Some small good news for American low-wage workers: Walmart is increasing its wages at the low end. By April, no Walmart employee will make less than $9 an hour; a year from now it’ll be $10. The retailer is also moving to improve its scheduling practices, a source of worker complaints. Walmart’s decision is a voluntary one, made for business reasons.
A report released today by the Children’s Defense Fund details how the U.S. could reduce child poverty by 60 percent. Specific targets are important in anti-poverty work, and this is an ambitious one (though less ambitious than the report’s title, Ending Child Poverty Now). CDF’s policy proposals include a larger Earned Income Tax Credit and (not or) a higher minimum wage, along with expanded housing subsidies, child care subsidies, and food stamps. Add some more generous rules for tax credit refunds and child support recipients’ federal benefits—along with a new subsidized jobs program—and the whole thing starts to sound pretty expensive.
At such ideologically charged times, it is hard to discern what a life of Christian faithfulness looks like. Miguel De La Torre offers a good resource.
Some modest good news this week from the Census Bureau [pdf]: for the first time since the Great Recession began, the poverty rate is down a little and the child poverty rate is down a little more. The latter was driven by a bit of job growth and—among families with children—higher income. But at this pace it'll take years for the poverty rate to get back down just to where it was in 2000.
Reading David Brooks sometimes makes me want to tear my newspaper to shreds, throw the shreds in the fireplace, and douse them in something that burns even faster. Of course, my fireplace is decorative and my newspaper’s actually a laptop, so I control myself. Brooks would approve. He likes self-control.
Survey question from Pew: "Poor people have hard lives because government benefits don't go far enough to help them live decently, or poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything?" Almost four out of five conservatives: Oh the poor, totally have it easy.
I stood in the damp grass, on a warm afternoon, eating a veggie dog at the foreclosure-free picnic, with members of Mercy Junction. My husband started a worshiping community in Chattanooga, and they determined that housing issues would be a central part of their ministry. So they gathered, in solidarity with a man who was facing foreclosure after losing his job.
Every year, Unco is a good gauge to find out what’s exciting and difficult about being an innovative church leader. Here are ten things that I gleaned from our recent gathering.