This story is going to sound very familiar to you. It wasn't inspired by any specific set of circumstances that happened to a colleague within the last month. Six months. Or even a year. Because the truth is, it has happened to me. And it has happened to you. And if it hasn't happened to you, trust me it will.
We don't yet know what is in the TPP, because it is still secret and will remain so until shortly before the fast-track process requires Congress to vote. The president says to trust him, telling us that it will be great and "progressive" and create lots of jobs and expand the economy. Great. But the history on our trade deals -- especially those passed using fast track -- has been very bad. NAFTA was sold as creating a lot of jobs and growing the economy, but NAFTA destroyed jobs and expanded the trade deficit. China's entry into the World Trade Organization was sold as creating a lot of jobs and growing the economy, but it turned out to be absolutely devastating for America's working people, middle class and entire manufacturing ecosystem, and the trade deficit with China is now enormous. As a result of these agreements, entire regions of the country look like wastelands. Seriously, go look at Detroit.
In the House and Senate budget proposals for fiscal year 2016, passed with only Republican votes at the end of March, there are big winners and big losers. The big winners are defense spending and contractors and very wealthy people and powerful special interests. The big losers are children, our poorest group in America, and struggling low- and middle-income families.
As the first night of Passover approaches, I have been thinking about how to bring meaning to the Holiday. The Passover Seder recounts the story of the Jewish people's Exodus from Egypt. Importantly, it is also an annual ritual for reaffirming core values and transmitting these values from one generation to the next.
Inequality is a problem for everyone -- for business, for the health of the democracy and for society at large. Our free-enterprise system is the driver of income and wealth. Business leaders don't have to wait for government solutions to the inequality problem. They have the tools at hand -- they just need the courage to step away from the pack and use them.
The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by Governor Mike Pence last week, is one of the most biased pieces of state legislation we've seen in our modern era. The fact that it is cloaked in the name of religious freedom is particularly offensive to me as a member of the clergy who has been engaged in ministry and social justice work my entire life.