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EPI News—Our most important stories this week

One in five veterans would benefit from a $15 federal minimum wage

This Veterans Day, as we honor the courage and sacrifice of the millions who have served the country in the armed forces, we should also recognize that many of these veterans are now struggling in sub-living-wage jobs. In a new Economic Snapshot, EPI’s David Cooper and Daniel Essrow show that approximately 1.8 million—or one in five—veterans would get a raise if Congress raised the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024. Of those 1.8 million veterans, nearly two-thirds are age 40 or older, over 60 percent have some college, and nearly 70 percent work full time. Read the Snapshot »
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One in five veterans would benefit from a $15 federal minimum wage.
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The GOP tax plan helps those who need it least

Republicans pushing a proposal that will benefit corporations and the wealthiest Americans are pretending that it won’t. Their reason for thinking they can get away with this claim? The plan maintains the top 39.6 percent rate for the highest earners. But, as EPI’s Hunter Blair points out, a loophole in the plan—allowing these high earners to pay a much lower 25 percent rate on “pass-through” income—renders the top rate irrelevant. In a recent report, EPI Research Director Josh Bivens sheds light on another deception being peddled by tax “reformers”—that cutting corporate taxes will boost wages. As Bivens explains, there is no evidence that corporations would put the money from a tax cut into productivity-enhancing investments, nor that increased productivity would necessarily lead to higher wages. For more evidence on why tax cuts for the wealthy won’t help working families, see this blog post from Bivens and this report and series of FAQs from Bivens and Blair.

Montgomery County votes to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour

Last Tuesday, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. During consideration of the bill, EPI’s David Cooper fought unscrupulous efforts to undermine the bill. Challenging a study that claimed the raise would have devastating negative effects on the economy, Cooper showed in meticulous detail why “to say that the study has methodological problems would be a gross understatement.” EPI’s Marni von Wilpert testified before the Montgomery County Council in support of the bill, saying that raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2020 is a reasonable way to help county residents meet rising costs of living.

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From the EPI blog

EPI in the news

In an opinion piece in The Hill, EPI’s Josh Bivens explained that the Republicans’ tax proposal is “mostly a big income tax cut for businesses.” | Don’t Buy the Trickle-Down Myth Peddled by GOP Tax Plan »
The Washington Post quoted EPI’s Heidi Shierholz on the challenges faced by involuntary part-time workers—workers who want full-time work, but can’t get it. “We are continuing to see this steady improvement, but there is still this slack in the labor market,” said Shierholz. | 52 and Making $28,000 a Year: The ‘Roaring’ Economy Is Still Failing Part-Time Workers »
The Seattle Times interviewed EPI’s Emma García about her recent reportfinding that children in the lowest socioeconomic status (SES) quintile continue to lag well behind children in the highest SES quintile in both cognitive and noncognitive skills at the start of kindergarten. “It is disappointing,” said García. “We know how we can support early development and tackle skills gaps . . . [but the] gaps haven’t closed a bit.”| Study: Academic Gaps Persist—but Haven’t Widened—between High- and Low-Income Kindergartners »
The Hill quoted EPI’s Celine McNicholas on the Save Local Business Act passed by the House this week. McNicholas says the bill “robs workers of their rights, making it impossible for them to effectively collectively bargain or litigate workplace disputes.” | House Passes Bill to Overturn Controversial Joint-Employer Ruling »
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EPI News—1 in 5 veterans would get a raise from a $15 federal minimum wage
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