Workers & Economic Inequality

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Federal Dollars for Coding Academies? Proceed with Caution

Today's coding academies are aptly coined "trade schools for the digital age." What were once high-quality courses (with a price tag) available to anyone who wished to learn computer programming skills may soon be corrupted, money-making classes that dupe their participants. An article from EdSurge describes what TCF fellow Bob Shireman also fears is another for-profit college crisis in the works.

It is worth remembering that the for-profit college scandal, which is still in the process of being cleaned up, began as a noble effort to allow companies to gain access to federal funds only if they ran innovative training programs that led to good jobs.

Read the full article about when federal aid goes wrong for students via EdSurge.

Tags: tech companies, financial aid, computer programming

The Unusual Alliance Trying To Fix America’s Broken Child Care System

Child care remains a vital resource for working families, however the price of this service has risen drastically in the past few decades. An article recently published by ThinkProgress describes the inadequate assistance provided to families, but also the inadquate wages paid to caregivers—despite high price tags for their service. TCF fellow Julie Kashen comments in the article:

“Government has to play a role here,” Kashen said. “There should be a public investment in this public good that reflects both the needs of parents and providers.” The proposal calls for the federal government to spend about $168 billion a year. “What’s happened so often in Washington around this is we end up fighting for scraps for support for child care,” she said. The proposal “is much more about making a realistic investment that’s both aspirational but also more true to what is really needed,” she said.

Read ThinkProgress's article authored by Bryce Covert.

Tags: working families, minimum wage increase, child care

A more accurate measure of economic output

Measuring the economic success of the U.S. is no longer as simple as using the terms gross domestic product (GDP) and gross domestic income (GDI). TCF fellow Mark Thoma explains how there are two new measurements which include gross domestic output (GDO) which is the average of GDP and GDI and GDPplus which is an optimally weighted combination of GDP and GDI, with weights that are allowed to evolve over time. Thoma suggests that:

"...the best approach to characterizing how well the economy is performing at a moment in time, and how well it's likely to do in the future, is to use a measure such as GDPplus in combination with other windows into the state of the economy such as the unemployment rate, industrial production, consumption, investment and so on."

Read Thoma's full article from CBS News.

Tags: gdp, economics

Saving SSDI

SSDI, or, the Social Security Disability Insurance program, may soon encounter some changes in the form of funding. Apparently the trust fund that finances the program is set to run out of money on nearly the same day as the 2016 presidential election. While some reforms have been taken to preserve the program and its recipients, TCF fellow Harold Pollack explains that a major shift must be enacted in order to keep program revenues flowing and recipients insured. 

Given SSDI’s immediate shortfall and the possibility of chronic deficits, it is sensible to reallocate payroll taxes as the Obama administration suggests, to avert an immediate shortfall. Over the long-run, though, our entire Social Security system, including SSDI, needs greater revenues in some form to maintain its fiscal stability. We would be wise to raise these revenues sooner rather than later.

Pollack's article is featured in The Atlantic. You can read the full SSDI piece here.

Using Child Allowances to Cut Black and Latino Poverty

Policy associate Clio Chang recently wrote a piece that exposes the fact that there are now a higher number of black children living in poverty than there are white children. To combat this, Chang suggests establishing a cash allowance program to provide families with additional assistance with raising a child. The think tank Demos cites Chang's research and shares supplemental graphs to further support the validity of a child cash allowance policy.

In addition to being one of the easier anti-poverty programs to implement, a robust system of child benefits (including a child allowance) would also be the most advantageous welfare state expansion imaginable for Black and Latino families. It would go further than any other welfare program at closing racial poverty gaps and easing racial gaps in income more generally.

Read Matt Bruenig's article and check out the graphs he provides.

Tags: racial inequality, child poverty, cash allowances

How to Fix New Orleans Transit

A decade after Katrina, TCF policy associate Jacob Anbinder discusses the current state of public transit in New Orleans and the need for its revitalization.

READ MORE
Tags: transit, streetcars, new orleans, hurricane katrina

 

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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