February 2012 Archives

TIME
By: Rana Foroohar
February 28, 2012

The economics of marriage: Will "putting a ring on it" cut poverty?

I have been thinking a lot about the economics of marriage, especially given that it's such a huge issue in the Republican primaries. Rick Santorum has argued that to avoid poverty, all Americans need to do is finish high school and get married. But is it really that simple? To quote Beyonce, would poverty go away if we "put a ring on it?"

The Atlantic
By: Emily Badger and Kaid Benfield
February 28, 2012

How more expensive housing can actually cost you less

Housing policymakers have long lamented the trend of home-buyers who "drive to qualify." If they can't find anything affordable in the city, house hunters wander farther and father out in search of a mortgage or a rent payment that matches their pocketbook. But of course, there's a serious flaw in this thinking: The farther you go in search of cheaper housing, the more expensive your transportation costs become.

The Washington Post
By: Michael A. Fletcher
February 29, 2012

Housing market continues to hobble economic recovery

The nation's home prices have fallen to their lowest level since 2002, according to a private report, casting a troubling shadow over what has otherwise been a brightening economic recovery.

The Urban Institute (CFED)
By: Gregory Mills
February 29, 2012

"Liquid asset poverty" and prolonged joblessness: The recession ripples on

On January 31, the Corporation for Enterprise Development released its annual Assets and Opportunity Scorecard. For the first time, the report included estimates of "liquid asset poverty"--the share of American households with insufficient liquid assets (e.g., bank accounts, stocks, mutual funds, and retirement accounts) to subsist at the poverty level for three months. In 2009 an estimated 43 percent of U.S. households did not have enough liquid assets to protect themselves from a major income loss or emergency expense. This represented a slight uptick from the pre-recession level of 41 percent in 2006. Among states, liquid asset poverty rates in 2009 varied by a factor of more than two, with Hawaii, New Hampshire, and Vermont below 25 percent, while Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and West Virginia each topped 55 percent.

The Huffington Post (CFED)
By: Alexander Eichler
February 28, 2012

Growing number of Americans can't afford food, study finds

Here in the United States, growing numbers of people can't afford that most basic of necessities: food.

The Washington Post
By: Marc A. Thiessen
February 27, 2012

Republicans are losing the class warfare fight

No doubt Barack Obama would love to reprise Ronald Reagan's 1984 "Morning in America" reelection campaign, but the anemic economy is not cooperating. Without a robust recovery to trumpet, the president is betting his reelection on class warfare -- focusing on "income inequality" and "fairness." Class warfare is not a winning strategy, but it is the only card Obama has to play.

The Huffington Post
By: Alex Wirth, Forum for Youth Investment
February 27, 2012

A step in the right direction on youth empowerment

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in Tunisia this past weekend about how the aspirations and needs of young people present a crucial challenge for our country, Tunisia, and nations across the world.

The New York Times
By: Motoko Rich
February 24, 2012

Rents keep rising, even as housing prices fall

The housing market remains a potent drag on the economy as home prices continue to slip, foreclosed homes fill some neighborhoods and millions of construction workers scramble for jobs.

Great Falls Tribune (CFED)
February 27, 2012

Health co-op is a good idea for uninsured Montanans

Critics of the 2-year-old Affordable Care Act don't like it -- we're not sure they'd like anything that might actually work during a presidential election year -- but it was heartening to see that Montana was on the short list of states to benefit from the first round of funding for health care co-ops.

The Connecticut Mirror (CFED)
By: Uma Ramiah
February 27, 2012

Income, race and working population trends: a perfect storm for Connecticut?

Like Connecticut, Florida, Georgia and Texas have aging working populations.

But unlike Connecticut, those three southern states are attracting younger, highly educated professionals who will replace older workers when they retire.

The Huffington Post
By: Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
February 27, 2012

A Billion+Change: Supporting nonprofits through skills-based pro bono service

What does it mean to help those whom we traditionally rely upon to help others?

According to the Independent Sector, America's 1.5 million nonprofits employ nine percent of the U.S. workforce and contribute five percent to our nation's total economic activity. And everyone recognizes that these nonprofits are playing a larger role as millions of Americans faced with tough economic challenges have turned to nonprofit organizations for help in meeting many essential needs.

The Huffington Post
By: Janell Ross
February 26, 2012

Michigan welfare cuts forcing people back to work or straining safety net?

Last week, while working on a documentary about hunger in Michigan, Russ Russell had an experience that left him speechless.

5 states with the worst credit scores

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TIME
By: Martha C. White
February 24, 2012

5 states with the worst credit scores

What's in a number? When that number is your credit score, it's the key that gives you access to credit cards, mortgages and other loans. Anything below 720 can make it tougher or more expensive to get a loan now, which means a number like 622 is bad news. Unfortunately, that's the average credit score in the state of Mississippi, the lowest in the country.First-of-the-worst Mississippi is followed by Arkansas, where the average score is 634, then Louisiana and West Virginia, both of which have averages of 635. South Carolina, with an average of 636, rounds out the bottom five. Credit education site CreditKarma.com crunched the numbers based on data drawn from its user base.

