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Dan Lesser
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Blog Entries by Dan Lesser

The Silent Majority Utilizes the Social Safety Net and Believes in It

(0) Comments | Posted January 10, 2013 | 11:33 AM

Mitt Romney famously was caught saying to a group of wealthy donors during the presidential campaign:

There are 47 percent of the people who....are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that...

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Census Bureau Releases 2011 Poverty Data - Downward Trends Continue

(6) Comments | Posted September 14, 2012 | 10:09 AM

On Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau released data on poverty and health insurance coverage for 2011. The headline is that poverty stayed the same in 2011 as it was in 2010. Not too interesting, unless one looks beneath the surface.

Poverty: There are still 46 million people...

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Springfield Budget Recap -- The Poor Get Poorer

(1) Comments | Posted June 19, 2012 | 6:19 PM

John Bouman, president, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, contributed to this post.

The final budget voted by the Illinois General Assembly makes historically deep cuts to medical assistance and other programs that help and provide opportunity for the poor. These cuts could have been mitigated by an assortment...

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What Did Congress Do to Combat Poverty in 2011? Virtually Nothing

(18) Comments | Posted February 27, 2012 | 10:47 PM

The number of people in poverty has risen to unparalleled levels. According to the most recent Census Bureau data, there were 46.2 million Americans living in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009 (an increase of 2.6 million). In other words, more than one in six...

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Increasing the Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit Helps Create Jobs, Brings Fairness

(6) Comments | Posted January 12, 2012 | 6:10 PM

In this era of justified public cynicism about our political process, let's give the politicians credit when they get it right. The Illinois General Assembly got it right when it voted to double the state's earned income tax credit (EITC) as part of the tax package. Governor Quinn...

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Illinois' Unemployment Rate to Grow Unless Congress Extends Emergency Unemployment Compensation

(4) Comments | Posted December 1, 2011 | 1:17 PM

Illinois will lose 27,000 jobs in 2012, and its unemployment rate will increase from 10% to 10.5%, unless Congress approves extending the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, according to the Economic Policy Institute. EPI's projection that failure to extend the EUC program will have such a dramatic effect...

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Comparing Ryan and Obama Long-Term Budget Plans: Two Starkly Different Visions

(3) Comments | Posted April 19, 2011 | 12:31 PM

This post co-authored by John Bouman, president, Shriver Center.

Here is how the long-term budget plans recently put forth by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and President Barack Obama compare on several critical factors.

Deficit Reduction
All agree that reducing the United States'...

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Illinois General Assembly Approves Major Revenue Package, Averting Draconian Budget Cuts

(9) Comments | Posted January 13, 2011 | 10:39 AM

In the waning hours of the lame duck legislative session, the Illinois General Assembly approved a temporary increase in the state income tax along with a series of spending restrictions designed to ensure that the new revenues go towards paying down the state's massive debt and bringing financial stability to...

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President Obama's Tax Cut Deal: The Right Deal for the Unemployed and Working Poor

(3) Comments | Posted December 7, 2010 | 4:19 PM

It has become fashionable to attack President Obama for a perceived lack of leadership and resolve. These attacks have come from all directions. Undoubtedly the tax cut compromise brokered by the President will give new fodder to his implacable critics on the Right and the Left. The bottom line, however,...

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Want Economic Growth and Jobs? Then Let the Bush Tax Cuts Expire

(11) Comments | Posted July 28, 2010 | 6:28 PM

This fall Congress will be considering whether to extend the Bush Administration's tax cuts for families earning more than $250,000. Proponents of extending these tax cuts for the wealthy, which are scheduled to expire this year, argue that allowing the tax cuts to expire will place an enormous strain on...

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Illinois Is Putting People to Work -- Government Program a Huge Success

(11) Comments | Posted July 7, 2010 | 5:10 PM

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), otherwise known as President Obama's economic stimulus plan, included a small funding stream that states can use to create a subsidized jobs program for parents in low-income families who have been displaced from employment by the recession or otherwise are in...

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Illinois General Assembly Takes Steps Towards Responsible Budget

(5) Comments | Posted May 12, 2010 | 5:21 PM

The Illinois General Assembly recessed on their planned adjournment date of May 7, having failed to enact a state budget for fiscal year 2011. May 7 was an artificial deadline. The real deadline is May 31, after which bills may not take effect before Jan. 1, 2011 unless they pass...

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15,000 Rally to Demand a Responsible State Budget

(3) Comments | Posted April 26, 2010 | 4:17 PM

"Act like leaders, not like fools, Save our services, save our schools!"

So chanted 15,000 people gathered in front of the State Capitol on Wednesday, in the largest Springfield rally ever. The demonstrators demanded that the General Assembly not return to their home districts on May 7 as scheduled, or...

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