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Commentaries

Nov 25, 2013
It has been said that doing what sounds good often gets in the way of doing what works. There is perhaps no better example of this than State Rep. Tom Anzelc’s well-intentioned attempt to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage via constitutional amendment, a proposal he floated last Wednesday.
Nov 17, 2013
At the risk of implying that we should all hold hands and sing “Kumbaya,” how well do you think Americans know and feel for each other? In particular, how well do you think Americans in the main understand and empathize with low-income Americans?
Nov 17, 2013
In terms of race and ethnicity, the Twin Cities region is one of the most rapidly diversifying metro areas in the nation. For 15 years, Hispanic, black and Asian residents — now almost a quarter of the population — have been flooding into the suburbs.
Nov 15, 2013
There is no such thing as a silver bullet when it comes to making government work properly. But the closest thing to it in this imperfect world is making government open up its books and its operations to public scrutiny — what the insiders call “transparency.”
Nov 5, 2013
Why is it that so many savvy players, when talking about achievement gaps and other educational problems, make it sound as though if we just got this or that policy calibrated right, or if the body politic just rose adequately to the occasion, or if taxpayers just shelled out more, we would make great progress?
Nov 1, 2013
Everybody has heard “caveat emptor,” or “let the buyer beware.” It’s a warning about the nature of sales and salesmen: They are in the business to sell, not to look out for your interests. In legal terms, we expect salesmen to engage in “puffery,” which is a sort of exaggeration or slanting to convince you of their products’ merits.
Oct 29, 2013
On Marquette Avenue in Minneapolis, when the food trucks line up, people show up. And with food trucks offering innovative, flavorful lunch options, it’s not hard to see why. Take AZ Canteen, which serves up andouille, oyster and crab gumbo and crispy pork belly topped with a fried egg — delicious dishes you won’t find anywhere in the skyway. From roasted pork tacos to traditional British pasties to buttery lobster rolls, Minneapolis food trucks are satisfying hungry customers by serving up some of the tastiest lunches in the Twin Cities. So why do some people want to regulate them out of existence?
Oct 20, 2013
We hear from all sides that America is becoming “two nations.” The upper class of highly educated professionals is flourishing — rich and getting richer. But many in the working class are struggling — dropping out of the workforce and leading increasingly dysfunctional lives. The middle class is shrinking and beginning to show similar signs of dysfunction.
Oct 14, 2013
Over the past several weeks, Education Next’s Mike Petrilli has been debating Deborah Meier on her Bridging Differences blog about the relationship between poverty and education. One topic that’s come up is the impact of family breakdown. This guest post by Center of the American Experiment president Mitch Pearlstein explores what might be done about it.
Oct 6, 2013
Last month, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., claimed that efforts to rein in government spending are pointless. “There’s no more cuts to make,” she said, “The cupboard is bare.” In fact, with a nearly $4 trillion federal budget, there is plenty in the “cupboard” Washington could clearly do without — starting with its jar of sugar subsidies.