November 2011 Archives

The Jacksonville Free Press (Florida)
November 16, 2011

More middle-class families escape federal income tax

Amid complaints that nearly half of tax filers in the U.S. won't pay federal income taxes this year, this has been lost:

Those making $75,000 to $100,000 a year are the fastest growing share of people who don't pay federal income taxes. Not working poor people but those who are firmly middle class. They still make up less than 1 percent of the total number of income-tax filers who pay no tax at all, but their overall number has exploded, from fewer than 5,000 not paying taxes in 1996 to nearly 500,000 in 2009, the most recent year of available data. The lowest-income Americans those who make less than $25,000 a year account for the largest number of those not paying any federal income tax: 76 percent as of 2009. But that share has been decreasing for years.

Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee)
November 30, 2011

Payday loan vultures circle over festivities

The holidays can be especially stressful for those on a tight budget. For someone living check to check, it is tempting to consider borrowing to finance a few gifts or to cover additional expenses. Many of us think of credit cards as the obvious solution, as long as we pay off the balance immediately.

The Washington Post
By: Pedro Noguera, The Peter L. Agnew professor of education, New York University
November 30, 2011

'Broader, bolder' strategy to ending poverty's influence on education

While it might seem encouraging for education and civil rights leaders to assert that poverty isn't an obstacle to higher student achievement, the evidence does not support such claims. Over 50 years, numerous studies have documented how poverty and related social conditions -- such as lack of access to health care, early childhood education and stable housing -- affect child development and student achievement.

The Huffington Post
By: Kelli Kennedy
November 29, 2011

Fewer children in U.S. lack health insurance despite rising poverty: Study

Even with more children living in poverty because of the rough economy, the number of children without health insurance in the U.S. has dropped by 1 million in the past three years, according to a report released Tuesday by Georgetown University.

The Baltimore Sun
By: Eileen Ambrose
November 27, 2011

The earlier we learn the basic financial lessons, the better

John David Kromkowski learned about compound interest as a youngster with the help of a passbook savings account at the bank.

The best way to pay your employees

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International Association of Franchises and Dealers (CFED)
By: Cathy Beyda
November 29, 2011

The best way to pay your employees

Electronic wage payment offers significant advantages to employers and employees alike. But, there is one major benefit to paying employees electronically using payroll cards: payroll cards are one of the least expensive ways for employees to receive their wages. Using payroll cards makes it easier for you to pay your employees, and they get more take home pay.

New victims of hard times

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The Times-Union (Albany, NY)
November 28, 2011

New victims of hard times

THE ISSUE:

The ranks of the homeless and nearly homeless grow.

THE STAKES:

Cuts in government programs have consequences, and victims.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania)
By: Tim Grant
November 29, 2011

Entrepreneurship financial savvy gets real for local high school students

Bob Fragasso is convinced schools aren't doing enough to teach children the dangers of spending too much and saving too little, so he decided to do something about it.

Los Angeles Times
By: Kathleen Hennessey
November 29, 2011

Rich-poor gap worries people on both sides

Fewer than 50 miles separate the poorest city of its size in the U.S. from the prosperous suburbs of Philadelphia, a corridor of wealth with few rivals. There's an $80,000 difference between the average household incomes. The poverty rates -- Reading's is above 40% -- don't even compare.

Raise cash on crowdfunding sites

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Sarah E. Needleman
November 27, 2011

Raise cash on crowdfunding sites

After getting laid off from an architecture firm in 2009, Margot Broom tapped her savings to open a yoga studio in New Haven, Conn., called Breathing Room.

Recipe for middle-class jobs

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Conor Dougherty
November 29, 2011

Recipe for middle-class jobs

'Brain Hubs' Like Austin, Texas, Create More Work for Less-Educated Residents

As the nation grapples with stubbornly high unemployment, Texas's political and high-tech capital shows one way to create good jobs for people who didn't go to college: Attract highly skilled entrepreneurs, and watch the companies they start hire lower-skilled workers.

The new progressive movement

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The New York Times
By: Jeffrey D. Sachs
November 13, 2011

The new progressive movement

Occupy Wall Street and its allied movements around the country are more than a walk in the park. They are most likely the start of a new era in America. Historians have noted that American politics moves in long swings. We are at the end of the 30-year Reagan era, a period that has culminated in soaring income for the top 1 percent and crushing unemployment or income stagnation for much of the rest. The overarching challenge of the coming years is to restore prosperity and power for the 99 percent.

Help for starting a business

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The Charlotte Observer (North Carolina)
By: Celeste Smith
November 27, 2011

Help for starting a business

The challenging economy isn't enough of a reason to hold off on your dream of starting a business.

Billings Gazette (Montana)
By: Tom Jacobson, executive director, Rural Dynamics Inc.
November 26, 2011

Rheberg should focus on economic mobility for Montana

Chairman Rehberg holds the future for Montana's matched savings programs.

