Entries by Debra Fitzpatrick

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Dine-out Economy Rests on the backs of Women

America loves dining out. In fact, the restaurant industry is among the fastest growing economic sectors in the United States. So popular is the restaurant industry that few of us are aware of its worst kept secret: the subminimum wage for tipped workers. While consumers receive prompt service and delicious food from food service professionals who take great pride in their work, most consumers do not know the extent of poverty, discrimination, and sexual harassment faced by millions of women in this industry. In the absence of and unlikely prospects for federal action under the Trump administration, the policy changes necessary to end this dehumanizing and gender inequitable status quo are occurring at the state and local levels.

Courts that look like America: Will gains be lost under Trump?

Courts matter—look no further than President Trump’s “travel ban” executive orders, which have been stalled by federal district court judges in three different jurisdictions and by a three-judge federal appellate panel. And as the public considers the importance of the Supreme Court and legislators weigh Trump’s nominee to it, Neil Gorsuch, many journalists, including those with the New York Times and Washington Post, have sought to determine the possible ideological impact of Trump’s appointments to the lower federal courts. Few analyses, though, are focused on how Trump’s decisions will affect demographic diversity within the federal courts. At the end of Obama’s presidency, the U.S. had hit a milestone: only half its federal judges were white men.

Implications of ACA Repeal and Replace for the Health Insurance Coverage Gap

In 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded Medicaid and established health insurance exchanges for people to purchase private health insurance with subsidies. This led to significant gains in health insurance.  Between 2013 and 2015, the rate of health insurance among non-elderly Americans increased 5.8 percentage points, and an estimated 17.6 million more non-elderly Americans […]

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Offshoring: Who is Harmed?

The Trump administration has made opposition to trade and offshoring a hallmark of its economic and social policies. Its “America First” strategy, which President Trump introduced in his inaugural address, paints globalization in especially stark and violent terms: “The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world… We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.” The focus on the destruction of jobs has been central to Trump’s campaign and his early presidency, and appears to be a very targeted message: we are going to save the jobs of white, working class men.

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Rehabilitation in Prison?

The expansion in imprisonment rates in the U.S. since the 1970s is well known. Less well-reported, however, has been the way this expansion affected women. Although a small share of the prison population (7 percent), women’s imprisonment rates grew faster during the prison boom and have seen a slower decline since 2010. By 2015, over 110,000 women were in prison nationwide—of which, nearly 50% were women of color.[1] Women have unique pathways into and out of prison: women behind bars are more likely to be parents, to have histories of drug use and family trauma, and to be raped while in prison.