June 2011 Archives

New America Foundation (CSAs)
By:Terri Friedline
June 28, 2011

A Lesson from the Global Assets Project

A common critique about children's savings accounts is that children have little of their own money to save. Advocates of children's savings contend that children are agents, capable of saving and should be offered opportunities to do so; however, critics propose that children's savings accounts as they stand may reproduce existing asset inequalities because children may benefit when their parents have access to more financial resources. Simply stated, where will children - particularly those whose parents have little financial resources - get the money to save? International children's savings innovations are answering this question in a variety of ways, such as by advocating for the linkage between CCTs and savings accounts.

Bad Mortgages Weigh on Banks

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos
June 30, 2011

U.S. banks hold a much higher rate of defaulted mortgages on their books than do mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks.

Obama Targets Tax Breaks

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Carol E. Lee & Janet Hook
June 30, 2011

WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama made the case Wednesday for ending certain tax breaks for "millionaires and billionaires" in a deal to keep the U.S. government from defaulting on its debt, sharpening his tone with just weeks left for Democrats and Republicans to reach an agreement.

Fed Softens 'Swipe' Fees

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Victoria Mcgrane & Robin Sidel
June 30, 2011

The Federal Reserve ordered the nation's banks to cut the rate they charge merchants for debit-card transactions roughly in half, dealing banks a softer blow than many had feared, but one that will still likely cost them billions in annual revenue.


The Wall Street Journal
By: Emily Maltby
June 30, 2011

Small businesses expected 2011 to be the moment a years-long credit freeze would finally begin to thaw. But borrowing has only gotten worse.

Smarter Welfare-to-Work Plans

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The New York Times
June 29, 2011

It is a good idea to require able-bodied welfare recipients to work in exchange for benefits. But research has discredited inflexible workfare programs that shunt people into dead-end jobs instead of giving them education and training that could improve their long-term prospects.

The Washington Post
By: Associated Press
June 30, 2011

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- John Russo's chemical lab in North Kingstown has been growing in recent years, even despite a deflated economy, and he expects to add another 15 to 20 positions to his 49 employees over the next year.

Bloomberg
By: Jeannine Aversa & Joshua Zumbrun
June 29, 2011


AOL Small Business News
By: Tamara Schweitzer Raben
June 29, 2011

Kiva.org and Visa launched a new partnership to bring microloans to U.S. small businesses in areas most affected by the economic downturn, such as Detroit.

The Washington Post (PCC)
By: Daniel de Vise
June 29, 2011

A pilot program will give students at KIPP urban charter schools college savings accounts -- along with education about college readiness -- in hope that college savings will inspire them to go to college.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Naftali Bendavid
June 29, 2011

RICE LAKE, Wis.--The first person to query Rep. Sean Duffy at a recent town hall meeting wanted to know if he would vote to raise the government's debt limit.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Kelly Greene
June 25, 2011

If someone in your family is planning to apply for a reverse mortgage to pay for long-term care or other expenses, they should move quickly: Two of the largest lenders are exiting the business, and a popular federal incentive geared toward borrowers could end soon.

NPR
By: Sonari Glinton
June 24, 2011

President Obama spent Friday pushing job creation in manufacturing, but he's getting increasing pressure for job results from a key part of his base: African-Americans.

Time
By: Jens Erik Gould / Visalia
June 28, 2011

This week, Linda Garibay's monthly welfare check will drop by $43. The unemployed mother of two will struggle to afford clothes, soap and shampoo. She'll be squeezing by on an income of $490 per month, all of which comes from welfare, and spending it all on shared rent for her sister's apartment and diapers and clothes for her kids. She's trying to find a job, but says she's had no success since a clothing store fired her last year. "Times are hard," says Garibay, 25, outside the welfare office in Visalia, California. "You apply for jobs and no one calls you back."

The New York Times
By: Bruce Bartlett
June 28, 2011

Bruce Bartlett held senior policy roles in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations and served on the staffs of Representatives Jack Kemp and Ron Paul.

The Huffington Post
By: Amanda M. Fairbanks
June 27, 2011

NEW YORK -- Creighton Olsen routinely questions the wisdom of his college investment.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Gerald F. Seib
June 28, 2011

Bipartisan talks on cutting the budget deficit and, in the process, avoiding default on America's debt appear to be in crisis mode. But there are two reassuring realities just beneath the surface drama:

KPLU (CFED)
By: Vanessa Romo
June 24, 2011

If you're unemployed or have a job but are living pay check to pay check, Seattle's City Council wants you to think of them the next time you're in a financial jam.

The Truth About the Underbanked

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American Banker
By: Laura Thompson Osuri
July 2011

The low-income consumer has been an elusive market for financial institutions. Despite all the initiatives to lure them into the banking mainstream-prepaid debit cards, peer-to-peer lending groups, savings accounts with matching funds-more than two-thirds of Americans making less than $30,000 remain unbanked.

