Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Great Cost Shift: Why middle-class workers do not feel the health care spending slowdown

  In recent years, the growth in overall health care costs has slowed dramatically. But for millions of Americans with employer-sponsored insurance, or ESI, this slowdown is illusory. From 2008 through 2013, the average annual growth rate of employees’ monthly premium contributions and out-of-pocket expenses, adjusted for inflation, was more than double that of average annual growth in real per-capita national health care spending, which was less than 2 percent per year. This growth has also outpaced employers’ costs of offering these benefits by more than 40 percent.

  Employees experiencing higher health care costs tend to blame the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, even though the law largely leaves the employer-based system alone. In fact, many employers report that the ACA has had only a negligible influence on their health care costs.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1446: Harnessing history to stand on a stronger foundation

  History is powerful. Black History is powerful. If we know our history, we harness its power to stand on a stronger foundation, reaching higher and seeing farther. If we don’t know our history, the power of history stands on us, weighing down our minds, our emotions, our hearts, our spirits, our lives. History is powerful.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Another Common Core war on the horizon?

  The first regular legislative session of the quadrennium is beginning. Legislators have arrived in Montgomery for their three and a half month session and they will face a myriad of problems and issues.

  The General Fund Budget has been in the doldrums for several years. The chickens have to come home to roost. There is a crisis looming in the prisons. The escalating cost of Medicaid further exacerbates a desperate situation for the General Fund.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Gene Policinski: Tweeting — and setting the nation’s ‘chat agenda’

  From Sean Penn and the Oscars to Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly at their cable TV perches, and with a dash of national security issues for good measure, we’re “all atwitter” – literally.

  Twitter – the 140-character social media phenom – is used by just 23% of adult Americans who are online, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center report. For teens, surveys say it’s about one-quarter of online regulars, and rising quickly.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

David L. Hudson, Jr.: Appeals court rules for employer on ‘ministerial exception’

  Employment discrimination laws sometimes take a backseat to the religious-liberty rights of religious institutions.

  In summary, employees of religious institutions simply do not have the same protections from anti-discrimination laws as other employees because of a principle called the “ministerial exception,” rooted in the idea that the government should not interfere with the freedom of religious institutions and how they conduct their internal affairs.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sheldon Richman: Domestic fear is the price of empire

  If you find no other argument against American intervention abroad persuasive, how about this one? When the U.S. government invades and occupies other countries, or when it underwrites other governments’ invasions or oppression, the people in the victimized societies become angry enough to want and even to exact revenge — against Americans.

  Is the American empire worth that price?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sam Fulwood III: Diversity is coming to a town near you

  Is there anyone yet unconvinced that the United States is changing demographically and evolving, seemingly right before our collective eyes, into a more diverse population of residents?

  If so, I challenge that unknowing and unseeing individual to spend an hour or two reading and then reflecting on “States of Change: The Demographic Evolution of the American Electorate, 1974–2060,” an impressive report issued Tuesday by a collaboration of my Center for American Progress colleagues, the American Enterprise Institute, and demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Charles C. Haynes: Fifty years later, schools still struggle with religion

  A lawsuit filed in Swainsboro, Georgia last week uncovers yet another rural school district living in a time warp – a 1950s world where teachers still lead children in daily prayer and send dissenters into the hallway.

  Some of the teachers at Swainsboro Elementary School not only lead prayers in the classroom, but also embarrass and proselytize children whose parents oppose school-sponsored prayers, according to the complaint filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on behalf of two families.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Does Bentley have the answer to Alabama's revenue woes?

  The first legislative session of the quadrennium convenes next week. It is no secret that the state is broke. The General Fund is projected to be over $260 million short of the amount needed to maintain the state’s basic operations in the next fiscal year, which begins October 1.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Anti-LGBT rally in Montgomery draws strong rhetoric and the League of the South

  Sanctity of Marriage-Alabama held another rally against marriage equality Saturday on the steps of the Alabama Capitol in Montgomery. The rally featured several speakers who not only decried the January federal court ruling that struck down Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage, but also homosexuality in general. This is the second rally the group has held this month (the first was Feb. 7) and the second time that theocrat John Eidsmoe was a speaker. He was the keynote speaker at the first.

  Eidsmoe is listed as “senior counsel and resident scholar” at the Foundation for Moral Law (FML) a Montgomery-based organization founded in 2002. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was president of the FML until he stepped down in 2013 to run for the position he now holds. His wife Kayla Moore is currently the president.