Daily Digest - September 30: A Bad Policy News Moment

Sep 30, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

The House’s Food Stamps Cuts Aren’t Just Cruel. They’re Dumb. (WaPo)

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

The House’s Food Stamps Cuts Aren’t Just Cruel. They’re Dumb. (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal explains why the GOP's plan to require states to follow a $2,000 assets test for SNAP eligibility is bad policy. Assets tests create poverty traps, forcing families to avoid saving in order to stay afloat.

Countdown to Shutdown: A Primer on Where Budget Wrangling Stands (The Atlantic)

David A. Graham writes an update on what's happened in Congress over the weekend. So far, Republicans have been unwilling to pass a clean continuing resolution in the House, and the schedule for today allows only ten hours of legislative work time.

Who Will Notice a US Government Shut Down? Public Workers, Foreign Governments and People With the Flu (Quartz)

Tim Fernholz lays out who will feel the immediate effects of a government shutdown on October 1, which looks exceedingly likely. The less obvious groups include sick people, since the CDC will stop tracking epidemics, and anyone who planned to buy a house in October.

This Week in Poverty: Five Things You Might Have Missed on 'Poverty Day' (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann looks at five points from the U.S. Census poverty data that weren't covered by mainstream media. Most strikingly, instituting a monthly benefit for every child as is common in other developed countries could nearly eliminate child poverty in the U.S.

I Worked All Week for Free?!: The Horrifying, True Story of $0 Paychecks (Salon)

Josh Eidelson explains why a group of guest workers on H-2B visas are striking and putting pressure on Florida politicians to reform labor laws. After putting in a full week, these workers are charged rent that is greater then their earnings - and the boss is also the landlord.

Viewpoint: The Decline of Unions Is Your Problem Too (TIME)

Eric Liu explains why every American is harmed by the lowest rate of union membership in 97 years. Organized labor used to keep the economy healthier; today, the people setting the rules are only focused on shareholder profits.

New on Next New Deal

"Inequality for All" is "The Progressive Economic Narrative: The Movie"

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch reviews the new film starring Robert Reich, which articulates the narrative that progressive economists have been pushing through Reich's humor and passion, as well as profiles of families scarred by the new economy.

Share This

Daily Digest - September 23: Fishing For Solutions to Underwater Mortgages

Sep 23, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Is Richmond’s Mortgage Seizure Scheme Even Legal? (WaPo)

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Is Richmond’s Mortgage Seizure Scheme Even Legal? (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal looks at the questions raised by Richmond, CA's proposal to use eminent domain to reduce underwater mortgage debt. He argues that the plan has plenty of legal precedent, and clear benefits for the residents of Richmond.

Mike Konczal on Economic Collapse, Hugh MacMillan on Fracking Study (CounterSpin)

Mike appears on FAIR's weekly radio show to discuss what has and hasn't changed in the five years since Lehman Brothers's bankruptcy. He argues that the crisis really started in 2007, with the first wave of foreclosures on subprime mortgages.

This Week in Poverty: New Data, Same Story (and Same Dangerous House Republicans) (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann sees the latest Census data on poverty as proof that even though the needed steps in the fight against poverty are known, they aren't being implemented. Unfortunately, all the policies he wants to see are anathema to the GOP.

Jackie Speier Protests Food Stamp Cuts With Steak, Vodka, Caviar (HuffPo)

Robin Wilkey reports on Rep. Speier's speech calling out her peers who favor cutting SNAP for their excessive travel bills paid by the government. But caviar and filet must come before necessities for the poor, since the $40 billion in cuts passed.

American Bile (NYT)

Robert Reich argues that Americans are divided over many issues, but their anger comes from stagnant economic growth and widening inequality. The people who see the economy as rigged against them, whether by government or business, are the angriest.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline and Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network will join Reich for a conference call on his new film "Inequality for All" on Wednesday.

It's the Austerity, Stupid: How We Were Sold an Economy-Killing Lie (MoJo)

Kevin Drum explains how the now-infamous Reinhart and Rogoff paper on debt as a killer of economic growth kicked off the austerity regime that has reduced U.S. economic growth by as much as two percent. It's been disproved, but we're still on the austerity train.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal was one of the first to look at the UMass paper that disproved the Reinhart-Rogoff paper.

