There is a nativist, xenophobic thread running through the American political narrative these days with roots going back to the Know-Nothing Party of the mid-nineteenth century and beyond. In milder versions, immigrants are portrayed as taking jobs from American citizens while burdening the safety net and social services. In the more toxic forms, immigrants are equated with criminality and lawlessness. Against that backdrop of hysteria, it’... Read More
Some high-profile journalists in the business press and mainstream media are talking about economic competitiveness in a way that suggests a paradigm shift may be underway. In a Fortune magazine piece headlined “The U.S. Has the World’s Most Competitive Economy. So What?” Christopher Matthews cited academic experts who argue that by pursuing policies aimed only at increasing business profits, “government itself becomes a... Read More
The charts and graphs that we policy wonks issue regularly provide a clear picture of growing economic inequality in Minnesota and United States over the last 30 years. But vivid human stories – with intimate detail about what it's like on either side of the divide between the high-riders and the stagnating middle and low-income families – are worth a hundred bar graphs and pie charts. An outstanding example of the latter is Mike ... Read More
I've heard infinite versions of "don't tax me'' or "taxing me or my customers more will destroy my business AND the economy'' in my decades under the dome. And last week's opposition at a House hearing to ending sales tax exemptions on business services was typical in many respects. Just because these fears often turn out unfounded _ our economy was performing better, in the 1990s, w... Read More
We have this week a confluence of events that ought to lift our hopes and sharpen our resolve to reduce racial and economic inequality in our state and nation, and to build a more inclusive prosperity. The hope comes from the momentous coincidence today of Martin Luther King's official birthday observance and a re-inauguration, after a convincing re-election, of the first African-American president of the United States. Michelle... Read More
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