The Washington Post
By: Associated Press
February 26, 2012

Change on federal benefits payments could leave child support debtors with no income

Old child support debts could cost thousands of poor men their only income next year because of a policy aimed at reducing the cost to the government of mailing paper checks to pay federal benefits.

National League of Cities
By: Michael Karpman
February 27, 2012

Report shows sharp increase in number of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods

A new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation highlights a steep rise in the number of children living in concentrated poverty in the nation's cities and towns over the last decade.

Education Week (CFED)
February 23, 2012

CFED shows shocking statistics on poverty in America -- and dangerous implications for education

The recent release by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) of their 2012 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard contains alarming statistics, an unconscionable portrait of this democratic nation:

The Huffington Post
By: Joy Resmovits
February 22, 2012

Charter school segregation target of new report

Charter schools often promise to bring greater equity to education, but a new brief starts with the assumption that they fall short in delivery -- and provides recommendations to fix the alleged injustice.

Unemployment and poverty in America

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The Huffington Post
By: Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)
February 22, 2012

Unemployment and poverty in America

The recent payroll tax deal struck by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama will keep an average of $1,000 in the pockets of 160 million American families through 2012 in addition to enabling tens of millions of seniors to continue seeing the doctor of their choice under Medicare. It also provides unemployment benefits for millions of people who have been unable to find a job; however many Republicans continued to ignore the impact unemployment insurance has on poverty in America. They argue that jobless individuals would rather collect unemployment benefits than look for work. This argument is both insensitive and baseless.

TIME
By: Brad Tuttle
February 22, 2012

Why you're supposed to be extra focused on saving money this week

If you're been splurging and throwing money around lately, perhaps you didn't get the memo: February 19 to 26 is officially dubbed "America Saves Week." Feel free to go back to your freespending ways starting February 27.

The Washington Post
By: Valerie Strauss
February 23, 2012

Economic growth starts with education overhaul

If there is one thing on which most people in the education world agree - and, in fact, there may only be this one thing - it is that American schools must modernize for this high-tech, globally competitive century. Schools designed to educate millions of Americans in the 1900s remain stuck in 20th-century design, curriculum and assessment.

NPR
By: Claudio Sanchez
February 18, 2012

In today's economy, how far can a GED take you?

Every year, roughly 750,000 high school dropouts try to improve their educational and employment prospects by taking the General Educational Development test, or GED, long considered to be the equivalent of a high school diploma.

NPR
By: Aarti Shahani
February 23, 2012

With banks as landlords, some tenants neglected

Across the country, big banks and other large investors are buying up tens of thousands of foreclosed rental properties. They're not always model landlords, according to tenants and regulators. Some banks are failing to follow local and state housing codes, leaving tenants to live in squalor -- without even a number to call in the most dire situations.

The Huffington Post
By: Kimberly Hefling
February 20, 2012

Obama higher ed plan: President takes a tougher stance on higher education

Access to college has been the driving force in federal higher education policy for decades. But the Obama administration is pushing a fundamental agenda shift that aggressively brings a new question into the debate: What are people getting for their money?

Job creators: It's not just the 1%

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The Huffington Post
Noel A. Poyo; Executive Director for the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders
February 22, 2012

Job creators: It's not just the 1%

"Job killer!" "Job taker!" These are epithets that are too often hurled in our present political discussion. The slow pace of the economic recovery, and the persistence of high unemployment, has rightly focused our national dialogue on job creation. But many politicians have taken to draping the mantle of job creator over almost any policy or project that they want to advance. Putting our nation back to work is too important to allow empty rhetoric to go unexamined; it is too important to overlook effective economic development.

The Atlantic
By: Derek Thompson
February 19, 2012

The intractable tragedy of long-term unemployment

The vast majority of the 5.5 million long-term unemployed have been out of work for more than a year. For this installment of "Working it Out," we asked you if the government should enact special programs to help the long-term unemployed. We've received more than 100 responses. Here are some of the smartest, most heartfelt, and most provocative.

The Janesville Gazette (Wisconsin)
By: Catherine Idzerda
February 21, 2012

Intergenerational poverty passes plight to next generation

Donna Beegle had a nasty attitude.

She was the master of the vicious comeback, the queen of the smart remark.

She didn't just bite the hand that fed her, she insulted it.

But here's what she really wanted: A place for her children to sleep, something to eat, and someone on her side -- a companion in the unending grind of poverty.

