Kalena Thomhave

Kalena Thomhave is a writing fellow at the Prospect.

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Recent Articles

The Untapped Voting Power of Single Women

Unmarried women are less likely than their married counterparts to register and to vote but they could be a key Democratic voting bloc in November if candidates get moving to address their issues.

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana Demonstrators with pink hats gather in Washington for the Women's March W omen helped propel Virginia Democrat Ralph Northam into the Old Dominion’s Executive Mansion in last year’s off-year gubernatorial election: Northam won their vote by 22 points . In 2016, Hillary Clinton prevailed among women by a smaller margin, 17 points. But the vote breakdown also shows that unmarried women actually helped elect Northam: Although unmarried women comprised just 16 percent of voters in the gubernatorial election, a majority of those women, 77 percent , cast their ballots for Northam (54 percent of married women did). Clinton won 61 percent of unmarried woman voters in 2016. A new report from the Washington-based Voter Participation Center, an organization that registers voters and studies voting habits, finds that unmarried women could be a powerful political force, but many don’t vote or aren’t registered to vote. Yet single women make up half of all women and 26...

Scott Walker and the Failure of Trickle Down

In Minnesota, progressive taxes and social spending have created more and better-paying jobs than next-door neighbor Wisconsin has created through tax and spending cuts.

(AP Photo/Scott Bauer)
(AP Photo/Scott Bauer) Governor Scott Walker speaks with reporters on February 1, 2018, in Madison, Wisconsin. I n January 2011, two new governors took office in the neighboring states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Minnesota’s new governor, Democrat Mark Dayton, had campaigned largely on a platform of taxing the rich to provide the services the state needed. By contrast, Wisconsin’s new governor, Republican Scott Walker had pledged to cut taxes in order to create jobs. Over the course of the past seven years, these two governors have taken their states on vastly different trajectories: Minnesota to the left, and Wisconsin to the right. How these two diametrically opposed approaches have played out has been chronicled before, including by the Prospect , where in 2015, as the governors embarked on their second terms, Ann Markusen wrote how “Minnesota and Wisconsin offer something close to a laboratory experiment in competing economic policies.” Now, nearing the completion of those second...

Stop Talking About SNAP Fraud

The country spends millions of federal dollars to combat an extremely rare problem—food stamp abuse.

Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock T he Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) ads in the District of Columbia were hard to miss. Posters begging passersby to help “STOP SNAP FRAUD!” replaced the usually more innocuous ads in Washington’s Metro system. While many of the ads were in underground subway stations, buses were also wrapped in fraud prevention ads. They plastered the Capitol South metro station, too—the one used by many legislative staffers—as Congress is gearing up to renew the farm bill, the massive legislation that may contain sweeping changes to SNAP, the program commonly known as food stamps. The nation’s capital has a progressive population (just 4 percent of the city’s votes went to Trump in 2016), so these ads did not go over well. SNAP fraud, after all, is a relatively uncommon phenomenon in the District of Columbia and elsewhere. In 2016, out of 1,000 completed investigations of the city’s roughly 134,000 SNAP recipients, officials found only 134 clear-cut cases...

Rent Increases and Work Requirements for the Poor, Mortgage-Interest Deductions for the Rich

The Trump administration’s proposal to reduce housing assistance for the poor couldn’t contrast more sharply from the housing assistance showered on the rich. 

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson takes his seat before testifying before a House Committee on Appropriation subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill T he Trump administration’s proposal to reform housing programs for the poor, unveiled last week, is just one among its many plans to gut anti-poverty programs, even as its authors bleat platitudes about getting people “back to work.” The proposal from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), outlined in the 2019 president’s budget, would raise rents on around four million families who receive federal rental assistance. HUD proposes increasing recipients’ rent payments from 30 percent of gross income to 35 percent, and also triples the minimum required rent payment from a $50 cap to about $150. On average, people would see their rents raised by about 44 percent . In addition to forcing people living in poverty to hand over money that’s probably already earmarked for other...

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