The Future of the Democratic Party

Source: New York Times, Room for Debate, November 9, 2016

Days ago the fate of the Republican Party in the wake of Donald Trump seemed in the balance. Now the Democrats will have to think seriously about their future after a populist tsunami swept up millions of voters who were once key members of the party’s coalition.

What does the Democratic Party need to do to move forward, attract alienated voters and remain relevant?

Debaters include:
Recommit to Average People, Not Financial Wizards and Stars
Mike Gecan, Industrial Areas Foundation
The party of data and imagery must become the party of meaningful work with living wages, rebuilding the nation as well as the party.

Make Millennials a Part of the Party’s Rebuilding
Symone Sanders, former Bernie Sanders press secretary
With or without the Democratic Party, young people will organize and act. Party leadership should reach out to bring them into the fold.

End the Addiction to Political Money
Josh Silver, Represent.Us
Voters are angry at the cozy relationship between big money and politicians.That anger fueled the candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Criminal Justice Reform Can Empower Forgotten Americans
Glenn E. Martin, JustLeadershipUSA
We cannot create a huge class of permanent social and economic outcasts who are alienated from the political process.

Fight to Rewrite the Economic Rules
Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute
Progressives can bring together white voters who went for Reagan and Obama and now Trump, with people of color.
A Blueprint for a New Party
Seth Ackerman, Jacobin, November 14, 2016

With the rise of Donald Trump, we need to think seriously about what it would take to form a democratic organization rooted in the working class.

How Trump Won
Jedediah Purdy, Jacobin, November 11, 2016

The Democratic Party’s abandonment of the working class cleared the space for Trump.

The Next Democratic Party
Timothy Shenk, Dissent Magazine, Online Articles, November 15, 2016

Parties recover from defeat in two ways. They can try to beat the opposition at their own game, or they can try to change the rules of the game. Donald Trump did the latter. Now it’s the Democrats’ turn.

Notes From a Very Close Election
Bill Fletcher, Jr., Dissent Magazine, Blog, November 11, 2016

The Trump victory was far from a slam dunk. But it still showed an alarmingly large constituency for a racist, misogynist revolt against the future.

Bad New Days
Rich Yeselson, Dissent Magazine, Blog, November 9, 2016

This will likely be seen as one of the most consequential presidential elections in American history—above all, in institutionalizing the GOP as an unchecked vehicle for racism, nativism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny.

The National Infrastructure Reserve Bank

Source: Stephen M. Hubbard, Public Works Management & Policy, Published online before print November 10, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article examines the implementation of a novel national infrastructure bank (NIB) which coins or “makes” U.S. currency to provide capital for infrastructure loans. This approach eliminates bond expense while reducing long-term life cycle costs caused by deferred maintenance and construction inflation. It also addresses the three main issues that have blocked prior NIB proposals by providing a near zero-cost source of capital, reducing the total size of government employment, and isolating funding from national politics while reducing costs by US$75 to US$220 billion and creating up to three million or more jobs annually.

The Effect of Fiscal Illusion on Public Sector Financial Management: Evidence from Local Government Property Assessment

Source: Justin M. Ross, Siân Mughan, Public Finance Review, Published online before print November 11, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
An important concern to the efficiency of public finance systems is that voters may suffer from various “fiscal illusions” that can be exploited by politicians to grow the public sector. This article contributes evidence on the specific public financial management mechanisms by associating the impact property reassessments have on the “visibility” of budget size signaled by property tax rates. Using data from Virginia cities and counties from 2001 to 2011, the results indicate mass reappraisals, which reduce property tax visibility cause contemporaneous property tax levy increases, as do reappraisals that increase future tax visibility. These revenue shocks are then smoothed into expenditures through the management of assets, indicating policy makers prefer the spending to be drawn from future cash reserves than immediate projects that might draw attention to the source of fiscal illusion.

The Cadillac Tax and Its Potential to Transform How Americans Purchase Health Care Services

Source: Richard L. Kaplan, University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-02, November 7, 2016

From the abstract:
This Article examines one of the most contentious provisions of the Affordable Care Act – namely, the 40% excise tax on high-value health insurance provided by employers. This levy, commonly denominated the “Cadillac” tax, is scheduled to take effect in 2020 but has already induced many employers to raise annual deductibles on the health insurance they provide to reduce the value of such insurance and thereby lower their exposure to this new tax. After analyzing the administrative guidance proposed since the Cadillac tax’s enactment, this Article considers how that tax’s effective encouragement of high-deductible health insurance plans has inadvertently made the Health Savings Accounts that President George W. Bush promoted 15 years earlier much more appealing.

