Tag Archives: work

Walker proposes new welfare work requirements

Parents who work fewer than 80 hours a month could face food stamp benefit cuts under a proposal Gov. Scott Walker released this week.

Walker’s proposal also would require adults with children between age 6 and 18 to attend job training and search for work five days a week.

The proposals are part of a package called “Wisconsin Works for Everyone” that Walker released during a series of news conferences across the state.

Under current state law, childless adults in the FoodShare program have to meet the work requirement. They lose all food stamp benefits after three months of non-compliance.

Since the law took effect in April 2015, about 64,000 have lost their benefits.

Under Walker’s new proposal, adults with children who don’t meet the program’s work requirements would face a “partial” reduction in benefits. The governor didn’t say how much the loss in benefits could be.

Walker also is calling for a similar work requirement for people receiving housing vouchers from the federal government.

His proposals could require law changes by Congress and waivers from the Trump administration before taking effect. They would also have to pass the Republican-controlled state Legislature.

Walker has been saying that he hopes to work closely with the Trump administration on a variety of initiatives, including on welfare. Walker is expected to seek a third term in 2018 and will be spelling out his priorities for the next two years in the state budget he releases next month.

The governor provided few details of the welfare reform package this week, saying those would come in the budget.

Both of the new work requirements would begin as pilot programs, but Walker didn’t say where. His outline also doesn’t say how much the new requirements would cost.

Walker said he also reduce child-care assistance from the state once people become employed. Once someone becomes employed and hits 200 percent of the poverty line, the person would start contributing $1 copay for child care for every $3 earned.

Walker also is calling on the Trump administration to clear the way for the state to drug test some welfare recipients.

“We fundamentally believe that public assistance should be a trampoline not a hammock,” Walker said.

Robert Kraig, with the progressive advocacy group Wisconsin Citizen Action, criticized Walker’s proposals, saying they will do nothing to help create more family supporting jobs. Kraig said Walker was penalizing low-income residents for their own poverty.

State Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, said Walker wants to create one set of rules for working families and another set of rules for the wealthy and well-connected.

“For too many hardworking Wisconsin families, Gov. Walker’s race-to-the-bottom economy is not working for them. Republican tax breaks that favor millionaires and corporations are shifting a greater burden onto workers,” Shilling said. “Since Gov. Walker took office in 2011, Wisconsin has fallen below the national average for job creation for 20 consecutive quarters. If Gov. Walker really wants to help workers and grow our middle class, Democrats stand ready with a range of proposals to raise family wages, lower student loan debt, invest in infrastructure and expand child care tax credits. It’s time we reward hard work, not the wealthy and well-connected.”

 

Yellen to college grads: Best job market in nearly a decade

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Monday that college graduates are entering the strongest job market the country has seen in nearly a decade, and their degree is more important than ever.

Yellen said that with changes in the job market such as technology and globalization, succeeding in the job market is increasingly tied to higher education.

“Those with a college degree are more likely to find a job, keep a job, have higher job satisfaction and earn a higher salary,” Yellen said in remarks at commencement ceremonies at the University of Baltimore.

She said that annual earnings for college graduates last year were on average 70 percent higher than those with only a high school diploma. Back in 1980 that difference was only 20 percent, she said.

Yellen said the increasing demand for people with college and graduate degrees reflected the need for higher technological skills and the impact of globalization, which allows goods and services to be produced anywhere. She said those trends were likely to continue.

“Success will continue to be tied to education, in part because a good education enhances one’s ability to adapt to a changing economy,” she said.

In her remarks, Yellen did not make any comments about Fed interest-rate policies. The Fed last week boosted its benchmark rate by a quarter-point. It was the first increase in a year. In making the announcement, the Fed projected that it would move rates up another three times in 2017.

Yellen said that in addition to the improvement in the unemployment rate, which in November fell to a nine-year low of 4.6 percent, there have been recent signs that wage growth is picking up.

But Yellen noted that challenges remain.

“The economy is growing more slowly than in past recoveries and productivity growth, which is a major influence on wages, has been disappointing,” she told the graduates.

