Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle was one of 48 representatives and 11 senators given a grade of “F” on a new report card released Oct. 3 that grades legislators on how well they address income inequality.
The report was issued by the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. The organization has been criticized for being left-wing.
The report card is based on 40 legislative actions taken over the past two years that relate to inequality, including attempts to create a “Buffett Rule” minimum tax rate that all wealthy Americans must pay, efforts to raise the minimum wage, legislation on the Bush tax cuts, the stimulus, the Lilly Ledbetter Act and more. In addition, the report includes an overall “honor roll” — to highlight those representatives and senators who have done the most to narrow America’s economic divide — and a “dishonor roll” of lawmakers who have repeatedly tilted the “1 percent” way. The report card also details the “most 1 percent friendly” and “most 99 percent friendly” by party affiliation.
Buerkle ranked among those on the “dishonor roll” for her votes, which the IPS said consistently favored the interests of the wealthy instead of looking out for the needs of everyone statewide.
The report card’s authors are Sarah Anderson, who directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and has co-authored the 19 IPS annual “Executive Excess” reports on the divide between CEO and worker pay; Chuck Collins, an Institute for Policy Studies senior scholar, directs the IPS Program on Inequality and the Common Good; Scott Klinger, an Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow who crafted the first shareholder proposals on executive pay while working as a social investment portfolio manager; and Sam Pizzigati, an IPS associate fellow, who also edits Too Much, an online weekly newsletter on excess and inequality and writes a weekly column distributed by the OtherWords editorial service.
Buerkle wasn’t the only New York politician noted in the report. Rep. Bill Owens, a Democrat, received a C+, earning him the distinction as one of the 11 House Democrats to do the least to narrow the wealth gap over the last two years.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand earned an A for her votes, and Charles Schumer received a C+.
Overall, averaging together all of New York’s Congressional representatives, the state earned a GPA of 2.6, or a B-, on the report card.
To view the report card, visit ips-dc.org/reports/inequality-report-card.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.
Jul 20, 2017