As Congress grapples with how best to reduce the deficit, we urge Rep. Denny Rehberg to protect programs that enable economic mobility for low-income Montana families. In the deficit discussions, we cannot slash programs while leaving every single tax expenditure and rate intact. As chairman of the committee that recommends funding levels for health and workforce programs, we urge him to oppose devastating cuts to programs that help families start businesses, attend college and buy homes. A critical program for Montana has been the Assets for Independence program. Statewide, there are eight matched savings and financial education programs that connect families to the financial mainstream, promote savings and help participants build assets.

The Huffington Post
By: Leo W. Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers
November 28, 2011

The 1 percent indifferent to their indebtedness

Most Americans, the 99 percent, feel the pressure of indebtedness. When they owe a friend a buck, their conscience bothers them until they're square. They pay their bills, working second jobs if necessary. They meet mortgage obligations even when underwater.

The Charlotte Observer (North Carolina)
By: Kristen Valle Pittman
November 26, 2011

'Rags to riches' stories becoming less likely, Wells Fargo study shows

Economic mobility - a family's ability to improve its financial situation - has slowed for America's lowest-paid workers since 1980, meaning it's getting harder to make "rags to riches" a reality, according to a new report from Wells Fargo & Co.

Why we spend, why they save

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The New York Times
By: Sheldon Garon
November 24, 2011

Why we spend, why they save

Christmas is nearly upon us. Americans, once again, are told that it's our civic duty to shop. The economy demands increased consumer spending. And it's true. The problem is that millions of lower- and middle-income households have lost their capacity to spend. They lack savings and are mired in debt. Although it would be helpful if affluent households spent more, we shouldn't be calling upon a struggling majority to do so. In the long run, the health of the economy depends on the financial stability of our households.

The Urban Institute (CFED)
By: Gregory Mills
November 28, 2011

Reaching the underbanked: What would Willy Sutton do?

Now that Bank of America has pulled back its fees for debit-card holders, let's turn to those who are really on the outside looking in at mainstream financial services: American consumers with no bank account at all. As measured by the FDIC's January 2009 survey, 7.7 percent of U.S. households are unbanked. That's 17 million adults. Another 17.9 percent of households--some 43 million adults--are underbanked. They have bank accounts, but still make some use of payday loans, pawnshops, and other alternative financial products.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
By: Phil Oliff
November 16, 2011

Some states raising taxes on working-poor families

As I explained yesterday, states' progress in improving the tax treatment of low-income families stalled in 2010, and a few states -- Michigan, New Jersey, and Wisconsin -- have acted over the past couple of years to raise taxes on these families.

The Huffington Post
By: Jillian Berman
November 22, 2011

Debtors' prison legal in more than one-third of U.S. states

Not paying off debts can eventually land you in jail -- at least in a sizable minority of U.S. states.

The Hechinger Report
By: Sarah Garland
November 22, 2011

Should value-added teacher ratings be adjusted for poverty?

In Washington, D.C., one of the first places in the country to use value-added teacher ratings to fire teachers, teacher-union president Nathan Saunders likes to point to the following statistic as proof that the ratings are flawed: Ward 8, one of the poorest areas of the city, has only 5 percent of the teachers defined as effective under the new evaluation system known as IMPACT, but more than a quarter of the ineffective ones. Ward 3, encompassing some of the city's more affluent neighborhoods, has nearly a quarter of the best teachers, but only 8 percent of the worst.

The Huffington Post
By: Alexander Eichler
November 22, 2011

Nearly half of all households lack basic economic security: Study

There are certain basic costs that every household runs up -- food costs, medical expenses, utility bills. And almost half of all Americans are in danger of not being able to afford these things.

The billionaire's tax loophole

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Robert Frank
November 22, 2011

The billionaire's tax loophole

Lots of attention has been paid to the freeloading "47-percenters" - the 47% of Americans who pay no federal income taxes.

But what about the tax-ducking 0.004 percenters?

St. Paul Pioneer Press (Minnesota)
By: Julie Forster
November 19, 2011

Group helps motivate low-wage earning women to stay determined

In a living-room-style space at a Roseville church, a dozen women sit in a circle of couches and armchairs sipping coffee, knitting, taking notes and listening intently. A woman is talking to them about how she launched a career as a civil engineer after having two kids as a young single parent.

The Huffington Post
By: Alexander Eichler
November 21, 2011

Middle-class jobs disappearing as workforce shifts to high-skill, low-skill: Study

America is increasingly becoming a place of high- and low-skill jobs, with less room available for a middle class.

The Atlantic
By: Daniel Indiviglio
November 19, 2011

Congress supports homes for the wealthy over the poor

When Congress allowed the conforming mortgage limit to decline slightly to $625,500 in October from $729,750, it was an important test. Could the private market step back in and take on this small portion of mortgage risk? The test was short-lived. This week, Congress reinstated the higher limit for loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority. To make matters stranger, it simultaneously cut funding to build and renovate housing projects for the poor.

The Huffington Post
By: Louis Freedberg
November 21, 2011

'Income achievement gap' almost double white-black performance gap, report shows

In a dramatic illustration of the impact of income inequality on how children do in school, the achievement gap between children from high and low income families is far higher than the achievement gap between black and white students, a pathbreaking research report from Stanford University has shown.



