MAXING OUT THE MINIMUM — Over 4.5 million workers began receiving higher pay on January 1st when thirteen states raised their minimum wages … however no state has yet to pass a minimum wage properly adjusted to inflation — roughly $10.74, according to Raise the Minimum Wage. This number jumps to 25 dollars an hour if average labor productivity is factored in. Director of the Center for American Progress’ Half in Ten and the Poverty and the Prosperity Program Melissa Boteach hammered home the point: “The War on Poverty hasn’t failed; rather, our economy has failed… We have an economic and moral obligation to help raise people out of poverty, and it starts by enacting realistic policies that invest in job creation, increase wages, and expand educational opportunities for all people.”
READ: “Proposal to Strengthen Minimum Wage Would Help Low-Wage Workers, With Little Impact on Employment” by the the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Lift Wages for Millions and Provide a Modest Economic Boost” by the Economic Policy Institute, and “50 Years After the War on Poverty, Will the Middle Class Become the New Poor?” by AlterNet Senior Editor Lynn Parramore.
DISCREDITED — 47 percent of employers conduct credit checks on their job applicants, a practice that Demos, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and others hope to prohibit through the Equal Employment for All Act. Sen. Wareen summed up the problem on a recent press call with Demos: “Let people compete for jobs on the merits, not whether they already have enough money to pay all their bills.” Demos has found that one in ten unemployed people claim that they were denied jobs based on the results of credit checks. READ “Discredited: How Employment Credit Checks Keep Qualified Workers Out of a Job” and WATCH Demos Vice President of Policy and Outreach and Top Wonk Heather McGhee voice her support for the bill HERE.
LETTERS FROM IRAN — Berim and Netformance launched Letters from Iran, an online campaign of over 500 letters from individuals from Iranians to Americans. This effort comes as a group of foreign policy experts and the White House urge against new Iran sanctions. Berim and Netformance are planning a Hill Action Day on January 30th. CHECK OUT Letters from Iran and FIND out more HERE.
ADVANCEMENT PROJECT URGES END OF WI DISCRIMINATION ENGINE — Advancement Project urged a federal court to issue a permanent injunction preventing Wisconsin’s Voter ID Laws from going back into effect in the wake of the November bench trial. The groups contest that the current legislation violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which prohibits discriminatory voting practices on the basis off color, race, and/or language. This is the first case to come to trial following the Supreme Court’s June Shelby County v. Holder ruling that struck down Section 5 of the VRA. READ the full post-trial brief HERE.
Advancement Project Co-Director and Top Wonk Penda D. Hair: “As the leading democracy in the world, it is our responsibility to ensure that states do not pass laws that hinder citizens’ inalienable right to vote. States across the nation have an obligation to ensure that citizens have equal access to the ballot.”
IN THEIR WORDS — As the U.S. Supreme Court gears up to rule on three cases surrounding birth control and abortion, Alliance for Justice (AFJ) has released a new report breaking down the views each Justice has on reproductive rights issues. The study analyzes confirmation hearings, voting records, and their legal writings. READ: “In Their Words: The Supreme Court Justices on Abortion.”
FROM THE WONK WIRE …
… CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: Princeton University Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and Top Wonk Alan S. Blinder investigates the role the poor play in the battle against fraud in free phone service.
… AVERTING LAYOFFS — CEPR Co-Director and Top Wonk Dean Baker will be speaking at the national conference “Averting Layoffs & Saving Jobs Through Work-Sharing,” organized by the National Employment Law Project and the Center for Law & Social Policy. The conference is today, Friday January 10th in DC. FIND out more and RSVP HERE.
Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.