The Washington Post
By: Stephanie McCrummen
June 26, 2011

CHARLOTTE - It was clear that Liza Jackson's luck had changed when she drove her pearl-white Dodge sedan, the one with the huge pink plastic eyelashes over the headlights, into Pinebrook, an eight-year-old subdivision where residents tend to notice cars with huge pink eyelashes.

The Washington Post
By: Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane
June 26, 2011

As President Obama prepares to meet Monday with Senate leaders to try to restart talks about the swollen national debt, some Republicans see a potential path to compromise: significant cuts in military spending.

Apply for Help With Loans

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Emily Glazer
June 26, 2011

In danger of foreclosure? You have until July 22 to apply for the federal government's Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program.

Tighter Lending Crimps Housing

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos & Maurice Tamman
June 25, 2011

The percentage of mortgage applications rejected by the nation's largest lenders increased last year, spotlighting how banks' cautious lending practices are hampering the nascent housing market recovery.

Job Jugglers, on the Tightrope

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The New York Times
By: Hannah Seligson
June 25, 2011

WHEN someone asks Roger Fierro "What do you do?" -- which he knows is shorthand for "Where do you work?" -- he laughs. Then he says, "I do everything."

An Unfair Burden

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The New York Times
June 24, 2011

For all of the economic hardship of the last several years, there was reason to hope that the nation could avoid a crushing increase in the number of Americans living in poverty. That hope is fading fast.

The Atlantic
By: Derek Thompson
June 22, 2011

Nearly half of all taxpayers owed no federal income tax this year, according to new distribution analysis from the Tax Policy Center. Does that make you burn? Then have at this: 7,000 millionaires didn't owe any individual income taxes either. Seven thousand.

Agency Outlines Role

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Deborah Solomon & Maya Jackson Randall
June 24, 2011

Consumer Bureau Identifies 6 Areas for Possible Oversight.

WASHINGTON--The new consumer-finance agency outlined six areas that could be subject to its supervision, including debt-collection firms and prepaid-card companies, as it asked for public comment on which nonbank financial firms it should oversee.

Pioneer to Revisit Subprime

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The Wall Street Journal
By: A.D. Pruitt
June 24, 2011

Lewis Ranieri, once known as the father of mortgage finance, is daring to revisit the most infamous sector of the mortgage market--subprime lending.

Tax Dispute Stalls Debt Talks

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Janet Hook & Corey Boles
June 24, 2011

GOP Team Withdraws, Leaving Obama and Boehner to Negotiate a Final Deal

The drive for a major deficit-reduction deal entered a new phase Thursday when Republican negotiators pulled out of bipartisan talks, leaving it to President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner to resolve the toughest issues.

Education Week
By: Sarah D. Sparks
June 23, 2011

While growing numbers of Hispanic students have changed the face of American education over the past two decades, the gap between them and their white classmates in math and reading remains as wide as it was in the 1990s, according to a new federal study.

The Seattle Times (CFED)
By Sally J. Clark & Ida Rademacher
June 22, 2011

Guest columnists Sally J. Clark and Ida Rademacher write about how Seattle and other cities are trying to help citizens gain more financially stable footing in the jobless recovery. Cities for Financial Empowerment will hold a forum on Thursday at Seattle City Hall.

THE recession has taken its toll on us all, but for those of us in dire, sometimes chronic financial distress, the effects are even more severe. The "jobless recovery" is no recovery for many. People fall into deep holes of debt and lack footholds to get stable, let alone out into the light. This cycle of debt not only hurts families, it jeopardizes the long-term economic health of the city and region.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By: Elise Hitchcock
June 23, 2011

The biggest hurdle in owning or renting a "green" home has been having enough green to afford it.

The New York Times
By: Binyamin Appelbaum
June 22, 2011

WASHINGTON -- And at the end of June, the Federal Reserve finished its work and rested.

The Great Jobs Mismatch

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RealClearPolitics
By: Robert Samuelson
June 20, 2011

WASHINGTON -- One puzzle of this somber economy is the existence of unfilled jobs in the midst of mass unemployment. You might think (I did) that with almost 14 million Americans unemployed -- and nearly half those for more than six months -- that companies could fill almost any opening quickly. Not so. Somehow, there's a mismatch between idle workers and open jobs. Economists call this "structural unemployment."

The Wall Street Journal
By: Russell Roberts
June 22, 2011

Doing more with less is what economic growth is all about.

The story goes that Milton Friedman was once taken to see a massive government project somewhere in Asia. Thousands of workers using shovels were building a canal. Friedman was puzzled. Why weren't there any excavators or any mechanized earth-moving equipment? A government official explained that using shovels created more jobs. Friedman's response: "Then why not use spoons instead of shovels?"