The New York Times
By: Jason Deparle, Robert Gebeloff and Sabrina Tavernise
November 18, 2011

Older, suburban and struggling, 'near poor' startle the census

They drive cars, but seldom new ones. They earn paychecks, but not big ones. Many own homes. Most pay taxes. Half are married, and nearly half live in the suburbs. None are poor, but many describe themselves as barely scraping by.

The rise of the social entrepreneur

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The Washington Post
By: Melissa Steffan
November 20, 2011

The rise of the social entrepreneur

You've heard of the angel investor, right? It's the guy who sees the promise of an idea or a person and pulls from his heap of money to get that dream off the ground.

National League of Cities
By: Tim Mudd
November 21, 2011

Hill Harper, David Kirp inspore and educate local leader at National Summit on Your City's Families

Hundreds of city leaders and youth delegates explored municipal strategies for helping children, youth and families succeed at the 2011 National Summit on Your City's Families, one of four concurrent conferences held during NLC's Congress of Cities in Phoenix. The summit marked the 10th biennial conference on Your City's Families sponsored by NLC, and stood out for having the largest contingent of youth participants to date.

The Huffington Post
By: Yolanda Gonzalez Gomez
November 21, 2011

DREAM Act: Step up, fight for the 'DREAM Act' in 2012

Julieta Garibay, 31, has a master's degree in nursing. But Garibay, an undocumented immigrant who arrived from Mexico two decades ago, makes a living as a babysitter.

The New York Times
By: Michael Winerip
November 20, 2011

Learning to play the game to get into college

There is rarely a minute when Nathaly Lopera, a high school senior, isn't working to improve herself.

The Washington Post
By: Lawrence Summers
November 20, 2011

Three ways to combat rising inequality

There has been a strong and troubling shift in market rewards for a small minority relative to the rewards available to most citizens. A recent Congressional Budget Office study found that incomes of the top 1 percent of the U.S. population (adjusted for inflation) rose 275 percent from 1979 to 2007, while income for the middle class grew only 40 percent. Even this dismal figure overstates the fortunes of typical Americans. In 1965, only one in 20 men ages 25 to 54 was not working; by the end of this decade, it is likely to be one in six, even if a full cyclical recovery is achieved.

The New York Times
By: Jennifer Steinhauer and Robert Pear
November 20, 2011

The deficit deal that wasn't: Hopes are dashed

The one sliver of real hope came a week ago, in the darkened Capitol on the Sunday night after Veterans Day.

Called away from dinner tables, the Jets-Patriots game on television and, in one case, a soccer team party, several Democratic members of the special Congressional committee on deficit reduction raced to the office of Senator Patty Murray for a hasty 8:30 meeting to discuss the outlines of a potential agreement. Crucially, it appeared to have the backing of at least one Republican on the 12-member panel even though it included a tax increase.

The Gazette (Iowa)
By: Dave DeWitte
November 17, 2011

Study finds Iowans stack up better than most in financial literacy

Iowans stack up better than residents of most other states in financial literacy in a recent study, although they aren't among the nation's leaders.

TIME
By: Martha C. White
November 15, 2011

How much basic checking at a big bank really costs

There's been a lot of media coverage lately about Americans switching from big banks to community banks, credit unions and online banks. That may be a good move for some people, but we'll come right out and say it: Some consumers need a big bank. Maybe you travel a lot for work and need to bank at a place that has branches around the country. Or maybe you have a kid in college and want to be able to put money into an on-campus account or monitor spending. Or ... well, you get the idea. The question is, which big bank is right for you? And for many people these days, the answer to that question comes down to fees.

Market Watch
November 17, 2011

Citi Community Development wins Community Impact Award for role in Kindergarten to College program at annual CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium

Today, Citi Community Development announced that it received the 2011 Community Impact Award from Wolters Kluwer Financial Services in recognition of Citi's leadership, support and ongoing involvement in the development and implementation of the Kindergarten to College (K2C) program in San Francisco. K2C is the nation's first universal college savings program and combines asset-building opportunities with financial education. The award was presented on November 8 at the 15th Annual Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) & Fair Lending Colloquium in Baltimore, Maryland.

Center for American Progress
By: Eric Alterman
November 17, 2011

Billionaire media moguls vs. Occupy Wall Street

Hundreds of police officers, many wearing riot helmets, marched into lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning to clear out the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The operation required boroughwide task forces and "scores of mobile officers who are usually used to flood high-crime neighborhoods." According to the police, 142 people were arrested, largely for "disorderly conduct and resisting arrest," though it turned out that according to a judge's ruling, the police did not have the right to clear the park at all, but merely to dispose of its tents and sleeping bags.

Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity (CFED)
By: Jennifer Brooks
November 16, 2011

Stroke of a pen policies: State governments can increase financial security and win political points

State governments today face an unenviable task. They must balance their budgets - as most states are legally required to do - while providing the support families need to endure tough economic times. While there is clearly no appetite for new spending in the current environment, states' hands are not tied. There are a host of low- or no-cost policies that expand economic opportunity and are political winners.

