Compiled by Hannnah Cornfield, a Fall 2013 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern
DOJ To Nix Mandatory Minimum Sentences In Some Pending Drug Cases: Eric Holder
Ryan J. Reilly
The Huffington Post
September 19, 2013
Ryan J. Reilly reports that under a new safety valve policy, certain drug offenders will soon get to avoid mandatory minimum sentences. On Thursday, September 26, Attorney General Eric Holder will announce the new policy, in which “federal prosecutors will allow drug offenders without ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels to avoid harsh mandatory minimum sentences by removing the drug quantities that trigger such requirements.” Federal prosecutors are also encouraged to apply this policy to cases in which the defendants, who have not been sentenced, plead guilty. Through this new guidance, Holder believes we can better secure public safety, become more cost-efficient, focus to increase deterrence and rehabilitation, and decrease mass incarceration.
Another Insult to the Poor
The Editorial Board
The New York Times
September 19, 2013
The Editorial Board of the New York Times argues that the farm bill, passed by House Republicans, only accelerates the rates of hunger and poverty in the United States. Passed on Thursday, September 19, this bill drastically cuts federal food stamps, which will throw 3.8 million Americans out of the program in 2014. The Editorial Board explains, “Food stamps kept four million people out of poverty last year and kept millions more from falling deeper into poverty. Under the House Republican bill, many of these people would be impoverished.” As House Republicans continue to cut the budget, there is a projected 900,000 loss of jobs in the coming year, maintaining income and high poverty. With millions of Americans living under poverty, without an education, and/or jobless, there is no justice in passing this farm bill.
College-educated workers are taking jobs that don’t require degrees
Los Angeles Times
September 20, 2013
Alana Semuels reports on the connection between the job market and a college education. As college graduates begin to take more jobs that do not require a degree, such as bar tending and taxi driving, individuals without degrees are being pushed out of their job market. “In 1970, only 2% of firefighters had college degrees; now 18% do, according to Richard Vedder, an economist at Ohio University. Fewer than 1% of taxi drivers had a college degree in 1970; now 15% do. About 25% of retail sales clerks have college degrees, Vedder said.” There are a greater number of college graduates than the number of jobs that require a degree. As the recession wiped out many jobs in the housing and finance markets, employers are able to offer lower wages, while college graduates are struggling to pay off student loans. Should students attend college knowing they will have to pay off student loans and with the high risk of not getting a job that requires a degree after they graduate?