The issue-less campaign

The issue-less campaign

Gov. John Bel Edwards and businessman Eddie Rispone will have one more chance to tell voters what they will do if elected when they take questions on Oct. 30 in what is likely to be the only televised debate before Election Day. Edwards has spent most of the campaign elaborating on the successes of his first term, while only briefly touching on what he’ll do if voters elect him to a second term. Rispone has failed to provide any policy specifics. Columnist Stephanie Grace of | The Advocate explains

If Edwards’ stated agenda is brief, though, Rispone’s is frustratingly vague. He talks about lowering taxes, but he hasn’t specified which ones or what corresponding spending cuts he’d make. He wants to call a constitutional convention but hasn’t said which parts of state constitution should be changed. He proposes freezing the Medicaid expansion that Edwards enacted, but hasn’t addressed the people who would qualify for health coverage under the rules but wouldn’t get it.


Tax fix for low-wage workers
When federal lawmakers hastily drafted the 2017 tax law, they made sure that wealthy shareholders and other affluent business owners got big tax cuts. But the law shortchanged low-wage workers by leaving out improvements to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit. Chuck Marr of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains how the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is bad policy by design: 

The Child Tax Credit. The 2017 law included a highly touted $1,000-per-child increase in the Child Tax Credit (from $1,000 to $2,000 per child). But, under it, millions of low-wage working parents receive far less. Low-income working families with 11.4 million children are receiving a token Child Tax Credit increase of $75 or less. … (The EITC for low-wage workers who aren’t raising children in their home) is too small even to offset the income and payroll taxes that these workers must pay. That’s the main reason why the federal tax code taxes more than 5 million such workers aged 19-65 — including 1.8 million who work in restaurants or retail — into or deeper into poverty.


Immigrants are reviving American cities
President Donald Trump has vilified immigrants and lamented the decay of cities. But as Emily Badger and  Quoctrung Bui argue in the The New York Times’ Upshot blog, immigrants and cities have been solutions to each other’s problems throughout our nation’s history. 

Research by Dowell Myers at the University of Southern California has shown that immigrants increase home values in sagging markets, and (University of Washington Professor Jacob) Vigdor’s work at the county level has shown that their arrival encourages U.S.-born residents to follow, spurring population growth where it had been declining. Other studies have shown that some of the biggest urban crime declines have been in neighborhoods where new immigrants have arrived.  … (T)he president’s immigration policies — rooted in the belief that America has run out of room for even legal migrants — threaten the cycle of how cities rejuvenate themselves.

While some immigrants are reviving American cities, more than 25,000 who recently came to the United States in search of a better life for themselves and their children are being held in remote prisons and jails, often without legal representation, including more than 8,000 in Louisiana detention facilities. The PBS Newshour’s Joanne Elgart Jennings reports on Louisiana’s incarcerated immigrants, in partnership with | The Advocate.


Warren unveils plan to reform public education
Sen. Elizabeth Warren has unveiled a broad plan for education reforms that would improve public schools from prekindergarten through 12th grade. The plan would be paid for by ending the practice of diverting public funds from traditional public schools and by a 2% “wealth tax” on wealth above $50 million and a 3 percent tax on wealth above $1 billion. The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss outlines Warren’s goals. 

America’s public schools are funded heavily, though not exclusively, through property taxes, with the result being that poorer neighborhoods have less to spend on their schools. Federal money intended to help those school systems doesn’t come close to closing the gap. (…) Warren’s plan takes aim at some of the most systemic problems in education, including segregated classrooms and neighborhoods and low teacher pay. It recognizes that student achievement is affected by factors outside the classroom and calls for changing policies on housing, energy and broadband availability that Warren said affect the ability of students to get a quality education.


Number of the Day
119,700 – Number of Louisiana children with parents working in restaurants or retail who got less than the full Child Tax Credit under the 2017 tax law. Of these, 66,600 children—those whose parents earn the least—receive a token increase of $75 or less. (Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)