March 2012 Archives

TIME
By: Kate Pickert
March 29, 2012

Health care after the court: If the individual mandate falls, what next?

If the Supreme Court strikes down the individual health insurance mandate, but leaves most or all of the rest of the Affordable Care Act intact, Congress will have some work to do. Without some way to push uninsured healthy Americans into the marketplace, insurance prices could creep upward until they become unaffordable for everyone.
There's no guarantee such a specter would motivate a divided Congress to work together to find a solution, of course. But if Congress was able to operate effectively, there are a number of ways the Affordable Care Act could be patched to function without an individual mandate.

The Atlantic
By: Jordan Weissmann
March 29, 2012

Why do so many Americans drop out of college?

The phrase "dropout factory" is ordinarily applied to America's failing high schools -- the ones where students are expected to fall through the cracks, where those who make it past graduation and on to college are considered the exceptions, the lucky survivors. But by that definition, another level of U.S. education counts as a "droupout factory": our entire higher education system

The Washington Post
By: Ron Haskins
March 29, 2012

The myth of the disappearing middle class

President Obama, many Democrats and editorial page writers have been working to convince the nation that it is wracked by inequality, a disappearing middle class and a lack of opportunity. The charge of growing inequality is partly correct, mostly because those at the top of the income distribution have pulled away from the rest of us. But the other charges are wrong or misleading.

A cruel budget

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The New York Times
March 30, 2012

A cruel budget

In February, after embarrassing himself by saying he was ''not concerned about the very poor,'' Mitt Romney explained that the government's safety net would take care of them, and he promised to repair any holes in the net. That promise didn't last very long. On Thursday, House Republicans approved, on a party-line vote, a disastrous new budget that would leave millions of struggling families desperate for food, shelter and health care -- and Mr. Romney has embraced it.

US Fed News
March 28, 2012

Delta State's Center for Community and Economic Development battling poverty

The Mississippi Delta is a region of persistent income inequality and pervasive intergenerational poverty. Several counties have sustained a poverty rate of 20 percent or higher for more than five decades. The Center for Community and Economic Development at Delta State University engages in development, teaching, outreach, and research programs that improve and enhance the quality of life in the Mississippi Delta region and advances strategies to use university resources to address poverty in the region.

San Antonio Business Journal (Texas)
By: Tamarind Phinisee
March 27, 2012

Qualified income tax filers offered incentives to save refunds

Families and individuals around the city are being offered an extra incentive to file their federal income taxes via area Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites.

NPR
By: Sarah Harris
March 29, 2012

Can a small town survive without its bank?

Alburgh, Vt., is a town with unusual geography: It's on a peninsula that borders Quebec and is surrounded by Lake Champlain. Even though the town is small and isolated, its residents have always had somewhere to do their banking.

Policy Shop
By: Jennifer Wheary
March 28, 2012

Drastic cuts to California community colleges pose moral questions over access

California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott put some perspective on the sorry state of educational opportunity in an address last week:

The Huffington Post
By: Loren Berlin
March 28, 2012

Despite really nasty financial crisis, teaching kids about money not a priority

While The Great Recession has left millions of Americans unemployed and wiped out countless retirement accounts, it hasn't inspired educators to get serious about teaching financial literacy. Today, less than half of states require high school students to take an economics class and fewer states require high schools to offer financial literacy classes than in 2009, according to a new report from the Council on Economic Education.

Health case ripples outward

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Wall Street Journal
By: Janet Adamy, Jess Bravin and Anna Wilde Mathews
March 28, 2012

Health case ripples outward

After three days of historic Supreme Court debate, the political world and health-care companies confronted the prospect of President Barack Obama's health law being wiped away, a decision that would upend years of planning by businesses and roil the November elections.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Neil Shah
March 28, 2012

States post uneven gains in income

Many Americans saw their incomes rise faster in 2011 than the year before, but a lot depended on which state you lived in.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City
March 28, 2012

Federal budgets and class warfare

A cardinal rule of American campaigns is that candidates must appeal to the party base during primary elections and then move to the center to win moderates and independents in November. This year, on the issues of taxes and spending, that shift can't come soon enough--and not just for the Republican nominee.

The New York Times
By: Robb Mandelbaum
March 29, 2012

Head of the S.B.A. talks of banks, loans and turnaround time

Much has changed since Karen Mills, the administrator for the Small Business Administration, first sat down with us back in the fall of 2009. The economy is improving, unemployment is falling, and S.B.A. lending is back to pre-recession levels. Ms. Mills's agency, however, still faces pressing challenges. Fewer S.B.A. loans are reaching the smallest, underserved businesses. And both the agency and the Obama administration are under intense pressure to show that they are creating jobs, even as the White House proposes new cuts to the S.B.A. budget.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Sarah E. Needleman and Angus Loten
March 27, 2012

A small-business lobby's million-dollar legal assault

Small-business owners will be in the center of the Supreme Court debate Tuesday about whether the requirement that most Americans carry health insurance or pay a penalty violates the Constitution.

