Monday, August 6, 2018

From: ND AFL-CIO: August 6 Weekly Update

Trumka: 'Working People Are Taking Matters into Our Own Hands'

AFL‑CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) spoke to reporters Wednesday at The Christian Science Monitor breakfast, highlighting the wave of collective action sweeping the country. “We’re living through the kind of defining moment that can leave its mark for a generation,” he said. “A moment that will determine what kind of economy we work in and what kind of society we live in.”

Hoeven Rejects Senate Bill Aimed at Election Security

The United States Senate rejected additional funds for election security yesterday. Their rejection follows mounting evidence of what Russia did in 2016 and what they continue to do to this day. Report after report from our intelligence agencies, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and even Congress themselves layout evidence of election interference. Still, North Dakota’s Senator John Hoeven rejected the funding aimed at combating it in 2018.

Review: In ‘Prairie Trilogy,’ All-American Stories of Socialism

What does it mean to be a socialist in America, and why do people get so angry, and angrily terrified, when some Americans espouse socialism as a fairer system than the one in place? These questions have been coming up more frequently in recent years, prompted by the rhetoric and policy propositions of the recent presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders and the ascendance of younger politicians, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the congressional candidate from New York who is unabashedly aligned with the Democratic Socialists of America.

“Prairie Trilogy” Revisits the Days When Socialism Swept North Dakota

“I suppose ‘socialist’ was, fifty, sixty years ago, what you would term today an incurable optimist,” declares Henry Martinson, that sunniest of radicals, at the age of 97 in John Hanson and Rob Nilsson’s short portrait Survivor. Martinson certainly got called worse than “optimist” in his decades of organizing farmers and laborers on the high plains of North Dakota, a mission that started in the first years of the twentieth century, as the homesteaders’ sod shanties gave way to farmhouses, and their crops got cynically undervalued by a system of buyers who — in Martinson’s words — “wouldn’t know a goldurn plow from a corn shredder.” First as an activist for the Socialist Party in the 1900s, then in North Dakota’s more successful Nonpartisan League in the teens, Martinson fought the exploitation of local farmers by out-of-state conglomerates.

Labor 2018 Weekly Canvas - Fargo - Tuesday - August 7

We will be knocking doors and making calls, talking to union members about union values and the candidates that support them. Tuesday, July 24 5:30 to 8:30 at the FM Labor Temple

If you support union values like dignity and respect on the job and a fair return on your work, join us!
Training, Materials, Camaraderie, Food and Refreshments provided.
Contact Andrew at abushaw@ndaflcio.org with questions.

Labor 2018 Weekly Canvas - Bismarck - Wed - August 8

We will be knocking doors and making calls, talking to union members about union values and the candidates that support them. Tuesday, July 24 5:30 to 8:30 at the FM Labor Temple

If you support union values like dignity and respect on the job and a fair return on your work, join us!
Training, Materials, Camaraderie, Food and Refreshments provided.
Contact Tanner at therbert@ndaflcio.org with questions.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

From CBPP: This Week at CBPP we focused on health, food assistance, Social Security, federal taxes, state taxes, and the economy.

This week at CBPP we focused on health, food assistance, Social Security, federal taxes, state taxes, and the economy.
  • On health, Peggy Bailey urged policymakers to embrace proposals that would maximize Medicaid’s coverage of substance use disorder services and supports and leverage grant funding for housing assistance for people transitioning out of treatment as they consider ways to address the opioid epidemic. Sarah Lueck called on states to enact protections against short-term health plans. Hannah Katch wished Medicaid a happy 53rd birthday by highlighting the program’s high-quality, comprehensive, and efficient coverage. Jennifer Wagner noted that eligible Arkansas Medicaid beneficiaries struggled to meet the state’s rigid work requirements in June. We updated our Sabotage Watch tracker of efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act.
  • On food assistance, LaDonna Pavetti pointed to several recent studies that counter the Council of Economic Advisers’ claims that taking away people’s SNAP, Medicaid, or housing assistance if they don’t meet rigid work requirements would be a beneficial way to increase work participation. We also updated our analyses of the House and Senate versions of the farm bill.
  • On Social Security, Kathleen Romig celebrated the birthday of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which provides modest benefits to workers who can no longer support themselves due to serious and long-lasting medical impairments. We also updated our backgrounder and chart book on SSDI.
  • On federal taxes, Chye-Ching Huang explained that indexing capital gains for inflation would create yet another tax cut for the top 1 percent.
  • On state taxes, we updated our fact sheet on state estate and inheritance taxes.
  • On the economy, we updated our backgrounder on unemployment compensation and our chart book on the legacy of the Great Recession.

