The Hamilton Project Blog

The Hamilton Project blog highlights the latest research, press coverage, and events from The Hamilton Project.


Investing in the Future of California’s Water Sector

April 21, 2015 • Newsha Ajami, Barton “Buzz” ThompsonEnergy & Environment, Infrastructure, Technology & Innovation

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of The Hamilton Project. 
Newsha K. Ajami and Barton H. Thompson are recent authors of a Hamilton Project Discussion Paper on water infrastructure and innovation in the United States. 

Four years into a severe drought, California has just suffered one of the driest winters on record. Many of California’s reservoirs are less than half full, and the natural reservoir that we rely on for summer water, the Sierra Nevada snowpack, is at a historic low. 

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Investing in America’s Working Families with Affordable Child Care

February 2, 2015 • James P. ZiliakTax Policy

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of The Hamilton Project. 
James Ziliak is a recent author of a Hamilton Project proposal on reforming the federal Child and Dependent Care Credit to better support low-income workers. 

The President proposed a massive investment in our nation’s young children and working families in his 2016 budget released today – through a combination of expanded tax credits and direct subsidies for child care. 

The rising cost of child care in the United States over the past two decades has far outstripped the overall increase in inflation. When coupled with stagnant wages among those in the low- and middle-income classes, child care for many working families can erode anywhere between one-sixth and one-third of annual earnings, depending on state of residence.

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Nearly 30 Percent of Workers in the U.S. Need a License to Perform Their Job: It Is Time to Examine Occupational Licensing Practices

January 28, 2015 • The Hamilton Project • Employment & Wages

By Melissa S. Kearney, Brad Hershbein, and David Boddy

When hiring an electrician, it’s important to be able to figure out whether the person knows what they're doing. Selecting an amateur might send your house up in flames. When the electrician says he’s an expert, you don’t have to take his word for it. In the United States, a third party does the job of sorting out the charlatans from the pros. Like doctors and lawyers, electricians have to get a license from the government before they can work. That way, identifying qualified electricians need not involve letting a few houses go up in flames, and a person who buys or rents a house can have relative confidence that there are not hidden defects in the home’s wiring.

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Comments by Sandy Baum and Judith Scott-Clayton on the White House Announcement on New Community College Initiatives

January 20, 2015 • Sandy Baum, Judith Scott-ClaytonEducation

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of The Hamilton Project. 
Sandy Baum and Judith Scott-Clayton are previous authors of a Hamilton Project proposal on redesigning the Pell Grant program.

President Obama’s proposal to eliminate tuition for America’s community college students could be a case study in the messaging power of “free”: it has caught people’s attention in a way that prior efforts to lower the price of college have not. Googling “Obama free community college” returns a whopping 75 million results, compared to 92,500 for “Obama Pell Grant increase.”

This attention is much needed. Inequality in college attainment by family income is on the rise. States have been reducing their investment in higher education, shifting costs to students and placing pressure on public institutions, which are asked to do more—and for more students—with less. Meanwhile, those who need financial assistance are often stymied by the complexity of the student aid system. 

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Promoting Educational Advancement and Skill Development through Community Colleges

January 9, 2015 • The Hamilton Project • Education, Employment & Wages

Community colleges serve a crucial role in our nation’s system of higher education and post-secondary training. They provide—or have the potential to provide—crucial labor market skills to a wide and diverse set of students. For many, they also provide a pathway to a four-year degree. When the White House announced its America’s College Promise Proposal today—which seeks to make two years of community college free for qualified students—it renewed the ongoing national debate on how to most effectively address the challenges of making post-secondary education more affordable and accessible for a wider segment of the population and, correspondingly, how to prepare individuals and upgrade their skills for the demands of today’s labor market. 

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