The Roosevelt Institution 1527 New Hampshire Ave, NW Washington, D.C.

20036

The 25 Ideas Series Volume 1 • Issue 2 • July 2007
Copyright 2007
Kai Stinchcombe

Executive Director Chair of the Editorial Board
Caitlin Howarth

Director of Publications Kyle Atwell National Editorial Board
Paul Burow Chandni Challa Kirti Datla Eva DuGoff James Elias Nicholas Greenfield Emily Hallet Robert Nelb Ernesto Rodriguez

Olivia Katz, Energy Crisis Suzanne Kahn, Working Families Zach Marks, Higher Education

Challege Coordinators

Printed by Harris Lithographics, Inc. of Landover, Maryland.
The opinions expressed within the 25 Ideas Series are exclusively those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of the editorial board, the Roosevelt Institution, or any of the organization’s chapters, centers, advisors, or affiliates.

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ideas
for

Working Families in America
Volume 1 • Issue 2 • July 2007

Table of Contents
Predatory Payday Lending Reform
Alexander Bartik, Lulu Cheng, Brandon Fong, Gregory Geusic, Benjamin Lazarus, & Jacob Koch; Yale University

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Expanding Access to Services to Combat Child Poverty
Charlotta Chung, Saint Lawrence University

14 16 18

State Earned Income Tax Credits

Alexander Bartik, Brandon Fong, Gregory Geusic, and Eric Kafka, Yale University

Partnerships for Minority Empowerment: Restructuring the Current Population Survey
Helen Cheung, Leo Espino, University of Washington

Indexing the Massachusetts Minimum Wage
Jason Poulos, University of Massachusetts

20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36

Tax-based Automatic Enrollment in SCHIP
Robert Nelb, Yale University

Increasing Healthcare Insurance Enrollment
Matthew Parelman, George Washington University

Certificate-of-Need Laws Single-Payer Healthcare Primary Adult Care

Deep J. Shah, University of Georgia

Jake Grumbach, Columbia University

Laurel Murphy, John Hopkins University

Expanding the Family Medical Leave Act

Kaitlin Canty and Samantha Sherwood, Union College and University of Connecticut

Crafting State Health Policies to Cover the Uninsured
Lawrence Fried, Cornell University

Strengthen Paternity Leave
Sofia Brill, Yale University

Empowering Families to Choose Quality Childcare
Amy Abbandondelo, Carl Nadler, New York University

38 40 42 44

Community Partnerships to Curb Domestic Violence
Morgan Patten, Wright State University

Reduce the Number of Child Support Enforcement Cases
Lauren Barnett, Princeton University

Helping Working Families with Children Under Five
Hallie Fox, Middlebury College

Inclusionary Zoning for Increased Access to Affordable Housing 46
Kether Hayden, Occidental College

A Home for the Working Poor

Kevin Chang, Brian Levy, University of Georgia

48 50 52 54 56 58 60

Stemming the Tide of the Uninsured
Brian Levy, The University of Georgia

Social Capital Block Grants

Niko Karvounis, Oxford University

Federal Farm Subsidies Limitations Proposal
Sheila Korth, University of Nebraska

National Guard Readiness Certification Requirements
Kai Stinchcombe, Stanford University

Improving Accessibility to Art Museums
Nancy Thebaut, Agnes Scott College

Welfare Reform: Focus on Community Service
Kate Berlent, Hamilton College

25 ideas

Summer 2007

The 25 Ideas project is a direct extension of the Roosevelt Institution’s mission to connect students’ policy ideas to policymakers. Each aspect has been designed with the lawmaker in mind: from the two-page, condensed formatting, to the inclusion of concise sets of key facts and talking points. Both easy to read and easy to understand, these ideas have been distilled into small bursts of creativity and thoughtfulness. Though they have been condensed here for the busy reader’s convenience, several of these Ideas are also available in extended form through rooseveltinstitution.org or in our upcoming issue of the Roosevelt Review. While we hope that you will enjoy reading these Ideas, they are not meant to stay on your coffee table. Some Ideas have ramifications for those who work at the federal policy level; others, at the state and municipal levels. Still others focus primarily on what universities can do. So no matter what level of government you focus on - or even if you are still a student - there is an Idea in these pages that you should consider acting on. • • •

The Roosevelt Institution is a national student think tank with nearly 7,000 members at over 50 college campuses across the United States. Founded in 2004, the Institution strives to connect students to the policymaking process in a variety of ways through print and online publications, direct student-tolawmaker connections, and annual conferences. The Roosevelt Institution has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Der Spiegel. The Institution wishes to give special thanks to its outgoing Executive Director and co-founder, Kai Stinchcombe. Kai’s enthusiasm for this project and his indefatigable energy propelled the 25 Ideas from the white board to the Roosevelt chapters, collecting hundreds of ideas and turning a wish into a reality. Since 2004, Kai’s vision for the potential of his fellow students has developed into an organization that is changing the way many students study and interact with public policy. The Roosevelt Institution is truly fortunate to have had his entrepreneurial spirit, and he will be sorely missed at our offices in Washington, D.C.

Letter from the Editors
The Roosevelt Institution is founded and thrives on the passion and intellectual capital of undergraduate and graduate students. Along with energy and higher education, the problems facing working families were selected by our student membership as one of the major issues facing our country. Students across the country submitted policy proposals demonstrating their heart and acumen. Historically, work was the pillar upon which family life rested. However, with more single parent or two breadwinner households, longer hours, job insecurity, and limited health and retirement benefits, we believe that work has become an impediment to family life. This squeeze on the family impacts child care, civic participation, family stability, and opportunities to get ahead. In these pages, you will find 25 proposals that demonstrate a commitment to helping society support working families. This year, Roosevelt Institution chapters across the country organized brainstorming meetings and student conferences addressing issues facing America’s working families. Many of these policy proposals are a product of these meetings. Other proposals are the result of course work and independent research. Selecting the final 25 ideas from the wide pool of submissions was no easy task. We sought to provide a balanced publication that addressed a broad range of issues that affect working families that could be addressed by federal, state and local governments. We hope that you will find both truly innovative approaches, as well as pragmatic variations on older themes that span the ideological spectrum. We are honored to have worked with so many talented students who will be the next generation of policy leaders. Finally, this publication would not have been possible without the vision and support of our editors, Kyle Atwell of University of California Davis and Caitlin Howarth of the University of Virginia, and the dedication of Suzanne Kahn from Yale University, the Working Families Challenge Coordinator. Kyle, Caitlin, and Suzanne spent countless hours helping us on every aspect of this publication. We hope that you enjoy reading these 25 policy proposals; that you see the energy and promise of the next generation. More importantly, we hope that you will use these policy proposals to better the lives of working families in the United States. Sincerely, Eva DuGoff and Rob Nelb Editors, Roosevelt Challenge on Working Families

Acknowledgments

The Roosevelt Institution recognizes and thanks the following people for their outstanding dedication to the success of this inaugural publication. Any accolades earned by this new venture are due to their guidance and aid. Kyle Atwell Paul Burow Chandni Challa Kirti Datla Eva DuGoff James Elias Nicholas Greenfield Emily Hallet William Hollingsworth Caitlin Howarth Rea Howarth Suzanne Kahn Olivia Katz Nate Loewentheil Zach Marks Robert Nelb Ernesto Rodriguez Oliver Schulze Kai Stinchcombe

To our friends and donors, whose continued generosity makes the impossible happen every day, thank you.

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ideas

Predatory Payday Lending Reform

Alexander Bartik, Lulu Cheng, Brandon Fong, Gregory Geusic, Benjamin Lazarus, & Jacob Koch; Yale University

By structuring laws to close readily exploited loopholes, states can effectively prevent the predatory payday lending practices that exploit the desperation of America’s workers. Payday lending undermines the economic security of working individuals and families. Many low-income workers, lacking the credit history and collateral needed to obtain a traditional loan but still in need of quick cash, turn to payday lenders who require only a bank account. The borrower gives a postdated personal • Payday lending has grown into a $28 billion check to the lender in return for cash. dollar industry, nearly tripling in size over In most cases, however, borrowers are the past six years. unable to fully repay their debt, and • The average payday loan rollover has an APR they consequently incur repeated ranging from 391 to 443 percent. bounced check fees. The rolled- • The typical borrower pays $793 in fees and over long-term loans have annual payments in order to fully pay off the loan. percentage rates (APRs) of interest ranging from 391 to 443 percent on average. These exorbitant fees and APRs trap needy consumers in endless cycles of debt. Because borrowers are unable to pay off an initial loan, 91 percent of all loans go to borrowers with at least 5 payday loans per year. As a result, the typical borrower ends up paying a total of $793 in order to fully pay off a loan of $325. HISTORY The predatory payday loan industry has undergone a massive expansion over the past few years. A $10 billion national industry in 2000, payday lending grew to a $28 billion industry by 2006. In 2006, the 109th Congress recognized the serious TALKING POINTS threat predatory payday lending • Predatory payday lending exploits needy practices pose to the economic security consumers and traps them in an endless of working Americans, passing the cycle of debt. Talent-Nelson Amendment to cap • Payday lenders readily exploit legal loopholes APR rates on all short-term loans to to avoid regulation in most states. military personnel at 36 percent. • The U.S. Congress prohibited predatory Many states have attempted to regulate lending practices, though to date, only a handful have managed to close the loopholes readily exploited by predatory lenders. ANALYSIS By comparing the laws of states that have successfully prohibited predatory payday lending with those that have not, we can understand how to close loopholes and
payday loans to military personnel in 2006. All other citizens remain at risk. KEY FACTS

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prohibit these exploitative practices across the country. Illinois legislation passed in 2001 and 2005 has overwhelmingly failed to prevent predatory practices because the laws target specific loan lengths. For example, when lenders were prohibited from charging high interest rates on loans shorter than 30 days, they immediately began offering 31-day loans with the same high APRs. Connecticut, on the other hand, uses a broad usury law, capping all small loan APRs at a more reasonable rate. This has effectively prevented predatory payday lending in the state. Around the country, the market for predatory payday loans is driven by a lack of knowledge about alternatives and consequences, so credit counseling and education services should accompany any usury regulations. AUDIENCE Predatory payday lending regulation can be implemented on the state or national level. Each state has its own banking and usury laws, and successful regulation generally expands these laws to better regulate payday lenders. National legislation would also be effective. Education and credit counseling services can be developed on any level, though the responsibility for implementation will ultimately rest with local communities. NEXT STEPS States should act to implement legislation preventing predatory payday lending practices. Laws must be broad, placing APR caps on all small loans, and applying to all citizens. This way, lenders will be unable to continue modifying loan terms to avoid regulation. State regulations on short-term loans should include several stipulations. A “cooling-off period,” when borrowers are limited to one loan at a time and must wait 15 days between paying off one loan and taking out another, along with a cap limiting loan rollovers to two, will help prevent consumers from getting trapped in an endless cycle of debt. Alternatives to payday loans do exist, and borrowers should be informed of these alternatives. Credit unions, social service programs, charities and faith-based organizations throughout the country offer assistance to individuals in financial need, both in the form of loans and free credit counseling. All states also have winter heating cost assistance programs aimed at eliminating a major cause of payday loan demand. Public education campaigns should be established to inform individuals that payday loans are not the only option for fast cash. ————————————
SOURCES

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Keith Ernst et al. Quantifying the Economic Costs of Predatory Payday Lending. Durham, NC: The Center for Responsible Lending, February 24, 2004. Uriah King et al., Financial Quicksand. Durham, NC: The Center for Responsible Lending, November 30, 2006. Talent-Nelson Amendment (SA 4331) to the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill (S2766). Greed: an in-Depth Study of the Debt Collection Practices, Interest Rates, and Customer Base of a Major Illinois Payday Lender. Monsignor John Egan Campaign for Payday Loan Reform. 2004. 10 Jan. 2007 www.citizenaction-il.org/issues/payday

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Expanding Access to Services to Combat Child Poverty in New York State
Charlotta Chung, Saint Lawrence University

In order to combat child poverty, changes should be made in how our welfare system provides services and money, primarily by modifying existing restrictions and significantly expanding the number of people eligible for access to government support. It is necessary to modify our conception of poverty and those in need because our current standards are hopelessly inadequate in estimating the number of children in poverty. Current government service eligibility standards disenfranchise many needy children and families, even though their incomes are insufficient to meet their KEY FACTS basic needs. Without a more accurate • Nineteen percent of all children in New estimation of what constitutes need, far York State in 2000 lived in poverty too many children will continue to be according to federal standards. excluded from services, regardless of the • The 2007 federal poverty level for a insufficiency of their income. By choosing family of four is $20,650. to move away from a reliance on federal • The self-sufficiency standard for a family poverty guidelines, New York State will of four ranges from $48,000 in New York be able to more accurately estimate the City to $34,000 in Albany County. actual number of children living in poverty and proactively treat the problem. New variable poverty rates that reflect cost of living disparities in different areas and are based on a self-sufficiency standard should be established and used for determining eligibility for services. This will increase the number of people eligible for services, particularly those who were previously excluded because of income higher than poverty levels, but far below a self-sufficiency standard. HISTORY Federal poverty guidelines are outdated, relying on methodology and data based on a model from 1963 that fails to incorporate the social and economic changes that have occurred since. They rely solely on food costs as a proportion of income to determine poverty levels, disproportionate TALKING POINTS ignoring • New York State relies on federal poverty guidelines growth in healthcare, childcare and transportation costs as a to estimate the number of children in poverty. percentage of income, as well as • This fundamental change would have a major housing costs. impact on public services, but would potentially
increase the impact of said services by helping families & individuals achieve meaningful, stable self-sufficiency.

