UK の失業率とJob Seekers Allowance [Social Policy]

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Obama Health Care would go to the Supreme Court [Social Policy]

あれほど熱狂的な支持を受けて,決定的なリードで US Presidnet に選出されたObama が,7月から8月にかけて急に人気の凋落を招いています.
The poll released Sunday says 39 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s performance, while 54 percent disapprove. まあ,カラ菅よりはましですが...

第1には,連邦政府のNational Debt Ceiling の引き上げを巡って,国債残高が巨額に上る(といっても,日本の対GDP比180%超に較べれば,せいぜい60%超の Obamaが,上院民主党支配,下院共和党(一部に有名な独立戦争時の精神に立ったTea Party を含む)支配というネジレ議会との8月2日までという期限ぎりぎりまでの交渉の中で,赤字削減策として歳出削減(その大口はMedicare, Medicaid, Social Security)を緩和すべく,高所得層への増税に固執しながら,Tea Party 勢力に押された共和党の主張に屈して,歳出削減only で妥協したこと,

第2には,Obama の最重要の選挙公約であったHealth Care Reformについて,50州中26州を結集した法廷闘争で,連邦法廷(11th District Court(ATLANTA) で再び違憲判決をけて,もともと2014年施行予定の法律が,連邦最高裁の判断を受けないでは実施困難な状態に陥ったこと,です.

違憲判断(2対1)の根拠は,Affordable Health Care Act が個々人に民間医療保険の購買を義務づけ,違反者には罰則を適用するという条文が,憲法が保障する個人の自由を侵害するというモノです.
これまでの憲法判断には,それにCommerce Act というのが絡んでおり,連邦議会の権限が州間に跨る個人の契約の自由を制約することは許されないという議論ともかかわっています.It’s a stinging blow to Obama’s signature legislative achievement, as most experts agree the requirement that Americans carry health insurance — or face tax penalties — is the foundation for other parts of the law.

これまでの法廷闘争の経緯では,the Affordable Health Care Act の現状での施行は困難でSupreme Court の判断を得なければならないでしょうが,その結論が予測しがたいところに,来年の大統領選挙を控えたObama の難局があるのです.

何故強制的な契約にしたかといえば,タダ乗りを認めたのでは,全体の保険料が高くなってしまうからだといいます.“Individuals who choose to go without health insurance are making an economic decision that affects all of us — when people without insurance obtain health care they cannot pay for, those with insurance and taxpayers are often left to pick up the tab,”



Court strikes health insurance requirement

ObamaAugust 13, 2011, 01:00 AM By Greg Bluestein The Associated Press

ATLANTA — A federal appeals panel struck down the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul Friday, moving the argument over whether Americans can be required to buy health insurance a step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The divided three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded Congress overstepped its authority when lawmakers passed the so-called individual mandate, the first such decision by a federal appeals court. It’s a stinging blow to Obama’s signature legislative achievement, as most experts agree the requirement that Americans carry health insurance — or face tax penalties — is the foundation for other parts of the law.

Chief Judge Joel Dubina and Circuit Judge Frank Hull found in a 207-page opinion that lawmakers cannot require residents to “enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die.”

In a lengthy dissent, Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus accused the majority of ignoring the “undeniable fact that Congress’ commerce power has grown exponentially over the past two centuries.” He wrote that Congress generally has the constitutional authority to create rules regulating large areas of the national economy.

The White House argued the legislative branch was using a “quintessential” power — its constitutional ability to regulate interstate commerce, including the health care industry — when it passed the overhaul law. Administration officials said they are confident the ruling will not stand. The Justice Department can ask the full 11th Circuit to review the panel’s ruling and will also likely appeal to the Supreme Court.

“Individuals who choose to go without health insurance are making an economic decision that affects all of us — when people without insurance obtain health care they cannot pay for, those with insurance and taxpayers are often left to pick up the tab,” said White House adviser Stephanie Cutter.

The 11th Circuit’s ruling, which sided with 26 states that had sued to stop the law from taking effect, is the latest contradictory judicial opinion on the health care debate. The federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld the individual mandate in June, and an appeals court in Richmond has heard similar challenges to the law.

Several lower court judges have also issued differing opinions on the debate.

Legal observers long expected the case would ultimately land in the Supreme Court, but experts said Friday’s ruling could finally force the justices to take the case.

