# Economy



The impossible race

ReShonda Young is an entrepreneur from Waterloo and a co-founder of Bank of Jabez.

Imagine a race between two people from New York to California. One person receives a bicycle and the other an airplane. The first to get to California is the winner. It’s a structurally unfair race for the bicyclist.

That’s what the wealth gap is like for Black families in America. It’s an impossible race. White people have a 400-year advantage on wealth, power, and economic mobility. And it bears stating: the system is not broken — it was rigged like this by design. The pervasive, generational inequality is systemic and structural.

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Introducing the Campaign for Sensible Cannabis Laws

Bradley Knott: The Campaign for Sensible Cannabis Laws is giving a Iowans a voice and showing elected officials that voters support reforming Iowa’s cannabis laws.

Cannabis reform is sweeping the country. From ruby red South Dakota and Montana to perpetually blue New York and New Jersey, majorities from across the political spectrum are voting for reform. In some states it’s a stronger medical program. In other states voters have gone all in for both medical and recreational cannabis.

In Iowa, we don’t have a choice. We don’t even have a voice.   

When Democratic State Senators Joe Bolkcom, Janet Petersen, and Sarah Trone Garriott introduced a bill to give Iowans a voice, GOP leadership told them it was D-O-A – dead on arrival. 

Sound familiar?

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Echoes of Jimmy Carter in challenges facing Joe Biden

Kurt Meyer writes a weekly column for the Nora Springs – Rockford Register, where this essay first appeared. He serves as chair of the executive committee (the equivalent of board chair) of Americans for Democratic Action, America’s most experienced liberal organization.

This column is being written shortly before President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address, probably among the most important speeches of his presidency. Undoubtedly, there’s been considerable input gathered in preparation for his March 1 address. Presumably, some ideas in early drafts will be jettisoned, yielding precious time so the president can explain and interpret events in Ukraine.

Anticipating Tuesday’s speech, I reflected on other important presidential addresses in recent years. As a potential point of inflection, my mind wandered to Jimmy Carter and what is generally referred to as his malaise speech, July 15, 1979. President Carter sought to jolt our country from a foggy feeling of hopelessness. National confidence had diminished, replaced by a vague sense the American epoch was over. Carter delivered an introspective address, striving to change our energy future through decreased dependence on foreign oil and collective sacrifice.

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Iowa Republicans repeat mistakes of Kansas, Louisiana

Republican lawmakers completed work on their top priority last week. Disregarding their longtime mantra of not using “one-time money” to fund ongoing expenses, Republicans cited the state’s record budget surplus—which primarily stems from temporary federal assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic—as an excuse to make deep, permanent tax cuts.

Democratic lawmakers decried the cuts as unfair, noting that the Republican plan would make Iowa’s tax system more regressive and would not address key workforce problems, such as the high cost of child care. It would also give some 3,000 Iowans earning more than $1 million per year an average tax cut of $67,000 each year—more than 100 times as much as what the average Iowa household (with annual income around $68,000) would receive in tax cuts.

While those points are important, this post will focus on another problem with the GOP approach. If the experiences of Kansas and Louisiana are any guide, Iowa’s state government will soon face a fiscal mess.

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Bad governance, bad policy: Governor’s assault on the unemployed

Dave Swenson: Treating the unemployed as if they were social pariahs is not the path to economic recovery.

When a bogus meme gets a head of steam, watch out!

Conservative circles decided last summer that the economy wasn’t growing because of lucrative, federally-funded unemployment benefits. It was clear to those with this view that eliminating extra unemployment benefits would shock all of those over-compensated idlers into finding work.

And so it was that about half of the states, Iowa included, declined extended and emergency federal benefits for their unemployed beginning in June of 2021. A boom in job growth, they were convinced, would soon follow.

It didn’t.

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Rural Iowa's launching pad for growth: Medicare for All

Glenn Hurst is a family physician in southwest Iowa and a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

Several years ago, a man called my clinic seeking an appointment. He did not have insurance, and in fact had not seen a physician since childhood. But on this day, he was desperate. He had felt a popping sensation in his abdomen and thought he might have a hernia. If that was true, he needed surgery, and we were the gateway to that service. We agreed to see him and to work out a payment plan later.

When I entered the exam room, it was clear something was wrong. Here was a man in his late 50s who did not look well. His skin had a bronze-yellow tint, his cheeks were sunken in, and his belly protruded. He was weak and disheveled. He repeated his story about the popping sensation and told me he could feel something protruding.

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