December 2012 Archives

Redistributing Up

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Reuters
By:  Deborah Nelson & Himanshu Ojha
December 18, 2012

In the town that launched the War on Poverty 48 years ago, the poor are getting poorer despite the government's help. And the rich are getting richer because of it.

The top 5 percent of households in Washington, D.C., made more than $500,000 on average last year, while the bottom 20 percent earned less than $9,500 - a ratio of 54 to 1.

The New York Times
By:  Jonathan Weisman
December 18, 2012

WASHINGTON -- President Obama delivered to Speaker John A. Boehner a new offer on Monday to resolve the pending fiscal crisis, a deal that would raise revenues by $1.2 trillion over the next decade but keep in place the Bush-era tax rates for any household with earnings below $400,000.

Tide Changes for Manufactured Housing

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The Wall Street Journal
By:  A.D. Pruitt & Dawn Wotapka
December 12, 2012

Shares of manufactured-housing companies were the big-ticket stocks for real-estate investors in recent years, faithfully posting double-digit annual returns. But now, some investors have soured on the sector.

The Washington Post
By:  Katherine Reynolds Lewis
December 14, 2012

When Stefan and Jennifer Hull beat out other interested buyers for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom Cape Cod house in Bethesda, they felt sure they'd gotten a bargain at $759,200. They were shocked when their lender's appraiser valued the home at only $744,000.

The New York Times
By:  Annie Lowrey
December 13, 2012

WASHINGTON -- The income stagnation that has hit the middle class in the last decade is complicating the Democrats' position in the fiscal talks, making it more difficult for them to advocate across-the-board tax increases if a deal falls through.

The New York Times
By:  Jonathan Weisman
December 13, 2012

WASHINGTON -- Speaker John A. Boehner moved Wednesday to maintain Republican unity on deficit reduction talks as lawmakers on the far right openly chafed at his leadership and some pragmatists pressed for quick accommodation on tax rate increases on the rich.

A better lure for cities

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The Boston Globe
By:  Edward L. Glaeser
December 13, 2012

As America faces the fiscal cliff, the impossible becomes conceivable. Finally, we face the possibility of reducing the home mortgage interest deduction. Such a reform is long overdue, because the long-entrenched deduction has serious flaws. Yet eliminating the deduction altogether would create its own problems disproportionately harming high-cost, high-wage areas like Massachusetts.

The Davis Enterprise (California; IDA)
By:  Kristin Thebaud
December 11, 2012

Three projects funded by United Way's California Capital Region are making significant differences in the lives of hundreds of Yolo County residents, president and CEO Steve Heath said at a recent town hall meeting in Woodland.

The New York Times
By:  Mark Landler
December 10, 2012

REDFORD, Mich. -- Using a German-owned truck factory as a grease-stained backdrop, President Obama on Monday pressed his case for higher tax rates for the richest Americans, declaring that his economic program would cut the deficit without crimping the job market.

Profiting From a Child's Illiteracy

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The New York Times
By:  Nicholas D. Kristof
December 7, 2012

Jackson, Ky.

THIS is what poverty sometimes looks like in America: parents here in Appalachian hill country pulling their children out of literacy classes. Moms and dads fear that if kids learn to read, they are less likely to qualify for a monthly check for having an intellectual disability.

The Washington Post
By:  Michael A. Fletcher
December 10, 2012

The government's latest jobs report offered both good news and bad news, reflecting an emerging reality of the nation's economy.

Bloomberg
By:  Richard Rubin
December 11, 2012

Lawmakers returned to Washington today amid a potential thaw in the U.S. fiscal policy dispute, as President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner attempt to make a deal to prevent spending cuts and tax increases from taking effect.

The New York Times
By:  Jessica Silver-Greenberg
December 9, 2012

The nation's largest banks are facing a fresh torrent of lawsuits asserting that they sold shoddy mortgage securities that imploded during the financial crisis, potentially adding significantly to the tens of billions of dollars the banks have already paid to settle other cases.

