June 2012 Archives

The Huffington Post
By: Alexander Eichler
June 21, 2012

Recession made wealth gap between blacks, whites even huger

It would be nice to think that the election of Barack Obama swept the U.S. into a new, miraculous post-racial era. But at the moment of his historic victory, the Great Recession was busy proving that that definitely wasn't the case.

NPR
By: Kathy Lohr
June 22, 2012

Some immigrants students still dreaming of clarity

One question left unanswered by President Obama's announcement last week that he would stop deportations of some young illegal immigrants was what the policy change will mean for students.

Professors and students are wondering whether the changes Obama announced will really help them. The president's executive action defers deportations for illegal immigrants who are 30 or under and meet certain conditions, giving them the ability to apply for a work permit.

The Atlantic
By: Jordan Weissman
June 22,2012

How many students can actually work their way through school?

Get a job. It's one of the more common prescriptions you'll hear offered up to students who worry about the cost of a college education these days. And it makes a certain degree of sense. Sure, working too much is one of the leading factors associated without dropping out. But working at least a few hours each week is good for a resume and your bank account.

The Atlantic
By: Jordan Wissman
June 21, 2012

Why are Republicans waging war on food stamps now?

Here is a fact that should disturb everyone, regardless of their politics: Today, about one out of every seven Americans receives food stamps. That's a population of 45 million people -- roughly the size of Spain -- who rely on government help to feed themselves.

The American dream: A Biography

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TIME
By: Jon Meacham
June 21, 2012

The American dream: A Biography

The perennial conviction that those who work hard and play by the rules will be rewarded with a more comfortable present and a stronger future for their children faces assault from just about every direction. That great enemy of democratic capitalism, economic inequality, is real and growing. The unemployment rate is dispiritingly high. The nation's long-term fiscal health is at risk, and the American political system, the engine of what Thomas Jefferson called "the world's best hope," shows no sign of reaching solutions commensurate with the problems of the day.

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
June 21, 2012

Why planets collide when we talk about money

When it comes to money, men really are from Mars and women from Venus, according to an expert panel at the Council for Economic Education. The one thing they have in common: Neither is particularly astute when it comes to managing their finances.

NPR
By: NPR Staff
June 15, 2012

A single dad and his unlikely college roommate

In 1996, Wil Smith enrolled as a freshman at Maine's Bowdoin College. At 27, he had recently finished serving in the Navy. But he set off for school with his 1-year-old daughter, Olivia, in tow. Now that she's a teenager, Olivia sat down with her dad at StoryCorps to look back on their "college days" together.

The Huffington Post
By: Leah Busque
June 18, 2012

Should small business owners care about company culture?

It seems like those of us who run a business can't go five minutes without encountering the term "company culture." The phrase is always uttered with extreme adoration, yet the very concept seems as nebulous as it is elusive. I could use this column to chime in with my two cents about how to build an awesome culture, but I'd rather use it to tell you why I think investing in culture is worth it in the first place. Frankly, all this culture stuff can be pretty daunting for a busy entrepreneur. Since most startups operate at a break-neck pace, with a concept to prove or a product to launch within a rapidly shortening runway of financing, company culture often gets shoved aside. This is a big, big mistake: Nobody serious about their business should put culture in the corner.

The Huffington Post
By: Preeti Vissa
June 20,2012

Sssshhh!!! Don't tell anyone, but our government is doing something good

Right this minute, even as you read these words, an agency of the federal government is doing something good -- several things, actually.

We hear so often from the folks on the right that government is the problem and that excessive regulation is the root of all our economic ills that this may be shocking news. Indeed, on the day I'm writing this, a Google News search for the phrase "job-killing regulations" turned up 1,550 hits. The message that government rules stifle economic activity and generally cause misery and ruin is so pervasive that it's easy to forget that intelligent regulation can protect the economic well-being of ordinary Americans, preserving jobs and helping the whole economy.

