Michigan Journal of Public Affairs

All This Over a Wall? Why #ShutdownStories Should Matter More

By Kara Naseef

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s only.

At midnight on December 21, 2018, approximately 380,000 “non-essential” federal employees were sent home without pay along with tens of thousands of federal contract workers. After twenty-nine days, most have not returned to work. Approximately 450,000 workers are being required to work without pay and workers will likely not be reimbursed even when the government reopens.

Many federal workers continue to post their #ShutdownStories on social media. These stories attempt to draw attention to the troubling impact of political games on American families. In fact, the shutdown is having twice the effects on the economy than the administration initially estimated. Trump said he can relate to those who are not receiving paychecks and claimed that many of them agree with what he is doing. But the latest Marist Poll suggests otherwise.

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The Role of Biofortified Maize in Responding to Northern Triangle Migration to the U.S.

By Rachel Pak

Romulo Gonzalez begins his days early, tending to his maize field on the Southern Coast of Guatemala. He is part of the 31 percent of the Guatemalan labor force that depends on agriculture for their family’s livelihood. Frequent droughts have severely impacted harvests, causing Romulo’s neighbors to struggle to provide enough food for their families. Food shortages have caused many to head for the U.S. border recently, an option Romulo began to consider as well.

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The First Step Act: A State Inspired Effort at Criminal Justice Reform

By Heath Bergmann

As of December 31st, 2016, approximately 1.5 million prisoners were held in United States (U.S.) correctional facilities at the federal and state level. Of these inmates, 188,400 were in custody of the federal government. The Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act, commonly referred to as the FIRST STEP Act, provides rehabilitative and transitional services aimed at reducing the rate in which federal prisoners recidivate upon release. The act is an excellent example of policy diffusion, or “the spread of innovations from one government to another”, in which the U.S. government is seeking to replicate the success of its states, the ‘laboratories of democracy’. [i]

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More Nuclear Power Now – A Solution To Two Wicked Problems

By Jack Kramer

We have a jobs crisis in America’s heartland. Despite positive indicators for the American economy across the board, dissatisfaction with jobs drove voters to seek candidates promoting bold change in the 2016 Presidential election. In the face of more automation and outsourcing of human labor to technology, we need more well-paying jobs that offer economic security in America’s heartland. It’s a core priority of the Republican party but viable solutions are few and far between.

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Nasty Religion in America: What’s the fuss about religion in America?

By Mariya Ilyas & Cassie Rasmussen

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors’ only.

America’s relationship with faith is a prism of contradictions. On the one hand, religious freedom is central to American history and identity. On the other hand, dominant Christian culture has, and in many ways continues to, actively partition off or subjugate minority religions. Nowhere is this more clear than in the controversy surrounding the vetting of those we elect to the presidency.

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Redefining the Problem: Inequality in the United States

The United States’ image as the land of opportunity stubbornly persists despite mounting evidence to the contrary: American children’s prospects of earning more than their parents have fallen from 90% to 50% over the last century. According to Stanford University economist Raj Chetty, “It’s basically a coin flip whether you’ll do better than your parents.” The shock value of these facts masks a far more subtle and pervasive problem in our country—the way inequality, mobility, poverty, and success is measured in the United States is ineffective and incomplete.

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