The Huffington Post
By: Dedrick Muhammad, Senior Director of Economic Programs, NAACP
March 27, 2012

Wealth inequality and women of color: A national emergency

Black History Month and Women's History Month are often viewed as separate entities. But black women and other women of color know that their economic circumstances are affected by being both a person of color and a woman. Nowhere is this more evident than with respect to wealth (the value of a person's assets minus debts). Women of color are affected not only by the racial wealth divide, but by the women's wealth divide as well. A report released by the Insight Center for Economic Development revealed that the median wealth for single women of color is significantly less than their male counterparts with black and Latina women fairing the worst. In fact, the racial wealth divide for black women is particularly stark as wealth for black women under age 65 was $100, amounting to a penny of wealth for every dollar of wealth owned by single black men and a fraction of a penny for every dollar of wealth owned by single white women or men.

The Atlantic
By: Derek Thompson
March 27, 2012

What's more expensive than college? Not going to college

If you want to feel optimistic about the state of things for unemployed, disengaged, and dissatisfied youths in America, here's a way. Spin a globe. Stop it with your finger. If you touch land, the overwhelming odds are that the young people in that country are doing much worse.

The Washington Post
By: Harold Meyerson
March 27, 2012

The rich are different; they get richer

Occupy Wall Street is not known for the precision of its economic analysis, but new research on income distribution in the United States shows that the group's sloganeering provides a stunningly accurate picture of the economy. In 2010, according to a study published this month by University of California economist Emmanuel Saez, 93 percent of income growth went to the wealthiest 1 percent of American households, while everyone else divvied up the 7 percent that was left over. Put another way: The most fundamental characteristic of the U.S. economy today is the divide between the 1 percent and the 99 percent.

The Washington Post
By: Michelle Singletary
March 28, 2012

Improving your financial literacy is a good investment

Survey after survey continues to conclude that consumers don't have a good grasp of personal finance issues.

The Huffington Post
By: Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
March 26, 2012

The Buffet Rule: It's about restoring tax fairness

Some things are just so obvious, and make so much sense that, people from all walks of life can agree.

The Huffington Post
By: Sylvia McKinney, Executive Director, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship
March 22, 2012

Keeping young entrepreneurs engaged: It's a community effort

Recent data shows that high school graduation rates have improved. But the high school dropout rate in the U.S. stands at 8.1 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This number represents 16- to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and have not earned a high school diploma or GED. And a serious problem remains: the dropout rate skyrockets to 9.3 percent among African-American students, 17.6 percent among Latino students, and 13.2 percent among Native American students.

American Banker
By: Kate Berry
March 27, 2012

To sell homes, Wells Fargo carefully helps stretched borrowers

Wells Fargo (WFC) is trying a new twist on long-controversial down-payment assistance programs, which give money to prospective borrowers who otherwise could not afford to buy homes.

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
March 27, 2012

A step backwards in spreading financial literacy

Even as the financial literacy movement gains steam oversees, it may be losing momentum in the U.S. In its most recent Survey of the States report, the Council for Economic Education found that since 2009, three fewer states require schools to test in the area of economics and one fewer state requires schools to offer a personal finance course. States requiring that students be tested on personal finance concepts fell by almost half.

Targeted News Service
March 26, 2012

KU to host experts on developing assets, reducing college debt for students

As total student debt has surpassed credit card debt and tuition has risen across the United States, President Barack Obama and many others have called for plans to keep college affordable. The University of Kansas will host a symposium to discuss ways of establishing assets early in students' lives as a way to avoid devastating student debt and help more young people reach college.

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
March 23, 2012

Study: Parents are terrible financial role models

Talking to your kids about money shouldn't be so difficult. They are generally eager to understand what it takes to earn and save, and how to set and achieve money goals. Yet parents are more comfortable discussing bullying and drugs than spending and saving, a new study shows.

TIME
By: Martha C. White
March 23, 2012

AmEx gives prepaid card users a chance to 'graduate' to a regular charge card

Prepaid debit cards catch a lot of flak for being loaded with fees, but that's not even our biggest beef with them: When people use prepaid debit in lieu of credit cards, they're not building a credit history, which strands them on the fringes of the financial mainstream. When Suze Orman came out with her prepaid debit card, she said she would work with credit bureau TransUnion to try and figure out a way to incorporate prepaid card use into a conventional credit file. Now, it seems like American Express has beaten her to the punch with a program called "Make Your Move."

Time not on side of the jobless

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Wall Street Journal
By: Ben Casselman
March 25, 2012

Time not on side of the jobless

The job market is improving--but not for everyone.

In recent months, employers have stepped up hiring, layoffs have slowed and the unemployment rate has begun to fall more quickly. But the rosier picture hasn't been a boon to everyone without a job. In February, 3.5% of the U.S. work force was unemployed for more than six months, compared with 4.0% in February of 2010, a smaller decline than in the overall jobless rate. The average unemployed worker has been jobless for 40 weeks, a mark that has barely budged in the past six months.

The rich get even richer

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The New York Times
By: Steven Rattner
March 26, 2012

The rich get even richer

New statistics show an ever-more-startling divergence between the fortunes of the wealthy and everybody else -- and the desperate need to address this wrenching problem. Even in a country that sometimes seems inured to income inequality, these takeaways are truly stunning.

Too many are 'asset poor'

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Observer (CFED)
By: Roberta Keller
March 25, 2012

Too many are 'asset poor'

In New York state today, 35.5 percent of households are "asset poor," meaning they have little or no financial cushion to rely on if unemployment or another emergency leads to a loss of income, according to a report released by the national nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development.

