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Blog Posts: Economic Security & Poverty

Blog Post Aug 6, 2020

Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits Will Lapse Too Soon Without Policy Changes

In this blog post, researchers show that there is room for Congress to improve the triggers under current law that turn on and maintain the Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits program to support the long-term unemployed when the labor market is weak. They also show that there is room for states to take full advantage of provisions under current law by opting into more generous benefit extensions.

Blog Post Jul 18, 2017

How You Can Help Save Local Kids From Going Hungry This Summer

For many children, summer vacation evokes images of their favorite foods: backyard barbecues, fresh farmer’s market produce, s’mores by the campfire and frozen delights from the ice cream truck. However, for the 13 million children in America living in food-insecure households — homes lacking the adequate resources to purchase the food needed for an active, healthy lifestyle — summer vacation offers less relief than it does hunger and uncertainty. In this op-ed, Schanzenbach discusses ways each of us can help to make sure children don't go hungry this summer.

Blog Post Apr 21, 2016

Strengthening SNAP to Reduce Food Insecurity and Promote Economic Growth

The persistent and troubling problem of food insecurity impacts a wide range of Americans, including the struggling lower-middle class, and has far-reaching implications for Americans’ health and economic security. Fortunately, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reduces food insecurity and very low food security, lifts millions of Americans out of poverty, and improves the health and financial well-being of program participants in the near- and long-term.

Blog Post Sep 23, 2014

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew Details Economic Costs of Climate Change at Hamilton Project Forum

"As an economic matter, the cost of inaction or delay is far greater than the cost of action" on climate change, said U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew in a forum hosted by The Hamilton Project yesterday. Secretary Lew was joined by former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, co-chair of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Michael Greenstone, The Milton Friedman Professor in Economics and Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, to explore the economics of climate change, and the potential costs of inaction to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Blog Post Mar 26, 2014

A New Approach to Making Work Pay

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray introduced the "21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act" to establish a new deduction for married couples who are both employed and have young children, and to increase the earned income tax credit (EITC) for childless workers.The Act would implement the policies introduced by two Hamilton Project proposals designed to help “make work pay” by allowing low- and middle-income families keep more of what they earn.

Blog Post Mar 7, 2014

Closing the Jobs Gap - February 2014 Jobs Gap Update

As of the end of February 2014, our nation faces a jobs gap of 7.5 million jobs. This chart shows how the jobs gap has evolved since the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, and how long it will take to close under different assumptions for job growth. If the economy adds about 208,000 jobs per month, which was the average monthly rate for the best year of job creation in the 2000s, then it will take until September 2018 to close the jobs gap. Given a more optimistic rate of 321,000 jobs per month, which was the average monthly rate of the best year of job creation in the 1990s, the economy will reach pre-recession employment levels by September 2016.

Blog Post Jul 24, 2013

Family And Religion Play A Critical Role In Economic Mobility

Today in Business Insider, Mandi Woodruff discusses a new report, "The Economic Impacts of Tax Expenditures” in which researchers from Harvard University and the University of California-Berkeley compare upward mobility across different U.S. cities. She notes that the findings support data from many other reports, including The Hamilton Project’s latest policy memo “Thirteen Economic Facts about Social Mobility and the Role of Education,” which have emphasized the link between income inequality and social mobility. She notes that the policy memo drives “home the notion that access to education and a sound family structure also [gives] children the best shot at winding up better off than their parents.” To read the full story, click here.

Blog Post Jul 8, 2013

A Better Investment

The American Association of Community Colleges recently highlighted findings from The Hamilton Project employment analysis ,”Is Starting College and Not Finishing Really That Bad” as part of their “DataPoints” series. In the employment analysis, the examines whether starting college is worth it for students who fail to complete a degree. The findings show that students who complete “some college” earn about $100,000 more throughout their lifetime than their peers with only a high school education, and the rate of return to their investment exceeds the historical return on practically any conventional investment, including stocks, bonds, and real estate. AACC notes that the return on investment for an associate degree is more than three times higher than these conventional investments. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Jun 11, 2013

Going to college is worth it – even if you drop out

This week, Business Insider’s Laura Brothers and Wonkblog’s Dylan Matthews discussed The Hamilton Project’s latest employment analysis, “Is Starting College and Not Finishing Really That Bad?” In the analysis, the Project examines whether starting college is worth it for students who fail to complete a degree. The findings show that students who complete “some college” earn about $100,000 more throughout their lifetime than their peers with only a high school education. “Taking into account the cost of going to college for a certain period (1.83 years on average, for these students), the return on investment is significantly lower than that for bachelor’s degrees or professional degrees (a category which includes medical, law and dental degrees, but not PhDs or master’s degrees), but still higher than stocks, bonds, or any other conventional investment,” Matthews notes. To read the full Wonkblog story, click here. To read the full Business Insider story, click here.

