Public-Policy

I’m wondering what’s gonna happen to all of the like people around my age or younger who’ve gotten masters degrees in political science or public policy / administration and maybe even joined government at the lower levels because they were inspired by Obama who now have to work for Trump.  Like I’m not saying that this is a massive constituency but a large number of my friends who are getting their degrees or starting bureaucratic work in DC were 16, 17, 18 when Obama won and it was a like formative experience in their lives and now they have to work for like, the complete opposite of what they were joining government to support

like idk, I think a large part of my radicalization came from the realization that I’d never be doing anything besides instituting austerity or imperialism and that regardless my chances of getting a job in government were minuscule regardless

Mac Bolt, an agender student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, is doing research about the experiences of people with nonbinary gender identities in the United States. If you are interested in participating, follow the link to the survey! Please help spread the word! Here is what Mac says about their project: 

“I am excited to announce my final project that I will be doing as a student at UALR! In 2017, I will be spending a few months travelling around the United States. During this time I will be interviewing other people with nonbinary gender identities about their experiences.

The goal of this project is to shed light on the experiences of people that identify with genders outside of the gender binary. The nonbinary community is large and diverse, and we are widely misunderstood by the general public when we are recognized as existing at all. I am hoping that adding to the body of literature that exists about my community will help us receive more understanding and recognition from the general public. Beyond just informing the general public, I also hope that this will be useful to schools, employers, researchers, and policy makers.

If you are interested in being interviewed about your experiences, please tell me a little about yourself by taking this survey! I will use these survey responses to select a diverse sample of people I am interested in meeting in person for an interview. These interviews will be used to help me write a research paper about what it is like living outside of the gender binary. Participants may choose whether or not they wish to keep their identity confidential in the final product.

To qualify to participate in this project, participants must be 18 years old or older and identify as nonbinary, genderqueer, or otherwise as a gender identity that does not fit neatly into the accepted man/woman gender binary.

If you have any questions, you can contact me at mmbolt@ualr.edu, or my faculty adviser Dr. Laura Barrio at lxbarriovil@ualr.edu. The Research Compliance Officer can also be contacted by calling 501-569-8657 or emailing irb@ualr.edu.

Feel free to share this post and help me spread the word!”

The United States of Freedom

Freedom in the 50 States, published by the Cato Institute, finds New Hampshire is the freest state, while New York ranks by far the least free in the nation.

Which state is the freest? Which state is the least? Which one has the most lightly taxed and regulated economy? Which states protect personal freedoms the best? The worst? How free is your state?

The newly published 2016 edition of Freedom in the 50 States is one of the most comprehensive and definitive sources on how public polices in each American state impact an individual’s economic, social, and personal freedoms. Study authors William P. Ruger and Jason Sorens have gathered data on more than 230 variables to measure freedom now and in the past.

“While the federal government has become more intrusive and inefficient over the last two decades, individual states are providing Americans with a little-recognized renaissance of policy innovation,” argue Ruger and Sorens. “If we want to save our freedom and restore good government, it is to the states that we must look and not to the federal government.”

Freedom in the 50 States examines state and local government intervention across a wide range of policy categories—from taxation to debt, from eminent domain laws to occupational licensing, and from drug policy to educational choice.

Between 2006 and year-end 2014, the latest available data, Ruger and Sorens find the average state has seen dramatic increases in economic freedom, after the effects of the federally mandated Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are parsed out. This has largely been the result of states cutting spending during the financial crisis, with some states going even further and cutting taxes simultaneously.

Conservative states tend to do better on economic freedom overall, although not always by a huge margin. On personal freedom, the results are less clear cut. Progressive states have done better on marriage freedom, cannabis laws, and incarceration. But conservative states gain points on personal freedom too when it comes to gun rights, educational freedom, and smoking on private property.

States that have lower freedom rankings tend to be less economically prosperous. They tend to have higher rates of corruption and more lobbyists seeking government rents. Lower labor-market and regulatory freedom typically discourages business investment and raises the cost of living, which then can scare off Americans from other states looking to relocate for work.

