Basic Income in a Small Town: Understanding the Elusive Effects on Work

Source: David Calnitsky, Jonathan P. Latner, Social Problems, Vol. 64 no. 3, 2017
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From the abstract:
This paper examines the impact of a guaranteed annual income experiment from the 1970s called the Manitoba Basic Annual Income Experiment (Mincome). We examine Mincome’s “saturation” site located in Dauphin, Manitoba, where all town residents were eligible for payments. Would people work less if their basic needs were guaranteed outside the market? Never before or since the Dauphin experiment has a rich country tested a guaranteed annual income at the level of an entire town. A community-level experiment accounts for the fact that people make decisions in a social context, not in isolation. Using hitherto unanalyzed data we find an 11.3 percentage point reduction in labor market participation, and nearly 30 percent of that fall can be attributed to “community context” effects. Additionally, we show that withdrawals were driven disproportionately by young and single-headed households. Participants who provide qualitative explanations for work withdrawals typically cite care work, disability and illness, uneven employment opportunities, or educational investment.

Four charts that show who loses out if the White House cuts food stamps

Source: Orgul Demet Ozturk, The Conversation, July 17, 2017

The White House has proposed cutting 25 percent of SNAP’s budget – about US$193 billion – over the next decade. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, though it’s more widely known by its pre-2008 name, food stamps. This program helps about 44 million people per month buy food. Last year, the government spent $71 billion in total on the program. SNAP serves the most vulnerable in our society, for whom a little money means a lot. According to the Congressional Budget Office, cuts to SNAP will likely have a major impact on the individuals who were hurt most by the recent recession. As research from myself and many others shows, food assistance can have far-ranging impacts on a person’s health and well-being…..

Health Benefits for Members of Congress and Designated Congressional Staff: In Brief

Source: Ada S. Cornell, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R43194, January 13, 2017

Many private- and public-sector firms offer employer-sponsored health insurance to their employees and contribute toward the cost of that insurance as part of the employee’s compensation package. The federal government, as an employer, also offers health benefits to its employees and retirees. In general, federal employees receive health benefits through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). However, Members of Congress and designated congressional staff receive employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) through the District of Columbia’s small business health options program (SHOP) exchange, also known as DC Health Link (hereinafter the “DC SHOP”). ….. In addition to health insurance coverage under the DC SHOP, this report describes other health benefits available to Members and congressional staff, including the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS); the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP); the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP); the Office of the Attending Physician; and treatment in military facilities. …..

Long working hours as a risk factor for atrial fibrillation: a multi-cohort study

Source: Mika Kivimäki, Solja T. Nyberg, G. David Batty, Ichiro Kawachi, Markus Jokela, et al, European Heart Journal, July 13, 2017

From the abstract:
Aims:
Studies suggest that people who work long hours are at increased risk of stroke, but the association of long working hours with atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia and a risk factor for stroke, is unknown. We examined the risk of atrial fibrillation in individuals working long hours (≥55 per week) and those working standard 35–40 h/week.

Methods and results:
In this prospective multi-cohort study from the Individual-Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working Populations (IPD-Work) Consortium, the study population was 85 494 working men and women (mean age 43.4 years) with no recorded atrial fibrillation. Working hours were assessed at study baseline (1991–2004). Mean follow-up for incident atrial fibrillation was 10 years and cases were defined using data on electrocardiograms, hospital records, drug reimbursement registers, and death certificates. We identified 1061 new cases of atrial fibrillation (10-year cumulative incidence 12.4 per 1000). After adjustment for age, sex and socioeconomic status, individuals working long hours had a 1.4-fold increased risk of atrial fibrillation compared with those working standard hours (hazard ratio = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.13–1.80, P = 0.003). There was no significant heterogeneity between the cohort-specific effect estimates (I2 = 0%, P = 0.66) and the finding remained after excluding participants with coronary heart disease or stroke at baseline or during the follow-up (N = 2006, hazard ratio = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.05–1.76, P = 0.0180). Adjustment for potential confounding factors, such as obesity, risky alcohol use and high blood pressure, had little impact on this association.

Conclusion:
Individuals who worked long hours were more likely to develop atrial fibrillation than those working standard hours.

The Real Voter Fraud

Source: Zachary Roth, New Republic, July 18, 2017

As Trump investigates “millions” of illegal votes, states are rushing to limit access to the ballot box. …. As president, Trump has refused to let go of his unhinged claim that “millions” of people voted illegally last November—and has used his unsubstantiated accusation of voter fraud to lay the groundwork at the federal level for a new round of voting restrictions. Republican legislators from New Hampshire to Texas are also moving swiftly to enact a wave of new laws that would make it harder to cast a ballot. Since January, according to a recent report by the Brennan Center for Justice, at least 99 bills to restrict voting rights have been introduced in 31 states. ….

Making Informed Changes to Public Sector Pension Plans

Source: National League of Cities, March 2017

From the abstract:
Pensions play a critical role in the ability of local governments to attract and retain the workforce needed to meet citizen demands. The costs associated with this employee benefit, however, can be substantial. A recent National League of Cities (NLC) survey revealed that over the past year the cost of pensions increased in more than 70 percent of cities. One in three cities identified these expenses as the factor most negatively affecting their budgets.

State-by-State Child Support Data

Source: Meghan McCann, National Conference of State Legislatures, June 13, 2017

States collected $32.7 billion dollars on behalf of the 15.6 million children served by child support enforcement programs across the country during FY2016, according to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. While collections increased slightly, the child support caseload continues to decline, down by 1.5 percent over FY 2015. The cost effectiveness of the program reached a four-year high with $5.33 being collected for every $1 dollar spent on the program. Below is a 50-state breakdown of total distributed collections, total arrearages, amount of current support due, total caseload and total administrative expenditures over the past four years.

Missouri Amends and Preempts its Employment Law

Source: Sachin Pandya, Workplace Prof Blog, July 12, 2017

A few weeks ago, Missouri’s governor signed SB43. That law amends the State’s employment law, including the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), its anti-discrimination statute—mostly in employer-friendly ways. (For media reports on the legislative politics, see, e.g., here, here, and here.) Among the many changes, I’ll highlight (1) MHRA’s new causation requirement and (2) a remarkably broad preemption provision…..

The 5 faulty beliefs that have led to Republican dysfunction on health care

Source: JB Silvers, The Conversation, July 12, 2017

…. The latest development has been the inability of Republicans to even agree on their own proposal and, worse yet, what should come next if it fails. Should they repeal the Affordable Care Act and worry about a replacement later or just try to “fix” the ACA now?

But the problem is much deeper than just a policy fix. As a former health insurance CEO and professor of health finance, it seems clear to me that Republicans are making five key implicit assumptions that are inherently problematic:
1. If it’s your own money, you’ll be more careful in how you’ll spend it. ….
2. Many or most poor people (Medicaid recipients) can work and should contribute to pay for insurance. ….
3. Government restrictions are holding back insurers from competition that would drive costs lower. ….
4. Physicians should be the only ones making care decisions (with the consent of their patients) since they know best. ….
5. Government should help people – but not too much. ….