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July 11, 2024

Exploring Trends in Food Bank Use

Business Insider wrote in early 2023 that food banks are “bracing themselves for an onslaught” of increased demand. Later that year, Bloomberg reported that “lines stretch down the block at food banks.” And two months ago, CNN noted that the “share of people turning to hunger relief programs remains higher than it was prior to…

June 26, 2024

American Workers Are Doing Great. They Could Be Doing Even Better.

Editor’s note: This is one of a pair of essays responding to the Economic Innovation Group’s report, “The American Worker: Toward a New Consensus”, by Adam Ozimek, John Lettieri, and Benjamin Glasner. The other is by Paul Krugman of the New York Times. To the Economic Innovation Group’s attempt to articulate a “new consensus” about the American…

June 18, 2024

Economic Opportunity and Social Mobility

Years ago, I worked at the Pew Charitable Trusts on something called the Economic Mobility Project. In 2009, we commissioned a survey covering opportunity, mobility, and the American Dream. One revealing question we asked was the following: The term American Dream means different things to different people. Here are some ways some people have described…

June 17, 2024

Child Support Policy: Areas of Emerging Agreement and Ongoing Debate

The Child Support Enforcement (CSE) system is important in providing resources to children who live apart from one of their parents. This is especially true in poor households. In this paper, we summarize the case in favor of the current CSE system, and address some key critiques. We then consider some long-term issues of concern,…

May 24, 2024

The First National Calculation of Mortality of the US Homeless Population

It is well established that those with lower incomes tend to have worse health outcomes. But whether this relationship extends to the most disadvantaged in society – people experiencing homelessness – has rarely been examined. This column explores the relationship between homelessness and health outcomes in the US. It finds that after accounting for demographic…

May 22, 2024

Missed Opportunities in the Proposed Farm Bill

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn Thompson’s proposed Farm Bill reauthorization, The Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024, heads to committee markup today. The Farm Bill is a tough reauthorization normally, and even more difficult in a tightly divided House. While there are provisions that would improve the program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) needs…

May 20, 2024

Indivar Dutta-Gupta and Scott Winship on the 60th Anniversary of LBJ’s “War on Poverty” on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal”

Indivar Dutta-Gupta and Scott Winship talked about the 60th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” speech and the war on poverty.

May 16, 2024

Critiquing Bastian (2022, 2023, 2024, and forthcoming):On Child Tax Credit Reform and the Sensitivity of Single Mothers to Work Incentives

Abstract In 2021, Congress passed and President Biden signed a major, but temporary, reform to the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Among other reforms to the credit, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) made it available to non-workers on the same basis as workers. Attempts to make this reform permanent foundered, in part, due to opposition…

May 14, 2024

Understanding Trends in Worker Pay over the Past 50 years

Key Points Executive Summary Doomers on the political left and right agree that economic growth has failed to translate into higher wages for American workers, with some claiming that pay has barely risen in 50 years. Such sentiments have been buttressed by flawed analyses that, comparing apples to oranges in a variety of ways, have…

May 8, 2024

USDA Report Highlights Subjectivity of Food Insecurity Measure

Every year, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases a report detailing the share of US households who are “food insecure”—defined as those that have “limited or uncertain access to adequate food” due to insufficient resources. Last month, the USDA released a report combining six years of data (2016-2021) to show how food insecurity rates…