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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

Typical Single Elderly Woman’s Social Security Benefit Won’t Fully Recover from Chained CPI – Unless She Lives to 104

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: April 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm

As expected, President Obama’s FY 14 budget includes a proposal to use the “chained Consumer Price Index” – a slower-growing measure of inflation that would cut Social Security benefits by reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments. This is not just a technical change – but a benefit cut that would cause real hardship to the elderly and the poor. The President’s budget recognizes this threat and proposes some protections for vulnerable beneficiaries from the chained CPI – but NWLC analysis shows that this strategy is not adequate.

The budget proposes a bump-up in benefits for long-term beneficiaries, who would experience the worst cuts because the cuts grow deeper every year. In addition, the budget would not apply the chained CPI to needs-based benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income, or use it to determine eligibility for programs like SNAP (Food Stamps).

NWLC’s analysis finds that the small and gradual benefit increases from the bump-ups wouldn’t restore the monthly benefit of the typical single elderly woman to current-law levels—unless she lives to 104.


Here's an Idea: Instead of Cutting Women's Social Security Benefits, Let's Improve Them

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: March 21, 2013 at 03:35 pm

No, the threat to women’s Social Security benefits from the chained CPI hasn’t gone away. After the House and Senate finish voting on their separate budget resolutions this week, the real bargaining begins. And the proposal to cut Social Security benefits by using a lower measure of inflation — the chained Consumer Price Index — to reduce annual cost-of-living adjustments is still very much on the table. Indeed, it's part of the President’s announced plan for deficit reduction, if increased revenues are also part of the deal. 

But after a long week of budget debates that still isn’t over, it’s time to take a break for a little good news. Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) just introduced the Social Security Enhancement and Protection Act of 2013. Her bill would improve Social Security’s minimum benefit, increase benefits for long-term beneficiaries, restore the student benefit, and strengthen the financing of the Social Security system for decades — without cutting benefits. 

The bill would improve Social Security’s minimum benefit — a change that would be especially valuable to women, who are a majority of low-wage workers and are more likely than men to take time out of the paid labor force to raise children. And, it would recognize the value of childrearing work by allowing credits of up to five years toward the minimum benefit when a parent was raising a child under age six. 


Urge your Representative: Vote NO on ending tax credits for working families and slashing Medicaid, food stamps, and child care

No one likes a Grinch. Especially this time of year. 

Tonight, YOUR Representative will vote on a bill that would end improvements in tax credits for low- and moderate-income working families – but extend most tax breaks for the richest two percent. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they’ll also vote on an amendment that would make devastating cuts to programs vital to women and their families. 

Millions of low-income people would lose valuable tax credits and eligibility for Medicaid. Key provisions of the Affordable Care Act would be undermined or eliminated. Food stamp (SNAP) benefits would be cut and 280,000 low-income children would lose free school meals. And funding streams that support women’s health, child care and other services would be eliminated. 

Tell your Representative not to be a Grinch. Call 202-224-3121 NOW and ask your Representative to vote NO on House Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” tax bill and the spending cuts bill. 

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New Jersey Residents: Your Urgent Action is Needed to Help Raise the Minimum Wage!

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: December 05, 2012 at 02:19 pm

This is major!

The New Jersey legislature just passed a bill to raise the state's minimum wage and index it to keep pace with inflation. Now it's all up to Governor Christie. For this bill to become law, he just has to sign it.

So why are we worried? Governor Christie has threatened not to sign the bill.

That's why we need to turn the pressure up! Please take a second and call Governor Christie to let him know that hundreds of thousands of working New Jersey women need a raise.

Calling is easy. Dial 609-292-6000. When connected, please tell the Governor's office:

  • Your name, where you are from, and that you are a constituent.
  • "Please tell Governor Christie that I strongly urge him to give hardworking New Jerseyans a raise by signing the minimum wage bill, including the cost of living adjustment. Thank you."


Tax Rates Dropped for the Very Richest in 2010, New IRS Data Show

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: November 26, 2012 at 04:26 pm

An IRS report released the day before Thanksgiving shows that the very rich had something more to be thankful for. Tax rates fell in 2010 for every income group above $500,000. And the very wealthiest – those whose incomes exceeded $10 million in 2010 – saw the biggest drop in tax rates.

Taxpayers with incomes over $10 million paid an effective federal income tax rate of 20.7 percent in 2010, down from 22.4 percent in 2009. (The “effective” federal income tax rate refers to the percentage of adjusted gross income a taxpayer actually pays in federal income tax, after lower tax rates on certain kinds of income, deductions, exemptions, and credits are taken into account.) Taxpayers with incomes between $5 and $10 million paid an effective tax rate of 24.2 percent in 2010, down from 25.2 percent in 2009.

As a Wall Street Journal blog explains: “The reason for the drop in average tax rates [among the very wealthy] is no secret. It’s the special 15 percent top rates for capital gains and dividends that President George W. Bush pushed through.”