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November 26, 2013 / Christian Clansky

Economic confidence of workers reaches ‘unprecedented’ low

In theory, we’re supposed to be enjoying the effects of an economic recovery. In reality, a new poll from the Washington Post and the Miller Center finds that American workers are living with “unprecedented economic anxiety.” Much like our expanding wage gap – which is more of a canyon at this point – economic uncertainty is disproportionately affecting low-income workers (WaPo, 11/26):

Job insecurities have always been higher among low-income Americans, but they typically rose and fell across all levels of the income ladder. Today, workers at the bottom have drifted away, occupying their own island of insecurity.

Lower-paid workers also worry far more about making ends meet. Fully 85 percent of them fear that their families’ income will not be enough to meet expenses, up 25 points from a 1971 survey asking an identical question. Thirty-two percent say they worry all the time about meeting expenses, a number that has almost tripled since the 1970s.

COMMUNITY | It can be easy to take the existence of foundations for granted, but each one has a unique origin story. This month’s issue of Forbes recalls the birth of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which happened quietly behind the scenes of its namesake’s dramatic public life. (Forbes, 11/25)

Much of the story is told through Cooke’s former lawyer and aide, Stuart Haney. Haney is now a trustee of the foundation, and we asked him about the legacy that the Forbes article celebrates. He says:

Throughout his life, Jack Kent Cooke’s name was widely associated with excellence. I am delighted that 16 years after his death, Mr. Cooke continues to be associated with excellence through the Foundation that bears his name and, more importantly, by the people who proudly call themselves “Jack Kent Cooke Scholars.” I can think of no better legacy.

GIVING | According to new research, religious Americans give more to charity than non-religious ones. (Chronicle, 11/26)

WORKFORCE | A D.C. Council committee has approved a minimum wage increase to $11.50. The bill should reach the full council next week. (WBJ, 11/26)

– Fairfax County Schools Superintendent Karen Garza has sounded the alarm about an expected $140 million budget gap next year. Some county officials accuse her of crying “wolf,” but she says that the threat is very real. (WaPo, 11/26)

Wouldn’t the Boy Who Cried Wolf parable be much better if he cried “velociraptor” instead? Think about how much scarier the ending would have been.

– Our region ranks third in the country among metro areas as a college destination. (WBJ, 11/26)

NONPROFITS | Two senators – Republican John Thune and Democrat Ron Wyden – have written a letter that makes a case against the president’s proposed cap on charitable deductions. They plan to send it to the Senate Finance panel. (Bloomberg, 11/25)

HOUSING | Our lead story last Thursday was about Mayor Gray’s announcement of $87 million in additional affordable housing funding. Apparently that funding isn’t actually new money. (CP, 11/20)

SNOW | Though they can only be trusted about as much as a quadruple agent during the height of the Cold War, meteorologists have suggested that we are due for some big snow storms this year. If that ends up being true, here’s the best idea ever for how to deal with the snow(Atlantic, 11/26)

A National Geographic funded excavation has revealed that the Buddha might have actually lived earlier than previously thought. Very cool!

The Daily will be on Thanksgiving hiatus until Monday, at which point it will be appropriate to liberally quote Home Alone. In the meantime, the entire WRAG staff wishes you and your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving!

– Christian

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