Original Reporting

Original Reporting | By Greg Marx | Banking, Economy, Monetary Policy
A common criticism of the Federal Reserve is that the institution is unaccountable, opaque, and closed to outsiders. But why might that be? Talk to people who have spent time thinking about the Federal Reserve — from the inside or the outside, and from either a sympathetic or critical perspective — and a picture emerges of a system that prides itself, with justification, on being rigorously technocratic and free of partisan disputes. But it’s also one that has historically been shielded from public scrutiny not just by its formal independence, but by its connections to other elites. More
Original Reporting | By Greg Marx | Economy, Taxes
The framework for a tax agreement announced by President Obama this week is being described by some of the deal's backers as a second round of fiscal stimulus. But one of the striking things about the package is an approach to stimulus that wasn't even part of the talks: aid to strapped states. Federal funds provided by the Recovery Act helped stem layoffs of teachers, police officers, and firefighters, and are considered among the most efficient uses of stimulus dollars. But with state budgets still in crisis, those funds are about to run out. Meanwhile, support for much smaller subsidies to states is uncertain, and one of the business tax breaks in the new package — while likely to help create private-sector jobs — may actually worsen the state fiscal emergency in the short term. More
Original Reporting | By Diana Jean Schemo | Education
California once believed in providing a liberal education of the highest quality and at the lowest cost to students. Now, with funding already well below historic highs, some want to to shift to 'workforce building.' More
Original Reporting | By Timothy Martinez | Education
Anti-bullying efforts have picked up after a spate of well-publicized bullying incidents, but the belief that bullying is simply a rite of passage that does not ultimately do much harm is still alive and well. The view persists despite a strong consensus among experts that bullying or being bullied is not an inevitable part of growing up. More
Original Reporting | By Diana Jean Schemo | Deregulation, Environment
Wisconsin's new governor wants to clear a path to easier regulatory approvals for large farms, but questions about why deregulation would not yield a return to more pollution have not been answered. More
Original Reporting | By Mike Alberti | Civil rights, Legislation
It's been clear that federal civil rights progress would become harder in the new Congress, but most civil rights advocacy groups haven't prepared to take fight for gains to the state and local level. More
Original Reporting | By Timothy Martinez | Health care
Amendment 63 to Colorado’s state constitution would have prevented the state from adopting or enforcing state or federal mandates to require individuals to participate in a health insurance plan. More
Original Reporting | By Diana Jean Schemo | Government services, Taxes
Attempts to oust elected officials mid-term no longer represent a last resort for voters fed up with egregious acts of corruption, but an increasingly common response to elected officials who make unpopular decisions. Often those decisions involve raising taxes and fees that pay for public services like police, fire fighters, and clean water. What is involved in the effort to convince a skeptical public that the costs of not having public services are higher than the costs of maintaining those services? More