The Weekly Wonk: September 28, 2012

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk is dedicated to this week’s events, publications, and blog posts.

This week OK Policy announced that we’re seeking to hire a health care policy analyst; the deadline for applications is October 15.  The OK Policy Blog addressed State Question 762 and explained why it’s time to remove the Governor from decisions about parole for non-violent offenders. Find more on all of the state questions at OK Policy’s 2012 State Questions page.

Also this week, we posted a speech from the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on why consumer-friendly financial regulation is critical for poor and middle class families to move up the economic ladder.  We shared a short video of just the facts about Social Security.

David Blatt’s Journal Record column asks how do we respond, as individuals and as a society, to those among us who are less privileged.  KWGS Public Radio Tulsa interviewed Matthew Yglesias, a Slate correspondent who was visiting to speak at an OK Policy event.

Policy Notes

  • The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shares state tax policy tools that can help move people out of poverty.
  • The latest State of Working America report shows low- and middle-income workers and their families would have had far better income growth over the past 30 years if economic policies had not directed the fruits of economic growth to the highest-income Americans.
  • A report from the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center shows that Texas and Kansas have seen double-digit drops in recidivism among ex-convicts after they expanded rehabilitation and treatment programs.
  • Reason discusses how we could see the beginning of a rebellion against marijuana prohibition this year in three state referendums.
  • Consumer Reports weighs in on what consumers need to know about the Affordable Care Act.

Numbers of the Day

  • 56 percent – Percentage of college students in Oklahoma who graduated with student loan debt in 2010, compared to 58 percent nationally
  • 103 – The number of packs of cigarettes consumed annually per capita in Oklahoma, compared to 79 packs nationally
  • 90 percent – Percentage of Oklahomans who filed federal tax returns in 2010 that earned less than $100,000 in adjusted gross income.
  • 5 – The number of states who have gained back all the jobs lost during the Great Recession – Louisiana, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas
  • 78 percent – Percentage of Oklahomans who support the expanded use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy


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