Blog Post Jun 10, 2013

Study: Even for drop-outs, college pays

In a recent article, The Associated Press’ Justin Pope discusses The Hamilton Project’s latest employment analysis, “Is Starting College and Not Finishing Really That Bad?” In the analysis, the Project examines whether starting college is worth it for students who fail to complete a degree. The findings show that students who complete “some college” earn about $100,000 more throughout their lifetime than their peers with only a high school education, and the rate of return to their investment exceeds the historical return on practically any conventional investment, including stocks, bonds, and real estate. Pope quotes Hamilton Project Policy Director Adam Looney who discussing the analysis said, “It is vastly better to get a college degree… But I think the evidence says that fears of dropping out, that there are big downside risks to trying it and not finishing it, I think those are overblown.” To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post May 29, 2013

America’s Rehearsals for Retirement

In her latest Project Syndicate column, Advisory Council member Laura D’Andrea Tyson discusses the nation’s retirement system. Tyson highlights policies that would make saving easier and more financially rewarding, including better-targeted tax incentives, matching government contributions and state-wide retirement plans. In a recent, Hamilton Project paper, “Better Ways to Promote Saving through the Tax System” Karen Dynan explores the design of government incentives for personal savings, outlining how reforms to these programs would improve saving and economic security for low-income households and reduce expensive and ineffective federal subsidies for high-income households.

Blog Post Mar 25, 2013

Trends with Benefits

The latest episode of This American Life, “Trends with Benefits,” and a series of stories this week on NPR’s “All Things Considered” focus on the growing number of Americans receiving federal disability payments and what the increase says about the U.S. economy. The programs feature commentary from David Autor and Mark Duggan who co-authored The Hamilton Project paper, “Supporting Work: A Proposal for Modernizing the U.S. Disability Insurance System.” The paper discusses how the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program has failed to support the ongoing employment and economic self-sufficiency of workers with disabilities, leading to rapid growth in program expenditures and declining employment of Americans with disabilities. Autor and Duggan’s proposal offers a blueprint for reversing this needless employment decline and stemming the dramatic growth of the SSDI program. To read the full proposal, click here.

Blog Post Mar 11, 2013

Budget ideas that Democrats and Republicans might agree on

In a recent Washington Post column on federal budget negotiations, Ruth Marcus highlights several proposals from The Hamilton Project’s “15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget.” Marcus offers the proposals as “suggested reading” for policymakers and suggests that there are several ideas that could be appealing to both parties. Marcus features ““Transitioning to Bundled Payments in Medicare,” by Michael Chernew and Dana Goldman; “Restructuring Cost Sharing and Supplemental Insurance for Medicare,” by Jonathan Gruber; “Replacing the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction,” by Alan Viard; and “Better Ways to Promote Saving through the Tax System,” by Karen Dynan. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Feb 27, 2013

How to Not Cut Stupidly

Last night on MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” Ezra Klein highlighted his top five proposals from The Hamilton Project’s “15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget.” Klein featured “The Many Benefits of a Carbon Tax,” by Adele Morris; “Transitioning to Bundled Payments in Medicare,” by Michael Chernew and Dana Goldman; “Limiting Individual Income Tax Expenditures,” by Diane Lim, “Funding Transportation Infrastructure with User Fees ,” by Tyler Duvall and Jack Basso; and “Making Defense Affordable,” by Cindy Williams. For more information on all fifteen policy proposals, or to download all the proposals in a single volume, either in PDF format or as a free ebook, click here. For the video clip, click here.

