March 2011 Archives

The Atlantic
By: Daniel Indiviglio
March 30, 2011

First-time home buyers often don't have tens of thousands of dollars sitting around to use as a down payment. Here's a plan to help them.

The Washington Post
By Brady Dennis & Zachary A. Goldfarb
March 30, 2011

The White House pressed ahead Wednesday with its campaign to enlist the support of corporate America, with two senior officials urging top business executives to sign on to the Obama administration's plans for regulating Wall Street and laying the foundation for future economic growth.

The New York Times
By: David Streitfeld
March 30, 2011

Little was settled in the first round of foreclosure settlement talks.

The New York Times
By: Sam Dillon
March 31, 2011

Most charter schools receive less government money for each student, on average, than traditional public schools.

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

The Obama administration announced with much fanfare last fall that it would set aside $30 billion for a program to revive small-business lending. But only 7% of banks have participated in it.

Lawmakers Near Deal on Spending

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Janet Hook & Carol E. Lee
March 31, 2011

Congressional leaders and the White House neared a deal Wednesday to avert a government shutdown, an agreement Democrats said would split the difference between the two parties over how deeply to cut federal spending.

The Huffington Post
By: Elaine Edgcomb
March 29, 2011

Budget cuts can have a very real effect on our nation's smallest businesses and the organization's that serve them.

The Seattle Times
By: Loren Berlin
March 25, 2011

A growing number of the 18 million Americans living in the nation's 50,000 mobile-home parks are banding together with neighbors to buy the land they rent in an effort to avoid getting priced out of their community.

In the year 2000, Charles and Alice Sadoski sold their small ranch house, bought a three-bedroom trailer and moved down the road to the Wamsutta Mobile Home Village, an 86-unit property right behind Wally's Auto Mall.

The Huffington Post
By: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
March 29, 2011

The 2010 election was a mandate for one thing: creating jobs and strengthening our economy for the long term. I heard that message loud and clear from New York families in every corner of our state, and I am working with my colleagues in Congress on solutions that will help create good-paying jobs and get the economy moving again for everyone.

The Washington Post
By: Paul Kane
March 30,2011

Measure Would Avert Shutdown Many in new House majority resist compromising on cuts.

Having difficulty finding consensus within their own ranks, House Republican leaders have begun courting moderate Democrats on several key fiscal issues, including a deal to avoid a government shutdown at the end of next week.

The New York Times
By: Michael Powell & Andrew Martin
March 29, 2011

Last summer, as President Obama's premier plan to save millions of Americans from foreclosure foundered, the administration tossed a new life preserver to homeowners.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Alan Zibel & Jeffrey Sparshott
March 29, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Divisions among U.S. lawmakers about how soon to overhaul the mortgage market emerged Tuesday, as Senate lawmakers in both parties cautioned against moving too fast, even as House Republicans introduced a slew of new bills that would start to overhaul the sector.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos & Victoria Mcgrane
March 30, 2011

Federal regulators proposed far-reaching changes to lending rules that eventually could raise the cost of borrowing for most homeowners, kicking off what is likely to be a furious effort by the housing and banking industries to soften the proposal.

Tax Revenue Snaps Back

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Conor Dougherty
March 30, 2011

States Book More Inflows but Face Tab for Higher Spending, End of Federal Funds.

State and local tax revenue has nearly snapped back to the peak hit several years ago--a gain attributed to a reviving economy and tax increases implemented during the recession.

Where the Bailout Went Wrong

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The New York Times
By: Neil M. Barofsky
March 30, 2011

Neil M. Barofsky was the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program from 2008 until today.

TWO and a half years ago, Congress passed the legislation that bailed out the country's banks. The government has declared its mission accomplished, calling the program remarkably effective ''by any objective measure.'' On my last day as the special inspector general of the bailout program, I regret to say that I strongly disagree. The bank bailout, more formally called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, failed to meet some of its most important goals.

Livingston County Daily Press & Argus (Michigan)
By: Lisa Roose-Church
March 28, 2011

Eight-year-old Max Schwarz quickly hands a $5 bill through a red wooden frame marked Kreeger Bank and excitedly bounces from foot to foot.

NPR
By: Chris Arnold
March 29, 2011

New federal rules go into effect on April 1 that will change the way mortgage brokers across the country can make money. They will no longer be allowed to earn a bigger commission for giving a customer a loan with a higher interest rate.

The New York Times
By: Michael Cooper
March 28, 2011

Michigan, whose unemployment rate has topped 10 percent longer than that of any other state, is about to set another record: its new Republican governor, Rick Snyder, signed a law Monday that will lead the state to pay fewer weeks of unemployment benefits next year than any other state.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Alan Zibel
March 28, 2011

Loans sold to government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will indeed be deemed "safe" under new rules designed to encourage responsible lending practices, according to a summary of a proposal developed by federal regulators.

Hope for Underwater Homeowners

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SmartMoney
By: AnnaMaria Andriotis
March 28, 2011

Until recently, it took a rare combination of extreme bad luck and poor judgment for a homeowner to end up under water on his mortgage - that is, owing more than the house is worth. Today, nearly one out of four homeowners is facing exactly that situation. In response, banks and the government are rolling out new programs they say will help - that is, for homeowners who qualify.

Losing Our Way

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The New York Times
By: Bob Herbert
March 25, 2011

So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home.

Rich District, Poor District

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The New York Times
March 26, 2011

To balance New York State's budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to cut a record $1.5 billion from the $23 billion budget for grades K-12.

NPR
By: Chris Arnold
March 27, 2011

Since the housing bubble collapsed, it's been harder for many Americans to qualify for a home loan. But soon, it might get even more difficult.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Ruth Simon & Nick Timiraos
March 28, 2011

U.S. banks are resisting efforts by state attorneys general to force them to cut the amounts owed by some borrowers facing foreclosure. Yet mortgage companies already have reduced home-loan balances for more than 100,000 borrowers.