The Washington Post
By: Ylan Q. Mui
February 22, 2012

Consumer watchdog launches overdraft inquiry

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is expected to launch an inquiry Wednesday into banks' overdraft practices, which have been in regulatory crosshairs in recent years.

Obama proposes tax revamp

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Damian Paletta and John D. Mckinnon
February 22, 2012

Obama proposes tax revamp

The Obama administration will propose lowering the top income-tax rate for corporations to 28% from 35% but would raise overall tax revenue by eliminating dozens of popular deductions in an effort to restructure the corporate tax code.

The Anniston Star (CFED)
By: Ron Gilbert
February 19, 2012

Balancing act is needed: State must do more to protect its residents

Bills to offer incentives for economic development have been on a fast track in the opening days of the 2012 Alabama legislative session.

Educating two generations

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The Huffington Post
By: Anne Mosle, Executive Director of Ascend, Aspen Institute
February 19, 2012

Educating two generations

When President Obama released his budget last week, he laid out some ideas to loosen the grip of poverty. I have one to add: two-generation strategies that educate both parents and children at the same time.

The face of poverty in America

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The Huffington Post
By: Paul Stoller
February 21, 2012

The face of poverty in America

It's not hard to see the face of poverty in America. You can see it on any street in just about any town -- homeless people who sit on park benches, poor people who line up at the food pantry, or out of work people who wait for hours in the unemployment office. Even if we encounter poverty, we usually choose not to see it. Better to close our eyes than to think about the suffering of the poor.

The Huffington Post
By: Bruce Judson
February 20, 2012

Why inequality matters: The housing crisis, our justice system and capitalism

Extreme economic inequality is among the most destructive forces in a society. As inequality grows, it undermines the effective functioning of the economy, the basic tenets of capitalism, and the foundations of democracy.

The Washington Post
By: Bob Reiss
February 17, 2012

How health-care costs are taxing the middle class

I never saw my roommate's face. His voice came from the other side of a curtain. "I've been in the hospital for two months, for a hole in my foot," he said. "They want to send me to rehab now. But I want to stay here. I like it here. I think I should stay for another month."

The Wall Street Journal
By: David Skeel, University of Pennsylvania
February 21, 2012

Mortgage settlement or mortgage shakedown?

The $25 billion mortgage settlement negotiated on Feb. 9 by the administration and 49 state attorneys general with five big banks has been greeted with considerable political suspicion. Conservatives see a shakedown and liberals dismiss it as too little. The biggest loser is the rule of law.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Clare Ansberry
February 21, 2012

As job market mends, dropouts fall behind

While the U.S. job market is showing signs of improvement, one sizable group of workers has been falling further behind: high-school dropouts.

The Dallas Observer (CFED)
By: Anna Merlan
February 16, 2012

Rawlings: We must 'take notice' of high number of Dallasites so close to asset poverty

If you need a new benchmark to measure just how broke you are, try "asset poverty." Asset-poor households would be unable to survive for three months at the federal poverty level if some crisis caused them to lose their source of income. As Robert mentioned earlier, asset poverty is the subject of a new study conducted by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) and funded by the Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) and the Thomson Family Foundation. It's also a frightening problem in Dallas, affecting some two out of five people, or 39 percent of the city's residents.

Yale School of Management News (CFED)
February 20, 2012

Andrea Levere '83 discusses asset building as a path out of poverty

Most people think of poverty as a lack of income. But for someone trying to move out of poverty, said Andrea Levere '83, president of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), "income is important but insufficient. Our focus is to build assets to get people out of poverty."

The Huffington Post
By: Emily Cohn
February 16, 2012

Financial distress still plagues American families, despite increase in jobs

Seth was in his 20s on spring break in Florida when he fell into a debt trap. Alongside the cocktails on the beach and wet T-shirt contests were credit card companies, enticing young spenders with free food and apparel in exchange for signing up for a credit card.

The Huffington Post
By: Alexander Eichler
February 16, 2012

America's poorest people running out of places to live: Study

The poorest people in America are running out of places to live.

In every state in the country, there are people looking for cheap rental housing -- and in every state, there aren't enough units available, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a nonprofit organization.

How the stinking rich ate the economy

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The Atlantic
By: Timmothy Noah
February 16, 2012

How the stinking rich ate the economy

If a $100,000-a-year household thinks itself to be middle class," the neoconservative writer Irving Kristol once wrote, "then it is middle class." This sentiment is widely held, but it makes no mathematical sense. Any family whose income exceeds that of 90 percent of all other families cannot sensibly be called anything but rich. To believe otherwise would oblige you to judge your child mediocre when his teacher gives him an A.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Alan S. Blinder
February 13, 2012

Memo to Mitt: The safety net needs fixing

In this space last month, I suggested enacting some modest tax cuts and spending increases, sharply targeted at job creation, and coupling that with substantial future deficit reduction--enough to pay the bill many times over. It's an abstract idea. But a specific case in point is now dangling in a House-Senate conference.

