A world of difference to low-income workers. Plus: investing in early ed, the economic forecast, unemployment and child care

January 9, 2009 | Alex Stone

Workers help grow 21st-century economy: On Jan. 1, Washington’s minimum wage went up by 48 cents. While that may not sound like much to people who are paid $50,000 or $60,000 a year, it will make a world of difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers across our state.

Programs provide investment return: Regarding recent guest commentaries about investing in early education: I serve as chair of the House Early Learning and Children’s Services Committee and as a member of the National Working Group on Early Childhood Science and Policy based at Harvard’s Center for the Developing Child.

After the free-market binge, sobered Pacific Northwest citizens are seeking practical solutions: After a wild ride of a year in everything from banking chaos and war to a historic presidential election, folks in the Pacific Northwest are sobering up and settling in — forsaking rampant consumerism and selfishness in favor of a more practical, cooperative future.

Obama’s Economic Push: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: With President-elect Barack Obama’s dramatic speech today, he is sounding the economic alarm that the Bush administration needed to sound long ago.

The 7 Best States to Start a Business: When it comes to starting a business, the question of “where” can be just as important as “what,” “why,” and “how.” Some states offer better business climates for entrepreneurs than others. And in today’s economy, entrepreneurs need all the help they can get when launching a new business. See where Washington ended up.

December unemployment claims set Washington record: The number of unemployment claims set a record last month, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department.

U.S. unemployment hits 16-year high: 7.2%: The Labor Department says 524,000 jobs were lost in December, bringing the total for 2008 to 2.6 million. ‘The jobs market is still in a free-fall,’ one economist says.

Health care overhaul needn’t break bank: An analysis of proposals to overhaul U.S. health care by President-elect Barack Obama and members of Congress suggests it is possible to insure all Americans without significantly raising total health spending.

In Faltering Economy, More Child Care Woes: The story Donna St. George of the Washington Post wrote just before Christmas serves as a powerful reminder about ways parents are sacrificing their children’s education and safety in this troubled economy.

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Posted in Early Learning, Education, Health Care, Minimum Wage, Work & Family

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