Category Archives: Uncategorized

TANF and its Limits

Cuts to social programs have only widened the gap between poor Americans and everyone else—especially the retreat from AFDC since 1996. By any measure, the TANF program is aweak substitute for the program it displaced. By the mid to late … Continue reading

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Targetting Social Policy

As a rule, social insurance programs (like Social Security pensions) are generous but poorly targeted [see graphic below], while means-tested programs are well-targeted but meager. As a result, American social policy closes most of the poverty gap for elderly families … Continue reading

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US Social Policy in International Perspective II

Across the OECD, the net redistributive impact (cash benefits received minus direct taxes paid) of social policy for low income households stands at about 40 percent of market income. But it is barely half that in the United States, making … Continue reading

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US Social Policy in International Perspective

The latest numbers from the OECD—which compare inequality, incomes, and poverty rates across its member countries, before and after the impact of taxes and transfers—present yet another reminder of the United States’ dismal ranking among its peers. They also make a … Continue reading

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The American Minimum Wage In International Perspective

The graphic below plots national minimum rates across the OECD, both as a share of each country’s median and average wage and in real U.S. dollars. As a share of median or average wages, the U.S. minimum trails the pack—well … Continue reading

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The United States of Inequality

cross posted from Dissent The work of Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez on the evolution of top income shares has yielded a lasting and iconic image of American inequality: a long historical curve that starts high in the early years of … Continue reading

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Mapping Inequality

crossposted from EPI, Working Economics blog Mark Price and Estelle Sommeiller’s new paper traces the trajectory of top incomes in American states and regions from 1917 through 2011. Mapping this data across the continental United States and over the last century suggests … Continue reading

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Inequality in the States

crossposted from EPI, Working Economics blog In The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State, Mark Price and Estelle Sommeiller develop estimates for top income shares, from 1917 through 2011, for American states and regions. The national version of this … Continue reading

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Jim Crow for the Jobless

crossposted from Dissent The American system of unemployment insurance is a remnant of Jim Crow. While national in its reach, the program’s administrative details are left to the states, a bargain struck in the 1930s as the price for Southern … Continue reading

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Two Cheers and Two Cautions on the Job Report

crossposted from Dissent For the first time in a long time, the jobs report offered mostly good news. The last month saw decent job growth (just over 200,000, alongside an upward revision to the October numbers), and not just in … Continue reading

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