February 2011 Archives

Americans earning and saving more

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CNNMoney
By: Hibah Yousuf
February 28, 2011

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Americans earned more than expected in January, thanks to tax changes that boosted income, but consumers chose to add more to their savings at the start of year.

Reuters
By: Lauren Keiper
February 24, 2011

BOSTON (Reuters) - Public school students in the nation's largest cities, many from low-income households, trail their peers elsewhere in the United States in a test of science proficiency, said a report released on Thursday.

The Washington Post
By: Michelle Singletary
February 26, 2011

For the past few years, I've been working with a single mother who has had to move four times, renting rooms in other people's homes so she wouldn't have to spend more than 50 percent of her monthly income on housing.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Naftali Bendavid
February 28, 2011

WASHINGTON--Republicans and Democrats appear increasingly likely to reach a deal that would avoid a government shutdown Friday, but in doing so they are deferring and possibly deepening the challenge of reaching a longer-term spending agreement.

The Washington Post
By: Zachary A. Goldfarb
February 27, 2011

The budget crisis facing many states is threatening to undermine key elements of President Obama's agenda, but with Republicans in control of the House and widespread concern over the federal deficit, he has few options to make a significant difference.

Only 1 in 4 Got Mortgage Relief

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Alan Zibel & Louise Radnofsky
February 28, 2011

Republicans Now Want to Kill HAMP Program That Made Only a Small Dent.

Just one in four of the 2.7 million homeowners who sought to participate in the Obama administration's signature mortgage assistance program have succeeded in getting their monthly payments reduced.

The Huffington Post
By: Preeti Vissa
February 25, 2011

A rule change being considered by the Federal Reserve Board could have a big effect on banking services millions of us use every day, and on whether low-income Americans are able to access those services. It's important that the Fed approach this decision in a way that protects consumers.

The Huffington Post
By: Karen Harris
February 24, 2011

Experian aims to bring millions of Americans into the mainstream credit market by incorporating rental data into credit reports. RentBureau, which Experian acquired last June, is the largest collector of rental payment data. It collects and reports rental data from property management companies nationwide so lessors can screen potential tenants. Experian's announcement earlier this month that it will include positive rental data is being billed as a new way for the estimated 50 million unbanked consumers to build credit.

The Columbus Dispatch
By: Rita Price
February 25, 2011

As a single mother who works and goes to college, Brandi Hardgrow adheres to a budget that leaves little room for wiggle - or for unexpected car repairs.

But she gets by, and a big reason is her tax savvy.

Battle Creek Enquirer
By: David Waymire
February 24, 2011

More than three out of four Michigan voters oppose the elimination of the state's Earned Income Tax Credit for low-wage working families, according to a new poll released today.

Small Businesses Weigh Recovery Act

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Emily Maltby
February 24, 2011

In the two years since President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, some small-business owners attribute their companies' survival to the stimulus package--yet many say the provisions in the 1,100-page law have fallen short of their expectations.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Jane J. Kim
February 23, 2011

Amid greater financial pressures, colleges are scaling back their financial-aid packages to students in ways that are likely to give wealthier families an admissions edge.

Where Checking Is Still Free

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The Wall Street Journal
By: AnnaMaria Andriotis
February 24, 2011

Following the path of the pneumatic tube and the passbook savings account, the cheap checking account is on its way to banking history. In its place, customers are finding the more-expensive checking account, with charges and fees at every turn. But even as costs rise - and checks become increasingly obsolete - there are still some cheap ways to bank by check.

Part of refund can go to bond

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Detroit Free Press
By: Susan Tompor
February 24, 2011

When you think of all the things you'd like to do with a federal income tax refund -- get new brakes, take a trip to a splash-park hotel, pay some bills -- I've got one more idea that is bound to be dead last on your list. But maybe it shouldn't be.

Huffington Post

Poor No More! Or That "Hard Working Middle Class" Baloney

By Sherman Yellen

February 22, 2011

 

When have you last heard the term "hard-working poor" coming from any politician? Probably not in the past decade. Nobody is a member of the working poor anymore. Everyone is a member of the over-worked, over-taxed, hard-working middle class. That includes those making $25,000 a year as a Wal-Mart store manager, to those making $450,000 as a hedge fund clipper, to those making $12,000 dollars as a part time hospital cleaning woman.

The International Herald Tribune

Bank cuts focus on poorer neighborhoods;

U.S. companies favor wealthier enclaves as they close branches

By Nelson Schwartz

February 24, 2011

 

Until it closed its doors in December, the Ohio Savings Bank branch on North Moreland Boulevard was a neighborhood anchor in Cleveland, midway between the mansions of Shaker Heights and the ramshackle bungalows of the city's east side. Now it is boarded up, a victim not only of Cleveland's economic troubles but also of a broader trend of bank branch closings that is falling more heavily on low- and moderate-income neighborhoods across the United States.

The Lexington Herald Leader

United Way offers savings account matching program

By Scott Sloan

February 23, 2011

 

 

The United Way of the Bluegrass has unveiled a program that matches savings for qualified people to help them buy homes, go back to school or start their own businesses.

 

The Back on Track program, which began in January, asks those enrolled to save up to $2,000. The United Way will then match the savings 2-1, so qualified people who enroll can wind up with up to $6,000.

How best to boost the 'working poor'?

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The Christian Science Monitor

How best to boost the 'working poor'?

By David R. Francis

February 14, 2011

 

Nearly 1 in 3 working families now qualify as 'working poor.' More affordable college - and a more progressive tax system - would help.

 

The Great Recession has badly damaged the "American dream" - the national ethos that everyone can move toward a richer and fuller life according to their work and ability, regardless of social class and circumstance.

 

"We are moving away from shared prosperity," says Brandon Roberts. "It is disturbing."