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As such, they drastically underestimate the number of people, including children, who

live in poverty. To provide an alternative, the self-sufficiency standard was created by Dr. Diana Pearce and Wider Opportunities for Women as a way to more accurately measure the lowest income level needed for adults or families to meet basic need without subsidy. It takes into account the living costs that the federal poverty guidelines ignore, and establishes a minimum income needed to meet basic need without government subsidy. Any family or person falling short of this minimum should be eligible for government subsidy or services. ANALYSIS The costs of implementing this program would vary based on geography and the number of people these changes would affect, but presumably would be quite high. However, the costs are justified when realizing the negative outcomes associated with childhood poverty would be greatly ameliorated, thus reducing costs associated with them. It is clear that reliance on federal guidelines is insufficient in determining need. Eligibility for welfare and food stamps stands at less than a third of the self-sufficiency standard, and the monetary benefits associated with those programs is nowhere near the self-sufficiency standard. The full-time minimum wage, which puts a family above federal poverty lines and thus ineligible for many programs is still less than half the self-sufficiency standard. NEXT STEPS • Begin lobbying state legislators to explore alternative measures of poverty. • Advocate for changes in eligibility for government services. • Those most affected by current poverty standards are the most important players in a push for new legislation and fundamental, systemic change in the current system. Informing and organizing this community around this issue, so that they can act as their own advocates for change, will be crucial to the process of raising these families and their children out of poverty.

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SOURCES

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“The Self-Sufficiency Standard.” Six Strategies for Family Economic Self-Sufficiency (http:// www.sixstrategies.org/sixstrategies/selfsufficiencystandard.cfm). Federal Poverty Guidelines. (http://www.atdn.org/access/poverty.html).

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State Earned Income Tax Credits

Alexander Bartik, Brandon Fong, Gregory Geusic, and Eric Kafka, Yale University

By piggybacking off of the enormously successful federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program, states can provide much-needed tax relief to lowincome workers with minimal administrative costs. Nationwide, America’s working KEY FACTS families are struggling. The national • In 2002, the federal EITC lifted 4.9 million poverty rate for 2003 was 12.5 people, including 2.7 million children, out of percent and purchasing power parity poverty in the United States. continues to decline. The federal • In 2004, 21.4 million families and individuals Earned Income Tax Credit already received the EITC. serves as a major federal program • Without the federal EITC, the child poverty to address these problems. In 2004, rate would be almost one-fourth higher. 21.4 million taxpayers received the • In 2003, 22.1 million families and individuals EITC for a total amount of $39.3 received the EITC. billion in assistance. Families with children received, on average, $2,100 from the EITC. State Earned Income Tax Credits, or EITCs, serve as an easy, proven way to reduce poverty and make work more rewarding for low-income individuals. HISTORY The federal Earned Income Tax Credit was established in 1975 as a way to reduce poverty by encouraging work. It does this by supplementing the wages of lowincome workers with a tax credit. In principle, the federal EITC seeks to keep all working citizens above a poverty threshold, above which the credit is gradually phased out. Currently, the EITC serves as the largest means-based federal anti-poverty assistance program. The success of the federal EITC has inspired similar supplemental programs in twenty-one states. Generally, using similar criteria as on the federal level, state programs provide the financial support for additional income supplements in order to reduce poverty and reward work. Additionally, several local municipalities, including New York City, San Francisco, CA, and Montgomery County, MD, have established their own EITCs to refund local taxes.
TALKING POINTS • The EITC encourages employment, providing assistance only to those who choose to work. • Recognizing the overwhelming success of the federal program, twenty-one states have adopted their own programs, most using federal qualifying standards to provide additional relief to supplement the federal program. • A state EITC would further increase employment. These new wages would serve as an economic stimulus since low-wage workers have high marginal propensities to consume.

AUDIENCE Earned Income Tax Credits are useful and effective anti-poverty programs that can be implemented at any level of government that imposes an income tax. States can implement

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these programs with very little administrative work by simply piggybacking off of the federal eligibility program. This policy has proven effective in twenty-one states to date. ANALYSIS The EITC is a refundable credit against federal income taxes for low-wage workers. As a result, individuals must work to qualify for the credit, and the credit varies depending on earnings. The EITC is “refundable,” meaning that if the amount of tax credit a worker qualifies for exceeds the amount of federal income taxes he or she pays, the worker receives a refund from the federal government. Essentially, the EITC allows claimants to pay less income tax, no income tax, or receive a tax refund. This refundable nature allows the EITC to help even those who pay very little federal income tax. By supplementing wages, the Earned Income Tax Credit serves as a positive incentive for impoverished Americans to transfer from welfare to the work force. EITCs have been particularly effective in encouraging single parents, who compose two-thirds of EITC recipients, to increase work. NEXT STEPS On a state level, any state that has an income tax and has not established a refundable state EITC should do so. This provides a simple way to provide assistance to a state’s lowest-income individuals, namely by shielding them from state income taxes. Cities and counties should consider doing the same to refund local income taxes. Beyond this measure, all levels of government can act to expand the qualification criteria for EITCs. Currently, the federal EITC only differentiates between zero, one, and two or more children for family income. As a result, a family with six children receives the same benefit and must meet the same eligibility threshold as a family with only two children, even though the federal poverty guidelines adjust for each additional child. Furthermore, all levels of government can raise the income qualification level for the EITC in order to provide relief to those families who are slightly above the poverty line but still struggle to pay expenses. Combined, these efforts will provide much needed relief and help to build the economic security of America’s working families. ————————————
SOURCES

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Ami Nagle and Nicholas Johnson, “A Hand Up: How State Earned Income Tax Credits Help Working Families Escape Poverty in 2006 Summary.” March 8, 2006. Bruce D. Meyer and Dan T. Rosenbaum, “Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects.” New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2001. Greenstein, Robert, The Earned Income Tax Credit: Boosting Employment, Aiding the Working Poor. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: 2005. 21 Jan. 2006 < http://www.cbpp.org/7-19-05eic.htm>. National Center for Children in Poverty, United States: Federal Earned Income Tax Credit. NCCP Policy Profiles. <http://www.nccp.org/profiles/US_profile_27.html>. The Hatcher Group. “State EITC Online Resource Center.” 30 May 2006 <www.stateeitc.org>.

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Partnerships for Minority Empowerment: Restructuring the Current Population Survey
Helen Cheung, Leo Espino, University of Washington

Government-nonprofit partnerships should combine their trade-specific strengths to encourage minority and immigrant participation in the Current Population Survey, with the government providing financial resources and the local nonprofits supplying their frontline knowledge. The Census Bureau administers the KEY FACTS Current Population Survey (CPS) with • Many local nonprofit organizations the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The often step up to bridge the gap between less well-known CPS tracks monthly governments and minorities. fluctuations in the American population • As partnerships are secured and the between each major decennial census partnership program expanded nationwide, and provides data about household the number of minorities reached could makeup, income, and the labor force. increase tremendously. These data help policymakers and • The costs would decrease proportionally researchers identify problems and are from the additional $15.93 per case. essential for developing corrective policies and establishing fair funding apportionment. Currently, the CPS Field Division faces the challenge of encouraging greater minority participation in Census surveys. Representative data is needed to ensure the equitable allocation of funds to publicly funded programs. Because a significant number of minorities are recipients of public welfare programs, communities with a high concentration of minorities may face an undersupply of essential public services.
TALKING POINTS • Partnerships with local organizations create an opportunity to increase minority response by tapping into local assets and experience for outreach efforts. • Partners will serve as information outlets and become a regular part of the survey implementation process. As ambassadors, they eliminate language and cultural barriers. • While the startup cost per case will be high, at $15.93 above current costs, the future expansion, resourcesharing, and division of labor between the Census Bureau and partners will lower long-run costs.

However, current survey policies do not effectively address the reasons for minority unresponsiveness, which include language barriers, lack of knowledge about the Census, mistrust of government, and the feeling that they do not “own” the process to a significant extent. Local nonprofits can help bridge the gap between the government and minorities.

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HISTORY While the Bureau has achieved some success in nonprofit partnership efforts during the decennial census, these partnerships are abandoned once the decennial has

been completed, consequently mismanaging and damaging these valuable frontline resources. Innovating and striving to nurture CPS-nonprofit partnerships may help ameliorate the problem of under-enumeration and benefit unemployed minority and immigrant households. ANALYSIS Partnerships with local governments and organizations would have the greatest potential of increasing the minority response rates by tapping into those groups’ local assets and experience for outreach efforts. It is clear that the status quo, though ‘safe,’ lacks the formal ability to get minorities involved. An alternative low-cost, pre-survey outreach policy through self-administered questionnaires does not guarantee increased participation. An online survey system is likely to increase participation rates; yet, it is highly geographically and demographically dependent and involves high risks due to the increased likelihood of security breaches. Two counties were examined in this analysis. The estimated annual cost of a partnership program in King (urban) and Yakima (rural) counties is $86,000. The initial additional cost per case for both counties above the status quo is $15.93. In budgetary support for partnerships, as the program geographically expands without incurring substantial additional property or staffing costs, partners would become increasingly involved and given a stake in the survey. Partners assist in the outreach process, potentially lowering the Bureau’s interviewer travel and time costs. AUDIENCE The Field Division, as the public face of the Census Bureau, must be able to connect with underrepresented minorities. The Director of the Field Division sets national survey policies regarding matters such as the degree of interviewer assertiveness, development of outreach strategies, and establishment of interagency partnerships. NEXT STEPS Begin a roundtable discussion with legislators, the Census Bureau and the Current Population Survey sponsor to determine program standards and ways to flexibly allocate a budget to support an ongoing partnership effort. Other interested stakeholders are recommended for roundtable inclusion once a discourse framework is established. Comprehensive pilot programs in test areas are recommended before implementation of a nationwide partnership program.

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SOURCES

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LeRoux, Kelly. 2007. Nonprofits as civic intermediaries – The Role of community-based organizations in promoting political participation. Urban Affairs Review 42, no. 3: 410-423. Schmitt, John, and Dean Baker. 2006. The Impact of Undercounting in the Current Population Survey. Center for Economic and Policy Research (August), http://www. cepr.net/publications/cps_declining_coverage_2006_08.pdf. United Nations Development Programme. 2002. Civic Engagement. Essentials, no. 8 (October), http://www.undp.org/surf-panama/docs/ EssentialsCivicEngagement.pdf

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Indexing the Massachusetts Minimum Wage
Jason Poulos, University of Massachusetts

Massachusetts should increase the state minimum wage and index it to the Consumer Price Index to restore the purchasing power that the minimum wage has lost over the past decade and to protect its purchasing power against future inflation. Income inequality has grown more in Massachusetts than in forty-seven other states over the past two decades. Earnings for the highest income families in Massachusetts have grown almost five times as fast as those for low-income KEY FACTS families. Higher levels of economic • Earnings for the highest income families in inequality are associated with Massachusetts have grown almost five times as increased levels of crime, poor fast as those for low-income families. health, high mortality rates, poor • The real value of the Massachusetts minimum schools, and poor housing. To restore the real purchasing power that the minimum wage has lost over the past decades— and to protect that purchasing power against future inflation— the minimum wage should be increased and indexed.
wage has deteriorated by 27 percent since its inflation-adjusted peak in 1968. • Since the legislature’s action to increase the minimum wage in 2000, the Massachusetts poverty rate has fallen from 10.8 percent to 9.5 percent in 2003.

Specifically, a nominal increase to $9.65/hr., effective January 1, 2009, is necessary to ensure that minimum wage workers earn the same in real terms that their counterparts received in 1968. In addition, beginning January 1, 2009, and annually thereafter, the minimum wage should be adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). HISTORY In 2002, Oregon voters agreed to raise TALKING POINTS • Up to 404,000 Massachusetts workers, or the state minimum wage and mandate 13.8 percent of the total workforce, will automatic annual increases to ensure that the minimum wage keeps pace benefit when the minimum wage is raised. • Indexing the minimum wage protects its with inflation. In 2006, Oregon’s minimum wage was $7.50 an hour. real value and will improve earnings for lowwage workers, help reduce poverty rates, and In January, it increased to $7.80. Since 2002, Oregon’s economy has strengthen the state economy. thrived. Private non-farm payrolls are up eight percent over the past four years, which is nearly twice the national increase. In industries employing minimumwage workers, such as restaurants and hotels, job growth has been strong.

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While Oregon’s estimated 5.4 percent unemployment rate for 2006 is higher than the national average, it is down from 7.6 percent in 2002, when the state was emerging from a recession. Florida, Vermont, and Washington have similar laws requiring inflation-adjustments to the state minimum wage. ANALYSIS The biggest obstacle in advancing this proposal may be the lack of political will on Beacon Hill. The Legislature is unlikely to take up the divisive minimum wage issue again in the current session. Legislators may also become complacent because, at $8 per hour, the state minimum wage will become the highest in the country. However, a policy that raises the minimum wage and protects its real value will improve earnings for low-wage workers, help reduce poverty rates, and strengthen the state economy. The real earnings of low-wage workers have steadily progressed since 1995, when the Commonwealth began raising the minimum wage. When low-wage workers have more funds for education and job training for higherskilled jobs, the state will attract more businesses. More money will circulate in the state economy, and more tax revenue will be collected, which will help alleviate our communities’ current fiscal crisis. NEXT STEPS Legislators can use Florida, Oregon, Vermont and Washington as case studies that illustrate the positive impact of an inflation-indexed state minimum wage. The next step is to pass a law through the Massachusetts legislature. While this proposal is focused on Massachusetts, all states should seriously consider nominal increases and indexing their minimum wage laws.

