September 2011 Archives

The Inquisitr (New York)
By: James Johnson
September 28, 2011

Checking Account Fees Draw Criticism, Target the Poor

Consumer advocates around the United States are becoming increasingly concerned with the number of U.S. banks that are raising the cost of maintaining a free or nearly free checking accounts by raising checking account fees for consumers.

The Boston Globe
By: Casey Ross
September 29, 2011

Affordable housing investment in Allston clicks for Google

When most people hear the name Google, they think Internet searches, not affordable housing.

NPR
By: Yuki Noguchi
September 28, 2011

Recession A Tougher Hit For The Middle-Aged

Joblessness can be particularly tough for those in middle age. The recession hit this age group hard, and they aren't getting rehired as quickly during the sluggish recovery.

The New York Times
By: Sabrina Tavernise
September 28, 2011

Hispanic Children in Poverty Exceed Whites, Study Finds

WASHINGTON -- Hispanic children living in poverty in the United States outnumber poor white children for the first time, a demographic shift that was hastened by the recession, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Hispanic Center.

The New York Times
By: Cara Buckley
September 29, 2011

U.S. Mortgage-Aid Program Is Shutting Down, With Up to $500 Million Unspent

In summer 2010, Congress set aside $1 billion for a program intended to bail out people in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. It was estimated that the program, administered by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, would help as many as 30,000 households.

Business Wire
September 28, 2011

The Aspen Institute and Citi to Study Innovative Credit Building Model for Entrepreneurs

The Aspen Institute announced today the launch of the Asset Building Through Credit pilot program, a research effort that will study a multi-dimensional approach to building credit and financial opportunities for aspiring low-income entrepreneurs. The pilot program will study whether financial education and coaching combined with an innovative secured credit card platform can increase credit scores and expand the small businesses of more than 600 low-income entrepreneurs in five markets nationwide. The study is funded by a $750,000 grant from the Citi Foundation.

Market Watch
September 29, 2011

Innovative Microlending Pilot To Serve As National Model For Increasing Credit Scores, Lowering Costs, and Encouraging Entrepreneurship

PHILADELPHIA, Sep 29, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- --"Circles of Success" Program Will Serve More Than 100 Small Business Owners

The Huffington Post
By: Preeti Vissa
September 28, 2011

There may be no subject that has generated more nonsense from politicians and pundits than the subprime mortgage crisis and housing market collapse. Recently, a new book landed on my desk that cuts through the bull and obliterates a pile of widely-propagated falsehoods.

The Atlanta Post
By: Charing Ball
September 28, 2011

Would forgiving student loans help economic recovery? Last week, I was hanging out virtually on my Facebook wall, when I noticed a number of requests to sign a petition to support House Resolution 365, a bill that seeks to provide student loan debt forgiveness as a means of economic stimulus.

The Atlantic
By: Frederick Hess
September 28, 2011

The media's "typical" college student lives on a campus at a four-year institution. But that describes no more than a sixth of the total college population. In fact, there are more college attendees over the age of 30 than such "typical" students. The most significant shift in higher education is the massive growth in the adult-student population.

The quintessential American college student leaves home at 18 to live on a college campus for four years. We've historically defined "nontraditional" students as those over the age of twenty-four, those enrolled part time, and those who are financially independent. But today, the "typical" student is the exception.

The Atlantic
By: Daniel Indiviglio
September 29, 2011

Schools and the government should focus on income, not savings, when awarding financial aid assistance

Throughout the U.S., millions of parents struggle to save for their children's college education. It isn't easy: in a consumer culture like ours, there's always something new to buy. Driving an older car, using an out-of-date computer, and ignoring cool new gadgets like the iPad aren't easy -- particularly when you've got some income that you could be spending on such luxuries. No wonder seeing the U.S. savings rate as high as 6% is unusual. But those parents who do the responsible thing and save are discriminated against: students whose parents save less often qualify for more financial aid.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Andrew R. Johnson
September 30, 2011

The nation's beleaguered banking industry, which has been raising fees and doing away with free services, has a new target: debit-card users.

AdvisorOne
By: Marlene Y. Satter
September 2011

The NAACP announced Friday that, with partners that include Wells Fargo, the National Foundation on Credit Counseling, and the Financial Planning Association (FPA), it is launching the Financial Freedom Center Satellite program. The program expands financial education, financial services, and banking resources to historically disadvantaged communities.

The Huffington Post
By: Elaine Edgcomb
September 28, 2011

You've probably heard about the importance of a good credit score -- it opens access to affordable mortgages, auto loans and reasonably priced credit, but it could also help to secure a job, buy a cell phone or establish utilities without paying a hefty deposit. And a low credit score will cost you. People with a weak credit rating will pay approximately $250,000 more in interest throughout their working lives than those with stronger scores. For entrepreneurs, that quarter of a million dollars could go a long way towards building assets, starting or growing a company, and creating jobs. Going from a weak to a good score can be one of the biggest hurdles that entrepreneurs are facing in today's economy.