Maggie Gyllenhaal put in long hours on ‘Karenina’ audiobook

One of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s favorite books is “Anna Karenina.” So when she was asked to read the classic novel out loud for an audiobook, she didn’t hesitate.

“I thought, ‘This will be amazing. I’ll just sit in a room and re-read ‘Anna Karenina’ out loud,”” Gyllenhaal recalled. “I just loved the book so much I thought, ‘Yes, let’s try and do it.’”

Cold, hard reality set in after her first recording session. Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece is over 1,000 pages and extremely complicated.

“A sentence will begin in one place and end really somewhere else. I couldn’t cold read it. It just wasn’t possible,” said the star of “Crazy Heart” and “The Dark Knight.”

So Gyllenhaal realized she’d have to do homework and put in long hours at the studio. The result is a moving and dramatic version, available Tuesday by audio seller and producer Audible Inc .

“It was amazing. I learned things about myself from reading the book in the way that I think a lot of people learn things about themselves from reading the book, whether its aloud or to yourself. And I learned different things about myself at 37 doing it than I learned when I was 25, which is also the mark of an amazing book.”

Gyllenhaal recorded the book in lower Manhattan over the winter while her husband, Peter Sarsgaard, was filming a movie in Paris. The plan originally was for 10 six-hour sessions, but it turned into more like 30 four-hour sessions.

She prepared for each one by reading a different translation of “Anna Karenina” the night before, trying to stay 50-100 pages ahead so she could anticipate what came next in the recording studio.

“There were days when I got behind, but very few, because I found it was not really possible. There was one part when I got ahead of myself and I was cold reading in the room. I remember gasping at something I hadn’t remembered.”

One thing Gyllenhaal refused to do was adopt Russian accents to enliven the masterpiece about love, betrayal and death among the elite in imperial Russia.

“My skill really is not doing voices. I don’t know how to do that. That seems silly to me. At the same time, of course, you want to create a world for people. But my skill is basically finding a deep kind of empathy for whomever I’m playing _ everything from their point of view. And ‘Anna Karenina’ is the perfect book for that.”

There was an added benefit: While she was reading the book, Gyllenhaal said she felt more engaged in life, going to three plays and an art exhibit.

“I found when I was reading the book that my brain was being exercised in the same way that when you’re running a lot you all of a sudden feel the strength in your body.”

Eyes in the sky: Drone growth elevates fun, raises privacy concerns

As many as a million kids and kids-at-heart had their wishes take flight when they unwrapped a drone during the holidays.

Consumer technology took a turn in 2015 and propelled domestic drones to new heights in popularity in late 2015 and early 2016.

But policymakers and privacy advocates see gray areas as more and more pilots send their small unmanned aircraft into blue skies.

More drone pilots than planes

Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta announced in mid-January that there were more registered drone operators than registered planes in the United States. The FAA reports 320,000 registered manned aircraft and more than 325,000 registered drone owners.

The number of drones in the United States likely is higher — because operators might own more than one small unmanned aircraft and other operators might not be registered, according to Huerta.

The FAA launched a Web-based drone registration campaign just before Christmas, anticipating drone sales to skyrocket to a million during the holidays. The agency requires registration by operators of drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds, if they plan to fly outdoors for hobby or recreation. Registered drone operators receive a number that must be affixed to their aircraft.

An FAA exemption program exists for operators of drones for commercial activities — including bridge inspections, movie and television filming, aerial photography, mapping and surveying work, pipeline inspections and first-responder investigation and surveillance activity.

“The future is really here with drones,” said recreational pilot Kevin Fontaine of Green Bay. “They can be adapted for all kinds of fun and games and also used in all kinds of work. I first heard of them from a photographer friend. He was using a drone outfitted with a camera to make a zombie movie.”

The zombie flick, Horror in Mount Horeb, hasn’t reached a movie-going audience, but many films and TV programs featuring scenes filmed using drones have shown up on large and small screens.

“Drones have been instrumental in capturing some of the most iconic cinematography in recent memory,” said Randy Scott Slavin, founder and director of the New York City Drone Film Festival. 

