Source: Susan R. Crandall, The Conversation, June 3, 2019
….Given the pressure to earn enough to make ends meet, you would think that low-paid workers would be clamoring for raises. But this is not always the case.
Because so many American jobs don’t earn enough to pay for food, housing and other basic needs, many low-wage workers rely on public benefits that are only available to people in need, such as housing vouchers and Medicaid, to pay their bills.
Earning a little more money may not automatically increase their standard of living if it boosts their income to the point where they lose access to some or all of those benefits. That’s because the value of those lost benefits may outweigh their income gains.
I have researched this dynamic, which experts often call the “cliff effect,” for years to learn why workers weren’t succeeding at retaining their jobs following job training programs. Chief among the one step forward, two steps back problems the cliff effect causes: Low-paid workers can become reluctant to earn more money due to a fear that they will get worse off instead of better…..
Source: Miranda Perry Fleischer, Daniel Jacob Hemel, University of Chicago Law Review, Forthcoming, Last revised: March 27, 2019
From the abstract:
The notion of a universal basic income (“UBI”) has captivated academics, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and ordinary citizens in recent months. Pilot studies of a UBI are underway or in the works on three continents. And prominent voices from across the ideological spectrum have expressed support for a UBI or one of its variants, including libertarian Charles Murray, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, labor leader Andy Stern, and—most recently—former President Barack Obama. Although even the most optimistic advocates for a UBI will acknowledge that nationwide implementation lies years away, the design of a basic income will require sustained scholarly attention. This article seeks to advance the conversation among academics and policymakers about UBI implementation.
Our prior work has focused on the philosophical foundations of a basic income; here, we build up from those foundations to identify the practical building blocks of a large-scale cash transfer program. After canvassing the considerations relevant to the design of a UBI, we arrive at a set of specific recommendations for policymakers. We propose a UBI of $6000 per person per year, paid to all citizens and lawful permanent residents via direct deposit in biweekly installments. We argue—contrary to other UBI proponents—that children and seniors should be included, that adjustments for household size and cost of living should be rejected, that recipients should have a limited ability to use future payments as collateral for short- and medium-term loans, and that the Social Security Administration should carry out the program. We also explain how a UBI could be financed through the consolidation of existing cash and near-cash transfer programs as well as the imposition of a relatively modest surtax on all earners.
Importantly, the building blocks of a UBI do not necessarily determine its outward face. By this, we mean that economically identical programs can be described in very different ways—e.g., as a UBI with no phaseout, a UBI that phases out with income, and a “negative income tax”—without altering any of the essential features. To be sure, packaging matters to the public perception of a UBI, and we consider reasons why some characterizations of the program may prove more popular than others. Our article seeks to sort the building blocks of a UBI out from the cosmetic components, thereby clarifying which elements of a UBI shape implementation and which ones affect only the outward appearance.
Source: Michael Felsen & M. Patricia Smith, American Prospect, March 5, 2019
Trump fails to confront the ongoing crises facing low-wage workers while stoking fears about threats that do not exist.
Source: Amanda Y. Agan – Rutgers University, Department of Economics, Michael D. Makowsky – Clemson University, John E. Walker Department of Economics, Date Written: September 25, 2018
From the abstract:
For recently released prisoners, the minimum wage and the availability of state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) can influence both their ability to find employment and their potential legal wages relative to illegal sources of income, in turn affecting the probability they return to prison. Using administrative prison release records from nearly six million offenders released between 2000 and 2014, we use a difference-in- differences strategy to identify the effect of over two hundred state and federal minimum wage increases, as well as 21 state EITC programs, on recidivism. We find that the average minimum wage increase of $0.50 reduces the probability that men and women return to prison within 1 year by 2.8%. This implies that on average the effect of higher wages, drawing at least some released prisoners into the legal labor market, dominates any reduced employment in this population due to the minimum wage. These reductions in returns to incarcerations are observed for the potentially revenue generating crime categories of property and drug crimes; prison reentry for violent crimes are unchanged, supporting our framing that minimum wages affect crime that serves as a source of income. The availability of state EITCs also reduces recidivism, but only for women.