A Minimum Wage Increase

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The New York Times
March 27, 2011

As the nation grapples with a jobs crisis and unemployment hovers near 9 percent, it is easy for policy makers to forget the plight of those who work but earn very little. There are about 4.4 million workers earning the minimum wage or less, according to government statistics. This amounts to about 6 percent of workers paid by the hour. They need a raise.

A Dream Still Deferred

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The New York Times
By: Thomas J. Sugrue
March 27, 2011

Thomas J. Sugrue, a professor of history and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, is the author of ''The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit.''

AT first glance, the numbers released by the Census Bureau last week showing a precipitous drop in Detroit's population -- 25 percent over the last decade -- seem to bear a silver lining: most of those leaving the city are blacks headed to the suburbs, once the refuge of mid-century white flight.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By: Michael E. Kanell
March 27, 2011

HIGHLIGHT: Property has meaning beyond just money. Yet analysts say market is far from healed, so if renting is prudent, do it.

The Washington Post
By: Annie Gowen
March 24, 2011

More than 400,000 Washington area residents experienced periods of hunger and empty cupboards during the recession, including tens of thousands living in some of the country's most affluent counties, according to a new study released Thursday.

Out of College, Not on Her Own

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The New York Times
By: Tess Vigeland
March 23, 2011

COURTNEY McNAIR has been out of college for three years. She has a degree in political science and Spanish. She also has the same address she had in high school and the same bedroom in her parents' Los Angeles home. Not to mention $40,000 in student loan debt, $2,000 in credit card bills and $10,000 left to pay on her red 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser.

CNNMoney
By: Jeanne Sahadi
March 25, 2011

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The United States has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

CNN
By: Kathleen Toner
March 24, 2011

Anaheim, California (CNN) -- In the shadows of Disneyland, often referred to as the "happiest place on Earth," many children are living a reality that's far from carefree.

The Huffington Post
By: Carly Schwartz
March 24, 2011

Patricia, a Guyanese immigrant living in Queens, N.Y., had long dreamed of running her own business. An avid baker, she hoped to open a shop where she could sell the cakes and pastries she made on a smaller scale in her spare time.

The Washington Post
By: Peter Whoriskey & Michael A. Fletcher
March 24, 2011

Michigan moved Thursday to significantly cut its unemployment program, becoming the first of what could be a flurry of debt-laden states to reduce aid even as high jobless rates persist.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Luca Di Leo
March 24, 2011

Americans' desire to save more could slow the U.S. economic recovery, according to a study released Thursday by the Federal Reserve, which said wealthy families were hit hardest by the financial crisis.

Forbes
By: Maureen Farrell
March 23, 2011

When Fidel Castro seized his cattle ranches in 1966, Domingo Diaz fled to Atlanta, where he scraped together a living mopping floors as a janitor. Eventually he saved enough to buy a grocery store downtown, where he and his son, Julio, sold Cuban specialties. Over the next decade they added four more stores. It was a family affair: Julio's son, Rene, learned math running the checkout counter, and at age 15 he learned to drive (and haggle) by going to the market to buy produce to stock the shelves.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Ronald D. Orol
March 23, 2011

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch)--A top bank regulator on Wednesday charged that some community banks abuse overdraft protection programs to the detriment of consumers who don't realize they have better credit options.

The New York Times
By: Ron Lieber
March 23, 2011

WHEN the financial aid award letter arrived from Juniata College several weeks ago, Mino Caulton and his parents had many reasons to celebrate.

Swiping Is the Easy Part

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The New York Times
By: Tara Siegel Bernard & Claire Cain Miller
March 23, 2011

The cellphone has been more than a cellphone for years, but soon it could take on an entirely new role -- standing in for all of the credit and debit cards crammed into wallets.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Jeffrey Sparshott
March 22, 2011

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday told policy makers and entrepreneurs that U.S. small businesses need greater access to capital to spur innovation.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Angus Loten
March 24, 2011

The recession's grip on small-business owners has loosened, but unemployment remains stubbornly high and access to credit is still tight. To fight the effects of flat sales and weak profit, Small Business Administration chief Karen Mills has been focused on getting smaller firms the capital they need to survive until demand picks up.

Fed Backs Limiting Fee Caps

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Victoria McGrane
March 24, 2011

SAN DIEGO--Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that the central bank will exercise "all the powers that we have" to ensure community banks are effectively spared debit-card fee limits dictated by last year's Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law.

Bank Investment Consultant (New York)
By: Sara Lepro
March 23, 2011

Many big banks have been stepping up their philanthropic efforts, zeroing in on economic development and health and human services to combat the devastating effects of the recession -- but not necessarily with dollars.

The Nation
By: Greg Kaufmann
March 22, 2011

If the federal budget is a moral document--a statement of values and priorities--then the current debate on where we will spend our money in tough fiscal times is a defining moment for the character of this nation.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Alan Zibel
March 22, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Four Republican state attorneys general said Tuesday they oppose forcing banks to reduce the value of loans for troubled homeowners as part of a state-led mortgage-servicing settlement proposal.

Pre-empt the next crisis

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Chicago Tribune (Illinois)
March 23, 2011

Falling house prices and a backlog of foreclosures have turned 2011 into the most desperate year yet for many American homeowners. The pain just keeps coming, and government programs have proven ineffective at assisting many of those in danger of losing their houses.

MSNBC
By: Kristina Dell
March 22, 2011

Growing budget problems mean even tenured professors could be at risk.

