class, Economy, Minimum Wage, poverty, Social Problems

Opinion: Double the Federal Minimum Wage. State and local governments are proving that higher minimum-wage standards are good for workers. Congress should take the lesson. By The Editorial Board The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom. Dec. 30, 2019

Opponents of minimum-wage laws have long argued that companies have only so much money and, if required to pay higher wages, they will employ fewer workers. Now there is evidence that such concerns, never entirely sincere, are greatly overstated. Over the past five years, a wave of increases in state and local minimum-wage standards has pushed the average effective minimum wage in the United States to the highest level on record. The average worker must be paid at least $11.80 an hour — more after inflation than the last peak, in the 1960s, according to an analysis by the economist Ernie Tedeschi.

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class, Housing, Social Problems

Opinion Only Washington Can Solve the Nation’s Housing Crisis. The federal government once promised to provide homes for every American. What happened? By Lizabeth Cohen Dr. Cohen is the author of the forthcoming “Saving America’s Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age.” July 10, 2019

In recent months America’s affordable housing crisis, a long-simmering issue for people of low and moderate incomes, has burst onto the front page. Rents are rising much faster than income, while the median home price in some 200 cities is $1 million. After a decade of decline, the number of homeless Americans is ticking back up. The private market is clearly failing. Although many city and state governments are motivated to take action, they have limited tools at their disposal, and few of them equal to the task. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, at least under its current leadership, is hardly stepping up.

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Banks, Economy, poverty, Social Problems

Opinion: Changing Rules to Help Bankers and Hurt Poor Neighborhoods. The Community Reinvestment Act needs a renovation. The Trump administration instead is proposing a partial demolition. By The Editorial Board. The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom. Jan. 10, 2020

Banks don’t like lending in lower-income neighborhoods, even as they profit from deposits taken from those same communities. Since 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act has forced the issue, requiring banks to provide mortgages, small-business loans and other services in all areas where they operate. The current crop of federal banking regulators, picked by President Trump, is now proposing to let banks pump less money into lower-income communities, and even to claim credit for lending that does not benefit those communities. One egregious example: Banks could count loans for improvements to stadiums that happen to sit in poor neighborhoods. Yes, you read that right: Under the proposal, the banks that financed the new sound system at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore could claim credit for investing in the community.

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class, Family, Social Problems, Social Safety Net

What Happened When a State Made Food Stamps Harder to Get. In West Virginia, tougher work requirements for receiving food stamps complicated life for poor people, but did not result in increased employment. The most visible impact in the changes in work requirements for the food stamp program in nine West Virginia counties was at homeless missions and food pantries, which saw a substantial spike in demand that has never receded. By Campbell Robertson Jan. 13, 2020 MILTON, W.Va.

— In the early mornings, Chastity and Paul Peyton walk from their small and barely heated apartment to Taco Bell to clean fryers and take orders for as many work hours as they can get. It rarely adds up to a full-time week’s worth, often not even close. With this income and whatever cash Mr. Peyton can scrape up doing odd jobs — which are hard to come by in a small town in winter, for someone without a car — the couple pays rent, utilities and his child support payments. Then there is the matter of food. “We can barely eat,” Ms. Peyton said. She was told she would be getting food stamps again soon — a little over two dollars’ worth a day — but the couple was without them for months. Sometimes they made too much money to qualify; sometimes it was a matter of working too little. There is nothing reliable but the local food pantry.

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Economy, inequality, Social Problems, Stratification

Opinion: How the Upper Middle Class Is Really Doing Is it more similar to the top 1 percent or the working class? By David Leonhardt Opinion Columnist Feb. 24, 2019 Since 1980, the incomes of the very rich have grown faster than the economy. The upper middle class has kept pace with the economy, while the middle class and poor have fallen behind.

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class, Economy, inequality, Social Problems, Technology

Tech Is Splitting the U.S. Work Force in Two. A small group of well-educated professionals enjoys rising wages, while most workers toil in low-wage jobs with few chances to advance. Image: Taser assembly at Axon in Scottsdale, Ariz. While some jobs are changing or being eliminated because of automation, many positions at Axon still require the dexterity of human hands. By Eduardo Porter Feb. 4, 2019

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class, Economy, inequality, Social Problems

Opinion: What’s Really Radical? Not Taxing the Rich It’s time to reverse the extreme upward redistribution of the last 40 years. A house is the biggest asset that most families own. If middle-class families can pay an annual tax on their main source of wealth, wealthy families can, too, says David Leonhardt. by David Leonhardt. Opinion Columnist Feb. 3, 2019

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