The Huffington Post
By: Jason Alderman
June 20, 2012

Improving financial literacy, here and abroad

Would you be surprised to learn that parents in many poorer countries often spend considerably more time talking with their children about money management than in wealthier countries like the U.S. and Canada? Or that people who express self-confidence about their overall financial knowledge but score poorly on financial literacy tests are likely to manage their credit cards more effectively than those who score well on tests but said they doubt their own money-management abilities? I was.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Matthew Slaughter
June 20, 2012

How skilled immigrants create jobs

President Obama thrust immigration back into the spotlight last week with his executive order halting deportations for certain young illegal immigrants. In the context of America's jobs crisis, however, this is the wrong immigration issue to focus on. Our most pressing immigration problem marched across platforms at American colleges and universities in recent weeks--skilled foreign-born graduates whom we do not adequately incentivize to stay and work here.

CNN
By: Tami Luhby
June 21, 2012

Worsening wealth inequality by race

White Americans have 22 times more wealth than blacks -- a gap that nearly doubled during the Great Recession.

The median household net worth for whites was $110,729 in 2010, versus $4,995 for blacks, according to recently released Census Bureau figures.

NPR
By: Bob Mondello
June 19, 2012

Hollywood dreams of wealth, youth and beauty

Tinseltown didn't invent the American dream, but it sure put it out there for the world to see -- a dream lit by the perpetual sunshine of Southern California, steeped in the values of the immigrant filmmakers who moved there in the early 1900s and got enormously rich.

The Huffington Post
By: Bonnie Kavoussi
June 19, 2012

90 million workers won't be needed by 2020, study says

Tens of millions of people worldwide will be condemned to long-term joblessness unless global leaders make significant changes to address unemployment and worker training, according to a new study.

Can we save the city's children

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The Atlantic
By: Richard R. Buery Jr.
June 19,2012

Can we save the city's children

Trevor grew up in an unstable environment, shuttling back and forth between his mother and grandmother for most of his young life. He spent too much time on the street and began getting into trouble. Eventually, he was convicted of a minor infraction and sent to an upstate facility 250 miles away from home. He did not have an easy time of it. A small kid who was singled out not only by the other boys but by some of the guards as well, he fought a lot, was "restrained" a number of times, and in one incident was slammed against the floor and suffered a serious injury to his jaw. When he came home, Trevor was exhibiting serious anxiety around adults and crowds.

The Atlantic
By: Richard Florida

Homeownership means little to economic growth

Homeownership has long been a crucial pillar of the American Dream. For the better part of a century we've believed that building and buying homes is synonymous not only with the "good life" but with a productive and prosperous economy. The number of housing sales and starts is a commonly used barometer of economic health. The president, his economic advisers, and countless economists and business analysts continue to believe that economic recovery turns on the recovery of the housing market.

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
June 20, 2012

5 smart strategies for managing your debt

Americans are working hard to reduce individual debt burdens. In some cases, unfortunately, we are simply swapping one liability for another, data from the Federal Reserve show--cutting, say, credit card debt while adding education debt. Still, overall our burden is in decline. Consumers have cut debt by $100 billion in less than a year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The New York Times
By: Michael Cooper
June 19, 2012

The middle class become working poor

Throughout the Great Recession and the not-so-great recovery, the most commonly discussed measure of misery has been unemployment. But many middle-class and working-class people who are fortunate enough to have work are struggling as well, which is why Sherry Woods, a 59-year-old van driver from Atlanta, found herself standing in line at a jobs fair this month, with her résumé tucked inside a Bible.

The Huffington Post
By: Crew Guarini
June 18, 2012

Small business owners are going without pay, survey finds

Although optimism among small business owners has been in high in recent months, many owners have been making notable sacrifices and changes to stay afloat. A new Citibank survey of 750 small business owners has shown that more than half of the surveyed owners have gone without paychecks -- a quarter of them for more than a year.

The Atlantic
By: Derek Thompson
June 18,2012

The filthy stinking rich are creating their own economy

What's there to say about an economy where $190,000 cars sell like hot cakes and half-price Mercedes can't find a buyer? Or where $5,000 earrings can't sell, but $58,000 gold bracelets won't stay in stock?