CNNMoney.com
By: Tami Luhby
March 23, 2011

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The jobless may soon find their state unemployment check is not in the mail.

Fresno Bee (California)
By: BoNhia Lee
March 22, 2011

Claudia Arias never thought she could afford to buy a house on a secretary's salary.

The Do-It-Yourself Summer Job

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Sue Shellenbarger
March 22, 2011

Boys and Girls Country of HoustonWith many towns, cities and business leaders counting on small businesses to strengthen the economy, teaching your kids entrepreneurial skills seems like a good bet.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Victoria Mcgrane & Robin Sidel
March 23, 2011

From Credit Unions to Regulators to NAACP, Opposition to Lower Charge Grows.

No effort to roll back last year's Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law has progressed further than the banking industry's campaign to delay new fee limits on debit-card transactions.

The Wall Street Journal
March 22, 2011

That battle was lost long ago--and now the young and talented are leaving.

The new Republican governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, likes to say that he's not interested in the confrontation with organized labor that we see in Wisconsin. That may be. Nevertheless, Mr. Snyder has become Public Enemy No. 1 for the protesters in Lansing carrying signs demanding that he "End the War on the Middle Class."

Bloomberg Businessweek
By: Chris Farrell
March 20, 2011

Sure, it costs more, and technology is threatening high-paying jobs. But the Great Recession shows postsecondary education is more valuable than ever.

It wasn't all that long ago--the 1980s and '90s--when hardly anyone questioned the value of a college degree. Sure, a couple of skeptics liked to point out that neither Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs graduated from college, and parents complained about the tuition bill. Still, when college acceptances went out in the spring, people cheered, believing that admission represented the ticket to a good job and career.

Time
By: Maia Szalavitz
March 18, 2011

The racial gap in achievement between African American and white college students has been stubbornly persistent, but an hour-long intervention conducted during students' freshman year can halve the GPA lag by graduation time while simultaneously improving health, according to a new study published in Science.

Separate and Unequal

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The New York Times
By: Bob Herbert
March 21, 2011

One of the most powerful tools for improving the educational achievement of poor black and Hispanic public school students is, regrettably, seldom even considered. It has become a political no-no.

The Huffington Post
March 20, 2011

Recent budget cuts to a New York City program that helps families get out of homeless shelters and into apartments have sparked controversy, starting a blame game between the city and the state, and leaving the fate of 15,000 families and their homes up in the air.

The New York Times
By: Lynnley Browning
March 17, 2011

IN the years since the financial crisis, adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, with their low initial interest rates that changed over time, have been considered riskier than fixed-rate loans and shunned by most buyers. But these days more people are being persuaded to give the loans a try.

The Washington Examiner
By: David Sherfinski
March 19, 2011

The gap between what the rich and poor earn has been growing nationwide for four decades.
The lowest 10 percent of wage earners nationwide were making no more than $7.70 an hour in 1973. That grew by just 4.5 percent, to $8.05, by 2009, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a D.C.-based think tank that focuses on the economic condition of low-and middle-income Americans.

The Hill
By: Bernie Becker
March 20, 2011

Democrats in both chambers of Congress are pushing for legislation that would raise taxes on millionaires, breaking from President Obama who has long endorsed tax increases for families making more than $250,000.

The Huffington Post
By: Ralph da Costa Nunez
March 19, 2011

New York City's Department of Homeless Services' Advantage program aims to assist families in making a permanent transition from shelter to self-sufficiency by providing a rent subsidy for one to two years once they leave shelter. To maintain their eligibility, Advantage program participants are required to work at least part time and contribute 30 percent of their gross monthly income toward rent in the first year, and if they qualify, 40 percent in the second year.

The Washington Post
By: Marjorie Censer
March 20, 2011

The Small Business Administration last week took a step toward redefining what it means to be "small" for information technology, engineering and consulting-services companies, among others, marking another change in a tumultuous period for federal contractors.

Buying a First Home

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Rachel Louise Ensign
March 20, 2011

Last fall, Gretchen Steinmiller Torres and her husband, Dustin, bought their first place, a $204,000, four-bedroom, 2½-bath house in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio -- even though they didn't have immediate plans to use much of the space.

Promise on Taxes Sparks GOP Rift

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The Wall Street Journal
By: John D. McKinnon
March 21, 2011

Two decades after President George H.W. Bush abandoned his "read my lips" promise, some Republicans are chafing at their party's stand against new taxes.

The New York Times
By: Sam Roberts
March 21, 2011

Without a flood of food stamps and tax benefits for low-income families, about 250,000 more New Yorkers would have slipped into poverty at the height of the recession, according to calculations to be released Monday by city officials.

NPR
By: Blake Farmer
March 17, 2011

The University of the South in Tennessee is getting out of what it calls the tuition "game." Last month, the school -- which is known as Sewanee -- announced it would cut its $46,000-a-year tuition by 10 percent next year.

The New York Times
By: Robb Mandelbaum
March 18, 2011

In April, House Republicans plan to lay out the broad outlines of their budget to fund the federal government for 2012, but this week the chairman of the House Small Business Committee revealed his spending priorities for the Small Business Administration. And while President Obama proposed to save $28 million in his budget by cutting or eliminating a handful of programs, Sam Graves, the committee's chairman, declared the gesture did not go far enough. He recommended cutting an additional $100 million.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Victoria Mcgrane & Maya Jackson Randall
March 15, 2011

Elizabeth Warren has earned a reputation as the scourge of the financial industry.

CNNMoney.com
By: Ted Barrett & Dana Bash
March 18, 2011

Washington (CNN) - The Senate easily passed a spending bill Thursday to keep the government funded for three more weeks as lawmakers and the White House work to bridge their deep divide on a larger spending package that will run through September 30, the end of the fiscal year.

