Justin Miller

 Justin Miller is a senior writing fellow for The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

As Trump Gears Up for Big Tax Cuts, Seattle Opts to Tax Wealthy

The progressive city is once again paving the way, and strongly rebuking trickle-down economics. 

(Photo: AP/Elaine Thompson) Demonstrators stand together as they wait for a Republican response to a new city income tax on the wealthy that was approved earlier by the Seattle City Council Monday, July 10, 2017, in Seattle. trickle-downers.jpg T he Seattle city council voted unanimously Monday to institute an income tax on the city’s highest earners, providing a stark rebuttal to the current trickle-down debate between President Trump and congressional Republicans over how much they should cut taxes for the rich. The measure will levy a 2.25 percent tax on individuals who make more than $250,000 and joint filers who make more than $500,000. The tax is expected to generate an estimated $140 million in new revenue for Seattle, which leaders say they hope to use to lower the burden of more regressive taxes like the city’s property tax, to plug any holes from potentially diminished federal funding spurred by Trump, and to bolster the city’s public services. “Seattle is challenging the...

Despite Trump, State Progressives Advance Pro-Worker Policies

While the president goes on the attack, Democratic-controlled states and municipalities forge ahead. 

(Caring Across Generations) I n the face of the Trump administration’s predictably antagonistic stance on pro-worker policies, coupled with the escalating onslaught against worker power in Republican-controlled states, progressives are racing ahead to enact innovative labor laws to help working people in the places where they can. Over the past eight years, Democrats’ control of government has receded to 1920s-levels, severely hindering progressives’ ability to advance pro-worker labor policy in Washington, D.C., or in the states. As of now, the Democratic Party controls the governorship and legislature in just six states, while progressive power is most concentrated in a few dozen municipalities. It’s in those places in recent weeks that lawmakers have pushed forward a number of innovative labor laws that present a clear contrast to the Chamber of Commerce-influenced, deregulation-driven labor agenda in the White House. Improving Home Care Last week, Hawaii passed a law establishing...

Kansas Redux: Illinois Legislature Overrides Governor’s Austerity Politics

It’s becoming increasingly clear that conservative governors trying to push trickle-down tax cuts for the rich and austerity for everyone else will, eventually, face a political backlash.

Once again, a bipartisan coalition of fed-up legislators has overridden their intransigent governor’s veto to keep their state from driving off the cliff. On Thursday, Illinois Republicans joined with the Democratic majority in the legislature to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a $36 billion budget that raises much-needed revenue with income and corporate tax rate increases and brings an end to the longest running budget crisis in the country.

Rauner, a Republican and multimillionaire, has tried to impose his agenda of spending cuts and attacks on labor unions but has long faced staunch resistance in Springfield, which took the form of a more than two-year political standoff over the budget. The financially troubled state has not had an operating budget since Rauner took office in 2015, leading to $15 billion in missed payments and a series of credit downgrades that brought Illinois’s bond rating to the verge of “junk” status.

While Rauner had for years managed to keep Republican legislators under his thumb, ultimately the state’s worsening fiscal disaster and the governor’s obstinacy provoked 11 Republicans to join with Democrats to override his veto.

The end of the Illinois impasse comes just weeks after a similar scenario in which the Kansas’s Republican-controlled legislature, with the help of Democrats, overrode Governor Sam Brownback’s disastrous tax experiment. As I reported for the Prospect’s summer issue, in a matter of five years, Brownback’s radical tax cuts succeeded in throwing the state into fiscal chaos by blowing a massive whole in the state budget and completely failed to generate Brownback’s promised “shot of adrenaline” to the Kansas economy.

And while sanity ultimately prevailed in Kansas and Illinois, it will take both states several years to dig out from underneath the fiscal rubble left by both governors.

Trickle-down tragedies have a long tail. 

Tax Cuts for the rich. Deregulation for the powerful. Wage suppression for everyone else. These are the tenets of trickle-down economics, the conservatives’ age-old strategy for advantaging the interests of the rich and powerful over those of the middle class and poor. The articles in Trickle-Downers are devoted, first, to exposing and refuting these lies, but equally, to reminding Americans that these claims aren’t made because they are true. Rather, they are made because they are the most effective way elites have found to bully, confuse and intimidate middle- and working-class voters. Trickle-down claims are not real economics. They are negotiating strategies. Here at the Prospect, we hope to help you win that negotiation.

Republicans Want to Make Deficit-Busting Tax Cuts Permanent

Real tax reform is hard. So a growing bloc of tax-cut enthusiasts wants to rewrite the rules of the game to secure rate reductions for the rich.

(CQ Roll Call via AP Images) Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, with Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, right, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., during Mnuchin's confirmation hearing in January. trickle-downers_35.jpg T ax cuts for the rich and corporations simply aren’t enough, says a growing chorus of influential Republicans in both Congress and President Trump’s cabinet. For the trickle-down economic growth to be fully realized, they say, their generous cuts need to be permanent (-ish). Under current Senate rules, deficit-increasing tax cuts must expire after ten years. The Republicans claim that this makes corporations and the wealthy too economically anxious to invest and create jobs. Once they get done shredding the American health-care system, Republican leaders hope to be ready to pass a big tax-cut plan with a simple majority in the Senate (avoiding a Democratic filibuster) by using the budget reconciliation process. However, the Senate’s “Byrd Rule” requires...

Randy Bryce, Working Man Gone Viral, on His Bid to Beat Paul Ryan

A Wisconsin union ironworker’s plan to oust the House speaker: “I don’t need a law degree. I don’t need a doctorate. I have ears to listen.”

YouTube Wisconsin ironworker Randy Bryce in a video announcing his bid to unseat Paul Ryan. I n late June, an ironworker from southeastern Wisconsin made waves when he released a video announcing his campaign to oust Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, one of the country’s most powerful and influential conservatives, from his seat in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District in the 2018 election. In the video, Wisconsin Democrat and longtime union activist Randy Bryce squarely criticized the American Health Care Act, which Ryan co-authored and steered to passage in the House. Bryce talked about his mother’s struggles with multiple sclerosis and his own battle with cancer. He pledged to be a voice for working people like him, and challenged Ryan to trade places with him and come work the iron while Bryce goes to Washington. The internet blew up. Bryce’s campaign video quickly went viral, with many commentators calling it one of the most effective political messages in years. People...

Pages