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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.

Feds Fail on Immigration...Again

The Bush Administration's latest move on immigration reform is yet another attempt likely to fail, at least in part because it ignored input from the people most impacted. Stateline reports that a number of Governors from both parties are upset both by the continued federal dependence on the Guard and by the lack of consultation from the White House before Bush proposed using National Guard forces as a stop-gap measure:

Cleaning Up Our Statehouses

Americans are fed up with big money dominating and corrupting the political process. Voters are fed up; community organizations are fed up; even most politicians locked in the endless fundraising chase are fed up. As Joel Barkin, our Executive Director, wrote last week for New Hampshire's Union Leader, "Now is the Time to Tackle Corruption in Government."

US: Protecting State Health Care Standards

Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) has a truly bad idea. He wants the U.S. Senate to adopt a bill (S. 1955) that would gut state insurance mandates and allow for price discrimination by insurance companies -- all under the guise of lowering the cost of health care (note -- it will not actually lower the cost over the long-term). More importantly, the bill punts on the fundamental question: how do we achieve health care for all Americans?

How About a Family-Friendly Workplace for Mothers Day?

Want a good Mothers Day present?

How about making our workplaces more family-friendly, so that a sick child doesn't mean a crisis for a parent having to beg for time off?

Private Prisons Steer Money to Influence Sentencing Laws

The Institute on Money in State Politics, a tireless group of people who compile campaign finance data for all fifty states and regularly report national trends, have a new report "Policy Lock-Down: Prison Interests Court Political Players" looking at the $3.3 million private prison companies have donated to state-level actors in the last two election cycles.

Smart Growth and Affordable Housing

There's a piece of rhetoric out there that smart growth policies increase housing costs, therefore driving working families out of urban areas to the exurban fringe. Daniel Goldberg of Smart Growth America responds with this post emphasizing that the real problem is that the principles of smart growth -- ensuring that "development makes efficient use of land and the roads, sewers, schools and other infrastructure we all pay for" -- have still only had minimal impact on suburban sprawl.

A New State Policy Model for Job Creation

What makes this change in policy most striking is the dismal policy
of corporate subsidies that it is (still too slowly) replacing. The
community organization, Good Jobs First,
has been the premiere chronicler of tax subsidy boondoggles handed out
to corporations by state and local governments, corporate handouts that
do little to spur healthy growth and that usually leave public
treasuries too empty to address other public needs:

Global Trade Negotiations Threaten State Powers

Every state and local official should be paying more attention to the global trade talks at the World Trade Organization, since local power to regulate services such as health care, mass transit and a range of other public services are on the chopping block.

Researching the Corporate Right Wing in Your State

A good place to start in researching your local corporate-backed policy outfits is the State Policy Network;
pick your state on the linked map and you'll be able to see a list of
"free market" think tanks in your local area. While there is a lot of
overlap, you can also check out the map of state groups listed by Americans for Tax Reform.