The Washington Post
By: Yian Q. Mui,
February 16, 2012

Consumer agency wants oversight of debt collectors, credit bureaus

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday sought to bring debt collectors and credit bureaus under its purview, marking the first time the often controversial industries would be subject to federal supervision.

Assets shrinking for many in Miss.

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Jackson Clarion Ledger (CFED)
By: Cassandra Mickens
February 16, 2012

Assets shrinking for many in Miss.

One in three Mississippians have little or no cash cushion to weather a financial crisis, according to a new report released by the national nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development.

The Dallas Observer (CFED)
By: Robert Wilonsky
February 16, 2012

Two-fifths of Dallas households are a crisis away from serious financial trouble

At this very moment Anna's at the press conference over at Communities Foundation of Texas's Caruth Haven HQ, where Mayor Mike Rawlings, among others, are poring over the details of the CFT's latest study, conducted by Corporation for Enterprise Development, which looks at "the scope and scale of financial insecurity among households in Dallas." The event's scheduled to run about an hour, which gives you time to study up on the eight-page doc, which warns that "two-fifths of Dallas households are just a crisis away from serious financial trouble or even homelessness," in the words of CFT's president and CEO Brent Christopher.

The Des Moines Register
February 15, 2012

Iowa House and Branstad should ok earned income tax credit

Iowa's income tax would be more equitable for low-income working Iowans under a bill passed unanimously Tuesday by the state Senate. It is only the beginning of what needs to be done to reform Iowa's tax system that falls too heavily on the working poor.

CNN
By: Amar C. Bakshi (interview with Sheldon Garon)
February 16, 2012

Why America spends while the world saves

Amar C. Bakshi: U.S. household saving rates peaked in the 1980s at around 11 percent, and by 2005, they had plummeted to near zero. How did America go from a nation of savers to a nation of consumers?

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
February 15, 2012

Why giving your kids an allowance may not teach them anything

Lewis Mandell has gone renegade. An esteemed educator and early proponent of teaching kids about money in the classroom, Mandell has in recent years come to see financial education as largely futile -- and now he's even railing against allowance.

The Washington Post
By: Mark Naison, professor of African America Studies, Fordham University
February 16, 2012

Are public schools unfairly blamed for America's economic woes?

After the publication of my first book, in 1983, I went on a lecture tour that took me to Buffalo, Youngstown, Bridgeport, Newark, Detroit, Trenton, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, where I toured industrial districts. What I saw was chilling.

USA Today
By: Marisol Bello
February 15, 2012

Seniors rise from poverty; young fall in

Living in rural North Carolina, Linda Sue Jones doesn't see her teenage son as the archetype of a national trend.

PR Newswire (CFED)
February 15, 2012

The Aspen Institute announces "two-generation" approach to move families beyond poverty

Today the Aspen Institute's Ascend program released a report announcing a two-generation approach that targets education for both children and their parents, to help families achieve economic security.

The Guardian
By: Kevin Powell
February 10, 1012

The Peter Paul Center route out of poverty

The east end of Richmond, Virginia is a community rich in people, but depressingly poor otherwise. It's like every other inner city in America. It is strikingly similar to the impoverished section of Jersey City, where I was born and raised. Just as in the days of Jim Crow, the racial and class segregation is real, amplified these days by the gentrification masked as "redevelopment," with whites re-taking chunks of the east end abandoned since the white flight of the 1960s.

Los Angeles Times
By: Walter Hamilton
February 15, 2012

Obama wants to lower taxes for middle class by scratching the AMT

President Obama is combining his proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy with a new effort to lower the levy on middle-class Americans.

The New York Times
By: Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff
February 11, 2012

Even critics of safety net increasingly depend on it

Ki Gulbranson owns a logo apparel shop, deals in jewelry on the side and referees youth soccer games. He makes about $39,000 a year and wants you to know that he does not need any help from the federal government.

The Argus Leader (CFED)
By: Kelly Thurman
February 14, 2012

South Dakota: Good in savings, poor in pay, debt

At 4.2 percent, South Dakota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation.

The Huffington Post
By: Mark Shriver
February 13, 2012

Obama shifts forward as education gap widens

The New York Times on Friday led with a story about a new Stanford University study that found the education gap between kids from wealthier families and ones struggling with poverty widened to a giant chasm over the last generation.

The New York Times
By: Tamar Lewin
February 14, 2012

Money urged for colleges to perform job training

As part of his budget, President Obama on Monday proposed an $8 billion Community College to Career Fund, with the goal of training two million workers for well-paying jobs in high-demand industries.

