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States With Large Black Populations Are Stingier With Government Benefits

June 6, 2017 When he launched his War on Poverty in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Tom Fletcher, an unemployed white Appalachian coal miner who lived in Kentucky. The White House had chosen Fletcher, who had eight children, to become the face of American poverty, and an iconic Time magazine photo captured...

Are Pharmaceutical Companies to Blame for the Opioid Epidemic?

June 4, 2017 Opioid abuse is rampant in states like Ohio, where paramedics are increasingly spending time responding to overdoses and where coroners’ offices are running out of room to store bodies. In 2012, there were 793 million doses of opioids prescribed in the state, enough to supply every man, woman, and child,...

All the Ways Retail's Decline Could Hurt American Towns

May 29, 2017 SPRINGFIELD, Ohio—The Upper Valley Mall here used to be a place that drew in shoppers. Now it looks like a fortress designed to keep them out. The concrete façade of the empty department store looms large at one end, the letters that once spelled “JC Penney” removed but their outline...

The Unworkable Math of Trump’s Budget

May 24, 2017 Regardless of the details, the budget released Tuesday by the Trump administration was likely to be met with opposition from the Democrats for the scope of the cuts it proposed to programs that help low-income Americans. But, big-picture disagreements aside, people assumed that those details would at least add up....

The Parts of America Most Susceptible to Automation

May 3, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Economists expect that millions of American jobs are going to be replaced by automation in the coming decades. But where will those job losses take place? Which areas will be hardest hit? Much of the focus regarding automation has been on the Rust Belt. There, many workers have been replaced...

Could Small-Town Harvards Revive Rural Economies?

May 3, 2017 In the mid-1970s, the town of Fairfield, Iowa, had a problem. Parsons College, which had been one of the town’s economic anchors for nearly a century, lost its accreditation in 1967 and shut down in 1973. The town faced the future of many rural towns across America: declining population and...

Why Would Congress Bail Out Miners’ Pensions?

April 21, 2017 For decades, being a coal miner has come with a deal: Work in dangerous, unpleasant conditions for years, and in exchange, get lifelong health-care benefits and a decent pension. Now, though, part of that deal is jeopardy, as the funds that provide those benefits have dwindled. When Congress returns next...

Why It’s So Hard to Get Ahead in the South

April 4, 2017 CHARLOTTE—Shamelle Jackson moved here from Philadelphia, hoping to find work opportunities and better schools for her four children, who range in age from two to 14. Instead, she found a city with expensive housing, few good jobs, and schools that can vary dramatically in quality. “I’ve never struggled as hard...

How Trump's Budget Would Impact Cities' Poorest Residents

March 16, 2017 During his campaign for president, Donald Trump pledged to help inner cities and African American communities in particular. But his proposed budget eliminates programs that have helped these communities for years, and would deal a particular blow to Americans with the lowest incomes. The proposed budget, announced Thursday, would slash...

The Future of the Department of Labor Under Trump

March 6, 2017 The Trump administration has pledged to help “forgotten” Americans, especially those in the working class. The president has targeted regulations on coal, hoping to resuscitate the industry, and tried to convince manufacturers to locate in the United States, which could create more jobs. But most workers aren’t in the coal...