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The Need for Citizens Concern with Issues

The Impact of Wealth Distribution on Health and Social Well Being


The concentration of wealth is at a historical high in the U.S. while the number of impoverished people increases.  About 50 million Americans have been going without health insurance and millions have lost jobs or their homes. Among industrialized countries, only the city of Singapore, which is a separate country, has greater income inequality than the United States.

Harvard Business School Associate Professor Michael Norton and James B. Ariely, Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, recently completeted a study that compared the actual, perceived, and preferred income distribution by quintile in the U.S.   Although American people think there is too much inequality in wealth in the U.S., they don't actually realize the degree to which wealth is concentrated.

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Does income distribution make a difference?  British epidemiologists Richard Wilkenson and Kate Pickett reveal the widespread effects of a country's income inequality in their book, The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger.   Comparing industrialized nations and states in the U.S., Wilkenson and Pickett found that inequality of wealth had a greater effect on citizens well being than the relative wealth of first world nations.  Greater income inequality is related to a wide range of harmful effects including many related to health such as life expectancy, obesity, drug use, and mental illness, and to social measures such as violence, bullying and conflict in schools, rates of imprisonment, happiness, levels of trust, educational performance, children's well being, and teen pregnancy.

As a nation and state, we can do better.  Both our own states and nation as well as other nations have many examples of success from which to draw.

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In June 2012, Think Again MN launched a history series that examines politics and policy-making in Minnesota during the last century from the immediate post World War II years up through the 1990s. That era witnessed fierce legislative battles at the State Capitol but it was also a time of shared values that cut across partisan lines. 

Read about it here

MN's Leading Election System

MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon

 

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Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at http://mnvotes.org

Oregon's Automatic Voter Registration

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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