“Drones are the most important cinematic tool since the tripod,” said Slavin, who referenced drone footage for the Oscar-winning opening sequence of Skyfall, the infamous Hamptons party scene in The Wolf of Wall Street and the many landscape images in the Netflix series Narcos.

This year’s festival — the first such event dedicated to movies filmed using drones — is March 4–6. The final day features “Day of Drones,” with screenings and demonstrations by drone builders and pilots. One activity, “Drone Vision,” provides an opportunity for the curious to strap on a pair of goggles to see what a drone camera sees as it zips around New York City’s Liberty State Park.

Fontaine said he’d like to refine his drone flying skills to take aerial landscape photographs this spring.

“I’m still learning how to use it and there’s a lot of potential,” he said. “But for now, it’s a toy.”

In the toy chest

Drones can be purchased for less than $50 and more than $500, but most cost $120–$200. They’re wowing consumers and retailers at toy fairs and trade shows.

At 2016 toy fairs, Odyssey Toys is showcasing the Pocket Drone, a collapsing video drone that’s about the size of an iPhone 6 — light enough and small enough to fit into a pocket. The built-in high-definition camera captures images to a 4GB SD card and the drone, which can be operated indoors or outdoors, features LEDs for night flying.

Another “wow” at fairs is a toy built for pilots as young as 10 — Spin Master’s Air Hogs Connect: Mission Drone, which combines drone-flying and smartphone gaming.

“It will be interesting to watch what happens as consumer unmanned aerial vehicle technology continues to evolve,” said Phil Solis, research director at ABI Research. The company monitors the tech market and predicts that consumer drone shipments will exceed 90 million units and generate $4.6 billion in revenues by 2025.

It also will be interesting to watch what happens with the regulation of drones as consumer, commercial and government use prompts concerns about criminal applications and security breaches — and raising questions about privacy rights. 

Rules and regulations

In December, the Center for Democracy and Technology proposed a set of voluntary best practices for drone operators, intending to protect privacy rights and support the industry.

The nonprofit, which advocates civil liberties and a free Internet, recommended:

• Commercial drone operators establish a privacy policy that describes the purposes for which the drone is used and the types of data the drone collects.

• Private drone operators should not intentionally use a drone to enter private property without the landowner’s consent.

• Private drone operators should not use drones to collect personal data without consent where an individual has an expectation of privacy; for persistent monitoring of individuals; or for employment, credit or health-care eligibility.

• Private drone operators should try to avoid collecting, retaining or disclosing unnecessary personal data without consent. When possible, unnecessary data should be destroyed or de-identified.

• Commercial drone operators should take basic steps to secure the personal data they collect.

Federal guidelines established by Congress require that recreational drone operators keep unmanned aircraft in their sight and below 400 feet, stay clear of manned aircraft, remain at least 25 feet away from individuals and vulnerable property, avoid flying and using drugs or alcohol, and avoid photographing people in areas where there is an expectation of privacy.

Drone pilots also must respect the no-fly zones established by the FAA and, increasingly, under state and local law.

A focus this legislative season in Wisconsin and elsewhere was on drone use near prisons. 

Drones were deployed to deliver contraband — drugs, pornography, cellphones and weapons — to prisons in Maryland, Ohio and Oklahoma in 2015. In Wisconsin, a pilot lost contact with a drone that landed on the grounds of the Waupun Correctional Institution.

The incidents prompted lawmakers to take up bills creating no-fly zones.

Simple steps to directing with a drone

Randy Scott Slavin, founder and director of the New York City Drone Film Festival, offers five steps to movie-making with a small unmanned aircraft:

1. Read. Read the operating manual for the drone and read federal regulations and any local and state rules on piloting a drone.

2. Practice. Drones are unique and have different flight characteristics. The only way to improve as a pilot is to practice.

3. Shoot. Slavin says “shoot constantly” with drone cameras.

4. Imagine. Drones put cameras in new places and can use cameras in new ways to re-invent how stories are told on film.

5. Share. Edit and share footage online and at festivals. It’s too late to enter the 2016 New York festival — nycdronefilmfestival.com — but not too late to prepare for 2017.

— Lisa Neff

Reach Lisa Neff at lmneff@www.wisconsingazette.com.

