The Ripon Forum

Volume 50, No. 2

April 2016

In this edition

By on April 17, 2016

Ripon Forum - April 2016 - coverIt’s been said that 2016 is the year of the outsider.  With Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders dominating the headlines, it’s easy to see how that may be true.

But if their campaigns are being driven by their opposition to the establishment, it can also be said that their support is being fueled by those who believe the establishment has let them down.  Indeed, this may in fact be the year of the outsider.  But it’s also the year of the underdog.

Low income workers trying to climb out of poverty.  Small business owners trying to stay afloat.  Single parents trying to hold down a job while they raise their family.  College graduates trying to find a job while they pay back their student loans.  These are just some of the Americans who have the deck stacked against them in life.  And in this edition of The Ripon Forum, we focus on their concerns.

Leading our coverage is Robert L. Woodson, Sr., the Founder & President of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.  Woodson has dedicated his life to helping low-income people.  He is also one of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s top advisers in his effort to remake the war on poverty.  In an essay, Woodson shares his thoughts on how Congress can help the less fortunate and why a new approach is needed.  “The failure to develop an effective agenda is rooted in a misdiagnosis of the problem of poverty,” he writes.  “Even among those who have the best intentions, policymakers on the Left and Right are deadlocked in debates about solutions, but are talking about entirely different cohorts of the poor. All people are not poor for the same reason, and our remedies must be as diverse as the cohorts of the population in poverty.”

Also featured in this latest edition is Wendy Guillies, the President & CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, who writes about the challenges facing entrepreneurs in starting a business, and the benefits for our country if they succeed.  “The rate of business creation in the United States is about half of what it was in the 1980s,” Guillies writes.  “Despite this gloomy picture, there is reason to believe that we are about to enter a future with robust economic growth led by entrepreneurs.”  Another group of Americans facing challenges are single parents.  They have not only tripled in number since 1960, but, economist Abby McCloskey writes, have also been ignored by GOP policymakers for too long.  “Many conservatives have continued to exclusively focus on economic growth, while overlooking the specific economic challenges that single parents face,” she writes.  “Policymakers need to meet single parents where they are at, and put forward policies that address the unique challenges of working and raising children alone.”

In another essay, Richard K. Vedder, the Director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, examines another struggle that an increasing number of Americans are facing – namely, how to pay for a college education.  “We face a student loan crisis in America,” Vedder writes.  “It is a crisis that Congress helped to create. It is also one they must now help to end. Doing so will not only remove a financial burden being placed on millions of families, but will also provide young people with one less obstacle to overcome in life.”

Also included in this latest Forum are essays by Jonathan Blanks of the Cato Institute, writing about criminal justice reform, and author Kasey Pipes, writing about Dwight Eisenhower’s forgotten legacy on civil rights.  In other essays, the Manhattan Institute’s Preston Cooper writes about the minimum wage, and Tim Oliver of the London School of Economics examines the upcoming referendum in Britain to leave the EU.

In a debate over an issue that is receiving a lot of attention, technologist Bruce Schneier and District Attorney William Fitzpatrick square off on the issue of encryption.  And in our latest Ripon Profile, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch discusses the one issue in America that no one is talking about and the one thing in the tax code he would like to see changed.

As always, we hope you enjoy this edition of The Ripon Forum, and encourage you to contact us with any thoughts or comments you may have.

Lou Zickar
Editor of The Ripon Forum
louzickar@riponsociety.org

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