What Tax Time can do for the Working Poor

By Joseph Martinez and Walen Ngo, United Way of Greater Los Angeles The EITC, or Earned Income Tax Credit, has been known for over thirty years to be one of the more successful anti-poverty programs in the nation. The tax relief program is geared toward only workers earning income below a certain income threshold andContinue reading “What Tax Time can do for the Working Poor”

Good News/Bad News

I have a confession to make: I fight with my daughter almost every morning. Well, “fight” might be a strong word, but part of our morning ritual is to tussle over who gets the Business section of the paper. She is the household meteorologist (a word she learned in her first grade section on “communityContinue reading “Good News/Bad News”

Wall Street vs. Main Street part deux

I recently introduced the authors of the American Human Development Report at a presentation and made the point that just as the GDP has been criticized for not reflecting how the economy affects everyday people, the last year has driving home how out of touch stock market performance is with most regular folks. As thisContinue reading “Wall Street vs. Main Street part deux”

Labor Day fact sheet

In honor of Labor Day, here are some numbers on the state of working America, courtesy of the Economic Policy Institute: TOTAL JOBS LOST DURING THE RECESSION: 6.9 MILLION • New jobs needed per month to keep up with population growth: 127,000 • Jobs needed to regain pre-recession unemployment levels: 9.4 million UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 9.7%Continue reading “Labor Day fact sheet”

Housing and inequality

Our housing-market-implosion-induced financial meltdown has prompted a rethinking by increasing numbers of researchers and policymakers of how we approach housing policy in the U.S. The concerns and implications are both personal and societal. Much of the angst has arisen from the stratospheric increase in home mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures. A recent NY Times feature seriesContinue reading “Housing and inequality”

Steep rise in mass layoffs

Analysis by researchers at the Economic Policy Institute clearly shows the extent to which the economy is losing jobs. Mass layoffs – defined as letting go of 50 or more people by a single employer – have doubled over the last couple years and are at their highest level in the last 15 years. InContinue reading “Steep rise in mass layoffs”

Trends in LA and CA over the next few years

A common problem in trying to discern trends in poverty and inequality is that the data that we often have at hand are usually not particularly recent. The lag between when data are collected and publicly available can be significant, especially in a rapidly changing economy like we’ve been in over last several months. Also,Continue reading “Trends in LA and CA over the next few years”

The New and Already Poor

Barbara Ehrenreich is perhaps the best popular writer on issues of poverty, inequality and increasing financial insecurity in the U.S.,  chiefly through books such as Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America and Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. In a recent New York Times op-ed, “Too Poor toContinue reading “The New and Already Poor”

Have we hit bottom?

Last week, the Obama administration and the media began portraying the economy is a more favorable light, asserting that we’re at or near the bottom of the recession. Today, looking for good news anywhere they can find it, the Los Angeles Times claims that “Southern California home prices may be stabilizing,” because the median homeContinue reading “Have we hit bottom?”

The economy and gender discrimination

Most people are well aware that unemployment continues to rise to its highest levels in 25 years, above 8% nationally and approaching 11% in California. What is less apparent is that this rise is not evenly distributed for men and women. About 14 months ago, men and women had the same level of unemployment (aroundContinue reading “The economy and gender discrimination”