Cassidy, Graham State Estimates Irrelevant to Assessing Their Health Bill’s Effects

Source: Aviva Aron-Dine, Edwin Park, Matt Broaddus, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, September 18, 2017

From the summary:
In rolling out their revised bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham released estimates purporting to show that most states would see large funding gains under their proposal. But these estimates do not compare states’ funding under the proposal to what states would receive under current law, the relevant comparison. Instead, they show how each state’s funding under the proposed block grant would change over time. In reality, the Cassidy-Graham plan would cut federal funding for coverage programs by about $80 billion in 2026 compared to current law, leading to cuts in most states, and would cut federal funding by about $300 billion in 2027, with funding cuts in all states.

A Contract Campaign from Virtual to In Their Face

Source: Dave Staiger, Labor Notes, September 1, 2017

When confronted with a concessionary demand at the bargaining table, what if you filled the room with rank-and-file members? What would happen?

Kalamazoo, Michigan, teachers received an urgent message in July from their union’s private Facebook account for members: in bargaining, the district was demanding a pay freeze.

Within an hour teachers began to arrive at negotiations; soon they packed the room and turned the bargaining process on its head. All told, 46 members showed up at the union office on a beautiful summer day. The rapid response dramatically changed the course of bargaining…..

How ‘dreamers’ and green card lottery winners strengthen the US economy

Source: Ethan Lewis, The Conversation, September 15, 2017

…The commonplace argument that increases in the volume of immigration, by themselves, lower wages and take jobs from Americans – an argument which Attorney General Jeff Sessions used to defend ending DACA – has neither empirical nor theoretical support in economics. It is just a myth.

Instead, both theory and empirical research show that immigration, including low-skill and low-English immigration, grows the pie and strengthens the American workforce…..

Hawaii Adds New Tool to Monitor State Pension Fund – Regular stress testing will help track fund’s fiscal health

Source: Greg Mennis and Tim Dawson, The Pew Charitable Trusts, September 11, 2017

Hawaii is the latest state to require regular analysis of the potential impact of future economic swings on its public pension funds. Known as stress testing, such calculations can help states monitor the fiscal strength and sustainability of these funds.

This spring, the Legislature unanimously approved a bill requiring the analyses, and Governor David Ige (D) signed it into law July 5. California, Virginia, and Washington already require extensive and routine sensitivity analyses on their public pension plans. Typically, these tests provide estimates of the future financial position of these funds under various economic and investment return scenarios. Interest among other states appears to be growing as well. ….

Social Security: The Trust Funds

Source: William R. Morton, Wayne Liou, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, RL33028, September 12, 2017

…. This report covers how the Social Security program is financed and how the Social Security trust funds work. It will be updated annually to reflect current projections of the financial status of the Social Security trust funds…..

Related:
Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?
William R. Morton, Wayne Liou, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, RL33514, September 12, 2017

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the U.S.: 2016

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Press Release, Release Number: CB17-156, September 12, 2017

Real median household income increased by 3.2 percent between 2015 and 2016, while the official poverty rate decreased 0.8 percentage points. ….

….These findings are contained in two reports: Income and Poverty in the United States: 2016 and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2016. This year’s income and poverty report marks the 50th anniversary of the first poverty estimates released by the Census Bureau in the Current Population report series.

Another Census Bureau report, The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2016, was also released today. The supplemental poverty rate in 2016 was 13.9 percent, a decrease from 14.5 percent in 2015. With support from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Supplemental Poverty Measure shows a different way of measuring poverty in the United States and serves as an additional indicator of economic well-being. The Census Bureau has published poverty estimates using the supplemental poverty measure annually since 2011.

The Current Population Survey, sponsored jointly by the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, is conducted every month and is the primary source of labor force statistics for the U.S. population; it is used to calculate the monthly unemployment rate estimates. Supplements are added in most months; the Annual Social and Economic Supplement questionnaire is designed to give annual, national estimates of income, poverty and health insurance numbers and rates. The most recent Annual Social and Economic Supplement was conducted nationwide and collected information about income and health insurance coverage during the 2016 calendar year. ….

Living wages: a US perspective

Source: Stephanie Luce, Employee Relations, Vol. 39 Issue 6, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to provide background on the US living wage movement, with particular attention to recent victories, and also the ways in which the US movement differs from living wage movements in other countries. It begins with some technical distinctions of terms, then analyzes the campaigns and movement for higher wages, and considers some of the challenges the campaigns have faced. It will conclude with some discussion about the future of the movement.

Design/methodology/approach
This is a general review of living wage campaigns in the USA. This is based on a review of existing literature and the author’s own prior research and participant observation.

Findings
The author argues that the initial living wage movement that began in the early 1990s was limited in scope but successful in building coalitions and political power to launch a much more expansive movement to raise wages in 2012.

Originality/value
This paper is a general summary of the last 20 years of living wage campaigns. It does not include new research.

Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies

Source: Jared T. Brown, Bruce R. Lindsay, Jaclyn Petruzzell, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R41981, September 8, 2017

While the disaster response and recovery process is fundamentally a relationship between the federal government and the requesting state or tribal government, there are roles for congressional offices. For instance, congressional offices may help provide information to survivors on available federal and nonfederal assistance, oversee the coordination of federal efforts in their respective states and districts, and consider legislation to supplemental disaster assistance or authorities. Congressional offices also serve as a valuable source of accurate and timely information to their constituents on response and relief efforts….

….Before and after a disaster strikes, it is useful to understand the basic national emergency management structure and where authority rests at various stages of the process. This report provides information to aid policymakers as they navigate the many levels of responsibility, and numerous policy pressure points; it describes the laws and administrative policies governing the disaster response and recovery process. The report also reviews the legislative framework that exists for providing federal financial assistance following disasters, as well as the policies the executive branch employs to provide supplemental help to state, tribal, and local governments during time of disasters…..

Related:
Congressional Considerations Related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
Source: Jared T. Brown, Congressional Research Service, CRS Insight, IN10763, September 8, 2017

This Insight provides a short overview of issues Congress may consider in relation to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It is not intended to provide up-to-date information on unfolding events. For storm-related updates and the current status of response efforts, see official government sources (e.g., Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and National Weather Service), congressional advisories from government sources, and/or news media. For additional support, please contact available CRS experts in disaster-related issue areas….

The mental health impact of major disasters like Harvey and Irma
Source: J. Brian Houston, Jennifer First, The Conversation, September 11, 2017

What do hospitals do in a hurricane? Use their own emergency plans
Source: Daniel B. Hess, The Conversation, September 11, 2017