“We can rebuild our roads, upgrade our ports, and unclog our commute,” President Obama remarked in his 2014 State of the Union, “because in today’s global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure.” There’s no doubt that mobility is an essential part of modern life in a global economy. Work, school, and leisure are all grounded in travel. But the federal government is not the key to increased mobility, lessened congestion, and more access to jobs. Rather, the US can create more jobs and improve its transportation infrastructure by reducing the federal government’s burden through privatizing its outdated air-traffic control system, investing in bus service over expensive trains, reforming highways, and encouraging private transportation solutions.
This month, the DC Council voted 11-1 to decriminalize marijuana possession. The only vote against the bill was Councilmember Yvette Alexander’s, who claimed that removing criminal penalties would be “sending the message that it’s OK to smoke.” This all-too-common talking point needs to be put to rest. Not only does reform not promote drug use, it sends a far better message than continuing the life-destroying War on Drugs.
If signed by Mayor Gray, who has already expressed his support, DC’s decriminalization law would be one of the most progressive in the country. Rather than face arrest and possible jail time, people caught with under an ounce of marijuana would have it confiscated and pay a $25 fine. Small-time possession would remain illegal, but as a civil offense rather than criminal; the production, sale, and possession of over an ounce would remain a criminal offense.
Young Voices Editor Casey Given was published in Forbes President Obama’s push for publicly funded universal preschool programs.
Last Week, President Obama renewed his call for Congress to invest in “high-quality early education” in his sixth State of the Union. Although pundits remain skeptical of the political feasibility of the broader policy goals for his so-called “year of action,” the President’s preschool push may actually have hope. One poll last year found broad bipartisan support for the President’s plan, with 84 percent of Democrats and even 60 percent of Republicans approving.
While support for early education is strong, the evidence that public preschool programs improve student outcomes is tenuous at best. Especially considering the proposal’s whopping $75 billion price tag, parents and taxpayers should not be so quick to gamble on such a massive expansion of government.
Young Voices Editor Casey Given was published in The Purple Elephant about Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s decision to not defend the state’s gay marriage ban in federal court.
Last week, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herringmade waves by announcing he would not enforce the Commonwealth’s ban on gay marriage, concluding that the state constitutional amendment violated the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, Herring announced that the state will join a federal lawsuit on behalf of two gay couples who are challenging the law, claiming it was time for Virginia to be on the “right side of history.”