January 2012 Archives

The News Journal (Delaware)
By: Rep. John Carney and The Rev. Clifford Johnson
January 29, 2012

Too many taxpayers fail to claim credit they're eligible for

It's only January, but tax season will be here in a flash. Preparing taxes can be confusing and complicated, with dozens of different deductions and credits to review before filing. One of the biggest credits available is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and each year, thousands of hardworking families in Delaware lose money they are entitled to because they fail to take advantage of it.

The Washington Post
By: Zachary A. Goldfarb
January 30, 2012

Obama's push to revive middle class will clash with long-term trends

President Obama calls it "the defining issue of our time": forging a fairer economy by reversing years of widening income inequality and building a strong middle class.

Credit Union Journal
By: Aaron Passman
January 30, 2012

First-ever study finds CUs invested $140m in financial education

Credit unions invested more than $140 million in improving consumers financial knowledge during 2010.

The Huffington Post
By: Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
January 31, 2012

Inequality, the middle class, and growth

The trickle-down, deregulatory agenda -- what I have called YOYO, or "you're on your own" economics -- presumes that the growth chain starts at the top of the wealth scale and "trickles down" to those at the middle and the bottom of that scale. Problem is, that hasn't worked.

Rising income is saved, not spent

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Wall Street Journal
By: Connor Dougherty
January 31, 2012

Rising income is saved, not spent

Incomes ticked up in December but consumers chose to save instead of spend, suggesting a still-cautious outlook that likely has carried into 2012.

The Baltimore Sun (CFED)
By: Eileen Ambrose
January 31, 2012

Many Marylanders living without a financial safety net

Marylanders on average have the highest income in the country, but when it comes to having a financial cushion in hard times, we're disappointingly mediocre.

The Huffington Post (CFED)
By: Alexander Eichler
January 31, 2012

Working poor: Almost half of U.S. households live one crisis from the bread line

What does it mean to be poor?

If it means living at or below the poverty line, then 15 percent of Americans -- some 46 million people -- qualify. But if it means living with a decent income and hardly any savings -- so that one piece of bad luck, one major financial blow, could land you in serious, lasting trouble -- then it's a much larger number. In fact, it's almost half the country.

The defining issue of our time

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Huffington Post
By: Deborah Weinstein, Coalition on Human Needs
January 27, 2012

The defining issue of our time

The "basic American promise," as the president described it in his State of the Union address, is that people who work hard should be able to raise a family, own a home, send their children to college, and save for retirement. The defining issue? "How to keep that promise alive."

The Huffington Post
By: John Dearborn, President, JumpStart Inc.
January 27, 2012

What if universities recruited entrepreneurs like they recruited athletes?

Nearly half of American youth between ages 8 and 24 are enthusiastic about starting a business, or have already have started one, according to a Harris poll done for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in 2010.

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
January 26, 2012

How Obama plans to stop big college tuition hikes

One reason that rising college costs have been unrelenting for decades is the sheer amount of money that the federal government makes available through grants and loans. Why should universities rein in costs? Students keep coming--in part because the federal government keeps shelling out.

Is college not for poor kids?

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Washington Post
By: Jay Matthews
January 29, 2012

Is college not for poor kids?

A few weeks ago, my colleague Paul Schwartzman introduced readers to a group of Prince George's County residents known as "the Seat Pleasant 59." They were promised in 1988, when they were in elementary school, that their tuition would be paid if they worked hard and got into college. More than two decades later, only 11 have four-year degrees, a consequence of many bad turns, most of them related to growing up in poverty.

The New York Times
By: John Eligon
January 30, 2012

With focus on income inequality, Albany bill will seek $8.50 minimum wage

The Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park is no more, but the focus it brought to income inequality is having an impact in Albany and beyond.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
By: Deneen L. Brown
January 22, 2012

The high cost of poverty; Why the poor pay more

You have to be rich to be poor.

That's what some people who have never lived below the poverty line don't understand.

New America Foundation
By: Hannah Emple
January 26, 2012

William Elliot: Ideas for refining children's savings account proposals

Today, the Asset Building Program and the Center for Social Development at the Washington University in St. Louis released the final report in the "Creating a Financial Stake in College" series. The fourth report "Ideas for Refining Children's Savings Account Proposals" makes a case for establishing formal mechanisms for low- and middle-income children to save. Author William Elliott argues that a systematic, national approach to children's savings accounts is a critical part of improving access to postsecondary education, particularly for low- and middle-income students. The ASPIRE Act, a national model for children's savings accounts, offers a blueprint for addressing this access gap. By relying on recent research findings and creative ideas, Elliott re-envisions the logistics of a national model for children's savings to better address the needs of lower-income families. Below are a few of the proposals he outlines:

The New York Times
By: Henry M. Levin and Cecelia E. Rose
January 26, 2012

The true cost of high school dropouts

Only 21 states require students to attend high school until they graduate or turn 18. The proposal President Obama announced on Tuesday night in his State of the Union address -- to make such attendance compulsory in every state -- is a step in the right direction, but it would not go far enough to reduce a dropout rate that imposes a heavy cost on the entire economy, not just on those who fail to obtain a diploma.

