Sex, Pipelines and Pensions: American Experiment in the Media

At American Experiment, we aim to play a constructive role in Minnesota’s marketplace of ideas and public policy. To do that the Center communicates its message statewide in an increasing variety of ways–radio, online videos, social media, our website, billboards, Thinking Minnesota magazine and digital advertising.

Yet despite an expanding menu of media options, there’s still something special about being published in the paper. Yesterday stood out as a perfect media storm with the Center’s views on three wildly divergent issues featured in three of the state’s biggest newspapers on topics from sex to pipelines to pensions.

Katherine Kersten’s “Sex and the single mind: The origins of #MeToo” column ranked as one of the top-read pieces in the Star Tribune.

 The first waves of sexual-harassment allegations that powered the #MeToo movement are past, but the pressing issues the movement raises will be with us for a long time.

The actions of many of the accused men — actors, politicians, businessmen — were reprehensible and caused real misery. But stepping back, what strikes an observer is a puzzling disconnect.

Why were these men so furiously denounced — and their careers abruptly ended — because they approached and treated women in ways that our popular culture glamorizes and portrays as the norm every day?

The Duluth News Tribune featured a column by American Experiment’s energy and environment expert Isaac Orr  protesting pipeline protesters.

We know gasoline enables us to drive to work and drop the kids off at soccer practice, and diesel fuel powers our ambulances and school buses. But we don’t often think about how these products fuel the tractors and combines that farmers use to grow our food and the semi-trucks that deliver this food to the grocery store before it ultimately ends up on our tables.

It is important to note that pipeline protesters are as dependent upon petroleum products as anyone else. The United States consumed approximately 19.88 million barrels of oil each day in 2017 but only produced about 10 million barrels per day. This means imports account for about half of the oil we depend upon. We can either purchase this oil from Canada, our friends to the north, or Saudi Arabia, Russia, or Venezuela. This should not be a difficult decision.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press turned to the Center’s Kim Crockett for perspective on recently enacted pension reforms for the paper’s lead editorial.

Crockett — who describes the unfunded-liabilities “reset” to 2048 as “kick the can on steroids” — attended the May 31 bill-signing celebration at the Capitol with mixed feelings. She describes agreement on the measure as a political victory — “getting the Democrats and the Republicans to agree on something and getting the governor to sign it.”

“The problem is these are retirement funds,” she said. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my retirement funds to be a political compromise.”

Her efforts now, Crockett told us, will include a focus on younger public employees. Why, she asks, should they “be subsidizing a benefit most of them will never get?”

News tip: Also keep an eye out for American Experiment columns in your local daily and weekly papers.