ProGov21 – a digital library of progressive local government policies and practices

Source: ProGov21, 2019

ProGov21 is a shared resource for local progressive policy makers and advocates. This is a fully searchable on-line library of innovative progressive laws and practices used throughout the country, along with toolkits for their effective communication and advocacy.

To search for anything, simply type in the search bar above. You can put in a particular name, a policy area of interest, and much more. You can target your search by applying any of the filters that will then appear on the left of the screen, including level of government, state, year, kind of document, or policy area.

ProGov21 is a fully searchable digital library of progressive local government policies and practices as well as assists in their effective communication and advocacy. ProGov21 is maintained and administered by COWS but its contents and library are user generated from a broad array of progressive organizations.

States’ Use of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Funding Increase

Source: Patti Banghart, Carlise King, Elizabeth Bedrick, Ashley Hirilall, Sarah Daily, Child Trends, October 2019

From the summary:
In 2018, Congress appropriated an increase of more than $2 billion to support states and territories in meeting the goals and requirements of the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). View the interactive maps and state profiles on this page to learn more about how states are using or planning to use this funding increase and the challenges they still face.

In 2014, Congress reauthorized the CCDBG, setting new standards around eligibility for child care subsidies, child care quality, health and safety, access to child care, and workforce supports for early childhood educators. The 2014 reauthorization law included policy changes requiring states to:
• Set provider payment rates to promote equal access to the child care market for parents receiving child care subsidies.
• Implement family-friendly eligibility policies that help families keep their subsidy without interruptions.
• Enhance health and safety practices for all CCDBG providers, including health and safety training and inspections and comprehensive background checks.
• Expand consumer education, which includes increasing online access to information on child development and other financial assistance programs and creating a hotline to report safety concerns.
• Increase the amounts of set-asides that states must spend toward supporting the quality and development of the child care workforce.
• Expand access to child care for vulnerable families and priority groups whose needs and characteristics limit the child care options currently available to them.

Related:
National Maps
1. Use of Federal CCDBG funding increase
2. Implementing specific reauthorization requirements
3. Challenges to implementing reauthorization goals and requirements
4. Increased state funding for child care assistance

State profiles
Information on how each state has used, or plans to use, increased federal funds.

Data notes (XLS) »

Reach for Yield by U.S. Public Pension Funds

Source: Lina Lu, Matt Pritsker, Andrei Zlate, Kenechukwu Anadu, James Bohn, Federal Reserve Banks, FEDS Working Paper No. 2019-048, Date Written: June 27, 2019

There are 2 versions of this paper

From the abstract:
This paper studies whether U.S. public pension funds reach for yield by taking more investment risk in a low interest rate environment. To study funds’ risk-taking behavior, we first present a simple theoretical model relating risk-taking to the level of risk-free rates, to their underfunding, and to the fiscal condition of their state sponsors. The theory identifies two distinct channels through which interest rates and other factors may affect risk-taking: by altering plans’ funding ratios, and by changing risk premia. The theory also shows the effect of state finances on funds’ risk-taking depends on incentives to shift risk to state debt holders. To study the determinants of risk-taking empirically, we create a new methodology for inferring funds’ risk from limited public information on their annual returns and portfolio weights for the interval 2002-2016. In order to better measure the extent of underfunding, we revalue funds’ liabilities using discount rate s that better reflect their risk. We find that funds on average took more risk when risk-free rates and funding ratios were lower, which is consistent with both the funding ratio and the risk-premia channels. Consistent with risk-shifting, we also find more risk-taking for funds affiliated with state or municipal sponsors with weaker public finances. We estimate that up to one-third of the funds’ total risk was related to underfunding and low interest rates at the end of our sample period.

Building America – The making of the black working class

Source: William P. Jones, The Nation, October 7, 2019

Books in Review
Workers on Arrival: Black Labor in the Making of America
By Joe William Trotter Jr.

Four hundred years ago, “about the latter end of August,” an English pirate ship called the White Lion landed at Point Comfort in the Virginia Colony carrying “not anything but 20 and odd Negroes,” wrote colonist John Rolfe. Though this is often viewed as the starting point of slavery in what would become the United States, the anniversary is somewhat misleading. Africans, both enslaved and free, had lived in St. Augustine, in Spanish Florida, since the 1560s, and since slavery was not legally sanctioned in Virginia until the 1640s, early arrivals would have occupied a status closer to indentured servants. But those ambiguities only point to how essential people of African descent were to the establishment and development of the imperial outposts that became the United States. It was their work, as much anyone else’s, that helped build the world we live in today.

In his new book, Workers on Arrival, the historian Joe William Trotter Jr. shows that the history of black labor in the United States is thus essential not only to understanding American racism but also to “any discussion of the nation’s productivity, politics, and the future of work in today’s global economy.” At a time when mainstream political rhetoric and analysis related to economic change still tend to center on white men displaced by job loss in manufacturing and mining, similar challenges faced by black workers are often examined through a distinct lens of racial inequality. As a result, Trotter contends, white workers are viewed as the victims of “cultural elites and coddled minorities,” while African American workers suffering from the very same economic and political conditions are treated as “consumers rather than producers, as takers rather than givers, and as liabilities rather than assets.” Reminding us that Africans were brought to the Americas “specifically for their labor” and that their descendants remain “the most exploited and unequal component of the emerging modern capitalist labor force,” Workers on Arrival provides an eloquent and essential correction to contemporary discussions of the American working class…..

