Kathryn Baer

Kathryn Baer Kathryn Baer is a consultant in policy research, analysis and communications. She has provided expert support for the legislative and regulatory interests of nonprofits, government agencies, a Member of Congress and several large global corporations. In addition to for fee services, she contributes her time and skills to organizations that advocate on behalf of low-income people in the U.S. As part of this work, she maintains her own blog, povertyandpolicy.wordpress.com.

Posts by Kathryn Baer

Fabricating a War Between the Old and the Young

Popular centrist Matt Miller has joined the chorus against health care and pension programs for seniors, i.e., Social Security and retirement benefits for state public employees. They’ve saddled the government with obligations that leave it without “the cash or flexibility to address emerging non-elderly needs.”

He’s not the only one to pit the interests of seniors against those of the younger generation. Stephen Marche, for example, styles spending on Social Security and Medicare as “The War Against Youth.” The baby boomers, he says, are “eating the young at the dinner table.”

How Unaffordable Is Child Care for Low-Income Parents?

A bunch of things got me wondering about child care costs. How unaffordable are they for low-income parents who don’t have the benefit of subsidies? The annual survey reports by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies are the best source of data on affordability I’ve found. So I pulled figures from the latest report — most of them for 2009. Then did some calculations of my own — or more precisely, told Excel to do them. Here’s a summary of key results, plus some Google gleanings about impacts.

Homeless DC Parents Fear Loss of Children … And They’re Right

I met a father at the Virginia Williams Family Resources Center, the District of Columbia’s central intake for homeless families. He was there with his wife and their baby and toddler because they were running out of money to pay for the motel room they’d been staying in. He said he was afraid the children would be taken away from them. I asked him if anyone had told him that. Not exactly, but he was worried. I think of him now because the Family Resources Center has started reporting all homeless families with no place to stay to the Child and Family Services Agency, the District’s child welfare program.

House Ways and Means Shifts Costs, Wipes Out Services Grants

Posted May 10, 2012 | Comments Off on House Ways and Means Shifts Costs, Wipes Out Services Grants

I wouldn’t want to leave the impression that the House Agriculture Committee’s attack on the food stamp program was the only threat to low-income people spawned by the Republican majority’s effort to protect defense spending.

The Ways and Means Committee also had to find more savings — $53 billion over the next 10 years. And it too met its target by shifting costs to low-income people. But they’re not the only ones who’ll be harmed by what it’s come up with — far from it.

DC Mayor’s Budget Would Punish TANF Families for Program’s Failures

Posted May 2, 2012 | Comments Off on DC Mayor’s Budget Would Punish TANF Families for Program’s Failures

How would you like to try living on $275 a month — and in the District of Columbia no less? Inconceivable for a single person. What then for a single mother with two kids?

Under Mayor Gray’s proposed budget, more than 6,100 families in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program will lose a fifth of their meager cash benefits come October — this on top of the same sized-cut imposed last April.

House Agriculture Committee Slashes Food Stamp Program

Posted Apr 25, 2012 | Comments Off on House Agriculture Committee Slashes Food Stamp Program

You can’t have both guns and butter. House Republicans have taken this old piece of federal budget wisdom seriously. They’ve opted for guns — not over butter, but over food assistance for poor people.

The guns at issue here are funds for defense. Sequestration, i.e., the annual across-the-board cuts required by the Budget Control Act, would reduce them by $54.7 billion a year.

No Help for Homeless DC Family, but Mayor Shortchanges Shelter Funding

Posted Apr 12, 2012 | Comments Off on No Help for Homeless DC Family, but Mayor Shortchanges Shelter Funding

I met a homeless family the other day. The mother was, to all appearances, six months pregnant. The father was tending to their toddler.

They had no place to stay and no money for food. And the Family Resources Center — the District’s central intake for homeless families — couldn’t help them.

Battle Reopens Over Definition of Homelessness

It’s sad when nonprofits that advocate for the same cause openly fight with one another.

That’s what we’re seeing now as organizations dedicated to improving services for homeless people take opposite sides on a bill pending in the House of Representatives.

New Report Shows Huge Income gap Between Richest and Poorest in DC

Posted Mar 29, 2012 | Comments Off on New Report Shows Huge Income gap Between Richest and Poorest in DC

Everyone who lives in the District of Columbia knows that there’s a yawning gulf between the haves and the have-nots. But the new income inequality report from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute could still be a shocker. I know it was for me.

Turns out that the income gap between the richest and poorest 20% of households is the third largest among U.S. cities — this based on data from the 2010 American Community Survey.

Childless Adults Face Food Stamp Cut-Off

Some years ago, I was fired from a job I’d had for a long time. I was told my position had been restructured out of existence. But it sure felt like firing to me.

This was during a recession. And as time went on — and hopes dwindled — I got to thinking about what would happen if I never found work again.