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The high public cost of low wages

April 14, 2015

University of California, Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education

Shows that the millions of people earning poverty-level wages in the U.S. are forced to rely on public assistance programs — specifically, Medicaid, food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and the Earned Income Tax Credit program — in order to meet their basic needs. The researchers estimate that more than $150 billion is spent annually to subsidize low-wage workers. The researchers further demonstrate that 48 percent of home care workers live in households requiring such assistance.

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Contributing Authors
Jacobs, Ken, Ian Perry, and Jenifer MacGillvary

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