“There needs to be a pronouncement that’s nationwide,” said Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law. “It would be almost impossible to implement it if we have splintered decisions from different geographic circuits. The Supreme Court may feel now it has to take it.”

J. Peter Rich, a Los Angeles-based health care attorney, said the Supreme Court had never weighed in on an issue such as the provision requiring individuals to buy health insurance.

“They have never ruled on this specific issue,” he said. “This really is a case of first impression, although the Obama administration may try to argue otherwise.”

Rich said it’s not unconstitutional for individual states to have such requirements, noting that Massachusetts has a similar law in place. However, the high court has yet to weigh in on whether a federal requirement passes muster.

It’s the latest hit the president’s taken in what’s been a rough month that’s included humiliating blows on both the economy and in Afghanistan, while polls show deteriorating public support for both him and Congress.

Obama has been criticized by his Democratic base for his failures, which include dropping his push for tax increases as part of last week’s compromise to raise the government’s debt ceiling and his inability to let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire at the end of last year.

The Atlanta-based court is considered by many observers to be the most pivotal legal battleground yet because it reviewed a sweeping ruling by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, who not only struck down the individual mandate but threw out other provisions ranging from Medicare discounts for some seniors to a change that allows adult children up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ coverage.

His reasoning was that the insurance requirement was “inextricably bound together” with the rest of the law, but the 11th Circuit concluded Vinson went too far. The panel’s ruling noted that the “lion’s share of the act has nothing to do with private insurance, much less the mandate that individuals buy insurance.”

The provision requiring all Americans to carry health insurance or face a tax penalty has been at the center of the legal debate. The law does not allow insurers to turn away the sick or charge them outrageous premiums. To cover their health care costs, others — particularly the young and healthy — will need to pay premiums to keep costs from skyrocketing. The potential tax penalties are meant to ensure they will do so.

The Obama Administration also has a little-known fallback if it loses the court battle. The government can borrow a strategy that Medicare uses to compel consumers to sign up for insurance.

Medicare’s “Part B” coverage for doctor visits carries its own monthly premium. Yet more than nine in 10 seniors sign up. The reason: Those who opt out when they first become eligible face a lifelong tax penalty that escalates the longer they wait.

The key difference is that the Medicare law doesn’t require that seniors buy the Part B coverage. Experts say Obama’s overhaul could also be changed in a similar fashion.

The states had urged the 11th Circuit to uphold Vinson’s ruling, saying in a court filing that letting the law stand would set a troubling precedent that “would imperil individual liberty, render Congress’s other enumerated powers superfluous, and allow Congress to usurp the general police power reserved to the states.”

The Justice Department countered that Congress had the power to require most people to buy health insurance or face tax penalties because Congress can regulate businesses that operate across state lines, including health care providers.

The reaction was swift and celebratory from the states that filed the lawsuit.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette called the decision a “huge victory in the fight to protect the freedom of American citizens from the long arm of the federal government.” Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange called it a “monumental case” for individual liberty. And Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott declared: “’Obamacare’ is closer to an end.”

A separate legal ruling Friday also buoyed critics of the law. The Ohio Supreme Court appeared to clear the way for voters there to decide whether to reject parts of the health care law in November with a unanimous ruling that rejected a liberal policy group’s challenge of the so-called Health Care Freedom Amendment.

But the administration did get a small dose of good news Friday. The federal appeals court in San Francisco found that a former California lawmaker and a legal foundation could not file another challenge on the overhaul.

The 11th Circuit’s ruling in Atlanta didn’t come as a complete surprise. During oral arguments in June, each of the three judges repeatedly raised questions about the overhaul and expressed unease with the insurance requirement. And each judge worried aloud if upholding the landmark law could open the door to Congress adopting other sweeping economic mandates.

The arguments took place in what’s considered one of the nation’s most conservative appeals courts, but the randomly selected panel represents different judicial perspectives.

None of the three is considered either a stalwart conservative or an unfaltering liberal, but observers were quick to point out that the decisive vote came from a Democrat appointee. Hull, a former federal judge in Atlanta, was tapped by President Bill Clinton.


Associated Press Writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington contributed to this report.

