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Feeling the Pinch: Inflation and corporate consolidation

June 20, 2022

Prices are rising and Mainers are feeling the pinch. At the same time, some of the world's largest corporations are reporting record profits.The mismatch between Mainers feeling the pinch as corporate profits rise is the result of choices made by policymakers over time, particularly at the federal level, that have given corporations greater power over people to set prices and control the flow of goods and services. Now, corporations are using this power to extract even larger profits under the cover of current global supply chain disruptions.Prices on everyday items that we all rely on including meat, milk, bread, fuel, and electricity have gone up as much as 16 percent in the last year. That's well above the average increase in the costs of goods and services as a consequence of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and changing consumer behavior. From April 2020 through December 2021, corporate profits accounted for 54 percent of each dollar increase in prices compared to just 11 percent on average during the 40 years prior to that period. As a result, corporate profits are the highest they've ever been since the late 1940s.Against this backdrop, policymakers must work to reduce corporate consolidation and power while also helping to buttress Mainers against ongoing price increases. 

How the Child Tax Credit was spent in Maine

May 13, 2022

The improved and expanded monthly Child Tax Credit (CTC) has been one of the most successful and popular American Rescue Plan Act programs, providing flexibility to parents to buy food, make rent, afford child care, and other routine but essential family expenses. It dramatically lowered the number of U.S. children living in poverty -- and the ripple effect made our economy stronger by increasing spending in local economies and supporting jobs as families use the money to purchase food, pay bills, and cover school and childcare expenses.National studies confirm CTC payments succeeded in reducing adversity for kids and improving economic stability across the country. And in MECEP's report, How the Child Tax Credit was spent in Maine, we can now see specifically how it benefited Maine families as well.

A Better Path for Maine: The Case for Decriminalizing Drugs

March 21, 2022

No one should die or have their life derailed because they, or someone they love, uses drugs. But that is what is happening in Maine because of criminalization: There are very real economic and social costs because Maine criminalizes drug use and possession. We talked to more than 150 people -- those who have been arrested for drug crimes, their family members as well as prosecutors, defense attorneys, treatment providers, and harm reduction workers.In these pages, we'll detail the enormous toll that drug laws take on our communities. Our data is pulled from interviews conducted in person, over the telephone, and on Zoom. We also submitted public records requests and reviewed academic public health research, as well as local and national media stories covering drug policy.The report illustrates the harm that criminalization does to individuals and their families and how much money the state has spent to do so. Our recommendations will not only help people who use drugs, but will mean wiser investments of public funds.We hope this report will make a new way in Maine, one that turns away from old systems of punishment and towards an investment in communities and connection.

State of Working Maine 2021: COVID-19 Reveals Urgency to Protect and Empower Maine Workers

November 3, 2021

The arrival of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus which causes COVID-19) in the United States in early 2020 led to massive social and economic upheaval. The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated drastic public health measures and resulted in some of the most dramatic economic shifts in the last century. The pandemic simultaneously created new challenges and exacerbated existing ones. It both required the prompt adoption of innovative policy solutions and refocused attention on policies that had long been identified as necessary to improve working conditions in the US.State of Working Maine 2021 details the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on working Mainers and examines the effectiveness of policymakers' responses. It illustrates the ways in which policymakers must learn from the pandemic in crafting new policy that improves conditions and supports, and the opportunities which are presented in this moment of rebuilding to create a fairer economic system that works for everyone -- not just those at the top. In particular, by placing additional strain on an already-disparate system, the COVID-19 pandemic worsened existing challenges for women and people of color. 

Getting to the Middle: Policy Prescriptions for Maine's Working Families

November 24, 2008

Provides a snapshot of Maine's low-income working families, analyzes the factors behind their poverty, and makes detailed policy proposals on wages and benefits, healthcare coverage, education, taxes, direct supports, and energy and housing assistance.