Poverty

Breaking news: Seattle will establish $15 per hour minimum wage, highest in the nation

Seattle will raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour, the highest in the nation, under a deal just announced by labor and business groups and reported on by Think Progress.

All employers will have to meet the $15 minimum wage by the end of the decade, while businesses with more than 500 employees will have a three-year phase-in period.

Punxsutawney Phil and Governor Corbett

I published a commentary this week on Governor Corbett's 2014-15 budget proposal this week in the Allentown Morning Call. Check it out.

Punxsutawney Phil is predicting more chilly weather ahead, but a winter-weary Gov. Tom Corbett must have spring on his mind. His budget address Tuesday painted a bright and rosy picture of Pennsylvania's future even as we remain in the grip of a long economic winter.

Don't Give Up The Fight

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With the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty at hand, it is a good time to reflect on just how much of a positive impact President Lyndon B. Johnson’s landmark initiative has had in reducing poverty in the U.S.

The 1960s effort created the modern day safety net for working families, started important initiatives like college aid that boosted college access for a generation and expanded health coverage through Medicaid and Medicare.

Observers on the right have tried to argue that these initiatives have been unsuccessful and that we ought to give up.

Cut to Federal Food Aid Impacts Families and Children in Every PA County

A major funding cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) took effect November 1, impacting 1.8 million Pennsylvanians.

SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger and a powerful tool to help keep families out of poverty. Benefits are modest, offering many Pennsylvania families a crucial bridge in this slow economic recovery.

Just the Stories ... Debating the Commonwealth Foundation on Minimum Wage

"Just the Facts" is a catchphrase the Keystone Research Center and other progressive economic think tanks use to capture our commitment to grounding advocacy for progressive values and policies in solid data and research.

Death of an Adjunct

Appearing last week on a radio program in Pittsburgh with labor historian Charles McCollester, I heard for the first time the story of Margaret Mary Vojtko, a 25-year adjunct faculty member at Duquesne University who died recently in poverty at the age of 83.

High Road Restaurant Owners Speak Out for Higher Minimum Wage

A few weeks ago, we responded to criticism about the feasibility of a $15-per-hour wage for fast food workers. In that post, we highlighted two "high road" employers, one a fast-food chain, as living examples of the feasibility — and profitability — of paying workers better.

Life on Welfare: Cato Gets It Very Wrong

It’s great to be poor. That’s the finding of a Cato Institute report released this week claiming to calculate the value of all public benefits received by the typical welfare household. This methodologically flawed study is another of the bows in the 47% quiver. It is particularly timely — and damaging — given the ongoing debate over federal nutrition assistance, which the U.S.

Separating Fact from Fiction on Nutrition Assistance

Check out this short video separating fact from fiction in the ongoing debate over nutrition assistance for low-income Americans.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) "offers nutritition assistance to millions of eligible low-income Americans," the narrator explains. "The program started in the '70s, and teams of doctors proved that it dramatically reduced hunger in America. Ninety-five percent of federal SNAP funding goes to food."

The video goes on to explain that 40% of households receiving SNAP benefits have at least one working person, and that it is a lifeline to those out-of-work and their families, as they look for a job. Enrollees typically receive benefits for eight to 10 months, and the average benefit equals $1.49 per meal per day. For many people, SNAP benefits do not last through the end of the month.

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