Farmington Daily Times (New Mexico)
By: Ryan Boetel
November 16, 2011

County moves closer to regulating manufactured home parks

San Juan County is close to creating its first regulations for mobile home parks in unincorporated parts of the county.

McClatchy-Tribune Business News (Georgia)
By: Ben Wieder
November 16, 2011

State student loan programs look to fill financial aid gap

Students at the University of Georgia and other colleges in the state are getting less generous HOPE scholarships this year, but now have the new option of taking out a low-interest state loan. A growing number of states are getting into the student loan business.

The New York Times
By: Catherine Rampell
November 16, 2011

As new graduates return to nest, economy also feels the pain

Like most of her friends, Hollis Romanelli graduated from college last May and promptly moved back in with her parents.

As a result, she didn't pay rent -- or a broker's fee or renters' insurance, for that matter. She also didn't buy a bed, desk, couch, doormat, mop or new crockery set. Nor did she pay the cable company to send a worker to set up her TV and Internet, or a handyman to hang a newly framed diploma. She didn't even buy drinks and snacks for a housewarming party.

How inequality hurts the economy

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Bloomberg
By: David J. Lynch
November 16, 2011

How inequality hurts the economy

The gap between the rich and the rest makes for short recoveries

The public discussion about the widening gap between rich and poor hasn't been this loud since the Great Depression. Warren Buffett has condemned the disparity, Occupy Wall Street has inveighed against it, President Barack Obama cites it to justify higher taxes on the wealthy. Much of the debate, though, has focused on inequality's moral dimension. Somehow it just doesn't seem right that so many Americans struggle while a handful prospers. What many are missing is the actual impact rising inequality is having on the U.S. economy. Hint: It isn't good.

The Huffington Post
By: Alexander Eichler
November 15, 2011

Federal prosecution of financial fraud falls to 20-year low, new report shows

Public mistrust for banks may be at an all-time high, but federal prosecution for certain financial crimes is down to a 20-year low.

The Christian Science Monitor
By: Daniel B. Wood
November 15, 2011

Record-low percentage of Americans moved between 2010 and 2011

Tough economic times mean that people are staying put, as indicated in a new Census Bureau report Tuesday.

There are many casualties of the Great Recession, including jobs, homeownership, retirement savings, and consumer confidence. Those issues are well known, but here's one that isn't as frequently discussed: Americans' mobility.

Plus News
November 11, 2011

National Disability Institute initiative helps more than 1 million people with disabilities access tax refunds of more than $1 billion

National Disability Institute announced today that its Real Economic Impact (REI) Tour - a seven-year collaboration with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and more than 800 public and private partners in 100 cities across America - has helped individuals with disabilities take steps out of poverty by providing access to financial education, asset building programs as well as free volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) nationwide for more than 1 million Americans with disabilities generating more than $1 billion in tax refunds.

The New York Times
By: Sabrina Tavernise
November 15, 2011

Middle-class areas shrink as income gap grows, new report finds

The portion of American families living in middle-income neighborhoods has declined significantly since 1970, according to a new study, as rising income inequality left a growing share of families in neighborhoods that are mostly low-income or mostly affluent.

The Washington Post
By: J.D. Harrison
November 14, 2011

American entrepreneurs driven less by opportunity, more by necessity

Entrepreneurship activity declined slightly in recent years and, perhaps even more troubling, those who are launching new businesses are increasingly doing so out of necessity -- not opportunity.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Robert Frank
November 14, 2011

Why incomes (not wealth) can buy happiness

The old saying that "money can't buy happiness" has proven far too general. Certain amounts of money can buy certain kinds of happiness, according to recent studies. For example, people's "life assessment" improves as their salaries go up, but their overall day-to-day happiness plateaus at $75,000, according to one study.

Buffalo News (New York)
By: Emma Sapong
November 13, 2011

Banking on tradition; Immigrant communities use old custom of pooling resources to help new arrivals inch toward financial security

New refugees encounter numerous complications when they get here, and some of the most vexing can be financial. A refugee's first few years can be riddled with money issues.

The New York Times
By: Eric Dash
November 13, 2011

Banks quietly ramping up costs to consumers

Even as Bank of America and other major lenders back away from charging customers to use their debit cards, many banks have been quietly imposing other new fees.

The Huffington Post
By: Michael McAuliff
November 14, 2011

Tom Coburn: $30 billion in millionaires aid is 'sheer Washington stupidity'

Millionaires are receiving billions in taxpayer-funded support every year that helps them pay for everything from child care to bad debts to boats and vacation homes, according to a report released Monday by Sen. Tom Coburn.

Market Watch (CFED)
November 15, 2011

First-ever local unbanked population data tool released

PolicyMap is the platform for Bank On's new interactive data maps.

The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), with support from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and in partnership with the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment, the National League of Cities and the New America Foundation, has launched a new-and-improved Bank On website. JoinBankOn.org uses PolicyMap as its platform to offer a look into communities to see if banking resources are available.

