FROM Ron Haskins
Universal Pre-School Education: Poverty and Politics A few states subsidize pre-school for all their four-year olds, with the red state of Oklahoma leading the way. In last year's State of the Union address, the President called for early education to be made universal. The idea went nowhere in Congress. This year, he repeated the request , arguing that 30 states have raised pre-K funding on their own because, as he put it, "we can't wait." Polls show 60% of Republican voters in favor nationwide, along with 84% of Democrats. But the federal cost would be $75 billion. Will Congress give it a chance? Faced with long odds, the President says he'll build his own coalition of business leaders and others. Meantime, we talk with a parent in Oklahoma and others about the benefits of early education, including the impact on poverty.
Romney Claims Obama Gutting Welfare to Work Rules When Bill Clinton signed welfare reform, Democrats and Republicans agreed it would “end Welfare as we know it” by requiring recipients of benefits to seek work. Now Mitt Romney claims that President Obama has gone back on that promise. Last month, the Obama Administration opened the door for states to ask for more flexibility in running the federally funded welfare to work program. The Obama Administration now accuses Romney of hypocrisy, saying that, when he was Governor of Massachusetts, he asked for an option similar to what he now calls “gutting” welfare reform.
The Growing Problem of Hunger in a Struggling Economy The Great Recession has increased the number of Americans who depend on food stamps and food banks to get enough to eat. What kind of food do they get? Do food stamps carry a stigma and create dependency at the same time? Do private charities allow government to avoid dealing directly with the causes of poverty?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?