OH: Spending Cap Shuffle May Indicate Weakening of a Wedge

What political observer is not interested in changes in Ohio's political landscape? The state has a tendency to be decisive in Presidential elections and is gripped by high-profile races for Governor and Senator this year. So it is very interesting that conservatives appear to be edging away from a radical Constitutional spending cap modeled on Colorado's failed TABOR law.

CO: Aggressive Lobbying Disclosure Bill Becomes Law

As voters grow increasingly fed up with corruption in public office, a number of courageous legislators are taking the lead on issues like voter-owned elections and lobbying reform. In Colorado, the forces of reform just landed a major victory.

Beyond the Minimum Wage: New Policies to Raise Wages

The reality for working Americans is that wages have been largely stagnant for over three decades.   For many workers -- especially those without a college degree -- pay has actually gotten worse, meaning that this generation is the first one in American history which is not doing signficantly better than the previous one.  Part of the reason for these stagnant wages is that inflation was allowed to erode the federal minimum wage-- its inflation-adjusted value dropping from $9.12 per hour in 1968 down to just $5.15 per hour in 2005.  

Welfare Doesn't Breed Poverty

One of the stated defenses of cutbacks in aid to poor families in the last decade in the US was the idea that welfare spending traps families in poverty from generation to generation. But new studies, as detailed in this week's Economist magazine (subscription) show that countries with MORE spending on the poor have LESS persistent poverty than in the US.

Wal-Mart Increases Poverty

Paying terrible wages was never likely to be a route to economic growth, so it's hardly surprising that research continues to show that Wal-Mart's growth undermines local economies. The most recent study is in the June 2006 issue of Social Science Quarterly (subscription).

Drilling for Oil in New York City

Instead of looking in Alaska for a massive source of energy, look at New York City.

CA: National Popular Vote Advances

In states across the country, a simple idea is building momentum. Rather than amending the Constitution to guarantee that the winner of the national popular vote wins the Presidency, why not simply amend state law?

Helping Kids in State Foster Care Programs

As a new profile in details, states are struggling to provide foster care for neglected and abandoned children, increasingly turning to grandparents and other relatives to care for them. 4 million children now live with relatives other than their parents.

Defining Down Decent Health Care

Some politicians have a simple way to deal with the challenge of providing health care to the uninsured: cut the funding for those currently receiving care and deliver half-rate care to more people. West Virgina and Kentucky legislatures both voted recently to cut benefits for existing Medicaid recipients, taking advantage of a new federal law that allows states to selectively cut benefits for different populations.

US: Young Workers Left Behind, Uninsured

Young Americans, leaving their parents house and entering the workforce, are increasingly likely to lack health insurance according to a new study from the Commonwealth Fund.