November 2012 Archives

American Public Media Marketplace
By:  Amy Scott
November 30, 2012

When it comes to producing college graduates, the Cleveland area in Ohio trails the rest of the country. Cuyahoga County executive Ed Fitzgerald says the area also has higher than average poverty. "And those things are not unrelated," he says. "So we felt we needed to do something dramatic to try to create a real culture of college attendance."

The New York Times
By:  Eduardo Porter
November 27, 2012

Rarely have we experienced such a confluence of arguments in favor of raising taxes on the rich. After a hard-won re-election fought mainly over taxes and spending, President Obama arguably has a mandate from voters to tap the wealthy to address our budget woes.

The Los Angeles Times
By:  Marc Lifsher
November 28, 2012

SACRAMENTO -- The federal budget crisis in Washington known as the "fiscal cliff" has an estimated 400,000 long-term jobless Californians on the edge.

The Washington Post
By:  Valerie Strauss
November 27, 2012

There are charter schools, and then there are special charter schools. In this story my colleague Nick Anderson writes about how special the KIPP charter school network has become. Already the recipient of many millions of dollars from private foundations, and a finalist in the Obama administration's Race to the Top-District competition for millions of dollars, Anderson explains how KIPP has forged special relationships with some of America's most prestigious colleges who will track and recruit the charter school's students.

The Huffington Post
By:  Joanne Goldblum
November 27, 2012

By age 3, children in low-income families have smaller vocabularies than middle-class kids of the same age. This "achievement gap" persists throughout school and culminates in lower graduation rates for children growing up in poverty. I'm not offering a magic bullet to close the achievement gap. Complex problems, unfortunately, tend to require complex solutions. But I can think of two key elements to any effort to address the gap: We need to start early and we need to think broadly.

San Antonio Express News
By:  Lise Olsen
November 27, 2012

More than 17,000 Texans lost their cars and trucks in the first half of 2012 after failing to make payments to storefront short-term lenders -- many of whom charge fees equivalent to 500 percent annual interest, consumer data show.

The New York Times
By:  Annie Lowrey
November 25, 2012

Every year, the government spends more than $100 billion on tax breaks to encourage Americans to save more for retirement. But a new study suggests such provisions may have little effect on the amount Americans save.

The Los Angeles Times
By:  Kathy M. Kristof
November 23, 2012

When Andre Soto heard about a new program that could turn $500 of college savings into $2,000 almost overnight, the Lincoln Heights father of two assumed it was a Ponzi scheme.

The San Francisco Chronicle
By:  Carolyn Said
November 26, 2012

Wells Fargo will give $20,000 down-payment grants to assist 250 low- and moderate-income families with buying homes in the East Bay as part of a fair-lending settlement.
Reservations for the money will be allocated Dec. 7 and 8 during a home-buyer workshop at the Oakland Convention Center Marriott.

The Washington Post
By:  Zachary A. Goldfarb
November 23, 2012

When Barack Obama published his autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," about racial identity in 1995, he talked with his neighborhood newspaper in Illinois, the Hyde Park Citizen, about the economic disparities he had seen while exploring the world as a child and young adult.

The Huffington Post
By:  Jared Bernstein
November 24, 2012

I just read two sweeping reports on the state of income inequality in the U.S. (the second link focuses on state-level inequality) and other advanced economies. Perhaps it's because I've been so ensconced in fiscal cliff discussions, but I was struck by how much more alarmed policy makers are by the budget deficit than by the inequality situation. There are reasons for that tilt -- some good, some bad -- but based on magnitudes of the problem, it's far from clear that our current sole policy focus is warranted.

The Seattle Times
By:  Pamela Yip
November 24, 2012

Banks often tout their financial-literacy programs.

So it strikes me as odd that some are offering loans similar to what payday lenders offer. These products can land financially uneducated consumers in a heap of trouble.

The Baltimore Sun
By:  Gus G. Sentementes
November 20, 2012

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is launching a micro-loan fund for small businesses in Baltimore, to help them hire and stabilize their businesses.

The Washington Post
By:  Neil Irwin
November 20, 2012

A housing comeback is now underway; that much is clear. Adding to a steady drumbeat of positive data for the sector, new data on Tuesday showed a surprising 3.6 percent gain in housing starts in October, which came on the back of a 15.1 percent rise in September.

The Wall Street Journal
By:  Aaron Chatterji
November 12, 2012

It's time for the government to get a lot smarter about small-business policy.

In an era when political battles are nastier than ever, small business is the American dream we can all agree on. Democrats and Republicans alike line up behind the idea that small firms are job creators--the backbone of the economy--and they deserve a helping hand from the federal government.

Brookings
By:  Elizabeth Kneebone
November 19, 2012

As the clock ticks down to January 1, and lawmakers try to hash out a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff and address the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, new data on taxpayers in the United States--collected from federal tax returns and available down to the ZIP code level through Brookings' EITC Interactive--provide an important perspective on the impact of the tax code on families and communities across the country.

