My colleagues and I recently published research showing that younger age groups are falling behind their parents in wealth accumulation and explaining the story behind our numbers. Some have raised questions about how we use our data, and I want to take some time to further explain our research.
Our study shows that the average wealth, or net worth, of these younger age groups has fallen fairly dramatically relative to older age groups. In response, some have said that median wealth is more important than average wealth. In fact, both are important. Average wealth tells us how a group is prospering as a whole relative to other groups; median wealth tells us how some “typical” person might be doing. Continue reading
The young have been faring poorly in the job market for some time now, a condition only exacerbated by the Great Recession. Now comes disturbing news that they are also falling behind in their share of society’s wealth and their rate of wealth accumulation.
Signe Mary McKernan, Caroline Ratcliffe, Sisi Zhang, and I recently examined how different age groups have shared in the rising net wealth of the U.S. economy. Despite the recent recession, our economy in 2010 was about twice as rich both in terms of average incomes and net worth as it was 27 years earlier in 1983. But not everyone shared equally in that growth. Continue reading
In last week’s State of the Union speech, President Obama put great emphasis on expanding early childhood education. He’s not alone in recognizing the vital role of education as the launching pad for 21st century growth. George W. Bush wanted to be known as the “education president,” and so did his father, George H.W. Bush.
While I strongly support these types of effort, right now pro-education politicians are fighting a losing battle. Their new initiatives merely slow down their retreat against a health cost juggernaut. Continue reading
In theory, a household may be eligible for a broad range of government supports. Some are universally available, such as earned income tax credits and SNAP (formerly called food stamps) to a household with children if earnings are low enough. (See a previous short on this subject.) Others are only available to some people. For instance, government establishes waiting lists for programs like rental housing subsidies and limits number of years of participation in the traditional welfare program, now called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or TANF. Continue reading
Many government programs automatically grant eligibility to all families with children, depending only on their income. As their incomes increase, however, these families often, but not always, receive fewer benefits. Some restrictions operate on a schedule: earn $1 more, get 30 cents less in benefits. Medicaid provides eligibility up to a given income level, then denies eligibility when one more dollar is earned (though usually with a delay). The dependent exemption only is available to those owing taxes, and only at high income levels is removed by the alternative minimum tax. Continue reading
Recent newspaper articles have highlighted autism studies that lean toward genetic causes on the one hand and environmental on the other. One notes correlations with the age of fathers and the genetic mutations that we all inherit but that increase with a father’s age. Another suggests that we have a weakened resistance to germs because we aren’t exposed to as many in our cleaner, less outdoor society. Most of us are also familiar with past studies that failed to find evidence for the popular thesis that immunizations given to young children increase the probability of autism.
These autism studies are mere examples of the many types of epidemiological research that try to investigate outbreaks of disease, assess exposure risks, or figure out why certain populations seem to be more or less immune to various health threats. Continue reading
The Urban Institute recently released Kids’ Share 2012: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children through 2011, by Julia Isaacs, Katherine Toran, Heather Hahn, Karina Fortuny, and myself. It looks comprehensively at trends in federal spending and tax expenditures on children over the past 50 years. This sixth annual report is well worth a look if you are at all interested in how children fare in the federal budget. Continue reading
On July 10, 2012, I testified before the Senate Finance Committee on “Mobility, the Tax System, and Budget for a Declining Nation.” Below is a shorter summary of my testimony. Continue reading