Private Equity Firms Profit Off the Backs of Working Women and Families

If you’ve ever wondered whatever happened to iconic U.S. businesses like Sears and Friendly’s Ice Cream, Samsonite Luggage and Zales’ Jewelry, or even Toys-R-Us, you’ll find distressing answers in Brendan Ballou’s Plunder: Private Equity’s Plan to Pillage America and Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner’s These are the Plunderers: How Private Equity Runs—and Wrecks—America. Both books describe private equity firms’ largely secret and little understood 40-year-long hit-and-run scam.

If you’re worried about the deteriorating appearance of downtown areas, hospitals or the housing market, if you’ve noticed a growing shabbiness, or if you’ve notice the government’s indifference, these books will help explain not only what’s wrong, but what we ordinary people can and must do to stop the steal—the real steal.

Keeping Score: E. Jean Carroll Wins Defamation Case; 64K Pregnancies from Rape in Abortion Ban States; U.S. Congress Members Urge SCOTUS to Protect Abortion Pill

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

This week: E. Jean Carroll wins defamation case; over 64,000 pregnancies from rape in abortion ban states; Taylor Swift targeted by deepfake attack; House passes CTC expansion; states implement anti-trans laws; abortion rates have risen since 2020; Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed the first anti-LGBTQ bill of the year into law; more than three in five Americans support Congress passing a law guaranteeing the right to an abortion; and more.

Women’s Sports Are an Economic Force

Female athletes are making an impact on the court and, with the right opportunities, can make a significant economic impact off the court too. 

Sports fans of all ages are on to something big. The media can no longer bury the lead. Women excel in sports. Now companies and their brands need to see the writing—and the opportunities—on the sports page.

The Future of Pay Equity, 15 Years After Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Fifteen years ago, we stood at the White House while then-President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This law restored the rights of employees to have their day in court for ongoing wage discrimination taken away by the Supreme Court in the Ledbetter v. Goodyear case.

This bill was such an important victory for workers and gave employees who were experiencing ongoing pay discrimination their day in court.  However, the law did not give women new tools to combat the wage gap itself. Still, with all working women earning on average 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts—and the pay gaps even wider for women of color—it reminds us our work is still far from finished. We will not rest until we can enact more policies that give workers stronger tools to challenge pay disparities and other forms of employment discrimination.

When 15 States Opt Out of a Summer Food Program, Community Organizations Must Fill in the Gaps

We were extremely disappointed by the decision of Mississippi and 14 other states last week to opt-out of a new summer EBT program that would have provided each eligible family with $40 per month per child during the summer to help cover the additional costs of food. For a mother working full-time at minimum wage (approximately $1,160 each month), that $40 could make a huge difference.

Once again, we are reminded that poverty, and all its consequences, are the result of policy choices. But when policy choices put an undue burden on our families, we know that it is our time to step into the gap.

Giving Parents More Cash Is a Start—But It Can’t Be the End

The big news out this week: The expanded child tax credit could be reinstated for three years as part of a bipartisan tax package. This would be a huge deal for families across the country who have been struggling with dwindling supports from the government as pandemic-era boosts expire. 

While this latest deal lacks heft—in that it maxes out at a little more than half of the 2021 expanded CTC that was our nation’s greatest tool ever in fighting poverty—it is still significant for putting us back on the path toward radical transformation.

The Difference a Guaranteed Income Makes: ‘I’ve Been Sleeping Better. I’ve Been Eating Better.’

Front and Center is a groundbreaking series created in partnership with the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which aims to put front and center the voices of Black women who are affected most by the often-abstract policies debated at the national level.

“This is my first month being a part of Magnolia Mother’s Trust and it has already made a huge difference physically and emotionally. … I’ve been sleeping better. I’ve been eating better.

“To the politicians who say programs like the Magnolia Mother’s Trust shouldn’t be expanded because it’ll stop families from working, I want to say that there are people who are working, who want to better themselves, who are trying to move out of the unsafe apartment complex that they’re in, or start a business. These programs help with that.”

Childcare Programs: Closures, Resignations and Tuition Hikes After Federal Funding Expires

It’s been two months since the federal government’s $24 billion in childcare stabilization grants expired, sending the sector over what many have come to refer to as the “childcare cliff.”

The Biden administration has asked Congress to approve $16 billion in supplemental funding to support the early care and education sector. Short of that—which would be something of a miracle in the current political environment in Washington—providers and families are left to fend for themselves.

The $15,000 Tax Case that Could Cost Women Billions

On Dec. 5, the Supreme Court will hear Moore v. United States, which could dramatically limit the government’s ability to raise revenue for critical priorities, including childcare, disability care, affordable housing and paid leave. It could also widen an already gaping wealth gap for women and people of color, particularly single Black women and Latinas.

The case is being brought by Charles and Kathleen Moore, who own a small stake in an Indian manufacturing firm. Due to a provision in the 2017 Trump tax law, the couple was directed to pay a one-time tax of $15,000 on the profits of their investments. Rather than do so, they are challenging the law. Unless you’re a tax lawyer, this technical legal question may not only seem dry, but also irrelevant. So why should women care about this case?Even a narrow ruling in favor of the Moores could upend our existing tax code.