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Center of the American Experiment Calls on U.S. Supreme Court to Protect First Amendment Rights of Personal Care Attendants (PCAs)

After filing an amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a St. Cloud University faculty member, Kathy Uradnik, the Center filed an amicus brief in support of a related challenge, Bierman v. Dayton. The Center’s brief calls on the court to recognize that state laws forcing recipients of government welfare benefits to speak through unions is unconstitutional. It agrees with Petitioners in Bierman v. Dayton that the lower courts have improperly exempted such "exclusive representation" schemes from scrutiny under the First Amendment. PCAs in about a dozen states have been unionized by government unions such as AFSCME and the...

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Why I’m Still an Adoption Romantic—Just a Less Starry-Eyed One

The following column about adoption by American Experiment Founder Mitch Pearlstein was written at the invitation of the Institute for Family Studies at the University of Virginia.  The post at the IFS site can be found here. Sometime in the early 2000s, I received a call from a woman at the White House, who asked if my wife and I and our 11-year-old adopted daughter, “Kayla” (not her real name), might be interested in attending a program in celebration of adoption. Since I wasn’t the only adoptive father in the country, let’s just say I had a friend in the administration. After talking...

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Congress: Help Small Employers Offer Retirement but Fairly Allocate Its Costs

I recently wrote about a bill called "RESA" (Retirement Enhancement and Savings) quickly making its way through Congress; it would entice small employers with a tax break to offer retirement benefits to employees by allowing them to band together, acting like a larger employer that can afford to manage and pay for the administration of 401(k) and IRA plans. I applauded the idea but complained that the cost of RESA (lost tax revenue) was being loaded solely onto my kids should they inherit the plans from me, probably at their highest lifetime tax rate. The idea that they would be force-marched...

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Poverty, Culture & Marriage

Editor: The following essay by American Experiment Founder and Senior Fellow Mitch Pearlstein, “Poverty, Culture & Marriage,” was released as part of “The Tenth Annual Celebration of John Brandl and His Uncommon Quest for Common Ground,” on November 26, at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. The essay is one of four in a new anthology, Grasping and Reducing Poverty in Minnesota, with the other three by Stephen B. Young of the Caux Round Table, Angelica Klebsch of the Citizens League, and Dane Smith of Growth & Justice.  Featured speakers at the event were Tonya Allen...

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Anne Tyler’s Novels Offer Important Lessons on the Inner Workings of Families

This post originally appeared on the Institute for Family Studies blog. Anne Tyler has written a wonderful new novel about every three years going back to 1964—or to be precise, about every 29 months, on average.  Now 76 years old, she recently released what I believe is her 22nd novel, Clock Dance, which means it’s time for my more-or-less triennial paean to her and her work. But this time, I also offer a suggestion to therapists, clergy, and others who work with husbands and wives during emotionally-saturated moments: their professional training would be enhanced if it drew on insights and lessons from literature...

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Arvonne Fraser: American Experiment Contributor

Arvonne Fraser, who died recently at 92, contributed several essays over the years to American Experiment symposia that I compiled on a variety of subjects.  She also was one of my 40 interviewees in a 2014 book, Broken Bonds: What Family Fragmentation Means for America’s Future.  One might ask how a liberal “trailblazer” wound up in Center publications.  Easy, I invited her. I don’t know when we first met other than to say it was a long time ago.  The same is true of her husband, Don, the former congressman and mayor of Minneapolis, who survives her.  Obviously, Arvonne and I...

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Marriage, Military Service, Black Churches, and More Mundane Founts

In late June, the American Enterprise Institute released a study by three scholars which found “more than one-in-two black men (57%) have made it into the middle class or higher as adults, up from 38% in 1960, according to a new analysis of Census data.”  The researchers, W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia, Wendy R. Wang of the Institute for Family Studies, and Ronald B. Mincy of Columbia University, also found that the “share of black men who are poor has fallen from 41% in 1960 to 18 percent in 2016.” Surprisingly, this good news generated only one comment...

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Cheating at Play, Cheating in Life?

This essay originally appeared on the Institute for Family Studies website. I didn’t cheat. Neither did my brother or my sister. Both affirmed this adamantly when I asked them if they had ever cheated at Monopoly when we played as children. We spent endless days hovered over the dilapidated old card table set up temporarily in the far corner of the living room in the home where we grew up. A relic from the past, its turquoise surface was scuffed by use; one leg failed to catch. So accustomed were we to the wobbly leg that we took turns bolstering that side of the...

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Mrs. Greene Goes to Washington: Trump Administration to Roll Back the Dayton-Smith-DFL Union Dues Skimming Scheme

To be clear, if the Obama rule is fixed, the unions that have been certified would unfortunately continue until they are decertified—that is why MNPCA is not giving up in Minnesota. Decertification is the only way to get rid of these predatory unions; that and a declaration from Congress that they are illegal. But the state of Minnesota could no longer deduct union dues for the SEIU and deposit it in their coffers. ...

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