The Shutdown Showdown: What Happens Now? (MSNBC)

Kasie Hunt looks at the likely timeline for the continuing resolution now moving into the Senate, which contains language defunding the Affordable Care Act. It's expected that Harry Reid will strip out that language before the Senate passes the bill.

The Most Important Lesson the Fed Taught the World This Week (The Atlantic)

Zachary Karabell argues that the Fed's announcement of no taper for now is a reminder that there is no certainty in markets. There's no excuse for businesses using "uncertainty" as a reason to not hire, especially when they then blame government dysfunction.

Share This

Daily Digest - September 20: The Last Five Years of Financial Crisis

Sep 20, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

What We Get Wrong When We Talk About ‘The Financial Crisis’ (Majority Report)

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

What We Get Wrong When We Talk About ‘The Financial Crisis’ (Majority Report)

Sam Seder speaks with Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal about his most recent piece at the Washington Post's Wonkblog, where he argued that Lehman shouldn't be the center of the financial crisis narrative.

Finally, JPMorgan Admits The Bank Broke The Law (HuffPo)

Mark Gongloff reports on JPMorgan's admission that they broke securities laws in the "London Whale" debacle. The fine is an inconsequential amount for the firm, as it often is in these cases, but it's unusual for banks and bankers to actually admit to their wrongdoing.

The Fed Has Investors Overjoyed, And It's For All the Wrong Reasons (The Atlantic)

Mohamed El-Erian sees this week's surprise announcement of no taper from the Fed as symptomatic of their failure to plan long-term strategy. That's a big problem, since the Fed's uncertainty leads to market instability.

The Fed Stays the Course (TAP)

Robert Kuttner is glad that the Fed will maintain bond buying programs for now, but it's a decision that primarily benefits Wall Street. Hopefully, a Yellen-chaired Fed would reconsider a plan to purchase bonds that put money in the Main Street economy.

Job And Business Growth Strong Under Seattle’s Paid Sick Days Law (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert looks at an analysis of the impact of a new paid sick leave law on the Seattle economy. Seattle continues its economic growth, just as has been the case in every other municipality that has enacted paid sick leave legislation.

Rousing Workers to Seek Higher Wages (LA Times)

Alana Semuels speaks with Naquasia LeGrand, a KFC employee who has been heavily involved in Fast Food Forward in NYC. Naquasia was anti-union at first, but after learning more about the movement, she's become a strong supporter and recruiter.

Women Waiting Tables Provide Most of Female Gains in U.S. (Bloomberg)

Ian Katz and Alex Tanzi report on a study by the National Women's Law Center that looks at women's employment gains. Most of the increases in employment for women since 2009 are in the service industry, with 60 percent of new jobs paying less than $10.10 an hour.

Red State Pain (NYT)

Timothy Egan considers the GOP's continued inability to empathize with poor constituents as the House passes a bill that will kick 3.8 million people off SNAP. The underlying assumption is that the poor, even children, have done something to deserve going hungry.

Share This

Daily Digest - September 16: Exceptionally Poor Social Safety Nets

Sep 16, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

SNAP Proposal Would Deny Benefits to Millions (Melissa Harris-Perry)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren pointed out the disappointing side of American exceptionalism: the most children in poverty of any wealthy democracy. Cutting SNAP benefits means more of those children go hungry.

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

SNAP Proposal Would Deny Benefits to Millions (Melissa Harris-Perry)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren pointed out the disappointing side of American exceptionalism: the most children in poverty of any wealthy democracy. Cutting SNAP benefits means more of those children go hungry.

What We Get Wrong When We Talk About ‘The Financial Crisis’ (WaPo)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal says that the narrative of the financial crisis shouldn't center on the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. We can't forget the mortgage crisis, and ordinary Americans' distrust in financial systems is still a concern.

Summers Over (Reuters)

Felix Salmon suggests that the trial balloon raised for Larry Summers in July caused the politicization of the nomination for Fed Chair, and ultimately Summers's withdrawal. Sadly, his hopes that the position can remain technocratic instead of political seem unlikely.

Give Jobs a Chance (NYT)

Paul Krugman asks the Fed to put off the taper a little longer. With labor force participation so low, and unemployment still too high, he doesn't want to risk rocking our already unsteady recovery any more than necessary.

