Weekly Wonk December 8, 2013

the_weekly_wonkThe 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. As the Weekly Wonk was on hiatus last week, this post features links and content from the past two weeks.

We’ve released a new policy issue brief on Oklahoma’s food security safety net. The Oklahoman’s editorial board cited the report in an editorial on food insecurity in Oklahoma. In a guest post on our blog, former Kansas City mayor and auditor Mark Funkhouser argues that reducing economic inequality is about wealth, not jobs. Policy analyst Kate Richey writes about Oklahoma’s struggling retail workers.

We’re happy to announce two upcoming events: screenings of the documentary “Inequality for All” the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and an upcoming OKDHS Policy and Practice Lecture on child welfare reform. We’ve written before about the state’s plan to reform the child welfare system, as well on preliminary reports of the plan’s implementation

In his Journal Record column, OK Policy Director David Blatt compares the differing approaches to and outcomes of the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplaces among state leadership in Kentucky and Oklahoma. Blatt was named one of the Greater Tulsa Reporter’s “Ten People We Watched in 2013.” 

Numbers of the Day

  • 109,000 – The number of children in Oklahoma that don’t have health insurance, 11 percent of the state’s children.
  • 33 percent – Percentage of Oklahoma children in poverty living in families where at least one parent works full-time, year-round – versus 27 percent nationally
  • $2.38 billion – Total cost of hunger in the state – including, among other things, medical expenses and loss of potential revenue that healthier adults could have otherwise earned 
  • 72 percent – The share of retail employees earning at least half of their family’s total income – and 18 percent of those are their family’s sole earner.

Policy Notes

  • PR Watch reports that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is  pushing a new “Obamacare kill bill,” which some legislators are referring to as the “nuclear option,” to thwart implementation of the Affordable Care Act on the state level. 
  • The New York Times discusses a conservative Silicone Valley millionaire who has taken up a new cause – raising California’s minimum wage
  • Despite high levels of child poverty, federal spending on children has fallen, according to the Urban Institute. 
  • The New York Times reports on how older workers are increasingly entering the fast-food industry and struggling to make a living on minimum wage.


Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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