Cory Booker: The system is rigged against working Americans

“Two hundred billion dollars announced in stock buybacks... only six billion [going] back to workers," Booker said

By Nicole Karlis

Senior Writer

Published March 8, 2018 7:15AM (EST)

Sen. Cory Booker D-N.J., questions Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a hearing, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
Sen. Cory Booker D-N.J., questions Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a hearing, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (AP/Jose Luis Magana)

To hear it from President Donald Trump, the economy is booming and everything is great. Senator Cory Booker, D-NJ, has a more distressing perspective — and he paid a visit to MSNBC’s “The Beat With Ari Melber” to ring the alarm bells.

“I see a very different economy from my dad's era to now because of things like the tax bill,” Booker said on Wednesday. “More, more powerful interests using their lobbying and their influence of money, Citizen's United to warp the system, to rig the system, against working Americans.”

Booker went on to say that he was not merely talking about low-income Americans. (According to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 12.7 percent of Americans live in poverty.) “I’m talking about all Americans who are wage earners in this country,” he said.

Booker said he is seeing very “disturbing” trends in the economy — and once again pointed to the tax bill as an example. He said that lobbyists and corrupt lawmakers are pouring millions into ads to promote the tax bill and similarly unscrupulous agenda items. In addition to the tax bill, he said that stock buybacks could be promoting income inequality.

“But the facts are the facts,” he said. “Two hundred billion dollars announced in stock buybacks and dividend payments, only six billion — three percent — are going back to workers.”

Booker mentioned his legislation, The Worker Dividend Act — previewed by Vox — and reiterated that the government had a duty to get the economy back on track.

“We have to start doing things to get us back to the long-term substantive economy of our past,” he said. “It really is about investing in companies who are hiring people and investing in labor and more.”

Booker’s economy warning bells arrive at a curious moment; indeed, the latest jobs report revealed that 235,000 positions were added in February in the private the sector. Still, short-term successes don’t necessarily equal long-term benefits. As the Congressional Budget Office recently revealed in a report, trouble may be on the horizon.

"The Congressional Budget Office projects that if the debt limit remains unchanged, the ability to borrow using extraordinary measures will be exhausted and the Treasury will most likely run out of cash in the first half of March 2018," explained the Congressional Budget Office in a recent report. "If that occurred, the government would be unable to pay its obligations fully, and it would delay making payments for its activities, default on its debt obligations, or both."

The report pointed out that prior to the passage of Trump's tax cuts, the Congressional Budget Office predicted the Treasury Department would run out of money in either late March or early April.

As The Washington Post reported today, some Democratic senators are seeking to reverse the GOP tax bill.

By Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a senior writer at Salon, specializing in health and science. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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Donald Trump Economy Gop Tax Bill Income Inequality March 2018 Jobs Report Sen. Cory Booker