The Commons

Conservation, Farming, and the Wisdom of Our Elders Share This

Kelly Liddington | Jun 07, 2021 | Agriculture

The last time you voted, you may have seen “Soil Conservation District” on the ballot but not known why. These positions are frequently uncontested and local townships or counties can even have trouble finding candidates to run. Different states operate their conservation districts differently, but they are often the first line of defense in ensuring […]

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The ‘Uber Economy’ Needs Guardrails Share This

Steven Hill | Jun 03, 2021 | Labor Market

Wingham Rowan wants to “remake the modern [labor] market,” while Neil Chilson wants “freedom from [labor] market frictions.” Yet neither seems to understand these markets from the perspective of the many freelancers and so-called “independent” contractors whom they purport to advocate for. Not all freelancers and contractors are the same. Depending on the occupation and […]

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Social Security Was Supposed to Be Secure Share This

Nancy Merical | May 26, 2021 | Edgerton Essays

Politicians today are out of step with the many elderly—like me—who live on Social Security alone. They propose spending tax dollars on cancelling student loans or health care for illegal immigrants or other proposals that aren’t really “needs.” Meanwhile, this money comes out of the pockets of hardworking Americans, many of whom may depend on […]

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It’s Time to Bring Back Place-Based Policymaking Share This

Rob Atkinson | May 24, 2021 | Economic Development

Between the New Deal era of the 1930s and the late 1970s, it was the formal policy of the federal government to care about and try to reduce regional economic disparities. But as neoclassical economics steeped with market fundamentalist ideology started to gain ascendency in the 1970s, the federal government gradually abandoned efforts to help […]

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What I Wish Our Politicians Knew Share This

Sheila Wilkinson | May 19, 2021 | Edgerton Essays

Re: Don’t Talk to Us Like We’re Idiots

The recent post by Guy Stickney got me thinking about why it’s so hard for politicians to discuss things openly and honestly—and why we have a hard time doing it, too. Politics never used to pique my interest—maybe because my parents endured World War II, and I experienced those tragic, tumultuous days of the Vietnam […]

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What Republicans Can Learn from the UK’s Conservative Party Share This

Marshall Auerback | May 18, 2021 | Politics

Political trends in the U.S. and United Kingdom have mirrored each other for decades—and Britain’s recent local elections (and the Hartlepool by-election) are no exception. Predictably, there has been much discussion of the stunning collapse of working-class support in areas that have long been staunchly pro-Labour and the implications for the Democratic Party across the […]

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Is Sweden a Free-Market Welfare State? Share This

Michael Lind | May 13, 2021 | Economics

Re: The Case for a Free-Market Welfare State

Forget American exceptionalism. Tiny social democratic Sweden is the country that embodies humanity’s future in the eyes of much of the global liberal left. A generation ago, the liberal economist Robert Heilbroner famously described his utopia as “a slightly idealized Sweden.” Now, the Niskanen Center’s Samuel Hammond has tried to draft Sweden for the libertarian […]

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Don’t Talk to Us Like We’re Idiots Share This

Guy Stickney | May 12, 2021 | Edgerton Essays

There’s an easy way to tell when politicians think we’re idiots. They have this way of dancing around the answer when they are asked a question, when even a simple “yes” or “no” would do the trick. But instead, they give us the song and dance and start distracting us by going into subjects that are completely […]

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Why Conservative Populists Should Care About Health Care Share This

John Connolly | May 11, 2021 | Health Care

The insightful refrain of conservative populists goes something like this: The once-prosperous American middle class was built on nuclear families, well-paying jobs, and broad economic prosperity. Today, this simple dream is out of reach for millions of Americans. Conservative populists have done an excellent job articulating potential policy reforms around support for families raising children, […]

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A Canadian Warning on Universal Child Care Share This

Patrick T. Brown | May 07, 2021 | child care

Any discussion of the effects of government-subsidized day care for children inevitably turns to Canada. In 1997, the province of Quebec introduced a universal child care program, offering parents a child care spot for five (Canadian) dollars per day (now Can$8.50). Heralded by some as a success – it brought an estimated 69,700 moms into […]

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Honoring Motherhood with Paid Leave Share This

Amber Lapp | May 07, 2021 | Family Policy

Since Abigail Tucker’s book, Mom Genes: Inside the New Science of Our Ancient Maternal Instinct, was released a few days ago, I’ve been listening to the audiobook whenever I get a spare minute—while doing dishes, folding laundry, waiting in the school pickup carline, rocking the baby to sleep. My nine- and seven-year-old sons were fascinated […]

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The Bully Platform Share This

Jonathan Askonas | May 06, 2021 | Big Tech

The Tyranny of Big Tech, by Josh Hawley (Regnery, 200 pp. $30) Since his election in 2018, Senator Josh Hawley has distinguished himself by his broad-ranging criticism of Big Tech. In his new book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, he attempts to revive the spirit of trust-busting exemplified by Teddy Roosevelt against the companies he […]

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