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SOURCES

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Berger, Noah. “New directions in closing income gap.” Boston Globe, February 16, 2006. Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. 2006. “The Growing Gap: Income Inequality in Massachusetts. Boston, MA: Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. http://www. massbudget.org/growing_gap.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007). Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. 2004. “Keeping It Real: The Effects of Increasing and Indexing the Massachusetts Minimum Wage.” http://www.massbudget.org/article.php?id=261 (accessed January 12, 2007). Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. 2006. “Facts and Claims on Raising the Massachusetts Minimum Wage.”http://www.massbudget.org/Facts_and_Claims_on_ the_Minimum_Wage.pdf. Soloman, Deborah. “Weighing Minimum Wage Hikes: Oregon’s Boost Didn’t Curb Growth, But Did Squeeze Some Employers,” Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2006. Available at: http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB116250968954211912ulbQAzJn_bfqr5q1NjAS2gGurCU_20071102.html?mod=rss_free.

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Tax-based Automatic Enrollment in SCHIP
Robert Nelb, Yale University

States and the Federal government should use tax return information to streamline income eligibility and automatically enroll children in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). In 1997, the federal government created SCHIP to ensure healthcare coverage for America’s children living in poverty. Ten years later, over 34 million children are enrolled under Medicaid and SCHIP. Yet nine million children still lack health insurance, three-quarters of whom are eligible for but not enrolled in SCHIP. Access and awareness are the most KEY FACTS common barriers to SCHIP enrollment • Nine million children in the United States cited by parents of uninsured children. are uninsured. In many states, SCHIP enrollment is a • 74 percent of these children are eligible but complicated process which is separate not enrolled in Medicaid/SCHIP. from other social services and which • The majority of Americans (over 90 percent) may require taking time off from work believes that providing health insurance to for face-to-face interviews. Moreover, children is the right thing to do. many parents are not aware that their children qualify for the program. Recent state-led outreach efforts have made some progress in addressing these issues, but more decisive action is needed to close the gap between eligibility and enrollment. Automatically enrolling eligible children in SCHIP is the simplest and most practical way to close this gap. Several studies suggest that switching to an opt-out system instead of an opt-in one can dramatically improve enrollment. Using tax returns to facilitate automatic enrollment makes sense because the relevant information for determining eligibility is already included in the tax return. A patient’s medical conditions TALKING POINTS or medical expenses would not • This plan will reduce unnecessary bureaucracy be required, and thus HIPAA and significantly improve access to care for Protected Health Information millions of children. would not be violated. Tax-based • The only significant cost of this proposal is paying enrollment would also have the for the health care coverage that has already been added benefit of encouraging promised to children and their families. families to file their taxes on time • Protected health information will not be shared and to take advantage of other taxwith the IRS and privacy will be maintained. based government programs, such as Child Care Credits and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This proposal could be piloted at the state or federal level as a supplement to existing outreach efforts, and it has the potential to be integrated with other plans to reform the tax code and to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy in our nation’s vital social programs.

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HISTORY In the past ten years, SCHIP has significantly reduced the number of uninsured children. Enrolling eligible children in the program, however, has always been difficult. Several states are trying novel means of outreach, such as offering enrollment at community centers and streamlining eligibility with Food Stamps, WIC, and other programs. Nevertheless, many of these policies are relatively resource-intensive and still rely on opt-in strategies rather than more effective opt-out ones. ANALYSIS The tax system has already become an important vehicle for ensuring health care coverage. Tax-exempt Health Savings Accounts and state-based efforts to provide credits for health care coverage are notable examples. This proposal builds on previous efforts by not only providing a financial incentive for insurance but by actually enrolling individuals in programs they qualify for. This policy would significantly streamline the enrollment and renewal process for applicants and administrators, and thus it has the potential to save money on administrative costs in the long run. Also, aligning SCHIP renewal with the tax calendar should not be a significant change since 44 states have already adopted a 12month renewal period for Medicaid/SCHIP. Some may be concerned that eligible families may not file their taxes, but closer analysis reveals that this fear is unfounded. Experience with the EITC, for example, has shown that despite some challenges in receiving filings from households without children, over 90 percent of eligible households with one or two children take advantage of the credit. To be truly effective, however, additional efforts will be needed to inform families about changes, and traditional forms of enrollment should not be cut before reform is fully implemented. NEXT STEPS Because SCHIP is funded by states and the federal government, reform can happen at either level. Current proposals for SCHIP reauthorization and tax simplification offer opportunities to include this policy in federal reform efforts, but history suggests that a state-based approach may be more feasible.

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SOURCES

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Burban, Leonard and Deborah Kobes. “Analysis of GAO Study of EITC Eligibility and Participation.” Urban Institute. 1 Jan 2002. Available at <www.urban.org/ publications/410435.html>. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. “Enrolling Uninsured LowIncome Children in Medicaid and SCHIP.” Kaiser Family Foundation. January 2007. Available at < http://www.kff.org/medicaid/upload/2177-05.pdf>. *A full list of sources is available upon request.

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Increasing Healthcare Insurance Enrollment In the District of Columbia
Matthew Parelman, George Washington University

To reduce the number of uninsured residents, the District of Columbia should pass a law mandating that all applicants for city low-income services be screened and, if appropriate, enrolled in a public healthcare program. The District of Columbia (D.C.) already has the necessary programs in place to provide healthcare KEY FACTS insurance to many of the 50,000 residents who are • D.C. has one of the nation’s highest rates of uninsured residents. In 1994-95, the proportion of people without uninsured. However, health insurance in the D.C. was 18.7 percent, compared D.C.’s health insurance to 15.5 percent nationwide. That is approximately programs are underutilized 50,000 uninsured people at any one time and 75,000 at because many of the some time during the year. District’s residents do not know these programs exist • African Americans, who account for 58 percent of District residents, are 2.5 times more likely to be or how to enroll. Congress uninsured than whites; Latinos, who account for nine and the D.C. City Council percent of the population, are eight times more likely to should pass a law requiring be uninsured. that all applicants for lowincome services, such as • In 2000, 6.7 million uninsured children across the United States were uninsured. Of those children without food stamps or welfare, be health insurance, 60 percent were eligible for Medicaid screened and, if eligible, and 24 percent were eligible for SCHIP. enrolled in the appropriate government-provided insurance program. HISTORY This idea has not been tried in any state or city. Healthcare insurance requirements exist for university students, but such requirements do not exist for low-income social programs. Many universities, including George Washington University, require their students to have health insurance or to enroll in the university’s health insurance program. Such requirements for government-provided insurance simply do not exist for social programs.

TALKING POINTS • This proposal addresses the primary reason D.C. residents are uninsured: a lack of awareness about how to enroll in government health insurance programs. • By coupling an insurance requirement with services such as welfare and food stamps, the D.C. government can catch many of the adults and children who qualify for government health insurance programs, but who would not otherwise enroll. • In the long run, increasing access to healthcare through government programs will lower healthcare costs for the state.

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ANALYSIS Of persons lacking insurance in the District of Columbia between the ages of 18 and 64, 15 percent stated that they have no regular source for healthcare. Twentyone percent of this age group stated hospital emergency rooms were their regular source for healthcare. Forty-five percent of uninsured persons stated that they have not had a medical visit in the past 12 months, and 76 percent stated that they see no particular doctor when sick. This is compared with seven percent of those covered by Medicaid, who have not had a medical appointment in the past 12 months. AUDIENCE This policy benefits the taxpayer as well as the uninsured. The uninsured become healthier and can have regular medical visits to stay healthy, thereby shifting the force of medicine to preventative care rather than emergency care, and reducing healthcare costs overall. The taxpayers end up paying less due to fewer persons relying on emergency room care, which tends to cost significantly more than preventative medicine provided by regular visits to a primary health physician. A healthier population with healthcare insurance reduces healthcare costs for the entire population despite the costs of insurance. This type of policy should not be restricted to the District of Columbia alone, either. Any city, state, or national government can adopt such a policy to increase enrollment in governmentprovided health insurance. NEXT STEPS A more thorough investigation into such a policy’s effects and methods of implementation is needed. The District will need to identify which programs health insurance can be coupled with in order to maximize the efficacy of the program, reducing the number of uninsured persons as much as possible. It might also be worthwhile to explore the impact of preventative medicine policies in Great Britain and other countries through a comparative study that could show how the U.S. should design its system for optimum efficiency and cost-savings over a transition period of 5+ years.

———————————— SOURCES ———————————— Bovbjerg, Randall R. 2006. The Urban Institute. The Uninsured in the District of Columbia. Lillie-Blanton, Marsha. 2003. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). D.C. Health Care Access Survey. Walker, Bailus. Health Care Coverage Advisory Panel to the D.C. Department of Health. Report on Improving Health Insurance Coverage in the District of Columbia.

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Certificate-of-Need Laws: Barriers to Lower Costs and Higher Quality
Deep J. Shah, University of Georgia

Certificate-of-Need (CON) laws restrict competition among healthcare providers and lead to higher healthcare costs. Removing CON laws in every state will reduce federal healthcare spending and improve healthcare quality for every American. Certificate-of-Need (CON) laws require providers to receive state approval before offering a number of healthcare services. The laws reflect a belief that limiting the number of providers reduces healthcare spending. This basic premise runs counter KEY FACTS to the simplest principle of economic • CON laws have been manipulated into theory, which states that costs diminish anti-competitive measures against new, when supply increases. CON laws, which entrepreneurial providers. limit the supply of providers, have actually • Approximately 65 percent of Americans raised costs nationwide and lowered live in states with CON laws. healthcare quality in many states. • Studies indicate that CON laws raise
costs by as much as 20 percent in certain states.

The federal government should provide incentive for states to repeal CON laws and restrict federal funding for states that keep them in place. To succeed in the new competitive climate, providers will be compelled to offer higher quality services at lower prices and operate more efficiently. As the government will then pay lower fees for many health services, it TALKING POINTS will incur savings that it can apply • CON laws are anachronistic regulations from the toward expanding the scope and era of cost-based services. availability of government health • With managed care dominating health care insurance programs. To ensure that all Americans receive the benefit of this repeal, state governments should levy taxes on all new facilities that offer hospital-type services. State governments should require these providers to contribute a percentage of their revenue to community reinvestment and redistribution programs. In this way, the government will raise new funds from corporations—rather than patients—to ensure improved coverage and quality. Community health boards should use this money to build facilities in areas of need. Moreover, all providers should be required to accept a pre-determined percentage of government-supported and uninsured patients.
today, these measure fail to serve their purpose of lowering health care costs. • CON laws have actually raised costs and lowered quality in a number of states.

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HISTORY Policymakers designed CON laws for states to implement during the 1970s in an attempt to lower surging healthcare costs nationwide. However, the federal mandate was repealed within a few years because the measures failed to reduce aggregate spending. Since then, some state legislatures have completely lifted the laws, while others have selectively applied them in certain service areas. ANALYSIS The government has inadvertently provided existing hospitals with a monopoly over healthcare services through Certificate of Need laws. Hospitals and other providers can thus charge the government unnecessarily high fees for patient care. Certificate-ofNeed laws also restrict innovation and disincentivize entrepreneurial efforts to improve health care quality and efficiency. Repealing CON laws will allow new facilities, like ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), and save government funds through competition. If ASCs, which often charge lower rates for surgical procedures than hospitals, had been widely available and used in 2001, Medicare could have saved $1 billion dollars in one year alone. Numerous studies point to the CON laws’ failure to constrain costs in other health service sectors. AUDIENCE Existing healthcare providers may fear loss of revenue and eventual department or facility closure. However, the increased government subsidies they will receive should ease this concern. Additionally, more providers will enter the market to share the responsibility of pro bono care. Healthcare entrepreneurs, be they businesses or physician groups, can reasonably support this measure. NEXT STEPS As a separate measure to support struggling hospitals, the government should provide significant subsidies to both old and new providers that serve low-income populations, similar to existing disproportionate share policies.

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SOURCES

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“State and County Quickfacts,” United States Census Bureau, Washington, D.C., 2005, <www.quickfacts.census.gov> (5 February 2007). Lanning, Joyce A., Michael E. Morrisey, Robert L. Ohsfeldt, “Endogenous Hospital Regulation and Its Effects on Hospital and Non-Hospital Expenditures,” Journal of Regulatory Economics 3 (1991)::137-54. Federal Trade Commission & Department of Justice, “Improving Health Care: A Dose of Competition,” Washington, DC: Federal Trade Commission & Department of Justice, 2004. Medical Association of Georgia, “Certificate of Need,” News from Medical Association of Georgia, Novemnber 2006. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, “Payment for Procedures in Outpatient Departments and Ambulatory Surgery Centers,” Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Jan. 2003).