The Atlantic
By: Kevin Carey
September 27, 2011

Half of the country's 18-year-olds don't go on to college, and half of those who enroll ultimately drop out. We need to a better way to show students where they can succeed. If the college crisis is a matching crisis, the solutions might be in matching technology to point students to the school that fits them best. For millions of Americans, a tech-driven higher education marketplace can't come soon enough.

Newspapers and magazines like to pick on excitable parents over-prepping their children for college. This would be a wonderful problem for the rest of the country to have.

The Washington Post
By: Katrina vanden Heuvel
September 27, 2011

The modern American dream has always been a simple promise of opportunity: Hard work can earn a good life, a good job with decent pay and security, a secure retirement, and an affordable education for the kids. The promise always exceeded the performance -- especially with regard to racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and women. But a broad middle class and a broadly shared prosperity at least provided the possibility of a way up.

The Huffington Post
By: Aaron Dorfman
September 28, 2011

Leaders of our nation's nonprofit sector are vehemently opposing the cap on itemized deductions proposed by President Obama as a way to help pay for the American Jobs Act. Instead of acting out of a concern for the common good, these charity leaders have been acting to protect the narrowest fiscal interests of the nation's largest nonprofits. They would be wise to reverse course and support the President's plan - including provisions for how it is financed - in a commitment to fairness and out of enlightened self interest.

Every Job Requires an Entrepreneur

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Charles R. Schwab
September 28, 2011

Someone took risks to start every business--whether Ford, Google or your local dry cleaner.

In his speech before a joint session of Congress on Sept. 8, President Obama said, "Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers."

Not getting by on minimum wage

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CNNMoney
By: Chris Isidore
September 28, 2011

Most experts agree that to get out of the economic slump, we need more jobs.

Teaching Savings to Kids in Schools

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Kiplinger
By: Chris Farrell
September 21, 2011

What was once called thrift education is making a comeback as financial literacy. That's good news in hard times.

Hudson is a picturesque Wisconsin town nestled alongside the St. Croix River, population about 12,000. Its high school has more than 1,600 students and, like every other high school, the quiet of its corridors is momentarily shattered when students change classes. (It's amazing how much noise teenagers can make.)

The big save

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The Economist (K2C)
September 24, 2011

How can America serve better the millions of citizens outside the financial mainstream?

TWO years ago Sabina sold flowers on the street from a shopping trolley. Today she has her own storefront in Queens, thanks to a $1,500 loan from Grameen America, a microfinance institution based on Grameen bank, which was founded by Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh. Since opening its first American branch in January 2008, Grameen has found fertile ground. It has lent more than $25m to 7,300 borrowers. At 15%, interest rates are high, but far less than a loan shark or payday lender would charge (the annualised interest on a payday loan is typically 400%, sometimes twice that), and there are no other fees or collateral required. Grameen America's repayment rate is around 99%. It now has branches in four of New York's five boroughs, and plans to open in Washington, DC, North Carolina and California. It also has one in Omaha and Indianapolis.

North Texas Catholic (CFED)
By: Joan Kurkowski-Gillen
September 21, 2011

In his homily at the opening Mass for Catholic Charities USA's first Poverty Summit and National Gathering Sunday Sept. 18, Fort Worth Bishop Kevin Vann welcomed the 600 conference participants, telling them, "We repeatedly emphasize that our mission to serve all in need comes from the fact that we are Catholic, and that since one of the marks of the Church is 'universal' that applies to our call to ministry and mission here. We are who we are. We serve all who come our way because we are Catholic."

New America Foundation (K2C)
By: Anne Stuhldreher and Leigh Phillips
September 2011

In the Spring of 2011, the City of San Francisco automatically opened college savings accounts for over 1,000 San Francisco Kindergartners. The City also "seeded" every account with an initial deposit of $50. The account openings marked the official launch of San Francisco's Kindergarten to College initiative, or "K2C." This initiative, the first of its kind in the nation, aims to improve the odds for San Francisco Kindergartners and set all San Francisco public school children on a path to college, from the very first day of school. This case study provides an overview of Kindergarten to College (K2C), why city leaders started it, and how it works.

Let's Create 100 Start-ups

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Inc.
By: Nicole Carter
September 21, 2011

A New York nonprofit offers money, mentorship, and community to young, underprivileged, urban entrepreneurs.

Chicago Sun-Times
By: Jesse Jackson
September 27, 2011

Poverty is spreading in America. The numbers are numbing: 46 million people in poverty, a record number, one out of every seven Americans. Nearly 50 million go without health insurance. There are fewer payroll jobs now than in 2000. The income of a typical household is down nearly 7 percent since 2007. And the number of working poor is skyrocketing, as good jobs get shipped abroad. About 40 percent of all the jobs in the U.S. are low-income jobs.

Stopgap Fix Ends Budget Impasse

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Janet Hook and Keith Johnson
September 27, 2011

Senate Approves Short-Term Funding Measure After Sticking Point Is Resolved.

A budget deadlock that had raised the risk of a federal government shutdown was broken Monday, as the Senate approved a short-term funding measure and the House appeared likely to follow suit.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Emily Maltby
September 26, 2011

President Obama with Karen Mills, head of the Small Business AdministrationThe initiative is made up of a series of public-private programs designed to spur small-business growth. The two operations of Startup America have different missions to accomplish the same goal - boost entrepreneurship and job creation.

