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Millennial Policy Center is “On The Air”

On the Friday evening, August 4 edition of Denver’s Devil’s Advocate TV show, host Jon Caldara interviewed Jimmy Sengenberger, MPC President and CEO, about the Millennial Policy Center, stereotypes of the Millennial Generation, think tanks, and more. Check out the video below!

A Think Tank for Millennials? - YouTube

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President and CEO Jimmy Sengenberger expresses concern over future of life under Obamacare, renews call for ‘Piecemeal Repeal’

Denver, Colo. – Jimmy Sengenberger, 26, President and CEO of the Millennial Policy Center, a Denver, Colorado-based think tank program, released the following statement on the current failure of congressional Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare:

“The inability of Senate Republicans to unite behind the essential effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act – whether through the BCRA or a straight-repeal approach – represents a failure of leadership on a crucial issue of our time. And as a Millennial who does not have and cannot afford health insurance, I am disappointed in today’s developments.

In a statement on March 24, the day the original AHCA failed in the House, we said what is once again true today: ‘Unfortunately, it is now officially an Obamacare world, and we all just live in it…Policymakers may instead need to look to #PiecemealRepeal; that is, repealing and replacing Obamacare in a piecemeal fashion that blunts the blow of the death spiral on Americans by chipping away at and replacing many of the law’s crushing provisions.

As our healthcare team proposes in our recently-released policy paper, there are a number of necessary reforms to our nation’s healthcare system that will lower costs, increase access to care, and boost quality. Although we favor completely repealing and replacing the ACA, taking a step-by-step approach to revitalizing our nation’s healthcare system seems to be the one way to make a real impact in the new political climate.

We hope policymakers will continue to look for ways to rollback and eliminate Obamacare’s onerous regulations and mandates, level the playing field for individuals and small businesses compared with large corporations, and promote a patient-centered and consumer-driven marketplace, even if it means doing so in a piecemeal fashion. There should be no doubt that the ACA has dealt a crushing blow to millions of Americans. It’s time to regroup, restrategize, and revitalize our nation’s healthcare system.’”

The Millennial Policy Center, a program of the nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit Liberty Day Institute, seeks to offer practical, principled solutions to our nation’s policy challenges, with an emphasis on reaching out to and representing the Millennial Generation (born 1981-1998).

For more information visit www.MillennialPolicyCenter.org.

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“The inability of Senate Republicans to unite behind the essential effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act…represents a failure of leadership on a crucial issue of our time.”Jimmy Sengenberger

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Writing in The Washington Examiner, Millennial Policy Center President Jimmy Sengenberger proposes a compromise on a temporary (three-year) fix for DACA beneficiaries: approve the BRIDGE Act and boost border security:

“No matter how many protests are held this week over President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the DACA initiative is done.

It isn’t relevant any longer what should or should not be done about the program, nor whether the president made the right call. The question now becomes, what do we do next?

Congressman Mike Coffman, R-Colo., has taken leadership in the House – joined on the Senate side by Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., – by recently introducing the BRIDGE Act. And Coffman has filed a discharge petition to force a floor vote.

The BRIDGE Act would essentially extend DACA for three years by allowing those who are eligible for or who have received work authorization and temporary deferment from deportation through DACA to remain in the U.S. with permission. The idea is billed as a temporary legislative fix while Congress develops a more permanent solution for the issue.

The BRIDGE Act is not the same as the Dream Act. The latter would have permitted some immigrants who came to this country illegally as children to get temporary legal status, later apply for permanent legal status and ultimately obtain U.S. citizenship. The BRIDGE Act, on the other hand, simply extends DACA’s provisions through congressional authorization.

There are nearly 800,000 beneficiaries of the DACA program in the United States today. They have had to meet certain standards – such as residing in the country prior to June 15, 2012, moving here prior to their 16th birthday, living continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 and being in or graduated from high school or college – which would be continued under the BRIDGE Act.”

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“Let’s build a BRIDGE and a wall, simultaneously. This is good policy that buys Congress time to work on a longer-term fix while securing the border.”MPC President Jimmy Sengenberger

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Writing in The Federalist, Millennial Policy Center President Jimmy Sengenberger observes that the economy is improving, but not at full steam. He addresses the question of whether a tax reform boost really is possible, and to what extent:

“It seems the “recovery summer” President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden declared back in 2010 finally arrived in 2017, and is finally wrapping up.

Even historically dovish Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has started talking bullishly about the state of the economy. That is, enough for the Fed to be on the verge of finally tackling its $4.5 trillion balance sheet (consisting largely of mortgage-backed securities and Treasury bonds amassed after the financial crisis)—likely to be approved at their September meeting—and to have already raised interest rates twice this year, with a third targeted for December.

