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Richard (RJ) Eskow
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Richard (RJ) is a Senior Fellow with the Campaign for America’s Future and the host of The Zero Hour, a weekly program of news, interviews, and commentary on We Act Radio. The Zero Hour is syndicated nationally and is available as a podcast on iTunes. Richard has been a consultant, public policy advisor, and health executive in health financing and social insurance. He was cited as one of “fifty of the world’s leading futurologists” in “The Rough Guide to the Future,” which highlighted his long-range forecasts on health care, evolution, technology, and economic equality. Richard's writing has been published in print and online. He has also been anthologized three times in book form for “Best Buddhist Writing of the Year.”

Entries by Richard (RJ) Eskow

Citi to Help Unemployed Youth? Oh, the Irony!

(2) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 7:44 AM

Here's a story that resonates with so many layers of bitter irony that it's hard to know where to begin. So we'll start with the headline: "Citi Foundation to Help Teens Find 'Pathways to Progress.'"

Two other recent stories at a certain piquancy to this noble-sounding venture. One involved...

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Invisible Social Security Cuts: Now You See Them, Now You Don't

(29) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 8:02 AM

The unseen hand of antigovernment ideology can be found everywhere nowadays -- even in your mailbox. The proof is in what you won't find there, like your annual statement of earned Social Security benefits.

The government stopped mailing those out in 2011.

It's also getting a lot harder to find...

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Is Charles Koch Un-American? Let Thomas Jefferson Decide

(80) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 8:45 AM

In a surprisingly self-pitying Wall Street Journal editorial, billionaire Charles Koch has put forward the proposition that the nation's "collectivists" have unfairly characterized him as "un-American."

What Koch calls "character assassination," however, others would describe as a simple recounting of the facts. Koch and his brother David are...

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McCutcheon, the Majority, and the Challenge of Our Time

(5) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 11:17 AM

The Supreme Court's McCutcheon ruling will be remembered as a decisive battle in a determined and wealthy minority's war against the popular will. It is not the first such battle, nor will it be the last. And the people will continue to lose -- unless and until the rules of...

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Bill Clinton and Steny Hoyer: The 'Wall Street Democrats' Fight Back

(48) Comments | Posted March 27, 2014 | 10:10 AM

If progressive and populist ideas resonate with most voters, some people have asked, why isn't the Democratic Party doing better in the polls? Here's one reason: Some of the party's most prominent leaders are still pushing Wall Street's unpopular and discredited economic platform.

Recent speeches by former President Clinton and...

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The Cost of Empire, in Ukraine and at Home

(5) Comments | Posted March 25, 2014 | 10:20 AM

At a time when so many Americans are struggling economically, our nation continues to pay a steep price for its global empire -- and in more ways than one.

Consider this: On March 12 a bipartisan Senate deal was reached which would extend urgently-needed unemployment benefits. Although the measure received...

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Madoff's Billionaires: The Fear and the Fury

(46) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 10:50 AM

Bernie Madoff had some choice words recently about the politicians he thinks are spreading "socialism" and "wealth distribution," while billionaires Tom Perkins and Ken Langone both likened critics of oligarchic wealth to Nazis. Perkins and Langone should take heed: It's a bad sign when you sound...

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Free Higher Education Is a Human Right

(72) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 5:49 PM

Social progress is never a straightforward, linear process. Sometimes society struggles to recognize moral questions that in retrospect should have seemed obvious. Then, in a historical moment, something crystallizes. Slavery, civil rights, women's rights, marriage equality: each of these moral challenges arose in the national conscience before becoming the subject...

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Dear Abby: An Open Letter to MSNBC's Huntsman About Social Security

(132) Comments | Posted March 16, 2014 | 2:29 PM

Last week MSNBC's Abby Huntsman expressed some strong opinions about Social Security. That's her right and her privilege. Unfortunately, she also made some inaccurate and misleading statements. (See Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times for details.)

As the saying goes, we are entitled to our own opinions...

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Can a Divided Left Become a Populist Movement?

(1) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 10:45 AM

The echoes of Adolph Reed's critique of the left in Harper's magazine continue to reverberate. At its fringes, where the heat's generated, it's an argument about the relationship between the progressive movement and the Democratic Party. At its center, where there have been occasional glimpses of light, the talk...

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Newark's School Crisis and the GOP's War on Our Cities

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 11:09 AM

We recently interviewed Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, on The Zero Hour on the school crisis currently taking place in Newark, N.J. The Newark story is part of a larger pattern in which Republican governors override local governments, especially urban ones, to serve both their...

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The White House Budget: A View From the Left

(13) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 11:43 AM

Republican House Speaker John Boehner calls President Obama's new budget "irresponsible." A New York Times headline calls it a "populist wish list." But it's neither of those things. The White House's fiscal proposal is a cautious foray out of the president's reflexive "compromise" mode.

Unfortunately, it also repeats and...

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An Oscar Shutout for Financial Fraud

(7) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 7:59 PM

It's now been nearly 18 hours since the last Academy Award was handed out, which makes it an old story in today's hyper-accelerated news cycle. But here's a final observation -- a question, really -- before Sunday night's relatively unmemorable gala fades from memory forever.

Why were the only two...

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Has the Left Surrendered?

(31) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 10:00 AM

Has the American left ceased to exist as a viable political force by surrendering its power to a corporatized Democratic Party? That's the argument put forward by political scientist Adolph Reed Jr., first in an essay for Harper's magazine and then in a televised follow-up interview with...

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The Covenant: Why Wall Street Gives Trade Reps Big Paydays ... In Advance

(4) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 9:55 AM

If you take the king's shilling, says the old saying, then you do the king's bidding. So what happens when you take 100 million of them?

Here's one possible answer: You negotiate trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the new pact that the administration is currently trying...

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The President Says the 'Era of Austerity' Is Over -- Is It?

(125) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 9:51 AM

The nation has been treated to a sneak preview of President Obama's 2015 budget, scheduled to be released next Tuesday. As we asked in Part 1 of this two-part budget update, that's an occasion for reflecting on the nature of a White House budget. Is it a negotiating document?...

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Yes, the Left Killed the Chained CPI

(5) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 9:49 AM

What does a presidential budget even mean? Is it merely a symbolic document, or is it an actual working template for the federal government's coming year?

For some people, the answer to that question seems to depend on the point they're trying to make. For the Right, the president's budget...

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Five Years After the Stimulus, Reality Itself Is Under Attack

(194) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 9:00 PM

It's been five years since the passage of President Obama's stimulus bill (officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). Its successes are well documented: an increase in the GDP of between 2 and 3 percent from late 2009 through mid-2011; six million "job years" created, which comes to 1.6...

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Don't Do It, Mr. President!

(51) Comments | Posted February 17, 2014 | 2:52 PM

President Obama's budget is scheduled to be released on March 4, and a critical question remains unanswered. Will he or won't he reprise the "chained CPI" cut to Social Security that he proposed in last year's budget? Nobody on his team is talking. The answer to that question could...

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10 Reasons to Call for More Than $10.10 as a Minimum Wage

(138) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 10:14 AM

Yesterday President Obama signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for some federally contracted workers to $10.10. This move illustrates the fact that we need a higher minimum wage for all workers. It also promotes the bill by Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. George Miller which would raise...

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