The Washington Post
By: Emi Kolawole
June 19, 2012

Job landscape changes spark new hybrid between corporate and non-profit worlds

The for- and non-profit landscapes are merging to create a new class of organization leader. Generally called social entrepreneurs, these individuals leverage for-profit models to solve some of the world's most in¬trac¬table problems -- endeavors usually undertaken by traditional non-profits.

The Patriot Ledger
By: Chris Burrell
June 15, 2012

Mobile home dwellers take back the parks; Carver tenants set to buy land and create housing co-op

CARVER - More than 450 householders living in two mobile home parks on the south side of town are poised to cut a deal that few of them ever dreamed possible - outbidding a national real estate developer to buy the land under their homes. It's land they've just been renting.

The Washington Post
By: Rob Kaplan and Tom Voekler
June 14, 2012

Beyond crowdfunding: Why regulation a reform is the most vital piece of the JOBS Act

Since its enactment, most of the discussion of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) has centered on crowdfunding and the IPO onramp provisions of the Act. However, the legislation's expansion of Regulation A actually promises to have the greatest impact on small and mid-sized business capital formation.

The Huffington Post
By: Alicia Ciccone
June 15, 2012

Entrepreneurial training programs for the unemployed on the rise

New Jersey is the latest state to incorporate an entrepreneurial training program for its unemployed. The program, called Entrepreneurial University or ETPU, will provide free training in starting a business and fund up to $10,000 in loans to get started.

NPR
By: NPR Staff
June 16,2012

State of the Unions: labor and the middle class

For many full-time employees in the United States, the five-day work week, paid overtime and holidays are expected benefits. This wasn't always so, and many workers' benefits today are the achievements of labor unions.

Just five decades ago, unions were on the frontline of the fight for the rights and wages of the middle class. But today, unions are on the decline.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Angus Loten
June 15, 2012

Small employers welcome work permit for young immigrants

Small businesses long resisted efforts to shift the responsibility for policing immigrants onto employers.

Verifying the legal status of new hires is a costly, burdensome distraction, one that's best left to immigration officials, they have argued.

Immigrant students block a Los Angeles road Friday to protest deportations of undocumented immigrants.

But now, some business owners are breathing easier, in light of the Department of Homeland Security's new announcement that it would stop deporting younger illegal immigrants, and instead issue them work permits.

The Montgomery Advertiser
By: Brian Lyman
June 16, 2012

Sessions says test for food stamps

An Alabama senator is proposing an amendment to the farm bill before Congress that would require states to use an asset test before allowing participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps.

Build financial foundation

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Winston-Salem Journal
June 17, 2012

Build financial foundation

The June 3 Journal article "Raising financial awareness" noted there is a real need in our community to provide access to high-quality financial education and counseling. Winston-Salem and Forsyth County leaders recently recognized the need to assess the impact of the economy and housing crisis on local residents and to identify services to help residents establish a solid financial foundation.

Bloomberg
By: Ezra Klein
June 13, 2012

Grads: Skip the bank job, join a startup

Dartmouth College has four valedictorians this year: Wills Begor, Glynnis Kearney, David Rogg and Jie Zhong. They are impressive kids. All have stratospheric GPAs. Most pulled off two majors and a minor. One developed a new social networking platform for the iPhone.

...And the poor get poorer

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The Huffington Post
By: Alan Grayson
June 14, 2012

...And the poor get poorer

The Federal Reserve just released its Survey of Consumer Finances, the only government survey of wealth in America. The Survey is conducted every three years. This survey, conducted in 2010, is the first one to reflect the effects of the Wall Street Meltdown in 2008.

TIME
By: Josh Sanburn
June 15, 2012

Immigrants outpacing the rest of us in small business ownership

Just a couple decades ago, only 12% of small business owners were immigrants. Today, the number is 18% -- a disproportion ratio given that immigrants make up just 13% of the U.S. population, according to a new study by the Fiscal Policy Institute. The portion of the U.S. labor force comprised of immigrants has been increasing for years. In 1990, immigrants made up only about 9% of the workforce.