The New York Times
By: Michael Cooper
September 26, 2011

When the unemployment rate rose in most states last month, it underscored the extent to which the deep recession, the anemic recovery and the lingering crisis of joblessness are beginning to reshape the nation's economic map.


NPR
By: Blake Farmer
September 27, 2011

Big banks are beginning to make good on their threat to charge fees for everyday checking accounts. But most banks aren't big banks, and community institutions are hanging on to free checking as long as they can in the hopes of luring away some of the big banks' disgruntled customers.

The Atlantic
By: Daniel Indiviglio
September 26, 2011

If it succeeds in pushing down longer-term interest rates, relatively wealthy Americans may benefit more than others

The past recession has been particularly hard on middle- and lower-income Americans. The millions of people who suffered foreclosure were mostly in these groups. Millions more remain unemployed. So as the Federal Reserve steps back in to provide more action meant to fuel the economy, we should ask whether its policies will really benefit those who need assistance the most. Unfortunately, it will instead benefit the relatively affluent.

The New York Times
By: Jennifer Steinhauer
September 23, 2011

WASHINGTON -- An impasse between the House and Senate over a bill to keep the government open after Sept. 30 and provide aid to natural disaster victims deepened Friday as the Senate easily shot down a House measure passed just hours before.

Mastering Mixed-Income Housing

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Robbie Whelan
September 26, 2011

Among the toughest challenges facing urban architects are projects that mix market-rate condominiums and subsidized rental housing.

Designs have to address the issue of moderate-income people living cheek-by-jowl with their more affluent counterparts in the nearby condos. Market-rate units must be lavish enough to attract high prices but the affordable housing can't break the budget.

The Atlantic
By: Sara Horowitz
September 23, 2011

Many years ago, Freelancers Union ran ads on the NYC subway that read, "Welcome to Middle-Class Poverty" - a nod to the fact that health insurance is often prohibitively expensive for the self-employed, who don't benefit from an employer subsidy. We thought we were being provocative, but the last year made us prescient. Since that ad campaign ran, we've seen two trends emerge: significant growth of the independent workforce and growing income disparity. Combined, they have created something that seems paradoxical and should be impossible in the United States: Middle-Class Poverty.

The Gazette (CFED)
By: Robin McKinney
September 9, 2011

As a member of the congressional debt-reduction panel, Congressman Chris Van Hollen will have a critical voice in creating fair and effective deficit-reduction policies. That means putting taxes on the table.

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UPI (SEED)
Savings account gives parents college view
September 22, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Just setting up a college fund for a young child, results in parents saving more and expecting their child will do well in college, U.S. researchers say.

African-Americans see gains reversed

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By: David Markiewicz
September 23, 2011

The numbers surprise Sandra Bethea, even though for nearly four years she was one of the statistics: an unemployed African-American. Until landing work as a grant specialist at MARTA in April, the 38-year-old, college-educated Fairburn woman was jobless.

The Social Contract

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The New York Times
By: Paul Krugman
September 22, 2011

This week President Obama said the obvious: that wealthy Americans, many of whom pay remarkably little in taxes, should bear part of the cost of reducing the long-run budget deficit. And Republicans like Representative Paul Ryan responded with shrieks of "class warfare."

The Atlantic
By: Derek Thompson
September 22, 2011

They're calling us the "Lost Generation." Young people are struggling in record numbers to find work, leave home, and start a family, according to 2010 Census figures released today.

The Washington Post
By: Lori Montgomery
September 22, 2011

Warring Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have little hope of drafting an ambitious plan to tame the national debt by Thanksgiving unless they can agree on an approach to rewriting the tax code, key lawmakers and leadership aides say.

Taxes, the Deficit and the Economy

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The New York Times
September 21, 2011

Republicans, predictably, are denouncing President Obama's proposal to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations to help wrestle down the nation's budget deficit and pay for his job creation plan.

Credit Union Times (New Jersey)
By: Claude R. Marx
September 22, 2011

Single common bond and community-chartered credit unions should be allowed to add underserved areas to their field of membership as a way to reduce the number of underbanked and unbanked Americans, NCUA Executive Director David Marquis told a House panel on Thursday.

NPR
By: The Associated Press
September 22, 2011

Call it the recession's lost generation.

In record-setting numbers, young adults struggling to find work are shunning long-distance moves to live with Mom and Dad, delaying marriage and buying fewer homes, often raising kids out of wedlock. They suffer from the highest unemployment since World War II and risk living in poverty more than others -- nearly 1 in 5.

The New York Times
By: Nelson D. Schwartz
September 21, 2011

Moody's cut its credit ratings Wednesday on three large banks -- Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo -- underscoring the challenges the sector still faces three years after the onset of the financial crisis.

Fed Launches New Stimulus

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Jon Hilsenrath and Luca Di Leo
September 22, 2011

Dramatic Recasting of Securities Holdings Aims to Reduce Long-Term Rates.

USA Today
By: Julie Schmit and Barbara Hansen
September 22, 2011

More renters found housing unaffordable last year as incomes declined, and more are likely to be squeezed this year, given rising rents.