No Fannie, no Freddie

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Los Angeles Times

No Fannie, no Freddie

Editorial

February 24, 2011

 

The Obama administration took its first, tentative step this month toward a future without Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the troubled mortgage finance giants. The Treasury Department laid out three options for reducing the government's role in home loans, each of which would phase out Fannie and Freddie and shrink or eliminate federal support for run-of-the-mill mortgages. Such an approach is likely to raise mortgage interest rates, especially for 30-year fixed loans, and could make it harder to get a mortgage during a financial crisis. But it also greatly reduces the likelihood of taxpayers being stuck covering the cost if a downturn causes foreclosures to mount.

The Huffington Post
By: Dory Rand
February 22, 2011

Debate is brewing across the country about what shape our housing finance system should take in the years to come. Consumer advocates need to ensure that the system that emerges from these discussions meets the needs of low-wealth people seeking affordable and sustainable housing.

The New York Times
By: David M. Herszenhorn & Carl Hulse
February 22, 2011

WASHINGTON -- As the strategic jockeying in a fight over federal spending kicked into high gear, the Republican House speaker, John A. Boehner, said on Tuesday that it was up to the White House and the Democrats who control the Senate to agree to at least some Republican-backed cuts to help reach a short-term deal and avoid a government shutdown early next month.

USA TODAY
By: Mary Beth Marklein
February 22, 2011

As colleges and universities begin setting tuition for the upcoming academic year, a few schools are already touting their efforts to keep costs down.

Detroit News (Michigan)
By: Brian O'Connor
February 23, 2011

Law allows employers to pay via direct deposit, prepaid debit cards.

Kiss your paycheck goodbye, Michigan -- literally. A law passed at the end of last year allows employers in the state to stop issuing paper paychecks and replace them with direct deposits to your bank or to hand out prepaid debit cards.

Campus Progress
By: George Warner
February 23, 2011

In January, the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Linda Archer stood in front of a crowd of at least 1,500 people packed inside the Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem.

Bloomberg
By: Antone Gonsalves
February 22, 2011

Earlier this month venture capital firm Core Innovation Capital (CIC) invested $2 million in Plastyc, a prepaid debit-card provider in New York. CIC managing partner Arjan Schütte says 5-year-old Plastyc's relatively low-cost cards -- 12 percent less to use, on average, than versions from competitors Green Dot and Wal- Mart -- impressed the New York City firm, which limits its investments to companies that provide financial services to the working poor and the underbanked. Plastyc's mix of services unavailable on other cards, such as mobile-phone access and checks for paying bills, also persuaded CIC to make the bet. "They've been able to develop cool bells and whistles that offer functionality beyond the very basic vanilla offering that most prepaid cards have," Schütte says.

NPR
By: Jenny Gold
February 23, 2011

When Paula Michele Boyle first received the letter earlier this month explaining that her health insurance coverage was being terminated, she took it personally, thinking maybe the insurer had discovered something in her history to make her ineligible. But then the Philadelphia resident read on and realized that it wasn't just her -- the entire program, Pennsylvania's state-funded health plan for low-income adults, was about to be canceled.

Buying Your Way Into College

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Jane J. Kim
February 19, 2011

Forget the standard advice that everyone should apply for financial aid. This year, forgoing aid applications may actually boost the chances of getting accepted.

The Washington Post
By: Steven Mufson
February 20, 2011

The daunting tower of national, state and local debt in the United States will reach a level this year unmatched just after World War II and already exceeds the size of the entire economy, according to government estimates.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Lisa Fleisher
February 22, 2011

The New Jersey Governor's Budget Is Likely to Kick Off a Bruising Fight with the Democratic-Controlled Legislature.

TRENTON--Less than a week after he vetoed a slew of Democratic job-creation and tax-cutting bills, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will present a budget Tuesday that includes around $200 million in tax cuts, mostly for small businesses, a source familiar with the budget said.

Reuters
February 18, 2011

When Brown University student Walker Williams had difficulty finding part-time job listings, his response was to launch his own job-search website, Jobzle.com. But a crucial factor in transforming the website from a hobby to a business was the funding it got through startup accelerator Betaspring.

How the rich became the über rich

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CNNMoney
By: Annalyn Censky
February 22, 2011

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- There's a growing income gap in America, but it's not necessarily between the rich and the poor.

The San Francisco Chronicle
By: Russell Contreras
February 20, 2011

It started with an immigration raid four years ago.

The New York Times
By: David M. Herszenhorn
February 19, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The House vote Saturday to slash more than $60 billion from the federal budget shows how powerfully the anti-spending fervor of the fall elections is driving the new Republican majority's efforts to shrink government. It puts the two parties on a path to a succession of showdowns over the deficit and the nation's growing debt.

The Washington Post
By: Michael A. Fletcher and Jon Cohen
February 20, 2011

Despite severe losses during the recession, the majority of African Americans see the economy improving and are confident that their financial prospects will improve soon.

The Washington Post
By: Danielle Douglas
February 21, 2011

Dialing back government support for District-based Fannie Mae and McLean-based Freddie Mac could have far-reaching implications for minority financial professionals in the Washington region.

The Washington Post
By: Michael A. Fletcher
February 21, 2011

As the economy emerges from the recession and the national debate turns to limiting the cost of the social safety net, only one in four African Americans and one in six Hispanics reported owning stocks, bonds or mutual funds, a new poll shows.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Maya Jackson Randall
February 22, 2011

WASHINGTON--The nation's new consumer watchdog agency, the subject of much banking-industry angst, plans to release a report Tuesday with some favorable news about giant credit-card issuers: Banks have eased up on credit-card rate increases and turned more consumer-friendly over the past year.

The Washington Post
By: Annie Gowen
February 17, 2011

Before the real estate bust, Rob Paxton and Susan Schneider might have met at a networking event or through their home-buyer clients. Instead, they first crossed paths at a day shelter for the homeless in Falls Church.

Help for Underwater Properties

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Emily Maltby
February 17, 2011

For small-business owners with underwater commercial properties, the Small Business Administration is tossing out a new life vest.

