Mar 05, 2014
The Massive Policy Failure That Paul Ryan Wants To Emulate
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Monday released a sweeping audit of the country’s anti-poverty programs, seeking to put his stamp on a second round of welfare reform.
“Fundamentally, a block grant means if states let caseloads rise, they need to cut somewhere else, which is really politically hard for a state legislature,” Elizabeth Lower-Basch, policy coordinator and senior policy analyst at CLASP, added.
Mar 05, 2014
| Diane Rehm Show NPR
The Diane Rehm Show: The Political Divide Over How Best To Reduce Poverty
In his 2015 budget, President Barack Obama calls for expanding tax breaks for low-income workers. Republicans are pushing welfare reform and an overhaul of social programs. Debate over government efforts to reduce poverty.
Mar 06, 2014
Isaiah J. Poole: Paul Ryan Misses Top Reason We Haven't 'Won' The War On Poverty
Ryan's report "doesn't say anything about low-wage work, which is the thing that has changed the most in the past 50 years: that people can be working and still be quite low income," said Elizabeth Lower-Basch of the Center for Law and Social Policy, an expert on public assistance programs.
Mar 04, 2014
| Stevens Point Journal Media
Letter: Here's what Head Start can do for kids
An Oct. 2013 report by the advocacy group CLASP found that 91 percent of Head Start children and 85 percent of Early Head Start children received a medical screening. Nearly 12 percent had a disability (13 percent in Early Head Start), with 45 percent diagnosed after enrollment! Early intervention and services are simply invaluable.
Feb 27, 2014
| Diane Rehm Show NPR
The Diane Rehm Show: Readers' Review: "Salvage The Bones" By Jesmyn Ward
CLASP Executive Director Olivia Golden sits down with Diane Rehm and two other panelists to discuss Jesmyn Ward's book, Salvage the Bones.
Feb 25, 2014
Help for Families Who Can't Afford Childcare Hits Decade Low
Spending on childcare assistance last year fell to the lowest level since 2002, according to a report from the policy organization CLASP.
One factor that the CLASP report points to is the lapse of extra childcare funding that was included in the 2009 stimulus bill. Another is that the federal block grant to TANF — a fixed amount of money given to states each year — hasn’t been adjusted for inflation since it was created in 1996. It “thus has lost about one-third of its value,” the report notes. In the first few years after that change, the amount of funding directed to childcare grew from less than $300 million to a high of $4 billion in 2000, but it has declined since and was just $2.6 billion last year.
Feb 25, 2014
| Huffington Post
A Living Wage is an Equal Voice
On Jan. 28, President Obama ignited a long-standing debate amongst political parties with his State of the Union call to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. The controversy that followed was as predictable as it was irrelevant to those with the most at stake: the low-wage working poor. Pundits and commentators fell into two camps: Is raising the wage floor good for the economy or bad for the economy?
A recent article by Jodie Levin-Epstein, in Spotlight on Poverty, 2014 Poverty Polling Pulling Purple, reported that a USA Today/Pew Research Center poll found that nearly two-thirds of Republicans (64 percent) and more than nine out of 10 Democrats (94 percent) believe government should take action to reduce poverty; and that a majority of both Republicans (53 percent) and Democrats (90 percent), support raising the minimum wage to $10.10.
Feb 24, 2014
NEA Pres Slams 'Stupid' Tests - Can Colleges Be Rated Like Cookies? - NGA Tackles Education - Indiana's Standards Rewrite
State spending on child care assistance has fallen to new lows, according to an analysis from the Center for Law and Social Policy, or CLASP. Spending within the Child Care and Development Block Grant is at its lowest level since 2002. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds used for child care is at its lowest since 1998.
Feb 06, 2014
| Next Avenue
The Family Leave Law is Failing Family Caregivers
It’s unpaid, which often makes taking a leave financially impossible. That’s the number one reason people don’t take family and medical leave, says Ness. “For many workers, taking an unpaid leave is not a viable option,” says Liz-Ben-Ishai, policy analyst at CLASP (the Center for Law and Social Policy). Only 12 percent of private-sector workers have paid family leave.
Feb 06, 2014
FMLA at Twenty-One: Let's Blow Out the Candles and Get to Work
The FMLA provides some workers with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for a new baby, tend to a sick family member, or recover from one’s own illness. Having access to this type of leave has enabled many workers to take the leave they need without worrying about the security of their jobs. Yet, many others are excluded from the law.
