The Australian Government has announced that parents who refuse to vaccinate their children (on the basis of a 'conscientious objection') will no longer have access to key government benefits, including taxpayer funded child care benefits, child care rebates and family tax benefit A. The plan is backed by the Australian Medical Association, and has bipartisan support. More coverage: Sydney Morning Herald. The Australian. Sky News. [more inside]
Still Paying for the Civil War Each month, Irene Triplett collects $73.13 from the Department of Veterans Affairs, a pension payment for her father's military service—in the Civil War. Additionally, the article is rich in detail about what life was like for a young enlisted man during the Civil War and the years after.
AOL chief cuts 401(k) benefits, blames Obamacare and two "distressed babies". "AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong Thursday offered a number of unusual explanations for why his company pulled back its 401(k) benefits for employees this year. The first reason: Obamacare. The second: two women at the company who had 'distressed babies' in 2012." [more inside]
Attorney General Eric Holder will announce tonight at the annual HRC gala that the United States federal government will treat lawful same-sex marriages sweeping equal protection under the law in every program it administers, from courthouse proceedings to prison visits to the compensation of surviving spouses of public safety officers. [more inside]
"The country has cheaper medical care, smarter children, happier moms, better working conditions, less-anxious unemployed people, and lower student loan rates than we do. And that probably will never change." In The Atlantic, a comparison of some of the socio-economic aspects of Finland and the USA. [more inside]
By a bipartisan vote of 68-26, the Wisconsin state Assembly has approved AB-110, a measure requiring beneficiaries of SNAP -- known in Wisconsin as FoodShare, or more colloquially as food stamps -- to spend at least 2/3 of their monthly benefits on items from "a list of state-defined healthy foods" [PDF]. [more inside]
"In the past three decades, the number of Americans who are on disability has skyrocketed. The rise has come even as medical advances have allowed many more people to remain on the job, and new laws have banned workplace discrimination against the disabled. Every month, 14 million people now get a disability check from the government." A multimedia story by Planet Money reporter Chana Joffe-Walt, also featured on This American Life this week.
From April 2013 all working-age housing benefit claimants will experience a reduction in their benefit if their home has what is termed a 'spare bedroom'. Some people have a problem with this, and it is believed it will plunge 95,000 Britons into poverty. Prime Minister David Cameron has defended the tax saying it is important to "get control of housing benefit". Some who voted for the tax claim to have never heard of it, even though there are some high profile cases in the media detailing how people will suffer. The Bedroom Tax might be targeting the poor, but there may be a Mansion Tax in the planning stages to help balance the scales -- or not. It's a modern Window Tax!
"Somebody whispered to me, 'That's Nirvana. You're Kurt.'" For the (scalper's delight) 12-12-12 Benefit Concert for Hurricane Sandy (and anti-poverty programs), Paul McCartney will front a reunited Nirvana.
London advertising agency Iris have come under fire for the design of their staff benefits booklet. The photographs, while beautifully composed, are being criticised for their referencing of the chav stereotype, particularly at a time when benefit claimants are seeing drastic cuts proposed by the government. [more inside]
The workers at Manhattan's famous Strand Bookstore are currently in conflict with management over a severe new contract that radically reduces benefits. Bookstore employee and cartoonist Greg Farrell has decided to explain the conflicts and background of the problem via comic book.
Choosing Wisely encourages physicians and patients to discuss whether certain medical tests and procedures are unnecessary, especially those that can cause harm. The site offers nine lists of Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question about the most appropriate care for a patient, including lists for cardiology and oncology. [more inside]
"Workfare is the Conservative Government's scheme to get unemployed people into work. Workfare "was first introduced by civil rights leader James Charles Evers in 1968; however, it was popularized by Richard Nixon in a televised speech August 1969." [wikipedia] [more inside]
"We’re not going to say, 'Give it to me and let my grandchildren suffer.' I think they underestimate seniors when they think that way." But 71-year-old Barbara Sullivan cannot imagine asking people to pay higher taxes. And as she considered making do with less, she started to cry." (slnyt) [more inside]
The debate about whether young people should expect to 'intern' or work for free - and what this means in terms of who* gets into these industries - has been raging for years, but for unemployed people in Britain, this kind of labour no longer just means trying to enter into competitive or media-driven industries. An unemployed graduate, having been sent to work for Poundland without needing the experience nor being offered the job, is seeking a judicial review against the regulations that require many receiving unemployment benefit to work, unpaid, for large corporations. [more inside]
60 percent of Americans using a prominent tax deduction believe they get nothing from "government social programs." Cornell professor Suzanne Mettler describes what she calls the "submerged state," in which tens of millions of Americans benefit from $1 trillion of federal subsidies to private activities while believing they receive no benefits from the government. [more inside]
“Help a Brother Out.” Gawker manqué the Awl presents the story of Zack P., a young man who’s out of the closet in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Perhaps needless to say, things aren’t going smoothly for him, particularly after he wrote letters to the editor of the local paper and staged a solo counterprotest of antigay protesters. (Did he lose his housing and job because he was gay? Even if he did, that’s legal in North Dakota.) So: What’s a blog to do in a case like this? Sell a benefit calendar. [more inside]
On Day Care, Google Makes a Rare Fumble You’re probably guessing that because it involves “do no evil” Google, Fortune magazine’s “Best Company to Work For” the past two years, this is a heart-warming tale of a good company reversing a dumb decision. If only.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday that employers could reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees when they turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare without violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act [more inside]
The Freeloader Registry. When an employer pays low wages and doesn't provide health care benefits, its employees often end up getting free care through state and federal programs. How much does this cost you, and which companies benefit from the practice? A new Massachusetts state law will provide detailed information about top corporate welchers. (This follows recent discussion of the topic in the context of Wal-Mart.) Via Good Jobs First.
Celebrities take large payments from charities. The LA Times (reg reqd) is reporting that celebrities have received enormous payments for making appearances at celebrity benefits, including David Schwimmer, Cher, Gerald Ford, and others. To me, it's a shocking new low, but maybe I shouldn't be surprised.
Screwing the young. American government benefits will give a typical man reaching age 65 today a net windfall of more than $70,000 beyond what he paid in. A luckless 25-year-old, by contrast, can count on paying $322,000 more in payroll taxes than he will ever get back in benefits.
Unemployed people are supposed to be actively looking for work, not spending all of their time answering e-mail, drawing cartoons and getting interviewed on television about being unemployed. So there is a good chance Todd Rosenberg, creator of oddtodd.com and "Laid Off: A Day in the Life," will be asked to repay the last seven weeks of his unemployment benefits.