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Pell Grants Must Begin Funding Certificate Programs

Robert Cherry - November 26, 2021

Democrats have focused their concerns on increasing the Pell Grant funding of credit-bearing programs at community colleges and applaud its inclusion in Biden’s Build Back Better Act.  This effort is misplaced for two reasons.  First, the vast majority of those attending, particularly black and Latino students, already have substantial financial aid.  Second, what the most vulnerable students need is not a pathway to four year college degrees – the dominant role of urban community colleges – but a pathway to occupational training that can be built upon; and...

Price Setting Bill Is No Panacea for Patients

John M. O’Brien - November 26, 2021

The drug pricing deal in the Build Back Better Act sounded like welcome news to many. As someone who worked for the previous two administrations as they attempted to lower drug prices, I know how difficult making deals like this can be. Despite these difficulties, it is incumbent on policymakers to thoroughly understand the potential consequences of legislation. The hastily assembled BBB compromise fails in this regard as it contains significant uncertainties and unintended effects that could distort pharmaceutical markets, reduce the development of new drugs, and threaten patients’...

Biden ‘Social Infrastructure’ Singles Out News Orgs for $1.7B in Tax Breaks

Adam Andrzejewski - November 26, 2021

A provision in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill would give payroll tax credits to local newspapers, costing $1.7 billion over the next five years. The tax credit is justified as helping keep jobs in an industry that eliminates newsroom jobs regularly and leaves communities without access to critical information, according to the Associated Press. About one-quarter of the country’s newspapers have closed and half of local journalism jobs have disappeared in the past 15 years, according to research from the University of North Carolina, leaving about 1,800 communities...

In 1970s, NASA Got $13.5M to Store Space Rocks

Adam Andrzejewski - November 25, 2021

What the National Aeronautics and Space Administration needed in the mid-1970s was more space to store its space rocks. That’s what NASA said when it requested $2.8 million — $13.5 million in 2021 dollars — to build an addition to the existing Lunar Receiving Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center to house 100 pounds of moon rocks. It’s also what earned it a Golden Fleece award in 1976 from Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin who gave awards for wasteful and nonsensical spending. “The fiscal irony of NASA’a request is that it is not...


Some Surprising Facts About College Students' Politics

Samuel J. Abrams & Jeremi Suri - November 24, 2021

The perception of a liberal, monolithic student body on today’s college and university campuses needs to change. While critics of higher education often rail against the collegiate enterprise and condemn the left-leaning prejudices of students, the fact of the matter is that the political hearts and minds of our nation’s undergraduates are not overwhelmingly aligned with either major political party. While college and university students today largely reject the Republican Party, they are not heavily supportive of the Democrats either. Instead, most students are Independents and...

In Pennsylvania, Civic Engagement Is a Critical Challenge

Andrew Chew - November 24, 2021

Northeastern Pennsylvania is defined by its culturally distinct communities, from dense small cities and coal-region boroughs to bucolic townships and newer suburbs. From the beginning, the area has been shaped by a deep tradition of civic engagement – an unseen force defined by volunteerism, pride, community ties, and showing up to vote. Since the age of anthracite coal, community organizations have traditionally played an important role in building social capital and strengthening local cohesion. Immigrants and their descendants drove this civic engagement, which was evident in social...

What Britney Spears Can Teach Us About Probation Reform

Marc Levin - November 24, 2021

As agonizing as it was to watch the Britney Spears conservatorship grind on for nearly 14 years, her ordeal did spark a wave of state reforms designed to ensure that a necessary tool is not abused by overreach in scope and duration. These changes, such as creating reviews at regular intervals and requiring effective training for conservators, are also needed to improve another facet of our justice system — probation supervision for 3.5 million Americans. Unlike people in conservatorships, those placed on probation were convicted of an offense and are supervised by a probation officer....

DOJ's Antitrust Case Against Publishers is an Overreach

Iain Murray - November 24, 2021

The U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust suit to stop the merger of publishers Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster has not gained as much attention as cases targeting “Big Tech” companies, but it nevertheless illustrates antitrust authorities’ renewed confidence that they can use the law to stop any mergers between large companies. Yet, the case also reveals the weakness of such an approach to competition, and suggests that, far from seeking to strengthen antitrust law, policy makers should be looking to weaken it. Both Penguin Random House (itself...


Republican Legislators Propose Marijuana Legalization at the Federal Level

Jillian Snider & Diane M. Goldstein - November 24, 2021

Over the past few years, both major political parties in our country have been forced to react to the times and figure out who they are and what they stand for. There is no question that this work is far from done. However, one of the most promising trends of this political soul-searching has been the conservative reckoning with how starkly at odds their ages old “lock them up and throw away the key'' mantra truly is with limited government and individual freedom. The war on drugs itself is not much more than an expensive assault on personal freedom. Alongside four of her colleagues in...

The FDA Must Crack Down on Dangerous, Substandard Hand Sanitizer

Ronnie Shows - November 24, 2021

As the host of a weekly political talk show on the oldest African American radio station in Mississippi, I have spent the last several months focusing on getting people who have refused the Covid-19 vaccine to reconsider their decision. Today, less than half of Mississippians are fully vaccinated.  Vaccine hesitancy is not always connected to partisan politics; even though the state’s Republican governor has resisted mask mandates and other commonsense methods to mitigating the pandemic. Rather, vaccine opposition is often the result of indifference to...