Mortgage Delinquencies Decline

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos
February 18, 2011

The number of U.S. households behind on their mortgage payments fell during the fourth quarter to the lowest level in two years, buoyed by improving labor market conditions.

Chance can be a better way to save

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The Financial Times
By: Peter Orszag
February 16 2011

In all the recent debate over budget deficits, few people have noticed that America has started saving again. Personal saving in the US has risen from 1.4 per cent of income in 2005 to 5.8 per cent in 2010, and new data this week from the Federal Reserve confirm the higher savings rates are continuing. A dramatic, sudden further increase in saving would harm the recovery. But as the world gradually emerges from the economic downturn, global rebalancing means the US and Europe must save more over time. Savings lotteries, like Britain's popular Premium Bonds, can provide an intriguing way forward.

The Washington Post
By: Tom Coburn
February 18, 2011

This year's budget debate comes as we are in uncharted waters. President Obama, Congress and leading economists all know we are living on borrowed time. If we don't make a major course correction with regard to the federal budget, a major course correction will be forced on us - sooner rather than later. As The Post has reported, administration officials call this a "forcing event." Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke alluded to a coming forcing event when he testified to Congress this month that our unsustainable deficits and debt "cannot actually happen, because creditors would never be willing to lend to a government whose debt, relative to national income, is rising without limit."

The Washington Post
By: Lori Montgomery
February 17, 2011

With President Obama calling for bipartisan talks to tackle the nation's budget problems, a group of influential senators from both parties is developing a framework that calls for higher taxes and limits on all categories of government spending.

The Huffington Post
By: Steve Clemons
February 17, 2011

Peter Orszag, now a new vice-chairman of global banking at Citigroup and former US Office of Management and Budget under Barack Obama, has written a provocative and (with all due respect Peter) wrongheaded Financial Times op-ed proposing that the way to promote savings among America's low-income workers is to attach the prospect of winning millions to them scurrying away a few dollars here and there -- sort of a lottery ticket that goes into their savings rather than into state coffers to help subsidize education or to the profits of the local milk and cigarette stand.

Forbes
By: Eva Pereira
February 16, 2011

Are we in a new Gilded Age? With income inequality at historic levels not seen since the early 1920s, author Malcolm Gladwell and Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management, recently discussed how over 80% of America's assets ended up in the hands of 20% of the population and how this affects America's bid to "Win the Future."

USA Today
By: Sandra Block
February 15, 2011

In 1997, Blake's daughter, Shaina, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that primarily affects children and adolescents. Shaina, then 10, wasn't expected to live six months. Instead, an experimental treatment put her cancer into remission, and Shaina went on to graduate from high school at the top of her class.

The Huffington Post
By: Laura Bassett
February 16, 2011

A Craigslist job ad posted Feb. 6 for a $25-per-hour customer relations position in San Francisco encourages men, women, and students to apply, "No Experience Required" -- as long as the applicant already has a job.

The New York Times
By: Binyamin Appelbaum
February 16, 2011

WASHINGTON -- As the players here remake the nation's vast regulatory system, they have been grappling with a subject that is more the province of poets and philosophers than bureaucrats: what is the value of a human life?

Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
By: Margaret Quilter
February 17, 2011

KidzBank set up in N.O. charter school.

Students at Gentilly Terrace-UNO Charter School lined the hallway in a roped-off area, quietly murmuring among themselves with money in hand, waiting patiently for their turn at the teller.

Grooming Entrepreneurs

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Shelly Banjo
February 17, 2011

To Bill Halbert, entrepreneurship is the key to driving economic growth in America.

The New York Times
By: Robb Mandelbaum
February 17, 2011

In recent weeks, President Obama has traveled the country calling for renewed government spending to foster small-company innovation, but on Monday his administration unveiled a Small Business Administration budget (pdf) for 2012 that limits growth in its most important program, government-guaranteed general business loans. It proposes making cuts, modest and substantial, to other S.B.A. programs as well, and would eliminate two initiatives altogether. Still, over all the cuts are not as drastic as the administration may want to convey.

The Washington Post
By: Steven Mufson
February 17, 2011

Interest payments on the national debt will quadruple in the next decade and every man, woman and child in the United States will be paying more than $2,500 a year to cover for the nation's past profligacy, according to figures in President Obama's new budget plan.

An End to Fannie and Freddie?

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The New York Times
February 16, 2011

When Congress considers the Obama administration's proposals to phase out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it needs to keep several goals clearly in mind. It must keep the jittery housing market going and reduce taxpayer risk while enticing private companies back into the mortgage business. And it must keep homeownership affordable to moderate-income and working families.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Kevin Helliker
February 17, 2011

In a move likely to reverberate among America's top-tier private colleges, the University of the South said Wednesday it will slash tuition and fees for the coming school year by 10%, or about $4,600.

Deficit Plan Details Emerge

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Jonathan Weisman
February 17, 2011

Bipartisan Senate Group Mulls Spending Caps That Could Trigger Tax Increases.

A bipartisan group of senators is considering legislation that would trigger new taxes and budget cuts if Congress fails to meet a set of mandatory spending targets and other fiscal goals aimed at reducing federal deficits.

The Boston Globe
By: Lisa Kocian & Matt Carroll
February 17, 2011

In handful of communities, a third of income spent for shelter.

Bob Hachey struggles to pay the rent on his basement apartment every month, but in Waltham, where he has lived for 25 years, that has become the norm.

Bank of America adds $59 card fee

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The Boston Globe
February 16, 2011

NEW YORK -- Bank of America is assessing a new $59 annual fee on select credit card holders.

The Wall Street Journal
By S. Mitra Kalita
February 16, 2011

The down payments demanded by banks to buy homes have ballooned since the housing bust, forcing many people to rethink what they can afford and potentially shrinking the pool of eligible buyers.

CNNMoney
By: Annalyn Censk
February 16, 2011

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Are you better off than your parents?

Probably not if you're in the middle class.

