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January 9, 2024

Post-Pandemic Recovery for America’s Prime Age Labor Force: A Tale of Two Sexes

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) “monthly jobs report” last Friday closed the book on 2023, recording a continuing expansion of both labor supply and paid work in America last year—and continuation of the lowest annual unemployment rate since the 1960s. America not only missed the 2023 recession that many (including your humble servant) were…

December 8, 2023

Room for Compromise on the Hot Foods Act

Last month, members of the House of Representatives and Senate sent a letter encouraging Farm Bill negotiators to consider the Hot Foods Act. The legislation would allow recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) to use their benefits on hot prepared meals sold at grocery stores. Currently, the program restricts hot foods from purchase…

December 7, 2023

The White House Council of Economic Advisers Contradicts the President’s Poverty Talking Points

Before Thanksgiving, the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) released a blog post titled “The Anti-Poverty and Income Boosting Impacts of the Enhanced CTC.” That’s a reference to the temporary—and now expired—expansion in the child tax credit (CTC) enacted as part of Democrats’ March 2021 American Rescue Plan Act. In its FY 2024 budget proposal earlier…

December 1, 2023

Making the Child Tax Credit “Fully Refundable” Converts It into Welfare Checks

In what is becoming an annual ritual, news accounts and DC sources suggest liberals’ end-of-year legislative wish list once again includes reviving the worst part of Democrats’ partisan 2021 child tax credit (CTC) expansion. That proposal would convert the pro-work CTC into new federal welfare checks for nonworking parents, which Congress should flatly reject. Here’s how the respected Committee for a Responsible Federal…

November 30, 2023

A Valuable New Perspective on America’s War on Poverty

I suppose if you’re someone who thinks American capitalism has failed and unironically uses the phrase “late capitalism,” there’s probably no changing your mind. So I guess this post is meant for folks who have concerns about the American economy yet also have an open mind about new information. For this group, I have a…

November 20, 2023

The Next Time States Are “Swimming in Money” Make Them Repay Their Federal Loans

The pandemic was full of firsts, including the first time states received hundreds of billions of federal dollars they could use to shore up their depleted state unemployment insurance (UI) programs. The March 2020 CARES Act provided $150 billion in a flexible “Coronavirus Relief Fund,” whose potential uses included covering states’ “unemployment insurance costs.” Then the March 2021 American…

November 6, 2023

Upskilling from the Top

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues its rapid advance, upskilling is shifting from a luxury good to a necessity for almost all workers. Traditionally, upskilling efforts have focused on frontline and production staff. That approach is unlikely to work when it comes to AI. To reap the benefits of this technology, we need commitments at all…

October 27, 2023

Food Insecurity in the US and Inflation

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released its annual report on household food security—a survey that measures whether US households have “access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle.” The report documented the largest yearly increase in food insecurity since the Great Recession—increasing from 10.2 to 12.8 percent of all US households…

October 20, 2023

Value Needs to be the Next Buzzword in Higher Education

For a long time, advocates and policymakers in the higher education space were fixated on improving “access” to higher education. As a society, we recognized that higher education was a powerful tool for promoting social mobility, and helping people born into lower-income households advance financially and pursue fulfilling careers. We also realized that higher education…

October 11, 2023

CHANGING THE OFFICIAL POVERTY MEASURE WOULD HELP RICH STATES AND HURT POOR STATES

Earlier this year, a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report recommended elevating the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to the “nation’s headline poverty statistic,” and noted that the Office of Management and Budget could christen the SPM as the new official poverty measure. This action would require no Congressional input. The two interactive maps below report…