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September 24, 2013 / Christian Clansky

The reasons that low-income individuals “don’t work”

POVERTY | Why is the unemployment rate so high among the low-income population? It doesn’t seem to be because they can’t find jobs. According to census data, illness and disability are the leading reasons in recent years, followed by family obligations. That said, job availability has been a far more significant factor during the recession. The Atlantic looks at these data in the context of looming SNAP cuts (Atlantic, 9/23):

First, the recession changed poverty to some extent. More of the non-working poor claim they cannot find a job than at any point in the past two decades. Given that there are three unemployed Americans for every job opening, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Second, the poor who choose not to work aren’t necessarily doing so out of laziness, but because they have other obligations: they’re trying to take care of relatives, they’re ill, or they’re attempting to make their way through school.

And taking away their meal tickets won’t fix any of those problems.

Related: U.S. disability rolls swell in a rough economy

PHILANTHROPY | As part of the TED Weekends series, Dan Pallotta reflected on his earlier TED talk and reiterated his message about why charities should act like businesses. Eric Kessler– managing director of Arabella Advisors, president of the New Venture Fund, and member of WRAG’s board – was asked to respond to Pallotta’s argument. He builds on it and says: (HuffPo, 9/20)

Charitable giving has been stuck at 2 percent of U.S. GDP for 40 years, ever since we started measuring it.

So what can we do in response? Basically, we have to do three things: 1) work to increase the amount people give, 2) make the most of every penny we get, and — crucially — 3) go beyond giving entirely.

Related: In the vast labyrinth of the Huffington Post, we missed an another article that Eric wrote about the lessons he learned from the late and truly great Elmore Leonard. (HuffPo, 8/27)

ARTS
– Yesterday, we led with a story about how D.C. is now the second largest theater town in the country. Here are two great comments on the story. The first is from Michael Bigley, of the Cafritz Foundation, who asks whether arts and humanities funders are ready to come together again. The second is from the Cultural Data Project’s Glen Howard, who shares a great community resource.

Read the comments here (and feel free to add your own).

Southwest redevelopments bring new life and more space for the visual arts (Elevation DC, 9/24)

HEALTH
– Last month, WRAG’s Health Working Group co-sponsored a regional forum on insurance expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Here’s a rundown of where we stand. (WRAG)

– Did you know that the ACA has three elements that will be implemented through K-12 schools? Now you know. And knowing is half the battle. (ChildTrends, 9/24)

COMMUNITY | Arabella Advisors has announced that Wil Priester will serve as its new chief financial officer. He joins Arabella with a strong background in both the nonprofit and business sectors.

WORKFORCE | Wal-Mart has opened hiring centers for its new stores in the District, and the huge turnout is exposing the bad shape our local economy is in. Despite the defeat of the living wage bill, many residents are desperate for any form of employment. One applicant said, “If they pay $8.25, $8.75, whatever. A job is a job and I need a job.” (WaPo, 9/24) It’s a bit of a different message than the one in the lead story above.

Related: Wal-jobs come to D.C. (WaPo, 9/24)

CRIME | The Puzzling Relationship Between Crime and the Economy (Atlantic, 9/24)

LOCAL | Well this will literally stink. If the government shuts down, the District will be hit especially hard – particularly since trash collectors will be furloughed. (Wash Times, 9/24)


Checked bag fees on airlines are a royal pain in the rump. But now some airlines are beginning to charge for carry-ons. This is utter madness, but there is a possible workaround – gigantic coats that basically allow you to wear your carry-on. Brilliant!

Oh, and the movie gods must favor us because Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels have officially begun shooting Dumb and Dumber To. Here’s proof!

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