The Economist
March 21, 2012

The challenge of getting Americans to save more

Clive Crook nails the retirement problem. The issue is not Social Security per se; its finances can be put on track (not quite as painlessly as Mr Crook suggests, but it's manageable) and the sooner that happens the better. The problem is confusion about who will get what. Social Security tries to be many different things. It is both insurance against poverty in old age and income replacement for the middle class. Its muddled mission means people tend to see it as a saving scheme, where their contributions entitle them to a comfortable retirement, but that's not technically true. On the other hand I often hear people say Social Security will not be there when I retire; that's also not true. This level of confusion is a major problem.

TIME
By: Christopher Matthews
March 22, 2012

Break up the banks! Dallas Fed President calls for the end of "too big to fail"

Since 2008, there have been plenty of calls to forcibly dismantle the "Too Big To Fail" (TBTF) Banks, but few of those calls have come from those in positions of real power. But the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President, Richard Fisher, has been consistent and vocal in his belief that our economy will not reach its full potential until those bloated financial institutions are cut down to size.

TIME
By: David Futrelle
March 23, 2012

Will the cost of health insurance eventually eat up your entire paycheck? Study says yes

Here's a depressing thought, at least for those of us who occasionally get sick or injured, or take prescription medicine, and who own fewer than three mansions: If current trends continue, the cost of health insurance for a typical American household will eat up all of its paycheck(s), and then some, by 2033.

The Atlantic
By: Jordan Weissmann
March 22, 2012

The real meaning of $1 trillion in student loans

If the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is right, the total outstanding student loan debt in the United States now stands at above $1 trillion dollars. In economic terms, that changes very little about what we already knew regarding college borrowing. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York had previously pegged the figure at $870 billion by the end of 2011. Either number would be larger than America's collective credit card balance.

The New York Times
By: Nelson D. Schwartz
March 23, 2012

Bank of America to test rental in lieu of foreclosure

Bank of America said Thursday that it would offer a small number of customers facing foreclosure the option to remain in their homes and rent the property instead. The program highlights how investors are increasingly interested in becoming landlords on troubled properties.

The Huffington Post
By: Catherine New
March 21, 2012

Income gap closing: Women on pace to outearn men

Forget equality for women, the fairer sex is on pace to outrun men when it comes to making money.

The Wall Street Journal
By: John D. McKinnon
March 22, 2012

Top 1% would see $90,000 tax rise, report says

Americans whose income ranks them in the top 1% of earners would see their taxes rise by more than $90,000 on average next year under President Barack Obama's budget proposal, according to a nonpartisan research group's new estimate.

TIME
By: Brad Tuttle
March 21, 2012

Housing math: Buying is now cheaper than renting 98% of the time

As the cost of renting rises and home values keep dropping, it gets easier and easier to figure out whether it's smarter to buy or rent. A new study indicates that in 98 out of 100 U.S. housing markets, buying is the more affordable option.

The Atlantic
By: Derek Thompson
March 20, 2012

How the other half saves: Financial planning on $2 a day

In 2005, something remarkable happened in the United States that hadn't occurred in 70 years. Americans spent all of our money.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Dawn Wotapka and A.D. Pruitt
March 20, 2012

Manufactured housing under renovation

Highland Estates, a residential community in Greenwich Township, Pa., has all the trappings of a pastoral idyll: manicured lawns, pristine roads and quaint homes perched on 55 acres offering views of the countryside.

Professional Services Close-Up
March 22, 2012

Sen. Coons and Fattah introduce 'dream accounts' for college acess

Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), creator of GEAR UP, a college readiness and access program, is joining Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) to sponsor "The American Dream Accounts Act of 2012."

The Chronicle of Philanthropy (CFED)
By: Nicole Wallace
March 18, 2012

Employee feedback helps nonprofits refine programs

Before new employees hit their three-month anniversary at the Corporation for Enterprise Development, Andrea Levere, the nonprofit's president, takes them to lunch to ask their impressions of the organization and what ideas they have for improving it.

Financial literacy key need

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
By: Naomi Martin
March 19, 2012

Financial literacy key need

About 200 people gathered Sunday at the Poverty Forum to hear about resources available in Baton Rouge to help the poor gain financial literacy.

The Washington Post
By: Ylan Q. Mui
March 20, 2012

Durbin targets private student loan defaults

A top Senate Democrat took aim at the private student-loan industry Tuesday, calling for new rules that would allow educational debts to be wiped away during bankruptcy.

The New York Times
By: Jonathan Weisman
March 21, 2012

Republicans introduce their plan for budget

House Republicans thrust their vision of a smaller government, a flatter tax code and a free-market Medicare system into the 2012 election season on Tuesday, banking that fears over surging federal deficits will trump longstanding voter allegiances to popular government programs.

Makers, takers and $2-a-dayers

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Political Machine
By: Michelle Chen
March 20, 2012

Makers, takers and $2-a-dayers

One official measure of poverty around the world is surviving on $2 per day or less. It's a condition many Americans could barely imagine living in. And yet the official data suggests that while politicians insist the U.S. is insulated from such deprivation, a large share of the country is feeling a cold draft from the "Third World."

