Kalena Thomhave

Kalena Thomhave is a writing fellow at the Prospect.

Follow @kalenasthom

Recent Articles

Could Pro-Choice Advocacy Sway Susan Collins?

Public pressure influenced the Maine Republican’s vote against repealing the ACA. Could that same pressure convince her to protect Roe v. Wade?

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Senator Susan Collins of Maine I s it any surprise that soon after Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement announcement, the internet was flooded with discussion about Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska? These two senators, among the last Republican moderates now in office, consider themselves pro-choice. And since Justice Kennedy has been the swing conservative justice who has supported Roe v. Wade , his retirement means that Collins and Murkowski will be seeing a lot of pressure in the coming months after President “ I am putting pro-life justices on the court ” Trump nominates his pick to fill the court vacancy. Is there any chance that the pressure from pro-choice forces could at all be effective, particularly for Collins, who may be the likelier of the two to vote “no”? The evidence is not inspiring. Collins has a history of voting for Trump’s judicial appointments, including Justice Neil Gorsuch. And her spokesperson recently indicated that Collins wouldn’...

The Idle Poor and the Idle Rich

Republicans attack the welfare system because they say the poor need to work, but they reduced the incentive of the rich to work by gutting the estate tax.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan A man passes the famed bronze bull in Lower Manhattan I N A SPEECH LAST NOVEMBER , before the GOP’s tax reform became law, President Trump told a crowd in Missouri, “I know people that work three jobs and they live next to somebody who doesn’t work at all. And the person who is not working at all and has no intention of working at all is making more money and doing better than the person that’s working his or her ass off.” This imaginary person next door, presumably, was living off of welfare benefits, and that’s why welfare reform was needed. But consider another person living off government benefits—in the form of tax breaks. That person may not work much, or not at all, but typically has far more money than someone working three jobs. As much as Trump and the Republicans malign the much-exaggerated idle poor, their tax reform is a major boost for the idle rich . Those who benefit from inherited wealth need not do anything to earn their windfall—just be born...

Federal Reorganization Plan Is Sleight of Hand to Gut the Safety Net

The plan to consolidate departments may be how Trump plans to corral assistance programs in order to destroy them.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House on June 21, 2018. O ver a year ago, the now-ousted Steve Bannon declared that a priority of the just-settling-in Trump administration was the “destruction of the administrative state.” Trump’s cabinet appointees, Bannon said, “were selected for a reason and that is the deconstruction.” While Bannon no longer roams the halls of the White House, his legacy persists (one need only look to the white nationalist immigration policies seeping out of the administration). And the destruction of the administrative state continues. Last week, the Trump administration released a plan to consolidate federal agencies and move certain programs to different agencies. While this news may seem innocuous—perhaps nothing more than federal housecleaning—the proposal is likely rooted in a desire to cut social programs. The first clue that social programs may be threatened...

Trump Moves to Curb Federal Employee Labor Protections

Unions representing federal employees are on the chopping block.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin Wearing a mask that says "silenced," Appollos Baker, with the American Federation of Government Employees, attends a rally in Washington. trickle-downers_54.jpg I f an administration wanted to destroy the power of labor unions, it might first attack unions that are subject to executive orders. President Trump headed in that direction late last Friday, when he signed three executive orders that place new restrictions on federal employee labor unions. The orders , which affect more than two million federal employees, limit employees’ use of “ official time ” (the amount of time a federal employee can use to work on union matters while on the clock) to 25 percent of the work day; revamp the collective bargaining process, and make it easier for managers to fire employees. House Republicans want to cut back on “official time,” which they describe as “union time on the people’s dime” (and was actually the title Republicans used for last week’s House Oversight and...

A Great Deal for Banks, Not So Much for American Jobs

On Thursday, a bill progressives had dubbed the “Bank Lobbyist Act” was signed into law by President Trump after passing the House 258–159 this week. The bill rolls back a number of Dodd-Frank regulations in order to aid a “suffering” banking sector—even though banks have reported record-high profits this year. And while the bill was on the floor in each house, Republican leaders refused to include amendments that would have limited banks’ offshoring of American jobs.

Since the GOP tax reform passed last December, many economists have warned that it will incentivize corporate offshoring—a threat that even the Congressional Budget Office was forced to acknowledge, as I reported in April. Banks are leading the charge to offshore jobs, particularly in their call centers, laying off workers at home in order to hire cheaper, exploitative labor in other countries. The regulatory rollback Republicans passed this week threatens to put this offshoring into overdrive and only continues to put big business before working- and middle-class Americans.

An amendment to the banking bill, proposed by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren and which ultimately failed, would have made banks that offshore American jobs ineligible for the deregulations. In the House, Democratic Representative Mark Pocan of Wisconsin put forth a similar amendment during debate, but Republican House leaders refused to allow the amendment to be considered.

“Republicans keep passing sweetheart legislation for banks while refusing to allow any debate or votes on provisions to slow down or prevent these banks from shipping more and more American jobs all around the world,” Shane Larson, legislative director for the Communication Workers of America, said in a statement.

A number of Democrats (many of whom have received donations from the banking industry) signed on to the bill, and Republicans hope that this legislation lays the groundwork for further bipartisan gutting of Dodd-Frank—likely without consideration of banks’ disappearing U.S. jobs.

Pages