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Jobs at Risk for Vulnerable Populations, Demanding Greater Transparency & Accountability, and Much More
Julie Bero on April 15, 2010 - 12:51pm
Jobs at Risk for Vulnerable Populations
- The Kids Aren’t Alright — A Labor Market Analysis of Young Workers - While the national unemployment rate has yet to meet the dismal 10.8% benchmark set in 1982, workers age 16-24 have reached a post-war unemployment highs with an unemployment rate peaking at 19.2%, according to this analysis by the Economic Policy Institute. Though young adults represent only 13.5% of the workforce, they now account for 26.4% of unemployed workers, a dangerous development with so many young people losing out on the chance for the early employment shapes long-term employment possibilities.
- Extending the TANF Emergency Fund Would Create and Preserve Jobs Quickly and Efficiently - The TANF Emergency Fund, which was created by Recovery Act, has allowed states to create subsidized job programs for TANF recipients and other low-income unemployed individuals, as detailed in this Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report. With the Fund set to expire on September 30, these key programs in many states are set to be scaled back, highlighting the importance of the federal government renewing the program.
Demanding Greater Transparency and Accountability in Spending and Contracting
- Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data - US PIRG analyzes and ranks each state on their development of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility. The authors note, “[i]n the past five years, states across the nation have made significant progress in budget reporting and accountability,” though there is substantial room for improvement. They further the point by explaining the major benefits of corporate transparency, which “can be used by citizens and government officials to identify inefficiencies, promote best practices, check corruption, and help to avoid another financial crisis. Providing cutting-edge checkbook-level transparency will also help to restore the trust in government that has been compromised during the budget crisis.”
- Audit the Tax Code: Doing What Works for Tax Expenditures - Arguing that spending programs delivered through tax breaks should have the same scrutiny as direct spending programs, this Center for American Progress report argues that tax expenditures should be integrated directly into the budget process with far greater transparency and accountability.
- Little Evidence Exists to Show Private Prisons are Cheaper or Better - The Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy finds little evidence to support the claim that privatizing prisons leads to cost savings or increased efficiency. The authors conclude that more accountability and a reformed procurement process would benefit the state.
- TransparencyData.com provides a new way to track the influence of political donors in state and federal campaigns. The public will be able to search through data about political donors, lobbyists, and lawmakers, and download nuggets of interest or whole sets of data that may illuminate policy discussions and legislative votes. The Sunlight Foundation collaborated with the National Institute on Money in State Politics, the Center for Responsive Politics, and others to create TransparencyData.com.
Close the Hidden Funding Gaps in Our Schools - This new report from The Education Trust examines how inadequate allocation of federal funds by school districts across the nation is having a negative impact on schools in high-poverty areas. Examining per-student expenditures in New York City, it reveals major differences between spending in high-poverty and low-poverty schools, with schools with less experienced teachers in high-poverty areas receiving less money than schools in affluent areas.
Just Pay: Improving Wage and Hour Enforcement at the United States Department of Labor - Serving as a useful guideline for state enforcement efforts, the National Employment Law Project for the Just Pay Working Group offers a set of concrete recommendations to the US Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division on how to improve enforcement of the nation's wage and labor laws. The report comes at a time of great hope for improved collaboration by the federal government with the states on cracking down on wage theft against employees around the country, bolstered by more labor investigators and a renewed commitment from US Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, to enforce employment law and crack down on employers who violate their workers' rights. The report urges government enforcement officials to target industries with high numbers of violations, address worker misclassification, enhance the agency's ability to respond to workers' complaints, and optimize its outreach to workers vulnerable to exploitation - including undocumented immigrants.