What We Are Learning

Policy Analysis

March 15, 2018

The Foundation and other organizations often discuss key policy issues affecting low-income families. In the interest of helping to move toward solutions, we look forward to provoking conversation about these issues with our partners in the field.

“Skin in the Game”: The Federal Tax System, Tax Reform and Poor Families

In recent years, it has been argued that the federal income tax system is flawed because a significant percentage of people do not have “skin in the game,” that is, they do not pay federal income taxes. It is true that a significant percentage of Americans do not pay federal income taxes, and that the percentage rose sharply, to slightly more than 50 percent, in 2008 and 2009 (but has fallen since). However, this does not necessarily reflect a flaw in the income tax system; instead, it can be seen as reflecting economic conditions, fundamental principles embedded in the income tax system, and a series of policy choices designed to help poor families improve their economic circumstances.

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To make sure low-income families are not forgotten in the tax debates, the Foundation hosted in 2012, two panel discussions with some of the leading tax policy analysts and researchers in the country. A panel was held in Washington, D.C. in July and the other in New Mexico in October.

Making it in America

Concerned about these trends and committed to identifying forward-thinking solutions that bring about sustained change, the Marguerite Casey Foundation held a series of roundtable discussions in three of the Foundation’s grantmaking areas that have a concentration of low-wage workers: Jackson, MS; Baton Rouge, LA; and Los Angeles, CA. Working families, policymakers and experts from a variety of disciplines and with different ideologies exchanged ideas and policy solutions that can positively affect the lives of working families. Making It in America is the result of those discussions. A framework for change, it reflects the needs and concerns of low-wage working families, and recommends sound, innovative strategies and family-friendly policy reform that can help American families move out of poverty and reclaim the American Dream.

Making it in America

Different Incomes, Common Dreams

At the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on October 18th, 2005 the Foundation released “Different Incomes, Common Dreams”, the most comprehensive study that looks at the attitudes of Americans, particularly low-income families’ attitudes, before and after Hurricane Katrina.

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Policy Analysis

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