Stuff You Should Read - April 8, 2021
Welcome to this week’s edition of “Stuff You Should Read.
“2020 Post-Mortem (Part One): Portrait of a Persuadable Latino” by Equis Research
Equis Research is a polling firm founded by Obama veterans Carlos Odio and Stephanie Valencia that focuses on the LatinX community. They recently released a fascinating analysis of the LatinX vote in the 2020 election. Figuring out how Trump made gains with that community is essential.
“Life on the Minimum Wage” by Emily Stewart, Vox
So much of the debate over raising the minimum wage has devolved into a discussion of politics, legislative maneuvering, and Senate rules. The human cost of not raising the minimum wage keeps getting lost in the political machinations. Emily Stewart talked to 15 people trying to make ends meets while getting paid poverty wages. It’s a powerful account and would force immediate governmental action if we lived in a functioning democracy.
America purports to be a country of workers — a place where if you try hard enough, put in the time and effort, you’ll make it to the middle class, or at the very least be able to build a solid life. But that version of America doesn’t line up with the reality: As of 2019, 39 million people made less than $15 an hour. The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009, and 1.6 million workers make that amount or less. Many low-wage workers rely on public assistance to get by. Pew Research Center defines “middle-income” households in the US as starting at about $48,000; a $15 minimum wage at 40 hours a week adds up to $30,000; at $7.25, it’s $15,000.
“Biden’s Jobs Plan Is Also a Climate Plan. Will It Make a Difference?” by Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker.
Elizabeth Kolbert is one of the world’s preeminent climate journalists. Her book — "The Sixth Extinction” — will scare the living crap out of you. Her analysis of the climate implications of the Biden jobs plan is a must-read.
Another possibility is that spending money isn’t enough. When it comes to cutting carbon, the stick may be just as important as the carrot—perhaps more so. Putting up wind turbines doesn’t, in itself, accomplish much for the climate: emissions fall only when fossil-fuel plants are shuttered. The Biden Administration seems aware of this fact, even if it chooses not to play it up. To help fund its plan, the Administration is proposing to eliminate fossil-fuel subsidies. Depending on who’s doing the accounting, these run anywhere from ten to more than fifty billion dollars a year. The President’s plan also includes an “Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard,” which would require utilities to produce a portion of their electricity from carbon-free sources.
“Georgia’s Election Law, and Why Turnout Isn’t Easy to Turn Off” by Nate Cohn, New York Times
I find Nate Cohn to be a thoughtful political analyst that is more than willing to admit when he is wrong. This article is one of those times where he is definitely wrong. I believe his opinion on the matter is sincere, but it’s what happens when you treat politics as a purely academic exercise. I am including it in this week’s “Stuff You Should Read” post because Cohn’s piece has become a central talking point defending the GOP voter suppression efforts. I have also included this powerful Twitter thread/rebuttal from Fair Fight’s Esosa Osa to arm you with the key points to push back on the bad media narratives.