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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

New York City Should Lead on Banning Credit Discrimination

(2) Comments | Posted October 1, 2014 | 11:50 AM

Discrimination has no place in New York City.

The City's Human Rights Law is one of the strongest bodies of civil rights law in the nation, and the City Council and mayor have taken bold action to update it to address emerging forms of discrimination. So it's entirely appropriate...

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The Week That Workers Won (At Least a Little)

(8) Comments | Posted July 30, 2014 | 2:31 PM

Today's economy doesn't contain a lot of good news for working people. While the Great Recession officially ended five years ago, millions of Americans are still out of work and wages continue to lag. Yet this week, working people made some hugely significant gains as the fruits sowed by organizing...

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The Enduring Success of the CFPB at Three

(1) Comments | Posted July 22, 2014 | 11:22 AM

Three years ago today, the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opened its doors. It was a new government agency produced by the Dodd-Frank Act: part of Congress' attempt to address the rampant misconduct by banks, mortgage lenders, ratings agencies and other financial institutions that brought on the 2008 financial crisis...

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How President Obama Could Strengthen Unions Today

(3) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 3:39 PM

"We should do everything we can to strengthen unions in this country," said President Obama on Tuesday.

America was built by workers who over time, through a lot of struggle, got the right to bargain collectively.  I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that our middle class...

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What Drives Credit Card Debt?

(36) Comments | Posted May 1, 2014 | 5:36 PM

Americans cumulatively have $854 billion in revolving loan (mostly credit card) debt, according to the Federal Reserve. The amount has actually declined since the Great Recession, as credit card issuers tightened their lending standards, borrowers became more cautious, and strong and effective consumer protection laws went into effect,...

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Will New York City Lead the Fight Against Employment Discrimination?

(4) 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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