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Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security

Joan Entmacher

Joan Entmacher is Vice President for Family Economic Security at the National Women's Law Center, where she leads a team working to improve policies important to the economic security of low-income women and their families, including tax and budget, child care, child support, unemployment insurance, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and Social Security. Ms. Entmacher is a leading expert on issues affecting low-income women. She has been invited to testify before Congress on several occasions, written numerous analyses and reports on income support policies and their impact on poor women, and spoken frequently at conferences, briefings, and to the media. Prior to joining the National Women's Law Center, Ms. Entmacher served as Director of Legal and Public Policy at the National Partnership for Women & Families, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College, Chief of the Civil Rights Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, and attorney in the U.S. Department of Labor Solicitor's Office. Ms. Entmacher is a graduate of Yale Law School and Wellesley College.

My Take

One Tax Loophole Gets Closed. Could We Make It a Trend?

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: June 18, 2008 at 09:22 pm

by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security
National Women's Law Center

Yesterday, President Bush actually closed a tax loophole. Defense contractors had been setting up shell subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in payroll taxes. Now, they’ll have to start paying the taxes they owe to support Social Security and Medicare.

Of course, cracking down on abuses by defense contractors wasn’t the reason President Bush signed the bill. The new law provides tax assistance for military families -- a cause so popular that the bill passed the House 403 to 0 and the Senate by unanimous consent. So, at least this time, President Bush was willing to set aside his belief that tax cuts should not be financed by raising other revenues.

But, when it comes to closing much larger loopholes exploited by super-wealthy private investment fund managers, President Bush and his allies on Capitol Hill so far are giving no sign that they are willing to relent.


It's Friday the 13th - And Fittingly, the News is Bad

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: June 13, 2008 at 06:50 pm

by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security
National Women’s Law Center

No woman who’s bought gas or food recently will be surprised by today’s news: inflation registered its biggest jump in six months.

This comes on top of last Friday’s news that unemployment grew by 10 percent between April and May -- the largest one-month increase in 22 years. (And among women, unemployment rose even faster -- by 11.6 percent.)

Women and families will take another hit in a couple more weeks. Come July 1, many states start their new fiscal year. Many states facing budget shortfalls will start making cuts in vital services. Health care, education, child care, child support enforcement, child welfare, elder services, and other supports could be on the chopping block.

We’re pleased that the House got the message that they need to stand up for workers. Yesterday, the House approved an extension of unemployment benefits by a two-thirds majority -- enough to override President Bush’s threatened veto. But whether the bill can get the 60 votes it needs to make it through the Senate is another matter.


Adventures in Pony Land III: Will Working Poor Families Lose Out to Hedge Fund Billionaires – Again?

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: May 22, 2008 at 01:50 pm

by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security
National Women’s Law Center

The House just passed, 263-160, a tax bill that includes an increase in the refundable Child Tax Credit for working poor families. The change would help millions of single mothers working in low-wage jobs—caring for the elderly and young children, cleaning homes and offices, preparing food and waiting tables—who currently get little or no benefit from the Child Tax Credit. But concerns about provisions raising taxes on hedge fund billionaires and multinational corporations could scuttle the bill.

Families who earn less than $12,050 this year are ineligible for the refundable Child Tax Credit. Millions of others receive only a partial credit because the value of the credit is based on the amount of earnings above $12,050. For example, a single mother working 40 hours a week, 50 weeks this year at the minimum wage would earn $12,260 – and she’d receive a Child Tax Credit of just $32 when she files her taxes next year. If her hours were cut back to 30 per week, or she was laid off for a couple of weeks, she’d get nothing.

The bill (HR 6049) would lower the eligibility threshold for the refundable Child Tax Credit to $8,500 for 2008. This would make 2.9 million children in families earning between $8,500 and $12,050 eligible for the credit and increase the credit for 10.1 million families with modest incomes above the threshold.

The improvement in the child tax credit is only a small part of the bill. It also extends various tax provisions previously approved by Congress that benefit businesses and families and create new tax credits to promote alternative energy. Sounds like the kind of bill that should receive overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, right? Yet, the bill is expected to run into serious trouble in the Senate – and has drawn a veto threat from the White House—because all the tax cuts in the bill are fully paid for.


The Patriot Tax

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: May 14, 2008 at 08:08 pm

by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security 
National Women’s Law Center


Food Stamps or Tax Breaks for Racehorses? We're Betting on the Ponies

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: April 25, 2008 at 03:21 pm

by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security
and Kristina Gupta, Policy Fellow

We at the National Women’s Law Center have blogged about the Farm Bill before, but for those of you who may not know, the Farm Bill is a massive piece of legislation which includes a variety of programs – including agricultural subsidies, conservation, and nutrition programs. It comes up for reauthorization every five years, and negotiations between the House and Senate – and the White House – have been going on for months.

Reauthorization of the Farm Bill would mean an increase in funding for nutrition programs including food stamps and emergency food assistance. These increases are critically needed at a time when food prices are going through the roof, and are especially important for women – nearly 70 percent of adult food stamp recipients are women.

Yet, action on these critical nutrition improvements is stalled as some members of Congress continue to insist on dubious tax cuts and subsidies for wealthy farmers and agribusinesses.  One that borders on the ridiculous is the tax break for racehorse owners being promoted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (racehorse owners would be able to deduct the cost of their racehorse purchases over three years instead of seven). The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this provision will cost $61 million in 2009 and $489 million between 2008 and 2017. Just to provide some comparisons: In 2009, the proposed tax break for racehorses could pay for food stamp benefits for an additional 49,000 Americans, Pell grants for an additional 23,000 students, or childcare subsidies for an additional 10,000 children.