The Washington Post
By: Neil Irwin
February 15, 2011

The recession that just rocked the U.S. economy happened in part because Americans were borrowing and spending more than they could afford. Now, three years after the downturn began, families are moving faster than many analysts had expected to put their finances in order by paying down debt and boosting their savings.

GOP Presses Biggest-Ever Budget Cuts

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Janet Hook
February 16, 2011

Proposed Pentagon Reductions Survive Early House Votes on Amendments to Bill Trimming $61 Billion in Spending.

WASHINGTON -- The Republican-controlled House on Tuesday took up legislation to make unprecedented cuts in federal spending this year, opening a freewheeling debate that will showcase the two parties' views on the size of government in an era of budget deficits.

Banks Go Straight to Public Borrowers

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Ianthe Jean Dugan
February 16, 2011

Banks are setting aside billions of dollars to do something that until now was rarely heard of: making big loans to cities, states, schools and other public borrowers that otherwise might have turned to the bond market.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Jonathan Weisman & Laura Meckler
February 15, 2011

WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama defended his budget proposal Tuesday against criticism that it was too timid, as a bipartisan group of senators moved on their own to address the long-term spending issues the White House budget ducked.

The Washington Times
By: Patrice Hill
February 16, 2011

As Congress and the White House debate how to patch up the housing market after four years of crisis, one clear lesson has emerged: Political leaders for the first time in decades no longer see the American dream of homeownership as the all-consuming goal it once was.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Jonathan Weisman
February 15, 2011

President Barack Obama's $3.7 trillion budget plan unveiled Monday punts the most pressing fiscal issues driving up U.S. debt to at least later this year, when the White House and Republicans are expected to meet behind closed doors to tackle deficit reduction.

The Huffington Post
February 14, 2011

As Florida's unemployment rate reaches 12 percent, new state legislation has been proposed to overhaul the state's unemployment system.

What the budget says about America

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The Washington Post
By: Ezra Klein
February 15, 2011

American politics is one long argument about what government should or shouldn't be doing, and how it should or shouldn't be doing it. It's rare that we step back, take in the larger picture and ask what it is doing. The release of the president's proposed 2012 budget is a good time to do that. If you want to know what the federal government is really doing, just look where it's spending our money.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Martin Feldstein
February 15, 2011

The increased flow of capital to the U.S. would result in greater productivity and higher real wages.

President Obama has reached out to the business community with talk of lowering the corporate tax rate and improving the tax treatment of profits earned abroad by American companies. That would certainly be an important improvement in our tax system. Unfortunately, his desire to use the elimination of "loopholes" to avoid any loss of corporate tax revenue means that he cannot possibly go far enough in reducing corporate tax rates.

Budget Battle Lines Drawn

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Gerald F. Seib
February 15, 2011

Obama Plan Offers Tax Increases and Spending Cuts, but Avoids Big Fiscal Issues.

President Barack Obama offered a 2012 budget Monday that would reduce the federal deficit over time but still leave spending at historically high levels because of mushrooming health and retirement programs.

USA TODAY
By: Richard Wolf
February 15, 2011

MANITOWOC, Wis. -- Business is picking up for retailer Renee Charlton in this small manufacturing city on Lake Michigan, but that may not be a good omen for residents. She sells secondhand clothes.

A Way Forward for the Mortgage Market

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Peter J. Wallison
February 15, 2011

The housing system can function perfectly well without government backing. The key is making sure most mortgages are prime loans.

Last week the Obama administration offered a vision of a future U.S. housing system in which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will eventually be wound down and eliminated. That in itself is not remarkable; even Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.) said last year that he hoped the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) would be abolished. What was remarkable was that the proposal outlined by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner included, as one of its options, a future housing-finance system that would rely almost entirely on the private sector.

The Huffington Post
By: Arthur Delaney
February 14, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration acknowledged on Monday that its proposal to slash funding for heating assistance to the poor would, in fact, hurt the poor.

The Washington Post
By: Jia Lynn Yang and Michael A. Fletcher
February 15, 2011

After months of trying to set a new, friendlier tone with the business community, President Obama announced a budget plan Monday that includes old proposals that have inflamed corporate America.

The Washington Post
By: Dina ElBoghdady
February 15, 2011

The president's proposed budget includes $41.7 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, about $1.1 billion less than what Congress approved for fiscal 2010.

The New York Times
By: Sam Dillon & Tamar Lewin
February 14, 2011

President Obama proposed a 2012 Department of Education budget on Monday that would, if approved, significantly increase federal spending for public schools, and maintain the maximum Pell grant -- the cornerstone financial-aid program -- at $5,550 per college student.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Emily Maltby
February 15, 2011

President Obama's fiscal 2012 budget proposal for the Small Business Administration asks Congress for $985 million--45% less than the $1.8 billion that the agency received in 2010.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Janet Hook & Damian Paletta
February 14, 2011

Obama Targets Popular Programs and Highlights Policy Differences With Republicans Over Government's Size and Scope

President Barack Obama unveiled a $3.73 trillion budget for 2012 that highlights differences between Mr. Obama and Republicans in Congress on issues such as environmental regulation, infrastructure and education.

The Star Press (Indiana)
By: Ivy Farguheson
February 13, 2011

MUNCIE -- Sarah Lyttle's experiences in poverty are becoming more common than some might believe.

The Huffington Post
By: Amanda Terkel
February 13, 2011

WASHINGTON -- In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama promised that investment in education and getting the next generation of Americans ready to face their own "Sputnik" moment would be a focus of his administration. But at least one component of his FY 2012 budget, which will be released tomorrow, will likely pile more debt upon students who decide to pursue graduate school, potentially making the dream of higher education even more unattainable for many Americans. The move, say administration officials, is needed to ensure that a popular financial aid award stays available at current levels.

The Washington Post
By : Lori Montgomery
February 14, 2011

President Obama drew fire Sunday from congressional Republicans and independent budget experts for his reluctance to advance a plan that would tackle the nation's biggest budget problems in the spending blueprint he will submit to Congress on Monday.