American Banker
By:  John Adams
November 20, 2012

The knowledge gap between banks and small business owners isn't as wide as it used to be, but Well Fargo's Doug Case says there's still room for improvement.

Ecopreneurist
By:  Guest Contributor
November 19, 2012

Most Americans are familiar with the word microfinance, having heard it primarily in reference to people living in developing nations in South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In these regions, microfinance institutions (MFIs) loan poor individuals - who might otherwise never find a lender or investor - sums ranging from $100 to $5,000 to start an enterprise or simply to improve their lives. But what about America?

Hey Fannie and Freddie, Pay Us Back!

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The New York Times
By:  Joshua Rosner
November 18, 2012

WHO says Democrats and Republicans can't agree on anything? When it comes to fixing the government's troubled and costly relationship with the private mortgage market, bipartisanship is very much alive. Politicians in both parties have reached consensus over the past four years to simply do nothing.

The New York Times
By:  Daniel Altman
November 18, 2012

WHETHER you're in the 99 percent, the 47 percent or the 1 percent, inequality in America may threaten your future. Often decried for moral or social reasons, inequality imperils the economy, too; the International Monetary Fund recently warned that high income inequality could damage a country's long-term growth. But the real menace for our long-term prosperity is not income inequality -- it's wealth inequality, which distorts access to economic opportunities.

Winston-Salem Journal (North Carolina; CFED)
By:  Peter Laroche
November 18, 2012

I am sure many Journal readers were shocked to read that the city's poverty rate reached 24 percent in 2011, and that the median household income dipped from $40,000 in 2010 to $37,501 last year, putting us at the bottom of the state's five largest cities. ('City's poverty rate rises to 24%,' Sept. 20) The numbers for Forsyth County as a whole were somewhat better, but median income was still lower when compared with the home counties of the state's other four major cities.

The Phoenix Business Journal
By:  Christopher Leone
November 16, 2012

Juan Delarosa hasn't had a checking or savings account in more than a decade. He is what the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. calls "unbanked."

Make Small Business a Cause

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The New York Times
By:  Robb Mandelbaum
November 15, 2012

Carlene O'Garro's cake business was barely a month old when she arrived at the Samuel Adams brewery in South Boston recently to meet with business counselors, but she brought with her an agenda that hinted at outsize ambitions.

The Washington Post
By:  Associated Press
November 14, 2012

The ranks of America's poor edged up last year to a high of 49.7 million, based on a new census measure that takes into account medical costs and work-related expenses.

The Huffington Post
By:  Jillian Berman
November 14, 2012

Families living in poor neighborhoods lost almost everything during the Great Recession, potentially making it more difficult for them to gain a better life in the future, according to a recent report.

PBS
By:  Paul Solman
November 9, 2012

David G: I keep seeing an argument that says that income inequality is not as bad as statistics make it appear because poor people receive government benefits (or can -- perhaps they don't). Your friend Bob Lerman seems to feel this way.

Higher Personal Saving: Who Needs It?

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Brookings 
By:  Karen Dynan
October 1, 2012

Americans have tightened their belts relative to the spendthrift days preceding the financial crisis. Since that time, we have seen a meaningful increase in the U.S. personal saving rate, measured as the combined savings of all households divided by their combined after-tax income. The personal saving rate averaged 3¾ percent over the last year, up from a low of 1 percent in 2005.

The New York Times
By:  Stephanie Clifford and Jessica Silver-Greenberg
November 14, 2012

On a recent shopping trip to Costco, Lilly Neubauer picked up paper towels, lentils, carrots -- and a home mortgage.

The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur

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The New York Times
By:  David Bornstein
November 13, 2012

Recently, I wrote a column suggesting that, in the field of social change, we're getting smarter. I went so far as to say that we may even be going through a new Enlightenment. I mentioned three ways we're improving -- employing new understandings about human behavior to get better results, using evidence more regularly to assess and guide problem-solving, and constructing integrated solutions to social problems. I also promised to highlight some other advances.

The Washington Post
By:  Danielle Douglas
November 13, 2012

Community banks say they may be pushed out of the residential mortgage market, leaving it in the hands of a few lending giants, because of an effort by global regulators to make banks hold more in their reserves in the event of a crisis.

USA Today
By:  Paul Davidson
November 13, 2012

When online comic book retailer Robert Abendschoen sought a $50,000 loan last year to expand into toys for the holidays, he was turned down by about half a dozen banks. Although his 5-year-old business, SearchLightcomics.com, was profitable, he rented both his apartment and office, and so had no collateral besides his inventory.

GoBankingRates.com
By:  Stacey Bumpus
November 13, 2012

President Barack Obama faced a number of challenges in his push for re-election and is expected to face even more now that he has scored a second term. But no one would ever guess that one of his most important challenges would come from an East L.A. bank asking for help in improving financial literacy for the unbanked and underbanked.

The New York Times
By:  Tamar Lewin
November 11, 2012

When Michele Fitzgerald and her daughter, Jenni, go out for dinner, Jenni pays. When they get haircuts, Jenni pays. When they buy groceries, Jenni pays.