The rate of economic growth for the first quarter of 2017, beginning with Obama and ending with President Donald Trump, was a weak 1.4 percent. But that number more than doubled to 3.0 percent in the second quarter, and the Atlanta Federal Reserve recently projected a 3.4 percent growth rate for the third quarter.

How about job creation? In the first six full months under Trump (February through July), the economy created 1.07 million jobs and the unemployment rate hit 4.3 percent, the lowest in 16 years. In addition to historic lows in unemployment, more people ages 25-54 (prime working years) are employed than at any time since September 2008. What’s more, only 66 out of every 10,000 individuals in the workforce are being laid off each month—the lowest number on record since the metric was established in 1967.

Yet things aren’t where they need to be. To continue the progress we have seen during the Trump presidency so far, it is essential that the president’s pro-growth policies continue and expand. His regulatory steps have been singularly effective; the White House claims that as many as 16 pieces of red tape have been cut for every new regulation. Congress has used the Congressional Review Act an unprecedented 14 times to unwind certain regulations.

But Republicans in Congress and the president must build upon this momentum by taking an ax to the tax code. With the highest corporate income tax rate in the industrialized world, profits held overseas at record highs (above $2.5 trillion) and other discouraging tax burdens placed upon businesses and individuals, it’s essential that Republicans succeed in some form of tax reform—or, at the very least, tax rate cuts. There is a distinction between the two. It’s an important one.”

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“Make no mistake: tax rate cuts are vastly better than keeping the status quo. But let’s not confuse them with real tax reform, lest we undercut meaningful reform in the future.”MPC President Jimmy Sengenberger

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Writing in Colorado Politics, Millennial Policy Center President Jimmy Sengenberger explains why, although well-intentioned, the healthcare plan put forward by Govs. John Hickenlooper (CO) and John Kasich (OH) is a “band-aid over a gushing wound” and states should be put back in charge:

“It’s refreshing to see solutions to complex problems plaguing this country come out of the “laboratories of democracy,” the states. On the surface, that is precisely what Colorado’s own Gov. John Hickenlooper and Ohio Gov. John Kasich did in presenting a health care plan to congressional leaders last week: They shared ideas straight from the states.

On one hand, this is a good thing. State governors ought to take a proactive interest in major congressional efforts over national policy issues with direct state implications.

But the founding fathers didn’t intend for governors to share ideas for federal overlords to then carry out. They intended for state governors to implement ideas in their own states, as individual laboratories across the land, and to experiment with new solutions to pressing challenges. The beauty of this model of federalism is that it protects the entire nation from falling prey to a failed, one-sized-fits-all approach to a substantial issue.

Unfortunately, in their proposed plan to address Obamacare’s collapse, Govs. Hickenlooper and Kasich essentially cede their laboratory power to the feds by presenting ideas almost exclusively for greater federal actions — not by advocating for more authority to the states. If they favored the latter, then they might advocate for the repeal-and-replace legislation put forward by Senators Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) and Lindsey Graham (South Carolina).

In a new analysis of the Hickenlooper-Kasich plan for the Millennial Policy Center (MPC), my health care reform colleagues and I argue that the plan is well-intentioned and offers some ideas worthy of debate and consideration, but it’s like placing a Band-Aid over a gushing wound. You hope it will stop the bleeding but are sure to be sorely disappointed.

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“[The Hickenlooper-Kasich plan] is well-intentioned and offers some ideas worthy of debate and consideration, but it’s like placing a Band-Aid over a gushing wound. “MPC President Jimmy Sengenberger

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The healthcare reform team at the Millennial Policy Center on Monday released a brief policy analysis on the healthcare reform proposal put forward last week by Governors John Hickenlooper of Colorado and John Kasich of Ohio.

The Hickenlooper-Kasich proposal is “well-intentioned and offer[s] some ideas worthy of debate and consideration,” the analysis states, but it “would not sustainably reduce costs in the individual market, nor would it increase the number of insured.” Healthcare fellows Juliana Darrow, Charlie Katebi and Dr. Michael T. Parra, MD, joined President and CEO Jimmy Sengenberger in writing the two-page paper.

“We commend Governors Hickenlooper and Kasich for taking a leadership role from the states on this crucial issue. With individual insurance markets in a death spiral, the challenges of healthcare costs and access cannot be ignored,” said Sengenberger, 27. “Unfortunately, the ideas put forward by the governors amount to placing a band-aid over a gushing wound.”