Tax Complaint: Too Low

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Stephanie Simon
February 14, 2011

Parents in School District Hit by Cuts Want to Pay More, but State Won't Allow It.

Michelle Trouvé wants to pay more taxes to support her local schools. The state of Kansas won't let her, and the resulting standoff has pit parents in affluent districts against those in the state's poorer towns.

Star Tribune (Minnesota)
By: Chris Serres
February 13, 2011

Plans by major banks to largely eliminate free checking accounts could push millions of American households outside of the traditional banking system, bankers and experts warn.

The Huffington Post
By: Marian Wright Edelman
February 12, 2011

While there is a lot of talk today about jobs, there has been far too little attention paid to the job prospects of young people. A new report prepared for the Children's Defense Fund shows young people have lost more ground economically than any other age group over the last three decades.

The New York Times
By: Michael Winerip
February 13, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- There is no more pressing topic in education today than closing the achievement gap, and there is no one in America who knows more about the gap than Ronald Ferguson.

The New York Times
By: David Streitfeld
February 13, 2011

SEATTLE -- Few believed the housing market here would ever collapse. Now they wonder if it will ever stop slumping.

Views of Life After Fannie, Freddie

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos
February 12, 2011

White House Sketches Three Options For Shrinking U.S. Support of Housing.

The Obama administration outlined on Friday its plans to begin shrinking the government's broad support of the nation's crippled mortgage market, a process that officials said could take several years and would include phasing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Laid Off and Launching

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Barbara Haislip
February 14, 2011

Several states allow aspiring entrepreneurs to collect unemployment benefits--while they're building their business.

Laid-off workers who want to launch a business may be able to get a cash infusion from an unexpected source: their unemployment checks.

Budget Forecasts Bigger 2011 Deficit

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Jonathan Weisman & Naftali Bendavid
February 14, 2011

President Barack Obama's 2012 budget proposal projects this year's deficit will reach $1.6 trillion, the largest on record, as December's tax-cut deal begins to reduce federal revenues, a senior Democrat said Sunday.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Jessica Silver-Greenberg
February 10, 2011

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.--From rows of cubicles beneath handwritten signs that say "CUSTOMER SERVICE IS AN ATTITUDE, NOT JUST A DEPARTMENT," more than 150 employees at AMG Capital Services Inc. make loans and collect payments throughout the U.S.

Build assets for families

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The Advocate (Louisiana)
February 10, 2011

What is the solution to poverty?

The Wall Street Journal
By: Sara Murray
February 11, 2011

Both President Barack Obama and House Republicans are moving to rein in federal spending by reducing aid to states and cities, which would deepen their fiscal woes just as economic-stimulus funds from Washington are drying up.

Fannie, Freddie Phase-Out Proposed

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos & Alan Zibel
February 11, 2011

WASHINGTON--The Obama administration unveiled a proposal Friday for winding down mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, spelling out three options for what could take their place and setting the stage for a lengthy debate over the nation's $10.6 trillion mortgage market.

Rise in Rates Is Headwind for Housing

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Mark Gongloff, Nick Timiraos & Ruth Simon
February 10, 2011

U.S. 30-year mortgage rates have jumped above 5% for the first time since last spring, in a rapid rise that could present a challenge to the still-troubled housing market.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Janet Hook
February 10, 2011

House Republican leaders on Thursday bowed to a revolt from conservative lawmakers and said they would propose deeper budget cuts for the current year than they had planned.

The Washington Examiner
By: Zach Cutler
February 10, 2011

With college graduate unemployment at a 40-year high, enrolling into a second degree or moving home to mom and dad seem to be the only options for many young BA holders. For those graduates who are finding jobs, settling for work below their skill level is becoming commonplace. In a country with the world's best higher education, too many graduates are being greeted by unacceptable scenarios of unemployment and underemployment. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, only one in four 2010 graduates who applied for a job had one lined up upon graduation.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Laura Meckler
February 11, 2011

The White House last month considered offering specific benefit cuts and tax increases to shore up Social Security's finances, but ultimately decided to back off.

The End of Prepaid Tuition Plans?

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Smart Money
By: Jilian Mincer
February 11, 2011

College costs keep rising, and recession-scarred parents need all the help they can get, but several cash-strapped states are abandoning or adjusting one of the most popular college-savings options: prepaid tuition credits for college-bound kids.

Chicago Sun-Times
By: Dave McKinney
February 11, 2011

SPRINGFIELD -- Senate Democrats proposed raising the state's minimum wage Thursday in a bid that eventually would boost pay for the working poor to more than $10 an hour.

Bank Systems & Technology
By: Jack Leach
February 9, 2011

Why aren't banks moving more aggressively to tap into the pot of gold represented by more the than 100 million underbanked/unbanked consumers?

Media outlets have drawn attention to it and bankers are definitely aware of its importance. Between the fee-reducing impact of the Dodd-Frank Act and the newly introduced "Opt-In" provision within Regulation E, many banks are facing a massive reduction in revenue that for the past 20 years was largely derived from overdraft fees. At some superregional banks NSF/OD fees represented upwards of 80 percent of total non-interest income. Bankers now fear that additional legislative mandates could amount to further reductions in this $38 billion revenue stream.

Investor's Business Daily
By: David Hogberg
February 10, 2011

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's days are numbered, if reports about the Obama administration's plans for the money-losing mortgage finance giants are any indication. Republicans agree on that point. But what, if anything, might replace them will surely be a major controversy.

National Journal
By: Marc Ambinder
February 9, 2011

Budget proposal would cut billions from aid program.

President Obama's proposed 2012 budget will cut several billion dollars from the government's energy assistance fund for poor people, officials briefed on the subject told National Journal.

The Huffington Post
By: Theodore R. Daniels
February 9, 2011

I had the high honor to serve as the keynote speaker for the State of Iowa's celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. The event afforded me a great opportunity to share with the audience some thoughts about the legacy of Dr. King and what it means today -- as we celebrate Black History Month -- in the context of personal wealth creation and financial literacy.

