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January 13, 2014 / Christian Clansky

Imagine deducting $2.15 an hour from the federal minimum wage

In recent months, many of the jurisdictions in our region have made great progress toward increasing the minimum wage. But not all of them (ahem, Northern Virginia). As Brookings points out, the suburbanization of poverty is a key factor in the minimum wage debate. One in four suburban residents has a minimum wage job.

A sure-fire way to address the disparities in minimum wage rates would be to raise the federal standard so that all jurisdictions are lifted. But at this point in history, the federal rate is effectively worse than it was when it was envisioned (Brookings, 1/13):

This is timely, if not overdue, as today’s federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is effectively $2.15 lower than it was in 1964, after adjusting for inflation…

More than that, however, the profile of minimum wage workers has shifted dramatically in the last few decades. Rather than teens working after school or summer jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the typical worker likely to be affected by a raise in the minimum wage today is a woman in her 30s working full-time, with a family to support.

Related: Author Barbara Ehrenreich, who wrote a book about trying to live on the minimum wage, reflects on the gender inequality of poverty. (Atlantic, 1/13)

EDUCATION
– Lately, educators have emphasized development around STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) categories as these are the skill areas needed to thrive in our predicted near-future economy. An article in The Atlantic suggests that that the acronym is one letter short, however.

By adding an H, for haberdasher, we can ensure that our society has enough men’s outfitters. But the article doesn’t care about haberdashers. Instead, it wants STEM to add arts to the mix – and the case is a good one. (Atlantic, 1/13) We could finally teach our kids MEATS!

– A new brief from the Education Commission of the States finds that, despite budget woes, states are making big investments in pre-K education. In our region, the numbers are mixed.

The District is recognized as being a leader in pre-K spending, and it has increased its spending 14% since the last school year. Maryland and Virginia, on the other hand, were effectively flat between years. (ECS, 1/13)

COMMUNITY | Opinion: Last week, the Post’s Kathleen Parker wrote a piece about how semantics influence the discourse around inequality. The Hitachi Foundation’s Mark Popovich did not like her article and responded with a his own thoughts. (HuffPo, 1/13)

HOMELESSNESS | As the Silver Tsunami washes over the homeless population, problems associated with age are magnified by “stress and poor living conditions.” (HuffPo, 1/10)

NONPROFITS | In 2010, Congress instituted new reporting requirements for nonprofits. Under the new rules, 550,000 groups have lost their exempt status. But here’s the kicker: 9,000 of those cuts were due to mistakes made by the IRS. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

In a report to Congress last year, the agency noted the mistakes. And since then…well, nothing has changed. (Chronicle, 1/10)

TRANSIT | Hell must have frozen over during the Polar Vortex, because Metro seems to be easing up on major track work this year! (WaPo, 1/13)


You know it’s a slow news day when DC Restaurant Week and the decades-old feud between Mia Farrow and Woody Allen are the top news stories.

Most of you would have never guessed it, but I’m a big movie nerd. So, I watched the Golden Globes last night. I’m not sure why I feel the need to justify that. Anyway, I thought the awards were well-chosen, the hosts were funny, and Jacqueline Bisset’s brain might have been on another planet. The best part of the show, however, was a commercial for the new Muppets movie. It was hilarious in the way that it brilliantly spoofed social media. 

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