Obama seeks new taxes on rich

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Carol E. Lee and Damian Paletta
February 14, 2012

Obama seeks new taxes on rich

President Barack Obama called on Congress Monday to enact new taxes on the wealthy, restructure the tax code and approve short-term spending measures as part of an election-year budget plan aimed at boosting job growth and helping the middle class.

It's the wealth gap, stupid

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Mother Jones
By: Reid Cramer
February 13, 2012

It's the wealth gap, stupid

When Mitt Romney bowed to political pressure and released his 2010 tax return, it showed, to no one's great surprise, that the Romneys are rich. Really, really rich. They reported income of more than $21 million, itemized deductions of over $4.5 million, and a total tax bill of just over $3 million. They made charitable contributions of almost $3 million, although more than half of that went to their church.

Texans' financial health is failing

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The Dallas Morning News (CFED)
By: Pamela Yip
February 13, 2012

Texans' financial health is failing

If there ever was a wake-up call about how urgent Texans' finances are, this is it.

A recent report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development and Opportunity Texas found that more than a quarter of Texans are teetering on the edge of poverty.

The Olympian (CFED)
February 14, 2012

Multiple weapons needed to blunt poverty, promote recovery

Nearly one of every four residents in Washington state has little or no financial cushion to rely on in case of a medical emergency, sudden job loss or other catastrophic event leads to a sudden loss of income.

The Atlantic
By: Jordan Weissmann
February 11, 2012

Occupy kindergarten: The rich-poor divide starts with education

Economic class is increasingly becoming the great dividing line of American education.

The New York Times has published a roundup of recent research showing the growing academic achievement gap between rich and poor students. It prominently features a paper by Stanford professor Sean F. Reardon, which found that, since the 1960s, the difference in test scores between affluent and underprivileged students has grown 40%, and is now twice the gap between black and white students. (Graph courtesy of the Times.)

National Journal
By: Ronald Brownstein
February 11, 2012

Who are the real 'freeloaders': The poor or the old?

During a 1992 campaign stop, George H.W. Bush entered the lore of classic campaign blunders by reading the stage directions on his cue cards. ("Message: I care," he declared.)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (CFED)
By: Craig Schneider
February 10, 2012

Georgia is dead last in financial security

Georgians live closer to the financial edge than anyone else in the nation, and the danger extends beyond the poor to the middle class, according to a newly published in-depth analysis.

Boston Herald (CFED)
By: Ira Kantor
February 12, 2012

More Mass. residents lack rainy-day funds

One in four Bay State households lacks the savings or other assets necessary to survive financially for three months in the event of a job loss or other emergency leading to reduced income, according to a new national poverty ranking.

Daily Finance (CFED)
By: Bruce Watson
February 13, 2012

How state taxes put a bigger pinch on the poor

Over the last few months, as Republican presidential candidates have unveiled a stream of plans to cut taxes, they've consistently focused their rhetoric on a very narrow spectrum of our tax burden -- income tax as a percentage of income -- to suggest that the poorest Americans get a free ride at the expense of the wealthiest.

Repairing the safety net

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The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
By: Robert Greenstein
February 7, 2012

Repairing the safety net

Mitt Romney said last week that if the safety net "needs a repair, I'll fix it." It does need some repair, as our recent blog series explained. That is, the safety net works but still has some serious gaps.

The Huffington Post
February 10, 2012

Total health care costs fall when poor are provided insurance: Study

The concept of support for universal health care is taboo among Republicans who scrutinize the Affordable Care Act -- dubbing it the "Job-Killing Health Care Law Act" -- and call for its repeal. But a new UC Irvine study challenges the GOP argument that the health care law is too costly, with data illustrating that health care costs on the whole fall when poorer, uninsured patients are provided with insurance.

Will inequality keep getting worse?

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The Atlantic
By: Megan McArdle
February 9, 2012

Will inequality keep getting worse?

Last October, after a conversation with Chicago Booth professor Steve Kaplan, I posted this graph showing that the share of national income going to the top 1% had fallen dramatically.

Money and morals

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The New York Times
By: Paul Krugman
February 10, 2012

Money and morals

Lately inequality has re-entered the national conversation. Occupy Wall Street gave the issue visibility, while the Congressional Budget Office supplied hard data on the widening income gap. And the myth of a classless society has been exposed: Among rich countries, America stands out as the place where economic and social status is most likely to be inherited.

The New York Times
By: Sabrina Tavernise
February 9, 2012

Education gap grows between rich and poor, studies say

Education was historically considered a great equalizer in American society, capable of lifting less advantaged children and improving their chances for success as adults. But a body of recently published scholarship suggests that the achievement gap between rich and poor children is widening, a development that threatens to dilute education's leveling effects.

The Nation (CFED)
By: Greg Kaufmann
February 10, 2012

Perfect storm threatens long-term unemployed

In December, there were more than 13 million unemployed workers and about four people looking for work for every available job. According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), 5.5 million people have been unemployed for more than half a year, up from 1.2 million in 2007, and the average duration for an unemployed person is over 9 months.