Ever more difficult to make ends meet

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The Boston Globe
By: Brenda J. Buote
February 10, 2011

Percentage of income spent on housing creeps up.

Unable to scrape together enough money to pay her rent, Tina Brazzo was hard at work last November trying to transform a cluttered storage space in a friend's apartment into a cozy bedroom for her twin 4-year-old daughters when she learned her cleanup efforts were futile.

The Washington Post
By: Zachary A. Goldfarb
February 9, 2011

To many Republicans and the Obama administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government's mortgage giants, are ill. But rather than healing them, both sides agree that the companies should be left to die and that their support for the housing market should wither away.

The Washington Post
By: Dina ElBoghdady
February 9, 2011

The size of mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration should shrink dramatically so the agency can protect itself against unnecessary financial risk, according to a report to be released this week by George Washington University.

The New York Times
By: Louise Story
February 9, 2011

Banks have been fighting with disgruntled bond investors and insurers for months, arguing that they do not need to buy back soured mortgages they placed inside securities before the financial crisis.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Sarah E. Needleman
February 9, 2011

The number of businesses owned by black men and women grew at more than triple the national rate in recent years, a trend that may be linked to a long-stagnating job market.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Andrew Ackerman
February 10, 2011

WASHINGTON--House Republicans said Wednesday they are concerned of a "looming fiscal crisis" in state and local finances but ruled out any federal bailouts for states.

Bernanke Tries to Soothe GOP

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The Wall Street Journal
By Jon Hilsenrath & Luca Di Leo
February 10, 2011

Fed Chief Says Inflation Won't Be Allowed to Take Hold but Shows No Sign of Tightening Policy.

WASHINGTON--Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sought to reassure wary Republicans that he won't allow inflation to take root, though he gave no indication that he is ready to reverse his easy-money policies.

Big Issues the Budget May Miss

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The Wall Street Journal
February 10, 2011

The president's budget is a ritual in which rhetoric crowds out reality, comparisons are tailored to provide talking points rather than illumination and issues of significance drown in a sea of details. But the budget is one time a president must reveal choices and priorities, even if one has to look at the tables at the back to find them.

The Washington Post
By: Andrew Taylor
February 8, 2011

WASHINGTON -- A key House committee Tuesday approved the broad parameters of a GOP plan to sharply curb domestic programs and foreign aid, but it wasn't enough for a handful of Republicans on the panel who promised to try to cut the measure even further during floor debate next week.

New America Media
By: Kenneth J. Cooper
February 9, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Conservative Republicans and commentators have frequently blamed the housing crisis on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which encourages banks to make loans in the low- and moderate-income areas where they operate. But a study to be released this week and a bipartisan commission conclude that the federal law had little impact on the crisis.

CNBC
By: Diana Olick
February 8, 2011

Following up on my previous post on the latest homeowner vacancy report, I wanted to point out a significant shift in the makeup of not just how, but where we live.

New America Media
By: Kenneth J. Cooper
February 9, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Since the housing market collapsed, mortgage lending to African-Americans and Hispanics has plunged precipitously--by more than 60 percent, according to a new study of loan information that banks submit to the federal government.

Job Tax Plan Lands With a Thud

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Jonathan Weisman & Damian Paletta
February 9, 2011

Hill GOP Leader Says Obama Proposal 'Isn't Going Anywhere,' but Some State Officials React Positively.

Republicans on Capitol Hill responded with hostility Tuesday to a White House proposal to allow cash-strapped states to raise unemployment-insurance taxes. But in some states struggling with rising debt and empty coffers, officials said the plan should be considered.

The Wall Street Journal
By Nick Timiraos
February 9, 2011

Home affordability returned to pre-bubble levels in a growing number of U.S. markets over the past year as price declines laid the groundwork for a housing recovery.

Plans Near For Freddie And Fannie

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The New York Times
By: Binyamin Appelbaum
February 9, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration and House Republicans are settling into a game of chicken over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with each side daring the other to advance a plan for replacing the two housing finance companies.

Bloomberg
By: David Dietz
February 8, 2011

The landmark Blackstone Hotel in downtown Chicago, which has hosted 12 U.S. presidents, opened in 2008 after a two-year, $116 million renovation. Inside the Beaux Arts structure, built in 1910, buffed marble staircases greet guests spending up to $699 a night for rooms with views of Lake Michigan.

Los Angeles Times
By: Evan Halper, 2/7/11

A $27-billion shortfall, similar in size to California's, belies the state's reputation for fiscal responsibility.

The lecturing from Texas leaders about how California wouldn't be in such a budget mess if its politicians did business the way it is done in Austin has been relentless for years.

The Boston Globe
By: Stephen Ohlemacher
February 8, 2011

Poor economy and changes in tax code cited

WASHINGTON - As a share of the nation's economy, Uncle Sam's take this year will be the lowest since 1950, when the Korean War was just getting under way.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Elizabeth Williamson
February 7, 2011

WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama told business leaders at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce they should stop hoarding cash and start hiring in return for tax breaks and other government support for exports and innovation.

Banks Reach Out to Small Firms

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Ruth Simon
February 8, 2011

Natalie Smith, the manager of a U.S. Bancorp branch in an Albertsons supermarket in Milwaukie, Ore., is going to unusual lengths to make small-business loans. Last year, she cornered an eye doctor near the entrance, following him around until she learned he needed a commercial real-estate loan and equipment financing.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Jonathan Weisman And Damian Paletta
February 8, 2011

WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama's budget proposal is expected to give states a way to collect more payroll taxes from businesses, in an effort to replenish the unemployment-insurance program. The plan could cause controversy at a time when the administration is seeking to mend fences with corporate America.

The Huffington Post
By: Arthur Delaney
February 7, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Bobby Scott (Va.) are reintroducing legislation this week to provide additional weeks of unemployment insurance benefits for "99ers," the long-term jobless who have exhausted their benefits and still haven't found work.

