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Newsletters | December 5, 2006

December 5, 2006    

    POLICY  \|  DATA + RESEARCH  \|  TOOL + TRAINING  \|  NEWS + MEDIA Forward Editor: Samantha Batko    
Spotlight On...

State Minimum Wages: A Policy the Works


The Economic Policy Institute released “State Minimum Wages: A Policy that Works,” a brief on the potential effects of raising the minimum wage. Since the last federal-level increase in September of 1997, 18 states have independently raised their minimum wage a cumulative 47 times. Consequently, by December 2005, the median minimum wage among those states was more than 25 percent higher than the federal minimum wage. This report analyzes the 18 states with higher minimum wages to determine two things: the effects on wages and the effects on employment and labor supply. The evidence from this analysis suggests that in these states, wages are higher than they would have been without the hikes and raising the minimum wage had no effect on employment rates. In many cases, the employment response has been positive, which is contrary to the primary argument of those who oppose raising the federal minimum wage.

Full Brief



Congress is planning to return to session on December 5 for a brief period before adjourning for the year on December 8. Most appropriations bills, including those that fund homelessness programs in the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, and Labor, will be put off until next year. The only housing or homelessness related bill that may be completed this year is the Second Chance Act, which would provide housing and services for returning offenders.

Progressives Recommend Agenda for First 100 days

“Turnover elections traditionally bring with them both new hope and great expectations,” writes John D. Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Podesta recently outlined a policy agenda for the first 100 days of the 110th Congress. On the domestic side, among other things, the Center for American Progress Action Fund calls for expanding the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit. Expansion of EITC, which would benefit about 4 million people, would cost about $7 billion annually. “Our agenda would seek to address existing economic disparities for low and middle income families struggling to make ends meet and further future economic growth and opportunity through greater energy security, education reform, and investments in health prevention,” Podesta says. The American Progress Action Fund is the sister advocacy organization of the Center for American Progress.

Brookings Forum: “Welfare Reform Ten Years Later”

Brookings Institution held a forum entitled “Work Over Welfare: Welfare Reform Ten Years Later” on Thursday, November 16. Featured speakers included Newt Gingrich, who was the Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1996 when President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) into law and Charles Stenholm a former Congressman from Texas who “crossed the aisle” to work with the Republican majority to craft the welfare legislation. Mr. Gingrich noted that by the time Congress acted to reform the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, the vast majority of the public favored welfare reform—including a majority of welfare recipients. Mr. Gingrich also indicated that while results have been positive for many of the families who exited cash assistance, there are others for whom it has not been successful. He stated that “[T]here are across this country a substantial number of Americans who are outside the system, who don’t know how to be productive, don’t know how to lead complete lives, don’t know how to get educated and when they look at these income distribution patterns – if you adjust for the number of people who are literally out of the system, just redistributing money is not going to get them there.”

The panelists following Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Stenholm’s presentation further explored the outcomes of welfare reform, the outlook for the upcoming Congress, and the need to focus on the single men who are often non-custodial parents who remain in dire poverty.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, non profit organization dedicated to solving the problem of homelessness and preventing its continued growth.

R.T. Rybak, Right click to download pictures.
Take a five minute break from whatever you are doing to hear about emerging issues, new research, and personal stories from experts and leaders in homelessness and housing policy. This months expert is R.T. Rybak, Mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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