December 2011 Archives

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
December 20, 2011

Lead by example? Hardly--Boomer kids out-saving their parents

Maybe saving skips a generation. Boomers have never been great at putting money in the bank--even though their Depression-era parents were famously frugal and a new survey shows that their kids are throwbacks to leaner times.

The Boston Globe
By: Mary Carmichael
December 23, 2011

Educating the poor comes at a price for Pine Manor; Newton college looks to retool its finances

Half a mile from Pine Manor College sits a house on sale for $11.9 million. The leafy drive that leads to the college is lined by similar mansions, estates that might have sent their daughters to Pine Manor decades ago, when it was a two-year finishing school for the wealthy young women of Boston.

The Huffington Post
By: Joy Resmovits
December 20, 2011

Charter school proponents focus on accountability in work if not in deed

The most recent call to close underperforming charter schools came not from a teachers' union or a school district, but from a charter-school trade association.

The New York Times
By: Mathew R. Warren
December 22, 2011

Blindsided by financial crisis, and trying to rebuild

To Tahesha Calder, her bond with her young son was slipping away. It seemed as if whenever she had a chance to see him, he was asleep.

NPR
By: Cheryl Corley
December 23, 2011

For Black Americans, a longer time without work

Although the U.S. gained more than 120,000 jobs last month, the numbers of the long-term unemployed barely shifted and the unemployment rates for African-Americans continued to go through the roof.

BBC News
By: Michelle Fleury
December 14, 2011

US youth entrepreneurship on the slide

Many of us turn to chocolate in times of trouble. But Eric Heinbockel isn't stuffing his face with it, he's making it.

Los Angeles Times
By: Walter Hamilton and Stuart Pfeifer
December 18, 2011

529 college savings plans have their downsides

The state-sponsored programs offer a tax-advantaged way to save for college. But there are pitfalls to 529s that even careful investors can overlook.

Sherri and Cliff Nitschke thought they were planning wisely for their children's college educations when they opened a 529 savings account in 1998.

NPR
By: Claudio Sanchez
December 22, 2011

Texas schools grapple with big budget cuts

School funding in Texas is in turmoil. State lawmakers slashed more than $4 billion from education this school year -- one of the largest cuts in state history -- and more than 12,000 teachers and support staff have been laid off.

TIME
December 21, 2011

Housing market weaker than previously thought

Sales of previously occupied homes rose last month. But the National Association of Realtors says it overstated about 3 million sales during and after the Great Recession, showing the housing market remains much weaker than previously thought.

The Huffington Post
By: Joy Resmovits
December 20, 2011

Income, parents education linked to pre-school learning gaps

As states revamp their early childhood education to grab a slice of federal education dollars, some education experts are urging policymakers to look outside the classroom to improve educational opportunities for the country's youngsters.

Why payday loans are so expensive

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Forbes
By: Tim Worstall
December 20, 2011

Why payday loans are so expensive

It's one of those things that gets asked all the time. Just why are payday loans so expensive? The APR rates on them are 300, 400%, surely someone must be making an absolute fortune out of them? You know, ghastly people profiteering from the misery of the poor?

Poverty and property taxes

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The Baltimore Sun
By: Dan Rodricks
December 20, 2011

Poverty and property taxes

Here's the biggest reason Baltimore's property tax rate is the highest in the state and twice that of the surrounding counties: We have most of the region's poor people. About one in four Baltimore residents is officially poor, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Urban Institute (CFED)
By: Stu Kantor
December 20, 2011

Sarah Rosen Wartell, Think Tank Executive and Housing Finance Expert, to be the Urban Institute's Third President

Sarah Rosen Wartell, a public policy executive and housing markets expert who co-founded the Center for American Progress (CAP) and serves as its executive vice president, will become the third president of the Urban Institute at the end of February.

PRWeb
December 20, 2011

Houston prepaid card signups jump 93 percent in November

Rising fees may be chasing millions of people away from banks, but Houston's unbanked shoppers aren't letting that stop them. Plastyc, a leading provider of prepaid card services, reported today a 93 percent increase in new signups in Houston in November 2011 compared to the same period last year.

Let's rethink how we pay for college

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The Huffington Post
By: Jeff Selingo
December 19, 2011

Let's rethink how we pay for college

Student loans are not going away, despite calls by Occupy protesters in recent weeks to have the federal government finance public colleges entirely and write off all student debt.

The Tennessean
By: Bobby Allyn
December 20, 2011

Walmart Money Centers' services attract more services

Rarely does Freddie Williams cash checks at a local liquor store anymore. Because for a fraction of the cost, she can do it at Walmart, joining the growing ranks of customers who are tapping the nation's largest retailer for banking services.

