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OFF-KILTER with Rebecca Vallas

Apr 26, 2018

This week on Off-Kilter, the Republican war on Medicaid has now made its way to Michigan, in the form of what may be the most heartless “work requirements” proposal yet — which passed Michigan’s Republican-controlled Senate on a party line vote last week. Rebecca talks with two experts at the University of Michigan: Luke Shaefer, the director of poverty solutions and a professor of public policy, and one of the authors of $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, and Marianne Udow-Phillips, a former head of human services for the state of Michigan and currently the director of the Center for Health Care Research and Transformation. Next, Rebecca speaks with Michigan State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr., a Democrat who made waves by introducing an amendment that would make his colleagues in the State Senate jump through the same hoops they want to make struggling Michiganders jump through to keep their healthcare.

Later in the show, with the debate around so-called “work requirements” and other proposals to slash healthcare, food, and housing raging on in Washington and in states across the country, an article in the Washington Post this week took a look at some of the origins of these types of proposals, tracing them back to the state of Wisconsin, which in many ways was ground zero of “welfare reform” long before President Clinton signed it into law in 1996. Rebecca speaks with Robert Samuels about his article, “Wisconsin is the GOP model for ‘welfare reform.’ But as work requirements grow, so does one family’s desperation.”

And finally, in the last few weeks the idea of a federal job guarantee — a policy from the heyday of Dr. King’s Poor People’s campaign — has found its way into the platforms for potential 2020 presidential candidates like Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders. This level of national attention comes as candidates in races across the country are also viewing a job guarantee as a winning political platform. Rebecca talks with the first candidate for Congress to run on a job guarantee: Richard Dien Winfield — a professor of philosophy at the University of Georgia in Athens running as a democrat in Georgia’s 10th, a deep red rural district, that Trump carried handily — about why he thinks a platform this unapologetically progressive can deliver a win in Trump country.

No In Case You Missed It this week — sorry! — since our beloved Slevinator is out sick. (Send him well wishes!)