Forbes
By: Halah Touryalai
February 8, 2012

Student debt: The next financial crisis?

The mortgage debt crisis has barely been resolved but there's already talk of the next big financial crisis in the U.S.: student debt.

The Huffington Post
By: Carolyn S. Miles, President, Save the Children
February 6, 2012

We mustn't let poverty get in the way of learning

My work with Save the Children takes me all around the world. In just the past few months, I've traveled to Egypt, Uganda, Kenya and several places in between. Everywhere I go, I meet people who are doing remarkable work for children and hear about how individuals are giving their all to keep kids in their community safe, healthy and happy. But one of the stories that I find replaying over and over in my head is a story I heard right here in America's backyard, at St. Paul Elementary School in Clarendon County, South Carolina.

The Washington Post
February 8, 2012

Survey: Many believe young adults hit hardest in economy as jobs gap between young, old widens

Squeezed by a tight job market, young Americans are especially struggling. They have suffered bigger income losses than other age groups and are less likely to be employed than at any time since World War II.

The white underclass

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The New York Times
By: Nicholas D. Kristof
February 8, 2012

The white underclass

Persistent poverty is America's great moral challenge, but it's far more than that.

As a practical matter, we can't solve educational problems, health care costs, government spending or economic competitiveness so long as a chunk of our population is locked in an underclass. Historically, "underclass" has often been considered to be a euphemism for race, but increasingly it includes elements of the white working class as well.

The Associated Press (CFED)
By: Kathy Barks Hoffman
February 8, 2012

Mich., Pa. put limits on families seeking food aid

The 2010 Buick Enclave parked in her garage kept Michigan resident Renee Moore from getting food stamps for two months last year, even though her family's income had dropped to below the poverty level, her husband's Ford Explorer had 300,000 miles on it and her family had less than $1,000 in the bank.

The college debt bubble

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The Huffington Post
By: Jason Stanford
February 7, 2012

The college debt bubble

For parents trying to save so their kids can go to college -- and I'm one of them -- Barack Obama's latest State of the Union was the Emancipation Proclamation. Americans now owe more on their college loans than on their credit cards, and the price of a higher education is rising twice as fast as inflation.

The Huffington Post
By: Robert Levin
February 7, 2012

The government's secret war against small business

Election season or not, you can always depend on politicians to talk about how important small businesses are to the economy. Ironically, it's these same politicians who often pass legislation that makes it harder and more costly to do business. In New York, for example, businesses are scrambling to comply with the Wage Theft Prevention Act (for more on this insane burden on businesses see this recent article). But what I am about to tell you is despicable because it is hurting small businesses without passing a single law. And it isn't getting media attention either.

Chicago Sun-Times
By: Francine Knowles
February 8, 2012

Discover to help teens become financially savvy

Public high school students will get help in becoming financially savvy thanks to a $10 million, five-year personal finance education program being unveiled Wednesday by Riverwoods-based Discover Financial Services.

How safe is net for the poor?

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The Seattle Times
By: Jerry Large
February 6, 2012

How safe is net for the poor?

After Robert Plotnick spoke the other night, a man in the audience asked, "Was Jesus right?"

Well, of course he was. In this case the subject was poverty and Plotnick had spent 10 minutes in front of a couple of charts explaining that the country hasn't gotten far since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty in 1964.

The Republic (CFED)
By: Russ Wiles
February 7, 2012

Bankruptcy filings decline in Phoenix area this year

Fewer Arizonans are turning to bankruptcy to deal with their finances, and the momentum is building.

NPR
By: Larry Abramson
February 7, 2012

UC students propose alternative to tuition increases

Chris LoCascio, a junior at UC Riverside, feared that there was no end in sight for tuition increases at the University of California. The state kept cutting subsidies, students kept protesting, but no one had any answers. So he and other students decided to turn the discussion on its head.

The Huffington Post
By: Robert Reich
February 6, 2012

The downward mobility of the American middle class, and why Mitt Romney doesn't know

January's increase in hiring is good news, but it masks a bigger and more disturbing story -- the continuing downward mobility of the American middle class.

Chicago Sun-Times
By: Jesse Jackson
February 7, 2012

Many are like Romney - 'not concerned' about very poor

Last week, Mitt Romney created a firestorm for saying that "I'm not concerned about the very poor." Romney later explained that he "misspoke," and that he'd said something "similar to that, but quite acceptable, for a long time."

The New York Times
By: Michael Powel
February 7, 2012

That comeback trail for the economy? Here, it's littered with foreclosures

To walk 145th Street in South Jamaica, past red-brick homes with metal awnings and chain-link fences, is to find a storm of immense destructive power still raging.

