Last Updated Projects
Examining the Lawsuit Massachusetts Filed Against Purdue Pharma Over the Opioids Problem
On January 15, 2019, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a 274-page pre-hearing memorandum alleging the Sackler family and their company Purdue Pharma “created the [opioid] epidemic and profited from it through a web of illegal deceit” by enticing doctors to prescribe their medication and peddling “falsehoods to keep patients away from safer alternatives.” This is no small accusation from Massachusetts. If the state is going take this action against Purdue Pharma, one would hope that their case rests on solid evidence. But, unfortunately, the facts do not seem to support the commonwealth’s claims. Contrary to the commonwealth’s narrative, prescription opioid addiction rates have not been on the rise. While prescribing rates have fluctuated over the past 15 years, nonmedical prescription opioid use has remained constant since 2002. Furthermore, the most recent spike in opioid overdose deaths reflects not prescription opioid deaths, but those of illicit opioids such as heroin and fentanyl—street narcotics that are not manufactured or sold by Purdue.
On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
I quarrel not with far-off foes, but with those who, near at home, co-operate with, and do the bidding of those far away, and without whom the latter would be harmless. Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.... No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America. They are rare in the history of the world. There are orators, politicians, and eloquent men, by the thousand; but the speaker has not yet opened his mouth to speak who is capable of settling the much-vexed questions of the day. We love eloquence for its own sake, and not for any truth which it may utter, or any heroism it may inspire. Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free-trade and of freedom, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation. They have no genius or talent for comparatively humble questions of taxation and finance, commerce and manufactures and agriculture. If we were left solely to the wordy wit of legislators in Congress for our guidance, uncor
Safety Net Investments in Children
We examine what groups of children are served by core childhood social-safety net programs—including Medicaid, EITC, CTC, SNAP, and AFDC/TANF—and how that’s changed over time. We find that virtually all gains in spending on the social safety net for children since 1990 have gone to families with earnings, and to families with income above the poverty line. This is the result of welfare reform and the expansion of in work tax credits. We find that access to safety net programs during childhood leads to benefits for children and society over the long run. This evidence suggests that the changes to the social safety net may have lasting negative impacts on the poorest children.