Inequality undermines democracy

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The New York Times
By: Eduardo Porter
March 21, 2012

Inequality undermines democracy

Americans have never been too worried about the income gap. The gap between the rich and the rest has been much wider in the United States than in other developed nations for decades. Still, polls show we are much less concerned about it than people in those other nations are.

The News Journal (Wilmington, Delaware)
By: Sen. Chris Coons
March 20, 2012

'Dream Accounts' would be a boon to U.S. education

As parents, we worry so much and work so hard for our children -- for their health, for their safety, and for their future. We all want the best for our kids, so let's consider a few potent statistics. During this long, tough recession, the unemployment rate among high school dropouts was 13 percent, high school graduates 8 percent, but for those with a college degree, it was just 4 percent.

Credit Union Journal
By: Joe Adler
March 19, 2012

What is a 'community' bank? FDIC has an idea

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is embarking on an ambitious study to better understand community banks in this country, but observers may be surprised at which institutions made the cut.

The Economist
March 17, 2012

Body of evidence: Is a concentration of wealth at the top to blame for financial crisis?

In the search for the villain behind the global financial crisis, some have pointed to inequality as a culprit. In his 2010 book "Fault Lines", Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago argued that inequality was a cause of the crisis, and that the American government served as a willing accomplice. From the early 1980s the wages of working Americans with little or no university education fell ever farther behind those with university qualifications, he pointed out. Under pressure to respond to the problem of stagnating incomes, successive presidents and Congresses opened a flood of mortgage credit.

The Huffington Post
By: Janean Chun
March 16, 2012

Small businesses turn to pawn shops, cash advance lenders as banks hoard cash

Most small-business owners dream of seeing orders quintuple overnight. But when Fern Phillips had a purchase order suddenly jump from 4,000 units to 20,000, she knew she had to scramble for an extra $20,000 to buy ingredients. "It was a panic," she said.

The new suburban poverty

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The New York Times
By: Lisa Mcgirr
March 19, 2012

The new suburban poverty

In many of America's once pristine suburbs, harbingers of inner-city blight -- overgrown lots, boarded up windows, abandoned residences -- are the new eyesores. From the Midwestern rust-belt to the burst housing bubbles of Nevada, California and Florida, even in small pockets of still affluent regions like Du Page County, Ill., the nation's soaring poverty rates are visibly reclaiming last century's triumphal "crabgrass frontier." In well-heeled Illinois towns like Glen Allyn and Elgin, unkempt, weedy lawns blot the formerly manicured, uniform and tidy landscape.

The New York Times
By: Titania Kumeh
March 17, 2012

Unemployed is bad enough; 'unbanked' can be worse

Joey Macias has lived without a bank or credit union account for more than a year. To pay his bills, Mr. Macias, a 45-year-old San Francisco resident, waits for his unemployment check to arrive in the mail and then cashes it at a Market Street branch of Money Mart, the international money-lending and check-cashing chain. He keeps any leftover cash at home or in his wallet.

Congressional Quarterly Today (CFED)
By: Lauren Smith
March 15, 2012

Senate bill would create online college readiness tracking program

A bipartisan pair of senators introduced a bill Thursday aimed at helping low-income students pursue higher education by providing grants to set up online tracking systems for college preparation that would be linked to college savings accounts.

Shriver Center (CFED)
By: Karen K. Harris
March 19, 2012

Moving forward on children's savings accounts

For 10 years, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) has funded pilot programs across the country to provide Children's Savings Accounts (CSAs). It looks as though this investment is beginning to pay off, in that several states have recently launched their own versions of CSA pilot programs.

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
March 16, 2012

Reverse mortgages more popular with younger homeowners

Once widely seen as money of last resort, reverse mortgages are fast entering the mainstream of retirement income. Boomers are turning to reverse mortgages earlier to pay off debt or improve their lifestyle, according to a report from MetLife Mature Market Institute. Increasingly, those approaching retirement view home equity as a key source of future income.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Veronique de Rugy and Barbara Kasoff
March 19, 2012

Should the Small Business Administration be abolished?

We hear a lot about the vital role of small business in the U.S. Especially in election years.

But that raises the question: How vital is the role of the federal government in promoting the role of small business in America? And specifically, how vital is the Small Business Administration in that promotion?

National Public Radio
By: Annie Baxter
March 18, 2012

Sweet home: When owning isn't all about money

RACHEL MARTIN: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. At the height of the U.S. housing crisis, low-income Americans had a lot of opportunities to buy a home with the help of subprime mortgages. But those mortgages proved to be disastrous, and many people who got them ended up in foreclosure. We asked NPR's Annie Baxter to look into whether people of modest means are still finding paths to homeownership, and whether that's a still a good thing.

Daily News (Kentucky)
By: Justin Story
March 18, 2012

Free tax preparation service expecting record numbers

With about a month left before the tax deadline, Barren River Asset Building Coalition officials are anticipating a record number of people taking advantage of the free tax preparation service it offers to low-income taxpayers.

Slate
By: Yascha Mounk
March 19, 2012

End of the American Dream: Economic mobility is now greater in Europe than the United States

Perhaps. But if you think America's class system is as rigid as Europe's, then you don't know an old-fashioned social hierarchy when you see one.

