Elizabeth Kneebone and Jane Williams respond to recent extensions to federal funding for EITC and CT.
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Investing in What Works: Recommended Reading
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is among several critical thinkers who have authored essays in a new book, Investing in What Works for America’s Communities. The book, a joint project of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Low Income Investment Fund, includes chapters on policy, finance and education, offers a hard and experienced look at what it will take to help build strong communities that support the opportunities for people to live healthy and productive lives.
In her essay, “Why Health, Poverty, and Community Development Are Inseparable,” Lavizzo-Mourey writes about the growing need for collaboration across disciplines to revitalize low-income communities and create opportunities to make choices that enable all people to live a long and healthy life, regardless of where they live.
In an unprecedented new study, five years in the making, the United Way of Northern New Jersey presents a harrowing picture of the state’s working poor. The report, called ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), is a study of the true face of financial hardship in New Jersey, authored by Stephanie Hoopes Halpin, the director of the New Jersey DataBank at Rutgers University.
This is no rehash of government poverty statistics. It is, instead, a disturbing look under the hood at exactly what it takes to survive in the Garden State, who can — and cannot — make ends meet. A look at those straining and scraping to get by while living on the edge of financial collapse.
Download the ALICE report here: http://www.unitedwaynnj.org/documents/UWNNJ_ALICE%20Report_FINAL2012.pdf ;
Teachers Say Hunger Hurts Learning, School Breakfast Is Vital; “The saddest are the children who cry when we get out early for a snow day because they won’t get lunch”
WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As students across the country prepare to go back to school this fall, millions of American families are still feeling the sting of unemployment, rising food and fuel prices and a sluggish economic recovery. Teachers are first-hand witnesses to the toll hunger takes on America’s students. According to a new survey released today by Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, teachers are worried that hunger is stunting the learning process. They also point to a healthy school breakfast as key to a good education.
The survey, “Hunger In Our Schools: Share Our Strength’s Teachers Report 2012,” was conducted among more than 1,000 K-8 public school teachers nationwide. Three out of five teachers surveyed report that they see students regularly come to school hungry because they’re not getting enough to eat at home. A majority of these teachers who witness hunger say the problem is getting worse.
Circles, a national program for helping families get out of poverty, taps an underused resource: middle-class support groups...Gains made by families are laudable, given that most people have been stuck in poverty through two or three generations. About 64 percent of the nearly 1,200 participants finish the 15-week Getting Ahead class, and their income increased an average of 28 percent during that time. The longer they stay in the group, the more their income rises.
Washington, October 1, 2012 -- In developing countries, jobs are a cornerstone of development, with a pay off far beyond income alone. They are critical for reducing poverty, making cities work, and providing youth with alternatives to violence, says a new World Bank report.
The World Development Report 2013: Jobs stresses the role of strong private sector led growth in creating jobs and outlines how jobs that do the most for development can spur a virtuous cycle. The report finds that poverty falls as people work their way out of hardship and as jobs empower women to invest more in their children. Efficiency increases as workers get better at what they do, as more productive jobs appear, and as less productive ones disappear. Societies flourish as jobs foster diversity and provide alternatives to conflict.
“A good job can change a person’s life, and the right jobs can transform entire societies. Governments need to move jobs to center stage to promote prosperity and fight poverty,” says World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, "It's critical that governments work well with the private sector, which accounts for 90 percent of all jobs. Therefore, we need to find the best ways to help small firms and farms grow. Jobs equal hope. Jobs equal peace. Jobs can make fragile countries become stable."
The report’s authors highlight how jobs with the greatest development payoffs are those that raise incomes, make cities function better, connect the economy to global markets, protect the environment, and give people a stake in their societies.
“Jobs are the best insurance against poverty and vulnerability,” says Kaushik Basu, World Bank Chief Economist and Sr. Vice President, “Governments play a vital enabling role by creating a business environment that enhances the demand for labor.”
The global economic crisis and other recent events have raised employment issues to the center of the development dialogue. The WDR authors, who processed over 800 surveys and censuses to arrive at their findings, estimate that worldwide, more than 3 billion people are working, but nearly half work in farming, small household enterprises, or in casual or seasonal day labor, where safety nets are modest or sometimes non-existent and earnings are often meager.
“The youth challenge alone is staggering. More than 620 million young people are neither working nor studying. Just to keep employment rates constant, the worldwide number of jobs will have to increase by around 600 million over a 15-year period”, says Martin Rama, WDR Director.