Erie Times-News (CFED)
February 7, 2012

Only 1 in 5 Pennsylvanians has a savings cushion

Only one in five Pennsylvanians has enough savings to cover three months of living expenses in the event of a layoff or loss of steady income, according to a report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development.

The Union Leader (CFED)
By: Denis Paiste
February 03, 2012

IDA marks 10 years of accomplishments

Nearly half of low-income savers have achieved their purchasing goals - including buying a home - through the N.H. Individual Development Account Collaborative, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in Fall 2011.

The New Republic (CFED)
By: Scott Winship, Brookings Institute
February 7, 2012

Stop feeling sorry for the middle class! They're doing just fine.

Commentators were right to point out that Mitt Romney committed a flagrant gaffe last week. Unfortunately, they were only half-correct in identifying the offense. Yes, Romney was impressively inartful in announcing that he was "not concerned about the very poor" because "we have a safety net there," managing to upset both liberals (for his apparent insensitivity) and conservatives (for his apparent satisfaction with a welfare state they believe promotes dependency). But another objectionable part of Romney's statement went mostly unremarked upon--namely, his declaration that his paramount concern was the economic circumstances of the middle class.

TIME
By: Christopher Matthews
February 6, 2012

The corporate tax rate is lowest in decades; is business paying it's fair share?

As the nation frets over slow growth and large budget deficits, much has been made over how much Americas are and should be paying in income tax. President Obama and Democrats have argued that the wealthiest among us are not paying their fair share. They say the spoils of the globalization and the internet revolution have gone almost exclusively to the very wealthy, and that, in times of crisis, more should be asked of those who can afford to give. Those on the right counter that the wealthy pay their fair share and, more, that the top one percent pay a huge percentage of federal income tax receipts.

The Washington Post
By: James H. DeGraffenreidt Jr.; Charlene M. Dukes; Bernard J. Sadusky
February 5, 2012

Financial education can't wait till high school

In recent months, financial literacy education has caught the attention of an increasing number of politicians and opinion leaders, who have suggested that such education become a requirement in our public schools. Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has been among those leading the charge, noting the importance of understanding money, debt and budgeting.

The Houston Chronicle (CFED)
By: Chris Tomlinson
February 5, 2012

Many Texans earn low pay, hold few assets

Texans politicians like to tout the state's economic growth, but more and more Texans are finding themselves teetering on the edge of poverty.

Dayton Daily News (CFED)
By: Randy Tucker
February 4, 2012

Lack of financial cushion hurts economy

More than a quarter of Ohioans have to watch nearly every penny they spend, leaving them vulnerable to financial emergencies and stifling the state's economic recovery, which relies heavily on consumer spending, according to a recent report from the nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development, which has studied the financial security of U.S. households for the past decade.

Richmond Times-Dispatch (CFED)
February 5, 2012

Report: 21% of Va residents lack nest egg

About one in five Virginia residents have almost no savings or other assets to weather a financial crisis, according to a nonprofit group's report.

Romney, the rich and the rest

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The New York Times (CFED)
By: Charles M. Blow
February 3, 2012

Romney, the rich and the rest

No one should be surprised that the Tin Man has a tin ear.

After all, Mitt Romney is the same multimillionaire who joked that he was "unemployed" while he was "earning" more in one day than most Americans earn in a year and paying a lower rate on those earnings than most Americans do.

Why the poor should concern Romney

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The Washington Post
By: Ruth Marcus
February 2, 2012

Why the poor should concern Romney

The problem with Mitt Romney's latest boneheaded statement -- "I'm not concerned about the very poor" -- isn't the ammunition that it gives political opponents eager to yank the Republican candidate's words out of context.

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
February 3, 2012

Personal finance: Productivity down, employers target debt stress

Financial education advocates point to three primary places to reach those who need help with their money: in schools, the point of sale, and at work. A debate rages over the first two. But efforts to educate employees at the office are spreading fast.

The Huffington Post
By: Alice Hines
February 3, 2012

Rent-A-Center CEO: New consumer bureau won't have authority over us

Ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl, many cash-strapped football fans will head to Rent-A-Center, America's largest "rent-to-own" retailer, to look for TVs. The store is advertising a LG 60-inch-wide high-definition TV -- on which you can watch Rent-A-Center's own pregame show with Troy Aikman -- for what seems like a very low price of $29.99 a week, with no down payment or credit check.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Jared A. Favole
February 1, 2012

Obama calls on tax breaks for small businesses

U.S. President Barack Obama asked Congress to support tax breaks for small businesses Tuesday, saying he wants to tap into some bipartisanship to help give entrepreneurs a "leg up" in the economy.