Hattiesburg American (CFED)
By: Ellen Ciurczak
March 16, 2012

State at bottom of financial security list

A new report from a Washington economic group struck a chord with me. The report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development found a growing number of Americans are unable to cover basic expenses if a job loss or other emergency strikes.

Reuters
By: Alexandra Alper
March 14, 2012

Startup bill gains steam in Congress

The Senate, eager to notch an election-year victory by boosting small business growth, is moving toward prompt passage of a measure that overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last week.

Policy Shop
By: Heather McGhee
March 15, 2012

Lend local: How public funds and state banks can spur growth

Four years after America's "bigger is better" banking model collapsed under its own weight, there are signs of a shift towards more local, accountable, and borrower-friendly banking across the country.

The destruction of black wealth

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Demos
By: Bob Herbert
March 10, 2012

The destruction of black wealth

Some youngsters want to grow up to become artists or athletes or firefighters. Some want to be doctors or dancers. Charles Walker wanted to own a supermarket.

The Huffington Post
By: Joel John Roberts, CEO, People Assisting the Homeless
March 15, 2012

Does America have enough to pay rent?

All my life I've paid my bills -- mortgage, credit card, car payment, electricity, etc. I used to think it was because I was responsible; because I was taught at a young age to pay my debts.

The Washington Post
By: Daniel de Vise
March 15, 2012

Obama college-cost plan may not work as prescribed

When Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville raised its price by 59 percent, it landed directly in the crosshairs of the Obama administration.

State News Service (CFED)
March 15, 2012

Senator Coons introduces bill to help expand college access for at-risk students

U.S. Senator Chris Coons D-Del.) introduced legislation Thursday to help increase the number of low-income students able to access and complete a college education. The American Dream Accounts Act of 2012, which is cosponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), would authorize the Department of Education to award three-year competitive grants to support innovative and comprehensive partnerships that support low-income students in preparation for a college education. U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) will introduce the American Dream Accounts Act in the House of Representatives on Monday.

The Atlantic
By: Kirk Victor
March 13, 2012

The porous glass ceiling: Lessons in breaking through from Hilda Solis

The glass ceiling still keeps many women from reaching the top echelons of business or government. But it's something that Labor Secretary Hilda Solis hasn't experienced herself. The 54-year-old former lawmaker, the first Latina to become a Cabinet secretary, knows firsthand that women can overcome barriers. She was born into a large family of limited means in Southern California, the daughter of a Mexican father and a Nicaraguan mother with less than sixth-grade educations. She was expected to seek a secretarial or clerical job, but, encouraged by a high school counselor, became the first in her family to attend college. After graduating from California State Polytechnic University, she earned a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California.

National Journal
By: Nancy Cook
March 14, 2012

For richer (not for poorer): The inequality crisis of marriage

Americans are falling out of love with marital bliss. Look at the data. As of 2010, only 51 percent of Americans 18 or older were married, compared with 72 percent in 1960. Exacerbated by a weak job market, the drop is starker still among the young. Today, just a fifth of Americans ages 18 to 29 have a spouse, down from roughly three-fifths in 1960. The number of marriages performed in the United States fell by 5 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to the Pew Research Center. That was partly the result of a sagging economy, but it also represents an acceleration of longer-term trends seen in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere in the developed world.

The Huffington Post
By: Barbara Ehrenreich
March 15, 2012

How we cured "The Culture of Poverty," not poverty itself

It's been exactly 50 years since Americans, or at least the non-poor among them, "discovered" poverty, thanks to Michael Harrington's engaging book The Other America. If this discovery now seems a little overstated, like Columbus's "discovery" of America, it was because the poor, according to Harrington, were so "hidden" and "invisible" that it took a crusading left-wing journalist to ferret them out.

The Huffington Post
By: Bill Cheney, CEO, Credit Union National Association
March 14, 2012

Digging below the surface of membership growth at credit unions

This month the government released figures showing more than 1.3 million people joined credit unions in 2011 -- more than double the previous year's total of less than 600,000. The gain is strong evidence that consumers are fed up with high bank fees and are leaving in large numbers for credit unions. But when you dig a bit deeper into the numbers, the results are even more significant.

Los Angeles Times
By: Jim Puzzanghera
March 12, 2012

Credit unions, banks grabbing a share of payday loan dollars

Payday loans, for years a fixture in poor, working-class neighborhoods, are increasingly being offered by local banks and employee credit unions -- triggering concerns by consumer groups that more Americans will be trapped in high-interest loans that could take years to pay off.

Nebraska Radio Network (CFED)
By: Matt Kelley
March 13, 2012

Report: One in four Nebraskans has no "rainy day" fund

A study finds nearly a quarter of all Nebraskans have no financial cushion to rely upon if there's a serious event in their lives, like getting fired or being in a serious car accident.

Detroit Free Press
By: Steve Neavling
March 10, 2012

No more Head Start cash for City of Detroit

Following complaints that the Detroit Human Services Department fostered an environment of nepotism, reckless spending and corruption to the detriment of the early childhood education program Head Start, the federal government plans to stop sending $50 million a year to the city to fund the program, the Free Press learned Thursday.

