Why the census is really, really important–and in jeopardy right now

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 14.52.56

1. Literally every American social program uses census numbers to allocate resources.

Your fire department, your schools—the data gathered in the decadal census, determines, for example, whether new schools are opened or current schools are shut down. Transportation grants and education grants, among others, are distributed proportionally. If the Veteran’s Administration wants to place a hospital for elderly veterans, they obviously want to select a location heavily populated by elderly veterans. If the numbers are off, the hospital gets mis-sited—and the vets don’t get health care.

pub. 05/2017

A more-or-less timeline of Trump’s transition, and the ensuing chaos

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 16.46.38

Trump’s management preferences, honed in his business, also overrode the recommendation of some transition planners for a White House structured with clear lines of authority and a strong chief of staff. That structure was meant to discipline the president’s mercurial style. Instead, Trump created a White House of multiple and competing power centers, personal rivalries and internal conflict.

pub. 04/2017

Myths about people who use SNAP and food stamps


“There seems to be this idea that just because you’re receiving food assistance benefits, you stop having cravings,” says Marissa Evans, who covers health and human services policy for the Texas Tribune…

…If you’re going to make judgments about what SNAP beneficiaries are eating, be prepared to make the same judgments about everyone else. For example, if you think the government should be acting to limit what people who receive SNAP can eat, consider whether you’d be in favor of similar government intervention for other households—like, for example, a junk food tax. These aren’t necessarily bad ideas, but class prejudices may influence how we think about them.

pub. 02/2017

What is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and why might we want to keep it?


Many of these institutions, particularly payday lenders, are notorious for preying on consumers. Some argue that it’s up to the consumer to read the fine print and figure out how these products work on their own. This sounds simple enough, but the problem is that many of these companies make their terms deliberately misleading, so the CFPB was created to provide more transparency.

pub. 02/2017