Talking Poverty…LIVE!

October 9th, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Just did this online session–TalkPoverty LIVE!–as part of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress. Rebecca Vallas hosted and Jodie Levin-Epstein and Daryl Atkinson offered many good ideas about anti-poverty policies.  Check it out.

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One comment in reply to "Talking Poverty…LIVE!"

  1. Smith says:

    After watching the segment, I would question some of the policy solutions, while applauding many others.

    Specifically, wages subsidies, whether in the form of increased EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) or direct wage supplements to employers, seem a bad idea. EITC can be completely replaced by a mere $2.50/hr raise in minimum wage with ripple effects pushing everyone’s wages up. Programs to help the disadvantaged gain entry into employment are very important but shouldn’t include subsidies that penalize fair wage employers, other workers in a weak labor market, and lowers everyone’s wages. Studies have shown employers admit at least 1/3 of subsidized jobs would be created anyway. I suspect for most jobs, especially permanent jobs, the figure is really much higher.

    The proposals that don’t hurt everyone’s wages are in the area of workers rights, for paid sick days, personal days, flexibility for child care, stability in scheduling. Child care especially seems to be an under-appreciated factor in solving poverty. The three gaps the state doesn’t provide for are 1-4 years old, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, July and August. The cost for individuals with children to fill in the gaps can be enormous in lost wages.

    A fourth related gap would also be college, though not everyone wants or needs to go, everyone should have the option (it should be free). Apprenticeships also might help provided it doesn’t devolve into free substandard pay for child labor replacing adult workers, and children aren’t prematurely tracked as in Brave New World or present day Germany.

    Finally this blog has strongly pushed for full employment and emphasized that at the beginning of the program. I would like to see the continuing advocacy for stimulus (infrastructure, R&D), programs for children, aid to disadvantaged reentering the job market, labor rights, and also higher minimums, and higher wages for women. But wage subsidies move wages in the opposite direction and draw attention from those real solutions.