“FACTS MATTER”

By on September 18, 2019 in Featured News, News
Ripon Forum shines a spotlight on USAFacts & its effort to combat misinformation heading into the 2020 election

WASHINGTON, DC – With a recent report revealing that Americans are increasingly concerned with the veracity of the news, the latest Ripon Forum shines a spotlight on the mission of USAFacts and its effort to not only combat misinformation, but make sure people have the facts they need about their government heading into the presidential election next year.

“Ensuring easy access to the facts is a big job,” stated Poppy MacDonald, who serves as the President of USAFacts and who spoke with the Forum recently about the mission of the organization, which was founded by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in 2017.  “USAFacts grew out of a simple question: ‘How much do our combined federal, state, and local governments spend to help empower children and families to move out of poverty?’

“No single government source provides that answer.  We bring together data from over 70 federal agencies, give it some context, and create visualizations, all with the goal of making it easy to understand and use.”  Looking ahead to next year, MacDonald also revealed that USAFacts is planning to launch an online “Voter Center” that will help people sort fact from fiction in the 2020 campaign.  “This is a free tool that allows voters to enter their zip code to see candidates running for office right where they live, plus their positions on key policy issues,” she said.

The Forum looks at some of these issues in a series of essays that examine what Americans should know about some of the key challenges facing our country.  These essays and authors include:

  • “What Every American Should Know about the Debt & Deficit,” by William Hoagland of the Bipartisan Policy Center.
  • “What Every American Should Know about U.S. Foreign Aid,” by George Ingram of the Brookings Institution.
  • “What Every American Should Know about Our Health Care System,” by former Medicare Administrator Gail Wilensky.
  • “What Every American Should Know about the Immigration Crisis,” by Jackie Varas of the American Action Forum.
  • “What Every American Should Know about Education,” by Forum Deputy Editor Kyle Chance.

With a growing number of Democrats embracing “Medicare for All,” Charles Blahous of the Mercatus Center assesses some of the key elements of the proposal and what the plan would mean for the American people if it were enacted. James Wallner of the R Street Institute examines the role of the Electoral College and whether it should be reformed or abolished. In the Forum’s latest debate, John Samples of the Cato Institute and Justin Sherman of New America discuss whether content on the internet should be regulated.

In the Forum’s regular “Beyond the Beltway” feature, Christina Muryn, who serves as the Mayor of Findlay, Ohio, discusses how her community is fighting the opioid epidemic. And in the latest Ripon Profile, freshman Senator Mike Braun of Indiana discusses his first year in office and how he is applying his experience in business to his new job on Capitol Hill.

The Ripon Forum is published six times a year by The Ripon Society, a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.

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