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Single-Payer Healthcare
Jake Grumbach, Columbia University

By implementing a Medicare-style health insurance plan for all Americans, paid for through income and estate taxes, we can provide more adequate care for everyone and help the 18,000 people who die each year due to a lack of health insurance. Single payer health insurance is a system like Medicare, in which people pay for their coverage through taxes to the federal government, which then distributes it to hospitals and clinics based upon their particular needs. Not only is a single payer system much more efficient, but it will also reduce the unfair burden on the working class to pay for a corporate health care plan. Patient care will remain the same or KEY FACTS improve, doctors and hospitals will • Forty-five million Americans are uninsured. remain private, and every American • Eighteen thousand people die each year due will be able choose his or her own to a lack of health insurance, according to the doctor—the government has no say Institute of Medicine. in their policies or decisions. The • $286 billion can be saved with single-payer only thing that will change is the health care, according to Harvard researchers. efficiency of the way we pay for and deal with insurance. Currently, over one-fourth of medical expenses are spent on administrative costs. According to a Harvard Medical School study, a national health insurance system such as the one proposed would save Americans over $286 billion, because it would eliminate most administrative waste. These savings are more than enough to cover every uninsured person, provide prescription drugs for seniors, and drastically improve the quality of care all Americans receive in the United States. Working families in particular will benefit. In 2005, each worker with employerbased insurance paid an average of 18 TALKING POINTS percent ($564 per year) of his or her • The United States is the only health insurance costs out of pocket, which means working Americans must spend a industrialized country without a disproportionate part of their income on national health care program that this basic necessity. By financing the single covers all citizens. payer insurance through a two percent • Single payer health care is the most income tax and a two percent estate tax, we efficient way to provide health care for every American—those who cannot can stop the regressive taxation system that puts an unfair burden on working families. pay and those who can. Universal health care has been on the tip of the progressive tongue for years, but this is not the time for an employer mandate. It is time to bring the single payer health care plan to the legislative spotlight, and wholeheartedly pursuing the best solution for those who have the fewest resources.

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The words of Franklin Roosevelt ring true: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” HISTORY The United States is the only industrialized country without a national health care program. Moreover, we pay much more for health care than any other country in the world, yet 11.2 percent of children under 18 are not even insured. Even our public expenditure on healthcare alone ($2,468 per year) is well above the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average, yet our inefficient system of employer-based insurance wastes so much money that we receive inadequate coverage and care. Combining American ingenuity with a more efficient funding method will allow us to finally give our citizens the best care in the world. ANALYSIS The two alternative methods to achieve universal health care are an employer-mandate and an individual-mandate, but neither are as effective as single-payer. American employees with insurance through their jobs paid an average of 18 percent of their health insurance costs from their own pockets. Thus, an employer-mandate, requiring all employers to cover their full-time workers, would not end this economic strain on working families. Similarly, Massachusetts has implemented an individual-mandate plan that legally requires each adult to have insurance. Although this is a step in the right direction, the policy will force working families to purchase cheap insurance plans, which, in terms of benefits, are barely any better than not having any health insurance. A family would be hit with large co-pays if someone has a serious illness, while the insurance companies make billions more by selling little coverage. NEXT STEPS To avoid an economic jolt and a rapid downfall of health insurance companies, the plan will be phased-in annually through Medicare. Each year, Medicare will cover Americans ten years younger. In other words, if the single-payer plan is adopted in 2009, then Americans above 55 will be covered by Medicare, followed by 45, then 35, and so on. The process will stop at 18, the year after it hits 25. ————————————
SOURCES

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“Desperate Measures.” The Economist. January 26, 2006. Insuring America’s Health: Principles and Recommendations. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. “National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in Private Industry in the United States.” Eds. U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005. Priorities, Center on Budget and Policy. “The Number of Uninsured Americans Is at an All-Time High”. Washington, DC, 2006. <http://www.cbpp.org/8-29-06health.htm>. Ruth, Erin. Health Care Financing and Reimbursement: College of Human Medicine of Michigan State University 2005. Woolhandler, Dr., and Dr. Himmelstein. “Study Shows National Health Insurance Could Save $286 Bullion on Health Care Paperwork”. 2004. Public Citizen. <http://www. citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=1623>.

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Primary Adult Care: Pulling Maryland Citizens out of the Uninsured Trap
Laurel Murphy, John Hopkins University

Maryland should amend the Code of Maryland Regulations to eliminate the asset requirements for the Primary Adult Care (PAC) program. Eligibility requirements should be based solely on age, residence, and income to better serve individuals with low incomes. Primary health care, though often disregarded, provides essential screening and management for many of the chronic and costly KEY FACTS ailments that affect more and • In order to qualify for the PAC program, an individual more Americans, including must have $4000 or less in his or her bank accounts, diabetes and cancer. Access IRA, stocks and bonds, and other assets, not including to inexpensive primary care his or her first house or car. could substantially decrease • Primary care detects potentially serious health problems federal and state health before they reach unmanageable proportions, thus care spending, as well as providing a cost-effective approach to healthcare. save individuals money and • In Maryland, nearly 700,000 people are uninsured. improve overall quality of life. The Maryland Primary Adult Care (PAC) program provides free access to a family physician, free out-patient mental health services, and low-priced or free prescription drugs to adults over the TALKING POINTS age of 19. PAC provides access to primary care for • Over time, the program can help diminish the $1.47 billion spent providing health care for the uninsured in those who neither receive health insurance benefits Maryland. • Adults with health insurance will no longer be forced to from their employers nor through private groups. seek Emergency Room care for needs that could have We propose that Maryland move to income-only eligibility requirements for PAC in order to extend PAC’s services to all who need them. Penalizing hard-working people for having modest savings— more than $4,000 for an individual—is counterproductive, especially if the individual needs those assets for later health care costs not covered by PAC.
been eliminated by access to primary care. • Assigning income as the main determinant of eligibility will allow more Marylanders to have access to the program and may diminish administrative costs. • Since PAC only covers primary care, recipients may need any and all assets to cover specialty health care, should the need arise.

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HISTORY The idea of income-only based eligibility requirements for primary health care programs serving financially disadvantaged populations is not new. For example, the Shepherd’s Clinic of Baltimore, which provides primary care, uses income as its primary eligibility requirement. This exemplary clinic provides primary care during over 4,000 patient visits per year, in addition to specialty care and referrals to the many services of nearby Union Memorial Hospital. ANALYSIS While costs of coverage will increase with the enrollment of more individuals in the program, other states that have liberalized their asset requirements found that the decreased administrative costs made the move economically feasible. In addition, by covering more individuals for primary care, the plan should prevent the need for expensive, drastic emergency care. It is estimated that $2,371 per year is spent on the health care of each uninsured citizen of Maryland. In the United States as a whole, 80 percent of uninsured individuals come from working families, so it makes sense to analyze income to determine eligibility for government-assisted services. AUDIENCE The state of Maryland, specifically the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, sponsors PAC, along with a host of other medical programs. Ultimately, this program aims to help the nearly 700,000 Maryland residents who lack health insurance. Primary Adult Care will ideally help to “stop little problems before they become big health problems.” NEXT STEPS The next step is to pass a law to change the Code of Maryland Regulations for Maryland Primary Adult Care to eliminate the ‘assets’ portion of the eligibility process. The Maryland Department of Health and Human Services will need to review previously denied applications in order to locate those who qualify under the new regulations.

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SOURCES

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Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. The Uninsured: A Primer. Kaiser Family Foundation. http://www.kff.org/uninsured/7451.cfm Our Services. Shepherd’s Clinic. http://www.shepherdsclinic.org/services.php Primary Adult Care (PAC) Program. Maryland Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene. http://www.dhmh.state.md.us/mma/pac/index.htm State Medicaid Fact Sheets. Kaiser Family Foundation. http://www.kff.org/mfs/medicaid. jsp?r1=MD&r2=US Tiedemann, Amy M. Kimberly Fox. An Initiative to Improve Enrollment in Medicare Savings Programs. State Solutions. http://www.statesolutions.rutgers.edu/Reports/ Promising_Strategies_Brief_2005 Waters, Hugh, MS, PhD. Steinhardt, L. Oliver, T. Burton, A. Miller, S. 2007. The Costs of Non-Insurance in Maryland. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 18: 147.

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Expanding the Family Medical Leave Act

Kaitlin Canty and Samantha Sherwood, Union College and University of Connecticut

By reducing the employer eligibility threshold, extending unpaid leave, and adding partial paid leave, we can strengthen the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to better address the needs of working families. With most parents today working outside the home and the imminent retirement of the baby boomer generation, care giving will impact more working families than ever before. The FMLA must be amended to address the concerns of working parents. Any adequate proposal will require time and effort, but the economic and social value of a family-friendly workplace demands it. We propose three policy KEY FACTS initiatives: • Since the passing of the FMLA in 1993, more than 1. Reduce the eligibility 80 million covered and eligible employees have threshold for employers used it to care for themselves or a loved one. from 50 employees to 20. By • However, the current policy only applies to 60 doing so, the percentage of percent of the working Americans and only six working Americans eligible percent of corporations employing Americans. to take leave would increase • Because the FMLA does not currently offer any wage replacement, affordability was cited as the to roughly 82 percent. primary reason why two-thirds of the people 2. Extend the length of leave eligible for leave chose not to take it. to 16 weeks, or 18 weeks if a male takes at least two weeks. This will allow stronger bonds to develop between parents and children, and encourage more men to take leave—promoting greater equality between men and women regarding family care. 3. Provide up to eight weeks of paid leave for each employee funded via a new federal Caregivers Trust Fund. The average American worker will pay an additional $50 a year into the new account, while minimum wage workers will pay an annual amount of about $12. Workers who take leave will earn 50 percent of their weekly wage, up to $800 per week.
TALKING POINTS • Development experts agree that 12 months is insufficient time for parents to bond with new children. • The increase to costs for American workers will be comparatively less than the high cost of institutional child care or nursing homes. • In this plan, employers bear no direct cost burden.

HISTORY Over 125 countries provide some form of paid, jobprotected childbirth leave. The United States does not offer any paid federal leave. Individual states, notably California, have taken the lead in extending the FMLA. In July 2004, California

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instituted up to six weeks of paid partial leave funded entirely by employees. In the first year, 150,000 parents applied for leave for a newborn while 20,000 cared for a sick relative. Seventeen percent of the applicants were fathers. Close to $300 million was paid out to workers during this time, which was less than projected. IMPACT FOR BUSINESS This proposal will cost employers nothing in direct costs since employees fund it through a federal trust fund. Businesses are currently suffering from the existing leave policy. Employees who come to work sick or otherwise distracted cost businesses an estimated $180 billion annually in lost productivity. Enhancing leave policies will decrease turnover and increase morale. IMPACT FOR FAMILIES All employees will be affected by an amendment to the current FMLA. The FMLA is not only for new parents, but also for those with ill family members and those who become sick themselves. While the average cost per American is estimated to be $50 a year (depending on the worker’s salary), the increase to the American worker will be small in comparison to the benefits. Childcare costs parents over $3,000 per year. Likewise, a nursing home for an elderly parent may cost over $70,000 per year in Medicaid benefits. By promoting home care for the elderly and children, the federal government can support families and save money that would otherwise be needed for the rising costs of institutional care. NEXT STEPS This policy needs to be introduced in Congress. The Department of Labor recently issued a public comment period that closed on February 16, 2007, so this is an issue that appears to be on the minds of those in office. Our plan is a solution that can be immediately implemented to address a growing need for working families across the country. ———————————— SOURCES ———————————— At One-Year Mark, California’s Paid Family Leave Law Benefits Thousands of New Parents and Caregivers. The Labor Project for Working Families, 2005. <http://www. paidfamilyleave.org/updates/1year_english.pdf> (accessed March 2007). The Case for Family Leave Insurance. Economic Opportunity Institute, 2004. <http:// www.eoionline.org/FamilyLeave/FLI-CaseforFLIBlueprint.pdf> (accessed March 2007). Frug, Mary et al. Women and the Law. New York: Foundation Press, 2004. California Paid Family Leave. Labor Project for Working Families, 2007. <http://www.paidfamilyleave.org/law.html> (accessed January 2007). Matthews, R. Child care assistance helps families work: A review of the effects of subsidy receipt on employment. Center for Law and Social Policy, 2006. <http://www.clasp.org/publications/ccassistance_employment.pdf> (accessed January 2007). The Provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act. National Organization for Women, 2007. <http://www.now.org/issues/family/fmla.html> (accessed March 2007). Wisensale, S.K. Family leave policy. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2001.

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Crafting State Health Policies to Cover the Uninsured
Lawrence Fried, Cornell University

By creating high-risk insurance pools and tax incentives, individual states can reduce the number of individuals without health insurance coverage. With nearly 47 million Americans aged 18 to 64 lacking health insurance coverage, providing access to healthcare services is the focus of many KEY FACTS political debates. This is a • In 2005, nearly 47 million Americans did not have crisis that affects all Americans, health insurance. including those who are • Cuts in federal funding to Medicaid are set to reach insured, because the cost of $45 billion by 2015. their healthcare is inflated to • Since 1999, the proportion of health insurance coverage pay for the necessary healthcare provided by employers has declined steadily. services provided to the • In 2005, more than 80 percent of the uninsured were uninsured. The current system from working families. of employer-provided health • Nearly 1/3 of minorities were uninsured in 2005. insurance is unsustainable, as • In 2005, more than 80 percent of the uninsured were demonstrated by both the U.S. citizens. rising cost of healthcare • The United States spends almost $100 billion to provide services, and the declining healthcare services to people who are uninsured. percentage of the population covered in this manner. Compounding this, the federal government has implemented a budget that calls for a cut of $45 billion to Medicaid programs by 2015. Therefore, individual states have begun to address the issue by implementing several types of policies. The most effective state policies have been those that involve a combination of tax incentives and high-risk insurance pools. These policies would enable states to provide access to healthcare services to those individuals who are caught in a “gap” because they do not have insurance coverage through their employers, and they do not qualify for Medicaid.
TALKING POINTS • The federal government has sharply reduced funding available to provide healthcare coverage to the uninsured. • Fewer employers are offering healthcare benefits to their employees. • State health policies are an affordable means of offering healthcare coverage to those who are uninsured.

