As New York policymakers, led by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, consider a comprehensive package of campaign finance reform, they should look at Connecticut to see just how much a strong small-donor public financing program can improve the legislative process and relieve lawmakers of the burdens of high-donor, special-interest fundraising.
As some New York state lawmakers consider publicly financed campaigns to thwart public corruption in state politics, a liberal-leaning public policy think tank has released a report showing how a voluntary public financing system in Connecticut has contributed to a more "representative and responsive" Legislature there since its implementation in 2008.
* The drumbeat for public financing pounded loudly on Monday when good government groups and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill visited the Capitol to make the case for campaign finance reform. Republican lawmakers have argued that public financing has not stopped elected officials from abusing the system, but good government leaders believe that it improves the legislative process by reducing the dependency on fund-raising.
At the heart of the argument about how to revive a depressed economy is the question of debt. When political leaders and economists debate the subject, they refer mostly to public debt. To conservatives, the economy’s capacity for recovery is impaired by too much government borrowing. These escalating obligations, they claim, will be passed along to our children and grandchildren, leaving America a poorer country.
Like many New Yorkers, Hazel B. of Queens struggled to get by after she was laid off from her job as an accounts receivable administrator. A single mother of two, Hazel relied on credit cards to make ends meet while she looked for work.
Finally, she found a job opening that looked promising. She went on two interviews and took a test given by the potential employer. She believed she had performed well, but then word came back that Hazel would not be hired because of negative information in her credit report.
Krugman speculates that they see this as a morality play wherein the rich are obviously the virtuous heroes (being rich and all) and the plebes are a bunch of lazy, immoral parasites who refuse to carry their weight. I think he's probably right, but I'm going to speculate further that for many of them this is a result of guilt at their own gargantuan selfishness and greed. I can only imagine that it's hard to live with yourself when you're taking more and more of the wealth that humans create while everyone else is falling behind.
In the past few years, there has been a disturbing push in a number of states toward limiting the right to vote and raising barriers to participation in democracy. Not in Connecticut. When it comes to ensuring an inclusive and fair democracy that guarantees every voice is heard, our state has been a real leader and taken important steps forward.
Analyzing the enduring economic effects of youth unemployment, a new report by Demos outlines a serious job crisis, especially those with less education and individuals of color. Surveying a full year of U.S.