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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

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.”


Let’s Talk Turkey: Busting Myths on Taxes, Social Security, and Medicaid in Time for Thanksgiving

Whether served as a side dish or not, politics always seems to wiggle its way onto the Thanksgiving table. And because your family may not agree on everything (or anything), we want you to be as prepared for them as you are for the big meal.

And now that the election is over, the public debate is all about the so-called "fiscal cliff," which refers to the combination of tax cuts and numerous other provisions set to expire at the end of December plus a series of automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin in January.

Contrary to what some commentators might suggest, however, the economy won’t immediately fall into a recession if Congress doesn’t reach agreement on all of these issues by midnight on December 31. Indeed, real and lasting damage WILL be done if Members of Congress allow misguided fears to pressure them into a bad deal that cuts programs vital to women and families and fails to make the wealthiest among us pay their fair share in taxes.

To explain what this means for you – and for Aunt Edith – below are a few key myths and facts.

MYTH: If we raise taxes on the richest 2%, it will kill jobs.

FACT: We’ve seen that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. We had much stronger job growth after President Clinton raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans than after President Bush cut them. And, allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest two percent to expire would generate nearly $1 trillion in savings. This much-needed revenue would allow us to call off the looming – and draconian – automatic cuts to programs that are also scheduled to take place. Plus, it would let us invest in human capital as well as physical infrastructure. When so many Americans can't find work, it's important to support programs that create good jobs and long-term economic growth.


After 40 Years, Time to Modernize SSI

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: October 31, 2012 at 03:33 pm

This week is the 40th anniversary of the Supplemental Security Income program, SSI. We celebrate SSI’s vital role in providing support to the elderly poor and to poor adults and children with disabilities. It’s a particularly important program for women, who make up over two-thirds of all beneficiaries 65 and older.

Forty isn’t very old. Our Social Security system is 77, and it’s an American classic. But key parts of SSI have barely changed in the 40 years since it was enacted – and it urgently needs to be updated.

For example, with the exception of $20 per month, every additional $1 in Social Security benefits means $1 less in SSI benefits. This amount hasn’t been changed since the program was created 40 years ago – but what you can buy with $20 sure has. Adjusting for inflation since 1972 would raise this amount to $110 per month, allowing individuals with very low Social Security benefits – disproportionately women – to get a more meaningful benefit from their years of work and contributions to Social Security.