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May 23, 2023

Biden Courts Another Mortgage Crisis

The Biden administration is making moves that could imperil the safety of the housing finance system. Recent mortgage pricing changes, which have generally decreased fees for borrowers with lower credit scores and increased fees for those with higher scores, have rightly garnered public outcry, but they are the tip of the iceberg. The administration’s other…

May 19, 2023

Guilty Until Proven Innocent: America Today

With the expiration of the Covid-era rule justifying the expulsion of illegal border-crossers on public health grounds, the Biden Administration, to the dismay of progressives, has gone Trumpish. Absent “Title 42,” Citizen and Immigration Services will now “presume individuals who entered the United States unlawfully are ineligible for asylum.”   This turnabout brings us back to…

May 17, 2023

The Wrong Immigration at the Wrong Time

The ending of Title 42, has again moved immigration to center stage.  With foreign-born as a share of the U.S. population at historic levels, matching the early twentieth century, there is intense conflict over desired policies. Supporters of continued expansive southern border immigration argue that their numbers are crucial to counter the labor shortages that have contributed…

May 12, 2023

Follow the Money as Hochul Floats Tobacco Ban While Pushing Legal Marijuana

Governor Hochul has floated the idea of banning all sales of tobacco products in New York State, even as she urges New Yorkers to purchase and partake of now-legal cannabis. It’s not easy to see these as consistent views — both, after all, have been shown to be products hazardous to your health.  Yet a…

May 10, 2023

AI Tutoring Has a Lot to Offer. But so Does Human Mentoring.

In education policy circles, there’s a lot of enthusiasm regarding the promise of AI-enabled tutoring. After all, a huge stumbling block for tutoring has been the limited number of affordable, reliable, and skilled tutors. That’s why ubiquitous AI could be such a game-changer. But there’s reason to fear that the excitement of AI-enabled tutoring will distract us…

May 8, 2023

An Inspiration to Freethinkers

Some of us still subscribe to the view that we didn’t leave the Democratic Party; it left us. For such apostates and freethinkers, Fred Siegel was an inspiration and a role model (though I never asked him directly about his party affiliation). His writing was the product of careful observation by one of the best-read people in…

May 6, 2023

SNAP Needs a Healthy Overhaul

In the coming months, Congress is expected to reauthorize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the country’s largest food assistance program that helps poor families afford groceries. Amidst ongoing debt ceiling negotiations, Republicans have focused on SNAP’s work provisions, proposing expansions to work requirements and identifying employment as a program goal. These efforts are crucially important…

May 5, 2023

Wrong Diagnosis, Wrong Prescription

Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond’s previous book, Evicted, offered a compelling account of poverty in America. Illuminating and thought-provoking, its ethnographic accounts of deep struggle spurred new research and increased policy focus on the links between poverty and housing instability. Though it didn’t get everything right, it was an important book. Sadly, Desmond’s latest offering, Poverty, by America, provides little of…

May 3, 2023

Work-for-Welfare Gains Traction Among Republicans

Last week, U.S. House Republicans included expanded work requirements for Medicaid, food stamps, and cash welfare benefits in their legislation to extend the federal debt limit. As employers continue to struggle to find workers, states, too, are trying to prod benefit recipients on the sidelines of the economy back into work. Republican members of the Wisconsin assembly recently approved a…

May 2, 2023

In Next Recession, Don’t Let Uncle Sam Be Uncle Sucker Again

Following recent bank failures, expectations for a recession have revived. If unemployment rises significantly, Congress will likely re-open its stimulus policy playbook — including by extending unemployment benefits. Yet given an increased focus on containing federal spending, there could be constraints on how much Congress provides. How can policymakers best target future federal aid? They should start by ensuring…