1 million could lose food stamps in 21 states, including Wisconsin

More than 1 million low-income residents in 21 states could soon lose their government food stamps if they fail to meet work requirements that began kicking in this month.

The rule change in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was triggered by the improving economy – specifically, falling unemployment. But it is raising concerns among the poor, social service providers and food pantry workers, who fear an influx of hungry people.

Recent experience in other states indicates that most of those affected will probably not meet the work requirements and will be cut off from food stamps.

For many people, “it means less food, less adequate nutrition. And over the span of time, that can certainly have an impact on health – and the health care system,” said Dave Krepcho, president and chief executive of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

Advocates say some adults trying to find work face a host of obstacles, including criminal records, disabilities or lack of a driver’s license.

The work-for-food requirements were first enacted under the 1996 welfare reform law signed by President Bill Clinton and sponsored by then-Rep. John Kasich, who is now Ohio’s governor and a Republican candidate for president.

The provision applies to able-bodied adults ages 18 through 49 who have no children or other dependents in their home. It requires them to work, volunteer or attend education or job-training courses at least 80 hours a month to receive food aid. If they don’t, their benefits are cut off after three months.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture can waive those work rules, either for entire states or certain counties and communities, when unemployment is high and jobs are scarce. Nearly every state was granted a waiver during the recession that began in 2008. But statewide waivers ended this month in at least 21 states, the largest group since the recession.

An Associated Press analysis of food aid figures shows that nearly 1.1 million adults stand to lose their benefits in those 21 states if they do not get a job or an exemption. That includes about 300,000 in Florida, 150,000 in Tennessee and 110,000 in North Carolina. The three states account for such a big share because they did not seek any further waivers for local communities.

In Tennessee, Terry Work said her 27-year-old deaf son recently was denied disability payments, meaning he is considered able-bodied. And that means he stands to lose his food stamps, even though she said her son has trouble keeping a job because of his deafness.

“I know there’s going to be a lot of people in the county hurt by this,” said Work, founder of Helping Hands of Hickman County, a social service agency in a community about an hour west of Nashville.

Nationwide, some 4.7 million food stamp recipients are deemed able-bodied adults without dependents, according to USDA. Only 1 in 4 has any income from a job. They receive an average of $164 a month from the program.

In states that already have implemented the work requirements, many recipients have ended up losing their benefits.

Wisconsin began phasing in work requirements last spring. Of the 22,500 able-bodied adults who became subject to the change between April and June, two-thirds were dropped from the rolls three months later for failing to meet the requirements.

Some states could have applied for partial waivers but chose not to do so.

North Carolina’s Republican-led government enacted a law last fall accelerating implementation of the work requirements and barring the state from seeking waivers unless there is a natural disaster. State Sen. Ralph Hise said the state was doing a disservice to the unemployed by providing them long-term food aid.

“People are developing gaps on their resumes, and it’s actually making it harder for individuals to ultimately find employment,” said Hise, a Republican who represents a rural part of western North Carolina.

In Missouri, the GOP-led Legislature overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon to enact a law barring the state from waiving work requirements until at least 2019. The three-month clock started ticking Jan. 1 for 60,000 people in Missouri, where unemployment is down to just 4.4 percent.

“We were seeing a lot of people who were receiving food stamps who weren’t even trying to get a job,” said the law’s sponsor, Sen. David Sater, a Republican whose Missouri district includes the tourist destination of Branson. “I know in my area you can find a temporary job for 20 hours (a week) fairly easily. It just didn’t seem right to me to have somebody doing nothing and receiving food stamps.”

Others say it’s not that simple to find work, even with an improving economy.

Joe Heflin, 33, of Jefferson City, said he has been receiving food stamps for more than five years, since an injury ended his steady job as an iron worker and led to mental illness during his recovery. He said he gets nearly $200 a month in food stamps and has no other income. Heflin was recently notified that his food stamps could end if he doesn’t get a job or a disability exemption.

“I think it’s a crummy deal,” Heflin said while waiting in line at a food pantry. “I think they ought to look into individuals more, or at least hear them out. … I depend on it, you know, to eat.”