The Washington Post
By: Brady Dennis
September 21, 2011

A federal program to provide temporary loans to homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages will probably fall short of its goal, the latest in a series of efforts that has left funds allocated by Congress unspent and has failed to help as many troubled borrowers as officials initially hoped.

Bloomberg Businessweek
By: Karen E. Klein
September 20, 2011

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship's president says the nonprofit has prepped potential founders from the U.S. to China

As the daughter of a struggling single mother, Zoe Damacela bounced between relatives' basements and homeless shelters, doubtful that she would ever graduate from high school. But an entrepreneurship course she took at Whitney Young High School in Chicago led her not only to graduate but to place second in a national business contest, start her own company, and land on the cover of Seventeen magazine this fall.

Bloomberg
By: Laura Marcinek and Cheyenne Hopkins
September 21, 2011

Capital One, the seventh-largest U.S. bank by deposits, should be allowed to acquire ING Groep NV (INGA)'s online bank only if the lender shows a "true commitment to the public," said the head of an advocacy group opposed to the deal.

CQ Today Online News
By: Sam Goldfarb
September 16, 2011

Somewhat overshadowed by the new deficit reduction committee, a much older congressional panel has quietly begun to examine options for raising tax revenue, signaling a new phase in the push to restructure the tax code.

San Antonio Express-News (CFED)
By: Angela K. Brown
September 19, 2011

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- The mindset that all poor people are lazy and don't deserve help -- especially from the government -- must be changed if society and the economy are going to improve, some charitable organizations said Monday at the first National Poverty Summit.

Star-Telegram (CFED)
By: Alex Branch
September 19, 2011

FORT WORTH -- The U.S. is at a critical point in the fight against poverty and should protect programs that help low-income families, leaders from national non-profit organizations said Monday in Fort Worth.

Center for American Progress
By: Sarah Rosen Wartell, David M. Abromowitz, Bracken Hendricks, Alon Cohen, Jordan Eizenga, John Griffith
September 20, 2011

Government-owned Foreclosed Homes Need Tenants

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, in consultation with the Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development, last month issued a "request for information" to solicit ideas for selling or otherwise disposing of foreclosed properties owned by the Federal Housing Administration and the two mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both of which are under government conservatorship. The housing team at the Center for American Progress responded to FHFA's request for information on the disposition of government-owned foreclosed homes. This is a summary of our response. (The full response letter can be downloaded here.)

Baltimore Business Journal
By: Gary Haber
September 19, 2011

The PNC Foundation and the Y of Central Maryland are partnering on a new program to teach basic financial literacy skills to children in Head Start programs in Baltimore City and the surrounding counties.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review
By: Jeremy Boren and Jason Cato
September 19, 2011

Steven Jones says that during the past year, he has earned nowhere near $10,890, the federal government's cutoff for a single person living in what it calls poverty.

Why Small Businesses Aren't Innovative

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Slate Magazine
By: Annie Lowrey
September 19, 2011

Everyone says small businesses are dynamic, market-shaking, job creators. But new evidence suggests that's not true.


Banks Boost Business Lending

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Matthias Rieker
September 19, 2011

Here's news that should offer little comfort to people struggling to find work: Bank loans to businesses are expanding, but those businesses aren't using the money to fund expansion.

Closing California's achievement gap

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Los Angeles Times
September 18, 2011

Test scores indicate that although the state has far to go in improving results for disadvantaged and minority students, schools have made truly laudable gains with younger students, regardless of ethnic or economic category.

Most of the upheaval in public education over the last decade was prompted by the achievement gap. Middle-class, white and Asian American students scored much higher on standardized tests than their disadvantaged, black and Latino counterparts. Those in the latter groups were far more likely to drop out and far less likely to attend college. The gap doomed entire subpopulations to generally lower-paid, less-fulfilling jobs as well as higher unemployment.

The New York Times
By: Jackie Calmes
September 17, 2011

WASHINGTON -- President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials.

The Atlantic
By: John Douglas Marshall
September 16, 2011

After 30 months of unemployment, 400 applications, and only three in-person interviews, I stood looking at my last unemployment benefit without a job in sight.

The Huffington Post
By: David Crary
September 18, 2011

At a food pantry in a Chicago suburb, a 38-year-old mother of two breaks into tears.

Tax breaks pile up, grow more costly

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The Washington Post
By: Lori Montgomery
September 18, 2011

As President Obama and congressional Republicans argue over how to rewrite the U.S. tax code, the debate has revolved around "loopholes" for corporate jets and ending "carve-outs" for well-heeled special interests. But if the goal is debt reduction, that's not where the money is.


The Washington Post
By: Steven Overly
September 19, 2011

A Small Business Administration program that offers grants to nonprofits that help low-income entrepreneurs start or expand business ventures may have doled out its last set of awards this month as Congress considers cutting its budget.

The Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs, or PRIME, distributed nearly $8 million in grants Sept. 8 to 100 nonprofits around the country, including four with operations or headquarters in the Washington region.

Advocates say the program helps small-business owners in underserved communities get capital that they may not qualify for otherwise.

