Author: sreya sarkar

Oregon: No Country for Good Ideas

Sreya SarkarQuickPoint!

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In a 2007 national seminar, Cascade Policy Institute’s Wheels to Wealth program promoted the idea of allowing jitneys to replace low-ridership public buses. A form of mass transit, a jitney is a car or van which is not required to run on a fixed route and schedule. Cascade followed this proposal with a publication on jitneys, which was widely circulated within TriMet but then quickly rejected by the transit agency.

Now West CAP, a community action agency in Wisconsin, is taking up the jitney idea. (more…)

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Extending Unemployment Benefits or Extending Unemployment?

Sreya Sarkar Cascade Commentary

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Summary

The Unemployment Compensation Extension Act (H.R. 6867) expands unemployment benefits to up to 59 weeks in Oregon. Unfortunately, paying workers not to work longer helps neither the economy nor workers, who (more…)

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Why Singapore Retires Securely

Sreya Sarkar Cascade Commentary

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Summary

Singapore’s Central Provident Fund is based on individual savings and building assets, unlike the American Social Security system. Singapore’s national philosophy, “nothing should be free,” has encouraged free-market strategies and individual responsibility, a good model for American social policy. (more…)

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Why the ASPIRE Act Has Not Become Law

Sreya Sarkar Cascade Commentary

Summary

Public policy advocates and lawmakers have proposed numerous programs allowing people to accumulate assets, as opposed to simply receiving cash benefits, in the hope of breaking cycles of poverty and government dependency. In the guise of an asset-building tool, the Federal ASPIRE Bill is actually another entitlement program. Policymakers realize this, and this is the reason it has not become law. (more…)

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Can Transit Agencies Learn to Embrace Car Ownership?

Sreya Sarkar Cascade Commentary

Summary

Cascade Policy Institute submitted an innovative proposal to TriMet to cancel TriMet’s lowest performing bus routes and to use some of the savings to capitalize a loan fund to help finance car ownership for transit-dependent riders displaced by the bus line cancellations. (more…)

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Driver’s License or Good Citizen’s Card?

Sreya SarkarCascade Commentary

Summary

The driver’s license was originally created to ensure public safety by setting driving standards. But when lawmakers treat the license as a “good citizen” trophy and suspend it for nondriving-related infractions, the consequences for low-income workers’ ability to maintain employment are serious. (more…)

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Can Social Insurance Be Reformed?

Sreya Sarkar Cascade Commentary

Summary

The financial liabilities of social insurance programs in the United States in the near future are staggering, but the Wall Street meltdown has many Americans worried about “private” solutions. Around the world, other countries are replacing traditional pay-as-you-go schemes with hybrid arrangements of government social insurance programs and individual-based accounts, which may be a workable solution to the crisis. (more…)

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Why the Credit Unions Still Stand

Sreya SarkarQuickPoint!

There was a time when large national banks were considered more stable and reliable than local financial institutions, but that is not always the case anymore. With a string of blockbuster acquisitions transforming the banking landscape, a huge share of American consumer deposits are now consolidated in three banking giants: Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Consumers today are feeling uncomfortable about these big banks and have started shopping around for alternatives—like local credit unions. (more…)

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Lack of Innovation or Understanding?

Sreya SarkarQuickPoint!

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 converted a national entitlement program, AFDC, into a collection of block grants for the states called TANF, giving each state a greater flexibility and a chance to help move welfare recipients into workplace. Some states like Idaho and Maryland used this opportunity well and came out with flying colors, while others like Vermont and Missouri performed dismally.

According to Heartland Institute’s State Welfare Report Card 2008, Oregon’s overall rank is (more…)

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Wanted: Asset Accounts, Not Income Transfers

Sreya SarkarCascade Commentary

Summary

Low-income Americans hear two contradictory messages: “Save” and “Don’t Save.” Converting some defined-benefit entitlements to asset accounts owned by individuals could include the poor in the trend toward asset ownership illustrated by the rise of IRAs and Health Savings Accounts. (more…)

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