Commentary

Senior Fellow Rich Benjamin spotlights how Rural America deserves national attention for sacrificing a disproportionate number of its sons and daughters and the resulting impact on the economy.

Rural America has been overrepresented since the start of our all-voluntary military in 1973-1974, military experts say. And roughly 35 percent of troops who've died serving in Afghanistan and Iraq come from rural America, much higher than it's 25 percent share of the national population.

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Lone Star Iconoclast

Distinguished Senior Fellow Robert H. Frank discusses how pricing schemes enable companies to attract more buyers, reduce the average cost per buyer served, and free up resources that can be used to support higher quality — more frequent flights for travelers and more sophisticated laptops for computer buyers.

On balance, however, there appears to be at least rough justice in these and other hurdle schemes. The buyers who care most about quality tend also to be those who are least willing to jump over discount hurdles.

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Communications and Events Associate Cole Krawitz discussed the impact of restrictive voter ID requirements, and REAL ID on transgender communities. Krawitz outlines how REAL ID's implementation will result in grave consequences due to inconsistent requirements among state agencies and databases, and the far-reaching impact the legislation has on the future of our democracy.

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Director of the Democracy Program, Stuart Comstock-Gay analyzes how the Supreme Court decision on Vermont's campaign finance law gives money an even larger role in elections. A recent poll shows that 87 percent of Americans like the idea of spending limits, and just as it took three tries to get the Supreme Court to rule the poll tax unconstitutional, this battle is not done, either. Comstock-Gay decrees that perhaps most significantly, this decision should serve as a wake-up call around public financing.

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Tompaine.com

Economic Opportunity Program Associate Myra Batchelder and Senior Fellow Jennifer Wheary discuss that while tuition and student indebtedness continue to rise, quality of education, access to full-time faculty and any guarantee that a college diploma ensures financial stability are evaporating — marking this imbalance as cause for concern — and action.

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Senior Fellow Nomi Prins discusses the appointment of Henry Paulson to replace John Snow as Treasury Secretary and the well-worn path between Goldman Sachs and the White House. Prins highlights how what's good for Goldman isn't necessarily good for Middle America, and the conflict of a man whose entire career has been predicated on successfully promoting corporate welfare over public interest.

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Senior Fellow Sasha Abramsky outlines how a result of the overlap of mass incarceration with felon disenfranchisement, America faces a shrinking of the electorate and attack on voting rights with only one parallel in the nation's history: during the adoption of Jim Crow at the end of the 19th century, when Southern blacks were, wholesale, removed from the voter rolls.

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Distinguished Senior Fellow Robert H. Frank discusses how, given that widely reported finding that 55 percent of Americans would be willing to support a higher gasoline tax if it reduced dependence on foreign oil, proposing to suspend gasoline taxes in the midst of pervasive energy shortages will strike no one as bold political leadership.

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Senior Fellow Sasha Abramsky outlines how in recent years, some state electorates and legislatures have started to back away from the more extreme aspects of the drug wars, in part because the costs of incarceration are so high. The Feds, meanwhile, have stepped up their campaign. More and more young men and women are going to federal prisons for longer and longer periods of time on drug convictions, including, as with Angelos, marijuana charges.

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Senior Fellow David Callahan and John Schwarz discuss how, like it or not, the past quarter century — with its strong individualism and distrust of government — may be more indicative of the "default" U.S. political culture than the golden age of liberalism that came before.

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