November 7, 2018

AFF Community

Weekly Writers Round-Up: Foreign Surveillance, Drug Prices, and Rent Control

By: Josh Evans

Each week, we’ll be featuring the work of the alumni and current participants of AFF’s Writing Fellows Program. A few highlights from the past week are below. For more information on the program, see here. Applications for the spring are now open!

Trump Needs to Ditch His Cellphone — China Is Listening by Tyler Grant (Summer 2018) in The Washington Examiner
The Chinese and Russians are spying on President Trump. According to U.S. intelligence agencies, foreign spies have accessed and eavesdropped on calls from Trump’s personal iPhone. The president was quick to dismiss these reports as “soooo wrong,” sending out a tweet (likely from his iPhone) insisting that he rarely uses his personal cellphone…

Supreme Court Decision Will Mean Higher Pharmaceutical Prices by Andrew Wilford (Spring 2017) in Townhall
The Supreme Court’s ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair created confusion and uncertainty throughout the online retail industry. By giving a state the power to impose sales tax on out-of-state businesses with no employees or locations in its borders, the Court set off a mad dash for lawmakers across the country to rake in as much revenue as possible. This is not strictly a sales tax issue: the groundwork is quietly being laid to extend these new tax powers to more than just sales taxes…

The United States Cannot Force Stability on Afghanistan by Jerrod A. Laber (Fall 2017) in The National Interest
Afghan officials have begun counting ballots from the country’s parliamentary elections, even as a suicide bomber targeted the election headquarters in Kabul early Monday morning. Voters in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan went to the polls this past Saturday, October 27, delayed by a week due to an insider attack that killed regional police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq and intelligence chief Gen. Abdul Momin, while wounding Gen. Jeffrey Smiley, the head of NATO forces in southern Afghanistan. The rest of the country voted last weekend, and election day violence killed at least fifty people…

Voters Said No in California, but Other States Have Rent Control Battles Looming by Nolan Gray (Fall 2015) in CityLab
Yesterday voters in California rejected Proposition 10, which would have repealed current restrictions on how much city governments can control or cap rents. It was a bill that activists succeeded in getting on the ballot and it’s no surprise California was a battleground: According to recent HUD data, 54 percent of all California renters are “rent-burdened”—meaning they spend more than a third of their income on rent—and 29 percent are “severely” rent-burdened, meaning they spend more than half of their income on rent. Existing affordable housing programs are simply not producing enough affordable units…