The Huffington Post
By: Dave Jamieson
December 20, 2011

The new blue collar: Temporary work, lasting poverty and the American warehouse

Like nearly everyone else in Joliet without good job prospects, Uylonda Dickerson eventually found herself at the warehouses looking for work.

The middle-class agenda

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The New York Times
By: Andrew Rosenthal
December 19, 2011

The middle-class agenda

Earlier this month, President Obama delivered his first unabashed 2012 campaign speech. Unlike his opponents, Mr. Obama acknowledged the ravages of income equality, the hollowing out of the American middle class. There is no hyperbole in the urgency he conveyed about "a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class."

The Huffington Post
By: Donna Gordon Blankinship
December 18, 2011

Economic recovery slow for U.S. nonprofits

As the first signs of an economic recovery make the news, many of the nation's nonprofit organizations are digging in for another three to four years of financial distress, according to researchers who keep an eye on the charitable world.

The New York Times
By: Ian Ayres and Aaron S. Edlin
December 18, 2011

Don't tax the rich. Tax inequality itself.

The progressive reformer and eminent jurist Louis D. Brandeis once said, "We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both." Brandeis lived at a time when enormous disparities between the rich and the poor led to violent labor unrest and ultimately to a reform movement.

The Washington Post
By Paul Schwartzman
December 17, 2011

The Legacy: For those promised college scholarships, the gift inspired both pride and pain

William Smith heard the knock on the glass and rolled his wheelchair toward the sliding door. He pushed aside the blanket covering the window and saw Rudolph Norris, his old friend from high school, and another man who looked familiar.

The Washington Post
By: Paul Schwartzman
December 17, 2011

The Reality: Daunting difficulties for the children promised college scholarships

Everyone was going inside the church that morning -- his mother, his older sister, a stream of friends, relatives and basketball buddies, all of them holding one another and sobbing.

The Washington Post
By: Paul Schwartzman
December 17, 2011

The Promise: Two wealthy men set out to transform the lives of 59 fifth-graders

Darone Robinson and Rudolph Norris were driving home after playing basketball one afternoon, reminiscing about their school years together, about that kid who made them laugh, the kid with the colorful shirts and infectious cackle.

The New York Times
By: Claire Cain Miller
December 18, 2011

Rebooting philanthropy in Silicon Valley

Laura Arrillaga and Marc Andreessen are practically a royal couple around here. But when they met, on a New Year's Eve date in 2005, Ms. Arrillaga didn't care that Mr. Andreessen had made a fortune in Silicon Valley.

The New York Times
By: Adam Bryant
December 18, 2011

To stay great, never forget your basics

This interview with Geoffrey Canada, president and C.E.O. of the nonprofit Harlem Children's Zone, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.

The Huffington Post
By: Dorie Turner
December 15, 2011

No Child Left Behind law: Half of all U.S. public schools fail federal standards

Nearly half of America's public schools didn't meet federal achievement standards this year, marking the largest failure rate since the much-criticized No Child Left Behind Law took effect a decade ago, according to a national report released Thursday.

The Seattle Medium
By: Charlene Crowell
December 14, 2011

Predatory payday lending by banks on the rise

Each year, street corner payday loans strip consumers of $4.5 billion. Now, at least four large banks joining the ranks of those offering one of the most predatory products sold to unsuspecting consumers. Banks like Wells Fargo, US, Regions and Fifth Third are all offering their checking account customers payday loans that typically require full repayment within 10 days with interest rates of 360 percent or higher.

What do low-income communities need?

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The Atlantic
By: Megan McArdle
December 13, 2011

Laura at 11D thinks that low-income communities need jobs to fix their schools:

While I totally support the programs that Ladd and Fiske suggest, I sincerely doubt whether a mentoring program would really put a dent in the depressing school/income correlation.

The Boston Herald
By: Rochelle Stewart Rubino
December 6, 2011

Extra credit; Program lets students lend a hand to local entrepreneurs

College students looking for real-world experience and a way to make a difference have a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of microfinance. The Campus Microfinance Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of student-run microfinance groups that have lent more than $150,000 to disadvantaged entrepreneurs. Their new website (campusmfi.org) lets students apply to their internship program. If selected, they learn to help other students create microfinance organizations on their campus.