Source: Alan Greenblatt, Governing, December 19, 2018
Staunchly Republican rural counties voted for progressive policies at the ballot box this year, including minimum wage hikes and Medicaid expansion.
Source: Yannet Lathrop, National Employment Law Project, Data Brief, November 29, 2018
From the summary:
Six years ago, on November 29, 2012, a small group of fast-food workers in New York launched one of the most successful movements of the 21st century when they walked off their jobs and demanded $15 an hour and the right to form a union. Since then, the worker-led movement known as the Fight for $15 has inspired a wave of action on the minimum wage, helping 22 million low-wage workers throughout the country win $68 billion in raises to date. Thanks to the movement, income inequality and flagging paychecks are now among the most urgent economic issues of our time, and a $15 minimum wage is now a widely accepted benchmark. It is a key part of the platform of one of the major political parties, and lawmakers are planning to reintroduce a $15 federal minimum wage bill in the first week of the 116th Congress.
Source: Institute for Policy Studies and Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, October 2018
A new analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage and jobs data shows that in the last two years since raising the tipped minimum wage, New York state saw a significant boost in take home pay — wages and tips — earned by full-service restaurant workers and, contrary to predictions by minimum wage skeptics, an increase in both the number of full-service restaurant jobs and full-service restaurant establishments.
A joint project by the Institute for Policy Studies and Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, this research advances previous findings published in the Washington Post on the impact of the 2015 increase in the tipped minimum wage in New York state.
Source: Andrew P. Schaefer, Jessica A. Carson, Marybeth J. Mattingly, Andrew Wink, University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy, November 13, 2018
Increases in the minimum wage are widely assumed to be beneficial for low-income workers, but it is important to consider the effect an increase might have on eligibility for other benefits, particularly the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This fact sheet examines the interaction between the minimum wage and the EITC to determine whether a minimum wage increase would produce gains in the sum of earnings plus EITC dollars for low-income workers
For workers earning the minimum wage, an increase would result in higher income; none would experience a lower net income due to changes in the federal EITC credit (though this may be offset by loss of other safety net program benefits).
For some family types, increased income would come primarily from a higher minimum wage; for others, gains would also come from the higher-value federal EITC triggered by their higher earnings.
Source: National Women’s Law Center, August 23, 2018
Women represent more than six in ten minimum wage workers in the U.S., and close to three-quarters of minimum wage workers in some states. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia currently have minimum wages above the federal level of $7.25 per hour, but in most states, the minimum wage still leaves a full-time worker with two children near or below the poverty level. See our interactive map to view the share of minimum wage workers in your state who are women.
Source: Linda Burnham, Lisa Moore, Emilee Ohia, A.Y.U.D.A. Inc., Comité de Justicia Laboral, Fuerza del Valle Workers’ Center, National Domestic Workers Alliance, 2018
In 2016, three community-based organizations that operate in the Texas–Mexico border region collaborated on a participatory research project. A.Y.U.D.A. Inc., Fuerza del Valle Workers’ Center and Comité de Justicia Laboral/Labor Justice Committee trained 36 women from the local communities as surveyors. The surveyors, most of them domestic workers themselves, interviewed 516 housecleaners, nannies and care workers for people with disabilities or for the elderly who work in private homes. The survey was conducted in Spanish and was composed of a standardized set of questions focused on work arrangements, working conditions, the impact of low pay on workers’ lives, injuries and abuse on the job and citizenship status.
This report, the result of the surveyors’ hard work knocking on doors, gaining trust and gathering data, is the very first quantitative study of a sizable number of domestic workers in the Texas–Mexico border region. The data provides us with a fact-based portrait of the difficult conditions domestic workers in the region face. The report findings will be used to shape ongoing organizing and advocacy to improve conditions and end workplace abuse. Our hope is that it will also shape the thinking of policy makers and encourage further research about working conditions along the border.
The Price of Domestic Workers’ Invisible Labor in U.S. Border Towns
Source: Sarah Holder, The Atlantic, June 25, 2018