Original Reporting

Original Reporting | | Advertising, Health care, Insurance
Two large American companies recently announced that they are planning abandon the traditional “defined benefit” model of providing health insurance benefits to their employees and switch to a “defined contribution” model, in which they will offer employees a fixed annual sum — like a voucher — that the workers can use to subsidize insurance they will have to buy for themselves. The companies and other proponents of the defined contribution model tout the shift as “empowering” employees with greater “choice.” The result of Remapping Debate’s inquiries, however, make clear that the central motivation for the switch is to shift the risk of rising health insurance costs from employers to employees, thereby undermining a multi-generational compact between management and labor.More
Original Reporting | | Corporate influence, Open government
Part 3 of our series on government incentive programs for businesses examines the justifications given by state and local officials who favor granting subsidies, but resist disclosing who gets them.More
Original Reporting | | Government services, Law, State government
According to data from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), 42 state legislatures reduced their state court budgets between 2008 and 2011. A variety of cutbacks ensued — including staff layoffs, reductions in courthouse hours, and pay cuts for courthouse personnel — and many state judicial systems have consequently slowed down. Businesses use the courts far more than anyone else. Are some businesses that have genuine grievances throwing up their hands and accepting their losses because of the prospect of increased delays and higher costs?More
Original Reporting | | Corporate influence, Open government
Part 2 of our series on government incentive programs for businesses focuses on the lack of transparency at the local level.More
Original Reporting | | Elections, Voting rights
According to the Census Bureau, even during presidential election years, at least a quarter of the eligible electorate has been unregistered in the period from 1980 through 2008. But current voter registration efforts don’t come close to meeting the need, especially because so much of registration under the U.S. system is highly labor-intensive.More
Original Reporting | | Corporate influence, Open government
Using public dollars to subsidize private businesses has become a routine part of economic development policy in the United States. But many economists believe that the benefits to a state or locality are generally modest, and that incentives can actually hurt other local businesses. Moreover, looked at from the point of view of the net effect on the national economy, some incentives provide no gain, and others are harmful to productivity. So why do policy makers keep doling out these subsidies? The first part in a Remapping Debate series on government aid to businesses.More
Original Reporting | | Food, Food safety
The recent study has gotten widespread press attention for the proposition that organic food is not safer to eat than non-organic food. But one of the study’s lead authors acknowledges that a series of health and safety issues relating to non-organic foods were not examined.More
Original Reporting | | Markets, Taxes
A "Robin Hood" tax — a small fee on stock, bond, and derivative transactions that has been supported by some high-profile, center-right EU political leaders — is likely to be enacted soon by several EU countries, including Germany and France. Here in the U.S., an activist coalition that favors a financial transaction tax to help generate the revenue needed to protect and expand government programs — and to deter what it considers the destabilizing and unproductive role "high-frequency trading" — is just gearing up. Thus far, despite the introduction of several FTT bills, a majority of national Democrats have stayed silent on the issue.More