Campaign Finance & Elections

Is More Work the Answer?

Vox: “Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton don’t agree on much, but they both strongly believe more Americans should be working in low-wage, unpleasant jobs.”

“America is a very, very rich society. The richest the world has ever known. For many Americans — particularly Americans with children — working a low-wage, physical job with little job security and unpredictable hours is a deeply unpleasant way to spend your life. Maybe more work isn’t always the answer.”

“For many Americans, the central problem here isn’t work. It’s wages. You can see it in this chart:”

epi compensation wages

“What Paul and Clinton are essentially proposing is to improve living standards by getting people to work more in low-wage jobs.”

“For people who are involuntarily out of the workforce because they can’t afford child care, that’s great. If they want to work, they should work. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that, for many people, work is the worst.”

Ted Cruz Bangs the Obamacare Job-Killer Drum

Danny Vinik: “On Thursday, CNBC published an interview with Senator Ted Cruz … Cruz demonstrated once again why it’s so hard to envision him as the nation’s top executive: He simply refuses to incorporate new facts into his understanding of the economy.”

“’The simple reality is millions of Americans are hurting right now under the Obama economy,’ Cruz said. ‘Yes, some jobs are being created, but not nearly as many have been destroyed. The rich, the top 1 percent, today earn a higher share of our income than any year since 1928.’”

“When Republicans first warned of Obamacare’s threats to the economy, they, including Cruz, repeatedly predicted events along that first reading … Instead, this has happened:”

“As you can see from the graph, there’s no point when Obamacare sent a ripple through businesses and stymied job growth. Even if you give Cruz the benefit of the doubt and assume he was imagining a hypothetical, Obamacare-less world, the chart shows why the GOP has had to mute its claims that Obamacare would destroy the economy.”

A Rise in Libertarians to Support Rand Paul?

Nate Cohn argues that “libertarians remain too young and too few to present Senator Paul with a realistic path to the nomination. He has to win over a much larger share of more reliable Republican primary voters, who will have considerable reservations about Mr. Paul’s policies. The other problem he faces: Many of the voters most receptive to libertarian views tend not to vote.”

“In one sense, you could argue that the libertarian wing of the Republican Party barely exists at all. According to a large Pew Research survey in 2014 of 10,000 respondents, 11 percent of Americans and 12 percent of self-identified Republicans considered themselves libertarian. They met a basic threshold for knowing what the term meant. But there wasn’t much “’ibertarian’ about these voters; over all, their views were startlingly similar to those of the public as a whole.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 8.48.12 PM

“The likeliest explanation is that “libertarianism” has become a catchall phrase for iconoclasts of all political stripes.”

“To remain broadly acceptable, Mr. Paul will need to run an utterly mainstream campaign. But it is unclear whether such a strategy will excite and turn out the modest libertarian base cultivated by his father.”

The Most Liberal and Most Conservative Towns in Each State

Washington Post: “Elbing, Kan. and Wichita, Kan. are just a few miles from one another … The former ranks as the most conservative town in the state, while the latter is the most liberal, according to data from political analytics company Clarity Campaign Labs.”

most liberal and conservative town map slightly larger labels

“Business Insider created the map above with the most liberal and conservative towns in each state using data from Clarity Campaign Labs. Many of the blue cities are major urban areas: New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, Memphis, Omaha, and Seattle. Some are college towns, like Berkeley, Madison, Wis., Ann Arbor, Mich., and Hanover, N.H.”

Deciphering the Campaign Finance Maze

National Journal: “Here, we break down that system to show the many ways individuals can donate—directly or indirectly—to benefit the presidential candidate of their choice. How much can one well-heeled philanthropist spend to influence the outcome of a presidential election over the course of a year? Below is our answer, and an exhaustive guide to all of the groups hoping to vacuum up donors’ money over the next year and a half.”

Climate Change as a Vote-Mobilizer?

Philip Bump: “According to data from the new Washington Post / ABC News poll, … when it comes to 2016, a full 58 percent of registered voters say that they favor a candidate who will take action to fight climate change — and 38 of all voters think that position is very or extremely important.”

