Next Social Contract

Taxing the Poor

  • and Katherine S. Newman
February 27, 2011

This book looks at the way we tax the poor in the United States, particularly in the American South, where poor families are often subject to income taxes, and where regressive sales taxes apply even to food for home consumption. Katherine S. Newman and Rourke L. O'Brien argue that these policies contribute in unrecognized ways to poverty-related problems like obesity, early mortality, the high school dropout rates, teen pregnancy, and crime.

Sweet Bird of Youth! The Case For Optimism

  • By
  • Charles Kenny,
  • New America Foundation
March 18, 2011 |

Youth. Antisocial, mobile-tapping, Lady Gaga-obsessed layabouts who get off the couch only to riot. What's to like? Rather a lot. In the Middle East and North Africa, youths played a major role in bringing down some long-standing dictatorships. And that may be only the start. A burgeoning young population might help speed global economic growth and be a sign of positive developments in the quality of life worldwide.

The Great Social Security Taboo

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
March 15, 2011 |

If Washington, D.C., were a sovereign country, much of its GDP would consist of exports of paper, in the form of plans for the future of Social Security. Whether offered by liberals or conservatives, almost all of the proposals for Social Security are doomed by political realities that the authors of these plans refuse to acknowledge. 

Seismic Inequality

  • By
  • Charles Kenny,
  • New America Foundation
March 15, 2011 |

The death and destruction in Japan may be horrifying, but the record earthquake that struck March 11 off the east coast of Honshu island still suggests one important lesson: Building codes and land use regulations can save lives. Japan's strict guidelines have been widely credited for keeping the death toll down to a fraction of the casualties in Haiti's quake last year.

The Measure of America, 2010-2011: Mapping Risks and Resilience

Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 12:15pm

American Human Development Project Co-Directors Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis joined Urban Institute’s Eugene Steuerle for a discussion of the newly released Human Development Index report at the New America Foundation on Thursday, March 31, 2011. The Index, entitled The Measure of America 2010-2011: Mapping Risks and Resilience, is an easy-to-understand measure of health, education, and income that ranks the 50 states, 435 congressional districts and the nation's main racial/ethnic groups by how well they are doing in the wake of the Great Recession.

Identification, Please

  • By
  • Jamie Holmes,
  • New America Foundation
March 9, 2011 |

In the Western world, government-mandated biometric IDs -- identification systems that identify individuals based on fingerprints, irises, and other unique physical traits -- are often regarded with suspicion, even hostility.

Half of Welfare Cases Now Kids

  • By
  • Kate Karpilow,
  • New America Foundation
February 9, 2011 |

California’s welfare system, known as CalWORKs, is designed as a time-limited cash assistance and welfare-to-work program to help recipients get trained and employed. Self-sufficiency is the buzz word.

Counties Need More Support to Boost CalFresh Participation

  • By
  • Kate Karpilow,
  • New America Foundation
February 28, 2011 |

Here’s a fact that should command the attention of every policymaker in California: Nearly 5 billion dollars in federal funding is lost each year when California families eligible for food stamps aren’t enrolled in the program.

Funny how a state unemployment rate stuck at 12 percent-plus since August 2009 can turn a bureaucratic issue like “program participation rates” into a strategic discussion about economic stimulus.

How Liberalism Can Survive the Collapse of Union Power

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
March 1, 2011 |

In last week’s column, I argued that, because unions are likely to play an even smaller role in American politics and policy than they do today, progressives must come up with other strategies for mobilizing ordinary workers and voters to achieve goals like higher wages and a comprehensive system of social insurance.

Hidden Federal Benefits

  • By
  • Gregory Rodriguez,
  • New America Foundation
February 28, 2011 |

Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what your country has done for you lately.

With apologies to John F. Kennedy, that's what concerned citizens should be doing to get their heads around the debate in Washington about the appropriate size and role of government.

Despite how riveted we are by Washington blood sports, average citizens don't always understand what "government" means. That's not because they're dumb; it's because the nature of government — especially the programs it pays for that affect most Americans — has changed drastically.

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