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Inequality

The Economic Status of Minnesotans

A Chartbook With Data For 17 Cultural Groups

 January 2016

Minnesota State Demographic Center

"This chartbook provides a statistical portrait of the economic status of Minnesotans—including much data that has never been seen before—for the 17 largest cultural groups in Minnesota. These data result from responses by Minnesotans to the U.S. Census Bureau’s ongoing American Community Survey (ACS), the largest federal survey that produces insights into our population’s economic, social, housing, and demographic characteristics.


However, the ACS data that are collected are not always released by the Census Bureau in a way that helps policy makers and community leaders in Minnesota understand key differences in our very diverse populations.

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NAFTA Negotiation: Candian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Wants End to "Right to Work" Laws in U.S. States

justin trudeauCanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government wants an end to so-called “right to work” (RTW) laws in American states. This would clearly be good for American workers. “Right to work” laws have nothing to do with helping people find work—"instead they simply ban contracts requiring that workers benefiting from labor union representation pay their fair share for this representation.

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Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary

 Charlie Rose Interview of Rev. Dr. Serene Jones

First Woman President of Union Theological Seminary

 

serene jones union theological seminaryRev. Dr. Serene Jones is president of Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  A few of my colleagues attended Union.  Some of the western world's most influential theologians have served on its faculty. On December 20th, Serene Jones spoke with Charlie Rose about Union and the changing world it has always responded to. These days that means Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, the Bully Trump, terrorism, mass killings, and Islamaphobia. This Charlie Rose Show discussion runs 14:30 minutes:


http://www.charlierose.com/watch/60665355

Sign Public Citizens Petition Against NAFTA Empowering Corporations to Sue Governments

If you haven’t been following the story about President Donald Trump’s NAFTA renegotiation, it’s time to start.  Negotiations are well underway — and remarkably, it appears that Trump’s trade team is considering eliminating perhaps the most damaging, pro-corporate aspect of NAFTA, a provision called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).  ISDS empowers corporations to sue governments for health, safety, environmental and other laws they claim unfairly cost them the profits they were counting on.  Really. 

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The Top Charts of 2015 - Economic Policy Institute

 Economy Still Fails Low and Middle Income Americans with Stagnant Wages

Although the unemployment rate is down and the pace of monthly job growth is healing some of the damage inflicted by the Great Recession,  the Economic Policy Institute’s top charts of 2015 show the economy is still failing ordinary Americans with stagnant wages despite increasing productively.  However, it doesn’t have to be this way. The charts show that an economy with shared prosperity can be created with policies that keep interest rates low, raise the minimum wage, make collective bargaining easier, expand access to overtime pay, and eliminate discriminatory practices that contribute to gender inequality.  (Economic Policy Institute, December 17, 2015). 

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Who Put the NRA in Charge of Our National Security?

marian wright edelmanMarian Wright Edelman, President of the Children’s Defense Fund, writes, “Since Robert Kennedy’s and Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1968 deaths more than 164,000 children have died from gun violence in America—three times more than all the American soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam War and every external conflict since.”  She questions why we are so reticent to stand up against the pro-gun lobby when American children are 18 times more likely to die as a result of gun violence than children in 25 other high income nations.  She notes that in 2013 alone 33,169 lives were taken by guns and 83,075 were injured, yet guns remain the only unregulated consumer product.  Read her article.

Jump in black poverty reveals unfulfilled potential in Minnesota

kenya mcknight ahadRecommended by Kenya McKnight Ahad

"This is one of the most balanced and truest articles I've seen thus far written about the recent drop in Income for Black people in Minnesota!  While MN DOT is, by no means the standard for being fair and just to black and people of color in MN, we recognize their internal strife and hope the compliance issues get settled fast!  This article is very thoughtful and hits key points which I very much appreciated."


"Jump in black poverty reveals unfulfilled potential in Minnesota," Editorial Board, Star Tribune, September 25, 2015 - State squanders potential as its working-age population begins decline.

Unfinished Business: The Continuing Work of Arvonne Skelton Fraser

arvonne fraser 2Arvonne Fraser gave the keynote speech at the Center on Women, Gender and Public Policy panel discussion in honor of her 90th birthday.  Following are her concluding comments.  For more comprehensive exerpts, see the Star Tribune article:  Arvonne Fraser on the women's movement: 'What follows is the hard part'

"A primary responsibility of any group or country if it wants to endure is to produce, recruit and train its next generation of citizens and workers. . . .  Why do companies expect that the next generation of workers — employees — will be produced by those who choose to become parents, as a gift to employers? To add insult to injury, parenthood is often seen as an impediment to success at what is called the workplace. Add that housecleaners tend to be paid more than child care workers; school hours have little relationship to business hours, and maternity and other family leaves in this country are unpaid. That’s disrespect and disregard bordering on hostility toward some of the most important work done in any society. That must change."

Arvonne Fraser is senior fellow emerita at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, a former director of the Office of Women in Development at USAID, and a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.  She is a founder of what is now Think Again MN.

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In June 2012, Think Again MN launched a history series that examines politics and policy-making in Minnesota during the last century from the immediate post World War II years up through the 1990s. That era witnessed fierce legislative battles at the State Capitol but it was also a time of shared values that cut across partisan lines. 

Read about it here

MN's Leading Election System

MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon

 

steve simon

 

Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at http://mnvotes.org

Oregon's Automatic Voter Registration

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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