The analysis observes that the plan “does not eliminate any of the [Affordable Care Act’s] mandates that drive up the cost of health insurance and healthcare,” it maintains the individual mandate, and it does not touch Medicaid expansion. “While the plan may buy a short period of time from the full brunt of Obamacare’s harmful cost stimuli, it is not sustainable and in no way addresses the fundamental cost drivers for health insurance,” the authors write.

The team’s full policy analysis of the Hickenlooper-Kasich proposal is available here.

All of the Center’s healthcare research and analyses can be found online here.

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Writing in The Hill, Millennial Policy Center Firearms Policy Fellow Joseph Greenlee, along with Independence Institute research director David Kopel, makes the case that gun control laws are fundamentally racist:

“Guns have historically protected Americans from white supremacists, just as gun control has historically protected white supremacists from the Americans they terrorize.

One month after the Confederate surrender in 1865, Frederick Douglass urged federal action to stop state and local infringement of the right to arms. Until this was accomplished, Douglass argued, “the work of the abolitionists is not finished.”

Indeed, it was not. As the Special Report of the Paris Anti-Slavery Conference of 1867 found, freedmen in some southern states “were forbidden to own or bear firearms, and thus were rendered defenseless against assault.” Thus, white supremacists could continue to control freedmen through threat of violence.

Congress demolished these racist laws. The Freedmen’s Bureau Bill of 1865, Civil Rights Act of 1866, and Civil Rights Act of 1870 each guaranteed all persons equal rights of self-defense. Most importantly, the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, made the Second Amendment applicable to the states.

Kansas Senator Samuel Pomeroy extolled the three “indispensable” “safeguards of liberty under our form of government,” the sanctity of the home, the right to vote, and “the right to bear arms.” So “if the cabin door of the freedman is broken open and the intruder enter…then should a well-loaded musket be in the hand of the occupant to send the polluted wretch to another world.”

Because of the 14th Amendment, gun control laws now had to be racially neutral. But states quickly learned to draft neutrally-worded laws for discriminatory application. Tennessee and Arkansas prohibited handguns that freedmen could afford, while allowing expensive “Army & Navy” handguns, which ex-Confederate officers already owned.”

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“Self-defense is an inherent human right. The 14th Amendment is America’s promise that no law-abiding person will be deprived of that right, regardless of color.”MPC Fellow Joseph Greenlee with David Kopel

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By Rick Heroff, K-12 Education Reform Fellow

Ben Franklin said that we have been given a Republic – if we can keep it. Over 200 years later, how are we doing? 18%. That is the score the Nation’s report card gave to 8th graders two years ago on proficiency in history. As a teacher myself, I honestly find this to be pretty pathetic, and above all it’s embarrassing for a democratic republic such as ours. In that same report students scored 23% proficiency in civics. Is that the best we can do? How can we expect the upcoming generation to participate in our government when they don’t know how it works?

How can we expect them to be informed voters, and to have a firm grasp of the issues when they know little to nothing about their history, their country, or the people within it? There are thousands of dedicated teachers out there and some great programs to bring civic education to classrooms, but they are often limited in their scope and funding and should not be depended on as a primary source of teaching our kids.

So who’s to blame? As with most things in education, it’s complicated. Mostly it has to do with priorities. Of all the core subjects, Math and English are given the highest priority. Now don’t get me wrong. Math and English are essential for our students. Unfortunately proficiency for English and Math with 8th graders is hanging out in the 30’s and 40%, which contributes heavily to the lack of Civic education occurring in our schools.

We have so much focus on bringing students up to grade level with the most basic of skills that teachers, especially elementary teachers, are left with little to no time to cover the “back burner core subjects” like Social Studies and Science. Every subject is asked how they can incorporate more math or more literacy to help support these most important of subjects while little to no support is offered to Social Studies, or Science.

Teacher training is also partly to blame. I have been fortunate to work with some fantastic teachers in my career, but I have also met some teachers that simply have no clear understanding of their content area. Social Studies is not an entirely clear cut subject to get certified in. Generally you major in either History, Political Science, Geography, or Economics, go through teacher training, and then take an arbitrary state assessment that covers all four.

Oftentimes you’ll wind up with Social Studies teachers that are experts in one of the four topics, but potentially novices in the others. Most are well meaning in their work, and often reach out to programs like the Liberty Day Institute or the Center for Civic Education, or programs through the Library of Congress for assistance which can be extremely useful. The fact remains though that there is not much on the job training for Social Studies teachers beyond their own personal endeavors.

