Daily Resource Highlight - 08/15/2022

Posted by on August 15, 2022 at 4:06 PM

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

August 9, 2022 - You Want the Facts? Ballotpedia and CRFB Can Help

Over the weekend, Senate Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act on a party-line vote (via reconciliation). According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) and other proponents of the bill, the new law will do exactly what it says it will do – lower the deficit and help the Federal Reserve fight inflation.

Its detractors, of course, claim the opposite – that the bill will actually increase the deficit and inflation. They also argue that the bill’s tax increases will hurt the economy (The Flip Side).

Getting the Objective Facts

So, who’s right? Personally, I tend to believe the CRFB, but I know that I’m biased, and I know that makes me less objective. That’s why I appreciate organizations like Ballotpedia and CRFB.

In addition to wading in on high-profile legislative battles (see above), CRFB also produces reports like “Appropriations Watch: FY 2023.” That post is updated as Congress sets the budget, with a brief explanation on how Congress sets the budget and minimal commentary. In other words, the tracker is about as objective as it gets.

Ballotpedia, meanwhile, is the self-declared “Encyclopedia of American Politics,” and it lives up to its name. Whether it’s the Mid-Year Recall Report (2022) or the judicial nomination tracker, Ballotpedia provides a ton of information on important topics, presents it in engaging ways, and doesn’t show bias.

Important Truths with Key Assumptions 

Then there’s the important middle ground between facts and opinions, like CRFB’s report on the Inflation Reduction Act. We don’t know what will happen, but CRFB does its best to make estimates based on what they do know. The same is true with their “Build Your Own Carbon Tax” model, which allows users to create a carbon tax and see how those changes might affect both the environment and the budget.

It’s also true with polling. Take this AllSides article on a UChicago poll that shows an alarming lack of trust between Democrats and Republicans. Polling is never perfect, as any credible pollster will tell you. It’s very difficult to design informative questions, and it’s also very difficult to find 1,000 Americans whose opinions roughly reflect hundreds of millions of Americans (as UChicago attempts to do).

But the poll still shows important truths, including that 25% of respondents have lost friends over politics and ⅓ of respondents wouldn’t trust a babysitter who belongs to the other political party. Does that mean that exactly one out of three Democratic parents would refuse a Republican babysitter? No, but it probably does mean that there is a sizable minority of Americans who are at least wary of leaving their children with somebody from the “other party.”

August 11, 2022 - Village Square and Power the Polls Encourage Incredible Patriotism; Updating the Electoral Count Act

I had the immense honor of being hired as the 2020 Census Field Supervisor for my area. The 2020 Census was a daunting task as we attempted to reach everybody on a shortened schedule in the midst of a pandemic. And yet, I supervised over a dozen people who went door-to-door in the brutal summer heat – with masks on – to make sure every person was counted.

Heart-Warming Patriotism; Becoming a Patriot

These are the patriots I admire most in America – the ones who help the country thrive without asking for recognition. Village Square’s list of 30 Local Patriot nominees are full of these kinds of patriots, including Sandy Beck, who cares for injured animals, and Yuh-Mei Hutt, who promotes local entrepreneurship in Tallahassee.

Election workers are a similar kind of patriotic. The people who oversee our most fundamentally democratic systems are invisible…except when they are under scrutiny. That scrutiny took a dark turn in 2020, with election officials receiving death threats (RepresentUs). And yet people are still showing up to enable people – regardless of party, race/ethnicity, religion, gender, etc. – to exercise their right as Americans.

If you would like to join your fellow patriots in making sure that every eligible citizen has the opportunity to cast a secure ballot this election cycle, sign up to help staff your local polling place. Over 700k people helped via Power the Polls in 2020, and the need will only grow in 2022 and beyond. So join me in signing up.

Updating a 19th Century Law for 21st Century Elections

We’ve previously covered congressional efforts to update the 1887 Electoral Count Act, and why organizations like R Street support it. Those efforts are still ongoing, as shown by R Street’s written testimony to the Senate. Issue One also took the opportunity to highlight the bipartisan support for reform.

CommonSense America also published a large, in-depth survey (sample size 3,000) showing high levels of support among Americans for clarifying legislation. Interestingly, though unsurprisingly, both Democrats and Republicans vastly underrated the other side’s support for a key provision of the bill. You can see additional survey results, including state-by-state results, by clicking here.