U.S. News & World Report LP
By: Equal Justice Works
June 22, 2011

As college costs continue to rise, and in an economic climate where family incomes are suffering, more and more students must borrow in order to gain access to higher education. The result is that an increasing number of graduates find themselves saddled with high educational debt. As we previously reported, the Project on Student Debt estimates the average debt for 2009 bachelor's degree recipients at $24,000. Students with advanced degrees may carry an even heavier burden.

USA Today
By: Joe Brier
June 22, 2011

In the debate over how to improve the nation's educational system, there is typically no middle ground on the value of charter schools. You're either for them or against them. But in their fervor, both sides are missing a more fundamental question: Which charters work, and why?

U program turns youth into CEOs

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Minnesota Daily
By: Erin Westover
June 22, 2011

Sixty percent of youth participants go on to higher education.

Last summer, Immanuel Jones walked through the doors of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management as a shy 16-year-old struggling at Wayzata High School.

The Washington Post
By: Lori Montgomery & Rosalind S. Helderman
June 21, 2011

The debt-reduction package emerging in talks between the White House and congressional leaders would not "fundamentally change" the alarming rate of growth in the national debt, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee said Tuesday.

The New York Times
By: Binyamin Appelbaum
June 21, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve hoped that its three-year-old economic rescue campaign would reach a climax at the end of June. It hoped that consumers and businesses by now would be spending more and more, and the central bank could start doing less and less.

The Deficit, Real vs. Imagined

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The New York Times
By: David Leonhardt
June 21, 2011

Republicans say they won't raise taxes. Democrats are reluctant to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. So discretionary spending -- the roughly 35 percent of government that includes other social programs and the military -- will have to be a big part of any deal in coming weeks to raise the debt ceiling.

Political Affairs
By: Joel Wendland
June 21, 2011

Jobs and job creation, White House officials say, remain the top priority of the Obama administration. But with Republicans in Congress blocking new stimulus proposals and forcing discussions on budget cuts, the administration has turned to non-legislative economic measures, which seem mainly focused on encouraging private investment and improving the administration's relationship with corporate America.

The Seattle Times
By: Harry Hoffman
June 20, 2011

Seattle's Multifamily Tax Exemption is a tool to help increase the amount of affordable housing within the city, writes guest columnist Harry Hoffman. The program should continue to help people earning low or moderate wages live near their jobs and civic amenities.

EVERYONE deserves access to a home they can afford.

USA Today
By: Sandra Block
June 20, 2011

American Express, a company typically associated with people who have Roman numerals after their names and use "summer" as a verb, did something surprising last week: It introduced a prepaid card.

The Boston Globe
By: Jenifer B. McKim
June 21, 2011

A federal program that will provide interest-free loans to unemployed homeowners so they can make mortgage payments was launched yesterday after months of delays, with $61 million earmarked for Massachusetts.

NPR
By: Alan Greenblatt
June 21, 2011

The housing market has been in bad shape for five years now, and there are many indications that things aren't going to get better anytime soon.

The Washington Post
By: Anthony Faiola
June 20, 2011

LONDON -- The choice of the London A-list, St. John's Wood is a neighborhood of ethereal wealth, its leafy avenues lined with the ample mansions of Paul McCartney, Ewan McGregor and Kate Moss. And yet, they share the most unlikely neighbors -- the Kastrati family.


The Wall Street Journal
By: Jeffrey Sparshott
June 21, 2011

WASHINGTON--Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Tuesday said he is confident that the U.S. will avoid a default crisis this summer as policy makers near agreement on a broad budget framework.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Carrick Mollenkamp
June 21, 2011

Banks and other lenders are engaged in an increasingly pitched fight for some corporate borrowers, raising concerns among analysts and regulators that the banks aren't charging enough to cover the risk they are taking on.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos
June 20, 2011

A weak start to the spring housing season, which could be underscored later this week by reports on sales of new and previously owned homes, is raising the prospect that the U.S. government will dominate the mortgage market for a long time.

The News Tribune (Washington)
By: Pallavi Gogoi
June 19, 2011

Rising fees have chased millions of people away from banks and into prepaid debit cards.

The Washington Post
By: Peter Whoriskey
June 18, 2011

It was the 1970s, and the chief executive of a leading U.S. dairy company, Kenneth J. Douglas, lived the good life. He earned the equivalent of about $1 million today. He and his family moved from a three-bedroom home to a four-bedroom home, about a half-mile away, in River Forest, Ill., an upscale Chicago suburb. He joined a country club. The company gave him a Cadillac. The money was good enough, in fact, that he sometimes turned down raises. He said making too much was bad for morale.

CBS News
By: Michelle Miller
June 19, 2011

(CBS News) The economy and jobs will be big issues in Washington again this coming week.

