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Why Doesn’t Nick Kristof Hate Food Stamps Too? Print
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 14:35

In this Sunday’s NYT, Nick Kristof calls readers to the barricades to fight against proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). As he puts it, “slashing food stamp benefits—overwhelmingly for children, the disabled and the elderly—wouldn’t be a sign of prudent fiscal management … it would be a mark of shortsighted cruelty.”



Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Print
Tuesday, 19 November 2013 12:54

Reporters Everywhere to Adopt Baker Standard for Budget Reporting



If Tina Rosenberg Really Wants to “Fight Obesity”, She Should Start by Getting Her Facts About Federal Nutrition Programs Right Print
Monday, 18 November 2013 16:25

In an NYT online commentary, Tina Rosenberg argues that low-income workers should not be allowed to use SNAP benefits (food stamps) to purchase foods that are not “healthful.” The main argument she makes involves WIC, a federal food program that provides vouchers to purchase certain specified foods that supplement the diets of low-income children under age 5 and certain women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or postpartum. According to Rosenberg, changes in late 2009 to the WIC food package may explain a small but significant drop in obesity rates the CDC recently observed among low-income preschoolers in 18 states between 2008 and 2011.



Top Secret Trade Deal WikiLeaked: It Is What We Expected Print
Friday, 15 November 2013 11:15

WikiLeaks once again provided a valuable public service, releasing a working draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) chapter on intellectual property. The chapter has many of the provisions that critics had feared.



CBO's Curious Claims About Supplemental Security for Children with Severe Disabilities Print
Friday, 15 November 2013 00:00
In a discussion about the budgetary impact of cutting federal expenditures by roughly .26% of the federal budget by completely taking Supplemental Security benefits away from working-class children with severe disabilities, the Congressional Budget Office makes a couple of curious claims:


Beyond the Conventional Wisdom on Poverty, with Two Caveats Print
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 15:19

In an excellent online commentary for the New York Times, Mark Rank, a professor of social welfare at Washington University in St. Louis corrects much of the current conventional wisdom about poverty in the United States. 



Wall Street User Fee Could Relieve 1/3 of Sequester Cuts Print
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 13:12

As the House-Senate conference committee prepares to meet to negotiate the 2014 budget on Wednesday, avoiding $109 billion in crude sequestration spending cuts seem to be a top priority. 



Labor Market Policy Research Reports, November 2- November 8, 2013 Print
Friday, 08 November 2013 15:38

The following labor market policy research reports were recently released: 



Jobs Data Flash: Shutdown Edges Unemployment Rate up to 7.3 Percent Print
Written by Dean Baker   
Friday, 08 November 2013 08:49

The October employment report showed a sharp divergence between the household and the establishment survey. The establishment survey showed a surprisingly strong gain of 204,000 jobs in October, in addition to upward revisions of 60,000 to the prior two months data. Job gains were broadly spread across industries. Especially noteworthy was a 19,000 increase in manufacturing employment, the largest gain in the sector since an increase of 23,000 in February.



A Wall Street Trading Tax Could Actually Save Grandma Money Print
Thursday, 07 November 2013 13:56

Last week, I saw a lot of people in Washington, DC, donning jaunty green Robin Hood caps -- but it wasn't to celebrate Halloween.  They were nurses, environmentalists, economists, AIDS activists, and other folks from across the nation, all here to learn about and march for a financial transaction tax (FTT), a.k.a. the Robin Hood tax.



Bloomberg’s Poverty Agenda: Guaranteed Incrementalism Print
Written by Shawn Fremstad   
Thursday, 07 November 2013 13:30

In a NYT op-ed, historian Michael Katz argues that New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg mounted “bold and unprecedented antipoverty measures.” But Bloomberg’s antipoverty agenda was neither particularly bold nor unprecedented. The roughly $50 million dollars in annual public funding for the Innovation Fund Katz cites amounts to less than .09% of New York City’s annual revenues. When Bloomberg established his antipoverty initiative, the city’s Independent Budget Office was projecting that the city would end the 2006 fiscal year with a $3.1 billion surplus, which followed a $3.5 billion surplus in 2005.