The New York Times
By: Matthew Healey
January 26, 2012

At 19, without a diploma, a job, or a place to call home

De Andre Hill, 19, is the first to admit it: He grew up way too soon.

He was raised in Greensboro, N.C., and spent his teenage years looking after three half-sisters, preparing dinners of burger patties and spaghetti for them, insisting they do their homework and comforting them when they cried themselves to sleep.

The New York Times
By: Jonathan Weisman and Annie Lowrey
January 26, 2012

Administration's talk of taxing rich more faces political realities in election year

President Obama's call for ''tax fairness'' and Mitt Romney's tax returns have catapulted the debate over tax increases on the rich to the top of the political agenda. But with even some top Democrats hesitant, the prospects of a so-called Buffett tax on high-earning households remain uncertain, if not remote, for the immediate future. What is left may be only politics, at least until after the November elections.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Nick Timiraos
January 24, 2012

Obama to propose mortgage-refinance plan

President Barack Obama called on Congress during Tuesday's State of the Union address to approve new legislation that would give all homeowners who are current on their mortgages the opportunity to refinance at record low mortgage rates, officials said Tuesday.

TIME
By: Kayla Webley
January 25, 2012

Students bear the burden of state higher ed cuts

Over the past year, state funding for higher education has declined by nearly 8%. In real terms, that amounts to $6 billion less being funneled into the nation's public colleges and universities at a time when the demand for the degrees they provide is at an all-time high.

The Atlantic
By: Kevin Carey, Education Sector
January 24, 2012

How school choice became an explosive issue

Bill Cosby and Dick Morris presumably disagree about most things, so it's instructive to note that both have officially endorsed "School Choice Week," which began yesterday with a series of rallies and events around the country celebrating the idea of parents being able to decide where their children go to school. Indeed, school choice seems like such an obviously good idea that the most interesting thing about School Choice Week is why it exists at all.

The New York Times
By: Helene Cooper
January 25, 2012

In address, Obama makes pitch for economic fairness

President Obama pledged on Tuesday night to use government power to balance the scale between America's rich and the rest of the public, trying to present an election-year choice between continued leadership toward an economy ''built to last'' and what he called irresponsible policies of the past that caused an economic collapse.

The Denver Post (Colorado)
By: Tina Griego
January 22, 2012

Reform of welfare not a poverty cure

Seven women, all welfare recipients, met last week in the Denver County Department of Human Services for an employment training class. One lesson learned after welfare reform passed in 1996 was that helping welfare recipients find work is not the same thing as helping them keep work. This puzzle has a lot of moving pieces.

Los Angeles Times
By: Walter Hamilton and Nathaniel Popper
January 24, 2012

Mitt Romney inspires a look at how tax rules help high earners

It's certainly not his goal, but when Mitt Romney releases his income tax returns Tuesday, he is likely to show how wealthy people grow even wealthier with the help of the U.S. tax code.

The Washington Post
By: Richard Rothstein, Economic Policy Institute
January 24, 2012

The facts that school reformers ignore

Education "reformers" have a common playbook. First, assert without evidence that regular public schools are "failing" and that large numbers of regular (unionized) public school teachers are incompetent. Provide no documentation for this claim other than that the test score gap between minority and white children remains large. Then propose so-called reforms to address the unproven problem -- charter schools to escape teacher unionization and the mechanistic use of student scores on low-quality and corrupted tests to identify teachers who should be fired.

America's Wire
By: Teresa Wiltz
January 23, 2012

Black, Latino students perform at levels of 30 years ago

Educators are expressing alarm that the performance gap between minority and white high school students continues to expand across the United States, with minority teenagers performing at academic levels equal to or lower than those of 30 years ago.

Return of the 'Welfare Queen'

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

CNN
By: John Blake
January 23, 2012

Return of the 'Welfare Queen'

She's out there, lurking in the 2012 presidential race like a horror movie villain who refuses to die.

The Washington Post
By: Jon Marcus
January 21, 2012

Online course start-ups offer virtually free college

An emerging group of entrepreneurs with influential backing is seeking to lower the cost of higher education from as much as tens of thousands of dollars a year to nearly nothing.

The Huffington Post
Jose Cruz, VP for Higher Education Policy and Practice, The Education Trust
January 20, 2012

College affordability: Damned if you go, damned if you don't?