HISTORY Several states have different types of policies, including tax incentives, high-risk pools, and state coverage programs. Other states have enacted various combinations of these policies. Although state coverage programs have been attempted, they’ve been costly. And although approximately 50 percent of healthcare coverage is provided

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through employers, this system is unsustainable due to spiraling costs. Therefore, it is time for states to take up the issue. Massachusetts is at the forefront of this movement, recently establishing a taxincentive program aimed at providing universal healthcare coverage. It involves both an individual mandate to have health insurance coverage, and an employer mandate to offer health insurance. Massachusetts’s program also requires that employers who do not offer healthcare coverage pay into a pool that the state uses to subsidize the cost of premiums for low-income individuals. If successful, Massachusetts will be the only state in the United States to have universal healthcare coverage. ANALYSIS From 1999-2005, there was a significant decline in the share of the population that was covered through employer healthcare coverage; at the same time, the percentage of the population that was uninsured increased. A combination of tax incentives and high-risk pools funded with public monies would be most effective at reversing this trend. High-risk pools would be an effective component of this combination of policies because they would allow people with pre-existing conditions to participate in a coverage program. AUDIENCE Following this course of action would provide healthcare insurance to those individuals aged 18 to 64 who do not receive coverage through their employers and Medicaid. It would reduce the cost of providing healthcare services to those who are uninsured; this cost is currently borne by those who have coverage. In the long run, state governments would have higher budgetary expenses; however, in considering these expenses, the cost that is borne by the general population will decrease. Additionally, emergency room services would be utilized less frequently by the uninsured. NEXT STEPS State legislators and concerned individuals should give serious consideration to adopting state policies involving a combination of state high-risk pools and tax incentives. Massachusetts is the first state to strive for a goal of universal health coverage, the subject of much debate in the United States. Massachusetts’s progress should be closely monitored, so that others who choose to do so can follow in its footsteps.

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SOURCES

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*A full list of sources is available upon request.

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Strengthen Paternity Leave by Encouraging Voluntary Standards for Businesses
Sofia Brill, Yale University

In order to bolster women’s equality in the workplace, the U.S. Department of Labor should promote a non-binding set of standards to strengthen paternity leave. Much ink has been spilled over gender disparities in the workforce. Despite decades of increased educational opportunity for women and strict anti-discrimination legislation, the landscape of today’s workplace leaves much to be desired. Yet there are tangible and realistic steps that the Department of Labor can take to help women in the workplace. One crucial step KEY FACTS involves helping men.
dollar that goes to men. Maternity leave is often seen as a progressive institution that allows • Men continue to outnumber women as CEOs, finance executives, and law partners. women to take time off from their jobs to give birth and care for new • Goldman Sachs gives women 80 days of paid maternity leave, while giving men only children. But corporate culture and ten. policy strongly differentiate between new mothers and new fathers, and paternity leave has only recently entered the debate. As one Wall Street Journal editorialist puts it, “While maternity leave is now a (mostly) established part of the culture of work, we dads have it tougher if we want an extended period of paid time-off.” Goldman Sachs, for example, gives women 80 days of paid maternity leave, while giving men only 10. TALKING POINTS • Paternity leave helps working mothers have an easier time transitioning back to work, and it helps emphasize that having a family is a shared responsibility. • The Department of Labor currently does not have a set of paternity leave standards. • Transparent and voluntary standards would put pressure on high-profile companies to change their policies. • Women only earn about 75 cents for every

requirement that companies disclose their policies.

Many women’s groups have already acknowleged that paternity leave helps working mothers. Short of requiring paid leave by law (which we do not yet do for mothers), a transparent and voluntary set of standards would put pressure on highprofile corporations to modernize their policies. Countless advocacy groups rank companies on their work-life policies, but there is no single measuring stick, and no

A voluntary standard of several weeks paid paternity and maternity leave would signal that raising a child is a two-parent job best accomplished through shared obligations. If fathers take time to care for children, then women can have an easier time transitioning back to work. By co-opting men in the work-life balance scheme, working women can

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free themselves from the idea that having a family is some sort of handicap uniquely imposed upon them. ANALYSIS Facts about gender disparities in the workplace usually prompt a debate that puts people into one of two camps. One side might argue that the workplace remains discriminatory or even hostile to women in ways more subtle and insidious than we had to confront in the 1960s and 70s. On this model, government should play an active role, perhaps through required quotas, mandated benefits for women, or a similarly proactive scheme. On the other side, some have argued that the persistent gaps in the workforce confirm what traditionalists have often tried to claim: that women might actually want to stay home and raise children, and are choosing to opt out of 80-hour work weeks and cut-throat competition. If this is true, than any further efforts by government to promote gender parity in the workforce would be expensive errors in social experimentation. These two sides certainly agree that, for women in those top jobs, finding a “work-life balance” can be difficult if not downright impossible. The phrase itself is neutral, and in theory covers everything from incorporating an exercise routine into a busy work schedule, to tending to a sick parent. Yet it is most often associated with women and their roles as wives and mothers. The current Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to new parents within a year (provided the employer has at least 50 employees). In contrast, 163 other countries offer paid leave to women in connection with childbirth; as for early childcare, the U.S. is tied at 39th place in the world, along with Ecuador and Suriname. At first it might seem counter-intuitive to argue that better paternity leave benefits might actually help women most. Large corporations might make a great show of talking to women about “work-life balance” and all of their flexible policies, “offramps and on-ramps” into careers, and so forth. But it misses the point that this work should be more equally shared. Women can make super-human attempts to “balance” 80 or 100-hour work weeks with raising children, but, all else being equal, they will always fall short of male peers who don’t have to make the trade-off. NEXT STEPS In consultation with community groups, the U.S. Department of Labor should develop and promote a non-binding set of standards to strengthen paternity leave. ————————————
SOURCES

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“Scant Progress On Closing Gap In Women’s Pay.” New York Times, 24 Dec 2006. Ron Lieber, “Paternity Leave: The Next Frontier.” Wall Street Journal, 13 Jul 2006. Catherine McKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State; Susan Moller Okin, Justice, Gender and the Family. “Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood.” New York Times, 20 Sep 2005. Jody Heymann, et al., “The Work, Family, and Equity Index: Where Does the United States Stand Globally?” The Project on Global Working Families, 23, 28.

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Empowering Families to Choose Quality Childcare in New York City
Amy Abbandondelo, Carl Nadler, New York University

Current New York City childcare subsidies should be restructured so that they are provided directly to consumers and are aligned with the quality of the care provided. Quality would be evaluated by preexisting nonprofit accreditation services, whose work would also be subsidized. Past economic analysis has identified an information asymmetry in the childcare market. Therefore one likely explanation for parents’ difficulties in finding quality care is general confusion over how to best determine quality. Information KEY FACTS regarding adult-child ratios and • New York City currently subsidizes childcare facilities’ physical properties is for roughly 32,000 children from low-income available, but remains only a families. However, 46,000 children are waitlisted superficial indicator of program and do not receive the quality care their parents quality, and these signs may demand. sometimes be misleading. Since • Quality beyond health and safety are not high-quality programs enhance considered in the current subsidy scheme. child development, there should • Of the more than 1,800 childcare facilities in be a better system for parents to New York City, only 130 are accredited by the find quality programs, and these National Association for the Education of Young programs need to be affordable for Children. low-income families. HISTORY High quality care is defined by development psychologists as care that stimulates children’s imaginations, challenges them academically, and encourages socialization. Numerous national accreditation agencies and TALKING POINTS rating systems currently work to • The highest quality childcare has significant, positive improve the quality of daycare effects on improving children’s cognitive and social programs. Accreditation development, increasing the likelihood of obtaining a agencies encourage daycare college education, and reducing criminal behavior. programs to undergo an • Families, especially low-income ones, do not have extensive self-study, and the tools needed to determine the quality of their the agencies utilize rating children’s care. systems to guide program • The requirements for high quality care exceed the changes and assess an agency’s minimum health and safety standards established by quality enhancing progress. the NYC Bureau of Day Care. Unfortunately, improving quality is limited to daycare centers that volunteer to do so, and wide-scale daycare program improvement has not occurred.

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ANALYSIS In addition to fully subsidizing 344 childcare providers, NYC provides vouchers to low-income families for purchasing childcare, without any restriction on the quality of the childcare received. Unfortunately, an information asymmetry exists in the market, making it difficult for parents to determine quality on their own. Moreover, parents, especially low-income ones, may not consider all the benefits of a childcare program, and therefore may not demand higher quality care even when it is available to them. This situation creates a positive externality that could be corrected by aligning subsidy size with quality. Current funding used to subsidize childcare providers can be redistributed to tackle these problems. By taking steps to educate families on the benefits of quality care and how to determine it, aligning the size of subsidies with quality, and reducing the costs to providers for accreditation, the overall quality supplied in the market will increase. Early implementation of these policies can target specific boroughs or districts, especially low-income ones, as these families and their children are currently believed to face the most difficulty accessing quality care. NEXT STEPS Through coordination with current accreditation services, such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Council on Accreditation, four quality ratings should be created aligned with the size of family’s subsidies. Childcare centers and homes should have two years to be evaluated before childcare subsidies are restructured, giving them enough time to become accredited if they have not done so already. Rankings should be available for interested consumers online and in paper form at every public elementary school, library, and childcare referral agency. Finally, an easy-to-read guide on childcare and child development should be written for parents; it should describe the benefits of quality care and methods that parents can use to identify it, as suggested by recent child psychology literature. Copies of this guide should be made available online, at every public elementary school, local library, and referral agency, and it should be given to all new parents in the New York City area. ———————————— SOURCES ———————————— Blau, David M. The Child Care Problem. New York: The Russel Sage Foundation, 2001. Clarke-Stewart, Alison and Virginia D. Allhusen. What We Know About Childcare. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005. Cryer, Debby, and Margaret Burchinal. “Parents as Child Care Consumers.” Cost, Quality, and Child Outcomes in Child Care Center: Technical Report, ed. Suzanne W. Helburn. Denver: Center for Research in Economic and Social Policy, University of Colorado, 1995. Garces, Eliana, et al. “Longer-Term Effects of Head Start.” The American Economic Review. 92 (2002): 999-1012. NYC Office of Policy Management. Slots for Tots: New York City’s Failure to Manage Childcare Enrollment, New York: Office of the Comptroller, 2003. “Results for a State, Find an NAEYC-Accredited Program.” National Association for the Education of Young Children.<http://www.naeyc.org/academy/web_ready/search/ state.asp?state=NY> (11 Apr. 2007).

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Community Partnerships to Curb Domestic Violence against Immigrant Women
Morgan Patten, Wright State University

The Office of Violence against Women (OVW) should partner with community organizations to develop more cultural- and gender-sensitive guidelines and programs that address the problem of domestic violence in immigrant communities. Due to language barriers, inexperience with U.S. law, and fear of deportation, immigrant women are underserved by the U.S. government, underrepresented in policy making, and vulnerable to basic human rights KEY FACTS violations, especially domestic violence. • 22.1 percent of U.S. women experience While studies on the general population domestic violence. indicate that 22.1 percent of U.S. • As many as 62 percent of immigrant women experience domestic violence, women experience physical or surveys of immigrant women find that psychological abuse. between 30 and 50 percent experience physical domestic violence and as many • There are an estimated 16.7 million immigrant women in the United States. as 62 percent experience physical or psychological abuse. To improve the judicial system’s response to domestic violence in immigrant communities, the OVW should partner with non-governmental organizations, such as the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the National Network to End Violence against Immigrant Women, and local community groups, to develop a comprehensive set of guidelines addressing the circumstances immigrant women face. These guidelines must include mandated training for all court officials to ensure they understand the linguistic, cultural, and legal issues unique to immigrant women. Moreover, these guidelines should include measures to promote accurate, timely, and gender-sensitive interpretation services. This includes recruiting female interpreters and utilizing information and communication technologies to allow long-distance interpretation from a single center, as practiced by New York City’s Language Line Program. The guidelines must include the development of a hotline available in all common languages for reporting misconduct by officials. Implementation will be difficult given the current politics surrounding immigrant issues. Nevertheless, the well-being of millions of women in our country is worth fighting for.
TALKING POINTS • Cultural norms and language barriers make preventing domestic violence in immigrants particularly challenging. • Several community organizations have a unique understanding of the challenges that immigrants face. • Creating a clear set of guidelines for domestic violence against immigrant women is important for progress.

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HISTORY There have been some local attempts to provide services to immigrant women, such as the Family Justice Centers in New York City. Nonetheless, the judicial system consistently fails to adequately address their needs. Judges remain undereducated about the application of laws such as the Violence Against Women Act to immigrant women victims of domestic violence. Interpreters are often unavailable, unqualified, or accusatory. Interpreters frequently criticize victims of domestic violence or tell the victim to return to her abusive partner without censure by the court. With an estimated 16.7 million documented and undocumented immigrant women in the United States from various countries and cultures, the judiciary must develop a more nuanced, cultural- and gender-sensitive approach to domestic violence. ANALYSIS Several implementation challenges exist. Due to traditional cultural norms, a lack of community support, and a lack of proficiency in English, immigrant women may be less likely to seek help from the legal system. Furthermore, eliminating domestic violence, the cost of which exceeds $5.8 billion each year, is not a federal funding priority, as evidenced by the Bush administration’s request for a $20 million reduction from 2006 to 2007. Finally, as evidenced by the recent accusations of government misconduct and a general attitude of suspicion, support for immigrants is minimal. NEXT STEPS This policy could be established through state and local courts in coordination with NGOs, who would direct the reports to the appropriate organization such as the state Commission on Judicial Conduct or the court’s interpreter licensing body. After developing these guidelines, the OVW should work with the Department of Justice and the private sector to fund pilot programs in select communities. The OVW must conduct an assessment of the guidelines as well as their implementation with the final aim of instituting these measures nationwide.