Could You Live on $11,940 a Year? (TAP)

Paul Waldman examines the decreasing value of the minimum wage. He supports a bill that would index the minimum wage to inflation, so workers would no longer have to wait on Congress to do something about the decreasing real value of their pay.

Why a Foreign Car Maker Might Be About to Say Yes to a U.S. Union (The Atlantic)

Jordan Weissmann explains how the United Auto Workers may finally get a hold in a foreign company's car plant on U.S. soil. Half the battle, he says, is PR, since there's an assumption that unionization would cause foreign manufacturers to pull out of the U.S.

How Detroit Went Broke: The Answers May Surprise You - and Don't Blame Coleman Young (Detroit Free Press)

Nathan Bomey and John Gallagher examine the financial history of Detroit back to the 1950s, and find that there were plenty of opportunities to prevent today's bankruptcy. Their in-depth analysis shows that Detroit may want to reconsider which mayors it blames or praises.

 

Share This

Three Graphs That Show Why Inequality Matters in the New York City Mayoral Race

Sep 11, 2013Nell Abernathy

The New York City primary results show that the issue of rising inequality is striking a chord with voters. Here's why.

The results are in and two (or three) candidates are one step closer to Gracie Mansion. What we know for certain is that along with winning international attention and prime seats at Yankee Stadium, New York’s next mayor will inherit a city that is more unequal in terms of income than any other major city in America.

The increasing polarization of wealth in New York has been a hot topic and served as the campaign centerpiece for one of yesterday’s big winners, Bill de Blasio. We are trying to resist pointing out that experts like our own Jeff Madrick were talking about this problem even before the drum circles of Zuccotti Park, but we’re happy that the city’s Sierra Leone-like inequality is at last making headlines.

Because we know that we can do better, and we hope our next mayor will at least try, the Roosevelt Institute’s Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative is taking a look back at some of the most compelling charts and graphs to surface on the long road to Election Day.

From James Parrott, at the Fiscal Policy Institute, who will be a panelist at our upcoming forum on inequality:

The top 1 percent are capturing a growing portion of the nation’s economy, and nowhere is that trend more pronounced than in New York.

The top 1 percent, in fact, pay less than their fair share of the tax burden:

Meanwhile, the poverty rate in New York City continues to rise: 

We will be back tomorrow with more infographics. To learn more about potential solutions to our growing wealth gap, join us for our panel discussion on Tuesday, September 24:

Inequality in New York: The Next Mayor’s Challenge

September 24, 2013

6:00 p.m. cocktail reception

6:30 – 8:00 p.m. panel discussion

Roosevelt House, Public Policy Institute at Hunter College

49 East 65th Street

New York, NY 10065

Nell Abernathy is the Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

The New York City primary results show that the issue of rising inequality is striking a chord with voters. Here's why.

The results are in and two (or three) candidates are one step closer to Gracie Mansion. What we know for certain is that along with winning international attention and prime seats at Yankee Stadium, New York’s next mayor will inherit a city that is more unequal in terms of income than any other major city in America.

The increasing polarization of wealth in New York has been a hot topic and served as the campaign centerpiece for one of yesterday’s big winners, Bill de Blasio. We are trying to resist pointing out that experts like our own Jeff Madrick were talking about this problem even before the drum circles of Zuccotti Park, but we’re happy that the city’s Sierra Leone-like inequality is at last making headlines.

Because we know that we can do better, and we hope our next mayor will at least try, the Roosevelt Institute’s Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative is taking a look back at some of the most compelling charts and graphs to surface on the long road to Election Day.

From James Parrott, at the Fiscal Policy Institute, who will be a panelist at our upcoming forum on inequality:

The top 1 percent are capturing a growing portion of the nation’s economy, and nowhere is that trend more pronounced than in New York.

The top 1 percent, in fact, pay less than their fair share of the tax burden:

Meanwhile, the poverty rate in New York City continues to rise: 

We will be back tomorrow with more infographics. To learn more about potential solutions to our growing wealth gap, join us for our panel discussion on Tuesday, September 24:

Inequality in New York: The Next Mayor’s Challenge



September 24, 2013



6:00 p.m. cocktail reception



6:30 – 8:00 p.m. panel discussion



Roosevelt House, Public Policy Institute at Hunter College



49 East 65th Street



New York, NY 10065

Nell Abernathy is the Program Manager for the Roosevelt Institute's Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

 

New York City skyline image via Shutterstock.com

Share This

Policy Note: Will Crowdfunding Kickstart an Investment Revolution?

