February 4, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - In a rare display of bipartisanship, Congress gave final approval Tuesday to a nearly $1-trillion farm bill, a hard-fought compromise that sets policy over agricultural subsidies, nutrition programs and the food stamp safety net for the next five years. The Senate approved the measure, 68-32, as a cross-section of farm state senators from both parties fought opposition from budget hawks and some liberals and sent the bill to the White House for President Obama's signature.
January 31, 2014 |
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Friday that U.S. sales figures for its fiscal fourth quarter would probably come in below earlier forecasts when they're announced Feb. 20 due to the effects of volatile weather and cuts to the federal food stamp program. The world's largest retailer said in November that for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, it expected sales at American Wal-Mart stores open at least a year to be relatively flat. So-called same-store sales at its warehouse chain Sam's Club were projected to be anywhere from flat to up 2%. But on Friday the company said that sales would likely miss the mark, pushed down from stronger-than-expected pressure from a government reduction in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that went into effect Nov. 1. Winter storms also caused store closings during the period, according to Wal-Mart, which has more than 11,000 units in its system.
January 29, 2014
Re "JPMorgan pays its CEO $20 million," Business, Jan. 25 According to the AFL-CIO, the current ratio of CEO to average worker income is more than 350 to 1; in 1980, it was 42 to 1. Stock options as executive bonuses have been the key driver of that difference, with top executives throttling employee wages to boost stock prices. To restore balance, we need to encourage more appropriate corporate revenue sharing with employees by tying corporate median wage ratios to tax rates (with heavy disincentives for highly disparate ratios)
January 29, 2014 |
Backers of the new farm bill, approved by the House today and destined for consideration by the Senate next week, are patting themselves on the back for saving billions by eliminating a huge wasteful farm subsidy program. Don't believe the hype. The conservative American Enterprise Institute says the measure could cost taxpayers $15 billion more per year than do existing crop programs, much of it going to the wealthiest farmers and the crop insurance industry. The AEI calls the farm bill a "bait and switch" scheme and the product of "beggar thy neighbor cronyism.
January 27, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - California's egg law survived a congressional effort to scramble it as key lawmakers from both parties announced an agreement Monday on a multiyear farm bill. That means beginning next year, all eggs sold in California will have been laid by hens that had plenty of room to flap their wings. The compromise farm bill, which could come up for a House vote Wednesday, would avert deep cuts sought by Republicans in the federal food stamp program and end direct payments to farmers - a controversial provision under the previous farm bill in which farmers received federal subsidies regardless of their output.
January 11, 2014
Re "War on Poverty - not a lost cause," Opinion, Jan. 7 I appreciate the piece by Ann Stevens and Marianne Page noting the battles being won in the war on poverty. But while it's critical to acknowledge our successes, it's important to know that about one-quarter of children in California are food insecure at some point in the year. California has the highest poverty rate in the country, and our food pantries cannot meet the demand. Anti-poverty programs improve immediate well-being and also boost the chances that the next generation will be better off. It's baffling to me, then, that according to a Times report last year, California is the No. 1 state in the nation in discouraging our needy from signing up for food stamps.