"To me it's additional services to help entrepreneurs who don't come with a lot of the financial literacy tools they need to start a business but have a good idea," said Ann Sullivan, who heads the Association for Enterprise Opportunity's policy team.

SBA officials identified PRIME as one of several that could have its funding scaled back or eliminated in a tough economic climate, calling it "duplicative" of other efforts within the agency.

"With the work of our microlenders and new efforts to recruit community-based lenders, we can continue to provide technical assistance in a more cost-effective way," SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills told the House Appropriations Committee in March.

As lawmakers work in the coming weeks to reconcile competing versions of the budget for next fiscal year, Sullivan said the association will push Congress to fund the program even at a reduced rate.

The local nonprofits receiving PRIME grants earlier this month included the Aspen Institute, the Microenterprise Council of Maryland, ISED Solutions and the Credit Builders Alliance.

The nonprofits' roles are not always obvious. The Credit Builders Alliance, for instance, is an organization that reports an entrepreneur's history of repaying microloans to credit bureaus.

Executive director Vikki Frank said low-income entrepreneurs that develop a positive credit history will be more attractive to traditional lenders, such as commercial banks, which ultimately allows the business to pursue larger sums of capital. The alliance received $167,498 from PRIME this year.

"As micro-entrepreneurs are making the transition and starting small businesses. . . building that credit history is just essential in helping that business get the access to capital that it needs to continue," Frank said.

overlys@washpost.com


NPR (IDAs)
By: Pam Fessler
September 16, 2011

Part two of a two-part report.

The gap in the wealth of white families and what's owned by blacks and Hispanics has widened in recent years. Researchers say it will widen even more unless steps are taken to break what's become a vicious cycle -- the rich getting richer and the poor struggling to keep from falling further behind.

The city of San Francisco is taking one step to help even the playing field. Children entering the city's kindergartens are getting their own college savings accounts.

The Washington Post
By: Patricia Sullivan
September 15, 2011

Washington area nonprofit organizations, hit hard by the economic recession and its lingering aftermath, are planning a 24-hour online fundraising event Nov. 9, in which they hope to attract 10,000 donors and raise at least $3 million.

The Washington Post
By: Annys Shin
September 15, 2011

Thousands of Washington area homeowners facing foreclosure have deluged state housing agencies with last-minute appeals for help from a $1 billion federal mortgage assistance program set to expire at the end of the month.

America's Vanishing Middle Class

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Forbes
By: E.D. Kain
September 15, 2011

Any analysis of wages earned in prior decades and wages earned today needs to take into account the fact that a lot of non-white-males have entered the workforce. Still, these are troubling numbers from John Cassidy of The New Yorker:

Short-term lending helpful

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The Clarion-Ledger (Mississippi)
By: Jamie Fulmer
September 15, 2011

A recent editorial ("Payday lending: Still needs reforms," Aug. 30) adopted a critical stance toward short-term consumer lending, without acknowledging how it helps people successfully manage unexpected and periodic financial difficulties. It also overlooked the benefits of a competitive marketplace.

Boehner Pushes Tax Overhaul

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

House Speaker John Boehner wants Congress's deficit-reduction committee to initiate a broad rewrite of the tax code that closes loopholes without adding new tax revenue.

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The Wall Street Journal
Economists Say That U.S. Recession Looks More Likely
By: Phil Izzo
September 16, 2011

Economists see a one in three chance the U.S. will slip into recession over the next twelve months and doubt any steps the Federal Reserve might take at its meeting next week can change that.

NPR
By: Pam Fessler
September 15, 2011

First of a two-part report.

Here's a startling figure: The typical white family has 20 times the wealth of the median black family. That's the largest gap in 25 years. The recession widened the racial wealth gap, but experts say it's also due to deeply ingrained differences in things such as inheritance, home ownership, taxes and even expectations.

The New York Times
By: Alan Schwarz
September 14, 2011

ASHLAND, Va. -- Each incoming freshman at Randolph-Macon College this year was eligible to take part in a brief signing ceremony.

Help Needed for Student Debtors

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The New York Times
September 14, 2011

New federal data showing a spike in student loan defaults does not simply reflect the bad economy, although that is a factor. A substantial part of the problem also lies in the fast-growing for-profit college industry, which accounts for only about 10 percent of students but nearly half of student loan defaults.

NPR
By: Chris Arnold
September 15, 2011

In his jobs speech last week, President Obama also took time to say he wants to help more Americans save money on their mortgages.

Is Poverty a Death Sentence?

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The Huffington Post
Sen. Bernie Sanders
September 13, 2011

The crisis of poverty in America is one of the great moral and economic issues facing our country. It is very rarely talked about in the mainstream media. It gets even less attention in Congress. Why should people care? Many poor people don't vote. They certainly don't make large campaign contributions, and they don't have powerful lobbyists representing their interests.

Intersections South LA (California)
By: Aaron Schrank
September 13, 2011

The Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles plans to educate Latinos about opening bank accounts.

NPR
By: Larry Abramson
September 12, 2011

Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator, has launched a new program aimed at reducing the digital divide, or the gap between high- and low-income communities in Internet accessibility and digital literacy.