Deseret Morning News (CFED)
By: Brenna Carreon
February 1, 2012

Utah Individual Development Account Network available to help low-income individuals raise money, become financial sound

When it comes to saving for a house, education or small business, one Utah group is helping out. Consider it venture capital and education for low-income individuals. Utah Individual Development Account Network matches three dollars for every dollar someone in need raises. Along the way, they also help people become more financially sound.

The Hartford Courant (CFED)
By: Mara Lee
February 2, 2012

In Connecticut and the nation, families have an alarming lack of financial cushion

When it comes to Connecticut residents' financial health, there are plenty of reasons to be grateful for our relative prosperity.

Study finds challenges for state

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Great Falls Tribune (CFED)
By: John S. Adams
January 31, 2012

Study finds challenges for state

A recent study found that more than a quarter of Montanans have almost no savings or other assets to weather a financial crisis, and many residents are just one crisis away from slipping into poverty.

The Huffington Post
By: Rep. Steny Hoyer
February 1, 2012

Eliminating childhood poverty in America

As an early educator, my wife Judy devoted her career to helping provide children with the opportunities, care, and support they deserve. Before she passed away in 1997, Judy had already impacted the lives of so many children in Prince George's County, Maryland, where she oversaw the county's early education programs.

The Huffington Post
By: Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
February 1, 2012

Governor Romney and concern for the poor

Mitt Romney is getting knocked about a bit today for saying that he is "not concerned about the very poor." Not quite "let them eat cake" but sounds bad, right?

Rise in start-ups draws doubters

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Sarah E. Needleman
February 2, 2012

Rise in start-ups draws doubters

Did U.S. entrepreneurship grow last year?

A report released last month suggests there's been a major resurgence in the number of start-ups operating nationwide. But some skeptics say that the study fails to take into account the potentially significant numbers of small businesses that shuttered last year.

Democrats push 'Buffett Rule' bill

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The Wall Street Journal
By: Kristina Peterson
February 1, 2012

Democrats push 'Buffett Rule' bill

Democratic senators introduced a bill Wednesday based on President Barack Obama's proposed "Buffett rule" that would require the wealthiest Americans to pay at least 30% in taxes.

USA Today
By: Marisol Bello
February 2, 2012

Race 'opportunity gap' lowest in South, West

African Americans and Latinos are more likely to have jobs, live in better-off neighborhoods and attend better-performing schools in small to medium-size metro areas in the South and West, according to an Urban Institute report out today.

It pays to be rich

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The American Prospect
By: Abby Rapoport
February 1, 2012

It pays to be rich

There's not a single state in the country in which the rich pay a higher percentage of their income in state (though not federal) taxes than the poor. According to a state-by-state scorecard from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), only Washington, D.C. has an equal tax burden for its wealthiest and poorest citizens.

The Business Insider (CFED)
February 1, 2012

43% of US households live an emergency away from food stamps

Less than a month into the new year, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) released its 2012 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard, an eye-opening report on low-income families' finances.

Charitable inequality

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The Chronicle of Philanthropy
By: Mark Rosenman, Director, Caring to Change
January 30, 2012

Charitable inequality

Although some Republicans label it "class warfare" or "the politics of envy," more Americans are joining with President Obama and the few other elected leaders who have begun to talk about the nation's profound economic inequality. But the topic isn't getting very much attention from charities, this in spite of the fact that a parallel inequality exists in the nonprofit sector itself.

The Washington Post
By: Rachel Weiner
February 1, 2012

Romney, citing safety net, says he's 'not concerned about the very poor'

In an interview with CNN Wednesday morning that should have been a Florida victory lap, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney made a fumble that could give rivals an attack ad sound bite.

Hurting poor borrowers

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The New York Times
January 31, 2012

Hurting poor borrowers

New York has some of the strongest anti-usury laws in the nation. But that could change if a deeply flawed bill pending in the State Legislature goes forward. The bill would allow check-cashing businesses, which are common in impoverished areas, to charge higher interest rates and to enter the lending business.

The Oklahoman (CFED)
February 1, 2012

Small tuition-assistance steps in Oklahoma too big a jump for some in education

The latest report cards are out from the state's leading think tanks, one of which is oriented toward market solutions to problems and the other oriented toward government solutions.

Toledo Blade (CFED)
By: Kris Turner
February 1, 2012

30% of Ohio households lack savings, study finds

Almost 30 percent of Ohio households have little or no savings, investments, or other financial security if they fall on hard times, according to a study released Tuesday by the Corporation for Enterprise Development.

Marketplace (CFED)
By: Dan Gorenstein
January 31, 2012

It's not just your income, it's your assets

Kai Ryssdal: Poverty is one of those words that can be kind of vague in its application, used when maybe it's not exactly the right term. The government actually has a definition. The poverty line. But a report out today says that when you define it by assets -- not income, as the government does -- then a whole lot more people are poor. At least something called "liquid asset poor."

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