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SOURCES

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Department of Health and Human Services. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence against Women in the United States. March 2003. http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/pub-res/ ipv_cost/IPVBook-Final-Feb18.pdf. Nass, Giselle A., Nawal Ammar, and Leslye Orloff. “Battered Immigrants and US Citizen Spouses.” April 24, 2006. http://legalmomentum.org/legalmomentum/files/dvusc.pdf. Menjívar, Cecilia & Olivia Salcido. “Immigrant Women and Domestic Violence: Common Experiences in Different Countries.” Gender & Society Vol. 16, No. 6: 898920. December 2002. Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. “The Government Response to Domestic Violence Against Refugee and Immigrant Women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Area: A Human Rights Report.” December 10, 2004. http://www. mnadvocates.org/sites/608a3887-dd53-4796-8904-997a0131ca54/uploads/FINAL_ REPORT_Dec_10_2004_2.pdf.

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Support Effective Programs to Reduce the Number of Child Support Enforcement Cases
Lauren Barnett, Princeton University

The Office of Child Support Enforcement should fund child support and parenting education programs. These programs can reduce the number of child support enforcement cases by (1) training more informed and responsible fathers who are more likely to pay child support without OCSE intervention and (2) reducing the number of out-of-wedlock pregnancies. Teenagers who are not parents are not typically included in the outreach efforts of the Office of Child Support Enforcement. But this group is at risk of becoming young parents, and evidence suggests that these students have little knowledge of the child KEY FACTS support enforcement system or the • While teen pregnancy rates in the United States means of establishing paternity. By have been slowly declining, they are still the not addressing this demographic, highest among western industrialized countries. OCSE is missing a chance for • Teen pregnancy costs the United States at least information outreach and education. nine billion dollars each year. Without such knowledge, these • Early evidence indicates that students who students are more likely to become complete parenting education programs are more parents and less likely to know about likely to be responsible parents and less likely the responsibilities of parenting. to have children before they are financially and Teaching school students about the child support enforcement system appears to be targeting the best age and best location, creating the most effective means available for filling this knowledge gap. TALKING POINTS Evidence suggests that students are likely • By supporting education and outreach efforts, to absorb the information and retain it the Office of Child Support Enforcement can for a number of years. Furthermore, a take a more proactive stance to reduce the wealth of economic and policy studies indicate that teaching men about child number of child enforcement cases. support enforcement is correlated with • Effective models do exist, but financial support is a decrease in the out-of-wedlock birth needed to sustain and expand these programs. rate. If boys learn early on about child support and paternity, they will also be more likely to become compliant and responsible parents in the event that they become fathers. Both of these outcomes would lead to a reduction in cases for OCSE, so that it might better direct its scarce resources and improve program performance. Effective models for school-based paternity training do exist, but more funding is needed to expand and support these programs. The Office of Child Support Enforcement cannot specifically influence state policy or mandate the creation of such programs. But providing states with financial and moral support for these programs would be a critical step in the right direction.
emotionally prepared.

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ANALYSIS Current sex education programs in schools are usually female-focused and rarely include any information about child support or paternity establishment. Studies indicate that such information is an influential fact on a young man’s sexual choices. As a result, a handful of programs are attempting to fill the knowledge gap by teaching teenagers about child support, paternity, and the importance of fathers. Dads Make a Difference (DMAD) in Minnesota and Parenting and Paternity Awareness (PAPA) in Texas are two examples of programs that have proven effective at improving knowledge and behaviors among young men. Tangible tactics and specifics about child support have been cited as key reasons for the success of these programs. But such programs are often severely financially constrained and have been discontinued in many areas due to a lack of funding. NEXT STEPS Financial support to programs like DMAD and PAPA could be accomplished through a variety of means, including demonstration grants for the creation of these programs, special improvement grants for evaluation of these programs, and bonuses to encourage states to reduce child support caseloads as an incentive to create such programs. To increase the level of funding for these important programs, OCSE should support the reintroduction of Section 102 of the Bayh-Obama Responsible Fatherhood Bill, and OCSE should partner with TANF in its efforts to reduce the outof-wedlock birth rate.

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SOURCES

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Garfinkel, I., Huang, C-C, McLanahan, S. L., & Gaylin, D. S. (2003). “Will Child Support Enforcement Reduce Nonmarital Childbearing?” Journal of Population Economics, 16, 55-70. Huang, C.-C. & Han, W.-J. (2004). “Perceptions of Child Support and Sexual Activity of Adolescent Males.” Journal of Adolescence 27, 731-748. Retrieved October 13, 2006. Plotnick, R., Garfinkel, I., McLanahan, S. L., & Ku, I. (2004). Better Child Support Enforcement: Can It Reduce Teenage Premarital Childbearing? Journal of Family Issues, 25 (5), 634-657. Retrieved October 13, 2006. Sonenstein, F. L., Stewart, K., Lindberg, L. D., Pernas, M., & Williams, S. (1997). Involving Males in Preventing Teen Pregnancy: A Guide for Program Planners. The California Wellness Foundation and the Urban Institute.

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Helping W orking Families with Children Under Five
Hallie Fox, Middlebury College

States should provide graded tax credit for working families with children under five, to be used for quality childcare and to encourage better education & licensing of childcare providers. With the growing number of women in the workforce KEY FACTS and two-career households, • Thirty-eight percent of families below the poverty line American families have an pay for childcare. ever-pressing need for quality, • In the spring of 2000, care for a four year old exceeded affordable childcare. Over one $3000 and was over $5000 per child in 20 states (with third of families with children 11 states over $6000). under six have two parents • In 2002, a Nation Institute of Child Health and Human working full-time, and Development study of “non-regulated” providers found almost two thirds of divorced that 81 percent of the 54 non-regulated providers in the mothers with children study were illegally non-regulated; only nine percent of under six work full-time. those homes had good quality care, and 35 percent had We propose state funded tax inadequate care. credits for working families • Only one in eight employees benefit from employerwith preschool-aged children sponsored childcare. of up to $100 to $1,000 annually, per child, to spend on childcare. This would be a graded scale, giving those with the most need the most credit. Families would have to meet minimum working hours requirements to get credit, and all parents in the household must work. The program would also encourage local schools and universities to offer childcare providers licensing and education classes on high quality care.
TALKING POINTS • Due to changing demographics, more women are entering the workforce, both out of necessity and choice, leaving many families with a need for extra childcare. • The middle class and families just above the poverty line often face a large burden in that they do not qualify for welfare or programs like Head Start, but still must find affordable, quality care. • When married, working couples weigh the costs and benefits of two working parents and childcare versus one parent staying at home to take care of young children; many women find themselves at home caring for children, which greatly hinders their later career advancement and increases the gender-wage gap.

HISTORY The effects of quality childcare are numerous, including improved cognitive and social development, higher performance in school, and better health. But the costs of childcare force many parents to place children in poor quality, unregulated centers. Although programs like Head Start and Child Care and Development Block Grants help some families find affordable care, too many families are left

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out (Head Start can only accommodate 45 percent of qualifying families). Although businesses can earn tax credit and subsidies for providing onsite childcare, only one in eight employees benefit from employer-sponsored childcare. This program would ease the burden on businesses and help working families pay for the rising costs of childcare. ANALYSIS The childcare industry also contributes to state economies. It not only supports childcare jobs and the jobs of the parents who rely on childcare, but also jobs supported by the goods and services that childcare providers procure. In Vermont, there are at least 7,231 jobs in the childcare job sector. For every one million dollars spent on childcare, 35 jobs are created and an estimated 37,489 working parents who rely on childcare services are employed by over 11,000 Vermont businesses. Savings to the public are about seven dollars for every dollar invested in high-quality childcare per child. Childcare also enables people to work. In 1998, 80.1 percent of Vermont women with children under six were in the workforce. AUDIENCE Tax credits for families with children under five can be provided on both state and national levels. Due to the privatization of childcare and the nature of our education system, it is probably best to start at the state level, although education programs for childcare providers can be developed on local, state, and national levels. NEXT STEPS States can evaluate the cost of childcare within local communities and find appropriate levels for tax credits. A trial state like Vermont could implement a pilot program for a few years. Education of childcare providers is conceptually simple: encourage local community colleges or universities with teacher education programs to volunteer their time.

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SOURCES

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. Head Start Impact Study First Year Findings. Executive Summary, June 2005. US House and Representatives, Ways and Means Committee. “Section 9: Child Care” in 2004 Green Book: Background Material and Data on Programs within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means. Windhan Childcahre Association and Peace and Justice Center. The Economic Impact of Vermont’s Child Care Industry. June 2002.

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Inclusionary Zoning for Increased Access to Affordable Housing in Los Angeles
Kether Hayden, Occidental College

By implementing Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) in Los Angeles, the city can increase working peoples’ access to affordable housing with minimal budgetary expenditure. The extensive unmet housing need in Los Angeles necessitates movement toward affordable housing. Los Angeles has made monetary commitments to affordable housing with the Los Angeles Housing Trust Fund and with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s commitment last year of over $51 million for new affordable housing projects. Nonetheless, further steps must be taken to KEY FACTS ameliorate the housing crisis. • Los Angeles has a large housing shortage and is a An Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) majority rental market, with 52 percent of households ordinance should be renting in 2000. implemented in Los Angeles • Housing is considered “affordable” when a household as the next step to alleviating spends 30 percent of their monthly income on the affordable housing housing—something impossible for many Los shortage. Inclusionary Zoning Angeles renters. is a building ordinance that • In 2006, a two-bedroom rental at the Fair Market requires new real estate Rent was unaffordable for 67 percent of Los Angeles developments to allocate a metropolitan area renters. certain percentage of total units built for affordable units. This ordinance would ensure creation of more affordable units in the private sector. HISTORY An IZ code to mitigate the TALKING POINTS • Many cities have implemented Inclusionary affordable housing shortage is highly attainable and causes Zoning codes and seen benefits. • Inclusionary Zoning is a way for the public and minimal monetary hardships for the private sectors to share the responsibility for the real estate community and for the city, as demonstrated by past providing affordable housing to all income levels. • Making a commitment to mixed-income housing IZ implementation. Inclusionary can allow for social integration and reduce the Zoning codes have provided phenomenon of “ghettoization” that earlier thousands of new affordable sale and rental homes in other income-segregated housing projects created. jurisdictions across the nation. Successful IZ ordinances have been introduced in cities neighboring Los Angeles such as Pasadena, Long Beach and Santa Monica. Inclusionary Zoning ordinances vary widely in the details of their implementation; Los Angeles will need to decide what is best for the city.

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ANALYSIS The housing need of city residents is illustrated by excessive waiting lists for public assistance. Inclusionary Zoning in Los Angeles can increase access to affordable housing with minimal budgetary expenditure in comparison to publicly funded housing projects and assistance. It would only require the oversight of the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, already in charge of zoning and building code enforcement. The ordinance would apply to all new real estate developments over a certain number of units and would require them to designate ten to fifteen percent of units as affordable. In exchange for building these affordable units, developers would be granted flexibility on other zoning restrictions such as density and parking. AUDIENCE All community members should support Inclusionary Zoning ordinances because residents at many income levels will be able to qualify for, and benefit from, the affordable units built. NEXT STEPS City constituents and neighborhood councils must learn that this is an initiative to both protect their housing rights and provide people of all income levels with accessible housing. An information campaign is needed to educate constituents of the benefits of Inclusionary Zoning. If city council members can see their constituents behind it, most of the battle is won. After an IZ ordinance is passed, implementation would require compliance from developers and the oversight of the planning commission—creating no more work for the city than any other change in planning or zoning codes.

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SOURCES

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Brown, Karen Destorel. “Expanding Affordable Housing Through Inclusionary Zoning: Lessons from the Washington Metropolitan Area.” The Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, October 2001. Calavita, Nico, Kenneth Grimes, Alan Mallach. “Inclusionary Housing in California and New Jersey: A Comparative Analysis.” Housing Policy Debate 8, no.1 (1997). Cleeland, Nancy. “Little gain seen in affordable housing; loss of rent controlled units in LA almost equals the buildingof new ones, study says,” Los Angeles Times, 7 September 2006, sec. B. http://www.proquest.com. Helfand, Duke. “Mayor Pledges $51 million to Build Affordable Housing.” Los Angeles Times, 15 March 2006, sec B. http://www.proquest.com. Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty. “Housing and Poverty in Los Angeles.” Just the Facts, July 2001. http://www.weingart.org. National Low Income Housing Coalition, “Out of Reach 2006, California.” Out of Reach. http://www.nlihc.org/oor/oor2006/data.cfm?getstate=on&getmsa=on&msa= 301&state=CA.

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A Home for the Working Poor
Kevin Chang, Brian Levy, University of Georgia

Cities implementing a Definition of Family zoning ordinance can improve home ownership for the working poor by modifying the ordinance’s restrictions in order to target its intended populations. Athens-Clarke County (ACC), Georgia, boasts historical architecture, vibrant nightlife, and the state’s flagship educational institution, the University of Georgia. However, ACC is also home to extreme poverty. Twenty-eight percent of Athenians live in poverty, the 5th highest rate in the nation for metropolitan counties. The large, wealthy student body (34,000+) compounds this problem by competing with city residents for rental property and home ownership. To combat neighborhood takeover KEY FACTS by “disorderly” students, a Definition • Fifty percent of resident in Athens-Clarke of Family (DoF) ordinance was County, Georgia, live in relative poverty. implemented that prohibits more • 17,000 households cannot afford a home in than two unrelated people from living Athens-Clarke County. together in homes zoned in residential • Twenty-eight percent of people in Athens areas. This ordinance, however, has live below the federal poverty line. unintended consequences for the working poor. It prevents two families from pooling their resources and buying a home. In places like Athens, where over 17,000 households cannot afford a home, the effects of such an ordinance are highly significant. Rather than abandoning the ordinance, ACC should modify its restrictions. Almost all students rent, as opposed to purchasing a home. To counteract this discrepancy, the ordinance should be amended to only pertain to residential rental property. This compromise allows for unrelated individuals in working families to legally purchase a home while maintaining the safety measure against the student market.
TALKING POINTS • Modifying the Definition of Family zoning ordinance provides affordable housing by allowing families to pool resources and purchase together. • It also builds equity and collateral for Athens’ working poor. • Fair housing encourages home ownership and fosters a sense of community.