While unemployment among the general population is about 9.1 percent, it's at 16.2 percent African Americans, and a bit higher still for African American males.

NPR
By: Jim Zarroli
June 19, 2011

With the economy growing at a tepid pace last fall, the Federal Reserve made an unprecedented move: It began buying up long-term government bonds from investors as a way of pouring money into the economy.

The New York Times
By: Lily Altavena
June 20, 2011

The College Board is releasing two reports today on the crisis facing young black and Latino men, who, the reports find, continue to be measurably less educated than minority women and white men.

The New York Times
By: Motoko Rich
June 19, 2011

Two years into a fitful recovery, unemployed Americans are getting painfully accustomed to the notion that it will take years to bring back the jobs eviscerated by the financial crisis.

The Boston Globe
By: Michelle Singletary
June 19, 2011

After a disaster, people often want to figure out how to avoid the debacle again. As we continue to deal with fallout from the housing crisis, regulators are proposing rules to prevent folks from getting into homes they can't afford. One would require borrowers to come up with a 20 percent down payment. If they don't meet this threshold, their loans would be considered more risky. It would not be a ``qualified residential mortgage,'' or QRM, and therefore the bank would charge more.

New America Foundation (CFED)
By: Pamela Chan
June 16, 2011

Our friends at CFED hosted an excellent webinar on Employer Engagement yesterday. The webinar discussed the potential of moving to a paperless payday. CFED Innovator-in-Residence, Eugénie FitzGerald, and Manager of the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment, Leigh Phillips, built a case justifying the CurrenC SF program and talked about some of the challenges faced in the initial design phase of the program. CurrenC SF is a city-wide effort to work with employers to have all employees in San Francisco paid by direct deposit. Those who do not have a bank account to utilize direct deposit will be able to open an account through the existing Bank On SF program or will receive a payroll card. The two recently released a white paper on the topic. Cathy Beyda, an attorney at the PaulHastings law firm, followed to provide an insightful overview of the legal landscape governing payment of wages and payroll cards. The archived video for the webinar should be posted soon on the innovations@cfed website.

The Washington Post
By Renae Merle
June 16, 2011

Capital One Bank announced a $9 billion deal Thursday to acquire the online bank ING Direct USA, accelerating the McLean firm's transformation from a credit card lender to a mainstream consumer bank.

NPR
By: Nina Gregory
June 16, 2011

The official unemployment rate, the headline number that comes out every month, was 9.1 percent in May. It measures how many people are out of work and looking for a job.

Forbes
By: Eva Pereira
June 16 2011

The microfinance industry has been through a lot in recent times. From the suicides of over-indebted clients in Andhra Pradesh, India, to in-fighting over the future direction of the industry, microfinance as an idea and a practice is at a turning point, suggesting an end of one era and the beginning of something new. Here to make sense of it all and set the record straight is Mary Ellen Iskenderian, president and CEO of Women's World Banking (WWB), the world's largest network of microfinance institutions.

New America Foundation
By: Justin King
June 16, 2011

The gap in wealth accumulation between Blacks and Whites is a familiar statistic. Recently, researchers at Brandeis University announced that the racial wealth gap quadrupled from $20,000 to $95,000 between 1984 and 2007. There are a number of historic causes that one could point to for creating and exacerbating the gap, but the increase in recent years is disturbing. It's important to keep in mind the ways that the tax code benefits those that are already wealthy more so than those who are striving toward wealth.

Young, Black, Jobless

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Investor's Business Daily
June 17, 2011

Labor Policy: How amusing to watch Democrats wring their hands over what they can do to get businesses to create jobs, when one of the biggest job killers is the minimum wage they keep hiking.

How to Deal With the Debt Limit

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The Wall Street Journal
By: James A. Baker III
June 17, 2011

The White House and Congress should agree to a hard cap on spending.

If the United States does not address its looming debt crisis, the cost of servicing the national debt will spiral out of control. The annual interest bill, according to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, will increase four-fold to $916 billion by 2020. This year, we will spend 70% less on debt payments than we do on defense. In nine short years, we are expected to spend 8% more.

Education Week
By: Mary Ann Zehr
June 15, 2011

Schools should increase their attention to social and emotional development in the early grades as one way to prevent black boys from falling behind their peers, researchers said Tuesday at a symposium on closing the achievement gap between African-American males and other student groups.

The Washington Post
By: The Associated Press
June 15, 2011

Rising fees have chased millions of people away from banks and into prepaid debit cards.

The Huffington Post
By: Peter S. Goodman
June 15, 2011

NEW YORK -- What a glorious day to be an American worker! Pay is skyrocketing, the Great Recession is hardly a memory and leaders in Washington are putting labor concerns at the front and center of their agendas -- provided you are a worker who happens to be at the top of the corporate organizational chart.

