Daily Resource Highlight - 07/18/2022

Posted by on July 18, 2022 at 12:44 PM

Below are the highlights and featured resources of this past week’s Daily* Resource.

July 12, 2022 - Looking for Leadership: Jan 6th; Responsive Reps; Renew America Cohort 

I still remember being completely and utterly shocked that a mob had managed to take control of the Chambers of Congress – even temporarily. That kind of stuff happens in less developed nations, not America. And yet, there was a half-naked, face-painted man with horns standing in front of an empty Congress.

As a nation, we are still coming to grips with what happened on January 6th, 2021. The House Select Committee is investigating, but are they finding answers? The Bridge Alliance’s newest member, How Do We Fix It? presented by Davies Content, discusses the Committee’s work and whether it “has been as effective as it should have been.”

Regardless, it’s clear that the people who stormed the Capitol that day felt like they weren’t being heard – and that puts them in company with most Americans. To be very clear, I am not looking to put the January 6th mob in a positive light. As far as I’m concerned, they are traitors. 

What I am saying is that Americans don’t feel like they are being well represented. According to Voice of the People’s nationwide survey, only 9% of voters think that the government is being run for the benefit of all Americans. That would make sense, given that, as Steven Kull notes, “There is strong evidence that [politicians] don’t even know the views of their constituents.” (NY Times). 

So…how do we fix it? In a recent interview with The Factual, Katherine Gehl argues that part of the solution is Final Five Voting, which can change incentives to encourage Congress to better represent Americans. Final Five, she claims, can help solve the Primary Problem, and has already been tested in one form in Alaska.

We also want to give a shout out to Renew America Together for their Civility Leadership Institute, which is about to launch with its second cohort. While CLI wasn’t designed for aspiring politicians, we know that we will need a lot of capable leaders both in government and the private sector to get us through these difficult times. Renew America is doing its part to nurture that leadership.

July 14, 2022 - The State of the Economy: Inflation, Borrowing, & Spending

It’s hard to know how to feel about the economy right now. The unemployment rate is very low, but the inflation rate is very, very high – so more people have money, but that money is much less valuable than it was a year ago. In response, the Federal Reserve has substantially hiked interest rates to discourage borrowing; a move that was met by mixed reactions by both the left and right (The FlipSide).

To help make sense of the situation, Network for Responsible Public Policy (NFRPP) is hosting a panel on July 21st at 7:30 PM ET. Several economics / finance experts will come together to discuss how we got here, what might be next, and possible solutions to the problems we face. You can register for the event here.

And if you would like to do some background reading before the event, we’ve got you covered! The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) recently published six suggestions on how to fight inflation, including ending COVID relief efforts, increasing taxes, and reducing Social Security benefits for high earners. 

According to Voice of the People, that last proposal actually has broad, bipartisan support. In a survey of 2,500 voters on reducing the Social Security shortfall, 78% of Republicans and 86% of Democrats favored reducing benefits to the top 20% of earners (though high earners would still get higher benefits).

Finally, and speaking of underfunded government programs, Truth in Accounting claims that Illinois is in trouble. A couple months ago, Illinois recently borrowed $1.6 billion to fund its pension obligations, but the new funds still leave the state several billion short of what was needed for the year. Additionally, Truth in Accounting has found that – when all obligations are added up – Illinois is more than $200 billion in debt.