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Here’s What We’re Reading: Wednesday News Roundup

Here’s What We’re Reading: Wednesday News Roundup

Here are some headlines from the working family’s news we're reading today (after the jump).

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Prepaid Cards: High Fees for Low Wages

Photo by DJJudah/Flickr

When payday rolls around, more and more workers aren’t getting paper paychecks or direct deposits to their checking accounts, but instead are finding their wages on prepaid cards.

The new trend—especially  prevalent in low-wage industries—saves the employer money,  and means big (and mostly unregulated) profits for the banks and financial institutions that issue the cards. It also eats big chunks of the workers’ pay though a bevy of fees they must pay to access their accounts.

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Bank Regulators Propose to Rein in Abusive Payday Lending

Payday lenders can trap working people in a never-ending cycle of debt. Big Banks also have gotten into the business by offering “deposit advance” loans. For years, consumer advocates have been calling on regulators to rein in abusive payday loans, which often charge interest at more than 300% per year. These exorbitantly high interest rates drain money from low-income communities.

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You Are Now Entering the Mallory Factor Spin Zone

Photo by eyewashdesign A. Giolden/Flickr

After Mallory Factor appeared on "Morning Joe" this morning, Jeff Hauser sends us this report.

What type of person comments on a generation of declining union membership and increasing inequality and blames unions?

What type of person looks back at America’s economy—after decades of deregulation followed by economic bubbles and misery for the 99% of people who work hard for a living—and blames unions?

It takes someone who combines an ear for dishonest public relations spin with a large wallet linked to the continued enrichment of Wall Street tycoons.

Mallory Factor is someone who understands that the banking industry’s bad reputation for destroying the world’s economy requires a diversion, a scapegoat. That he would write a book focusing on blaming unions, rather than his Wall Street peers, is entirely

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Is the U.S. Headed for a Fiscal Cliff?

Is the U.S. Headed for a Fiscal Cliff?

Economist Simon Johnson, co-founder of the popular blog, The Baseline Scenario, joined us here today at the AFL-CIO for a discussion of his new book, White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt and Why It Matters to You. Co-authored with law professor James Kwak, White House Burning shows why the debasement of our political system in the 1980s and 1990s has produced a dysfunctional Congress that perpetuates our debt-based economy.

Johnson, a professor of entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management, joined us in a Q&A on his findings and analysis of where we go from here.

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Citigroup’s Ex-CEO Reverses Big Bank Stance

In a surprising change of heart, the ex-CEO of Citigroup, Sandy Weill, backed off his former position that there is nothing wrong with Big Banks.

Politico reports:

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Super Rich Have Hidden at Least $21 Trillion in Offshore Accounts

Super Rich Have Hidden at Least $21 Trillion in Offshore Accounts

Instead of investing in the economy and creating jobs, the global elite super rich (the .001%) stashed their assets in offshore tax havens. Mitt Romney has offshore accounts in Australia, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

new report from the Tax Justice Network estimates the amount of wealth sitting in offshore accounts is at least $21 trillion and as much as $32 trillion.

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Trumka to Justice Dept.: Investigate Banks

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is urging the Justice Department to lead a comprehensive investigation with state attorneys general to prevent banks from engaging in future unlawful and deceptive practices that could exploit homeowners and put the economy further at risk. From Trumka:

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Friday Fun: Watch a Bankster Squirm

Check out this video and see what happens when a Bankster is confronted with his own greed—and brought along to admit that a teeny, tiny financial transaction (“Robinhood”) tax on stock trading wouldn’t hurt that industry one bit. But it would make a huge difference in the lives of the 99 percent.

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Shuler Talks with Students at Occupy Wall Street

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to head to New York where Occupy Wall Street is now entering its third week. I had just flown into New York City from Minneapolis and was coming off the enthusiasm and passion of 800 young workers at the AFL-CIO Next Up Summit.  Young workers at the Summit issued a statement of support for Occupy Wall Street, and I had to see and experience the movement first-hand.

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