Jan 30, 2014
Minnesota Legislators Challenge State Welfare Drug Tests
A 2011 survey by Rasmussen Reports, for example, found that 70 percent of likely voters said welfare recipients found to be using illegal drugs should have their benefits cut off. "It resonates with people's stereotype of welfare recipients taking advantage of the system," said Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) in Washington.
Jan 30, 2014
Uneven Gains for States After 50 Years of the War on Poverty
Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy, called the success in fighting poverty among the elderly a “big, unquestioned accomplishment” of the War on Poverty, while noting that much of the effort has come at the federal level. Help for younger demographic groups, however, tends to come at the state level, she said, and because of that the progress from 1959 to today is more mixed.
Jan 27, 2014
| Employment and Training Reporter
Clock is ticking For States to Seek Federal Work Sharing Aid
Recently, CLASP and the National Employment Law Project organized a summit to tackle the nation’s pressing unemployment issues through “work sharing.” Work sharing “entails state unemployment insurance programs providing prorated benefits to workers whose hours are reduced as their employers try to avoid a layoff.”
At the start of this year, 26 states and the District of Columbia were implementing work sharing programs, according to Neil Ridley, a senior policy analyst at CLASP.
- Jan 27, 2014 | C-SPAN Head Start Funding CLASP Executive Director Olivia Golden sits down with the Washington Journal to discuss Head Start and what it means to the American people.
Jan 26, 2014
| The New York Times
Despite Business Fears, Sick-Day Laws Like New York's Work Well Elsewhere
Already, four municipalities and the State of Connecticut have implemented paid sick-leave laws. Assessments of the programs in San Francisco, Washington and Seattle — the cities whose plans most closely resemble New York’s — indicate that the new policies have taken effect without harming local economies, touching off an exodus of businesses or being abused by workers.
Jan 16, 2014
| The Hechinger Report
ANALYSIS: Real-world trends clash with promises made at White House summit
It’s not only college financial aid that has been moving to higher-income rather than lower-income students. So have some federal financial aid and tax breaks, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which Obama signed into law.That credit, combined with several other tax credits and deductions, now account for nearly $34 billion annually, or more than the federal government spends on Pell Grants for low-income students. And more than a third of the money goes to the wealthiest fifth of American households, according to the Center for Law and Social Policy. Fifty-seven percent of the tuition tax deduction alone goes to families earning more than $100,000, which saved an average of $500 apiece, while only 12 percent of families that made under $50,000 got the tax deduction, saving $220 to $320 apiece.
Jan 14, 2014
Maine Struggles with Welfare Misuse at ATMs
Maine public officials may learn that it is difficult to completely prevent the types of transactions restricted by federal and state law. "Mostly what the [data] highlight is how hard these rules are to implement," said Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a senior policy analyst for the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).
Last week Maine Gov. Paul LePage announced that some state residents have been withdrawing welfare money from ATMs located in liquor stores and other restricted places. The revelations come at a time when states across the country are trying to comply with a 2012 federal law that restricts how welfare recipients spend public money through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
Jan 13, 2014
| Portland Press Herald
Rooting out EBT fraud more complex than it seems
“It’s obviously a very tiny dollar amount compared to the amount that people receive,” said Elizabeth Lower-Basch, policy coordinator at the Center for Law and Social Policy, a left-leaning organization active on poverty issues. “Some people say any amount is too much, ... but I think the challenge is the amount of time and money that is going to be spent, is that disproportionate? And in this case, I think it is.”
Mainers use EBT cards to make roughly 50,000 transactions every month. Media reports and critics of the LePage administration’s welfare reform agenda pointed out that the 3,700 transactions highlighted in the governor’s report would constitute just two-tenths of 1 percent of all transactions during that period.
- Jan 07, 2014 | Al Jazeera America "Inside Story": 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty CLASP Executive Director Olivia Golden spoke with Ray Suarez, host of “Inside Story” on Al Jazeera America, about successes and failures in the war on poverty and where we go from here.
Dec 21, 2013
| The Tucson Sentinel
Why no literacy programs for 30 million in U.S.?
Marcie Weadon-Moreno Foster, public policy chair for the National Coalition for Literacy and a policy analyst at CLASP, an anti-poverty group, said that out of the 36 million adults with the lowest skills, only about 5 percent have gained access to education programs. In other words, about 34 million have not gained access. There are waiting lists for such programs in all but one state, some stretching to a year's time and hundreds of thousands of people. "The number one issue is that we're simply not providing the resources that we need to serve the students that we need to serve," Foster said.