Category Archives: Politics

Health Care, Immigration, and Other HR-Related Issues Dominate 2008 U.S. Presidential Election Campaigns

Source: Hewitt Associates, Press Release, September 23, 2008

Hewitt Associates is closely tracking developments in the 2008 U.S. presidential election that may ultimately have an impact on employers. A number of proposals already included in candidates’ campaigns have the potential to affect employer-provided health benefits, hiring practices, leave of absence policies, payroll, and employer-sponsored retirement plans.

•2008 Presidential Election: Candidates’ Health Care Proposals (updated 09/22/08)
•2008 Presidential Election: Candidates’ Retirement and Related Policies (updated 09/22/08)
•2008 Presidential Election: Candidates’ Employment Proposals (updated 09/22/08)

Two Prescriptions for America’s Ills

Source: Consumer Reports, Vol. 73 no. 11, November 2008
(subscription required)

McCain and Obama offer conflicting health plans. Here’s how you’d fare.

Politics aside, Americans overwhelmingly agree that our health-care system needs emergency care. It costs too much, is riddled with waste, and completely leaves out about 46 million people. …

… Their approaches are radically different. Sen. John McCain, Republican of Arizona, Would create a deregulated national insurance market, expand individual coverage, and rely on competition to drive costs down. People with serious health problems could join government subsidized high-risk pools like those that many states run today. Sen. Barack Obama, on the other hand, would set national standards to plug coverage gaps, require that all children be covered, stop insurers from turning sick people away, and subsidize lower-income families’ premiums. The Illinois Democrat’s aim is to spread the risk so broadly that everyone will be able to afford good insurance.

See also:
Health Cost Calculator – Assess your insurance coverage against five typical insurance needs.

Presidential Candidates On Health Reform

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, September 2008

– A detailed side-by-side of the candidates’ proposals on health reform
– Kaiser Foundation’s polling on the topic
Video clips of the candidates discussing health reform are available online.

Additionally, the Foundation has updated two key resources on the uninsured to reflect health coverage data from 2007. You may view the most recent versions of Five Basic Facts on the Uninsured, and The Uninsured and Their Access to Care fact sheet.

The latest 2007 data on health coverage and demographics for all 50 states and the nation has also been updated on Kaiser’s, and the Foundation’s Kaiser Commission on Medicaid, and the Uninsured’s interactive Medicaid and Children’s Health fact sheets.

For more in-depth analysis and coverage of health care and the 2008 elections, you may visit our web site. Stay tuned in the coming days for additional election-related resources from the Foundation.

Policymaking Under the Bush II National Labor relations Board: Where Do We Go From Here?

Source: David P. Twomey, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 59 no. 2, Summer 2008

This article will discuss the politicization of the Labor Board. It will present the U.S. Supreme Court’s analytical framework for reviewing administrative agency policymaking decisions. The article will conclude with comments on whether or not the agency is fulfilling its statutory mission to administer the NLRA Act according to the terms of the Act itself, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme court and offers some suggestions on how to revitalize the agency.

DMI’s First Annual Survey on the Middle Class and Public Policy Finds Broad Policy Agreement Among Fearful Families

Source: DMI, August 19, 2008

DMI’s first annual survey on the Middle Class and Public Policy reveals that America’s middle-class households are fearful families – overwhelmingly pessimistic about the direction of the country, especially the economy and high gas prices. Most have little flexibility in their own economic situations and have little if anything left over each month after meeting basic expenses. The middle class is disgruntled with the direction of the country and politicians and see little coming out of Washington that would give them cause for optimism.

Middle-class Americans do know what policies they would like to see enacted. Despite media depictions of a sharp red and blue divide, the nation’s middle class displays broad consensus on a range of public policies aimed at easing their economic squeeze: they support a universal national health insurance plan, requiring employers to provide paid family and medical leave, making it easier for employees to join labor unions and allowing bankruptcy judges to change mortgage payments to keep homes out of foreclosure. A majority of middle-class adults – whether they are Democrats, Republicans, or independents and whether they are supporters of John McCain or Barack Obama for President – believe that these policies represent good ideas for the country. Regardless of party affiliation or presidential preference, these Fearful Families think largely alike.

Votes or Money? Theory and Evidence from the US Congress

Source: Matilde Bombardini and Francesco Trebbi, Chicago Graduate School of Business, Research Paper No. 08-10, July 1, 2008

From the abstract:
This paper investigates the relationship between the size of interest groups in terms of voter representation and the interest group’s campaign contributions to politicians. We uncover a robust hump-shaped relationship between the voting share of an interest group and its contributions to a legislator. This pattern is rationalized in a simultaneous bilateral bargaining model where the larger size of an interest group affects the amount of surplus to be split with the politician (thereby increasing contributions), but is also correlated with the strength of direct voter support the group can offer instead of monetary funds (thereby decreasing contributions). The model yields simple structural equations that we estimate at the district level employing data on individual and PAC donations and local employment by sector. This procedure yields estimates of electoral uncertainty and politicians effectiveness as perceived by the interest groups. Our approach also implicitly delivers a novel method for estimating the impact of campaign spending on election outcomes: we find that an additional vote costs a politician between 100 and 400 dollars depending on the district.

Tax-Exempt Organizations: Political Activity Restrictions and Disclosure Requirements

Source: Erika Lunder, Congressional Research Service, RL33377, September 11, 2007

From a summary:
Recently, significant attention has been paid to the political activities of taxexempt organizations. In particular, the activities of IRC 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, 501(c)(5) labor unions, 501(c)(6) trade associations, and 527 political organizations have been scrutinized. This report examines the limitations that the Internal Revenue Code places on political activity, including lobbying and campaign intervention, by tax-exempt organizations. It focuses on the above organizations, but also discusses the restrictions on the other types of tax-exempt organizations. The report also looks at the administrative procedures recently unveiled by the IRS that provide for expedited review of possible tax laws violations by IRC 501(c)(3) organizations that conduct political activities. In addition, the report contains a summary of the information that tax-exempt organizations must report to the Internal Revenue Service about their political activities and whether the information must be made publicly available.

The Party of Lincoln and the Politics of State Fair Employment Practices Legislation in the North, 1945-1964

Source: Anthony S. Chen, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 112, No. 6
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
From 1945 to 1964, more than a score of northern states passed laws mandating non-discrimination in employment. Why did some states pass such fair employment practice (FEP) laws much more slowly than other states? This article presents archival and statistical evidence that partisan control of policy-making institutions – namely, Republican control of veto points in the legislative process – is associated with a substantial reduction in the likelihood that a state would pass FEP legislation, even when controlling for potentially confounding variables. This finding casts doubt on the leading account of the electoral realignment that began in the mid-1960s and culminated in the Reagan-Bush years. Well before the advent of affirmative action, key numbers of GOP office-holders – allied with organized business and motivated by a free-market, anti-regulatory ideology – worked successfully to block the adoption of color-blind laws mandating formal racial equality.

Candidate Views Index 2008

Source: Brookings Institution, 2008

Compiled by Brookings Institution experts, this chart is part of a series of issue indices to be published during the 2008 Presidential election cycle. The policy issues included in this series were chosen by Brookings staff and represent the most critical topics facing America’s next President.

Available vote records and statements vary based on time in office.

The index displays the presumptive candidate from both major parties.

Fiscal Responsibility
Health Care