Making hard work fashionable again

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Mother Jones
By: Kevin Drum
November 14, 2011

Making hard work fashionable again

Tyler Cowen writes this weekend that he's temperamentally attached to the traditionalist vision of hard work leading to great wealth. But, he admits, that vision is "showing some wear and tear," which is why the Occupy Wall Street movement is attracting so much support.

International Business Times
By: Bhaskar Prasad
November 10, 2011

American poverty view: is America becoming a nation of poor children?

The U.S. Census Bureau released a study on a supplemental poverty measure that complements the nation's official poverty evaluation. Under the new guidelines, 49.1 million Americans, or 16 percent of the population, are classified as living in poverty. This is 2.9 million more than which are classified under the official measure.

San Jose Mercury News (California)
By: Patrick May
November 12, 2011

Microlending takes off in the Bay Area; small businesses reap the rewards

When Caitlin McShane looks down San Francisco's Mission Street, she doesn't see taco joints and bodegas bulging with ripe fruit. She sees sharks.

"Look over there -- payday loans,'' says the spokeswoman for San Jose-based Opportunity Fund, a Bay Area-based microlending nonprofit that helps small businesses get off the ground or expand. "And there's a check-cashing place on the corner. There's a pawnbroker, a loan office, and another payday loan place. People are getting into debt to loan sharks and even pawning their things to keep their businesses from going under. It's a mess, and this is what we're competing against.''

Bloomberg
By: Drake Bennett
November 10, 2011

Behavioral economics foils an Obama tax cut?

New research finds that a trendy economic theory backfired on the Obama Administration. Or did it?

The Making Work Pay tax credit, part of President Barack Obama's 2009 stimulus bill, was one of the least noticed tax cuts of all time. Rather than coming as a check from the government with the sum written on the dotted line, Making Work Pay--a credit of up to $400, or $800 for couples filing jointly--was disbursed in a steady dribble. The middle-class workers who were its target had their paychecks grow slightly for part of 2009 and 2010, as the government withheld less. When asked, many didn't realize they'd gotten anything.

Friend with benefits

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The New York Times
By: Charles M. Blow
November 11, 2011

Friend with benefits

Government is not the enemy. Not always. Don't believe that right-wing malarkey.

In fact, for millions of Americans down on their luck and at the end of their rope, they can quickly find that government is their last friend left. Governmental assistance can prevent the certainty of a hungry night and a homeless tomorrow. It can mean the difference between the comfort of stability and the ravages of poverty.

The National League of Cities (CFED)
November 10, 2011

New report highlights growth of "Bank On" programs in cities nationwide

A new report prepared by the National League of Cities (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education and Families, under contract with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), highlights the rapid growth of municipal "Bank On" initiatives that connect residents to the financial mainstream. Bank On programs reduce reliance on high-cost check cashers, payday lenders and other fringe financial service providers, which can cost unbanked residents an average of $1,000 per year in unnecessary fees and trap them in endless cycles of debt.

The Huffington Post
By: Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Senior Policy Analyst, CLASP
November 11, 2011

New supplemental poverty measure doesn't change reality

The new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) released yesterday morning by the Census Bureau tells us that millions more are poor than what the standard poverty measure shows, but without government intervention poverty would be much worse.

New America Foundation
By: Reid Cramer
November 9, 2011

Occupy Wall Street's powerful critique: The widening wealth gap

The Occupy Wall Street protests that have popped up across the country may lack a uniform set of demands, but they undoubtedly possess a singular and powerful critique. High finance has been allowed to assume a disproportional role in our society and, as a result, we see widespread and debilitating inequality. The protesters have found creative ways to publicize a number of contributing factors, including skyrocketing CEO pay and corporate consolidation, flat wages for average Americans, and diminishing employment opportunities. While the financial sector's share of GDP rose to 40%, with a set of practices that plunged the global economy into a deep recession, the prospects of the top 1% have materially diverged from those in the bottom 99%.

Restoring the American Dream

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The Huffington Post
By: Rep. Adam Smith
November 9, 2011

Restoring the American Dream

Over the last thirty years, income inequality in America has grown as wealth has become more concentrated in the hands of fewer Americans. There is doubt among a growing number of people in our country whether the basic American premise still holds true -- that if you work hard and are responsible, no matter the circumstances of your birth, you will have the chance to pursue your dreams and ambitions.

The Huffington Post
By: Alexander Eichler
November 11, 2011

Americans' ability to feed their families nears 3-year low: Gallup

The country might be in a recovery, but it surely doesn't feel that way to the large number of American households struggling to put food on the table.

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
November 10, 2011

Hey, Education Secretary Duncan, let's teach kids about money (not just talk about it)

Speaking to a White House advisory group this week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan highlighted the need for schools to begin teaching students about personal finance as early as kindergarten. He's dead on. But what's he doing about it?

Indian CDFIs are booming

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Indian Country
By: Mark Fogarty
November 7, 2011

Indian CDFIs are booming

Sandia Reservation, New Mexico-- American Indian community development financial institutions (CDFIs) are booming, with 70 Native CDFIs now certified by the Treasury Department, 14 of them in the last six months.