CNNMoney.com
By: Ted Barrett & Dana Bash
March 18, 2011

Washington (CNN) - The Senate easily passed a spending bill Thursday to keep the government funded for three more weeks as lawmakers and the White House work to bridge their deep divide on a larger spending package that will run through September 30, the end of the fiscal year.

The Huffington Post
By: Arthur Delaney
March 17, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Republican lawmakers in Missouri are balking at accepting federal dollars to pay for 20 weeks of unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, even though the spending would not affect state budgets, and legislators in Michigan may follow suit.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Alan Zibel & Nick Timiraos
March 17, 2011

A top House Republican introduced a bill Thursday to wind down or privatize mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the next five years.

The Los Angeles Times
By: Richard Simon
March 17, 2011

An initiative championed by Rep. Maxine Waters to fix up run-down foreclosed properties could become a casualty of the Republican push to slash federal spending.

Reporting from Washington The congressional hearing had been called to take testimony about a Republican plan to shut down a nationwide program championed by Rep. Maxine Waters that uses tax dollars to buy and fix up foreclosed properties.

Poverty Isn't Just About Income

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The Huffington Post
By: Preeti Vissa
March 16, 2011

When we think about poverty, we usually think in terms of income. That's how the federal government defines poverty: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for example, defines poverty this year as an income of $22,350 or less for a family of four.

The Huffington Post
By: Bryce Covert
March 16, 2011

Cross-posted from New Deal 2.0.

The ability to stay away from credit cards is a privilege, as is being offered banking products, including checking accounts. Indeed, minorities and women have historically been shut out of the products others take for granted. And this problem was one of the excuses used by the industry to deregulate and "democratize" credit. But as access to credit and banking expanded, so did predatory practices. As the CFPB tries to rein them in, it risks shutting people out all over again.

Asheville Citizen-Times (North Carolina)
By: Sandra V. Rodriguez
March 16, 2011

Students spend Mad City Money

ASHEVILLE -- Quinteca Ray has a greater appreciation for the budgeting her mom does every month.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Andrew Ackerman
March 17, 2011

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--As part of a push to urge Congress to reconsider proposed deep cuts in Community Development Block Grants, three city and local groups Wednesday released a report they commissioned that claims the program creates jobs and helps expand local economies.

Debit Card Debacle

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The Wall Street Journal
March 17, 2011

The fallout from Dick Durbin's Payday Lender Empowerment Act.

Another day, another mess to clean up from the 111th Congress. The latest debacle is the looming Federal Reserve rule to fix prices on debit cards, which threatens the flow of credit to low-income Americans and promises higher fees on bank services for nearly everyone else.

Tax Plan Aims for 25% Cap

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The Wall Street Journal
By: John D. McKinnon
March 17, 2011

Republican Ways and Means Chief Also Would End or Trim Popular Deductions.

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee wants to cut the top U.S. tax rate to 25% for individuals and corporations, and cut or eliminate many popular deductions.

The New York Times
By: Loren Berlin
March 17, 2011

IN the year 2000, Charles and Alice Sadoski sold their small ranch house, bought a three-bedroom trailer, and moved down the road to the Wamsutta Mobile Home Village, an 86-unit property right behind Wally's Auto Mall. Mr. Sadoski was ailing, and could not keep up the ranch house anymore, but ''he wanted a place that if something happened to him, I would be safe,'' Mrs. Sadoski explained. ''Here, I'm not too far from the bank, and CVS is up the street.''

The Huffington Post
By: Shahien Nasiripour
March 16, 2011

NEW YORK -- The Obama administration is seeking to force the nation's five largest mortgage firms to reduce monthly payments for as many as three million distressed homeowners in as little as six months as part of an agreement to settle accusations of improper foreclosures and violations of consumer protection laws, six people familiar with the matter said.

Cutting Pell Grant funding

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The Hill
By: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)
March 15, 2011

Pell Grants are the foundation of our student aid system, which seeks to make sure that students with low and moderate incomes can afford a college education. Right now, Pell Grants are helping more than 9 million people go to college.

The Washington Post
By Ylan Q. Mui
March 15, 2011

Overshadowing the nation's economic recovery is not only the number of Americans who have lost their jobs, but also those who have stopped looking for new ones.

The New York Times
By: Binyamin Appelbaum
March 15, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve on Tuesday reiterated that the economy was improving but said it would continue measures to stimulate growth because it remained more concerned about persistent unemployment than the risk of increased inflation.

The New York Times
By: Tamar Lewin
March 15, 2011

For each student who defaults on a loan, at least two more fall behind in payments on their student debt, a new study has found.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos & Alan Zibel
March 16, 2011

David H. Stevens, who last week said he would step down as commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration, will be named the next chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Sue Shellenbarger
March 16, 2011

The lemonade stand. For some teens, this summertime staple is no longer a pastime, it's a profit center.

ATM Fees Heading Higher

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Robin Sidel
March 16, 2011

Some of the nation's biggest banks are imposing a variety of new fees on people who withdraw money from automated-teller machines.

House Approves Spending Cuts

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Naftali Bendavid & Janet Hook
March 16, 2011

WASHINGTON--The House approved a stopgap bill Tuesday to keep the government funded for three additional weeks. But the 271-158 vote revealed splits in both parties and suggested that reaching a longer-term deal remained difficult.

Food Stamps Surge in West

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Jim Carlton
March 16, 2011

Sharp Rise Since Bottom Fell Out of Region's Boom Clashes With Go-It-Alone Ethos.

BOISE, Idaho--Before the recession hit, Idaho, Nevada and Utah had some of the lowest rates of food stamp use in the nation. It was a boom time in a region that has always prided itself on self-reliance and a disdain for government handouts.