The Huffington Post
By: Laura Bassett
February 7, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. poverty rate jumped to 14.3 percent in 2009 -- its highest level since 1994 -- while lawmakers in some of the poorest states consistently voted against key antipoverty measures, an advocacy group said on Monday.

The Washington Post
By: Paul Wiseman & Derek Kravitz
February 7, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. labor force has been split into two groups: the relieved and the desperate.

Obama Reaches for Corporate Support

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Elizabeth Williamson
February 7, 2011

President Barack Obama will ask some of his toughest business critics at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday to back his economic agenda, including White House plans to increase federal spending for green energy, roads and bridges and other infrastructure.

Afro-American
By: Gregory Dale
February 5, 2011

Number jumps 42% since 2001

The number of Americans whose income, housing, and even their lifestyle, is so dire that the federal government labels them the "worst case" dramatically increased in just two years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said Feb. 1.

The Washington Post
By: Thomas Heath
February 7, 2011

The Georgetown University credit union reminds me again why I shouldn't have goofed off so much in college.

Governors Chop Spending

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Conor Dougherty & Amy Merrick
February 7, 2011

Politicians in Both Parties Aim to Balance State Budgets Through Cuts, Not Taxes.

Governors around the U.S. are proposing to balance their states' budgets with a long list of cuts and almost no new taxes, reflecting a goal by politicians from both parties to erase deficits chiefly by shrinking government.

The New York Times
By: Nelson D. Schwartz
February 5, 2011

Bank of America said Friday that it would create a unit to handle 1.3 million soured mortgages as Brian T. Moynihan, the bank's chief executive, tried to distance the company from the fallout of the mortgage crisis.

Averting another mortgage crisis

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The Washington Post
February 7, 2011

THE DODD-FRANK financial overhaul law required the Obama administration to produce a plan by no later than Jan. 31 for reforming the nation's mortgage finance system, which is dominated by the crippled government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) known as Fannie and Freddie, currently operating under direct federal control, back about 90 percent of all new U.S. mortgages, but their taxpayer-covered losses have hit $150 billion - and are rising. Their combined debt, guaranteed by taxpayers and held in large part by China and Japan, is more than $1.5 trillion. But the administration still hasn't come out with anything, though we're told it's forthcoming.

We're Not Home Yet

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Time
By: Rana Foroohar
February 3, 2011

At a bargain-basement auction of foreclosed homes held on Jan. 29 in a New York City Sheraton hotel, one of the music tracks that played as bidders prepared to pounce on distressed properties was James Brown's "Living in America." It was either a major planning blunder or a brilliant thematic choice. Either way, the song's lyrics ("everybody's working overtime ...") were a strangely fitting sound track to a new American reality: while corporate profits rise and economic growth returns, the housing market is only getting worse.

The Huffington Post
February 3, 2011

According to a recent survey, more Americans believe making higher education more affordable would be an effective means of helping those who are struggling economically than preserving social security and cutting taxes for the middle class.

The Huffington Post
By: Preeti Vissa
February 3, 2011

Two new federal government reports -- neither of which got a lot of press -- suggest continuing trouble in the housing market, meaning continuing trouble for the economy. And, in a pattern we've seen so often that it's ceased to be surprising, communities of color are faring the worst.

The Washington Post
By: Derek Thompson
February 3, 2011

The demise of our middle class might be the most compelling problem in U.S. economics. It lives at the heart of our debates about income inequality, U.S. competitiveness, tax policy, Social Security and so much more. Each of these debates have their distinct orbits, but drawing them together is the question of how we give average Americans a chance to elevate their standard of living, work for decent pay and retire in dignity.

The Washington Post
By: Nick Anderson
February 4, 2011

About one-quarter of students who took out federal loans to attend for-profit colleges defaulted within three years of starting repayment, according to a new federal analysis.

The Washington Post
By: Brady Dennis
February 3, 2011

Timothy F. Geithner can't seem to talk enough these days about corporate tax reform. From D.C. to Davos, the Treasury secretary has chatted up chief executives and academics, bankers and labor groups, Republicans and Democrats, all in the name of fixing a tax code that most everyone agrees could use a major overhaul.

The Washington Post
By: Zachary A. Goldfarb & Brady Dennis
February 4, 2011

The Obama administration is likely to recommend reducing the size of mortgages eligible for government backing, according to current and former officials, a move that could make getting a home loan in high-priced areas such as the Washington region more expensive.

Affordable Housing and the Gulf

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The New York Times
February 3, 2011

The gulf states are still living with the destruction wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which swept away more than 70,000 units of affordable rental housing.

The New York Times
By: Tamar Lewin
February 4, 2011

As the United States Department of Education gets closer to issuing its final regulations on commercial colleges' eligibility for the federal student aid that provides the bulk of their revenue, a flurry of new reports and litigation are being filed in advance of important policy decisions for the schools.

The New York Times
By: Victoria Burnett
February 3, 2011

BAUTA, Cuba -- Marisela Álvarez spends much of the day bent over a single electric burner in her small outdoor kitchen. Her knees are killing her. Her red hair smells of cooking oil.

House GOP Plan Would Require Big Cuts

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Janet Hook & Corey Boles
February 4, 2011

WASHINGTON--House Republican leaders on Thursday proposed cutting more than $30 billion from government spending for the remaining eight months of the fiscal year. Their approach could mean big reductions for virtually all federal agencies other than the Pentagon.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Sudeep Reddy & Brian Blackstone
February 4, 2011

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke rejected complaints by China and other developing economies that U.S. policies are driving up global food and energy prices, and instead pinned the blame on accelerating growth in emerging markets and their inadequate response.

The New York Times
By: Scott James
February 4, 2011

Tenancies-in-common, a type of shared homeownership that is widespread in San Francisco, were once considered an affordable option for first-time home buyers in an expensive city.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Arian Campo-Flores
February 3, 2011

LEESBURG, Fla.--Gov. Rick Scott is crisscrossing Florida this week, offering glimpses of what he says will be one of the nation's most fiscally conservative budget proposals this year.