The Washington Post
By: Rosalind S. Helderman & Rachel Weiner
September 13, 2011

Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor and former Obama administration official who became a hero to liberals with her sharp critique of the nation's financial institutions, will announce Wednesday that she is challenging Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts for his seat in 2012.

The Washington Post
By: Ylan Q. Mui
September 14, 2011

Wal-Mart is slated to announce Wednesday that it will spend billions of dollars over the next five years to train female workers around the world and support women-owned businesses, the latest attempt by the world's largest retailer to tackle broad social issues and shore up its image.

The New York Times
By Tamar Lewin
September 14, 2011

As income inequality has increased in the United States over the last decade, so too has the gap between rich and poor colleges and universities.

Income Slides to 1996 Levels

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Conor Dougherty
September 14, 2011

Median Household Earnings Fall for Third Year, Census Says.

The income of the typical American family--long the envy of much of the world--has dropped for the third year in a row and is now roughly where it was in 1996 when adjusted for inflation.

The San Francisco Examiner (K2C)
By: Amy Crawford
September 13, 2011

Some 2,400 kindergartners have their own bank accounts courtesy of the city of San Francisco.

The New York Times
By: Ron Nixon
September 12, 2011

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is investing billions of dollars to promote economic development in rural areas by bringing broadband service and small-business financing to regions with chronic poverty and high unemployment.

The Atlantic
By: Daniel Indiviglio
September 12, 2011

An article in the Washington Post makes this assertion, but provides little to no evidence to back up its claim

The Wall Street Journal
By: Carol E. Lee & Janet Hook
September 13, 2011

The prospects for President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs plan grew dimmer Monday as he unveiled the fine print of how it would be paid for--primarily through tax increases that Republicans said would destroy jobs, not create them.

BofA Readies the Knife

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The Wall Street Journal
By: David Benoit
September 13, 2011

Bank Plans to Cut $5 Billion in Costs by End of 2013; 30,000 Jobs to Disappear.

NEW YORK--Bank of America Corp. will cut $5 billion in annual costs by the end of 2013 and slash 30,000 jobs out of its consumer-oriented businesses, part of an important trimming program at the bank.

Time
By: Scott Gerber
September 12, 2011

President Barack Obama launching his job plan in front of a joint session of Congress Thursday.It's no big secret that young Americans are hurting. Youth unemployment is double the national average, college debt loads and defaults are the highest in history, and only 25% of young people had traditional jobs lined up upon graduation this year.

Housing for the Truly Vulnerable

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The New York Times
September 11, 2011

The recession has made it increasingly difficult for low-income people to afford decent housing. Federal statistics show that record numbers of people now pay more than half their incomes in rent, causing them to skimp on essentials like food, medical care and other basics, and increasing the chances that they will end up homeless.

The Huffington Post
By: Steve Mariotti
September 9, 2011

Speaking forcefully and with great determination, President Obama mentioned small business at least five times in his American Jobs Act speech Thursday night, telling Congress: "Everyone here knows that small business is where jobs begin." The president admitted that large corporations "have come roaring back" from the recession, but "small businesses haven't. And he described tax cuts and hiring incentives in his jobs bill especially designed to stimulate and support small business, which he has often referred to as "the engine of our economy."


The Washington Post
By: Steven Mufson & Jia Lynn Yang
September 11, 2011

The K Street office of Mark Bloomfield, president of the American Council for Capital Formation, is full of knickknacks collected in three decades of lobbying for cutting the capital gains tax.

How to Fight Black Unemployment

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Arthur Laffer
September 12, 2011

The tragedy of the failed stimulus is felt hard in minority communities. There's a better way.

Some people actually believe government can create jobs by taxing and borrowing from people with jobs and then giving that money to people without jobs. They call this demand stimulus. To make matters worse, other people think these demand-stimulus ideas warrant a serious response.

Fed Scrutinizes Capital One-ING Deal

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Victoria Mcgrane & Maya Jackson Randall
September 12, 2011

The Federal Reserve asked Capital One Financial Corp. to respond to questions that appear aimed at determining whether the proposed acquisition of ING Groep NV's U.S. online-banking business would create a bank so large and complex that its failure would pose a risk to the financial system.


Mr. Banker, Can You Spare a Dime?

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The New York Times
By: Joe Nocera
September 9, 2011

Not long ago, I received an e-mail from David Rynecki, an old friend and former colleague who left journalism a half-dozen years ago to become a small businessman. David's firm, Blue Heron Research Partners, does research for investment professionals; he was writing to share his frustration in trying to build a business in the aftermath of the recession.


Chicago Tribune
By: Janet Kidd Stewart
September 9, 2011

As a credit union branch manager serving low-income neighborhoods, Ana Maria Roig knows how difficult it is for many clients to save for tomorrow, not to mention down the road in retirement.

Bloomberg
By: Peter Orszag
September 6, 2011

As the supercommittee created by Congress to cut $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit over the coming decade begins its work, one thing that is said to be on the agenda is tax reform.