Associated Press
December 15, 2011

U.S. poverty: Census finds nearly half of Americas are poor or low-income

Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans - nearly 1 in 2 - have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

The book of jobs

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Vanity Fair
By: Joseph E. Stiglitz
December 2011

The book of jobs

It has now been almost five years since the bursting of the housing bubble, and four years since the onset of the recession. There are 6.6 million fewer jobs in the United States than there were four years ago. Some 23 million Americans who would like to work full-time cannot get a job. Almost half of those who are unemployed have been unemployed long-term. Wages are falling--the real income of a typical American household is now below the level it was in 1997.

The Huffington Post
By: Joy Resmovits
December 13, 2011

Can Obama deliver on his college affordability promises?

When Joe Biden traveled here last week with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to host a town hall on college affordability, groups of students lined the palm-shaded streets, cheering as the motorcade blew by. On his way out of Fletcher High School, Biden even stopped for a group of effusive fourth graders. But Abby Pugh, a junior at Fletcher, had more questions than unmitigated enthusiasm for the vice president.

Saving before they're earning

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Philadelphia Inquirer
By: Jonathan Zimmerman
December 13, 2011

Saving before they're earning

Should schools put poor children to work so they can learn how to work?

That's what Newt Gingrich told a Harvard audience last month, when he argued that public schools should pay kids to perform janitorial duties. "Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works," Gingrich later explained, in defending the remark.

Washington University in St. Louis
By: Jessica Martin
December 13, 2011

Impact of Assets and the Poor grows 20 years after its release

Michael Sherraden's book, Assets and the Poor: A New American Welfare Policy, broke new ground on social policy in 1991. Twenty years later, its impact is still being felt around the world.

The New York Times
By: Sabrina Tavernise
December 13, 2011

Aid for child care drops when it is needed most

With states under pressure to cut their budgets and federal stimulus money gone, low-income working parents are facing a paradox. Just when they have to work longer hours to make ends meet, they are losing access to the thing they need most to stay on the job: a government subsidy that helps pay for child care.

The Huffington Post
By: Kimberly Hefling
December 13, 2011

Head Start centers: Safety violations found in early education programs nationwide

It's the kind of stuff that gives moms nightmares: a machete near a play area, household chemicals accessible to preschoolers, and instructors teaching without a criminal background check.

USA Today
By: Marisol Bello
December 13, 2011

Report: Child homelessness up 33% in 3 years

One in 45 children in the USA -- 1.6 million children -- were living on the street, in homeless shelters or motels, or doubled up with other families last year, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness.

The New York Times
By: Jennifer Steinhauer
December 12, 2011

Millionaires on food stamps and jobless pay? G.O.P. is on it

It's an image many Americans would find rather upsetting: a recently laid-off millionaire, luxuriating next to the pool eating grapes bought with food stamps while waiting for an unemployment check to roll in.

TIME
By: Judith Warner
December 9, 2011

Why are the rich so interested in public-school reform?

It was perhaps inevitable that the political moment that has given birth to the Occupy movement, pitting Main Street against Wall Street and the 99% against the financial elite, would eventually succeed in making some chinks in the armor of the 1%'s favorite feel-good hobby: the school reform movement.

The Washington Post
By: Courtland Milloy
December 11, 2011

Black women were hit hardest with job losses in economic crisis

After the health-care company where Linda Evans worked relocated outside the Washington area, she spent two years searching for another job. But nothing panned out.

The Huffington Post
By: Michael Gormley
December 10, 2011

California, New York target high-wage earners to address fiscal crises

Hollywood moguls and Manhattan stock brokers are facing a slap by the Occupy Wall Street movement as California and New York again target high-wage earners to address a continued fiscal crisis in the states.

Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee)
By: Carey O'Neil
December 10, 2011

Financial education classes help students

Christopher Lee figures being 18 years old shouldn't stop him from investing.

The high school student managed to scrape together about $3,000, which he tucked safely away in a savings account. After a few hours in a Hamilton County Adult High School financial literacy class, he started thinking it might be better to have a portion of that money growing in some safe investments.

Why conservatives can't fix poverty

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In These Times (CFED)
By: James Thindwa
December 11, 2011

Why conservatives can't fix poverty

Newt Gingrich's new idea offers a start reminder

Newt Gingrich's recent utterances about poor children-they "have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works"-reflect not only the inability of conservatives to talk seriously about poverty, but a mean-spiritedness that, unfortunately, largely eludes public scrutiny.

Chicago Tribune
By: John Byrne
December 7, 2011

City chips in for microloans; Emanuel says Chicago will use $1 million to lend to small businesses

Say this for Francisco Flores: He doesn't lack confidence.

When Flores started chasing the dream of running his own restaurant, he picked perhaps the toughest neighborhood for Mexican food on the North Side.

