Manuel Madrid

Manuel Madrid is a writing fellow at The American Prospect

Recent Articles

Fast-Food Blues: Workers Protest Low Wages, Sexual Harassment as McDonald’s Profits Soar

At annual shareholders’ meeting, the fast-food chain’s tone-deaf executives fail to confront critical issues facing the company’s workers.

trickle-downers_35.jpg Shortly before the company’s annual shareholder meeting last week, more than 100 cooks and cashiers rallied in the rain outside McDonald’s new headquarters in Chicago’s West Loop to demand higher wages. In recent years, the meeting has attracted demonstrations organized by the union-backed Fight for 15 movement. But in 2018, a new grievance appeared on the roster of complaints against one of the world’s largest fast-food chains: sexual harassment. With the help of Fight for 15, ten current and former female McDonald’s employees in nine different cities have taken legal action against the company over alleged instances of harassment by employees and managers. Most shareholders appeared largely indifferent to the unrest. The topics of pay and harassment did not appear on the group’s agenda, which included elections to the board of directors, approval of new executive compensation packages, and votes on other shareholder...

OPM Director Wants Federal Workers to Join Retirement Race to the Bottom

Few civil servants work for the federal government to get rich, but at least they can count on a decent pension. The Trump administration wants to change all that.

What better way to kick off Public Service Recognition Week than a proposal to cut retirement benefits for current and former federal employees? Before the start of the annual celebration during the first full week of May, Office of Personnel Management Director Jeff Pon sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan outlining the administration’s proposals to cut monthly retirement income for all future federal retirees and to require employees to fund a larger portion of their retirement. The proposals, which mirror requests made in the White House’s fiscal year 2018 budget, are sure further strain to an already frayed relationship between the Trump administration and federal workers. The requested changes would reduce cost-of-living adjustments for current retirees in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), which provides retirement benefits for most federal workers hired before 1984. Such adjustments would also be eliminated for current and future retirees in the Federal...

Kevin McCarthy: Trickle Downer of The Week

The House majority leader is the front-runner to succeed Paul Ryan atop the House Republicans. He’d also be a fitting heir to Ryan’s trickle-down legacy.

“You’ve got to remember, I’m the only guy in the modern era who didn’t want this job,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told Politico Magazine last fall. Nonetheless, Ryan entered the speakership with a clear sense of mission. There were taxes to be cut and safety nets to be slashed. Forced to traverse a chasm between Republicans factions, Ryan considers holding his caucus together in December for the tax overhaul to be the highest point in his speakership. Now, with Ryan’s announced departure, those hoping for a change in the trajectory of the Republican Party to arrive with Ryan’s replacement should brace themselves for disappointment. For the second time in nearly three years, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California appears to be the odds-on favorite to take the spot as number-one Republican in the House. McCarthy has been at the center of the fights for nearly every major Republican piece of legislation and deregulatory effort...

Waiting -- and Waiting-- For Corporate Tax Cuts to Deliver Those Wage Hikes

Though if you’re a CEO or shareholder, the new tax cuts are the gift that keeps on giving.

(Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Sipa USA via AP Images)
trickle-downers.jpg Working- and middle-class Americans standing by for those corporate-tax-cut-fueled wage increases to appear now understand how Vladimir and Estragon felt in Waiting for Godot . It’s been nearly four months since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law, and the good times continue to roll for shareholders and company executives. Corporate profitability is well on its way to hitting decade-long highs, and CEO pay, coming off of a record year in 2017, will be the cause of much champagne-popping. But if the new tax bill, which showered corporate America with an estimated $68 billion in savings, has been a party for Wall Street, folks on Main Street—the supposed primary beneficiaries of the tax-cutting bonanza, as Republicans told it—have yet to receive their invitations. A new online database launched by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), a broad coalition of more than 400 groups championing progressive tax reform, tracks how corporations have responded...

Under Trump, a New Golden Age for Payday Lending

A deregulatory push led by top-level Republicans could turn back the clock to the heyday of predatory lending.

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Payday lenders—those usurious operations that profit from providing high-interest loans to working-class and poor Americans—have seen their prospects improve dramatically under the Trump administration and the Republican Congress. A joint resolution introduced last week by South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham would eliminate strict regulations on short-term, small-dollar lenders imposed by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and prevent the agency from issuing a similar rule in the future. The resolution marks the latest attempt to defang the CFPB, which became the bête noire of the payday loan industry in the years following the financial crash. The rule, which among other things would obligate lenders to confirm that people can actually afford to repay their loans, was set to go into effect in January but was put on hold by the interim head of the CFPB, Trump appointee Mick Mulvaney. While the CFPB “reconsiders” the law,...

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