Small Business Is Focus of Tax Cuts

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The Wall Street Journal
By John D. McKinnon
September 9, 2011

President Barack Obama's new jobs plan seeks to coax wary employers to invest and hire more by slicing their share of payroll taxes next year.

USA Today
By: Laura Petrecca
September 9, 2011

The ranks of self-employed Americans are shrinking.

Mobility of Middle Income Families

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New America Foundation
By: Hannah Emple
September 8, 2011

Yesterday, Pew's Economic Mobility Project released a new report that focused on various contributors to uneven downward economic mobility. As I mentioned in a post last week about another Pew report, economic mobility refers to movement up or down the income ladder over time or across generations. The title of this report "Downward Mobility from the Middle Class: Waking Up from the American Dream" reminds us what is at stake. Across multiple measures of downward mobility, a quarter of children raised in the middle-class are downwardly mobile as adults but the likelihood of this happening is inconsistent across demographic groups. The middle class is defined here as families between the 30th and 70th percentile of income distribution, translating to incomes between $32,900 and $64,000 (in 2010 dollars) for a family of four.

Business Week
By: Hope Yen
September 7, 2011

Working-age America is the new face of poverty.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos
September 8, 2011

The White House is pushing to revamp an existing federal program to allow more Americans with government-backed loans to refinance, and a federal regulator is weighing changes to accommodate that effort, according to people familiar with the matter.


Fast Company
By: Ariel Schwartz
September 7, 2011

Building off its incredible success funding entrepreneurs in the developing world, the microloan company has turned its eye toward America, where it is giving loans in cities like New Orleans and Detroit.

CBSNews
By: Brian Montopoli
September 7, 2011

If you're like the average respondent in a 2010 Harvard Business School/Duke University study, your response was this: The richest top 20 percent of society, as determined by net worth, should control 32 percent of the wealth. The bottom 20 percent should control about ten percent. And the rest should be spread out among the 60 percent in the middle, with higher-earners taking a slightly larger share.

America's Poverty Tax

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The Daily Beast
By: Gary Rivlin
September 8, 2011

While America's jobs and economy remain flat, it's getting more expensive to be poor, with everyone from payday lenders to subprime credit cards charging extortionate rates. Gary Rivlin crunches the numbers to find just how much it costs.

It's expensive being poor. And with the misery index high and unemployment persistently high, that's good news for those in the poverty business. The working poor have become Big Business--with the invention of the payday loan, rent to own, and a long list of diabolically clever ideas that entrepreneurs have devised to get hundreds-of-millions rich off those with thin wallets.


The Washington Post
By: Felicia Sonmez
September 8, 2011

Usually, the expectations game in Washington is governed by a simple mantra: Underpromise and overdeliver.

Fair Lending and Accountability

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The New York Times
September 7, 2011

The banking industry is complaining loudly in Washington about the growing number of fair-lending investigations started by the Obama administration. Given the discriminatory policies used by lenders before the housing meltdown, the banks and mortgage companies deserve the scrutiny. Borrowers need more protection.

Fed Prepares to Act

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Jon Hilsenrath
September 8, 2011

Officials Consider Unusual Steps to Avert an Economic Stall

Federal Reserve officials are considering three unconventional steps to revive the economic recovery and seem increasingly inclined to take at least one as they prepare to meet this month.

Money-smart kids

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Chicago Tribune
By: Carl Rist
September 7, 2011

"New Lessons Behind Kids' Allowances" (News, Aug. 28) is interesting fodder for parents considering how best to use allowances to teach their children about budgeting and saving.

Debt Hobbles Older Americans

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The Wall Street Journal
By: E.S. Browning
September 7, 2011

More Americans are reaching their 60s with so much debt they can't afford to retire.

Most people used to pay off their debts before retiring. But as wages have barely kept up with rising prices over the past 35 years Americans have pushed debt higher, living beyond their means. Now, people are postponing retirement, cutting living standards or both.

The New York Times
By: Monica Davey
September 6, 2011

LANSING, Mich. -- Stretched beyond their limits and searching for new corners of their budgets to find spending cuts, states are now trimming benefits for residents who are in grim financial shape themselves.


Invest in Workers

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The New York Times
By: Lawrence F. Katz
September 6, 2011

THE last four years have been difficult for American workers. Employment collapsed in 2008-9 in the wake of the financial crisis. There are no signs of recovery in the labor market. Public-sector employment fell in the last year and private-sector employment growth remains tepid. The employment crisis has exacerbated the longer-term trends of rising inequality and a decline in middle-class jobs. Bold action by the federal government is needed.

The Washington Post
By: Michael A. Fletcher
September 6, 2011

Nearly one in three Americans who grew up middle-class has slipped down the income ladder as an adult, according to a new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Bloomberg
By: Anna-Louise Jackson and Anthony Feld
September 1, 2011

More than 1 million self-employed Americans are no longer in business almost four years after the last recession began, as the economy constrains entrepreneurial activity and small-business job creation.


Forbes
By: Rahim Kanani
September 6, 2011

Recently, I interviewed Robert Friedman, founder, general counsel and Chair of the Board of CFED--the Corporation for Enterprise Development--a national nonprofit based in Washington, DC dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for low-income families and communities. CFED uses a "think-do-invest" approach grounded in community practice, public policy and private markets.