I have traveled the tortuous road that separates the haves from the have-nots, so I'm intimately familiar with the structural barriers that stall upward mobility in America. It's not news to me that 20 percent of U.S. households earn half of all income, while the poorest 20 percent earn almost none. And though it pains me, I can wrap my head around data that place inequality in the United States at higher levels than in other developed countries.

The Huffington Post
By: Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
January 23, 2012

Three-fourths of Americans live in states that don't provide affordable health care, analysis finds

Here's a reality check for President Barack Obama's health overhaul: Three out of four uninsured Americans live in states that have yet to figure out how to deliver on its promise of affordable medical care.

The new American divide

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Wall Street Journal
By: Charles Murray
January 21, 2012

The new American divide

America is coming apart. For most of our nation's history, whatever the inequality in wealth between the richest and poorest citizens, we maintained a cultural equality known nowhere else in the world--for whites, anyway. "The more opulent citizens take great care not to stand aloof from the people," wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, the great chronicler of American democracy, in the 1830s. "On the contrary, they constantly keep on easy terms with the lower classes: They listen to them, they speak to them every day."

Los Angeles Times
By: David Zucchino
January 22, 2012

Poverty tour puts grim faces on statistics

The poverty statistics from northeastern North Carolina are stark:

In six poor rural counties, the rates range from 21% to 26%. Among blacks, poverty rates approach 40% in parts of those counties. Statewide, the poverty rate is 17.4%, the nation's 12th-highest.

The New York Times
By: Tara Siegel Bernard
January 21, 2012

Blacks face bias in bankruptcy, study suggests

Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to wind up in the more onerous and costly form of consumer bankruptcy as they try to dig out from their debts, a new study has found.

How much the rich pay

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Wall Street Journal
January 20, 2012

How much the rich pay

Mitt Romney's disclosure this week that his effective federal tax rate is "probably closer to the 15% rate than anything" has created the predictable political uproar. The White House and its media allies figure they've now got their stereotype of the Monopoly man, albeit without his cane and top hat, who they can crush in their planned class-warfare campaign.

The Huffington Post
By: Ben Hallman
January 19, 2012

Richard Cordray, CFPB chief, promises new scrutiny of banks that make payday loans

Picking his first public fight with the banking industry, Washington's top consumer cop, Richard Cordray, promised on Thursday that his examiners will scrutinize a handful of big banks that make high-cost loans. Inspection of major financial institutions will be part of a broader review of payday lenders, he said at a public hearing organized by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Birmingham, Ala.

The Boston Globe
By: Kimberly Hefling
January 17, 2012

Public pre-kindergarten programs slowed, even reversed, by recession

The expansion in public prekindergarten programs has slowed and even been reversed in some states as school districts cope with shrinking budgets. As a result, many 3- and 4-year-olds aren't going to preschool.

The Huffington Post
By: Alexander Eichler
January 18, 2012

Homeless rate ready to rise as stimulus cash runs out: Study

Although the recession has officially been over for two years, the worst may be to come for many people.

TIME
By: Martha C. White
January 20, 2012

Would you get your taxes done at Walmart?

Walmart has been steadily growing the scope of its financial services, offering unbanked Americans a place to do things like cash checks and pay bills cheaply -- located in stores where customers will hopefully turn around and spend some of those dollars. This year, the retailer is making a big push into tax preparation with more than 3,000 Jackson Hewitt or H&R Block kiosks in stores around the country offering free tax prep for filers who use the 1040EZ form. It's also advertising $3 and $6 flat fees to cash refund checks for customers without a checking account. Walmart says the average tax refund is a little over $2,900, so it's smart from a business perspective to get these refund recipients into Walmart stores. But is it a good deal for consumers?

The Wall Street Journal
By: Edward Lazear
January 19, 2012

The jobs picture is still far from rosy

The typical American judges the state of the economy by the quality of the labor market. If jobs are scarce and wages are flat or falling, decent increases in the gross domestic product or the stock market are almost irrelevant. Aware of this point, President Obama convened yet another White House meeting on jobs earlier this week. After all, his own job is on the line.

The Washington Post
By: Eli Saslow
January 18, 2012

For a jobless, struggling South Carolina man, reality isn't a political debate

He awoke to his alarm on Monday morning at 6, just like always, even though his handwritten schedule for the day read only: "Find something to do!" Steven Murdock, 39, poured himself a cup of coffee and rummaged through the defrosted Thanksgiving leftovers in an otherwise barren refrigerator. He grabbed the phone that bill collectors were threatening to turn off and made his first call of the day.

The New York Times
By: Ross Douthat
January 18, 2012

Are inequality and immobility inseparable?

