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.
With the economy back in check and some modest growth happening, TCF fellow and economist Mark Thoma says "homeowners are missing out on billions of dollars in potential savings" and might consider refinancing their mortgages. Thoma gives a non-technical overview of what a refinancing might look like:
"... a household with a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage of $200,000 at an interest rate of 6.5 percent that refinances when rates fall to 4.5 percent will save over $80,000 in interest payments over the life of the loan, even after accounting for typical refinancing costs. With long-term mortgage rates at roughly 3.35 percent, this same household would save roughly $130,000 over the life of the loan by refinancing."
Read the full article featured in CBS Moneywatch.
TCF fellow Michael Cohen reminds us that there's potential for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham to be a contender in the 2016 Republican presidential primary race. Although Senator Graham claims he is "more right than wrong," there's contention when it comes to his foreign policy predictions and decisions, many of which inspire fear in his constituents. Cohen points out the numerous faults of the Senator who regularly uses hyperbolic language and repeatedly dubs America “the good guys” in the global community.
Graham would likely defend his past statements by saying that Obama screwed up all the gains made in Iraq by withdrawing U.S. troops in 2011. It’s of course a regular GOP refrain. Yet for Graham, it’s an interesting position to take because under the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq, Obama was mandated to end the U.S. troop presence if he could not get the Iraqis to agree to provide legal protections for U.S. soldiers. This is a subject that Graham likely knows something about, seeing as he is judge advocate general in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Indeed, if there is anyone in the Senate who should understand the need for clear legal protections when deploying U.S. troops overseas it would be Graham.
Check out Michael Cohen's full article.
The nearing 2016 presidential election is likely to bring up the tricky question of taxing the wealthy on their capital gains, dividends, interest, and inheritances, says TCF fellow Mark Thoma. Thoma goes through the advantages and disadvantages of imposing an additional tax on the wealthy including the effects that such a situation would have on innovation and economic growth.
When each individual strives to get ahead, when we truly have an equal opportunity meritocracy that rewards each individual according to her contributions, we collectively propel ourselves forward. The more people who are subject to this meritocracy rather than relying upon inherited wealth, the faster we will grow.
Read the full piece here.
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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