The Huffington Post
By: Carol Roth
March 9, 2012

How the JOBS Act stacks up for small business

Access to capital is one of the biggest issues facing small business today. The JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, which was overwhelmingly passed in the House Thursday, is a package of 6 bills intended to create more access to capital for entrepreneurs and small business owners. But does it accomplish what it intended?

Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio)
By: Dave Scott
March 11, 2012

Programs try to pave a path out of poverty

Chiffawn Dawkins of Akron remembers the day she answered her son's toughest question.

The Atlantic
By: Jordan Weissmann
March 12, 2012

The misunderstood consequences of the student debt crisis

The student debt crisis isn't like other debt crises. It won't sink a currency, like Europe's sovereign debt crises. And it won't suddenly topple the U.S. economy, like the mortgage crisis.

The Washington Times
By: Jack Maes
March 13, 2012

Race, the poverty gap, and access to education

Race has divided people all over the world for centuries, and as we as a nation grow and evolve, barriers between peoples of different color are under constant attack.

The Huffington Post
By: Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson
March 11, 2012

For younger workers, the news gets worse and worse

A new analysis from the Economic Policy Institute shows what a lot of younger Americans have probably noticed for themselves: even if you're lucky enough to have a job, it's still tough to get ahead. Over the last decade, wages for younger male college grads have plummeted by 11 percent, while women college grads saw their paychecks drop by 7.6 percent. Overall, wages overall rose 3 percent during the same period. That's not great, but at least it's not in negative territory.

The problem with U.S. inequality

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Huffington Post
By: Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
March 11, 2012

The problem with U.S. inequality

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) brought the increased inequality in the U.S. to the headlines, where it deserves to be. Almost a quarter of total U.S. national income now accrues to the richest 1 percent of the population, a figure that was barely above 10 percent 40 years ago. Other countries, most notably the U.K., have also witnessed growing inequality, but none competes with the U.S. in the surge in inequality. Is it unfair and unjust for so few to become so much richer than the rest?

The Atlantic
By: David Abromowitz and John Griffith
March 9, 2012

Take a load off, Fannie: A bold plan to boost housing

There's a growing consensus among economists, investors, academics, and consumer advocates that more "principal reduction" -- writing off a portion of a mortgage that exceeds a home's value in exchange for a higher likelihood of repayment -- can help avoid another wave of costly and economy-crushing foreclosures. That's good for homeowners and lenders, and because millions of underwater mortgages are controlled by the government, it's also good public policy.

The Washington Post
By: Eric Pianin
March 10, 2012

Student loans seen as potential 'next debt bomb' for U.S. economy

Bankruptcy lawyers have a frightening message for America: They're seeing the telltale signs of a student loan debt bubble that is placing increased financial pressure on families struggling with their children's mounting debt. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, more than 80 percent of bankruptcy lawyers have seen a substantial increase in the number of clients seeking relief from student loans in recent years.

Minority banks face steep odds

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Boston Globe
By: Beth Healy
March 11, 2012

Minority banks face steep odds

OneUnited Bank is facing a painful question: What purpose can a minority institution serve when its own community is turning against it?

Debt, the American way

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Wall Street Journal
By: Al Lewis
March 10, 2012

Debt, the American way

America is back. You can tell because Americans are maxing out their credit cards again.

The Huffington Post
By: Adam Levin
March 7, 2012

National Consumer Protection Week: It's up to you (sorry!)

Once again National Consumer Protection Week falls smack in the middle of Lent. Is this yet another coincidence, or rather a celestial reminder of the benefits of occasional restraint?

The Huffington Post
By: Tom Barrella
March 7, 2012

The most disenfranchised group in America? It's not who you think

It is America's teens. With each passing minute, their future is being foreclosed upon thanks to the unfathomable debt being dumped on them by the sorry adults governing the country these last 40 years.

TIME
By: Christopher Matthews
March 5, 2012

How much do income taxes affect our behavior?

During the 1980 Republican Presidential primary, Ronald Regan promulgated the idea that by lowering taxes on the rich, the government could actually increase the federal government's revenue. George H.W. Bush famously derided that idea as "Voodoo Economics." After all, how could lowering tax rates actually increase revenue?

NPR
By: Julie Rovner
March 7, 2012

1 in 3 Americans is having a hard time paying medical bills

While politicians and soon, the Supreme Court, are fighting about the fate of the Affordable Care Act, a new government study finds that a growing number of Americans are having difficulty coping with the high cost of health care.

Narrowing the new class divide

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The New York Times
By: Charles Murray
March 7, 2012

Narrowing the new class divide

There's been a lot of commentary from all sides about my recently published book, "Coming Apart," which deals with the divergence between the professional and working classes in white America over the last half century.

The Huffington Post
By: Tom Zeller
March 6, 2012

In Super Tuesday's shadow, Ohio's poorest struggle to rise

Exit the Madison Avenue Expressway onto Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, just beyond a road sign advertising the Museum of Industry and Labor, and an elegant, pre-war building, red brick and multi-gabled, rises on your right. Built in 1931 and the former home of the West Federal YMCA branch, it is now owned by the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley, which houses dozens of this town's homeless residents.