Slate
By: Robert H. Frank
December 7, 2011

The progressive consumption tax: A win-win solution for reducing American economic inequality

The first part of this series described how growing income disparities have made it more expensive for middle-income families to achieve many basic goals, such as sending their children to a decent school. The second part explained why income inequality has grown so rapidly in recent decades. This final installment describes an opportunity to perform fiscal alchemy. By pulling a simple tax lever, we could reduce the costs of growing income disparities, while at the same time freeing up several trillion dollars of additional resources each year--more than enough to pay down the federal debt and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure--all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. This essay is adapted from Robert H. Frank's recently published book, The Darwin Economy.

The Huffington Post
By: Hope Yen
December 8, 2011

Income inequality growing as affluent blacks leave cities: Census

Affluent black Americans who are leaving industrial cities for the suburbs and the South are shifting traditional lines between rich and poor, according to new census data. Their migration is widening the income gap between whites and the inner-city blacks who remain behind, while making blacks less monolithic as a group and subject to greater income disparities.

New York raises taxes on wealthy

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Jacob Gershman
December 8, 2011

New York raises taxes on wealthy

New York lawmakers approved Gov. Andrew Cuomo's tax package, which would raise billions in additional revenue from wealthier residents but also sprinkle relief on middle-class earners.

NPR (CFED)
By: Pam Fessler
December 8, 2011

Is there truth in Gingrich's remarks on the poor?

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Newt Gingrich created a stir with his recent comments about poor children. The former House speaker said they had no role models for what it means to work, and he suggested they be given jobs after school as janitors. Poverty experts insist a lot of what Gingrich says is off the wall but that deep down there's also an element of truth, as NPR's Pam Fessler reports.

The Times of Trenton (New Jersey)
By: Tom Considine
December 6, 2011

Start young and keep learning financial literacy skills

For the past five years, staff of the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) and representatives of the state's banking community have been working to teach high school students about such things as how to establish and preserve good credit, how to balance a checkbook, how to save money, how to apply for a college loan and other basic financial information through the state's Financial Literacy Program.

The Atlantic
By: Derek Thompson
December 7, 2011

President Obama's speech: America's 'basic bargain' is broken--now what?

Combining the Occupy movement's rhetoric with a nod to American populism, President Obama's economic address Tuesday in Osawatomie, Kansas, reads like a history lesson, a campaign platform, and a policy primer all wrapped into one.

The Washington Post
By: Lyndsey Layton
December 7, 2011

D.C. schools have largest black-white achievement gap in federal study

D.C. public schools have the largest achievement gap between black and white students among the nation's major urban school systems, a distinction laid bare in a federal study released Wednesday.

The Robin Hood Tax

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The New York Times
By: Steven Greenhouse and Graham Bowley
December 6, 2011

The Robin Hood Tax

They call it the Robin Hood tax -- a tiny levy on trades in the financial markets that would take money from the banks and give it to the world's poor.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
By: Barbara Sard, Will Fischer and Thyria Alvarez-Sanchez
November 28, 2011

Proposed change in HUD's "Minimum Rent" policy could raise rents for several hundred thousand poor families

Leadership of the House Financial Services Committee recently circulated draft legislation that could increase rental costs for several hundred thousand extremely poor families that receive federal housing assistance. Families in every state could face rent increases that could total $300 a year or more.

The Huffington Post
By: Arthur Delaney
December 6, 2011

'Occupy Our Homes' protesters highlight foreclosures nationwide

Bobby Hull is scheduled to be evicted from his Minneapolis house in February, but he won't leave without a fuss. He's invited 100 people from the local version of the Occupy Wall Street movement on Tuesday to protest his foreclosure.

The Washington Post
By: David Montgomer and Lonnae O'Neal Parker
December 6, 2011

Unready to work? D.C. teens disagree

"Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working, and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of 'I do this and you give me cash,' unless it's illegal."
- Newt Gingrich

When Nickaro Young, Khalid Bullock and Rian Hayes heard what the GOP presidential candidate was saying about young people like them and their peers in the Congress Heights neighborhood of the District, they bristled, briefly. Then they went back to their responsibilities.

Newsday (New York)
By: James T. Madore
December 6, 2011

Small-biz strategies; Entrepreneurs discuss obstacles to their growth

Increasing the availability of loans, forming a buying group for employee health insurance and providing tax breaks to job creators were among the remedies small-business owners asked for yesterday to boost the economy.

The New York Times
By: Tamar Lewin
December 5, 2011

College leaders meet with Obama to discuss costs and productivity

In a private meeting on Monday, President Obama and his secretary of education, Arne Duncan, conferred with a dozen college presidents, mostly from public institutions, and leaders of two nonprofit education organizations, about how to curb the rising cost of college and improve graduation rates.

