November 14, 2014 Policy Articles

Posted by Blake Wright on November 14, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Every week CSA's Director of Policy collects the top policy and political articles of the week and sends them to our chapters to foster discussion on key political issues. Featuring three key AGE priorities, this week's policy update features articles on American incarceration rates, national income equality, and domestic immigration policy. Feel free to read, contemplate, discuss, and share. 


“One chart that proves mass incarceration doesn’t reduce crime”
Dara Lind. Vox. 

While the idea of one chart being able to prove anything may be a little suspect, Lind displays data that suggest that mass incarceration isn’t holding down crime rates. In fact, the states that lowered their incarceration rate saw their crime rates drop even faster than states that imprisoned more of their citizens. Recognizing the importance of this issue, CSA set reducing incarceration rates and promoting reintegration as a major goal in AGE and offered four policy options for working towards it. 

As we prepare for formulating our immigration policy, here are two thought-provoking columns from the Left and Right to help us think through this issue. 


“A Radical Solution to Global Income Inequality: Make the U.S. More Like Qatar”
Eric Posner and Glen Weyl. The New Republic

Posner and Weyl argue for expanded immigration on the grounds that allowing poor migrants from other countries into a wealthy nation will dramatically reduce global inequality by raising the living standards of some of the world’s poorest citizens. They point to the Gulf States, such as Qatar, that welcome large numbers of migrant workers to their economies as a model. This philosophy “requires uncomfortable tradeoffs,” such as denying political rights and the benefits of the welfare state to the migrants, but for Posner and Weyl the trade is worth it to raise the living standards of the world’s most needy. 


“The Melting Pot is Broken”
Reihan Salam. Slate

From the Right, Reihan Salam takes up for a more restrictionist stance on immigration. As the son of immigrants, Salam admires the idea of America as a melting pot. However, he worries that as a society we’re doing a worse job integrating new immigrants into our economy than we used to and believes that to aid the transition of new immigrants into American life we need to invest heavily in upgrading the skills and opportunities of first and second-generation immigrants. However, he also argues that since public resources are scare, this process could be eased by limiting the amount of immigrants we welcome to our shores and by making sure the immigrants we do shepherd through the assimilation process are those with high skill levels. The idea of assimilation and incorporating immigrants fully into our society is important to Salam, and it’s why he’s written a separate piece arguing against the kind of reforms for which Posner and Weyl advocate.