Policy Shop

Policy as if people mattered

An Antidote to Voter Suppression

Yesterday, hundreds of non-partisan organizations came together for National Voter Registration Day to ensure that hundreds of thousands of Americans will be able to exercise their freedom to vote and make their voices heard this upcoming November.

Against a TSA Democracy

For the first time ever, people around the country who love American democracy have decided to come together to observe a National Voter Registration Day on September 25, 2012—a day to pull out all the stops in making sure that every eligible voter is registered and able to vote in this critical election year. Hundreds of non-partisan organizations have agreed to reach out to help hundreds of thousands of people get registered to vote so that they can fulfill their civic duty as citizens and make their voices heard in November.

History Lesson: Tax Cuts Are No Magic Bullet

No idea is more central to conservative economic thinking than the belief that cutting taxes leads to higher economic growth. One can certainly understand the appeal of this belief: It would be great if government could collect the same amount of revenue, but with much lower tax rates, because those rates fostered strong growth. 

Wall Street Built That

(Flickr/Ed Gaillard)

As we celebrate Occupy Wall Street’s first birthday, the movement's pivoted from financial regulation to focus on crushing consumer debt. While reforming debt is crucial (particularly student debt), finance remains an imminent threat to the American economy. We shouldn't forget it.

There's little evidence that Wall Street's changed since 2008. The drumbeat of flagrant financial crimes has continued unabated in the year since Occupy Wall Street’s inception. As Senior Fellow Wallace Turbeville aptly illustrates, the culture of the "alpha" remains.

Big Oil's Political Blitz

 

News came out last week that fossil fuel interests have spent over $153 million in television ads attacking the President’s clean energy agenda, including criticizing new air pollution rules and the delay of the Keystone XL pipeline. This figure is likely to grow, as there is still two months before the election. And, this is in addition to the $13 million the fossil fuel industry gave to the Republican National Committee and associated PACs, $950,000 to the Democratic National Committee, and $70 million spent in lobbying.

Riches to Massive Riches: The Michael McCaul Story

(mccaul.house.gov)

Sick of investment advice from hacks like Warren Buffet and Donald Trump? Ask a congress member. Roll Call published their latest list of the “50 Richest Members of the 112th Congress” last week. Texan House Representative Mike McCaul took first place, reporting a minimum net worth of $305.46 million for 2011. His wealth has increased exponentially over the past few years while the current median household income is the lowest it’s been since the late 1990s, according to recent data from the US Census:

Understanding Poverty: What the Census Doesn't Tell Us

(Demos.org)

It’s time we change how we think about poverty. The newly released Census report on poverty received a lot of attention from the chattering class. But was it really deserved? 

There are many ways in which the rate understates poverty. The poverty line, individuals making $11,484 a year, has been used since 1964. A CBS report explores the inadequacy of the measure: 

Peer Power: Facebook, Voting, and Social Influence

(Facebook)

A new study from the University of California, San Diego, shows how a Facebook get-out-the-vote campaign can have a tangible impact on voter turnout—but only when there’s a certain sort of social component to it.

 

The researchers conducted an experiment on every American Facebook user who was 18 or older during the 2010 congressional elections—more than 61 million people. Most people in the group saw a message at the top of their News Feed that

The Pension Pinch

(Demos.org)

For the magazine’s 20th Anniversary, the September issue of SmartMoney has a long section recapping changes in American personal finance -- and on what they got right and wrong -- over the last two decades. 

Their historical review starts with the blunt question:

Who’s responsible for your retirement? You are.

It would be more accurate to add, however: "You're responsible and you're all alone in an industry built to make money for itself, with few protections for your savings."

As SmartMoney explains:

Corporate Tax Myths

(Flickr/Contando Estrelas)

There's no corporate income tax in Bermuda. Can we really compete with that?

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