News Brief - October 24

Friday, October 24, 2008 | News


Study shows gap growing between rich and poor
"What will happen if the next decade is not one of world growth but of world recession? If a rising tide didn't lift all boats, how will they be affected by an ebbing tide?"
It may be about time we retire this whole "rising tide" analogy. Some boats are apparently not boats at all, but seaplanes...

'More inequality' in rich nations
"The most equal distribution of wealth is in the Nordic countries, including Denmark, Sweden and Finland."
Perhaps some of us are too quick to dismiss the Nordic track.

Inequality in major US cities rivals Africa: UN
""The life expectancy of African Americans in the United States is about the same as that of people living in China and some states of India, despite the fact that the United States is far richer than the other two countries," [the report] said."

Pennsylvania Women Stop Closing Wage Gap With Men
"But in the current decade, despite a so-called economic expansion between 2001 and 2007, the progress of women in the Pennsylvania workforce stopped."

Health Insurance

Health costs soar past wages
"So, it probably cuts into the amount of wage increases that they can get."

Utahn's wages not keeping up with rising insurance coverage costs
"The average Utahn's work-based health insurance premium has increased five times faster than the average wage since 2000, the group says."

Education, Schools

How one failing St Paul school made the grade
"We find out their learning styles, then we can address each child's needs," Johnson said."
Not leaving children behind doesn't have to be rocket science.

USDA to kill Phila. school lunch program
"The 17-year-old program aimed at poor students is unique because it doesn't require students and their families to fill out application forms for free or reduced-price meals. This maximizes student participation."
It also reduces administrative cost and stigma associated with free lunches.

Povert (of sorts)

Fuel poverty campaigners lose high court battle
"Campaigners failed today in a high court bid to force the government to spend more to end fuel poverty."
Apparently there is a lack of legal as well as political will.

Poverty in America: The Problems and Solutions
"Communities know what they need. It is not more welfare or school vouchers... but jobs, programs which work in schools and for young people. Good public transportation and job training, learning how to be resourceful and make things again, self-sufficiency, and a deep respect for learning need to be privileged more than what television and advertising put out there."

Poverty and Politics (Netherlands)
An example of the discussion that ensues when individuals are highlighted instead of the conditions or systems in which we live.


Lawmakers must halt runaway minimum wage
"It was never designed to be a living wage. It was supposed to be an earnings floor for workers in entry-level, low-skilled or unskilled, often menial jobs, protecting a vulnerable work group from exploitation. If someone doesn't want to earn just the minimum wage, then the solution is to get the education and/or skills and training needed to go up the wage ladder to qualify for better jobs."
I'm assuming that the Yakima Herald Editorial Board realized the power of their argument, were promptly trained, and are now the New York Times Editorial Board.

Coweta wages in 'rapid decline'
"[The economist] said more jobs isn't necessarily a good thing, if they aren't the right kinds of jobs. Fruth compared the situation to a baseball team's roster. Adding a bunch of "scrubs," he said, doesn't lift the team batting average, and certainly doesn't make for a better team, even with more players."

UNH Study: State's households struggle with less livable wage
"The study also projects a continued decline in livable wage jobs in New Hampshire due to the state's transformation from a production-based to a service-based economy."


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News Brief - September 5

Friday, September 5, 2008 | News


Group pulling Ohio sick leave measure from ballot

Study: Few California Workers Aware of Family Leave Law
And fewer have taken time off. 

Sick and Fired: US Workers Struggle Without Paid Sick, Parental Leave
"A new report finds the United States ranks at the bottom of 21 high-income nations in providing parental leave for workers."
In spite of the revelation that...
American Workers Overwhelmingly Support Paid Sick Days

How does Swedish parental leave work?
A jealousy-inducing example of "elsewhere."  

Labor Market, Economy, Wages

Struggles for worker justice take on new urgency, intensity
"As we enjoy barbecue picnics and time off from work, we should also remember the most fundamental aspect of Labor Day: honoring workers and their struggles for rights."

Tough economy worsens struggle for workers, job seekers
It's a recurrent story - wages aren't keeping up with inflation, it's harder to recover from job loss, and job security is fading. It will take better jobs to build the economy we so wistfully remember.

For others, Census data paints a rosier picture:
The Real Economic Scorecard

Let's Stop Minimizing Minimum Wage
"Two years ago, more than 650 economists, including five Nobel Prize winners, signed a statement saying state and federal minimum wage increases can "significantly improve the lives of low-income workers and their families, without the adverse effects that critics have claimed."

Health Care

Cost of caring for Missourians without health insurance impacts everyone in the state

Kids of Stressed, Low-Income Mothers Prone to Weight Problems
Making jobs better - and ensuring that hard work earns a living wage - is not only good for workers, but for the health of their families and communities as well.

Absence makes baby's brain grow softer: Call for two years paid maternity leave

Education, Housing

Economic Diversity: Why We Measure It
US News ranks colleges according to the economic diversity of their student populations.

Affordable housing hard to come by on coast
Hurricanes: conveniently gentrifying neighborhoods for the wealthy everywhere.

Teen Pregnancy

Teen pregnancy is back in the public eye, with poverty, not Palin, apparently to blame:
Poverty, not sex ed, key factor in teen pregnancy
Cause for Alarm? Understanding Recent Trends in Teenage Childbearing Exception: Collection was modified after the enumerator was instantiated.

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News Brief - August 19

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 | News


Socioeconomics creates 'dropout factories'
"In this economy, a successful education does not necessarily pay off."

Best reform in education? End poverty
Best reform in communicating about poverty? Stop using a sympathy frame. Why not build up an argument instead that relies on the strength of your closing statement:
"Improve the economy, especially at the bottom, and strengthen the American culture. Better schools will follow."

A Teachable Moment
New Orleans' public school system gets a second chance.


Proposed changes to state health insurance programs face fight
"There are a lot of families that are losing their coverage because they just can't flat out afford their private coverage anymore."

Sick leave plan a healthy move or job destroyer? (OH)


State minimum wage to increase (CO)

Mississippi still plugging away at poverty

Conditions worsen for 'working poor'
And unless we get rid of the poor language, we won't get enough public support to do anything about it.

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