Typically, a home is a family’s largest asset. Without it, they are unable to build credit, have collateral, or anchor their savings in long-term property. An amended ordinance fosters a fairer housing market and relieves some of the housing stress in ACC.

HISTORY The DoF ordinance is found in many cities across America, and it has been met with resistance because of its discrimination against illegal immigrants, same-sex partners, and non-traditional

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families. Athens implemented its DoF ordinance during the 1970s, and it has been overhauled many times. As noted by Matthew Murphy, Affordable Housing Administrator for the Athens Human & Economic Development Department, in college towns like Athens, students are the measure’s target group. ANALYSIS In ACC, 58 percent of occupied housing units are renter-occupied. With the exception of one Georgia county, ACC maintains the lowest percentage of owner-occupied units in the state. A compromise of the Definition of Family ordinance is necessary to encourage home ownership. Empirically, the current ordinance fails to keep students from living together. Instead, it excludes low-income families from the homes. The proposed policy, if enforced, would raise home ownership and help to control the burgeoning student leasing population, at a negligible cost. AUDIENCE This proposal represents a unique compromise, and thus, it offers a valuable option to all university towns. These cities, even those without DoF ordinances, should consider the impact of their student populations on the housing market for city residents. In many cases, universities need to make an effort to keep students on campus, offering more on-campus housing options for upperclassmen. Students and permanent residents of Athens-Clarke County are the primary audience for this proposal, but any college or university experiencing similar tension over the issue of off-campus student housing should consider this as a part of an alternative housing policy. NEXT STEPS Amending DoF ordinances is simply one step in an effective housing program for the working poor. Policies that encourage multi-family home ownership and anchoring savings in housing equity would also be worthwhile. To this end, city governments could offer subsidized home loan accounts or other savings measures to ease the substantial cost of buying a home. Exploring rent-to-ownership programs that have been tested by some non-profit affordable housing providers, or combining this proposal with other savings and loan programs that promote long-term financial planning, could complement this proposal and create a multi-pronged approach for creating sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods.

———————————— SOURCES ———————————— “Poverty Data” Partners for a Prosperous Athens. 2006. http://www.prosperousathens.org Athens-Clarke County Government. Code of Ordinances. Sec. 9-15-18. Elliott v City of Athens, Georgia, 960 F 2nd 975, 11th Cir 1992. Murphy, Matthew. Telephone interview by author. 8 March 2007. Athens Housing Authority. “Housing Markets in Athens: Unlocking the Door to Affordable Housing.” 26 June 2006. www.prosperousathens.org/committees/ht/ images/housing_markets_in_athens.pdf.

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Stemming the Tide of the Uninsured
Brian Levy, The University of Georgia

The federal government should provide incentives encouraging all 50 states to require that insurance companies offer flood insurance to all Americans; market competition through multiple providers will improve service and lower consumer costs. State Farm recently stopped offering insurance coverage for the entire state of Mississippi, and Allstate has significantly cut its policies. This represents a growing problem for flood-prone areas in our increasingly disaster-conscious world. Flood insurance is imperative for many Americans, especially those living along the Gulf Coast and other geographically vulnerable regions. Without coverage, the value of their homes plummets and their insecurity rises. Low and middle class Americans are especially susceptible to these changes because their homes tend to be their most significant investment. Some call for the government • The proposed policy will save taxpayers more than to provide the insurance, $1.3 billion per year by eliminating the National but this is not a natural Flood Insurance Program. federal function. Its coverage • The federal government borrowed $30 billion to tends to be inefficient cover Katrina costs. and ineffective. Not only does the National Flood Insurance Board continually face deficits, but in the years to come its payouts will be substantially delayed. By incentivizing states to mandate private insurance through federally withholding highway funds, policymakers can maximize the utility of both insurance companies and the national government. Insurance companies are the costefficient, highest-quality insurer, best able to manage policies at the local level. The federal government, on the other hand, is more successful at managing large-scale disasters as opposed to micromanaging day-to-day insurance transactions. Finally, a national risk pool and market competition could maintain or even lower costs for most homeowners.
TALKING POINTS • Just as a private monopoly is ineffective, governmentrun insurance is inefficient. Private flood insurance increases efficiency through market competition. • By exiting the insurance industry, the federal government frees up additional funds for investment in disaster preparedness. • Private insurance simplifies the complex bureaucratic process and offers insurance at a fair market rate to all Americans. KEY FACTS

HISTORY America’s current flood insurance system represents an inefficient patchwork of coverage. The federal government, under the management of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), offers insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Individuals

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whose communities participate in a flood prevention program can purchase policies at rates set by FEMA. Not only does this leave out citizens whose communities do not participate, but FEMA can not effectively set rates at the local level. Statemandated private insurance represents a new, simple solution to this problem. It takes flood insurance out of the public realm and places it under private control, like all other forms of homeowners insurance. ANALYSIS By providing flood insurance to all individuals within participating communities, the federal government inadvertently subsidizes construction in some of the most unsafe floodplains. This policy will encourage development in safer areas, promoting sound city planning and putting a stop to current development models that relegate the poor to hazardous, flood-prone locations. Private insurers can more effectively regulate policies and more efficiently manage the insurance market, likely at little to no loss to the company. This plan saves the federal government, on average, at least $1.3 billion per year by eliminating current collection shortfall. However, this number excludes the catastrophic scenario of another Katrina, which would cost approximately $40 billion in insured losses alone. On the conservative estimate of $1.3 billion in savings per year, the government could completely pay for private losses from a Hurricane Andrew-level disaster every sixteen years. NEXT STEPS With the government no longer offering inefficient insurance, it can divert the resources and infrastructure to alternative programs. The logical venue for these supplies is the mega-disaster response and underwriting program of the NFIP. Re-investment will offer greater support for this division, which is already in need of significant overhaul. Not only is this cost-effective, but it also simplifies the difficult, circuitous process of navigating the flood insurance system.

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SOURCES

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Black, Christy G. 2005. “Subsidizing Disaster.” National Center for Policy Analysis http:// www.ncpa.org/pub/ba/ba525/ Hartwig, Robert P. 2005. “The Future of the National Flood Insurance Program.” Testimony delivered to the United States Senate, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.” http://banking.senate.gov/_files/hartwig.pdf Marron, Donald B. 2006. “Letter to the Congressional Budget Office.” http://www.cbo. gov/ftpdocs/72xx/doc7233/05-31-NFIPLetterGregg.pdf

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Social Capital Block Grants
Niko Karvounis, Oxford University

Social capital is essential to promoting community development. To ensure that local community foundations develop, social capital block grants should be incorporated into existing community block grant programs. Social capital is the networking of individuals within and across communities along the grounds of trust, connectedness, and reciprocity. Incorporating social capital block grants (SCBG) into existing community block grant KEY FACTS programs will establish and • Participation in clubs and civic organizations is down strengthen the vital by more than 50 percent over the last 25 years, and community foundations involvement in community life is down by 35 percent needed to support working over the same period. families at no additional • Joining a group cuts odds of death within the next year cost. by 50 percent. HISTORY anyone to discuss important matters with has nearly tripled. Current federal funding for • Together with income inequality, low levels of social Community Development capital account for a startling 60 percent of the variation Block Grants (economic in mortality rates across U.S. states. development and revitalization) is $4.2 billion; funding for Social Services Block Grants (public health and child welfare) is $2 billion; for Community Services Block Grants designed to fight causes of poverty, funding is $637 million.
TALKING POINTS • Social capital is the glue that holds communities together, allowing them to identify and mobilize around the needs and interests of working families. • Community development schemes often focus on projects imposed from above, on the part of activists or administrators. But a healthy community is a selfsufficient community. • Working families can only get ahead in the long-run if they have the social support to get by in the day-today experience that constitutes community life. • From 1985-2004, the percentage of Americans lacking

For any of these programs to be successful, they require a strong foundation of social capital—yet none address the role of social connectedness in creating a sustainable effort. Thus 25 percent of each grant (a total of $1.8 billion) should be dedicated to projects that build social capital.

Examples of possible projects include: 1. 2. 3. 4. A community daycare, babysitting, or tutoring cooperative Formation of neighborhood residential associations A ‘community ambassador’ program integrating citizen-advocates into other programs Community services programs (landscaping, snow removal, moving services, etc)

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linked to community organizations 5. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Sites ANALYSIS SCBG funds should be dedicated to supplementing CDBG, CSBG, and SSBG projects by providing exceptional potential for strengthening social bonds by addressing practical, everyday social experiences that define life in a community. Ideal SCBG projects would: • Have goals that lend themselves to direct involvement by residents and minimal management or imposition from third party administrators • Be dedicated to ‘daily life’ objectives relevant to working families (e.g. filing taxes, child care, recreation, etc.) rather than public interest or political concerns • Maximize the diversity of community coalitions involved, particularly in terms of income level and ethnicity These sorts of projects provide learning experiences that help communities come together and interact as supportive partners, building an organic momentum for other community projects and fostering self-sufficiency. Communities with more social capital stimulate greater discussion of local issues and greater commitment to planning for and generating larger numbers of project proposals. The simple dynamic of relying on your neighbors proves to be a robust predictor of low crime rates. Networked communities diffuse important information—such as health issues—more efficiently: for example, researchers have strongly correlated low levels of social capital with higher levels of sexually transmitted diseases. For increasingly diverse communities, opportunities to interact in beneficial face-to-face contexts can help to bridge divisions; approximately 40 percent of the variation in levels of social capital across communities can be attributed to factious ethnic heterogeneity. Working families need to be ‘plugged in’ to their communities in order for collective action to develop. NEXT STEPS • Consult closely with research institutions, university centers, and non-profit organizations mobilizing around social capital. • Form a private-public sector coalition to develop programs and identify communities in need; consider the role for social capital in other government programs. • Begin community surveys to construct a ‘Top 10’ of everyday working family needs that SCBG could incorporate into its project criteria.

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SOURCES

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David R. Holtgrave and Richard A. Crosby, “Social Capital, Poverty, and Income Inequality as Predictors of Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia, and AIDS Case Rates in the United States,” Sexually Transmitted Infections 79 (2003): 62-64. * A full list of sources is available upon request.

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Federal Farm Subsidies Limitations Proposal
Sheila Korth, University of Nebraska

This proposal would eliminate loopholes in the farm subsidy payment system and would redistribute subsidies from large corporations and farmers to small and medium-sized farmers, while benefiting rural communities. The 2002 Farm Bill’s commodity title did not distribute agriculture subsidy payments equitably, thus hurting small family farmers. Between 2003 and 2005, the majority of the $50 billion in federal KEY FACTS subsidies was distributed to only a few farming • The proposed changes will alter Farm Bill legislation and how counties document farms for federal subsidy operations. During the same payments. time period, the top ten percent of subsidy recipients • This proposal will actually save an estimated three to five billion dollars each year in subsidy payments to large averaged $68,030 in yearly and corporate producers that can be redistributed to payments and collected other Farm Bill programs like energy, conservation, rural an unfair 65 percent of development, and nutrition. all payments; the bottom 80 percent averaged only • Implementation could help revive struggling rural communities while only reducing subsidy payments to $2,312 annually. Future the top two to three percent of farm producers. farm bills need to reallocate money currently paid to large producers and direct it toward small and young farmers, organic producers, conservationists, researchers, rural development initiatives, and producers growing crops for renewable energy. By changing the commodity title to a revenue-based program instead of one based solely on prices or loan deficiencies, farmers will have a better safety net in times of low prices or low yields and not just one of the two. By instituting stronger payment limits, young farmers will be able to afford more equipment and land; this is important since the average age of a farmer in 2002 was 55 years old. This farm bill will set the stage for modern agriculture and determine whether the U.S. government will continue to subsidize mega farms.
TALKING POINTS • This proposal would make the Farm Bill subsidy payments more equitable and would help make it compliant with World Trade Organization regulations. • The proposed changes would not increase Farm Bill costs, but would help broader interests of both rural and urban Americans, small community members, conservation and renewable energy proponents, and consumers of organic or fresh produce. • Additional rural development funding could also be used to expand broadband Internet service and distance education.

