confronts a moment like this. Hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians lost their jobs this year. Consumer spending cratered…


In an astonishing reversal, The New York Times publishes a call for the Biden administration to raise America’s wages.

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You can’t get much more mainstream than The New York Times. Our national paper of record has made and destroyed careers in politics, entertainment, and finance. It has served as America’s compass in moments of great stress, pointing the way forward when war and disaster threw the nation’s future in doubt.

That’s important to note because The New York Times published a remarkable editorial at the end of November that could well change conventional economic thinking for a generation. The editorial board called for the incoming Biden administration to prioritize raising America’s wages above everything else. …


The governor, a millionaire himself, needed additional funds to combat coronavirus—but he also believes that the tax is good for everyone.

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“Anyone earning a million dollars and up, we’re asking you to pay a few pennies more, and we’ll put every dime of that into the middle class,” Governor Murphy says.

Coronavirus infection levels are climbing all around the country again. As more and more Americans stay home to avoid infection, those rising infection rates will likely bring with them another serious economic downturn, just like they did in the spring. The drop in consumer spending will harm the bottom line of small businesses, which will then lay off employees — further depressing consumer demand.

Clearly, a new federal stimulus package is necessary to save the economy from collapsing —…


When rich people don’t face the same consequences as the rest of us, the system falls apart — and it’s bad for everyone.

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Robert Reich, onstage at Town Hall Seattle, September 27th 2014.

We talk a lot in this space about the three central tenets of trickle-down economics: wage suppression for workers, tax cuts for the wealthy, and deregulation for the powerful. We usually refer to these three tactics in terms of policy, like campaigns against minimum-wage laws and regulations lifted by presidential executive order. But the truth is that once you’ve passed enough trickle-down dogma into law, the whole structure of law and policy loses its meaning and the wealthy few become immune to the cause-and-effect that holds society together.

Consider this: If you or I were to walk into a gas…


A Harvard Business School professor believes businesses can build a just and equitable form of capitalism — here’s how, and why now’s the time

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Back when Harvard Business School professor Rebecca Henderson was pitching her latest book to publishers, she recalls, the conversation didn’t get much further than the book title before cynicism kicked in on the other side of the desk. In the latest episode of Pitchfork Economics, Henderson recalls sitting in a big New York City editor’s office and explaining that she wanted to write a book called “ Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire,” and that it was about how business could lead the way to save the world by creating a more sustainable future.

Henderson laughs, “I’ll always remember…


The economy grows when women and people of color are given opportunities — and it could be the solution to rebuilding the middle class

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If words are used too often, they start to lose their meaning. Try saying the phrase “deep discount” to yourself sixty times in a minute, for example, and it turns into a disjointed collection of consonants and syllables with no connection to any existing concept or experience. The technical term for this psychological experience is “semantic satiation,” and it was recently described in the sitcom Ted Lasso as the moment when “words become a sound.”

One phrase that American politicians have nearly pushed to the point of semantic satiation is “the middle class.”

It’s a phrase with a specific economic…


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Progressive economists have left rural America behind. Here’s how small towns and farmlands can win the next economic revolution.

After John Kerry’s failed presidential run in 2004, Democrats didn’t just double down on cities — they basically behaved as though building and maintaining power in cities was the only strategy going forward.

The Urban Archipelago theory argued that American cities were strongholds of progressive thought, and rural America had become an underpopulated conservative wasteland. The future, therefore, would be written in the city and those policies would emanate outward to other parts of the country.

Plenty of great policies erupted from the Urban Archipelago strategy: marriage equality, the $15 minimum wage, enhanced worker protections. The 2008 and 2012 electoral…

Paul Constant

Political writer at Civic Ventures. Co-founder of the Seattle Review of Books. Author of comics including PLANET OF THE NERDS.

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