Public Policy

  • Who Are We As a People?

    Poverty in the United States is destroying lives and making this great nation weaker. In Maryland this past week, Rodney Todd, a single, working-father of seven died, along with all of his children, from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in their home.  Investigators found a generator in the kitchen that was out of gas.  Several days earlier, the local utility had disconnected power to the home because a stolen electric meter … Read More

  • Panelists Discuss the Public’s Perception of Science

    The Pell Center’s presentation earlier this month, “Science Under Attack: Politics, Policy, and Science in America” discussed the public’s perception of science, and focused mainly on global warming.  The presentation featured Suzanne Shaw, director of communications at the Union of Concerned Scientists and Todd Anthony Bianco, principal policy associate at the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission. Shaw started off by discussing the public’s beliefs and mentioned that most Americans trust … Read More

  • War and Peace: Iran and Eastern Europe

    Barack Obama ran for president in 2008 on the promise that he would end America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and change the tone of American foreign policy.  He was motivated by a belief that Iraq was misguided and that the country was weary of war.  In addition, many Americans believed that the perception of American belligerence in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, contributed to insecurity around the world.  … Read More

  • Tax Cuts and the Economy

    Like other elections before, the 2016 presidential campaign will feature the pros and cons of tax cuts. An article in the Washington Post this week discusses Republican hopeful Marco Rubio’s newly unveiled tax plan, which offers significant cuts to corporations and wealthy individuals, while also increasing tax credits that go to middle class families with children. The Post piece focuses on the political calculus behind the plan – e.g. it … Read More

  • People Power

    It has been easy, in recent months, to focus on what’s going wrong in the world.  Wars, terrorism, and disease compete for our attention each week.  None of them are hopeful.  But this week, events on two sides of the Atlantic give us hope. This past week, more than 1000 Muslims formed a ring of peace around a synagogue in Oslo.  They stood hand in hand with Jews to protect … Read More

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    If the Supreme Court Rules Against the Affordable Care Act…

    A commentary on Bloomberg.com this week points out that the U.S. may be headed towards significant economic challenges, as a Supreme Court case threatens to eliminate the subsidies that help millions of Americans afford health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (so-called “Obamacare”). As the Bloomberg piece’s author puts it: “The immediate effect of a ruling against the ACA would be to hurl the political system, and no small part … Read More

  • Upcoming Panel Discussion | Science Under Attack: Politics, Policy, and Science in America

    On Wednesday, Mar. 4, the Pell Center will host a panel of speakers to address questions about the role of science in public decision-making in the United States. The panel discussion will be held at 7:00 p.m. in Bazarsky Lecture Hall in O’Hare Academic Center. Historically, the U.S. has been on the cutting edge of science – a practical society that leads the world in innovation and technology development. But while … Read More

  • Picks of the Week | U.S. and Ukraine; Scientists vs. the Public; Trans-Pacific Partnership

    American Arms and the War in Ukraine U.S. Considers Supplying Arms to Ukraine Forces, Officials Say | The New York Times The Escalation Advocates are Wrong on Ukraine | War on the Rocks Russian engagement in Eastern Ukraine is deepening, and fears are rising that when the conflict will grow in the coming months.  In the United States, an influential Washington think-tank issued a report, calling for the provision of … Read More

  • White Pell Center logo with blue background.

    Equal Pay: Fifty Years of Slow Progress

    In the recent State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 20, President Obama covered a wide range of topics, including the issue of equal pay.  Obama stated his feelings regarding this issue, as other presidents have done before him, and said “congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work.  It’s 2015.  It’s time.”  … Read More

  • Picks of the Week | “Citizens United” and SCOTUS, Russian Aggression

    Russian Aggression Understanding Putin’s plans | The Economist Modi listening, Obama assails Putin on Ukraine | The Indian Express In a television interview two months ago, I lamented that despite Russian aggression in Ukraine, U.S. policy in Syria and Iran depended on support from Russian President Vladimir Putin, making Russia, ironically, the “indispensable nation” in American foreign policy.  Despite the teeth in U.S.-backed economic sanctions against Moscow—and on some level, … Read More

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