Blog Post Feb 22, 2013

The deal to avoid a US fiscal crunch

In a recent op-ed in the Financial Times, Advisory Council member Roger Altman discussed the need to avoid sequestration and provides steps policymakers should take to reach a deal. To read the full piece, click here. Altman will moderate discussion on the current state of the budget with three former directors of the Congressional Budget Office during part two of THP’s budget series on Feb. 26. For more information on the event, click here.

Blog Post Feb 11, 2013

US must do more than focus on deficit

In a recent opinion piece in the Financial Times, Advisory Council member Lawrence Summers calls for lawmakers to avoid focusing solely on deficit reduction and instead look for a “broader, growth-centered agenda” to help boost the U.S. economy. He discusses several steps that could help move toward this goal, such as spreading the budget cuts included in the sequester over time, and creating a year-end deadline to address certain aspects of corporate tax reform. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Jan 30, 2013

Meeting America’s Growth Challenge

In Project Syndicate, Advisory Council member Laura D’Andrea Tyson writes that there is reason to expect the nation’s economic condition to see modest improvements this year, but notes several risk factors. Tyson writes that the two greatest risks would come from a failure to raise the debt ceiling and “an additional round of fiscal contraction that stymies economic growth.” She writes that lawmakers have been focused deficit reduction and making the debt to GDP ratio sustainable, when they should be focused on a plan for faster growth. Read the full piece here.

Blog Post Jan 22, 2013

America’s deficits: The problem is more than fiscal

In a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post, Advisory Council member Lawrence Summers writes that reducing the federal budget deficit should be prioritized but it should not “take over economic policy.” Summers writes that focusing on the debt could cause lawmakers to pursue policy measures that only provide cosmetic improvements in deficit reduction and while ignoring investments in areas such as preventative medicine that could have high returns in the long run. Read the full piece here.

Blog Post Jan 17, 2013

The Debt Ceiling Is Scarier Than the Fiscal Cliff

In a recent column in the Wall Street Journal, Advisory Council member Alan Blinder argues that the impact of hitting the federal debt ceiling at the end of February would have worse consequences than going over the fiscal cliff. He writes that if the parties fail to reach a compromise to raise the debt limit would cause spending to shrink by 6% of GDP, sending the nation into recession, and likely to a second ratings downgrade and higher borrowing costs for years to come. Read the full piece here.

Blog Post Dec 13, 2012

Prosperity Isn’t Free: The Fair Way Down the Fiscal Cliff

In a recent piece in Foreign Affairs, Advisory Council member Bob Greenstein outlines the key components of a sound plan to avoid the fiscal cliff. Greenstein argues that the fiscal cliff negotiations should focus both on protecting our economic recovery in the near term, while also promoting long-term growth, opportunity, and shared prosperity. He writes that though the U.S. needs to cut spending and increase revenues, lawmakers should do so responsibly and avoid hitting low-income working families with new taxes. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Nov 26, 2012

Inside America’s Tax Battle

In Project Syndicate, Advisory Council member Laura D’Andrea Tyson discusses the challenges to achieving a balanced deficit-reduction plan that includes both increases in revenue and cuts to spending. Tyson says that despite the bipartisan support for a balanced approach, there has not been agreement on tax rates for high-income Americans. She highlights President Obama’s proposal to let 2001 and 2003 rate cuts for the top 2-3% of taxpayers be allowed to expire at the end of the year, while the rate cuts for other taxpayers are extended. She notes that Republicans want the rate cuts to be extended for all taxpayers, arguing that increases in top rates would discourage job creation. Tyson discusses recent research suggesting no link between tax cuts for high-income taxpayers and job creation, and highlights findings from a Hamilton Project paper, “A Dozen Economic Facts About Tax Reform,” which show that the federal tax system has become less progressive at the same time as the biggest tax cuts have gone to high-income Americans.

Blog Post Nov 7, 2012

How Obama’s Reelection Could Shape Budget Talks

Advisory Council members Peter Orszag and Laura D’Andrea Tyson were among those discussing how President Obama’s reelection will affect budget negotiations going forward. Tyson, in an interview with Wall Street Journal Live, said the “key challenge is to find a way to avoid going over the fiscal cliff to provide time to really make a long-run deal.” Orszag in his Bloomberg column said the main obstacle will be determining how to handle the expiring Bush-era tax cuts and suggests that the Obama administration should have been working with one of three options over the past few months to move forward.