Last week, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) released a new report about the change in labor force participation and how it relates to the underlying demographic, structural, and cyclical trends affecting the labor market. On July 17th, CEA Chairman Jason Furman joined The Hamilton Project for a forum in Washington, DC to discuss the report and the implications these labor force changes have for outstanding challenges like lowering long-term unemployment, raising wages, and expanding the economy's potential. Following Furman’s featured remarks, he was joined by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin and Princeton University economist Alan Blinder for a roundtable discussion.
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On Tuesday Senators Shaheen, Boxer, Murray, and Gillibrand introduced the Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act—legislation that would dramatically reform government subsidies for child care.
Child-care costs are a major disincentive to work. Low-income workers face a host of penalties on their wages, ranging from payroll taxes to the phase-out of benefits like food stamps and Medicaid. But for many workers, paying for child care is the highest of all these costs. While families with children under the age of fifteen spent an average of 7.0 percent of their income on child-care expenses in 2011, the lowest-income households with child-care expenses—those with monthly incomes of $1,500 or less—spent a remarkable 39.6 percent of their income on child–care expenditures.
By Fred Dews, Managing Editor, The Brookings Website
and Elina Saxena, Communications Intern, The Brookings Institution
“Poverty is not just a statistic; it’s the story of peoples’ lives. It’s really a description of people who don’t have enough to live on and don’t have enough to raise kids decently on. Its persistence is a severe constraint on economic growth and maybe even worse, it is a profound constraint on social mobility.” These were the words spoken by the 42nd president of the United States and founder of the Clinton Foundation, the Honorable Bill Clinton, in his keynote address at The Hamilton Project’s two-day summit, Addressing America’s Poverty Crisis.
Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of The Hamilton Project.
Harry Holzer is a recent author of a Hamilton Project proposal on incentivizing colleges to better prepare students for the work force. See The Hamilton Project’s recent volume for related proposals on building skills in the United States.
In 2012, 15 percent of Americans—30.4 million adults and 16.1 million children—lived in poverty, according to the official Census poverty count. Figure 1 shows how these rates have trended in recent decades, and underscores that rates are highest among children. Yet even these counts, as high as they are, understate our nation’s experience with poverty. For every person classified as poor, many more hover just above the poverty threshold, weaving in and out of poverty depending on their circumstance.
- Making Child Care More Affordable for Working FamiliesJuly 2014
- The (Fixable) Problem with Pay It ForwardFebruary 2014
- A New Approach to Making Work PayMarch 2014
- Nationwide and State-by-State "Jobs Gap" Update for March 2014April 2014
- New Tax Legislation Would Increase the Return to Work for Low-and Middle-Income Working FamiliesMarch 2014