A variety of news outlets featured CBPP’s work and experts recently. Here are some highlights:
Don’t miss any of our posts, papers, or charts – follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.
Contact: Caroline Anderson-Gray, 202-408-1080, Director of Digital Strategy
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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Press Release from Senator Heidi Heitkamp: Hietkamp Leads Bipartisan Group of Senators in Urging Administration to Recognize and Address Challenges Facing Tribal Areas in 2020 Census

Thursday, August 22018
Abbie McDonough/Connor Joseph (Heitkamp), (202) 224-8898

Heitkamp Leads Bipartisan Group of Senators in Urging Administration to Recognize & Address Challenges Facing Tribal Areas in 2020 Census

Senators Concerned about Preparations for 2020 Census; in 2017, Census Tests in Indian Country were Cancelled

Heitkamp has Repeatedly Called for Better Reporting and Testing in Tribal Regions, Brought Former U.S. Census Director Thompson to North Dakota in 2014 and in 2016

**Click here for VideoAudio**

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today is leading a bipartisan effort requesting information on the Census Bureau’s plan to ensure an accurate and cost-effective 2020 Census count in tribal communities.

In 2017, Census tests across Indian Country were canceled, furthering concerns that Native populations are not being prioritized in preparations for the 2020 Census—even though the unique characteristics that tribal communities present require additional planning and effort to overcome. Native Americans have been historically under-represented in Census data, which then reduces the amount of federal support that tribal communities receive. With accurate measurements, tribes will have access to the necessary federal support for housing programs, job training, social services, and many other programs they are guaranteed under law.

In their letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross— the top administration official overseeing the Census Bureau, Heitkamp and U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) called on the administration to recognize the realities of tribal areas and to develop a plan that will ensure Native communities are accurately measured during the 2020 Census. Click here to read the full letter.

“Our tribal residents shouldn’t have to worry about the Census Bureau drastically undercounting their rela`tives and neighbors, simply because of where they choose to live,” said Heitkamp. “As the 2020 Census approaches, the agency must take steps to make sure these communities are counted fairly and accurately, so that tribal citizens can receive the federal funds they need to improve public safety, promote access to affordable housing, and provide high-quality education and health care. That’s why we’re pushing to hold the Census Bureau accountable and demand it take the appropriate steps for an accurate Census count in Indian Country. We need to see a well-developed plan that treats all Americans equally in the eyes of the Census—including those living in tribal, rural, or underserved areas.”

Heitkamp has long stressed the importance of the Census and tribes working together to break down barriers for people living on tribal lands in North Dakota and around the country, and to make sure Native populations are appropriately represented at all levels of government. At Heitkamp’s urging, U.S. Census Director John Thompson visited North Dakota in 2014, during which he met with Native American leaders about the importance of accurate population counts and how Census data is used to distribute federal, tribal, state, and local government funds. Thompson returned to the state in February 2016 to participate in the Tribal Consultation Meeting held at Sitting Bull College.

“Census data is incredibly significant to American Indians and Alaska Natives as it is used by Tribes and Tribal Organizations to make informed decisions about the future of their people. This information helps ensure fair allocations of funding for federal programs that are vital to Native communities, including housing, healthcare, and education. Unfortunately, due to their remote nature, language barriers, lack of access to telephones and internet, and often non-tradition mailing addresses, getting accurate Census data in rural Alaska and throughout Indian Country is no simple task,” said Murkowski. “With 92,000 Alaska Natives living in ‘hard to count’ communities, I urge my colleagues to consider the negative impacts that an undercount can have on rural Alaska and Indian Country as we are preparing for the 2020 Census.”