The Washington Post
June 15, 2012

Administration plan could spare hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from deportation

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of an influential Latino electorate that has been vocal in its opposition to administration deportation policies.

The Atlantic
By: Conor Friedersdorf
June 14, 2012

Why our elites are failing us and how to fix it

In an engrossing passage from Twilight of the Elites, a new book about the American meritocracy and its failures, author Chris Hayes directs our attention to an all but forgotten moment in 2009, when debate raged about who President Obama should appoint to a Supreme Court vacancy. Sonia Sotomayor was widely thought to be on his short list. But various liberal commentators, including The New Republic's Jeffrey Rosen and Harvard's Lawrence Tribe, argued that she should be passed over for alternative candidates who they regarded as observably smarter. "Keep in mind the person under discussion is someone who, from humble beginnings in the Bronx, had gained entry to Princeton, graduated summa cum laude, and gone on to Yale Law, where she edited the Yale Law Journal," Hayes observed. "She had checked off every box on the to-do list of meritocratic achievement. Apparently it wasn't enough."

NPR
By: Chris Arnold
June 14, 2012

Will credit be the spoiler in housing recovery?

Amid all the economic uncertainty over the credit crisis in Europe and slow job growth in the U.S., one sector may be looking up. The U.S. housing market is finally showing more signs of recovery, according to a report being released Thursday by Harvard University.

The Atlantic
By: Emily Richmond
June 11, 2012

Schools are more segregated today than during the late 1960s

In his commencement speech at San Diego State College, the President of the United States covered unsurprising territory in describing the challenges facing the nation's public schools -- inequities for minority students, a high dropout rate, and the need for better teacher training.

The Wall Street Journal
By: Miriam Jordan
June 13, 2012

Migrants keep small-business faith

Immigrants are more inclined to own small businesses than native-born Americans and are increasingly opening shop in areas beyond the major cities in which they have traditionally settled, a trend that is energizing local economies and reshaping communities.

The New York Times
By: Luigi Zingales
June 14, 2012

The college graduate as collateral

ACADEMIC economists like to make fun of businesspeople: they want competition when they enter a new market but are quick to lobby for subsidies and barriers to competitors once they get in. Yet scholars like me are no better. We work in the least competitive and most subsidized industry of all: higher education.

CNN
By: Jesse Jackson, Sr.
June 11, 2012

My view: the moral imperative for education policy

It has been two years since the administration's Race to the Top education competition was implemented, and scholars, advocates, practitioners and journalists are asking whether the program has been effective. From my perspective, this is the wrong question. We must instead determine whether a contest that provides support to some but not others is sufficient for addressing the structural inequities that make separate and unequal education a persistent fact of life in America today.

The New York Times
By: Adam Davidson
June 5, 2012

Can mom-and pop shops survive extreme gentrification?

When I was about 6, my dad and I were sitting near Wall Street when I asked him why so many men were wearing suits and ties. It was the 1970s, and we lived in Greenwich Village, a place where you could see men wearing almost anything except a suit and tie. My dad, a theater actor, told me that the people on Wall Street cared about money, and as a result, they had to dress formally. I even remember feeling bad for these poor chumps.

The Atlantic
June 7, 2012

To close "skills gap," first think about how kids learn surfing tricks from YouTube

The hardworking teachers in the United States educational system do a great job at creating a strong baseline education, but the students that employers hire often don't have enough specialization in the areas that employers really needed - meaning that, yes, a skills gap does exist.

NPR
By: Jacob Goldstein
June 11, 2012

A lost decade for American families

American families got poorer in the first decade of the 21st century.

The wealth of the median U.S. household -- the family at the middle of the middle class -- fell from $106,000 in 2001 to $77,000 in 2010.

The fall was driven, not surprisingly, by the housing bust. Homes are the single largest asset for many families, and they represent a particularly large share of wealth for the middle class.

