Some research suggests that charter schools perform no better than existing public schools. And even if we wanted to, it would be nearly impossible to take the charter movement to scale. So why are the billionaire "disruptors" of the hedge-fund world so hell-bent on establishing charter schools? Money and influence may help to explain it.
The full House next week will consider the Ways and Means Committee's recently passed Child Tax Credit bill. A recent Tax Policy Center analysis confirms our previous critical assessments of the proposal, finding that it would make many relatively affluent people better off while making low-income working families poorer.
To the extent that the Obama budget is intended as a "campaign blueprint" -- to signal to working families that Obama cares about them and to force the Republicans to cast difficult votes -- it is a very small step in the right direction. But it probably will sway a few voters, because it doesn't make enough of a difference. Obama is being branded a populist by the establishment press and irresponsible by Republicans for what is really a very tame program. He should at least earn these adjectives and get the public's attention. As it is, he might as well be hanged for a sheep. He might as well come out for policies that would make a real difference. That would actually be worthy of the terms "populist" and "campaign blueprint."
Today's minimum wage is 22 percent below its late 1960s peak, after adjusting for inflation. Raising it to the $10-an-hour range would help to offset some of the unfavorable trends facing low-wage workers, including stagnant or falling real wages and inadequate bargaining power that leaves them solidly on the "have-not" side of the inequality divide.