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Thu Jan 28, 2016, 09:16 AM

It’s time to take a serious look at Martin O’Malley

What about the Democrats? Are they ready to face the fact that we have to figure out how to tackle inequality without further feeding the growth of state power? As I’ve watched the campaign unfold, I’ve come to the conclusion that O’Malley is the only voice on the Democratic stage with the potential to resolve the dilemma.

In recent years, economists and political scientists have routinely pointed out how municipal and regional decisions about transportation, mobility, housing, communications infrastructure and finance powerfully affect the distribution of opportunity. We often use zoning regulations, housing and transportation policy, and municipal funding structures in ways that generate socioeconomic and ethnic segregation. These policies reduce the likelihood that “bridging ties” — connections between people across demographic cleavages — form within our population. Significant bodies of research suggest that the more a society is characterized by bridging ties, the more egalitarian will be outcomes across economic, health and educational domains. To maximize these ties, we need policies that push in the opposite direction from those we have now.

The good news is that this doesn’t require adding services and programs, only smarter choices about the things that governments already do and will always need to do. One can have a dramatic impact on the distribution of opportunity without increasing government’s footprint. One just needs to use the existing levers differently.

This, it turns out, is just what O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, wants to do.

the rest By Danielle Allen at:


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