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
June 12, 2012

Wealth transfer? Boomers banking on a mirage

Under-saved boomers have long believed that a tremendous generational transfer of wealth will save their retirement. Estimates have put the expected bequest from boomer parents at $10 trillion to $30 trillion. Well, don't count on it.

TIME
By: Kayla Webley
June 12, 2012

Why have so few student loan borrowers taken advantage of income based repayment?

Last week, the Obama Administration outlined a plan to make more borrowers aware of the Income Based Repayment (IBR) program, and make it easier for those who qualify to apply. The plan is the latest step in the administration's efforts to lessen the burden of student debt, and is specifically designed to encourage more borrowers to sign on to a program that, despite being a great option for distressed borrowers, has been underutilized.

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CNN
By: Susan M. Dynarski
June 11, 2012

Ignore the debt hype. College is a great investment

Susan Dynarski is a professor at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, School of Education and Department of Economics at the University of Michigan. Sarah Turner is University Professor of Economics & Education at the University of Virginia.

Recent sensational stories about crushing student debt burdens leave the impression that borrowing for college is unwise. The reality is that few students carry enormous debt loads. A recent report from the New York Federal Reserve Bank showed that fewer than 1 in 30 students have debt loads above $100,000.

The Huffington Post
By: Marcus Bright
June 8, 2012

Go big on poverty and minimum wage

It was correctly stated by MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Huffington Post Contributor Howard Fineman on the June 4 edition of Hardball that President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 on big ideas. People organized and were galvanized around the possibility of major changes in the area of healthcare, foreign policy and general economic recovery. While it is clear that the plight of the poor and working class is not anywhere close to the priority list for Mitt Romney as evidenced by his statement earlier this year that, "He's not concerned about the working poor because they have a safety net"; President Obama has not explicitly made addressing poverty a cornerstone of his administration.

The Huffington Post
By: Scott Neuman
June 7, 2012

No bank account: Huffington Post readers respond about living off the financial grid

Have you ever heard of a banker with no bank account?

Joel Lawton, a Texas-based mortgage banker with no checking or savings account, is just one of many Huffington Post readers living off the financial grid.

After The Huffington Post ran a story last month about Josh Crawford, who has lived without a bank account for 14 years, we received a flood of emails from readers who also had ditched theirs.

The Huffington Post
June 8, 2012

Working-class incomes fell after crisis, while the bosses saw pay rise

The sluggish economy has been more sluggish for some than others.

The median earnings of working class people fell more than 4 percent between 2007 and 2010, according to an analysis of Census data prepared for Bloomberg. That's while college-educated professionals or managers saw median earnings jump nearly 2 percent.

TIME
By: Martha C. White
June 8, 2012

Study: Banks still doing a crummy job disclosing fees even as they raise them

In an extensive study last year, the Pew Charitable Trusts found out what many Americans who've been zapped by overdraft fees or frustrated trying to understand fine print already knew: Big banks make it difficult for their customers to figure out exactly when and how much they'll be charged in fees.

The Washington Post
By: J.D. Harrison
June 6, 2012

Startup Act 2.0: House lawmakers introduce Senators' immigration reform bill

One week after Senators from both sides of the aisle unveiled a new immigration reform and job creation measure, Republicans and Democrats have again linked up to introduce the same bill in the House.

The Huffington Post
By: Kathleen Miles
June 7, 2012

Ethnic diversity increases home value and lowers crime in southern California, study says

Ethnic diversity raises home values and lowers crime rates in Southern California communities, according to a new study.

Researchers at UC Irvine studied immigration, ethnic diversity and home value data from the 2010 US Census and annual crime reports from cities across Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernadino and Ventura counties.

Eliminating the pay gap

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The Huffington Post
By: Sen. Bob Casey
June 5, 2012

Eliminating the pay gap

Nearly fifty years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, prohibiting employers from discriminating on the basis of gender, women still earn significantly less than men for doing the same work.

