Research Roundup: The stimulus and the states, Inequality and the American Dream, Progressive taxation, Entrepeneurial state eco

A few good resources highlighting the need for a federal recovery program focused on aid to the states:

A couple of reports highlight rising inequality and the shakiness of the American Dream:

  • From Middle to Shaky Ground (Demos) - This new report finds that 4 million American households lost economic security between 2000 and 2006, and that a majority of America's middle class households are either borderline or at high risk of falling out of the middle class altogether.  Median financial assets are falling, housing expenses are rising, and middle-class families with at least one member lacking health insurance is growing.
  • U.S. Intragenerational Economic Mobility From 1984 to 2004 (Economic Mobility Project) - This report highlights that despite strong economic growth during the late 80s and 90s, income inequality by most every measure is higher today than in 1984. More than 7 in 10 Americans who start at the bottom of the income ladder remain below middle income status 10 years later.
  • A Green Prosperity Path (Center for American Progress) - While immediate stimulus is needed, this resource emphasizes that investing in a cleaner, renewable, and more efficient energy system must play a key role in any comprehensive economic rescue and revitalization effort.

The Progressive Income Tax: An Essential Element of Fair and Sustainable State Tax Systems (IETP) - As states struggle with fiscal crises, this policy brief outlines why a fair and progresive tax on incomes, particularly on the wealthy, is critical to promoting stable revenues and funding social and physical investments.

The 2008 State New Economy Index (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)) - Ranking states on their strength in becoming global, entrepreneurial and innovation-based economies, this report finds that five states - Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey -- are leading the nation, while Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama and Wyoming are ranked lowest on the studies' 29 indicators of effectiveness in national and global competition.

Opportunity Agenda this month is highlighting the role of international human rights in state law and public opinion:

The Center for American Progress has two new studies on education:

  • Financial Incentives for Hard-to-Staff Positions - this report details new approaches to teacher compensation that encourage teachers to work in "hard-to-staff" areas such as math and science, as well as placing them in schools with high proportions or disadvantaged students and in isolated rural areas
  • Addressing the Teacher Qualification Gap. - With less qualified teachers more likely to be placed in schools serving less wealthy students, this report examines the literature showing the inequitable results of such differences are argues for financial incentives to address the problem.

Two new reports highlight challenges for early education:

  • Child Care Assistance in 2006: Insufficient Investments  (CLASP) - While spending on child care assistance increased slightly in 2006, this combined thirty-two states increasing spending, with 19 states making cuts -- and unless federal support is increased, more programs will face cuts.
  • New Report: Middle-Class Families in Difficult Pre-K Pinch (PreK Now) -Eligibility requirements and prohibitively high costs lead most middle class families to sacrifice basic household needs to pay for early education and care for their children, or to settle for low-quality options with unproven benefits.

Sustaining Anti-Poverty Solutions: Keep an Eye on the Prize (CLASP) - Local solutions to poverty that provide opportunity are taking hold in different ways around the United States and this article identifies for funders and others a set of issues that should get considered when tackling poverty.