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Amy Traub
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Amy Traub is Senior Policy Analyst in the Economic Opportunity Program at Demos. She has a broad research focus on consumer debt, job quality and job creation, and policies to build the American middle class. Prior to Demos, Amy worked at the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, where she authored a number of influential reports, including including "Principles for an Immigration Policy to Strengthen and Expand the American Middle Class," and a proposal to reform New York City's personal income tax, which she wrote about in the book From Disaster to Diversity: What’s Next for New York City’s Economy. Amy also played a key role in the policy analysis incorporated into TheMiddleClass.org, a site now operated by Progressive Punch and the Campaign for America's Future. She has presented expert testimony to congressional staff and to city councils. An accomplished writer, Amy has contributed numerous essays and opinion articles to a variety of publications, including The Nation, The New York Times, Newsday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The San Jose Mercury News. Her book chapter, "A Strengthened Middle Class," appeared in Thinking Big: Progressive Ideas for a New Era (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009). She has appeared on several radio programs to discuss policy debates in the news. In 2008, Amy was honored for her work with a Cornerstone Award from the Jewish Funds for Justice. Amy holds a BA in political science from the University of Chicago and an MA in political science from Columbia University, where she completed coursework toward a Ph.D.

Entries by Amy Traub

Will New York City Lead the Fight Against Employment Discrimination?

(3) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 1:34 PM

"How can you pay your debt, if you can't get a job?" That's the straight-forward question Council Member Debi Rose asked on the steps of New York's City Hall on Friday, as she stood up as a lead sponsor of legislation which would...

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Food Stamps Don't Keep Walmart's Prices Low, They Keep Its Profits High

(160) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 10:41 AM

"The same company that brings in the most food stamp dollars in revenue -- an estimated $13 billion last year -- also likely has the most employees using food stamps."

The name of the mammoth food stamp-reliant company is no secret: Walmart.

As journalist Krissy Clark notes in Marketplace's...

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Why Wage Hikes Should Be All the Rage

(2) Comments | Posted February 21, 2014 | 5:03 PM

Airports are doing it. Big retailers are doing it. Cities are getting in on the action, too. Earlier this month, I even got to see the President of the United States do it.

Raising wages for low-paid workers is shaping up to be the hot new...

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President Obama Takes Action to Raise the Pay of Low-Wage Federal Contract Workers

(3) Comments | Posted January 28, 2014 | 2:24 PM

Sometimes in America, when low-paid workers stand up and speak out, even the President of the United States takes notice. This is one of those moments.

This morning, the White House announced that President Obama will sign a "Good Jobs" Executive Order requiring government contractors to raise the minimum...

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A Better Wage Can't Wait: Why Obama Must Announce a 'Good Jobs' Executive Order in the State of the Union

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2014 | 10:33 AM

I fear that John Boehner is not going to raise the minimum wage.

It doesn't matter that 76 percent of Americans support a wage hike, or that studies indicate that the minimum wage reduces poverty and that raising it would boost our economy and create jobs. And...

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Senator Warren's Latest Target: Employment Credit Checks

(44) Comments | Posted January 3, 2014 | 12:01 PM

When Senator Elizabeth Warren announced that she would not be running for president, she disappointed many who see her as one of the nation's most vigorous defenders of America's middle class. From her fight to end the risky lending practices that cost millions of Americans their homes to her efforts...

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Capitol Workers Strike to Protest Federally Subsidized Inequality

(7) Comments | Posted September 26, 2013 | 1:00 PM

It's their fifth strike in five months, but the workers of Good Jobs Nation didn't seem the least bit tired this morning. Low-paid employees from the food courts of federal buildings, the gift shops of the Smithsonian, and others employed under federal contracts, concessions, and lease agreements donned matching t-shirts,...

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Walmart's Surprising Path to Increased Sales: Raise Wages

(126) Comments | Posted August 22, 2013 | 3:45 PM

When Walmart broke the bad news to shareholders last week about declining same-store sales and cuts to their profit and sales projections, the company offered a glib explanation. "The retail environment was challenging," asserted Walmart Stores President and CEO Michael Duke. Company executives pointed to weather conditions and the...