NPR
By: Scott Neuman
June 7, 2012

Generation rent: Slamming door of homeownership

Kristi Taylor can pinpoint the precise moment she let go of the dream of homeownership. It was a few months ago, as she and her husband and infant son were driving through a neighborhood of homes near their apartment in Athens, Ga.

TIME
By: Christopher Matthews
June 8, 2012

Jumpstart nation: The Clinton Global Initiative tackles America's job crisis

The Clinton Global initiative was created in 2005 to "inspire, connect, and empower a community of global leaders to forge solutions to the world's most pressing challenges." Seven years ago, when developed economies were still growing at a healthy clip, Clinton's organization was focused mainly on the many problems of the developing world. But the financial crisis of 2008 fundamentally rearranged the world, and now one of it's most pressing problems is over-indebtedness, anemic growth and unemployment in some of the world's richest countries.

The New York Times
By: Motoko Rich
June 6, 2012

How certificates can life income

With so much focus on whether college is worth it, relatively little attention has been paid to the value of certificate programs - vocational courses of study beyond high school that do not lead to an associate's or bachelor's degree.

Bad choices hurt potential

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By: David Kyler
June 8, 2012

Bad choices hurt potential

Contrary to what our leaders would have tax-paying citizens believe, Georgia's competitive economic standing is declining, not benefiting, from dominant state policies and priorities. Consider an assessment by the business magazine Forbes which, in a 2009 story, ranked Atlanta as the nation's most toxic metro area.

The Huffington Post
By: Catherine New
June 6, 2012

SunTrust to raise minimum balance, overdraft fees on everyday checking accounts

Starting this summer, some of SunTrust's least wealthy customers will have to pay higher fees on everything from ATM withdrawals to checking accounts, the bank confirmed on Wednesday.

TIME
By: Dan Kadlec
June 7, 2012

Does financial education work? Clinton Global Initiative and PwC bet $160 million that it does

The financial literacy movement is getting a valuable boost. At the second gathering of the Clinton Global Initiative America, which runs today and Friday in Chicago, the accounting giant PwC will unveil a $160 million campaign to promote financial education in classrooms.

Broken and Obsolete

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TIME
By: Fareed Zakaria
June 18, 2012

Broken and Obsolete

As the American economy sags, the race for the presidency gets tighter--except in one dimension. Hispanic Americans continue to support Barack Obama by an astonishing 61%-to-27% margin. Were Obama to win, it might well be because of his attitudes on one issue: immigration. But it is an issue on which he will be unable to enact any of his preferences, let alone those policies that many Latinos support. The Republican Party has taken a tough stand on the topic. Democrats have their own bright lines. That means America's immigration system is likely to stay as it is right now--utterly broken.

The New York Times
Ami Kassar
June 5, 2012

Why small business lending is such a confusing mess

This is my first post for You're the Boss. I hope to add my two cents by shining some light on the state of small-business lending in the United States.

It might help if you understand what I do in my day job. I am a small-business owner myself. Two and a half years ago, like millions of Americans in the Great Recession, I lost my job -- a cushy corporate job with a company where I had worked for a decade and from which I had expected to retire. The company, Advanta, went bankrupt.

The New York Times
By: Catherine Rampell
June 6, 2012

Don't think college is worth it? Ask people who haven't gone

Last month the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development released data showing that college graduates generally do not regret going to college, despite lots of criticism of the value of higher education. Today the center released a new report focusing on the depressing state of America's recent high school graduates, who seem to agree about the importance of further education.

The New York Times
Catherine Rampell
June 6, 2012

More Young Americans Out of High School Are Also Out of Work

For this generation of young people, the future looks bleak. Only one in six is working full time. Three out of five live with their parents or other relatives. A large majority -- 73 percent -- think they need more education to find a successful career, but only half of those say they will definitely enroll in the next few years.

