This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – March 1, 2023

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Colombia's President Gustavo Petro election presents social justice opportunity
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema tied to exploitive Payday lending industry
  • $80 billion for IRS is a once-in-a-century chance to collect dues from wealthy

• On a remote ranch in coastal Colombia, campesinos work the land from a former drug dealer who is now in a U.S. prison. Before he left, he granted left-leaning President Gustavo Petro the power to hand over his 3,000-acre ranch to poor farmers, who now graze several dozen cattle there.

(“Can Colombia’s Mercurial President Bring ‘Total Peace’?”) Economist, Feb. 8, 2023)

• Arizona U.S. Sen. Krysten Sinema, who recently left the Democratic party to become an independent, is a close ally of the exploitative payday lending industry.  The industry she supports often charges 400 percent interest on short-term loans. Payday lending is seen as predatory and is banned in 18 states.

(“Krysten Sinema Formed Consulting Company Tied to Payday Loan Industry,”  Intercept, Feb. 13, 2023)

• Since 2010, congressional Republicans have systematically defunded the operations and enforcement capacity of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.  Over time, the IRS lost 15,000 tax enforcement officers, depleting the ranks of auditors required to review the complex tax returns of the nation’s wealthy. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency’s customer service suffered. In May 2020, the agency had a backlog of approximately 20 million returns, delaying tax refunds for millions of households.

(“Reanimating The Taxman,” American Prospect, Jan. 26, 2023)

This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.

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