Postsecondary Institutions and Price of Attendance in 2015-16; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2014-15; and 12-Month Enrollment: 2014-15: First Look (Provisional Data)

Source: Scott A. Ginder Janice E. Kelly-Reid, National Center for Education Statistics, Publication #: NCES 2016112REV, July 2016

From the abstract:
This First Look is a revised version of the preliminary report released on July 14, 2016. It includes fully edited and imputed data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) fall 2015 collection, which included three survey components: Institutional Characteristics for the 2015-16 academic year, Completions covering the period July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, and data on 12-Month Enrollment for the 2014-15 academic year.

Lifting and exertion injuries decrease after implementation of an integrated hospital-wide safe patient handling and mobilisation programme

Source: Jack T Dennerlein, Elizabeth (Tucker) O’Day, Deborah F Mulloy, Jackie Somerville, Anne M Stoddard, Christopher Kenwood, Erin Teeple, Leslie I Boden, Glorian Sorensen, Dean Hashimoto, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Published Online First 25 October 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Objective: With increasing emphasis on early and frequent mobilisation of patients in acute care, safe patient handling and mobilisation practices need to be integrated into these quality initiatives. We completed a programme evaluation of a safe patient handling and mobilisation programme within the context of a hospital-wide patient care improvement initiative that utilised a systems approach and integrated safe patient equipment and practices into patient care plans.

Methods: Baseline and 12-month follow-up surveys of 1832 direct patient care workers assessed work practices and self-reported pain while an integrated employee payroll and injury database provided recordable injury rates collected concurrently at 2 hospitals: the study hospital with the programme and a comparison hospital.

Results: Safe and unsafe patient handling practice scales at the study hospital improved significantly (p<0.0001 and p=0.0031, respectively), with no differences observed at the comparison hospital. We observed significant decreases in recordable neck and shoulder (Relative Risk (RR)=0.68, 95% CI 0.46 to 1.00), lifting and exertion (RR=0.73, 95% CI 0.60 to 0.89) and pain and inflammation (RR=0.78, 95% CI 0.62 to 1.00) injury rates at the study hospital. Changes in rates at the comparison hospital were not statistically significant. Conclusions: Within the context of a patient mobilisation initiative, a safe patient handling and mobilisation programme was associated with improved work practices and a reduction in recordable worker injuries. This study demonstrates the potential impact of utilising a systems approach based on recommended best practices, including integration of these practices into the patient's plan for care.

Early Impacts of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage in Medicaid Expansion and Non-Expansion States

Source: Charles Courtemanche, James Marton, Benjamin Ukert, Aaron Yelowitz, Daniela Zapata, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Early View, First published: October 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) aimed to achieve nearly universal health insurance coverage in the United States through a combination of insurance market reforms, mandates, subsidies, health insurance exchanges, and Medicaid expansions, most of which took effect in 2014. This paper estimates the causal effects of the ACA on health insurance coverage in 2014 using data from the American Community Survey. We utilize difference-in-difference-in-differences models that exploit cross-sectional variation in the intensity of treatment arising from state participation in the Medicaid expansion and local area pre-ACA uninsured rates. This strategy allows us to identify the effects of the ACA in both Medicaid expansion and non-expansion states. Our preferred specification suggests that, at the average pre-treatment uninsured rate, the full ACA increased the proportion of residents with insurance by 5.9 percentage points compared to 2.8 percentage points in states that did not expand Medicaid. Private insurance expansions from the ACA were due to increases in both employer-provided and non-group coverage. The coverage gains from the full ACA were largest for those without a college degree, non-whites, young adults, unmarried individuals, and those without children in the home. We find no evidence that the Medicaid expansion crowded out private coverage.

Voter Suppression Laws Cost Americans Their Voices at the Polls

Source: Liz Kennedy, Center for American Progress, November 11, 2016

From the summary:
The integrity of U.S. elections depends on every eligible American being able to cast a vote that is counted. Yet this year, the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act, many Americans across the country were blocked from having their voices heard in the democratic process….

Pension Structure and Employee Turnover: Evidence from a Large Public Pension System

Source: Dan Goldhaber, Cyrus Grout, Kristian L. Holden, ILR Review, Online First, Published online before print November 4, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Public pension systems in many U.S. states face large funding shortfalls, and policymakers have considered moving toward defined contribution (DC) pension structures in the interest of reducing the likelihood of future shortfalls. Concerns exist, however, that such changes might increase levels of employee turnover. The empirical evidence on the relationship between pension structure and turnover is mixed, and is quite limited in the case of public-sector plans. The authors study a single class of public-sector employees (teachers) who are enrolled in either a traditional defined benefit (DB) plan or a hybrid DB-DC plan during overlapping periods of time. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the authors find little evidence that the introduction of the hybrid plan increased employee turnover; in fact, they find that turnover is lower among teachers who transferred out of the DB plan into the hybrid plan. Employers may benefit by shifting the debate away from plan structure per se and toward a discussion of how to provide employees with pension plans they will highly value.