Original Reporting

Original Reporting | By David Cay Johnston | Energy, Regulation
The long distance transport of gas in the U.S. involves roughly 300,000 miles of large-diameter pipeline. A system of lax regulation has set the stage for potentially major accidents all over the country. More
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 Greg Marx | Environment, Transportation, Urban Policy
With budget battles looming in an era of divided government, the fate of the federal transportation bill will be one of the key questions for the next Congress. Alongside the funding debate, though, the U.S. faces another fundamental challenge: since the interstate era, there's been no real consensus about what the goals of the national transportation project should be. The next national network will be the most complex one America has ever built: are our institutions up to the task? More