The Attack on Workers’ Wages Print
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 11:56

Today, people are more skilled, more productive, and higher educated than in the past, yet many are worse off than their less-educated counterparts thirty years ago (read more from CEPR here and here).  Gordon Lafer, associate professor at the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center, examines the causes of this imbalance in his new paper for the Economic Policy Institute entitled The Legislative Attack on American Wages and Labor Standards.  He illustrates how corporations have orchestrated state attacks on the minimum wage, employee benefits, and labor standards.



The Top Secret Trade Deal You Need to Know About Print
Friday, 01 November 2013 15:15

CEPR's Dean Baker is appearing in this week's episode of Moyers & Company, talking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), referred to by some as “NAFTA on steroids.”

Along with Yves Smith, who runs the excellent Naked Capitalism blog, Dean and Bill Moyers discuss the secret negotiations that have plenty of seats at the table for corporations (but not the public), as well as the potentially dangerous effects that the TPP could have on the rest of us.



Labor Market Policy Research Reports, October 26- November 1, 2013 Print
Friday, 01 November 2013 14:40

The following labor market policy research reports were recently released:



The Real Cost of Fast Food Print
Thursday, 31 October 2013 15:23

As the nation debates the low wages of fast-food workers, the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center has released a report entitled Fast Food, Poverty Wages, which reveals the cost of public benefits programs for fast-food employees. The paper discusses how the low wages, low work hours, and limited employer-provided benefits leave over half of fast-food workers with little choice but to rely on government assistance programs to get by.



Social Security COLA to increase by 1.5 Percent in 2014 Print
Written by Dean Baker   
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 10:00

Changing the basis of the COLA to the chained CPI would cut an already modest cost-of-living-adjustment.

The Social Security Administration has announced the Social Security cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) will be 1.5 percent in 2014. Beneficiaries will begin seeing the increase in their checks in January.

It is worth noting that this COLA based on the consumer price index for wage and clerical workers (CPI-W) is likely to be lower than the rate of inflation shown by the BLS experimental elderly index (CPI-E), which is designed to reflect the purchasing patterns of the elderly. The biggest differences between the two indices are the weights assigned to health care and housing, with both components accounting for a much larger share of the CPI-E than the CPI-W.



The Enduring Pain of the Economic Collapse, According to the IMF Print
Monday, 28 October 2013 10:31

With the specter of Alan Greenspan again haunting the world, it’s a good time to tabulate the damage that he and his fellow central bankers inflicted. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) gives a simple way to construct a scorecard. The IMF routinely estimates potential GDP for most of its members. The estimates of potential are supposed to reflect the economy’s level of output if it was at full employment.

The IMF also makes projections of levels of GDP for the mid-term future, typically a five-year time-frame. These projections are in effect projections of potential GDP since they do not assume that countries will enter recessions in this five year period or alternatively, if they are currently in a recession that they will have recovered.



Labor Market Policy Research Reports, October 19- October 25, 2013 Print
Written by Teresa Kroeger   
Friday, 25 October 2013 12:09

The following labor market policy research reports were recently released: 



Has Bill de Blasio Resurrected the Welfare Rights Movement? Print
Written by Shawn Fremstad   
Thursday, 24 October 2013 10:49

In his most recent column, Thomas Edsall says that New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio "... supports programs to ensure that every New Yorker eligible for food stamps, health care, income security and social services gets on the rolls, effectively resurrecting the welfare rights movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s."

While it's true that de Blasio supports efforts to increase the number of low-income people who receive basic benefits that they are eligible for, equating this with "effectively resurrecting the welfare rights movement" seems a bit of a stretch. After all, these days even McDonald's is happy to do its part to ensure that its poorly compensated workers sign up for food stamps, Medicaid, and other benefits their low wages keep them eligible for.



Addressing Chronic Black Male Unemployment Print
Written by Teresa Kroeger   
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 09:25

In early October, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) released a report entitled “Feel the Heat!” that details the economic status of black men in the United States.  Author Linda Harris discusses this group’s high unemployment rates, which she attributes to high incarceration rates, low graduation rates, and a lack of support systems to help black men out of this low-income trap.

Black men have significantly lower employment rates than other demographic groups, but this wasn't always the case.  In 1969, the employment rates for men between the ages of 20 and 24 were about 77 percent for blacks and 79 percent for whites.  By 2012, the employment rate for young black men dropped to less than 50 percent, while young white men were about 18 percentage points higher at almost 68 percent. 


Source: Feel the Heat!



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