Sep 5, 2013

Download the policy note (PDF) by Georgia Levenson Keohane

In a new policy note, Roosevelt Institute Fellow Georgia Levenson Keohane examines the policy and political implications of peer-to-peer financing. In recent years, crowdfunding has emerged as a financing model that allows smaller funders to invest in projects and organizations in their early stages – particularly those that would otherwise struggle to obtain capital. Peer-to-peer funding experiments first emerged in the nonprofit sector, but have since expanded to the realms of for-profit investment and political activism.

Download the policy note (PDF) by Georgia Levenson Keohane

In a new policy note, Roosevelt Institute Fellow Georgia Levenson Keohane examines the policy and political implications of peer-to-peer financing. In recent years, crowdfunding has emerged as a financing model that allows smaller funders to invest in projects and organizations in their early stages – particularly those that would otherwise struggle to obtain capital. Peer-to-peer funding experiments first emerged in the nonprofit sector, but have since expanded to the realms of for-profit investment and political activism. The proliferation of crowdfunding models and uses requires a nuanced policy response, one that balances the imperative to support the growth of small businesses and new jobs with safeguards for investor protection.

Read the policy note: "Will Crowdfunding Kickstart an Investment Revolution?" by Roosevelt Institute Fellow Georgia Levenson Keohane.

Share This

Daily Digest - August 21: How to Plan for the Future In Today's Economy

Aug 21, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Working Class Millennials Have Extra Challenges in Tough Economy (Daily Circuit)

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Working Class Millennials Have Extra Challenges in Tough Economy (Daily Circuit)

Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz talks about the precariousness of the American Dream in today's economy on Minnesota Public Radio. Many young people see the traditional markers of adulthood as unreachable with such an uncertain future.

The High Probability of Being Poor (TAP)

Matt Bruenig examines more detailed data that refutes some critiques of last month's AP report on economic insecurity. The aggregate life span poverty experience in this country is surprising, and in some demographics, poverty touches almost everyone.

Freelance Nation: When Good Jobs Turn to Bad (Salon)

Barbara Garson examines how jobs that used to provide a solid middle-class lifestyle have lost wages, benefits, and long-term security. Employers have turned many jobs into part-time or contract work, which takes away everything that made a job good.

Should White House Interns be Paid? (The Week)

Carmel Lobello speaks to organizers who are campaigning to get political interns in Washington wages. They see a disconnect between calling for a higher minimum wage and running the administration with unpaid workers.

North Carolina Could Be Next To Throw A Wrench Into Paid Sick Leave (Think Progress)

Bryce Covert reports on the preemption bills popping up across the country that prevent cities and counties from enacting local paid sick leave laws. ALEC, which pushes this bill, doesn't seem to care that paid sick leave saves employers the cost of lost productivity.

Women Shortchanged In Retirement Earnings (NPR)

Celeste Headlee and guests discuss how policy contributes to the gender gap in retirement funds. When women leave the workforce to have children, even temporarily, they reduce their personal contributions to retirement and have fewer work years to base Social Security on.

Why the White House is Uneasy with Picking Janet Yellen as Fed Chair (WaPo)

Neil Irwin sees Janet Yellen as an independent thinker who is methodically prepared in her work. That style and her emphasis on unemployment instead of financial bubbles may be what is keeping her off the top of the White House short list.

Share This

Daily Digest - August 20: Everyone Loses These Policy Debates

Aug 20, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Breaking Out of a Cramped Economic Policy Debate (NYT)

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Breaking Out of a Cramped Economic Policy Debate (NYT)

Jared Bernstein questions the continued false choices presented by our partisan policy debates. These arguments can't be about who wins, because then our policy is focused on winners and losers instead of fairness, opportunity, and growth.

Stop Worrying about Food Stamp "Fraud" (TAP)

Matt Bruenig points out that when we give a family SNAP, we're giving them dollars to spend, not Monopoly money. The fraud in question involves swapping SNAP money for dollars, and he thinks we should accept that we were already giving them money.

