The Hamilton Project Blog

Making Child Care More Affordable for Working Families

July 11, 2014 • James P. ZiliakEconomic Security, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty, Tax Policy

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.

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President Bill Clinton: Poverty Is Not Just a Statistic; It’s the Story of People’s Lives

June 30, 2014 • The Hamilton Project • Economic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty

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. 

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Harry Holzer Comments on Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

June 25, 2014 • Harry J. HolzerEconomic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty, State & Local

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. 

The Senate will likely vote today on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a bipartisan effort to reauthorize the federal Workforce Investment Act.  Indeed, this legislation is the best chance in over a decade to accomplish this, and the Senate should pass this legislation cleanly and with as few amendments as possible. 

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Fighting Poverty Needs to be a National Policy Priority

June 13, 2014 • Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. Harris, Karen L. AndersonEconomic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty

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. 

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Remember the Problems With Mortgage Defaults? They’re Coming Back With Student Loans

June 12, 2014 • The Hamilton Project • Economic Security, Education, Effective Government

In a new blog post for The New York Times’ Up Shot, former Hamilton Project author Susan Dynarski compares the growing student loan debt concern to that of the mortgage crisis of 2008.

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