“An accurate census count is vital to the health and wellbeing of Native American communities. In 2010, we saw that Native American communities were undercounted by nearly five percent,” said Klobuchar. “If we fail to get an accurate count in 2020, it will hurt their ability to have access to healthcare, education, and fair representation in Congress.”

In their letter, the senators also pointed to the Census Bureau’s move away from paper questionnaires to an internet-based data collection method. While the senators praised these efforts, they expressed concerns that this transition may leave Native communities behind, since they are often located in remote areas without reliable internet or cellular service. According to the Census Bureau’s data, only 58.2 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives regularly use the internet.

Shortly after the U.S. Census Bureau’s announcement in April 2016 that it would conduct a Census Test on the Standing Rock Reservation— one of just two tests nationwide in Indian Country in 2017 in preparation for the 2020 Census— the test was canceled, leaving a gaping hole in the federal government’s preparations to address challenges of an accurate Census count on reservations and in the region.


As a leader on the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), which oversees the Census, Heitkamp has fought to make sure the Census works for North Dakota. In October 2017, Heitkamp pressed key federal leaders on the many challenges the 2020 Census faces, including testing and reporting in rural and tribal areas. During a HSGAC hearing, Heitkamp drew the attention of Secretary Ross, as well as leaders from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Government Accountability Office, to the recently canceled Census tests in Indian Country.

Heitkamp also sits on the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, where she has fought to guarantee Indian communities have access to quality homes, schools, and health care.

A national Census takes place every 10 years. The data gathered through the Census informs the levels of federal funding that North Dakota and other states receive for transportation infrastructure, education, medical assistance, and many other essential programs. According to 2014 Census data, at the height of the oil boom North Dakota was the fastest-growing state in the United States. Heitkamp has advocated that all communities are counted accurately by also drawing attention to the enormous population growth in western North Dakota.


Friday, July 27, 2018

ACTION ALERT: National Day of Action for Medicaid's Birthday!

This coming Monday, July 30 will be a National Day of Action for Medicaid’s 53rd Birthday! Many groups are focusing activities around the time frame 12-1 pm CT.

No matter our differences, most of us want to live healthy lives. Medicaid allows seniors, parents, children and working people to visit doctors when they are sick.

If you are active on social media, here are a couple of ideas:
Hashtags and Posts
  • #HappyBirthdayMedicaid 
  • #Medicaid53 
  • #HandsOffMedicaid
  • Everyone wants treatments that are proven to help them to live healthy lives. The Affordable Care Act provided 12 million more people with Medicaid coverage, including families and children so they can access those treatments. #HappyBirthdayMedicaid #Medicaid53 #HandsOffMedicaid

In North Dakota, Medicaid Expansion through the Affordable Care Act provides 21,400 people with Medicaid coverage, including families and children.  #HappyBirthdayMedicaid #Medicaid53

And links to additional ideas and information:
Let’s all celebrate on Monday!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

From CBPP: State Earned Income Tax Credits Help Build Opportunity for People of Color and Women

The concentration of economic gains at the top of the income ladder and largely stagnant wages at the bottom harm the economic well-being of millions of workers, especially people of color and women.  For example, African American and Latino workers are far more likely than white workers to earn poverty-level wages.[1]  Women represent less than half of the total workforce but roughly 3 out of 5 workers in occupations with low pay.  And African American and Latino women comprise almost twice as big a share of the low-wage workforce as they do the workforce as a whole.[2]
State earned income tax credits (EITCs) help people of color and women struggling on low wages afford basic necessities and, studies suggest, contribute to their children’s future success. Twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia have enacted their own version of the federal EITC to help low-wage, working households meet basic needs.  State EITCs build on the success of the federal credit by keeping people on the job and further reducing hardship for working households and children. Because people of color and women are overrepresented in low-wage work, the state credits are also an important tool for advancing racial and gender equity.