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Upskilling the Workers will not Upskill the Work [Social Policy]


私は,イギリスの公的扶助施策Tax Credit は国の直営事業で,勤労対象層への給付責任は        Job Centre にある点から,その就労支援は,行政面ではある程度評価できると考えますが,最近のイギリスの論文で,イギリスの児童貧困対策は,もっと経済の基本構造を変えてかからないと成功しないだろうという,綿密な調査結果に基づく結論が紹介されていましたから,難解な点もあると思いますが,要旨を以下にご紹介します. 


TABLE 5. Spread of average industry compensation
as a proportion of the employment weighted mean
wage across all industries

2005       UK      US    France   Germany
Lowest      0.29    0.38     0.60     0.47
Highest     1.95       1.85         1.71        1.75
Stand. Dev.  0.43       0.45        0.29        0.40
Source: Author calculations using the highest level ISIC
categories (12) from the EU KLEMS database (GGDC, 2008)



(i) ‘Work intensification’ includes welfare to work programmes, an ongoing
programme of welfare reforms and initiatives to get the economically
inactive from poor households into work
(DWP, 2007, 2008a, 2008b).
(ii) ‘Re-distribution’ includes the national minimum wage, working family
and child tax credits,
increases in child benefit and allowances targeted at
young children in families claiming income support (DWP, 2005, 2006).
(iii) ‘Skill upgrading’ includes universal and income targeted early years
, increased spending and changes in the administration of 
formal education and evolving programmes of changes to vocational
training for young people and the unemployed
(DES, 2007; DWP and
DIUS, 2008).


Upskilling the Workers will not Upskill the Work. Why the Dominant Economic
Framework Limits Child Poverty Reduction in the UK 
Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham


This paper assesses the policy consensus that exists amongst political parties in the UK in their shared ambition to eradicate child poverty by 2020. Three major pillars of policy – work intensification, re-distribution and skill upgrading – are challenged in terms of their likely success in reducing child poverty. In particular, the assumption that upgrading skills will raise earnings is challenged by examining the changing patterns of work in a selection of developed economies since the 1970s. This paper argues that addressing relative poverty requires an
alternative theoretical approach to the neoclassical economics that currently underpins policy.
Different national levels of earnings dispersion suggest that the role of institutions and culture
in determining market outcomes deserves at least as much attention as the supply of skills.


This paper has demonstrated that the main political parties in the UK share the social objective of reducing relative poverty through the implementation of three broad policy pillars. It has argued that, whilst not entirely coherent, these policy pillars are consistent with a neoclassical understanding of how the economy should optimally function. The unencumbered operation of competitive markets combined with ‘new growth theory’ holds the promise of improved economic performance and the narrowing of earnings inequality. It also provides a mandate for government to intervene on the supply-side of the economy in increasing participation in paid work and enhancing societal knowledge and the skills or ‘human capital’ of citizens.

However, this paper is sceptical of the economic framework as a model of real economies and hence the effectiveness of social policies related to it to achieve a reduction in relative household poverty. It empirically demonstrates the serious limitations of work intensification for poor households, given current levels of redistributive intervention, to lift such households above the relative poverty line. This leaves much of the burden of reducing child poverty upon the policy pillar of enhanced skills moving us towards a knowledge-based economy.

The examination of employment trends in a selection of developed economies suggests that, contrary to theory, upskilling the workers does not automatically upskill the work. There has been a polarisation of employment growth in both low-skilled, low-paid work and high-skilled, high-paid work. This is at the same time that educational qualifications in the UK have been improving across the workforce. When combined with the long-run technological trend for manufacturing to shed labour, this suggests that all developed economies will have to contend with an increasing proportion of service workers that have traditionally been categorised as low-skilled. Pursuing the mythical knowledge economy is not a realistic option.

However, it is striking that different countries produce dramatically different earnings dispersion across the same jobs, resulting in different proportions of the workforce being categorised as low-paid. This is difficult to explain with the standard ‘competitive theory’ unless skill differentials between the same occupations and industries are dramatically different in different countries. Even some neoclassical economists are suggesting that we need to look to wider societal factors to understand earnings dispersion. Without the possibility of increasing redistribution, which is highly unlikely given the dire fiscal consequences of the financial crisis and limited political appetite, relative poverty may only be realistically addressed through a comprehensive examination of how institutional and cultural factors influence the ‘market’ distribution of earnings.

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