The Huffington Post
By: Aloc Sherman
March 5, 2012

Under $2 a day in America, part 1

Living on less than $2 per person a day is one World Bank definition of poverty for developing nations. Unfortunately, this threshold is increasingly relevant to the United States, according to a new study from the National Poverty Center.

TIME
By: Scott Gerber
March 5, 2012

How entrepreneurship can fix young America

Our government is being strangled by partisan politics. Youth employment is at a 60-year low. Student loan debt is approaching $1 trillion (and default rates are rising quickly).

The Atlantic
By: Derek Thompson
March 5, 2012

The rich get richer: 2010 was a very good year to be in the 1%

During the Great Recession, the 1% absorbed half of total income losses between 2007 and 2009. But in the first year of the recovery, the top percentile won 93% of all income gains. For a while, it was fair to say that income inequality was decreasing. No longer.

The New York Times
By: Andrew Martin and Ron Lieber
March 5, 2012

Fed study of student debt outlines a growing burden

A report released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York renews concerns about the growing debt load of college students and graduates.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Miriam Jordan
March 5, 2012

Tech titans fund undocumented students

A group of Silicon Valley technology leaders, impatient with attempts to rewrite immigration laws, is funding efforts to help undocumented youths attend college, find jobs and stay in the country despite their illegal status.

Bloomberg Businessweek (CFED)
By: John Tozzi
March 5, 2012
Tax help for housecleaners and cabdrivers

People who need help filing taxes but can't afford to hire a preparer can go to community groups funded by the IRS for free tax prep. Many people who work for themselves can't use the help, though, because the programs are barred from preparing returns with substantial business income.

The Huffington Post
March 7, 2012

Small business hiring edges up in February

Hiring at small U.S. businesses edged higher in February as the number of firms laying off workers fell to its lowest since 2007, although companies scaled back plans to hire workers, a poll showed on Friday.

The Atlantic
By: Jordan Weissmann
March 6, 2012

Why it's cheaper to go to Harvard than a California state school

If you are the child of a middle class family in California, it is probably cheaper for you to attend college at Harvard than at a nearby public university.

The Atlantic
By: Jordan Weissmann
March 6, 2012

No, Democrats: Income inequality didn't cause the financial crisis

There's something intuitively compelling about the idea that America's growing income inequality helped fuel the 2008 financial crisis. The narrative, which got an official stamp from Congress' Democrat-led Joint Economic Committee back in 2010, goes something like this: As middle class wages stagnated, families borrowed more to prop up their standard of living. Banks, along with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, happily provided them with unaffordable mortgages, which they then skillfully repackaged and sold as securities. Eventually, the whole house of cards collapsed, plunging us into the Great Recession.

The Washington Post
By: Daniel de Vise
March 6, 2012

Student loans surpass auto, credit card debt

Americans owe more on their student loans than on their credit cards or car loans, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Freelance nation

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The American Prospect (CFED)
By: David Callahan
March 7, 2012

Freelance nation

The other day, on a Manhattan sidewalk, I ran into a former colleague and asked her what she was doing these days. She shrugged: "I'm in limbo."

Returning to the nest is costly

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Huffington Post
By: Reid Cramer, Director of the Asset Building Program, New America Foundation
March 2, 2012

Returning to the nest is costly

Has the Great Recession changed the way we live? Given the severity of the economic downturn and the slow recovery, it's a good question to ask. The experience has certainly given pause to those previously expected to be purchasing homes or heading out on their own. Home values remain depressed in many markets, but demand is down along with incomes and job opportunities. This has contributed to a noticeable "return to the nest" phenomenon, where grown children are moving back in with their parents in increasing numbers instead of setting up a home on their own. If the economy doesn't improve more dramatically, they may stay there for a while.

The Washington Post
By: Ezra Klein
March 2, 2012

The invisible welfare state of the top one percent

Pop quiz: What is a government program? And are you on one right now?

Those are the questions Cornell University political scientist Suzanne Mettler has been posing. For her book "The Submerged State," she asked a scientifically selected sample of 1,400 Americans whether they had ever used a government social program. Only 43 percent copped to having done so. Then she read off 21 social programs, such as Medicare and the home-mortgage interest deduction, and asked the same question again: Have you ever used a government social program? This time, 96 percent said yes, in fact, they had.

TIME
By: Martha C. White
March 5, 2012

Ticked off at your bank? Finally, a sympathetic ear

As of March 1, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has opened a complaints department to collect all sorts of consumer gripes about their deposit accounts -- checking, savings, CDs and what the agency terms "related services." Here's how it works: Consumers can vent via the CFPB's website, phone, fax or snail mail. The bureau will give them a tracking number so they can check the status of their complaint online. Oh, and banks: You're on notice. According to a statement on its website, "The Bureau expects banks to respond to complaints within 15 days and seeks to close all complaints within 60 days."

The Wall Street Journal
By: Andy Laperriere
March 5, 2012

The high cost of the Fed's cheap money

During the past three years, the Federal Reserve has tripled the size of its balance sheet--in effect printing $2 trillion--something it had never done in its nearly 100-year history. The Fed has lowered short-term interest rates to zero and signaled that it will keep them at that level for years. Inflation-adjusted short-term rates, or real rates, have been in the minus 2% range during the past couple of years for the first time since the 1970s.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Jennifer Levitz
March 4, 2012

Massachusetts takes aim at red tape

Under Massachusetts regulations, a hair salon owner who wants to sell her shop to an employee must first temporarily close down. A funeral director can't hire a part-time apprentice--only full-time is allowed. The state's legal size for a sea clam differs from what federal requirements specify.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
By: Mark Roth
March 5, 2012

U.S. views on the poor have deep, coiled roots

Mary Childers has looked at poverty from both sides.