March of the deficit pandas

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The Washington Post
By: Ruth Marcus
March 16, 2011

Don't call me a deficit hawk. I'm a deficit panda.

The Atlanta Post
By: Steven Barboza
March 10, 2011

Some ringing cash registers indicate an economy on the mend. Others signify nosedives into the black hole of debt for more and more African Americans.

Detroit Free Press
By: H. Luke Shaefer
March 14, 2011

The Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit (MiEITC) boosts the incomes of low-wage working families in our state. In their efforts to close Michigan's budget gap, Gov. Rick Snyder and State Legislature are proposing to eliminate this program. As someone who has conducted research on the EITC, I believe our lawmakers may be unaware that cutting this tax credit will have the unintended effect of actually increasing some costs paid by the state and Michigan employers.

Debit card fee battle heats up

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CNNMoney.com
By: Jennifer Liberto
March 15, 2011

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) -- The battle to sway hearts and minds over debit card swipe fees is heating up fast on radio waves, in Capitol Hill newspapers and even on subway cars throughout the nation's capitol.

The New York Times
By: Adam Nagourney
March 14, 2011

HONOLULU -- From his home on Ilalo Street, Banery Afituk can feel the breeze off Mamala Bay, two blocks away. Walking out his front door, to his right, he can make out the tops of the luxury ocean liners, and to his left, some of this city's finer high rises. "I like it here," he said, as his three children played around him.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Naftali Bendavid
March 15, 2011

Several Republicans say they will oppose the three-week spending bill House GOP leaders are offering Tuesday to avert a government shutdown, raising the pressure on both parties to reach a long-term spending deal.

CNNmoney.com
By: Les Christie
March 15, 2011

Renters beware: Double-digit rent hikes may be coming soon.

Get real on scholarships

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The Washington Post
By: Michelle Singletary
March 12, 2011

As the parent of a soon-to-be college student, I'm privy to a lot of conversations other parents have about their child's chances of getting significant scholarship or grant money.

Market Watch
By: Jack Hough
March 14, 2011

Cars are not magic things. They are metal, glass, rubber and a few other materials brought together with design and craftsmanship. In America at the end of 1970 the average car sold for $3,555. By the end of last year the price had risen to $23,539, but family wages rose, too, so the real cost of a new car has remained fairly stable--4.3 months of an average family's pay in 1970 and 4.7 months today.


CNBC
By: The New York Times
March 13, 2011

Mortgage Modifications, Loans, Fha, Federal Housing Authority Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Wells Fargo Ally Financial, Bank Of America, Citigroup Short I

STRUGGLING homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth have had few options to restructure their loans, but that may soon be changing for a few of them.

Fortune
March 14, 2011

The president has three plans on the table. Which one is going to fix the mess we're in?

The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos
March 14, 2011

Republican lawmakers are preparing this week to introduce a series of legislative proposals to gradually reduce the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Janet Hook & Naftali Bendavid
March 14, 2011

Don't look now, but an adult conversation has begun on the federal budget deficit.

The Washington Post
By: Christina Rexrode
March 12, 2011

There's a hallowed rule in U.S. housing policy: If you own a home, you get a tax deduction on your mortgage interest.

The Washington Post
By: Alana Semuels
March 12, 2011

LOS ANGELES - Meredith Carr and Vince Melamed are just the sort of couple real estate agents have always counted on to buy a home.

The Boston Globe
March 13, 2011

WHEN ESTHER Maycock-Thorne first thought about buying a house in 2002, she was working as a budget analyst for $41,000 per year, living with two daughters in Mattapan, and moving from apartment to apartment to try to avoid rising rents.

New America Foundation (IDAs)
By: Reid Cramer
March 10, 2011

Hot off the presses, a new study has been released evaluating the ten-year impacts of an intervention featuring Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The idea behind IDAs is to provide an incentive for savings that is used to purchase a specific set of assets, such as homes, by directly matching deposits into designated accounts. Participants receive financial education and will get access to the match only if they use the funds for an eligible use.

Austin American-Statesman (Texas)
February 26, 2011

LBJ School report traces causes and effects of disparity, lays out solutions.

America is an unequal society. Economist Edward Wolff notes that apart from the 1920s, the distribution of American wealth is more unequal today than it has been since the beginning of the 20th century.

Center for American Progress
By Ellen Seidman
March 10, 2011

At some point in the next two weeks, seven federal agencies will jointly issue a proposed rule required under section 941 of the Dodd-Frank Act to define a "qualified residential mortgage." This apparently obscure rule could have a profound impact on the U.S. residential mortgage market and the availability of sustainable homeownership options for creditworthy Americans of all incomes and communities.


Politico.com
By: Stanley Dziedzic Jr.
March 10, 2011

The latest report to Congress about how to fix America's housing woes talks about phasing out the massive government-sponsored entities: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Saving the homeownership ideal

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Politico.com
By: Gary Bauer
March 10, 2011

One of America's most revered institutions is under attack. Since our nation's founding, it has been a leading driver of wealth accumulation and social stability - at the heart of the American dream.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Justin Lahart & Mark Whitehouse
March 11, 2011

U.S. families--by defaulting on their loans and scrimping on expenses--shouldered a smaller debt burden in 2010 than at any point in the previous six years, putting them in position to start spending more.


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

David Stevens, who as commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration steered the mortgage insurer through a critical stretch of the housing downturn, will leave his post by the end of April, the agency said Thursday.

