The 2000 presidential election posed countless issues, including butterfly ballots, partially punched cards, four to six million lost votes, and outraged citizens across the political spectrum. These issues led California Institute of Technology president David Baltimore and Massachusetts Institute of Technology president Charles Vest to approach the election technology failure more scientifically. With a team of computer scientists, mechanical engineers, and political scientists, they reimagined—and reengineered—the election process. Although Baltimore and Vest pioneered advancements in the election process, the reliability of voting infrastructure today still remains questionable. As we approach the upcoming election cycle this Fall, policy and technology experts must come together to rectify a failing system.
Despite a modest decline in private vehicle ownership in the last four years, many Americans still employ cars as their primary mode of transportation. Comparisons among census trends in the past few decades indicate that private vehicles amassed popularity among American households following more extensive car-centric city planning beginning in the early 1960s.
At the end of the last century, the digital revolution ushered in technological advancements that most consumers would not want to live without. Information and communication technology (ICT), such as computers, cell phones and the Internet, have proliferated worldwide entering our homes, offices and classrooms.  However, while the expansion of this technology has been impressive, it has not been even. At both the national and global levels, access to ICT is still far from universal and its disparity reflects and exacerbates the inequalities that exist offline. According to the International Telecommunications Union, the Internet user gender gap was as high as 31% in some developing countries and 12% globally in 2016.  As ICT becomes increasingly important, those left behind face growing socioeconomic barriers. This is what is known as the digital divide. People unfamiliar or unable to access ICTs are disadvantaged when trying to enter higher paid jobs, join solidarity networks, utilize educational information and accrue cultural capital.
Kaylee Heffelfinger of Arizona and Shahriar Jabbari of California had sued Wells Fargo for opening seven unauthorized bank accounts in their names, but their lawsuits were dismissed due to analogous mandatory arbitration clauses. Their cases were part of a larger scandal in which Wells Fargo opened at least 3.5 million unauthorized accounts on behalf of their customers but then astonishingly held those customers to the mandatory arbitration clauses they had signed for their legitimate accounts. Given the harm that mandatory arbitration may cause consumers, it is critical for policymakers to consider the implications of mandatory arbitration.
In June of 2016, former Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter removed one of the final barriers to military service by announcing new rules that would allow transgender individuals to openly serve in the military. Prior to this, transgender people would have been discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for their gender under Department of Defense Instruction (DODI) 6130.03: Medical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the Military Services. Just one year later, in July 2017, President Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military” because the military “must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgenders in the military would entail”.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snap, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple — these companies have become household names, and the world today heavily relies on their services. To many, the benefits of cheap and easy connection to information are obvious, ranging from increased educational and career opportunities to an increased rate of technological innovation. However, as the pace of this progress accelerates, two distinct issues have remained concerning: the use of these technologies and access to them. The topic of this article mostly focuses on how people still lack access to the Internet. This lack of access to and of use of the Internet is known as the “digital divide.”
Leo drives a mid-2000s Acura TSX and arrives at the pickup point in front of a train station in Trenton, New Jersey. I’m headed home from New York City for the Thanksgiving holiday. Leo gives me a hand with my suitcase, and in under a minute, we’re off, driving Interstate 276 West most of the way there. The 26.66 mile trip takes 45 minutes. It costs me $34.68 on one of the most popular rideshare platforms, of which Leo receives about $25, minus the cost of gas, tolls, and vehicle mileage. Leo is a pretty talkative guy, and the subject turns to the various driving platforms, like Uber and Lyft. Leo is a young guy, and he tells me he’s one of the approximately 1 in 4 drivers who does not have health insurance.
The state of American infrastructure figures prominently in current national policy discussion, prompted by poor report cards, energized political campaigns, and recent executive initiatives. Severe underfunding of needed infrastructure projects has prompted proposals from both sides of the political aisle, with public-private partnerships (P3s) featuring prominently. This article evaluates and offers perspective on different types of P3s, examining their benefits and costs and the Trump administration’s plans.
Nuclear energy has the potential to assist nations in tackling climate change and sustain a rapidly growing world population. In the first part of this series on nuclear energy, I analyzed why nuclear energy is superior to other energy sources in achieving this end but also why current market forces prevent its growth. However, even if US legislators decided to pass legislation that aggressively expanded the country’s nuclear infrastructure, there are three primary non-market challenges with current U.S. policy, or lack thereof: a hostile public, the absence of a centralized nuclear waste disposal site, and concerns with proliferation and the imperilment of U.S. national security objectives. In order to responsibly expand nuclear energy capacities and prevent proliferation to hostile states, policy-makers have an obligation to address these issues. Not doing so may bear worse consequences than wantonly enlarging the United States’ atomic sector.
Healthcare spending accounts for just under one-fifth of the US economy, amounting to an enormous $3.4 trillion in 2016 . Politicians from both sides of the aisle have tried their hand at passing cost containment measures to slow its growth, which has consistently outpaced GDP growth rates. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) attempted to cut costs by reshaping the way providers are paid to manage care. As a result, it began to recognize and reward a new hybrid structuring of providers: Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). As ACOs become more popular under new payment schemes, it is essential to track their ability to reduce costs and improve quality. The Trump administration’s policy changes stand to shape not only providers’ care coordination, but also the trajectory of the healthcare industry.
Since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, the island’s leaders have been asking the federal government for more emergency aid and long-term recovery funds. Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon requested, “Congress [approve] an aid package that is commensurate with the level of devastation,” while Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo of Guam said she will, “Seek a firm commitment that the House provide fair and robust emergency assistance to U.S. territories devastated by natural disasters in any bills considered for the remainder of the Congress.”  The federal government must determine how much assistance is required to adequately respond to a natural disaster of this scale and how to balance the need for short-term relief and long-term recovery.
Sugar sweetened beverage taxes, commonly referred to as soda taxes, have been on the rise in American municipal governments as a potential policy solution to both a public health crisis and a revenue shortage . However, in cities like Philadelphia where these sugary beverage taxes have been implemented, they have become a target for the scrutiny of residents and economists alike. Governments that have implemented soda taxes commonly cite how the tax revenue and the tax itself could help tackle obesity, but this claim is still subject to debate.