HISTORY The basis for this proposal comes from several Congressional field hearings, conversations with farmers in Nebraska, the Secretary of Agriculture’s 2007 Farm Bill proposal, and professional agriculture organizations. No agriculture payment reform like this has been

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implemented in the past, but several groups like the Center for Rural Affairs have supported it for several years. Agriculture payment limits were instituted in the 1970 Farm Bill, but initiatives like program loopholes, marketing loan gains, and the three-entity rule which allows producers to obtain three times the amount of farm subsidies that they could obtain under individual limitations lessen the effects of subsidy limitations. Tighter individual payment limitations have been proposed by Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Dorgan (D-ND) during the 2002 Farm Bill debate, but this amendment lost by a vote of 4653 and others like it have been lost in conference committee debates. ANALYSIS By creating and enforcing an individual total subsidy payment limit (not including disaster payments) of $75,000 per year, a one-entity rule, and by closing loopholes by proving that the farm operator actually works on a farm, billions of dollars can be reallocated for beginning farmer programs, renewable energy or specialty crop production, or disaster assistance. Crop differences between different U.S. regions could be considered for variable payment limitations. If the total subsidy limitation had been enforced at $75,000 per operator in 2005, the United States would have spent $16 billion instead of $21 billion. The top 12 percent of producers would be affected with slightly lower payments. AUDIENCE Midwestern producers are mostly in favor of stricter payment limits while Southern producers are against them because of higher input costs, but these differences could be worked out in variable limits for different crops. This proposal would be implemented on a national government level. NEXT STEPS To implement this proposal, farmers must get their voices and opinions out about future farm policy. Groups and local farm organizations should hold field hearings with members of Congress or their staff to relate new ideas about policies, implementation, and regulation of the next farm bill provisions. Local farmers can also directly contact the offices of their congressmen in Washington, D.C.

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SOURCES

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* A full list of sources is available upon request.

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National Guard Readiness Certification Requirements
Kai Stinchcombe, Stanford University

States should pass laws requiring that, when the state’s National Guard troops are serving overseas, the governor has to report every 30 days on: (1) Whether the troops are properly and safely equipped, (2) Whether the overseas deployments are adversely straining the soldiers families, and (3) Whether the state can adequately respond to disasters it is likely to face. National Guard troops who expected to serve for months are now finding their overseas deployments and extended tours lasting for years. Some KEY FACTS signed up in response to ads • 450,000 National Guard troops and reservists have promising, “One weekend a served in Iraq, many more than in any previous conflict. month, two weeks a year. • National Guard troops are serving over five times as Earn money for college and many days of active duty as they did in 2001. protect your local • The Pentagon found that up to 80 percent of Marines community.” After they who died in Iraq from upper body wounds could have signed up, they saw their been saved by proper body armor. Many families sent maximum active duty limit soldiers body armor because they were not provided per five years enlisted with modern equipment. increase from twelve months • Divorce rates among army officers are up 78 percent to eighteen to twenty-four— from 2003 and over 250 percent since 2000. before the limit was scrapped altogether. The president is entitled to take command of National Guard troops maintained by the states, and a governor cannot withhold consent for foreign active duty service because of the location, purpose, type, or duration of the duty. However, the states that our National Guard TALKING POINTS troops serve can still do • If we send United States troops abroad, we must support more to ensure their well them by doing everything we can to protect them and being.
bring them home safe. • Repeated and extended deployments are reducing our nation’s ability to cope with other threats. • The families of National Guard troops are particularly hard-hit. State governments owe it to their troops to try to ensure their safety. • When a young man or woman decides to sign up with the armed forces, they are trusting our civilian leadership to respect their commitment. We are letting them down.

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By creating an independent reporting requirement, this proposal would encourage governors to make sure our country is adequately supporting our troops, and to find ways to better support them.

HISTORY A governor’s say in how National Guard troops are used by the federal government was essentially eliminated in 1987. Until recently, however, National Guard troops expected and were promised a much lighter load of service. Periodic reporting requirements are nothing new, especially in wartime where one part of the government is commanding and the other is responsible for financing the troops and maintaining readiness. In this case, it is asking governors rather than the president to report on the effects of overseas service because National Guard troops are maintained by the states, and because the federal government has often limited information suggesting that it could be doing more to equip, prepare, or support the troops. ANALYSIS National guard units play a key role in disaster readiness; for example, Guard units delivered food during the 2007 blizzard and played a role in rescuing victims of Hurricane Katrina. The readiness problems are not just related to their ability to serve their own community. According to Lt. Gen. Clyde A. Vaughn, head of the 346,000-strong Army National Guard, “What we’re working out of right now is a situation where we have absolutely piecemealed our force to death. If we continue to piecemeal these things like Swiss cheese, we will not find ourselves able to build complete forces back.” Repeated call-ups not only decimate their military infrastructure, but harm the civilian infrastructure — families and jobs — that support the national guard in times of peace. After eighteen-month deployments or injuries, many come home to find their job gone, or even worse, their spouse. NEXT STEPS States should move to draft and pass legislation along these lines, particularly since at this point the political will and substantive research supporting this policy are in ready supply.

———————————— SOURCES ———————————— Stacy Bannerman, “Volunteer Soldiers Devastated by Iraq Weren’t ‘Asking for It.’” AlterNet. March 10, 2007. Lisa Burgess, “Divorce rate among active-duty Army officers, enlisted has risen dramatically.” Stars and Stripes. June 9, 2005. Michael Moss, “Pentagon Study Links Fatalities to Body Armor.” New York Times. January 7, 2006. “PERPICH v. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 496 U.S. 334 (1990)”. FindLaw. Rone Tempest and Peter Spiegel. “Guard troops are called up.” Los Angeles Times. March 2, 2007. Ann Scott Tyson, “Possible Iraq Deployments Would Stretch Reserve Force.” Washington Post. November 5, 2006; Page A01.

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Improving Accessibility to Art Museums
Nancy Thebaut, Agnes Scott College

Subsidies to reduce museum admission fees would significantly increase access to these institutions and their societal benefits for all Americans, especially those who are economically disadvantaged. Broad-based accessibility to museums has been shown to play a significant role in the growth and economic development of urban areas and to foster civic engagement, volunteerism, and cohesion among differing socio-economic groups. KEY FACTS However, many museums in the • Museum accessibility has been linked to United States are becoming economic development and civic engagement increasingly inaccessible to lower among differing socioeconomic groups. and even average income Americans • Adult admission fees are as high as $20 at some and are therefore slowly abandoning art museums. their traditional roles as non-profit, • The Baltimore Art Museum found that the public institutions in the service of number of non-white visitors tripled after society as a whole. eliminating its entrance fee. With adult admission fees as high as $12-$20, institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Frick Collection, and the Art Institute of Chicago are effectively excluding a significant portion of the general population that would otherwise partake in the educational, cultural, and social benefits that these art museums provide. The impact of rising admission fees on disadvantaged groups, especially racial minorities, has been particularly severe. It is therefore in our country’s interest to initiate actions that will enhance museum accessibility and increasingly democratize the public sphere. The program I propose would be administered by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and it should be coupled with other national initiatives, including the Institute of Museum and Library Services, to stimulate interest in our public museums and the various resources they offer. Funding would be based on competitive grant applications from institutions dedicated to the development of TALKING POINTS society as well as equality of • Museums are an important asset to our opportunity in learning. Award communities and it is important that their criteria would include strong benefits can reach everyone. community support as measured by • The NEA has a responsibility to not only fund the NEA and, since there are varying arts education programs but also to ensure degrees of dependency on the access to our nation’s art. revenue public museums receive • All of America benefits when each of us, no from admission fees (approximately matter how disadvantaged, has access to five to twelve percent each), the museums. demonstrated need of the institution.

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Program resources should be such that the number and size of awards will significantly increase access to public museums in the United States. Without affordable access to these educational arts programs and exhibits currently funded by the NEA, their widespread benefit is ultimately lost. ANALYSIS This proposal focuses on the funding of art museums, rather than natural history museums, as there is a present lack of arts education in American public schools, and the evidence showcasing the educational benefits of the arts for children is outstanding. For instance, Americans for the Arts has found that young people involved in the arts (including access to art museums and their attendant educational programming) exhibit “higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores, more community service, and lower dropout rates.” Also, legislation such as the No Child Left Behind Act has deemphasized the relative importance of the arts in public education; some 71 percent of teachers “have reduced instructional time in at least one other subject to make more time for reading and mathematics.” Increased federal funding of museum admissions fees through the NEA is the best mechanism for making museums more accessible to the underprivileged. Currently, the NEA is not allowed to give grants in support of the operative costs of museums, which includes the subsidization of admission fees. Thus, regardless of what the cost of this initiative might be, the NEA needs to reallocate its present funds so that they may be allotted not only to arts education programs and specific exhibits at museums, but also to the cost of admission at these institutions. NEXT STEPS While the political climate in Washington has recently shifted in a way that may be favorable to federal funding of admission fees, it is not clear that the initiative would be politically tenable at this time. The cost and focus on the war in Iraq and most lawmakers’ lack of knowledge regarding the civic benefits of museums would certainly be impediments to this legislation. But a good case can be made for bipartisan support of this measure as it would economically bolster individual legislator’s communities with museums, and it would also assist in community building efforts amongst diverse groups in these areas. Another potential obstacle is the attitude some have that museum access represents a commercial service that individuals—not society—should pay for. Yet it is clear that while individuals certainly benefit from visiting museums, all of America benefits when each of us, no matter how disadvantaged, has access to museums.

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SOURCES

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*A full list of sources is available upon request.

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Welfare Reform: Focus on Community Service
Kate Berlent, Hamilton College

By placing at least 15 percent of welfare recipients per state in paid community service positions, we can decrease TANF caseloads and increase self-sufficiency among workers while directly improving communities. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is the nation’s primary welfare program, federally funded yet implemented uniquely by each state. It aims to move welfare recipients into work and build strong families. However, recent reforms to welfare legislation have not sufficiently reduced poverty in KEY FACTS America. We must also protect • TANF recipients constitute a largely untapped pool the emotional well-being of of community service labor, yet only 9.9 percent of parents and children during working recipients held service positions in 2004. transitions into the workforce • Children who grow up in poverty cost the economy by making health care, childcare, $500 billion per year because they commit transportation subsidies, and more crimes, spend more time in prisons, incur livable wages accessible through staggering health costs, and are less productive in employers. Currently, a child is the workforce. removed from one in six homes • 37 million Americans live in poverty. in the five years after parents • 4.4 million individuals are TANF recipients. apply for welfare. TANF recipients can face difficulty finding steady employment for health and personal reasons. While service work may prove empowering and satisfying to many, some may prefer other work, or be unable to find sufficient forms of employment. Those ultimately unemployable will be protected under an expanded human services force. HISTORY The needy serving the needy has a successful history in America dating back to FDR. In the 1970s, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act TALKING POINTS (CETA) included a large public • Instead of having jobs and benefiting society as sector component and increased defined by TANF service guidelines, welfarethe average earnings of poor to-work programs frequently place workers as women substantially. According cashiers, hospitality workers, and receptionists. to the New York Times, economist • By focusing welfare reform on elevating community William Darity stated in 2006, service participation, we not only reduce poverty “something like CETA should be for welfare recipients, but for entire communities. revived, not to supply make• It is morally and financially cost-effective to work jobs, but to satisfy pressing invest in poverty now. Over several years, such social needs.” Current initiatives an investment can significantly reduce tax dollars such as Job Opportunities for directed at human service. Low-Income Individuals (JOLI)

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do not encourage service nearly enough. JOLI offers $5.5 million annually to train and create jobs for low-income individuals; directing JOLI’s resources towards community service would promote citizen engagement and tangibly improve the communities that need it most. ANALYSIS TANF recipients are not paid for their service hours, but receive federal assistance in exchange. Despite more low-income individuals in the workforce, they are underemployed; 70 percent of adults requiring federal assistance did not meet TANF work requirements in 2005. Community service work can provide steady, useful employment, utilizing a variety of different skills and potentially generating long-term programs out of short-term repair operations. By turning volunteers on TANF into wage-earning, tax-paying employees, workers can rely less on federal money. Programs such as TANF create work opportunities to alleviate poverty, but as statistics show, “more effective models of post-employment supports that lead to career development and wage progression are needed.” AUDIENCE While operated and funded on a federal level, states can execute varied forms of paid community service programs so that we may evaluate which programs work best. A public-private partnership will be necessary to fully fund such a program. NEXT STEPS We should create jobs for low-income workers in U.S. departments and in state and local agencies. For example, the Department of Agriculture currently runs a program that aims to recover the millions of pounds of food that typically go to waste every year. By placing low-income workers as crop gleaners or food salvagers, we can dramatically reduce hunger in America and provide steady employment for those in need. Furthermore, incentives to hire and maintain low-income workers and expand an employer’s workforce should be offered to private businesses in human services such as hospitals and nursing homes. Funding required would likely see a return in new taxpayers and service workers. ————————————
SOURCES

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Carson, Larry. 2005. BRAC May Create New Jobs For Poor. Baltimore Sun, November 28. “CETA Training Programs- Do They Work for Adults?” Congressional Budget Office. 1982. Children’s Defense Fund. www.childrensdefense.org. 2006 Eckholm, Eric. 2006. For the Neediest of the Needy, Welfare Reforms Still Fall Short, Study Says. New York Times, May 17. Administration for Children and Families. Reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program; Interim Final Rule. June 29, 2006 http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/tanfregs/tfinrule.htm. Administration for Children and Families. TANF Annual Report To Congress 2004. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/particip/2004/table05b.htm Uchitelle, Louis. 2006. Chasing Full Employment. New York Times, February 12.

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The Roosevelt Review
2007

Featuring the work of both undergraduate & graduate students, the Roosevelt Review strives to publish the highest quality research, analysis, and policy proposals. The Review is widely distributed among policymakers, think tanks, universities, and advocacy groups as part of the Roosevelt Institution’s mission to connect students’ ideas to the policy process. The Roosevelt Review is an annual publication of the Roosevelt Institution, a national network of progressive student think tanks. The Institution currently has over 50 chapters around the United States, and a student base of nearly 7,000 individuals. To order a copy or submit to the 2008 Roosevelt Review, or to learn more about the Roosevelt Institution, visit: rooseveltinstitution.org/publications

The Roosevelt Institution
1527 New Hampshire Ave, NW Washington, D.C. 20036 publications@rooseveltinstitution.org

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