Opportunity Impact Statement: Ensuring an Economy that Works

Americans prioritize finding solutions for our economy and job creation, and it is clear that we need an economy that works for all of us. This means building the jobs and the infrastructure that will create equal opportunities for success for all Americans. In order to make smart and necessary decisions about how and where we spend our money, we need to evaluate the impact of spending, while also honoring our commitment to avoid engaging in discrimination.

Using a tool that evaluates public spending—what we call an Opportunity Impact Statement (OIS)—at all levels of government can ensure that government looks at where investment is needed most before actually spending funds, whether it’s for job creation, building out transportation to jobs, or schools. This would ensure that all Americans have access to the building blocks of opportunity. The American Constitution Society has published an issue brief by The Opportunity Agenda on these statements. As described in the brief, “[a] coordinated process is needed to ensure that public funding complies with anti-discrimination laws and not only confronts barriers to opportunity that affect regions throughout the United States, but also builds the foundation necessary to give all communities a chance to achieve economic security and mobility.”

We describe in the brief ways for administrative agencies to use an OIS process as part of their evaluation of ongoing and proposed government funded projects and programs, with detailed examples related to housing and transportation. Read the brief here to learn about ways to use this flexible tool to promote opportunity as we build our economy.



Dawn Johnsen, and Big Changes at the Office of Legal Counsel

Also at Daily Kos and OpenLeft

Dawn Johnsen, whom Obama is appointing to head up the Office of Legal Counsel, John Yoo's old haunt, is author of an issue brief: "All the President's Lawyers:  How to Avoid Another "Torture Opinion" Debacle" and an article on guidelines for the President's legal advisors.

Dawn Johnsen: The Role of the OLC and DOJ (At The American Constitution Society)

She spoke at an October 2007 event on principles to guide the Department of Justice. Below are excerpts from that panel discussion.

Dawn Johnsen discusses the role of the Office of Legal Counsel.

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