There is strong evidence that states with more freedom attract more residents. The authors find a solid relationship between a lighter fiscal impact of government and net immigration, though evidence also suggests that regulatory and personal freedom play a role in attracting residents. For example, New York, the least free state, suffered the second-worst net out-migration of any state, 7.5 percent of its 2001 population. Conversely, Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, who rank among the top 20 in overall fiscal policy, have drawn nearly four million residents from the rest of the country from 2001-2014.

The study grades all fifty U.S. states on three dimensions—fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom.

The fiscal policy dimension consists of five variables: (a) state tax revenues, (b) local tax revenues, © government employment, (d) government subsidies, and (e) government debt, each of which earns a significant weight because of its importance. The tax and debt variables are measured for each fiscal year, whereas the employment and subsidies variables come from different sources and are available for the calendar year. The authors separate state and local taxation and assign different weights to each.

The regulatory policy dimension includes categories for land-use freedom and environmental policy, health insurance freedom, labor-market freedom, occupational freedom, lawsuit freedom, cable and telecommunications freedom, and miscellaneous regulations that do not fit under another category. 

The personal freedom versus paternalism dimension consists of the following categories: (a) incarceration and arrests for victimless crimes, (b) marriage freedom, © educational freedom, (d) gun rights, (e) alcohol freedom, (f) cannabis freedom, (g) gaming freedom, (h) asset forfeiture, (i) tobacco freedom, (j) travel freedom, (k) campaign finance freedom, and (l) other mala prohibita and miscellaneous civil liberties. Weighting these categories was a challenge because the observable financial impacts of these policies do not often include the full harms to victims.

In addition to the study being available as a free download, over 230 policy variables and their sources are available on a specially designed companion website that enables policymakers, concerned citizens, scholars, and others, to create customized indices of freedom, or download data for their own individual analyses.

Freedom in the 50 States is an essential work for anyone interested in state policy and in advancing a better understanding of a free society.

How free is your state? Dig into the data, then tweet what you find with #FreeStates.

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Photo Gallery: The First 100 Days of the Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign

By Arun Chaudhary, Digital Creative Director

It would not be hard at all to make higher education completely free in the USA. It accounts for not quite 2% of GDP. The personal share, about 1% of GDP, is a third of the income of the richest 10,000 households in the U.S., or three months of Pentagon spending. It’s less than four months of what we waste on administrative costs by not having a single-payer health care finance system. But introduce such a proposal into an election campaign and you would be regarded as suicidally insane.
—  “How Much Does College Cost, and Why?,” Left Business Observer

Are we slipping back into serfdom?

For more: http://www.libertarianism.org/columns/re-feudalization-modern-world#.vrlrs8h:fizl

Socialism Failed. Why Do We Keep Trying to Bring it Back?

Socialist experiments have failed no matter when and where they have been tried. Instead of tranquility and prosperity, they have resulted in strife and impoverishment. Yet socialism keeps on reappearing — albeit in different guises — throughout the world. From Venezuela since the early 2000s to the strong support for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign on American college campuses today, socialism continues to enjoy a surprising degree of popularity. What accounts for that?

Well, as it turns out, socialist instincts—including zero-sum thinking and egalitarian sharing—are parts of human nature that evolved in our premodern ancestors thousands of years ago. 

“Socialism” and “capitalism” are relatively new, but their basic precepts are not. In fact, flashes of socialist and anti-capitalist thinking can be discerned all the way back in antiquity, thus pointing to the deep-seated nature of intuitive responses to both economic “systems.” In so far as capitalism is only the latest iteration of an economic set up based on commerce, private property and profit making, there have always been those who, unfortunately, found those three unpalatable.

Read more

The legal system should show equal respect for persons by respecting their rights equally, not by interfering with the outcomes of people’s choices: http://www.libertarianism.org/media/around-web/equality-respect-how-im-equal-hugh-jackman

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Confidence in Hillary Clinton to handle world affairs is generally high in the European and Asian countries we surveyed this spring. By comparison, few trust Donald Trump to do the right thing when it comes to foreign policy.

Clinton finds support in Europe, while Trump inspires little to no confidence in Europe or Asia