The poor in America: In need of help Some 15% of Americans (around 46.2m people) live below the poverty line, as Ms Hamilton does. You have to go back to the early 1960s—before Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programmes—to find a significantly higher rate. Many more, like Ms Dunham, have incomes above the poverty line but nevertheless cannot meet their families’ basic monthly needs, and there are signs that their number is growing.
Once upon a time the fates of these people weighed heavily on American politicians. Ronald Reagan boasted about helping the poor by freeing them from having to pay federal income tax. Jack Kemp, Bob Dole’s running-mate in 1996, sought to spearhead a “new war on poverty.” George W. Bush called “deep, persistent poverty…unworthy of our nation’s promise”.
No longer. Budgets are tight and the safety net is expensive. Mitt Romney famously said he was not “concerned about the very poor” because they have a safety net to take care of them. Mr Obama’s second-term plan mentioned poverty once, and on the trail he spoke gingerly of “those aspiring to the middle class”. “Poor” is a four-letter word.
posted by infini
on Nov 8, 2012 -
is a longtime sportswriter and author who has, among other things, reported for Grantland
, and the Boston Globe
, paneled on more than a few games
of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
, and fished diapers out of trees
as a state forest ranger. He's also made a name for himself as one of the sharpest and most incisive political columnists since Molly Ivins. The lead writer for Esquire's Politics Blog
ever since a caustic article
on former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell cost him his Globe job
, Pierce has churned out an uninterrupted stream of clever, colorful, and challenging commentary
on the 2012 election season and its implications for the nation's future, dispatches often seething with eviscerative anger but shot through with deep love of (or perhaps grief for) country. Look inside for a selection of Pierce's most vital works for some edifying Election Eve reading. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Nov 5, 2012 -
Now that we're in the homestretch toward the November Presidential election, it's time to choose your favorite electoral-vote projection oracle. All of these are sites that monitor individual state polls and voter sentiment trendlines. Here are some options:
has been at it since 2004 and is a bonanza for polling stats junkies. Currently it's calling the electoral vote at 332 for Obama, 206 for Romney, with no toss-ups. (It takes 270 to win.) The site is run from The Netherlands by Andrew S. Tanenbaum
, who prepares daily commentary and news analysis. His leanings are Democratic; for those who are bothered by that, he suggests a Republican-leaning alternative: [more inside]
posted by beagle
on Sep 4, 2012 -
Small business owner and candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Delaware Sher Valenzuela is slated
to speak at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday as part of a platform meant to suggest business owners build businesses on their own with no assistance from government. The problem is that Valenzuela received millions of dollars in taxpayer funds as business loans from the US government, along with other government assistance. One Reddit user noticed
the url for the full name of Valenzuela's First State Manufacturing business was unregistered, and remedied that with full details. [more inside]
posted by cashman
on Aug 27, 2012 -
In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law.
The product of a strict party line vote following a
of debate, disinformation
, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act
would (among other popular reforms
) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool
for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives
(including presidential contender Mitt Romney
) is the central question facing the justices today
. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step
of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured
, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state
But despite the pessimism of bettors
, some believe
the Court will demur, wary of damaging
its already-fragile reputation
with another partisan 5-4 decision
. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know
. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog
for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 28, 2012 -
After interminable months of campaigning, debates, and roller-coaster polling
, the first official vote of the 2012 presidential race is in -- and boy, is it a doozy. Ames straw poll winner Michele Bachmann
placed second-to-last, while former juggernaut Rick Perry performed so badly he's canceled upcoming events
and is said to be on the verge of dropping out. Meanwhile, perennial laughingstock Rick Santorum, consolidating the support hemorrhaging from Perry, Bachmann, and an ad-blitzed Newt Gingrich
, rocketed past the youth- and independent-backed Ron Paul
and, with 99% of the vote counted, is separated from Mitt Romney by four votes
out of ~120,000 -- by far the closest result in caucus history
. As the shaken field contemplates the path ahead through Romney firewall New Hampshire, conservative South Carolina, Florida, Super Tuesday, and beyond, President Obama staged a quiet redux
of his own dramatic caucus win four years ago
, a dry run for the looming general election. And as for powerhouse Buddy Roemer
? Don't worry -- his team
is ready to do battle with evil
posted by Rhaomi
on Jan 3, 2012 -
Red money, blue money: The making of the 2012 campaign.
"More than 80 percent of giving to Super PACs so far has come from just 58 donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics analysis of the latest data, which covers the first half of 2011." This Salon piece details who the (surprisingly small) number of large donors are, and the SuperPACs they donate to.
posted by jaduncan
on Dec 14, 2011 -
Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is booked on all the major morning shows tomorrow, and with good reason.
After two months of gaffes
, impolitic stands
, and bizarre speeches
that quickly waned his once-strong odds
of winning the Republican nomination, Perry went into Wednesday's CNBC debate
sorely needing a win... only to deliver a tortuous, cringingly forgetful attempt [video]
to recall just which three cabinet departments he'd vowed to abolish, a stunning failure political scientist Larry Sabato deemed "the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate"
in his memory.
While Perry's slow-motion flameout has boosted the fortunes
of dark horse candidate Herman Cain, the unlikely challenger is facing troubles of his own in a volley of sexual harassment claims
-- an oddly ineffective
scandal Cain is doing his best to (somewhat dubiously) disavow
. If Cain collapses, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may reap the benefits
, but his moribund campaign has issues of its own
. Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Christie, Cain, Gingrich... the base is loathe to rally round him, but after so many failed, flawed, or forfeited challenges, can anyone topple Mitt Romney?
posted by Rhaomi
on Nov 10, 2011 -