The Washington Post
By: David A. Fahrenthold & Karen Yourish
June 15, 2011

Members of the firebrand class of Republican freshmen on Capitol Hill -- elected on a pledge to attack the U.S. debt problem -- have, in some cases, accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in personal debt, according to financial documents released Wednesday.

Peer-to-Peer Loans Grow

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Angus Loten
June 17, 2011

Fed Up With Banks, Entrepreneurs Turn to Internet Sites

Some small-business owners, rejected by banks or fed up with bad lending terms, are turning to Internet sites that match borrowers with giant pools of lenders when they need funds. That has driven growth and increased the public profile of a sector that was briefly shut down by regulators during the financial crisis.

Why 70% Tax Rates Won't Work

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Alan Reynolds
June 16, 2011

Memo to Robert Reich: The income tax brought in less revenue when the highest rate was 70% to 91% than it did when the highest rate was 28%.

The intelligentsia of the Democratic Party is growing increasingly enthusiastic about raising the highest federal income tax rates to 70% or more. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich took the lead in February, proposing on his blog "a 70 percent marginal tax rate on the rich." After all, he noted, "between the late 1940s and 1980 America's highest marginal rate averaged above 70 percent. Under Republican President Dwight Eisenhower it was 91 percent. Not until the 1980s did Ronald Reagan slash it to 28 percent."

The San Francisco Chronicle (California)
By: Carolyn Said
June 16, 2011

Adjusting his hard hat, Clinton Gandy bounded up the steps of a partially built house near downtown Sebastopol.

The Atlantic
By: Derek Thompson
June 14 2011

There's already a financial incentive to find a job. It's called ... a job.

Time
By: Kayla Webley
June 15, 2011

A new report that shows low-income students enroll in for-profit schools at four times the rate of other students once again raises questions over whether for-profit colleges target the most vulnerable students in order to line their pockets.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Maya Jackson Randall
June 14, 2011

ORLANDO--A top official at the new U.S. consumer-protection agency sought Tuesday to ease banking-industry fears about the bureau, saying the agency will be very deliberative as it writes new rules and voicing confidence that it can improve markets for both companies and consumers.

MyBankTracker.com
By: Zachary Ehrlich
June 14, 2011

In what seems to be a further attempt to reach out to underbanked Americans, American Express is very excited about the launch of the new Prepaid Card, which has no monthly, recurring or maintenance fees.
The underbanked population is a $200 billion market with room to grow especially because maintaining a standard checking account at a bank can become very expensive with all the applicable fees. A recent study revealed that traditional checking accounts can have minimum yearly fees over $140 more than those of prepaid cards.

Speaking out for good jobs

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The Washington Post
By: Katrina vanden Heuvel
June 14, 2011

Weiner's roast, Palin's belligerent ignorance, Gingrich's implosion captivate Washington. Posturing over deficits and playing chicken over lifting the debt limit dominate the economic conversation. The reality facing Americans gets lost in the hubbub.

The Washington Post
By: Brady Dennis & Renae Merle
June 14, 2011

A New York appellate court ruled last week that a Reston-based company that electronically tracks and transfers millions of mortgages did not have the right to foreclosure on a property or assign a mortgage it doesn't actually own. The decision came only days after an appeals court in California took a different view, ruling that the firm indeed has the power to act on behalf of lenders.

The New York Times
By: David Leonhardt
June 14, 2011

When Joe Biden convened debt ceiling negotiations with Congressional leaders on May 5, the experts were saying that the economy was on an upswing. They're not saying that anymore.

A Slowdown for Small Businesses

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The New York Times
By: Catherine Rampell
June 14, 2011

In the latest sign that the economic recovery may have lost whatever modest oomph it had, more small businesses say that they are planning to shrink their payrolls than say they want to expand them.

The Wall Street Journal
Payroll Tax Cut Idea Joins Debt Talks
By: Damian Paletta & Carol E. Lee
June 15, 2011

President Barack Obama is considering how strongly to push for extending a payroll-tax break for workers and creating a new tax break for employers to jump-start the economy, reflecting White House concerns about joblessness but also complicating efforts to rein in the federal deficit.

The Gazette By: Barbara Cotter
June 13, 2011

Michael is no slacker. He spent three years in the Army, and received an associate's degree in culinary arts.

Blocking Elizabeth Warren

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The New York Times
By: Joe Nocera
June 10, 2011

It's official: Elizabeth Warren will return to the torture chamber known as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on July 14. Earlier this week, Darrell Issa, the California Republican who is chairman of the committee, tweeted the news. Apparently, Democrats aren't the only ones who use Twitter to harass women.