I've written a number of posts and pieces pushing the idea that American conservatives need what I've called an opportunity agenda -- one that focuses more on the problems of upward mobility and stagnating wages than does the current standard Republican line, but doesn't share contemporary liberalism's tendency to blame the struggles of downscale Americans almost entirely on the richest 1 percent. I thought I'd use this post to respond to the most plausible left-wing critique of this idea. (I'll tackle the most plausible right-wing critique in a later post.) First, here's Matt Yglesias, pivoting off an excellent piece by my colleague Jason DeParle to question the idea that there's any real distinction between fighting inequality and fighting immobility:

The Huffington Post
By: Loren Berlin
January 18, 2012

Proposed down payment rules could restrict minorities' access to affordable homebuying, study says

Nearly three-quarters of African-American and Latino mortgage borrowers could be excluded from affordable homeownership if federal regulators approve a proposal to require 20 percent down payments, according to a study released Wednesday.

Easing student loan repayments

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Huffington Post
By: Jason Alderman
January 18, 2012

Easing student loan repayments

College costs are out of control. Total outstanding student loans hover around $1 trillion, second only to home mortgages as the largest debt Americans carry. Student loan repayment takes a hefty toll on starting salaries even during good economic times. But with so many recent graduates unable to find a decent job -- or any job at all -- repayment can be a nightmare.

The Wall Street Journal
January 17, 2012

Nearly half of U.S lives in household receiving government benefits

The pool of Americans relying on government benefits rose to record highs last year as an increasing share of families tapped aid in a weak economy.

The debt crisis we're ignoring

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Philadelphia Inquirer
By: Andrew L. Yarrow
January 17, 2012

The debt crisis we're ignoring

While Washington has spent the last year (and much of the last quarter-century) fighting about the national debt, most of our leaders have blithely ignored America's staggering level of household debt. The subject has barely been broached by the White House or in the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

The Atlantic
January 17, 2012

What does one jobless youth cost taxpayers? $14,000 a year

America's youth are suffering their worst employment drought since World War II. It doesn't take a great leap of the imagination to understand why this is a crisis. The young and jobless earn less later in life. They lose the chance to build crucial career skills. They rely on government support. They're more likely to commit crimes.

The New York Times
By: David Kocieniewski
January 18, 2012

Since 1980s, the kindest of tax cuts for the rich

The effective federal income tax rate paid by the wealthiest Americans has dropped significantly during the last several decades, largely because of tax cuts on investment income.

The New York Times
By: Michael Cooper
January 18, 2012

Few cities have regained jobs they lost, report finds

Less than a tenth of the nation's metropolitan areas have regained the jobs they lost in the economic downturn, according to a report being released Wednesday by the nation's mayors as they gather in Washington to express their exasperation that the federal government seems more intent on cutting aid to cities than on sending more.

Opportunity still has racial hue

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By: Margaret C. Simms, senior fellow, Urban Institute
January 18, 2012

Opportunity still has racial hue

At the march on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke these now famous words: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

The Wall Street Journal
By: Sara Murray and Cameron McWhirter
January 18, 2012

Long-term unemployment ripples through one town

The waiting list for subsidized housing here, just 40 families long a year ago, is up to 500. The number of children eligible for free or reduced lunch is up 50%. A little more than a year ago, the Methodist church began seminars for marriages strained by job losses.

The New York Times
By: Ron Lieber
January 14, 2012

Financial advice for those with small nest eggs

When Merrill Lynch recently discouraged its thundering herd of brokers from taking on new clients with under $250,000 in assets available for investing, it wasn't a big surprise.

The Huffington Post
By: Jon Ward
January 17, 2012

Newt Gingrich seeks South Carolina boost from racially charged exchange

It was telling that as soon as the Republican presidential debate ended here Monday night, Newt Gingrich made a beeline to talk to reporters.

The Huffington Post
By: Tressie McMillan Cottom
January 13, 2012

Insider's view of for-profit colleges, race, class and education justice

I was not at all shocked by Kaplan University defending its practice of reminding people of their "pain and fears" to motivate them to make "urgent change." The practice is common in the for-profit college business model. As an admissions and financial aid counselor at two for-profit colleges, including one of the largest -- ITT Technical Institute -- I saw that sentiment expressed both verbally and structurally. Of the two, it is the latter that should concern us most of all.

Reuters
By: Jilian Mincer and Jonathan Spicer
January 17, 2012

Americans raid savings to get through stop-start recovery

More than four years after the United States fell into recession, many Americans have resorted to raiding their savings to get them through the stop-start economic recovery.