Policymakers often “don’t realize a lot of the struggles those individuals are dealing with,” said Mariana Chilton, director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Some are dealing with trauma from military service or exposure to violence and abuse, Chilton said. Others have recently gotten out of prison, making employers hesitant to hire them. Some adults who are considered able-bodied nonetheless have physical or mental problems.

A study of 4,145 food stamp recipients in Franklin County, Ohio, who became subject to work requirements between December 2013 and February 2015 found that more than 30 percent said they had physical or mental limitations that affected their ability to work. A similar percentage had no high school diploma or equivalency degree. And 61 percent lacked a driver’s license.

“There should have been more thought on how we look at employment and not thinking that people are sitting there, getting food stamps because they are lazy and don’t want to work,” said Octavia Rainey, a community activist in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Some states have programs to help food stamp recipients improve their job skills. Elsewhere, it’s up to individuals to find programs run by nonprofit groups or by other state agencies. Sometimes, that can be daunting.

Rainey said people who received letters informing them they could lose their food stamps sometimes were placed on hold when they called for more information – a problem for those using prepaid calling cards. And in Florida, food aid recipients received letters directing them to a state website for information.

“A lot of these folks, they don’t have computers, they don’t have broadband access,” said Krepcho, the Central Florida food bank executive. “That’s ripe for people falling off the rolls.”

Milwaukee County to unveil plan to ‘end chronic homelessness’

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will introduce on June 9 an initiative to address chronic homelessness. Abele and Barrett are set to hold a news conference at the new Thurgood Marshall Apartments and talk about a campaign to “end chronic homelessness” in the county in three years.

“Although the county has been involved in addressing homelessness for years, we decided that incremental progress was no longer good enough for our community,” Abele said in a news release on June 8. “We are ending chronic homelessness. And we are doing it in three years. I want to thank Mayor Tom Barrett for his support of this initiative and the city’s role.”

A chronically homeless individual is someone who has experienced homelessness for one year or longer, or who has experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years and has a disability.

Instead of the traditional approach of providing short-term subsistence through the provision of shelter beds, the plan to be introduced on June 9 “empowers the chronically homeless by providing housing that is permanent. Permanent housing is demonstrated to yield better outcomes for the chronically homeless and the community at-large.”

Barrett said, “This initiative is a creative and cost-effective extension of the city/county/housing authority partnership that, since 2008, has provided nearly 500 new permanent supportive housing units for individuals and families at risk of homelessness. Now, we are collaborating to address the needs of the most challenging segment of the homeless population in our community.” 

Through this partnership, about $1.8 million a year will be devoted to ending chronic homelessness in the county.

Program participants will receive case management services from the Milwaukee County Housing Division to address mental health and substance abuse issues. Case managers also will assess job readiness and help program participants find work. 

This approach will fund an expansion of the Housing First model, which is based on the approach that, despite often having many needs, a homeless individual or household’s first and primary need is to obtain stable, affordable, quality housing. 

“By implementing the Housing First model in our community, we will be able to immediately place homeless individuals directly into permanent housing,” said Jim Mathy, Milwaukee County Housing Division administrator. “Not only will this be a life-changing event for those that are experiencing homelessness, but national data shows that implementing Housing First also results in savings from reduced public service costs.” 

The move to Housing First advances individuals toward independence by helping to address root level causes of social issues for this population and by shifting governmental strategy on homelessness from short-term fixes to long-term solutions.

“In the last four years, we took the difficult steps of improving our fiscal condition and reducing our debt and borrowing costs at the county,” said Abele. “The reason we took those steps was to create the capacity to tackle Milwaukee’s big issues in a substantive way. I’m proud to say that the ‘Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in Milwaukee County’ does just that.”

Exhibit to focus on ‘Van Gogh and Nature’

An exhibit featuring 50 paintings and drawings of nature by Vincent Van Gogh will open in western Massachusetts in June.

“Van Gogh and Nature” is the first exhibit devoted to the artist’s exploration of nature.

It will open at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown on June 14.

The exhibit will include iconic paintings such as “A Wheatfield, with Cypresses,” “The Olive Trees” and “The Sower.” Works included in the exhibit are on loan from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the National Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and other museums.