The Huffington Post
By: Deborah De Santis
February 2, 2011

This week I joined colleagues from CSH and fellow New Yorkers for our city's Point in Time Count. As I walked the streets of downtown Manhattan in the snow, I kept hearing echoes of President Obama's State of the Union Address -- specifically of his call to freeze spending on domestic discretionary programs for the next five years. How would this direction affect the most vulnerable people in our country? How do we protect those men, women and families without adding to the cost of doing so?

Education Week
By: Caralee Adams
February 2, 2011

Randy McPherson is the only counselor in his high school of 700 students. While his huge caseload is not that unusual for school counselors these days, what McPherson has done at Trezevant Career and Technology Center in inner-city Memphis to help prepare at-risk kids for the future is being recognized as quite remarkable.

Delta Farm Press
February 2, 2011

A recent USDA report measures each state's success in reaching children and families eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). While the national SNAP participation rate was 66 percent, "Reaching Those in Need: State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates in 2008," reports state rates varied from an estimated low of 46 percent to a high of 94 percent.

Delayed mortgage aid set for March

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The Boston Globe
By: Jenifer B. McKim
February 3, 2011

US to provide bridge loans to unemployed

A new federal program that could help thousands of unemployed homeowners in Massachusetts temporarily cover their mortgages is expected to finally be up and running by mid-March, months after it was scheduled to start.

The Huffington Post
By: Gregory Beyer
February 2, 2011

Cierra Jones does not invite her friends to sleep over. She would, if she had her own room, or her own backyard to play in. But the 9-year-old worries that her fellow third-graders would make fun of her, because her house is different. It's not really a house at all.

NPR
By: Tamara Keith
February 1, 2011

Part of an ongoing series

At a time when most people think about turning in for the night, Annica Trotter sits down at her computer to apply for jobs.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Angus Loten
February 2, 2011

Though fewer small-business owners sought credit last year--either because they didn't need it or had given up trying--a slightly larger percentage of those that did were successful compared with 2009, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Federation of Independent Business.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Jeffrey Sparshott & Jeff Bater
February 3, 2011

WASHINGTON--Citing better-than-expected tax receipts, the U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday extended its estimate of when the country hits the debt ceiling to somewhere between April 5 to May 31.

The Washington Post
By: Michelle Singletary
February 3, 2011

To hear congressional Republicans tell it, the Obama administration is much like the harried white rabbit that mutters, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" in Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."

The Future of the Middle Class

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The Atlantic
By: Derek Thompson
February 1, 2011

Perhaps the most important questions for the America economy are: Why did the middle class meltdown happen, and can we fix it?

The Huffington Post
By: Chris Kirkham
February 1, 2011

Many of the large corporations that own for-profit colleges are increasingly issuing their own in-house private loans to students -- even though some schools expect more than 50 percent of such loans to go into default, according to a report released this week by the National Consumer Law Center.

The Huffington Post
By: Laura Bassett
February 2, 2011

Since the income gap between middle-class and wealthy families in the United States has grown by more than 50 percent since 1985, middle-class parents are increasingly relying on government-provided health and education programs to support their children, according to a new study by the Foundation for Child Development.

The Washington Post
By: Dina ElBoghdady
February 1, 2011

A record number of homeowners are kicking in cash when they refinance their mortgages, in most cases to qualify for interest rates that are now near historic lows, mortgage financier Freddie Mac reported this week.

The Washington Post
By: Michael A. Fletcher
February 2, 2011

FRESNO - This city is grappling with one of the most troubling contradictions of the new economy: Even as it has one of the nation's highest unemployment rates, it has thousands of job openings.


The Huffington Post
February 1, 2011

The following is produced in partnership with The Dylan Ratigan Show's weeklong "No Way To Live" series on the financial crisis and its impact on ordinary Americans.

NEW YORK -- First, a heating pipe broke in the adjacent apartment, sending a powerful blast of steam into his home along with an unrelenting stench. Then, chunks of the ceiling started falling into his bathroom, and black mold began creeping up the walls. Cockroaches thrived in the suddenly tropical apartment. In December, mice popped up from the gaps between the walls and the baseboards.

Taxes Boost State Coffers

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Conor Dougherty
January 31, 2011

Rising Revenue in 2010 Reflects Economic Gains but Won't Bridge Budget Gaps.

State tax revenue grew at the fastest rate in nearly five years during the fourth quarter, as the steadily improving economy and higher taxes in some states propelled strong growth in income- and sales-tax collections.

For working poor, tax tweak cuts pay

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The Detroit News (Michigan)
By: Brian J. O'Connor
January 31, 2011

If you haven't seen the new 2 percent payroll tax cut reflected in your paycheck yet, look closely at your pay stub. But if you don't make a lot of money, you might not want to look too closely.

The Washington Post
By: Ylan Q. Mui
January 31, 2011

Millions of low-income Americans who don't have bank accounts are finding an alternative to check-cashing stores at an unusual place: their local big-box retailer.

Debt Limit Follies

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The New York Times
February 1, 2011

At a recent gathering of House Republicans, lawmakers made it clear that they intend to hold an increase in the nation's debt limit hostage to major spending cuts.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Emily Maltby
January 31, 2011

The White House announced a flurry of small-business initiatives Monday, including a proposal to extend permanent capital-gains tax relief to investors who put money into small companies.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Sara Murray
February 1, 2011

Banks made it easier for many large and midsize businesses to borrow money in the past three months, but made little change in how they treat consumers or small businesses.

Banks Boost Home-Loan Relief

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The Wall Street Journal
By Robbie Whelan & Anthony Klan
February 1, 2011

Direct Talks With Borrowers Get More Results Than Government's Mortgage-Modification Program.

As the federal government's flagship mortgage-modification program comes under scrutiny for failing to meet its goal of helping three to four million troubled homeowners, state-level efforts to boost modifications appear to be picking up momentum.

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