But in many developing countries, where farming and self-employment are prevalent and safety nets are modest at best, unemployment rates can be low. In those places, most poor people work long hours but cannot make ends meet. And the violation of basic rights is not uncommon. Therefore, the quality and not just the number of jobs is vitally important.
The Report advances a three-stage approach to help governments meet these objectives:First, solid fundamentals – including macroeconomic stability, an enabling business environment, human capital, and the rule of law- have to be in place. Second, labor policies should not become an obstacle to job creation, they should also provide access to voice and social protection to the most vulnerable. Third, governments should identify which jobs would do the most for development given their specific country context, and remove or offset obstacles to private sector creation of such jobs.
Understanding the particular jobs challenge for a given region or country is essential. Differences in the structure of employment across regions, across genders, and across age groups are striking. For example, 6 out of 7 workers in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are wage earners, but 4 out of 5 workers in Sub-Saharan African are farmers or self-employed. Many more women than men are in non-wage work in low- and lower-middle income countries. Meanwhile, in middle-income countries women are more likely to be wage workers, though too often they earn less than men.
Policy priorities are different in agrarian societies and in urbanizing countries. Making smallholder farming more productive is key in the first case, while better infrastructure, connectivity, housing, and city planning are vital in the second. Demography matters too. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 10 million youth enter the labor force every year, but in many middle-income countries the population is aging and in some the labor force is shrinking. Skills and the removal of privilege in access to markets and jobs are needed to tackle youth unemployment. But longer working lives and affordable social protection are needed in aging societies.
Focusing on the key features of different country types can help identify more clearly the kinds of jobs that would make the greatest contribution to development in each case. This focus allows for an analysis of the potential tradeoffs between living standards, productivity, and social cohesion in a specific context. It provides clues about the obstacles to job creation and, ultimately, the priorities for policy makers as they identify the most important constraints to job creation and how to overcome them.
Policy makers should tackle these challenges by answering such questions as: Should countries build their development strategies around growth, or should they focus on jobs? Can entrepreneurship be fostered, especially among microenterprises in developing countries, or are entrepreneurs born? Are greater investments in education and training a prerequisite for employability, or can skills be built through jobs? Amidst crises and structural shifts, should jobs, not just workers, be protected?
Jobs agendas at the country level are connected by the migration of people and the migration of jobs. Policies for jobs in one country can thus have spillovers on other countries – both positive and negative. The report explores whether international coordination mechanisms, such as bilateral migration agreements, could enhance the positives and mitigate the negatives.
”To move jobs center stage, we also need reliable country-level data that is disaggregated and covers more than urban or formal sector jobs,” says Rama.
The World Bank Group fosters job growth through its two main channels of support to the developing world -- the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA) -- as well as through the IFC and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency. Assistance comes in the form of policy advice, support for private sector development plus loans and programs to advance urbanization, infrastructure and human development (including social protection).
This report presents data on income, poverty, and health insurance cover-age in the United States based on information collected in the 2012 and earlier Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements (CPS ASEC) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Summary of findings:
- Real median household income declined between 2010 and 2011, a second consecutive annual decline.
- The poverty rate in 2011 was not statistically different from 2010.
- Both the percentage and number of people without health insurance decreaased between 2010 and 2011.
United Way of Greater Toledo says, "Thank you for helping us advocate to ensure all kids at TPS receive breakfast and no child starts the day hungry."
All Toledo Public Schools students may eat breakfast for free this year, regardless of economic status.
School officials said that offering food free for every student will help persuade more to pick up the morning meal, improving the learning environment, while feeding students who often can't get healthy meals at home.
The free-food offer for every student, TPS officials said, will relieve the potential stigma poor students feel about using federal subsidies.
A pilot program conducted last year in 12 of the district's 41 elementary schools showed that breakfast-eating increased from about 25 percent to 75 percent when the meal was offered free to all, district officials said.
Chrysler Group LLC and United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSEM) are teaming up to fight against the epidemic of childhood hunger that has plagued the region in recent years. Chrysler Group is calling its more than 57,000 employees to tap their energy and the company's spirit of volunteerism to help the hungry and to spread understanding and utilization of UWSEM's programs.
"We are in a unique position – as a company that has been to hell and back – to provide a beacon of hope," said Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO. "We can choose to make a positive difference in the world. It's time for us to help generate a turning point within our community for people in need."