Bloomberg
By: Nick Hanauer
December 1, 2011

Raise taxes on rich to reward true job creators

It is a tenet of American economic beliefs, and an article of faith for Republicans that is seldom contested by Democrats: If taxes are raised on the rich, job creation will stop.

The Huffington Post
By: Alexander Eichler
December 2, 2011

Nearly all who lost jobs in the recession are worse off now: Poll

The economy is technically in recovery, but for a vast number of Americans, things are worse now than they were three years ago.

As wages rise, tough choices

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Sarah E. Needleman
December 1, 2011

Small businesses, already on a tight budget, are looking for new ways to cut costs as they brace for minimum wage increases in several U.S. states next month.

UNC Center for Community Capital
December 6, 2011

A capital idea: Turn foreclosure frustration into action

Occupy Your Home advocates across the country have good reason to demonstrate their frustration over mounting foreclosures and market excesses. They have called for a National Day of Action today (Dec. 6) to protest.

National League of Cities (CFED)
By: Michael Karpman
December 5, 2011

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

A new report prepared by NLC's 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.

Columbus Telegram (Nebraska)
By: Julie Blum
December 1, 2011

Money, banking lessons aimed at new Americans

A year-old program is helping people get a lesson in dollars and cents.

More than 80 people have learned the basic ins and outs of banking through the School for Success, a Columbus Area United Way sponsored program.

TIME
By: Martha C. White
December 1, 2011

American Dream deferred: We now embrace more modest, personal goals

As conceptual ideals go, the American Dream is pretty iconic. And for a long time, it was pretty easy to define: People worked to earn a college degree, get a good job, buy a house and have a spouse and kids. But then the Great Recession came along and upended everything. Now, our goals are more modest -- like having a financial safety net -- but are still out of reach for many Americans, especially those approaching retirement age. Nearly half -- 44% -- of Americans say they're working harder than their parents did at their age. In MetLife's fifth annual survey about the American Dream, more than 80% of respondents say attaining the American Dream is very or somewhat important, but the yardstick we've used to measure whether or not we're living that dream has changed drastically. Some of the shift is generational: 41% of all respondents say the American Dream is about personal fulfillment. But within that total, there's a big gap. While only a third of Boomers agree with that statement, more than half of Gen Y respondents do.

TIME
By: Christopher S. Rugaber
December 2, 2011

The U.S. unemployment rate fell last month to its lowest level in more than 2 years. More people out of work either found jobs or gave up looking and were no longer counted as unemployed.

Credit Union Times
By: Jim Rubenstein
November 30, 2011

Occupy SF wants to create a credit union

Occupy San Francisco said it filed pre-Thanksgiving paperwork with the state to charter a proposed People's Reserve Credit Union.

End welfare for the wealthy

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CNN
By: Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK)
December 1, 2011

End welfare for the wealthy

The debate in Congress this week about whether to pay for extending the payroll tax cut by imposing a new tax on millionaires will have nothing to do with solving our nation's economic challenges and everything to do with election-year politics. Senate Democratic leaders have already signaled they will use the debate as a purely partisan exercise designed to embarrass Republicans into opposing tax cuts for the poor while defending tax cuts for the rich.

Los Angeles Times
By: Walter Hamilton
December 1, 2011

Escaping poverty gets more difficult; Economic mobility has fallen in the last three decades, a Wells Fargo study says

There's nothing more American than going from rags to riches. Or so the image goes.

The reality, according to a recent study, is far less rosy.

Credit Union Times
By: Jim Rubenstein
November 29, 2011

CUs join in South Dakota underserved banking project

Bank Transfer Day with all its attention on high fees may have come and gone but the kickoff this month for a locally sponsored campaign in Rapid City, S.D., against payday lenders is drawing new attention to the efforts of credit unions and community banks to aid the underserved.

The New York Times
By: Sam Dillon
November 30, 2011

Districts pay less in poor schools, report says

Education experts have long argued that a basic inequity in American schooling is that students in poor neighborhoods are frequently taught by low-paid rookie teachers who move on as they gain experience and rise up the salary scale.

Danville Register and Bee (Virginia)
By: Tiffany Holland
November 30, 2011

Danville manufactured homes industry hit hard

In the past few years the housing market has seen rough times, and the manufactured housing sector is no exception.

The Washington Post
By: Mark R Warren, professor of education, Harvard
November 29, 2011

Education reform through community action

Congress recently introduced legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, formerly known as No Child Left Behind - but it's parents whose children attend schools in low-income communities that are now being left behind.

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