Sequestration Cuts Head Start for 57,000 Children (MSNBC)

Suzy Khimm explains the extent of the cuts that Head Start has to make. They were advised not to "compromis[e] the quality of [their] services," but that's not easy when Head Start already ran on a bare-bones budget.

Fast-Food Workers Call for Nationwide Walkout Aug. 29 (WaPo)

Michael Fletcher reports on the planned next steps for fast food strikes around the country. Organizers expect the August 29th protests, which will continue to call for a living wage, to include at least 35 cities.

Why Jobs Go Unfilled Even in Times of High Unemployment (The Atlantic)

Amy Sullivan talks to René Bryce-Laporte of Skills for America's Future about the supposed skills gap, and community college partnerships that are trying to fill it. Of course, these programs have tuition that usually falls on the unemployed person, not the employers.

Obama to Meet with Regulators Over Stalled Dodd-Frank Reform Act (The Guardian)

Heidi Moore discusses the coming meeting of the financial stability oversight council, where they are expected to discuss Dodd-Frank. The big question is why so many rules are still unwritten after three years of work.

New on Next New Deal

Why Carried Interest Reform Should Be a No-Brainer

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network alumnae Lydia Austin thinks that it's time for the tax code to recognize that carried interest, the share of profits received by private equity fund managers, is income, and should be taxed accordingly.

Roosevelt Institute Event

How Chicago Attracts Millennials in a Tough Economy

Tonight, join Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz and local stakeholders for a discussion on how Chicago has made itself a "land of opportunity" for Millennials, and how we can make that opportunity accessible to all.

Share This

Daily Digest - July 30: Goldilocks and the Next Fed Chair

Jul 30, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Bernanke Did Well, but the Fed Must do Better (FT)

Click here to receive the Daily Digest via email.

Bernanke Did Well, but the Fed Must do Better (FT)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal looks at the Goldilocks question facing the next Fed Chair: is current policy in response to the Great Recession too hot, too cold, or just right? He says that the Fed wasn't doing enough, and a dramatic policy shift is needed. (Registration is required to read this article)

Fear of a Female Fed Chief (NY Mag)

Jonathan Chait examines the right-wing claims that Janet Yellen is only being considered for Fed Chair because of her gender. No one is denying her qualifications, so it appears those opposed to Yellen have been influenced by Larry Summers's view of women.

Strikes, Alliances, and Survival (TAP)

Harold Meyerson writes on unions' work to build a bigger and broader labor movement. Experiments like partnerships with the NAACP or helping fast food workers win minimum wage increases are about remaining relevant and surviving in an anti-union economy.

Fast Food Strikes Catch Fire (In These Times)

David Moberg reports on the expanding fast food strikes yesterday, which are many workers' first experience with collective organizing. Apparently, even managers recognize that it's hard to argue with the statement that fast food wages are too low to live on.

Beauty School Students Left With Broken Promises and Large Debts (NYT)

Emily S. Rueb explains the plight of women who took out federal student loans for scam beauty schools. A nonprofit group is attempting to help them discharge this debt, because the schools distributed fraudulent information to prospective students.

80 Percent Of U.S. Adults Face Near-Poverty, Unemployment: Survey (HuffPo)

Hope Yen questions what it means for the American Dream if four out of five adults face economic insecurity at some point in their lives. If poverty is an issue that almost all Americans must deal with, then why are poverty programs the first on the chopping block?

The GOP Wants to Slash Food Stamps: Here's Exactly How Many of Their Constituents Would Suffer (The Atlantic)

Jordan Weissmann and Kyle Thetford analyze census data to look at how many people receive food stamps in different House districts. For Republicans, the answer is consistent: cuts to food stamps would leave 8-12% of households in their districts with less money for food.

New on Next New Deal

What Mia Macy's Victory Means for Transgender Workers' Rights

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network alumnus Tyler S. Bugg follows up on a major transgender employment discrimination case that he wrote about last year. This ruling is a win, but there is still more to be done for the transgender community and workers in general.

Share This

Why the Right Doesn’t Really Want Euro-Style Reproductive Health Care

Jul 24, 2013Andrea Flynn

U.S. conservatives want Europe's abortion restrictions, but they oppose the generous systems and legal exceptions that support women's health.

