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 »
The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this morning by a 375-34 vote. The bill, which heads to the Senate next week for final consideration, would fund the military to the tune of $618.7 billion, "about $3.2 billion more than the president requested for fiscal 2017. ... The White House has issued a veto threat on both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill, but has not yet said if it will sign the compromise bill released by the conference committee this week."
Bill Schuette, Michigan's attorney general, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state to halt the recount of the state's voting results. The recount was elected by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Schuette says the recount shouldn't occur because Stein cited no evidence of voter fraud or tabulation error.
"Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel" to succeed Michgan's Fred Upton.
The economy added 178,000 jobs in November, up from just 142,000 in October. Unemployment dropped to 4.6% from 4.9%, making it the lowest rate since before the Great Recession.
"Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working on legislation that would limit deportations" under President-elect Donald Trump. Leading the effort are Judiciary Committee members Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is also expected to sign on.