State EITCs Reduce Poverty and Help Children of Color Go Further

Reduce poverty in communities of color.  While state and federal EITCs serve a larger number of white households than any other racial or ethnic group (due in part to population size), they serve a larger proportion of people of color relative to their population size, and the EITC has an outsized impact in reducing poverty rates for households of color.  The average state EITC benefit for non-white- or Hispanic-headed households was $120 higher than for white, non-Hispanic households, a recent study found, and state EITCs lift a larger share of the non-white and Hispanic populations out of poverty. [3]  This partly reflects the targeting of the EITC to working-poor households with children and the high poverty rates for children of color. Child poverty is nearly three times higher for African American and Hispanic children than for white children.[4]
Higher Income for Poor Children Expected to Boost Work and Earnings Later in Life
Help children of color do better and go further in school.  Multiple studies find that young children in low-income households that get an income boost from the state or federal EITC tend to do better and go further in school, reducing the disadvantages associated with exposure to poverty.[5]  The EITC may play a particularly important role in helping children of color improve their math achievement, complete high school, and enroll in college, the research suggests.[6]
May boost earnings and work hours as children of color reach adulthood. Children of color are more likely than white children to grow up in households struggling on low pay, due to wage and employment discrimination and other factors.[7]  Relative to better-off peers, children growing up poor tend to work less and earn less as adults,[8] but children receiving additional income (from whatever source) have a boost that lasts into adulthood.[9]  One study found that low-income children whose households received an additional $3,000 per year before age 6 were likely to work more hours and earn 17 percent more than otherwise-similar children without that additional support.[10]  (See figure.)