Feds Spent $1.2B in Taxpayer Money on Films Over 14 Years

Adam Andrzejewski - November 24, 2021

Beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the federal government has long dipped its toe in the film industry. While the film and video market around the world reached a value of almost $235 billion in 2020, $1.2 billion in taxpayer money was spent on video production and distribution and other related filming categories between 2008 and 2021, according to our auditors at OpenTheBooks, who looked at federal spending records from that time. The Department of Defense was responsible for the majority of it, shelling out $721 million, more than the next eight agencies combined. NASA spent $124...

Wisconsin Must Tackle Labor Shortage. That Means Rolling Back Expanded Aid.

Angela Rachidi - November 23, 2021

It’s an understatement to say that Wisconsin businesses are struggling to find workers. There are more than 132,000 unfilled positions posted on the Job Center of Wisconsin’s website, an increase of 20,000 openings since July. Nearly every sector of the economy is affected: the service industry, healthcare, transportation, construction, agriculture and production. Steve Kohlman, executive director of the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin, says he has yet to speak to a manufacturer who isn’t hiring. At the same time, participation in government safety net programs...


Fighting the Culture War Turned Virginia Red

Frank Cannon - November 23, 2021

In the aftermath of this month’s Virginia election, countless politicians and pundits have written their post-mortems, offering explanations as to how Glenn Youngkin was able to swing Virginia 12 points rightward and win the governorship. Explanations have differed. According to the usual suspects on the left, Youngkin was propelled to victory by an army of racists — secret and overt — in DC’s suburbs. Washington-based policy wonks insist voters were concerned about the minutiae of the reconciliation process in Congress. Meanwhile, academics claim this was just a...

Shrink the State or Drain the Swamp?

Kevin Vallier - November 23, 2021

The Republican Party is divided. An older generation supports limited government. A younger generation wants to use a large government to pursue unapologetically conservative ends. Less than a decade ago, the Republican Party seemed wholly committed to limited government, and 2016 was thought to be a “libertarian moment.” Then Donald Trump changed everything. Trump emerged because repeated attempts to shrink the state had failed. Defenders of limited government hoped that citizens would vote to limit or restrain untrustworthy government. But Republican voters did not respond...

Lower Courts Need a Supreme Court Smackdown on Free Speech

Joseph Bingham - November 23, 2021

I’m about to describe what should be a simple First Amendment case. Lorie Smith of Colorado has a business designing websites for special events, including weddings. Lorie is a Christian who holds the traditional belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and she is not willing to design websites that promote alternative models of marriage, like same-sex or polygamous marriages. Lorie objects to betraying her beliefs about marriage through her work, but she doesn’t discriminate against any customers. In other words, she’ll gladly design a website promoting...

Congress Should Expand Recycling Infrastructure

Steve Benjamin - November 23, 2021

Congress has finally approved bipartisan infrastructure legislation and that is great news. But now is not the time to call it a day. There is more work to be done, including on the subject of recycling infrastructure. This is of particular importance to me as a mayor. I know firsthand why recycling infrastructure is important. Without it, we are wasting an opportunity to make a real environmental and economic impact. There is strong public support for investments in recycling infrastructure. A recent survey of more than 2,000 respondents conducted by YouGov found that 71 percent support...


New York Taxpayers Paid $9.5M in Cuomo Legal Fees So Far

Adam Andrzejewski - November 23, 2021

Andrew Cuomo, disgraced former governor of New York, has cost the Empire State’s taxpayers $9.5 million and will continue to reap the benefits of a law that makes taxpayers pay legal fees for elected officials. Cuomo resigned in August over sexual harassment allegations, while various scandals have followed him, from allegedly using state staff to help him earn $5.1 million from a book deal while the state lost 56,000 people to Covid-19, to requiring nursing homes to take in Covid-positive patients and allegedly undercounting the number of people who died there. Taxpayers have footed...
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Five Facts on Major Social Spending Programs

No Labels - November 22, 2021

Congress is currently considering the Build Back Better Act, the third major spending proposal of Joe Biden’s presidency following the American Rescue Plan Act and the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Initially intended to include about $3.5 trillion in new spending, the size of the package has been reduced — but it would still be one of the biggest spending bills in U.S. history. No Labels Here are five facts on the BBB and other major social spending programs. The House version of the proposed Build Back Better Act is estimated by the Committee for...

No, Pharmaceutical Companies Are Not 'War Profiteers'

Charles Boustany - November 22, 2021

Scientists developed Covid-19 vaccines at an unprecedented speed, and distribution has by some measures been wildly successful. Less than a year after the first approvals, nearly half the world's population has had at least a first shot.  And yet, while 70% of people in the highest-income countries have received a dose, that figure is less than 3% in the lowest-income countries. For both moral and practical reasons, it is urgent that we fix this gap. As we look for solutions, some blame the vaccine makers. It should perhaps come as no surprise that people with little knowledge of...

How to Get Parents on Board with Vaccinating Kids

John Bailey - November 22, 2021

The CDC’s recent approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5-11 is an important milestone in the fight against COVID-19. But the most important group’s approval of the vaccine still hangs in the balance: the parents. In order to convince them to vaccinate their children, parents need to have their concerns heard and addressed not by politicians, but by their trusted pediatricians. The challenge is significant — parents have actually become more hesitant about vaccinating their children. A Kaiser Family Foundation’s (KFF) Vaccine Monitor poll found that the share...