Equal Rights Amendment

Passed by Congress in 1972 and sent to the states.  Approved by 35 of the 38 states needed for ratification: The Equal Rights Amendment Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Section 2. The Congress shall have […]

14th Amendment to the Constitution

We will be discussing equal opportunity in class today.  Much of the public policy debate about what we mean by the equality we promise turns on the first section of the 14th Amendment. Fourteenth Amendment, Adopted on July 9, 1868: Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the […]

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Debt?

October 22, 2016 The New York Times today has two interesting pieces about whether we should be concerned about the federal budget deficit and the long term indebtedness of the United States. On the one hand, Paul Volcker (former Chair of the Federal Reserve) and Peter Peterson (former Treasury Secretary) argue, as they have in […]

Reducing Child Poverty

October 19, 2016 Today’s New York Times has an interesting article about child poverty (“Bold Strike Against Poverty: A Check for Every Child”) by Eduardo Porter.  Accompanying the article is this disturbing chart: The current federal income tax deduction that allows families to exclude $4000 per child from taxable income “avoids the poor almost entirely,” Porter […]

Does Social Security Reduce Poverty?

October 18, 2016 This question came up in class: does Social Security reduce poverty among the elderly?  We had noted that poverty rates are lower for Americans over 65 than they are for adults 18 to 64, and highest overall for children.  One answer to the question about whether Social Security reduces poverty comes from […]

Stagnation: A Central Challenge

October 11, 2016 In today’s New York Times, David Leonhardt has an op-ed piece worth reading entitled “A Great Fight of Our Times.”  It is about stagnation in life circumstances (income, opportunity) of many Americans over the past few decades.  He calls such stagnation “a central challenge of our time.”  Here’s a snippet: When progress […]