Unfortunately, another challenge we face in educating students about their history and government is their parents. Let’s be honest. Civic engagement and participation is at an all-time low in our country. In the 2016 Elections we had close to 60% of eligible voters’ turnout. In 2014’s midterm elections the average was about 36%. People are not participating in their government and by extension are not passing that tradition onto their children. I’ll often have students ask me “Why doesn’t someone do something?” about a certain issue. Oftentimes it’s because they don’t know how.

It is a generational crisis that we in the Millennial Generation need to work to remedy as quickly and aggressively as possible. Teachers like myself will do what we can in the classroom to pass the knowledge of our history and understanding of the workings of our government on to students, but that will have very little meaning if we don’t have parents taking their kids to town hall meetings, county conventions, or to the voting booths to help their kids experience true civic engagement.

With all the challenges in public education, this is the most forgotten. As people that care about our communities and our nation we must step up and make efforts to make civic education more of a priority in our homes and in teacher training, as well as holding our schools accountable for what is or isn’t being taught, and how much. One thing that is for certain is this: our future as a republic depends on us being able to teach our children about our history and how to participate in our government. We cannot afford to have the next generation of voters be as passive about public policy as our current electorate seems to be.

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Writing in Colorado Politics, Millennial Policy Center President Jimmy Sengenberger explains why Colorado Senator Cory Gardner “made the right decisions” on his healthcare votes this week:

“Fifty Senate Republicans and Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday voted in favor of opening up 20 hours of debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Colorado’s own Sen. Cory Gardner, an advocate for healthcare reform, was among those who voted to move ahead. He subsequently cast votes in favor of repeal and replace, “straight repeal” and “skinny repeal” of Obamacare. With each of these votes, Senator Gardner unquestionably made the right decisions.

Coloradans on the individual market are bracing for premium increases of 27% next year, a staggering amount on top of already-staggering premiums. Top that with outrageous deductibles, and Obamacare yet again has doomed many Coloradans to “health insurance” in name only – not access to the care they need. That is, if they (unlike me) can even afford insurance.

Similarly, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that premiums have shot up $2,784, or 105%, on average nationally since 2013 – one year before the ACA regulations went into full implementation. This is not only expensive – it is reprehensibly so. Americans throughout the country are suffering under the ACA, and we deserve better.

Judging from past radio interviews I’ve conducted with Sen. Gardner, he seems to recognize that now is the opportunity for the Senate to take decisive action to resolve this crisis for his constituents in Colorado and Americans everywhere.

Coloradans like me who are hurt by or suffering under the boot of Obamacare deserve to have our voices heard in Congress. We deserve a shot at meaningful reform. Had Sen. Gardner not voted to simply take up debate, struggling Coloradans would have ultimately been denied the opportunity for real, vigorous debate on the Senate floor on conservative solutions to address premiums, deductibles and tightening access to care.”

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“Coloradans like me who are hurt by or suffering under the boot of Obamacare deserve to have our voices heard in Congress. We deserve a shot at meaningful reform.”MPC President Jimmy Sengenberger

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Writing in The Washington Examiner, Millennial Policy Center Fellow Charlie Katebi explores the improvements contained in the revised version of the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act:

“When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., initially unveiled the Senate’s healthcare reform bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, conservatives inside and outside of Congress criticized the bill for maintaining Obamacare’s regulations that increase the cost of insurance and make coverage unaffordable for millions. However, the newest version of the bill removes many of these regulations and takes greater strides towards making health insurance less expensive.

The original version of the BCRA made few changes to Obamacare’s insurance rules. Under the plan, insurers would still be prohibited from charging healthy individuals lower premiums than sicker and more-expensive subscribers. This rule increases the cost of insurance on younger and healthier individuals and makes it harder for many to afford health insurance. In addition, the original BCRA maintained the law’s mandatory “essential health benefits,” which force everyone to purchase a variety of expensive and often unnecessary services, even if enrollees don’t need or desire them. As a result, premiums have increased more than 105 percent since 2013.

Yet despite the heavy toll of Obamacare regulations on families, Senate Republican leaders initially chose to maintain these rules in order to garner support from moderate Republicans who fear vulnerable patients will lose access to coverage if they repeal these rules.

Fortunately, Senate leaders last week introduced changes to the BCRA that would dramatically diminish the law’s insurance rules while also protecting patients with pre-existing conditions. The revisions are modeled after an amendment introduced by Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called the Consumer Freedom Option. Under their amendment, any insurer that sells Obamacare-compliant coverage will also be free to sell cheaper plans with fewer unnecessary benefits.”

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“Senate Republicans should learn from Obama’s failed law and empower consumers to buy the best health plan for their individual needs at the lowest price.”Charlie Katebi, Fellow

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