ABC News
By: Julie Phelan
November 9, 2011

Six in 10 support policies addressing income inequality

Six in 10 Americans say the federal government should pursue policies to reduce the gap between the wealthy and less-well-off Americans, although fewer express support for the Occupy Wall Street movement that's been protesting U.S. income inequality.

Forbes
By: Eva Pereira
November 8, 2011

Wealth inequality between young and old generations reaches record high

In the latest sign that the Great Recession has been unduly hard on our nation's youth, PEW Research reports the largest wealth inequality gap between young and old on record. Households headed by adults age 65 and up have seen their wealth increase 42% compared to their counterparts a quarter century ago. For the youth of this nation, the picture is far bleaker. Today's households headed by adults 35 and below have 68% less wealth than those their age a quarter century ago.

The New York Times
By: Andrew Martin and Stephanie Clifford
November 7, 2011

High bank fees give Wal-Mart a money aisle

Americans say they are fed up with banks. They are protesting on Wall Street and raising a ruckus over outsize fees. Now there is a surprising beneficiary: Wal-Mart.

The Huffington Post
By: C.M. Rubin
November 8, 2011

The global search for education: The 20%

Even with food stamps, poor people are still poor. The OECD lists the U.S. as being one of the five top OECD nations with the highest child poverty rate. The impact of poverty is significant in the outcomes of children in America's education system. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, about 22 percent of U.S. children less than 6 years old, and 18 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 17, live in poverty.

The Washington Post
By: Scott Clement
November 9, 2011

Poll shows most see deepening wealth gap

More than six in 10 Americans see a widening gap between the wealthy and the less well-off in this country, and about as many want the federal government to try to shrink the divide, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The New York Times
By: Cecilia Kang
November 9, 2011

FCC plans cheap Internet service and computers to connect poor Americans

The Federal Communications Commission and cable and computer firms will announce Wednesday a program to provide low-income homes with $10 monthly broadband Internet service and $150 computers.

Salem News (CFED) (Oregon)
By: Chris Thomas
November 8, 2011

Can OR help people dig out of debt--and stay there?

That's the premise of a conference in Silverton, focused on programs to help lower-income families build financial stability. Experts say that's tough when most government policies to encourage savings disproportionately benefit people with money - such as tax deductions for mortgage interest and retirement contributions.

Federal cuts to hit families hard

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The News-Star (Louisiana)
By: Mike Hasten
November 7, 2011

Federal cuts to hit families hard

A $17 million reduction in federal funds will be felt Dec. 1 by some of the state's poorest families who are caring for relatives' children and by people who have been receiving assistance after receiving job training.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Kelly Evans
November 8, 2011

The quiet power behind U.S. job growth

Small businesses say they aren't hiring, yet they keep adding workers.

On Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Business is out with its October optimism index, which should probably be renamed the "pessimism" index. It remains mired at recessionary levels even though the economic contraction officially ended more than two years ago. The index stood at 88.9 in September, consistent with its sub-90 average since mid-2009. Until recently, the index, which is often in triple-digit territory, has been below 90 only during actual downturns.

Little aid for poor seeking cars

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The Republic (Indiana)
By: Ken Bensinger
November 4, 2011

Little aid for poor seeking cars

No car, no work.

That's the conclusion Lisa Twombly reached as she fought to hang on to her job as a caretaker for an elderly San Diego couple. Taking the bus and bumming rides from friends wasn't cutting it, and she was repeatedly late for work.

The New York Times
By: Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff
November 7, 2011

New way to tally poor recasts view of poverty

The Census Bureau on Monday released what it says is a more accurate measure of poverty in America. The new measure shows more poverty among the elderly, but less among children and African-Americans.

Time (CFED)
By: Josh Sanburn
November 7, 2011

Opportunity Nation: How those below the poverty line can move up

For years, many Americans have been stuck below the poverty line, unable to build the kind of assets needed to propel themselves up the economic ladder. This systemic problem brought together authors, government officials and financial experts in New York City last week at an event called Opportunity Nation, hosted at Columbia University.

The Huffington Post
By: Amanda M. Fairbanks
November 4, 2011

As of Friday morning, every state and nearly every county in the U.S. has been given an "opportunity score" to determine where in the country economic mobility is flourishing and where it has grown stagnant.

How poverty impacts education

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The Brunswick News (Georgia)
By: Michael Hall
November 5, 2011

How poverty impacts education

The educational future for Katye Griffis did not look bright seven years ago.

She had just given birth to her first child as a 16-year-old Brunswick High School student, and getting to class every day was suddenly a difficult proposition.

The Washington Post
By: Debbie Cenziper
November 6, 2011

Finding more flaws in HUD's accounting of HOME program

The calls started in mid-May, two weeks before a looming congressional hearing.

Staff members across the vast U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development were racing to check in with hundreds of local agencies to determine the status of housing construction projects for the poor.

Saving good things for the future

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Foothills United Way (Colorado) (CFED)
By: Rosemary Thompson
November 2, 2011

Saving good things for the future

Saving good things for later is often difficult. During this season of fall, keeping a good piece of pumpkin bread or apple pie for later, rather than having two at once is often difficult even though we know that it is best to pace ourselves.