The Financial Times
By: Maurice Lévy
August 29, 2011

Like all of us, I have watched in recent days as economists and oracles wail a chorus of lament on every screen, in every newspaper. First came the downgrading of the US credit rating, in effect the downgrading of a nation. Then came the stock market crisis. The same thing would soon happen to France, pundits of all kinds claimed. Our era of prosperity was over. Europe was in decline. We were doomed.

Consumer-Bureau Nominee on Hot Seat

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Maya Jackson Randall & Victoria McGrane
September 6, 2011

Cordray to Tell Senators at His Confirmation Hearing That the Agency Will Use Many Tools Besides Lawsuits.

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will use many tools other than lawsuits to do its job, Richard Cordray, President Barack Obama's pick to run the agency, plans to tell senators at his confirmation hearing Tuesday.

Yes, We Need Jobs. But What Kind?

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The New York Times
By: Paul Osterman
September 5, 2011

ON Thursday, President Obama will deliver a major speech on America's employment crisis. But too often, what is lost in the call for job creation is a clear idea of what jobs we want to create.

Chicago Sun-Times
By: Francine Knowles
September 5, 2011

For Chicago area residents Janet Edburg, Paul Jordan and Andy Gebel, this Labor Day is no different than last year's, or Labor Day 2009 -- they're still unemployed.

The New York Times
By: Sam Dillon
September 5, 2011

HOUSTON -- Classrooms are festooned with college pennants. Hallway placards proclaim: "No Excuses!" Students win prizes for attendance. They start classes earlier and end later than their neighbors; some return to school on Saturdays. And they get to pore over math problems one-on-one with newly hired tutors, many of them former accountants and engineers.

Securing payday loans

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Los Angeles Times
September 6, 2011

The right approach is to make sure that they live up to their billing as stopgap solutions for cash-strapped consumers.

Trying to clear a path through the state Senate, supporters and opponents of a bill to raise the cap on payday loans are pushing dueling amendments that would ostensibly offer consumers more protection against predatory lending. The proposals are a mixed bag, with some going too far and others not far enough. The right approach is simply to make sure that payday loans live up to their billing as stopgap solutions for cash-strapped consumers, rather than debt traps that force low-income borrowers to return repeatedly for further loans.

Wall Street Journal

The Great Recession and Government Failure

Opinion by Gary S. Becker

September 02, 2011

 

The origins of the financial crisis and the Great Recession are widely attributed to "market failure." This refers primarily to the bad loans and excessive risks taken on by banks in the quest to expand their profits. The "Chicago School of Economics" came under sustained attacks from the media and the academy for its analysis of the efficacy of competitive markets. Capitalism itself as a way to organize an economy was widely criticized and said to be in need of radical alteration.

Washington Post

White House projects smaller 2011 budget deficit

By Lori Montgomery

September 02, 2011

 

Two painful rounds of cost-cutting on Capitol Hill and higher-than-expected tax collections will push this year's budget deficit down by $300 billion and slice nearly $1.5 trillion from deficits over the next decade, according to new White House projections.

Housing Initiatives Promoted

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Wall Street Journal

Housing Initiatives Promoted

By Nick Timiraos and Alan Zibel

September 02, 2011

 

A top official at the Federal Reserve called for more aggressive action to help the housing market by allowing more homeowners to refinance and by converting some foreclosures into rental housing.

 

Home sales have been disappointing this year, with tight credit and weak demand making it harder for markets to absorb a steady stream of foreclosed properties.

GreenMoney Journal

Rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast

By Bill Bynum, CEO of Hope Enterprise Corporation & Hope Credit Union

Fall 2011

 

The Gulf Coast is a unique region, built by a diverse population that balances a rich cultural heritage with a thriving business environment. And at its heart is New Orleans; a city that is truly unlike any other in the world.

It blends old-world charm with contemporary style. It combines a strong local flavor with global trade. You can experience the energy of a bustling urban center and the quiet backwater bayous that are only a few miles apart.

A boost for a blighted neighborhood

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The Boston Globe
By: Meghan E. Irons
September 1, 2011

Quincy Street gets $20m HUD grant

The Quincy Street neighborhood, set amid poverty and blight in a neglected patch of Dorchester, will get a glimmer of hope today, when the federal government is expected to announce it will award the city $20.5 million to redevelop the community.

Selfserviceworld.com (Kentucky)
August 30, 2011

Cincinnati-based UniRush LLC is helping to blur the already fuzzy lines between prepaid cards, mobile banking and mobile payments. The company announced today it has launched mobile applications for Android and iPhone smartphones that let users of its RushCard prepaid Visa debit card manage their accounts from their mobile devices.


Generation Limbo: Waiting It Out

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The New York Times
By: Jennifer 8. Lee
August 31, 2011

WHEN Stephanie Kelly, a 2009 graduate of the University of Florida, looked for a job in her chosen field, advertising, she found few prospects and even fewer takers. So now she has two jobs: as a part-time "senior secretary" at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville and a freelance gig writing for Elfster.com, a "secret Santa" Web site.

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