Crunched…plus TPP and single parenthood

June 12th, 2015 at 9:06 am

I’ve been pulled in many directions, including writing testimony for next week. So light posting at best.

Two quick points.

TPP: Here’s a good e.g. of what this trade deal is really about. The piece explains how the U.S. negotiators of the deal backed down a bit on measures to protect the patents of our pharmaceuticals.

BTW, the change came not because of anything any of us on the outside said about this–the damn debate is so heated that anyone who speaks up against this sort of thing is a labor-backed troglodyte who doesn’t understand the benefits of free trade. It came about because the other signatory countries pushed for it.

Even with the change described in the NYT article, there are still reasons to be worried about remaining patent protections in the deal that could make it take longer to introduce generics, at significant cost to both our system and those of poorer countries in the deal.

Single parents: There’s been a spate of articles recently on the benefits to kids of growing up with two parents versus one. I certainly believe the research on child outcomes that support this finding, but it’s very important to distinguish between correlation and causation in this space. As I’ve written before, no question that all else equal, two-parent families have more money and time than single-parents, and those are crucial variables in the kid-raising biz.

But all else is often not equal, and given the charged cultural/racial politics around this issue, there’s considerable risk for demonizing single parent families, as Catherine Rampell very effectively points out in a piece today about a book by Jeb Bush (to be fair, it’s an old book).

Moreover, single parenthood, while considerably less common among college grad families, is increasingly pervasive across the income/race/education scale, and it’s not at all clear that public policy can do much to change that. I plan to say more about this later, but for now, here’s how I think we should think about this:

Family policies should less try to influence family structure and more try to increase family stability, economic health, and resiliency (bouncing back from economic hits). Thus:

–balancing work and family through paid family leave, earned sick days, and high-quality child care, and flexible work schedules.

–support for reproductive health, access to birth control, especially LARCs

–work supports (wage subsidies, child care, housing)

–make sure kids who can do complete college.

Add to that a full employment labor market that provides gainful opportunity to potential marriage partners and we’d go a long way to boosting family stability and kids’ outcomes.

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3 comments in reply to "Crunched…plus TPP and single parenthood"

  1. Namer says:


    Labor-Opressing Obama Trade.

  2. Rima Regas says:

    Nodding as I read the part where anyone who opposes the TPP is a left-wing troglodyte.

    Right before he officially declares on Monday, the latest position proffered by Jeb Bush on Scarlet Letter-ing unwed mothers:

  3. Smith says:

    Here’s what I wrote in June 2014 on this blog, and it said nothing about single parenthood, but the implication was if you have two people in a household and less than one person working, you have a recipe for poverty:

    “When you look at the table here, the thing that should jump out at you is ‘Mean Number of Earners’
    Not only is it below one until income levels reach $35,000, but it continues to climb as income climbs reaching 2 at $105,000 (which might be made up of two modest $50,000 incomes, but could also be a $90,000 supplemented by a spouse selling real estate earning $10,000).”

    I’ve posted plenty of other comments too about childcare gaps that warrant attention, and the desirability of making such benefits universal and not need based.

    Also wage subsidies hurt wage rates and fair wage employers and do not substitute for actual job market assistance programs for hard to place job seekers.

    The U.S. job market is characterized by overqualified job applicants who force the less skilled downward and finally out of the job market. 1/3 jobs need less than high school diploma as 2/3 of jobs openings require high school diploma or less.