As the president prepares to sign an executive order raising the minimum wage for some federal contractors, another of his signature initiatives is quietly closing the income disparity in America, a new study finds.
The Affordable Care Act will boost the average incomes of the bottom fifth of wage earners, according to a Brookings Institution report, by nearly 6 percent in 2016.
Health insurance premium assistance and expanded Medicaid coverage are two primary factors contributing to the rise, the report says. Both provisions target low wage earners, and the cost of the programs are offset by taxes distributed across the population.
Such a “redistribution of wealth” has been demonized by Republicans, but more than $1 trillion will be collected from high- and middle-income earners to be made available as subsidies for people earning below 400 percent of the federal poverty line — a big step toward making income more equal in the U.S. Payroll taxes and the “Cadillac” tax on expensive health insurance plans are two Obamacare provisions that target the highest wage earners in the country.
But low-income, elderly, and minority Americans will also be adversely affected by cuts to the Medicare program, as well as by the decision by roughly half of states to opt out of Medicaid expansion. It’s partly why the bottom tenth of wage earners will only see an average income rise of roughly 7 percent as the law takes effect.
“The Affordable Care Act does not do a lot for the bottom decile because we’ve already taken care of the bottom decile,” said Marilyn Moon, director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan American Institutes for Research Center on Aging. “What it does is fill in the benefits for more Americans at the bottom.”
To read the complete study, click here.
What We're Following See More »
If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."
"President Barack Obama has chosen Jackson Park, a lakefront park that once hosted the world’s fair on the city’s South Side, for his $500 million presidential library, according to a person familiar with the matter."
Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."
The Clintons will retain their Secret Service "code names from the last time they lived in the White House. Hillary Clinton is EVERGREEN and Bill ClintonEAGLE. Donald Trump is MOGUL, according to reports, and Melania Trump MUSE. The vice presidents get code names, too: Mike Pence is HOOSIER—a little on the nose—and his wife HUMMINGBIRD. Tim Kaine is DAREDEVIL, somewhat ambitiously. His wife's? To be determined."