Workers & Economic Inequality

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We Can’t Talk About Housing Policy Without Talking About Racism

A Clinton-era study called Moving to Opportunity (MTO) that looked at the effects moving individuals out of high-poverty neighborhoods with vouchers and into census-tracts with less than 10 percent poverty to see if this would improve their life outcomes. TCF fellow Stefanie DeLuca countered the article and says that programs like this do not go far enough to assist those living in poverty.

For DeLuca and Rosenblatt, there’s plenty that MTO did right but confronting endemic poverty and segregation requires a more systematic approach. That is, something perhaps more akin to the Baltimore Mobility Program (BMP), through which 2,400 Baltimore families have relocated since 2003. Whereas MTO offered housing search counseling to program participants, BMP provided that plus post-move counseling, second move counseling if necessary, and financial literacy and credit repair training.

Read the full article featuring Stefanie DeLuca's work.

Tags: low-income families, inner city, baltimore housing mobility program

For the Sake of Working-Class Students, Give ‘Fisher’ Another Chance

TCF senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg, who has written extensively on reforming the higher education system, encourages the U.S. Supreme Court to accept an appeal made by Abigail Noel Fisher in the Fisher v. University of Texas litigation challenging UT-Austin’s affirmative-action policies. Kahlenberg champions the use of class instead of race as a means of encouraging a diverse student body on college campuses.

In the Fisher decision, the court said the 14th Amendment of the Constitution placed on universities "the ultimate burden of demonstrating, before turning to racial classifications, that workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice." The justices then sent the case back to the Fifth Circuit to apply this standard.

Read Kahlenberg's entire article featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Tags: race-based affirmative action, higher education, diversity in education, college admissions, class-based affirmative action

Dear Baltimore Youth: We See Your Incredible Promise. We Will Not Give Up On You.

What if the Baltimore portrayed by the news media were not the real Baltimore? TCF fellow Stefanie DeLuca talks about the youth of Baltimore whom she has worked with in her thirteen years there.

Tags: youth, police, baltimore housing, baltimore

Deep Poverty Undermines Our Economic Potential

TCF fellow and economist Mark Thoma says that the level of "deep poverty," that is, families having a cash income less than half of the federal poverty level, remains startlingly high. While the causes behind this deep poverty remain undetermined, much past research points to welfare reform. It is essential that this issue gets addressed soon, because deep poverty is oftentimes extremely difficult to escape.

"There is reason to believe that even a short amount of time in deep poverty damages the prospects of children's success." That is one of the reasons why deep poverty persists across generations, "14 percent of those who were born deeply poor will be in deep poverty at age 40, about three times as many as those who were not born in deep poverty."

Read Thoma's article from CBS Moneywatch.

Tags: welfare, poverty, income inequality, federal poverty line

The Economic Reasons Why ‘Mom’ Is America’s Most Important Job

In honor of Mother's Day, TCF policy associate Mike Cassidy reveals some of the realities that women face when dealing with being a mother and holding a job. He says that parenting matters a great deal, especially with moms spending more time tending to their children than fathers, on average.

The story of poverty in America is largely a tale about single moms. People in families headed by women with no husband present account for half of all poor people in families (by contrast, single father families account for just 10 percent of the total). Growing up in a single-mother headed household is one of the surest pathways to poverty: 55 percent of children in such circumstances are poor; among African-American children, the number is 61 percent.

Read Cassidy's full article from Fiscal Times.

Tags: women's rights, wage equality, maternity leave, labor rights, family policy

The Cost of Child Poverty

Compared to other advanced countries, the U.S. is not taking comparable steps to reduce child poverty in the form of funding and tax credits. The price we pay as a society for this lack of action manifests in the form of social dysfunction such as serious health risks and high incarceration rates.

There is another, far more sweeping idea that America has until now refused to try, though it has been widely successful in other advanced countries: providing direct cash allowances to poor families for every child they have. Many South American nations provide such allowances for those who meet certain conditions, such as school attendance and doctor visits. Of the thirty-five countries in the UNICEF study, only the US does not have such a policy. Why not?

Madrick's article was published in the New York Review of Books.

Tags: tax credits, poor families, developed world, child poverty, cash allowances


Workers & Economic Inequality

Workers & Economic Inequality

In recent decades, and especially since 2000, the richest Americans have enjoyed soaring income and wealth while the rest of the population's living standards have stagnated. The Century Foundation was one of the first institutions to raise serious concerns about these trends and propose ideas for improving economic conditions for all Americans- not just the fortunate few.

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