Debt Talks at Crucial Stage

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Janet Hook & Carol E. Lee
June 14, 2011

Deficit-reduction talks led by Vice President Joe Biden face their biggest test starting Tuesday when the group begins three days of politically sensitive discussions, including a proposal for a government spending cap that is bitterly opposed by the White House.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Scott Shane
June 13, 2011

The Obama administration is trying to spur job growth by helping tech start-ups get off the ground. But job-growth statistics suggest the plan may rest on some faulty assumptions.

Nearly a Year After Dodd-Frank

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The New York Times
June 13, 2011

Without strong leaders at the top of the nation's financial regulatory agencies, the Dodd-Frank financial reform doesn't have a chance. Whether it is protecting consumers against abusive lending, reforming the mortgage market or reining in too-big-to-fail banks, all require tough and experienced regulators.

USA Today
By: Mary Beth Marklein
June 13, 2011

Law schools have done it for years. Now, some private liberal arts colleges are experimenting with the idea: They're offering upfront to help students pay off their loans after they graduate.

The San Francisco Appeal By: Bay City News
June 10, 2011

The city of San Francisco is investing in its youth--its kindergarteners in particular--with the opening of Kindergarten to College savings accounts.

Firms Squeezed on Tax Bills

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Marshall Eckblad
June 13, 2011

It's getting harder for small businesses to clean up overdue tax bills

The New York Times
By: Robbie Brown
June 13, 2011

ATLANTA -- Some teenagers search for jobs by asking their parents' friends. Others submit résumé after résumé online. And then there is Cameron Stephens's approach: work until they pay you.

The New York Times
By: Nancy Folbre
June 13, 2011

Nancy Folbre is an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Cutting child poverty in half sounds like a magician's trick, or some miracle of rapid economic growth. But Britain has used standard policy tools to reduce its child-poverty rate by more than half since 1994 and has effectively defended this progress against the pressures of the Great Recession.

The Washington Post
By Associated Press
June 13, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Bedeviled by a bleak employment picture, President Barack Obama is pushing for more private sector hiring while seeking to protect his own job during a two-day domestic trip that aims to raise his political profile in two key states and with an important Hispanic constituency.

The Miami Herald
By: Toluse Olorunnipa
June 11, 2011

When Stephanie's Urquiaga's rent shot up $30, she sat down at her kitchen table, crunched the numbers, and figured out what she would have to do to stave off eviction.
She would make one less trip to the grocery store each month, leaving an empty refrigerator and near-empty stomach in the final days before her monthly disability check arrived.

The Huffington Post
By: David Paul
June 12, 2011

Last week was but one more setback in hopes for a robust economic recovery. For two years now, economists, pundits and politicians have been looking for evidence that we have put the economic collapse behind us. Yet just last week, the sharp decline in the Case-Shiller Home Price Index and poor jobs report pointed to a stalling in any meaningful economic recovery.

The San Francisco Examiner
By: Christopher Caldwell
June 9, 2011

There was supposed to be some good news amidst the dismal report card of the U.S. real estate market. On average, houses have lost a third of their value since the peak in 2006. Blighted Detroit has seen home prices fall to half their old level, and overbuilt Las Vegas is off by 60 percent. Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller index showed that home prices are falling again, at their fastest rate since the days of the financial crash. Minneapolis real estate has lost 10 percent of its value over the past year.

Upside Down

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National Journal
By: Ronald Brownstein
June 10, 2011

Why millennials can't start their careers and baby boomers can't end theirs

It's hard to say this spring whether it's more difficult for the class of 2011 to enter the labor force or for the class of 1967 to leave it.

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

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration, moving to fill vacancies at several financial regulatory agencies, is considering nominating Thomas J. Curry to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees most of the nation's large banks, according to several people with knowledge of the deliberations.

The Washington Examiner
By: Diana Furchtgott-Roth
June 9, 2011

Meet 18-year-old Josh Coyne, a brilliant African American musician who will graduate on Monday from Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md.

New America Foundation
By: Stephen Burd
June 9, 2011

Despite the federal government's substantial investment in federal student aid, low-income students still face extraordinarily high financial barriers in their efforts to obtain a higher education, the Education Trust, a research and advocacy group, states in a new report. The organization puts much of the blame on colleges for increasingly devoting their institutional aid dollars to attract the students they desire, rather than for meeting the financial need of the low-income students they enroll.

The Huffington Post
By: Gary Liberson
June 9, 2011

The ability to earn an advanced degree is inherent in the American Dream. This is true for the benefit of the individual and for society as a whole. If through benign neglect we ignore the runaway cost of higher education, then we are destroying the American Dream. Our universities have created a world where education, for many, is unaffordable.

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education
By: Amara Phillip
June 10, 2011

Under the guidance of a leading Washington-based higher education policy organization, the National Coalition for College Completion (NCCC), which is made up of civil rights organizations, businesses and student advocacy groups, was launched Thursday. A news media conference call announced the launch and it included higher education experts expressing concern about the challenges low-income students face as they try to complete their college education.

