MLPP Blog: Factually Speaking

Americans want Congress to invest in kids

Added October 22nd, 2014 by Jane Zehnder-Merrell | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Jane Zehnder-Merrell

A national public opinion poll just released by the Children’s Leadership Council found strong support for increased funding for effective programs that improve the lives of children and youth across the age spectrum, from birth to adulthood.

“Elected officials have an obligation to support, protect and defend programs that invest in and assist children, youth and their families. Americans are asking for no less,” says Randi Carmen Schmidt, executive director of the Children’s Leadership Council, which commissioned the poll. (more…)

Ryan ‘Opportunity Grant’ proposal likely to increase poverty

Added September 4th, 2014 by Alicia Guevara Warren | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Alicia Guevara Warren

While it is refreshing to have a top Republican leader bring the issue of rising poverty in America to the forefront and advocate for some of the policy changes the League has sought, such as expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a key component of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s antipoverty plan is to create the “Opportunity Grants” program, which may actually result in higher poverty rates.

In his proposal, Expanding Opportunity in America, House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan recommends the consolidation of 11 safety net and related programs into an ill-advised single block grant to states. The new “Opportunity Grant” would include programs for food assistance, child care, energy assistance, housing assistance, and more. (more…)

Camp’s costly change of heart

Added June 12th, 2014 by Jason Escareno | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Jason Escareno

U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., is having a very expensive change of heart in seeking to make a corporate tax cut called ‘bonus depreciation’ permanent.

Camp’s previous plan for tax reform recommended ending bonus depreciation. A recently released report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities details Chairman Camp’s policy reversal.

Bonus depreciation lets businesses take tax deductions for certain new purchases such as machinery and equipment upfront. The goal is to spur investment and economic growth during recessionary cycles. (more…)

Constitutional amendment: misguided and reckless

Added March 21st, 2014 by Karen Holcomb-Merrill | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Karen Holcomb-Merrill

A resolution passed by the Michigan House on Thursday calling for a federal balanced budget amendment is misguided and reckless. While a balanced budget amendment may seem appealing on the surface, it would create serious challenges for our economy while threatening the U.S. Constitution.

Requiring a balanced federal budget would threaten critical services such as schools, highways, public safety and more in our state. Michigan has already experienced a decade of cuts in education, local communities and roads. We cannot afford to lose federal dollars that are helping us invest in the important engines of our economy. (more…)

EITC expansion would keep workers out of poverty

Added March 13th, 2014 by Jason Escareno | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Jason Escareno

President Obama’s 2015 budget rightly seeks to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to more workers — particularly childless workers. The current EITC rules are unfair to low-wage workers who aren’t raising children, including noncustodial parents. Those workers receive such a small EITC that they can be literally taxed into poverty, or driven deeper into poverty.

By far, the largest share of the EITC goes to those in poverty who work and have children. The EITC is a refundable credit for low-income working families and has been successful at encouraging certain people to take jobs, particularly single mothers. The EITC promotes work and reduces the need for public assistance. (more…)

Michigan lags 33 other states in education spending

Added September 12th, 2013 by Judy Putnam | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Judy Putnam

Michigan is failing to invest in its future by shortchanging education. In fact it’s spending $572 per student less than it did in 2008, according to a report out today by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Since 2008, Michigan has cut 9% in per-pupil funding, adjusted for inflation, putting it behind 33 other states that cut less or invested more in education. The report found that states have not restored the education spending cuts made during the Great Recession. (more…)

Congress eyes cuts to a Michigan lifeline

Added September 5th, 2013 by Melissa K. Smith | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Melissa K. Smith

According to a new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 13.4% of Michigan households, more than 500,000, experienced food insecurity in 2012. Food insecurity is a measure of hunger and exists when access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources.

The USDA conducts an annual, national survey that measures the “extent and severity of food insecurity in U.S. households” and its newly released report found that more than 5% of all households in Michigan, more than 200,000, lived with very low food security, where food intake was reduced and eating patterns were disrupted due to insufficient money or resources in 2012. Michigan’s level of food insecurity was slightly lower than the national average as 14.5% of all American households were food insecure, some 17.6 million households. (more…)

Cato gets it wrong

Added August 26th, 2013 by Yannet Lathrop | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Yannet Lathrop

The Cato Institute recently released a report  purporting to prove that in most states, it pays more (and therefore it’s more rational) for low-skill workers to pursue government assistance rather than work. This is patently false.

According to the report, for a single mother with two kids in Michigan, the total “welfare benefits package” (which includes cash, food, housing and heating assistance, as well as Medicaid and other low-income programs) is $26,430 (or $12.71 per hour) in wage-equivalent terms, compared with just $15,390 in pretax annual wages from working full-time at a minimum wage ($7.40 per hour) job. The authors of the study then falsely conclude that this leads to a disincentive for work, and that the way to address this problem is to reduce assistance and tighten work and other requirements associated with this assistance. (more…)

Cuts to food aid could add to, not reduce, spending

Added August 14th, 2013 by Yannet Lathrop | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Yannet Lathrop

Here is a riddle for you to ponder: How is it that slashing nutrition assistance by $40 billion over 10 years, could result in higher levels of government spending? Read on for the answer. But first, some background.

Last month, the budget fights in Washington D.C. reached a new low when the House passed a “split” Farm Bill – one that included only farm subsidies and infamously excluded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — also known as SNAP, the Michigan Food Assistance Program or “food stamps.” This was the first time Congress acted to split the Farm Bill since 1977, when farm and nutrition programs were combined into a single bill. (more…)

Poverty’s impact

Added August 1st, 2013 by Jane Zehnder-Merrell | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Jane Zehnder-Merrell

A few decades ago the high rate of babies born addicted to crack cocaine was a major concern. Experts made dire predictions of lifelong damage to these children. To assess the impact Dr. Hallam Hurt, then chair of neonatology at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, launched a 25-year study.

Researchers tracked the development of a group of babies born to crack-addicted mothers and a control group born in similar circumstances but not to mothers addicted to crack cocaine. The results are in: The problem for these children was not crack cocaine but poverty, which equally afflicted both groups. (more…)

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