The Supplemental Measure of Poverty

On October 24, 2014, in Social Issues, by editor2

U.S. Census Bureau. October 2014.

The nation’s poverty rate was 15.5 percent in 2013, down from 16.0 percent in 2012, according to the supplemental poverty measure released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2013 rate was higher than the official measure of 14.5 percent, but similarly declined from the corresponding rate in 2012. [PDF format, 24 pages]

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Urban Institute. October 21, 2014.

This study chronicles the experiences of labor trafficking victims from the point of recruitment for work, their forced labor victimization, their attempts to escape and get help, and their efforts to seek justice through civil or criminal cases. The report finds that legal loopholes and lax enforcement enable labor traffickers to commit crimes against workers in major US industries: agriculture, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, and construction. Interview and case file data detail the ubiquity of trafficking, which occurs both in plain sight and behind lock and key. Detailed recommendations propose next steps for policy and practice. [Note: contains copyrighted material] [PDF format, 307 pages]

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Election Spending 2014: 9 Toss-Up Senate Races

On October 24, 2014, in Politics, by editor2

Brennan Center for Justice. October 21, 2014

Using newly released FEC data, Election Spending 2014: 9 Toss-Up Senate Races examines outside spending in 2014’s nine most competitive U.S. Senate races, the outcomes of which will likely determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years. The report found record highs in total outside spending, “dark money” spending by groups that conceal the identity of their donors, and spending by single-candidate groups. In fact, it is likely that eight of these nine races will match or exceed the previous record high for spending in a Senate race, while less than half the expenditures so far have come from the candidates themselves. In other words, outside money made possible by weak regulation and Supreme Court rulings like Citizens United is giving wealthy spenders more power than ever to buy influence over elections. [Note: copyrighted material] [PDF format, 33 pages]

Center for American Progress. October 23, 2014.

Although the U.S. border is now more secure than ever, decades of ever-increasing border and interior enforcement have exacerbated the dysfunction caused by rigid, out-of-date laws. Immigration reform that comprehensively addresses these systemic problems—including providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States—is supported by large swaths of Americans. Common-sense reform would restore public faith in the system and level the playing field for all Americans, while supercharging the economic benefits from the immigrant population. [Note: contains copyrighted information] [PDF format, 25 pages]

Brookings Institution. October 22, 2014.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government…whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights,” he certainly could not have conceived of secret money’s impact on elections and policy-making. But every year that goes by with Congress failing to address secret campaign spending challenges the founding father’s time-tested wisdom. [Note: contains copyrighted material] [HTML format]