The Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.
On the OK Policy Blog, we explained why the lottery hasn’t solved Oklahoma’s education funding issues. We argued the conservative case for raising the minimum wage, and in our continuing discussion of Oklahoma’s broken democracy, we discussed barriers to voter participation. In a guest post, Monica Barczak of Community Action Project Tulsa shared a new brief on WIC (Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants & Children) in Oklahoma and offered suggestions for reform.
On November 10th, OK Policy will host Dr. Lawrence R. Jacobs, a leading expert on health care policy, for his lunchtime talk “The 2014 Elections and the Future of Health Reform.” Click here to purchase tickets. We look forward to seeing you there.
This week on the OK PolicyCast, we talked with Executive Director David Blatt about the state of Oklahoma’s democracy, discussing why so few Oklahomans involve themselves in the process of choosing elected officials. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS.
In his Journal Record column, Blatt called for a criminal justice system based on reason, not fear. KGOU aired a panel discussion on the legacy of Gov. Henry Bellmon following OK Policy’s presentation of the 2014 Good Sense/Good Cents award to Gov. Bellmon’s daughters at our Summer Policy Institute. In our Editorial of the Week, Randy Krehbiel of the Tulsa World explains how widening economic inequality is in part to blame for declining tax revenues.
Quote of the week:
“One thing that immediately stands out in White’s opinion is just how thin his legal reasoning is. Despite the fact that this case concerns a matter of life and death for the millions of Americans he orders uninsured, his actual discussion of the merits of this case comprises less than 7 double-spaced pages of his opinion. In that brief analysis he quotes the two other Republican judges who ordered Obamacare defunded, claiming that ‘the government offers no textual basis’ in the Affordable Care Act itself for treating federally-run exchanges the same as those run by states. In fact, the government has identified numerous provisions of the law which cut against the argument that only some exchanges should provide subsidies.”
- Ian Millhiser, a Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress, writing about an U.S. District Judge’s decision upholding Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. The decision will be appealed to the 10th Circuit Court in Denver (Source: http://bit.ly/1vxaqY4).
Numbers of the day:
- 3 to 1 – How much suicide deaths in Oklahoma outnumber homicides.
- $26.42 – The median hourly wage for statisticians in Oklahoma.
- 63,270 -Number of Oklahoma children who received subsidized childcare in 2013 so their parents can participate in employment or education.
- 34 – Number of critical access hospitals in Oklahoma. Hospitals designated critical access hospitals are typically small (no more than 25 beds) and rural, and are the only acute-care option in isolated areas.
- 27.8% – Percentage of income that renters in Oklahoma devoted to housing in 2013, up from 24.3 percent in 2000.
What we’re reading:
- Wonkblog explains why the U.S. is actually doing better at fighting poverty than the poverty rate shows.
- The Atlantic discusses how police have a much bigger domestic abuse problem than the NFL.
- A ProPublica investigation finds that American oil and gas workers – men and women often performing high-risk jobs – are routinely being underpaid, and the companies hiring them often are using accounting techniques to deny workers benefits such as medical leave or unemployment insurance
- The Associated Press reports on how aggressive spending on education by wealthy parents is widening inequality.
- Oxfam America details how most businesspeople support raising the minimum wage.