Abby Rapoport

Abby Rapoport is a freelance journalist, and former staff writer at The American Prospect. She was previously a political reporter for the Texas Observer

Recent Articles

Has Hell Frozen Over?

Last week, I mentioned California Gov. Jerry Brown's state of the state address , which argued for more moderate approach to education and investments into infrastructure like high-speed rail. Perhaps most shocking, however, is that Brown's plan calls for some slight tax increases. And since California requires voters to approve such increases, Brown is embarking on a campaign around the state to convince people it might not be such a bad idea. In the world of political strategy, this sounds ludicrous. Except that it just might work. A poll from the Public Policy Institute of California shows over 68 percent of California likely voters support Brown's tax proposal. And it's not just Democrats; 65 percent of Republicans favor the governor's plan. According to the LA Times Brown's plan to wallop the well off—individuals earning $250,000, couples making $500,000—pleases the middle class. Raising the sales tax, the governor hopes, will neutralize the business lobby, which mostly fears...

Wisconsin Walk-Through

Wisconsin activists shocked onlookers last week when they presented more than one million petitions asking for Governor Scott Walker to be recalled. Since then, the pendulum has seemingly swung in the governor's favor: high fundraising numbers, a state of the state address celebrating his policies, and a poll showing him leading four potential opponents. But there's still a lot of time left to go: two months of verifying signatures, and then, assuming at least 540,000 are valid, an election six weeks later. If there's a Democratic primary, the process will be even longer. With all that time and a divided electorate, the key questions will likely come down to which side can frame the debate and which side can turn out its voters. With Walker currently ruling the television waves and his opponents perfecting an impressive grassroots organization, it's hard to see one side with a clear upper hand. Even the poll offers few conclusions. So let's take this week's news, point by point. THE...

Does Changing the Dropout Age Matter?

Among the many policy proposals in the president's state of the union last night, you may have missed his one-liner, urging states to adopt a dropout age of 18, with a goal of reducing the dropout rate. Right now, in most states students must attend school until they are 16 or 17. However, even before last night's speech, several states were considering legislation to raise the dropout age, like Wyoming and Kentucky . Many states—19 back in 2009—already had raised the age for compulsory attendance to 18. With so many states doing it, and the president pushing the policy, presumably it works, right? Well, not exactly. In 2009, the Rennie Center in Massachusetts came out with a report investigating the impact of the policy . Their conclusion? Focus on other policies first. The comprehensive report showed a lack of evidence that changing the age for compulsory school attendance had a major impact on the dropout rate. Based on 2004-05 data, it showed that of the ten states with the...

What's the Matter with Kansas, Tax Edition

While around the country, many Republican primary voters are up in arms that Mitt Romney only paid about 13 percent of his income in taxes last year, in Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback is pushing a proposal that would not only benefit wealthy Kansans but raise taxes on the state's poorest residents. A new report released yesterday argues that the plan will benefit some large corporations but fail to create jobs. The plan gets rid of a number of tax deductions—including those for home mortgages and charitable giving. It also takes away the earned-income tax credit and food-sales tax rebate. As the AP noted last week: According to the Department of Revenue's own figures, the only class of taxpayers that would see an increase in its aggregate income tax burden would be the one with people whose incomes are $25,000 or less, while the largest percentage cut would go to the group with incomes exceeding $250,000. As a group, the lowest-income taxpayers actually get a net payment from the...

In Baseball as in Life

I imagine being an Astros fan is not that different from being an old-style, Goldwater-type Republican. One day, you wake up and realize that you don't recognize the team you've spent your life rooting fo. In the case of the Astros, it's not so much that they've played poorly but that the new owner has already cut a deal to send my beloved team to the—ugh, yuck—American League in 2014. (I was raised to believe the designated hitter would be this country's undoing.) Now, adding insult to injury, there's talk of changing the team's name. It's enough to make you doubt the sustaining qualities of baseball. Then I see a picture of a young Ron Paul in the old-style Astros uniform , and somehow, I feel quite comforted.