Kate Sheppard

Kate Sheppard is a political reporter at Grist, and a former Prospect writing fellow.

Recent Articles

NOT BUYING THE POPULIST RHETORIC.

It was refreshing to see The Washington Post point out today that John McCain 's so-called "plan for the working class" consists mostly of benefits for corporations and the rich. The speech he gave yesterday – the most comprehensive outline of his economic policy thus far – was centered on plans that do little to help the working class: eliminating the alternative minimum tax, cutting corporate income tax rates from 35 to 25 percent, allowing businesses to write off new equipment, banning internet and cell phone taxes and creating a permanent tax credit for research and development. He also threw in an ambiguous line about closing the "myriad corporate tax loopholes that are costly, unfair and inconsistent with a free-market economy," and has of course promised to make Bush's tax cuts permanent, despite the fact that he once opposed them. Though he pitched eliminating the alternative minimum tax as a "middle-class tax cut," what he defines as middle class is at best a stretch of the...

MORE HOT AIR.

The State Department sent out a press briefing from Dana Perino confirming the rumor that George Bush will be making an announcement about climate change policy this afternoon. Don't go getting too excited though. From the press briefing: The President will make an announcement regarding his representatives at the Major Economies Meeting identifying long term and realistic intermediate goals for greenhouse gas emissions as part of our continuing leadership in the MEM process, which ensures that all major economies like France, Germany, China and India play a role in any international agreement so as to avoid a future Kyoto-like mistake. The next MEM is being hosted by President Sarkozy in Paris this Thursday and Friday. This process is important in preventing companies in other countries from gaining a competitive advantage over U.S. companies. This, you may note, is exactly the same thing Bush has been saying all along. Well, since he finally got around to acknowledging that climate...

MIND THE WAGE GAP.

April 22 is Equal Pay Day , and to mark it Hillary Clinton has launched a "Make Change Count" campaign. Part of the campaign is a wage gap calculator , which demonstrates that though it's been 45 years since the Equal Pay Act was signed, there's still a huge salary disparity between men and women of the same education levels. Apparently, women in my approximate age and education group are making an average of $13,615 less per year than our male counterparts, which is more than I ever realized despite being generally aware of the overall discrepancies in wages. It's far worse for women from minority groups; while white women earn $0.77 for every dollar men make, Latino women earn just $0.57 and black women only $0.68. It's a useful tool, and it's refreshing to have prominent politicians who can and will take up the subject. Yet another benefit of having the first viable female presidential candidate. --Kate Sheppard

HAPPY TAX DAY! LOVE, JOHN MCCAIN.

The McCain campaign just sent out a Tax Day email to supporters pledging that, as president, he'll make sure they get to keep more of their money and stop the dirty liberals from spending it all on poor people. And the only way to ensure that he'll be their president is to hand over all their money right now: I believe today, as I have always believed, in small government, fiscal discipline and low taxes. I believe that tax cuts work best when accompanied by lower spending. And I make the promise to you that if elected president, I plan to make the present tax cuts permanent, lower corporate rates from 35% to 25% and end the Alternative Minimum Tax, which will affect millions of middle class families. But I cannot succeed in my efforts without your immediate financial support . [Emphasis his.] Classy. --Kate Sheppard

BREAKING THE MESSAGE MACHINE.

Zephyrus made a comment on my post yesterday that made me laugh, and also made me wonder about what the Republican message machine will do with the latest development in continued analysis of Barack Obama 's religion. The tension: Obama is a covert Muslim, a double agent in the clash of civilizations! err... Obama is a radical fundamentalist BLACK Christian! err, sorry, wrong memo... Obama is an elitist Marxist who hates all religion! The religious allegations have already run the gamut, and I'm also envisioning what the message will look like if Obama's the nominee. Now that William Kristol and Joe Lieberman are jumping on the Marxist meme, that will surely be the next go-around of allegations. Unfortunately for the right, "Obama is a radical Muslim angry black Christian atheist" just isn't that marketable. --Kate Sheppard

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