Commentary

In America, there is a strongly held conviction that with hard work, anyone can make it into the middle class. Pew recently found that Americans are far more likely than people in other countries to believe that work determines success, as opposed to other factors beyond an individual’s control. But this positivity comes with a negative side — a tendency to pathologize those living in poverty.

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Most people want to believe that their place in the world is something they earned, either through hard work, preparation, or both. I understand this sentiment. As a native of a country that reveres Horatio Alger-inspired tales of upward mobility, the idea that our status might be attributed to something we can’t control seems unfathomable.

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When Congress narrowly missed another government shutdown in December by passing the “cromnibus” bill, much of the press coverage focused on Capitol Hill’s ongoing dysfunction. However, buried inside the bill was yet another blow to campaign finance regulations, dramatically increasing the amount of money donors can give to political parties. A single couple can now give up to $3.1 million to a political party over a two-year election cycle, a six-fold increase.

It can be hard to make sense of the fees that can accompany a typical 401(k), and that confusion can carry a steep price tag.

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In the wake of the recent gutting of the Voting Rights Act, partisans were quick to jump on the opportunity to restrict unfavorable voters. Across the country, conservatives in particular have debated fiercely whether to pursue voter suppression to remain competitive in an increasingly diverse electorate.

Hollywood made a lukewarm attempt last night to acknowledge their failures at diversity. This strategy was summed up by Neil Patrick Harris’ early quip, “Tonight, we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest—I mean brightest,” followed by mellow laughter from the audience.

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Two new studies by political scientists offer compelling evidence that the rich use their wealth to control the political system and that the U.S. is a democratic republic in name only.

As they strive to solve the public crisis of police use-of-force incidents, illuminated again by the deaths of several black victims last year, officials from the White House on down have coalesced around "community policing." When it comes to influencing the national conversation on a local issue like this, it doesn’t get more official than the U.S. Conference of Mayors, or USCM.

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Much of the current ballyhoo in higher-education circles has centered on President Obama's announcement earlier this year to make community college free for all Americans "willing to work for it." The move, however, is a part of a larger suite of reforms that the White House hopes will make college more affordable and accessible.

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The wheels of justice have been said to turn slowly. Andfew things move quickly here in Cleveland, Mississippi, a town of 12,000 people with no movie theater and a quaint commercial district that’s shuttered on Sunday. But when a deadline on a school desegregation suit—originally filed in 1965—came and went last month with opposing sides still unable to agree on a resolution, some locals admitted frustration.

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