Low Wages Prevalent in Direct Care and Child Care Workforce

Source: Kristin Smith and Reagan Baughman, Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire, Policy Brief no. 7, Summer 2007

One in every two direct care workers and one in every three child care workers live in a low-income family (below 200 percent of the poverty line), and many live in poverty. Hourly wages for the caregiving workforce are low and many lack health insurance. Despite work, these families struggle to make ends meet. Our society depends on the care work of many paid professionals-direct care and child care workers-to help meet the daily needs of our children and the elderly. To stem turnover and provide quality services to young children and the elderly, job conditions among the direct care and child care workforce must improve, and increasing wages is a promising place to start.

Principles for SCHIP Reform

Source: Council for Affordable Health Insurance’s Issues and Answers no. 143, June 2007

From press release:

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is up for reauthorization, and there appears to be bipartisan support for not just reauthorizing the program but greatly expanding it. Indeed, the legislation may become a vehicle for much of what Congress wants to accomplish in health care this year.
However, SCHIP was intended to be a limited program to help uninsured children from modest- income families — not a huge entitlement covering middle- and upper-middle-income children and hundreds of thousands of adults.

Today, the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI) released its newest Issues & Answers, “Principles for SCHIP Reform.” The paper identifies key principles that should guide lawmakers in their reauthorization efforts, if they want a financially sustainable program that provides access to quality health care for low- income children.

Performance Pay and Wage Inequality

Source: Thomas Lemieux, W. Bentley MacLeod, Daniel Parent, Institute for the Study of Labor, IZA DP No. 2850, June 2007

We document that an increasing fraction of jobs in the U.S. labor market explicitly pay workers for their performance using bonuses, commissions, or piece-rates. We find that compensation in performance-pay jobs is more closely tied to both observed (by the econometrician) and unobserved productive characteristics of workers. Moreover, the growing incidence of performance-pay can explain 24 percent of the growth in the variance of male wages between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, and accounts for nearly all of the top-end growth in wage dispersion (above the 80th percentile).

Inequality and Institutions in 20th Century America

Source: Frank S. Levy, Peter Temin, MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 07-17, May 1, 2007

abstract
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We provide a comprehensive view of widening income inequality in the United States contrasting conditions since 1980 with those in earlier postwar years. We argue that the income distribution in each period was strongly shaped by a set of economic institutions. The early postwar years were dominated by unions, a negotiating framework set in the Treaty of Detroit, progressive taxes, and a high minimum wage – all parts of a general government effort to broadly distribute the gains from growth. More recent years have been characterized by reversals in all these dimensions in an institutional pattern known as the Washington Consensus. Other explanations for income disparities including skill-biased technical change and international trade are seen as factors operating within this broader institutional story.

Framework for a New Safety Net for Low-Income Working Families

Source: Olivia Golden, Pamela Winston, Gregory Acs, Ajay Chaudry, Urban Institute, Paper 7, June 12, 2007

This paper for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation conceptualizes a framework for a new safety net for low-income working families that is rooted in their most essential needs. It is organized around five key goals:

1. enabling parents to meet their family’s needs while working in lower-wage jobs,
2. helping families weather gaps in parental employment,
3. supporting parents’ job advancement,
4. helping parents combine work and child-rearing, and
5. improving children’s well-being and development.

The paper describes these families’ circumstances, discusses gaps in current safety-net programs, and explores possible alternative approaches to meeting families’ most pressing needs.

Perspectives 2007: iGovernment — Empowering citizens through distributed technology

Source: Perspectives 2007, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, June 2007

Summary

The Global Public Sector annual report, “Perspectives 2007,” outlines the incredibly diverse needs of 21st century citizens and the challenges facing governments today. At every level of government, from basic infrastructure to technological advancement, constituents are demanding public service evolution. This report observes the ever-changing obstacles of governments at the many different levels where they touch citizens’ lives and offers examples of lessons learned executing solutions to these challenges.

From providing food and water, to securing trade and encouraging participation in the global community, governments are relying more and more on the input of citizens. By taking technological advancements and innovation in the private sector and coupling it with a more distributive approach, governments have an opportunity to respond to the changing demands of the population.

Does It Pay to Save?

Source: Laurence J. Kotlikoff and David S. Rapson, National Center for Policy Analysis, NCPA Study No. 298, June, 2007

Summary

Does it pay to save? The answer is often no. In fact, penalties for saving are astronomical for some households, particularly young, single-parent and lower-income families. But these are the very people who need the strongest incentives to save for retirement.

Determining the effective marginal tax on additional saving is difficult because of the complexity of the tax code and the interaction of different government tax and transfer programs (such as food stamps) that are limited to households below certain income and asset ceilings. Saving and wealth accumulation can put a family over an asset limit and cost thousands of dollars in lost benefits.

To calculate the effective marginal tax on saving, this study uses financial planning software that carefully determines tax and transfer payments at each stage of a person’s life, based in part on economic choices they make in prior periods. The model assumes people try to even out consumption over their lifetimes.
The results: For single parents with two children, effective marginal taxes on savings are regressive – lower-income households pay higher rates than high-income households.

+ Full Report

Numbers and Types of Public Elementary and Secondary Education Agencies From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2005-06

Source: Lee Hoffman, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2007353, June 19, 2007

This report presents national and state-level data about the number of regular school districts and other local education agencies, school district size, grades served, and the number of school districts in city, suburban, town, and rural locales.
+ Full Report, U.S. Department of Education, NCES 2007-353

Census Bureau Launches Older Worker Profiles for 31 States

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, CB07-86, June 18, 2007

The U.S. Census Bureau, in partnership with 31 states, has launched a series of reports on older workers that presents a detailed picture for people 55 and older in the work force.

Individual reports will present data at the county and metropolitan area levels for 2004, based on data from the Local Employment Dynamics (LED) program.

“The retirement of baby boomers will have a huge impact on the work force,” said Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon. “Businesses and planners need a better understanding of labor force trends, the loss of experienced workers and the payout of retirement benefits.”

The first report, The Geographic Distribution and Characteristics of Older Workers in Iowa: 2004, highlights the age composition of the state’s work force, job gains and losses for older workers by industry, industries in which older workers are concentrated and their job stability and earnings. More extensive data are in tables available on the Internet.

Reports will be issued on a flow basis for the other 30 partner states:

• Second wave: Maine, Vermont, Arkansas, Hawaii and Indiana.

• Third wave: Maryland, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky and South Carolina.

• Fourth wave: Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

• Fifth wave: California.

OPM Issues Annual Telework Report to Congress

Source: Office of Personnel Management, June 15, 2007

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management today presented to Congress its annual telework report, a look at the shape of telecommuting habits of federal employees and their agencies.

Data included in the report, The Status of Telework in the Federal Government, provides a comparative view of agency telework participation. The report presents data provided by Executive Branch agencies for calendar year 2005.

In addition, the data can help agency leaders, managers and human resources professionals plan future activities, particularly as they relate to complying with the Bush Administration’s guidance to incorporate telework into their Continuity of Operations plans to keep vital agency operations running during man-made or natural disasters, such as pandemic influenza.

The report indicates a growing, overall acceptance by federal employees and their managers of this workplace flexibility tool. However, due to more-stringent reporting criteria for this latest report – versus the report for calendar year 2004 – the number of teleworkers declined by more than 21,000 employees.

Still, by any measure, telework is being adopted, with the number of federal teleworkers nearly doubling to 140,694 in 2004, from 72,844 in 2001.