U.S. Department of Treasury (CFED)
By: Louisa Quittman
November 4, 2011

New resource for communities to meet financial needs of families

This week, with support from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Treasurer of the City and County of San Francisco, the nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) launched a redesigned national Bank On website to help communities strengthen the financial well-being of local residents by bringing them into the financial mainstream. The website, www.joinbankon.org, provides free resources for community leaders to better meet the financial needs of residents by connecting them with free or low-cost, safe and reliable financial services through banks, credit unions and other educational resources. Since 2006, locally-led Bank On programs - collaborative partnerships among local governments, financial institutions and nonprofits - have worked to help the 30 million unbanked and underbanked American families better manage their money and plan for their futures.

National League of Cities (CFED)
By: Michael Karpman
November 7, 2011

JoinBankOn.org web portal to help cities expand access to financial mainstream

Municipal leaders can access a wide range of tools to help residents gain access to mainstream financial services and enhance families' economic well being at the revamped JoinBankOn.org online portal. The new website draws heavily upon a toolkit for municipal leaders developed by NLC's Institute for Youth, Education and Families (YEF Institute), entitled, "Bank On Cities: Connecting Residents to the Financial Mainstream."

Public News Service (Seattle, Washington) (CFED)
By: Chris Thomas
November 7, 2011

Scorecard: WA could do more to prevent poverty

How do you look on paper? One in seven Americans has a net worth of zero - or even a negative number. But states can help their residents change that. The nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) has released a new scorecard by state, tracking policies in a dozen areas that help people build assets. They range from encouraging micro-businesses and preventing home foreclosures, to offering incentives for college savings.

The Huffington Post
By: Kristie Arslan, President and CEO of the National Association of the Self-Employed
November 3, 2011

Refined tax code will stimulate entrepreneurship

Let's face it: corporations are treated very differently than self-employed businesses in the U.S., especially when it comes to taxes. A corporation is able to write off the amount it pays for its employees' health insurance, lowering its taxable income. Self-employed business owners, on the other hand, are the only type of business that must pay for health insurance with post-tax dollars. This makes health insurance too expensive for many of the self-employed -- money that can be better spent on advertising, phone lines or even hiring additional workers.

Calculating poverty

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The New York Times
By: Jason Deparle, Robert Gebeloff and Sabrina Tavernise
November 4, 2011

Calculating poverty

To preview how the Census Bureau's new Supplemental Poverty Measure may change the portrait of poverty, The New York Times consulted multiple alternate measures that researchers have quietly published in recent years.

The Washington Post
By: Michael Gerson
November 3, 2011

Economic inequality is the wrong issue

It is the primary liberal argument that America's primary economic problem is growing income inequality.

For three decades, in this view, the rich have grown richer while middle-class incomes have stagnated. This emphasis on economic discontents is purposeful. Any political coalition for income redistribution that does not include middle-income voters will fail. So the message has been: Suburbanites of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your student loans.

The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
By: Gregg Hennigan
November 3, 2011

Life at troubled Johnson mobile home park 'is what it is'

Anthony Williams has a simple way of summing up life in Regency Mobile Home Park.

"It is what it is," the 42-year-old said.

It's a sense of resignation that has settled over the park, located south of Iowa City near Highway 218, after regularly attracting attention in recent years for issues like abandoned trailers, poor water quality and questionable business practices.

Time Magazine
By: Kayla Webley
November 4, 2011
<
em>Opportunity Nation highlights a lack of upward mobility

Kevin Jennings knows a thing or two about the American Dream. He came from a trailer park in Lewisville, N.C., where he was raised by a single mother who had a sixth-grade education. Jennings went on to become the newly appointed CEO of Be the Change, a nonprofit organization that creates national issue-based campaigns. He also previously served as a deputy secretary in the Department of Education under President Barack Obama, founded a national organization that seeks to end homosexual discrimination and holds a trio of degrees from Harvard, Columbia and New York University.

To and through

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Great Big Blog (CFED)
By: Ellen Winn
October 31, 2011

To and through

How do we ensure that all kids have equal access to top-notch public schools that prepare them for success in college and work (or "post-secondary success," as the jargon-hounds call it)?

The Nonprofit Quarterly
By: Ruth McCambridge
November 3, 2011

13 Crowdfunding sites for social enterprise

Crowdfunding is becoming more and more common as sites and projects are set up to bundle funding from all and sundry, directing it to nonprofits, small businesses, and now social enterprise. Below is a list and descriptions of 13 sites that offer crowdfunding opportunities for social enterprise. We thought the variety was pretty interesting. (NPQ is not endorsing any of the listed.) Here are the sites exactly as described at practicalecommerce.com:

The Huffington Post
By: Rahim Kanani
November 3, 2011

The Obama Administration's Social Innovation Fund: An in-depth interview with director Paul Carttar

Recently, I interviewed Paul Carttar, Director of the Social Innovation Fund--an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) intended to improve the lives of people in low-income communities. It does so by mobilizing public and private resources to grow promising, innovative community-based solutions that have evidence of compelling impact in three areas of priority need: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development.

