The three top candidates for Louisiana governor offered their thoughts on health care, taxes, higher education and other issues on Thursday in the first of three televised debates in advance of the Oct. 12 primary. Sam Karlin and Tyler Bridges of The Advocate were there:
(U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham) vowed to cut taxes while also promising to invest in popular spending programs like the TOPS tuition program – yet he did not offer specifics on where the revenue would come from, other than to promise that the state would have a stronger economy under him.“ … (Gov. John Bel) Edwards focused on economic statistics in his favor, noting that Louisiana, at 4.3%, has its lowest unemployment rate in 11 years. He said a growing economy has generated the budget surplus, which is expected to be $500 million in the fiscal year that ended on June 30. (Businessman Eddie) Rispone gave general answers to questions about the economy, promising to use his business smarts to create jobs but providing few specifics.
While candidates spent time discussing teenage vaping and their level of fealty to President Trump, there was no mention of poverty, early childhood education, racial equity, the minimum wage, hunger, coastal erosion, K-12 education or climate change.
Racial equity should be at the center of workforce development
A diverse workforce with equitable opportunities for all is key to the country’s economic prosperity. But with structural barriers limiting the prospects of many people of color, America has substantial work to do to ensure that a person’s race doesn’t predict their employment outcomes. Molly Bashay of the National Skills Coalition explains why racial equity is a moral and economic imperative in workforce development:
Racial workforce diversity is a key driver of America’s economic growth,as it is one of the most important predictors of business sales revenue, customer numbers, and profitability. Racial and gender diversity in the workforce was a major contributor to U.S. economic growth in the latter half of the 20th century. If education and training produced more equitable results for workers of color, the country could not only address the skills mismatch, but our workers, businesses, and economy would improve.
Paid family leave is personal
The United States is the only developed country that doesn’t have a paid family and medical leave policy. Paid leave not only helps new parents, but also those caring for aging parents or other family members. As Elyse Shaw and Jillian West of Policies for Action argue, paid leave policies have positive impacts for people throughout their course of life, and enjoy wide popular support:
Just eight states and Washington, D.C. have a paid leave policy in place, and few U.S. workers have access to paid leave through their employer. Existing policies also vary widely by coverage length, benefit amount, and job protections. Yet public support for PFML policies is high. A 2018 poll commissioned by the National Partnership for Women and Families found that eight in ten voters support a comprehensive national paid family and medical leave policy that covers all people who work.
Housing issues are receiving more attention than usual in the 2020 presidential campaign. But as Jenny Schuetz of Brookings points out, housing issues are complicated, and the best solutions for some of the most important issues on the topic aren’t politically popular. Schuetz has more on the key problems that any serious housing policy should address:
The most critical problem is the gap between incomes and housing costs for poor families. Having stable, decent housing in a safe and healthy community is the foundation for all other economic and social activities. Yet the poorest 20% of families in all parts of the U.S. cannot afford housing without cutting back on food, health care, or other necessities. These families earn too little income to cover the rent on minimum-quality apartments without some subsidy from the government. And the challenge for poor families has gotten worse over the past few decades, as the share of eligible households receiving federal housing assistance has declined.
Number of the Day
$29,200 – The average student loan debt for a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2018. A 2% increase from the class of 2017. (Source: USA Today)