Justin Miller

Justin Miller is a former Prospect writing fellow and is currently covering politics for the Texas Observer

Recent Articles

Emboldened by Trump, Minimum-Wage-Hike Opponents Fight Back

In a direct repudiation of voters, the business lobby and state Republicans (and some Democrats) are trying to undermine minimum wage increases. 

(AP/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey presents his 2016 State of the State address, in Phoenix, Ariz. Ducey led the charge calling on cities and towns to "put the brakes" on plans to raise the minimum wage or mandate other employment regulations such paid sick leave. One of the few bright spots for liberals on Election Day was that voters in four states —Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington—approved ballot measures to raise their minimum wages. The ballot wins proved, once again, that, when put directly before voters, progressive economic policies like increasing the minimum wage are wildly popular—even in red states. The business lobby, however, isn’t letting the will of the people get in its way. Chambers of commerce, restaurant organizations, and other opponents of a livable wage have launched lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona and Washington ballot measures and have embarked on heavy-handed lobbying campaigns in...

Kevin Brady: Trickle Downer of the Week

The House Ways and Means chair wants American consumers to pay for massive corporate tax cuts. 

trickle-downers.jpg Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has an ambitious plan to dramatically remake the American tax system—and in doing so, give out massive tax breaks to powerful corporations and the wealthy. Ryan’s plan is unadulterated trickle-down economics, sending 99.6 percent of the tax cut savings to the top 1 percent of American taxpayers. At the same time, it slashes the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. To pay for those mammoth corporate tax cuts, Ryan and the GOP’s top tax writer, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, are hawking a “border adjustment” tax (BAT) that would levy what is essentially a tariff on imports and a rebate on exports. One analysis finds that the proposal would raise about $1.2 trillion in revenue over 10 years, though that’s likely still not enough to cover the cost of the business tax cuts. What is clear is that the policy would result in dramatically higher prices for American consumers. House...

Puzder’s Out, But Acosta Raises Questions

Trump’s new, more-traditional labor secretary nominee is still a hardline conservative—and labor advocates have questions. 

Less than 24 hours after celebrating former labor secretary nominee Andy Puzder’s withdrawal, labor advocates are now scrambling to get up to speed on Trump’s new nominee, Alexander Acosta, officially nominated at a press conference Thursday afternoon. President Trump announced that he thinks Acosta will make a “tremendous secretary of labor,” but made no mention of Puzder’s failed nomination. On the surface, the administration seems to have learned its lesson after putting forward a controversial fast-food executive with a long record of incendiary anti-worker comments and a hostile view of government regulations. Puzder’s nomination was met with broad-based opposition from progressive advocacy and labor groups, who saw him as a nominee directly at odds with the mission of the labor department, and a finger in the eye—rather than a champion—of working people. Acosta, who has held multiple positions in the federal government, is seen as...

Jeb Hensarling: Trickle Downer of the Week

Wall Street’s favorite congressman wants to gut consumer protections. 

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP Chairman Jeb Hensarling runs the House Financial Services Committee meeting to organize for the 115th Congress on Feb. 2, 2017. trickle-downers.jpg The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s aggressive regulatory and enforcement mission, crafted as a part of the Dodd-Frank financial reforms, has long drawn the ire of congressional Republicans who are eager undermine its power and independence—and with a deregulatory fanatic as president, they may now have their best shot. Leading that charge is House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, whose Wall Street deregulation bill—the Financial CHOICE Act—forms the GOP’s blueprint for winding back Dodd-Frank. In a memo obtained by The New York Times last week, Hensarling outlined his plan to eviscerate the CFPB’s power. In a follow-up interview this week, the Texas congressman called the CFPB a “rogue, unconstitutional” agency. “I want to protect...

Will Puzder Be the First to Fall?

Inside the battle to resist Trump’s ‘Anti-Labor Secretary’ nominee.

On December 8, news broke that Trump would nominate Andy Puzder, the CEO of the company that owns the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s burger chains, to lead the Department of Labor. Since then, revelations about his controversial track record of comments and actions have painted a picture of a man whose every breath runs counter to the labor department’s mission: “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.” Puzder’s Senate confirmation hearing has been delayed four times—allowing his opponents to build up a long dossier and prompting rumors that he was getting cold feet. He has denied those rumors, and after finally filing his financial paperwork with the Office of Government Ethics, his hearing is scheduled for this Thursday. As one of the last—and most...

Pages