The Huffington Post
By: Peter S. Goodman
November 3, 2011

Increase in extreme poverty leaves millions stranded

The number of Americans living in communities of extreme poverty -- neighborhoods in which at least 40 percent of the population is poor -- soared by one-third between 2000 and the latter half of the decade, according to a new study from the Brookings Institution.

The Washington Post
By: Jia Lynn Yang
November 3, 2011

Study: Big corporations use loopholes, dodge taxes

Many of this country's biggest companies paid no federal taxes -- or even made money through credits and refunds from the government -- over the past three years by using an array of loopholes and tax breaks, according to a report released Thursday.

House approves small-business bills

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The Wall Street Journal
November 2, 2011

House approves small-business bills

The House of Representatives approved Wednesday two bills intended to make it easier for small businesses to access capital, and in turn create more jobs.

Policy Shop
By: Rakim Brooks
November 2, 2011

Cutting poverty is not rocket science

Poverty is often described as one of the most intractable problems facing America. That's nonsense. We know how to make big reductions in poverty with clear-cut public policy solutions.

The New York Times
By: Jodi Rudoren
November 1, 2011

Putting Zuckerberg's millions to work for schools

The people in charge of giving away $100 million of Mark Zuckerberg's money to improve the lives of children in this city operate from a drab warren of offices downtown, where the walls are empty except for a few whiteboards left behind by another nonprofit organization.

Debit-fee retreat complete

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Robin Sidel and Dan Fitzpatrick
November 2, 2011

Debit-fee retreat complete

The banking industry's brief experiment with charging customers to use their debit cards appears to be over.

An education in financial aid

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National Journal (CFED)
By: Fawn Johnson with a response by Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO, UNCF
October 31, 2011

An education in financial aid

President Obama made a politically smart move last week when he announced a three-part plan to make it easier for people to pay their student loans. The plan includes an income-based cap on monthly payments, loan consolidation, and a consumer education campaign on student financial aid. Obama had nothing to lose and everything to gain in rolling out the changes, which can be executed without the help of Congress. He can appeal to the youth voters who helped put him in office and he can beat up lawmakers for doing nothing. But, as my colleague Stacy Kaper wrote about the plan, the actual changes are modest. At most, only 8 million out of 36 million borrowers would see their payments change as a result of debt consolidation or the income-based cap.

New America Foundation (CFED)
By: Pamela Chan
November 1, 2011

Better tools to build better Bank Ons: New community data resources from CFED and the Pew Charitable Trusts

While most of our work at New America focuses on policy solutions to improve financial inclusion in the US, the actual legwork of connecting unbanked and underbanked households to the financial mainstream is done in communities rather than in Congress. City leaders in San Francisco, with the help of Senior Policy Fellow Anne Stuhldreher, recognized this back in 2005 and launched a partnership where government agencies, financial institutions and non-profit community organizations worked together to link unbanked households with consumer-friendly banking services. The initiative was called Bank On San Francisco and it was able to bring about 20% of the city's unbanked population into the financial mainstream.

NPR
By: Christopher Joyce
November 1, 2011

As population, consumption rise, builder goes small

The planet may not feel any different today, but there are now 7 billion people on it, according to the United Nations.

That number will continue to rise, of course, and global incomes are likely to rise as well. That means more cars and computers, and bigger homes: the kinds of things Americans take for granted. It's that rise in consumption that has population experts worried.

The Washington Post
By: Luz Lazo
November 1, 2011

Microloan program to assist legal immigrants

Ernestina Pacas completed her citizenship application last week, 17 years after she moved to the United States from El Salvador.

This week she is awaiting approval of a loan for $680, which she plans to use to pay the application fees charged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Huffington Post
By: Fred Bernstein
October 31, 2011

America's mega-mansions and micro-cribs grow farther apart

Michael Maltzan, the Los Angeles architect, has had a very good couple of years. He recently completed a home for Michael Ovitz that, at 28,000 square feet, is the size of a small museum. At the same time, Maltzan has been winning design awards for the New Carver Apartments, a residence for the recently homeless in downtown Los Angeles. The building is designed to hold 97 men and women and, altogether, its rooms don't total the 28,000 square feet of Ovitz's pad. (Each room is under 300 square feet.)

The Huffington Post
By: Bruce Fein
October 31, 2011

The last enclaves of banking freedom

To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

To the army of regulators in the Obama administration, every lender looks like a potential problem that could mushroom into an A.I.G. debacle. They have spread their regulatory tentacles under the auspices of Dodd-Frank legislation to virtually every nook and cranny of the banking world.

The wrong inequality

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The New York Times
By: David Brooks
October 31, 2011

The wrong inequality

We live in a polarizing society, so perhaps it's inevitable that our experience of inequality should be polarized, too.

In the first place, there is what you might call Blue Inequality. This is the kind experienced in New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Houston and the District of Columbia. In these places, you see the top 1 percent of earners zooming upward, amassing more income and wealth. The economists Jon Bakija, Adam Cole and Bradley Heim have done the most authoritative research on who these top 1 percenters are.

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