The Huffington Post
By: Joel John Roberts
June 9, 2011

I glided my car off of the 10 freeway, a California interstate that crosses Los Angeles from west to east, to find a scraggly old man wearing a filthy coat and clutching a tattered cardboard sign that read: Will Work For Housing. He stood at the freeway exit, about three cars ahead of me.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Janet Hook & Damian Paletta
June 10, 2011

Congressional leaders from both parties agreed on Thursday to accelerate their negotiations over reducing the federal deficit, signaling a heightened sense of urgency to avoid a potential default on the government's debt.

The Washington Post
By Debbie Cenziper
June 8, 2011

Two key federal lawmakers are calling for a detailed accounting of more than 1,000 affordable-housing construction projects funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development amid concerns about delayed and defunct development deals nationwide.

The Washington Post
By: Dina ElBoghdady
June 8, 2011

Consumer borrowing is so rampant in America that most people who took out a mortgage last year to buy a home ended up spending more than a third of their income to pay that loan and other debts.

The Huffington Post
June 8, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wells Fargo is hoping to make its student loans more attractive to families.

The New York Times
By: Christine Hauser
June 8, 2011

Economic activity in the United States continued to grow in April and May, but higher food and energy prices, severe weather conditions and supply disruptions caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan put pressure on consumers, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve released on Wednesday.

Banks Dealt a Debit Setback

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Victoria Mcgrane & Maya Jackson Randall
June 9, 2011

The Senate rebuffed the most significant attempt so far to roll back the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law, in a blow to banks and credit-card companies that had fought against new debit-card rules that they say will cost them billions of dollars in annual revenue.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Carol E. Lee & Janet Hook
June 9, 2011

A third rating agency threatened to downgrade the U.S. government's credit status if Congress failed to increase the nation's borrowing limit by early August, increasing pressure on lawmakers and the Obama administration to reach a deficit-reduction deal.

The Washington Post
By Ylan Q. Mui & Zachary A. Goldfarb
June 8, 2011

The White House is considering naming a senior staffer at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to lead the agency as the deadline for its launch draws near, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

The Atlantic
By Daniel Indiviglio
June 6, 2011

The economy has hit a bump. Does the government have any tools it can use?

Fed Sees Recovery Lagging

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

Bernanke Says Growth Slower Than Expected, Monetary Policy Isn't 'Panacea'.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered a relatively glum view of the U.S. economy, acknowledging that it is growing more slowly than the Fed had expected, but predicted improvement later this year.

NPR
By: Chris Arnold
June 8, 2011

Home prices around the country have fallen into a double dip. After declining around 30 percent from their peak, they started to rise a bit last summer with the help of a federal tax credit.

The Huffington Post
By: Rep. Charles Rangel
June 7, 2011

Our nation is currently faced with a $14.3 trillion debt ceiling that must be raised to preserve the full faith in credit of the United States of America. Ten years ago, President George W. Bush signed into law a series of irresponsible tax cuts that has led us into our current fiscal crisis. Combined with our two unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a culture of deregulation, the Bush Administration turned President Clinton's $5.6 trillion surplus into record budget deficits and has brought the economy to its knees.

The Washington Post
By: Ylan Q. Mui
June 7, 2011

After months of intensive lobbying by banks, the Senate is slated to vote Wednesday on a controversial bill that would delay changes to debit-card swipe fees that would cost the industry billions of dollars.

The American Prospect
By: Barry Zigas
June 2011

Barry Zigas is the director of housing policy at the Consumer Federation of America. He previously served as SVP/Community Lending at Fannie Mae and as president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

After more than 70 years of steady and remarkable success, America's housing and homeownership policies have been rocked by the rise of subprime lending, the financial sector's subsequent collapse, and the millions of resulting mortgage delinquencies, defaults, and foreclosures. Housing continues to be a drag on the recovery. The confidence Americans once had in homeownership as a path to family wealth has been shaken. And a backward conservative narrative has capitalized on regulatory and market failures to launch an all-out assault on any government role in housing. Progressives and advocates for families and communities are struggling to make sense of the wreckage and are asking themselves what future housing policies should look like.

Congressional Documents and Publications
June 3, 2011


Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI) has joined with Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-MA) to introduce bipartisan legislation to help low-income seniors and disabled adults who rely on the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program eventually transition off of federal assistance. Current law requires seniors and disabled adults to spend down almost all their savings before they can receive SSI support for basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities, a policy which often makes them permanently reliant on the federal government.

Second-Mortgage Misery

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Robbie Whelan
June 7, 2011

Nearly 40% Who Borrowed Against Homes Are Underwater.

Almost 40% of homeowners who took out second mortgages--extracting cash from their residences to cover everything from vacations to medical bills--are underwater on their loans, more than twice the rate of owners who didn't take out such loans.