“What’s particularly interesting about this result is that opposition to government action is more likely to be of the mopey variety. More than half of those who oppose government action don’t consider the issue to be as important.”

“We’ve written before about the apparent political advantage for a candidate in backing action on climate change. This result backs that up. Almost three times as many people enthusiastically support a 2016 candidate who will back government action on climate change than adamantly oppose that idea.”

New Jersey Leads the Pack in Criminal Politicians

Christopher Ingraham: “We pulled data on the number of elected officials in 2012 and each state’s crime rate (2013) and compared those numbers to a list of people indicted or convicted of crimes at the federal, state and local level since 2000. The source for the latter figures is Wikipedia, so it should be considered an estimate at best. But it should also be considered extracurricular reading; it’s stuffed full of drugs and violence and bribery and drunkenness and all of the sorts of things that you love to hear about outside of the context of politics.”

“We plotted the number of criminal politicians per 1,000 in the state (at the federal, state and local levels) versus the rate of violent crime in the state per 100,000 residents. And got this.”


Why Congress Won’t Unite Behind an Obamacare Alternative

National Review: “With Obamacare at the center of the policy battles in Washington, Republicans in Washington aren’t sure they want to force legislation written in the halls of Congress on the party’s presidential nominee. Ryan, now the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is working on a replacement plan that might unite House Republicans. But on the Senate side, there is more hesitancy to coalesce around a single Obamacare alternative. Some senior senators prefer to wait for a presidential nominee to propose a replacement plan, and so the upper chamber is hanging back.”

“Various Senate Republicans have health-care-reform ideas, but majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) hasn’t put his imprimatur on any particular attempt to ‘conceive an alternative’ to Obamacare, according to one Senate aide. ‘McConnell’s big, big contribution to the entire thing has been keeping Republicans united against Obamacare,’ the GOP aide says.”

“In the absence of congressional consensus, the debate is moving to the presidential stage. Former governor Jeb Bush (R., Fla.), for instance, proposed replacing the ‘monstrosity’ of Obamacare with a plan that would provide people with catastrophic coverage.”

Indifference About Obamacare Ruling From Many Governors

Politico: “The Supreme Court this June could cut off millions of Americans from affordable Obamacare coverage. The response from the nation’s governors gathering in Washington this week was an assortment of shrugs.”

“For some Republican governors it was a shrug of indifference. They say the onus falls on President Barack Obama and Congress to figure out what to do if the Supreme Court invalidates Affordable Care Act subsidies in their states. And if Obamacare falls apart, well, they say, good riddance.”

“For others — among them potential 2016 contenders Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio — it’s a shrug of uncertainty.”

“Governors are largely on the sidelines of the subsidy fight — but in the center of the 2016 map. Administration allies doing Obamacare outreach worked hard to sign up millions of people in states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the classic presidential battlegrounds, and homes to some of the likely contenders.”

“Although the issue primarily affects states with Republican governors — Democrat-led states largely built their own insurance exchanges — a handful of Democratic governors with Republican legislatures are also grappling with how to respond. Some would like to build their own exchanges but need to figure out how to pay for it and how to overcome likely Republican opposition.”

Economic Mobility Starts at the Local Level

Vox: “Here’s one basic reason we know localities matter when it comes to social mobility: rates vary drastically from city to city in the US.”

“The US has one of the lowest intergenerational mobility rates among advanced countries, according to the OECD. But as with unemployment or earnings or any other economic statistic, mobility isn’t uniform nationwide.”

“A study by  Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren of Harvard and Emmanuel Saez and Patrick Kline of Berkeley found ‘that mobility varies widely by metro area — a child growing up in America may altogether have less economic opportunity than a child born in Norway, but you’re probably far more likely to climb the income ladder if you’re born in Iowa than in Alabama, as their map of mobility shows. The below map shows the average eventual income percentile rank of kids who grow up in homes below the median income.'”

Mobility by area

“As the New York Times’ David Leonhardt wrote in his dissection of these numbers, ‘fairly poor children in Seattle — those who grew up in the 25th percentile of the national income distribution — do as well financially when they grow up as middle-class children — those who grew up at the 50th percentile — from Atlanta.'”