The Washington Post
By: Editorial Board
January 16, 2012

Bush tax cuts helped the rich get richer

While few question the fact that income inequality has risen in the United States over the past three decades, there is plenty of dispute about why. Some argue that the upward shift in after-tax income reflects a high-tech society's increasing rewards to highly skilled workers, or the rise of super-paid "superstars" in everything from finance to sports, or the decline of labor unions and the minimum wage.

How fares the dream?

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The New York Times
By: Paul Krugman
January 15, 2012

How fares the dream?

"I have a dream," declared Martin Luther King, in a speech that has lost none of its power to inspire. And some of that dream has come true. When King spoke in the summer of 1963, America was a nation that denied basic rights to millions of its citizens, simply because their skin was the wrong color. Today racism is no longer embedded in law. And while it has by no means been banished from the hearts of men, its grip is far weaker than once it was.

TIME
By: Stephen Gandel
January 12, 2012

How 401(k)s make many Americans poorer

One of the most widely dispensed and universally accepted pieces of financial advice is that you should contribute at least enough to your 401(k) to get the full match from your company. If you don't, so the wisdom goes, you will be giving up free money. Well, it turns out that money isn't exactly "free." In a sense, it's coming right out of your paycheck.

TIME
By: Alison Rogers
January 12, 2012

The number of 'improving' housing markets nearly doubles

Is the real estate market better yet? Seeking a way to aggregate local data, the National Association of Home Builders and First American Title Insurance constructed an "Improving Markets Index" in an effort to track metro area markets as they came off their housing lows. The good news is that the index leapt last month, with 40 cities being added to the 41 already on the list -- while just five fell off.

Reuters
By: Lou Carlozo
January 12, 2012

10 free checking accounts for the unbanked

The unbanked make up 7.7 percent of U.S. households, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and they are sitting ducks for celebrity-pitched prepaid cards, costly check-cashing services and other costly options.

PR Newswire
January 12, 2012

Ernst & Young LLP commits $300K to Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

In recognition of Ernst & Young's more than 8,000 Entrepreneur Of The Year Award® winners and the organization's commitment to support future market leaders everywhere, Ernst & Young LLP has established the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Alumni Fund to reward top Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) students with college scholarships as well as aid NFTE's Adopt-a-Class initiative. This fund represents a $300,000 commitment toward matching donations by Ernst & Young LLP partners and Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni over the next three years.

TV adviser on money offers card

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The New York Times
By: Ron Lieber
January 9, 2012

TV adviser on money offers card

For more than a decade, Suze Orman has exhorted her viewers on CNBC to spend less than they earn, flashed her blazing smile from the covers of best-selling books and endorsed the occasional auto loan provider and brokerage firm.

The Washington Post
By: Daniel de Vise
January 11, 2012

Population of needy college students is exploding

A higher education official from Wisconsin who attended the recent Council of Independent Colleges conference in Florida made a remarkable statement during a question-and-answer session.

Bring back postal savings

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

CNN
By: Sheldon Garon, Nissan Professor of History and East Asian Studies, Princeton University
January 12, 2012

Bring back postal savings

To pass the time over the holidays, my daughter and I vied to come up with the longest list of things that "Americans say are impossible, yet exist everywhere else in the First World." Top on both lists was national health insurance, followed by a nationwide network of fast, attractive trains. But the next item would surprise most Americans: A postal savings system.

Pew Research Center
By: Rich Morin
January 11, 2012

Rising share of Americans see conflict between rich and poor

The Occupy Wall Street movement no longer occupies Wall Street, but the issue of class conflict has captured a growing share of the national consciousness. A new Pew Research Center survey of 2,048 adults finds that about two-thirds of the public (66%) believes there are "very strong" or "strong" conflicts between the rich and the poor--an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009.

Los Angeles Times
By: Jim Puzzanghera
January 7, 2012

Consumer bureau chief begins supervision of payday lenders

The new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wasted little time getting to work, using the agency's new powers to start supervising payday lenders and other firms outside the conventional banking system.

The Huffington Post
By: Stephanie Reitz
January 11, 2012

U.S. teenagers struggle to find part-time jobs in fragile labor market

The economic turmoil that has left many Americans without work is having a disproportionate effect on teenage job-seekers, whose quest for entry-level positions often pits them against experienced older workers willing to take any job for a paycheck.

The Washington Post
By: Neil Irwin
January 10, 2012

For those hurting most, Fed's remedies limited

In the most difficult economy in a generation, middle-income and poor Americans are hurting the worst. Congress is tied in knots, barely able to pass even the most basic measures to help.

The Atlantic
By: Sara Horowirz, founder of Freelancers Union
January 11, 2012

We need an entrepreneurial presidency to support entrepreneurs

Dear President Obama,

We're entering a new industrial era where one in three workers is now "independent" - freelancer, temp, consultant - and that number is only growing. The era of the 9-to-5 job is closing. We've entered a "gig economy."