The Clark Art Institute is located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. It houses European and American paintings and sculpture, English silver and early photography.

At conservative meeting, Google exec urges Congress to increase skilled work visas

The executive chairman at Google this week called on Congress to increase the number of high-skilled work visas made available to foreigners but to deal with other immigration issues later on.

Eric Schmidt spoke on March 18 at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Schmidt said he believes the United States is better off having more immigrants, not fewer, but he particularly is focused on allowing more immigrants into the U.S. with specialized technical skills.

“In the long list of stupid policies of the U.S. government, I think our attitude toward immigration has got to be near the top,” Schmidt said in answering a question about the biggest policy change he would like to see the federal government make.

“We take very, very smart people, bring them into the country, give them a diploma and kick them out where they go on to create companies that compete with us,” Schmidt said. “Brilliant strategy.”

Schmidt said that increasing the number of H-1B visas, a program that’s separate from the student visa program, would grow the economy because many immigrants will go on to start their own businesses and hire workers. He also said he believes a majority of lawmakers from both parties agree on this point, which is why they should deal with other aspects of immigration reform separately.

A bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah would expand the current annual cap on H-1B visas from 65,000 to between 115,000 and 195,000 visas depending upon market condition and demand. But a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday reinforced that some top lawmakers are strongly opposed to expanding the program. They argued that the U.S. has plenty of high-skilled workers, but companies would rather look elsewhere because it’s cheaper.

“Over the years the program has become a government-assisted way for employers to bring in cheaper foreign labor, and now it appears these foreign workers take over, rather than complement, the U.S. workforce,” said the committee’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said American schools are graduating twice as many students specializing in science, technology, engineering and math than there are jobs to fill in those specialties.

“It has nothing to do with trying to find the best and brightest,” Sessions said of the H-1B visa program’s proposed expansion.

The American Enterprise Institute says it is focus is on “expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity and strengthening free enterprise.”

Right Wing Watch, a program supported by the People for the American Way, says AEI is is “one of the oldest and most influential of the pro-business right-wing think tanks. It promotes the advancement of free enterprise capitalism and has been extremely successful in placing its people in influential governmental positions, particularly in the Bush Administration. AEI has been described as one of the country’s main bastions of neoconservatism.”

Right Wing Watch said AEI’s “areas of interest include: America’s ‘culture war,’ domestic policy and federal spending, education reform, neoconservatism, affirmative action and welfare reform.”

On a wing and a paintbrush at Milwaukee Art Museum

That black speck walking precariously out on the Milwaukee Art Museum’s giant white wings? That’s a painter.

Matt Radmacher, owner of Wisconsin Industrial Painters, and two other painters are touching up 40 rust spots on the museum’s Burke Brise Soleil – affectionately called wings – and repainting 72 rusted plates at the base.

This is only the second time the museum’s addition, designed by internationally known Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, has needed touching up since it opened in 2001. At the time, it was Calatrava’s first completed American project.

The painters started Sept. 29 and are expected to finish by the end of this week.

Calatrava designed a secret passageway with ladders and tunnels to allow maintenance workers access to the base of the moveable wings. Once there, workers can climb a set of steep stairs along the spire to get to the top of the 11-story structure.

“The tunnels and ladders are a little scary if you are claustrophobic or afraid of heights but once you are up there, once you are top of everything, you just forget and it’s so beautiful up there,” Milwaukee Art Museum spokeswoman Kristin Settle said.

Radmacher did the sanding, priming and painting of the wings. But before he went up there, he jumped up and down to try to pump himself up for the experience. While he works, he is harnessed and attached to the building and communicated with museum officials via two-way radio in order to have them position the wings so he could walk out.

“Where I was standing, if you look up you just see wing sections and down you just see wing sections – you really don’t see below you, which kind of made it easier, you know, not as scary,” Radmacher said.

Get paid for posts? A new twist in social networking

 Facebook and most other social networks are built on the premise that just about everything should be shared — except the money those posts produce.

At least two services are trying to change that. Bubblews, a social network that came out of out of an extended test phase last week, pays users for posts that attract traffic and advertisers. Another company, Bonzo Me, has been doing something similar since early July.

