Weekly Wonk Sunday June 16, 2013

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.


prisonerThe OK Policy Blog featured a guest post by Ken Busby on why public funding for the arts matters. We also presented the third in our series of posts about Oklahoma’s racial wealth gap. The post looks at wide and stubbornly persistent disparities in white and non-white Oklahomans’ access to jobs and income. OK Policy Director, David Blatt’s Journal Record column explained why closing the wealth and opportunity gap for people of color in Oklahoma is central to our state’s future prosperity. A new Oklahoma Policy Institute fact sheet was featured on our blog which explained that, despite a much-heralded law passed in 2012, Oklahoma has not implemented any real criminal justice reform. Lastly, we posted a video explaining why high quality early childhood education raises incomes.


Numbers of the Day

  • 1st – Oklahoma’s rank among the states for the number of major federal disaster declarations (44) since 1991 — including tornados, floods, and snow and ice storms.
  • 67,700 – Number of households in Oklahoma that are underwater on their homes, nearly 16 percent of the state’s 429,000 mortgages
  • 2nd – Oklahoma’s rank among the states for the prevalence of interracial marriage, 17.2 percent of couples compared to 6.9 percent nationally
  • 10.3% – Percentage of families in poverty receiving ‘welfare’ cash assistance in Oklahoma, compared to 27.3% nationally
  • 29 percent – Percentage increase in the price of groceries (or ‘food at home’) since 2005, compared to just 19 percent inflation overall

Policy Notes

  • A preview of insurance premiums on the Washington D.C. health exchange showed a large range of options at reasonable prices.
  • A new Feeding America map showed that children in rural areas are the most likely to lack steady access to sufficient food.
  • Bloomberg reported on how the accountable care program created by the Affordable Care Act is already racking up cost savings while improving care in hospitals.
  • Health researcher Dr. Aaron Carroll pointed out that the arguments used today by opponents of expanding Medicaid are the same as those made when Medicaid was first created in the 1960s, and the critics’ predictions of doom didn’t come true.
  • The Census Bureau released analysis of an increasingly diverse electorate; there is no statistically significant difference in voter turnout in Oklahoma between Whites and African-Americans, but large gaps in turnout between Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic/Latino residents.


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