Class warfare and the Buffet Rule

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Wall Street Journal
By: Arthur B. Laffer
January 11, 2012

Class warfare and the Buffet Rule

The political season has barely begun, and yet we already know that class warfare will be President Obama's key issue in the 2012 general election. It's even reared its ugly head in the Republican primaries, with the candidates trying to paint front-runner Mitt Romney as a cold-hearted capitalist and Rick Santorum proposing targeted tax breaks for the "working class" manufacturing sector.

IRS targets high earners

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Wall Street Journal
By: Laura Saunders
January 7, 2012

IRS targets high earners

If your income is high, your chances of getting a visit from the Tax Man are on the rise--and there isn't much you can do about it.

Chicago Tribune
By: Mitch Lipka and Jessica Wohl
January 9, 2012

Walmart's "free" offer could come with a price

As tax season begins, a decision by Wal-Mart Stores Inc to offer some free and discounted tax preparation in conjunction with its check-cashing services at more than 3,000 U.S. stores is less about giving back and more about bringing in, experts cautioned.

TIME
By: Martha C. White
January 6, 2012

A long to-do list awaits the CFPB and its new director

Now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a director (albeit one whose appointment could be challenged in court), it has quite the to-do list. At the top, according to newly installed bureau head Richard Cordray, is federal supervision of non-bank entities that include debt collectors, payday loan operations, and mortgage lenders.

The Huffington Post
By: Robert Strom
January 9, 2012

Academia's emerging role in entrepreneurship policymaking

There is no doubt that the U.S. government has shown greater interest in and support for entrepreneurship in recent years. Discussions of job growth now frequently address the importance of new business creation, and elected officials today regularly emphasize the need for innovation and entrepreneurship to revive our failing economy. More importantly, we are beginning to see real changes at the policy level. The White House Council of Economic Advisers, for example, now includes a Senior Economist who focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation, and in 2011, the Council of Economic Advisers' Economic Report of the President devoted an entire section to small businesses for the first time in recent history. The President held a Summit on Entrepreneurship in 2010, and at the end of 2011, two separate bills with the purpose of helping companies start and grow were introduced in the U.S. Senate.

More firms enjoy tax-free status

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Wall Street Journal
By: John D. Mckinnon
January 10, 2012

More firms enjoy tax-free status

StoneMor Partners LP, the publicly traded firm that specializes in running cemeteries, expects to see handsome profits in coming years as baby boomers age and die. But unlike its largest rivals, its corporate tax bill from the federal government will be zero.

How to reclaim the American dream

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

US News
By: Rick Newman
January 6, 2012

How to reclaim the American dream

Elusive prosperity will be the dominant theme in this year's elections. President Obama maintains that his policies have helped a badly wounded economy start to heal, and that re-electing him will continue the rehabilitation. His Republican opponent is sure to argue that Obama's medicine has been ineffective, with more drastic measures needed. With many voters still reeling from a brutal recession and a decade of sliding incomes, the debate will be personal and intense.

Poverty 2.0

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Huffington Post
By: Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children's Defense Fund
January 6, 2012

Poverty 2.0

As the new year's news cycles turn to presidential politics and primary contests, there is another story our leaders should be talking a lot about -- and acting to alleviate. End-of-year news stories about holiday spending happily reported on the unexpectedly high totals many Americans spent -- or put on credit -- this year. But for millions of families there was another story: how to provide enough food and shelter and keep alive the spirit, wonder, and joy of the season for their children when resources are scarce?

Chicago Sun-Times
By: Adeshina Emmanuel
January 6, 2012

Number of homeless students surges, putting strain on schools

At 15, Jarvis Nelson should be in high school and even thinking about college.

Yet Jarvis is in seventh grade, and doesn't know where he'll go to high school -- or even where he will be living -- when he graduates from junior high, hopefully next year.

The Christian Science Monitor
By: Tim Chen
January 6, 2012.

Why banks shun 30 million Americans

They are 30 million consumers, representing a quarter of U.S. households, who earn a collective $1.3 trillion a year. But banks don't want to serve them, because they lose money. And the nonfinancial institutions who do serve them may not be offering them much value in the long term.

Providence Journal
By: Joan Marshall
January 8, 2012

Start college savings when kids are in diapers

Education beyond high school is a key to success later in life. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 62 percent of all U.S. jobs now require a minimum of two-year or four-year degrees or special post-secondary training. That number is expected to increase to 75 percent by 2020.

Buffalo News (New York)
By: Jonathan D. Epstein
January 6, 2012

Residents buy Marilla mobile home park; State, nonprofit helped Bush Gardens residents

The residents of a low-income Marilla mobile home community have taken matters into their own hands, using help from the state to buy the community itself from a Rochester-based corporation.