Three-Week Bill On Spending Seen

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Janet Hook
March 11, 2011

WASHINGTON--House Republicans plan to unveil another short-term measure Friday to keep the government operating while they negotiate over this year's federal budget with Democrats and the White House.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos & Dan Fitzpatrick
March 11, 2011

Bankers are ratcheting up their rhetoric as they fight a mortgage-servicing settlement proposal, predicting lasting damage to the U.S. economy in an effort to force regulators to soften terms of any penalties.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Emily Maltby
March 10, 2011

Minority-owned businesses have long faced barriers when it comes to access to credit. And even today, racial discrimination may still be to blame.

Bank Customers Win One (Soon)

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The New York Times
March 11, 2011

Barring a last-minute assault from the banks, a federal rule to protect vulnerable Americans from overly grabby creditors will take effect on May 1.

Save the children: Tax the rich

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People's World
By: Jarvis Tyner
March 10 2011

Almost 25 percent of U.S. children are now living in poverty - the largest number since the Great Depression.

Bloomberg
By: Phil Mattingly
March 11, 2011

Congress should review proposed caps on debit-card transaction fees to ensure they don't force low-income minorities out of the banking system, the NAACP said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner.

Education Week
By: Caralee J. Adams
March 10, 2011

In his nine years at Cherry Hill High School West, Cigus Vanni has seen the number of students eligible for federal Pell Grants double, in part, because of the poor economy.

People's World (Illinois)
By: Sam Webb
March 9, 2011

The drumbeat of austerity and budget cutting is nearly deafening. One would think that the country is on the verge of bankruptcy, about to go "belly up."

Black and unbanked in St. Louis

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The St. Louis American (Missouri)
By: Rebecca S. Rivas
March 9, 2011

From 2007 to 2009, bank lending to low-income and minority communities in the St. Louis area declined while lending to upper-income and white communities increased significantly, according to a report released last week.

CNNMoney.com
?
By: Blake Ellis
March 10, 2011

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Declined! Your debit card may soon be denied for purchases greater than $100 -- or even as little as $50.

The Washington Post
By: Michelle Singletary
March 9, 2011

When it comes to the fight over the fees that merchants pay to allow customers to use debit cards, consumers are damned if the Federal Reserve does what it has proposed to do, and they're damned if it doesn't.

The New York Times
By: Carl Hulse
March 9, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Under fire for focusing heavily on cutting spending rather than stimulating job creation, House Republicans are taking new steps to emphasize their efforts to spur hiring, including a jobs forum with business leaders to be held in the Capitol next week.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Damian Paletta & Naftali Bendavid
March 10,2011

The effort of a bipartisan group of senators to attack the long-term budget deficit has won notable new support in recent days, raising lawmakers' hopes of reaching a deal within weeks.

The Boston Globe
By: Edward L. Glaeser
March 10, 2011

IN FEBRUARY the Obama administration took two modest but welcome steps toward toward reducing federal subsidies for suburbia by proposing changes to the home mortgage interest deduction. But President Obama should go further, and make the case that the American dream is found as easily in a skyscraper as in a ranch house. He should even ask his libertarian opponents to join in a fight against paternalistic public programs that artificially subsidize suburban life.

How cheap houses spell bad news

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CNNMoney.com
By: Colin Barr
March 9, 2011

Houses look more affordable than ever. But prices will have to fall further before many Americans can actually afford to buy one.

NPR
By: The Associated Press
March 8, 2011

The number of Americans who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth rose at the end of last year, preventing many people from selling their homes in an already weak housing market.

NPR
By: Pam Fessler
March 8, 2011

San Diego, known for its nice weather, attracts even the homeless. About 4,600 people live on city streets or in shelters, and the number has been growing.

The New York Times
By: David Streitfeld
March 8, 2011

Reverse mortgages, which pay older homeowners a regular sum against the equity in their house, are supposed to shield borrowers from economic upheaval. But the popular loans have become tangled up in the real estate collapse.

The New York Times
By: Nelson D. Schwartz
March 8, 2011

Showing resistance for the first time against government pressure to write off tens of billions worth of mortgage debt, Bank of America executives said on Tuesday that the idea was unworkable and warned that it would be unfair to borrowers who had managed to stay current on their loans.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Janet Hook
March 9, 2011

WASHINGTON--Senate Democratic leaders, seeking to break an impasse over Republican-backed spending cuts, on Tuesday proposed broadening the scope of budget negotiations into more politically volatile terrain that includes taxes, subsidies and entitlement programs.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy (CFED)
By: Nicole Wallace
March 6, 2011

A San Francisco charity wants to figure out why its approach to ending poverty is working so that it can spread the lessons to others nonprofits.

EARN, a nonprofit group in San Francisco, has helped thousands of low-income residents save money to buy a house, start a business, or go to college.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Naftali Bendavid & Janet Hook
March 8, 2011

In Congress's fight over federal spending, money is just half the battle.

Consumers Ratchet Up Borrowing

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Sudeep Reddy
March 7, 2011

Consumers added to their non-mortgage debts for the fourth straight month in January, suggesting that the U.S. economy owes its recent acceleration in part to renewed borrowing.

New America Foundation
By: Mark Huelsman
March 7, 2011

"Giving more low-income students an opportunity to save early and often could decrease the need to pay off loans upon graduation, and it could help keep in college students who otherwise would drop out for financial reasons."

There was much to-do last month over the Obama administration's fiscal-2012 budget proposals for higher education. Specifically, many education observers took issue with the administration's suggestion to fiscally shore up the Pell Grant program by ending year-round Pell Grants for students attending summer school, as well as ending the "in-school interest subsidy" that prevents some low-income graduate students' loans from accruing interest until they have left school. The administration defended the proposals, arguing that the programs were redundant, and that fiscal austerity requires sometimes painful cuts.

The Overselling of Education

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Economic Policy Institute
By: Lawrence Mishel
March 2011

This piece originally appeared in the March 2011 edition of The American Prospect.

