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What Relief? How Student Loan Assistance Fails Teachers

Today, the average teacher with an advanced degree graduates $50k in debt ($8k more than the average MBA) and earns an average salary of $40k/year, making student loan assistance for teachers more important than ever. Unfortunately, our messy patchwork of loan assistance programs for teachers is both unwieldy and backloaded, and in some cases, it can leave teachers in worse shape than if they had not participated at all.

With the U.S. needing to hire more than three million new teachers over the next decade, it is time for the federal government to revamp the way it provides loan relief to these educators so that we can attract and retain the best and brightest in our classrooms for years to come.

Our new idea brief provides a simple proposal for how to provide teachers with federally-sponsored student loan relief that is clear, streamlined, and immediately assisting teachers from day one in the classroom.

NATO Must Build its Counterterrorism Capability, Not Just Focus on Russia

By Rep. Steve Israel and Mieke Eoyang

When President Barack Obama arrived at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Wales, he found a room full of member states that are focused on the original purpose of NATO: to provide a collective defense against the grave threat of Russian expansion. But the president must recognize that today’s threats are more complex than those of 1949, the year of NATO’s founding. NATO and its member countries are not only threatened by the prospect of war from the East, but also by a growing and dangerous new enemy on its southern flank — the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham, or ISIS.

NATO and other multinational alliances were built on certain mid-20th century assumptions — that generally, the laws of war would be followed, and conventional military power would deter conventional military power. And for decades, most NATO states viewed terrorism as a domestic matter to be dealt with inside their own borders.

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The Parenthood Pay Gap: Why Having Children Costs Women More Than Men

Bob Oakes and Shannon Dooling

While the wage gap between working men and women has shown signs of improvement over the years, a new study finds that for women, having children can mean taking a pay cut.

Michelle Budig’s research shows that women on the low end of the earnings spectrum are particularly vulnerable to this “wage penalty,” even while men often stand to benefit from what she calls the “fatherhood bonus.”

This piece was originally aired on WBUR Boston.

Even in the age of “Lean In,” when women with children run Fortune 500 companies and head the Federal Reserve, traditional notions about fathers as breadwinners and mothers as caregivers remain deeply ingrained. Employers, it seems, have not yet caught up to the fact that women can be both mothers and valuable employees.

The New York Times’ 

The Fatherhood Bonus and The Motherhood Penalty” author Michelle J. Budig examines the relationship between parenthood and the gender gap in pay and finds that having a child helps your career… if you’re a man. If you’re a woman, it does the opposite.

Why a Coup in Pakistan Could Endanger U.S. Withdrawal From Afghanistan

Protests against Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, have raised the specter of a military coup. While there are many broader political implications, a coup could further sour U.S.-Pakistani relations. One way that Pakistan has displayed its displeasure with the U.S. in the past has been to close the Khyber Pass—the main American supply route into Afghanistan. If they did so, the U.S. would have to use the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) which traverses Russia and several other former Soviet republics, at a time when U.S.-Russia tensions are high. 

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Why not growth?

As the self-described party of the middle class, Democrats’ principal concern should be growth.

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Democrats’ intense focus on income inequality is understandable, but why not the same obsession over economic growth?

From 2001 to 2013, a span of thirteen years, average annual growth in the United States came out to a lumbering 1.8 percent. That is half the average annual growth rate we experienced from 1950 to 2000 —a period during which the middle class shined and the poverty rate declined.

Yes, the Great Recession contributed to substandard growth rates, but since 2001, the U.S. economy has exceeded 3 percent growth only twice. In the half century prior, we surpassed 3 percent growth per year 34 times. What was once “normal” growth is now a rarity.

Economists predict that America’s future growth rate will settle somewhere between mediocre and sickly. The Congressional Budget Office projects an average of 2.5 percent annual growth over the next ten years, while PricewaterhouseCoopers projects an average of 2.4 percent growth through 2020. Middling growth like that just won’t make an appreciable difference in the lives of average working people.

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Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals is the #1 thing we can do to prevent gun violence. Right now in many states, a stalker or domestic abuser can walk into a gun show and purchase a weapon, or jump online and surf through his many semi-automatic choices on Armslist.com. That threatens the safety of women, of children, and of our community as a whole. States that have closed these loopholes have seen a 38% decrease in women being shot and killed by their domestic abuser. Those who would protect an abuser’s ability to buy a gun without a background check are making women less safe.

On the heels of the first-ever Senate hearing on the intersection of gun safety and domestic violence, Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, director of Third Way’s Social Policy & Politics Program joined former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and many other national women leaders to launch the #ProtectAllWomen Leadership Network to educate state and federal leaders on the need for solutions that protect women from gun violence. 

Read more about the #ProtectAllWomen Leadership Nextwork.

The intersection of banking regulations and federal policy makes opening a banking account much more complicated than you might think for marijuana-related businesses in states that have legalized it for recreational or medical purposes. Our latest memo lays out 8 things policymakers should know—but may not—about the complicated intersection of banking regulations, federal marijuana policy, and state legalization laws.

The Administration has been negotiating with Iran and the other members of the UN Security Council to reach a comprehensive agreement to end Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. They decided to extend the interim agreement, known as the JPOA, another four months.
 We lay out Congress’ options in this chart. 
The extension of the JPOA, while not acceptable as a permanent solution, is the only path to the possibility of a comprehensive agreement. 

The Administration has been negotiating with Iran and the other members of the UN Security Council to reach a comprehensive agreement to end Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. They decided to extend the interim agreement, known as the JPOA, another four months.

We lay out Congress’ options in this chart

The extension of the JPOA, while not acceptable as a permanent solution, is the only path to the possibility of a comprehensive agreement.