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Obama Takes Baby Steps Toward More Family Friendly Policies

TCF policy associate and child poverty expert Clio Chang digs deep into the politics of tax reform, cash allowances and paid family leave. Her statistics show that the amount of paid leave offered to workers is oxymoronic in terms of how much it costs to raise a child in the United States. One solution she offers is simply giving cash to families with children in the form of a child cash allowance. We can learn some lessons from other countries that have found systems that work in reducing child poverty in society.

We need only to look at the United Kingdom to see what a universal child cash allowance could do for the United States. In 1999, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair initiated an ambitious campaign to cut child poverty and increased investments in children, including significantly raising the benefit amount of the country’s existing child cash allowance. Jane Waldfogel, professor at Columbia University, calculates that overall, the average family received $3,200, and low-income families received $7,200 per year.

Read Clio's full piece in US News & World Report.

Tags: paid family leave, maternity leave, child poverty, cash allowances

The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology

January 26, 2015 COMMENTARY BY: Neil Bhatiya TOPICS: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Social Insurance

TCF program associate Neil Bhatiya takes a look at Kelly Sims Gallagher's The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology: Lessons from China for the Cairo Review of Global Affairs.

Tags: kelly sims gallagher, climate change

Baby Steps: Obama is moving toward better policies to support families, but more must be done.

TCF policy associate Clio Chang writes on the recent changes made to paid family leave policy in the U.S. including President Obama's recent presidential memorandum allowing parents to take 6 weeks paid leave. She relates this long-overdue issue to the greater issue of a "lack of government financial support when it comes to children." One of the simplest solutions to addressing this problem is giving cash to families with children, otherwise known as a child cash allowance.

It’s especially strange that American families are shortchanged, given how expensive it is to raise a child here, regardless of income level. The Department of Agriculture's annual child expenditure report states that raising a child is projected to cost a quarter of a million dollars. Child care alone can cost as much as $16,430 per year (although costs vary greatly by state). While parenthood should be something that anyone can strive for, even working families are increasingly priced out of raising a healthy, productive child

Access Clio's article here.

Tags: income inequality, child poverty, cash allowances

Bursting The Myths About LBJ

TCF fellow Michael Cohen reminds us of how much influence a president actually has, particularly on domestic issues, in the face of the legislative process. Cohen gives an overview of the policy wins accomplished by President Lyndon Baines Johnson including passing Medicare and Medicaid, expanding public education, new initiatives on children’s health care, mental health, and anti-poverty programs, immigration reform, highway beautification, and environmental restrictions on air and water pollution. It's essential to recognize that the failures and successes of LBJ are at the root of our politics today.

As a legislative battler, Johnson viewed politics in crude, transactional terms, where political support could be traded for a parochial benefit that he, as president, could provide. (This was a man, after all, who believed that he could convince Ho Chi Minh to give up his fight for a unified Vietnam in return for a Tennessee Valley Authority for the Mekong Delta.)

Read Cohen's full article.

Tags: president, lyndon johnson, legislation, lbj, domestic policy

Martin Luther King Wouldn’t Be Very Happy With This Medicaid Map

TCF fellow Harold Pollack describes how Martin Luther King Jr. was a staunch defender of not only race equality, but also of justice in the health care system. He uses an infographic map to exhibit what Medicaid recipients look like on a US scale:

Read Pollack's full article featured in Huffington Post.

Tags: medicaid, health insurance, health care reform

Community Benefits Agreements Under Attack

January 20, 2015 BY: Amy Dean TOPICS: Social Insurance

TCF fellow Amy Dean tells of new policies emerging in Michigan debating whether projects funded by public subsidies should produce real benefits for the public. Agreements between developers and the community are known as community benefits agreements, or "CBA's." Getting rid of these agreements has been met with frustration from the public, and with good reason.

Holding companies that receive public support accountable is not a radical idea. “We were pursuing a very capitalistic notion,” Madeline Janis, director of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, a community group responsible for winning several CBAs, told The New York Times last year. “Public money is an investment on behalf of the community and taxpayers. We’re saying that the developers who receive the benefit of public investment should give a return on that investment to the community.

The full article is featured in Al Jazeera.

Tags: public spending, gop, developers, community unions


Social Insurance

Social Insurance

Compared to other advanced nations, America’s retirement security and health care systems offer weaker protections against risks we all face. The Century Foundation’s work focuses on ideas for strengthening Social Security, pensions, and health care – including steps for building on the Affordable Care Act.

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