The Power of Plastic

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The New York Times
By:  Nancy Folbre
November 12, 2012

Credit card payment networks and card-issuing banks are taking advantage of their market power to extract more and more revenue from small businesses. In last week's post, I provided an overview of recent legal and legislative battles over rising swipe fees. But as an attentive reader points out in an e-mail, I should have called attention to how hard it is for merchants even to figure out what fees they will be charged.

Chicago Tribune
By:  Mary Ellen Podmolik
November 11, 2012

Rents are up. Home price declines are shrinking. Mortgage rates are so low they're hard to believe.

The situation is prompting would-be homeowners to ask themselves whether this is the time to buy. But they're also asking themselves whether they're truly ready to buy.

Firms aim to boost homeownership

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Great Falls Tribune (Montana; IDA)
By:  Briana Wipf
November 9, 2012

Next spring or summer, Jennifer and Jason Triplett hope to purchase their first home. It's been a long road for the Tripletts, who have one 6-year-old son, Steven, and are expecting another baby next year.

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo, MS; 1:1 Fund)
By:  Chris Kieffer
November 10, 2012

A new program will help low-income Mississippi students build college savings funds.

The 1:1 Fund was launched this month to allow donors to provide matching funds for nearly 9,000 children in two test markets --Mississippi and San Francisco.

The Washington Post
By:  The Associated Press
November 8, 2012

WASHINGTON -- The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 355,000, a possible sign of a healing job market. But officials cautioned that the figures were distorted by Superstorm Sandy.

The Portland Tribune
By:  The Portland School Board and PPS Superintendent
November 8, 2012

Make no mistake, at Portland Public Schools, our goal is to increase student learning for every student -- whether they are white, black, Latino, native, Asian or multiracial.

Cherokee Phoenix (Oklahoma)
By:  Tesina Jackson
November 8, 2012

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - On Oct. 30-31, representatives from different organizations discussed improving the quality of life and reducing poverty in northeast Oklahoma during the fourth annual Northeast Oklahoma Regional Alliance at Northeastern State University.

The Cincinnati Enquirer
By:  Mark Curnutte
November 7, 2012

OVER-THE-RHINE - In less than two weeks, the Freestore Foodbank will begin distributing holiday food to almost 13,000 families.

The Washington Post
By:  Michael A. Fletcher
November 5, 2012

The economic downturn is pressing more employers to reduce pension benefits and significantly delaying when people launch their careers, darkening the already bleak picture that young workers face in saving for retirement.

The Washington Post
By:  Clea Benson and Emma Fidel
November 3, 2012

The man with power over more than half of U.S. mortgages lives in a 1961 brick split-level house. There's a basketball hoop in the driveway and a green Subaru Outback in the carport. The homes on Edward J. DeMarco's block are so close that neighbors see into each other's windows.

NPR
By:  Taylor Tepper
November 5, 2012

In New York, it takes an average of about three years for a bank to foreclose on a house.

In Texas, it takes about three months.

The Consumerist (Yonkers, New York)
By:  Mary Beth Quirk
November 5, 2012

When someone wants your money, they'll go to quite sneaky lengths to get your business. That's what one Oregon senator says online loan sharks are doing, by opening on Native American reservations so as to get around state and federal consumer protection laws. State laws don't work on tribal lands, a situation which has turned such lands into veritable havens for payday lenders trying to skirt regulation.

Bloomberg
By:  The Editors
November 4, 2012

Why did inequality never become the defining issue of the 2012 campaign? It appears that voters, intuitively, don't see it as the problem some politicians would have us believe.

The Associated Press State and Local Wire
By:  Jeff Amy
November 2, 2012

A new effort wants people nationwide to help poor children in Mississippi and San Francisco save for college.

Birmingham Business Journal
By:  Antrenise Cole
November 2, 2012

About 193,000 Alabama households didn't have a checking or savings account in 2011, according to recently released data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The Washington Post
By:  Neil Irwin
November 2, 2012

Businesses picked up their pace of hiring in October and the unemployment rate rose as more people started looking for work, according to new government data that offer a glimmer of optimism for the long-ailing job market on the eve of the presidential election.

The New York Times
By:  Annie Lowrey & Catherine Rampell
November 1, 2012

WASHINGTON -- In the economy-focused presidential campaign, the two candidates and their teams have scarcely mentioned what economists describe as not just one of the labor market's most pressing problems, but the entire country's: long-term unemployment.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (IDA)
By:  Lisa Brown
November 2, 2012

When homeless women come to the YWCA Metro St. Louis for food and housing, the nonprofit organization offers something it considers equally critical: the opportunity to open a bank account.

Insight News (Minneapolis; IDA)
November 1, 2012

Bobbie Harris is following her dream of designing learning materials for children. Now a University of Minnesota graduate student, she got her start through the Eastside Financial Center in St. Paul where she enrolled in a matched-savings program that helped her complete her bachelor's degree.

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