The Huffington Post
By: Francine LeFrak
June 5, 2012

How I became my father: Generations of vision

I grew up in an atmosphere of intensity. Every night, my sister, brother, Peppy the dog, and I would hear the sound of a whistle approaching the front door of our family's home. That sound signified my father, Samuel J. LeFrak's, return from work. We would stand up straight, line up at the front door, and anxiously await what the end of the day would bring out in my over-worked father. At times, my father's boisterous behavior would dominate the dinner conversation, or he'd be tired and cranky from the stress of the construction unions, but no matter what, there was never any filter on his thoughts, and never any dull moments.

The Huffington Post
June 5, 2012

Lilly Washington says BofA forclosed on her home, took her son's purple heart

Upon returning home from a visit with her son in a military hospital abroad, Lilly Washington was surprised to find a "for sale" sign had been planted in the yard.

NPR
By: Claudio Sanchez
June 6, 2012

Grad who beat the odds asks, why not the others?

Fewer than 5 percent of Americans had completed college when historian James Truslow Adams first coined the term "American dream" in 1931.

Today, many consider higher education the gateway to a better, richer and fuller life. But for many kids growing up in poverty, college might as well be Mars, and the American dream a myth.

The Huffington Post
By: Jason Linkins
June 4, 2012

Income inequality revealed through urban foliage

Back when Mitt Romney was campaigning in Michigan, he had this weird phrase about his one-time home state that he kept robotically repeating: "The trees are the right height." Well, I can't say for sure what "the right height" is to Mitt Romney. And Michiganders -- who, yes, were polled as to their trees' height -- came back with mixed reviews on how their trees measure up. But as it turns out, the height of trees -- and how many of them you can see from space -- reveals a lot about the health and wealth of an urban community. And when the trees are wrong, that's actually an indicator of a larger problem.

The Huffington Post
By: Andrea Lopez
June 3, 2012

The achievement gap: 'My schools didn't give me as good and education as privileged kids have'

This is a teen-written article from our friends at L.A. Youth, a nonprofit organization that helps teens advocate for themselves through journalism, literacy and civic engagement.

By Andrea Lopez, 17, Chavez Learning Academies (San Fernando)

The Washington Post
By: Glenn Kessler
June 5, 2012

The White House's use of data on the gender wage gap

Women still earn just 70 cents for every dollar a man earns. It's worse for African American women and Latinas."

-- President Obama, Remarks on Equal Pay for Equal Work, June 4, 2011 (The White House later corrected the president's statement to 77 cents.)

"Women earn only 77 cents for every dollar men earn, with women of color at an even greater disadvantage with 64 cents on the dollar for African American women and 56 cents for Hispanic women."

-- White House Statement of Administration Policy on Paycheck Fairness Act, June 4

The Wall Street Journal
By: Emily Chasan
June 4, 2012


Meet the JOBS Act's jobs-free companies

The JOBS Act was supposed to be about clearing away regulation to help young companies create jobs.

Just eight weeks after its passage, however, more than a dozen of the companies seeking to use its looser rules for going public aren't the type of high-tech growth companies lawmakers had in mind.

The Hill
By: Armstrong Williams
May 4, 2012

Destructive regulator environment (CFED)

Given their prevailing 20th-century mentality and saddled with new and burdensome regulations, banks have little incentive to develop affordable credit options to serve the needs of millions of American consumers.

The Huffington Post
By: Ali Noorani
June 1, 2012

To create jobs, fix immigration

Right under the noses of pro-business Republicans and Democrats is an anti-business immigration system that impedes innovation and puts family farmers out of business.

Let me be clear: Far too many of our fellow Americans are out of work. Our economy cannot grow fast enough to ease the pain and suffering of our neighbors.

A start on the dream

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The New York Times
June 3, 2012

A start on the dream

President Obama has been an overachiever on immigration enforcement, far outpacing his predecessor, George W. Bush, in swiftly racking up a million deportations. But on the other crucial part of reform -- getting undocumented immigrants right with the law -- Mr. Obama talks a lot but has done far too little.