U.S. conservatives want Europe's abortion restrictions, but they oppose the generous systems and legal exceptions that support women's health.

Earlier this month, Texas lawmakers witnessed and participated in passionate debates about one of the nation's most sweeping pieces of anti-choice legislation. That legislation, known as SB1, was initially delayed by Wendy Davis's now-famous filibuster and was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry last week during a second special legislative session. It bans abortions after 20 weeks, places cumbersome restrictions on abortion clinics and physicians, and threatens to close all but five of the state’s 42 abortion clinics. Throughout the many days of hearings anti-choice activists relied on religious, scientific, and political evidence to argue that the new Texas law is just and sensible.

Many of those arguments are tenuous at best, but it is the continued reference to European abortion laws that most represent a convenient cherry-picking of facts to support the rollback of women’s rights. Many European countries do indeed regulate abortion with gestational limits, but what SB1 supporters conveniently ignore is that those laws are entrenched in progressive public health systems that provide quality, affordable (sometimes free) health care to all individuals and prioritize the sexual and reproductive health of their citizens. Most SB1 advocates would scoff at the very programs and policies that are credited with Europe’s low unintended pregnancy and abortion rates.

Members of the media have also seized on European policies to argue that Texas lawmakers are acting in the best interest of women. Soon after the passage of SB1, Bill O’Reilly argued that “most countries in the world have a 20-week threshold,” and Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, wrote, “It’s not just that Wendy Davis is out of step in Texas; she would be out of step in Belgium and France, where abortion is banned after 12 weeks.”

It’s hard to imagine any other scenario in which O’Reilly and Lowry, and most conservative politicians and activists, would hold up European social policies as a beacon for U.S. policy. After all, the cornerstones of Europe’s women’s health programs are the very programs that conservatives have long threatened would destroy the moral fabric of American society. One cannot compare the abortion policies of Europe and the United States without looking at the broader social policies that shape women’s health.

Both Belgium and France have mandatory sexuality education beginning in elementary school (in France parents are prohibited from removing their children from the program). France passed a bill earlier this year that allows women to be fully reimbursed for the cost of their abortion and guarantees girls ages 15 to 18 free birth control. Emergency contraception in both countries is easily accessible over the counter, and in Belgium the cost of the drug is reimbursed for young people and those with a prescription. Both countries limit abortion to the first trimester but also make exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and fetal impairment, to preserve woman’s physical or mental health, and for social or economic reasons. None of these exceptions are included in the new Texas law, and I’d guess it would be a cold day in hell before the likes of O’Reilly and Lowry advocate for more expansive health policies or for including such exceptions in abortion laws.  

But it would be wise if they did. This availability of preventative care contributes to the overall health and wellness of women in Europe and enables them to make free and fully informed decisions about their bodies over the course of their lifetimes. The demonization and lack of progressive sexual health policies in Texas, and in the United States more broadly, drives high rates of unintended pregnancy, teen pregnancy, maternal mortality, sexually transmitted infections, and abortion. 

Unfortunately, Texas couldn’t be further from France or Belgium when it comes to the care it provides to women and families before, during, and after delivery, as I’ve written about before. The Texas teen birth rate is nearly nine times higher than that of France and nearly 10 times higher than that of Belgium. Nearly 90 percent of all teens in France and Belgium reported using birth control at their last sexual intercourse, compared with only 53 percent in Texas. The infant mortality rate in Texas is twice that of Belgium and France. The poverty rate among women in Texas is a third higher than that of women in Belgium and France, and the poverty rate among Texas children is 1.5 times higher. Less than 60 percent of Texas women receive prenatal care, while quality care before, during, and after pregnancy is available to nearly all women throughout Europe.  

None of those hard facts were compelling enough to amend – let alone negate – the new law. It seems impossible these days to find a common ground between anti- and pro-choice individuals, but if conservatives wanted to have a conversation about enacting European-style sexual and reproductive health policies in the United States, that just might be something that could bring everyone to the same table. The more likely scenario is that once conservatives have plucked out the facts that help advance their anti-choice cause, they will promptly return to tarring and feathering Europe’s socialized health system.

Andrea Flynn is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. She researches and writes about access to reproductive health care in the United States and globally. She is on Twitter at @dreaflynn.

 

Woman and doctor banner image via Shutterstock.com

Share This

Pages