Kalena Thomhave

Kalena Thomhave is a writing fellow at The American Prospect. Her email is kthomhave@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

Reimagining the Tax Code, Getting There with Grassroots Activism

Tax policy, which can be deadly dull, hasn’t inspired much enthusiasm for activist campaigns—until now. Advocates could leverage this energy to push for a progressive tax code.

Alex Edelman/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
The House and the Senate have reached an agreement on the final GOP tax bill and plan to vote on it sometime next week. However, there’s still aggressive mobilization against the legislation, fueled by progressive organizations like the Not One Penny and Stop the #GOPTaxScam coalitions; Indivisible; and Americans for Tax Fairness. These groups are working hard to disrupt a tax agenda that overwhelmingly favors the wealthy, even though in all likelihood the bill will pass. Tim Hogan, spokesperson for the Not One Penny campaign, says that regardless the outcome of the bill, this mobilization is a victory “in the court of public opinion.” Indeed, Americans are strongly against the bill: a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that nearly half of Americans who are aware of the legislation oppose it. And tax policy activism—a rarely- seen phenomenon—has played a role in raising awareness. This surge in activism could lay the foundation for a popular movement, not just...

Feminist Men Commit Sexual Assault Too

The world isn’t divided into Roy Moore-like predators and angels.

In her essay , “Some of the Times I Didn’t Consent,” Deadspin ’s Hannah Keyser wrote about various experiences with men who violated her. Most of them were friends. Of these men, she writes: I don’t think any of these men think of themselves as predators. They’ve probably forgotten these encounters. They are, for the most part, decent, educated, politically enlightened men who view themselves as part of the solution. They trust that the bad guys women talk about when they talk about sexual assault are objectively other than them. They don’t realize that this isn’t binary, that there aren’t Good Men and Bad Men. There aren’t Good Men and Bad Men. There are men (and it’s usually men) who have done lots of good things throughout their lives, who rally for human rights, who call themselves “feminists”—and they, too, have sexually assaulted and have sexually harassed people. And here’s the important...

Simplifying the Tax Code, or Simply Trickle-Down Economics?

The Senate’s tax bill drives up the deficit, which could enable the same tax-cutting Republicans to inflict drastic cuts to the social safety net.

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
trickle-downers.jpg Senate Republicans may try to quickly move their tax proposal to a vote this week, attempting to score the GOP’s first legislative victory before the opposition can thoroughly mobilize. It’s a nightmare bill, and most Americans don’t support the tax reform proposal (though of course, wealthy Republican donors do). This isn’t surprising, since the tax plan is a tax cut for the rich, and stands to hurt the poor by threatening their health care as well as essential social programs. Back when Trump revealed the original GOP plan, he said he wanted to “make the tax code simple, fair, and easy to understand.” To simplify the tax code, Republicans have trumped up their ( not quite ) doubled standard deduction, while eliminating personal exemptions and other deductions (which the increased standard deduction may not completely offset). But the effect of these individual changes is slight when compared with the key piece of the tax plan,...

The GOP Tax Plan Expands the Child Tax Credit -- for the Wealthy

Though an expanded child tax credit could sharply reduce poverty, the GOP is instead focused on strengthening the (upper-income) American family.

(Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/Sipa via AP Images)
One of the most lamentable failures of the repugnant Republican tax plan is the Child Tax Credit proposal. Though the possible expansion of the CTC had been hailed as bipartisan relief for struggling families, this proposal is just one among many that will boost the rich without doing much of anything for the poor. And the conservative reasoning supporting this CTC model is particularly insidious. Expanding the CTC was a pet project of Ivanka Trump, who has long attempted to pass herself off as a champion of women and a moderate voice in her father’s ear, a nonsensical notion in light of her inaction to advocate for the feminist issues she says are important to her. Praising the tax plan, Ivanka said it “takes a big step in terms of helping the American family with the high cost of raising children.” By “the American family,” she meant the wealthy American family. The current CTC gives up to a $1,000 tax credit for each child in an eligible working family...

Revving Up Rural Public Transit

Small communities create unique transportation programs that reduce reliance on cars and improve residents’ local connections.

Fredlyfish4/Creative Commons
screen_shot_2017-07-19_at_4.28.52_pm.png When the sun rises over Plainview, Nebraska, Arnold Oltjenbruns is already up and ready for work. Beginning at 7:30 A.M., he picks up the kids that he drives to school. “I like hauling the kids the best,” he says. “As soon as they get in the van they’re talking away, and telling me what’s going on.” Oltjenbruns drives Plainview’s “Handivan”—a small, accessible van that provides public transit for Plainview’s 1,200 residents. Whether he’s taking people to school, medical appointments, stores, (or to a nursing home in a neighboring town so that one gentleman could visit his girlfriend), Oltjenbruns and the Handivan can be the difference between isolation and strong social ties in the small northeastern Nebraska city. Oltjenbruns, a retired farmer, had recently moved to Plainview. He wanted something to do with his free time, took the volunteer job, and got certified to drive...