In discussing rising inequality in the United States, Federal Reserve Board Chair Ben Bernanke recently said, "It's a very bad development. ... It's creating two societies. And it's based very much, I think, on educational differences."

NPR
By: Pam Fessler
March 7, 2011

More than 30 years ago, a nonprofit was launched in New York City to try to find permanent housing for chronically homeless people in Times Square. Now it has a national campaign that some people think could be an important first step toward ending homelessness in America.

The Washington Post
By: Jia Lynn Yang
March 8, 2011

A woman in a developing country running her own small business can face any number of obstacles: discrimination, limited access to funding, and little education on how to manage the balance sheet of her company or win more customers.

The New York Times
By: Edward Wyatt
March 7, 2011

WASHINGTON -- It seemed a good idea last year, when the financial crisis had turned banks into Public Enemy No. 1 and lawmakers were looking for ways to reward consumers still bitter about billion-dollar bailouts and executive bonuses.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Kyle Stock
March 7, 2011

Credit unions--nonprofits that offer basic banking services--want to double the amount they lend to small businesses. And they may get some help from the government.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Alan Zibel &Jeffrey Sparshott
March 8, 2011

WASHINGTON--State attorneys general stepped up pressure on banks to address allegations that mortgage companies violated state laws when processing foreclosures.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Joe Light
March 8, 2011

Hiring has yet to hit a rapid clip, but it's not for lack of job openings.

The Washington Post
By: Daniel de Vise
March 5, 2011

Here is a guest post from Vinton Thompson, president of the Metropolitan College of New York.

The House majority has voted for large cuts in Pell Grant support for low-income college students. These cuts would be disastrous for many students attending urban institutions and should be opposed. But lost in the discussion of these draconian cuts for all recipients of maximum Pell support is another Pell cut proposal that would target some of our nation's most deserving students.

NPR
By: Christopher Hayes
March 7, 2011

Christopher Hayes is The Nation's Washington, D.C. Editor.

Remember when everyone agreed that what the American people wanted from Washington was, in John Boehner's words, a "relentless focus on creating jobs"? In the past few months the unemployment rate has barely budged, and yet lawmakers of both parties have jettisoned the jobs agenda in favor of an austerity program that will barely reduce the deficit but will almost certainly hurt employment. If the Republican proposal to trim $60 billion from the fiscal budget puts thousands out of work, well then, says Boehner, "so be it."

Los Angeles Times
By: Cyndia Zwahlen
March 7, 2011

Having good credit ratings lowers interest rates for small businesses. But it can also boost sales and bring better payment terms from vendors.

Establishing good credit is a key step for a small business, and not just because it paves the way to getting loans at good rates.

NPR
By: David Welna
March 7, 2011

The partisan feud over federal budget cuts moves this week from the House of Representatives to the Senate, where lawmakers are set to vote on two competing proposals.

Degrees and Dollars

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The New York Times
By: Paul Krugman
March 6, 2011

It is a truth universally acknowledged that education is the key to economic success. Everyone knows that the jobs of the future will require ever higher levels of skill. That's why, in an appearance Friday with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, President Obama declared that "If we want more good news on the jobs front then we've got to make more investments in education."

The Wall Street Journal
By: Jon Hilsenrath
March 7, 2011

Federal Reserve officials have grown more confident that a self-sustaining economic recovery is taking root in the U.S., but they want to see more evidence before they seriously consider how and when to pull back the enormous amounts of stimulus they pumped into the financial system.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Aparajita Saha-Bubna
March 7, 2011

Some large U.S. banks are considering allowing debit cards to bounce just like checks.

The New York Times
By: Michael Powell & Gretchen Morgenson
March 6, 2011

FOR more than a decade, the American real estate market resembled an overstuffed novel, which is to say, it was an engrossing piece of fiction.

Chicago Tribune
By: Ameet Sachdev
March 3, 2011

After Park National Bank closed, new operators, community group struggle to find way to work together.

A long-shot story like this has the makings of a Hollywood script.

New York Daily News
By: Heidi Evans
March 3, 2011

It's not every day you see somebody hugging a banker, but at Accion USA it happens all the time.

529 Plans Offer Free Cash

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Smart Money
By: AnnaMaria Andriotis
March, 3 2011

Battered during the recession , some state 529 college savings plans have developed the ultimate pitch to lure investors: Free money! With cash incentives, more states are now encouraging parents to save for kids' college costs - and to help the state's bottom line at the same time.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos
March 3, 2011

The Obama administration's top housing official on Thursday criticized the government's affordable-housing mandates requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make loans to underserved borrowers as ineffective, offering one of the sharpest critiques from a federal policymaker of the housing goals.

CNBC
By: Bertha Coombs
March 3, 2011

For the 15 million Americans who can't find jobs, the labor market is like an awful game of musical chairs. There are many more players than there are available seats.

The Washington Post
By: Henri E. Cauvin
March 4, 2011

Community development block grants have been a vital source of federal anti-poverty money for decades, supporting affordable housing, job training and an array of other programs serving low-income residents.

The Washington Post
By: Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane
March 4, 2011

The White House proposed Thursday to trim an additional $6.5 billion from federal programs this year as Vice President Biden opened talks with congressional leaders aimed at funding the government through Sept. 30 and averting a shutdown.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Dan Fitzpatrick, Nick Timiraos &Vanessa O'Connell
March 4, 2011

U.S. banks received a 27-page proposal late Thursday from state attorneys general and several federal agencies that could require them to reduce loan balances of troubled mortgage borrowers, according to people familiar with the matter.

The New York Times
By: Binyamin Appelbaum
March 4, 2011

WASHINGTON -- How might home buying change if the federal government shuts down the housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The San Francisco Chronicle
By: Erica Mu
March 3, 2011

The city of Oakland has about 5,000 properties in foreclosure. Every one has a story.