El Chieftain (CFED)
By: Sherry Robinson
January 7, 2012

The more things change, the more they stay the same

On the state's 75th anniversary of statehood, historian Richard Melzer asked how New Mexico's economy - in 1987 and the previous 75 years - could be described in the same terms: alternately sunny and gloomy. We're still asking that question this year on the statehood centennial.

TIME
By: Brad Tuttle
January 5, 2011

CFPB's First Move with a Director in Place: Confront 'Nonbanks'

President Obama alongside CFPB head Richard Cordray after speaking about the economy in Shaker Heights, Ohio.One day after President Obama appointed Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over the objections of Senate Republicans, the bureau announced the launch of a new "nonbank supervision program."

TIME
By: Josh Sanburn
January 5, 2012

The loss of upward mobility in the U.S.

Economic mobility is becoming a more prominent issue in the 2012 Republican presidential race, and will likely be widely discussed in the general election. The GOP's remaining top-tier candidates -- Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich -- have all sounded the alarm about American decline, promising to restore the "American Dream" and make the pursuit of happiness seem like more of a worthwhile endeavor (as Romney as consistently hammered on about recently). But what's shocking is that rather than focusing on the American Dream these days, politicians and academics seem to be talking more about the European Dream.

The Atlantic
By: Derek Thompson
January 6, 2012

The GOP's weird obsession with poor people not paying enough taxes

Here's a fresh quote from the latest non-Romney front-runner in the GOP presidential race. "This dividing of America [between] 99-1," Rick Santorum said this morning in New Hampshire, "It's anybody that makes money and pays taxes and everybody who doesn't. That's the 99-1."

The New York Times
By: Annie Lowrey
January 6, 2012

Big study links good teachers to lasting gain

Elementary- and middle-school teachers who help raise their students' standardized-test scores seem to have a wide-ranging, lasting positive effect on those students' lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates and greater college matriculation and adult earnings, according to a new study that tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years.

States News Service
January 5, 2012

New report: Children's savings vital to college success children with savings accounts are 6 times more likely to attend college

Today, the New America Foundation and the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis (CSD) released the first of a four-part series of reports "Creating a Financial Stake in College" that outline the vital role that children's savings play in achieving college success. This series builds on CSD research led by Professor William Elliott III that shows children who expect to graduate from a four-year college and have a savings account in their name are about six times more likely to attend college than similar children without an account, controlling for many other factors.

Children win in 'Race To Save'

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

States News Service
January 5, 2012

Children win in 'Race To Save'

The "Race To Save" campaign, sponsored by the American Bankers Association Education Foundation, resulted in more than 61,000 new children's savings accounts at banks across the country. The ABA Education Foundation initiated the campaign last year by challenging banks to open 15,000 new children's accounts in 2011 in an effort to promote savings among America's youth.

The Washington Post
By: David Ignatius
January 4, 2012

The danger in a declining middle class

It's a sign of these unsettled times that the analyst who famously announced "the end of history" in 1989, when the Soviet empire was crumbling and liberal, free-market democracy seemed inevitable, has published a new essay with the provocative title "The Future of History."

The Huffington Post
By: Ben Hallman
January 4, 2012

Richard Cordray's recess appointment gives consumer agency full power

The new government agency tasked with looking after the best financial interests of ordinary consumers finally has a leader.

Obama fails on minimum wage pledge

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Huffington Post
By: Dave Jamieson
January 5, 2012

Obama fails on minimum wage pledge

In 2008, then-President-elect Barack Obama made an ambitious pledge as part of his agenda to fight poverty, one he claimed would help "make work pay for all Americans" in an era of widening economic inequality: By the end of 2011, he would raise the federal minimum wage to $9.50 an hour and index it to inflation, "to make sure that full-time workers can earn a living wage," as his transition team's website put it.

Living by default

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The New Yorker
By: James Surowiecki
December 19, 2011

Living by default

We normally say that a company "went bankrupt," implying that it had no choice. But when, recently, American Airlines filed for bankruptcy, it did so deliberately. The airline had four billion dollars in the bank and could have kept paying its bills. But it has been losing money for a while, and its board decided that it was foolish to keep throwing good money after bad. Declaring bankruptcy will trim American's debt load and allow it to break its union contracts, so that it can slim down and cut costs.

The New York Times
By: Jason Deparle
January 4, 2012

Harder for Americans to rise from lower rungs

Benjamin Franklin did it. Henry Ford did it. And American life is built on the faith that others can do it, too: rise from humble origins to economic heights. "Movin' on up," George Jefferson-style, is not only a sitcom song but a civil religion.