NPR
By:  Ida Lieszkovszky
December 6, 2012

In the Cleveland area, there's a plan to inspire kids to start thinking about college early on by giving them seed money. Officials want to set up kindergarteners with savings accounts. Though the initial $100 deposit isn't likely to cover much, the hope is that it will inspire them to take the idea of going to college seriously.

The Los Angeles Times
By:  Jim Puzzanghera
December 10, 2012

At 70, Frank White isn't a typical first-time home buyer. But a key reason he ditched his Altadena apartment and bought a three-bedroom house in nearby Pasadena has been common for decades: He wanted the tax break.

Microloans' Impact: Big

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The Herald Bulletin (Anderson, IN; Microloans)
By:  Baylee Pulliam
December 8, 2012

It takes money to make money.

And for some businesses, even a little can make a big difference.

That's where microlenders like the Flagship Enterprise Center, 2701 Enterprise Drive, come in.

The New York Times
By:  Catherine Rampell and Binyamin Appelbaum
December 6, 2012

President Obama's insistence that marginal tax rates rise for families making more than $250,000 has convinced millions of affluent Americans that they are likely to be writing larger checks to the government next year.

The New York Times
By:  Nelson D. Schwartz
December 7, 2012

Shaking off the effects of Hurricane Sandy and the looming fiscal impasse in Washington, the economy created 146,000 jobs in November, well above the level economists had been expecting.

The Affordable Housing Crisis

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The New York Times
By:  Editorial
December 4, 2012

The precious few federal programs that provide rental assistance to the nation's poorest and most vulnerable families are already underfinanced. These programs provide decent housing for about only a quarter of the low-income families who qualify for them. And with nearly nine million households teetering on the verge of homelessness, the country clearly needs more support for affordable housing, not less.

CNNMoney
By:  Blake Ellis
December 7, 2012

Someday soon, your employer may match your contributions to a 529 college savings plan, just like it does with your 401(k).

America the Undertaxed

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Foreign Affairs
By:  Andrea Louise Campbell
September/October 2012, Volume 91, Number 5

The most important debates in U.S. politics today center on the cost and the role of government. Cutting taxes, limiting expenditures, and reducing debt have become the chief concerns of Republicans, whereas Democrats generally seek to preserve or even expand government spending and are willing to raise taxes to do so. The looming expiration of the George W. Bush tax cuts at the end of 2012 and the economy's weak recovery give these debates special urgency, as decisions made in the next few months are likely to shape the nation's economic, social, and political trajectory for years to come.

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

Do we have another Fannie or Freddie on our hands -- another mortgage giant headed for a rescue?

Like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before it, the Federal Housing Administration is suffering in a mortgage hell of its own making. F.H.A. officials say they won't need taxpayers' help, but we've heard that kind of line before.

The Huffington Post
By:  John Dearborn
December 3, 2012

This fall, entrepreneurs and investors from all over the country gathered in downtown Cleveland for the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds (NASVF) annual conference. During a "fireside chat," AOL founder and Startup America Chair Steve Case touched on his belief that a "broader entrepreneurial ecosystem" with many hubs of innovation is possible. "Many years ago, you couldn't launch a startup in some areas, and now you can," he said. "Costs are down, and the ability to get talent is up."

Des Moines Register
By:  Mary Stegmeir
December 3, 2012

The number of children in poverty has increased over the past decade in all of Iowa's 99 counties, a sobering statistic that members of a state public policy group link to the national economic downturn.

Evansville Courier & Press (Evansville, IN)
By:  Derek Thomas
December 2, 2012

At the Indiana Institute for Working Families -- a nonprofit and nonpartisan policy institute -- we are increasingly concerned about the growing number of Hoosiers in poverty. Our work centers on data-driven research to promote policies that help Hoosiers achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency -- the ability to care for their families without government support.

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