CNNMoney
By: Dean Baker
March 3, 2011

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

The politicians in Washington and the media have been busy setting the scene for a great battle over the 2011 budget.

New America Foundation
By:Jackie Williams
March 2, 2011

H.R. 529, the Savings Enhancement for Education in College Act, was introduced on February 10th, 2011 in the 112th Congress. The bill would make four changes to 529 college savings programs. These plans, so-named after section 529 of the IRS code, are sponsored by state governments and allow families to make early financial preparation for their children's or their own higher education. Money invested in 529 accounts grows tax-free and earnings are not taxed if funds are used for qualified higher education expenses.

The Washington Post
By: Michelle Singletary
March 2, 2011

In fiscal 2010, the Internal Revenue Service filed liens against 1.1 million taxpayers.

The Washington Post
By: Dina ElBoghdady& Brady Dennis
March 3, 2011

As part of a settlement with banks that engaged in shoddy foreclosure practices, the Obama administration is weighing whether to impose quotas that would force the firms to modify a specific number of mortgages for distressed borrowers, sources familiar with the discussion said.

The Washington Post
By: Dina ElBoghdady
March 3, 2011

The Obama administration's main initiative to help struggling borrowers avoid foreclosure could soon be killed in the House, where many Republican lawmakers have complained about the program's lackluster results.

The New York Times
By: Carl Hulse
March 2, 2011

WASHINGTON -- President Obama called on Wednesday for high-level negotiations to bridge major budgetary differences between Congressional Republicans and Democrats after the Senate passed a measure to buy at least two more weeks for talks.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Victoria Mcgrane & Nick Timiraos
March 2, 2011

Banking regulators are pushing for mortgage-lending rules that require homeowners to make minimum 20% down payments on loans classified as lower-risk, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Naftali Bendavid
March 3, 2011

WASHINGTON--The White House on Wednesday called on leaders of both parties to join intensive budget negotiations, to be led by Vice President Joseph Biden, in an attempt to avoid a government shutdown.

CNBC
By: Diana Olick
March 1, 2011

After decades and decades of the ownership society, and all the trouble it exacted on our economy, the Obama administration is and has been pushing the premise that, "Our goal is not for every American to become a homeowner."

U.S.News & World Report
By: Katy Hopkins
March 2, 2011

More than 9 million students may receive less federal funding this fall.

Antoine Hamilton, a 27-year-old Wisconsin resident, makes his financial ends meet--just barely. A student at the Art Institute of Wisconsin, Hamilton works two jobs as a stylist and a resident care technician and claims he lives paycheck to paycheck while paying tuition bills. He also receives the maximum federal Pell Grant, $5,550 an academic year, to help finance the bachelor's degree he hopes to complete by the time he's 30.

NPR
By: The Associated Press
March 1, 2011

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Tuesday that a prolonged rise in oil prices would pose a danger to the U.S. economy. But he said a more likely outcome is a temporary and modest increase in consumer prices -- not runaway inflation.

The New York Times
By: Catherine Rampell
March 1, 2011

If Alison Sadock had finished college before the financial crisis, she probably would have done something corporate. Maybe a job in retail, or finance, or brand management at a big company -- the kind of work her oldest sister, who graduated in the economically effervescent year of 2005, does at PepsiCo.

The New York Times
By: Carl Hulse
March 1, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The House on Tuesday approved a two-week budget measure that cuts $4 billion in federal spending. Senate Democrats said they would quickly pass the bill and send it to President Obama, averting any immediate threat of a government shutdown when current financing runs out Friday.

The New York Times
By: Kevin Sack
March 2, 2011

EASTON, Pa. -- Ken Kewley woke up Tuesday without health insurance for the first time in nearly nine years.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos
March 1, 2011

For the first time since the financial crisis, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are showing glimmers of profitability. But the two mortgage behemoths still ask the Treasury Department every quarter for billions of dollars in cash, most of it going right back out the door to pay dividends to the same U.S. agency.

Charlotte Observer (North Carolina)
By: Christina Rexrode
February 27,2011

There's a hallowed rule in U.S. housing policy: If you own a home, you get a tax deduction on your mortgage interest.

Business Insider
By: Hedge Fund Live
February 28, 2011

Inequality comes in many fashions. Currently there is a growing disparity between the rich and the middle class. As we hear the statistics that, about 20% of Americans make up about 85% of the wealth. Do we consider what is going on with the other 80% of Americans? They earn less than $100,000 annually. According to data used from Census Bureau, as of 2009 45.3% of them earn between $35,000 and $99,999 annually.

The Washington Post
By: Lori Montgomery
February 28, 2011

A Republican plan to sharply cut federal spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012, according to an independent economic analysis set for release Monday.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Emily Maltby
February 28, 2011

The Federal Reserve has proposed to cap debit-card swipe fees at 12 cents per transaction, which would save merchants and their customers 70%, or $1.2 billion a month, compared to the current fee rates. But at least one lobbying group says the proposal doesn't go far enough.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Robin Sidel
March 1, 2011

PNC Financial Services Group Inc., bucking a trend that is sweeping the banking industry, is vowing to keep its most-basic checking accounts free of fees.

Building Better Bank Ons

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New America Foundation
By: Reid Cramer
February 28, 2011

One of the fundamental determinants for achieving economic security is the manner in which families access financial services. Unfortunately, millions of households manage their money without a connection to a basic bank account. These unbanked families fend for themselves in a complex and expensive marketplace of products and services. The subsequent drain of savings and resources makes the path toward economic security all the more arduous. There ought to be another way. People should be able to access high-quality and low-cost financial products as a matter of course.

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