The Washington Post
By: Ezra Klein
June 4, 2012

Wonkbook: Don't read too much into the May jobs numbers

Last week brought a lot of bad economic news, and this week will doubtless bring a lot of hysterical commentary, so let's take a breath: There is a tendency to take whatever just happened and assume it forward. That's doubly true when the data is dramatic.

Common Dreams
By: Ellen Brown
May 30, 2012

Out of the mouths of babes: Twelve-year-old money reformer tops a million views

The youtube video of 12 year old Victoria Grant speaking at the Public Banking in America conference last month has gone viral, topping a million views on various websites.

Monetary reform--the contention that governments, not banks, should create and lend a nation's money--has rarely even made the news, so this is a first. Either the times they are a-changin', or Victoria managed to frame the message in a way that was so simple and clear that even a child could understand it.

Basically, her message was that banks create money "out of thin air" and lend it to people and governments at interest. If governments borrowed from their own banks, they could keep the interest and save a lot of money for the taxpayers.

The 1 percent's problem

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RSN
By: Joseph E. Stiglitz
June 1, 2012

The 1 percent's problem

Let's start by laying down the baseline premise: inequality in America has been widening for dec­ades. We're all aware of the fact. Yes, there are some on the right who deny this reality, but serious analysts across the political spectrum take it for granted. I won't run through all the evidence here, except to say that the gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent is vast when looked at in terms of annual income, and even vaster when looked at in terms of wealth - that is, in terms of accumulated capital and other assets. Consider the Walton family: the six heirs to the Walmart empire possess a combined wealth of some $90 billion, which is equivalent to the wealth of the entire bottom 30 percent of U.S. society. (Many at the bottom have zero or negative net worth, especially after the housing debacle.) Warren Buffett put the matter correctly when he said, "There's been class warfare going on for the last 20 years and my class has won."

The Washington Times
By: Armstrong Williams
June 3, 2012

Williams: Old phony regulations crimp financial innovations

Have you ever stopped to think about how the breakup of AT&T revolutionized the information and communications technology market? Most people probably haven't, but in 1984, the end of the regulated monopoly ushered in an era of unprecedented competition and innovation.

CNN
By: Tami Luhby
June 1, 2012

May jobs report: hiring slows, unemployment rises

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Businesses hired far fewer workers than expected in May, throwing into doubt the strength of the economic recovery.

Only 69,000 jobs were added last month, the weakest growth in a year. The unemployment rate rose to 8.2%, as people rejoined the labor force.

The Atlantic
By: Megan Mcardle
May 31, 2012

How good parents and good intentions lead to dramatically unequal schools

With the cutbacks in school funding, many school districts are creating education foundations to supplement programs in the schools.

Local education foundations (LEF) are 503(c)(3) groups formed in local school districts. They usually provide funding for auxiliary educational activities or after school activities, like Lego Leagues, music programs, or special field trips. Unlike PTA groups, they tend to focus on gathering large scale donations from local businesses or corporations.

The Atlantic
By: Derek Thompson
May 31, 2012

The 10 things economics can tell us about happiness

Last week, I shared the OECD's brand new rankings of happiest countries on earth. This week, let's pull back the lens and consider the most important lessons about well-being from the mountainous piles of economic research distilled by the New Economics Foundation's excellent review. All caveats about the messiness of research bias and the usefulness of self-reported happiness surveys apply.

TIME
By: Steve Mariotti
June 1, 2012

Why every school in America should teach entrepreneurship

Jabious and Anthony Williams were living crammed with their mom and eight other family members in their aunt's two-bedroom apartment in Anacostia, a violent Southeast Washington, D.C., neighborhood. Every day the boys walked miles to the nearest Exxon station to pump gas for tips. "Typically, we would earn thirty to fifty dollars a day to help support my mom," says Jabious Williams.

The Washington Post
By: Olga Khazan
May 24, 2012

In some states, the unemployed can now use benefits to start a business

Roughly 8 percent of Americans are out of work, but with a new state-based program, the Obama administration hopes some of those out of work won't just find new jobs, they'll create them.

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