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Obama's Vision Could Move Millions to the Middle Class

(328) Comments | Posted July 25, 2013 | 12:53 PM

"Job security, with good wages and durable industries. A good education. A home to call your own. Affordable health care when you get sick. A secure retirement even if you're not rich."

That's President Obama's understanding of the American middle class. And, in his major economic address in...

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Bad Credit Shuts New Yorkers Out of a Job

(8) Comments | Posted February 7, 2013 | 7:01 PM

"I served in the military for 30 years and received the highest level security clearances," said Brooklyn resident and war veteran Emmett Pinkston. "Yet I was turned down for a job as a TSA baggage screener, because of a bogus charge on my credit report. I found myself...

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Why Grandma Owes More on Her Credit Cards Than You Do

(11) Comments | Posted January 15, 2013 | 7:08 PM

If you thought credit card debt was mostly a young person's problem, think again. In 2012, Americans age 50 and older actually owed more on their credit cards, on average, than younger people in low- and middle-income households carrying credit card debt.

While low- and middle-income Americans...

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Legalized Loan-Sharking: Is It Coming to New York?

(7) Comments | Posted May 26, 2011 | 5:48 PM

Payday lending has been denounced as "a scourge on vulnerable citizens" and condemned as "modern day usury." Across the country, consumer advocates are fighting to rein in the high-cost, short-term loans that trap low- and moderate-income borrowers in thousands of dollars of high-interest debt....

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Martin Luther King III Speaks Out on NYC Living Wage Campaign

(0) Comments | Posted April 4, 2011 | 12:57 PM

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed 43 years ago today. The assassination occurred as he was supporting a strike of municipal sanitation workers, standing up for the principle that “every working American should earn enough to live a decent life” in the words of his son Martin Luther...

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Don't Blame City Workers for New York's Budget Woes

(5) Comments | Posted March 10, 2011 | 11:08 AM

“Across the country, taxpayers are providing pensions, benefits and job security protections for public workers that almost no one in the private sector enjoys.” wrote Mayor Bloomberg recently in the New York Times, “Taxpayers simply cannot afford to continue paying these costs, which are growing at rates far outpacing...

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Cheesehead Agonistes: Why Wisconsin's Fight Matters in New York

(5) Comments | Posted February 24, 2011 | 10:55 AM

It was cold out, but the workers crowding the steps of City Hall Wednesday morning were fired up. New Yorkers shouted in support of public workers in Wisconsin battling their governor’s effort to destroy their unions by taking away workers’ rights to bargain and their unions’ ability to support...

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I'd Miss Eli Manning: So Would NY's Economy

(5) Comments | Posted February 14, 2011 | 9:08 AM

A highly profitable business plans to cut the pay of its frontline employees because, of course, it could always be more profitable. The only obstacle? That darn union...

It sounds like the story of last year's strike at the upstate New York Motts plant But it's also my tale...

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Workers' Rights: The Big Picture

(1) Comments | Posted February 8, 2011 | 10:30 AM

Adapted from authors' remarks at the Urban Justice Center Human Rights Luncheon, February 3 2011

You don't have to work at a think tank to realize that these are dark days for working people. To begin with, millions of Americans aren’t working. Despite recent economic growth, we...

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Cutting the Campaign Cash: New York's Best Chance for Reform

(0) Comments | Posted January 26, 2011 | 9:23 AM

Cutting public pensions won't improve the lives of ordinary New Yorkers. Giving tax breaks to the state's highest income residents won't benefit most of us either. But at least one reform promoted by Governor Andrew Cuomo has the potential to truly transform New York's politics, putting people, rather...

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Who Said It: Andrew Cuomo or John Boehner?

(1) Comments | Posted January 7, 2011 | 9:16 AM

Public spending is the number one problem. Taxes are too high. And we've got to eliminate regulation. It sounds a lot like the rhetoric of the House's new Republican majority, the folks who strenuously expressed their concern over deficits, then pushed to extend the deficit-ballooning Bush tax for the wealthiest...

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Slideshow: The Ten Best (And Ten Worst) City Policies of 2010

(12) Comments | Posted December 20, 2010 | 12:43 PM

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