These 3 Policy Failures Are Killing the American Dream

Source: Eric Levitz, New York Magazine, October 7, 2019

….After reading the Times’ report and other recent analyses of our postindustrial discontents, I’ve come to think that the decline of America’s middle class can be attributed to three distinct (though related) policy failures. Namely, the failures to sustain American labor’s bargaining power; to contain rent-seeking in the housing, health-care, and higher-education sectors; and to update (and expand) the social-welfare state for the 21st-century economy.

Related:
The Middle-Class Crunch: A Look at 4 Family Budgets
Source: Tara Siegel Bernard and Karl Russell, New York Times, October 3, 2019

Most Americans think of themselves as middle class. For many, the line between a stable life and a fragile one is thinning. ….

Dissolving Village Government in New York State

Source: Lisa K. Parshall, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, June 24, 2019

From a state-level perspective, the dissolution and consolidation of village and town governments makes fiscal sense. By examining local responses to the dissolution debate, we identify some of the noneconomic reasons that village residents are often reluctant to dissolve.

Déjà Vu AI: What Can We Learn from the Digital Revolution?

Source: Laura Schultz, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, August 26, 2019

At the dawn of the digital revolution, economists questioned whether or not we were entering the next industrial revolution. They forecasted dramatic leaps in our personal productivity, automation of mundane tasks, changes in the workforce, globalization, and self-employment. These are many of the same predictions being made today as artificial intelligence lays on the horizon.

The future of work in black America

Source: Kelemwork Cook, Duwain Pinder, Shelley Stewart III, Amaka Uchegbu, Jason Wright, McKinsey October 2019

From the summary:
There is a well-documented, persistent, and growing racial wealth gap between African American families and white families in the United States. Studies indicate the median white family in the United States holds more than ten times the wealth of the median African American family.

Apart from its obvious negative impact on African American individuals, families, and communities, the racial wealth gap constrains the entire US economy. In a previous report, we projected that closing the racial wealth gap could net the US economy between $1.1 trillion and $1.5 trillion by 2028.

Despite this, the racial wealth gap threatens to grow as norms, standards, and opportunities in the current US workplace change and exacerbate existing income disparities. One critical disrupter will be the adoption of automation and other digital technologies by companies worldwide. According to estimates from the McKinsey Global Institute, companies have already invested between $20 billion and $30 billion in artificial intelligence technologies and applications. End users, businesses, and economies are hoping to significantly increase their productivity and capacity for innovation through using such technologies.

Related:
The economic impact of closing the racial wealth gap
Source: Nick Noel, Duwain Pinder, Shelley Stewart III, and Jason Wright, McKinsey, August 2019

From the summary:
The persistent racial wealth gap in the United States is a burden on black Americans as well as the overall economy. New research quantifies the impact of closing the gap and identifies key sources of this socioeconomic inequity.

The United States has spent the past century expanding its economic power, and it shows in American families’ wealth. Despite income stagnation outside the circle of high earners, median family wealth grew from $83,000 in 1992 to $97,000 in 2016 (in 2016 dollars).

Beyond the overall growth in top-line numbers, however, the growth in household wealth (defined as net worth—the net value of each family’s liquid and illiquid assets and debts) has not been inclusive. In wealth, black individuals, families, and communities tend to lag behind their white counterparts. Indeed, the median white family had more than ten times the wealth of the median black family in 2016 (Exhibit 1). In fact, the racial wealth gap between black and white families grew from about $100,000 in 1992 to $154,000 in 2016, in part because white families gained significantly more wealth (with the median increasing by $54,000), while median wealth for black families did not grow at all in real terms over that period…..

Robots to Cut 200,000 U.S. Bank Jobs in Next Decade, Study Says

Source: Alfred Liu, Bloomberg, October 1, 2019

Technological efficiencies will result in the biggest reduction in headcount across the U.S. banking industry in its history, with an estimated 200,000 job cuts over the next decade, Wells Fargo & Co. said in a report. The $150 billion annually that the country’s finance firms are spending on tech — more than any other industry — will lead to lower costs, with employee compensation accounting for half of all bank expenses, said Mike Mayo, a senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities LLC. Back office, bank branch, call center and corporate employees are being cut by about a fifth to a third, with jobs related to tech, sales, advising and consulting less affected, according to the study…..

Related:
Tech forecast to destroy more than 200,000 US bank jobs
Source: Financial Times, October 2019
(subscription required)

US banks will cut more than 200,000 jobs in the next decade as robots and other technology bring about the “greatest transfer from labour to capital” the industry has seen, a report by analysts at Wells Fargo claims. …. Individual banks have predicted that machines could replace thousands of jobs, most notably Citigroup chief executive Mike Corbat, who said “tens of thousands” of call centre workers could be replaced, and former Deutsche Bank boss John Cryan who warned in 2017 that as many as half the bank’s 97,000-strong workforce could go. ….

Cyberattacks pose growing operational and financial risks for hospitals

Source: Jennifer Barr, Lisa Goldstein, Leroy Terrelonge, Jonathan Kanarek, Kendra M. Smith, Jessica Gladstone, Moody’s, Sector In-Depth, September 12, 2019
(subscription required)

Many cyberattacks result in data breaches and, in the most critical cases, endanger revenue, posing a material risk to financial performance. Small hospitals are the most vulnerable to attack with lesser financial resources.

Related:
Smaller Medical Providers Get Burned by Ransomware
Source: Adam Janofsky, Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2019
Cyberattacks are pummeling doctors, dentists and community hospitals around the U.S., causing some to turn away patients and others to shut down