NPR
By: Scott Horsley
June 7, 2011

Later this week, Vice President Joe Biden will host another meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers looking for ways to reduce the federal budget deficit.

NPR
By: Deena Prichep
June 7, 2011

Former convicts can have a difficult time finding a job, especially when the economy is weak.

The Huffington Post
By: Janell Ross
June 7, 2011

Kenneth Mathis is the kind of man who values stability.

Time
By: Martha C. White
June 6, 2011

During the recession, the number of people categorized as unbanked -- without a checking or savings account -- or underbanked -- without access to credit -- increased. In a new study, consulting firm KPMG suggests that banks can make money from this group, not by bringing them back into the financial mainstream, but by offering them "alternative" products like prepaid debit cards and money orders.
Banks aren't the only ones seeing a potential market in the unbanked. Some big-box retailers have begun offering bank-like services, letting customers cash a check or pay a utility bill.

New America Foundation
By: Reid Cramer
June 3, 2011

Our social policy system is riddled with inequities. I often focus on the disparities between how we incentivize savings and encourage families to build wealth. While those on the upper half of the income ladder are able to access tax incentives as homeowners and when they contribute to a range of designated accounts, families with lower incomes and fewer resources are largely shut out. This critique was the impetus for creating a new type of account that could incentivize savings for those currently excluded, the Individual Development Account (IDA).

The New York Times
By: David Bornstein
June 2, 2011

Fixes looks at solutions to social problems and why they work.

If you were a student looking for financing to pursue a degree in social science, would you accept an offer of $16,000, in exchange for paying 4.5 percent of your income for 10 years after you graduate?

The Huffington Post
By: Robert Reich
June 5, 2011

The silence is deafening. While the rest of the nation is heading back toward a double-dip, Washington continues to obsess about future budget deficits. Why?

The Washington Post
By: Karen E.T. Garrett & R. Sam Garrett
June 5, 2011

We grew up believing our American dream would include easy access to homeownership. We knew owning a home would take saving and discipline, but as a professional, married couple, buying seemed like a foregone conclusion. Then the housing crisis hit. Washington's housing market has been insulated from some of the worst effects, but there is an aspect of the crisis that seems to have gone unnoticed: Otherwise qualified buyers like us who might just leave the market altogether.

NPR
By: Christopher Caldwell
June 6, 2011

Christopher Caldwell is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.

There was supposed to be some good news amidst the dismal report card the U.S. real estate market got last week. On average, houses have lost a third of their value since their peak in 2006. Blighted Detroit has seen home prices fall to half their old level, and overbuilt Las Vegas is off by 60 percent. Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller index showed that home prices are falling again, at their fastest rate since the days of the financial crash. Minneapolis real estate has lost 10 percent of its value over the past year.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Brent Kendall & Corey Boles
June 6, 2011

Political leaders say they want a deal to boost the federal borrowing limit by July 4th, a month before the Treasury said the government will be in danger of a default, but it isn't yet clear how they get past stark differences on federal spending and taxes.

The National Journal
By: Kai Wright
June 2, 2011

America's economic future may be glimpsed on the southwestern side of Houston, in a gated subdivision of new town houses. Julia DeLeon is an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who owns a small business and has raised two college-bound daughters. She is sitting in the happy clutter of her older daughter's new motherhood, glowing as her toddler grandson rolls around on the floor.

The Huffington Post
June 2, 2011

LOS ANGELES -- Skid Row resident Dadisi Komolafe points indignantly to the sign reading "Union Rescue Mission," and grumbles that the name no longer fits since the shelter started charging for a nightly stay.

NPR
By: Larry Abramson
June 2, 2011

After months of delay, the Department of Education on Thursday issued new rules that could shut down some for-profit colleges and universities.

IDA bill is worthy

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The Anniston Star
May 31, 2011

Before the Memorial Day break, the Alabama Senate had the wisdom to pass a bill that could make a real difference in the lives of many Alabamians. The state House of Representatives should pass it, as well.

Slate Magazine
By: Brian Palmer
May 31, 2011

Tax breaks designed to encourage people to save for retirement will cost the federal government approximately $600 billion over the next five years. Critics note that these expensive programs benefit only the wealthy. How can we get the poor to save for their golden years?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By: Kirsten Lynette Widner
June 1, 2011

Amber was in and out of Atlanta area foster homes throughout her teen years. Shortly after she turned 18, she began receiving Social Security death benefit checks, which she had been entitled to for years. She had no idea why she started receiving them, because she had no idea she was eligible.

Buffalo News
By: Emma Sapong
May 30, 2011

New report challenges poverty guidelines as dated, inadequate

When Joyce Peach started working at Southeast Works in Depew, her welfare benefits ceased. With her new $24,000-a-year position, she was no longer eligible for public subsidies.

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