Manuel Madrid

Former Prospect writing fellow Manuel Madrid is a reporter for the Miami New Times.

Recent Articles

Magic Corporate Tax Cuts and Other Fables

Trump and Republicans peddle the myth that money for corporations will trickle down to workers.

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File
trickle-downers_35.jpg One of the biggest obstacles standing between Donald Trump and his plan to drastically cut corporate taxes is the opinion of the American public. Corporate tax cuts, though a key part of the administration’s proposed tax reform package, also happen to be a particularly controversial one. And with recent surveys showing that a majority of Americans remains skeptical of lowering taxes on corporations, hawking big corporate tax cuts to the public presents the GOP with a challenge. The White House’s Council of Economic Advisors stepped up to the plate on Monday, releasing a report that claimed that cutting the corporate tax from 35 to 20 percent could give American workers a pay raise as high as $9,000, once the economy has fully adapted to the change. Corporate tax cuts mean higher after-tax profits. In theory, these profits could be used to fund new investments, which would presumably yield an increase in worker productivity, ultimately resulting in a...

Mnuchin Fails The ‘Mnuchin Test’

The Treasury secretary trips himself up trying to justify a tax cut that cannot possibly benefit the working class.

Anthony Behar/Sipa USA via AP Images
trickle-downers_35.jpg After the populist surge that put Donald Trump in the White House, Steve Mnuchin tried to rebrand himself as a man of the people. He promised that as treasury secretary that he would unburden the working class and that the rich shouldn’t expect any sort of preferential treatment. Many observers were very skeptical of these promises—and for good reason. Appearing on Meet the Press this week, Mnuchin had been tasked with defending the Republicans’ new tax framework . But he couldn’t really explain it. Mnuchin repeated like a mantra that the “objective” of the tax plan was a “middle-income tax cut” and not a tax cut for the wealthy. Given that he had few real details to offer, Mnuchin could avoid both making promises and giving straight answers, while doubling down on his own dubious projections of how the plan would play out for Americans. But despite his best efforts, he was unable to avoid being caught out on one...

States Take on Student Debt Abuses as the Trump Administration Defaults

While the administration rolls back the weak protections that exist, more than a dozen states have proposed reforming the largely unregulated student loan industry.

Chris Radburn/Press Association via AP Images
Student loan-servicing companies are an underappreciated part of a debt-for-diploma system that has badly failed college students and graduates. The loans themselves are a mix of direct federal loans, state loans, and private ones guaranteed by the government, but virtually all payments are collected by loan servicers. These companies, as for-profit middlemen, can pile on unnecessary costs to indebted students and steer them to act against their own self-interest. The Obama administration sought to rein in abuses, issuing policy guidelines for loan servicers and allowing relief for students who were misled by for-profit colleges—but stopped short of formally regulating the loan-servicing industry. Earlier this year, the largest of the nine loan-servicing companies, Navient Corp, formerly part of lender Sallie Mae, became the target of lawsuits from consumers, state attorneys general, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). With the Trump administration now...

Silk Roadblock

Yo-Yo Ma's celebrated project for global understanding through music runs into Donald Trump's sour note.

Max Whittaker/Silk Road
Max Whittaker/Silk Road Silk Road musicians like Kinan Azmeh, performing here with Cristina Pato, have had their ability to travel freely impeded by American and British immigration authroities. This article appears in the Summer 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . In 2000, the revered cellist Yo-Yo Ma embarked on a project that would today seem quixotic: uniting a group of musicians from every corner of the globe, with the goal of using music to transcend national and cultural boundaries. He couldn’t have imagined then how radical a statement the simple existence of the Silk Road Ensemble would soon become. Silk Road joined together virtuoso musicians on instruments from different cultures that had never before been played together. These include the pipa and sheng from China, the Galician bagpipes, the oud from the Middle East, and more than a dozen others. Artistically, the result is astonishing. Culturally, the message is that appreciating “...

Can a Revamped Farmworker Visa System Prevent Abuses?

Foreign nationals who work on American farms remain vulnerable to exploitation by employers who rely on a temporary agricultural visa employment program.

(AP Photo/Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman)
Four years is a long time to suffer the indignity of unpaid wages and miserable housing. But Martin bit his tongue. A Mexican citizen, Martin came to the United States on an H2A temporary visa for seasonal agricultural workers. Martin’s contract specified that he would be housed and work on a central Texas cattle ranch for $10 an hour. But when he arrived at his destination, there was no ranch, no cattle, and no housing. Instead, the company that recruited Martin and other workers required them to drive out to the mountains near the state’s southwestern border to build barbed-wire fences for $65 dollars a day. Despite freezing nighttime temperatures, he had no choice but to sleep in his pickup truck or an open-air shack. But almost anything was better than working back in Mexico, where the daily minimum wage is 80 pesos (about $4). He didn’t mind the tough work or the harsh conditions, but as abuses started to pile up, Martin, who took the job to provide for his wife...