The Connecticut Mirror
By: Uma Ramiah
January 3, 2012

Banking the "unbanked" in Connecticut

It's expensive to be poor. And it's compounded by a struggling economy.

In response, Connecticut is one of many states pushing financial literacy training. The Connecticut Association for Human Services (CAHS) and Citi Community Development (CCD) have announced a new effort to set up low-income people with "safe" bank accounts and basic financial education. It's called Bank On Connecticut.

Tampa Tribune (Florida)
By: Jeffrey Faulkner
December 27, 2011

Addressing the barriers to employment

The U.S. Census Bureau's release of 2010 data on income, poverty and health insurance in the United States paints a bleak picture of America's economic realities. According to the data, the poverty rate rose to 15.1 percent, its highest level since 1993. That translates to 42.6 million people living below the poverty line. The ranks of the underemployed also have grown, with those employed part-time for economic reasons rising from 8.4 million to 8.8 million.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Robert Frank
December 27, 2011

Will 2012 be the next "1932" for the wealthy?

For the American wealthy, the year 1932 always conjures The Nightmare Scenario.

It was the year of reckoning both financially and politically.

After the 1929 crash and anemic recovery, American voters rose up in a wave of populist anger and sought to bring down the powerful cartels and plutocrats that they blamed for the country's ills. Labor unrest was rife. In 1932, thousands of war veterans marched on Washington to demand their promised cash bonuses.

Raising standards for Head Start

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The New York Times
January 3, 2012

The Head Start program, which prepares disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds for school, has served nearly 30 million children since it was created in 1965. While there is little doubt that the federal program is critically important for these children and their parents, quality varies widely among programs.

The Huffington Post
By: Alexander Eichler
January 3, 2012

Child poverty tops 20 percent in half of U.S. states: Report

Child poverty is getting worse in America. And with more and more states seeing their populations of disadvantaged youth soar beyond pre-recession levels, the crisis is far from limited to a few troubled states.

The Huffington Post
By: Jillian Berman
January 3, 2012

More regressive tax code contributed to growing income inequality before crisis: Report

A national shift toward a more regressive tax code played a significant role in further increasing the wealth gap in the years leading up to the financial crisis, according to a new government report.

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
December 29, 2011

4 ways to start your kids with credit

Most parents with heavy credit card debt want their kids to avoid the same mistake. But they are not sure how to coach them and, according to a new survey, would love for credit card management to be a required class in high school.

The New York Times
By: Robert Pear
January 2, 2012

New laws now evaluated by job creation

After years of judging the merits of federal laws by their costs or savings, Washington is applying a new yardstick: Will they create or destroy jobs?

Los Angeles Times
By: Michael Hiltzik
December 31, 2011

Presidential campaign needs to get real on salvaging middle class

Occupy Wall Street and its coast-to-coast spinoffs captured the headlines in 2011, but the economic debate it helped trigger should reverberate deep into 2012.

The Wall Street Journal
By: E.S. Browning
December 31, 2011

Aging and broke, more lean on family

More aging Americans are doing something they never would have imagined: turning to family for financial aid. Some are even asking their children for a place to live.

The Atlantic
By: Anu Partanen
December 29, 2011

What Americans keep ignoring about Finland's school success

Everyone agrees the United States needs to improve its education system dramatically, but how? One of the hottest trends in education reform lately is looking at the stunning success of the West's reigning education superpower, Finland. Trouble is, when it comes to the lessons that Finnish schools have to offer, most of the discussion seems to be missing the point.

Nobody understands debt

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The New York Times
By: Paul Krugman
January 1, 2012

Nobody understands debt

In 2011, as in 2010, America was in a technical recovery but continued to suffer from disastrously high unemployment. And through most of 2011, as in 2010, almost all the conversation in Washington was about something else: the allegedly urgent issue of reducing the budget deficit.

The Lexington Herald Leader (Kentucky)
By: Bill Estep
January 2, 2012

Houseboat factory builds modular homes that could revive industry

Dennis Reynolds' new house isn't just a place to live. It's an experiment.

The 1,000-square-foot modular home is one of two prototype structures built during the past year in a project to develop highly energy-efficient, relatively low-cost houses that may be built at southern Kentucky factories that ordinarily produce houseboats.

The New York Times
By: Gretchen Morgenson
January 1, 2012

A year of me-firsts, and of lessons relearned

Live and learn. And well we should, given that 2011 was packed with teachable moments.

Some of this stuff we already knew. Like the fact that banks love the perks that come with being too big to fail. They will lobby shamelessly to hang on to their riskiest businesses and stay perilously large. No surprise, really. A heads-we-win, tails-the-taxpayers-lose model has a lot going for it, at least for executives atop these institutions.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2011 is the previous archive.

February 2012 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.