This week’s free post — policymaking for a low trust world:

Rather than getting tied down in an endless cycle of process, targeting, and compliance checks you need simple, crude ideas that clearly do what they say they do.…
The $2,000 checks are a great model. The policy says there will be checks, and then there are checks.

Vaccine prioritization by age is similar — it’s not optimal but it does exactly what it says on the tin and you can show people that.…
The Bad Place is programs like PPP that work through complicated and indirect mechanisms, or “trust before streets” concepts that try to address trust deficits with new layers of process that only degrade performance.…
Another relevant contrast here is between the success of Medicaid expansion — taking an existing program and just giving it to more people — and the relative failure of the ACA exchanges which were much more hyped up but have delivered smaller and less durable benefits.
Reasonable people can disagree on the wisdom of bigger vs more timid expansions of Medicare and Medicaid but that’s where all the effort should go — take the programs people have heard of and like and make them bigger.…

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More from @mattyglesias

7 Jan
It's true that America's governing class sincerely believes in American exceptionalism but as far as I can tell from surveys so do the vast majority of the American people.
I will not vouch for the political typology here ("progressive activists" etc) but the basic demographic data seems sound and there are very high levels of "proud to be American" across racial groups, with skepticism concentrated among the very young.… Image
This is another interesting one Image
Read 5 tweets
5 Jan
Chait on charter schools.

I have some points of disagreement but agree with the parts of this that will make people mad.…
Because I'm obsessed with housing policy, I've increasingly seen this through a housing lens.

People who live one block west of me are zoned into Ross Elementary rather than Garrison Elementary. And Ross feeds to School Without Walls for middle school rather than Cardozo.
Ross and especially SWW are seen as "better" than Garrison or Cardozo.

And in DC elementary schools that feed into Wilson High School and especially the sub-set of them that feed into Deal Middle School are seen as particularly desirable.
Read 6 tweets
5 Jan
Republicans have become a dangerously unhinged group with a rising Q Anon caucus and an ongoing effort to steal the election, but they’ve also surrendered on the major issue disputes of the recent past.…
Democrats were disappointed by the election result because they want to govern; Republicans have dropped their ambitions and are happy to settle for gridlock.…
This is a good example — a rising star in the GOP caucus is defined not by any noteworthy policy ideas, but by her embrace or conspiracy theories and trolling about her handgun.
Read 4 tweets
4 Jan
Basically the only kind of books I want in print these days are historical atlases — but I can’t get enough!
Diversity Maine-style: Both English-speaking and French-speaking Canadian immigrants.
Boom and bust of the Maine streetcar industry
Read 4 tweets
4 Jan
The case against fooling yourself into believing that anti-immigration policies fix the labor market…
Relative vs absolute wages…
Trump-era tight labor market is not hard to explain and we should learn the right lesson from it — stimulate, stimulate, stimulate!…
Read 4 tweets
3 Jan
The extent to which activists are, in effect, contract employees of grant-making institutions rather than representatives of grassroots constituencies is underrated and journalists tend to be too credulous about it.

I don't think anyone really covers the "foundation beat."
For example, if philanthropists choose to create Climate Justice groups who are skeptical of CCS technology on racial equity grounds they can (and in fact have) done that.

But they could have chosen to create CJ groups with the opposite view.

Basically the funders decide how they think issue positions should relate to one another (perhaps covertly influences by take-slingers, per @ProfHansNoel's work) and then they conjure up groups that reflect that alignment.

Journalists then report that "activists say..."
Read 6 tweets

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