“I just feel like everyone on social networks has been taken advantage of for long enough,” says Michael Nusbaum, a Morristown, New Jersey surgeon who created Bonzo Me. “Facebook has been making a ton of money, and the people providing the content aren’t getting anything.”

Bonzo Me is paying its users up to 80 percent of its ad revenue for the most popular posts.

Bubblews’ compensation formula is more complex. It’s based on the number of times that each post is clicked on or provokes some other kind of networking activity. To start, the payments are expected to translate into just a penny per view, comment or like. Bubblews plans to pay its users in $50 increments, meaning it could take a while for most users to qualify for their first paycheck unless they post material that that goes viral.

“No one should come to our site in anticipation of being able to quit their day job,” Bubblews CEO Arvind Dixit says. “But we are trying to be fair with our users. Social networks don’t have to be places where you feel like you’re being exploited.”

Bubblews is also trying to make its service worthwhile for users by encouraging deeper, thoughtful posts instead of musings about trifling subjects. To do that, it requires each post to span at least 400 characters, or roughly the opening two paragraphs of this story.

Technology analyst Rob Enderle believes Bubblews, or something like it, eventually will catch on.

“I don’t think this free-content model is sustainable,” Enderle says. “You can’t sustain the quality of the product if you aren’t paying people for the content that they are creating. And you can’t pay your bills if all you are getting are ‘likes.””

Gerry Kelly of San Francisco has already earned nearly $100 from Bubblews since he began using a test version in January. His Bubblews feed serves as a journal about the lessons he has learned in life, as well as a forum for his clothing brand, Sonas Denim.

Though Facebook is by far the largest social network, it has a history of irking users. People have complained when Facebook changed privacy settings in ways that exposed posts to a wider audience. They have criticized Facebook for circulating ads containing endorsements from users who didn’t authorize the marketing messages.

More recently, people were upset over a 2012 experiment in which Facebook manipulated the accounts of about 700,000 users to analyze how their moods were affected by the emotional tenor of the posts flowing through their pages. Facebook apologized.

Kelly still regularly posts on his Facebook page to stay in touch with friends and family, but says he is more leery of the service.

“They just take all your information and make all the money for themselves. It’s insane,” Kelly says.

Despite the occasional uproar, Facebook Inc. has been thriving while feeding off the free content of its 1.3 billion users. The Menlo Park, California, company now has a market value of about $180 billion, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg ranks among the world’s wealthiest people with a fortune of about $30 billion, based on the latest estimates from Forbes magazine.

Advertisers, meanwhile, are pouring more money into social networks because that is where people are spending more time, particularly on smartphones. Facebook’s share of the $140 billion worldwide market for digital ads this year is expected to climb to nearly 8 percent, or $11 billion, up from a market share of roughly 6 percent, or $7 billion last year, according to the research firm eMarketer.

Although it still isn’t profitable, short-messaging service Twitter is also becoming a bigger advertising magnet, thanks largely to its 255 million users who also provide a steady flow of free content. Twitter’s digital ad revenue this year is expected to rise to $1.1 billion, nearly doubling from $600 million last year, according to eMarketer.

Facebook and Twitter have become such important marketing tools that celebrities and other users with large social-media followings are being paid by advertisers to mention and promote products on their accounts.

Bubblews wants to make money, too, but it also wants to ensure that everyone using it gets at least a small slice of the advertising pie.

Dixit, 26, who started Bubblews with his college buddy Jason Zuccari, says the service got about 200,000 users during a “beta” test phase that began in September 2012. The service unveiled a redesigned website last week as it finally moved out of testing.

Bonzo Me is even smaller, with just a few thousand users since the release of apps for the Web, iPhones and Android devices in early July. The service has paid about $30,000 in ad revenue to users so far, according to Nusbaum.

Sandy Youssef of New Brunswick, New Jersey, likes being on Facebook, but she also intends to start posting video on Bonzo Me just in case she shares something that becomes a big hit.

“We are living in an age when the things you post on the Internet can go viral, so you may as well get paid for it,” she says. “It’s time to spread the wealth.”