Commentary

Senior Fellow Sasha Abramsky discusses how Colorado's Supreme Court ruling denied parolees the right to vote the same week that the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations issued a highly critical report about how the United States treats prisoners and ex-prisoners.

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Distinguished Senior Fellow Robert H. Frank discusses how with the herd now in full stampede, the era of big, gas-guzzling S.U.V.'s may soon be history.

Clearly, the herd instinct can lead us astray. For the most part, however, the impulse to emulate others serves us well. After all, without drawing on the wisdom and experience of others, it would be almost impossible to cope with the stream of complex decisions we confront.

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Senior Fellow Allison Fine illustrates how communities are pushing power to the edges through community empowerment endeavors, online strategies and more in an effort to push power out and share information — to participate, not dictate.

Our online communities will continue to grow and become an ever-larger part of our lives. Because of this, powering the edges and participating in communal efforts, whether they are geographic or virtual, is going to look and feel differently in this new century.

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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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