State EITCs Boost Women’s Work Hours and Income, May Improve Maternal Health

Encourage women to work, particularly unmarried mothers.  State and federal EITCs are considered some of the most effective policies to encourage women to work more hours and increase their earnings, particularly for unmarried mothers earning low wages.[11]  Unmarried mothers’ work rates increased substantially following the federal EITC expansion in the 1990s relative to married mothers and single women without children.[12] (See second figure.) Additionally, studies controlling for other factors found that the federal EITC expansion increased unmarried mothers’ work rates over and above their counterparts not receiving the EITC, and far more than welfare policies or labor market factors alone.[13]
Single Mothers' Work Rates Jumped Following Earned Income Tax Credit Expansion in 1990s
Reduce poverty among senior women.  EITCs reward and encourage work, especially for unmarried mothers, and often lead to better opportunities and higher pay over time.[14] That additional working experience while young increases women’s Social Security retirement benefits and thereby reduces poverty among senior women.[15]  This is especially important because women over 65 are more likely to be poor than men, regardless of marital status, race, or educational background.[16]  State EITCs build on the federal credit’s poverty reduction record.
Improve the health of mothers and their infants. Research suggests that state and federal EITCs can help improve maternal and infant health. For example, one study found that women newly eligible for an expanded federal EITC in the 1990s experienced improvement in a number of health indicators.[17]  Research has also found that more generous state EITCs are associated with improved birth outcomes, and that states with refundable EITCs showed the greatest reductions in low-birthweight infants and largest increases in birth weights.[18]
July 24, 2018
[1] Poverty-level wages are defined here as $11.70 or less per hour. Economic Policy Institute Data Library, Poverty-Level Wages, http://www.epi.org/data/#/?subject=povwage&g=*&r=*.
[2] Low wages are defined here as $11.00 per hour. See Jasmine Tucker and Kayla Patrick, “Low-Wage Jobs Are Women’s Jobs: The Overrepresentation of Women in Low-Wage Work,” National Women’s Law Center, August 2017, https://nwlc-ciw49tixgw5lbab.stackpathdns.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Low-Wage-Jobs-are-Womens-Jobs.pdf.
[3] Douglas J. Gagnon, Marybeth J. Mattingly, and Andrew Schaefer, “State EITC Programs Provide Important Relief to Households in Need,” University of New Hampshire Carson School of Public Policy, Winter 2017, https://scholars.unh.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1295&context=carsey.
[4] Annie E. Casey Foundation, “2017 Kids Count Databook,” June 2017, http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-2017kidscountdatabook.pdf.
[5] Chuck Marr et al., “EITC and Child Tax Credit Promote Work, Reduce Poverty, and Support Children’s Development, Research Finds,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, updated October 1, 2015, https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/eitc-and-child-tax-credit-promote-work-reduce-poverty-and-support-childrens; Greg J. Duncan, Pamela A. Morris, and Chris Rodrigues, “Does Money Really Matter? Estimating Impacts of Family Income on Young Children’s Achievement with Data from Random-Assignment Experiments,” Developmental Psychology, June 2011, pp. 1263–1279.
[6] Michelle Maxfield, “The Effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Child Achievement and Long-Term Educational Attainment,” Michigan State University Job Market Paper, November 14, 2013, https://www.msu.edu/~maxfiel7/20131114%20Maxfield%20EITC%20Child%20Education.pdf; Katherine Michelmore, “The Effect of Income on Educational Attainment: Evidence from State Earned Income Tax Credit Expansions,” November 2013, https://ssrn.com/abstract=2356444; Gordon Dahl and Lance Lochner, “The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit,” American Economic Review, August 2012, pp. 1927-1956.
[7] Lincoln Quillian et al., “Meta-analysis of field experiments shows no change in racial discrimination in hiring over time,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 10, 2017, http://www.pnas.org/content/114/41/10870.full; Roberta Spalter-Roth and Terri Ann Lowenthal, “Race, Ethnicity, and the American Labor Market: What’s at Work?” American Sociological Association, June 2005, http://www.asanet.org/sites/default/files/savvy/images/research/docs/pdf/RaceEthnicity_LaborMarket.pdf.
[8] Greg J. Duncan et al., "Early Childhood Poverty and Adult Attainment, Behavior, and Health," Child Development, January/February 2010, pp. 306-325.
[9] Jacob Bastian and Katherine Michelmore, “The Long-Term Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Children’s Education and Employment Outcomes,” December 27, 2016, https://ssrn.com/abstract=2674603.
[10] Greg J. Duncan et al., "Early Childhood Poverty and Adult Attainment, Behavior, and Health,” and personal communication with the author.
[11] Chris M. Herbst, “The labor supply effects of child care costs and wages in the presence of subsidies and the earned income tax credit,” Review of Economics of the Household, November 17, 2009, http://www.chrisherbst.net/files/Download/C._Herbst_Labor_Supply_Effects.pdf.
[12] Austin Nichols and Jesse Rothstein, “The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC),” NBER Working Paper No. 21211, May 2015, http://www.nber.org/papers/w21211.pdf.
[13] Jeffrey Grogger, “The Effects of Time Limits, the EITC, and Other Policy Changes on Welfare Use, Work, and Income among Female-Head Households,” Review of Economics and Statistics, May 2003.
[14] Erica Williams and Samantha Waxman, “States Can Adopt or Expand Earned Income Tax Credits to Build a Stronger Future Economy,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, updated February 7, 2018, https://www.cbpp.org/research/state-budget-and-tax/states-can-adopt-or-expand-earned-income-tax-credits-to-build-a.
[15]  Molly Dahl et al., “The Earned Income Tax Credit and Expected Social Security Retirement Benefits Among Low-Income Women,” Congressional Budget Office, March 5, 2012, https://www.cbo.gov/publication/43033.
[16] Monique Morrissey, “Women over 65 are more likely to be poor than men, regardless of race, educational background, and marital status,” Economic Policy Institute, March 8, 2016, https://www.epi.org/publication/women-over-65-are-more-likely-to-in-poverty-than-men/.
[17] William N. Evans and Craig L. Garthwaite, “Giving Mom a Break: The Impact of Higher EITC Payments on Maternal Health,” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (6)2, 2014, pp. 258-290.  Health indicators include self-reported “excellent” and “very good” health days per month, number of bad mental health days in the past month, and biomarkers of elevated stress levels from physical, blood, and urine tests.
[18] Sara Markowitz, Kelli A. Komro, Melvin D. Livingston, Otto Lenhart, and Alexander C. Wagenaar, “Effects of state-level Earned Income Tax Credit laws in the U.S. on maternal health behaviors and infant health outcomes,” Social Science & Medicine 194, October 16, 2017, p. 72.