As an author and consultant, the Dartmouth College official gives talks describing how the economy and government programs affect the poor.

The Scranton Times Tribune (CFED)
By: Jim Dino
March 4, 2012

Expect and prepare for the worst

Nearly one-fifth of Pennsylvania households do not have sufficient net worth to live at the poverty level for three months in the absence of income, according to a report from the nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development.

The Post-Star (Glens Falls, New York)
By: Blake Jones
March 1, 2012

Credit union works to teach children the value of saving

Big Cross Street Elementary students filed into the school library Wednesday morning to make their weekly savings deposits with Hudson River Community Credit Union.

The Huffington Post
By: Robert Reich
March 2, 2012

Bye bye American Pie: The challenge of the productivity revolution

Here's the good news. The economic pie is growing again. Growth in the 4th quarter last year hit 3 percent on an annualized rate. That's respectable -- although still way too slow to get us back on track given how far we plunged.

The New York Times
By: Catherine Rampell
March 1, 2012

Where the jobs are, the training may not be

As state funding has dwindled, public colleges have raised tuition and are now resorting to even more desperate measures -- cutting training for jobs the economy needs most.

The Atlantic
By: Derek Thompson
February 29, 2012

The end of ownership: Why aren't young people buying more houses?

When older generations wonder what's the matter with Millennials, they often judge their younger cohorts against such financial and social benchmarks as finding a job, getting married, and buying a home. These observations often come wrapped in weak science -- "blame Facebook for their indolence" -- or dripping with judgment -- "blame their parents for making them weak." The science is weak, but the observations are true. Fewer young people are finding jobs. Fewer young people are getting married. Fewer young people are buying homes.

NPR
By: Pam Fessler
March 2, 2012

Shrinking community grants put cities in a crunch

Budget cuts approved by Congress in the past two years are trickling down to local communities, and officials there are not happy. They say that reductions in community development block grants will hurt the nation's most vulnerable neighborhoods.

The Huffington Post (CFED)
By: Kevin Yu, SpringCoin
March 1, 2012

The importance of a savings account

In a recent report from Assets and Opportunity, studies show that 27 percent of all households don't have enough savings to cover basic living expenses for just three months if they suffer a financial setback. Industry experts recommend having a six month cushion, so I can only imagine the percentage of Americans that fall into this category.

The Huffington Post
By: Gerry Smith
March 1, 2012

Without internet, urban poor fear being left behind in digital age

Jillian Maldonado is a 29-year-old student at the Mid-Manhattan Adult Learning Center and an Avon sales representative who earns $300 a week. On most nights, she takes the D train from her classes in Manhattan back to her third-floor apartment in the South Bronx. It's a tough neighborhood. A few months ago she heard gunshots outside her window.

The Huffington Post
By: Robert Reich
February 29, 2012

Stop starving public universities and shrinking the middle class

Last week Rick Santorum called the president "a snob" for wanting everyone to get a college education (in fact, Obama never actually called for universal college education but only for a year or more of training after high school).

Reuters
By: Tim Reid
February 29, 2012

Homeowner bill of rights proposed by California AG Kamala Harris

California's attorney general Kamala Harris on Wednesday proposed a homeowner bill of rights that she said will guard against a repeat of widespread mortgage abuses among America's lenders.

The Atlantic
By: Jordan Weissmann
February 29, 2012

How the internet is making states poor

The recession and the early, brittle years of the economic recovery absolutely shredded state budgets. With growth now returning to healthier levels, this should be a time for relief legislators. Unfortunately, as USA Today reports, they might have to face another sobering reality: The system most states rely on to generate sales tax revenue could become obsolete.

Sick-time rules re-emerge

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Wall Street Journal
By: Sarah E. Needleman
February 29, 2012

Sick-time rules re-emerge

Thomas Erb is ticked about the possibility he'll be forced to hand employees even more paid sick time.

Beyond blue 5: Jobs, jobs, jobs

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The American Interest
By: Walter Russell Mead
February 20, 2012

Beyond blue 5: Jobs, jobs, jobs

America's economic structure, the labor market and the American workplace have changed greatly in the last twenty years and will likely change even more in the twenty years to come. Some of these changes are unpredictable; others look baked into the cake. But as the blue social model continues to fade, the question of jobs will rise even higher on the national agenda. The American economy will not only need to create new jobs, it will need to create new kinds of jobs and new relationships between workers and employers as we work to build the next version of the American dream.

Big bank weighs fee revamp

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Wall Street Journal
By: Dan Fitzpatrick and David Enrich
March 1, 2012

Big bank weighs fee revamp

Bank of America Corp. is working on sweeping changes that would require many users of basic checking accounts to pay a monthly fee unless they agree to bank online, buy more products or maintain certain balances.

About this Archive

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

February 2012 is the previous archive.

April 2012 is the next archive.

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