oped

Opinion: Back to the Future With Party ID
Spike in the generic ballot? Calm down and carry on

A voter casts his ballot in the Virginia primary at the Hillsboro Old Stone School in the Old Dominion State’s 10th District on June 12. More voters now identify as independents — not a positive trend for either party, Winston writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s morning again in America. You grab your first cup of coffee, click to your favorite news site and are greeted by a new poll with a huge generic ballot spike in the congressional vote. What should your reaction be? Is it time to freak out, or calm down and assume the poll is an outlier?

The answer is neither. When a particular survey suddenly shows a significant shift in one direction or the other, political and media analysts and the public need to approach the data with caution. Before assuming there was a change in voter preference, we need to ask whether party identification in the survey also changed significantly, and if so, why. 

Opinion: My ‘Family Leave’ Was a Well-Timed Government Shutdown
Yes, I worked at the White House. But before all that, I am a father

Mothers protest at the Capitol during the government shutdown of 2013. For some new parents, the shutdown brought an unexpected chance to spend time with their children — but luck isn’t much of a family leave policy, Jenkins writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This Father’s Day, I thought a lot about what it means to be a good father. You see, in my mind, I am a father first.

Yes, I worked at the White House. Yes, I now work for Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die. Yes, I am a sad New York Mets fan. But before all of these things, I am a father. It’s the most important job I will ever have. Unfortunately, in today’s America, considering yourself a “father first” is not always expected by employers or society at large.

Opinion: Higher Education in America Finds Itself on a Slippery Slope
Our great research universities risk getting left behind

As support for our educational system becomes increasingly politicized, a significant number of people are now questioning the very worth of a higher education, Augustine writes. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

A decade ago I chaired a committee that was established on a bipartisan basis by members of the House and Senate to assess America’s future economic competitiveness. The committee’s 20 members included CEOs of Fortune 100 companies, former presidential appointees, presidents of major public and private universities and three Nobel laureates. Upon completion of our work, two of our members joined the then-president’s Cabinet, one as secretary of Energy and the other as secretary of Defense.

The document we produced, which became known as the “Gathering Storm Report,” concluded that the top two priorities for America to remain competitive in the global marketplace were to strengthen education and to double our investment in basic research.

Opinion: Work Requirements Don’t Actually Work
They do nothing to reduce poverty or address the underlying economic inequality

Demonstrators at a news conference with faith leaders on Capitol Hill on May 7. A growing body of social science research shows that work requirements do nothing to reduce poverty, DeLauro and Sánchez write. (Sarah Silbiger /CQ Roll Call file photo)

Under the guise of “promoting work” and “reform,” the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are seeking radical changes to the way we fight poverty in America.

Let us not be fooled, Republican proposals that tie strict so-called work requirements to anti-poverty programs are designed to make it harder for people to access basic services such as health care, nutrition and housing.

Opinion: Ignore the Hyperbole, Encouraging Work Is a Worthy Goal
Work requirements and other reforms offer a pathway out of poverty for many

Job seekers fill out registration forms at a career fair in San Francisco in 2015. The House Republican farm bill directs a significant portion of existing SNAP funds into job training programs for eligible adults, Thompson writes. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

The economy is soaring and unemployment is at its lowest point in more than a decade. Despite this good news, far too many Americans find themselves out of the workforce or lacking the skills needed to land a good-paying job.

Yet there are more than six million job openings throughout the country.

Opinion: Veterans Helping Veterans — Why Peer Support Should Be Expanded
A familiar face makes a world of difference in caring for veterans

A Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix. The department’s peer specialists bring humanity to the care veterans receive, Peters and Coffman write. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images file photo)

“You mean it gets better?” a female veteran asks Olga, a certified peer specialist working at the Department of Veterans Affairs. For the last decade, Olga has served as an integral part of the VA’s peer specialist program in Dallas. After going through the dizzying process herself as an Army veteran, she wondered how other veterans experiencing severe mental health episodes were managing to get the care they needed.

Now, Olga spends her time connecting with other veterans to help steer them through the VA’s web of mental health care services. She is part of a workforce of more than 1,100 peer specialists who help veterans in department facilities across the country, including 25 VA primary care sites. This program provides veterans with a trusted guide to navigate the system: a fellow veteran who has gone through the same journey to wellness. Peer specialists supplement traditional care practices, such as counseling or group therapy, and work in patient-aligned care teams to meet the needs of each veteran.

Opinion: It’s the Summer of No Love for American Tourism
The economy is part of the immigration debate, whether we like it or not

America’s tourism industry has taken a hit in the Trump era, and that could spell trouble for the economy, Megan and Brown write. Above, travelers arrive at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in April. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

Graduation season is wrapping up and summer vacation season is just beginning, rites of passage enjoyed by Americans and visitors alike. Foreign tourists flock to America’s beaches, parks and cities, and students travel from all over the world to study in our world-class universities. But data suggests this summer may bring fewer of both.

Tourists and students account for roughly 80 percent of total non-immigrant visas issued by the U.S. each year. They spur demand for goods and services, which pads economic growth and helps to power the tourism industry and higher education system.

Opinion: No News Is Bad News — The Looming Social Security Crisis
Don’t be fooled by the absence of alarming headlines

Demonstrators in Chicago in 2011 rally against cuts to federal safety net programs. Social Security is facing severe challenges that policymakers must address soon, Fichtner writes. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

The Social Security crisis is not only real, it is already well upon us.

That may not have been obvious to everyone from the annual report issued by the program’s trustees last week. With neither a dire nor stellar update, the report inspired little passion. In fact, many might have mistaken the minor changes to mean that Social Security’s finances are now stable. But don’t be fooled: The absence of alarming headlines is anything but good news.

Opinion: Don’t Expect to See Bill Clinton Campaigning for Hopeful Democrats
The ‘invisible man’ on the campaign trail

Former President Bill Clinton speaks Wednesday at the Robert Francis Kennedy memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery held on the 50th anniversary of RFK’s assassination. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

In the Wednesday morning quarterbacking after Hillary Clinton’s unexpected loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race, one criticism was that she had not employed that consummate politician former President Bill Clinton enough in her campaign, to speak to “the people” he could connect with and she could not.

But for all the mistakes the Clinton 2016 campaign operation and the candidate herself made — and there were plenty — sidelining Bill was not one of them.

Opinion: There Are No Losers When We Invest in Early Child Care
Americans know what’s at stake and are prepared to support bold action

A teacher interacts with pre-K students at a Maryland learning center in 2014. By wide margins, both liberals and conservatives have concerns over the high cost of quality child care, a new survey found. (Larry French/Getty Images file photo)

Sixty percent of Americans say they expect the next generation will be “worse off” than their own.

That profound sense of pessimism was perhaps the most startling finding of a recent national survey on views about early childhood development.