Advocates worry so-called "social welfare" groups can raise as much money as they want without the same standard of disclosure SuperPACs or campaign committees are held to, funnelling some of that money into elections. Now, we have clear examples of the secrecy 501(c)(4) groups can take advantage of, due to the release of two tax forms earlier this month, writes blogger Zachary Bernstein.READ MORE
Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate and author of Sticks and Stones, penned a new piece this week about filibuster reform. In short, filibusters are anti-democratic, she says. In the piece, she also mentions fellow Moshe Marvit's Dissent article from May, stating, "almost 80 percent of the D.C. Circuit panels were majority or exclusively Republican appointees." The D.C. Circuit is "the federal court of appeals that is second to the Supreme Court in importance," and is the source of a major advantage for Republicans.
Read the full article at Slate.
TCF senior fellow Barton Gellman reports for the Washington Post that the National Security Agency pays U.S. companies hundreds of millions of dollars a year for clandestine access to their communications networks.
New details of the corporate-partner project, which falls under the NSA’s Special Source Operations, confirm that the agency taps into “high volume circuit and packet-switched networks,” according to the spending blueprint for fiscal 2013. The program was expected to cost $278 million in the current fiscal year, down nearly one-third from its peak of $394 million in 2011.
TCF senior fellow Barton Gellman reports for the Washington Post that in 2013 the U.S. will spend $52.6 billion on programs dedicated to intelligence gathering.
"U.S. spy agencies have built an intelligence-gathering colossus since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001," Gellman discloses, "but remain unable to provide critical information to the president on a range of national security threats, according to the government’s top-secret budget."
"[A]s Cornell political scientist Suzanne Mettler has found," Kathleen Geier writes, "many recipients of government largesse claim that they have never used a government program. Among the programs that beneficiaries deny receiving are the home mortgage interest deduction, student loans, Social Security, veterans’ benefits, unemployment benefits, and more."
TCF fellow Mark Thoma for The Fiscal Times on technological change and the labor force. Thoma writes, "digital and other technology has advanced to the point where good, middle class jobs are being replaced rather than those on the lowest rung of the job ladder, and this is polarizing labor markets as the middle class is reduced in size."
In recent decades, and especially since 2000, the richest Americans have enjoyed soaring income and wealth while the rest of the population's living standards have stagnated. The Century Foundation was one of the first institutions to raise serious concerns about these trends and propose ideas for improving economic conditions for all Americans- not just the fortunate few.
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